Buddhist Pope

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
binocular
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by binocular »

dharmacorps wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:40 pm
If you think about it, almost no other religions have a pope-- not Judaism, not most sects of Islam I am aware of; not Hinduism; etc. It is only catholicism that has one leader who is considered the sole and unerring authority of that religious institution. I'm not sure that has been to the benefit of Christianity as a whole and Catholicism specifically.
The Catholic pope is bound by so many restrictions and rules that in terms of Catholic teaching, he can't really do much.
He is the face of the institution, and that has the benefit of making the institution more tangible, more personable.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by Sam Vara »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:03 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:58 pm

Do we need leaders who can clandestinely marry, keep mistresses, start wars, suppress science, hoard treasure, contribute to over-population, and cover up child abuse?

I don’t think Arahants would do that.
That's probably what Jesus thought about saints. And what happens when we run out of arahants?

binocular
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by binocular »

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 pm
That's probably what Jesus thought about saints. And what happens when we run out of arahants?
Why would that happen?

binocular
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by binocular »

DNS wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:24 pm
The leader of buddhism after Buddha is the Dhamma, i.e., the Suttas. It is sort of like the 'Constitution' -- it is what applies in all cases, matters, disputes.

That way it is literally impersonal and avoids all those hierarchical problems.
The same hierachical problems remain, it's just that in Buddhism, they are more subtle, sublimated.
The papal function is now dispersed among monks, who, in regard to the lay population, in effect have papal power.

- - -
Ceisiwr wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:42 pm
But today we have numerous interpretations. If we had a pope that wouldn’t happen.
The Roman Catholics are actually far less united and far less uniform as the official image might lead one to assume.

For one, there is a minimum set of beliefs that one has to hold and practices that one has to do in order to officially count as a Catholic, but beyond that, there is a lot of room for personal choice and expression.

Secondly, inside of the RCC, inside every parish even, there are generally two camps: those that are in favor of the current pope and those that are against him. This is no secret, it's the normal way things are in the RCC. Officially, nobody will admit to this, but if you stick around for a while, you'll see it.

- - -
Laurens wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:50 pm
What we have is fragmented, and sometimes sectarian, but it works.
It "works", sure, but it's also trivial. It's not like the ordinary Joe Buddhist has any first-hand proof of Dhamma.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by Sam Vara »

binocular wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:27 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 6:56 pm
That's probably what Jesus thought about saints. And what happens when we run out of arahants?
Why would that happen?
Lack of individuals with parami, I guess. And even if there were a "guaranteed" supply, how is succession effected if the existing Pope does not meet his successor, or dies before ordaining him?

binocular
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by binocular »

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:41 pm
Lack of individuals with parami, I guess.
Because of the Dhamma-ending age?

If the Buddha did not intend for his sasana to last forever, then there's no problem anyway.

As a Buddhist, one is, to begin with, supposed to believe in a cyclical universe, in things happening over and over gain, with some variation, but not different in essence.

binocular
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by binocular »

And this passage from Loki from the MCU comes to mind:
Loki: Kneel before me. I said kneel! Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.

Perhaps the desire for (unified) religious leadership is that craving for subjugation. The dizzines of freedom can be overwhelming.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by Sam Vara »

binocular wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:19 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 7:41 pm
Lack of individuals with parami, I guess.
Because of the Dhamma-ending age?.
Maybe, but also the sheer impossibility of guaranteeing succession.
If the Buddha did not intend for his sasana to last forever, then there's no problem anyway.
Yes, I don't have a problem with not having a Pope.
As a Buddhist, one is, to begin with, supposed to believe in a cyclical universe, in things happening over and over gain, with some variation, but not different in essence.
Things have an essence? :shrug:

binocular
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by binocular »

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:59 pm
Things have an essence?
Uh, you know what I mean. It's not like it's claimed in the Buddhist teachings that one run of the Universe is totally different from another one; such as it's not claimed that in one run of the universe, there is aging, illness, and death, and in another one, there isn't.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by Sam Vara »

binocular wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 9:11 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 8:59 pm
Things have an essence?
Uh, you know what I mean. It's not like it's claimed in the Buddhist teachings that one run of the Universe is totally different from another one; such as it's not claimed that in one run of the universe, there is aging, illness, and death, and in another one, there isn't.
I don't know enough about it, I'm afraid.

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DooDoot
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by DooDoot »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:32 pm
Would it have been better if the Buddha had appointed a successor, a Buddhist “pope” of sorts?
If there was a Buddhist Pope, this would probably have given rise to more Buddhist Protestants than there currently is. :)
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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justindesilva
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by justindesilva »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:32 pm
Greetings everyone,

As we all know, there are many interpretations and different traditions of Buddhism, some of which are directly contradictory. Would it have been better if the Buddha had appointed a successor, a Buddhist “pope” of sorts?

Metta

:)
Lord Buddha in his last words to Ananda thero advised to treat the Damma as his successor in the absence of Buddha.
( I think it is in Parinirvana sutta).

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Kim OHara
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by Kim OHara »

justindesilva wrote:
Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:29 am
Ceisiwr wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:32 pm
Greetings everyone,

As we all know, there are many interpretations and different traditions of Buddhism, some of which are directly contradictory. Would it have been better if the Buddha had appointed a successor, a Buddhist “pope” of sorts?

Metta

:)
Lord Buddha in his last words to Ananda thero advised to treat the Damma as his successor in the absence of Buddha.
( I think it is in Parinirvana sutta).
The Sikhs came up with essentially this solution after trialling the "pope" system, choosing to appoint their scripture as their permanent Guru after their first 200 years - https://www.sikhs.org/summary.htm. It seems to work well for them.

And as a purely practical matter, a single leader of a religion dispersed from Iran to Japan to Indonesia in the days of slow travel ... no way. The local groups needed to rule themselves, and the Buddha's choice left them the freedom to do so.

:namaste:
Kim

SteRo
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by SteRo »

Ceisiwr wrote:
Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:32 pm
Greetings everyone,

As we all know, there are many interpretations and different traditions of Buddhism, some of which are directly contradictory. Would it have been better if the Buddha had appointed a successor, a Buddhist “pope” of sorts?
You think that the assertion of one tradition among many, e.g. Theravada, what the Buddha's appointment was would be unanimously accepted?

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Buddhist Pope

Post by salayatananirodha »

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/dn16 wrote: “I have seen, reverend Sir, the Gracious One comfortable, I have seen, reverend Sir, the Gracious One bearing up while sick, and my body, reverend Sir, became faint as it were, and although I could not see straight, and things were not clear, it appeared to me, reverend Sir, that the Gracious One was sick, but it was some small comfort that the Gracious One would not attain Final Emancipation until the Gracious One had spoken regarding the Community of monks.”

“But what, Ānanda, does the Community of monks expect of me? The Teaching has been taught by me, Ānanda, without having made a distinction between esoteric and exoteric, for the Realised One there is nothing, Ānanda, of a closed teacher’s fist in regard to the Teaching.

To whoever, Ānanda, this thought occurs: ‘I will lead the Community of monks’ or ‘I am the instructor of the Community of monks’ let him speak, Ānanda, regarding the Community of monks. But to the Realised One, Ānanda, this thought does not occur: ‘I will lead the Community of monks’ or ‘I am the instructor of the Community of monks’. Then why, Ānanda, should the Realised One speak regarding the Community of monks?

I, Ānanda, at present, am old, elderly, of great age, far gone, advanced in years, I am eighty years old. It is like, Ānanda, an old cart, which only keeps going when shored up with bamboo, just so, Ānanda, I think the Realised One’s body only keeps going when shored up with bamboo.

When the Realised One doesn’t pay attention, Ānanda, to any of the signs, when all feelings have ceased, he lives having established the signless mind-concentration, and at that time, Ānanda, the Realised One’s body is most comfortable.

Therefore, Ānanda, live with yourself as an island, yourself as a refuge, with no other refuge, with the Teaching as an island, the Teaching as a refuge, with no other refuge. And how, Ānanda, does a monk live with himself as an island, himself as a refuge, with no other refuge, with the Teaching as an island, the Teaching as a refuge, with no other refuge?

Here, Ānanda, a monk dwells contemplating the nature of the body in the body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world; he dwells contemplating the nature of feelings in feelings, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world; he dwells contemplating the nature of the mind in the mind, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world; he dwells contemplating the nature of things in various things, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, after removing avarice and sorrow regarding the world.

Thus, Ānanda, a monk lives with himself as an island, himself as a refuge, with no other refuge, with the Teaching as an island, the Teaching as a refuge, with no other refuge. For whoever, Ānanda, whether at present or after my passing, lives with himself as an island, himself as a refuge, with no other refuge, with the Teaching as an island, the Teaching as a refuge, with no other refuge, those monks of mine, Ānanda, will go from darkness to the highest—whoever likes the training.”
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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