Go forth, o bhikkhus !

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befriend
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by befriend » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:14 pm

nameless wrote:
befriend wrote:so you know how to create goodness in the world and you let the world catch on fire, and you sit back and do nothing. how is that not an act of evil. negligence.
I assume you're still talking about the spread of dhamma. The thing is dhamma is not something that you can actively 'spread' to people. Try telling people who have had no experience of Buddhism, maybe they've lost their job, or gotten a terminal disease, try telling them it's ok, everything is impermanent, just meditate (of course I'm simplifying things for the sake of this argument), it's not going to work. Or even the average person in the street, try telling them renouncing and giving up things will make you happier, tell them their suffering comes from their desire, see how that works. There needs to be conditions that draw people to the dhamma.

On the other hand if you try to push it on people who aren't ready to receive it, it backfires. Say, if your first math question was something that was too difficult, you might decide then that maths is not for you, even though if taught properly you might be very good at it. Or if your first Chinese dish was something too exotic, you might think that Chinese food is not for you, even though if you were exposed to a different dish you might have liked it. It's something like that. If you push Buddhism on someone who's not ready, they might decide for good that Buddhism is not for them, even though if left alone they might have decided to accept Buddhism at some point.



i dont want buddhists to knock on peoples doors. i want buddhists to put up flyers and invite dhamma teachers to there community. maybe ask a retirement home if they would like to learn some metta meditation. or go to yoga studios and see if they would appreciate a guided meditation if they say no, no harm done.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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manas
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by manas » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:00 pm

When the Buddha sent out that first group of arahant disciples, he was still physically present on earth. The dhamma-vinaya had just been thoroughly expounded by him, and it would have (still) been consistently grasped amongst different (arahant) individuals. Plus it was a time in India where social and spiritual conditions were ripe for that sort of thing.

But if we just decide to send ourselves out preaching, 1). we are not arahants, and thus are not free of defilements unlike the arahants the Buddha first sent out with that exhortation, who were; 2). 2500 years or so on, the dhamma-vinaya is now understood in many different ways, there is no longer the consistency that there was back then; 3). nowdays social and spiritual conditions are not the same as back then. If you just sit in a park somewhere and invite people to come and listen, people will either think you are a charlatan, or the police or council officers will eventually move you on. And if you go from door to door, well which one of us has not been irritated by that, when it was done to us by Christian missionaries?

Different time, different place. Let's not become like Christians who 'push' their religion onto others. Rather let us be of as much assistance as possible, making as much effort as possible to make the dhamma available for people, to explain it properly if asked about it (so, let's study the suttas thoroughly), and to assist and support those that can do these things (such as the bhikkhu / bhikkhuni sangha for eg).

That's my take on it, anyway.

:anjali:
Drinking the nourishment,
the flavor,
of seclusion & calm,
one is freed from evil, devoid
of distress,
refreshed with the nourishment
of rapture in the Dhamma.

- Dhp 205

chownah
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by chownah » Thu Dec 08, 2011 2:21 am

manasikara wrote:When the Buddha sent out that first group of arahant disciples, he was still physically present on earth.
manasikara,
I like your post but am wondering if you have a reference to support your view that the monks the Buddha urged to go out were arahants.....I thought he told this to all monks but I very well may be wrong.
chownah

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daverupa
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by daverupa » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:20 am

chownah wrote:
manasikara wrote:When the Buddha sent out that first group of arahant disciples, he was still physically present on earth.
manasikara,
I like your post but am wondering if you have a reference to support your view that the monks the Buddha urged to go out were arahants.....I thought he told this to all monks but I very well may be wrong.
chownah
It is the case that he sent out arahants.
The Mahavagga, First Khandhaka. wrote:10.

Now fifty lay persons, friends of the venerable Yasa, belonging to the highest families in the country and to those next to the highest, heard, . . . . ( &c., as in chap. 9, §§ 1, 2, 3, 4, down to:). While they received exhortation and instruction from the Blessed One by discourse relating to the Dhamma, their minds became free from attachment to the world, and were released from the Âsavas.

At that time there were sixty-one Arahats in the world.
11.

1. And the Blessed One said to the Bhikkhus: 'I am delivered, O Bhikkhus, from all fetters, human and divine. You, O Bhikkhus, are also delivered from all fetters, human and divine. Go ye now, O Bhikkhus, and wander, for the gain of the many, for the welfare of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, for the gain, and for the welfare of gods and men, Let not two of you go the same way1, Preach, O Bhikkhus, the doctrine which is glorious in the beginning, glorious in the middle, glorious at the end, in the spirit and in the letter; proclaim a consummate, perfect, and pure life of holiness. There are beings whose mental eyes are covered by scarcely any dust, but if the doctrine is not preached to them, they cannot attain salvation. They will understand the doctrine. And I will go also, O Bhikkhus, to Uruvelâ, to Senâninigama, in order to preach the doctrine.'
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Dan74
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by Dan74 » Thu Dec 08, 2011 3:53 am

I think it is very important to make the Dhamma available and it largely is. There are many centres in the West in particular and people come here to ask what flavour of the Dhamma/Dharma should they start practicing.

I also feel it is important to try to introduce some key aspects of the Dhamma into the popular culture which currently emphasizes consumerism, pleasure-seeking and self-gratification and well as power, control and strength. Key values such as introspection and the correct way of working with the mind leading to the understanding of dependent origination and the empty nature of the mind and phenomena, turning away from seeking happiness in the material goods and success, cultivating compassion, giving and other Paramis are very important to introduce to children early. Sometimes they will take, sometimes not, depending on the child's kamma and the mode of introduction of course. But when they do, they can make a world of difference.

I don't really buy into the argument that if people have the right kamma, they will come to the Dhamma. We've all come to the Dhamma, because other people have made an effort to make it available, to write books, to set up centres, etc etc.
_/|\_

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pilgrim
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by pilgrim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 8:56 am

manasikara wrote:When the Buddha sent out that first group of arahant disciples, he was still physically present on earth. The dhamma-vinaya had just been thoroughly expounded by him, and it would have (still) been consistently grasped amongst different (arahant) individuals. Plus it was a time in India where social and spiritual conditions were ripe for that sort of thing.

But if we just decide to send ourselves out preaching, 1). we are not arahants, and thus are not free of defilements unlike the arahants the Buddha first sent out with that exhortation, who were; 2). 2500 years or so on, the dhamma-vinaya is now understood in many different ways, there is no longer the consistency that there was back then; 3). nowdays social and spiritual conditions are not the same as back then. If you just sit in a park somewhere and invite people to come and listen, people will either think you are a charlatan, or the police or council officers will eventually move you on. And if you go from door to door, well which one of us has not been irritated by that, when it was done to us by Christian missionaries?

Different time, different place. Let's not become like Christians who 'push' their religion onto others. Rather let us be of as much assistance as possible, making as much effort as possible to make the dhamma available for people, to explain it properly if asked about it (so, let's study the suttas thoroughly), and to assist and support those that can do these things (such as the bhikkhu / bhikkhuni sangha for eg).

That's my take on it, anyway.

:anjali:
I don't think we can wait till we become arahants before we venture to make the Dhamma available, but I doubt that is your point. In any case, it is premature to debate what the conditions out there are and the effective techniques of propagating the Dhamma. I think at the present time, the intention itself is very much lacking. If the intention is strong, I'm sure we could be innovative enough to think of effective methods. For example, just consider how many monks or lay Buddhists have taken upon themselves to venture into India to teach the millions of Dalit converts? Other religions actively push their delusional beliefs. Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:27 am

pilgrim wrote:I think at the present time, the intention itself is very much lacking.
You really have no clue about the intention in the minds of those bhikkhus who are presently teaching the Dhamma as they see fit. There are many bhikkhus in different Vihāras, working with dedication to teach the Dhamma to their own communities, and often to the wider community. The opportunity to learn the Dhamma is made available, but most people living in the West are not interested (and that includes born Buddhists) — if they were, they would approach bhikkhus to practice meditation or study the Dhamma.

You can see what happens if one invites people to ask questions about Buddhism on a non-Buddhist Forum. The Way of Inquiry. I don't let that put me off — I posted many other threads afterwards to invite discussion.

My own forums have very few visitors — while I am somewhat reluctant to post on Dhamma Wheel because so many come here just to argue, not to learn the Dhamma at all. It is the same on most Buddhist forums.

The Dhamma is not for everyone. Unless someone has a genuine interest in learning, it is ineffective to teach them. Even the Buddha, with all his skill in means, remained silent on some occasions. Without the ability to read minds or know the spiritual maturity of others, any teaching is likely to fall on deaf ears.
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Ben
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by Ben » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:35 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:My own forums have very few visitors — while I am somewhat reluctant to post on Dhamma Wheel because so many come here just to argue, not to learn the Dhamma at all.
I thank you, Bhante, for returning to Dhamma Wheel - despite your reluctance.
Your presence here is greatly valued.
with Metta,

Ben
“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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

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manas
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by manas » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:28 am

pilgrim wrote:Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.
Hi pilgrim,

firstly, I think 'millions' asking for the dhamma might be a little overly optimistic...anyway, regarding the last thing you said: that's not how I feel at all. It's not that I feel no responsibility to provide dhamma instruction; it's that I feel no qualification to provide dhamma instruction.

This is just my personal opinion now, but I would not want to go out preaching until I had tasted the fruit of stream-entry. It isn't enough to just have faith, or learning. We should actually have realization if we are going to spread the dhamma, imo. (And of course I was not saying that we have to be fully-fledged arahants before we can teach, no I did not mean to imply that...) Please do not assume that there are not many of us who would not love to one day, when the time is right, help others to come to the dhamma.

:anjali:
Last edited by manas on Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
Drinking the nourishment,
the flavor,
of seclusion & calm,
one is freed from evil, devoid
of distress,
refreshed with the nourishment
of rapture in the Dhamma.

- Dhp 205

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manas
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by manas » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:35 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: My own forums have very few visitors — while I am somewhat reluctant to post on Dhamma Wheel because so many come here just to argue, not to learn the Dhamma at all. It is the same on most Buddhist forums.
Bhante,

your presence here is much appreciated, I want to assure you of that, even if sometimes we stragglers seem a bit stubborn and difficult to instruct. Thank you for taking the time to be here at DW.

:anjali:
Drinking the nourishment,
the flavor,
of seclusion & calm,
one is freed from evil, devoid
of distress,
refreshed with the nourishment
of rapture in the Dhamma.

- Dhp 205

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Ben
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by Ben » Thu Dec 08, 2011 11:44 am

manasikara wrote:
pilgrim wrote:Here we have millions asking for the Dhamma but few among us feel they have a responsibility to provide it.
Hi pilgrim,

firstly, I think 'millions' asking for the dhamma might be a little overly optimistic...anyway, regarding the last thing you said: that's not how I feel at all. It's not that I feel no responsibility to provide dhamma instruction; it's that I feel no qualification to provide dhamma instruction.

This is just my personal opinion now, but I would not want to go out preaching until I had tasted the fruit of stream-entry. It isn't enough to just have faith, or learning. We should actually have realization if we are going to spread the dhamma, imo. Please do not assume that there are not many of us who would not love to one day, when the time is right, help others to come to the dhamma.

:anjali:
I think you make an important point! Within my tradition, we're not qualified until we are invited to become assistant teachers. I am not an assistant teacher yet and I don't think myself qualified to impart the Dhamma or give meditation instruction. The one exception was when my assistant teacher friend, gave me permission to teach anapana to my, then, six-year-old son. I feel no rush to become an assistant teacher though serving others is an important aspect of my practice. And there are so many ways that one can serve others and assist in the propagation of the Dhamma.

Monastics need to be supported, meditation centres need people to manage them or work in their kitchens or maintain their facilities or manage courses. One can also donate to publishers such as Pariyatti which helps to keep important but commercially unviable works in print, as one can donate to various Buddhist aid organisations (two are in my signature). One can also support local practitioners by organising regular group sits and visits from teachers. Anyway, some ideas for you to consider.
kind regards,

Ben
“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

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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pilgrim
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by pilgrim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:29 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote: You really have no clue about the intention in the minds of those bhikkhus who are presently teaching the Dhamma as they see fit. There are many bhikkhus in different Vihāras, working with dedication to teach the Dhamma to their own communities, and often to the wider community. The opportunity to learn the Dhamma is made available, but most people living in the West are not interested (and that includes born Buddhists) — if they were, they would approach bhikkhus to practice meditation or study the Dhamma.
I do not doubt that there are many bhikkhus, like yourself, doing excellent work. But I believe they are the minority. My point is that bhikkhus who have the zeal to take the Dhamma forward are not plentiful. This is an observation and not intended to be a criticism of the sangha. And regarding the point that one should be a stream enterer before teaching, if all teachers use this benchmark as a qualification, I wonder how many of us here would have encountered the Dhamma.

plwk
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by plwk » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:43 pm

This is just my personal opinion now, but I would not want to go out preaching until I had tasted the fruit of stream-entry. It isn't enough to just have faith, or learning. We should actually have realization if we are going to spread the dhamma, imo. Please do not assume that there are not many of us who would not love to one day, when the time is right, help others to come to the dhamma.
This tale never fails to leave a smile on my face...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el090.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
After they had exchanged the usual courteous greetings. Upatissa said: "Serene are your features, friend. Pure and bright is your complexion.
Under whom, friend, have you gone forth as an ascetic? Who is your teacher and whose doctrine do you profess?"

Assaji replied: "There is, O friend, the Great Recluse, the Scion of the Sakyas, who has gone forth from the Sakya clan.
Under that Blessed One I have gone forth. That Blessed One is my Teacher and it is His Dhamma that I profess."

"What does the Venerable One's Master teach, what does He proclaim?"

Questioned thus, the Elder Assaji thought to himself:
"These wandering ascetics are opposed to the Buddha's dispensation. I shall show him how profound this Dispensation is."
So he said: "I am but new to the training, friend. It is not long since I went forth from home, and I came but recently to this Teaching and Discipline.
I cannot explain the Dhamma in detail to you."

The wanderer replied: "I am called Upatissa, friend. Please tell me according to your ability, be it much or little.
It will be my task to penetrate its meaning by way of a hundred or a thousand methods." And he added:

"Be it little or much that you can tell,
the meaning only, please proclaim to me!
To know the meaning is my sole desire;
Of no avail to me are many words."

In response, the Elder Assaji uttered this stanza:
"Of all those things that from a cause arise,
Tathagata the cause thereof has told;
And how they cease to be, that too He tells,
This is the doctrine of the Great Recluse."

Upon hearing the first two lines, Upatissa became established in the Path of stream-entry, and to the ending of the last two lines he already listened as a stream-winner.

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pilgrim
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by pilgrim » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:49 pm

manasikara wrote:
Hi pilgrim,

firstly, I think 'millions' asking for the dhamma might be a little overly optimistic...anyway, regarding the last thing you said: that's not how I feel at all. It's not that I feel no responsibility to provide dhamma instruction; it's that I feel no qualification to provide dhamma instruction.
There are at least 6 million Buddhist converts in Maharashtra alone at last count. It has grown considerably since then. Many if not most of them have little inkling of what it means to be Buddhist, have heard nothing of the 4 Noble Truths or the 5 precepts, and have not seen a monk for years.

Ven Dhammika said that at one village he visited, where the villagers identified themselves as Buddhist, all they have to identify themselves as such was a circle of bricks painted white arranged in a circle in their village, with a Buddhist flag planted in the middle. Do you feel you need to be close to sainthood, or wait for your teacher to acknowlege your insights before you are able to tell them a little of what the Buddha taught?

Pls take a look at this excellent example of what one person who has the calling to teach can do
http://www.bodhicitta-vihara.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

While waiting for wisdom to develop, we could try a little more compassion.

befriend
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Re: Go forth, o bhikkhus !

Post by befriend » Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:30 pm

wait to be a stream winner before teaching? why? why not just teach them the suttas, buddhas was more than a streamwinner listen to him. its not like your the only buddhist in the world. someone can learn the basics from you, and if they pass you in insight, they can see a better teacher whom has more insight. if you wait to be a streamwinner you might die before you end up teaching, and that is sad.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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