Going to temple

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
JackV
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Going to temple

Post by JackV » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:37 pm

Do you think in the West it is neccesary to go to temple?

Our culture is different from the east and as such the lay community and monastic do not have the same reciprocal relationship. One can meditate and consult forums such as this should they encounter problems/issues etc.

I am not suggesting this as a course of action or saying we shouldn't, I'm simply curious.

Jack
Here where a thousand
captains swore grand conquest
Tall grasses their monument.

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Ruralist
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Re: Going to temple

Post by Ruralist » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:03 pm

Yes
visiting a monastery is so inspiring and fulfilling IMO
you get to meet other practitioners and of course mingle with the Sangha, get involved with the events, group meditations etc. meditating on your own is great but once you get in the vihara, with other people and the ambience, its a different level, again, IMO

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sakyans. Now there is a Sakyan town named Sakkara. There Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."[1]

"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.

"And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve ... right speech ... right action ... right livelihood ... right effort ... right mindfulness ... right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.

"And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life."
SN 45.2
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Let monkeys be monkeys without getting emotionally involved. Peace can be born within you because you know the way monkeys are. Knowing the manner of monkeys, you will let go and be at peace, not getting tied up in monkey business." Ven. Ajahn Chah

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Claudia
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Re: Going to temple

Post by Claudia » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:18 pm

To me it is always very special when I go to the temple and see my teacher there.
After a visit at the temple, I always feel inspired and it confirms my confidence. I feel so happy that we have a temple not too far away from us.
Many greetings from

Claudia

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mikenz66
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Re: Going to temple

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:16 pm

JackV wrote: Our culture is different from the east and as such the lay community and monastic do not have the same reciprocal relationship.
All the more reason for participating in a community with does have that relationship.

:anjali:
Mike

chownah
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Re: Going to temple

Post by chownah » Wed Sep 14, 2011 12:30 pm

In the Buddha's time there weren't any Buddhist temples....guess they are optional...
chownah

Jhana4
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Re: Going to temple

Post by Jhana4 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:55 pm

I'm working on my 7th year of meditating every day without a day missed. For about the first 5 years I meditated completely on my own.

I find going to a Vihara to sit with others inspiring and I occasionally learn things from others that I would not on an internet forum. IMHO, having Viharas and a modernized (sans superstitions and dated vinya rules ) Sangha of nuns and monks would be a worthy thing for Western Theravada Buddhists to have.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Nicro
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Re: Going to temple

Post by Nicro » Wed Sep 14, 2011 5:37 pm

It probably depends on you local Vihara. The one in my town I didn't feel to comfortable in. Most of the laypeople were nice, all Thai and only a few spoke English. One lady yelled at me when I first arrived which threw me off a bit but then the other people were nice and she became nicer.

The monks is what kind of ruined it for me though. They were all sitting around in the living room(its a converted house) and were watching TV shows. None of them spoke English so one lady was having to translate for me. Only one monk had any interest in talking to me, and it turned out that he did meditate(he was visiting from Thailand) and I had a short conversation with him.

The place seemed more like a cultural center though.

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Kim OHara
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Re: Going to temple

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:46 pm

Nicro wrote:It probably depends on you local Vihara. The one in my town I didn't feel to comfortable in. Most of the laypeople were nice, all Thai and only a few spoke English. ...
The place seemed more like a cultural center though.
That seems to be quite a common thing for Buddhist temples serving migrant communities on non-Buddhist countries, and it is quite understandable.
I think MikeNZ's local wat is similar - perhaps he can comment?

:namaste:
Kim

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mikenz66
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Re: Going to temple

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:[
I think MikeNZ's local wat is similar - perhaps he can comment?
Yes, a combination of social gathering place and place to go for Dhamma. Which suits me since I don't see Dhamma as being something separate.

However, I can sympathise that feeling comfortable in a situation where English is not the preferred language can be very challenging. Sometimes it's easy to mistake a lack of engagement with unfriendliness. My experience in such situations has always been that if one makes some effort then others will respond well.

And there will always be a variety of monks. Some taking Dhamma development seriously, some not. But getting over the idealism that all monks are, or can be, or should be, perfect may be a positive thing. As far as I'm concerned, it about making the best use of possible opportunities.

:anjali:
Mike

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retrofuturist
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Re: Going to temple

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:15 am

Greetings,
mikenz66 wrote:My experience in such situations has always been that if one makes some effort then others will respond well.
Yes, a smile goes a long way.

Or to quote Crosby, Stills & Nash, expertly covered by Jefferson Airplane...
If you smile at me you know I will understand
Cause that is something everybody everywhere does
In the same language
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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ground
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Re: Going to temple

Post by ground » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:42 am

JackV wrote:Do you think in the West it is neccesary to go to temple?
Generally? No. It is generally not necessary.

However for some individuals it may be helpful although not necessary.


kind regards

PeterB
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Re: Going to temple

Post by PeterB » Thu Sep 15, 2011 8:12 am

TMingyur wrote:
JackV wrote:Do you think in the West it is neccesary to go to temple?
Generally? No. It is generally not necessary.

However for some individuals it may be helpful although not necessary.


kind regards
It was for a long time necessary for me. And it is still more than helpful. .

I was going to ask if you ever go to a temple TMingyur..but then I remembered that you prefer to be a Man of Mystery.

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ground
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Re: Going to temple

Post by ground » Fri Sep 16, 2011 2:36 am

PeterB wrote:but then I remembered that you prefer to be a Man of Mystery.
?
PeterB wrote: I was going to ask if you ever go to a temple TMingyur.
Occasionally when I attend a teaching there are statues, pictures and ornaments in the room/hall. Experiencing such an environment is a concomitant effect of attending the teaching. I don't know whether such an environment may be validly called "temple".


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PeterB
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Re: Going to temple

Post by PeterB » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:00 am

I'll take that as a "no" then.

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Monkey Mind
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Re: Going to temple

Post by Monkey Mind » Sat Sep 17, 2011 2:02 am

5 years ago I would have said "no". Recorded Dhamma talks, English translations of suttas and a meditation cushion was as good as any temple filled with its archaic statues and monastics with their rites and rituals.

These days I am impressed (enamored) with how clever and wise these monks and nuns are, or often seem to be. Asking questions directly of the Sangha-that-has-practiced-well has resolved a lot of my Wrong View.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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