Great lay-masters of Theravada

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Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby zen man » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:24 am

Hello

I'd like to know if there has been great lay-masters in the Theravada-tradition in history? People at Dharma Wheel mentioned several modern lay-teachers but how about in history? Thank you.
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby cooran » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:05 am

Hello zen an,

This is an A to Z List of both ordained and lay Theravada teachers - easy enough to distinguish one from the other:

http://www.dharmanet.org/teach-t.html

I hope others will add their favourites.

With metta,
Chris
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby zen man » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:56 am

Thanks Chris. The info I'm looking for is about lay-masters before, say 1900's. Have there been any or many?
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby cooran » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:24 am

Hello zen man,

Some here from 1879 - maybe others have some other information....
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/history.html

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:12 pm

zen man wrote:The info I'm looking for is about lay-masters before, say 1900's. Have there been any or many?


Not just Theravada, but most of Buddhism was in decline from the 1100s to the 1800s. When Alexander Cunningham re-discovered the Maha Bodhi Temple in 1880 it was in complete disrepair, partially even covered up from the forest. Centuries of warfare and colonialism took its toll on Buddhism. But the good news is that there was a complete revival of sorts from the mid-1800s to what we have today.
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 6:10 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
zen man wrote:The info I'm looking for is about lay-masters before, say 1900's. Have there been any or many?


Not just Theravada, but most of Buddhism was in decline from the 1100s to the 1800s. When Alexander Cunningham re-discovered the Maha Bodhi Temple in 1880 it was in complete disrepair, partially even covered up from the forest. Centuries of warfare and colonialism took its toll on Buddhism. But the good news is that there was a complete revival of sorts from the mid-1800s to what we have today.


I've read this sort of thing before. If Buddhism was give a fresh reboot in the 19th century, then why are so many folk beliefs and superstitions still prominent? Was it a situation of sutta studies and meditation nearly dying out, but devotional services, superstitions, etc hanging on?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby daverupa » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:00 pm

Jhana4 wrote:I've read this sort of thing before. If Buddhism was give a fresh reboot in the 19th century, then why are so many folk beliefs and superstitions still prominent?


Still prominent? Likely due to more than one thousand years of inertia.

Plus, the reboot hasn't really been free of problems and disagreements, has it? And what about folk beliefs in the Nikayas themselves?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby zen man » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:26 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
zen man wrote:The info I'm looking for is about lay-masters before, say 1900's. Have there been any or many?


Not just Theravada, but most of Buddhism was in decline from the 1100s to the 1800s.


Most of Buddhism? That's a vast field. I know that zen-trad has had lay-masters (and ordained) during that period. I am trying to find out how defined Theravadan Buddha Dharma has been kept by monks or has it lived among laypeople as well. I know but a little of Theravada but I have a gut sense that 99% or more of the tradition has been kept up by monks. is this correct or wrong?
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:38 pm

daverupa wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:I've read this sort of thing before. If Buddhism was give a fresh reboot in the 19th century, then why are so many folk beliefs and superstitions still prominent?


Still prominent? Likely due to more than one thousand years of inertia.


Why wouldn't sutta study and meditation also have inertia?

An author I conversed with via goodreads who is living in Sri Lanka told me that a good deal of their heritage was preserved in the mountains where invaders can't easily reach.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:16 pm

zen man wrote:Most of Buddhism? That's a vast field. I know that zen-trad has had lay-masters (and ordained) during that period. I am trying to find out how defined Theravadan Buddha Dharma has been kept by monks or has it lived among laypeople as well. I know but a little of Theravada but I have a gut sense that 99% or more of the tradition has been kept up by monks. is this correct or wrong?


It couldn't have been kept up by monks alone. The monks are dependent upon the lay people for lunch dana, requisites, monasteries, etc.

As far as Zen and Mahayana during that period, there was Dogen in the early 1200s and if I recall correctly, no one else of that stature for quite some time. And then the sacking of Nalanda University and going into ruins. I think most of Buddhism was in decline from 1100s to 1800s, with perhaps very few exceptions.
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby Kingdubrock » Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:55 pm

Goenka, as you might know is a lay teacher, but his teacher, U Ba Khin, and his teacher, Saya Thetgyi (who was taught by the legendary monk Ledi Sayadaw) were also lay teacher so their lay-lineage goes back to the turn of the century and possibly a little before that. In Thetgyi's biography it mentions that prior to meeting Ledi Sayadaw he also learned from lay people, but also that they were rare and didnt command respect as easily as monks. He became very well known though, and through U ba Khin and Goenka that lineage has continued.

I would also imagine that throughout history, so long as there were great meditation masters they conceivably had lay benefactors as students at the very least.

http://www.vridhamma.org/Teachers-1
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Re: Great lay-masters of Theravada

Postby zen man » Tue Aug 20, 2013 5:33 am

David N. Snyder wrote:It couldn't have been kept up by monks alone. The monks are dependent upon the lay people for lunch dana, requisites, monasteries, etc.


Yes but this is not the question.

Goenka-lineage, check.
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