The Delinquency Under Sanctification In Buddhism And The Evil Nature Of Human Being

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According to the Buddhist, the nature of human being is no good or bad and therefore, moral education is indeed character education. As a result, growth environment and the character education given in that environment play a critical role in formation of moral mindset of a person. Moreover, Buddhism followers share a belief that “mind by nature is pure, and it is not a subject that can be soiled”, which further consolidates the goodness nature of human and blame human being’s unmoral behaviors and illegal activities as a lack of character education. That means though a person commits a crime, his/her mind is actually pure and not soiled, but only his growth in character and behaviors lacks proper education. Therefore, with an appropriate character education, a person will properly become a good citizen with pure mind accelerated to be moral behaviors.

However, I have been curious about the validity of this belief and the human nature, whether it is good or bad. There have been more and more cases in which monks in Thailand, a land of Buddhism, were arrested due to their transgression for their self-development. In some other cases, some monks even sanctify themselves to conducts many inappropriate acts under the name of Buddhism, which causes extreme damages in not only Buddhism follower’s properties but their mental health as well. What are the reasons for the action of these monks, who grew up under the character education and moral education within the sanctuary of Buddhism? They are supposed to have purest mind and calmest behaviors, never swear to anyone, no need to talk about committing a crime. Does this violate the goodness in human nature or, indeed, human nature turns out to be evil, not angel?

What kind of crime that is commonly reported to be committed by Buddhist followers in general and monks in particular

The list of crimes that Buddhist followers in general and monks in particular committed and were reported to the society definitely surprises thousands of people and it will have a significantly detrimental effect of perception and perspectives of society members towards Buddhism. Usually, crimes committed by monks belong to the groups of the most bizarre, brutal, and inhuman unacceptable acts even for a human being, including sexual related, killing people, and hardly understandable activities towards dead bodies, or corpses. Hearing any normal individual, rather than Buddhist followers and monks, blamed for any of these offenses is already an enormous shock for any person. However, it is a truth that Buddhism related individuals did shock the whole society by these above-mentioned cruel acts.

In late October of 2000, Abbot Adhikan Arn Wattanadhammo was arrested by Thai police when he was in an attempt to destroy all evidences related to the death of a woman in the around neighborhood, which include the victim’s surname-on-rings and blooded clothes. The 46 year-old monk was later blamed for the death of the woman, who had been raped before found in a septic tank. This case in 2000 was indeed the biggest faith crisis ever witnessed for Thai society and it almost pushed the existence of Buddhism in this Buddhist country to the edge of extinction.

Another serious case also reported in Thailand in the same period was that a monk in one of the most well-known pagodas was blamed for his abusing and insulting acts towards dead people, who were sent to his pagoda by their relatives for liberation by being embedded in the chanting of Buddhist scriptures. Whenever chanting for the dead in the evening, the nameless monk tried to proceed sexual assaults toward them, including unclothing the dead body and having sex as known as necrophilia.

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Additionally, there are several cases that cannot be ignored, including stealing early dead babies and grilling them for “placenta oil” on purpose of serving for unofficial magical rituals with fellows; being disguised with a cover of a powerful senior colonel to dispute for power and go one night with at least three women at the same time.

What can be the reasons of this situation in Thailand in particular and in other Buddhist countries in general, even in others like the U.S.A and Canada where some offensive case were recorded too?

The purpose of being a monk and the destination on the way of following Buddhism

Before discussing the reasons for the case of committing monks, it would be good to review about the perspectives, opinions, and doctrines of Buddhism, including the Four Noble Truths, the Reincarnation, and the Liberation. According to Buddhism, human is kept in the recycle of birth and death (the Samsara) throughout the reincarnation due to the impermanent ambition (in the four noble) in daily life such as appetency, property, and fame. Therefore, the only way to escape from the endless cycle to liberate toward the state of nirvana is to follow Noble Eight Fold path and finally become enlightened.

The four noble truths are Buddhist doctrines focusing on the dukkha, which means suffering, being painful, or incapable of satisfying own desire. The first truth is about the definition, characteristics, and conformations of dukkha that consists of physical pains and metal pains. While the physical pains are pains from birth, senescence, disease, and death, the mental pains are all from individual’s uncomfortable thinking such as being hatred, under pressure of gossips, breaking up with lovers, under the pain of losing family, etc. The second truth is about the origin or the cause of the dukkha, including craving, anger, delusion, and attachment. For example, desire for fame causes us to work hard – leading to pain in health if overdone, to palm – leading to be hatred, to scarify family (attachment) – leading to torment. The third truth is about cessation of dukkha by trying to expel and eliminate all the craving, anger, delusion, and attachment. Finally, the last truth is about the way to end dukkha, which indeed is to follow Noble Eight Fold paths.

According to Buddhism, there are total six different worlds of existence. The heavenly, the human, and the demi-god collectively form the first set of three worlds considered as good. The animals, the hell and the hungry ghosts collectively form the second of the later three worlds considered as evil. A life cycle of an individual starts at birth and end at the death and after that, that individual is reincarnated into one of the six existing realms. This pattern of rebirth and belonging world of existence change is continuously running until the individual realizes the enlightenment in Buddhism, which is the nirvana state of floating freely without any desire, craving, delusion, attachment, and understanding the true insight into “nothing” – no permanence and no reality. The choosing of which existence world will be the next destination of reincarnation is based on the concept of “karma”, which is all about the causality, the orientation of collective actions during life.

If the individual can do numerous good behaviors and actions like loving others, caring others, helping others, he/she will be highly reincarnated into one of the three good existence. On the other hand, if the individual do many bad actions instead of good ones like murdering others, being fraud, stealing property, he/she will be highly reincarnated into one of the three bad existence. However, no one can do all the good things without purposes and no one can do all the bad things without purposes. This lead to the continuation of the reincarnation. The liberation from this continuous recycle is therefore not about doing good or bad things but about removing all the purposes leading to them. In other words, liberation is the enlightenment of no attention towards purposes of all actions, freeing self from the cycle.

Committing monks are just in recycle of reincarnation

Now, reflecting all the cases of monks committing a crime to the doctrines of Buddhism can be a good start to explain their bizarre, brutal, and inhuman unacceptable acts. First, monks are also just human following Buddhism, learning Buddhist doctrines, and practicing them by chanting Buddhist scriptures so they are on the path of obtaining enlightenment to become the nirvana state. That means they are still in the recycle of birth, and this life of them is a result from the collection of their actions in the previous cycle before reincarnation. Being a monk to be respected by others could mean that their previous life accumulated lots of good actions and behaviors. This would be the reason behind their actions that they are learning Buddhism and they know the truth of their previous life.

Therefore, they understand that doing good things does not mean coming close to the nirvana state, which reduces their motivation to do good things. That also means, doing bad things and good things are nothing different toward being enlightened, which enhances their motivation to do bad things in accordance to their own desire, ambition, and wish. Since approaching towards nirvana is not something easy to obtain, those monks did choose to give away from it and satisfy themselves. Their behaviors are more likely to be facilitated as they are monks and no one would ever think of them doing these serious bad things. This is undoubtedly an obvious motivation for them to commit a crime under the cover of holiness. Additionally, since approach to nirvana is not easy, it results in some own creating extreme ways of practicing Buddhist scriptures. If this were not well controlled by strong enough mind, the monks would easily become abnormal in terms of emotion and behaviors.

For example, in an interview, one of the greatest monk of meditation in Thailand, Luang Pho Chah Supatto confirmed that escaping from sexual related thought is one of the most challenging tasks for all monks to be in nirvana state. He noticed that one of the most bizarre way to being away from appetency is to stare at the corpse for a long time and think about the origin of life. They even keep watching a corpse beside a photo of a woman-wearing bikini to emphasize that every single individual will soon die and be decayed until only the bones left and we are all the same. This could be an explanation why some monks even did have a sex with corpse.

If those monks practicing the strange way of seeing corpse are not strong enough, their emotion will be abnormal and not only they become emotionless but also cannot get away from appetency, all of which collectively can lead to their behaviors.

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