Social Action

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Social Action

Postby contemplans » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:07 pm

Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?

Also is there any presence in the Buddhist community in the pro-life movement? Are there any Buddhist silent meditation sit-in "protests" of the killing, or something like that?
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Re: Social Action

Postby DarwidHalim » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:54 am

There is a documentary movie about a monk living in the northern Thailand and dedicating his life for the children in the golden triangle area.

You can find it in YouTube with English subtitle - Buddha's Lost Children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SddTz1roO_o

I have no idea whether he is an Arahant or not. I think only he himself can know it.
Last edited by DarwidHalim on Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Social Action

Postby reflection » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:12 am

Many Arahants are known to teach the dhamma after their enlightenment, I think that also counts as a social action. Service to the needy. ;)

I don't know of any Buddhist pro-life activists, this is mainly a Christian thing. In Buddhism there is no clear for or against with respect to abortion; to my knowledge it's mostly seen as a situation dependent decision.
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Re: Social Action

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:09 am

Abortion has an "official" position by the Theravada which comes from the vinaya. Because a monk who helps in an abortion is comiting an offense of expulsion, the Theravada is against abortion. It could be easily argued to be a breach of the 1st precept.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Social Action

Postby cooran » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:13 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Abortion has an "official" position by the Theravada which comes from the vinaya. Because a monk who helps in an abortion is comiting an offense of expulsion, the Theravada is against abortion. It could be easily argued to be a breach of the 1st precept.


Hello all,

What were the Buddha's views on abortion?
Practicing Buddhists observe the five precepts as a foundation for the moral life that spiritual progress requires. The first of these precepts is to "refrain from destroying living creatures." Because Theravada Buddhism regards human life as beginning at the moment of conception,[1] killing a fetus implies killing a human being, making abortion patently incompatible with the first precept.
One indication of the seriousness with which the Buddha regarded abortion is found in the Vinaya, the collection of texts that define the conduct and duties of Buddhist monastics. According to the Vinaya, if a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni should facilitate an abortion, or if a woman should get an abortion based on their recommendation, then that bhikkhu or bhikkhuni is immediately expelled from the Sangha, having broken one of the four cardinal rules of monastic conduct.[2]
Notes
1.
According to the Pali texts, conception occurs when three things are simultaneously present: the mother (i.e., a fertile egg), the father (a sperm cell), and the gandhabba (the kammic energy of the being that is seeking rebirth). If all three successfully coincide, human consciousness arises in the fertilized ovum and rebirth occurs. For a description of this process, see the Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta (MN 38). See Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of this sutta (along with helpful footnotes) in "The Middle Length Discourse of the Buddha" (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995).
2.
This rule (Parajika #3), which applies equally to bhikkhunis as well as bhikkhus, states:
Should any bhikkhu [or bhikkhuni] intentionally deprive a human being of life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): "My good man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death would be better for you than life," or with such an idea in mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise the advantages of death or incite him to die, he [she] also is defeated and no longer in communion.
— Pr 3
The word-commentary to this rule makes clear that abortion counts as "intentionally depriving a human being of life." See The Buddhist Monastic Code, Vol. I
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... l#abortion

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Re: Social Action

Postby danieLion » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:45 am

contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?

Hi contemplans,
Venerable Maha Boowa:
http://thaihelp.tripod.com/emain.htm
&
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Boowa
Daniel :heart:
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Re: Social Action

Postby reflection » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:55 am

Thank you guys for the information on abortion. :thumbsup:
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Re: Social Action

Postby Bankei » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:13 pm

danieLion wrote:
contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?

Hi contemplans,
Venerable Maha Boowa:
http://thaihelp.tripod.com/emain.htm
&
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Boowa
Daniel :heart:



I found it very interesting that a forest monk would engage in an economic rescue package like this. I thought it was more for political and nationalistic reasons than 'helping' the country.

Bankei
-----------------------
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Re: Social Action

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:33 pm

contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?

Why is it important to you that they're an arahant?
D :heart:
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Re: Social Action

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:36 pm

Bankei wrote:
danieLion wrote:
contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?

Hi contemplans,
Venerable Maha Boowa:
http://thaihelp.tripod.com/emain.htm
&
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Boowa
Daniel :heart:



I found it very interesting that a forest monk would engage in an economic rescue package like this. I thought it was more for political and nationalistic reasons than 'helping' the country.

Bankei

Is it possible to divorce social action/"helping" from economics/politics?
D :heart:
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Re: Social Action

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:33 pm

danieLion wrote:Why is it important to you that they're an arahant?


Mostly to discern whether there is a trend throughout history in Buddhism of someone who achieved enlightenment tending to the material welfare of his fellow man, i.e., corporal works of mercy. Trying to analyze that state in which they are in, because if it is before enlightenment they may be swayed by "lower passions" / clinging. When the rubber meets the road, do any of them contribute to the material welfare of man either directly, or indirectly by the encouragedment of spiritual sponsorship?
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Re: Social Action

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:52 pm

contemplans wrote:When the rubber meets the road, do any of them contribute to the material welfare of man either directly, or indirectly by the encouragedment of spiritual sponsorship?


The Dhamma is still around... just that the arahant's self is nowhere to be found. (The same with Tathagata.) I think that's why the Bodhisattva ideals were developed some time ago... because that sort of thing is difficult to understand, properly.

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Re: Social Action

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:21 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
contemplans wrote:When the rubber meets the road, do any of them contribute to the material welfare of man either directly, or indirectly by the encouragedment of spiritual sponsorship?


The Dhamma is still around... just that the arahant's self is nowhere to be found. (The same with Tathagata.) I think that's why the Bodhisattva ideals were developed some time ago... because that sort of thing is difficult to understand, properly.

:anjali:


I am not talking about feelings/intentions of goodwill or compassion, but actual exterior solicitude for the bodily health of others. You know, like an arahant initiates the opening of a hospital, or actually spends years feeding people from his bowl. Something along these lines. Corporal works of mercy. The one person given is close to what I am thinking. My thought comes from a Catholic saint, Padre Pio. A mendicant monk who could bi-locate, heal people, read souls, received the stigmata, literally fought with demons, and for some reason with all this high spiritual attainment wished to build a hospital for the sick. It was one of his life's goals.
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Re: Social Action

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:29 pm

contemplans wrote:I am not talking about feelings/intentions of goodwill or compassion, but actual exterior solicitude for the bodily health of others. You know, like an arahant initiates the opening of a hospital, or actually spends years feeding people from his bowl. Something along these lines. Corporal works of mercy. The one person given is close to what I am thinking. My thought comes from a Catholic saint, Padre Pio. A mendicant monk who could bi-locate, heal people, read souls, received the stigmata, literally fought with demons, and for some reason with all this high spiritual attainment wished to build a hospital for the sick. It was one of his life's goals.


There are quite a lot of hospitals around... did Padre Pio himself single-handedly build them? (This is a clue, by the way.)

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Re: Social Action

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:43 pm

The problem in answering your question, contemplans, is that arahants do not go around announcing themselves as such.

Claiming a supramundane state, for a bhikkhu, to lay people is forbidden under the VInaya. Claiming a supramundane state, for a bhikkhu who has not attained to those states, precipitates the penalty of parajika (expulsion from the order).
kind regards,

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Social Action

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:24 pm

Ben wrote:The problem in answering your question, contemplans, is that arahants do not go around announcing themselves as such.

Claiming a supramundane state, for a bhikkhu, to lay people is forbidden under the VInaya. Claiming a supramundane state, for a bhikkhu who has not attained to those states, precipitates the penalty of parajika (expulsion from the order).
kind regards,

Ben


I understand this. Neither did Padre Pio say he was going to heaven. It was declared after he died. And his spiritual experiences were reported to others only when he was required by his superiors. The point is that in Catholicism he is held as a saint, and worked many miracles in his life which accord with a high spiritual attainment. While Buddhism lacks that structure in its organization to declare arahants, it still would have some anecdotal evidence to at least give an idea. Like the Ajaan before it supposed to have been arahant according to people. The point I am getting at is whether the highest attainment in Buddhism ever results in material support of other humans material sufferings.
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Re: Social Action

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:42 pm

I think a much more relevant question is "are adherents of Buddhism are involved in social action/material support for those in need?"
And the answer to that is yes. You will find two very worthwhile Buddhist charities by following the links in my signature.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

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Re: Social Action

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:23 pm

It would be relevant in a sense, but that answer is pretty easy. I am more interested in someone who is free from clinging in a teaching which ultimately has no regard for the body, tending to the bodily needs of others in some way. This includes the fact that this person would not longer need to do it for any spiritual reward. Someone who has attained the Nibbana-element with residue left feels pleasure and pain, but I wonder what would propel him in his will to act if he wasn't "touched" by the sufferings of others in sympathy and/or empathy.
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Re: Social Action

Postby bodom » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:37 pm

contemplans wrote:It would be relevant in a sense, but that answer is pretty easy. I am more interested in someone who is free from clinging in a teaching which ultimately has no regard for the body, tending to the bodily needs of others in some way. This includes the fact that this person would not longer need to do it for any spiritual reward. Someone who has attained the Nibbana-element with residue left feels pleasure and pain, but I wonder what would propel him in his will to act if he wasn't "touched" by the sufferings of others in sympathy and/or empathy.


See this:

"He who attends on the sick attends on me," declared the Buddha, exhorting his disciples on the importance of ministering to the sick. This famous statement was made by the Blessed One when he discovered a monk lying in his soiled robes, desperately ill with an acute attack of dysentery. With the help of Ananda, the Buddha washed and cleaned the sick monk in warm water. On this occasion he reminded the monks that they have neither parents nor relatives to look after them, so they must look after one another. If the teacher is ill, it is the bounden duty of the pupil to look after him, and if the pupil is ill it is the teacher's duty to look after the sick pupil. If a teacher or a pupil is not available it is the responsibility of the community to look after the sick (Vin.i,301ff.).

On another occasion the Buddha discovered a monk whose body was covered with sores, his robe sticking to the body with pus oozing from the sores. Unable to look after him, his fellow monks had abandoned him. On discovering this monk, the Buddha boiled water and washed the monk with his own hands, then cleaned and dried his robes. When the monk felt comforted the Buddha preached to him and he became an arahant, soon after which he passed away (DhpA.i,319). Thus the Buddha not only advocated the importance of looking after the sick, he also set a noble example by himself ministering to those who were so ill that they were even considered repulsive by others.


Ministering to the Sick and the Terminally Ill
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl132.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Social Action

Postby Ben » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:04 am

contemplans wrote:I am more interested in someone who is free from clinging in a teaching which ultimately has no regard for the body,

It is not true that the Dhamma is "a teaching which ultimately no regard for the body"

This includes the fact that this person would not longer need to do it for any spiritual reward.

"Spiritual reward" can only manifest in those who have a selfless motivation. If one is motivated to assist thinking they will get some benefit from it, then the motivation is based in greed and conceit.

Someone who has attained the Nibbana-element with residue

See my statement above regarding identifying those who are genuine arahants.

left feels pleasure and pain, but I wonder what would propel him in his will to act if he wasn't "touched" by the sufferings of others in sympathy and/or empathy.

How about compassion, equanimity, sympathetic joy and loving kindness?
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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