lama tsewang wrote:Part of the difficulty with this thread here, for me, is that many of the people contributing here, have limited experience of the greater Buddhist world , apart from Tibetan Buddhism as practiced in the west .
Monks are supported by the populace because of the services they provide for the population. This might be rituals , profoundly informed Dharma teaching, meditation instruction , to schooling for children.
We Bhikshus are to live in dependence on the population , helping people in return for offerings.
So this question about having lots of sponsors is moot , its wrong minded and self defeating. Buddhist monks have always been helping the people around them, thats how we survive.
The perception that people are being helped must exist in order for people to support the monastic community. By and large, in the West, that perception does not exist--even in Dharma communities, never mind in the greater population.
I have experience with "Non-Western" monastic communities, and I support them. I take your point:
lamatsewang wrote: In fact, there is lots of support for Tibetan Buddhism in this country teachers for all of these centers are being suppoprted , there is the funding. There isnt enough funding for centers here that will be able to train teachers who are local, fully , well trained western people, the funds arent being directed , to fund local things, (i believe) . , In fact , many of the centers here are branches of monasteries in Asia.
I believe strongly that for the teachings to flourish here local people have to teach and administer the Sanghas locally.
monastic centers are the best places for non monastics to do retreats or get good scholarly Dharma education , they are not merely places for a Monastic elite to live off of offerings from wealthy millionaires. Such places are the best way to make Dharma solid here . Otherwise Tibetan Buddhism will just be relying on imports from Asia with all of its attendant problems.
But I don't see the sort of qualifications, quite frankly, in Abbots and in Western Monks, that would lead me to want to support them over the established Asian centers. Thrangu Rinpoche, in Canada, may be able to do it...and over time, that monastery may revert to a truly "Western" center....let's see what happens with KTD, as well, though I understand they are importing Asian monks even as we speak.
That's the other factor--to have a Western Monastic community, you need Western Monastics. They are few and far between, and as I said, my experience is that very few maintain proper ordination, etc. I'm sorry to say it, but I am being honest.