Is there another purpose?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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egon
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Is there another purpose?

Post by egon » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:30 pm

I understand that people pursue ordination for many reasons, and I believe I understand that the one that many or most have in common is the potential to live in the manner that the Buddha taught, thereby more efficiently and effectively being liberated from dukkha and samsara.

Is there a common thread of dana among monastic traditions? And I don't mean the devotion and giving of one's time and effort to the monastery or the order, but dana as pertains to the laypeople or the world at large? Do monks act in service of laypeople (outside of teaching the Dhamma, I assume that's an inherent part of it)? Is the general agreement between monks and laypeople that the monks are working the hardest to know the Dhamma, so providing their insight is the only giving they need to do to earn the financial support of their surrounding communities, or do they actually get out there and do stuff to help?

I really know virtually nothing about monasticism so please consider this a well-intentioned and open-minded question.

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DNS
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by DNS » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:36 pm

That could be considered one of the misconceptions of Theravada Buddhist monasticism. Not all monks are "teaching-monks." Some meditate in solitary settings, some in monasteries. Not all have teaching duties or any expectations placed on them to give Dhamma talks or instruction. The lay people still gain merit by offering them food and assisting in providing housing and requisites of the monk's practice.

It could be from our Judaeo-Christian backgrounds that many of us see them or expect them to be teachers of lay people (as Rabbis and preachers do), but that is not necessarily the case among all Buddhist monks and nuns.

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mikenz66
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:18 pm

Hi ScottPen,
ScottPen wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:30 pm
Is there a common thread of dana among monastic traditions? And I don't mean the devotion and giving of one's time and effort to the monastery or the order, but dana as pertains to the laypeople or the world at large? ...
It's hard to answer this quantitatively, since Buddhist lay people may well do charity work that is not specifically connected with Buddhist organisations. My local Thai and Sri Lankan monasteries don't currently have any particular "outreach" to the general community. They are, of course important supports for the immigrant communities that support them, with monks providing help and guidance. And some of the monks have, at times, done things such as prison visiting, and meditation instruction tailored to various organisations.

The monk who runs the local Sri Lankan monastery has sometimes opined that he would prefer that his supporters (and the Thai Buddhist community) put a bit more energy in to helping the general community, rather than building more elaborate buildings and statues. But, as I have indicated, I know that some of them do put time and effort into the community, but not with a specific Buddhist organisation or focus.

This is in contrast to some of the Mahayana organisations. Fo Guang Shan, for example, was specifically founded with a community service focus, and has run kitchens and shelters during emergencies here.

However, I would end by repeating that many members of the Theravada community do contribute to the wider community!


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SarathW
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:37 pm

I think the role of the monk has changed since Buddha's time.
Buddha's time monks lived mainly as mendicants.
Now monks stay in monasteries and people take food to them.
In Buddha's time, monks did not have any obligation to lay people or lay people did not have any obligation to monks.
They lived in the forest, no temples bodhi tree of statues.
Now the monk's order has become another institution so both lay people and monks have duties to each other.
Lay people expect monks to follow the Vinaya rules and practice and protect Buddhism.
Monks expect lay people to look after them.
Engage in politics and social work is not the monk's duties it is the duty of the lay people.
Now the role has changed.
Monks trying to take the political and social obligations and lay people are trying to follow the Vinaya rules and protect the Buddhism.
This does not mean that we do not have some great monks among us. Without them, we will not have come so far 2600 years.

See Broken Buddha.


viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2698&hilit
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Sat Jun 02, 2018 12:49 am

ScottPen wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:30 pm
...or do they actually get out there and do stuff to help?
When I was a monk, we would do something like try to clean the windows, or wash the monastery car, and the laypeople would come running up and say "Bhante! You not do that! That not monk work! I do for you."
They would be displeased if we were seen doing volunteer work out in the community, except for teaching and ceremonies. They want and expect the monks to be in their huts studying and meditating.

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:37 am

When I was a Theravadin practitioner I knew the abbot of a large Cambodian temple. He also had a doctorate in psychology and worked at a local mental health clinic helping Khmer refugees - his earnings were donated to the temple.

For anyone interested, here is his obituary with more information. I only met him a few times as he was quite busy, but a presence of peace, tranquility, and compassion radiated from him. 🙏

http://templenews.org/news/articles/wat ... ikaram.htm
"Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,"

~ From the Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8)

SarathW
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:53 am

le. He also had a doctorate in psychology and worked at a local mental health clinic helping Khmer refugees
Monkhood is another job.
As lay people, we have a job too.
What we should do is to do our job to the best of our ability for the society and ourselves.
The story of the dog and the dog may be out of date but it may be relevant sometimes.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/story-do ... in-hussain
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:31 am

"What, venerable sir, is the purpose of seeing rightly?"

"The purpose of seeing rightly, Rādha, is revulsion."

"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of revulsion?"

"The purpose of revulsion is dispassion."

"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of dispassion?"

"The purpose of dispassion is liberation."

"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of liberation?"

"The purpose of liberation is Nibbāna."

"And what, venerable sir, is the purpose of Nibbāna?"

"You have gone beyond the range of questioning, Rādha.

You weren't able to grasp the limit to questioning.
For, Rādha, the holy life is lived with Nibbāna as its ground, Nibbāna as its destination, Nibbāna as its final goal."
http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/wp/ ... #sn.3.23.1
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

SarathW
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by SarathW » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:35 am

Do monks act in service of laypeople
Sabba danam dhamma danan jinati
Dhamma dana is the highest.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

paul
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by paul » Sat Jun 02, 2018 11:00 am

In Buddhist understanding, these individuals are considered to add a field of merit to the cosmos:

"There are these eight individuals who are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world. Which eight?

The one who has entered the stream, the one who has entered upon the course for the realization of the fruit of stream-entry, the once-returner, the one who has entered upon the course for the realization of the fruit of once-returning, the non-returner, the one who has entered upon the course for the realization of the fruit of non-returning, the arahant, the one who has entered upon the course for arahantship

These are the eight individuals who are worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsurpassed field of merit for the world."

— AN 8.59

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TamHanhHi
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by TamHanhHi » Sun Jun 03, 2018 1:26 am

Strictly speaking, it would seem the “role” of a monastic is to practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma and realize nibbana. That is the supreme goal. By remaining in dependence with lay people, they have the opportunity to teach the Dhamma and help others put an end to suffering as well—but it’s not a requirement or rule, just something that a monastic may be motivated by out of compassion, like the Buddha.

That said, monasticism is not a job or occupation, especially not at as portrayed in the early Canon. A forest monk doesn’t do X to earn Y. The early sangha was a sangha of mendicants or beggars who really just needed food, robes, medicine, and shelter, and much of this was provided in the most basic senses (I.e. leftover food, discarded cloth, animal urine, and any old tree or hut).

The noblest of support from lay people is offered simply out of sympathy for a monk or nun pursuing the noble path. If you have the benefit of hearing a teaching now and then, great. But you give out of generosity and support for the teachings, especially to someone who can potentially help you end suffering.

I know monks and nuns who do other social services, but they do it without expecting much in return. If anything, it seems like it’s lay people who set up a lot of services out of the monastery or practice center and the monastics help out when they can. But that’s from my limited perspective.
"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."AN 5.38 :candle: | Blog at http://dhammareflections.wordpress.com

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egon
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Re: Is there another purpose?

Post by egon » Mon Jun 04, 2018 3:35 pm

Thanks to everyone for helping me to understand this topic a little more clearly.

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