The Venerable Nyanatiloka Maha-Thera (1878-1957) was an eminent German-born Theravada Buddhist monk who entered the Sangha in Sri Lanka, and became renowned for exact and precise scholarly understanding of that school’s complex Dharma teaching. He possessed the ability to a) understand and contextualise often obscure Pali terms and concepts, and b) correctly transliterate and translate those terms into Western languages. His work regarding the Theravada School is reliable and insightful.
Having established these facts, it is important to understand that a realised monastic is not limited to his or her social role, and that realised members of lay society are equally not limited to their role. There exists enlightened freedom that functions through specific social roles, but which remains completely ‘free’ of any limitations as defined by those roles.
The Buddha advises that all those who follow his path must ‘uproot’ ALL ignorance. This instruction alone proves that the Buddha was a ‘scientist’ and not a religious teacher in the conventional sense.
The modern liberal notion of ‘freedom of speech’ is an error of interpretation for the Buddha, because such speech is never ‘free’ of greed, hatred and delusion in the unenlightened state. In reality ‘freedom of speech’ is the institutionalisation of the freedom to spread greed, hatred, and delusion throughout the world, with no thought for the consequences.
This is why all religion must be removed from politics. Buddhists infected with the bourgeois mentality are not Buddhists at all, but rather fascist stooges!
The venerable Xu Yun (who lived to 120 years old) was in attendance of this meeting when these monks arrived and made their case. He listened quietly to these monks and then hit his palm on the table in an angry manner. He stated that a Buddhist monk and his robe cannot be separated, and that in China, a Buddhist robe signifies the practice of both strict celibacy and vegetarianism – without the Vinaya Discipline – Chinese Buddhism simply would not make sense.