Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ming Yi's Conviction

The ST reported on 7.10.2009 that "Former Ren Ci Hospital founder Ming Yi and his former personal assistant Raymond Yeung were found guilty on Wednesday on charges over an unauthorised loan from the charity's funds to his aide in 2004. Ming Yi, 47, was convicted on four charges, two of them jointly with Yeung, 34. They will be sentenced on Nov 11."
When asked by reporters what he would do now until Nov 11, he replied "Nothing. I will continue with my daily life as I have done before." Despite strong calls from the public and Buddhist community for him to disrobe, Ming Yi had yet to show any intention of heeding them. But in actual fact, Ming Yi had committed 1 of the 4 Parajika offences of stealing and is thus technically no longer a monk even if refuses to disrobe. Parajika are the most serious offences under the Vinaya and warrants expulsion from the Sangha, with no chance of ordination again in this lifetime. These 4 Parajika rules are the same for both the Theravada and Mahayana Vinaya. The only difference is for the Mahayana, there is no recognised Sangha authority to enforce the rules, unlike Theravadin countries like Thailand or Burma.
Ming Yi's current situation is just like that of Devadatta, as described in the Ubhatobhatta Jataka story of the foolish fisherman. In it the monks residing at the Bamboo Grove described Devadatta as one who was not fulfilling the duties of a monk as taught by the Buddha. So he was not really a monk, but somebody who wandered here and there pretending to be a monk. And he was also not a layman, as he had lost the resourcefulness of a lay person. Therefore he was like firewood that has been burned from both ends and smeared with dirt in the middle. Losing out from both sides, no longer gaining the achievements of a monk nor the benefits of being a member of the royal family. Likewise, Ming Yi failed in his monastic duties, broke the precepts and thus can no longer be considered a monk. He was also not a lay man, having gained the wealth and fame he has through the veneration and donations of his devotees. Excuses of being a "modern monk" appear hypocritical to the discerning, and cannot justify his indulgences in worldly luxuries and the 5 sensual pleasures.
In the words of Mr Li Muyuan, chairman of the Buddhist Lodge, if you want to be a "modern monk", it is best to disrobe and wear a t-shirt and jeans instead. As a lay person, you can do business, make as much money and enjoy yourself as much as you want, without fear of anybody criticizing you. But if one remain as a monk, one will be scrutinized by the public, the laity, as well as fellow monastics. Not to mention the invisible Noble Ones and guardian deities in the 10 directions. If Ming Yi has any sense of moral shame and fear of wrongdoing left in him, he should disrobe ASAP and bravely face the consequences of his misdeeds. Only then can there be redemption and repentance for him. May he turn from the darkness and return to the light of wisdom, sadhu.


I swear said...

It is amazing that Ming Yi did not repent and disrobe. Buddhist monk with credit cards, owns expensive properties and other luxuries. What a 'monk'!

Sandy said...

I am very disappointed when i read this blog. Evidently, the most important virtue in my mind that Lord Buddha has been teaching is not being applied here .. and that is showing compassion to all sentient beings. This, i guess, is proof again that no one is perfect.

Wayne Woo said...

Compassion without wisdom is like a foolish mother, spoiling her children by catering to their every whim out of blind love. Wisdom is knowing when to say no, when to use the rod and discipline the children when they misbehave. Do not be a blind person, Sandy.