Social Action

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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contemplans
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Social Action

Post by contemplans » Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:07 pm

Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?

Also is there any presence in the Buddhist community in the pro-life movement? Are there any Buddhist silent meditation sit-in "protests" of the killing, or something like that?

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DarwidHalim
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Re: Social Action

Post by DarwidHalim » Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:54 am

There is a documentary movie about a monk living in the northern Thailand and dedicating his life for the children in the golden triangle area.

You can find it in YouTube with English subtitle - Buddha's Lost Children.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SddTz1roO_o" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have no idea whether he is an Arahant or not. I think only he himself can know it.
Last edited by DarwidHalim on Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

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reflection
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Re: Social Action

Post by reflection » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:12 am

Many Arahants are known to teach the dhamma after their enlightenment, I think that also counts as a social action. Service to the needy. ;)

I don't know of any Buddhist pro-life activists, this is mainly a Christian thing. In Buddhism there is no clear for or against with respect to abortion; to my knowledge it's mostly seen as a situation dependent decision.

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: Social Action

Post by Modus.Ponens » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:09 am

Abortion has an "official" position by the Theravada which comes from the vinaya. Because a monk who helps in an abortion is comiting an offense of expulsion, the Theravada is against abortion. It could be easily argued to be a breach of the 1st precept.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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cooran
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Re: Social Action

Post by cooran » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:13 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Abortion has an "official" position by the Theravada which comes from the vinaya. Because a monk who helps in an abortion is comiting an offense of expulsion, the Theravada is against abortion. It could be easily argued to be a breach of the 1st precept.
Hello all,

What were the Buddha's views on abortion?
Practicing Buddhists observe the five precepts as a foundation for the moral life that spiritual progress requires. The first of these precepts is to "refrain from destroying living creatures." Because Theravada Buddhism regards human life as beginning at the moment of conception,[1] killing a fetus implies killing a human being, making abortion patently incompatible with the first precept.
One indication of the seriousness with which the Buddha regarded abortion is found in the Vinaya, the collection of texts that define the conduct and duties of Buddhist monastics. According to the Vinaya, if a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni should facilitate an abortion, or if a woman should get an abortion based on their recommendation, then that bhikkhu or bhikkhuni is immediately expelled from the Sangha, having broken one of the four cardinal rules of monastic conduct.[2]
Notes
1.
According to the Pali texts, conception occurs when three things are simultaneously present: the mother (i.e., a fertile egg), the father (a sperm cell), and the gandhabba (the kammic energy of the being that is seeking rebirth). If all three successfully coincide, human consciousness arises in the fertilized ovum and rebirth occurs. For a description of this process, see the Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta (MN 38). See Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation of this sutta (along with helpful footnotes) in "The Middle Length Discourse of the Buddha" (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1995).
2.
This rule (Parajika #3), which applies equally to bhikkhunis as well as bhikkhus, states:
Should any bhikkhu [or bhikkhuni] intentionally deprive a human being of life, or search for an assassin for him, or praise the advantages of death, or incite him to die (thus): "My good man, what use is this wretched, miserable life to you? Death would be better for you than life," or with such an idea in mind, such a purpose in mind, should in various ways praise the advantages of death or incite him to die, he [she] also is defeated and no longer in communion.
— Pr 3
The word-commentary to this rule makes clear that abortion counts as "intentionally depriving a human being of life." See The Buddhist Monastic Code, Vol. I
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... l#abortion" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Thu Dec 29, 2011 5:45 am

contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?
Hi contemplans,
Venerable Maha Boowa:
http://thaihelp.tripod.com/emain.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
&
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Boowa" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Daniel :heart:

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reflection
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Re: Social Action

Post by reflection » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:55 am

Thank you guys for the information on abortion. :thumbsup:

Bankei
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Re: Social Action

Post by Bankei » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:13 pm

danieLion wrote:
contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?
Hi contemplans,
Venerable Maha Boowa:
http://thaihelp.tripod.com/emain.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
&
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Boowa" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Daniel :heart:

I found it very interesting that a forest monk would engage in an economic rescue package like this. I thought it was more for political and nationalistic reasons than 'helping' the country.

Bankei
-----------------------
Bankei

danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:33 pm

contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?
Why is it important to you that they're an arahant?
D :heart:

danieLion
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Re: Social Action

Post by danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:36 pm

Bankei wrote:
danieLion wrote:
contemplans wrote:Are there any well known cases of an arahant, or person people think are an arahant, who dedicated themselves to social action after their enlightenment? For instance, feeding the poor, establish a hospital, or other services to the needy?
Hi contemplans,
Venerable Maha Boowa:
http://thaihelp.tripod.com/emain.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
&
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maha_Boowa" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Daniel :heart:

I found it very interesting that a forest monk would engage in an economic rescue package like this. I thought it was more for political and nationalistic reasons than 'helping' the country.

Bankei
Is it possible to divorce social action/"helping" from economics/politics?
D :heart:

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contemplans
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Re: Social Action

Post by contemplans » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:33 pm

danieLion wrote: Why is it important to you that they're an arahant?
Mostly to discern whether there is a trend throughout history in Buddhism of someone who achieved enlightenment tending to the material welfare of his fellow man, i.e., corporal works of mercy. Trying to analyze that state in which they are in, because if it is before enlightenment they may be swayed by "lower passions" / clinging. When the rubber meets the road, do any of them contribute to the material welfare of man either directly, or indirectly by the encouragedment of spiritual sponsorship?

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beeblebrox
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Re: Social Action

Post by beeblebrox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:52 pm

contemplans wrote:When the rubber meets the road, do any of them contribute to the material welfare of man either directly, or indirectly by the encouragedment of spiritual sponsorship?
The Dhamma is still around... just that the arahant's self is nowhere to be found. (The same with Tathagata.) I think that's why the Bodhisattva ideals were developed some time ago... because that sort of thing is difficult to understand, properly.

:anjali:

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contemplans
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Re: Social Action

Post by contemplans » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:21 pm

beeblebrox wrote:
contemplans wrote:When the rubber meets the road, do any of them contribute to the material welfare of man either directly, or indirectly by the encouragedment of spiritual sponsorship?
The Dhamma is still around... just that the arahant's self is nowhere to be found. (The same with Tathagata.) I think that's why the Bodhisattva ideals were developed some time ago... because that sort of thing is difficult to understand, properly.

:anjali:
I am not talking about feelings/intentions of goodwill or compassion, but actual exterior solicitude for the bodily health of others. You know, like an arahant initiates the opening of a hospital, or actually spends years feeding people from his bowl. Something along these lines. Corporal works of mercy. The one person given is close to what I am thinking. My thought comes from a Catholic saint, Padre Pio. A mendicant monk who could bi-locate, heal people, read souls, received the stigmata, literally fought with demons, and for some reason with all this high spiritual attainment wished to build a hospital for the sick. It was one of his life's goals.

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beeblebrox
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Re: Social Action

Post by beeblebrox » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:29 pm

contemplans wrote:I am not talking about feelings/intentions of goodwill or compassion, but actual exterior solicitude for the bodily health of others. You know, like an arahant initiates the opening of a hospital, or actually spends years feeding people from his bowl. Something along these lines. Corporal works of mercy. The one person given is close to what I am thinking. My thought comes from a Catholic saint, Padre Pio. A mendicant monk who could bi-locate, heal people, read souls, received the stigmata, literally fought with demons, and for some reason with all this high spiritual attainment wished to build a hospital for the sick. It was one of his life's goals.
There are quite a lot of hospitals around... did Padre Pio himself single-handedly build them? (This is a clue, by the way.)

:anjali:

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Ben
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Re: Social Action

Post by Ben » Sat Dec 31, 2011 8:43 pm

The problem in answering your question, contemplans, is that arahants do not go around announcing themselves as such.

Claiming a supramundane state, for a bhikkhu, to lay people is forbidden under the VInaya. Claiming a supramundane state, for a bhikkhu who has not attained to those states, precipitates the penalty of parajika (expulsion from the order).
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
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in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
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