Temporarily taking robes?

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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:07 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kasaya_(clothing)
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma10/robe.html

How can you know what "Three Jewels" is in various languages ? Things change during the course of centuries, gradually, and inevitably. Maybe the ethiopian robe is also inspired by the famous indian person Gautama and His followers ?
The Buddha's robe looks as made of one piece in many ancient statues and pictures.
I hope you do not mean to say that the robe has blessings if a new fabric is first cut to pieces and then stitched together!? -imitating the original ascetics who wore a robe made of castaway clothing!?

Buddha does not say in the Karuna Pundarika sutra that it will be a Vogue model of stitched-from-rags robe that has the exact & right number of squares in it.

In the beginning period of Sangha the robe was certainly a symbol, or a sign, for all ascetics or left-home people in general.

Idries Shah tells us that a robe made from pieces of cloth has been used by Sufis in North Africa for centuries. I noticed in TV that Gaddafi wore a green robe draped over his left shoulder when he was giving some important messages to his people, quite recently.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:01 pm

sorry I am a bit lost in your arguement now....

I don't understand why you mentioned 'what "Three Jewels" is in various languages', the three jewels here are definitely not daimond, ruby and pearl I guess? You as a English speaker, I as a Chinese speaker, we all get definition from the original idea of 'Ratna Traya', base on Buddha's words don't we? There will be some small difference when people translate sutras, but they idea of three jewels shouldn't be too different should it? If there will be different, shouldn't we adjust our idea base on Buddha's words?

Like sutra texts written in Tibetan, Chinese, or English should all be respected; the term Buddho, the term Sang gye (Tibetan), the term FO (Chinese) should all remind us that fully enlightened being and monks join their palms when the term is said no matter in what language.

Yes, Kasaya in Srilanka, or Tibet, or China might look quite different. But as long as they fit the description of the text, as long as it's a qualified Kasaya, it can be the representive of Sangha. You suggested that we shouldn't be too ritualism, shouldn't emphasize on material things, then don't do it. Don't fix your eyes on 'oh, why it's yellow in Srilanka, red in Tibet and grey in China...', it's not the point. The point is if the robe represent Sangha and if you have respect on it; it's not materialism at all.

I don't understand why you mentioned Gedalfi's green robe since it can't reprensent Sangha. I only have heard some NKT's 'monks' wear green vest within the robe, but I don't think there's any sutra/vinaya base for that kind of wearing. I also don't think some kind of 'modern monk robe' is really Kasaya. Buddha described Kasaya's several requirements in vinaya, as long as the robe fit the requirements, no matter orange, deep red or grey, they all can be Kasaya; but they need to fit the description.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:05 am

You understand very well what I'm saying. The thing is that the modern media and modern communication channels have changed buddhism to a large extent. Before, let's say in 1960's and 1970's, europeans commonly thought that tibetan religion or japanese Shingon most certainly are not buddhism. This has changed with more real communication with tibetans and with japanese esoterism, and now they have been accepted as Buddhism in Europe and the world at large.
The question "what is Buddhism?" or "what is Dharma?" has been asked in the remote past too, Buddha himself has answered to it, in His answer He is purely pragmatical, He says that if a teaching leads to contenment, leads into rejoicing at good, etc ... then it is Dharma. Buddha doesn't demand any "qualified" persons, -as the custom is nowadyas in many circles-, He has a pragmatic, and even a scientific, attitude toward the question "what is Dharma?"
In the past it has happened that Dharma gradually got into places like the Indonesian archipelago etc.., then it grew and developed there in the normal manner, or it was replaced by other religions that came there. In 1970's they found buddhism on a remote island of Indonesia, it was still alive and practiced. European colonialists have normally declared this kind of native religions to be "shamanism". When they studied this branch of shamanism they found that the shamans had a definition of "Three Jewels", its meaning was understandable for the europeans.
In modern buddhism you get the idea of "Three Jewels" from the modern media, with all its modern intepretations. Even if they had not had the concept of "Three Jewels" on the indonesian island, if the teaching has produced any of the 8 noble persons, or bodhisattvas with the bodhicitta, it would be buddhism in the sense that Shakyamuni has given to the word. If something has been labelled "Shamanism" by europeans, then everyone discards it automatically as non-dharma. This is not the right attitude.
Buddha is Maha Shramana, the Great Shaman. This a possible translation, it is not incorrect to say it thus. And even if it was incorrect, who says it is "incorrect"? The Dharmakaya Samantabhadra?
Last edited by Aemilius on Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:42 pm

Gaddafi's Robe
Possibly it was not green in his recent TV appeanrace, "green" was an impression because of poor picture quality in TV News, the robe might have been in any light colour. The Observer has an article about "Politics of Dressing", in the picture of the Observer magazine Gaddafi has a brown coloured robe.
http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8284&Itemid=7o
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby kirtu » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:57 pm

I have asked my Sakya lama via email if it is know in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to temporarily ordain upon the death of a family member in order to accumulate merit for them. He said that it is done in the Tibetan tradition, but most commonly people take the 8 lay precepts (sojong), what I have been calling the Eight Mahayana Precepts in this forum, instead of full ordination, for 8, 16 or if possible 49 days and dedicate that merit to their deceased family member.

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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby mudra » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:46 am

kirtu wrote:I have asked my Sakya lama via email if it is know in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to temporarily ordain upon the death of a family member in order to accumulate merit for them. He said that it is done in the Tibetan tradition, but most commonly people take the 8 lay precepts (sojong), what I have been calling the Eight Mahayana Precepts in this forum, instead of full ordination, for 8, 16 or if possible 49 days and dedicate that merit to their deceased family member.

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I am not sure about inTibetan Buddhism as a whole, and it is interesting that your Sakya Lama says it is possible. In the Gelug tradition I have heard one of my Lamas say that it is definitely not 'our' tradition to take monastic ordination temporarily (shramanera/shramanerika or Getsul/Getsulma) as is done in the Theravada tradition. I never thought about whether that was just a Gelug position. On another occasion HHDL ruminated aloud during a teaching about whether it might be useful for Tibetans to adopt this tradition. He didn't come to any conclusion about it, just threw it out there. However the implication was clearly that up til now it is definitely not the tradition. Again, I didn't even stop to think that this might differ across the various Tibetan schools.

A personal observation of this Theravada tradition: Of several Thai friends I knew who have done this when they were young, I have to say that only a couple actually really got some real, deep core understanding from the experience. Most saw it as an interesting experience which somewhat strengthened their respect for the Three Jewels (not bad at all!) but it was more of a social obligation than sincere choice to deepen their understanding, hence it was an exercise in merit making and social acceptance - learning etiquette.

Coming back to the Tibetan tradition, in accord with Vinaya in general it is of course possible for one who has given back the vows of Gelong or Getsul without having broken them to retake them later. I don't know if this could be constituted as temporary, but again one of my Lamas said that it should not be seen as such. It is more a provision for those who had kept their vows intact, given them back due to circumstance, and wished to retake them later. He also said that for those who were older (middle age) who took the ordination it was generally consider negative to then give up the vows - but this last remark was more of a comment on social mores than actual interpretation of vinaya.
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