Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

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Ryan95227
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Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by Ryan95227 » Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:05 am

In the modern world? Don't get me wrong, but I'm really happy that a layperson like you guys and I have wide variety of information about Buddhism. Even better, I can ask many experienced people on this site or etc if the information or the teacher I'm attend to is reliable. Of course there are distractions as a layperson, but can't a layperson slowly overcome many sensual pleasure and basically practice like a monk if one really decides to end suffering?
Now, for the monkhood, I feel that it's a hit and miss nowadays. I feel like I won't get any variety of information about buddhism if I ordained in a wrong place. Also, what are the chances that the temples,sangha,and monkhood will stay in place for a long time?




Am i right?

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The Thinker
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by The Thinker » Thu Jan 14, 2016 5:27 am

A layperson does not have enough time or concentrated effort within their day to contemplate,meditate, learn etc, the monk/nun is committed and with a teacher. That said much can be learned in the modern age, youtube, books, talks, forums, have opened up the teachings, many positives and very concentrated training methods available, so in part, it is much easier for laypeople to learn(of which I am one) :namaste:
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

SarathW
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by SarathW » Thu Jan 14, 2016 6:10 am

In theory, yes
Lay person can attain enlightenment.
In practice however there are lot of road blocks.
I have no doubt that a lay person can attain once returner (Sakdagami) status.
The best thing is to practice and see how far you can go as a lay person.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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cobwith
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by cobwith » Thu Jan 14, 2016 12:35 pm

Lay persons can attain enlightnment*; so as Bhikkhus. Both having to leave their home (house for the householder, and Wat for the Bhikkus,) so as to live the homeless life and cling to nothing.
Buddha wrote: “He who resorts to empty huts for lodging—
He is the sage, self-controlled.
He should live there, having relinquished all:
That is proper for one like him.

“Though many creatures crawl about,
Many terrors, flies, serpents,
The great sage gone to his empty hut
Stirs not a hair because of them.

“Though the sky might split, the earth quake,
And all creatures be stricken with terror,
Though men brandish a dart at their breast,
The enlightened take no shelter in acquisitions.”
SN 4.6
* cakkhuṃ udapādi ñāṇaṃ udapādi paññā udapādi vijjā udapādi āloko udapādi.
vision, knowledge, wisdom, true knowledge, and light.
(See also 22.26 and 35.13)
Sā me dhammamadesesi,
khandhāyatanadhātuyo
Thig 5.8

Planetary
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by Planetary » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:24 pm

Closer? No, what matters is the mental training/practice. So the person who is dedicating every single second of their life to training is "closer" to the ending of suffering than a layman who fits it into his worldly schedule. Once you're practicing in training the mind and putting your effort on protecting and maintaining skillful mental states, the last place you're going to want to be is smack dab in society. A society which runs counter to seclusion and renunciation. I don't think i've ever met a person who naturally has right speech, im no different. %80 of conversations i get on a normal daily interactions are people complaining, calling someone stupid/insulting them in one way or another, or for mindless chatter about t.v./entertainment.

And to be honest, i'm rather certain even before arahantship the idea of you being a person and living comfortably with a house,eating nice dinners, doing entertaining things that make life exciting like vacations and trips, and movies, hobbies, and everything our layperson stuff revolves around will just seem absolutely ridiculous. All this effort for a bag of a skin and bones, the only thing that makes householder life seem appealing is delusion.

dhammarelax
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by dhammarelax » Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:16 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:In the modern world? Don't get me wrong, but I'm really happy that a layperson like you guys and I have wide variety of information about Buddhism. Even better, I can ask many experienced people on this site or etc if the information or the teacher I'm attend to is reliable. Of course there are distractions as a layperson, but can't a layperson slowly overcome many sensual pleasure and basically practice like a monk if one really decides to end suffering?
Now, for the monkhood, I feel that it's a hit and miss nowadays. I feel like I won't get any variety of information about buddhism if I ordained in a wrong place. Also, what are the chances that the temples,sangha,and monkhood will stay in place for a long time?




Am i right?
Yes I feel so too, as a lay person I can try different styles and stick with the one it works, not sure if I can do that as a monastic.

Smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

dagon
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by dagon » Sat Jan 16, 2016 12:33 am

Ryan95227 wrote:In the modern world? Don't get me wrong, but I'm really happy that a layperson like you guys and I have wide variety of information about Buddhism. Even better, I can ask many experienced people on this site or etc if the information or the teacher I'm attend to is reliable. Of course there are distractions as a layperson, but can't a layperson slowly overcome many sensual pleasure and basically practice like a monk if one really decides to end suffering?
Now, for the monkhood, I feel that it's a hit and miss nowadays. I feel like I won't get any variety of information about buddhism if I ordained in a wrong place. Also, what are the chances that the temples,sangha,and monkhood will stay in place for a long time?




Am i right?
Hi Ryan
I assume that the question you are asking is if living as a layperson is a better path to enlightenment in the modern world.

The first question that you have to ask yourself is had the 4 Noble Truths or the Noble 8 Fold Path changed – to me the answer is no.

Sure there are Monks that are doing the wrong thing today – but there was Monks doing the wrong things at the time of The Buddha. What evolved out of the misconduct is the rules that we continue to see broken by some, we remember that a Monk is someone on the path rather than an enlighten being

For your consideration
It is not fit, foolish man, it is not becoming, it is not proper, it is unworthy of a recluse, it is not lawful, it ought not to be done. How could you, foolish man, having gone forth under this Dhamma and Discipline which are well-taught, [commit such and such offense]?... It is not, foolish man, for the benefit of un-believers, nor for the increase in the number of believers, but, foolish man, it is to the detriment of both unbelievers and believers, and it causes wavering in some.

— The Book of the Discipline, Part I, by I.B. Horner (London: Pali Text Society, 1982), pp. 36-37.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/vin/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

There is the presumption by some that becoming a monk is an opportunity to run away from the problems of life. It truth it is an opportunity to face reality and especially the reality about ourselves. That is a far more confronting position than the one faced by householders.

Householders face their own issues - one of which is illustrated below
This widespread harmful influence of the five hindrances shows the urgent necessity of breaking down their power by constant effort. One should not believe it sufficient to turn one's attention to the hindrances only at the moment when one sits down for meditation. Such last-minute effort in suppressing the hindrances will rarely be successful unless helped by previous endeavor during one's ordinary life.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el026.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The reality is that most of us get entangle in the issues of mundane life. Wife, kids, mortgage and work to mention just a few. It takes a very high level of self discipline to maintain a good practice in such circumstances. Yes it can be done and some on this forum are doing just that. The question is whether that it the most direct path for any particular individual. Abandoning family and responsibilities and taking orders is hard to reconcile with Buddhist ethics in such situations.

Your question implies that there is a choice of ordination or lay life - I would argue that this is not the case and does not reflect what happens in real life. Before getting entangled in obligations is the obvious entry point - even then it does not mean that one would become a monk for life. Many people ordain and disrobe after a period of time. Some take up the households life some return to monastic life after a period of time - this is the case with some of the most respected monks. Other people ordain (or re-ordain) when they are free from the householder responsibilities either on a temporary or permanent basis.

Are you at a point in your development that you need to make a choice to ordain or not. Surely your best course of action is to dwell in the present. practise mindfulness and firmly establish yourself on the Noble 8 Fold path. Speculating on the future of your self or the Sangha for that matter distracts you from the present. Please remember that you create your future in the present.

metta

coreycook950
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by coreycook950 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:26 pm

Hello Friend,

Being a layperson, without renouncing worldly things, can have many constraints that may prevent one from attaining any higher stages of enlightenment. Therefore for an ordained monk, who has renounced the household life, he doesn't have the responsibilities of paying bills, looking after family, and other worldly concerns.

However, I do believe that it's possible to a large extent for a layperson to renounce sensuality and eventually even attain the higher stages of enlightenment.

Monks have advantages in that they have less distractions than laypersons.

Blessings,

CC

buddhist_from_india
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by buddhist_from_india » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:24 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:In the modern world? Don't get me wrong, but I'm really happy that a layperson like you guys and I have wide variety of information about Buddhism. Even better, I can ask many experienced people on this site or etc if the information or the teacher I'm attend to is reliable. Of course there are distractions as a layperson, but can't a layperson slowly overcome many sensual pleasure and basically practice like a monk if one really decides to end suffering?
Now, for the monkhood, I feel that it's a hit and miss nowadays. I feel like I won't get any variety of information about buddhism if I ordained in a wrong place. Also, what are the chances that the temples,sangha,and monkhood will stay in place for a long time?




Am i right?
The probability of getting enlightened ( I personally feel) is better while you are in Samsara rather than ordaining.

You have a greater opportunity of :-

a. Experiencing the Dukkha of various facets - being unloved , losing someone you love, attachment to someone you love etc.
b. If you manage to attain one of the entry level stages - Sotapanna - manage to see dependent origination in action in everyday life and henceforth see Kamma in action

santa100
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by santa100 » Fri Feb 19, 2016 3:42 am

Ryan95227 wrote:Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?
There won't be any general rule to determine whether a lay person or a monastic is closer to enlightenment for it very much depends on the individual's own effort. A diligent lay person would obviously be in a better position than a lazy monastic. However, monkhood does has many advantages over lay life. The most obvious one is time: one can meditate at least 8 hours a day if one wants, as opposed to one has to work at least 8 hours a day to be able to get food to eat and shelter to live. A common stock phrase in many suttas:
it's not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?

pegembara
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by pegembara » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:46 am

It depends on one's practice in terms of consistency and depth which is more likely as a monastic. It's more a matter of what you do rather than what you know.


supaṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho
The sangha of the blessed one's disciples have practiced well,

uju-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho
the sangha of the blessed one's disciples who have practiced straightforwardly,

ñāya-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho
the sangha of the blessed one's disciples who have practiced methodically,

sāmīci-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho
the sangha of the blessed one's disciples who have practiced masterfully,
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

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Ben
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Re: Isn't a layperson closer to enlightenment?

Post by Ben » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:01 am

It is also worth contemplating the below extract from DN2: Samannaphala Sutta:
“A householder, or a householder’s son, or one born into some other family, hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, he gains faith in the Tathāgata. Endowed with such faith, he reflects: ‘The household life is crowded, a path of dust. Going forth is like the open air. It is not easy for one dwelling at home to lead the perfectly complete, perfectly purified holy life, bright as a polished conch. Let me then shave off my hair and beard, put on saffron robes, and go forth from home to homelessness.’
This is not to suggest that there are no fruits to life as an upasaka or upasika, but the opportunities present as a bhikkhu or bhikkhuni for progress on the path are greater.
“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.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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