Page 1 of 2

Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:39 pm
by Sroberto
Anyone with direct personal experience with Nissarana Vanaya in Sri Lanka?

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:39 pm
by WorldTraveller
Unless you want to join their campaign of spreading the sati to the whole country, I will not recommend the place for ordination or the monastic life. It's a very busy place with continuous retreats, mostly for lay people.

Even in the past, as Bhikkhu Bodhi noted in 2001, Nissarana never a place for monks who were keen on a serious monastic life.
After the death of Venerable Nyanarama the quality of meditation training there has declined. It is virtually turning into an old-age home for monks, rather than a place for younger monks who are really keen on intensive practice.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:00 am
by Chula
WorldTraveller wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 2:39 pm
After the death of Venerable Nyanarama the quality of meditation training there has declined. It is virtually turning into an old-age home for monks, rather than a place for younger monks who are really keen on intensive practice.

While I wouldn't recommend Nissarana Vanaya over Na Uyana, it definitely isn't an "old age home" for monks. I was there last month and most of the 30 odd monks are young - probably in their mid-20s.

I have my disagreements with the Burmese techniques employed at both places, but Na Uyana offers the space and Vinaya training for a new monk from what I gathered. I just came back from a week stay yesterday.

If you are coming from a country that has a Thai Forest Tradition branch monastery (Ajahn Chah or Ajahn Maha Bua), I would recommend those places over any place in Sri Lanka though. Mainly because even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:20 am
by SarathW
Mainly because even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.
]
This is surprising . What is the reason for it?
Why do they give less emphasis to Sutta?

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 6:45 am
by paul
I can't comment on abhidhamma, but the Visuddhimagga was written in Sri Lanka, and as well as revering it, the vipassana revival by Ledi Sayadaw and those Burmese monks before him, was for the same reason, being based on the Vism., in accord with SL tradition and welcome. Hence Pa Auk is connected to NV. This "Sri Lankan vipassana", was the basis that Bikkhu Bodhi and the other western scholar-monks who wrote from SL, worked from. The wheel has turned now though, and Pa Auk emphasises samatha.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:05 am
by Chula
SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:20 am
Mainly because even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.
]
This is surprising . What is the reason for it?
Why do they give less emphasis to Sutta?
Mainly because of Burmese influence (Pa Auk/Goenka/Mahasi). Also partly because it is still almost blasphemous to openly question the commentaries and Abhidhamma as not the word of the Buddha.

There are monks who are more into sutta-based practice, but they tend to be on their own and harder to find.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:09 am
by Sobhana
Chula wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:00 am
even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.
Just thinking aloud, but why even ordain in a tradition, and be fed and clothed by them, if you reject large parts of this tradition. If you strip abhidhamma and commentaries away, what is left hardly constitues Theravada anymore. :thinking:

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:14 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings,
Sobhana wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:09 am
Just thinking aloud, but why even ordain in a tradition, and be fed and clothed by them, if you reject large parts of this tradition. If you strip abhidhamma and commentaries away, what is left hardly constitues Theravada anymore. :thinking:
At which point you'd have zero traditions which follow the Buddha's teaching as he taught it.

Best to allow for an interest in Dhamma, Vinaya, Abhidhamma, Commentary and meditation techniques derived from the above sources, and let people place emphasis where they deem most appropriate. It generally doesn't require explicit rejection of the other components, just giving them little to no attention, as appropriate.

Metta,
Paul. :)

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:37 am
by Sroberto
Sobhana wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:09 am
Chula wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:00 am
even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.
Just thinking aloud, but why even ordain in a tradition, and be fed and clothed by them, if you reject large parts of this tradition. If you strip abhidhamma and commentaries away, what is left hardly constitues Theravada anymore. :thinking:
Of course one should ordain where they are in agreement with the teachings. That is the reason for my inquiries, to narrow my search. In my case I do not believe the abhidhamma is necessary or reliable. I am not opposed to it per se, I nust see it as a waste of time.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:43 am
by Chula
Sobhana wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:09 am
Chula wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 2:00 am
even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.
Just thinking aloud, but why even ordain in a tradition, and be fed and clothed by them, if you reject large parts of this tradition. If you strip abhidhamma and commentaries away, what is left hardly constitues Theravada anymore. :thinking:
It isn't quite cut and dry as this. Even in Na Uyana there are quite a few monks who do not take the later texts as seriously, but they keep their opinions to themselves since the "official" view is different.

There is no clear cut "Sri Lankan" tradition, so this allows for monks with more varied opinions to co-exist together. I've heard that in Myanmar at the Pa Auk monastery they consider the Na Uyana Pa Auk as "impure" due to this.

I agree however that if one intends to ordain at a place, it makes sense to agree with the main teacher's interpretation or at least listen to his instructions. Otherwise one isn't really taking him as one's teacher.

I also agree that once you strip the Abhidhamma and commentaries and focus on the suttas it isn't really Theravada. I prefer to call it Dhamma Vinaya - as the Buddha called it in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta:
Then the Blessed One said to Ven. Ānanda, “Now, if the thought occurs to any of you—‘The teaching has lost its arbitrator; we are without a Teacher’—do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma and Vinaya I have pointed out and formulated for you, that will be your Teacher after my passing.”
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/DN/DN16.html

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:53 am
by Sroberto
Chula wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 9:05 am
SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:20 am
Mainly because even the best places in Sri Lanka are overly influenced by the Abhidhamma and commentaries.
]
This is surprising . What is the reason for it?
Why do they give less emphasis to Sutta?
Mainly because of Burmese influence (Pa Auk/Goenka/Mahasi). Also partly because it is still almost blasphemous to openly question the commentaries and Abhidhamma as not the word of the Buddha.

There are monks who are more into sutta-based practice, but they tend to be on their own and harder to find.

"blasphemous to openly question the commentaries and Abhidhamma as not the word of the Buddha."

But that is laughable on its face ecause the. Abhidhamma came, what, a thousand years after the buddha? Didn"t the buddha warn against adding to and tinkering with the teachings?

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:56 am
by SarathW
I agree however that if one intends to ordain at a place, it makes sense to agree with the main teacher's interpretation or at least listen to his instructions. Otherwise one isn't really taking him as one's teacher.
I think finding a right teacher is the biggest hurdle of being a monk.
More you know harder it is.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:02 am
by Chula
Sroberto wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:53 am

"blasphemous to openly question the commentaries and Abhidhamma as not the word of the Buddha."

But that is laughable on its face ecause the. Abhidhamma came, what, a thousand years after the buddha? Didn"t the buddha warn against adding to and tinkering with the teachings?
Actually probably in less that half the time, but you are coming from the angle of modern text scholarship done by mainly Westerners, Japanese and Indians.

As you might have heard the commentary tradition holds that the Abhidhamma was actually the word of the Buddha. Combine that with a distrust of foreigner interpretations (not helped by a colonial past), an unhealthy national pride and a lack of English fluency and a local monk might have quite a different view of the later texts.

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:36 am
by Sroberto
SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:56 am
I agree however that if one intends to ordain at a place, it makes sense to agree with the main teacher's interpretation or at least listen to his instructions. Otherwise one isn't really taking him as one's teacher.
I think finding a right teacher is the biggest hurdle of being a monk.
More you know harder it is.
How true!

Re: Nissarana Vanaya

Posted: Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:51 am
by Sroberto
Chula wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:02 am
Sroberto wrote:
Fri Jun 15, 2018 10:53 am

"blasphemous to openly question the commentaries and Abhidhamma as not the word of the Buddha."

But that is laughable on its face ecause the. Abhidhamma came, what, a thousand years after the buddha? Didn"t the buddha warn against adding to and tinkering with the teachings?
Actually probably in less that half the time, but you are coming from the angle of modern text scholarship done by mainly Westerners, Japanese and Indians.

As you might have heard the commentary tradition holds that the Abhidhamma was actually the word of the Buddha. Combine that with a distrust of foreigner interpretations (not helped by a colonial past), an unhealthy national pride and a lack of English fluency and a local monk might have quite a different view of the later texts.

Coming from the angle of arithmetic.

'As you might have heard the commentary tradition holds that the Abhidhamma was actually the word of the Buddha.' But clearly it is not. No more certain or believable than someone a thousand years later saying mohamed traveled somewhere on a white horse in a dream so it must have been jeruselem and therefore it must be believed. To use a crude analogy.

Distrust of foreigners, colonial past (Burmese, Arabs, English, French, Japanese) , unhealthy national pride, lack of English fluency, wow sounds like...Thailand.

I guess the only way to know is to discover for yourself. One's truth is another's scepticsl doubt. I thank you for sharing your insights. It is valuable to me.