Parajika

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Meezer77
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Parajika

Post by Meezer77 » Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:21 pm

Hello,

I was wondering if there is a reason that falsely claiming to have supernatural powers or attainments is a parajika in the vinaya rules.The reason I ask is because slander is considered a lesser offence, but to my reasoning it would be just as immoral. I'm not intending to come across as argumentative, just curious

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Dhammanando
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Re: Parajika

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:24 am

The Vinaya's background story can be read here:

https://suttacentral.net/en/pi-tv-bu-vb-pj4
"But in this world with its gods, its lords of death, and its supreme beings, in this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans, this is the greatest gangster: he who untruthfully and groundlessly boasts about a super-human quality. Why is that? Monks, you’ve eaten the country’s almsfood by theft."

Whoever should declare himself
to be other than he truly is,
Has eaten this by theft,
like a cheater who has deceived.

Many ocher-necks of bad qualities,
uncontrolled and wicked—
By their wicked deeds,
they are reborn in hell.

It is better to eat an iron ball,
heated, like a burning flame,
Than for the immoral and uncontrolled
to eat the country’s alms.

Meezer77
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Location: Scotland

Re: Parajika

Post by Meezer77 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:36 am

Thanks Bhante, I'm guessing that during the Buddha's time that there were some charlatans profiteering from claiming to have special powers and taking advantage of people? Would that be a fair interpretation?

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Dhammanando
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Re: Parajika

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:24 am

Meezer77 wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:36 am
Thanks Bhante, I'm guessing that during the Buddha's time that there were some charlatans profiteering from claiming to have special powers and taking advantage of people? Would that be a fair interpretation?
I don't know if there's any mention of this being done in the early texts, but it wouldn't be at all surprising. If shameless bhikkhus resorted to it, then it seems likely that shameless wanderers and ascetics of other persuasions would have done so too.

Meezer77
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Re: Parajika

Post by Meezer77 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:02 am

It's interesting he uses the word gangster eh? Fitting I guess

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Dhammanando
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Re: Parajika

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:11 pm

Meezer77 wrote:
Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:02 am
It's interesting he uses the word gangster eh? Fitting I guess
The Pali has mahācora, lit. "great thief", and I.B. Horner rendered it so. But the version of the English Vinaya at Sutta Central has been greatly revised, in part to correct Horner's errors, but also to present the whole work in a much more modernised and demotic idiom.

While the corrections are certainly welcome, the modernising and vulgarising of the translation are not always well-conceived. For example, neither Horner's literal rendering "great thief" nor Sutta Central's free and vulgar rendering "gangster" are good translations of mahācora — a term that denotes a master thief, as opposed to a thief's apprentice. "Great thief" fails to convey this, while "gangster" is simply misleading, for a mahācora is not necessarily a member of any gang.

Meezer77
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Re: Parajika

Post by Meezer77 » Tue Jan 02, 2018 4:59 pm

Perhaps some of these revisions are subjective in that they come from the individual's sensibilities and culture. I quite like the term "gangster" but that's probably because I'm a bit uncouth and vulgar myself :mrgreen:

Meezer77
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Re: Parajika

Post by Meezer77 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:11 pm

I guess what I'm trying to figure out is why the Buddha thought that claiming to be something your not is worse than malicious gossip or slander. But maybe morality is subjective?

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