Ben Yuan wrote:I wonder, could you possibly provide a direct quotation or link to the text which includes this?
Thank you both.
See #6 and #10 of the Major Precepts:http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... sframe.htm
As I understand it, the idea is that you don't go around announcing that someone has broken their precepts. You can still criticize them and their ideas, but just don't bring up the matter of their precept violations. There is a proper procedure for dealing with this within the sangha itself where collective confession is carried out. The laity are not permitted to participate.
I think some people mistake this as meaning you cannot criticize monks and nuns, or say that they're wrong about something, as if some dreadful karmic retribution will be suffered for having said anything negative in respect to a sangha member.
I heard of one Chinese nun who was criticized to her face by some Christian missionary. All she could do was pray for him because of all the nasty karma he had generated for having criticized her.
Actually I often think the Chinese sangha, especially in Taiwan, is sheltered too much from criticism. They discourage it both internally and externally. In Chinese culture, generally, to criticize someone or even outright disagree with them is rather offensive, but in a Buddhist context it takes on a degree of religious neurosis. Within your organization you don't criticize your superiors. Externally it is bad form to criticize other Buddhists, especially monastics.
What this means is that bad ideas flourish and remain unchallenged. You get chiefs with bizarre ideas that waste time and money getting to do whatever they want to without being really challenged.
But then despite all the ostensible support for democracy from Humanistic Buddhism, their organizations don't really reflect democratic principles. The leadership are in a position akin to lèse-majesté
. It is really interesting to see how that developed. Chinese Nationalism in Taiwan nominally wanted to introduce democracy and a lot of the eminent monks after WWII were on that bandwagon, but those principles were not really introduced so deep into their own organizations that they built up. The head administration calls the shots and everyone below follows.
I noticed this as a huge difference with western Buddhism. In western Buddhism the new guy of a few months might not be taken too seriously, but he at least has a voice. He has the right to stand up, offer his criticism and be heard with all due dignity and respect. You don't really see that in contemporary Chinese Buddhism in Taiwan. It'd be laughable for a newer lay member to offer his opinion in a formal capacity, supposing he had formulated one.