YOU ARE BANNED

bannedYOU ARE BANNED.

[UPDATE: Ted Meissner immediately wrote me to say that it’s a technical problem. I wish I could give him the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, the post still stands as a general reflection on a real phenomenon in the x-buddhist internet world, including the Secular Buddhist Association. I stand by the post. Also, I want to make it clear that I did NOT receive the usual message you get when a site has trouble loading, the one about technical difficulties. The message I got read:]

YOU ARE BANNED.

That’s the message I get when I try to access the Secular Buddhist site (links at bottom). I checked: it’s a blanket IP ban.  You may wonder: what does it take to get banned from a Buddhist site? I wonder the same thing. After all, aren’t x-buddhists always telling us how they embody compassion, mindfulness, and equanimity? These values, you would think, serve even the most discordant conversations. Couldn’t banning someone just be an admission that your claims to (ostensibly) pro-social dispositions like “non-reactivity” and “non-judgmentalism” are a bit shabby?

Ted Meissner, the founder of the Secular Buddhist Association and its Facebook page, generously sprinkles his sites with words that, I suppose, are designed to signal serious thought and a willingness to engage others with dialogical vigor, words like critical (critical thinking, critical eye, critical examination, etc.) naturalism, pragmatism, science, secularism, evidence, and so forth. Meissner adds to such good habits of thought a rigorous ethics of engagement. We can glean his ethics from such recent Facebook nuggets as the following (Meissner signs all of his sayings “TSB.” TSB = The Secular Buddhist = Ted Meissner. Why does he use quotation marks to quote himself? Does it makes what he says appear more important?):

“I would rather be shown wrong and have the opportunity to correct my understanding, than maintain a comforting delusion.”

“Our practice is neither avoidance nor suppression of suffering, but direct and sincere engagement.”

“Today — respond with a heart of friendliness, rather than react with a knee of jerkiness.”

*Today* — Decide to be an enthusiastic participant in this moment, every moment.

“Only a weak faith is intolerant of questioning. A strong faith encourages it, sincerely, without an underlying requirement that you find their own answers.”

*Today* — That lightness of heart you may have after meditation? Bring that with you as you encounter the very next person.

“To question is to demonstrate a desire to find the truth. And that quest can only strengthen *us*, however much it may weaken our cherished *views*.”

Meissner does not practice what he is preaching here. He is in fact very quick to cut off critical discussion. He does in fact react to “questioning” “with a knee of jerkiness.” I don’t know why. Is he really unaware of the gulf between what he says and what he does? Is he insecure? Paranoid–a for/against mentality? Is he protecting his readers? Or is it a case of blatant hypocrisy–of purposefully saying the “right” thing but just as purposefully doing the opposite? It often looks to me like hypocrisy. But maybe I am wrong. Perhaps the problem is even more serious than I believe it is. Maybe Meissner genuinely believes that he is engaging others in the way he says he is. Maybe it’s really an issue of tolerance. Is it possible that he just cannot tolerate the degree of robustness, vigor, and critical dialogue that some of us bring to the table? If that is the case, his failing is not hypocrisy. It is egoism. Egoism is “the habit of valuing everything only in reference to one’s personal interest.” The logic of egoism is straight-forward: if being “shown wrong” risks your personal interest, just hit the YOU ARE BANNED button. Just shut out the self-interest-conflicting voices. Now, you are once again free to bask in your comforting post-meditation delusion–you know, “that lightness of heart.”

Ted Meissner is not alone in this failure. It is endemic to the entire group of current x-buddhist internet gurus. I mean people like Vincent Horn and his Buddhist Geeks, Kenneth Folk, Ken McLeod, Stephen Schettini, Brad Warner, Lodro Rinzler, and Noah Levine. God knows I could mention so many more. At the core of their egoism is the fact that they have product to sell, whether literally, for good ol’ Amerikkkan $$$, or figuratively, for community building or a seat at the Feast of Latter Day Buddhism.

But these individuals, too, are not alone in their ego-driven quest. In fact, they are just the most recent players in the great American x-buddhist I-help-you-help-yourself game. Contrary to their claims of innovation and post-traditionalism, every single one of them is locked onto the tracks forged by the x-buddhist thaumaturges of old. The failure, in short, is structural. Self-serving egoism is at the core of the contemporary x-buddhist system. Anyone who comes even close to pointing out that fact will be banned from the discussion. But please don’t take my word for this. I am speaking from my own experience. Visit their sites, ask your hard questions, make your pointed criticism, point out the contradictions you see, be irreverent, and watch what happens.

The system protects itself with indignation against a challenge to deceit in the service of power, and the very idea of subjecting the ideological system to rational inquiry elicits incomprehension or outrage, though it is often masked in other terms. –Noam Chomsky

Or it just bans you.

As disheartening as the current crop of x-buddhist figures are, I recently saw a sign of promise. The site of Tutteji Wachtmeister is a beacon of light in the platitudinous murkiness of the bodhiblogosphere. Tutteji’s x-buddhist/neo-Vedantin atmanistic transparency illuminates the others’ opacity. I hope you’ll visit this great guru’s site (link below). And then, maybe, go to, say, Lodro Rinzler’s site, and compare. That should be fun and edifying!

Anyway, I look forward to the day when the strategy of avoidance that is increasingly practiced by x-buddhist figures today is seen for what it is: evidence of a bogus product.

I look forward to the day when intelligence and integrity are valued–no, insisted on–in x-buddhist communities.

I look forward to the day when x-buddhist figures like Ted Meissner have the courage to practice what they preach.

____________

UPDATE. For the record. Ted and Dana of the Secular Buddhist Association, like all good business people and politicians, admit to banning while not admitting to banning. Ted’s two Facebook posts following this post:

“Accepting the Buddha as a human being means accepting the possibility of his fallibility. That’s part of being human.” — TSB

*Today* — Take a moment to embed yourself in gratitude for the good friends who help us up when we stumble.

Then Dana Nourie adds these remarks:

Yes, sorry to those who received the You are Banned when using the url with the www. That issue is resolved, and all urls are in working order.

There is civil disagreement, and healthy two-way conversations, where people don’t agree but varying opinions are offered. There there are people who defend their view obnoxiously, with insults, and anger. The latter does not help move dialogue or enrich thinking. And lastly there is obvious trolling, where people are just being a**holes because they enjoy it. Banning is justified in the last two cases. To foster and help a healthy community grow, we can’t have people who just want to be jerks and spoil conversation for those who truly want to share and understand.
So, which is it, an error that was resolved or justified banning? I now get a 403 Forbidden message. Am I inching my way back from YOU ARE BANNED?
I am not interested in arguing with the internet gurus. But I am interested in occasionally calling out their hypocrisy and disrupting their jig.
On to more interesting things now.

___________

Secular Buddhist Association

Tutteji Wachtmeister

Lodro Rinzler

See also Patricia Ivan’s post “Tweet your own Horn.”

40 thoughts on “YOU ARE BANNED

  1. Oddly enough, my employer has you listed as a “malicious site” – the heck?!

  2. Sciencewench (#2).

    Does your employer have an x-buddhist right-speech filter on your server? That would explain it. Really, we’re very kind bastards.

  3. Ted (#1).

    How do you explain that (1) people at my workplace could access the site and (2) not a single person on your Facebook page complained about the SBA site’s being down?

    Like I said, benefit of the doubt, though the issue doesn’t go away. Like I said, I got a “YOU ARE BANNED” message.

    How do you explain, Ted? I am eagerly awaiting your answer.

    I am interested in one thing here: that all of you whom I mentioned permit discourse to flow, no matter how distasteful it is to you.

    By the way, I would comment on your latest Facebook post–but I am banned!

  4. “TSB”

    That’s bullshit. “YOU” deleted an entire thread and all but deleted another one. And in the one that has remained none of your dhamma buddies will engage in real question beyond, “remember to be mindful in traffic today.”

    (Zuma) Craig

  5. George (#6).

    I am not joking. Tutteji Wachtmeister’s site is a brilliant display-analysis of the issues we have to contend with in order to move x-buddhist thought from its current facile amateurism to a more mature form. We have now entered “The Post-Tutteji” phase of x-buddhism. Welcome!

  6. Glenn, If by “brilliant display-analysis” you are refering to Tutteji Wachtmeister’s unabashed new age prosperity theology, then I’m down. Otherwise I have no idea what you’re talking about, hence my previous comment. Thank you.

  7. JESUS, Lodro’s site is just like Tuttji’s, but with out the post-irony push. I suggest a full frontal attack!

  8. Well Glenn,

    Your strongest enemy can become your strongest ally (at the end you are also revaluing buddhism !)

    ****

    “So when someone says something I dont accept readily, I ask him: Tell me more !”

    Sadly something you only do up to a point.

    Here is a serious discussion on

    TRUTH, MEANING AND REFERENCE

    ****

  9. Glenn,

    So what I’m getting from this whole thing is that you are overreacting over what was explained to you as a technical issue?

    By the way, I have trouble accessing your website from my government workplace. Why won’t you accept my visits while I am on break? Are you paranoid about the thoughts of a Canadian emergency consular worker who happens to eat his sandwitch as he is reading your posts? Should I be calling your a hypocrite? No, because that would be overreacting.

    PS: I just went to Tutteji Wachtmeister’s website and vomited a little. Couldn’t you have warned me to wait for an hour after eating before going???

  10. Luis Daniel (#7). God, what a fucking moron Rorty is. Please spare us.

    You say, “Your strongest enemy can become your strongest ally (at the end you are also revaluing buddhism !)” No fucking shit, bro! Has it taken this long for you to figure that out? God have fucking mercy on the ….

  11. Glenn,

    Actually, I read your blog quite often, though I’ve never written any comment on posts. I really do love reading Speculative Non-Buddhism posts; they make me think (and sometimes laugh like your reply in #15). It was a sad day when Foreign Affairs made it impossible for me to visit it on my lunch breaks.

    I think I understand Tutteji very well, actually. Proof? I vomited a little when I went on the website.

  12. Jean-François, mon frère!

    La sottise, l’erreur, le péché, la lésine,
    Occupent nos esprits et travaillent nos corps,
    Et nous alimentons nos aimables remords,
    Comme les mendiants nourrissent leur vermine.

    Nos péchés sont têtus, nos repentirs sont lâches;
    Nous nous faisons payer grassement nos aveux,
    Et nous rentrons gaiement dans le chemin bourbeux,
    Croyant par de vils pleurs laver toutes nos taches.

    Sur l’oreiller du mal c’est Satan Trismégiste
    Qui berce longuement notre esprit enchanté,
    Et le riche métal de notre volonté
    Est tout vaporisé par ce savant chimiste.

    C’est le Diable qui tient les fils qui nous remuent!
    Aux objets répugnants nous trouvons des appas;
    Chaque jour vers l’Enfer nous descendons d’un pas,
    Sans horreur, à travers des ténèbres qui puent.

    Ainsi qu’un débauché pauvre qui baise et mange
    Le sein martyrisé d’une antique catin,
    Nous volons au passage un plaisir clandestin
    Que nous pressons bien fort comme une vieille orange.

    Serré, fourmillant, comme un million d’helminthes,
    Dans nos cerveaux ribote un peuple de Démons,
    Et, quand nous respirons, la Mort dans nos poumons
    Descend, fleuve invisible, avec de sourdes plaintes.

    Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l’incendie,
    N’ont pas encor brodé de leurs plaisants dessins
    Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
    C’est que notre âme, hélas! n’est pas assez hardie.

    Mais parmi les chacals, les panthères, les lices,
    Les singes, les scorpions, les vautours, les serpents,
    Les monstres glapissants, hurlants, grognants, rampants,
    Dans la ménagerie infâme de nos vices,

    II en est un plus laid, plus méchant, plus immonde!
    Quoiqu’il ne pousse ni grands gestes ni grands cris,
    Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris
    Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde;

    C’est l’Ennui! L’oeil chargé d’un pleur involontaire,
    II rêve d’échafauds en fumant son houka.
    Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
    — Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!

  13. Beaudelaire, trop apte pour notre première interraction sur ce blog.

    Étant donné que je suis de ceux qui croient que seul l’antagonisme mène à la connaissance et aux découvertes, je vous laisse avec la pensée suivante : que le conflit reigne et que les désaccords soient roi.

  14. Cong rats man, they eat underneath, yes right there where there is no food, right there, 25 thousand of them only today, spare us from religion, spare us from reason, spare us from impotent redundansies, spare us from brutality, spare us from asking to spares us from something we dont like, spare us from life and death, spare us from davidsonian views, spares us from democracy, spare us from the other, spare us from making contact, spare us from responsability, spare us from time, spare us from history, spare us from evidence, spare us from having to read each other, spare us from dispair, spare us from firing in the wrong direction, spare us from sensibility, spare us from horseshit, spare us from intellectual dishonesty, but please please never spare us from dancing with this stupid non-buddhist non-non-nonsense.

    Well good it is the breath I want to breath, the word I write when I need to.

    Felice morte !!!

  15. Craig (#11). Can you believe that buffoon, Lodro Rinzler? God help fucking Buddha. With friends like Lodro…. Jesus, what an embarrassment to all good sense. I’m gonna go take a shower now. . .

  16. Jag är en främling i detta land
    men detta land är ingen främling i mig!
    Jag är inte hemma i detta land
    men detta land beter sig som hemma i mig!

    (Gunnar Ekelöf)

  17. Well, I’m blowed! London has a Swedish mayor! With a night-job teaching meditation. We’re honoured!

  18. All hail Tutteji! My new guru!

    Glenn, thanks for this post. After learning about the Great and Powerful Tutteji, I visited Lodro’s site with mouth thoroughly agape. Wow, man. They must have the same agent.

  19. THE DEATH OF ALAIN BADIOU AT THE HANDS OF HIS OBJECTS OF DESIRE

    “On September 23, 2005, Badiou was surrounded in his home in the outskirts of the town of Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, by members of the FBI’s San Juan field office and shot fatally. The FBI recounted the incident in a press release. According to this document, the FBI was performing surveillance of the area driven by reports that Badiou had been spotted in the home. The FBI determined its surveillance team had been detected, and decided to proceed with serving an arrest warrant against Badiou. As the agents approached the home, Badiou opened fire. One agent was wounded. Alain’s wife says that the “FBI entered the house shooting with no warning.” The FBI denies these accounts, stating Badiou opened fire as agents approached. An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General concluded that “this daylight assault was extremely dangerous and not the best option available to the FBI.”

    According to Badiou’s wife, Elma Beatriz Rosado Barbosa, as well as neighbor Héctor Reyes, it was the FBI agents who initiated the shooting at 3:00 pm. The Office of the Inspector General report determined that an FBI agent detonated a non-lethal “flash bang” grenade outside the house as a diversionary tactic when the FBI approached the house, before any gunfire began, and Rosado may have thought this explosion was gunfire initiated by the FBI. The FBI press release, however, claims that “as the FBI agents approached the front of the farm house at approximately 4:28 p.m., Badiou opened the front door to the residence and opened fire on the FBI agents. In response to the gunfire from Badiou, the FBI returned fire and established a defensive perimeter in order to contain the environment.”

    Rosado has alleged that Badiou offered to turn himself in to journalist Jesús Dávila, but that his offer was rebuffed by the agents. The Office of the Inspector General report concluded that “although the FBI utilized a negotiator from its San Juan office during the standoff, the FBI did not comply with its own policies regarding the integration of negotiators into operations planning or the use of multiple negotiators.”

    The FBI did not enter the house until shortly after noon the next day, at which time the agents found Badiou dead on the floor from a single bullet wound that had punctured his lung. A coroner’s autopsy concluded that Badiou bled to death over the course of several hours. Each of the FBI agents the proceeded to penetrate the corpse with their rifles.

    The FBI was criticized for failing to notify Commonwealth of Puerto Rico officials in advance of the Badiou arrest operation. The OIG report also found that the “FBI missed opportunities to provide accurate information to the public and to Commonwealth officials regarding the reasons for the delay in entering Badiou’s residence.”

    Politicians across party lines criticized the handling of this altercation. Among the aspects objected to are the very date of September 23. On this date in 1868, at the village of Lares, a group of Puerto Rican revolutionaries launched a rebellion called the Grito de Lares against the then-ruling Spanish colonial authorities. The anniversary of the uprising is commemorated every year by the independence movement. Badiou was renowned for selecting anniversaries of the Grito de Lares to make statements to his followers from undisclosed hideouts.

    Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá criticized the FBI assault as “improper” and “highly irregular” and demanded to know why his government was not informed of it. The FBI refused to release information beyond the official press release, citing security and agent privacy issues. The Puerto Rico Justice Department filed suit in federal court against the FBI and the US Attorney General, demanding information crucial to the Commonwealth’s own investigation of the incident. The case was dismissed by the U.S Supreme Court.

    Ojeda Rios (Badiou´s nom de guerre) funeral was attended by the highest authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Puerto Rico, Archbishop Roberto Octavio González Nieves, ex-Governor Rafael Hernández Colón, and numerous other dignitaries and personalities. In the aftermath of his death, the United Nations created a Draft Resolution urging a “probe of [the] pro-independence killing, human rights abuses”, after “Petitioner after petitioner condemned the assassination of Mr. Ojeda Rios by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)”.

  20. Glenn #4

    “How do you explain that (1) people at my workplace could access the site and (2) not a single person on your Facebook page complained about the SBA site’s being down? ”

    I know that question was addressed to Ted, not me, but I’ve got a moment while I drink my coffee so I’ll take a stab at it.

    At a guess? I’d say that a couple of rabble-rousers on the site (Tutteji and zumacraig who seemed to be a team) got banned-by-IP and, coincidentally, you had the same I.P. but those at your work, and most users of the site, didn’t. (So you shouldn’t take it personally, you just happened to be using the same I.P. as the rabble rousers.) But I don’t know this for a fact, it’s just a theory. I don’t work on the site or participate there as much as I used to.

    It might be another coincidence that your MO, Glenn, and zumacraig’s and Tutteji’s are very similar: come out to a site displaying all serious involvement and innocence, advertise one’s own link on the site prominently, escalate from innocence to some really quite interesting and even sometimes valid discussion that is sure to make everyone uncomfortable, confuse the discussion by next bringing in some dialog I’d put in the “playful mischief” category so that in the end the valid discussion is certainly not going to happen, and then cry “cheat!” when the other party decides the effort isn’t worth the possibility of any fruitful result and turns their back on you/the perp.

    Or maybe it’s not all a coincidence and that’s why you’re pimping Tutteji’s site here.

  21. Linda (#27). Thank you for the effort. I just want the internet gurus to know we’re paying attention. That requires occasional disruption. Disruption is the most distasteful aspect of this work. The point was made, and, with the current post, we are now moving back to more substantive discussion. That is not to say that disruption is not important. It’s just something different. Tutteji Wachtmeister’s work is valuable in this regard. It is both analytically astute and disruptive, but in an Alice-in-Wonderland kind of way. May the Dharma be with him . . .

  22. This is an oh so familiar problem with ALL moderated discussion forums. The moderators can’t escape the old adage that all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is clear that the moderators spit in the face of the Buddha’s exhortation that one mustn’t remain in the seat of honour. All is not lost however as there is still Usenet where all contributors are equal…. that’s why those with the urge to moderate fear and loathe Usenet.. Forget all the commercial (WWW) forums and leave those that would moderate to spit feathers at themselves.

  23. Linda,

    Zuma here. There was no collusion. The thread that was deleted was a legitimate discussion. I was curious what they thought about Tutteji. Tutteji then showed up and asked some great questions. One commenter suggested we use some sort of fake checklist to determine whether Tutt was a legitimate guru. In response, I said that many buddhist teachers meet criteria for being false gurus. Tutt jumped in. Ted then shut it down because he doesn’t like himself or his buddies being called charlatans.

  24. I’m noticing more and more in life, on SNB and other forums is that if the read a cogent question or argument that ‘attacks’ their stance they either ignore or say ‘ you’re mean’, rather than engage. The scary thing is when these interactions are deleted from history.

  25. Hey, on the topic of x-buddhist web patriarchs and matriarchs throwing their right speech bans and cyberlinages around, can we have a deep look at Sweeping Zen? Can I? Can someone? I find it Tutteji worthy satire on a grand scale, especially the clumbsy run of “someone got systematically sexually assaulted in a Zendo now here’s a bunch of apologist non-expert guest authors awkwardly poking at the topic under the umbrella of being buddhist therefore compassionate and correct, lets move on now” posts. It even featured content from TSB to boot.

  26. Tomo,

    Do it! There’s no shortage of these sites. Sweeping Zen is one of the most insidious as far as I’m concerned. They claim to be a critical voice of reason outside the Soto sect. However, their message is still the same. They absolutely cannot think outside the Zendo, if you will. Here’s a question, maybe Zen is fucked up? I sure think it is…from wake up stick to sex abuse.

  27. Craig (#32) – It’s in progress and it is a lot less frantic and mouth-breathy than my comment above but I think the site has some elements that are an excellent structure for dissecting some of the topics that bother me about x-buddhism, or maybe more so internet buddhism (same considerations?) in general.

    Zen is definitely a mess, as seems to be any organised group focussing on personal development that reaches that certain critical mass where organisation overtakes intent. Sweeping Zen itself is becoming a catalogue to help prompt me to a few questions that I want to dig into deeper, like:

    – Why does someone being “buddhist” prompt a reduction of the severity of what they do in real terms? Someone being a Roshi seems to produce a “eeeeh, it’s samsara, what do you do?” kind of reaction. Replace “Roshi” with “School teacher” or “Catholic Priest” and I’m not sure if the rule and calm hand would still apply.

    – Why do x-buddhist sites and their contributors suddenly possess overwhelming knowledge of psychology and sociology at times like this? Careful commentary inside of people’s fields of expertise gets replaced with broad insight into all things the mind with little restraint in regards to deductive reasoning or reflection on social norms, let alone potential impact on the victims or their motivation to speak out.

    – Why the mealy mouthed dancing around the meat of the subject? There’s only so many flowery words and zen platitudes you can throw around before it’s obvious that terms like “Sexual abuse”, “abuse of power”, “predatory practices” or “shit behaviour” or “got his dick out in front of a student” need to come into play.

    – Probably something I’m wrestling with that fuels a lot of these questions, and perhaps when I sit down and do real analysis of the content of sites like SZ I’ll turn out to be wrong and will go sit down in the corner and leave it alone – why do these sites need to exist? For a religion / system of practice that is supposed to focus on direct, authentic experience and pesonal introspection do we need a talking head, gonzo reporting style reflection on all of this? Not to mention the advertising to keep these places afloat just drives more meditation themed junk and questionable texts to market.

    I find it all such a strange structure given what Buddhism set out to achieve. Again, this may be all knee jerk and misinterpretation – I hope to explore that more when I have the time to systematically review the content and themes on the site, but skimming over many of the articles and responses it seems in the right ballpark.

  28. Tomo (33):

    Yeah, my post was kind of ‘sweeping’ in it’s criticism too. I’m fascinated by the online buddhist communities, especially these cyber-sanghas like Treeleaf. As far as Zen goes, it is quite a mess. Aren’t all institutions? 🙂 For being the ultimate essence of buddhism, it sure is fundamentalist, essentialist and metaphysical. Zen masters being beyond human morality. Your questions are right on. My response to these issues was always the opposite. If Zen Masters are raping women, then enlightenment is not all it’s cracked up to be. Of course, then Zen wants to add in metta practice and social justice engagement, which still doesn’t address the issues.

    The all knowing aspect! That’s a great insight too. Great point there. I’m a buddhist now, so I can speak with authority about suffering of the world. As I’m sure you’ve seen on this blog, this is just another aspect of the subtle atman. The bodhisattva sitting outside of space and time giving us all wise advice while actually reifying the suffering of capitalism.

    I know what you mean about potentially being wrong. I’m concerned about that too, but I’m getting better at making arguments and then discerning good feedback from anti-intellectual attack. As far as buddhism’s assumed initial goal, you’re right, x-buddhism seems to get in the way of actual liberation.

  29. Craig (#34), it’s the issues with the institutional aspects of large communities or organisational structures that I think I’m trying to get my head around in this context. There is a lot of assumed power and infallibility that comes with the territory and it can be quite destructive. There’s an immediate parallel with the Catholic church here in some respects – the assumption that as an organisation, you have some right to handle these kind of events internally and outside of public view, that common rights or law aren’t a part of the picture, that your ideals are still appropriate to hold up in the discussions when there are clearly breakdowns in people’s behaviour etc.

    The intent isn’t axe-grindy either, I’m just always frustrated when the reality of a situation is buried under so much rhetoric. Accepting that an individual has failed shouldn’t cause people to step in and try and defend them as a reflection of the underlying tools, techniques and ethics of the Buddhist systems. It’s ok to explore the fact that celibacy often leads to very inappropriate behaviour and that the expectation of adherence forces people past the point of failure in respect to their own willpower and abilities. It’s ok to explore the fact that ideals and rules don’t always translate into tangible outcomes. When outcomes like abuse happen and you try to reconcile it in a way that doesn’t break the “idealness” of your systems ideals, you ignore the situation as it has actually happened and simply perpetuate the kind of myths and fictions that lead to these breakdowns in the first place.

    It’s like sitting on top of the flaming wreck of your car insisting you can still drive the rest of the way, it’s awkward and kind of mental to keep pretending that it’s all ok.

  30. Tomo,

    Totally agree. Trying to deal with abuse in the system in which it happened and which caused it is horrific. I could take that point all the way out to government and economic systems. For example, the US justice system dealing with ‘criminals’ that are created in said system. Another current example is abstinence only sex education.

    Glad to see you posting here. Look forward to hearing more from you.

    Craig

  31. Craig (#36) – That is a definite element of it – there’s a certain point where the system cannot self regulate (for individuals, engineered systems, organisations etc.). On that topic in relation to the abuse in sanghas or parishes, I would love to see a response along the lines of acknowledgement, stepping back from the situation and engaging mediators, counsellors and other resources for all parties involved in order to reach a more equitable outcome for everyone.

    The people teaching (and breaking) the rules, and the commentators invested in sustaining the culture and values that now form a very intimate part of their own lives, cannot possibly engage in an objective way with respect to resolving the issues that come up in these events.

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