The above article entitled ‘Buddhists Behaving Badly’ appeared on page 3 of the Tuesday edition dated the 18.6.13. Astonishingly, this story takes up around three quarters of a page. It is not an original, or even a new story, but rather a report lifted from Youtube. The story evolves around apparently high-ranking Thai Buddhist monks flying in private jets, and wearing designer sunglasses. It may or may not be a troubling story for Buddhists, but the Metro reporter responsible for the story – Nicole Le Marie – demonstrates no knowledge of either Buddhist or Thai culture.
‘Of course, the act of physically changing one’s environment for another inevitably has the consequence of a change of mind itself. For many ordinary beings this change of mind through experience is simply the process of the cognising of new sense-data – to be stored alongside similar sense-data previously acquired. For the Buddha himself, the change of physical experience led to the development of the immense urge within him to seek the answer that reconciled all physical experience, regardless of the nature of that experience itself.’
‘In the mean time Charles Luk was training in the Tibetan Buddhist (Vajrayana) lineages of Kagyu and Gelug under one teacher – the Tulku of Xikang – namely the Venerable Hutuktu, who was of Mongolian ethnic origin. Xikang is of course Xikangsheng (西康省) which is sometimes written as ‘Sikang’, and translates as ‘Western Abundance Province’. Now no longer in existence, it was once a province of easternTibet(Kham) controlled by the forces of the Republic of China. Today, part of this former province is in eastern Tibet, whilst the other part is in the western Sichuan province. This area, although comprised of a Tibetan majority, is known for its small Mongol ethnic grouping. During this time, Charles Luk was initiated into the secretive technique known as Phowa – or the method of the transference of consciousness at the point of death, to a Buddhafield (i.e. rebirth) of one’s choice. His other great Buddhist teacher was Ch’an master Xu Yun (1840-1959) – from whom he inherited the dharma of the enlightened lay-person which is believed to go back to Vimalakirti – an enlightened contemporary of the Buddha.’
‘Buddhism was tolerated however, despite some historical ups and downs, but leaving home to become a monk has always been a difficult affair. It still was in 1858 when master Xu Yun decided to leave home and pursue the Buddhist monastic path. As his father was a government official, Xu Yun was expected to follow in his footsteps, get married and produce a son to keep the family name of Xiao going. Even though he had expressed spiritual inclinations to his father, his father would not give permission for him to leave. Instead his father arranged for a Daoist teacher to come to the family home and teach Xu Yun internal and external qigong – or ‘energy work’.’