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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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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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