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PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:48 pm 
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the Vinaya can be changed; it has been changed already. Way back Indian buddhist monks had property a direct violation of vinaya. Gregory Schopen has done the pioneering work. So this idea of an unchanging vinaya is a big fantasy.
http://www.international.ucla.edu/buddh ... aff_ID=276

Huseng; Japan has had no 'sexual revolution' there is a huge Victorian mindset about sex. My lesbian friends tell me gay people are closeted like the US in the 1950's there. When I mentioned Kukai and homosexuality to the E-sangha Shingon priest (western) who lived on Mt. Koya, he refused to answer it. It isn't in Japanese books, because they refuse to address such matters plaiinly.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:33 am 
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A recent ordinand in the Taego Order, Rev. Hae In Lissabet, has presented this response to the criticisms in this thread. This came to me in an email this evening. I have attempted to reproduce the author's formatting (bold text and such), but I could only get it partly right.

Quote:
This response will be comprised of two parts:

(1) Information about our order which I am specifically asked to relay in this response; and

(2) Some personal observations and reflections on my part-- not speaking on behalf of the Order, just me-- regarding some of the things we have seen written.

On behalf of the Taego Overseas Parish, I have been asked to relay the following information about our Order:

1) The Taegojong Overseas Parish is not a western Buddhist order; rather, it is the overseas branch of a Korean Buddhist Order comprised of both Korean and non-Korean ordinands.

2) Both Bhikkhus and bhikkunis take higher ordination according to the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya as well as the full Bodhisattva complement.

3) Ven. Bishop Dr. Jongmae Sunim, was interviewed on a national (Korean) radio broadcast in May 2008 and called for the Vinaya to be updated for the 21st century life, with a view to the issues raised in the thread. Completely unknown to English speakers, Jongmae Sunim's position was the catalyst for an intense (and still ongoing) discussion in Korean Buddhist circles regarding these matters. We ask critics to kindly observe these efforts.

4) We wish it to be clearly understood that the Chogye Order has always had a provision allowing monks serving in the (ROK) military to marry (because under South Korean law, all monks must serve a 3 year military term, generally as chaplains). Bishop Jongmae did so when he served his military tour of duty. Some of the mischaracterizations we have seen, seem to be based on a misunderstanding of these facts.

5) While it is true that male Taego monks may marry, while female monks cannot, the Overseas Parish has received the allowance of allowing women to marry after the novice (samaneri) ordination, or be married before ordination. Although at this time these monks cannot ordain as bhikkhuni, the stance adopted for the Overseas Parish can be easily seen as an intermediate concession / adaptation to the circumstances of non-Korean (western) cultures. We again ask that fair-minded readers observe the evolution of an intermediate stance, where none existed before.

6) With regards to gay and lesbian issues, we must say that North American culture is far in advance of most Asian cultures with regards to gay rights, or even gay awareness. Think of where the gay rights agenda was 30 years ago here in the States-- and that is where Korean society is still at on this issue. Not surprisingly, the values of many members of the Overseas Parish, and the values of Korean society, are generally not in accord on this issue; yet even so, the Overseas Parish has won the evolutionary concessions described above. This is an ongoing process.

7) With regards to age and physical health requirements, these relate directly to sangha community life and a lack of resources to care for those who may not be able to offer much of their time to propagating the Dharma. Remember, this Order undertakes an obligation to clothe, house and feed all its monks-- even the overseas monks if we so wish-- so these requirements ensure that the Order does not become a retirement plan for people who have squandered their lives. Suggesting any other motive is a mischaracterization of the intention of these policies. Obviously, for the most part such concerns are not a factor in North America, where the norm of monastic living is rare. Here, clergy must find support for themselves, which generally means outside (non-clerical) employment. In the absence of an ethnic Asian community dedicated to the support of one or several monastic ordinands, and under the socio-economic conditions of a fully commercial society, we have little choice. This is true for all Buddhist Orders in the west.

8) As a former Tendai priest, I was suprised and pleased by how much respect and reverence the Taego Order affords to Ekayana (one vehicle) principles. Like all forms of Korean Buddhism, Soen (Zen) is our primary practice, but strictly speaking, the Taegojong is not a Zen order in comparison with the Japanese Soto or Rinzai-shu. Rather, just like the Tendai-shu (to my surprise), it affirms the practice of Ekayana whereby spiritual cultivation is a blend of sutra schools and practices, as well as doctrine and dhyana. I know I was surprised to learn all this, so I'm guessing others may be as well. Again, some of the things we have seen written, seem unaware of these basic facts about our Order.

9) Finally, kindly note that our internal regulations apply only to our monastic - ordained community. None of these issues govern the laity, and Taego Order Temples and Sanghas in the Overseas Parish are open and accepting of all people. All are welcome. Of course.

-----

OK... that was the information that I was asked to pass on. Now, I personally would like to respond to some egregious criticisms that I have read in some of the posts. Please kindly note, that what follows is not in any way an 'official' response from the Taego Overseas Parish on these matters, but my own opinion only, and must not be construed otherwise.

I wish to specifically respond to the accusatory and (upon examination) rashly unfair post by jrzen, whose message I shall quote here in full, followed by my line response. But before I do, I have to say that I was rendered speechless by the sweeping assumptions of special knowledge implicit in these brief sentances, but fortunately I am still able to write, so let me respond, line for line.

"The Taego Order also discriminates against women, anyone of the age of 50, the disabled, and gay people.'

Once again, as noted above, the Overseas Parish has successfully lobbied to get the maximum age for ordinands raised to 55. Get your facts straight. Also, the present writer is exactly age 50 and I am here to tell you that very few North Americans over the age of 50, will have the physical condition necessary to complete the 14 day novitiate training required in this Order. Novitiate training is intentionally rugged in every tradition and the Taegojong is hardly the only Buddhist order to have sensible age limits. Please stop characterizing this in a negative way.

"Male monks can marry but female monks in the Taego Order must be celibate."

This is also factually incorrect. As I cited above, "...the Overseas Parish has received the allowance of allowing women to marry after monk (samaneri) ordination, or be married before ordination." This is not a quibble; this is about telling other people negative and factually incorrect things about a religious order you are not a member of.

'Gay & Lesbian people must never get married or have any relationships.'

Again, this is a mischarecterization! We have never had any such policy and what we do have is for clerics only. If you actually meant to say that, but you did not, then your lazy words are making negative karma !!! I respectfully request that you observe Right Speech.

No one who has any kind of physical limitation may be a Taego monk.
Yet another mischaracterization! Your words are clearly calibrated to do harm to the reputation of our Order. I strenuously object to the tone of your post and your imprecise language and insinuations. You do not know what you are are talking about, and you appear to be parroting a negative narrative at least partially derived from other online sources.

For what it is worth: Last spring, I personally witnessed the ordination of a new Sami monk who is physically unable to kneel or prostrate. And I know of another monk who lives with a bad left knee and walks with a cane. So stop writing things you don't know anything about. Everything you have written, is factually untrue.

'And no one over the age of 50 is allowed, either.

You don't know what you are talking about !!! I am age 50, and the age limit has been raised to 55, and that applies to new clerics only.

Discrimination and double standards have no place in Western Buddhism.
I totally agree. But first, I insist you practice Right Speech. I am aware that you are dissapointed that you did not qualify for ordination in the Taegojong, but your online posts both here and elsewhere, as well as those of some few others who also have experienced the same dissapointment, are now in the land of harmful speech. Please stop it ! For your sake as well as ours.

We have gay brothers and sisters in this Order, who elect to try and make it work for them, and your foolish words are crashing on them. You don't see it.

We have existing Temples with American Buddhists, and existing Temples with Korean Buddhists, and meeting groups led by Sami monks who are actively teaching the Dharma, all across the country. Teaching Dharma. Reducing suffering. But when you try to hurt our reputation, you hurt these people too. We are connected.

We have people in both Korea and the Overseas Parish with the committment and the patience to serve as change-agents from within, but your intemperate 'I want it now!' attitude, renders our work harder. Listen: There are way more Korean people who read English, than there are Americans who read Hangul. You don't see it.

We are blessed with a visionary Bishop who is directly responsible for more actual progress in these matters, than any other person in Korean Buddhism today (facts matter!), but instead of thanks and recognition, I read 'not good enough!' and 'you have no place in Western Buddhism!' Thank you... your welcome. Nice Buddhists.

You can read more about the discriminatory Taego Order at the two links below:"


We can read quite a lot about your practice. Please consider the possibility that your words have been rashly unfair to our Order... because they have. We. Are. Fellow. Buddhists. Please kindly speak of us as such.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:20 am 
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As someone who has considered pursuing ordination in the Taego Order but was turned off by some of these accusations, I find this clarification interesting. I hope these issues are cleared up in a few years when my life situation would shift and (I will be finished with graduate school in two years and have time to devote to seminary study) make ordination a real option for me.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:26 pm 
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I must say I am confused by the whole question of who is and is not allowed to marry in that order and equally so by the complaints about it. But then that may be because I approach it from the vinaya side that when you are ordained, marriage vows are null as you become celibate and not from the Japanese side (which I am presuming the Taego order inherited this practise from) where all mendicants are allowed to marry.

The issue of man, women, gay or or straight is a very simple when you're celibate anyway.

The provisions about age and physical shape are frankly just common sense practical rules. There are certain rigours a bhikshu or bhikshuni must be equipped to meet. And perhaps it is also worth bearing in mind here that ordination is a privilege, not a right.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:31 pm 
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Hi Anders,

It's unclear to me if the Taego order's vinaya lineage comes from Japan as I think you are saying, or not. When would it have been transmitted from Japan? or am I misunderstanding you?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:46 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Hi Anders,

It's unclear to me if the Taego order's vinaya lineage comes from Japan as I think you are saying, or not. When would it have been transmitted from Japan? or am I misunderstanding you?


Korea was under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945 (Wikipedia). However, it is said that the idea of married clergy was started not because of the Japanese but because of Manhae (Schism between Married and Celibate Clergy in Son Buddhism).

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Astus wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Hi Anders,

It's unclear to me if the Taego order's vinaya lineage comes from Japan as I think you are saying, or not. When would it have been transmitted from Japan? or am I misunderstanding you?


Korea was under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945 (Wikipedia). However, it is said that the idea of married clergy was started not because of the Japanese but because of Manhae (Schism between Married and Celibate Clergy in Son Buddhism).


Yes, the practice of having monks marry is a Japanese innovation, and I'm sure the Taego school likely adopted this from the Japanese. But I'm asking about something slightly different in Anders' post: the transmission of vinaya.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:56 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Astus wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Hi Anders,

It's unclear to me if the Taego order's vinaya lineage comes from Japan as I think you are saying, or not. When would it have been transmitted from Japan? or am I misunderstanding you?


Korea was under Japanese rule from 1910 to 1945 (Wikipedia). However, it is said that the idea of married clergy was started not because of the Japanese but because of Manhae (Schism between Married and Celibate Clergy in Son Buddhism).


Yes, the practice of having monks marry is a Japanese innovation, and I'm sure the Taego school likely adopted this from the Japanese. But I'm asking about something slightly different in Anders' post: the transmission of vinaya.


No, I am well aware the dharmagupta lineage came through China. I was referring to the practise of married mendicants coming from Japan.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:57 pm 
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Thanks for clarifying this for me.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:10 am 
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Wow, that's Ernie we trained together. So he left Tendai for Zen;when did that happen
gassho
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 1:56 am 
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rory wrote:
Wow, that's Ernie we trained together. So he left Tendai for Zen;when did that happen
gassho
Rory


Hi Rory,

You could ask him. Ven. Lissabet's contact information and some of his writings can be found here:

http://taegowashington.blogspot.com

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:00 am 
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thanks Jikan; some fun painful memories from gyo. How many have you been through?
Richard Jaffe's book "Neither Monk nor Layman" discusses clerical marriage. In Japan during the Meiji period a law that forbade priests to marry was repealed and clerical marriage became legal. The same laws were repealed in Korea in 1926 under Japanese colonial Influence (p.3) and there are some married clergy in Taiwan.
gassho
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Hi Rory,

Thank you for sharing the material on Meiji Buddhism. I think part of the confusion here is discursive: when is it appropriate to use the word "monk" or "bikkshu/bikkshuni" in these contexts? I have my own opinion on the matter, but I think internationally it remains an open question.

I've been through four gyo periods. I'm happy to discuss that further but in a different thread or by PM; I'd like to keep this discussion on the topic of the Taego Order's development.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:59 pm 
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This article at the Buddhist Channel may be of interest as well (link courtesy of Ven. Hae In also)

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php ... 86,0,0,1,0

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:24 am 
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I disagree entirely with Ernie, Rev Hae Lissabeth and that article;
not only because I am a Nichiren Buddhist who is faithful to his teachings, but also due to past misdeeds like the late Chogyam Trungpa, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%B6gy ... troversies or child abuse
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011 ... ul-numrich

It's that kind of 'don't talk it will erode people's faith' that led to the terrible child abuse revelations. I was in Ireland when it happened, cover ups that lasted decades. The karma from that is truly terrible.
Remember the Dharma is true, it is people who are corrupt.
gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:50 pm 
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Regarding this item:

http://zenmastermayhem.blogspot.com/201 ... r-its.html

The "Austrian woman" mentioned here did not translate Ven. Park's writings into English, but into German. There seem to be other factual errors and misinterpretations regarding this situation as well (on the nature of their relationship, for instance).

If you go here...

http://taegozen.info/Taegozen.info/ABOUT_TAEGO.html

...you can find contact information for the Vice-Director (E.U.)*Ordination Council Member (for Westerners), Vice-Dean of IBS (E.U.), Ven. Myo Hyon.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 6:15 am 
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Taken from above:

>>A recent ordinand in the Taego Order, Rev. Hae In Lissabet, has presented this response to the criticisms in this thread. This came to me in an email this evening. I have attempted to reproduce the author's formatting (bold text and such), but I could only get it partly right.>>


Rev Hae In Lissabet is either not telling the truth or not properly informed about the Taego Order's policies.

Here is a copy of an email sent to all Taego Order clergy regarding two of these issues, sent directly from Jongmae Kenneth Park, the Overseas Parish Bishop:

Sent: Tue, June 7, 2011 12:26:58 PM
Subject: from Dean of IBS USA


Dear IBS students and faculty

Spring semester is nearly over and I say "Good work and appreciate" to all IBS students and faculty.
IBS USA is an official seminary under the Korean Buddhist Taego order which is fully controls by overseas parish however I would like to state a few things about the policy of Homosexual and ordination of women.

Former IBS students started dispute and critic of Taego constitution then, IBS USA made a policy to clear out such dispute issues.

1. In the Taego constitution state that (per Panca Vagga Vinaya) no ordination for Homosexual people

But overseas parish accepts Homosexual people to become and practice as a Samanera monk (Jr. Monk)
and no need to dispute with Taego H.Q because we are in the West however we challenge the 2500 years
Vinaya to meet the modern civilization. But, as we are still belong to the Korean Taego tradition that we
don't want to violate so much on constitution and regulations. Therefore, whoever (Homosexual people)
concentrate to study and practice the Buddha-Dharma rather than openly practice their sexual behave
(such as gay marriage) then IBS USA continuously accept Homosexual people to get an opportunity to
become a Samanera (or Samaneri - female monk) monk.

<Therefore this means no gay or lesbian person is ever allowed to be a fully ordained monk. This is discrimination being excused by backwards Korean values>

2. In the Taego constitution state that (per Panca Vagga Vinaya) no ordination for married women but
overseas parish accepts married women to get an Samaneri (Jr. Monk) ordination. And we overseas parish
continuously accept and educate the women to become a Taego clergy members hence absolutely no
prejudice between men and women.

<Again, a blatant double standard for women as opposed to men. And Jongmae keeps cherry-picking from the Vinaya to support this nonsense.>

If any question regarding of item 1 and 2 then please contact your Dean

Yours in the Dharma
Ven.Dr. Jongmae Park


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:41 am 
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Also here is a correspondence between myself and Jongmae Park when I had initially inquired about ordaining as a female with the Taego Order:

My first email to Jongmae:

On May 17, 2011, at 4:27 PM, "Dr. Jongmae Kenneth Park"<jongmae@i_____.org> wrote:
>
>> On 5/17/2011 5:25 AM, joannaS@_____.com wrote:

I am very interested in learning more about ordaining as a Taego monk here in
the United States. I have engaged in rigorous Zen practice for many years and
would very much like such an ordination so I can better serve my community.

I wanted to clarify the rules with regard to female clergy members--is there a
celibacy requirement based on official Taego rules or may I be married as a
female Taego monk?

Thank you for your consideration.

Joanna S


From Jongmae Park after he failed to respond to my email and I discovered the Taego Order's discriminatory policies towards women:

Please don't accuse me or our 1600 years old order by someone angry because of different perspective.
I am the bishop but very difficult to change constitution of its order...indeed I already changed many
issues and continuously fight for changes. Taego order has 2000 female monks and HQ allows overseas parish
can accept a female monk who has a family.

If you read such Vinaya Pitaka then you will understand the tradition.
However Taego order is thousand times liberal than entire Theravada orders.

Ven. Park


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 26, 2011 9:15 pm 
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jrzen; I'm sorry to say it's the old tale -
religion=power=status quo. As the Buddha was very radical having Dalits as followers, ordaining women, teaching that everything changes. After all isn't it easier to give a monk an offering than practice for oneself. Isn't it easier to take the homage & offering of the lay follower than tell them that all beings are equal & there should be no discrimination between women, men, gay people....
gassho
Rory

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 6:19 pm 
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I am a monk in the Taego Order. I actually did my bhikshu ordination at a Vietnamese temple before staying in S. Korea and Nepal over a two year period (the abbot was my classmate in grad school and offered to arrange the ordination for me prior to going overseas), so I have a vow of celibacy. I joined the Taego Order a little over a year ago.

Clergy ordained within the Taego Order ordain with the understanding that celibacy is an option, at least for men. Therefore, there is no breaking of vows. Other than the vow of celibacy, the rules for our clergy are the same as in the Jogye Order (the Caturvagga Vinaya, also called the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya). As for discrimination, all Asian Buddhist orders discriminate. The full ordination for women died in the Theravada tradition centuries ago and was never transmitted to Tibet. In Japan, where the Vinaya is no longer extant at all, while nuns do not have a formal vow of celibacy, they are culturally expected to remain celibate while priests are expected to marry to produce sons who will in turn ordain. Throughout Asia, nuns are treated as less than the monks. In S. Korea, however, monks and nuns have separate temples and training facilities, so on a day to day basis, one wouldn't notice any difference.

I know of no Asian Buddhist order that will allow homosexuals to ordain, even with a vow of celibacy. Someone said in this thread that the rule against the ordination of homosexuals was Bishop Jongmae Park's rule. That is incorrect. It is a pan-Asian rule. I have spoken about this with monastics from the Theravada tradition, Vietnamese tradition, and others and have yet to find an order that will allow it. Actually, I've known some American homosexuals ordained in the Tibetan tradition, but from what I'm told what is actually taught in the Tibetan monasteries is quite homophobic. Personally, I think Tibetans will ordain gays and lesbians because they know our culture is more liberal and they depend upon us for material support. Other Buddhist traditions are not dependent upon us and so they don't have to accommodate our cultural expectations on these issues.

There is a story in the Vinaya of a man who asks the Buddha for ordination, but some bhikshus tell the Buddha that this man approaches them, lifts up his skirt-like garment, bends over and says, "Hey, monks, come have your way with me." The Buddha then says such men cannot be ordained. The reason for denying such a man ordination is because his motivation for ordination is improper (to have sexual access to other monks) and because of the disruption such a man would cause in the community. Personally, I know that this does not describe all gay men, but it appears to be the primary basis throughout the Buddhist world for denying homosexuals ordination. In East Asia, Confucianism also plays a major role in attitudes toward homosexuals and has deeply influenced Buddhism. It must be noted that the Taego Order is not a Western Buddhist order. It is still very much as Asian Buddhist order just getting started in the West.

The rule against those with disabilities from ordaining comes from the Vinaya as well. The Buddha didn't want people to use the order as a source of material support. The rule against those aged 55 and older (it's 50 in Korea) is an extension of this rule and is also found in the Jogye order. Both orders don't want people to use the sangha as their retirement plan. This has in fact become a problem in Laos, for example, where there is no age restriction. The temples are now top heavy with elderly men who are too old to do the physical work needed, let alone all the training and education in Dharma so it can be passed on to later generations. This has put a heavy burden on younger monks.

So, if anyone is going to point a finger at the Taego Order for this discrimination, that exact same finger must be pointed at every other Asian Buddhist order as well. None of this is unique to the Taego Order.

Finally, I would like to point out that there is a fully inclusive ordination option through the Mook Rim (pronounced "Moong Neem") Society founded by Bishop Jongmae Park and some of his Jogye colleagues. People not eligible to ordain in the Taego Order can still study in the Taego seminary for this ordination option and then participate in all the training available in the Overseas Parish of the Taego Order.

One more thing: The Jogye Order has allowed it's military chaplains to ordain and then marry since the 1970's. This is why Bishop Park was a married member of the Jogye Order. He switched to the Taego Order so that his disciples could ordain. Once again, I've seen people writing about the Taego Order, making assumptions, and not checking the facts. I hope this clears things up.

While I would personally love it if the entire Buddhist world was as inclusive as we'd like it to be in America and elsewhere in the West, I recognize that things will take time. We Western Taego clergy are the newbies who have not yet earned a place at the table, but as more Westerners ordain and as time goes on, it is my hope that our influence throughout the Buddhist world will grow. Someone also mentioned in this thread that discrimination like this has not place in Western Buddhism. This isn't Western Buddhism, though. It's still very much Asian Buddhism. Change will take time.

For a statement on these issues (of which I am the primary author), please see the "Seminary" page on http://www.taegozen.net. Finally, I would respectfully request that before anyone goes off on the Taego Order again, to please write us directly and ask questions. I am always happy to answer any questions or clear up any confusion if I am able to do so.


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