Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Holy man resigns over sex scandal

Pārājika (defeat): Rules entailing expulsion from the Sangha
Should any Buddhist ascetic — participating in the training and livelihood of monks, without having renounced the training, without having declared his weakness — engage in sexual intercourse, even with an animal, he is defeated and no longer affiliated.

The Buddhist monastic code is very clear. Other traditions -- say, for example, Catholicism -- are less decisive. There is no excommunication even for homosexually raping multiple children, although advocating for women to become priests is an offense entailing excommunication.

Hinduism is a diffuse amalgamation of schools with no central power structure, which leaves a lot of room for abuse or "independence" when it's most convenient. So it comes as some surprise that outed guru Nithyananda has taken the drastic step of "resigning" from public life. We don't, of course, believe for a minute that he'll be able to stay out of the limelight now that he's been bitten by the twin bugs of fame and money.

India "holy man" resigns over sex scandal
Habib Beary; Edited by Bappa Majumdar (Reuters, Oddly Enough)
BANGALORE, India - Swami Nithyananda, a Hindu holy man with thousands of followers across India [and the US and Europe], resigned as head of a religious organization on Tuesday after police began investigating his role in a sex scandal, officials said.

Video footage allegedly showing the head of Dhyanapeetam, or the knowledge center, frolicking with two women angered hundreds of devotees who tried to ransack his center outside the southern city of Bangalore this month.

The 32-year-old Swami has denied any links to the women and said the tapes were doctored. But the police are investigating and have asked people to come forward with evidence. This month has been particularly bad for India's self-styled holy men with Indian police arresting one for running a brothel involving air stewardesses and college students, while charging another with kidnapping a minor.

Nithyananda, who has big politicians and movie stars as devotees, announced his resignation in a statement. "I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time...," he said on his website. [Keyword "indefinite," as in "until things die down"].

Nithyananda has spiritual centers in Europe and the United States and Dhyanapeetam runs free medical centers and supplies food to the poor. Source

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