Dalai Lama: Good and bad Buddhist monks in Tibetan Buddhism

If we look back, many of the things we did in Tibet were wrong — like sectarianism, not … paying enough attention to monks’ Vinaya rules. If we continue with this kind of system, Buddhism will not exist, will not continue, will terminate one day. In Tibetan tradition we have a saying– in some families, a saying: ‘Oh I have a boy, he’s not very clever, he’s kind of sloppy, let’s put him in the monastery.’ If you do like that, the monasteries and Buddhism will not be in good shape.

So if you want to be a good monk, if you are genuine and determined, then it’s good to become Sangha. And don’t enter Sangha just to find a livelihood there … Monks should be knowledgeable, and hardworking, focused on the Dharma. So then the Sangha will have more respect.

In Tibet, we have a system of monk tax. That means each family has to donate … one child to the monastery. That’s not a very good thing to do but it was passed. Real sangha should be voluntary. So we should not leave everything to custom and tradition. I am saying this out of concern. I personally don’t lose anything … that’s why I’m stressing on these things. We must change our system and should not just carry on with old systems, sort of corrupt and hypocritical ways of our functioning in our older system. – (Day 2, Kalachakra preliminary teaching, 2014 Ladakh; position 1:30, 140,000 attendees)

See also

  • The Monk Scam: Faux monastics prey on tourists in New York City by Daisy Radevsky