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  • Mary Dumka
    started a topic consensus

    consensus

    Dear Bhante, After reading "The Buddhist Contribution to Good Governance" by Ajahn Brahm, the Board of our local Buddhist group would like to switch from a voting system to a consensus system. I tried to find, in the Vinaya, a description of the process of how the Sangha comes to a consensus. I couldn't find it. Can you offer me a reference(s) of where to read about this. With gratitude, Mary Dumka

  • Bhikkhu Sunyo
    replied
    In the meetings we either vote and let the majority decide - or on bigger topics we try to discuss things until we all agree. That's not so hard to do since there's only about 20 monks. The main thing is that no monk should be the "big boss" who decides everything.

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  • Mary Dumka
    replied
    Consensus

    Originally posted by Venerable Sunyo View Post
    Hi Mary!

    That' a good question. I haven't really studied this but I know that such things are likely to be found in the Khandhakas (see here ).

    I'm not sure if there is one section that tells monks how to make decisions in general (there probably is) but I do know of sections where the general idea is applied to a specific situation. Take this for example (it's about restoring a monk who was temporarily suspended because of bad conduct):

    "“Since, monks, that monk has fallen and was suspended but sees and is restored—well then, monks, achieve unanimity in the Order for settling that case. And thus, monks, should it be achieved: One and all should gather together, both the ill and the well, leave of absence should not be declared on account of anyone. Having gathered together, the Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk, saying: ‘Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. Concerning that case about which there was for the Order strife, quarrel, contention, dispute, schism in the Order … differences in the Order—that monk has fallen and was suspended, but he sees and is restored. If it seems right to the Order the Order should achieve unanimity in the Order for settling this case. This is the motion. Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. Concerning that case … and is restored. The Order is achieving unanimity in the Order for settling this case. If the achieving of unanimity in the Order for settling this case is pleasing to the venerable ones, they should be silent; he to whom it is not pleasing should speak. Unanimity in the Order for settling that case is achieved by the Order. Dissension in the Order is put down, schism in the Order is put down. It is pleasing to the venerable ones; therefore they are silent. Thus do I understand this’.”

    See https://suttacentral.net/en/pi-tv-kd...-in-the-sangha.

    If later on I find a better passage I will post it here.

    I hope this helps.

    With kindness,

    Sunyo
    Dear Venerable Sunyo. Thank you for your reply. I skimmed the Khandakas. There didn't seem to be any mention of how consensus was achieved....the Buddha just exhorted the Bhikkhus to attain unification. But, it is clear the consensus is not the only way decisions are made.....for misbehavious, there is the application of a rule. In some cases voting tickets are issued and the majority rules. I wasn't thinking along these lines. I was thinking of projects the Board wants to carry out or new policies etc....how to achieve consensus on these items. Can you make any general comments of how this is done in the Sangha during Sangha meetings? With gratitude, Mary Dumka

    Leave a comment:


  • Bhikkhu Sunyo
    replied
    Hi Mary!

    That' a good question. I haven't really studied this but I know that such things are likely to be found in the Khandhakas (see here ).

    I'm not sure if there is one section that tells monks how to make decisions in general (there probably is) but I do know of sections where the general idea is applied to a specific situation. Take this for example (it's about restoring a monk who was temporarily suspended because of bad conduct):

    "“Since, monks, that monk has fallen and was suspended but sees and is restored—well then, monks, achieve unanimity in the Order for settling that case. And thus, monks, should it be achieved: One and all should gather together, both the ill and the well, leave of absence should not be declared on account of anyone. Having gathered together, the Order should be informed by an experienced, competent monk, saying: ‘Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. Concerning that case about which there was for the Order strife, quarrel, contention, dispute, schism in the Order … differences in the Order—that monk has fallen and was suspended, but he sees and is restored. If it seems right to the Order the Order should achieve unanimity in the Order for settling this case. This is the motion. Honoured sirs, let the Order listen to me. Concerning that case … and is restored. The Order is achieving unanimity in the Order for settling this case. If the achieving of unanimity in the Order for settling this case is pleasing to the venerable ones, they should be silent; he to whom it is not pleasing should speak. Unanimity in the Order for settling that case is achieved by the Order. Dissension in the Order is put down, schism in the Order is put down. It is pleasing to the venerable ones; therefore they are silent. Thus do I understand this’.”

    See https://suttacentral.net/en/pi-tv-kd...-in-the-sangha.

    If later on I find a better passage I will post it here.

    I hope this helps.

    With kindness,

    Sunyo

    Leave a comment:

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