Monday, November 05, 2007

turning over the bowl

Young Monk with Alms Bowl
Originally uploaded by zrim.
One has to recognize that within the Buddhist sangha, there is only one act that is permitted by their rules of conduct, and that is patta-nikkujjana-kamma, the turning over of the bowl. And it's the proper response of the sangha as the penultimate rebuke of laity when they threaten the teachings of the Buddha or threatened to split the sangha.

And so, in a sense, by turning over the bowl, they were rebuking the very foundations of the way in which this regime was trying to claim it had the moral authority to rule. And I think that that makes it more difficult after this crisis settles down in whatever way. It will make it impossible for them to return to the everyday forms of legitimacy, making, and seeking that they had been doing.

Ingrid Jordt, assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, former Buddhist nun, and author of Burma's Mass Lay Meditation Movement, speaking on Speaking of Faith, Burma: Buddhism + Power of the monks who turned over their bowls this last September in Myanmar.

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