A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

The path may have road blocks caused by other beings

There was an article in the news about Buddhist Monks gambling, drinking and smoking while staying at a resort for the funeral of another monk in Korea. Several senior monks have stepped down to accept responsibility for this incident. There are reports that people are calling for the pruning of this order to eliminate the corruption. Unfortunately with any institution that has humans involved not all those involved in leadership will be upstanding followers of an institutions rules and regulations, or maintain its values. In Tibet the 13th Dalai Lama closed several monasteries and had monks publicly flogged to break their corrupt practices. His successor along with the Panchen Lama initially welcomed Mao’s forces as liberators of the Tibetan people from the Lhasa regime. The ruling class in Tibet at the time consisted of wealthy families who also had relatives in senior positions within the monasteries. In China during the 1930s when the communists and nationalists were fighting over which path the country should follow, they were both outraged at the behaviour of the Abbot of the Jing’an Temple. The Abbot had several concubines, and rewarded them all with their own homes and cars. He was known to enjoy a hedonistic and lavish lifestyle, while supporters of the temple led impoverished lives. I mention these as Buddhism doesn’t require blind faith in our spiritual leadership or the Sangha. Rather we are told to test everything we see and here, just as a scientist would. The Dharma is about eliminating unjust actions that harm other beings. We are also not to look down upon those who do wrong, as we are not perfect ourselves, rather to recognize the mistake and to learn from it ourselves.

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