I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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retrofuturist
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:48 am

Greetings,
DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:36 am
Imo, young monks should not call themselves Bhante nor should be called Bhante.
Technically bhante is a term of second-person address akin to "sir", so should only be used when actually speaking to a bhikkhu, not about one.

Thus, the name "Bhante [such-and-such]" doesn't really make much sense at the best of times. Better in names to use terms like "Bhikkhu", or if the monk has been ordained long enough to warrant it, "Thera".

Metta,
Paul.. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Thisperson » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:05 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:48 am
Greetings,
DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:36 am
Imo, young monks should not call themselves Bhante nor should be called Bhante.
Technically bhante is a term of address akin to "sir", so should only be used when actually speaking to a bhikkhu, not about one.

Thus, the name "Bhante [such-and-such]" doesn't really make much sense at the best of times. Better in names to use terms like "Bhikkhu", or if the monk has been ordained long enough to warrant it, "Thera".

Metta,
Paul.. :)

I suppose we could still use it if talking about monks who were originally from the UK though..

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by DooDoot » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:06 am

Stiphan wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:27 pm
There is gratification in lay life that you enumerate in your post with many examples - sensual pleasures that give much joy and satisfaction
Which sensual pleasures that give much joy and satisfaction? Thanks
Stiphan wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:27 pm
but then there is the danger as well: old age, sickness, death, the impermanence of all acquisitions, pleasures and joys, the inevitable physical and mental pain; and then there is the escape.
Are there any suttas that support this above point of view? I thought the suttas said craving & clinging were the "dangers"? Thanks
Seeing danger in clinging,
in the coming-into-play
of birth & death,
they are released from lack of clinging,
in the ending
of birth & death.
They, happy, arriving at safety,
fully unbound in the here-&-now,
having gone beyond
all animosity & danger
have escaped
all suffering & stress.

MN 130
Last edited by DooDoot on Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Thisperson » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:10 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:06 am
Stiphan wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:27 pm
There is gratification in lay life that you enumerate in your post with many examples - sensual pleasures that give much joy and satisfaction
Which sensual pleasures that give much joy and satisfaction? Thanks
Stiphan wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:27 pm
but then there is the danger as well: old age, sickness, death, the impermanence of all acquisitions, pleasures and joys, the inevitable physical and mental pain; and then there is the escape.
Are there any suttas that support this above point of view? I thought the suttas said craving & attachment were the "dangers"? Thanks
Seeing danger in clinging,
in the coming-into-play
of birth & death,
they are released from lack of clinging,
in the ending
of birth & death.
They, happy, arriving at safety,
fully unbound in the here-&-now,
having gone beyond
all animosity & danger
have escaped
all suffering & stress.

MN 130
This sutta speaks of the gratification, danger, and escape of sensual pleasures, as well as other things.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle-l ... ndha-sutta

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by DooDoot » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:15 am

Thisperson wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:10 am
This sutta speaks of the gratification, danger, and escape of sensual pleasures, as well as other things.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle-l ... ndha-sutta
OK. Thanks.
And what, bhikkhus, is the escape...? It is the removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for.... This is the escape...

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Bhikkhu_Jayasara » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:16 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:36 am
binocular wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:01 pm
I think (novice) monks should live in isolation and not teach lays or publicy present themselves as representatives of the Dhamma...
I agree here.
binocular wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:01 pm
. And "Bhante Lucky"? What was up with that?
Imo, young monks should not call themselves Bhante nor should be called Bhante because in the suttas the primary person called Bhante (Lord) is the Buddha.
Then all of Sri Lanka is wrong, because Sri lankans call all monks Bhante, even when I was a Samanera I was being called Bhante. The Buddha set down before his death that any monastic who is senior to you you call Bhante, not just a very senior monastic.
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm
life itself has taught me that anytime I thought I had everything figured out, it laughed and flipped everything around on me.
I could have informed you of that because you were the 1st social-media novice I ever saw although I see others like you now, which is disconcerting in respect to your preceptors. I personally find it bizzare to see Westerners showing their novicing & ordaining on social media. It reminds me of the Christian & Islamic videos about people converting to their religions.
Life taught me that lesson well before I was even a Buddhist my friend. As for my preceptor, he is fully aware of everything I do online, as I show him and he is also online to see. He has always been a visionary when it comes to technologies ability to share the dhamma, The internet was very important to my own Buddhist spiritual practice, and likewise for many others.
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm
Regardless if you are a monastic or a lay person, there is still the noble eightfold path...
Sounds like you are proselytizing that same proselytizing that captured you. The noble eightfold path is something free from sensuality. I would imagine a person would already be dispassionate towards sensuality before ordaining.
are you trying to say that someone who follows the noble eightfold path has already become free of sensuality.. because thats downright silly, the noble eightfold path IS the path leading to the sessaion of dukkha, and craving, the path is FOR that purpose and everyone who starts down that path is not someone who has become dispassionate towards sensuality, and also there are levels of such dispassion, it is a gradual process.
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm
I hold nothing against anyone who decides to disrobe...
Either do I however I have my concerns about those senior monks like Ajahn Brahm & Sujato recruiting unsuitable applicants with their shiny advertising of jhanas & brahma realms. It was ethically disconcerting for me to see Ajahn Jag promoting/advertising the urgency in raising $2.5M to build a new monastery and then hear of him disrobing.
my preceptor, Bhante G, has had most of the people he ordained disrobe as well. In a very austere dhamayut thai forest place near me, I watched a person jump from anagarika to full bhikkhu ( when I first met him he was anagarika and I was samanera, then 7 months later he was Bhikkhu and I was still samanera) and then months later I found out he disrobed and left. I would be careful before rushing to judgment.
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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by DooDoot » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:46 am

Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:16 am
Then all of Sri Lanka is wrong, because Sri lankans call all monks Bhante, even when I was a Samanera I was being called Bhante.
Buddhism is only a recent phenomena in Sri Lanka, which required reinstatement by the Burmese Sangha.
The Buddha set down before his death that any monastic who is senior to you you call Bhante, not just a very senior monastic.
Please quote, thanks. Regardless, the issue raised on this thread was laypeople calling junior monks Bhante.
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm
As for my preceptor, he is fully aware of everything I do online, as I show him and he is also online to see. He has always been a visionary when it comes to technologies ability to share the dhamma, The internet was very important to my own Buddhist spiritual practice, and likewise for many others.
Sure. But this does not change my disconcertedness towards your preceptor. I have seen it myself before, with Asian preceptors pushing young Western monks to teach Buddhism to Westerners; with those monks eventually disrobing. The priority seems to be evangelizing Buddhism rather than developing the monks. At Wat Pananachat, I heard it is 5 or 10 years before a monks has public responsibilities.
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm
are you trying to say that someone who follows the noble eightfold path has already become free of sensuality.. because thats downright silly, the noble eightfold path IS the path leading to the cessation of dukkha, and craving, the path is FOR that purpose and everyone who starts down that path is not someone who has become dispassionate towards sensuality, and also there are levels of such dispassion, it is a gradual process.
I meant to say mostly dispassionate or disenchanted towards sensuality. I just don't see how a mind /person infatuated with sensuality will benefit from trying practise the path. For example, Gotama, Sariputta & these people were already disenchanted with sensuality before they left the household life.
Bhikkhu_Jayasara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 6:15 pm
my preceptor, Bhante G, has had most of the people he ordained disrobe as well. In a very austere dhamayut thai forest place near me, I watched a person jump from anagarika to full bhikkhu ( when I first met him he was anagarika and I was samanera, then 7 months later he was Bhikkhu and I was still samanera) and then months later I found out he disrobed and left. I would be careful before rushing to judgment.
In Asia, ordaining is similar to the old Catholicism, where generally at least one son from a family would ordain. These Asian societies were/are traditional societies following traditional family values, where monks played a certain pastoral social role. Personally, I am not sure the same model is appropriate for Western Buddhism because Western Buddhism does not primarily support traditional family values but is more servicing hungry ghosts therefore the moral-authority-by-numbers-model of Asian Buddhism appears somewhat alien to the West; at least to me.

Also, to repeat, I was ethically troubled by Ajahn Jag's disrobing considering he was fund raising prior to it.
Goofaholix wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:29 pm
That's just typical out of touch idealism.

In SE Asia temporary ordination is common. In the lineage that James ordained in it's common for a candidate to make a 5 year commitment, James exceeded that and exceeded what most Thai monks would do as ordinations would more typically range from 2 days to 3 months. It's not a betrayal it's a noble effort.

While it can be disappointing when senior teachers disrobe anyone who is putting their faith in a person (whether a monk, or teacher or not) obviously doesn't have much faith in the dhamma.
It may be idealism but the fact the Western monks are expected to ordain for 5 years appears to be a reflection of this very same idealism and is what distinguishes the Western ideal from the traditional Asian model I mentioned above.
Last edited by DooDoot on Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:31 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Thisperson » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:53 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:15 am
Thisperson wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:10 am
This sutta speaks of the gratification, danger, and escape of sensual pleasures, as well as other things.

http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/middle-l ... ndha-sutta
OK. Thanks.
And what, bhikkhus, is the escape...? It is the removal of desire and lust, the abandonment of desire and lust for.... This is the escape...
Sure, but I'm curious as to why you quoted the section about escape. You were looking for sutta reference about the dangers of sensuality and other things mentioned earlier right?

These are some of the things mentioned as dangers in that sutta:
19. (ii) “And what, bhikkhus, is the danger in the case of material form? Later on one might see that same woman here at eighty, ninety, or a hundred years, aged, as crooked as a roof bracket, doubled up, supported by a walking stick, tottering, frail, her youth gone, her teeth broken, grey-haired, scanty-haired, bald, wrinkled, with limbs all blotchy. What do you think, bhikkhus? Has her former beauty and loveliness vanished and the danger become evident?”—“Yes, venerable sir.”—“Bhikkhus, this is a danger in the case of material form.

20. “Again, one might see that same woman afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill, lying fouled in her own urine and excrement, lifted up by some and set down by others. What do you think, bhikkhus? Has her former beauty and loveliness vanished and the danger become evident?”—“Yes, venerable sir.”—“Bhikkhus, this too is a danger in the case of material form.

36. (ii) “And what, bhikkhus, is the danger in the case of feelings? Feelings are impermanent, suffering, and subject to change. This is the danger in the case of feelings.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by DooDoot » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:57 am

Thisperson wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:53 am
Sure, but I'm curious as to why you quoted the section about escape. You were looking for sutta reference about the dangers of sensuality and other things mentioned earlier right?
The danger is obviously what is escaped. If the escape is abandoning craving & lust then obviously these are the danger. Why would a 'woman' that is not the object of craving & lust be a 'danger'? The danger appears to be the 'sign' (nimitta) of "beauty" and "loveliness" (that will vanish). "Beauty" and "loveliness" are rooted in lust & craving; they are attachments (upadana), namely, kāmupādānaṃ.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Thisperson » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:38 am

DooDoot wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:57 am
Thisperson wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:53 am
Sure, but I'm curious as to why you quoted the section about escape. You were looking for sutta reference about the dangers of sensuality and other things mentioned earlier right?
The danger is obviously what is escaped. If the escape is abandoning craving & lust then obviously these are the danger. Why would a 'woman' that is not the object of craving & lust be a 'danger'? The danger appears to be the 'sign' (nimitta) of "beauty" and "loveliness" (that will vanish). "Beauty" and "loveliness" are rooted in lust & craving; they are attachments (upadana), namely, kāmupādānaṃ.
I looked at those things as being the danger due to them being unsuitable as a refuge. The escape being renouncing that which is unsuitable as a refuge.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by DooDoot » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:51 am

Thisperson wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:38 am
I looked at those things as being the danger due to them being unsuitable as a refuge. The escape being renouncing that which is unsuitable as a refuge.
It is written the escape is renouncing craving & lust &, naturally, renouncing of objects of craving & lust.

Originally, I questioned the following post, which appeared to be providing grounds for ordination, which I sense are inadequate if there is still the belief sensual pleasures can provide satisfaction. I sounds like practising for some future benefit rather than for a present benefit.
but then there is the danger as well: old age, sickness, death, the impermanence of all acquisitions, pleasures and joys, the inevitable physical and mental pain; and then there is the escape.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:32 am

Off topic! :offtopic:
Go start a new thread to argue about whatever you want,
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Polar Bear » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:04 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading your post. It sounds like you've learned alot about your goals in life and I'm sure your monastic experience was very valuable for you even though you decided to pursue other things.

Your dream of living on a sailboat sounds awesome!!! I wish you the best of luck in finding yourself a good boat and having many a good journey with it. I'm curious, do you plan to sail long voyages to other continents ever? Or perhaps sailing around to different places each summer when you're not teaching?

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Mr Man » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:10 am

polarbear101 wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:04 am
JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading your post. It sounds like you've learned alot about your goals in life and I'm sure your monastic experience was very valuable for you even though you decided to pursue other things.

Your dream of living on a sailboat sounds awesome!!! I wish you the best of luck in finding yourself a good boat and having many a good journey with it. I'm curious, do you plan to sail long voyages to other continents ever? Or perhaps sailing around to different places each summer when you're not teaching?

:anjali:
:twothumbsup: :twothumbsup: :twothumbsup:

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Thisperson » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:16 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:32 am
Off topic! :offtopic:
Go start a new thread to argue about whatever you want,
Good point. Thanks for sharing your experience here. :anjali:

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by binocular » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:25 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:26 pm
Lay people have sometimes said that thay feel "betrayed" by other things that monks and nuns have done, but this has almost always been the result of the lay person fostering unrealistic expectations and lashing out when the person they thought of as "their special monk" does not play according to their rules.
So far, I see no reason to think of Buddhist monks any differently than of Catholic monks or priests. The Buddhist monks I've known are no less authoritarian and elitist than the Catholic ones.
Just like nobody gets to heaven except through a Catholic priest, nobody gets to nirvana except through a Buddhist monk. No matter how much Catholics like to deny that, or Buddhists divert from it, this is still what it comes down to.


Goofaholix wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 10:29 pm
That's just typical out of touch idealism.

In SE Asia temporary ordination is common. In the lineage that James ordained in it's common for a candidate to make a 5 year commitment, James exceeded that and exceeded what most Thai monks would do as ordinations would more typically range from 2 days to 3 months. It's not a betrayal it's a noble effort.
But do those temporarily ordained Thai monks bash lay people? Do they blackmail them into submission and criticize them to the ground?

I don't have a problem with disrobing per se, or with temporary ordination. But when a monk goes ahead and presents himself as the authority on the Dhamma and the lay person's private life, this changes the rules of the game.

Okay, so a monk wants to criticize me to the ground, wants to consider himself the authority on my life, without speaking more than a few lines to me? And I'm supposed to obey him, trust him unconditionally, or believe that the best I can hope for is perhaps paccekkabuddhahood in some distant eon?
Okay then, that informs the expectations I'm supposed to have of that monk.
While it can be disappointing when senior teachers disrobe anyone who is putting their faith in a person (whether a monk, or teacher or not) obviously doesn't have much faith in the dhamma.
And you're, again, missing the point.

How can one have faith in the dhamma without first having faith in a person? Maybe you've gained that faith in a previous lifetime, but I haven't.
I've asked Sam about it before, but he refused to address it.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:37 am

binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:25 am

So far, I see no reason to think of Buddhist monks any differently than of Catholic monks or priests.
Yes, that's right! There are beautiful, grounded people in both religions, and if you are lucky enough to find them, then details of dogma don't matter!
The Buddhist monks I've known are no less authoritarian and elitist than the Catholic ones.
Oh. I see. Oh dear...

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by ieee23 » Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:01 pm

I once gave a ride of several hours back from a retreat to a woman from my sutta study class who was hell bent on ordaining. During the whole car ride back she kept chiding me not to waste my life and ordain as soon as I could. She kept asking me why I didn't do it. I gave her some answers that sounded similar to yours:

1. Being a guest is different from being an inmate :). I was fortunate enough to get other things I wanted only to learn that truth through experience.

2. I've been poor and I did not want to give up what power I had to live on my own terms, eat what I wanted to eat, go somewhere when I wanted to go, etc. etc..

3. I'm not done with samsara. :). I know there would be things I would miss.

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:33 pm
One week ago I disrobed and returned to "normal" life.
I have been at monasteries and meditation centres for a total of 6 years, at Bodhinyana monastery for 4 years 6 months, two years as a full bhikkhu, a year and a half as a novice, and a year-and-a-bit as an anagarika. I've spent more than a year and six months in intensive silent retreat.
I have been a big fan of Ajahn Brahm for many years.

I'm also on the other side of the planet with a job that gives me very, very, very little leave time.

For me it was a major gift from the universe to me, when he travelled to California a few years ago and I was able to fly out to go to several of his appearances.

I would like nothing more than to go to one of his retreats and stay for a month.

Given my job and career situation that isn't likely.

Be grateful for what you had, not everyone else can have those things.



I used to love coming to the monastery and staying for a few months each year, when I was a layperson.
I get maybe two weeks a vacation a year if I don't use leave up from getting sick once or twice. How did you manage to get several months off each year and retain your livelihood?
At the commune if someone was having a hard time, or got into trouble, my friends would be concerned and there would always be someone to help out.
Is that how? You lived on a commune rather than as a 9-5 member of the rat race?
SO WHAT'S THE PLAN?
Go back to New Zealand, get a temporary job, maybe tour-guiding? Then spend a year at university getting a Post-Graduate Diploma in Primary Teaching, then become a schoolteacher.

Buy a sailboat! Live on it, and sail a lot. I would like a huge yacht, but my budget probably extends only to a 8.5m keeler, with one bedroom, a kitchen-lounge, and shower and toilet. It's like living in a big caravan, except it floats.
Be grateful for what you have.

Many people would not have those options. I do not.

If I went away for several years, it would be very difficult for me to get a decent job in my field again, or any job . I wouldn't have anyone to help me out. My sister would lend me her guest room for a while to keep me from sleeping on the street, but that wouldn't be a situation that could go on for very long. She lives in suburbia, I wouldn't have a car returning from such a life. The only resource I would have would be retirement savings.
Whatever a bhikkhu frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. - MN 19

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by binocular » Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:32 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:05 pm
Maybe if their refuge is a charismatic individual, rather than the Triple Gem.
If people are so superficial, then I question what they're actually learning anyway...
Character assassination again?
Why is it that when someone begins to point at basic problems of religious epistemology, they get a barrage of replies assassinating their character?
One need not be ordained in order to actualize the Buddha's teachings, nor to point others in their direction, or share their understandings of them.
Does any monk (or anyone else) believe that about me? I see no reason to think so. So far, they have all considered themselves the authority on what is the Dhamma and on what I am supposed to believe the Dhamma is.

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Re: I disrobed and returned to "normal" life

Post by ryanM » Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:45 pm

:focus:
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

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