Go forth, o bhikkhus !

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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby pilgrim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:56 am

manasikara wrote:When the Buddha sent out that first group of arahant disciples, he was still physically present on earth. The dhamma-vinaya had just been thoroughly expounded by him, and it would have (still) been consistently grasped amongst different (arahant) individuals. Plus it was a time in India where social and spiritual conditions were ripe for that sort of thing.

But if we just decide to send ourselves out preaching, 1). we are not arahants, and thus are not free of defilements unlike the arahants the Buddha first sent out with that exhortation, who were; 2). 2500 years or so on, the dhamma-vinaya is now understood in many different ways, there is no longer the consistency that there was back then; 3). nowdays social and spiritual conditions are not the same as back then. If you just sit in a park somewhere and invite people to come and listen, people will either think you are a charlatan, or the police or council officers will eventually move you on. And if you go from door to door, well which one of us has not been irritated by that, when it was done to us by Christian missionaries?

Different time, different place. Let's not become like Christians who 'push' their religion onto others. Rather let us be of as much assistance as possible, making as much effort as possible to make the dhamma available for people, to explain it properly if asked about it (so, let's study the suttas thoroughly), and to assist and support those that can do these things (such as the bhikkhu / bhikkhuni sangha for eg).

That's my take on it, anyway.

:anjali:

I don't think we can wait till we become arahants before we venture to make the Dhamma available, but I doubt that is your point. In any case, it is premature to debate what the conditions out there are and the effective techniques of propagating the Dhamma. I think at the present time, the intention itself is very much lacking. If the intention is strong, I'm sure we could be innovative enough to think of effective methods. For example, just consider how many monks or lay Buddhists have taken upon themselves to venture into India to teach the millions of Dalit converts? Other religions actively push their delusional beliefs. Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:27 am

pilgrim wrote:I think at the present time, the intention itself is very much lacking.

You really have no clue about the intention in the minds of those bhikkhus who are presently teaching the Dhamma as they see fit. There are many bhikkhus in different Vihāras, working with dedication to teach the Dhamma to their own communities, and often to the wider community. The opportunity to learn the Dhamma is made available, but most people living in the West are not interested (and that includes born Buddhists) — if they were, they would approach bhikkhus to practice meditation or study the Dhamma.

You can see what happens if one invites people to ask questions about Buddhism on a non-Buddhist Forum. The Way of Inquiry. I don't let that put me off — I posted many other threads afterwards to invite discussion.

My own forums have very few visitors — while I am somewhat reluctant to post on Dhamma Wheel because so many come here just to argue, not to learn the Dhamma at all. It is the same on most Buddhist forums.

The Dhamma is not for everyone. Unless someone has a genuine interest in learning, it is ineffective to teach them. Even the Buddha, with all his skill in means, remained silent on some occasions. Without the ability to read minds or know the spiritual maturity of others, any teaching is likely to fall on deaf ears.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby Ben » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:35 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:My own forums have very few visitors — while I am somewhat reluctant to post on Dhamma Wheel because so many come here just to argue, not to learn the Dhamma at all.

I thank you, Bhante, for returning to Dhamma Wheel - despite your reluctance.
Your presence here is greatly valued.
with Metta,

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


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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby manas » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:28 am

pilgrim wrote:Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.


Hi pilgrim,

firstly, I think 'millions' asking for the dhamma might be a little overly optimistic...anyway, regarding the last thing you said: that's not how I feel at all. It's not that I feel no responsibility to provide dhamma instruction; it's that I feel no qualification to provide dhamma instruction.

This is just my personal opinion now, but I would not want to go out preaching until I had tasted the fruit of stream-entry. It isn't enough to just have faith, or learning. We should actually have realization if we are going to spread the dhamma, imo. (And of course I was not saying that we have to be fully-fledged arahants before we can teach, no I did not mean to imply that...) Please do not assume that there are not many of us who would not love to one day, when the time is right, help others to come to the dhamma.

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby manas » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:35 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:My own forums have very few visitors — while I am somewhat reluctant to post on Dhamma Wheel because so many come here just to argue, not to learn the Dhamma at all. It is the same on most Buddhist forums.


Bhante,

your presence here is much appreciated, I want to assure you of that, even if sometimes we stragglers seem a bit stubborn and difficult to instruct. Thank you for taking the time to be here at DW.

:anjali:
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby Ben » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:44 am

manasikara wrote:
pilgrim wrote:Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.


Hi pilgrim,

firstly, I think 'millions' asking for the dhamma might be a little overly optimistic...anyway, regarding the last thing you said: that's not how I feel at all. It's not that I feel no responsibility to provide dhamma instruction; it's that I feel no qualification to provide dhamma instruction.

This is just my personal opinion now, but I would not want to go out preaching until I had tasted the fruit of stream-entry. It isn't enough to just have faith, or learning. We should actually have realization if we are going to spread the dhamma, imo. Please do not assume that there are not many of us who would not love to one day, when the time is right, help others to come to the dhamma.

:anjali:


I think you make an important point! Within my tradition, we're not qualified until we are invited to become assistant teachers. I am not an assistant teacher yet and I don't think myself qualified to impart the Dhamma or give meditation instruction. The one exception was when my assistant teacher friend, gave me permission to teach anapana to my, then, six-year-old son. I feel no rush to become an assistant teacher though serving others is an important aspect of my practice. And there are so many ways that one can serve others and assist in the propagation of the Dhamma.

Monastics need to be supported, meditation centres need people to manage them or work in their kitchens or maintain their facilities or manage courses. One can also donate to publishers such as Pariyatti which helps to keep important but commercially unviable works in print, as one can donate to various Buddhist aid organisations (two are in my signature). One can also support local practitioners by organising regular group sits and visits from teachers. Anyway, some ideas for you to consider.
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


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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby pilgrim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:29 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:You really have no clue about the intention in the minds of those bhikkhus who are presently teaching the Dhamma as they see fit. There are many bhikkhus in different Vihāras, working with dedication to teach the Dhamma to their own communities, and often to the wider community. The opportunity to learn the Dhamma is made available, but most people living in the West are not interested (and that includes born Buddhists) — if they were, they would approach bhikkhus to practice meditation or study the Dhamma.


I do not doubt that there are many bhikkhus, like yourself, doing excellent work. But I believe they are the minority. My point is that bhikkhus who have the zeal to take the Dhamma forward are not plentiful. This is an observation and not intended to be a criticism of the sangha. And regarding the point that one should be a stream enterer before teaching, if all teachers use this benchmark as a qualification, I wonder how many of us here would have encountered the Dhamma.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby plwk » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:43 pm

This is just my personal opinion now, but I would not want to go out preaching until I had tasted the fruit of stream-entry. It isn't enough to just have faith, or learning. We should actually have realization if we are going to spread the dhamma, imo. Please do not assume that there are not many of us who would not love to one day, when the time is right, help others to come to the dhamma.

This tale never fails to leave a smile on my face...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el090.html
After they had exchanged the usual courteous greetings. Upatissa said: "Serene are your features, friend. Pure and bright is your complexion.
Under whom, friend, have you gone forth as an ascetic? Who is your teacher and whose doctrine do you profess?"

Assaji replied: "There is, O friend, the Great Recluse, the Scion of the Sakyas, who has gone forth from the Sakya clan.
Under that Blessed One I have gone forth. That Blessed One is my Teacher and it is His Dhamma that I profess."

"What does the Venerable One's Master teach, what does He proclaim?"

Questioned thus, the Elder Assaji thought to himself:
"These wandering ascetics are opposed to the Buddha's dispensation. I shall show him how profound this Dispensation is."
So he said: "I am but new to the training, friend. It is not long since I went forth from home, and I came but recently to this Teaching and Discipline.
I cannot explain the Dhamma in detail to you."

The wanderer replied: "I am called Upatissa, friend. Please tell me according to your ability, be it much or little.
It will be my task to penetrate its meaning by way of a hundred or a thousand methods." And he added:

"Be it little or much that you can tell,
the meaning only, please proclaim to me!
To know the meaning is my sole desire;
Of no avail to me are many words."

In response, the Elder Assaji uttered this stanza:
"Of all those things that from a cause arise,
Tathagata the cause thereof has told;
And how they cease to be, that too He tells,
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse."

Upon hearing the first two lines, Upatissa became established in the Path of stream-entry, and to the ending of the last two lines he already listened as a stream-winner.
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby pilgrim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:49 pm

manasikara wrote:
Hi pilgrim,

firstly, I think 'millions' asking for the dhamma might be a little overly optimistic...anyway, regarding the last thing you said: that's not how I feel at all. It's not that I feel no responsibility to provide dhamma instruction; it's that I feel no qualification to provide dhamma instruction.


There are at least 6 million Buddhist converts in Maharashtra alone at last count. It has grown considerably since then. Many if not most of them have little inkling of what it means to be Buddhist, have heard nothing of the 4 Noble Truths or the 5 precepts, and have not seen a monk for years.

Ven Dhammika said that at one village he visited, where the villagers identified themselves as Buddhist, all they have to identify themselves as such was a circle of bricks painted white arranged in a circle in their village, with a Buddhist flag planted in the middle. Do you feel you need to be close to sainthood, or wait for your teacher to acknowlege your insights before you are able to tell them a little of what the Buddha taught?

Pls take a look at this excellent example of what one person who has the calling to teach can do
http://www.bodhicitta-vihara.com/

While waiting for wisdom to develop, we could try a little more compassion.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby befriend » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:30 pm

wait to be a stream winner before teaching? why? why not just teach them the suttas, buddhas was more than a streamwinner listen to him. its not like your the only buddhist in the world. someone can learn the basics from you, and if they pass you in insight, they can see a better teacher whom has more insight. if you wait to be a streamwinner you might die before you end up teaching, and that is sad.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby Kare » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:09 pm

befriend wrote:wait to be a stream winner before teaching? why? why not just teach them the suttas, buddhas was more than a streamwinner listen to him. its not like your the only buddhist in the world. someone can learn the basics from you, and if they pass you in insight, they can see a better teacher whom has more insight. if you wait to be a streamwinner you might die before you end up teaching, and that is sad.


This reminds me of a Swedish folksong:

Vänta inte med att sjunga tills du blir gammal
för i så fall så kan det hända sig att du dör
förrän du sjungit en enda sång.

Don't wait till you are old before you sing,
for then you may die
without having sung a single song.

:D

Now just transfer this idea from singing to teaching the Dhamma. :D
Mettāya,
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby manas » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:52 pm

I say this with metta, ok, but will everyone who admonished me for what I said about feeling the need for direct seeing ie stream-entry fruit, before I feel ready to preach, please get out there and preach then? Please do go for it, I will catch up with you. I personally just do not feel ready yet, it's not that I do not wish to instruct others. It's also that to do so now would feel a tad egotistical (for me, anyway). Isn't it written somewhere that one should first learn oneself, before instructing others? Physician heal thyself, as they say.

metta.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby befriend » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:00 pm

manasikara wrote:I say this with metta, ok, but will everyone who admonished me for what I said about feeling the need for direct seeing ie stream-entry fruit, before I feel ready to preach, please get out there and preach then? Please do go for it, I will catch up with you. I personally just do not feel ready yet, it's not that I do not wish to instruct others. It's also that to do so now would feel a tad egotistical (for me, anyway). Isn't it written somewhere that one should first learn oneself, before instructing others? Physician heal thyself, as they say.

metta.




i asked a dhamma teacher to teach in my town, he comes once a month now hundreds of people have learned meditation from this. i put up flyers for this once a month. i show metta meditation to people who want me to teach them, i go to places that need metta and ask them if they want to learn metta. im sorry if i judged you. different strokes for different folks.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby manas » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:15 pm

befriend wrote:i asked a dhamma teacher to teach in my town, he comes once a month now hundreds of people have learned meditation from this. i put up flyers for this once a month. i show metta meditation to people who want me to teach them, i go to places that need metta and ask them if they want to learn metta. im sorry if i judged you. different strokes for different folks.


Thank you for your kind understanding, befriend. Here, a personal tale fromn me:

First came the Christians. Not having met Jesus personally, and not having seen hell directly, they adamantly proclaimed to me: "believe in Jesus or you will go to hell!"

Then came the Hare Krishnas. Not having met Krishna personally, and not having seen krishna's abode directly, they adamantly proclaimed to me: "cultivate love of Krishna and you will live eternally in Krishna's spiritual kingdom of eternal knowledge and bliss!"

Then came the Buddhists.They did not approach me; I approached them. They did not threaten me with hell-fire, or try to shove their teachings down my throat; but when asked, they would assist me in whatever way they could with regard to the Doctrine. And best of all, not having seen, they did not proclaim, "I see"; not having known, they did not proclaim, "I know". They seemed to only speak from what they had personally realized for themselves. That's why I kept coming back, and here I am, twenty or so years later, still a Buddhist.


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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby isle21self » Sat Dec 10, 2011 8:57 am

manasikara I just have to thank you for doing your proper duty as a monk here and having some wisdom and conscience.

Many of you might think it wrong not to preach, but the fact is that unless we know what we're talking about its best to keep your opinions to ourselves. This doesn't mean that if someone asks to be tight-lipped and evasive, but not to try to give too much advice as if one is an authority on the matter. Only an ariya has any certain knowledge of the path enough to give more definitive advice; to start boldy giving it without knowing the subject matter is deceitful and unhelpful. If one truly wants to help others one should first seek to become an ariya then help others to become ariyas. If we are not one we really don't have much to preach do we?

It might seem that monks aren't preaching, but that isn't exactly the truth. Most Theravadin monks aren't preaching to non-buddhists is the fact of the matter. Not that there aren't some, but those who do are few. I think this touches alongside the recent thread about Gombrich's speech to Theravada Council in Thailand. The monks are more than happy to preach to individuals who are already buddhists. They have authority and power over them and the usual problems of self-identity view refy themselves in this environment. Some are even so bold as to make claims that they are ariyas, which in the Vinaya is a parajikka(sp?) offense. I think this might be coming from the Asian-Western dichotomy and the fact that there are more Asian monks. I'm not disparaging all Asian monks for there are many good ones. Unfortunately, they are mostly outnumbered and not as influential. These monks have a more quality over quantity kind of mindset. They simply have neither the numbers nor the power within the sangha to be cleaning house and directing teachings in mass scale.

So we should be more supportive and praising of monks who are more reserved about giving the teaching for understandable reasons. They who don't try to place themselves in positions to which they are unworthy. They who do try to preach only do on the things they feel they have a decent grasp of doing so. This is how your preserve the dhamma is by having monastics who feel responsible not those who are eager to rush into things that are beyond them. The job of the teacher is very difficult especially in this time where nearly all the world seems to find chasing after sense pleasures the most worthy(and sometimes only) pursuit in life.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby befriend » Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:05 pm

so you think jack kornfield, sharon salzberg, josheph goldstein, the dalai lama, thich nhat hanh, pema chodron should keep there mouths shut because there not arahants????
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby manas » Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:50 pm

isle21self wrote:manasikara I just have to thank you for doing your proper duty as a monk here and having some wisdom and conscience.


I thank you for your kind words, isle, but I'm no monk, just an ordinary layperson. In fact a layperson going through a very difficult time at present. So any encouragement to just keep practicing is appreciated, and to your credit.

with metta.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby manas » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:04 pm

befriend wrote:so you think jack kornfield, sharon salzberg, josheph goldstein, the dalai lama, thich nhat hanh, pema chodron should keep there mouths shut because there not arahants????


Hi befriend,

I say this with metta, I am bolding this so that there will be no more misunderstandings of what I said:

I never said that we should wait until we are arahants before going out to preach, only that we should have reached stream-entry. And that is just my opinion, anyway. I'm not claiming that the Buddha said it.

Secondly, if we are faith followers or dhamma followers and not yet broken through to stream-entry, what is wrong with us acting in a support role for others more advanced? Which is what you appear to be doing, in having a monk visit your town. I never said we can't do that! Quite the opposite. I was actually saying that until we have crossed beyond all doubt, we should not preach too much ourselves, but rather refer people on to those who can speak with certainty, and support the preaching activites of those more advanced practitioners. But once again, just my personal opinion, and I'm not imposing it on anyone but myself.

metta.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby befriend » Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:21 pm

manasikara wrote:
befriend wrote:so you think jack kornfield, sharon salzberg, josheph goldstein, the dalai lama, thich nhat hanh, pema chodron should keep there mouths shut because there not arahants????


Hi befriend,

I say this with metta, I am bolding this so that there will be no more misunderstandings of what I said:

I never said that we should wait until we are arahants before going out to preach, only that we should have reached stream-entry. And that is just my opinion, anyway. I'm not claiming that the Buddha said it.

Secondly, if we are faith followers or dhamma followers and not yet broken through to stream-entry, what is wrong with us acting in a support role for others more advanced? Which is what you appear to be doing, in having a monk visit your town. I never said we can't do that! Quite the opposite. I was actually saying that until we have crossed beyond all doubt, we should not preach too much ourselves, but rather refer people on to those who can speak with certainty, and support the preaching activites of those more advanced practitioners. But once again, just my personal opinion, and I'm not imposing it on anyone but myself.

metta.




i was not talking about you.
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Postby chownah » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:34 am

My goodness! What is the big deal about teaching the Dhama......if anyone should ask me if the Buddha taught everything that he knew I would say that in the scriptures there is a sutta that says that the Buddha only taught about the way to end suffering and that I have never seen anything that said he taught everything that he knew...and that I am not the last word in interpreting the Pali texts so of course someone might disagree with me on this....

And thus I would be teaching the Dhamma.......anyone can do this.....it does not take any sort of credential to teach anything anywhere anytime.....but to be a good teacher one must know ones limitations and point out the existence of other points of view and be sure to make that part of every lesson.

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