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flirting Buddhist monks; Zen is not Theravada

An interesting story at "The Thai government said Tuesday it was investigating claims that supposedly celibate Buddhist monks have been using a U.S.-based social networking Web site to flirt with women."

However, the headline of the article is "Zen Flirting?" Which prompted me to send the following note:

While I'm sure the author of the "Zen Flirting?" headline ( meant no disrespect, the form of Buddhism practiced in Thailand is not Zen. Indeed, in some Zen schools it is not uncommon for monks to marry.

Mentioning Zen in a connection with the Theravada Buddhism found in Thailand would be rather like headlining a story about some scandal in the Catholic Church with a pun about Billy Graham.


You see what's happening here. You are trying to get people to think in terms other than sound bites, catchphrases, and slogans. All I can say is keep fighting the good fight--which you'll do anyway.

Most people have very loose and tenuous connections between concepts--at best--which is to say if they even exist at all (a situation which holds more often than not). Well, damn it, if it's Buddhism, then it *must* concern Zen. Since the media caters to the lowest common denominator, it has to be this way. Any given news item must be predigested and formatted into any number of generic catchphrases that play upon widespread stereotypes before it will be considered fit for print.To inject any sanity, rationality, or logic into headlines (or articles) would be utterly foreign to the purpose of the news profession in general, and as such, that author would see his readership dwindle right fast.

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