Creating a Supportive Social Environment

Ajahn Viradhammo

Creating a Supportive Social Environment

The monastery is a vehicle for creating a supportive social environment for our Dhamma work… We, as a community, as a group of human beings, can uphold certain traditional values; we can honour these values, and we can give each other feedback when traditional values are not honoured, when behaviour becomes unacceptable.

If we see someone who comes to the monastery and is abusive, if we see a monastic who is not living by agreed monastic standards, then that is unacceptable. We need to express our disagreement in an appropriate manner. At the social level some kinds of behaviour are unacceptable.

Our duty as members of this spiritual community is to go to the person who we feel is not living according to our agreed-upon standards, whether it is a lay person or a monk, and say that we have to talk about this, and try to resolve the issue.

Inner acceptance allows for clarity of action. If we are not aware of our inner world, the results will be confused. We need to awaken to and honestly accept our own passions and defilements of mind. This is an inner obligation and commitment.

Self-righteous indignation is a destructive energy which can be used to justify anger, hatred and jealousy. We need the courage to speak out when necessary but we also need the honesty to know our own feelings and intentions.

This reflection by Ajahn Viradhammo is from the book, Seeing the Way, Volume 2, (pdf) pp. 165-166.