The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover up?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Post by Kingdubrock » Tue Aug 20, 2013 8:23 pm

With all due respect to what I learned from him before things went all Pete Tong, I think there is something to be learned from what happened with Michael Roach when he went public with claims of full realization. Setting aside all the controversy about everything else that surrounded that episode, his apparent claims to realization are somewhat applicable here. One of the big problems it posed was the poistion it put others in, whose silence or inaction would be perceived as tacit endorsement. Lama Zopa for example, a nice guy, Kalyanamitra to many of Roach's students had to publicly take a position. From what I recall, he basically said that if Roach were so realized there would be specific and demonstrable siddhis, which while lacking in tradtitional etiquite (and not allowed for monks) he should come forward with or basically shut up. To my knowledge HHDL hasnt personally made comments in public but letters that circulated from the office of HHDL indicated that Roach was now persona non grata. Lamas really dontlike to publicly criticize even obvious charlatans so one can imagine how uncool tbis all was. It also had a massively fracturing effect on his students.

Anyway, i think its pretty much implied when a monk gives instructions to meditators, in a very matter of fact way, able to answer questions and guidance on matters such as jhana, their having had experience is what qualifies them to talk and teach. Talking about jhana experiences for example either with monks or laypeople shouldnt really seen as huge deal. And i dont think it is. Claiming to be an arahant is probably where anyone who has any sense would stop short.

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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Post by mirco » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:10 pm

balive wrote:I visited a friend who recently became a monk, and would not share with me about how is meditation was going. I'd forgot... It's against the rules. What do you think?
I think: Of what benefit would it be for you to know about his meditation experiences.

"An important term for meditative absorption is samadhi. We often translate that as concentration, but that can suggest a certain stiffness. Perhaps unification is a better rendition, as samadhi means to bring together. Deep samadhi isn't at all stiff. It's a process of letting go of other things and coming to a unified experience." - Bhikkhu Anālayo

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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Post by Kumara » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:35 am

Jhana4 wrote:I am a bit disappointed that the reason behind the rule is only for practical purposes ( making sure all monks get fed ). I always assumed it was to avoid the nonsense that results whenever someone goes around bragging "I have achieved X,Y, & Z"
Actually, your intuition could be right. From an academic point of view, It's hard to be certain if that story was true.

While all the Pali Patimokkha rules are also in the Chinese Pratimoksha (pretty much word for word), their supposed origin stories differ. This lead scholars to believe that the stories are later additions. Having read much of the Pali's Suttavibhanga (where you find the stories, rules and word analysis), I can't help noticing the distinct lack of correspondence between some of the rules and the attached stories. So, when I heard from a scholar monk about the difference of origin stories, I thought, "No wonder."

This is why I prefer to pay more attention to the wording of the rules themselves, rather than the story or the word analysis(which in rare occasions are at odds with the rule itself).
Last edited by Kumara on Wed Aug 21, 2013 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Aug 21, 2013 4:43 am


Thanks bhante.

Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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