The Buddha leaving his family

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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Huifeng » Tue May 14, 2013 5:05 am

The name can certainly have that sense, but the common quote of the Buddha seeing his newborn son and declaring him a "fetter" mainly comes from "Ráhulajáto, bandhanam játam". J.i.60; DhA.i.70. I could be wrong. Don't have the time to check out other parallel sources of this passage -- if any.

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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Beatzen » Tue May 14, 2013 6:12 am

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:This is something I've always wondered about, and have been questioned by others wanting to know the how and why. When Siddhartha left his wife and child, was this an act of selfishness, or compassion? Did he know, when he left them, that he would succeed at his goal?

And another question: does this give people an excuse to leave their families behind, say, in order to join a monastery?


In vedic traditions, the word "Dharma" is not only used to refer to "truth" and "phenomenon" but also "duty."

You can see this in the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna asks Lord Krishna why he must go to war and kill. Krishna replies that it is his duty. He must do his Dharma.

Perhaps we could view the Buddha's abandonment of his family, and even his mission following the enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, not as a choice, but his own personal "dharma" (duty).

Perhaps he did this because, in that context, he saw that he had no choice other than to "do his dharma"
"Cause is not before and Effect is not after"
- Eihei Dogen Zenji
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue May 14, 2013 6:30 am

:smile:
And another question: does this give people an excuse to leave their families behind, say, in order to join a monastery?

-------------------------------
I have no answer to that question.
It isn't easy to decide either.
But just as a thought, consider this, below.
:smile:
P.S. Please don't take offense, it's just intended as a small respectful joke.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby charu » Tue May 14, 2013 5:46 pm

hi ...
I am staying with my family and i always pray god for happiness of my family members and other close members and sometimes i pray for happiness of all ..
But buddha prayed for happiness of all .. all the time .. he sees all with the same eye .. for him whole world is his family.. he is there to help all and enlighten all so he can not be selfish like me.
He also said once that the real happiness is also in serving the family and sharing happiness with them .. its just his family was whole world which is bigger than my family ..
have a happy healthy life all :)
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Aemilius » Thu May 23, 2013 9:29 am

There is also the testimony of the Ariya pariyesana sutta, that contains an autobiography of the Buddha Gautama. In it He tells us that when leaving home to become a wandering mendicant: "while still young, a black haired young man endowed with the blessings of youth, in the first stage of life,"

This is obviously true of a person that is 19 years of age, rather than of a person 29 years old. Ariya pariyesana sutta is thus implicitly in favour of the earlier date for His leaving home for the homeless.
http://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.026.than.html
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby oushi » Thu May 23, 2013 10:44 am

Itivuttaka § 80

Fettered
to not wanting to be despised;
to gains, offerings, respect;
to delight in companions:
you're far from the ending of fetters.
But whoever here,
having abandoned sons, cattle, marriage, intimates:
he's capable of touching superlative self-awakening.
Say what you think about me here.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Ramon1920 » Thu Jun 13, 2013 6:27 pm

Buddha Shakyamuni saw through the facade of worldly life.

There was no good for him in worldly life.

Have sex, eat, take care of family and friends while all concerned are being niggled away at by desperation until you die a mere couple of years or decades later, there is nothing there of substance.

The situation if he stayed was hopeless.
He was not selfish anymore than someone leaving a cocaine den is selfish for leaving their comrades.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby greentara » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:22 am

Nothing to talk about, nothing to debate. The Buddha's yearning for truth, for liberation was so strong that he proceeded without a backward glance.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Nilasarasvati » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:26 am

It's strange a lot of the replies on this thread consider Shakyamuni as an ordinary person who really "renounced" something and went out the door of the palace as if he didn't know what he was getting into...I mean I know that the story is very important to read on that level of meaning...
but from the Mahayana perspective (as far as I understand) he was already been enlightened for aeons and was merely doing all of this as a wisdom display.

Therefore all of these statements and defenses that "the welfare of the many he helped outweighs the sacrifice he made," etc. seem kind of weird. He was omniscient! Beyond choice, yearning, risk, doubt, morality, liberation, and the whole mess of dualistic labels we can impose on the storyline.

So we can't really compare a man leaving his family to join a monastery with the transcendental Siddharta sneaking out of the palace one night.

Plus if you're a Vajrayana person, Mahamaya's later incarnations included Yeshe Tsogyel, who was (I think?) the first Tibetan to perfect all the paths and Bhumis and become a fully enlightened Buddha.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Son of Buddha » Fri Jun 14, 2013 3:35 am

Nilasarasvati wrote:It's strange a lot of the replies on this thread consider Shakyamuni as an ordinary person who really "renounced" something and went out the door of the palace as if he didn't know what he was getting into...I mean I know that the story is very important to read on that level of meaning...
but from the Mahayana perspective (as far as I understand) he was already been enlightened for aeons and was merely doing all of this as a wisdom display.

Therefore all of these statements and defenses that "the welfare of the many he helped outweighs the sacrifice he made," etc. seem kind of weird. He was omniscient! Beyond choice, yearning, risk, doubt, morality, liberation, and the whole mess of dualistic labels we can impose on the storyline.

So we can't really compare a man leaving his family to join a monastery with the transcendental Siddharta sneaking out of the palace one night.

Plus if you're a Vajrayana person, Mahamaya's later incarnations included Yeshe Tsogyel, who was (I think?) the first Tibetan to perfect all the paths and Bhumis and become a fully enlightened Buddha.


Bingo,you are absolutely correct,actually what I find weird is we as Buddhist do not use either Thervadin NOR Mahayana Birth stories of the Buddha.
We generally use a hodge podge.
For instance the Thervadin Buddha birth story is found in the Majjhima Nikaya,Shakyamuni was born as a Bodhisattva from tusita heaven,he already knew he would be enlightened in this life and pronounced as an infant.

Whats awsome is the Thervadan Birth story actually supports the Mahayana view that Shakyamuni already knew the path and already knew he was Enlightened(or will be) and he is putting on a show with skillfull means.

Also If you read the Nirvana sutra it is made clear that Shakyamuni didnt have a wife or son(its generally hinted at that they were actually the 2 bodhisattvas that accompany a World Honored One)

I can post a link for The Thervadin birth story if you like so you can see the comparison.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby oushi » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:03 am

Deification.
The simplest way to make everything fit ones conscience.
Say what you think about me here.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:59 am

Nilasarasvati wrote:It's strange a lot of the replies on this thread consider Shakyamuni as an ordinary person who really "renounced" something and went out the door of the palace as if he didn't know what he was getting into...I mean I know that the story is very important to read on that level of meaning...
but from the Mahayana perspective (as far as I understand) he was already been enlightened for aeons and was merely doing all of this as a wisdom display.

Therefore all of these statements and defenses that "the welfare of the many he helped outweighs the sacrifice he made," etc. seem kind of weird. He was omniscient! Beyond choice, yearning, risk, doubt, morality, liberation, and the whole mess of dualistic labels we can impose on the storyline.

So we can't really compare a man leaving his family to join a monastery with the transcendental Siddharta sneaking out of the palace one night.


In the Ariya Pariyesana sutta that I have quoted before and that contains an autobiography of Buddha Gautama, he doesn't say that he sneaked out at night secretly. On the contrary Bhagavan Gautama says he had announced his decision to become a mendicant to his parents, who were weeping because of his decision.

If You think that he was already enlightened, and it was merely a vast show, do you mean that he didn't suffer during his years of ascetism? And during his years of being a bhikshu? Living in the forest without shelter under a tree, eating leftovers from a begging bowl, etc is hard life even when you are enlightened.
If Buddha were fundamentally different from the rest of us, we could not identify with his life and we could not start on the path. Mahayana points out that there is no fundamental difference between Buddha Gautama and other people, which makes the path accessible.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby mandala » Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:18 am

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:And another question: does this give people an excuse to leave their families behind, say, in order to join a monastery?


No, i don't think it does. If you need an excuse to become ordained, then there's something wrong right there.

Yes, the Buddha did it.. but he also left his wife and kid well looked after in a palace... and returned enlightened. So i think if you plan on using this an excuse to ditch the family, you'd want to go all the way and make sure you're a wealthy Prince first.

Secondly, seeing as the Buddha already did the 'hard yards' and then presented the dharma path.. that's a wheel you don't need to re-invent... and you've already had the benefit of the option of a house-holder life or monastic path.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:16 am

Recently I read Dogen's Mountains and Waters, the translation of Thomas Cleary, towards the end Dogen writes that prince Siddhartha meditated for 12 years in the mountains before attaining enlightenment. There is also a famous japanese painting of a bearded Buddha Gautama descending from the mountains. At the time of Dogen the life story of an earlier departure from palace life was known and accepted in China and Japan. Although Lalitavistara sutra only briefly mentions that the ascetic Siddhartha meditated in the mountains. There is no compulsion to accept the theravada version of his early career when another tradition exists. I think there are political reasons for the appearance of the theravada story. At that time they didn't know that in some distant future home life would become so holy that Prince Siddhartha's leaving home at the age of 29 would look quite bad.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jul 01, 2013 10:15 am

According to the history one of the very earliest buddhist schools was Haimavata or Hemavata, which means "snow dwellers" or "those who dwell in the snow mountains". Theravada canon has no mention of anyone dwelling in the snow mountains, -as far as I know. In Theravada some people, like Mahakashyapa, dwell in the wilderness, far away from all company. The Haimavata school was most likely inspired by the example of Buddha Gautama himself. Mahayana tradition of 16 Arhats tells that most of them live in high altitude mountain caves. This too points to that Bhagavan Shakyamuni himself lived and meditated in the mountains, at least during his early career.
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Vajrasvapna » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:54 am

Sounds like you are just finding excuses for attachment to family. It is important to take care of your family, but at the same time, attachment to family is only a source of suffering and keep us imprisoned in samsara. After all what will be the day when all family problems will be solved? When will they all be well and happy?

In addition, a wife who loses her husband can easily get into depression, same for a child without a father, even living in a palace. A kingdom without a crown prince may collapse in to civil war. But all that is worldly concerns, Siddhartha was right in what he did, none of this will bring true happiness.

What keep people trapped in samsara are different excuses they give to practice later when everything has been resolved. Then, eventually, they die and a life wasted ...

Enlightenment is not something natural, you will not attain enlightenment only if kept waiting for the right conditions to occur.

Milarepa Song of Nonattachment:
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/sutra/level2_lamrim/intermediate_scope/milarepa_songs_nonattachment.html
"Difficulties are our spiritual teachers;
Obstacles are a spur to Dharma practice:
Suffering is a broom to sweep away our negative actions,
Do no regard them with dislike."

Kharak Gomchung

"If any teaching you study, reflect upon, or expound becomes an effective remedy against your disturbing emotions[...] then that is called a Mahayana teaching[...]
if your intention is only the eight worldly concerns, your activity is called a black Dharma practice." Guru Padma


"Hell is not punishment, it's training." Shenryu Suzuki
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby Vajrasvapna » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:57 pm

If on account of excessive attachment you are unable to sever the ties
with your relatives, you will be prevented from practicing the Dharma.
You will not be able to achieve anything. It is important to realize that
attachment to relatives and hatred for enemies are deluded perceptions.
They are no different from the horses, chariots, and so forth that someone
who has taken a psychedelic drug experiences as hallucinations, which
can neither harm nor benefit him. But when we attach too great an importance
to the delusions of ordinary life, we get caught up in them.
In Zurchungpa’s Testament by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
"Difficulties are our spiritual teachers;
Obstacles are a spur to Dharma practice:
Suffering is a broom to sweep away our negative actions,
Do no regard them with dislike."

Kharak Gomchung

"If any teaching you study, reflect upon, or expound becomes an effective remedy against your disturbing emotions[...] then that is called a Mahayana teaching[...]
if your intention is only the eight worldly concerns, your activity is called a black Dharma practice." Guru Padma


"Hell is not punishment, it's training." Shenryu Suzuki
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Re: The Buddha leaving his family

Postby theanarchist » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:40 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:This is something I've always wondered about, and have been questioned by others wanting to know the how and why. When Siddhartha left his wife and child, was this an act of selfishness, or compassion? Did he know, when he left them, that he would succeed at his goal?

And another question: does this give people an excuse to leave their families behind, say, in order to join a monastery?



Considering that the family was very wealthy and she and the child had all the support they needed I don't see it as so dramatic. I'm sure he wouldn't have left them if that had meant they would have had to fight for survival due to poverty.
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