Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Post Reply
TRobinson465
Posts: 239
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm

Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by TRobinson465 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 9:07 pm

Hi there, so I attend a Mahanikaya temple and was wondering what are some of the specific identifying factors that differentiate Mahanikaya and Dhammayuttika?

I know Dhammayut was started by a Thai prince and they tend to be forest tradition etc., but are there any specific customs or practices that are different? I've also noticed that westerners (as well as the people here) tend to be Thai forest tradition and likely dhammayut. Most of the temples I've visited have been Mahanikaya, and I havent spent enough time at Dhammayut temples to really make out the specific differences in customs or practices.

I've also heard that at Dhammayut/Thai Forest Tradition temples, monks usually just have one meal a day. Where as at Mahanikaya (as far as I've seen) seem to have 2 meals, so long as they are before noon of course.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism"

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:20 pm

Hi TRobinson465,

Dhammayut was started by King Monkut (before he took over as king) in the 1800s as a reform movement.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhammayuttika_Nikaya
Given this history, the HQ in Bangkok, and therefore many Dhammayut monks there:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Bowonniwet_Vihara

Some forest monks are Dhammayut, some are not. Ajahn Chah's lineage isn't, for example.

:anjali:
Mike

User avatar
khemindas
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:06 am
Location: Myanmar
Contact:

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by khemindas » Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:13 am

I really don't like Dhammayut tradition for many reasons:
1) Many of them preach eternalistic and others non-buddhist views, and practice non-buddhist practices.
2) Most of them very selfish, and many think about themself that, they a best nikaya, and others are nothing.
3) In public they show that they are very vinaya monks, but secretly I saw some of them eating food in the evening, and even I saw how in one monastery abbot drove a car to foodmarket after pindapata
4) They are separatist nikaya, instead just to become alone and practice strict, they wants to create their own nikaya and separate. And also they very close to king, means involved in poiltical intrigues.
5) They go against the middle path, because many of them go to second extreme, atthakilamatanuyoga (self-mortification), and they proud of this.

So this 5 basic things why I don't like Dhammayut nikaya.

TRobinson465
Posts: 239
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:28 am

khemindas wrote:I really don't like Dhammayut tradition for many reasons:
1) Many of them preach eternalistic and others non-buddhist views, and practice non-buddhist practices.
2) Most of them very selfish, and many think about themself that, they a best nikaya, and others are nothing.
3) In public they show that they are very vinaya monks, but secretly I saw some of them eating food in the evening, and even I saw how in one monastery abbot drove a car to foodmarket after pindapata
4) They are separatist nikaya, instead just to become alone and practice strict, they wants to create their own nikaya and separate. And also they very close to king, means involved in poiltical intrigues.
5) They go against the middle path, because many of them go to second extreme, atthakilamatanuyoga (self-mortification), and they proud of this.

So this 5 basic things why I don't like Dhammayut nikaya.

lol. thanks for sharing. Well i think a few of the things, like #3, are things that are an issue in some mahanikaya temples also. Some of their practices are in fact unnecessary, like only eating one meal a day (most mahanikaya temples eat 2 meals, just b4 noon. which is perfectly allowed in the vinaya). But yeah from what ive read and heard Dhammayut is more strict and focused on self development (as opposed to city traditions where theres a factor of propogation for the benefit of others). I dont really consider that to be bad tho, the forest and city traditions go hand in hand as complements to each other, they just focus on different things. But obviously if every1 only focused on thier own self development buddhism would just die out.

Dhammayut was started by a thai royal so they have ties to the royal family and get a bunch of unearned privileges as a result. But you are right, i have seen cases where Dhammayut acts like they're better than every1 else. I wouldnt lump them in and say all Dhammayut are like that of course, but its just something that happens sometimes since they are distinct and are royally backed.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism"

User avatar
khemindas
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:06 am
Location: Myanmar
Contact:

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by khemindas » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:46 am

6) They are follow double standarts, while Mahanikaya everywhere allow them stay in monasteries, they in opposite not. Once I asked to stay in Dhammayut monastery at Bangkok, and abbot refuse me to stay, he say he can't allow because I'm not Dhammayut nikaya, such a hypocrisy, from their side, I think now Mahanikaya also should not allow them stay in Mahanikaya monasteries anymore.

dharmacorps
Posts: 472
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by dharmacorps » Mon Oct 23, 2017 3:45 pm

The main differences as you can see already, is sectarian. The Thai Forest Tradition includes both orders. It isn't of particular meaning unless you are ordained, where protocol between orders gets a little complex.

sgns
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:15 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by sgns » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:20 am

There is an interesting article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu about the relationship between the Thai Forest traditions and Dhammayut called "An Essay on the Thai Forest Tradition and its Relationship with the Dhammayut Hierarchy".

It outlines the complex history of political alliances and hostility between Dhammayut and Thai Forest. Thanissaro Bhikkhu says this relationship also has modern day implications for the preservation of forested wildernesses in Thailand (although the article itself is 12 years old).

You can find the article here https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... 20Ones.pdf

TRobinson465
Posts: 239
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by TRobinson465 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:54 pm

sgns wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:20 am
There is an interesting article by Thanissaro Bhikkhu about the relationship between the Thai Forest traditions and Dhammayut called "An Essay on the Thai Forest Tradition and its Relationship with the Dhammayut Hierarchy".

It outlines the complex history of political alliances and hostility between Dhammayut and Thai Forest. Thanissaro Bhikkhu says this relationship also has modern day implications for the preservation of forested wildernesses in Thailand (although the article itself is 12 years old).

You can find the article here https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... 20Ones.pdf
Awesome, thank you very much! :namaste:
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism"

tbeaudoin
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:37 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by tbeaudoin » Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:38 pm

I'm sorry to see that much of the above-oriented discussion of the Dhammayuttika is largely sectarian rhetoric based upon anecdotal information. For a solid, objective answer to this question (from a lay person with an incomplete understanding, who was formerly a Samanera in the Mahanikaya):

Dhammayut was founded as a "reform" movement within Thai Theravada. It's intention was to return to/recreate Buddhist practice based on the Canon. It also sought to return to/recreate Buddhist monasticism based on the Canon. This was the movement's intention: it's reason of existence. This does not mean that there are not Mahanikaya monks who try to do the same. I am simply stating that this was the purpose of the Dhammayut's founding. "Mahanikaya" was just an umbrella name given to all the monks who were not (re-)ordained in the Dhammayut movement; it's a "bucket term" that contains a lot of monks who have different beliefs and practices; it was only given a real "structure" after the structured foundation of Dhammayut sect was already underway.


Enough of history and names; here are some of the major doctrinal and practical differences:

(1) Much of Thai Buddhist practice - among both laity and monastics - had by the 1800s become infiltrated with many indigenous animistic beliefs and practices, as well as some beliefs and practices from Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. Many kingdoms in Southeast Asia converted to Hinduism, then to Mahayana Buddhism, and lastly to Theravada Buddhism. Summary: Dhammayut was founded in order to purify Buddhism from animistic, Hindu, and Mahayana beliefs and practices.

(2) Dhammayut order sought to return to/recreate Buddhist practice based on the Canon (Ti-pitakka), not on the Commentaries, the Vissudhimagga, and other non-canonical works by later writers, like Sri Lanka's nationally prized philosopher, Bhadantacariya Buddhaghosa. His interpretive works - which contain many incongruities with the sutta-pitaka and the vinaya-pitaka - have become authoritative texts in the mainstream Theravada sect coming out of Sri Lanka; his works were also brought to Burma and popularized there, and spread further eastward. Dhammayut monks and scholars - like Thanissaro Bhikkhu - have worked to unearth many of the discrepancies (and even outright contradictions) between what the Suttas and Vinaya say on the one hand, and what the prized philosopher Buddhaghosa claimed that they said on the other hand. Summary: Dhammayut was founded in order to purify mistaken beliefs and practices started within the Theravada tradition itself, by engaging in critical scholarship and strict adherence to the Tipitaka (the Pali Canon) in its own words, rather than considering the interpretive work of this or that later thinker to have precedence or pride of place over the Ariya-Dhamma-Vinaya (as recorded in the Tipitaka) itself.


(3) Dhammayut tried to go back to a more accurate pronunciation and recitation of the Indic language Pali: their chanting style is called "Magadha" (named after a region in India), whereas Mahanikaya chants in a style called "Samyoga" (which means "with links/linked"). To summarize, "Samyoga" chanting is the most popular form in Thailand, Cambodia, etc. and it pretty much mispronounces the Pali: if you've ever heard it, you know what I mean, because it doesn't sound like any Indic language whatsoever. The retroflexive consonants are not pronounced in a retroflexive way; the aspirated consonants are not pronounced in an aspirated way: essentially, any ancient Indian speaker of Pali would have no idea what was being said (lol). Further more, this style of chanting involves no pauses or stops at commas, periods, line-ends - it just keeps going on, and on, and on in one linked string. Listening to it, you would never know where one sentence stopped and another began, where one line (of verse/poetry) stopped and another began. This is where it gets its name from "samyoga", i.e. "linked" - whole suttas and verses are chanted straight through without stop like one long sentence.

Now, the Dhammayut tries to train its monks in the other style, "Magadha," which tries to pronounce all consonants they way they are supposed to be, including the retroflexive and aspirated consonants. This makes the Pali sound more like a language from India - which, of course, it is. Also, this style involves pausing at commas, periods, and (in verses/poems) at line-ends; this makes it sound more like spoken prose and/or verse - which of course, it is.

It is much easier to learn how to chant "Samgoga" style because you don't actually have to pronounce all the sounds in the Pali alphabet the way they're supposed to. For example, you pronounce "t," "th," "t"(with a dot underneath), and "th" (with a dot under the t) basically the exact same way - even though they are supposed to have different sounds. "Samyoga" is also easier to learn to chant because you don't actually have to know where sentences start and end, where there are commas, etc. "Easier" here means "easier to learn how to chant it without having to actually learn what it's saying...or having to learn what what it's saying is actually meaning." And this last point of mine reveals why the Dhammayut doesn't promote it: they insist on folks knowing what ords they are chanting, and knowing the meaning of those words. Consequently, they promote "Magadha" chanting among their own bhikkhus.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:59 pm

Hi tbeaudoin,
tbeaudoin wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:38 pm
(3) Dhammayut tried to go back to a more accurate pronunciation and recitation of the Indic language Pali: their chanting style is called "Magadha" (named after a region in India), whereas Mahanikaya chants in a style called "Samyoga" (which means "with links/linked"). ...
I'm not an expert, and I hope others with more knowledge will respond, but I believe that this is an oversimplification of chanting styles. I've never heard morning and evening, and other such chants done in the Samyoga style by Mahanikaya monastics, though that style seems to be commonly used for suttas . I've certainly heard some rather mangled Pali in Thailand, but also some very good pronunciation.

:heart:
Mike

rightviewftw
Posts: 1604
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by rightviewftw » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:13 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:28 am
Some of their practices are in fact unnecessary, like only eating one meal a day (most mahanikaya temples eat 2 meals, just b4 noon. which is perfectly allowed in the vinaya).
Friend, It is not allowed to eat two meals but one can eat a portion of the meal at a later time:

https://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle- ... dali-sutta
1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.”—“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:
2. “Bhikkhus, I eat at a single session. By so doing, I am free from illness and affliction, and I enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding. Come, bhikkhus, eat at a single session. By so doing, you too will be free from illness and affliction, and you will enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding.”
3. When this was said, the venerable Bhaddāli told the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat at a single session; for if I were to do so, I might have worry and anxiety about it.”
“Then, Bhaddāli, eat one part there where you are invited and bring away one part to eat. By eating in that way, [438] you will maintain yourself.”
“Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat in that way either; for if I were to do so, I might also have worry and anxiety about it.”
4. Then, when this training precept was being made known by the Blessed One, the venerable Bhaddāli publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus his unwillingness to undertake the training. Then the venerable Bhaddāli did not present himself to the Blessed One for the whole of that three-month period [of the Rains], as he did not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
...
Not two meals but one meal in two portions, friend. I have also seen monks completely ignore this and have two separate meals offered to them.

paul
Posts: 1141
Joined: Tue May 31, 2011 11:27 pm
Location: Vietnam

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by paul » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:13 pm

tbeaudoin wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:38 pm
(1) Much of Thai Buddhist practice - among both laity and monastics - had by the 1800s become infiltrated with many indigenous animistic beliefs and practices, as well as some beliefs and practices from Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhism. Many kingdoms in Southeast Asia converted to Hinduism, then to Mahayana Buddhism, and lastly to Theravada Buddhism. Summary: Dhammayut was founded in order to purify Buddhism from animistic, Hindu, and Mahayana beliefs and practices.
Could you give your take on how the Thai Forest Tradition fits into this?

TRobinson465
Posts: 239
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 5:29 pm

Re: Mahanikaya vs Dhammayuttika

Post by TRobinson465 » Sat Jul 21, 2018 1:48 am

rightviewftw wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:13 pm
TRobinson465 wrote:
Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:28 am
Some of their practices are in fact unnecessary, like only eating one meal a day (most mahanikaya temples eat 2 meals, just b4 noon. which is perfectly allowed in the vinaya).
Friend, It is not allowed to eat two meals but one can eat a portion of the meal at a later time:

https://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle- ... dali-sutta
1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.”—“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:
2. “Bhikkhus, I eat at a single session. By so doing, I am free from illness and affliction, and I enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding. Come, bhikkhus, eat at a single session. By so doing, you too will be free from illness and affliction, and you will enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding.”
3. When this was said, the venerable Bhaddāli told the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat at a single session; for if I were to do so, I might have worry and anxiety about it.”
“Then, Bhaddāli, eat one part there where you are invited and bring away one part to eat. By eating in that way, [438] you will maintain yourself.”
“Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat in that way either; for if I were to do so, I might also have worry and anxiety about it.”
4. Then, when this training precept was being made known by the Blessed One, the venerable Bhaddāli publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus his unwillingness to undertake the training. Then the venerable Bhaddāli did not present himself to the Blessed One for the whole of that three-month period [of the Rains], as he did not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
...
Not two meals but one meal in two portions, friend. I have also seen monks completely ignore this and have two separate meals offered to them.
Id still kinda consider that 2 meals. but okay, thanks for the info. i did not know that story.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism"

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: cookiemonster and 21 guests