Dear Dhamma friends,
I'd like to share another reason or benefit for Wat Phra Dhammakaya's (WPD) orderliness and cleanliness, and its ceremonies.
TRobinson465 wrote:...we emphasize things like orderliness and cleanliness, and we really emphasize our monks being disciplined. The reason we have such a structure is
1. to uphold the faith of the laypeople by ensuring the monastics observe model behavior and
2. to keep things ordered because we have tons of people and a system of structure is necessary to get thing done.
Another benefit for WPD's orderliness and cleanliness is that they would aid the mind in calming down during meditation.
Back in 2014, I joined WPD's short-term ordination program (IDOP), and I was taught by my teaching monks that keeping things neat and tidy will help in calming the mind in meditation. I tried it and it helped me concentrate a little better, especially when I meditate in a neat place compared to a messy one.
I couldn't find any evidence in the Pali canon saying cleanliness will improve meditation, but it was emphasized in "Cleanliness is next to mindfulness"
, a Dhamma talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote: ...In other words, while you're living here, don't think that the day-to-day facts of eating or having a place to sleep are minor matters to hurry through so you can get to the real business of meditating. If you're sloppy with things outside, you're going to be sloppy with your meditation. It's a basic principle. You want to learn how to be meticulous, clean, neat, alert in all the things you do. In that way, the activities become not a chore to be disposed of as quickly as possible, or something just getting in the way of your meditation. They become part of the meditation.
With this in mind, we can see WPD's orderliness and cleanliness actually facilitates meditation practice - another practical reason above the two TRobinson465 already mentioned.
As for WPD's ceremonies, I've heard one of its purpose can be to impress upon the participants' mind the images of the meritorious event.
This is important, especially at the crucial moment before a person draws his last breath
. And this is so because the nimittas (signs) that the person perceive will determine his afterlife destination.
V.F. Gunaratna wrote:
Firstly, it can be the thought of some powerfully impressive act done (kamma) which the dying man now recalls to mind.
Secondly, the powerfully impressive act of the past can be recalled by way of a symbol of that act (Kamma nimitta) as, for instance, if he had stolen money from a safe, he may see the safe.
Thirdly, the powerfully impressive act of the past may be recalled by way of a sign or indication of the place where he is destined to be re-born by reason of such act, as for instance when a man who has done great charitable acts hears beautiful divine music. This is called gati nimitta or the sign of destination. It is symbolic of his place of re-birth.
Therefore, a dying person may see himself giving to the monks at a ceremony.
Or, he may see the items (Kamma nimitta) that he gave to the monks.
Or, he may see his afterlife destination (gati nimitta).
This means if the dying person practiced Buddhism regularly by practicing generosity, keeping the precepts, and practicing meditation, it'll increase his likelihood of attaining a 'good' rebirth.