the New Yorker has a thought provoking history of self-immolation in the world; sadly that trend has continued and this article laments it.
When can we Sangha cry? How about what happens when we lose our parent or a child? We cry of course, but we also must carry on in our day and even some of us have to perform at the funeral like I had to and be at the reception and stay with my mom cuz the rest of the family couldn’t bear to, even they never came over cuz their own grief was too much.
How about when we have to suffer in our grief too? We suffer, we grieve but when that first person comes to us in tears, it’s almost a sure bet that our tears spill forth in remembrance. It should be shameful, but it really is not. We are humans too. We are supposed to let go of our attachments quickly and we do but we still have memories and cherish our loved ones too.
Nobody addressed the needs of those ordained who lived through 9/11 and had to carry on performing countless funerals, counsel grieving families, run their temples, but when they talked to me, they were angry with their grief was not being acknowledged at all. In fact, most of the clergy in churches had grief too not just in temples or mosques. They all were not acknowledged by the public because the need was so great, it really was. I was out there and saw it; I’ve never seen public grief on such as scale as I did in NYC. I learned a lot about it then, and about funerals where we were in and out in 30 to 6o mins depending on the family needs, no talking just in and out! So many sometimes we didn’t eat that day until 1 am. wow!
My recent encounter with a grieving Buddhist led me to this uncomfortable truth about myself. I was suddenly spilling tears with this dear person. I apologized, for (what…being unprofessional…please I’m walking the Path…sure we are supporting laity but we have a right to be human too). But my dear Buddhist friend just handed me a tissue and we shared our tears through the conversation on what to do and how to prepare, we drank tea and both of us inspite of our individual grief had come away with something better…two people who connected and I hope and pray when the funeral day comes that I keep it together for these dear Buddhists need more than a weeping nun to help them in their future hours of need.
Can you believe I blamed it on hormones, as my change of life has been in full erratic swing for a couple of years already! We all do our best, some of us are good at hiding our tears, in our rooms away from curious eyes or our Sangha and in our darkest hours when we most need our companions by our side in full on support and offering comfort. I from now on, will strive to be solid and if I tear up, I hope to quickly recover enough to be solid in my support for my future services at the side of my dear Buddhist friends.
You know we don’t hug but I was not going to let my dear Buddhist lady leave my home without a solid squeezer. If I could have I would have taken her home and put her to bed and watched over her that’s how much I care about comforting someone in grief. But you know as Sangha we are truly limited in how we comfort people in grief and as a mom I just wish that part of it would be less impersonal. Maybe one day I can figure out a dignified way to help people that would be acceptable in the East and the West. Right now I only know Iowa ways of cooking comfort food and providing a willing ear and support. My temple training works well for me and know I must apply it to meet the needs of my Buddhist families in this area. I wish for more wisdom!
Dad’s ashes in the brass urn with tiny navy stripe on it at the funeral home. And one picture of dad when he was alive. In the last 6 months before he died he lost so much weight he looked like his young self in that black and white picture and he marveled at it.
Right now I’m fine. Although I shocked myself by sharing tears with a young woman whom came to me for help. It happened when I had a visit from a young college woman who had left college and brought her parents over to be with her after her dad suffered pancreatic cancer and now suffers from advanced liver cancer. She is a little older than my own daughter. Suffering from knowing her dad is dying in 2 or 3 months. Wishing for a cure. She had said she didn’t accept his dying. And we chatted about her situation I decided to share mine. My dad died in 2008 and I went through what she is about to go through. So when she broke down, I shared tears and I apologized for it because I after all was trying to be there for her and not have my issues. I worried and am worried that I will cry in the moments facings their deep grief when her dad is actually on his dying day. How can I help chant when I am weeping too? I used to be critical of nuns who cried during funerals now I see how deeply they loved their fathers or mothers or children and remember that when they are trying to do funerals. I do indeed. What should I do?
A nun is gangraped by a bus driver and his busload of men who drag her off the bus to commit the deed. What were they thinking, a robed nun! Whats wrong with those men! What’s wrong with that society! Nepal is the birth place of the Buddha! where is the justice!
KATHMANDU, Nepal — A 21-year-old Buddhist nun was gangraped by five men inside a bus in eastern Nepal, media reports said Monday. The victim, a resident of Bhojpur district in eastern Nepal, was travelling by bus when she was attacked by the group, which also included the driver of the bus.
CHINATOWN — A Buddhist nun giving out prayer beads on Canal Street to raise money to rebuild her burned down temple was arrested and detained for several hours without an interpreter, she told DNAinfo.
Police charged Baojing Li, 48, with acting as an unlicensed vendor, a misdemeanor. They claim she hawked costume jewelry at the corner of Canal and Mott Streets on June 2 without a license from the state Department of Consumer Affairs.
But the religious woman, who wears a traditional Buddhist robe and has a shaven head, says she was not selling the 50-cent strands of prayer beads, but handing them out to generous people who dropped donations in her collection tin.
Buddhist groups seek help from vigilantes to disrobe ring members
By R.S.N. MURALI, The Star, June 30, 2011
MALACCA, Malaysia — Several Buddhist
groups in Kuala Lumpur and Penang have sought the help of the “monk police” here to help eradicate bogus monks in their areas.
<< Don’t be conned: Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre chairman Seek Kai Lun (centre), Seek Lee Terk (right)
and Seck Kwan Si (left) showing posters that will be displayed in Malacca to
warn the public against bogus monks.
The Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre, which set up the “monk police”, is now preparing to send over a team of five volunteers to carry out surveillance in both these states.
“We have been receiving calls from other Buddhist organisations in the country to aid them in thwarting the activities of such monks.
“A plan of action is being prepared to disrobe these bogus monks preying on innocent devotees,” centre vice-chairman Ronald Gan Yong Hoe told The Star yesterday.
Gan said the team had been trained to identify and disrobe these bogus monks who would then
be deported back to their native countries.
“We are ready to provide our expertise,” he said, adding that the team would also be reinforced with another unit should the need arise or if there was a setback.
The centre had set up its own 10-man vigilante group on the belief that an organised syndicate was behind the culprits who walked around in saffron robes in the city here and took advantage of the public’s generosity.
These “monks” would hand out amulets which they claimed have spiritual powers to bestow prosperity and health on those making donations.
A preliminary investigation conducted by the centre found that the bogus monks travelled to Malaysia from China and operated for a month before heading back to their homeland.
One bogus monk nabbed by the centre confessed that his group could earn up to RM9,000 from a month’s stay here.
Gan said the centre was also anticipating more calls from Buddhist groups in other states.
“We are in the midst of recruiting more members to join our vigilante group in an all-out war to stop these monks,” he said.
The centre also distributed pamphlets to create awareness among the public to be wary of these monks.
Buddhist vigilantes to ‘disrobe’ bogus monks who fleece the public
By R.S.N. MURALI, The Star, June 21, 2011
MALACCA, Malaysia — A Buddhist group here has set up its own vigilante corp to stop those portraying themselves as monks from soliciting money from the public.
<<Ticking off: Gan (left) reprimanding a bogus monk and
‘disrobing’ him for soliciting funds at a busy street in Malacca.
The Sangha Sanctity Protection Centre (SSPC) said its “monk police” believed an organised syndicate was behind the culprits who walked in saffron robes through the populated streets of Malacca and preyed on the generosity of the public.
These foreigners hand out amulets which they claim have spiritual powers to bestow prosperity and health to those who make donations.
SSPC vice-chairman Ronald Gan Ying Hoe said its 10-man vigilante group would go out to stop the syndicate, which is known to have fleeced hundreds of people of their money and personal belongings.
“They use scare tactics to solicit donations, especially at hospitals where they target family members of warded patients,” he told The Star.
“Genuine monks do not wear watches or shoes.
“Indeed, they have no earthly asset of any sort,” said Gan, adding that the centre’s monk police would be spreading public awareness about the scam and also paste posters around the city to warn prospective victims.
“Monks are strictly forbidden to roam the streets, cheating people of their money or solicit donations and are not supposed to sell items like talismans,” he said.
“We are going to disrobe’ these rogues by going to areas that have become popular haunts of these con artists,” he said.
He added that a probe by the centre found that the rogue monks travelled to Malaysia from China and operated for a month before heading back to their homeland.
“One bogus monk we nabbed recently confessed his group could earn up to RM9,000 from a month’s stay here,” he said.
Gan said in recent months, the centre’s monk police had caught four rogue monks who solicited donations at busy streets and private hospitals in the city.
“In one case, a bogus monk in his late 40s was forced to return to his native country with the help of the authorities,” said Gan.
He added that these conmen could damage the sanctity of the Buddhist faith if drastic steps were not taken to stop them from cheating people.
Gan said he would work closely with the relevant enforcement agencies to stop these bogus monks.
Here are some guidelines about the Sangha of the 2 part bhkshu and bhikshuni who cannot discuss sexuality, sex, sexual confusion, sexual orientation, transgender issues, relationships or act as matchmakers for anyone due to our Vinaya vows we are unable to allow suffering people to discuss personal struggles in this most intimate aspect of a householder’s life.
The UN passed resolutions upholding Gay rights, and that is good! It will spur progress in protections justice, human dignity, and of rights to marriage, inheritance, child rearing and community awareness and acceptance. We can hold our privates views regarding rights and politics.
However for us the intimate details of householder’s life of sexuality, preferences, and orientation which are popular to discuss on talk shows and among concerned parties is not proper among monastic Sangha nor is it proper to expect us to discuss the matters. The reason being while we are caring sensitive adults, mature or experienced in our lay life with this topic we cannot with any degree of depth worthy to the suffering needs of some counsel on it.
Tormented people in crisis we are used to helping and coping we can address but not able to listen to relationship issues or a detailed description of biological functions or engage in decisions or recommendations regarding acts of , changing a body part, or psychological or social conflicts possible, we care deeply about people sufferings, but are not matchmakers or sexually active ourselves due to our precepts.
I want to address this issue so the reader is more informed about us and our responses concerning this matter, the Buddhist culture in regards to this topic, and your effect in encounters with us. People trying to bring up this topic with a monastic Sangha member can get their feelings hurt and feel upset or angry with us by not understanding the effect upon us or the unexpected response usually unfriendly seeming like silence or the monk or nun having to get up and walk away without comments; but from our perspective we have to protect our reputation and our exposure to people wanting to discuss sex or sexuality or relationship issues with us.
Sangha in the real monastic sense are celibate (no sex) in mind or actions. Our Vinaya vows have guided us since Buddha set them forth, the most serious ones are called parajikas or defeat rules. No sex is a parajika rule.
This means if a parajika rule is broken at the moment of the act, confessed to in a pratimoksa one is expelled immediately without benefit of being a sangha member or the right to wear robes or conduct services. Buddha set forth strict rules to determine if an rule is considered broken and it varies on levels according to the temple rules set forth by common unified decisions of the monastics themselves.
Who is confessed to is the discipline master in charge not laity or members of the public or media. This matter is entirely among the offender between bhikshu or bhikshuni Sangha and not open to public discussion or viewing. It is a private matter.
In light of this privacy and the rules set forth in the Vinaya. It is absolutely ridiculous to insist we have a view on sexuality, transgenderism, sexual orientation just so you get to side with a monastic or with a Buddhist community with one over another!
In Buddhism the rules for the monastic Sangha are the Vinaya part of the Tripitaka, it does not allow us address these concerns of lay people. You should remember that it is not a dharma matter for us appropriate to discuss. Seek a good support group outside the Sangha and monasteries for this is a householder matter not suitable for Sangha to engage in discussion or mediation.
Sexuality is important enough of an issue that you get to decide for yourself and you reap the rewards and consequences both good and bad according to your reactions to it and because of it.
GLBT members demanding separate groups of like-minded Sangha communities are so ridiculous it’s beyond comprehension as to why you constantly need to separate yourselves over sex and orientation when all you need to do is focus on Nirvana!
None these groups concerned with such intimate part of householder life should be in a temple, a dharma center or a monastery with the purpose of setting themselves separately from the rest of the community nor should they discuss sexual matters on any part of the sangha land or properties.
The path to Nirvana is not sex.
Sangha if you had struggles with this in the past and it’s cropping up while you are a monk or nun, seek professional help, do not bring your issues into the temples or communities to force them to deal with it. It is a parajika for us to engage in sex and you know it. If you are a Sangha monk or nun and can’t its better to disrobe for awhile to assess your future in the Sangha at all then rejoin us.
Sexuality is so personal of a nature that you need to figure it out for yourselves as grownups. If you are kids then you need your parents help, then carefully choose your friends so you are supported by them.
If your family member is suffering or yourself from this conflict then professional help along with a good solid support group is what you need to look into, some people seem to have to slog it out on their own but really with what our society does have in terms of resources they can be happily supported.
We care about you deeply and this is only a guideline. If you feel the absolute need to talk find the same gender Sangha who is capable, but please note that not everyone is and not everyone is willing to deal with this very sensitive topic. If the Sangha member is silent, closed off, says it’s not appropriate, or walks away then accept that it’s only because of our strict Vinaya rules concerning sexuality.
Amituofo, take care and be well.