Author Topic: "The Broken Buddha"  (Read 5927 times)

Jhana4

"The Broken Buddha"
« on: June 11, 2011, 02:36:37 PM »
This book ( available legally and freely via the link to the PDF below ) is by a western born monk who became disillusioned with Buddhism as it is practiced in Asia.
 
The book is a rant, albeit a very educational one ( the reason why I am posting it ).  It presents an unbalanced view, similar to if an Asian who having traveled to the west only published the bad things about they way Christianity and Judaism is practiced, without mentioning the cool people.  The author knows this and acknowledges it at the start of his book explaining that in the west only the good side of Theravada is shown - so his book is about describing what isn't
shown.
 
 I think the book is valuable in two respects.
 
 1.  In the west it is easy to have an idealized vision of Buddhism despite intellectually knowing it is 2600 years old and likely has same human problems that Christianity and other religions do.
 
 2. The book contrasts what is written in the Pali Canon with what Asian Buddhists actually do and believe.   In the process the reader gets educated to some interesting aspects of the suttas and some cultural aspects of Asia.
 
Anyway, it is very useful to read if  you keep reminding yourself it is just the bad with the good filtered out:
 
 "The Broken Buddha" by The Venerable S. Dhammaika
 http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/brokenbuddhanew.pdf
 
 BTW
 
 The author is still in robes and has a blog if you want to get more  insight into his personality
 http://sdhammika.blogspot.com/

« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 03:36:06 PM by Jhana4 »

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2011, 03:17:11 PM »
Thankyou Jhana4, this is a very important thing for me to browse right now, at first I thought "Nooo! I'm trying to make peace with these dudes!" But browsing through it, I don't think it is a destructive rant. It is actually quite similar in tone to how charismatic Christianity self assesses! No one is harder on Christianity than Christians. A new Buddhism is most definitely growing, although what it looks like may be hard to define.

How are you these days? I hope you are well.

Andrew
getting it done

Jhana4

Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 11:56:33 PM »
Thankyou Jhana4, this is a very important thing for me to browse right now,

Why?

Quote
at first I thought "Nooo! I'm trying to make peace with these dudes!" But browsing through it, I don't think it is a destructive rant.

It gave me a deeper appreciation for the monks and Asian Buddhists who are different from those the author complains about.


Quote
How are you these days? I hope you are well.

Do we know each other from other days or is that just an expression?

I'm doing okay, how about you?

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 05:06:30 AM »
Thankyou Jhana4, this is a very important thing for me to browse right now,

Why?

Quote
at first I thought "Nooo! I'm trying to make peace with these dudes!" But browsing through it, I don't think it is a destructive rant.

It gave me a deeper appreciation for the monks and Asian Buddhists who are different from those the author complains about.


Quote
How are you these days? I hope you are well.

Do we know each other from other days or is that just an expression?

I'm doing okay, how about you?

Hi Jhana4,

Sorry, my former avatar is in my signature "daydreamer" I used to sign off andy most of the time. No we don't 'know' each other only through interactions here.

The reason I found the book helpful is I was visiting the local Theravada centre 'dhammaloka' yesterday, Ajahn Brahm is abbot there. The pdf  is an illuminating look at it from an angle I am not aware of. I'm not well acquainted with Buddhist history and only have a passing knowledge of the different traditions. My own objections, or obstacles to understanding it are put in perspective through what this guys has written. So hence the thanks. I actually thought you may have read my various posts about this, so it was a synchronistic post on your behalf for me.

I'm glad you are ok, may you be happy too! I'm doing well through a little help from my friends.

thanks

Andrew
getting it done

Jeeprs

Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 08:55:24 AM »
Thanks. Looks interesting and will try and find time to read some of it. I read a pretty critical book by a young Englishman who joined the Sangha in Thailand and became dissillusioned with it, called What the Buddha Didn't Teach.

My experience with actual Buddhist communities is quite limited. I suppose to be honest I have stayed in a pretty solidly middle-class lifestyle all my life, here in Sydney. I went and stayed on a Yoga ashram once for about 3 months. I was not a very conscientious student at the time. I hardly did any yoga, mainly just helped out with chores and played guitar. Years later I spent some time at Wat Buddha Dhamma near Sydney, when Phra Khantipalo was teaching there. I had some good experiences out of that, but again it hardly amounted to joining the monastic order. I have done several other retreats including one Goenka retreat, but that is about it. I have no particular desire to go to SE Asia at this stage in my life.

Over the years I have met or listened to number of Buddhist monks who  are  teachers. Not all of them impress me but I never criticize any sincere teacher. (I would only criticize them if I thought they were dishonest or unethical.)  I had one encounter with a lama who became something of a celebrity, Lama Yeshe, who was co-founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayaha Tradition. I am sure he had a very big impact on me. At the time I was right into Krishnamurti, learning to practice meditation, and had been getting lessons from a modern secular meditation group. A number of things clicked around then and I am sure seeing Lama Yeshe was one of the factors which helped with that. That must have been around 1978, so a lot has happened since. It has occurred to me recently that this is one of the reasons I feel myself to be part of the Mahayana.

All that said, I have never been, and am not, very interested in institutional Buddhism. Most of my contact with the Dharma has been through books and meditation and the inner eye, as it were. Aside from Lama Yeshe, most of the Buddhist teachers I have met have been very much human beings, teaching the path, with no particular charisma or spiritual power that I could feel. I did feel that from Lama Yeshe, and also from Barry Long, who was a non-affiliated spiritual teacher here in Australia during the 80's and 90's.

I don't know if all this helps or not. I suppose that is just an account of my own particular path and what has happened so far. All that said, I have deep respect for anyone who can commit their whole life to Dhamma the way monks do. While there are probably cases where the monastic order has become corrupted or failed to realize its ideals, it is a life and a vocation which demands complete sacrifice, and I am sure there are very many who have made that sacrifice. In a sense, those ones have realized the path for all of us, and we ought never to forget that.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2011, 09:00:23 AM by Jeeprs »

Jhana4

Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 01:11:52 PM »
The reason I found the book helpful is I was visiting the local Theravada centre 'dhammaloka' yesterday, Ajahn Brahm is abbot there. The pdf  is an illuminating look at it from an angle I am not aware of. I'm not well acquainted with Buddhist history and only have a passing knowledge of the different traditions. My own objections, or obstacles to understanding it are put in perspective through what this guys has written. So hence the thanks. I actually thought you may have read my various posts about this, so it was a synchronistic post on your behalf for me.

I watch Ajahn Brahm's talks on youtube every week.  You are fortunate to be so close to his center.   Like I stated, reading that book gives me a new appreciation for the monastics who don't fit what is described in the book.

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2011, 01:36:34 PM »
Yes i think you may be right Jhana4, as far as monks go, they are the only ones i know and I'm probably quite spoilt. I have my reservations about the whole 'monks in the city' type of thing, it feels weird, but then again, so much has turned on it's head this last 6 months, what do i really know?

May you have more peace than you know what to do with!

metta

Andrew
getting it done

Jhana4

Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2011, 02:51:38 PM »
What do you mean by "monks in the city" ?

What happened in the last 6 months and what are your issues with Dhammloka.

Thanks in advance for indulging my curiosity.

Andrew

  • Member
    • friends tell me things, sometimes I listen.
    • Letting Go.
Re: "The Broken Buddha"
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2011, 11:57:36 PM »
Hi Jhana4,

I simply mean I find the cultural transplanting of the monastic life from asia to Perth unsettling. It just doesn't seem to have that much impact within the community at large. Personally I went along for a while back in 2003 and even though I wanted to connect, I just drifted away from it, I could 'get with the program'. In hindsight if that is my reaction (someone who really wants to meditate and find out) how is it ever going to penetrate the community at large? Anyway, that's the gist of the issue.

The last 6 months has seen me learn to meditate properly and see the first fruits of mindfulness training, so I'm acknowledging that because so much can change perhaps this issue will change as well.

Hi Jeeprs,

It was your advice I was listening to in my head to try and connect with local meditation teachers! I think you were/are spot on with that advice. This whole issue is very much stirring something in me, and I can feel the difference in myself, even from when we discussed the whole 'buddhisn, religion, names' thread a while back. So though I would rather not make peace with institutional buddhism, I can see that understanding it will give me the tools I need to communicate with others in a balanced way. Emotionally though, I feel I've got a bit to work through.

cheers

A

 
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 12:25:57 AM by Andrew »
getting it done

 

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