The Buddhist Monk's Discipline: Some Points Explained for Laypeople, by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
It now remains only to say a little about how bhikkhus are regarded by laypeople in Siam at the present time. In this matter, as in so many others, one may perceive two extremes and a profitable middle course. One sort of extreme attitude which is sometimes found (more often in the West than in Siam) is that of unqualified praise of certain bhikkhus. In the eyes of those laypeople who follow him, he can absolutely do no wrong. It is as though they are bewitched by the yellow robe and, out of faith (or sometimes from less noble motives), will hear no word against their idol and see no imperfection in him. He is arahant, a bodhisattva or by whatever other name they like to glorify him! Some amongst them out of delusion, imagine that all those who wear the yellow robe are automatically arahants and so lavish a bhikkhu with praise such that if his head is not turned and his heart not corrupted by such flattery, it will be a great wonder. Such sweet doses of "spiritual" praise are very liable to cause a personality-cult, rather then devotion to the Triple Gem.
The other extreme, which is much less common, is the sort of drain-inspector's attitude to a bhikkhu's life. It is the very critical, probing examination of a bhikkhu and his way of doing things, which springs out of the root of hatred. Slander is often employed as well so that small offenses of omission and commission by a bhikkhu become magnified into mountains of iniquity. Untrue stories are eagerly chewed over and added to the unwholesomeness, and perhaps the people pride themselves upon the benefits which they are bringing about by making public what they regard as hidden crimes.
In Siam, neither of these two extremes is prevalent. People tend to be respectful of bhikkhus and samaneras but, unless particularly devoted to a teacher, do not lavish devotion upon those they do not know. There are, after all, about a quarter of a million men and boys wearing robes in Siam; the quality of bhikkhus in such a large Sangha, very naturally, varies considerably. On the other hand, laypeople generally shut their eyes to small faults of bhikkhus and rarely criticize. This is quite proper since criticism is of no avail unless it can raise the other from unskill to skill. A teacher has much power over both his monastic and lay disciples, but a layperson rarely possesses such ability. It is well to reflect about kamma and how each person is — "owner of kamma, heir to kamma, born of kamma, bound by kamma, determined by kamma" — for such reflection cultivates equanimity. Each person trains himself, a bhikkhu according to his knowledge and ability and a layman likewise.
Thus, we have all bhikkhus and laity alike, a great debt of gratitude to Lord Buddha who has "made known the training rules for bhikkhus founded upon these ten reasons:
For the welfare of the Sangha,
For the comfort of the Sangha,
For the control of unsteady men,
For the comfort of well-behaved bhikkhus,
For the restraint of the pollutions in this present life,
For the guarding against pollution liable to arise in a future life,
For the pleasing of those not yet pleased (with Dhamma),
For the increase of those pleased (with Dhamma),
For the establishment of True Dhamma,
And for the benefit of the Vinaya.
Ayam dhammo ayam vinayo idam Satthu-sasanam
This is Dhamma, this is Vinaya, here indeed is the Teacher's Instruction.