Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

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Lucas Oliveira
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Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:59 pm

An Afternoon with Ajahn Sujato: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

https://www.buddhistdoor.net/features/a ... al-purpose



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spacenick
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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by spacenick » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:28 am

He answers possible charges that he may be “politicizing” Buddhism by pointing out that in Vietnam and Sri Lanka there are monks in political parties and parliament. A monastic council appointed by the king manages the Thai sangha, while in Myanmar the sangha runs according to an act of parliament. “How political can you get?” he laughs. “And in Tibet, the monks were the government. Such political involvement far exceeds anything we do or advocate in the West.”
Oh dear... A bhikkhu is a beggar and should have nothing to do with worldly affairs. I have no doubt this would be strongly rebuked by the Teacher.

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mikenz66
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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:39 am

spacenick wrote:
He answers possible charges that he may be “politicizing” Buddhism by pointing out that in Vietnam and Sri Lanka there are monks in political parties and parliament. A monastic council appointed by the king manages the Thai sangha, while in Myanmar the sangha runs according to an act of parliament. “How political can you get?” he laughs. “And in Tibet, the monks were the government. Such political involvement far exceeds anything we do or advocate in the West.”
Oh dear... A bhikkhu is a beggar and should have nothing to do with worldly affairs. I have no doubt this would be strongly rebuked by the Teacher.
I don't see much evidence to support the idea that monks should have nothing to do with worldly affairs in the Suttas. The Buddha and his students certainly spoke out about worldly affairs. How to manage wealth, how to run communities, how to treat others. If he were teaching today he would undoubtedly have some strong things to say about current problems.

The preservation of the Dhamma involved a symbiotic relationship between lay and monastics. Without the support of lay people living in well-functioning communities it would have died out long ago.

However, if you just mean monks as part of a government, I would agree that that oversteps the boundaries.


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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by SarathW » Wed Jan 04, 2017 10:58 am

However, if you just mean monks as part of a government, I would agree that that oversteps the boundaries.
Agree.
The monks should not directly involve with politics how bad the ruler is.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by CecilN » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:41 am

I sense particularly politicizing the climate change agenda is possibly contrary to the Dhamma. At least, open to discussion & debate. If there actually is a climate change problem, its cause is personal consumption by individuals.

For example, I visited a Theravada forest monastery recently for only a few hours of sight seeing &, while I was there, it poured rain, & some lay supporters drove the monks to their kutis in motor vehicles while I walked around quite happily with an umbrella. This in itself is not only unexpected of forest monks but an example of how individuals carelessly & indulgently use fossil fuels.

I suppose what I am saying is monks politicizing the climate change agenda means they endorse governments imposing laws upon the general population, which are generally never equitable & just. It supports oligarchy & tyranny, as occurred in Tibet.

If the monks were doing their job well, they would be convincing individuals to change their consumption behaviour rather than endorse government actions & political candidates. To some, particularly myself, the recent political endorsements of Bhikkhu Bodhi's & Sujato's sangha were not only divisive but disillusioning. Possibly, it is they that need to not endorse governments involved in arms-dealing industries & war agendas. I wrote to an Ajahn, who replied similar to my personal view:
Thank you for your questions and concerns... In short, there is no Theravada authority that would supervise the Sangha on matters such as political involvement. However, within specific lineages...there are Sangha meetings (open to all), and regular meetings of Abbots and Elders that discuss appropriate behaviour for the monks and nuns. Political involvement by the Sangha is one such area of discussion. Privately, monastics have their opinions of course, but if public involvement is too partisan, then it can lead to division within the supporters. A teacher may offer a Buddhist perspective on a topic that has political ramifications, but if a monastic gives teachings that are only about politics or economic policies, then that tends to draw people away from the basic principles of the Dhamma. In the...Sangha we are usually knowledgeable about what is going on in the world, but feel it is more beneficial and effective to address social problems through the Dhamma rather than specific political policies.
I suppose I sense Western monks & nuns are often so independent, they can be 'renegade'; a law unto themselves.

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ganegaar
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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by ganegaar » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:52 am

The monks should not directly involve with politics how bad the ruler is
I tend to disagree here.
Active involvement of Sangha in politics, in my perspective is a requirement for the sustanance of buddhism in a country.

As an example: Take the current debate in Sri Lanka, the Buddhism is at foremost place by way of Sri Lankan constitution, (though this is just a name-sake law as i see it.) and some fraction of the society wants this clause removed.
The sentiment of the buddhist populace, understandably so, is against removing it, and the sentiment of certain individuals in the other religious groups is for removing it.
When other (political) leaders are demanding removal, what will happen if Sangha was just passive? or even in true spirit of buddhism, say that it does not matter to remove it?

Now ofcause, this causes a certain religious tension, but as long as it is non-violent and based on sound arguments, it is definitely required that Sangha expresses their political views, on behalf of all the buddhists and the betterment of ths sasana.

Whether forming a political party and entering paliament is up for debate, but if that is what is required to protect buddhism, then that is what is required.
In doing so, of cause, some individuals may be doing more harm than good, but yet that is not a factor to say Sangha as a whole should not get involved in politics, it is very much required whenever the buddhism is threatened or perceived to be threatened!

as an example, IMHO if Sangha did not get into political debate in its history, Sri Lanka is long not a buddhist country!.
Last edited by ganegaar on Wed Jan 04, 2017 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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Mr Man
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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by Mr Man » Wed Jan 04, 2017 11:59 am

Here is a very short talk (5 mins) where Ajahn Sucitto puts forward that we should include concern for planet as part of our "sila".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja1IQni_oE8

The talk is part of a short series of talks “Come Back, Siladhamma. Please Come Back!”

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... 1%E2%80%9D

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Lucas Oliveira
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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by Lucas Oliveira » Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:01 pm

spacenick wrote:
He answers possible charges that he may be “politicizing” Buddhism by pointing out that in Vietnam and Sri Lanka there are monks in political parties and parliament. A monastic council appointed by the king manages the Thai sangha, while in Myanmar the sangha runs according to an act of parliament. “How political can you get?” he laughs. “And in Tibet, the monks were the government. Such political involvement far exceeds anything we do or advocate in the West.”
Oh dear... A bhikkhu is a beggar and should have nothing to do with worldly affairs. I have no doubt this would be strongly rebuked by the Teacher.
There are people who weigh different from you.

“This was one of the things that prompted me to want to go back to Australia, my home, and find a way of living in Buddhism where I could pursue my contemplation and meditation, but also to live in a way that I could feel true to my authentic voice. I think that the world we have today is very largely dominated by voices that don’t have a lot of wisdom to them. I’m not saying that I have any great wisdom, but hopefully because of the Dhamma, I might have at least a little bit of the Buddha’s wisdom that I could share.”

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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by Nicolas » Wed Jan 04, 2017 3:46 pm

Kathāvatthu Sutta 1 (AN 10.69) wrote: “It isn’t right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.

“There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun & moon, so mighty, so powerful—to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.”
Rāja Sutta (Ud 2.2) wrote: “This is certainly not suitable, monks, for you sons of good family who through faith have gone forth from the home to homelessness, that you should talk such talk. When you have assembled together, monks, there are two things that you ought to do: talk about the Dhamma, or maintain noble silence.”
Vibhaṅga Sutta (SN 45.8) wrote: “And what, bhikkhus is right mindfulness? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu dwells contemplating the body in the body, [feelings in feelings, mind in mind, phenomena in phenomena,] ardent, clearly comprehending, mindful, having removed covetousness and displeasure in regard to the world.

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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:00 pm

Nicolas wrote:
Kathāvatthu Sutta 1 (AN 10.69) wrote: “It isn’t right, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should get engaged in such topics of conversation, i.e., conversation about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; .
....
That's certainly the advice for the rununciate community, but it's not relevant to lay people, or monastics giving advice to lay people about worldly issues. The Buddha did quite a lot of that, so I presume he'd approve of modern-day monastics doing the same. Which they do, of course.
(1) “Here, householder, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes himself happy and pleased and properly maintains himself in happiness; he makes his parents happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his wife and children, his slaves, workers, and servants happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his friends and companions happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness. This is the first case of wealth that has gone to good use, that has been properly utilized and used for a worthy cause.
...
https://suttacentral.net/en/an4.61/17
“Bhikkhus, even a wheel-turning monarch, a righteous king who rules by the Dhamma, does not turn the wheel without a king above him.”

When this was said, a certain bhikkhu said to the Blessed One: “But, Bhante, who is the king above a wheel-turning monarch, a righteous king who rules by the Dhamma?”

“It is the Dhamma, bhikkhu,” the Blessed One said. “Here, bhikkhu, a wheel-turning monarch, a righteous king who rules by the Dhamma, relying just on the Dhamma, honoring, respecting, and venerating the Dhamma, taking the Dhamma as his standard, banner, and authority, provides righteous protection, shelter, and guard for the people in his court. Again, a wheel-turning monarch, a righteous king who rules by the Dhamma, relying just on the Dhamma, honoring, respecting, and venerating the Dhamma, taking the Dhamma as his standard, banner, and authority, provides righteous protection, shelter, and guard for his khattiya vassals, his army, brahmins and householders, the people of town and countryside, ascetics and brahmins, and the animals and birds. Having provided such righteous protection, shelter, and guard for all these beings, that wheel-turning monarch, a righteous king who rules by the Dhamma, turns the wheel solely through the Dhamma, a wheel that cannot be turned back by any hostile human being.
....
https://suttacentral.net/en/an3.14/1-
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Nicolas
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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by Nicolas » Wed Jan 04, 2017 8:03 pm

mikenz66 wrote:That's certainly the advice for the rununciate community, but it's not relevant to lay people, or monastics giving advice to lay people about worldly issues. The Buddha did quite a lot of that, so I presume he'd approve of modern-day monastics doing the same. Which they do, of course.
Good point!

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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by ganegaar » Thu Jan 05, 2017 5:59 am

That's certainly the advice for the rununciate community, but it's not relevant to lay people, or monastics giving advice to lay people about worldly issues. The Buddha did quite a lot of that, so I presume he'd approve of modern-day monastics doing the same. Which they do, of course.
I agree too.
The monastics with all flavors we have and the lay Buddhists with all flavors we have, they all form a community, a support network, for the "Bhikku" (the one who practice). Without this support network, it would be far difficult to practice. Just imagine doing "pinda paatha" in a non-Buddhist country whose religion is hostile to any non followers of their religion!.
Sīlepatiṭṭhāya naro sapañño, cittaṃ paññañca bhāvayaṃ;
Ātāpī nipako bhikkhu, so imaṃ vijaṭaye jaṭanti.

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Re: Personal Courage and Restoring the Sangha’s Moral Purpose

Post by Aloka » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:00 am

Mr Man wrote:Here is a very short talk (5 mins) where Ajahn Sucitto puts forward that we should include concern for planet as part of our "sila".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja1IQni_oE8

The talk is part of a short series of talks “Come Back, Siladhamma. Please Come Back!”

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_ ... 1%E2%80%9D


I enjoyed listening to this, Mr Man , thanks for posting it :anjali:

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