This is a tough and important question with no easy answers. If there were some guaranteed system for definitively determining whether some group or teacher is going to lead people to liberation that would make life a lot easier!
One thing to look for in a group is, do the longtime members seem kind? Don't get distracted by whether they seem smart or ...
Responsibility in Theravada Buddhism falls into two categories - practical and absolute. In an absolute sense, we only have two responsibilities:
“bhante, imasmiṃ sāsane kati dhurānī”ti?
"Bhante, in this religion, how many duties are there?"
“ganthadhuraṃ, vipassanādhuranti dveyeva dhurāni bhikkhū”ti.
"The duty of study and the duty of ...
Sangha means different things to different people.
Some people who "take refuge in the sangha" are referring to all the enlightened beings who have ever lived and their refuge is in being inspired by the example of such beings.
Some are referring to the community of ordained monks and nuns and they look to the monastic community for teachings of the ...
Take a look at Ajahn Lee's autobiography, page 16 and onward.
His practice slackens, he grows disillusioned with being a monk, and he begins an obsessive debate within himself about whether to disrobe or not:
But looking at the state of my meditation, I could see that my practice had
grown slack. I was becoming more and more interested in worldly ...
Just in case you are more of a beginner:
I would think that all of the sects that make up Buddhism consider their own teachings to be original and genuine, regardless of what others think. So if you don't yet have a working understanding of the various sects within Buddhism, that would be a great place to start to see if there is one that you are drawn to. ...
There is no way around it. Sexual coercion and abuses (minor or otherwise) are reprehensible and they should be addressed.
For you to have compassion is wholesome, but it should not prevent you from taking the necessary measures. Your compassion should open your eyes on the fact that (1) you might not be the only one victim (2) the person responsible of ...
There have always been bad men robed as monks. If we have clear moral discernment, we will avoid them.
There are many evil characters and uncontrolled men wearing the saffron robe. These wicked men will be born in states of woe because
of their evil deeds.
It would be better to swallow a red-hot iron ball, blazing like fire, than as an immoral and ...
When meeting other practitioners or teachers, always ask yourself - do I want to become like them? Do I want to look and behave like them in 5 years' time?
If they represent qualities you would like to master, stay with them. If you think you can trust them and learn something useful from them, stay with them until you feel you can't learn anything else. ...
When Lord Buddha's wife Yashodhara also joined Sangha (become bhikkhuni), what happened to her ?
As part of the Bhikkhuni order nothing special or noteworthy incidents through the Buddha acknowledged her past contribution to his enlightenment in realising the Parami.
And like anybody else she aged, decayed and passed away. On passing away she was truly ...
You don't have to join a physical Buddhist community or temple. Instead you can use online resources for learning and be part of virtual Buddhist communities on the Internet. You can also practice the Noble Eightfold Path on your own.
A classic book for a beginner to read is "What the Buddha Taught" by Walpola Rahula, which can be downloaded here.
How did the Buddha handle such situations in his time?
There are two famous schisms in the time of the Buddha; the Devadatta schism and the Kosambi schism.
In the former case, new, inexperienced monks were led astray by bogus teachings and the Buddha sent his two chief disciples to explain the truth to them.
In the latter case, the Buddha tried to ...
It depends on which Buddhist tradition that particular temple belongs to.
To avoid rampant anti-Japanese racism in America stemming from the 1940s, when Japanese Americans were placed in internment camps, Japanese Buddhist branches like Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu conformed themselves to a more western model of creating religious spaces when they settled in ...
Choose the middle between all extreme contrasts.
If you are going too fast, go slower.
In your meditation you might choose a kind of meditation.
Then you would try to keep yourself on doing only that one thing you have choosen.
You would be disturbed by thoughts or feelings and might not keep yourself on one point.
This is OK. This is meditation: if you ...
If they support you then it is OK. You should ask for support according to their faith and ability.
Normally supporters and family are the same words in pali.
It is listed in the Metta sutta as family "kulesu", often translated as donors.
However, one should live a modest life and ask for only what one needs. Asking for sangha needs is much better. It ...
The term is vague and (perhaps except in academic history of religion usage) pejorative.
See Cult for a partial list of organizations/adjectives associated with the word 'cult':
acts of violence
The word "cult" has always been ...
The line between cults and regular groups is not always clear cut. Groups are more or less cultish, so judgment must be exercised as to what level of cultish behavior you are willing to tolerate.
But what denotes cultish behavior? Here's a good checklist for starters.
What about Buddhist-specific cults? Here are some questions to ask...
Does the leader ...
For years my sangha was audio recordings and books. I came and went from a couple of IRL (In real life) sanghas. I always found the experience of meeting and talking with like minded people to be beneficial. Even if only like minded in interests and/or curiosity.
There were both Buddhists and non-buddhists in one sangha, but they shared things in common. ...
First a bit of background or context -- just in case you didn't know.
So apparently, as well as the suttas, there's something called the vinaya i.e. the code of Monastic discipline. These are (or include) many of dozens of rules which the Buddha established for monks -- and "following the vinaya" is one of the things that a monk is supposed to do (...
This translation (of DN 16) includes this footnote:
In the earlier edition of this work, mahapadesa was rendered as "great authorities." It is now known that the proper meaning of apadesa is not "authority," but "reference" or "source." Besides, from the passage it is clear that there are only two real "...
This is a different angle; but one worth considering as part of this overall topic. This is a passage from the Visuddhimagga page 110-111.
Three bhikkhus came to the elder, it seems. One of them said, “Venerable sir,
I am ready to fall from a cliff the height of one hundred men, if it is said to be to
your advantage.” The second said, “Venerable ...
This Controversial 'Buddhist' Teachers & Groups page
includes these references in its "Useful information in English" section:
Freedom of Mind Center; quite a collection of information on cults and their page on cults in general, explaining the BITE model
How to spot a Buddhist cult
Stripping the Gurus: Sex, Violence, Abuse and Enlightenment by ...
According to the Wikipedia article about Sangha,
It's a Pali word meaning meaning "association", "assembly," "company" or "community"
It usually means the monastic community of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns
As a separate category, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment (for example Sotāpanna), are referred to as the ariya-sangha ...
There was an organization founded in 1903 in Germany:
But only to study Buddhist philosophy was for some Germans not enough. They wanted to organize themselves in Buddhist communities in order to practice Buddhism and to promote Buddhist teaching. In 1903 Karl Seidenstucker (1876-1936) founded the first German Buddhist organisation in Leipzig, called "The ...
When you meditate you get either positive, negative or neutral experiences. Early on in can be very negative and bizarre experiences to a novice meditator. Whatever the case the main and most grave mistake any meditator can make is to loose awareness and equanimity in facing the experiences.
If you maintain awareness and equanimity in facing all experiences ...