Gautama a.k.a. Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

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No_Mind
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Gautama a.k.a. Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:31 pm

Something has always upset me about Buddha's life. I first read his life story at about age of 7 or so. And almost four decades has passed but the nagging feeling remains.

Buddha left his wife and child. They had material resources to survive but it was abandonment. How does it reflect on his character?

......................................................

Some further notes -- regarding sanyas (renunciation) .. there were clear rules set down far before Buddha was born. These rules are on the whole in effect even today though more than 3,000 years have passed since they were formulated.

1 ) Towards end of ones life after having fulfilled duties to family one may retire and pursue life of a contemplative.
2 ) One who has not married is free to accept sanyas at any time of his life.
3 ) One who has married may ask his guru for advice and guru may instruct him to continue life as a householder but try and fit in as much of meditation and study as possible. Also with consent of his wife he may become a celibate.
4 ) One may seek permission of wife to leave home forever.
5 ) One who has married can abandon wife and family but never ever return. The past life is called Purbashram and to be wiped away from his mind. He can never remember it or mention it to anyone. He has to take a new name and move as far away as possible.

Some sects of sannyasis require one to perform ones own funeral before doing 4 ) and 5 ). The person is considered to have died.

........................................................

Buddha running off at age 26 or so has always irked me no end. He was abandoning his wife and child.

How do you feel about this?

I request you to answer from your own point of view .. not from misinformed romantic notion of what would have correct in India 2,500 years ago.

:namaste:

Question amended from "Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?" to "Gautama a.k.a. Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?" to avoid possible confusion viewtopic.php?f=13&t=31182&p=457011#p457011
Last edited by No_Mind on Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Caodemarte
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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by Caodemarte » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:52 pm

I feel the same way. It is worth noting that there is an argument that the wife and son were inventions. They are not mentioned in the apparently earlier texts, although other relatives are identified by name. In this arguement, they appear in later texts to answer the criticism that Buddha was not “manly” because he did not have wife or son (much as the Buddha is made more aristocratic as time goes by).

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by Zom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:01 pm

They are not mentioned in the earlier texts
How so? There's a bunch of suttas which mention Rahula. Again, the story in Vinaya which explains the rule about asking parents' permission for ordination - it stems from that fact that Buddha took the only heir to throne (his own son) from his father-king Suddhodana and so Suddhodana asked Buddha to establish this rule (and he did). I think this story about leaving a family is true. Not in all details, of course (commy added a lot, ofc), but still.

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:13 pm

on what ground exactly do you make the claim that any of it is wrong?
Can you explain the reasoning behind the supposed set of absolute ethics and how you arrive at that judgement?

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:16 pm

rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:13 pm
on what ground exactly do you make the claim that any of it is wrong?
Can you explain the reasoning behind the supposed set of absolute ethics and how you arrive at that judgement?
Abandoning ones wife and kid is not wrong? Are you from earth or at least a nearby planet?

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:18 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:16 pm
Abandoning ones wife and kid is not wrong? Are you from earth or at least a nearby planet?
How about you give an analytical answer to a question deserving an analytical answer?
posed above:
rightviewftw wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:13 pm
on what ground exactly do you make the claim that any of it is wrong?
Can you explain the reasoning behind the supposed set of absolute ethics and how you arrive at that judgement?
If we were discussing chess or some game theory forum and you were to say "X is correct move here, here and here" you would damn sure be asked to explain your reasoning.

You made the thread, go ahead. Burden of proof is all yours.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:23 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by Zom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:18 pm

Some further notes -- regarding sanyas (renunciation) .. there were clear rules set down far before Buddha was born. These rules are on the whole in effect even today though more than 3,000 years have passed since they were formulated.
........................................................
Buddha running off at age 26 or so has always irked me no end. He was abandoning his wife and child.
These are nice rules, yes. Especially the rule that one should ordain in late stage of life - when you did much and when you got more life wisdom and life experience. And I think they are very effective and this is why they are promulgated in this way (that it, are based on real life).

However, Buddha's case is special and does not fit this general scheme. Even if we take that flowery story of Buddha's Birth as a religious fake (with all its fantastic miracles), still, in the suttas Buddha mentioned that he was able to enter jhana (!) spontaneously (!!) when he was a child. This alone tells much. He already was an advanced spiritual person with powerful and clean mind, which naturally bended to renunciation. Buddha was not an ordinary worldling, not a "layman" - from the very start, from the very birth or youth. For him it was unnatural rather than natural to have wife, sex, kids. So, for him pesonally (as an exception in a general rule), it was natural to leave family and become an ascetic even in the early stage of life.

Then, second question: why Buddha saw others as exception to this rule as well? (in the sense that he welcomed young people to enter Sangha) And the answer is this: because in his time (obviously, due to kammic connections and "knots") there were many others with the same spiritual level. Buddha wanted to "save" all these people as soon as possible - and, again, he did.

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:22 pm

Zom wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:18 pm
Some further notes -- regarding sanyas (renunciation) .. there were clear rules set down far before Buddha was born. These rules are on the whole in effect even today though more than 3,000 years have passed since they were formulated.
........................................................
Buddha running off at age 26 or so has always irked me no end. He was abandoning his wife and child.
These are nice rules, yes. Especially the rule that one should ordain in late stage of life - when you did much and when you got more life wisdom and life experience. And I think they are very effective and this is why they are promulgated in this way (that it, are based on real life).

However, Buddha's case is special and does not fit this general scheme. Even if we take that flowery story of Buddha's Birth as a religious fake (with all its fantastic miracles), still, in the suttas Buddha mentioned that he was able to enter jhana (!) spontaneously (!!) when he was a child. This alone tells much. He already was an advanced spiritual person with powerful and clean mind, which naturally bended to renunciation. Buddha was not an ordinary worldling, not a "layman" - from the very start, from the very birth or youth. So, for him pesonally (as exception in a general rule), it was natural to leave family and become an ascetic even in the early stage of life.

Then, second question: why Buddha saw others as exception to this rule as well? (in the sense that he welcomed young people to enter Sangha) And the answer is this: because in his time (obviously, due to kammic connections and "knots") there were many others with the same spiritual level. Buddha wanted to "save" all these people as soon as possible - and, again, he did.
So basically you are saying that because you are a Buddhist and believe he is enlightened you find no problem with it .. no moral or ethical dilemma ..

But had you been a non-Buddhist and not believed him to be special in any way .. just an ordinary human like rest of us .. what would be your judgement then? I am interested in knowing that.

:namaste:
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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by rightviewftw » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:24 pm

If we were discussing chess or some other game theory optimal strategies on a forum and you were to say "X is correct move here, here and here" you would damn sure be asked to explain your reasoning.

You made the thread, go ahead. Burden of proof is all yours.

Also if i remember right your views, you think intentionally killing animal and fish etc is ok sometimes? This you can answer categorically

So as it seems to me you keep challenging Buddhist ethics with these silly threads on is X wrong, but never really go into the threory. What makes Wrong a Wrong in a system, how to prove and test it. You are just making a show for the public, trolling, this is my suspicion and the evindence that makes me inclined to belive so is the content of your posts and the manner of argumentation for positions taken and the effect that your posts effectively serve.

You guys killed this forum with this inappropriate negativity and lack of reasoning, it is disgusting. However now as this forum is seemingly at last breaths, you go ahead and defend your position or you can have a nice discussion with other trolls whilst destroying yourselves.
Last edited by rightviewftw on Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:42 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by Zom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:26 pm

But had you been a non-Buddhist and not believed him to be special in any way .. just an ordinary human like rest of us .. what would be your judgement then? I am interested in knowing that.
For someone for whom "Buddha" is just a name, like, "John" - yes, of course, he sees that in the same way as with all such cases. John left his wife and child and must pay alimony. :D

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by Caodemarte » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:41 pm

This may help explain the state of play of the discussion of the Buddha’s family. https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhas-family/

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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by No_Mind » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:55 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:41 pm
This may help explain the state of play of the discussion of the Buddha’s family. https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/buddhas-family/
Although speculative, I would like to think of a Gautama who had no wife and child .. them being later additions to his biography )like lotus flowers which bloomed at his feet when he was born) to prove a point.

From what is known about him, his code, his teachings .. he does not strike me as a person who would abandon wife and son. At very least he would have asked permission from his wife to leave her for a decade and then to return (more speculation I know).

:namaste:
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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by befriend » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:08 pm

I see it as a sacrifice, he may have known it would be hard for his family? Sacrifice is when you give up a lesser good for a higher good.
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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by bodom » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:15 pm

Having a wife and kids myself it bothered me a bit at first when I was beginning to look into Buddhism. I think the fact that the Buddha came back to teach his son and former wife the Dhamma, in which both realized arhantship, more than makes up for his leaving.

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To practice is to know your defilements,
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Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
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Re: Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by LG2V » Wed Feb 07, 2018 3:18 pm

He did it to fulfill his duty and save himself and his loved ones. If a man left behind his wife and child to fight in a war and protect his family and loved ones, then he would be called a hero. I think that the same, and even greater can be said of Buddha. He left them behind to protect and save his loved ones from something far worse than an opposing army.
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