interesting good points.
You have a Direct Message with some questions & comments.


If Power is for Ponzi, perhaps Responsibility is for Right Livelihood.

To build a hierarchy, simply promote those who say “No” when asked if they want the job. I was a horrible manager when I wanted to be one. I was tolerable when I didn’t want to be one.


It occurs to me that if some organization or roles do NOT emerge, groups fail to coalesce… and if organization or roles become too dysfunctional for too long, groups fall apart. And this may be a feature, rather than a bug, of group dynamics. Certainly a factor if one was a founder/designer/organizer/reformer/patron of groups intended to persist.


… I would read books on this; I can think of several monastics I’d enjoy reading on this topic. By individual article or in an anthology.

I would also enjoy reading D&D writers on the theme.


Interesting discussion of hierarchy in the OP and the rest of the thread.

There is a very head-on criticism of some traditional institutions at the end of the essay, which seems to be it major point, but there also seems little inclination to engage here with this here. It is difficult to disentangle respect for traditional practices and respect for the power of patriarchy. I would like to congratulate Bhante @sujato for highlighting this matter.

It happens to resonate with the issue, raised in the Watercooler, about Ayya Khema’s erasure from the history of Wat Buddha Dhamma, which she was instrumental in founding. … Now, there is a Buddhist woman who found her voice!!!

An emerging concern is how, as Buddhist institutions in the West put down roots, they can protect themselves from developing dysfunctional and/or patriarchal hierarchies.


And that is it in a nutshell. :peanuts:

Especially when we have seen some of the most “radical” and “progressive” movements (eg. Dharma Punx fall into the same trap. The gap between modern and ancient patriarchies is tiny indeed: in a Facebook page, Noah Levine (the self-described “punk” of Dharma Punx) says the “only” teacher he fully trusts is Ajahn Amaro, a white male patriach of an organization that chooses to oppose equality for women.


In order to disentangle we need to know about it in detail.

As the Buddha taught us to understand the operation of causes and conditions, so in the same way we can apply this method to Buddhist or any other organisations and the many tasks or goals they have.

I’m emphasising this so that we can move beyond belief systems and falsley attribute cause and effect. We have to see things for what they are.

If you seriously want to look at this, I’d suggest looking at alternative models of organisations that work (good luck coming up with a definition of what is success :smiley: ) seriously, it’s not that hard. And then comparing component aspects between a variety of models. I believe that the best model will be a hybrid and flexible and perhaps having different models operating simultaneously across the organisation.

I seem to remember doing a paper on this some long time in the past…


Which is not really a model in the sense of a clearly defined theoretical concept. More organic, evolving, listening and adapting.


yes and no :smiley:

Yes because it is adaptable, no because there is an ongoing relationship between certain things, statement of purpose/goals, methods of decision making between a specified group of individuals etc

If everything moves and there is no core or anchor what-so-ever, it is just co-operation. This is fine on small scales, but not for anything very complex or where reliability is required. Just my 5 cents worth… :upside_down_face:


I presume it’s not about Buddhist groups, but is it worth digging it out?


all went to the tip, a couple of years ago :slight_smile:

Much better things to do now :thaibuddha: :dharmawheel: :relieved:


I don’t conduct teaching via PM, but happy to see your comments here on the forum.


I was asking questions of a friend. Your responses were informative.



There is a real hierarchy based on spiritual attainment and that is of the four noble persons. If a student recognizes superior attainment in a teacher, then the relationship goes beyond friendship and demands abandoning familiarity. This is not something accepted in the west but is entrenched in Asian culture.
The method of assessing a teacher is described in MN 95:

“When, on observing that the monk is purified with regard to qualities based on (greed, aversion) delusion, he places conviction in him. With the arising of conviction, he visits him & grows close to him. Growing close to him, he lends ear.”

In the modern context reading replaces these things.


I have a Teacher, excellent in all ways. I have good friends, some deeply educated and experienced in the Path. I have enough insight and resources to keep me going, forward on this Path.


It is recommended you go and stay in a monastery for the establishment of a practice. A beginner sits somewhere on the progression between the untaught ordinary person and the stream enterer. That position may only be structured into the mind by a period of withdrawal from the current of conventional reality, and where the perversion that the impermanent is permanent can be challenged, and a new foundation laid.


Hey Rose, I am really happy to hear that. These are all things that are hard to find, so go you! :fireworks: :pray:


:pray:Thank you, Bhante, for the encouragement. May we all be so fortunate, able to recognize what we have and need, and Rightly do do do until we’re done done done. :grinning: :hourglass_flowing_sand: