Buddhism: Just for Asians?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby Queequeg » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:22 pm

kirtu wrote:
viniketa wrote:
Queequeg wrote:Viniketa, with due respect, I don't think you quite grasp the issue that is being discussed.


I ask pardon for intruding on the conversation. I will never "grasp" why some Buddhists use their Buddhism as an excuse for walking away from basic human need.

:namaste:


And that is the actual issue.

Kirt


I don't know where anyone in this thread has suggested that "Buddhists use their Buddhism as an excuse for walking away from basic human need."

The actual issue is the one you made:

And what have "Buddhist" done for others who lost everything in recent years and are now bereft of resources and opportunities for life? Very, very little. Usually nothing in fact. So people play dress-up, chant and superficially cultivate "compassion" while ignoring opportunities to alleviate real material suffering of people who were formerly actual acquaintances or friends. This is a form of degeneracy of the Buddha's doctrine IMO. And this is practiced by many millions of "Buddhists". Thus the question, is anyone a Buddhist at all, Asian or otherwise?


You call people hypocrites based on an idiosyncratic and narrow standard of what it means to be "Buddhist". You then elaborated that this grand indictment is based on a single experience you had with a few people, and its not even clear that you yourself made any efforts in the vein you assert is the standard.

If the issue was in fact Buddhists using "their Buddhism as an excuse for walking away from basic human need", that would be a different discussion. There is no excuse. But there is no ground for condemnation either.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby PorkChop » Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:35 pm

While every major Buddhist organization has major, ongoing charity projects; in reality I can't speak for other Buddhists, I can only speak for myself.
Learning about Bodhicitta & the Bodhisattva path awakened something in me.
I try to help more now: wherever I can, however I can.
In the past, I had a hard time getting over my own egotism and selfishness.

What am I doing in the wake of this economic collapse?
Trying to help organize a Thanksgiving dinner for whichever charity our Temple ends up working with, specifically reserving transportation to and from the event.
Kicking in some money to help a fightsport promoter cover his mother's expensive medical bills.
Kicking in some money & effort to help a Lama get back on his feet after an illness & get back to teaching.
Making copies of some Dharma-related fliers so that my muay thai coach can pass them out to people interested in the Dharma.
Donating my time & body to help train people at my muay thai coach's gym, passing on the knowledge that has been passed to me, giving students a healthy way to spend their time & energy, helping some of the pros earn better paychecks to take care of their families, and taking some of the burden off my coach.
Donating to FPMT to help them with ongoing efforts.
Helping out my wife, making her life easier, so that she is better able to help others as a home health-care nurse.
Taking time to guide my son, so he can live his life in such a way as to be a benefit to others.

I'm hesitant to mention any of this stuff because none of it is enough.
None of this is ever going to be enough.
But every little bit helps.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:22 pm

If you think not enough is being done to help,
then start helping.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby viniketa » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:17 am

PorkChop wrote:I'm hesitant to mention any of this stuff because none of it is enough.
None of this is ever going to be enough.
But every little bit helps.


There are countless, endless sentient beings. It never seems enough. It is important that we each do as we can.

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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:48 am

Queequeg wrote:
kirtu wrote:Further of the point about who decides meaning. That is an "American" hangup because Westerners, particularly Christians, in my impression, have a very hard time reconciling the Sacred and Profane and seem to think that the distinction must be absolute. Its further compounded in America with notions of "Separation of Church and State" etc. My wife, who is Israeli Jewish, but born and raised in the US, always has a hard time dealing with the merchant arcades leading up to the entrances of sacred sites in Japan. Its her problem that the sacred has been distinguished from the world, in my opinion. For me, it just reinforces that the sacred permeates all life. I think this is a more "Asian" view of the sacred. Notice when you go into "Asian" stores or restaurants, whether East or Sout Asian, you will often find a shrine in the store dedicated to the prosperity of the business. In India, you often see shopkeepers dedicate the first sale of the day to some god. This is what culture looks like when religion has not been beaten back into the "private" sphere. That's a big statement, I know, but I stand by it as a generality.


Thank you very much for stating it this way. I've been looking for this to be articulated like this for a long time. I agree with what you've written here.... And as a former Catholic (born and raised), I think I can add the following: in the Catholic church, poverty is revered. "The poor will inherit the earth." Money, and material success, is "bad" in this view. My stepfather, the only father I ever knew, was Mexican American, and this led me to be aware of the Latin American cultures.... I think that in the Latin American cultures they have taken this to its absolute, where poverty is just almost a sacred thing; to be humble is to be pure; to want material comforts is wrong.

I don't know if you have more to say on this topic, but if you do, please expand it a little bit. I think that from what I have been taught in Catholicism, it is basically a "sin" to want anything material; you should strive to want nothing in the material world if you are truly holy. The irony of it (in my opinion) is that behind this teaching ... the Catholic Church became one of the richest and most powerful institutions in the world. (This is probably way too off-topic and even explosive, but.... I've heard that the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church can even be related to this. The church doesn't allow priest to marry because if a priest had a family, when the priest died then his possessions would go to the wife and family. If a priest is single, when he dies, his possessions go to the church.)
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:08 am

I have a dharma friend who is originally from China but grew up in Taiwan. Last week she told me that Mother Theresa said when she died that she wished she would come back as a person living in poverty (I am not sure of the accuracy of this statement) and my friend said, in a somewhat shocked voice, "why would you want to come back poor? You should want to come back rich, so you can help more people!!! How many people can you help if you are poor??"
....my friend tends to be very practical that way.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby PorkChop » Sat Oct 27, 2012 3:07 am

OregonBuddhist wrote:
Queequeg wrote:...I think I can add the following: in the Catholic church, poverty is revered. "The poor will inherit the earth." Money, and material success, is "bad" in this view. My stepfather, the only father I ever knew, was Mexican American, and this led me to be aware of the Latin American cultures.... I think that in the Latin American cultures they have taken this to its absolute, where poverty is just almost a sacred thing; to be humble is to be pure; to want material comforts is wrong.


Former Catholic here as well.
I think the actual quote is "the meek shall inherit the earth", but I see your point.
There were many statements about how it was easier to fit a camel through the head of a sewing needle than it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
On the contrary, one of the points i always heard from Protestants; especially in regard to the success of the US, was that material success was a sign of virtue.
As far as the Catholic church and their reasoning behind the rules for priests, you might have to dig into history a bit to find additional reasons in order to get the whole picture.
In Catholicism there was always the ideal of service, but for some reason I was never able to buy into it - definitely selfishness on my part, and an assumption that someone else would handle it.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby rory » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:05 am

I totally get your Taiwanese friend, my family is secular Jewish, and I have many Asian buddhist -Confucian and Hindu friends, frankly they are a lot easier to understand than Christians. I don't understand their worldview at all. They love being poor, have big issues about sex, and have this sense of 'sin'. I have absolutely no idea what that is. I do recognize that I generate karma & have karmic afflictions and by practicing and following the Buddha's way expect to overcome them. Having enough money, good health, being protected by the deities so I am free to practice and share the dharma with others is great and promised in the Lotus Sutra.

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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:39 am

rory wrote: I don't understand their worldview at all. They love being poor, have big issues about sex, and have this sense of 'sin'. I have absolutely no idea what that is.


The ideal in Buddhism is to be penniless, celibate and mindful of your three karmas of body, speech and mind so as to avoid all misdeeds.

The later developments of justifying your wealth as a necessity for a modest standard of living, being on the fence with the brahma-caryā (celibacy) thing and thinking you can wipe away your negative karma with a few prayers does not seem to have been the Buddha's original intent.

The original idea was that even as a layperson you should be generous with your possessions, maintain continence and actively work to avoid all transgressions of your precepts while regularly confessing your misdeeds to a pure monk.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby Indrajala » Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:58 am

OregonBuddhist wrote:I think that in the Latin American cultures they have taken this to its absolute, where poverty is just almost a sacred thing; to be humble is to be pure; to want material comforts is wrong.


This is closer to the Buddha's original ideas than what you find in the contemporary English speaking Buddhist world where the "middle way" is easily assumed to mean being middle class.

Desire is the fuel for saṃsāra. The desire for material comforts is insatiable. The pursuit of material comfort eats up much of our time and perpetuates the eight worldly dharmas (gain, loss, praise, disgrace, fame, blame, pleasure and pain).

This is why the holy figures in Buddhism are generally those who have gone beyond such things and live on people's good charity, acting as a field of merit. It isn't just monks and nuns, but yogis like Milarepa exemplify this ideal as well.

To replace such ideals with something a bit more close to home and compromising will likely lead people towards justifying their material desires as legitimate and perfectly acceptable, rather than perhaps having a lingering thought in the back of the head suggesting that this is all just saṃsāric nonsense that should ultimately be abandoned. The Protestant ideas about personal wealth being a reflection of god's grace or something associated with Providence has no place in Buddhism. For someone coming from a Protestant culture it is perhaps tempting to think that your wealth and comforts are a justified result of past karma and hence you have every right to relish them, but this is distorted and dangerous thinking.

The wealth and comforts you enjoy in the first world are not your good karma, but simply the expiration of whatever merit you gathered in the past.

If you can't live up to the ideal, then just accept that. Feel ashamed you're unable to renounce saṃsāra and pray in some future life you'll be able to. To justify material comforts and desires is to lend weight to the argument that greed is good.

In many Asian countries while you'll see vendors selling stuff in front of sacred sites, the ideal of renunciation from saṃsāra is still there. People might not live up to so much and hope to get rich, but they're still aware of that ideal and perhaps hope one day they can overcome their desires and be like the Buddha.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Sat Oct 27, 2012 9:12 am

Huseng wrote:This is closer to the Buddha's original ideas than what you find in the contemporary English speaking Buddhist world where the "middle way" is easily assumed to mean being middle class.

Desire is the fuel for saṃsāra. The desire for material comforts is insatiable. The pursuit of material comfort eats up much of our time and perpetuates the eight worldly dharmas (gain, loss, praise, disgrace, fame, blame, pleasure and pain).


Hmm. But in my experience (my [step]father was Mexican American, born in a farm worker's migrant camp in Texas), Latin American Catholicism takes it even further, to the point where not only do you NOT seek material comforts, you proudly display your suffering. If you aren't suffering then you're doing something wrong.

I'm sure you know about that Penetentes in the American Southwest who actually re-enact the suffering of Christ, up to and including even nailing themselves to crosses. This goes on in other places in Latin America, and even the Catholic Phillipines. Taken further, this mentality can become a basis for policing people, to make sure they are suffering just enough. Taken even further (and I've seen it taken this far), the one who makes the other suffer is helping the sufferer reach his holiness -- by reminding him/her of his place, his/her lot in life: to suffer. http://www.charleslummis.com/penitente.htm

And in this view, it appears to me that it's not that you want to avoid seeking material comforts because you are seeking enlightenment and there is a spiritual benefit in "practicing contentment." Rather, you are a sinner, who caused Christ to suffer and die, and in light of your awful guilt you do not have the right to wish for any comfort. You are only narrowly escaping the fires of hell anyway. (And, again, while you are busy being meek ... the church is growing rich.)

I suppose what I'm saying is that if you go deeper, I don't see much similarity between the Buddha's teachings (even the original teachings of the historical Gautama) on non-attachment and the Catholic reverence for suffering and reverence for the poor (or "meek"). The Catholic teaching, to my knowledge, isn't connected to a larger framework where the material world is more or less an illusion in the ultimate sense. In the Catholic teaching, this world is very real, and you were born in sin (Original Sin), and Christ died for you, and the way you behave in this world determines whether you go to heaven, puratory, or hell when you die. And this is not a cyclical process; it's straight and narrow and linear. If you go to hell, that's it. If you go to heaven, that's it. If you go to purgatory, well ... you suffer for a while, until your sins have been cleanse, and THEN you go to heaven, and that's it. Done.

(Sorry to go on a rant here. But probably one of the main things I love about Buddhism is that I'm not constantly being blamed for having caused the death of the religion's founder. I grew up with the central religious figure being a dying man on a cross, blood dripping down his face and chest, visible spear wounds. It's so much more comforting to see the central religious figure being a man in quiet contemplation.)
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby Queequeg » Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:28 pm

Huseng wrote:
rory wrote: I don't understand their worldview at all. They love being poor, have big issues about sex, and have this sense of 'sin'. I have absolutely no idea what that is.


The ideal in Buddhism is to be penniless, celibate and mindful of your three karmas of body, speech and mind so as to avoid all misdeeds.

The later developments of justifying your wealth as a necessity for a modest standard of living, being on the fence with the brahma-caryā (celibacy) thing and thinking you can wipe away your negative karma with a few prayers does not seem to have been the Buddha's original intent.

The original idea was that even as a layperson you should be generous with your possessions, maintain continence and actively work to avoid all transgressions of your precepts while regularly confessing your misdeeds to a pure monk.


Hi Huseng,

I see things differently.

I don't think it is correct to say "The ideal in Buddhism is to be penniless, celibate and mindful of your three karmas of body, speech and mind so as to avoid all misdeeds." This is not to say that some opposite value is more correct, because that is obviously not the case.

If money were to come into your hand, would your Buddhist practice compel you to part with the money? Celibacy is an ideal only because sex tends to enhance sensual craving - not because sex is bad per se. Mindfulness can be carried out in any environment, although there are certain conditions that make it easier to carry out - like when you are parted from stimuli that distract you. My point is, poverty, celibacy, even mindfulness, are not goals in themselves.

The Ideal in Buddhism is to attain enlightenment and end suffering. Going into homelessness is A means to that goal, although from the perspective of the Lotus, it is an expedient that does not actually lead to annuttara samyak sambodhi. Bear in mind, we are in a Nichiren forum and Nichiren Lotus Buddhism frames this discussion. But I think the general gist of this statement holds for all Buddhism.

As for the Buddha's original intent - the Buddha never went out of his way to alienate lay persons. He in fact went out of his way to praise them in their support of the sangha. And they could support the Sangha even more effectively if they possessed wealth - like Sudatta. It is the wealth and generosity of lay persons that has enabled the continuation of the sangha and propagation of dharma. The Buddha's assembly was composed of four groups of people - nuns, monks, laywomen and laymen. All four are necessary for the Buddhadharma to flow. You should be careful in your statements lest you find yourself impugning your fellow Buddhists.

Also, the benefits of laypersons for supporting the Sangha was not some later corruption of Buddhadharma as you are suggesting - this was the cultural value of the Buddha's time. It was widely believed in the Buddha's time that you supported ascetics who had taken to the homeless life to overcome the sufferings of life and death one could expect karmic rewards spiritual as well as material nature. Remember that the Buddha's order was only one of many. How much more the benefit if the support was directed to the Sangha. This was not just some later compromise to make supporters feel good but a long standing cultural value in India at that time.

As far as I am concerned, if Buddhism ever did disparage lay persons and the endeavors of their lives, it was wrong, and that tendency was rightfully excised in the Mahayana.

I could go on about how the distinctions between lay and sangha are artificial, how early Buddhism is marked by cultural idiosyncrasies of BCE India and rightfully went through a process of distillation, imho, that released the Buddha wisdom from the constraints of a particular culture.

In the Perfect Teaching, all of our activities are opened to reveal the function of Buddha. This does not give license to do anything you want - but it does present a very different view of human activity than the interpretations of Buddhadharma you voice.

For the Mahayana ideal of lay life, see the Vimalakirti Sutra.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby greentara » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:46 am

rory wrote:" I don't understand their worldview at all. They love being poor, have big issues about sex, and have this sense of 'sin'. I have absolutely no idea what that is.


The ideal in Buddhism is to be penniless, celibate and mindful of your three karmas of body, speech and mind so as to avoid all misdeeds.

The later developments of justifying your wealth as a necessity for a modest standard of living, being on the fence with the brahma-caryā (celibacy) thing and thinking you can wipe away your negative karma with a few prayers does not seem to have been the Buddha's original intent.

The original idea was that even as a layperson you should be generous with your possessions, maintain continence and actively work to avoid all transgressions of your precepts while regularly confessing your misdeeds to a pure monk."

Rory, You don't even grasp the ideal. You have to be visionary, you have to strive! It's laughable when discussing a sincere spiritual path that people have 'big issues about sex and sin' Then why not let it all hang out and just indulge and wallow?
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby OregonBuddhist » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:41 am

Queequeg wrote:As far as I am concerned, if Buddhism ever did disparage lay persons and the endeavors of their lives, it was wrong, and that tendency was rightfully excised in the Mahayana.


For some reason, it seems to me that many people in the US believe this to be the case: that Buddhism does disparage the lay person and everyday endeavors. It's one reason why, until I found Nichiren Buddhism, I avoided Buddhism altogether. It seems to me that some people believe that in order to be a Buddhist you have to virtually live in a plastic bubble; you can hardly enjoy anything in the physical universe; you can't desire anything, etc. One reason this version of Buddhism never appealed to me was that, frankly, it sounded too much like the Catholicism I was raised in. It's been kind of startling for me to learn recently that this is not the sum total of Buddhism.

I recently saw a documentary (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qicaDyNNZQQ) where one scholar says, "If Buddhism is saying that we must eliminate all desire, then where does the desire for enlightenment come from?" And the Dalai Lama himself says, "Strong desire must be there to achieve Buddhahood."

So, I've kind of been undergoing some de-programming that I feel I've been given about Buddhism. To be honest, the idea that Buddhism teaches that only monks can attain enlightenment and that desires in this world are wrong, well, it just sounds very "anti-life" to me, and if that's what Buddhism really teaches, then "I'm out" as they say (in other words, "I'm oughtta here!").
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby Sherlock » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:51 pm

OregonBuddhist wrote:So, I've kind of been undergoing some de-programming that I feel I've been given about Buddhism. To be honest, the idea that Buddhism teaches that only monks can attain enlightenment and that desires in this world are wrong, well, it just sounds very "anti-life" to me, and if that's what Buddhism really teaches, then "I'm out" as they say (in other words, "I'm oughtta here!").


That's based on a rather conservative reading of early Buddhism. Even in the Pali suttas, there are many lay followers of the Buddha who reached various stages of enlightenment including arhatship -- although the lay arhats all ordain after they become arhats. Some commentaries elaborate on this and say that lay arhats will die unless they ordain, which isn't really found in the suttas though. The later Mahayana and especially the tantric movements take a very different view of course. It is best to ask your's teachers and work things out on your own.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:04 pm

OregonBuddhist wrote:... that Buddhism does disparage the lay person and everyday endeavors. It's one reason why, until I found Nichiren Buddhism, I avoided Buddhism altogether. It seems to me that some people believe that in order to be a Buddhist you have to virtually live in a plastic bubble; you can hardly enjoy anything in the physical universe; you can't desire anything, etc.


I am not a follower of Nichiren Buddhism, so my comments here are only those of a guest in this forum, but in my experience this has never been the case. rather, integrating the teachings into one's everyday life as much as possible is what i have always been taught and understood. And it isn't that material things have to be given up, rather that relying on material (composite) things and expecting them to bring happiness or pace of mind is what one lets go of. I can enjoy a good meal and stuff myself until my stomach can't hold any more, but if I think that's going to keep me from being hungry again tomorrow, then I should give up that mistaken idea.

Likewise, we can't really give up desires, otherwise, as HH Dalai Lama says, we wouldn't desire to be happy, and the desire for happiness is what motivates people to do what they do, including practicing dharma --Nichiren, zen, whatever. All beings constantly want their existence to be better. The point is to be able to go beyond that desire, to wish that others are happy, to be less preoccupied with one's own happiness.

The less you want, the less you need.
The less you need, the more you have.
The more you have, the less you want.

OregonBuddhist wrote:...the idea that Buddhism teaches that only monks can attain enlightenment and that desires in this world are wrong


There may be some schools that maintain that. But perhaps it is more accurate to say that being a monk is more conducive.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby illarraza » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:42 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
OregonBuddhist wrote:... that Buddhism does disparage the lay person and everyday endeavors. It's one reason why, until I found Nichiren Buddhism, I avoided Buddhism altogether. It seems to me that some people believe that in order to be a Buddhist you have to virtually live in a plastic bubble; you can hardly enjoy anything in the physical universe; you can't desire anything, etc.


I am not a follower of Nichiren Buddhism, so my comments here are only those of a guest in this forum, but in my experience this has never been the case. rather, integrating the teachings into one's everyday life as much as possible is what i have always been taught and understood. And it isn't that material things have to be given up, rather that relying on material (composite) things and expecting them to bring happiness or pace of mind is what one lets go of. I can enjoy a good meal and stuff myself until my stomach can't hold any more, but if I think that's going to keep me from being hungry again tomorrow, then I should give up that mistaken idea.

Likewise, we can't really give up desires, otherwise, as HH Dalai Lama says, we wouldn't desire to be happy, and the desire for happiness is what motivates people to do what they do, including practicing dharma --Nichiren, zen, whatever. All beings constantly want their existence to be better. The point is to be able to go beyond that desire, to wish that others are happy, to be less preoccupied with one's own happiness.

The less you want, the less you need.
The less you need, the more you have.
The more you have, the less you want.

OregonBuddhist wrote:...the idea that Buddhism teaches that only monks can attain enlightenment and that desires in this world are wrong


There may be some schools that maintain that. But perhaps it is more accurate to say that being a monk is more conducive.
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From the perspective of the Lotus Sutra and the time in which we live, there are no true monks. Saicho [Dengyo the Great] called the monks of this latter day, "nominal bhikshus" because: 1). It is nearly impossible to observe all the precepts; and 2). The practices of the monks and laymen of the Lotus Sutra are blurred. For example, are the Soka Gakkai top senior leaders laymen or business suited priests? Also, monks and not laymen who oppose the Lotus Sutra and the practicers of the Lotus Sutra are the second and third of the Three Powerful Enemies while the laymen of the other schools are merely annoyances [first of the Three Powerful Enemies]. Also, the Buddha in the Lotus Sutra almost always groups monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen together in delivering his sermons.

Therefore, from the persepctive of the Lotus Sutra it is as conducive for laymen to attain enlightenment as it is for monks, without any distinctions.

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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:55 am

illarraza wrote:from the persepctive of the Lotus Sutra it is as conducive for laymen to attain enlightenment as it is for monks, without any distinctions.
Illarraza


Yes, from the perspective of the Lotus Sutra, enlightenment is attainable by all without distinction.
By conducive, I was referring to the (deluded?) perspective of the practitioner.
One can read through the Threefold Lotus Sutra in a day or two
or take a lifetime to study it thoroughly.
Someone who is not fettered to the domestic life might have more time to devote to the study of the Lotus Sutra
than somebody who is preoccupied with worldly affairs.
This does not preclude the existence of a lay sangha,
or mean that a Nichiren sangha does not provide ample opportunity
for practice and chanting.
But as I am sure you are aware, there are always people who feel they are just too busy.
.
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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PadmaVonSamba
 
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby catmoon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:19 am

Huseng wrote:
This is closer to the Buddha's original ideas than what you find in the contemporary English speaking Buddhist world where the "middle way" is easily assumed to mean being middle class.


LOL! Ain't it the truth!

Gimme my meditation cave, an air conditioner, a little central heating, a CD player and TV for my Buddhist videos, a cell phone for emergencies and calls to my lama, and gee it's isolated and that's a lot of stuff to move, so I guess I'll need a pickup truck or something...

Ah, the simple life.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Buddhism: Just for Asians?

Postby Jikan » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:46 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
illarraza wrote:from the persepctive of the Lotus Sutra it is as conducive for laymen to attain enlightenment as it is for monks, without any distinctions.
Illarraza


Yes, from the perspective of the Lotus Sutra, enlightenment is attainable by all without distinction.
By conducive, I was referring to the (deluded?) perspective of the practitioner.
One can read through the Threefold Lotus Sutra in a day or two
or take a lifetime to study it thoroughly.
Someone who is not fettered to the domestic life might have more time to devote to the study of the Lotus Sutra
than somebody who is preoccupied with worldly affairs.
This does not preclude the existence of a lay sangha,
or mean that a Nichiren sangha does not provide ample opportunity
for practice and chanting.
But as I am sure you are aware, there are always people who feel they are just too busy.
.
.
.


Which is to say: it's better to be a layperson who hears the teachings and practices seriously and in earnest than a monk or nun who daydreams through the teachings and lets the opportunity for practice slip by. The Rain of the Dharma falls on all equally (the grasses, herbs, shrubs, and trees), nourishing all according to their capacity. What defines capacity? Certainly not racial origin or ethnic identity or gender or the passport you carry. It's a matter of how assiduously someone listens to the teachings and practices them. (cf Lotus Sutra, chapter 5)

This is why I say that ultimately, Buddhist practice is available to anyone with a heart open to practice. The teachings will find you in no small part because you carry that gem, that seed, in your hem of your garment (if I may mix parables). Buddhist identity is another matter.
Jikan
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