Socially Engaged Buddhism

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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby PorkChop » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:25 am

Jnana wrote:Yes. According to the Ugraparipṛcchā Sūtra:

    For no bodhisattva who lives at home has ever attained supreme perfect enlightenment. Those who have done so have all gone forth from the household, and having done so, they have the thought of the wilderness; they have the wilderness as their goal. And having gone to the wilderness, there they have awakened to supreme perfect enlightenment.

    Household life is harmful and dusty; the renunciant life is praised by the buddhas and their disciples.
The sūtra then goes on to give a long list of contrasts (205 in the Tibetan version) between the household life and the renunciant life. For example:

    Household life abounds in faults and bad qualities; the renunciant life abounds in good qualities. Household life is constricted; the renunciant life is spacious. Household life is defiled by ownership; the renunciant life is liberation from ownership.


Not a fan of the Vimalakirti Sutra I take it? ... or at least the author wasn't...
Since you mention Tibetans, I would like to hear a Kagyu chime in on whether or not Marpa Lotsawa had any sort of attainment...

Not necessarily the supreme perfect enlightenment, but in the Nikayas there are plenty of examples of householders who are not defiled...
How about Anguttara Nikaya 4.55: Samajivina Sutta?
Anguttara Nikaya 5.179: Gihi Sutta?
Digha Nikaya 31: Sigalovada Sutta?
Khuddaka Nikaya, Sutta Nipata 2.4: Maha-mangala Sutta?
Majjhima Nikaya 41: Saleyyaka Sutta?
Majjhima Nikaya 54: Potaliya Sutta?
Majjhima Nikaya 143: Anathapindikovada Sutta?

Pretty good chance I'll renounce when the kids are older, but gotta make sure my wife's taken care of.
We'll see how things go.
In the meantime, I'll do my best at doing good and take a shot at what's described in Anguttara Nikaya 5.176: Piti Sutta when the opportunity presents itself...
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby Indrajala » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:48 am

PorkChop wrote:Not a fan of the Vimalakirti Sutra I take it? ... or at least the author wasn't...


Vimalakīrti was not a beginner, let alone an ordinary person, and trying to emulate him without his qualities would ruin most people.



Since you mention Tibetans, I would like to hear a Kagyu chime in on whether or not Marpa Lotsawa had any sort of attainment...


That doesn't apply to most ordinary people.



Not necessarily the supreme perfect enlightenment, but in the Nikayas there are plenty of examples of householders who are not defiled...


Sure, but we're not living in that age anymore unfortunately. We live in a degenerate age where deficient mental and spiritual faculties are common.
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby Jnana » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:51 am

PorkChop wrote:Not a fan of the Vimalakirti Sutra I take it? ... or at least the author wasn't...

This understanding isn't unique to the Ugraparipṛcchā Sūtra. For example, the Samādhirāja Sūtra says the same:

    There has been no buddha in the past, nor will there be in the future, who abides in the household and who so established has achieved this supreme, highest enlightenment.

Śāntideva devoted an entire chapter of his Śikṣāsamuccaya to praises of wilderness seclusion. Many of the same sūtra quotations were also used by Vimalamitra.

PorkChop wrote:Since you mention Tibetans, I would like to hear a Kagyu chime in on whether or not Marpa Lotsawa had any sort of attainment...

The Marpa Kagyu lineages have integrated with monastic tradition. According to Karma Chagme, most practitioners should take monastic ordination. Moreover, Jamgon Kongtrul opens his Retreat Manual with the following quotation from the Ratnarāśi Sūtra:

    If that [monk] is a dweller in that wilderness abode, he should bring about eight deliberations. What are the eight?

    (1)He should not be concerned about his body.
    (2)He should not be concerned about his life.
    (3)He should not be concerned about wealth or honors.
    (4)He should not be concerned about all garrulous associations with others.
    (5)He should undertake to die in a wilderness like an animal.
    (6)He should dwell in the wilderness making use of the advantages offered by the wilderness.
    (7)He should live with his livelihood in accord with the Teaching; he should not live wrongly.
    (8)He should live in accord with a livelihood free from worldly material possessions and defilements.

    He should dwell in a wilderness abode bringing about these eight deliberations.

PorkChop wrote:Not necessarily the supreme perfect enlightenment, but in the Nikayas there are plenty of examples of householders who are not defiled...

In the Nikāyas it's tacitly accepted that anyone who wants to attain liberation should renounce the household life and take higher ordination.

PorkChop wrote:In the meantime, I'll do my best at doing good and take a shot at what's described in Anguttara Nikaya 5.176: Piti Sutta when the opportunity presents itself...

Good to hear.
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby PorkChop » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:30 am

Jnana wrote:
    There has been no buddha in the past, nor will there be in the future, who abides in the household and who so established has achieved this supreme, highest enlightenment.


Yeah, I'm mostly playing devil's advocate.
I understand for the higher level stuff, you've gotta be a renunciate.
I just think householders get a bit of a bad rap on here.

It's very clear the recommended goals for a householder - to be a good person, to do good, to follow the 5 precepts, to be wise & generous with money, to keep the renunciates clothed & fed, to earn merit, and to renounce when possible.
Some of that requires engagement with society.
I feel like Socially Engaged Buddhism; at its heart, is about achieving those goals, improving the conditions for other sentient beings, and trying to do some good.

If you can renounce, go renounce.
If you're not in a position where you can do that yet, at least do your best to do good until you can.
I don't get this idea of waiting until you're a 10th bhumi Bodhisattva to do good deeds; that's certainly not reflected in the Nikayas (check the Dhammapada quotes I started with or the ones I posted last post).
In fact it's the other way around - do good until you CAN renounce to become a Bodhisattva.

Now maybe there's a question of what's good and what's not good.
When it comes to political issues, that's not really the Socially Engaged Buddhism I know much about.
I mean the BPF website doesn't look too bad: http://www.buddhistpeacefellowship.org/

For me, it's mostly small charity projects where we donate time and energy.
As far as my conduct on these projects, if the 5 precepts aren't enough TNH has 14.
Here's his opinion on the matter, FWIW:
John Malkin: People often feel that they need to choose between being engaged in social change or working on personal and spiritual growth. What would you say to those people?

Thich Nhat Hanh: I think that view is rather dualistic. The practice should address suffering: the suffering within yourself and the suffering around you. They are linked to each other. When you go to the mountain and practice alone, you don't have the chance to recognize the anger, jealousy and despair that's in you. That's why it's good that you encounter people—so you know these emotions. So that you can recognize them and try to look into their nature. If you don't know the roots of these afflictions, you cannot see the path leading to their cessation. That's why suffering is very important for our practice.
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby viniketa » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:02 pm

TNH wrote:The practice should address suffering: the suffering within yourself and the suffering around you. They are linked to each other.


So important. Thanks. :thanks:

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If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby Sherlock » Tue Nov 20, 2012 4:27 pm

In the Pali Canon, you can still theoretically reach the level of arhatship without becoming a monk but within a week, you will either ordain or die.

As for Kagyu, you might want to read Peter Alan Roberts' Biographies of Rechungpa.

We are indeed living in a time when pursuing a life dedicated to spirituality seems to be harder than ever. Whether the best course of action is to renounce and ordain or employ methods that make use of obscurations to further one's practice is another question.
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:53 pm

Sherlock wrote:In the Pali Canon, you can still theoretically reach the level of arhatship without becoming a monk but within a week, you will either ordain or die.
Citation needed.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby Sherlock » Tue Nov 20, 2012 6:11 pm

Konchog1 wrote:
Sherlock wrote:In the Pali Canon, you can still theoretically reach the level of arhatship without becoming a monk but within a week, you will either ordain or die.
Citation needed.


It is from some earlier commentaries like the Milinda-panha. Read this. Of course, it is not universally accepted.
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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby floating_abu » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:02 pm

Huseng, without reading through all your commentary, you seem to have read an awful lot and constructed a big whole story out of it. OK attack me now :tongue:

Thus gone - appreciate your contributions. :namaste:

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Re: Socially Engaged Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 7:53 pm

Sherlock wrote:
Konchog1 wrote:
Sherlock wrote:In the Pali Canon, you can still theoretically reach the level of arhatship without becoming a monk but within a week, you will either ordain or die.
Citation needed.


It is from some earlier commentaries like the Milinda-panha. Read this. Of course, it is not universally accepted.
Thanks, I'll read through it
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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