Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

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Nori
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Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by Nori » Sat Oct 01, 2011 9:20 pm

Topic: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against their wishes
---

It is said in the Sutta Nipata as well as other places in the Tipitaka that you should honor your parents.

Yet the Buddha himself abandoned his parents against their wishes, so much that they cried.

"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."
— Ariyapariyesana Sutta

---

Is it still - respecting and honoring your parents, if you abandon them (abandon support for them - materially and emotionally) and go against their strong wishes (for you to stay)?

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by retrofuturist » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:45 am

Greetings,
Nori wrote:It is said in the Sutta Nipata as well as other places in the Tipitaka that you should honor your parents.

Yet the Buddha himself abandoned his parents against their wishes, so much that they cried.
Excellent pick up.

The only thing that comes to mind is that when you are a bhikkhu, what is meant contextually by "mother" and "father" changes, and no longer relates to biological parents.

I've forgotten her name, but there was a female lay supporter who supported many of the bhikkhus and was regarded as "mother"... does anyone recall her name?

That said, there is also the injunction in the Vinaya stating that one must get parental approval before ordaining... an injunction that obviously didn't exist at the time the Buddha did it.

Metta,
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)

plwk
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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by plwk » Sun Oct 02, 2011 3:14 am

I recall these...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-106" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Mother and father are called
"Brahma," "early teachers"
And "worthy of veneration,"
Being compassionate towards
Their family of children.

Thus the wise should venerate them,
Pay them due honor,
Provide them with food and drink,
Give them clothing and a bed,
Anoint and bathe them
And also wash their feet.

When he performs such service
For his mother and his father,
They praise that wise person even here
And hereafter he rejoices in heaven
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father.
Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents.
If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that?
Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.

But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #relatives" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
In contrast to all these, Sariputta's mother was a staunch brahman and hostile to the Buddha's Teaching and his followers. In the Commentary to the Dhammapada (v. 400) it is related that once, when the Venerable Sariputta was in his own village of Nalaka with a large retinue of monks, he came to his mother's house in the course of his almsround. His mother gave him a seat and served him with food, but while she did so she uttered abusive words: "Oh, you eater of others' leavings!" she said. "When you fail to get leavings of sour rice-gruel you go from house to house among strangers, licking the leavings off the backs of ladies! And so it was for this that you gave up eighty crores of wealth and became a monk! You have ruined me! Now go on and eat!"

Likewise, when she was serving food to the monks, she said: "So! You are the men who have made my son your page boy! Go on, eat now!"

Thus she continued reviling them, but the Venerable Sariputta spoke not a word. He took his food, ate it and in silence returned to the monastery. The Buddha learned of the incident from the Venerable Rahula, who had been among the monks at the time. All the bhikkhus who heard of it wondered at the Elder's great forbearance, and in the midst of the assembly the Buddha praised him, uttering the stanza:
"He that is free from anger, who performs his duties faithfully.
He that guards the precepts, and is free from lust;
He that has subdued himself, he that wears his last body —
He it is I call a brahman."
It was not until right at the close of Sariputta's life that he was able to convert his mother; that story will be told later on. But the incident that has been related here leads us to a consideration of the great Elder's most pleasing characteristics, his humility, patience and forbearance.

During his journey the Venerable Sariputta spent one night wherever he stopped, and thus for one week he favored many people with a last sight of him. Reaching Nalaka village in the evening, he stopped near a banyan tree at the village gate. It happened that at the time a nephew of the elder, Uparevata by name, had gone outside the village and there he saw the Venerable Sariputta. He approached the elder, saluted him, and remained standing.

The Elder asked him: "Is your grand-aunt at home?" "Yes, venerable sir," he replied. "Then go and announce our coming," said the Elder. "And if she asks why I have come, tell her that I shall stay in the village for one day, and ask her to prepare my birth chamber and provide lodgings for five hundred bhikkhus."

Uparevata went to his grand-aunt and said: "Grandaunt, my uncle has come."
"Where is he now?" she asked.
"At the village gate."
"Is he alone, or has someone else come with him?"
"He has come with five hundred bhikkhus."

And when she asked him, "Why has he come?" he gave her the message the elder had entrusted to him. Then she thought: "Why does he ask me to provide lodgings for so many? After becoming a monk in his youth, does he want to be a layman again in his old age?" But she arranged the birth chamber for the Elder and lodgings for the bhikkhus, had torches lit and then sent for the Elder.

The Venerable Sariputta then, accompanied by the bhikkhus, went up to the terrace of the house and entered his birth chamber. After seating himself, he asked the bhikkhus to go to their quarters. They had hardly left, when a grave illness, dysentery, fell upon the Elder, and he felt severe pains. When one pail was brought in, another was carried out. The brahman lady thought: "The news of my son is not good," and she stood leaning by the door of her own room.

And then it happened, the text tells us, that the Four Great Divine Kings asked themselves: "Where may he now be dwelling, the Marshal of the Law?" And they perceived that he was at Nalaka, in his birth chamber, lying on the bed of his Final Passing Away. "Let us go for a last sight of him," they said.

When they reached the birth chamber, they saluted the Elder and remained standing.
"Who are you?" asked the Elder.
"We are the Great Divine Kings, venerable sir."

"Why have you come?"
"We want to attend on you during your illness."
"Let it be!" said the Venerable Sariputta. "There is an attendant here. You may go."

When they had left, there came in the same manner Sakka the king of the gods, and after him, Maha Brahma, and all of them the elder dismissed in the same way.

The brahman lady, seeing the coming and going of these deities, asked herself: "Who could they have been, who came and paid homage to my son, and then left?" And she went to the door of the elder's room and asked the Venerable Cunda for news about the Elder's condition. Cunda conveyed the inquiry to the Elder, telling him: "The Great Upasika (lay devotee) has come."

The Venerable Sariputta asked her: "Why have you come at this unusual hour?"

"To see you, dear," she replied. "Tell me, who were those who came first?"
"The Four Great Divine Kings, upasika."

"Are you, then, greater than they?" she asked.
"They are like temple attendants," said the Elder. "Ever since our Master took rebirth they have stood guard over him with swords in hand."

"After they had left, who was it that came then, dear?"
"It was Sakka the king of the gods."

"Are you then, greater than the king of gods, dear?"
"He is like a novice who carries a bhikkhu's belongings," answered Sariputta. "When our Master returned from the heaven of the Thirty-three (Tavatimsa), Sakka took his bowl and robe and descended to earth together with him."

"And when Sakka had gone, who was it that came after him, filling the room with his radiance?"
"Upasika, that was your own Lord and Master, the Great Brahma."

"Then are you greater, my son, even than my Lord, the Great Brahma?"
"Yes, Upasika. On the day when our Master was born, it is said that four Great Brahmas received the Great Being in a golden net."

Upon hearing this, the brahman lady thought: "If my son's power is such as this, what must be the majestic power of my son's Master and Lord?" And while she was thinking this, suddenly the fivefold rapture arose in her, suffusing her entire body.

The Elder thought: "Rapture and joy have arisen in my mother. Now is the time to preach the Dhamma to her." And he said: "What was it you were thinking about, upasika?"

"I was thinking," she replied, "if my son has such virtue, what must be the virtue of his Master?"

The Venerable Sariputta answered: "At the moment of my Master's birth, at his Great Renunciation (of worldly life), on his attaining Enlightenment and at his first turning of the Dhamma Wheel — on all these occasions the ten thousand world-system quaked and shook. None is there who equals him in virtue, in concentration, in wisdom, in deliverance, and in the knowledge and vision of deliverance." And he then explained to her in detail the words of homage: "Such indeed is that Blessed One..." (Iti pi so Bhagava...). And thus he gave her an exposition of the Dhamma, basing it on the virtues of the Buddha.

When the Dhamma talk given by her beloved son had come to an end, the brahman lady was firmly established in the Fruition of stream-entry, and she said: "Oh, my dear Upatissa, why did you act like that? Why, during all these years, did you not bestow on me this ambrosia (the knowledge of the Deathless)?"

The Elder thought: "Now I have given my mother, the brahman lady Rupa-Sari, the nursing-fee for bringing me up. This should suffice." and he dismissed her with the words: "You may go now, upasika."

Nori
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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by Nori » Sun Oct 02, 2011 4:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:there is also the injunction in the Vinaya stating that one must get parental approval before ordaining... an injunction that obviously didn't exist at the time the Buddha did it.
This is an interesting point, I was going to mention it..
Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents.
Who says bhikku's do not have a sense of humor?
His mother gave him a seat and served him with food, but while she did so she uttered abusive words: "Oh, you eater of others' leavings!" she said. "When you fail to get leavings of sour rice-gruel you go from house to house among strangers, licking the leavings off the backs of ladies! And so it was for this that you gave up eighty crores of wealth and became a monk! You have ruined me! Now go on and eat!"
... Thus she continued reviling them, but the Venerable Sariputta spoke not a word. He took his food, ate it and in silence returned to the monastery.
It seems even Arahants get abuse from their mothers.. nobody is safe!

David2
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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by David2 » Sun Oct 02, 2011 6:56 am

Sometimes it is necessary to abandon your parents - at least for some time.
Of course this is not an easy decision.
But if there is suffering in your mind, your parents also are not very happy.
Parents are happy if their children are happy, too.

May all beings be happy.

PeterB
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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by PeterB » Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:35 am

The Buddha lived in a milieu so different from ours that it is impossible for us to enter it.
Marriages were arranged. The idea that it was desirable to renounce all and become a mendicant was already well established. Parents were honoured in ways that we cannot begin to emulate. Ancestors were worshipped.
Babies at birth had their caste roles and subsequent lives imposed on them. Literal slavery was commonplace and unremarkable. The law was in essence the dictat of the ruler.
We cannot hope for answers for our current choices in the mores of an alien culture which existed 2500 years ago.

Honour your parents by being yourself and at the same time not putting them out of your heart.

Nori
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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by Nori » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:07 am

Another interesting point was brought up on another post..

What if your mother/father was abusive, or even malevolent, with ill (dishonorable) qualities?

Do they still deserve your honor?

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by chownah » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:11 am

Perhaps the definition of mother and father should not be restricted to biological parents but should be extended to all care givers.
chownah

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by DNS » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:20 am

I don't have the exact reference handy, but as I recall from the Suttas and Vinaya, some parents and even some wives were complaining when so many men were leaving their families to join the Order. The Buddha followed that with the rule of getting permission. It appears the main motivation was to ensure that the family members would be taken care of. In the Buddha's case, his parents were well-off and not in need of his care.

In modern societies, often elderly parents are taken care of by retirement pensions, government pensions or other means of support. I suppose a case could be made that in today's world, it could be okay to ordain as long as you know the parents will be okay financially and will be able to have access to medical care (via private or government insurance) and that the son or daughter's ordination will not impede that in any way.

What if a parent's only objection was that they don't even want their son or daughter following Buddhism (the Dhamma-Vinaya), let alone ordaining? I don't believe there is any example of such a case in the Tipitaka so we don't know for sure how the Buddha would have responded, but it would seem that such an unreasonable demand by the parent would allow an ordination, especially if most ties have already been severed.

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by Zom » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:01 am

Topic: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against their wishes
---

It is said in the Sutta Nipata as well as other places in the Tipitaka that you should honor your parents.

Yet the Buddha himself abandoned his parents against their wishes, so much that they cried.
Venerating and helping and loving parents doesn't mean that you have to do everything what they say ;)

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by Claudia » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:10 am

Venerating and helping and loving parents doesn't mean that you have to do everything what they say
That's how I think, too.

My parents both had a lot of problems, my mother was depressive, my father neurotic and violent and even though I dedicated my life to the dhamma, in retrospect it was good that I resisted in many matters. My sister did not resist and she became mentally ill.

For many years in my adult life, I felt angry for what they did with.
What there was very helpful for me was the forgiveness-and- loving-kindness-meditation by Ayya Khema to forgive them.
You can find it here when you scroll down:

http://viewonbuddhism.org/Meditations/l ... ation.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

That's how I can give my respect to them....to forgive them made me feeling peaceful and it was a big release to me.
Many greetings from

Claudia

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by Zom » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:59 am

Here - Ajahn Jayasaro answering this question ,)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFcfH8x0 ... re=related" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by bodom » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:59 am

Even if one should carry about one's mother on one shoulder and one's father on the other, and so doing should live a hundred years.... Moreover, if one should set them up as supreme rulers, having absolute rule over the wide earth abounding in the seven treasures - not even by this could one repay one's parents. And why! Bhikkhus, parents do a lot for their children: they bring them up, provide them with food, introduce them to the world.

Yet, bhikkhus, whoever encourages their faithless parents, and settles and establishes them in faith; or whoever encourages their immoral parents and settles and establishes them in morality, or whoever encourages their stingy parents, and settles and establishes them in generosity, or whoever encourages their foolish parents, and settles and establishes them in wisdom - such a person, in this way repays, more than repays, what is due to their parents. - Anguttara Nikaya: Twos, 32

http://www.amaravati.org/abmnew/documen ... itude.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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

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With no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
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Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
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Re: Honoring your parents and at the same time going against ..

Post by PeterB » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:11 am

All of which in the context of the culture from which it emerged is stirring stuff. How much of it we can , and how much we indeed should, transplant those sentiments to our culture is moot.
I require nothing from my children and grandchildren other than their affection. I require no honouring, or gratitude.

I think we live in a different age where the nature of relationships between wife and husband and between parent and child are vastly different from that which pertained in Ancient Bharata. And I think that is a good thing .

We owe our parents nothing. Our children owe us nothing.
Beyond that positive affect we should attempt to actualise to all.

Our cultural has come of age and needs no ancestor worship.

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