Sam Vara wrote: ↑
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:41 pm
Indeed. It seems to be a situation which is hypothetical (i.e. highly unlikely to arise) as well as based on a misconception.
Whether it's a rule in the folk vinaya, or the actual Vinaya, my point was that there is a culture of an absence of any real-world concern among religious/spiritual people. How widely that culture is spread, I don't know, but it's there.
I'm, for example, quite sure that if I were to help in some physical work around a monastery, slip and fall, sprain an ankle or even break a leg, nobody would help me, because they're "too spiritual" for that. In the light of this, I find it hard to respect them.
Quite possibly. When I attend the local monastery and listen to a dhamma talk, I'm not expecting to be saved. If I had that expectation, and the monks had led me to believe that they were there to save me, I might be upset when I heard that. But as I have never expected monk-borne salvation, I'm perfectly OK with the situation.
As for salvation in the metaphysical sense, the situation in Buddhism is actually no different than in, say, Christianity. God doesn't save people, Jesus doesn't save people, people save themselves by adhering to the right religion. It's the same in Buddhism.
How a person is supposed to pick the right religion -- that is taboo.
Lay supporters working with monks in the forest might put their lives in the hands of monks - they use some fairly dangerous machinery like chainsaws, chippers, and tractors. But when I accept a monk's exposition of the dhamma, I'm just looking to pick up some advice on how to improve my practice.
Do you really think that monks are happy to have put in thousands of hours of studying, chanting, pujas, and meditation, so that then you can take their words as mere suggestions?
When monks, and many lays, give Dhamma talks, it is in the language of full conviction, there is no hint of "Oh, but that's just my unenlightened opinion" in the way they speak.
The monks might say that they are merely pointing to the moon, but they have no doubt that they are in fact pointing to the moon. This is the part that has to be taken blindly on faith, just like in Catholicism, one has to take blindly on faith that the RCC is the only true representative of God on earth.
You seem to be labouring under some assumptions about monastics that I (and the monastics I know) just don't share. Have you actually met any monks? Did they ask you to do anything that was tantamount to putting your life in their hands? And if they did, why didn't you feel free to discount what they said?
When questioned directly, few monks would say something to the effect of "nobody gets to nirvana except through me".
But otherwise, when they speak, they speak in a manner that suggests total conviction, like they're sure that what they're saying is The Absolute Truth (and everything else is worthless).
That aside, you don't think it would be grossly disrespectful to actually ask a monk a question like, "What is the normative status of the statements that you make in your Dhamma talks?"
You seem to be labouring under some assumptions about monastics that I (and the monastics I know) just don't share.
Have you actually met any monks?
They don't actually talk (much) to me, because I'm female. Will you be my adult male chaperon and then we can go and visit some monks and ask them questions like the above?
Did they ask you to do anything that was tantamount to putting your life in their hands?
And if they did, why didn't you feel free to discount what they said?
Because I don't operate within the dichotomy of "either guru worship, or extreme individualism".