Friday, December 7, 2012

Venerable Luon Sovath in Connecticut of USA


  1. Suspension may be imposed on a bhikkhu who admits to an action that constitutes an offense but refuses to recognize it as an offense; who, admitting to an action that constitutes an offense, refuses to make amends for it; or who refuses to relinquish an evil view (under the conditions described in the Vibhaṅga to Pc 68). The procedures for suspending a bhikkhu are the same as those for censure. The question arises as to what, in this context, making him admit means: that the bhikkhu at first admits to his action and later, only after pressure from the Community, recognizes it as an offense? Or that even after pressure he will only admit to the action and not to the offense? The origin story indicates the latter alternative, for there is no mention of the bhikkhu in question (Ven. Channa — see Sg 12) admitting to an offense. This observation is confirmed by Mv.IX.5.6, which says that if a bhikkhu recognizes an act as an offense but then is suspended for not recognizing the offense, the transaction is not in accordance with the Dhamma. As for the former alternative — where the offender recognizes his offense only under pressure — it comes under the transaction for further punishment.

    The Commentary to Cv.I.33 states that being a maker of strife under the prerequisites for this transaction applies to cases where the bhikkhu in question uses his unrelinquished view as a basis for making strife.

    The restrictions placed on a suspended bhikkhu are the same as those for a censured bhikkhu except that he is told that he can have no communion with the Bhikkhu Saṅgha. In terms of specific added restrictions, this means:

    * he should not consent to a regular bhikkhu's bowing down to him, standing up to greet him, performing añjali to him, performing duties of respect, bringing his seat, bringing his bedding, water for foot-washing, a foot stand, a foot wiper; receiving his bowl and robe; scrubbing his back while bathing;
    * he should not accuse a regular bhikkhu of corrupted precepts, behavior, views, or livelihood;
    * he should not cause bhikkhus to break with bhikkhus;
    * he should not wear the distinctive clothing ("emblem") of a householder or of the member of another religion; he should not associate himself with members of other religions; he should associate himself with bhikkhus (in other words, even though he has no communion with the bhikkhus, he should identify himself as a bhikkhu); he should train in the training of the bhikkhus;
    * he should not stay in a residence or non-residence under the same roof with a regular bhikkhu (residence here apparently means any building built for people to live in; non-residence, any other building);
    * on seeing a regular bhikkhu he should get up from his seat; he should not accost a regular bhikkhu inside or out (of the monastery, says the Commentary).

  2. Pc 69 expands on the meaning of being in communion by stating that any bhikkhu who communes with a suspended bhikkhu (sharing Dhamma or material things), affiliates with him (joining in a Community transaction with him), or lies down in the same lodging with him incurs a pācittiya offense. See the discussion under that rule for details.

    If the suspended bhikkhu abides by the above restrictions, the Community may rescind his suspension at his request. The Canon adds one special note under the case of a bhikkhu suspended for not relinquishing an evil view: If he disrobes while under suspension, the Community should rescind the suspension.

    Suspension is the most serious disciplinary transaction in that it not only removes the suspended bhikkhu from common affiliation, but it can also put him in the position where — if he can gain followers — he can form the nucleus for a more lasting separate affiliation within the Saṅgha (see Appendix V). Because suspension touches directly on the grounds for disputes — what is and is not Dhamma, what is and is not an offense — it may prolong the strife that led to it, and even lead to schism. Therefore it should not be performed lightly. Mv.X.1.5-8 tells of how the Buddha, on learning that a bhikkhu suspended for not seeing an offense had gained a following, went first to the bhikkhus who had suspended him and told them to reflect on the dangers of suspending a bhikkhu: Not only would they be deprived of communion with him, but the act of suspension might be the cause of strife or schism in the Community. Then he went to the partisans of the suspended bhikkhu and told them to reflect in a similar way, adding that one who senses the gravity of schism (§ — BD mistranslates this as "bent on schism") should confess an offense "even if just out of faith in others" so as to avoid the dangers that suspension would entail both for himself and for the Community at large.