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

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

Post by binocular » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:32 pm

bodom wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:20 pm
/.../
One can not abandon his family to ordain without permission.
Were these rules about having to obtain permission made before or after the above-quoted discourse about Saṅgāmajī?

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

Post by bodom » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:50 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:32 pm
bodom wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:20 pm
/.../
One can not abandon his family to ordain without permission.
Were these rules about having to obtain permission made before or after the above-quoted discourse about Saṅgāmajī?
The Udana ia considered to be one of the oldest books in the Khuddaka Nikaya. As we know the Vinaya was created and frequently added on to as different situations arose in the sangha up until the Buddhas death. Unless one has access to the commentary or if its even mentioned in the commentary to this sutta at all I think it's really impossible to tell which came first, the sutta or the above listed rules. If I had to guess I would say it came after this sutta. I hope someone has an definitive answer to your question.

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Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
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Re: Gautama a.k.a. Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by DNS » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:14 pm

bodom wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:20 pm
The Vinaya Piṭaka's Mahāvagga states:
na, bhikkhave, ananuññāto mātāpitūhi putto pabbājetabbo. Yo pabbājeyya, āpatti dukkaṭassa.

"Monks, a son must not be given the going forth without permission from his mother and father. Should one do so, it is an offence of wrong-doing." — Vin. i. 83
The Vinaya rule only requires permission from the parents, not the wife, which is kind of sad, especially if there are small children at home. I suppose it would be considered a divorce, so adults have that right to make that decision, but it's sad to see what happened with Saṅgāmajī's wife and son.

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

Post by binocular » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:17 pm

Sujith Manoharan wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:21 am
Regarding the abandonment issue, an interesting angle is the Buddha's response in: https://suttacentral.net/en/ud1.8
Even I was at first upset by that (even though I'm in favor of not persisting in unhappy relationships). Then I've thought about it some more.

Saṅgāmajī's wife was basically asking him to disrobe. In most cases, people in general, too, will probably think it is rude to request a monastic to disrobe and to return to worldly life. It's just in some cases that people take issue with a monastic refusing to disrobe (such as when asked to support his family).

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

Post by DNS » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:22 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:17 pm
Saṅgāmajī's wife was basically asking him to disrobe. In most cases, people in general, too, will probably think it is rude to request a monastic to disrobe and to return to worldly life. It's just in some cases that people take issue with a monastic refusing to disrobe (such as when asked to support his family).
Probably correct, but that still doesn't change the fact that at one time Saṅgāmajī was a lay man with a son and left to ordain. I assume he became an arahant, so all's good but again it's in hindsight, for what if he didn't become a good monk?

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

Post by binocular » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:28 pm

DNS wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:14 pm
The Vinaya rule only requires permission from the parents, not the wife, which is kind of sad, especially if there are small children at home. I suppose it would be considered a divorce, so adults have that right to make that decision, but it's sad to see what happened with Saṅgāmajī's wife and son.
Given that the marriage was arranged, probably by the man's parents, that changes things a bit. Like another poster said earlier, the wife was probably first and foremost a daughter-in-law, and only secondarily a wife to a particular man.
(This is still evident in some languages, such as Turkish, for example, where the son's wife is called "gelin" meaning 'bride', not "daughter-in-law". Etymologically, I think the word means 'the one who came (into the family)'.)

I'm also reminded of this passage:
One should not make an effort everywhere,
should not be another's hireling,
should not live dependent on another,
should not go about
as a trader in the Dhamma.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
One should not be another's hireling, one should not live dependent on another. If monks believe this about themselves, they possibly expect it from others as well. (Not to mention that returning to the lay life would be a form of trading the Dhamma for something lesser.)

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

Post by perkele » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:35 pm

bodom wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 3:20 pm
One can not abandon his family to ordain without permission.
Here it is only the children who may not abandon their parents (or entire clan, with point 14) without their permission, and obtain the going-forth. The other direction has found no consideration in monastic rules, apparently.

The monastic rules, of course, are rules for those who are already ordained. They regulate under which circumstances it is allowable for a member of the sangha to give the going forth to an applicant. They do not directly rule about the behaviour of an aspirant. If members of the sangha give the going-forth against the rules, this does not under many circumstances invalidate the ordination in retrospect. The applicant does not incur a fault.

Noteworthy also how children seem to be considered the property of their parents (or clan leader, in the case of a big family clan - like the Sakyas, I guess):
(14) If a mother and father have many sons and speak thus: "Venerable sir, may you give the going forth to whichever [one] of these boys you choose," then having examined the boys, he may give the going forth to the one he chooses.

If an entire [extended] family or an entire village is given permission [by someone, saying], "Venerable sir, may you give the going forth to whichever [one] of the boys in this family or this village you choose," he may give the going forth to the one he chooses.
The bodhisatta, on the other hand, it seems, went forth without his parents' permission, in apparent opposition against the rule which he later established for the sangha:
(7) Even if he be a king, he must still obtain leave before being given the going forth.
MN 26 wrote:"So, at a later time, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth in the first stage of life — and while my parents, unwilling, were crying with tears streaming down their faces — I shaved off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robe and went forth from the home life into homelessness.
Although it is not totally clear whether or not there was "permission", despite them being described as "unwilling". He did inform them, after all, and they did not hold him back by force.
Last edited by perkele on Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:40 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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

Post by binocular » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:41 pm

DNS wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:22 pm
Probably correct, but that still doesn't change the fact that at one time Saṅgāmajī was a lay man with a son and left to ordain. I assume he became an arahant, so all's good but again it's in hindsight, for what if he didn't become a good monk?
Are there canonical examples of such monks -- men who abandoned their families, ordained, but were no good monks?
There are accounts of some monks who were no good monks or who disrobed. Does anyone know of their pre-ordination family situations?

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

Post by BasementBuddhist » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:53 pm

I always thought it was a low thing to do. If he did just sneak off in the night, it was pretty cowardly and selfish in the moment.

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

Post by Sujith Manoharan » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:27 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:17 pm
Even I was at first upset by that (even though I'm in favor of not persisting in unhappy relationships). Then I've thought about it some more.

Saṅgāmajī's wife was basically asking him to disrobe. In most cases, people in general, too, will probably think it is rude to request a monastic to disrobe and to return to worldly life. It's just in some cases that people take issue with a monastic refusing to disrobe (such as when asked to support his family).
As far as I know (would love to be corrected), there is no sutta in which the Bodhisatta is shown as someone who was wracked by guilt that he had abandoned his family, shirking his duty to raise an infant. Some suttas describe how his mind was assailed by sensual thoughts and he had to overcome them. But, even though his path toward Nibbana was filled with missteps, dead-ends and wrong turns, the emotional turmoil that is usually associated with guilt seems to be absent. This suggests that whatever the circumstances of his severance of family ties, his mind was not burdened with guilt during the time when he was a wandering seeker.

And I'd imagine that if bringing eons of delusion, disease, death and misery is desired, then overcoming guilt would be a preliminary step. Moreover, what seems to be cold-hearted callousness and apathy in our eyes is different in the dust-free vision of Arahants.

From https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/Thig/thig6_1.html :

You don’t know the path of his coming or going,
that being who has come from where? - the one you lament as ‘my son.’

But when you know the path of his coming or going,
you don’t grieve after him, for that is the nature of beings.


Or the Salla Sutta: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/StNp/StNp3_8.html

And the necessity of relinquishing familial ties is made plainly clear in: https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/Iti/iti80.html

But whoever here, having abandoned sons, cattle, marriage, intimates:
he’s capable - a monk like this - of touching superlative self-awakening.


Of course, for someone whose mind is still mired in delusion and attachments, such equanimity won't be present initially. Maybe a bit of past good kamma is required for a clean severance of ties.

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

Post by dylanj » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:28 am

No it wasn't wrong. As a result not only was his son liberated & his wife (presumably?) established in the path - far more valuable than the suffering of attachment he would've given them in a domestic life - but so were innumerable other beings. You should dispel this concern & establish yourself in reverence for the Lord Buddha. :anjali:
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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

Post by dylanj » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:36 am

By the way, the righteousness of this is not dependent on its result, I am simply using it to display how far from wrong this was.

Renunciation is right. Attachment & bondage is not. The Buddha did not bring his wife & son any harm by leaving them, nor did he have an obligation to stay & pander to their attachment to him, which really just would've been a disservice.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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

Post by No_Mind » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:46 am

dylanj wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:36 am
The Buddha did not bring his wife & son any harm by leaving them, nor did he have an obligation to stay & pander to their attachment to him, which really just would've been a disservice.
How do you know he did not bring them harm? We have no insight into the mind of Yasodhara. How did she feel on being dumped? How does a woman feel when the husband walks away from a marriage?

And are you saying a father/husband has no obligation?

Note to mods - I know he was unmarried but I have to play the Devil's Advocate since answer is directed at me.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gautama a.k.a. Buddha abandoning his wife and child - was it wrong?

Post by dylanj » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:51 am

No_Mind wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:46 am
dylanj wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:36 am
The Buddha did not bring his wife & son any harm by leaving them, nor did he have an obligation to stay & pander to their attachment to him, which really just would've been a disservice.
How do you know he did not bring them harm? We have no insight into the mind of Yasodhara. How did she feel on being dumped? How does a woman feel when the husband walks away from a marriage?

And are you saying a father/husband has no obligation?

Note to mods - I know he was unmarried but I have to play the Devil's Advocate since answer is directed at me.

:namaste:
I know he did not bring them harm because it was an act with right intention, the intention of renunciation.

How Yasodhara felt is completely her own responsibility, we cannot hold people emotionally hostage by blaming them for our unhappiness when they don't do what we want. If she suffered that is her fault, due to her attachment.

A father/husband should be good in that role & maintain it to the extent that it's skillful for them to do so, but when a higher option transcending the household life is open to them then they should take it.
susukhaṁ vata nibbānaṁ,
sammā­sambud­dha­desitaṁ;
asokaṁ virajaṁ khemaṁ,
yattha dukkhaṁ nirujjhatī


Oh! extinction is so very blissful,
As taught by the One Rightly Self-Awakened:
Sorrowless, stainless, secure;
Where suffering all ceases


etaṁ santaṁ etaṁ paṇītaṁ yadidaṁ sabbasaṅkhārasamatho sabbūpadhipaṭi nissaggo taṇhakkhayo virāgo nirodho nibbānaṁ

This is peaceful, this is excellent, that is: the stilling of all preparations, the relinquishment of all attachments, the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, extinction.

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

Post by No_Mind » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:58 am

I hope .. that Buddhists in this forum do not actually act with the selfishness that some of them appear to exhort in this thread.

:namaste:
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