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Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"? - Dhamma Wheel

Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Guy
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Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:20 pm

Hi All,

Do you think we are living in the "Dhamma-declining age"? If so, why? If not, why?

Thanks + Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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BrownRice (Element)
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby BrownRice (Element) » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:47 pm

No

The discourses of the Buddha are now available in very readible forms.

A great variety of interpretations of Buddha-Dhamma is easily available & accessable, so each individual can readily find what is suitable for them.

Importantly, many teachers, such as Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Buddhadasa, Bhikkhu Nanananda, etc, have revealed & offered a clear way of understanding the essence of the Buddha-Dhamma, that makes sense to those who can verify how these interpretations effectively end suffering.

In the eyes of some, there are teachers, such as Ajahn Brahmavaso, who have fallen back or "declined" from the essential teachings, imparting the "traditional" reincarnation based teachings, which appeal to a broader audience.

But despite the Dhamma-declining of Ajahn Brahmavaso and so forth, the pure essense of the Buddha-Dhamma is being learned & understood by more & more human beings.

The Buddha-Dhamma was certainly in a dark age or in decline for many centuries, especially in Theravada, before teachers such as Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Buddhadasa & Bhikkhu Nanananda rebirthed the Emptiness dhammas into common knowledge.

:anjali:

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Guy
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:58 pm

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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BrownRice (Element)
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby BrownRice (Element) » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:09 pm


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Guy
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:25 pm

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

Jhana4
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:18 am

I would be more likely to argue the opposite. It is my understanding that an appreciation for the teachings in the Pali Canon and other aspects of Buddhism were dying out, getting forgotten about, until a revival in the 19th century. With that revival, Buddhism also spread ( in good and bad ways ) west out of Asia. Most of the Pali Canon, many teachings and many dhamma talks are available globally and near freely.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:25 am

Greetings,

We're certainly not obliged to accept whatever nationalist variant of the Dhamma lobs up on our doorsteps nowadays. Dhamma should not be portioned out based on geographical borders.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Guy
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:40 am

Thanks for the comments Jhana4 and Retro. :)
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Dan74
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:33 am

There are some "Dhamma-declining" aspects of our culture I think, like the incredible skill we have developed at manufacturing desires and satisfying them. The superficiality of the internet age is also not particularly conducive to practice. I guess serious spiritual practice is increasingly seen as uncool in the age where one needs to be constantly stimulated and where one is measured by material success.

Access to Dhamma is a big positive but ironically it seems that not many are interested!
_/|\_

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Guy
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 12:43 pm

Good points Dan. It seems like there is evidence both in support of and against the view that we are in a "Dhamma-declining age".
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Dan74
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Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 1:35 pm

I guess so.

Mostly I try to focus my attention to make sure the Dhamma is not declining in me! This is enough challenge.

:smile:
_/|\_

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gavesako
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby gavesako » Tue Apr 12, 2011 2:21 pm

In Theravada Buddhist countries they talk quite often about the concept of "Dhamma-declining age" and they relate it to the following story from the Pali Canon:

Interesting Jataka tale with 16 dreams of King Pasenadi. See also http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/201 ... reams.html

This book tries to interpret the story in connection with Thai society: http://www.meditationthailand.com/16predictions.htm
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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Guy
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:38 pm

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Guy
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Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:39 pm

Thanks for the links Venerable, I will check them out now. :anjali:
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

chownah
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Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby chownah » Wed Apr 13, 2011 2:04 am

I don't think it matters if we are in the "Dhamma-declining age" or not....you can always work towards becoming a pachinko buddha......
chownah

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Guy
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Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Guy » Wed Apr 13, 2011 3:03 am

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Dan74
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Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby Dan74 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:51 am

Maybe chowna means pacceka Buddha (pratyeka Buddha)?



Or he could be making an in-joke our Japanese and Korean member would understand:

Image

Pachinko Bodhidharma:
Image
_/|\_

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cooran
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Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:54 am

Hello all,

A few references to the Decline of the Dhamma:

23. False Dhamma
[At Saavatthii Kassapa asked the Buddha:] "What is the reason, Lord, and depending on what conditions is it that formerly there were fewer precepts, yet more monks attained enlightenment?[103] What is the reason, Lord, and depending on what conditions is it that nowadays there are more precepts, and fewer monks attain enlightenment?"
"It is like this, Kassapa. When beings are in decline,[104] and the true Dhamma is waning, then there are more precepts and fewer monks attain enlightenment. But there is no disappearance of the true Dhamma, Kassapa, till a counterfeit Dhamma arises in the world; but when a counterfeit Dhamma arises, then there is a disappearance of the true Dhamma, just as there is no disappearing of gold so long as no counterfeit gold has arisen in the world...[105] The earth-element[106] does not make the true Dhamma disappear, the water-element... the fire-element... the air-element... But right here[107] men of straw[108] appear, and it is they who bring about the disappearance of the true Dhamma. A ship, Kassapa, may sink all at once, but it is not thus that the true Dhamma disappears. There are five contributory[109] factors, Kassapa, which lead to the adulteration[110] and disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five? It is when monks and nuns, male and female lay-followers behave disrespectfully and rebelliously towards the Teacher,... towards the Dhamma,... towards the Sangha,... towards the training,... towards meditation.[111]
"But when monks and nuns, male and female lay followers behave respectfully and deferentially towards the Dhamma,... towards the Sangha,... towards the training,... towards meditation, then these five things conduce to the maintenance, the purity and the preservation of the true Dhamma."
— SN 16.13
...............................
We read in the Gradual Sayings (Book of the Twos, Ch II, § 10) that the
Buddha said:
Monks, these two things conduce to the confusion and disappearance of true
Dhamma. What two?
The wrong expression of the letter (of the text) and wrong interpretation of
the meaning of it. For if the letter be wrongly expressed, the
interpretation of the meaning is also wrong.....
Monks, these two things conduce to the establishment, the non-confusion, to
the non-disappearance of true Dhamma. What two?
The right expression of the letter and right interpretation of the meaning.
For if the letter be rightly expressed, the interpretation of the meaning is
also right....

In the course of time the Buddha¹s teachings will be corrupted and then
disappear. The last holy site we visited was Bodhgaya. Here one of our group
read a text about the disappearance of the teachings. The ³Dispeller of
Delusion² (the commentary to the Book of Analysis, commentary to Ch 16,
Classification of Knowledge) is one of the texts explaining about the
disappearance of the teachings 1 . We read (431):

For there are three kinds of disappearance: disappearance of theoretical
understanding (pariyatti), disappearance of penetration (paìivedha) and
disappearance of practice (paìipatti). Herein, pariyatti is the three parts
of the Tipiìaka; the penetration is the penetration of the Truths; the
practice is the way....

Further on we read that of the Scriptures first the Book of the Patthåna
(Conditional Relations) of the Abhidhamma disappears, and then successively
the other Books of the Abhidamma. After that the Books of the Suttanta will
successively disappear. We read:

But when the two Piìakas 2 have disappeared, while the Vinaya Pitaka
endures, the teachings (såsana) endure.

Also the Vinaya will disappear. Further on the text states that there are
three kinds of complete extinction:

Complete extinction of defilements, complete extinction of the aggregates
(khandhas) 3 and complete extinction of the relics. Herein, complete
extinction of the defilements took place on the Wisdom Seat, the complete
extinction of the aggregates at Kusinåra 4 and the complete extinction of
the relics will take place in the future.

It is then explained that all the relics will gather together and will go to
the ³Great Wisdom Seat² in Bodhgaya. We read:

Heaped up on the Great Wisdom Seat, they will become one solid mass like a
pile of gold and will emit six-coloured rays...

We read that they will be burnt by the fire element and that then the
teachings have come to an end.
[............. ]
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhammastu ... sage/11275

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

chownah
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Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby chownah » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:00 am

Huy Guy,
It's someone who figures out the way to end suffering on their own....without the Buddha's teachings.
chownah

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cooran
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Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Are we living in the "Dhamma-declining age"?

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:17 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---


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