Wednesday, 24 September 2014

An American monk bringing Burmese Dhamma to the US

Bhikkhu Cintita with Burmese monks and novics

A recent article in Wisdom Quarterly describes the homecoming of Bhikkhu Cintita to the Sitagu vihara in Austin, Texas. 

The blog quotes from another article in The Statesman by Eileen Flynn, a friend who visited the Bhante while he was still in Burma. The American monk is hoping to bring a culture of monasticism back to the US, as Flynn writes:
   The ritualized interaction also nurtures humility and reverence among the lay people who bow before the monks. They're bowing to the robes, not the person, Cintita said. The monastic lifestyle allows monks to pursue spiritual understanding Buddhists associate with wisdom and compassion — ideals worth bowing to.
   In Myanmar, he said, monks are "the most visible sign of Buddhism."
And this is how Cintita believes monasticism, whether Christian or Buddhist, can help Americans find their spiritual moorings.
   "Monastics stand for the laity (and for each other) as exemplars and also as reality checks," he told me. "As such they have a subversive influence on the laity, to curb its natural tendency toward unskillful indulgence of various forms.