Dealing With Desire

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Jnana » Sun Jun 09, 2013 9:43 am

Indrajala wrote:When a community is up and coming without widespread support from society, then of course the leadership and common vision are essential for anything to happen. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of developing Buddhism in the west. Without the right people, then there's not even general social support to fall back on to keep things above the water line.

Sure. And there are different ways that Buddhist intentional communities are organizing and structuring themselves in western countries. Some are using more traditional hierarchical models, and others are using more egalitarian democratic approaches, which can also be compatible with vinaya.

Indrajala wrote:For various reasons though a lot of Buddhists are unwilling to consider modifications to the formal Vinaya systems, even when they admit not everything can or will be followed in the present day. The sacrosanct quality of it is remarkable despite it really being house rules aimed primarily at irresponsible young men and women.

I think both historically as well as now it's generally a matter of interpreting the received traditions within any given community. Even using traditional Mahāyāna sources, a case can be made for interpreting and thereby modifying the emphasis given to the prātimokṣa vows in light of the bodhisattva vows and vajrayāna samayas. And this sort of thing isn't new. Examples can be found in the Tibetan three vows literature (and probably also in the Chinese Mahāyāna literature that you are familiar with).

Related to this, it's likely that many monastic communities in western societies are going to have to be largely self-reliant. And again, there are both historical and contemporary examples of how this can be done. These include looking to traditional Chinese and/or Tibetan monastic models, as well as looking to the Christian monastic orders, which continue to develop cottage industries, etc., to support their communities.

It's also worth recognizing that there have been times in the course of western history when there was significant public, political and sometimes even ecclesiastical opposition to mendicancy and monasticism. For example, in the 4th and 5th century Greco-Roman world, and again during the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, and yet again during the French Revolution and subsequent events in late 18th and 19th century France. Yet monastic orders still continue to exist. There are still people who find meaning and value in ascetic renunciation.

Indrajala wrote:What's really striking is the literature which outlines in detail the long years that will be spent in hell for violating even minor precepts. You can go to hell for immeasurable years if you eat yeast and fail to confess it according to the authors. Quite terrifying and ghoulish punishments await he who eats yeast or brewer's lees and fails to confess the sin.

Again, this leads me more and more to agree with Jizang's conclusion. In both Indian and Chinese literature I see a lot of logical inconsistencies and easily refuted metaphysical speculations.

Well, this sort of thing isn't unique to the vinaya literature. There are also speculative metaphysical statements made in the sūtras and śāstras with regard to the results of karma that are rather provincial.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:17 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:A very short one, in terms of liturgy, and a solitary deity, rather than a complicated mandala, for example, the Phyag rgya gcig ma form of Vajrakilaya from Choling Tersar, or Solitary Heruka Yamantaka, etc.
But do short Sadhanas have the full benefit? I thought they just existed so busy people could fulfill their practice requirements.



It depends on your view and tradition -- in general, for example, in Sakya, longer sadhanas are considered to be for beginners.

In Nyingma however, a short sadhana is considered all that is necessary.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:19 pm

Nilasarasvati wrote:Taking sense objects "into" the path[/i] (is that seperate? Is that what you meant?) is distinct from that/can be a skilful means. What does that look like in a practical sense? (in postmeditation, I mean).


Yoga of passion, eating, washing, wearing clothes, maintaining post-equipoise pure view of all appearances, sound and thoughts deity, mantra and wisdom, etc.
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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:21 pm

Indrajala wrote:
jeeprs wrote: You'd be mad to abandon all that, wouldn't you?


Some of us are just eccentric.



Yes, I really consider bhikṣus with credit cards to be renunciates... :roll: [not].
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 09, 2013 12:54 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Jnana wrote:It seems to me that the capacities and shared vision of the community members and the abilities of the community leaders are among the most important factors that contribute to the success of any given community.


When a community is up and coming without widespread support from society, then of course the leadership and common vision are essential for anything to happen. This is perhaps the most difficult aspect of developing Buddhism in the west. Without the right people, then there's not even general social support to fall back on to keep things above the water line.



Yes, because Buddhist monasticism aka the order of bhikṣus, has seen its day. Now, if Buddhist lay people wish to create retreat centers, and even cloistered community, that is fine and dandy -- but they won't be Buddhist monks [even though these days many such people in such places are laboring under the delusion that they are "monks" all the while being married, etc.]. This is why the appellation "minister" is more useful. One can be a Buddhist religious professional without calling oneself a "monk". I.e. one can be a Buddhist minister.



Indrajala wrote:We just need to keep things simple. If you're a śramaṇa, remain single and celibate. Behave yourself. Speak the truth, speak well, speak clearly. Try to emulate the Buddha as best you can.

This ideal isn't necessarily incompatible with vinaya.


Jnana/Indrajala: this does not have the force of the vow.

For various reasons though a lot of Buddhists are unwilling to consider modifications to the formal Vinaya systems, even when they admit not everything can or will be followed in the present day. The sacrosanct quality of it is remarkable despite it really being house rules aimed primarily at irresponsible young men and women.


They were rules set down by the Buddha. They should be respected and preserved, not tossed away out of convenience.

Personally, I don't feel I need to hold myself to account for silly things some people apparently did twenty-five centuries ago in rural Magadha.


Bhikṣus have a responsibility to uphold their vows. Whether they do or not is up to them, of course.

What's really striking is the literature which outlines in detail the long years that will be spent in hell for violating even minor precepts. You can go to hell for immeasurable years if you eat yeast and fail to confess it according to the authors. Quite terrifying and ghoulish punishments await he who eats yeast or brewer's lees and fails to confess the sin.


Yes, because that person took a vow not to do something. If he or she willfully ignores it, then yes, of course, if this person does not attain stream entry, who knows where they will wind up. But secondly these kinds of things are part of Indian commentarial hyperbole intended to make the person understand it is really important even to follow minor rules as best one can and confess them if one does not.



Again, this leads me more and more to agree with Jizang's conclusion. In both Indian and Chinese literature I see a lot of logical inconsistencies and easily refuted metaphysical speculations.


Vows are intentions. We don't need the theory of avijñāpti, etc. When you take a vow, you make an intention to follow that vow. Except, apparently in this day and age, people take vows with no intention of following them at all.

To be a Dharma person, the essence of vinaya is non-harming, the essence of Mahāyāna is bodhicitta, and the essence of Vajrayāna is pure vision -- one does not need to take many vows at all follow this -- but if someone takes vows, they should try to follow them. If they can't follow them, they should not take them.

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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Jun 09, 2013 1:40 pm

Yes, because Buddhist monasticism aka the order of bhikṣus, has seen its day. Now, if Buddhist lay people wish to create retreat centers, and even cloistered community, that is fine and dandy -- but they won't be Buddhist monks [even though these days many such people in such places are laboring under the delusion that they are "monks" all the while being married, etc.]. This is why the appellation "minister" is more useful. One can be a Buddhist religious professional without calling oneself a "monk". I.e. one can be a Buddhist minister.


But Malcolm surely with the amount of reading you have done you know that many texts say after the bhikshu Sangha has disappeared the dharma is at its end. Do you feel that these are simply provisional teachings, or that this is not the case with secret mantra?

Secondly, I have no problem with Buddhist ministers but I am little wary of any titles. Why? Because in the West we have people who use titles like shoulderpads (from the 80s) to puff up their credentials and stature when actually they have very little knowledge and capacity as teachers. We see how disastrous this is with Western Buddhist organizations who send people out to serve the guru's mission after less than a year of study and practice.

In terms of people who ordain, the motivation is very important. One should not ordain hoping to secure a career in Buddhism. Recently a person stated in a conversation that they ordained to study and publish. Well, fine, but then does that mean once the course of study is over they plan to disrobe after availing themselves of the education? That is not proper, but there should be a provision for such people. For example, taking the rabjung vows on a temporary basis and promising to abide by the sramanera vows during the duration of stay at the monastery.

Likewise, I have a problem with people who ordain because they "want to teach". You do not take ordination and automatically become qualified as a teacher. I am lobbying that anyone who ordains should have to wait at least 10 years before becoming a teacher- demonstrating that they have a true commitment to monastic life and are not looking, again, to pad their credentials.

If people would just be happy to start as a practitioner and not have any official type of "role" that would be so helpful. But I find in Western dharma communities everyone wants to be an expert- people would try to use their 10 years in freemasonry to somehow pad their dharma credentials.

It is very frustrating on the ground at times, let me tell you. Fortunately at our centre we have two really good Geshes and a handful of students who have been in dharma for 15 plus years, though I still do see some of these problems from time to time.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:03 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
Yes, because Buddhist monasticism aka the order of bhikṣus, has seen its day. Now, if Buddhist lay people wish to create retreat centers, and even cloistered community, that is fine and dandy -- but they won't be Buddhist monks [even though these days many such people in such places are laboring under the delusion that they are "monks" all the while being married, etc.]. This is why the appellation "minister" is more useful. One can be a Buddhist religious professional without calling oneself a "monk". I.e. one can be a Buddhist minister.


But Malcolm surely with the amount of reading you have done you know that many texts say after the bhikshu Sangha has disappeared the dharma is at its end. Do you feel that these are simply provisional teachings, or that this is not the case with secret mantra?



I feel it is along the lines of statements like "Only this day of Śakyamuni's teaching is secret mantra teachings available...." etc -- a completely provisional statement since I have seen interesting corrections of this in various places. All Buddhas can teach secret mantra.

Secondly, I have no problem with Buddhist ministers but I am little wary of any titles. Why? Because in the West we have people who use titles like shoulderpads (from the 80s) to puff up their credentials and stature when actually they have very little knowledge and capacity as teachers. We see how disastrous this is with Western Buddhist organizations who send people out to serve the guru's mission after less than a year of study and practice.


We see people becoming bhiḳsus mainly to get a leg up in Buddhist hierarchy. And yes, there are problems with anything like this.


It is very frustrating on the ground at times, let me tell you.


I agree with everything you say. The main point of being a teacher is not running one's mouth -- that is what we have the internet for. The main point of being a teacher is that you are helping people free themselves.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby mandala » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:18 pm

there's a whole lot of bhiksu going on... let's not forget the bhiksuni...
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby T. Chokyi » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:24 pm

Malcolm wrote:While I applaud your idealism, the reality is harsh. There simply is not enough support for Western monastics, and the large scale experiments thus far, FPMT, etc., have been marked by spectacular failure for the most part.


Nonsense, the only "failure" is with your rather rough shod examination of a perfectly viable and valuable organization which does a great job at teaching Dharma for both lay people and robed Sangha.

The FPMT "The Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition" is definitely not a "large scale experiment" as you have said, any more than the organization you belong to, "Dzogchen Community" is a "large scale experiment", both are viable resources for learning Dharma.

I have experienced both organizations first hand, taken teachings in Masters class from Geshes in FPMT. Did you ever study with FPMT's master class or with the FPMT? The quality of teaching there is unparalleled for Westerners, they have translated the Abhisamayalamkara many times and had qualified Geshes teach it many times now, all the Sangha in the Master's Class have had Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments.

Your bent to slight the accomplishments of FPMT, even a little, is too much, to discredit this fine organization, if only in "degrees" reflects poorly on you. There are monks and nuns of the red Sangha who study everyday with FPMT and they are doing their best, and if someone wants to ordain in this organization they will meet with fine teachers and most likely HHDL himself, who paid a visit there at the board meeting just a few months ago. It is terrific karma to meet with the caliber of teachers at FPMT, and takes tremendous merit to ordain and be part of this organization, merits some of us may not have.

FPMT has a fantastic Mahayana Sangha made up of both robed Sangha and lay people, there is a great translation program there for those who want hands on experience. FPMT isn't running any kind of "large scale experiments" when it comes to robed Sangha or what they study, or how they study, on the contrary, there is a viable Internet program and many highly qualified teachers. This organization isn't marked by "spectacular failure" either, it is doing quite well, despite your opinionated evaluation that it is "marked by spectacular failure" for the most part.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby MalaBeads » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:42 pm

T. Chokyi wrote: Nonsense, the only "failure" is with your rather rough shod examination of a perfectly viable and valuable organization which does a great job at teaching Dharma for both lay people and robed Sangha.

The FPMT "The Foundation for the Preservation of Mahayana Tradition" is definitely not a "large scale experiment" as you have said, any more than the organization you belong to, "Dzogchen Community" is a "large scale experiment", both are viable resources for learning Dharma.

I have experienced both organizations first hand, taken teachings in Masters class from Geshes in FPMT. Did you ever study with FPMT's master class or with the FPMT? The quality of teaching there is unparalleled for Westerners, they have translated the Abhisamayalamkara many times and had qualified Geshes teach it many times now, all the Sangha in the Master's Class have had Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments.

Your bent to slight the accomplishments of FPMT, even a little, is too much, to discredit this fine organization, if only in "degrees" reflects poorly on you. There are monks and nuns of the red Sangha who study everyday with FPMT and they are doing their best, and if someone wants to ordain in this organization they will meet with fine teachers and most likely HHDL himself, who paid a visit there at the board meeting just a few months ago. It is terrific karma to meet with the caliber of teachers at FPMT, and takes tremendous merit to ordain and be part of this organization, merits some of us may not have.

FPMT has a fantastic Mahayana Sangha made up of both robed Sangha and lay people, there is a great translation program there for those who want hands on experience. FPMT isn't running any kind of "large scale experiments" when it comes to robed Sangha or what they study, or how they study, on the contrary, there is a viable Internet program and many highly qualified teachers. This organization isn't marked by "spectacular failure" either, it is doing quite well, despite your opinionated evaluation that it is "marked by spectacular failure" for the most part.


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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Jnana » Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:43 pm

Malcolm wrote:Buddhist monasticism aka the order of bhikṣus, has seen its day.

I think your opinion is rather extreme.

Malcolm wrote:Now, if Buddhist lay people wish to create retreat centers, and even cloistered community, that is fine and dandy -- but they won't be Buddhist monks [even though these days many such people in such places are laboring under the delusion that they are "monks" all the while being married, etc.]. This is why the appellation "minister" is more useful. One can be a Buddhist religious professional without calling oneself a "monk". I.e. one can be a Buddhist minister.

Bhikṣus & bhikṣuṇīs should continue to be differentiated from upāsakas & upāsikās.

Malcolm wrote:
Indrajala wrote:We just need to keep things simple. If you're a śramaṇa, remain single and celibate. Behave yourself. Speak the truth, speak well, speak clearly. Try to emulate the Buddha as best you can.

This ideal isn't necessarily incompatible with vinaya.

Jnana/Indrajala: this does not have the force of the vow.

It isn't incompatible with vows either.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Astus » Sun Jun 09, 2013 3:51 pm

Malcolm wrote:this is the function of the two truths.

In truth, this statement by Nāgārjuna illustrates how to practice according to Mahāyāna:


It is a letter written to a worldly ruler. As Baizhang said, "If you are speaking to a deaf worldling, you should just teach him to leave home, maintain discipline, practice meditation and develop wisdom. You should not speak this way to a worldling beyond measure, someone like Vimalakirti or the great hero Fu." (in "Sayings and Doings of Pai-Chang", p. 29) Note that both Vimalakirti and Fu were lay people. This is simply recognising the different inclinations and the appropriate methods. Bodhisattvas have no trouble with samsara because they understand how afflictions are enlightenment, it is not some abstract far away goal but the path itself, because a bodhisattva practises prajnaparamita.

"To the extent that beings take hold of things and settle down in them, to that extent is there defilement. But no one is thereby defiled. And to the extent that one does not take hold of things and does not settle down in them, to that extent can one conceive of the absence of I-making and mine-making. In that sense can one form the concept of the purification of beings, i.e. to the extent that they do not take hold of things and do not settle down in them, to that extent there is purification. But no one is therein purified. When a Bodhisattva courses thus, he courses in perfect wisdom." (PP8000, ch. 22, tr. Conze)

Zen teaches the same thing,

"Those who seek the Dharma should not seek for anything. Outside of mind there is no other Buddha, outside of Buddha there is no other mind. Not attaching to good and not rejecting evil, without reliance on either purity or defilement, one realizes that the nature of offence is empty: it cannot be found in each thought because it is without selfnature. Therefore, the three realms are mind-only and 'all phenomena in the universe are marked by a single Dharma.'"
(Mazu Daoyi, in "Sun-Face Buddha", p. 62)

But in former, you do so without ever giving up such objects, and in the latter, one must give up objects. This is the essential difference between the path of renunciation and the path of transformation.


As above, the dharmas need not be rejected or removed. Even in Theravada it is taught that the problem is not with the skandhas but with attachment ("I-making and mine-making").

But Chan is still a path of renunciation, even if its view is beyond accepting and rejecting objects, there is still subtle and not so subtle accepting and rejecting concerning relative and ultimate truth.


It is with the realisation of emptiness that one can walk the bodhisattva path itself. If there were "subtle and not so subtle accepting and rejecting" then how could it be non-abiding?

Yes, this is why it is not part of the path of transformation because "...those evil, unskillful thoughts are abandoned and subside." And it is not teaching a path of self-liberation either because the refrain in each verse is "...those evil, unskillful thoughts are abandoned and subside."


Is there still attachment on the path of transformation and self-liberation? If yes, then how can it be called transformation and self-liberation? If no, it also abandons attachment.

It is unrealistic for lay people (and even bhikṣus) to abandon sense pleasures in this day and age, therefore, it is best to use a method where sense pleasures are used for one's own purposes as part of the path, hence the reason for the Vajrayāna path of transformation. Of course if you do not have Vajrayāna methods you try and be free from accepting and rejecting ala Chan and Zen, but that is a slow path since it lacks skill methods, from a Vajrayāna perspective.


Shinran quotes Shandao (KGSS VI.34), "The Tathagata already knows that foolish beings of the latter age possessed of karmic evil and defilements are incapable of visualizing forms and fixing the mind on them. How much harder is it to seek realization without visualizing forms; it is like a person lacking transcendent powers building a house in the air."

From the perspective of the Pure Land school, Vajrayana is no different from the other schools of self-power and in the Dharma ending age it's unlikely that anyone is capable of attaining liberation through them. Therefore, the nenbutsu of the other-power is the best and virtually only choice anyone has who aims for enlightenment.

Obviously, only those following that path accept such an argument. Therefore, saying that renunciation is less possible than before is a statement valid only for those who want to practise something else.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:03 pm

there's a whole lot of bhiksu going on... let's not forget the bhiksuni...


The texts specify bhikshu in the statements about the dharma ending age, though increasingly I think bhikshunis might be our best hope for viable monasticism in the future as they are very motivated.

Your bent to slight the accomplishments of FPMT, even a little, is too much, to discredit this fine organization, if only in "degrees" reflects poorly on you. There are monks and nuns of the red Sangha who study everyday with FPMT and they are doing their best, and if someone wants to ordain in this organization they will meet with fine teachers and most likely HHDL himself, who paid a visit there at the board meeting just a few months ago. It is terrific karma to meet with the caliber of teachers at FPMT, and takes tremendous merit to ordain and be part of this organization, merits some of us may not have.


Without the FPMT translation school I would have never been able to learn Tibetan and meet one of the finest Geshes around who it is an honour to translate for. Also, as I translate the courses I rely on the excellent translations of many of the scholastic texts that FPMT has available. The structure of the study programs- whether the Basic Program or Masters Program, is excellent. Many of the teaching geshes are excellent (not all, people still have to use discernment).

It is also because of FPMT that I have the privilege of translating and doing something to bring the dharma to people. Opportunities to translate are not as easy to find as some might think.

However, in terms of support for the monastic community, it is still very limited. Still,"limited" is more than many organizations. I don't think we can blame FPMT for this though, it is the paradigm of Western Buddhism in general. FPMT can speak about the merits of the Sangha etc. but in the end people decide where they put their donations, and most would rather give to something else. The majority of FPMT monastics do not receive support because the Sangha fund etc. simply don't get enough donations to support everyone. And even if one lives in a monastic community one will have to contribute to expenses as there simply isn't enough funds to run the programs and feed everyone for free.

FPMT in terms of the Tibetan Buddhist world is probably the org. that has done the most for Western sangha. But I still want people to know the reality is support is difficult to find in any Tibetan Buddhist centre you will ordain in.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Astus » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:31 pm

Has any modern bhikshu/ni tried to actually live from begging? I mean, homeless people can manage somehow, why not a few bald people too?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 09, 2013 5:53 pm

Astus wrote:Has any modern bhikshu/ni tried to actually live from begging? I mean, homeless people can manage somehow, why not a few bald people too?
From my paltry experience (and I am not a monk): When I taught I never asked for money directly except in the case when I invited teachers and had to pay costs. Nonetheless, I made it quite clear constantly that I am willing to accept donations for my time and effort. It did not work well at all. Like basically not at all. Only one member of the group would donate and they were the one that mentioned to me a number of times that I should just ask for money. When I finally got (really) frustrated (since people were asking for personal teachings, counselling, not turning up to sessions but expecting me to be there when they finally decided to turn up, turning up late, etc...) and said: "Right, that's it, from now on everybody will pay $10 per month!" (for four sessions a month) people started slowly disappearing, would only pay if harassed, etc...

It's funny. We do not really have a donation culture (anymore) yet people (still) feel that spiritual teachings should not be on a pay-to-learn basis. On the other hand people always have enough money for beers, cigarettes, drinking coffee in cafe's, hanging out in bars, etc... But if you ask them to give a portion of that money for their spiritual development, they look at you like you are from outer space.

So would it be possible for somebody to be a beggar monk while living in a western country? Sure, but they will have to live in shelters or on the street and rely on soup kitchens etc... run by the state and other religious organisations. Like all homeless people do.

Reminds me of this conversation from Pulp Fiction (caution, gratuitous use of the "f" word)
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Jnana » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:06 pm

JKhedrup wrote:However, in terms of support for the monastic community, it is still very limited. Still,"limited" is more than many organizations. I don't think we can blame FPMT for this though, it is the paradigm of Western Buddhism in general. FPMT can speak about the merits of the Sangha etc. but in the end people decide where they put their donations, and most would rather give to something else. The majority of FPMT monastics do not receive support because the Sangha fund etc. simply don't get enough donations to support everyone. And even if one lives in a monastic community one will have to contribute to expenses as there simply isn't enough funds to run the programs and feed everyone for free.

FPMT in terms of the Tibetan Buddhist world is probably the org. that has done the most for Western sangha. But I still want people to know the reality is support is difficult to find in any Tibetan Buddhist centre you will ordain in.

If one wants to ordain as a bhikṣu or bhikṣuṇī it would make sense to do so in an ordination lineage and organization where there is going to be material support. And there are such organizations both in Europe and North America.
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:08 pm

It's that way with everything I think Greg, not just Buddhism or spiritual teachings. I've run into that attitude a ton in martial arts as well.

Hilarious because now that our society has managed to commodify nearly everything, many people still go "what, HOW could you ask money for thing like that, how unethical"...as if good, desirable, fortunate, or healthy things somehow shouldn't be worth money, or shouldn't need to be paid for, but useless nonsense should.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby kirtu » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:19 pm

Astus wrote:Has any modern bhikshu/ni tried to actually live from begging? I mean, homeless people can manage somehow, why not a few bald people too?


Homeless people do not actually manage. They die on the streets.

gregkavarnos wrote:So would it be possible for somebody to be a beggar monk while living in a western country? Sure, but they will have to live in shelters or on the street and rely on soup kitchens etc... run by the state and other religious organisations. Like all homeless people do.


Perhaps in western social democracies that are still rich (Northern Europe, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Austria) but you have to be a citizen to start with or a refugee.

In impoverished societies like the US and all the rest of the 2nd and 3rd world, except for places that already have a custom of mendicants, this is flatly impossible.

Would it be possible in Austrialia, NZ, Canada? I don't know. Perhaps it's just best to make one's way to Thailand and take ordination in a small village and abandon the Mahayana institutions.

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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Astus » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:20 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So would it be possible for somebody to be a beggar monk while living in a western country? Sure, but they will have to live in shelters or on the street and rely on soup kitchens etc... run by the state and other religious organisations. Like all homeless people do.


Exactly. Like all homeless people do. Another thing that is not considered is that while "[w]e do not really have a donation culture" we have a tax paying culture, and at least in some European countries tax money also goes to churches. The key is to have enough followers who choose your church. Spiritual services (to some level) are expected to be free because (traditional) Christian churches are open for the public throughout Europe. But there are other religious communities that can manage quite well even without a large support base, have temples and community houses built, even establish their own theological colleges. The difference between those and Buddhists is that their followers are religious people and see themselves as such. Or maybe even this is not that big a difference. It's just that on the one hand the monastic lifestyle is not a popular one, and on the other Buddhism is simply not strong enough yet to support dozens of renunciates in every major city. It shouldn't be forgotten that in Asia the Buddhist monasteries usually had state support.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Dealing With Desire

Postby Astus » Sun Jun 09, 2013 6:25 pm

kirtu wrote:Homeless people do not actually manage. They die on the streets.


Can't speak for every country, but in Hungary mostly those die who stay outside in the winter instead of going some place warm for the night. I've met people who have been homeless for 10+ years. And I'm not saying it's an easy life, but I'm quite sure you can beg enough money a day to have food and even more, plus the social services.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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