Mahesi Caplan

"Whatever you think you are, that's not what you are". Ajahn Sumedho

I trained as a photographer and  happen to love pictures so I have a lot of them.

There are many references here to my monastic past and I suppose it’s because it has been the biggest external influence in shaping my foundations.

As a photographer in the community I am also holding a lot of unpublished images in my drawers I would like to be available to others.

I may appear to have a romantic view of my past from these photos but I am in no way wishing to imply I don’t see issues with the Theravada tradition.

There are plenty especially around the position of woman. This remains troublesome and justifiably brings  some negative regard down on this ancient lineage. 

Traditions are made up of individuals. Tarnishing everybody with the same brush when critiquing them often fails to acknowledge some basic truths.

Such as each person is responsible for themselves within the tradition. They’re often capable of thinking freely and using the situation for the best. Not everyone is necessarily a Theravada robot as many like to imply.

A lot of us found ways of making a “good enough” situation work “well enough” so they received what were the blessings and dodged the issues. While it remains an essentially conservative community there have been plenty “interpreters” that are on the more radical side of the fence.

A struggle between the “literalists” and the “interpreters” has a history in this community as it does in life as a whole. The literalists have tended to stay while the more radical types disrobed. It’s been a creative tension where neither side holds rights to “rightness”.

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