In my country (Sri Lanka) government is about to bring out a new set of laws to govern Buddhist councils. This kind of a law has never existed in my country and being a Buddhist country there is some speculation about why only one religion is effected by this new law.

There are some fears from monks about government trying to shut up the religion & it's power over people even though some are ready to examine the whole thing and come up with modifications.

There is a line about putting the "Monk imposers" in jail. And some fear this might be a bate to take down Buddhist organizations and Monks who speak against injustice.

The public literally has no clue about what to say or do. Most likely people will oppose it and there is a big potential that this might lead to some serious outbreak of violence and religious conflict.

Here are some links from news web sites about the whole thing:

So far it is very dreadful.

What should be the response to this kind of a law in any country?

How to deal with government involvement in religion?

  • I would love a response from Ven. Yuttadhammo or Ven. Samana Johann
    – Theravada
    Jan 13 '16 at 23:15
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    It's not clear what you're asking -- because you ask about "this kind of law" and "government involvement" but you haven't referenced any news article or document, which identifies what laws, what Buddhist councils, what imposters, and/or what government involvement in religion. The subject (i.e. what you're asking about) might be clearer to you than it is to others.
    – ChrisW
    Jan 14 '16 at 0:01
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    Atma would say that the question stays well, Mr Therevada gave just a sample to "Buddhist councils and government involvement?" and specific question details at the end: "What should be the response to this kind of a law in any country?" & "How to deal with government involvement in religion?". Of cause he could but the sample under "Sample" so to keep even astray in this current matter (you see how fast that happens) a little bit limited.
    – user7586
    Jan 14 '16 at 3:57
  • Thank you for the kind advice i will try to find some. @ChrisW
    – Theravada
    Jan 14 '16 at 18:45
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    I Googled and didn't find any English-language news that matched your description; but Samana Johann gave a sort of timeless answer, which seems independent of the law in question.
    – ChrisW
    Jan 14 '16 at 21:37

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

Sangha - Business is Sangha - Business and laymen - business is laymen business, yet lay people do not conduct to any precepts that keeps them stay away from Sangha business and of course the views of laypeople had since ever an impact on the behavior of the Sangha, at least many of the Vinayas rules have been formulated after laymans critic (it this was proper).

But Sangha needs to conduct on staying away of what ever laymen business. Doing different is a heavy fault, Sanghadisesa 13. Yet, how could Sangha even come in certain situations like you mentioned is not having violated the Sg13 at first place? Do they leave in dependency on certain people or groups? They do and so they have their problems which will not and before they do not give up there comfort they gain within this dependency. But they would, in line of there defilement not be able to do and simply live a live according to Vinaya.

It is in no means intended by the Buddha that the Sangha seeks for coalition with lay peoples interest and totally against any independency if worldly institutions would act as regulation.

The reality, how ever looks different, since the Sangha at large is merely unable to act and move in those days already and there have been lot of positive interventions of Kings and wordily leaders through the history.

One might not forget, although it looks wonderful that there are countries with thousands of monks and thousands of monasteries, that this is actually a sign of strong corruption of the Sangha, or let Atma say, of most.

If Atma takes the country where he dwells he would say that 95% of what ever communities, monks, monasteries are far away form the heir of Dhamma-Vinaya and the institutions are at large means for a livelihood, nothing else. Livelihood needs regulations and with that such things like monk-passports, licenses, allowances... start to grow.

At least there is as big tendency of desire for governing from monks and even more strong by laypeople, of both have interests in becoming and material gain.

In this world of defilement and darkness, there is no way that such as Sangha survives, and it is sure, as far as Atmas awareness can reach, that this is the last generation of holy life within Buddhas institution called Sangha. That does not mean that its physical appearance will disappear, no, it will even grow, but its ways and purpose is gone.

Governments even have no other chance as to hardily regulate everything since there are less monks who stick either simply with Vinaya or have certain own virtue already. All they will do is making politics and oppose the state. They would not dear to leave a place where the conditions are no more given for a holy life.

The most harmful action is if Sangha uses people to fight each other or to make propaganda. If the Sangha carries out correctly they would not even give certain statements but simply act in sphere of there possibilities. At least they have no rights at all and do not hold rights but at the moment they start to do so, they are subject and object of all problems and quarrels.

Even in old times, it has been on invitation and guidance of great kings who had not so much dust in the eyes, that councils take place. Today the time of real Sangha councils are gone. If there would be a meeting in line of Dhamma and Vinaya, it would be the last meeting. Where ever Monks meet today, they are no more interested in correct each other but simply on how to maintain "harmony" so that the corrupt movement can go on and livelihood can be done without disturbing each other.

There have been in the past, always small particular Sanghas, which earned rightly the respect of the leaders. For example the forest tradition in Thailand which is differently treated in all aspects. But for the large, the folk Buddhism institutions, there will be no future without been strictly governed since both, the intention and the fruits of it are of worldly interest.

As for somebody involved as a citizen in such a matter, Atma would point back to the first line: Look simply of is your own business and do not get involved, do not take position aside of simply precepts and doing what is virtuous.

To be able to live a kind of live is not a matter of right but a matter of past deeds (merits) and of conduct one sticks to. There is no more safety of all that stuff, if one does not hold any right or weapon and anybody who tells different did or do not live such a live.

So there is nothing to fear for those who walk the right path and stay independent by letting go, but of course all reason to fear for those who took, take and like to take the instruments of the Buddha as a worldly means.

Atma would on this occasion remember on 1. on the reminder of King Asoka:

That the True Dhamma Might Last a Long Time

and 2. on the urgency to practice, things are not for sure and you don't know if town and forest will be on fire tomorrow or you even live that long. So don't waste your time with politic, Upasaka Theravada and stay far away for any protesting monk and monks who make even sight signs of interests in world and politic! They are poison and dangerous, not even as dangerous as lay people can be, for the Dhamma as well as for the worlds normal harmony.

If you have certain possibilities to influence others, like family and friend, lead them generosity, virtue, discernment. No need to care of things out of your range. You'd better develop gratitude in regard of those holding power and give you many possibilities they would not need to give you our they would have the power to take it from you.

Danger is born from intimacy, society gives birth to dust. Free from intimacy, free from society: such is the vision of the sage.

Who, destroying what's born wouldn't plant again or nourish what will arise: They call him the wandering, singular sage. He has seen the state of peace.

What did the Buddha and all his disciples give up fist, when they entered the holy life? Home, clan, tripe, country, king, family... Show be even a hand full of monks or laypeople in your country or in other countries who have gone that far.

Dhamma is about to demount the pole and demount the flag. Yet, not long time ago foolish people even created such as a Buddhist flag. People have no sense at all today and Buddhism is at large nothing but national socialism, of interest of becoming and being and social means to get have a large support by those who actually do not understand the way of Dhamma.

So in that regard, if you like to play a sample, give up the flag and give up to make a label like that of a particular school your identity. That would how you would act for the sake of peace.

Nobody is able to govern you, if you do not identify here and there. And when the rulers of certain territory like to bind you, if you are not attached to it, what hinders you to walk on?

Government trying to get those who have worked out independency for themselves under control try something that does not work, they could only cut of there own possibilities to get taught a way the real liberation. Its like if people think they can put certain monks under TOS. The are fools. In such groups, what they have, are corrupt monks. Look where ever you find a certain Buddhist State online. Its all the same. Those who like to carry flags will met together with those seeking refuge in flags. They live in their own made prison, yet still there is an opening in their protective castle:

Your Temple, your palace and your borders

(Note: this answer has not been given with the agreement to be means of trade or the purpose of/for trade and/or keep people trapped and bound. How you handle it lies in your sphere, but does not excuse the deed here either.)

  • Thank you very much for the kind answer Bhante, i will add some articles if if i can find.
    – Theravada
    Jan 14 '16 at 18:47
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    Better read some suttas or spend with practicing, Upasaka Theravada. Really not of use, the new. They are everyday coming and going, people are born, grow old, become sick and die, what ever news there might be.
    – user7586
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:00
  • Yes Bhante, it is sad but true. We are left with no option but to watch Dhamma fall before lies and shamelessness. Lord Buddha was absolutely right indeed "It is not the outsiders that bring the fall of Buudhism,it is the ones who call themselves buddhists". I needed to ask you something bhate, I run a Blog for people who are interested in learning Buddhism. I only upload teachings from good respected teachers and i do not say a word of my own there. i am suprised to see the flow of people from all around the world,it is only a month 1/2 days old. I was wondering if there are any....
    – Theravada
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:14
  • of your sermons on the internet that i can find. I already attached a lot of videos by Ven. Yuttadhammo and the visitors love them. I do this site because i cant stand that i am helpless in all of these things. This site is what i do to make up my mind at least i will be able to make up my mind that i did something to help a Good Buddhist. Please let me know if there are any sermons from you on the internet.
    – Theravada
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:17
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    No such things, no camera, do youtube. Just some written words. What every you like to take but less of formal thing, Upasaka might find on in the online "monastery" sangham.net. But be sure Atma is global not such as a respected one and not a teacher (and not really jewellery you would attract many) The Buddha is the teacher. And there are talented present teachers, many, really many. There is no better help that to simply look at your self, only by your sample you would touch others much more effective.
    – user7586
    Jan 14 '16 at 19:47

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