Ajahn Brahm for sale?

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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Andrew108 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:33 pm

His time.
The Blessed One said:

"What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range." Sabba Sutta.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:44 pm

oushi wrote:Still wondering why it is uncool?
So, let me ask you some questions: instead of whining incessantly about how bad and ugly Ajahn Brahms actions are, why don't you just front the cash for the nunnery and refuse Ajahn Brahms offer? Instead of preaching about true Dana why don't you practice it? If you do not have the $450 guarantee, then why not just not take part in the bidding and donate the money you do have? If you are not interested in helping rebuild the Bhikkhuni tradition then why don't you just keep your opinion to yourself and let others that are interested take part? Do you think people are idiots and incapable of making an informed decision regarding their actions without your intervention? Are you so perfect that you can judge others?

This is samsara, people are (generally) greedy, selfish and self centred. Sometimes it requires a kick in the ass (ie personally accumulating some negative karma) in order to encourage people to positive actions. If Ajahn Brahms actions do not have as their goal egotistical self-satisfaction, then I think we are in no position to judge them.

Anyway, when was the last time you tried to build a nunnery? Imagine that: Being condemened for trying to raise money to build a nunnery! Then one wonders why Buddhism is doomed in "the West". :(

Dana: The Practice of Giving
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:59 pm

You certainly didn't read the text that I posted.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:23 pm

Yes I did. I just practiced a little discernment. It lead me to believe that the benefit from Venerable Ajahn Brahms actions will far outway the negative consequences. We are allowed to practice discenment, you know? Actually, I think the Buddha actually encouraged people to do so, yes? :shrug:

What about that donation you were going to make for the nunnery then?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby BuddhaSoup » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:43 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
oushi wrote:Anyway, when was the last time you tried to build a nunnery? Imagine that: Being condemened for trying to raise money to build a nunnery! Then one wonders why Buddhism is doomed in "the West". :(

Dana: The Practice of Giving


Greg, thanks for the link to Bhikkhu Bodhi's article, with de Silva, et al.

This issue of Dana and how the practice relates to ethical fundraising in the west is an interesting one. Ven. Thanissaro's Wat Metta was developed from a donation from a wealthy patron. I understand that he was not involved in the direct dealings with the patron, but nevertheless Wat Metta would not exist without patronage from the initial patron as well as donors in the San Diego area and outside. Wat Metta is well developed (I've been there), but small, and a bit rustic....I worry that Ven. Thanissaro may not have the inflow of dana to sustain the growth that is planned for the Wat. Whether one follows Ven. THanissaro's teachings or not, he is a major and ethical force in Buddhism, and his somewhat hard line concerning dana may not allow his light to reach as far as it should.

We also have Bhikkhu Bodhi's Buddhist Global Relief, which has been a major force in social action for the hungry and homeless, among other causes. Ven. Bodhi has appealed in a most direct and ethical fashion for people to support this NGO in order to do the work to help the starving in others countries. I can think of no fair criticism that could be directed at this noble work he is doing.

And now we have the inimitable Ajahn Brahm, who seems to be far beyond repute, but who brings to the concept of engaged Dana to idea of an excellent auction to raise funds to nobly support the development of the Bhikkhuni monastery.

Three contrasting styles, all being driven by three venerable, ethical 'upayic' renunciates. Each of these monks has a different way to do good, and it's a very difficult question as to which one is truly grasping the essence of Dana as the Buddha taught. Perhaps all three are, in their own way. As the Buddha suggested in the Kalama Sutta, when making judgments about teachers we need to look at the abbot or priest, determine their history, their ethical path, the quality if their students, and their reputation to determine if what they are promoting is dharmic (I'm paraphrasing and projecting a bit). I'd say all three men meet and surpass the test for ethics and skillful engaged practice, yet approach the issue of fundraising in different ways. Each of these men illustrate the interesting question of how to raise funds to develop the Dharma and be of help to others in the modern west.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:34 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Yes I did. I just practiced a little discernment. It lead me to believe that the benefit from Venerable Ajahn Brahms actions will far outway the negative consequences. We are allowed to practice discenment, you know? Actually, I think the Buddha actually encouraged people to do so, yes? :shrug:

I have no idea what it has to do with the topic. I can, on the other had, predict that he will be successful, grow even more popular, and then turn corrupt adding to the holy list of Buddhism scandals. "The Dhamma can't help but suffer as a result.". Also, as a founder, he will have a great power over those nuns. Those are the strings attached. The history is full of such events. Beside this, I am not negating or criticizing his desire to help, but the way it's done.

What about that donation you were going to make for the nunnery then?

I was willing to donate few bucks, but he doesn't seem to be interested in amounts below 1000 $. How about you?
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby uan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:23 pm

oushi wrote:You certainly didn't read the text that I posted.


Didn't the Buddha himself go out everyday with his begging bowl to get his meal? Iirc, he didn't send a follower, or expect people to come to him to deliver the food. If we are to use the Buddha's own words and behaviors, then we should go all the way. Which means a whole lot of monks are "corrupted".

Of course, he may have given a teaching where it's okay for people to donated to a monastery and a lay follower was allowed to go purchase food and prepare it for the monks so that they may stay focused on the Dhamma. If so, would you have the Sutra that talks about that?

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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:25 pm

oushi wrote:I have no idea what it has to do with the topic.
Yes, well...
I was willing to donate few bucks, but he doesn't seem to be interested in amounts below 1000 $. How about you?
I am penniless, but I am also not complaining about his method. I just sincerely wish that his effort (no matter how misguided people consider it to be, or not) manages to raise the funds necessary to build the nunnery. That's it!
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:27 pm

uan wrote:Didn't the Buddha himself go out everyday with his begging bowl to get his meal? Iirc, he didn't send a follower, or expect people to come to him to deliver the food. If we are to use the Buddha's own words and behaviors, then we should go all the way. Which means a whole lot of monks are "corrupted".

And what is preventing you to make such a statement?
gregkavarnos wrote: I just sincerely wish that his effort (no matter how misguided people consider it to be, or not) manages to raise the funds necessary to build the nunnery. That's it!

I am just practicing discernment. My way of perceiving the world tells me, that it may end up bad. Whenever a religion talks about money, a red light goes off in my head. That's all.
Last edited by oushi on Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Yudron » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:34 pm

oushi wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:He is not selling any teachings.

And what is he selling?


How would you suggest getting the physical structure of a nunnery going?
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:45 pm

Yudron wrote:
oushi wrote:
Andrew108 wrote:He is not selling any teachings.

And what is he selling?


How would you suggest getting the physical structure of a nunnery going?

I would start from digging foundations. I wonder which company did Sakyamuni delegated this work to....
There are millions living in tents, and maybe it is a good starting point. Through work, it will grow. But if you wan't to have it ready and shining, you need to sell yourself. And if the only thing you have, is your knowledge of the Dharma, you need to sell the Dharma.

If I would win the bid, I would use him to dig the foundations for the whole week. I am certain, that those nuns would grab their shovels straight away.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby BuddhaSoup » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:54 pm

If I had any talent as a Dharma teacher (which I do not), I would whore myself out like a Craigslist "model" if it meant helping feed people, assisting with cancer or AIDs research, or providing a building for shelterless Bhikkhuis. :)
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Yudron » Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:56 pm

Here is a little slide show about what they have planned. At the end, they have an address where donations of any amount can be sent.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67319631@N04/sets/72157632670736428/show/

You need shovels to dig. Where are they going to come from? Where are the tents going to come from? What are you going to put in those foundation trenches?

I don't think Theravadin monks are supposed to dig in the earth--there are various vows about destroying plants, insects, and seeds.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby uan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:28 pm

oushi wrote:
uan wrote:Didn't the Buddha himself go out everyday with his begging bowl to get his meal? Iirc, he didn't send a follower, or expect people to come to him to deliver the food. If we are to use the Buddha's own words and behaviors, then we should go all the way. Which means a whole lot of monks are "corrupted".

And what is preventing you to make such a statement?


I'm okay with Ajahn Brahm, and I'm okay with what monks and monastics (including nuns and female monks) do on the whole. You seem to be the one putting forth the standard of what the Buddha himself did by which to judge monastics. If they've been going against what the Buddha taught or didn for years and years, why question it now with AB? Is it a matter of degree? I think many consider that Ajahn Brahm already went away from the teachings when he started ordaining women as monks. Didn't his own lineage disavow him because of that?

FWIW, I'm not trying to convince you one way or the other. There are many interpretations of the teachings and yours is as valid, and perhaps more so, then mine. I don't have a dog in the fight, though I will say I've benefitted from Ajahn Brahms talks that are available on the Internet/Youtube and appreciate that they are available.

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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:53 pm

Yudron wrote:Here is a little slide show about what they have planned. At the end, they have an address where donations of any amount can be sent.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/67319631@N04/sets/72157632670736428/show/

You need shovels to dig. Where are they going to come from? Where are the tents going to come from? What are you going to put in those foundation trenches?

I don't think Theravadin monks are supposed to dig in the earth--there are various vows about destroying plants, insects, and seeds.

And where did the Buddha find shovels, how did he dig in the earth, how did he organize his car park? Through the power of the money?
I am not willing to glorify Buddhas behavior and set it as something that needs to be followed. Rather as an example that we can learn from. Substituting it all with money is a bad idea.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby ball-of-string » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:12 pm

Lord Buddha had very wealthy benefactors. Many of his retreat settings were donated by wealthy land owners. Wealthy benefactors built buildings to be used by the monastics, and provided food in abundance. Buddha honored them by providing guidance, advice, and teachings. The beauty of Buddhism has nothing to do with demonizing wealth; the beauty is that once people shaved their heads and put on robes, people from impoverished backgrounds or lower castes were on equal footing with people who came from wealthy backgrounds.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:46 pm

oushi wrote:And where did the Buddha find shovels, how did he dig in the earth, how did he organize his car park? Through the power of the money?
Indirectly, yes. Through land, materials and manpower donated by his supporters. And how did they acquire it? Through financial and political power. So where is your beef then?
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:32 pm

There is a small difference you are not willing to see. Take what is given instead of asking for "Great amount of money". Donors were willing to support a good initiative, not buy a service.
Here, a monk is asking for money (huge amount) in exchange for the Dharma teaching. :jawdrop:
Maybe you cannot imagine it, but through the bidding a value of a Dharma teaching will be estimated in money, which will make it a commodity. This is a way to introduce Dharma to consumeristic market. Dharma is priceless, like love or compassion. Putting a price tag over it, devalues and slanders it no matter what's the goal. Dharma will not work through money that can be gathered by selling it, but through changes it makes while spread freely.
Even if this initiative is successful, if it is successful, it will attract crooks that will try to mimic it. Especially if it is ok to not return the money, even if we won't build it - he he he.
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:50 pm

oushi wrote:There is a small difference you are not willing to see. Take what is given instead of asking for "Great amount of money". Donors were willing to support a good initiative, not buy a service.
Here, a monk is asking for money (huge amount) in exchange for the Dharma teaching. :jawdrop:
No he is not. He is asking for money to build a nunnery and is willing to offer a week of his time for the money too.
Maybe you cannot imagine it, but through the bidding a value of a Dharma teaching will be estimated in money, which will make it a commodity.
Welcome to the 21st Century where EVERYTHING has been reduced to a commodity. Now, having grown up in Poland, obviously there is going to be a time lag, but here in the rest of the capitalist "West" it's been like this for a LONG time. I am not demeaning you by saying that your experience in Poland does not allow you to see things as they are elsewhere. For example, here in Greece, social and political changes have a 20 year time lag. Social and political changes that are being forcefully instituted in Greece now, I experienced in New Zealand in the late 1980's and Australia in the mid 1990's (People in the UK and America lived them in the early 1980's) for better or for worse.
Even if this initiative is successful, if it is successful, it will attract crooks that will try to mimic it.
So we do nothing original and imaginative just in case criminals try to mimic it?
Dharma is victim here.
Logic seems to be the victim here.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Ajahn Brahm for sale?

Postby oushi » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:59 pm

Welcome to the 21st Century where EVERYTHING has been reduced to a commodity. Now, having grown up in Poland there is going to be a time lag, but here in the rest of the capitalist west it's been like this for a LONG time.

One the other hand, someone from Greece should know the consequences perfectly. :smile:
Maybe this sums up the whole story. If you perceive Dharma as commodity, then I have nothing against such initiative. We were simply speaking about two different things here.
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