What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

What do you really think of monks and nuns in the West (an anonymous survey)

I think they are crucial for the establishment of the Buddhadharma here, and have had good experiences
58
60%
I think they are crucial for the establishment of the Buddhadharma here, even though I have had mostly bad experiences
3
3%
I don't have an opinion one way or the other
8
8%
I don't think they are necessary, because the dharma can be transmitted without monastics
15
16%
I just don't think that Westerners are interested in supporting monasticism financially
12
13%
 
Total votes : 96

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby lama tsewang » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:57 pm

sorry inbisible diamond ,but it does work , as i said , you have to have experience with centers , other than what youre familiar witth . it does work.
lama tsewang
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby conebeckham » Tue Oct 22, 2013 11:58 pm

lama tsewang wrote:dear Karma Dorje , do u ever say anything positive and constructive?
Do you ever make misttakes in what you type here?
do you know anything about the conventions coneected with the monastic lifestyle,
apaart from your opinions ?
many of the beings here make a lot of statements which are just opinions , and opinons of people with little experience of being cut.often such opibnions voice ones mere prejudices based upon ones conditioning and the societys norms . mixing these opinions in with dharma can make a horrible tasting soup. telling long standing monks that they dont know about how monks live and dont know , is both very rude and certainly very very proud.
you really think you know better!!!!!!


Lama Tsewang, I think this is reactionary. This whole thread is about our opinions of Western Monks and Nuns, is it not?

I'm not going to speak for Karma Dorje, but this sort of thing doesn't reflect well on "Western Monks and Nuns." Surely you can see that?
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby invisiblediamond » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:10 am

lama tsewang wrote:sorry inbisible diamond ,but it does work , as i said , you have to have experience with centers , other than what youre familiar witth . it does work.


Only on a very small scale.
invisiblediamond
 
Posts: 260
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2013 5:21 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:12 am

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.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby lama tsewang » Wed Oct 23, 2013 12:17 am

read karma dorjes contribution , hes not giving opinions. its stated as fact, his "facts" are merely opinions , as i said we monks live because people give us requisites , partly because we provide services , ask any theravada monk , thats the sanghas story.
we exist to serve the population , thats what we tell each other .
lama tsewang
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby Karma Dorje » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:18 am

lama tsewang wrote:read karma dorjes contribution , hes not giving opinions. its stated as fact, his "facts" are merely opinions , as i said we monks live because people give us requisites , partly because we provide services , ask any theravada monk , thats the sanghas story.
we exist to serve the population , thats what we tell each other .


If it's simply fee-for-service, how is the Buddhist sangha any different than any village pujari? The ideal of service is not quid pro quo. Patrons should give because they believe it is inherently noble to give, not because they believe they are getting something for it. Ask any Mahayana monk.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
~Arthur Carlson
User avatar
Karma Dorje
 
Posts: 972
Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:35 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:19 am

conebeckham wrote: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.


Do you think Tibetan monks are any better?
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:25 am

I was asking about people's opinions, that is why I titled the thread "What do you really THINK of Western Monks and Nuns".

If we are going to try to make this work in the West we need to know what people really think- people rarely express an opinion on the matter at all. So while I welcome your comments especially Lama Tsewang, the opinions of Karma Dorje and Conebeckham are also very welcome- and I have found them rather balanced. If we know what the concerns, wishes and yes, even the notions of the lay community are, even if we disagree with them, at least we know what know what they are. And if we know what they are, we can try to work with them.

Most religious figures are losing prestige in the West, not just monks and nuns. From my side, I don't think that "lay" lamas are as a rule less tainted by corruption and money than monastic ones, especially when they run huge lhabrangs and all their children are tulkus. Where there is the most power, there tends to be corruption.

While the suitability of some Westerners for ordination may be questioned, I don't think anyone would argue that we have a great deal of power, or funding- the povery and lack of support is pretty apparent. While that might seem like a huge obstacle, in a way it is a blessing because it gives a very simple place to start from. But sustainability is a major problem and to simply ignore the wishes or attitudes of the lay community is like burying one's head in the sand. This is because when Buddhist monasticism works well it is a symbiotic relationship.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:00 am

JKhedrup wrote:While the suitability of some Westerners for ordination may be questioned, I don't think anyone would argue that we have a great deal of power, or funding- the povery and lack of support is pretty apparent.


Say what you will, I've never heard of a western monk or nun murdering anyone.

In any case, the orientalism inherit in some circles will always ensure westerners are despised as second rate and clearly unworthy of support.

Fortunately, Theravada seems to have gone well beyond that and you have eminent figures like Bhikkhu Bodhi and Ajahn Brahm.
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5986
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Oct 23, 2013 8:16 am

Neither have I. I would certainly argue that the instability of the state of some Western Sangha simply mirrors the instability of some within the broader Western Buddhist community. The truth is that the dharma is approached by many because they are experiencing mental suffering- whether lay or monastic.

Theravada is doing well with opportunities for Westerners but because of the current bhikshuni issue and the rules regarding interaction with monks it also faces problems in the West.

Vajrayana does have its Bhikkhu Bodhis and Ajahn Brahms (well known and respected Western monastics)- Matthieu Ricard, Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Thubten Chodron, Pema Chodron.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby lama tsewang » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:11 pm

ts all nice to get peoples opinions , of course .
theres one thing though khedrup . What do you think of the opinions ?


I think that most of the contributions here, many of them unfortunately , dont understand what youre talking about, its really sad . so , i think theres a very small pace of congruence ( how to put it?
?)
what I think, is that many of the people here dont share your premises. The first premise , is that we need a western sangha here, that its vital to the coming of buddhism into this country. Its vital for its long term survival etc.

If certain beings share this premise then other things , need to be done from that , then you discuss steps to take etcetera.
If you share the premise then you of course applaud all efforts taken in that direction .
From what ive seen here , from the few contributions to the discuission i have seen, then i dont think that many people who contribute here share this premise, or if they do , its very confused , by that i mean that they dont really state this unequivocally.

Khedrup , why dont you ask something here about the first premise, lets see the response to such a poll
lama tsewang
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby lama tsewang » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:18 pm

o really i think that many here dont know what that really means , because i dont think that many peole here have experience ( i may be very wrong) of any Buddhist centres , outside of the little tibetan buddhist centers that exist everywhere. I dont htink they have seen any real monasticenters , or only very rarely.
So many of us here have a very distorted, one sided picture of buddhist practice.
these laypersons centers eveywhere dont really in my view represent how buddhism is practised.
lama tsewang
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:27 pm

lama tsewang wrote:o really i think that many here dont know what that really means , because i dont think that many peole here have experience ( i may be very wrong) of any Buddhist centres , outside of the little tibetan buddhist centers that exist everywhere. I dont htink they have seen any real monasticenters , or only very rarely.
So many of us here have a very distorted, one sided picture of buddhist practice.
these laypersons centers eveywhere dont really in my view represent how buddhism is practised.

In fact I have visited Theravadin and Zen Monasteries as well as Vajrayana ones in the US , Europe, India, Nepal and Canada. So perhaps you might want to examine your own assumptions.
My view that the monastic sangha is an obstacle to Dharma in the west is in part a result of those experiences.
The last thing we need to do is create imitations of Asian culture.
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:35 pm

if no monasteries and sanghas in the west, at least those tibetan buddhist monasteries in the east needs to be preserved and multiplied in number for there to be enough teachers. and if youre argument is that there are lay teachers, ask your self from whom did they learn, and from whom did they learn. it traces back to the lineages that monastics uphold. if its an authentic lineage and even the great masters of tibet who have been lay people still grew up in monastic surroundings and had monastics as theyre masters.

if monasteries are not built in the west and the western sangha wont happen there will be need of teachers like now, not everyone has close contact with theyre lamas. but im very pessimistic that the west could have a monastic institution organised on a ''global'' scale. i just dont see it happen.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:42 pm

The Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Asia will be gone by the end of the century.
This is quite natural and OK. What will take their place is in the great melting pot right now.
The Dharma will find its own way.
It does not need specific human institutions.
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:46 pm

well if that is going to happen, the vajrayana will really become a rare and secret vehicle.

the monastic institutions are basically the holders of all the lineages and if that dissappears you can guess what happens to the lineages, they will go underground most likely.

in a prophecy by the buddha, the Dharma will last 5000 years after his death, but maybe the only tradition that survives that long is the theravada and mahayana.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby lama tsewang » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:48 pm

also , the bhikshuni issue , is a difficulty for the achaan cha lineage here , its not so much of a problem for others .many sri lankan monks , for instance , its not a big problem.
i know that ven. Dhammika, who lives close to me has given precepts making people sramanerikas.
lama tsewang
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:08 pm

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby conebeckham » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:55 pm

Indrajala wrote:
conebeckham wrote: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.


Do you think Tibetan monks are any better?


I think that, in general, Tibetan monks are better educated about the vows and ordination requirements. But in reality, not all Tibetan "monks" in monasteries are full monks, many are novices, etc. But an adult, fully ordained Tibetan monk? Yes, in general, I think they do a better job maintaining their vows.

But hey, I'm just giving my opinion, based on one man's meager experience.
May any merit generated by on-line discussion
Be dedicated to the Ultimate Benefit of All Sentient Beings.
User avatar
conebeckham
 
Posts: 2808
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 11:49 pm
Location: Bay Area, CA, USA

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby Simon E. » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:59 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:well if that is going to happen, the vajrayana will really become a rare and secret vehicle.

the monastic institutions are basically the holders of all the lineages and if that dissappears you can guess what happens to the lineages, they will go underground most likely.

in a prophecy by the buddha, the Dharma will last 5000 years after his death, but maybe the only tradition that survives that long is the theravada and mahayana.

You are wrong. Many important lineages are held by householders and have always been.
Clearly KonchokZoepa you have an emotional need to hold the view that you hold.
I do not share it, and I think your emotional need may be stopping you from hearing what is being said on the subject.
Time will tell who is correct. The survival of the Vajrayana monastic Sangha is a matter of complete indifference to me. And I would have a pretty good guess that it is also a matter of indifference to the vast majority of D.C. members.
The decline of the monastic sangha is in fact part of the reason that the Vajrayana is emerging FROM the ' underground.'
Last edited by Simon E. on Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: What do you really think of Western monks and nuns?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:04 pm

oh thats a good point. i might be wrong. but i still hold the view that monastic institutions are needed.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
KonchokZoepa
 
Posts: 1358
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:50 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Personal Experience

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

>