Dharma etiquette – the little things

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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:22 pm

Yes actually we should ask what he meant...
It is possible he was referring to Vinaya but I hope not...

I know it sounds like I am harping but these days I encounter many practitioners who think Vinaya and Monasticism are not in the least bit necessary for the preservation of dharma.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby dude » Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:27 am

"Um, I presume by "such customs" you can't mean the Pratimoksha vows."

Of course not.
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby muni » Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:41 am

Clinging, then that etiquette turns in an absurd show, or my ego not wanting all that doing. Buddhist groups can talk about with the Teacher, to find the middle way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYLedF8Lagc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXZ-z13CoYA
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:35 am

JKhedrup wrote:This is true in many respects. At the same time, the culture prevalent in India at the time of Lord Buddha's teachings is connected with some of his discourses, how could it not be? That is why many of the Vinaya rules to a modern audience may seem a bit odd.


Scholarship and archaeology would suggest that a lot of the Vinaya literature was a later development. There is a lot of it that seems to reflect institutional concerns rather than the concerns of homeless mendicants.

Johannes Bronkhorst in Shadow of Brahmanism:

I agree with Gregory Schopen (2006: 316; 2007: 61) that this strange state of affairs may mean that Aśoka [304-232 BCE] did not know anything about buddhist monasteries, which indeed may not yet have existed at that time. We know that Buddhism started off as a group of mendicants, and Aśoka’s inscription counts as evidence that this group was still not in a position to receive collective gifts at his time.

...

Schopen (2006: 317): “If the compilers of the various Vinayas considered it ‘highly important’ to regulate the lives of their monks so as to give no cause for complaint to the laity, and if considerations of this sort could only have assumed high importance after buddhist groups had permanently settled down, then, since the latter almost certainly did not occur until well after Aśoka, it would be obvious that all the Vinayas that we have are late, precisely as both Wassilieff and Lévi have suggested a hundred years ago.”


Furthermore...

Schopen, 2007: 61: “Even in the later inscriptions from Bharhut and Sanchi there are no references to vihāras, and they begin to appear—though still rarely—only in Kharosṭḥī records of a little before and a little after the Common Era, about the same time that the first indications of permanent monastic residential quarters begin to appear in the archaeological record for the Northwest, and this is not likely to be mere coincidence.” Buddhist literature also preserves traces of an opposition between monks who lived in monasteries and those who lived in the wild; see Freiberger, 2006. Ray (1994: 399 ff.) suggests that buddhist monasticism arose in emulation of the rival brahmanical tradition; both shared two central preoccupations: a concern for behavioral purity and a preoccupation with the mastery of authoritative religious texts.



Early Mahāyāna literature like Vimalakīrti Sūtra emerged around the same time and curiously mocks preoccupation with rules (like Śāriputra complaining about being showered with flowers by the goddess and unable to wipe them away).

This is not the say there were no rules in the Buddha's time. It seems likely to me that śramaṇas had unwritten rules of conduct that everyone, Buddhist, Jain or otherwise, would have generally been expected to follow such as abstaining from sex, alcohol, music and so on. It is difficult to imagine how it would have been possible to enact non-violent punitive measures against a homeless beggar short of denying him residence or conversation (in an institutional setting chasing someone out of the sangha would have been possible). The Vinaya literature threatens people with hell, but then I have to wonder if this was the Buddha's own words or not.

It begs the question what's important and what isn't. As the Buddha himself suggested, the disciples were to do away with the "minor rules", but alas Ananda failed to ask which ones were minor. We might also consider that the first three of the seven past buddhas (Vipaśyin, Śikhin and Viśvabhū) never established any precepts as there was no need.

I'm of the mind that someone set on the śramaṇa path will just naturally behave themselves (morality common to the path), but then in an institutional setting with a lot of young men you'll inevitably need house rules and punitive measures in place to deter bad behaviour.
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:41 am

Thanks Huseng that looks like interesting reading! Hopefully once I get my kindle reader it will be available in that format.

I remember reading the Vinaya translations of the Pali Text Society and wondering a little bit, because of the nature of some of the stories.

It seems different traditions have different takes on the rules. My Theravada teachers told me the Vinaya must be upheld in its entirety if possible because Mahakassapa stated to Ananda that since he did not specifically ask Lord Buddha which rules were major and minor, all of them should be upheld.

The Tibetans seem to be more relaxed although I know a good number of Gelongs who don't eat after noon for example. Geshe Sonam told me tha Vinaya should be preserved as the word of Buddha but that the regulations of the monastery are developed and changed by the Khenpos and Khensurs to ensure that there is framework for discipline in a modern paradigm.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:57 am

JKhedrup wrote:
It seems different traditions have different takes on the rules.




Indeed, and in Chinese if you compare all the different translated versions, the accounts all differ. Take for example the matter of why alcohol was banned:

http://huayanzang.blogspot.com/2012/03/ ... cohol.html

Each sect had a different version of the story. So the historicity of much of it is called into question. The number of precepts differs according to the school as well. If I recall correctly, the Mahāsāṃghika has 218 while the Dharmagupta has 250. So, how do we account for this? The former is considered by scholars at present to be the earliest rendition of the Vinaya available to us, so does this mean new precepts were added over time with other editions? If so, why did that occur?

My Theravada teachers told me the Vinaya must be upheld in its entirety if possible because Mahakassapa stated to Ananda that since he did not specifically ask Lord Buddha which rules were major and minor, all of them should be upheld.


At the same time Buddha gave license to the disciples to change things as necessary. If in a foreign land with different customs, the rules could be adjusted as appropriate. Throughout much of history it seems to me this is what actually occurred.

Then again, the Vinaya literature has in fact been updated and redrafted in the past. This can be proven, too. The Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya includes much Mahāyāna vocabulary and practices. It was the Vinaya common around the Nālandā area. It is also the Vinaya used by Tibetans. Such a revised version of the Vinaya clearly tells of a conscious act of reform and revision on the part of native Indians.
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:22 pm

I was always a little uncomfortable about the way Tibetan monks seemed to ignore most of the Vinaya. Then I read Broken Buddha by S. Dhammika and saw what strictly following the Vinaya is actually like.

Now, I think only seven precepts should be strictly followed with the rest as guidelines.

The Four Defeats:
1. Killing
2. Grand Theft
3. Sex
4. Lying about Attainments

The intent behind the entire Vinaya
5. Any behavior that draws one in to worldly affairs
6. Any behavior that negatively detracts from one's practice
7. Any behavior that negatively effects the reputation of the Three Jewels

But I'm only a lay person, so what do I know about monks.
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:27 pm

Geshe Sonam gave some great teachings on the Tibetan Vinaya in France last year and I would love to share them here. Because of the taboo about laypeople not looking at the Vinaya that we find in Tibetan Buddhism (and I think in Mahayana Buddhism in general) I am not free to post it here.
Generally, though, I can say that Geshe la feels both the defeats and remainders are very important trainings, because the remainders are regarded as very heavy in the Vinaya literature.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby futerko » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:45 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Geshe Sonam gave some great teachings on the Tibetan Vinaya in France last year and I would love to share them here. Because of the taboo about laypeople not looking at the Vinaya that we find in Tibetan Buddhism (and I think in Mahayana Buddhism in general) I am not free to post it here.
Generally, though, I can say that Geshe la feels both the defeats and remainders are very important trainings, because the remainders are regarded as very heavy in the Vinaya literature.
Is it possible for you to explain the idea of "remainders" without overstepping the mark?
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:55 pm

The remainders (Sanghadisesa) are the second heaviest class of transgression, after defeats. Defeats require disrobing but not the remainders.

They are called remainders because something of the vows remains but they have been rather seriously damaged. Traditionally, when one has been compromised by a remainder this is healed through a disciplinary procedure.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby futerko » Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:31 pm

JKhedrup wrote:The remainders (Sanghadisesa) are the second heaviest class of transgression, after defeats. Defeats require disrobing but not the remainders.

They are called remainders because something of the vows remains but they have been rather seriously damaged. Traditionally, when one has been compromised by a remainder this is healed through a disciplinary procedure.
I see, thanks. I was thinking it meant something about a karmic remainder, doh. :namaste:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby muni » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:26 am

I think even our behaviour is lacking some points in a particular place, as long as there is true respect from the heart.

"Always be respectful of others,
Try to be aware of stereotypes
Reflect on the Buddha’s teachings
Remain quiet when visiting temples"
We have to go beyond theories no matter how sacred they might seem.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
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Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:47 am

Where is that verse from?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Dharma etiquette – the little things

Postby muni » Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:42 am

JKhedrup wrote:Where is that verse from?


Here it is included: http://www.thranguhk.org/buddhism/en_et ... true&TB_i..

:namaste:
We have to go beyond theories no matter how sacred they might seem.
Theories can create an illusory distance between us and enlightenment.
muni
 
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