I am a Buddhist monk (ordained for just over nine years as a celibate Bhiskhu, but a new transfer into the Taego Order--still celibate). I've been perusing the posts here and it seems like there is a lot of guess work going on. Despite the fact that I'm new to the Taego Order, I'd like to put in my two cents and hopefully clear up a few things.
First, the distance learning model currently being used by the Overseas Parish of the Taego order for pre-ordination training is a response to the fact that the Taego Order is still quite small and thus lacks the resources to properly support clergy in training. It is, in other words, a less than ideal situation. However, it is a first step toward developing what we hope will become a more robust and deeply rooted tradition in the West. I believe I can speak for my fellow Western Taego clergy when I say that we all hope future generations will be better trained and educated than we are today. This will, of course, take time.
Huseng wrote:I don't think religious certifications should be issued from internet programs. Any yahoo with a computer and internet connection can be certified regardless of whatever type of person they are in real life and then with those "certifications" screw people over and mislead a lot of people who think they're legitimate representatives of the sangha.
It will lead to a lot of problems.
If you're that serious about being ordained, then you should be willing to enter a seminary or directly train under a master somewhere. If you cant deal with that then just be a devout and supportive lay person
Note that "certifications" or ordinations are NOT
provided via the online seminary. Ordination is the result of a combination of online education, meeting with the overseas bishop (most likely on multiple occasions and most likely other Taego clergy as well), and then a trip to Korea where the Taego order performs the ordination after an additional, though short, training program. Given the lack of resources, it isn't that we are "unwilling" to train in a residential program, it's that one doesn't yet exist for the Taego order in the West.
I will also refrain from debating the married vs. celibate issue.
I currently have a master's in Religious Studies with a concentration in Buddhism, in addition to other (Buddhist) studies during my time as a monastic. I am also completing a second master's in Psychology with some courses related to Buddhist Psychology. It is my hope in the future to have a residential program available for Taego clergy in the U.S. so that we can deepen our experience of community, our knowledge and understanding of the Dharma, and our practice.
As with Ji Ahn, I am not into chat forums and such and am generally not interested in online debates. However, I felt the need to say something given the ill-informed opinions of the Taego Order being bandied about here. I hope I've cleared up a few things.
If anyone still has questions about the Taego Order, I recommend visiting http://www.taegozen.net/
and perhaps writing to the bishop for the Overseas Parish, Ven. Jongmae Kenneth Park, Ph.D. (You can find his email address on the site just listed). This would be a better path to pursue, rather than making assumptions and criticizing.