Emotion and Reason

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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:40 am

Huseng wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:
Huseng wrote:In Tibetan Buddhism a great deal of emphasis is placed on maintaining samaya under penalty of some ghoulish punishments in hell, but the same threats are given in the Vinaya literature, too, yet in Tibetan Buddhism the Vinaya isn't taken overly seriously and a lot of reasons are given for this.
Please elaborate.


- In our modern day, how can we follow all these rules?
- We need to understand the context in which such rules were formed.
- Milarepa achieved realization without the Vinaya.
- Guru Rinpoche wasn't a monk.
- The tantric vows are supreme. Hīnayāna precepts are not so important.

I've heard that generally there isn't much education on the Vinaya. Monks know they're not supposed to have sex or drink alcohol of course.

Personally it isn't an issue for me, but it is interesting how certain prescriptions are held as sacred while others easily dismissed. In Chinese Buddhism as well the Vinaya has had a secondary role throughout history. There was the Vinaya school where such matters were studied, but everywhere else it was seldom treated as core. In the present day full ordination is common, but that's due to revivalists like Hongyi. Japan ditched the Vinaya sometime before maybe the Kamakura period, but it managed alright with the basic rules laid down.
Thanks. Personally, all I had to do to lose faith in the Vinaya was read it.

For example: monks can't eat seeds. God forbid.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Sherlock » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:52 am

Huseng wrote:
Sherlock wrote:The Tibetan monks or lay lamas who had been novices that I know all report studying the vinaya in detail regardless of school.


As novices they studied the bhikṣu Vinaya?

Yes, since it was expectes that they would become bhiksus when they came of age.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:00 am

Konchog1 wrote:Personally, all I had to do to lose faith in the Vinaya was read it.

For example: monks can't eat seeds. God forbid.


I translated two books on the subject (hopefully they'll be published within a few years).

I think some of it makes sense, but then even if a lot of it doesn't or isn't followed anymore, Buddhists still believe in it. You're not a real bhikṣu unless you have those 250 precepts. If you don't have them, then you're just pretending to be a monk and thus illegitimate. Not a proper field of merit.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:42 am

Personally, all I had to do to lose faith in the Vinaya was read it.

For example: monks can't eat seeds. God forbid.


I translated two books on the subject (hopefully they'll be published within a few years).

I think some of it makes sense, but then even if a lot of it doesn't or isn't followed anymore, Buddhists still believe in it. You're not a real bhikṣu unless you have those 250 precepts. If you don't have them, then you're just pretending to be a monk and thus illegitimate. Not a proper field of merit.

Well before anyone forgets this...
If it is desired, Ananda, the Sangha may, when I am gone, abolish the lesser and minor rules

And since then, tradition has always faulted Ananda...
Since Ananda, at this point, did not ask what the minor rules were, the Sangha decided not to abolish any of the rules of the Vinaya.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:56 am

It does beg the question what authority did Mahākāśyapa have to make such a proclamation concerning the full adoption of precepts despite a reliable testimony stating the Buddha did in fact give permission to the sangha to do away with minor rules (Ānanda did in fact have a sharp memory and is credited with remembering all the Buddha's teachings). The issue of "minor rules" could have easily been resolved democratically, as was supposed to be the custom.

Actually, what this quite possibly reveals is a conflict in the early sangha with Ānanda representing one "liberal" faction (and consequently getting lampooned for it in later tradition) and another represented by Mahākāśyapa representing the other "conservative" faction. Conceivably, Ānanda being from a somewhat democratic culture (a "republic" of sorts) sought proper discussion and collective decision making on the matter. Mahākāśyapa on the other hand is said to have been a brahman. We might think such democratic decision making wasn't part of his game. As the story goes, Mahākāśyapa asserted himself and made a proclamation despite not formally having the authority to do so and moreover having a reliable testimony that the sangha could modify things accordingly.

I suspect a lot of Buddhist monks since ancient times were aware of this issue and adapted things accordingly as the Buddha suggested, though they largely never had the power to overturn the sacred proclamations of the early sangha for whatever reasons. I imagine the Vinaya advocates always had a lot to lose if the ordinary monks started asking questions and pushing for reform.

On the bright side there were some good monks in Japan like Saicho who reformed things and succeeded in crafting monastic institutions that worked a lot better than a full Vinaya-based system ever could given the environment.

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadep ... os-reforms
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Namgyal » Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:59 am

Huseng wrote:a lot of Buddhist monks since ancient times were aware of this issue and adapted things accordingly as the Buddha suggested

A few years ago I met a friend who is a Buddhist monk at the railway station. I expressed my concern that his travel arrangements had prevented him from eating that day. He replied that I should not be too concerned because he would eat a sandwich when he finally arrived at his destination. I remarked that this would be after twelve and hence in contravention of his monastic rules, to which he smiled and said, 'Who exactly is it that sets these rules to restrict my behaviour...it's me isn't it?'
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:58 am

'Who exactly is it that sets these rules to restrict my behaviour...it's me isn't it?'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html
Now at that time, one Subhadda, who had renounced only in his old age, was seated in the assembly.
And he addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Enough, friends! Do not grieve, do not lament! We are well rid of that Great Ascetic.
Too long, friends, have we been oppressed by His saying: 'This is fitting for you; that is not fitting for you.'
Now we shall be able to do as we wish, and what we do not wish, that we shall not do."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"It's not the earth property that makes the true Dhamma disappear. It's not the water property... the fire property... the wind property that makes the true Dhamma disappear. It's worthless people who arise right here [within the Sangha] who make the true Dhamma disappear.
The true Dhamma doesn't disappear the way a boat sinks all at once.

"These five downward-leading qualities tend to the confusion and disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five?
There is the case where the monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers live without respect, without deference, for the Teacher.
They live without respect, without deference, for the Dhamma... for the Sangha... for the Training... for concentration.
These are the five downward-leading qualities that tend to the confusion and disappearance of the true Dhamma.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Namgyal » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:10 pm

plwk wrote:It's worthless people who arise...They live without respect, without deference, for the Dhamma

In my post I should have made it clear out that the gentleman in question is a legendary Sayadaw who has been a flawless monk since the age of seven.
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:24 pm

Interesting, it's because of many legends that I find this thread interesting, made me turn back to scripture and discipline than to look at legends....
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Apr 17, 2013 1:29 pm

Namgyal wrote:A few years ago I met a friend who is a Buddhist monk at the railway station... / ...he smiled and said, 'Who exactly is it that sets these rules to restrict my behaviour...it's me isn't it?'


This brings up an important aspect about rules in Buddhism, and how they are different from "sins" of religions.
Gray areas vs. absolutes.
My understanding is that we try to live by these rules, but sometimes you have to make allowances for situations,
and when the circumstances of those situations allow,
and you are able to follow precepts or whatever, you return as quickly and as mindfully as possible.
However, this is not the same things as only following rules when it is convenient,
and often times situations arise when one's ability to stick to the rules is really tested
but you won't be struck by lightning if you fail.
It all becomes part of your path.

I know Thai monks who are very strict about not making contact with women,
yet they are much more flexible when it comes to handling money!
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby plwk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 3:50 pm

https://sites.google.com/site/dharmadepository/writings/saichos-reforms

I find the part about how Manjusri and Pindola are elevated interesting as I always thought that Mahakasyapa or Ananda would be the one rather than Pindola as most Chinese temples have Ananda and Mahakasyapa flanking the Lord but Pindola? Perhaps as part of the 18 Arhats retinue?

Furthermore, in the Ch'an/Tian Tai's rite of '大悲懺法' (Great Compassion Repentance Dharma), there's a line for bowing prostration that goes:
'一心頂禮, 摩訶迦葉, 無量無數, 大聲聞僧' ('Singlemindedly, I prostrate to Mahakasyapa and the Immeasurable and Innumerable Great Sravaka Sangha)
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Apr 17, 2013 7:05 pm

Namgyal wrote:
Huseng wrote:a lot of Buddhist monks since ancient times were aware of this issue and adapted things accordingly as the Buddha suggested

A few years ago I met a friend who is a Buddhist monk at the railway station. I expressed my concern that his travel arrangements had prevented him from eating that day. He replied that I should not be too concerned because he would eat a sandwich when he finally arrived at his destination. I remarked that this would be after twelve and hence in contravention of his monastic rules, to which he smiled and said, 'Who exactly is it that sets these rules to restrict my behaviour...it's me isn't it?'
The rules for traveling and eating for monks only make sense for monks living in a monastery that is surrounded by the homes of lay supporters. Naturally, they wouldn't apply to a monk in the situation you gave.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Emotion and Reason

Postby plwk » Thu Apr 18, 2013 2:17 am

The rules for traveling and eating for monks only make sense for monks living in a monastery that is surrounded by the homes of lay supporters. Naturally, they wouldn't apply to a monk in the situation you gave.

From the Vinaya...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... l#chowtime
Meal Time
In the West the first meal of the day is 'break-fast.' For the bhikkhu this is literally true, for he will not have taken any food since the previous morning. Food intake is limited to the hours between dawn and noon. The practice of not eating in the afternoon is a very old tradition mentioned in the earliest Suttas.[79] It is also included in the Ten Precepts of the novice (saama.nera) and dasasiila mata nun; and the Eight Precepts of the lay devotee [see End Note 4].

'Food' here refers to things like cooked grains; sweets made from flour, beans, etc.; fish; meat; fresh milk and sour milk;... fruits, tubers and all 'main course' foods. (See EV,II, pp.131-133)

When these staple foods go beyond their time limit (i.e., after noon) a bhikkhu will incur an offence if he consumes them. The original story shows the complications that can arise from leaving the monastery at the wrong time:

The 'group-of-seventeen' bhikkhus — another set of frequent misdoers — went out one afternoon to enjoy themselves at a festival outside the city. When lay people saw them they gave them a meal and food to take back to the monastery. The Buddha therefore laid down this rule:
"Should any bhikkhu chew or consume staple or non- staple food at the wrong time, it is [an offence of Confession.]" (Paac. 37; BMC p.362)

◊ This 'wrong time' is defined to be from noon until dawn the following day.[80] A bhikkhu is still at fault even if he genuinely miscalculates the time or mistakes an item of 'food' for a 'medicine.' Therefore if donors are preparing food for a bhikkhu they should be careful that they are not late in offering it so that the meal can be finished before noon. It is also noteworthy that an ill bhikkhu has no exemption from this rule so he likewise should not take food in the afternoon.[81]

I recall reading from the late Ven Master Xuan Hua who mentioned that if a monastic who misses the timing for food for the day for whatever reason or for that day receives no alms, the monastic is to remain without food for that day and contemplate deeply on causes and conditions. After all, it's just one day, not everyday.
The monastic can still have the allowable types of drinks or 'medicine/tonic' after the stipulated hours.
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