SuttaCentral

Should monastic members be "verified"?


#1

I wonder if it is worth considering verification and a requirement of disclosure for monastic members?


A way to know which of us here are monks or lay people?
#2

Is there any reason you ask this? Please PM me if necessary.


#3

I think it would be helpful for members to clearly identify who are monastics and there background. If a monastic required anonymity a non-monastic name could be chosen.


#4

Well, it’s true that there are plenty of people around the place who have dubious credentials. We have had one such case here in the past. However, it’s not our job to police users, as long as their behavior is okay. Perhaps if you see a monastic join, and you’re interested in their background, just politely ask them?


#5

That sounds like a good idea. Thank you. :slightly_smiling_face:


#6

I can show you my official monastic card ;), and yes part of Sri Lankan Tradition is Monks literally have an ID that tells who their preceptor was, what caste nikaya they are from, and all that. I wonder if its the same in Thailand?


#7

Yes, in Thailand they have a similar thing.

It is not compulsory but if a monastic starts feeling serious about his choice (he is not planning on ordaining for just a few months) he may get registered with the Ministry of Culture’s Department of Religious Affairs . The name of the document in Thai is ใบสุทธิ (bai-sut-thi’).

The document below presents a overview of the Administration of Thai Sangha over the past few centuries.

admin_thai_sangha.pdf (187.9 KB)

In this video a bogus bhikkhu is questioned by a householder where is his bai-sut-thi’ as he is seen suspiciously going pindabaat in Bangkok.

The bogus contemplative grows aggressive towards the end of the recording, asking “do you want to die? huh?”.


#8

Hi Bhante
Your name is showing, as is your picture and status. The monastery were you reside is also given. That is quite adequate in my opinion. :slightly_smiling_face:


#9

I was in Sri Lanka recently and there I bowed to a certain Vietnamese monk who was in Theravada robes as soon as I learned that he is senior to me. Later I learned that he belonged to a new Vietnamese tradition that was neither Theravada nor Mahayana(!) I was very curious about that and he was very generous with information about it (actually a very interesting inclusivist and universalist tradition that sprang out of no earlier traditions! It’s growing rapidly in Vietnam and crossing its borders!) Anyways; where ever he goes, he said, he dresses like the monks in that place, just to blend in; he does not keep wearing his original robes. While I disagree with this practice, I said nothing! I actually even thought of bowing to him a second time before he leaves. Why not? for judging by the generous description he gave of the life of a monk in his tradition, I thought he was more of a “real monk” than many other “verified” Theravada monks I know, and to whom I may have to bow regularly! I considered him to be a fellow monk, and that was all that matters!

I think that any effective verification process with sure results regarding the monastic identity of a participant in the forum will have to be extensive and aggressive and, before all, exhausting. Just like in real life, how do we know if the robes are actually draped over an ordained person? And if he presents the card, how do we know it is not fabricated, or whether his ordination procedure was correct and complete?! And if it was, how do we know he did not commit all four parajikas already? After all, even policemen are trained to be ‘judicious’ in their suspicions!

As per sattajatila sutta, only behaviour, as observed over a period of time, will give rise to confidence or suspicion, and especially from the perspective of one who is not so highly endowed neither with intuition nor with analysis! And so long there are no special “privileges” awarded to monastics in the forum for their mere monastic identity, then let us only have good wishes and forgiveness for those who may be feigning a monastic identity and thereby carrying the karmic burden of dishonesty. The only reason I would wish those people expelled would be out of a desire for what is beneficial to them also!

And where does it all come from? How did it ever happen, that “bhikkhu”, a word really meaning “mendicant” and “no body in the world”, became such a person as to be considered “privileged”, and to the extent that warrants verification?! What drives a person to feign a “mendicant” identity!!!

It’s all twisted isn’t it!


#10

Our own Migalaṇḍikampi samaṇakuttakaṃ!

It’s just like in the vinaya!


#11

They should have that for the New York City “monks” lol.