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Why Ven Ming Yi is still highly regarded by his supporters

by Aik Theng Chong, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 8, 2010

I write in reference to the article ‘More Moral Integrity Please’ It seems that the writer of the article have already passed his ‘guilty’ judgment on Ven. Ming Yi since his conviction by the Singapore Court of Laws.

If he needs to know why the devotees of the Foo Hai Monastery which he is still the Abbot, are still behind him, here are some of the comments posted in the article ‘What is the big fuss about defrocking the Venerable Ming Yi.’ The article is on ‘Buddhism Wisdom Bliss’, a Singapore Buddhist forum site.

“I think, we've all forgotten the good deeds that Ven. Ming Yi did to the Buddhist community and to Ren Ci Hospital. He served as the Secretary-general of SBF for quite a number of years, and did a lot of good things during his tenure. I know because I was a devotee at Foo Hai Monastery, and Ven. Ming Yi was my first Refuge Teacher. I really don't understand the reasoning behind SBF's stance now. If they wanted to discipline him they could have done it before he was sent for detention, why wait till after the temple's celebratory dinner in order to do so? It really makes no sense to me, personally.”

“An acquaintance put it quite aptly in Facebook: So sad to see this happening. I cannot understand why these people just cannot give ven m.y. some space for him to be comfortable and give him a chance to move forward. Who is perfect in this world? Is it not because of our imperfection that we now have to strive and practice for perfection? If not, then we would have been buddhas and great saints now. Even if he had made mistake and done wrong in the past, the government had taken their actions and he had already served his dues. Why is there another set of community (formal, informal or as individual) coming up to try to pass "judgment" or even demand for an apology. What is the objective? Is it to boost one's ego?? Don't forget that whenever we point our index finger at someone (wrong), we always have 3 other fingers pointing back at us. Where is the compassion that we stress so much and learn in our faith?”

“They (the devotees) are fiercely defensive. Reasons for being so supportive are as follows:
1) They witnessed what Ven. Ming Yi had gone through when he built Foo Hai Monastery from a rundown temple. According to them, today's Foo Hai does not come easy. Ven. Ming Yi had gone through a lot of hardship (in terms of raising funds and hard work monitoring when rebuilding).
2) They witnessed what Ven. Ming Yi had gone through when Ren Ci was a poor hospital. Again, the hard work Ven. Ming Yi put in to raise funds (he contributed from his own pockets) and building it to today's Ren Ci.
3) They had seen the other side of Ming Yi which we have not seen. There was a couple approached Ven. Ming Yi many years ago to adopt their son as they could not afford to raise their child. Ven. Ming Yi brings the child up personally and did not send the child to orphange.The child is still in the temple. He is a teenager now.”

“I understand from my friend that the ceremony and dinner were suggested by the overseas Buddhists. My friend guessed that it is to cheer Ven. Ming Yi up after the unhappy incident. It was not Ven. Ming Yi's idea. Some said actually nobody intend to take disciplinary action against him till public outcry about the dinner. So, they are not sore-eye or did it on purpose but they have to answer to the public.”

No doubt, this issue has split the Buddhist community in Singapore, with many very unhappy Buddhists labeling him with all sorts of names and terms. But as Buddhists who believes in the Triple Gems, lets gives the robes he is wearing some respect. Hopefully he will eventually also come forward to clarify himself.

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