Do Buddhist Monks Need Leadership Training?

| by Upasiri de Silva

( March 8, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) A news item in the Daily Mirror of 5th March 2013, prompted me to write this essay to question the Mahanayaka Theros of all the Three Nikaya’ s and all other Buddhists, about this Leadership training proposed for the Buddhist Monks by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence with the Bodu Bala Sena on 9th March 2013. Do Buddhist Monks need Leadership training to be assertive monks who can help Buddhist to overcome the problems the lay people and Buddhist are facing now.

What is Leadership Training?

Leadership training is provided for those who need to lead a Team of employees or others to complete a task in accordance to the given specification within Time & Cost while reducing any accidents. In managing very large projects the Project Manager or the Leader needs a very thorough knowledge about, how to lead his tem members to achieve the best results and the goals set for the said project or the task. That special knowledge is call the Leadership and it helps to form a Team of suitable professionals and trade people to manage the project and to give the leadership. In Project Management or managing any given task and it is essential to form a suitable project team. If the Leader failed to select the suitable combination of trade people or professional people the Leader will fail to deliver the project or the Task entrusted to him according to the specifications. To run a project very effectively you need a very good leader who is capable of leading the Team.

Do Buddhist Monks have the above qualities?

Buddhist Monks, by virtue of their training as novice monks and then as “Upasampada” monks, they gather and learn from senior Monks, all the qualities to Lead the lay people, and teach them the Damma according to Lord Buddha’s teaching. In general, most Monks are leaders and the training they obtain as a Novice Monk helps them to practice any task when it come to delivering the Lord Buddha’s Teaching to the lay people and to preach and help the Buddhist to overcome difficulties they encounters in the day to day life, from various elements.

In general most Buddhist Monks has achieved the following Leadership qualities as they follow the teaching in the Lord Buddha and their Teachers and learning the Vinaya Pitaka and other important Buddhist practices and rituals, during their time as a novice monk and later as a trained monk..

Buddhist Monks are very capable of delivering the following without any leadership training as arranged.

  • Monks can create confidence among the lay people,
  • Monks are very frank and always tell the truth whatever the consequences are,
  • If anything goes bad he come forward to take the responsibility as a real leader,
  • Monks are motivators, as they inform the lay people about what Lord Buddha’s has preached and discuss any problems the lay people face in their daily activities,
  • Monks will always use what they have learned from Damma Books and their teachers to educate the lay people,
  • Monks are very patient and try to solve problems as it happens as every thing is not so urgent,
  • Monks understand weaknesses of the lay people and preach them to overcome those weaknesses.
  • Monk will be impartial, initiate and manage any critical or really difficult situation to keep his lay folks together.

Why should Buddhist Monks be given Leadership Training?

Unless the government is practicing to demolish the Budda Sasana and create a different Sasana under the person who is initiating this Leadership Training, there is no need for Buddhist Monks to undergo any Leadership training as they are the Leaders in our Buddhist society. A Buddhist Monk is a Leader, a motivator; adjudicator, Doctor, Judge, and the first person a villager seek advice from when he is in trouble. Monks will settle divisions among the lay people and provide advice when ever the lay person needs his advice.

Why Gota?

As an educator who was responsible in teaching leadership & decision making to University students, I doubt Gotabaya Rajapaksa is aware what Leadership qualities are and how to train the students and the monks to be leaders, when he is still trying hard to learn about leadership.

If Gotabaya Rajapaksa was aware what are the good qualities he needs to be a good leader ( all Army Officers are not Leaders ), and how leaders react when conducting the critical affairs of the State, he should not have used his unlimited powers to direct Senior officers during the final stages of the war, by overriding the Army Commander. Today the Sri Lankan government is trying their best to overcome the mistakes this person committed thinking that he knew what is best by trying to be a leader. Leaders allow others to follow them without giving them direct orders. But he committed the most deplorable sin by overriding the Commander, the only person who can give direct orders to the Army officers under his Command in the front..

If this person new the basic requirements to be a leader he should not have arrested General Sarath Fonseka on trump up charges and charged him for the “White Flag Saga” . Not for all this cruel mistakes he committed, Sri Lankan should not have face all these accusations and the Rajapakse’s may be riding high in the international society. How can a man who has no knowledge about how to be a leader arranges these Leadership classes for the Buddhist Monks. Please leave the Buddhist Monks without taking them in a path of destruction.