International Order of Buddhist Ministers

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International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Fri Aug 13, 2010 4:59 pm

I'm still preoccupied with the developing ways in which the need for ordained teachers in the West is being met. How to train people to do this work?

One approach is that taken by the International Order of Buddhist Ministers, which seems to be explicitly nondenominational in intent but still quite traditional in many respects. Link:

http://www.iobm.org/International_Order ... sters.html

I have little knowledge of how this works beyond what I've read about it, particularly through Danny Fisher's website. (it's a good one, by the way: www.dannyfisher.org)

Any first-hand knowledge on this ordination platform?
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:46 pm

bump.

Anybody?
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:44 am

I honestly wouldnt trust any organization outside of ones own authorized lineage masters, whatever their lineage be.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Astus » Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:35 pm

Well, as Yonten says, there is this hindrance that those who are somewhat familiar with Tibetan or Zen teachings think that teachers must be from a lineage of (enlightened) masters and that Buddhism is not something one can simply study and practice but that meditation is the essential way and to teach it there's a need for authorisation by a guru. This is a strong preconception indeed.

I, personally, like the idea of training Dharma teachers. There is a need for people who actually know what the sutras and shastras contain and share it with those who find it difficult to spend time studying. Also it is a good way to make Buddhism more accessible to a larger audience. My question is only of the quality of the training.

A good book with a trans-traditional view is Joseph Goldstein's "One Dharma", even if it is a rather introductory level.
"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: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:53 pm

Yonten Nyima wrote:I honestly wouldnt trust any organization outside of ones own authorized lineage masters, whatever their lineage be.


Of course, but I'm not asking for the sake of my own practice (I'm ordained in Tendai already). I'm trying to better understand what's going on in the world so that maybe I can be a bit more helpful.

I'm also of the opinion that Buddhist institutions work better when they talk shop with other Buddhist institutions, compare notes, and generally keep things transparent and dialogic.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:56 pm

Astus wrote:I, personally, like the idea of training Dharma teachers. There is a need for people who actually know what the sutras and shastras contain and share it with those who find it difficult to spend time studying. Also it is a good way to make Buddhism more accessible to a larger audience. My question is only of the quality of the training.


I'm inclined to agree with all your points here.

I should also say that giving people with an earnest interest an opportunity to take Buddhist vows is an inherently good thing to do.

The open question to me is how the IOBM works, what they do, &c. I'm perfectly ignorant of the whole project.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Yonten Nyima » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:21 pm

Astus wrote:Well, as Yonten says, there is this hindrance that those who are somewhat familiar with Tibetan or Zen teachings think that teachers must be from a lineage of (enlightened) masters and that Buddhism is not something one can simply study and practice but that meditation is the essential way and to teach it there's a need for authorisation by a guru. This is a strong preconception indeed.

I, personally, like the idea of training Dharma teachers. There is a need for people who actually know what the sutras and shastras contain and share it with those who find it difficult to spend time studying. Also it is a good way to make Buddhism more accessible to a larger audience. My question is only of the quality of the training.

A good book with a trans-traditional view is Joseph Goldstein's "One Dharma", even if it is a rather introductory level.


How can one be assured that they fully understand?
Personally I cant see the logic behind something similar to an IOBM, especially if they dont have an aithorized lineage instructors (Bhikkus, Roshis, or Rinpoches)who is to be sure that they understand dharma, and they dont just have book knowledge? The lineage of ancestors serves a great purpose, and that is to assure we are passed the true teaching, not some college course buddhism, M.Div. buddhism, which is deviod of the essential spirit of Gautamas buddhadharma.

In my personal opinion, thatd be like letting a lay person of little experience teach others. :rules:
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:10 pm

Yonten Nyima wrote:How can one be assured that they fully understand?
Personally I cant see the logic behind something similar to an IOBM, especially if they dont have an aithorized lineage instructors (Bhikkus, Roshis, or Rinpoches)who is to be sure that they understand dharma, and they dont just have book knowledge? The lineage of ancestors serves a great purpose, and that is to assure we are passed the true teaching, not some college course buddhism, M.Div. buddhism, which is deviod of the essential spirit of Gautamas buddhadharma.

In my personal opinion, thatd be like letting a lay person of little experience teach others. :rules:


:good:

Here you've hit paydirt in the Consequences department. To my mind, these remain unanswered questions (at least in the publicly-available materials). I'm not sure what's behind it or around it, but I suspect if we ask about it publicly, we might get learn more...? I don't know if it is as you suggest it might be. (It might be.) It would be great to know one way or the other or in between. Inquiring minds... :reading:
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:47 am

That kind of lineage as seen in Zen for instance is not a universal part of Buddhism. Actually, the whole transmission lineage concept is restricted to a few traditions and others don't use it. And in the case of Zen lineage served mainly a political purpose rather than a spiritual/religious one. Transmission is a means of marginal groups to show how special they are. The major Indian schools had no use of that kind of authorisation because they were already authentic on their own. Lineage is not a proof of realisation or even correct view. The proof of realisation is one's life, and one's mind that can hardly be scrutinised by anyone else. The proof of correct view is being able to prove it through the use of scriptures and reasoning. What kind of proof is it if a person claims authority on secret transmission? Yes, it is a level of security if people are authorised by an accepted teacher, but even that is not 100%, just check out Shunryu Suzuki and his descendants.
"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: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Yonten Nyima » Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:34 pm

Astus wrote:That kind of lineage as seen in Zen for instance is not a universal part of Buddhism. Actually, the whole transmission lineage concept is restricted to a few traditions and others don't use it. And in the case of Zen lineage served mainly a political purpose rather than a spiritual/religious one. Transmission is a means of marginal groups to show how special they are. The major Indian schools had no use of that kind of authorisation because they were already authentic on their own. Lineage is not a proof of realisation or even correct view. The proof of realisation is one's life, and one's mind that can hardly be scrutinised by anyone else. The proof of correct view is being able to prove it through the use of scriptures and reasoning. What kind of proof is it if a person claims authority on secret transmission? Yes, it is a level of security if people are authorised by an accepted teacher, but even that is not 100%, just check out Shunryu Suzuki and his descendants.


Im sorry, but not only do I disagree with you, I find it besmirching to the teachers and lineages of Buddhism, especially my Soto guru venerable Shogaku Suzuki.
With consideration to Jodo shu and Nichiren, every other lineage in Buddhism which exists has a lineage of qualified instructors which is in place to assure the quality of the teaching.
Every lineage (practice lineage, NOT faith based lineages) trace their way BACK to Shakyamuni, and without this lineage transmission we would not have authentic buddhadharma, and Im sorry but this is not limited to Zen. Vajrayana Buddhists are far more firm on the role of the teacher, but unless you're a yogi or ngakpa, you must have a teacher to assure you recieve authentic tranmission, lest you practice out of egotism, and lure other away from true dharma.

I cant stress this enough, EVERY indian yogi to practice Buddhism has had a guru, and this line has continued until today.
If this is not the truth, tell me the story of Tilopa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa and Maitripa. This line must exist, and when it no longer does, we will KNOW we are living in the age of decline.
That will be the day any old person can clame buddhahood without a teacher who has glimpsed the other shore giving a pointing out instruction. THAT will be the day buddhism LOSES all its relevant value in this world.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 20, 2010 11:08 pm

"With consideration to Jodo shu and Nichiren, every other lineage in Buddhism which exists has a lineage of qualified instructors which is in place to assure the quality of the teaching."

The only lineage that actually traces itself back to Shakyamuni Buddha (and beyond) is Zen - and that lineage is not at all a historical fact. Vajrayana lineages go back as far as teachers like Tilopa and Padmasambhava, who all lived long after Shakyamuni. The Tiantai school also had a lineage where Zhiyi, de facto founder, was claimed to be the third patriarch, but transmission of any secret doctrine was not a requirement for every practitioner, it was rather the ruling patriarch that they traced a lineage for. No other Buddhist school had this kind of lineage based on direct transmission from teacher to student, and that means everyone else from all the early Indian schools up to Yogacara and Huayan.

So if you want to claim that true Buddhism exists only within Zen and possibly Vajrayana, OK. On the other hand, if you think that such masters like Nagarjuna, Asanga, Candrakirti, Dignaga and many others deserve some credit in making Mahayana what it is, you may also accept that lineage is not a requirement for authentic Dharma.
"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: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Yonten Nyima » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:10 am

But where did Nagarjuna LEARN the Dharma?
Suffice to say that he learned what he did from all the lineages thriving during his life, like the Sravastivadins etc.
He offered great reform to the Dharma, aside from that he was Enlightened which was why he could reform it. Shakyamuni didnt need a previous lineage, because he saw the truth for himself, no pointing out instruction needed, however, we are not (technically/dualistically) Shakyamuni, nor are we (technically/dualistically) Nagarjuna, so WE need lineages, the assurance that we will be shown the true unsurpassed complete and perfect road to Enlightenment.
If we didnt have lineages with SOME legitimacy and with at least ONE enlightened figure, how can we say we are the children of the buddhas??
The only way I can figure a lineage to be in the clear is to have at the least one figure in its history which recieved enlightenment by means of shakyamuni's method. Bodhidharma, Dogen Zenji, Kaizan Zenji, Vajradhara, Tilopa, Gampopa, Dusum Khyenpa etc.
At least one person in each of the existing lineages (-Jodo/Nichiren) reached the same state of enlightenment as The Buddha.
Regardless of what lineage one alligns oneself with, Shakyamuni is referred to in the plural, as being multiple, or "Numerous Nirmanakaya Shakyamuni Buddhas"
Technically that makes them manifestations of Shakyamuni.

I dont include Jodo or Nichiren because Jodo is based on the lack of ability to attain enlightenment by effort, effort that is seen as ego driven, and Nichiren because it focusses on a scripture that didnt exist until several hundred years after the buddha of our age, though it was written by A buddha, just not THE buddha.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Dhammajivaka » Tue Aug 19, 2014 2:21 am

Yonten Nyima wrote:I honestly wouldnt trust any organization outside of ones own authorized lineage masters, whatever their lineage be.


Ah, too much attachment... too much. When people are working with themselves to better their lives and the lives of others, I would think any Buddhist would embrace that and applaud. Although I see lineage as important and useful, it is no more essential than any other teaching aspect. What was the Buddha's lineage?
I totally understand and appreciate the need to have integrity with the teachings... that is what books and the Kalama Suttra is for...
just two cents.
two cents...
and a bow.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby muni » Tue Aug 19, 2014 10:04 am

Wisdom-lineages are not people who have merely studied. Not just so.
Nature is not teaching (even that word is all what is available) so to speak, but is selfless love interaction, knowing itself and so all. So I see lineages, Nature inviting into same Nature, by helping to recognize it to a mind open for it. Only Enlightened Nature can Awaken. A dreamer can try to awake its dream figures, which is of course wholesome action but still dream.

Snore.
We have to go beyond theories no matter how sacred they might seem.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Punya » Wed Aug 20, 2014 8:54 pm

When people are working with themselves to better their lives and the lives of others, I would think any Buddhist would embrace that and applaud.


Yes and no. If you are talking about Mahayana, the purpose of the Buddha's teachings is to reach enlightenment so you can really help others. Anything less is just rearranging the deck chairs.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Wed Aug 20, 2014 9:57 pm

This is a very old thread. The link I posted years back is no good now; try this one for more current information.

http://iobmweb.wordpress.com/
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby WuMing » Thu Aug 21, 2014 3:35 pm

Their intention might be good, but I personally think that they should at least openly be clear about their curriculum. The description on their website is somewhat weak:
"A course of study is prescribed candidates found wanting in education of the dharma."

The Triratna community, as one example, has at least a curriculum which is openly available for anybody interested in following their path, and I think that their curriculum, laid out over the period of 4 years, serves as a very good foundation, to my mind.
In order to teach a thorough and sound education is needed very much. It would be interesting what they mean with
"... candidates for the ministry must demonstrate a background in dharma study ..."

"... a strong desire to propagate the dharma to the Buddhist community, and an agreement to work within the parameters established by their sangha masters."
sounds to me like from people with a strong Christian background.

But again, my main point and interest lies in how their curriculum looks like. Why don't they make it openly available from the start?
From my point of view that should be on the top and not how to get ordained to propagate the Dharma.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Jikan » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:11 pm

WuMing wrote:Their intention might be good, but I personally think that they should at least openly be clear about their curriculum. The description on their website is somewhat weak:
"A course of study is prescribed candidates found wanting in education of the dharma."

The Triratna community, as one example, has at least a curriculum which is openly available for anybody interested in following their path, and I think that their curriculum, laid out over the period of 4 years, serves as a very good foundation, to my mind.
In order to teach a thorough and sound education is needed very much. It would be interesting what they mean with
"... candidates for the ministry must demonstrate a background in dharma study ..."

"... a strong desire to propagate the dharma to the Buddhist community, and an agreement to work within the parameters established by their sangha masters."
sounds to me like from people with a strong Christian background.

But again, my main point and interest lies in how their curriculum looks like. Why don't they make it openly available from the start?
From my point of view that should be on the top and not how to get ordained to propagate the Dharma.

:good:

Frankly, my hope when I made this thread years back was that someone from the organization would chime in here with details. That hasn't happened, unfortunately.
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Konch » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:39 pm

Dhammajivaka wrote:
Yonten Nyima wrote:I honestly wouldnt trust any organization outside of ones own authorized lineage masters, whatever their lineage be.


Ah, too much attachment... too much. When people are working with themselves to better their lives and the lives of others, I would think any Buddhist would embrace that and applaud. Although I see lineage as important and useful, it is no more essential than any other teaching aspect. What was the Buddha's lineage?
I totally understand and appreciate the need to have integrity with the teachings... that is what books and the Kalama Suttra is for...
just two cents.
two cents...
and a bow.



" One may think: ‘We concede that our decisions are unreliable, but when we follow the decisions of the Buddha, we are infallible.’ Then who decided that the Buddha is infallible? If you say ‘The great scholars and adepts like Nagarjuna decided that he is infallible,’ then who decided that Nagarjuna is infallible? If you say ‘The Foremost Lama [Tsong Khapa] decided it,’ then who knows that the Foremost Lama is infallible? If you say ‘Our kind and peerless lama, the excellent and great so and so decided,’ then infallibility, which depends on your excellent lama, is decided by your own mind. In fact, therefore, it is a tiger who vouches for the lion, it is a yak who vouches for a tiger, it is a dog who vouches for a yak, it is a mouse who vouches for a dog, it is an insect who vouches for a mouse. Thus, an insect is made the final voucher for them all. Therefore, when one analyzes in detail the final basis for any decision, apart from coming back to one’s own mind, nothing else whatsoever is perceived.” " - Guendun Chopel

Lineage is important, but its not the end of the story or the point in itself, middle-way somehow right? (otherwise the Buddha himself would have had trouble defending his teachings, even though he did say, dont just believe what your told no matter even if it comes from the Buddha, so why it would be different with any teacher that followed him? Vajrayana concerns aside, because in this case it is also made very clear how a student needs to develop trust and investigate the teacher - it doesnt say, if the teacher as a stamp of lineage then you can follow, in fact the recommended criteria in some texts about investigating a vajrayana teacher go much further than any lineage validity aspects)
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Re: International Order of Buddhist Ministers

Postby Bakmoon » Sun Sep 21, 2014 6:54 am

Personally I think the more effective route would be to have each major tradition form its own training organizations. I don't think you can have just one institution with one curriculum and expect it to be able to give effective training to people from different traditions. I think the main subtext to this IOBM is to establish a new tradition drawing on all of the traditions.

I'm not saying such a thing is wrong (WuMing mentioned the Tiratna society and they do that, and I have a very positive opinion of their teachings) but I do think that if they're going to do something like that then they should come out and say it.
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