Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
JC938
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Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by JC938 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:57 pm

Hi,

Can a lay person learn buddhism, practice and become peaceful and happy? Without becoming a monk?

Thanks.

befriend
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by befriend » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:06 pm

I am happy because I have a few close friends, and because volunteering gives me Kusala feelings and mindfulness makes me happy. I am not married and have no kids so not sure how that would impact my citta like most other lay people probably have wife and kids.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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TamHanhHi
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by TamHanhHi » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:36 pm

My understanding is that the Dhamma is for everyone, lay or ordained. For instance, consider in AN 8.54 when Dighajanu the Koliyan went to the Buddha asking for instruction as a lay person. The Buddha said:
“There are these four qualities that lead to a lay person’s happiness and well-being in this life. Which four? Being consummate in initiative, being consummate in vigilance, admirable friendship, and maintaining one’s livelihood in tune."
Check out the full sutta for the details, but basically, yes, it's possible to live a happy and fulfilling life as a householder, both now and in the future.

For more discussion on lay/householder life and Buddhism you might check out Bhikku Bodhi's book In The Buddha's Words (an online version of sorts is here or the thread on Suttas for the Householder.
"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."AN 5.38 :candle: | Blog at http://dhammareflections.wordpress.com

binocular
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by binocular » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:55 am

JC938 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:57 pm
Can a lay person learn buddhism, practice and become peaceful and happy?
Married man -- yes.
Married woman -- not so much.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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mikenz66
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:27 pm

I know a lot of happy lay Buddhists, the majority married Thai women.

:heart:
Mike

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ryanM
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by ryanM » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:33 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:55 am
JC938 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:57 pm
Can a lay person learn buddhism, practice and become peaceful and happy?
Married man -- yes.
Married woman -- not so much.
I don't understand this. Could you please elaborate?
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

paul
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by paul » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:34 pm

AN 8:54:
"“There are these four qualities that lead to a lay person’s happiness and well-being in lives to come. Which four? Being consummate in conviction, being consummate in virtue, being consummate in generosity, being consummate in discernment (of impermanence)."

binocular
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by binocular » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:11 am

ryanM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:33 pm
I don't understand this. Could you please elaborate?
If I were to marry a Buddhist, I would live in constant fear of unwanted pregnancy, in constant fear of the side effects of hormonal contraceptives, in constant fear of having to have an abortion, in constant fear that he will abandon me and go off to a monastery, or to another woman, or man, I would be constantly trying to convince myself that my husband is a good and decent person, and that I should be happy even if he spits at me, and consider him superior in the Dhamma and having a higher attainment than myself.

Well, no Buddhist ever wants to teach me how to be happy with that.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Saengnapha
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:35 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:55 am
JC938 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:57 pm
Can a lay person learn buddhism, practice and become peaceful and happy?
Married man -- yes.
Married woman -- not so much.
My dear, don't be so sure that a married man can become peaceful and happy by being a Buddhist. I know many, and I've yet to meet any that are really happy and peaceful. Yet, I know so many women who are not Buddhists that are peaceful and happy, my wife being one of them.

binocular
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by binocular » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:39 pm

Saengnapha wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Yet, I know so many women who are not Buddhists that are peaceful and happy,
I don't know any such women.
But I do many women who are very good at keeping up appearances.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

Saengnapha
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:57 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:39 pm
Saengnapha wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:35 pm
Yet, I know so many women who are not Buddhists that are peaceful and happy,
I don't know any such women.
But I do many women who are very good at keeping up appearances.
That's unfortunate. Maybe I was being too optimistic when I said 'many'.

thepea
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by thepea » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:58 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:11 am
ryanM wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:33 pm
I don't understand this. Could you please elaborate?
If I were to marry a Buddhist, I would live in constant fear of unwanted pregnancy, in constant fear of the side effects of hormonal contraceptives, in constant fear of having to have an abortion, in constant fear that he will abandon me and go off to a monastery, or to another woman, or man, I would be constantly trying to convince myself that my husband is a good and decent person, and that I should be happy even if he spits at me, and consider him superior in the Dhamma and having a higher attainment than myself.

Well, no Buddhist ever wants to teach me how to be happy with that.
I still don’t understand this, what country are you from?

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bodom
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by bodom » Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:49 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:27 pm
I know a lot of happy lay Buddhists, the majority married Thai women.

:heart:
Mike
Yes I agree with this 100 percent. There are a couple Wats in my city and all the Thai women there seem to be some of the most genuinely happy and joyful people I've ever met.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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DNS
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by DNS » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:26 am

binocular wrote:
Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:11 am
If I were to marry a Buddhist, I would live in constant fear of unwanted pregnancy, in constant fear of the side effects of hormonal contraceptives, in constant fear of having to have an abortion, in constant fear that he will abandon me and go off to a monastery, or to another woman, or man, I would be constantly trying to convince myself that my husband is a good and decent person, and that I should be happy even if he spits at me, and consider him superior in the Dhamma and having a higher attainment than myself.
There are many Buddhist men who are pro-choice. A husband could use male contraceptives, so that there wouldn't be the side effects of hormones to the wife. In regard to leaving a wife for monastery, another woman, another man, couldn't that happen with a man from any other religion too? Why would you have to be a doormat to a husband? Sure, there are some tyrant husbands, but not all of them. Typically, one can find out all you need to know about his personality once you start dating and especially once you start living together and it doesn't take long from the start of that (and therefore, can cut it off quick if necessary).

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xofz
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Re: Can a lay person learn, practice and become peaceful and happy?

Post by xofz » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:36 am

Arhatship is off limits for one who performs the sexual act. Stream winning is a noble goal for the average lay follower, however. Practice mindfulness of respiration while keeping the body absolutely still and in solitude and it is possible. Happiness is to be abandoned as with sorrow. Peace will happen on its own with the fruit of stream entry.
My real life name is Sam.

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