Taego Lineage Seminary

Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:17 pm

Aemilius wrote: I have often wondered what kind of karma one acquires when one so eagerly discusses the points of vinaya and at the same time one is never going to commit oneself to following it even in the slightest!? I'm not claiming that I have never done it myself, but I would like to be careful about that, karma is easily created and it will last for milennia, I also feel a certain heaviness in this topic.
There is a good reason behind this policy that monks must get married, the answer lies in the history, maybe they don't like to tell that kind of unpleasant and nasty things anymore? I.e. the causes that led to this new and I would say healthy practice (of monks having to marry).


The vinaya was traditionally not taught to those outside the bhiksu(ni) community. There was a fear that people would use those precepts against the community.

But times have changed. Things are more transparent then they used to be.

Your fear of karmic retribution is wise, but in this case there is no intention to harm others, but rather to foster a healthy community and proper training and certification methods.

In the case of Korea and Japan, there were numerous factors at work. The first is that when the vinaya tradition died out there was no actual mechanism in place to forbid marriage. In such a scenario you might have traditions forbidding marriage of tradition and doctrine, but no actual legal mechanism exists in place to prevent it. In the case of Japanese sects it started with Saicho when he decided that he would ordain "Bodhisattva monks" without the Vinaya, having concluded the Sravakayana-vinaya was unsuitable and unnecessary for superior Bodhisattva practices. Legally monks in Japan were forbidden to marry until the Meiji period, but then things rapidly changed under government influence and this hereditary system of temple ownership development passing from master to disciple or father to son.

This system was pushed on the Taiwanese Buddhists, but they actively resisted.

It was some success in Korea.

I can't speak for Korean Buddhism as I have no experience with it, but in Japan being a priest for the most part is a hereditary position you inherit from your father for the purpose of maintaining both the temple and the graves of the local community where it is situated. Whether you really give a damn or not about Buddhism isn't really an issue -- it is a family duty that is required to be filled. Nothing more.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Aemilius » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:01 am

Huseng wrote:
Aemilius wrote: I have often wondered what kind of karma one acquires when one so eagerly discusses the points of vinaya and at the same time one is never going to commit oneself to following it even in the slightest!? I'm not claiming that I have never done it myself, but I would like to be careful about that, karma is easily created and it will last for milennia, I also feel a certain heaviness in this topic.
There is a good reason behind this policy that monks must get married, the answer lies in the history, maybe they don't like to tell that kind of unpleasant and nasty things anymore? I.e. the causes that led to this new and I would say healthy practice (of monks having to marry).


The vinaya was traditionally not taught to those outside the bhiksu(ni) community. There was a fear that people would use those precepts against the community.

But times have changed. Things are more transparent then they used to be.

Your fear of karmic retribution is wise, but in this case there is no intention to harm others, but rather to foster a healthy community and proper training and certification methods.

In the case of Korea and Japan, there were numerous factors at work. The first is that when the vinaya tradition died out there was no actual mechanism in place to forbid marriage. In such a scenario you might have traditions forbidding marriage of tradition and doctrine, but no actual legal mechanism exists in place to prevent it. In the case of Japanese sects it started with Saicho when he decided that he would ordain "Bodhisattva monks" without the Vinaya, having concluded the Sravakayana-vinaya was unsuitable and unnecessary for superior Bodhisattva practices. Legally monks in Japan were forbidden to marry until the Meiji period, but then things rapidly changed under government influence and this hereditary system of temple ownership development passing from master to disciple or father to son.

This system was pushed on the Taiwanese Buddhists, but they actively resisted.

It was some success in Korea.

I can't speak for Korean Buddhism as I have no experience with it, but in Japan being a priest for the most part is a hereditary position you inherit from your father for the purpose of maintaining both the temple and the graves of the local community where it is situated. Whether you really give a damn or not about Buddhism isn't really an issue -- it is a family duty that is required to be filled. Nothing more.


What I've heard in the past is a slightly more complex story, your version seems too neat and clean to me ( concerning the vinaya etc). Also, are not the Zen monasteries owned by the Sangha of believers? I'd think that the father/son are more like caretakers ?
In one source I read in 1980's that there had been a coverup in the Zen-sect to cover the fact that most Zen monasteries were in fact empty, i.e. there were no more enough monks or enough interest in the subject, then this matter somehow leaked out, and caused an uproar in the supporting laity, ?
How about the tibetan Nyingma? Where you have masters like Urgyen Tulku, who had many sons that have come to be influental buddhist teachers like Chökyi Nyima and others ? I think this proves that it is not impossible that the son could become a real buddhist and a real teacher ?
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:15 pm

Aemilius wrote: What I've heard in the past is a slightly more complex story, your version seems too neat and clean to me ( concerning the vinaya etc). Also, are not the Zen monasteries owned by the Sangha of believers? I'd think that the father/son are more like caretakers ?
In one source I read in 1980's that there had been a coverup in the Zen-sect to cover the fact that most Zen monasteries were in fact empty, i.e. there were no more enough monks or enough interest in the subject, then this matter somehow leaked out, and caused an uproar in the supporting laity, ?
How about the tibetan Nyingma? Where you have masters like Urgyen Tulku, who had many sons that have come to be influental buddhist teachers like Chökyi Nyima and others ? I think this proves that it is not impossible that the son could become a real buddhist and a real teacher ?


Interestingly if you walk into a Japanese bookshop looking for books on Buddhism the most popular authors are actually scholars like Nakamura Hajime and not priests, though there are a few exceptions like Sawaki Roshi, but then he isn't nearly as popular as Nakamura still is.

There were other schools of Buddhism within Japan that maintained the vinaya for a time, but they either died out or just dropped it for whatever reasons.

As for the temple system here it is called the danka 檀家 system where there are lay supporters called zaike 在家 (a Chinese term literally meaning "in the house"), though it is odd because nowadays most priests nowadays have their own home, family and career and dress like any other zaike minus maybe the bald head.

Japanese Buddhism is in rapid decline right now. It is commonly thought of as a funeral business by people. There is little reverence for it except for a small segment of the older generations who likewise are quickly dying off as the years go on. I'm of the mind one core issue is the hereditary system of temples which has lead to most priests carrying out a mandatory job rather ordaining out of a sense of interest in spirituality.

It is odd that a two hour flight away in Taiwan Buddhism is flourishing and growing. The situation which gave rise to humanistic Buddhism in China wasn't that much unlike what you find in present day Japan. For example the late Ven. Zhenhua in his book remarked how his own initial teacher ate meat (a clear violation of Chinese Buddhist precepts) and how there was a scaled system of funeral singers from among the monks where the best of singers of lamentation fetched the highest prices for services rendered.

Nevertheless despite such a situation, a few crucial Chinese Buddhist arouse and in Taiwan built what we see today. Again, Taiwan is not that culturally dissimilar to Japan and it even was part of the Japanese Empire for a number of decades in the early half of the 20th century.

I don't think it is appropriate to compare Tibetan Buddhism to modern Japanese Buddhism because the situations are complete different. For one thing Japanese Buddhists were not forced to become refugees across the planet and although there was some oppression in the Meiji period, they still have their temples and lands.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:26 pm

I think it's instructive to contrast the Tibetan ngakpa system of lay, even familial, training and transmission of teaching authority with the danka system. They're quite different in form and function but for those of us who aren't suitable for vinaya but still find themselves in a teaching role*, well, it's really needful to look at history, specifically at what has worked and what has not in particular contexts to figure out a model that *might* work right now in this situation we find ourselves in.

Renunciation comes in more than one form or flavor. Vinaya's a fantastic way to do it, but it's not the only way nor the only Mahayana way.

*how's that for careful wording, eh?
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:36 am

:oops:

It's come to my attention that I misreported some facts in this thread, and that my wording seemed to imply some disrespect to persons involved in the Taego Seminary. My intention here was certainly not to cause harm of this nature. Since this was reported to me anonymously, I am apologizing for it here in public. I'm sorry for any trouble my words have caused, and I ask your patience with my knuckle-headedness.

I've also edited my comments here to better reflect my intended meaning, and for accuracy too.

:namaste:
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:18 am

The 4. article of the Meiji restoration Charter of Oath runs like this:

4. Replacement of "evil customs" with the "just laws of nature"

-any commments ?
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jul 23, 2010 8:50 am

Astus wrote:Jikan,
I've always preferred their red kasa (袈裟) instead of Jogye's brown. Do you have some contacts?


I hope you are joking ! About the colors, that is ! Otherwise Togaboy Ron Turner would be the right choice for you !
http://www.howtomakeatoga.info/
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:38 am

Jikan wrote:I think it's instructive to contrast the Tibetan ngakpa system of lay, even familial, training and transmission of teaching authority with the danka system. They're quite different in form and function but for those of us who aren't suitable for vinaya but still find themselves in a teaching role*, well, it's really needful to look at history, specifically at what has worked and what has not in particular contexts to figure out a model that *might* work right now in this situation we find ourselves in.

Renunciation comes in more than one form or flavor. Vinaya's a fantastic way to do it, but it's not the only way nor the only Mahayana way.

*how's that for careful wording, eh?


All Nyingmapas are not Ngagpas, to put it simply.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:45 am

Aemilius wrote:
Jikan wrote:I think it's instructive to contrast the Tibetan ngakpa system of lay, even familial, training and transmission of teaching authority with the danka system. They're quite different in form and function but for those of us who aren't suitable for vinaya but still find themselves in a teaching role*, well, it's really needful to look at history, specifically at what has worked and what has not in particular contexts to figure out a model that *might* work right now in this situation we find ourselves in.

Renunciation comes in more than one form or flavor. Vinaya's a fantastic way to do it, but it's not the only way nor the only Mahayana way.

*how's that for careful wording, eh?


All Nyingmapas are not Ngagpas, to put it simply.


Correct. Not all Nyingmapas are ngakpas, this is true (or ngakmas for that matter). Some are monks. I don't understand what you mean to say with this post. Put differently, I don't see any ground for disagreement here between us.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:13 pm

Related, for consideration & comparison: the University of the West's chaplaincy M.A. program, which seems to be designed to transform a rote beginner into a professional. This is an aspect we haven't discussed yet, the role of professionalization in public institutions for Buddhist clergy, as distinct from traditional teaching roles for instance within the Buddhist community.

http://www.uwest.edu/site/index.php?opt ... Itemid=305

Thoughts?
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:20 am

You are right, not so much difference or opposition at all. I like Your Blog, still I would like to say that Ngagpa means Mantrika, besides monks and mantrikas there are nyingmapas who specialized in the Sutras and were laymen, and those who specialized in the Atiyoga, and those who specialized in some other topic or other from of practice, there are other titles in use besides ngagpa and monk, see ? I don't know if this is important or not, but you should not say that all nyingmas who are not monks are ngagpas.
Then there is the question of ordination and social custom, which determine what a person is called. There are various initiations where you are given different titles like Bodhisattva, or Vidyadhara, or Acarya, or Vajracarya, or Upasaka,...
These are truly given to people! But the social control is such that usually and most often you are not allowed to use any of these titles in the social order and the social hierarchy!!
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:37 pm

:anjali: Thanks for the kind words, Aemilius.

I think there remain many open questions about the future of sangha and sangha leadership in Asia and the English-speaking world. And I think we'll be thankful later on if we consider these questions now, and work to build something sustainable for the sake of the future.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Ji Ahn » Fri Jul 30, 2010 10:56 pm

Hello. My name is Ji Ahn and I am new here. I seldom have time for internet chat rooms but for this topic I will make an exception.

There is a major fallacy happening in this thread and that is the idea that the Taego Order is marketing "online" credentials," as if anyone could become a priest simply by taking a few online courses. At least one writer here has said as much. However, this is clearly not the case.

The online coursework (lasting two years in duration, and leading to an Associates Degree in Buddhist Studies), is intended to ensure a "baseline" of Buddhist knowledge, but the finishing school is still the monastic training that happens in Korea. The online coursework ensures that prospective teachers both understand and can explain key concepts in the Dharma, but no one becomes a full monk in the Taego Order until they complete the monastic portion of the training in Korea, which does not happen until AFTER the degree work is completed.

Summary: First the online seminary ensures the candidate knows the Dharma, then the monastic component of the training ensures the candidate knows and can teach the practice. Theory can be learned from a distance; praxis is taught in person.

Thus, to dismiss the Taego training program for overseas clerical candidates as merely an "online" course is both wrong and ignores the monastic training component required of IBS graduates and Taego monks. Other related topics in this thread--such as the notion that married Buddhist clergy are not "real" or "authentic"-- I will not comment on.

So please get the facts right. What people write matters, because these days, people will believe something they read in a chat room, before they take the time to actually research a topic themselves. This is why I typically avoid these online forums-- many opinions are stated but only a few seem well-informed.

It is unlikely that I will respond to any comments to this message and I doubt I will post much more on this forum. I just don't generally do chat forums. But I'll be monitoring this thread, and perhaps a few others. In this instance, it was necessary to set the record straight.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Hae Min » Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:11 am

I am a Buddhist monk (ordained for just over nine years as a celibate Bhiskhu, but a new transfer into the Taego Order--still celibate). I've been perusing the posts here and it seems like there is a lot of guess work going on. Despite the fact that I'm new to the Taego Order, I'd like to put in my two cents and hopefully clear up a few things.

First, the distance learning model currently being used by the Overseas Parish of the Taego order for pre-ordination training is a response to the fact that the Taego Order is still quite small and thus lacks the resources to properly support clergy in training. It is, in other words, a less than ideal situation. However, it is a first step toward developing what we hope will become a more robust and deeply rooted tradition in the West. I believe I can speak for my fellow Western Taego clergy when I say that we all hope future generations will be better trained and educated than we are today. This will, of course, take time.

Huseng wrote:

I don't think religious certifications should be issued from internet programs. Any yahoo with a computer and internet connection can be certified regardless of whatever type of person they are in real life and then with those "certifications" screw people over and mislead a lot of people who think they're legitimate representatives of the sangha.

It will lead to a lot of problems.

If you're that serious about being ordained, then you should be willing to enter a seminary or directly train under a master somewhere. If you cant deal with that then just be a devout and supportive lay person
.

Note that "certifications" or ordinations are NOT provided via the online seminary. Ordination is the result of a combination of online education, meeting with the overseas bishop (most likely on multiple occasions and most likely other Taego clergy as well), and then a trip to Korea where the Taego order performs the ordination after an additional, though short, training program. Given the lack of resources, it isn't that we are "unwilling" to train in a residential program, it's that one doesn't yet exist for the Taego order in the West.

I will also refrain from debating the married vs. celibate issue.

I currently have a master's in Religious Studies with a concentration in Buddhism, in addition to other (Buddhist) studies during my time as a monastic. I am also completing a second master's in Psychology with some courses related to Buddhist Psychology. It is my hope in the future to have a residential program available for Taego clergy in the U.S. so that we can deepen our experience of community, our knowledge and understanding of the Dharma, and our practice.

As with Ji Ahn, I am not into chat forums and such and am generally not interested in online debates. However, I felt the need to say something given the ill-informed opinions of the Taego Order being bandied about here. I hope I've cleared up a few things.

If anyone still has questions about the Taego Order, I recommend visiting http://www.taegozen.net/ and perhaps writing to the bishop for the Overseas Parish, Ven. Jongmae Kenneth Park, Ph.D. (You can find his email address on the site just listed). This would be a better path to pursue, rather than making assumptions and criticizing.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Huifeng » Tue Dec 21, 2010 8:27 am

Thanks very much to (Ven?) Ji Ahn and Ven Hae Min for the above two posts, very informative and helpful indeed! :smile:

All the best to the Taego lineage efforts in teaching the Dharma, as well!

If I may add, perhaps it is due to the very nature of internet forums that those who are qualified should spend more time there, in order to clarify points on the relevant topics.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Hae Min » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:59 pm

Jikan wrote:Related, for consideration & comparison: the University of the West's chaplaincy M.A. program, which seems to be designed to transform a rote beginner into a professional. This is an aspect we haven't discussed yet, the role of professionalization in public institutions for Buddhist clergy, as distinct from traditional teaching roles for instance within the Buddhist community.

http://www.uwest.edu/site/index.php?opt ... Itemid=305

Thoughts?


I've been looking through more of the posts and found this one interesting. I'm a student at UWest, though I'm in the psychology program. I think it's important to point out that Buddhist M.Div. programs training professional chaplains expect that spiritual formation (that is, training in Dharma and meditation) will happen outside the program. In other words, academic institutions only do the professional end of the training for chaplains. Religious institutions are supposed to do the rest, including ordination which is required to be a professional chaplain. One therefore can't rely only upon an M.Div. program to qualify for chaplaincy.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:44 am

Thanks for the response, Hae Min. From what I've seen, I'm inclined to think the UWest M.Div is doing good work. Time will tell.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Haemin » Fri Mar 16, 2012 1:18 am

Astus wrote:
But the Taego Order ordains only with the bodhisattva precepts and not the pratimoksa, so it's much like Japanese schools, except that they call them "married monks" to show the difference between "celibate monks" of the Jogye Order who take the full monastic precepts.


This is incorrect. I've just confirmed this with the Bishop, Venerable Dr. Jongmae Kenneth Park. The Taego and Jogye orders follow the same pratimoksa (Caturvagga Vinaya of the Dharmaguptaka--which is in use in the Chinese and Vietnamese traditions as well). However, celibacy is optional for men in the Taego Order. There are 250 bhikkhu precepts, 348 bhikkhuni precepts, and 10 samanera precepts. Also, both schools adopted the Indraraja Sutra that contains 10 bodhisattva vows and 48 lesser precepts. Contrary to some misconceptions, the Taego Order does not use bodhisattva vows as the basis of it's monastic ordinations. So there's just that one difference: celibacy.

I know this is an old topic, but I wanted to clarify that as this discussion thread still comes up regarding the Taego Order in Google searches.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:28 am

Haemin wrote:This is incorrect. I've just confirmed this with the Bishop, Venerable Dr. Jongmae Kenneth Park. The Taego and Jogye orders follow the same pratimoksa (Caturvagga Vinaya of the Dharmaguptaka--which is in use in the Chinese and Vietnamese traditions as well). However, celibacy is optional for men in the Taego Order. There are 250 bhikkhu precepts, 348 bhikkhuni precepts, and 10 samanera precepts. Also, both schools adopted the Indraraja Sutra that contains 10 bodhisattva vows and 48 lesser precepts. Contrary to some misconceptions, the Taego Order does not use bodhisattva vows as the basis of it's monastic ordinations. So there's just that one difference: celibacy.


Then it is strange how they can explain committing a parajika offence being acceptable. Although considering that monks can even act as soldiers it is not that outstanding.
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Re: Taego Lineage Seminary

Postby Jikan » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:14 pm

Haemin wrote:
Astus wrote:
But the Taego Order ordains only with the bodhisattva precepts and not the pratimoksa, so it's much like Japanese schools, except that they call them "married monks" to show the difference between "celibate monks" of the Jogye Order who take the full monastic precepts.


This is incorrect. I've just confirmed this with the Bishop, Venerable Dr. Jongmae Kenneth Park. The Taego and Jogye orders follow the same pratimoksa (Caturvagga Vinaya of the Dharmaguptaka--which is in use in the Chinese and Vietnamese traditions as well). However, celibacy is optional for men in the Taego Order. There are 250 bhikkhu precepts, 348 bhikkhuni precepts, and 10 samanera precepts. Also, both schools adopted the Indraraja Sutra that contains 10 bodhisattva vows and 48 lesser precepts. Contrary to some misconceptions, the Taego Order does not use bodhisattva vows as the basis of it's monastic ordinations. So there's just that one difference: celibacy.

I know this is an old topic, but I wanted to clarify that as this discussion thread still comes up regarding the Taego Order in Google searches.


This subject of the vinaya's role in the Taego Order has been discussed at length (with a number of yet unanswered questions) in this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=6152

also for the benefit of search engines.
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