What is the importance of lineage?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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John C. Kimbrough
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What is the importance of lineage?

Post by John C. Kimbrough » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:05 am

My fifth question is do you think that the idea of lineage and how some schools or teachers put alot of emphasis on it is in some way a way in which some schools/teachers may try to feel good about themselves or think that they are somehow more enlightened then others? Could it also lead to political/spiritual infighting?

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retrofuturist
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Re: What is the importance of lineage?

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:03 am

Greetings,
"Your majesty," the Buddha replied, "I now belong, not to the lineage of my family, but to the lineage of the noble ones. Theirs are the customs I follow."
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... stoms.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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)

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Cittasanto
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Re: What is the importance of lineage?

Post by Cittasanto » Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,
"Your majesty," the Buddha replied, "I now belong, not to the lineage of my family, but to the lineage of the noble ones. Theirs are the customs I follow."
Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... stoms.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)
:anjali: :anjali: :anjali:
John C. Kimbrough wrote:My fifth question is do you think that the idea of lineage and how some schools or teachers put alot of emphasis on it is in some way a way in which some schools/teachers may try to feel good about themselves or think that they are somehow more enlightened then others? Could it also lead to political/spiritual infighting?
Teachers teach by way of what they are familiar with and have practised themselves.
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

chownah
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Re: What is the importance of lineage?

Post by chownah » Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:45 pm

I started a thread awhile ago asking stuff about lineage and I think it got put into the ordination forum....you might look there to see if it contains anything of interest. I was asking if the Buddha ever stated that he had started a lineage of monks.....after much searching it seems that the Buddha did not ever claim to be a monk nor did he claim to have started a lineage of monks nor did he ever even refer to a lineage of monks. It seems that lineage with respect to monks was of little or no concern to the Buddha in that he is never reported to have mentioned it. The concept of lineage was not foreign to the Buddha as can be seen from retrofuturist's post. In that post the Buddha claimed to be of the lineage of Noble Ones and it should be noted that "Noble Ones" is usually agreed to NOT refer specifically to monks althought some monks are no doubt Noble Ones. To get an idea about what the tradition of the Noble Ones means you might want to take a look at the Ariya-Vamsa Sutta (Tradition of the Noble Ones Sutta).
Chownah
P.S. If anyone can find a reference which shows that my statement about the Buddha and lineage are mistaken please let me know as I am still interested in learning about how the Buddha viewed "lineage" whether with respect to monks or anything else.
Chownah

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ground
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Re: What is the importance of lineage?

Post by ground » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:38 pm

John C. Kimbrough wrote:My fifth question is do you think that the idea of lineage and how some schools or teachers put alot of emphasis on it ...
Lineage claims are worldly business.

Kind regards

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Ron-The-Elder
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Re: What is the importance of lineage?

Post by Ron-The-Elder » Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:54 pm

Lineage is less important to me than validated and verified conformance with Buddha's teachings. It is not enough to read and understand intellectually, we must also practice what we have come to understand to see for ourselves how it works. Not practicing, verifying and validating The Dhamma is very much like reading a book about how to ride a bicycle and then never actually riding one.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

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poto
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Re: What is the importance of lineage?

Post by poto » Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:57 pm

As I understand it, linage in Buddhism usually means the unbroken line of teachings or ordinations passed on from teacher to student that go directly back to the Buddha himself.

Perhaps today in the modern age of computers and technology where the Buddha's teachings are more accessible than ever before linage is less important. However, in past times I think it was probably more helpful in validating the authenticity of various schools and teachers.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis

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