Ordination

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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 10, 2014 2:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:It is quite likely that some form of writing existed in India during the time of Buddha.


Show us the evidence. There is no evidence of this as far as I know, and most scholars agree. In early strata of the Pali canon, is there ever mention of writing? How about in Jain sources? The Greek Megasthenes flat out said there was no writing in India.


It may not have been used to record religious texts, but considering your recent speculations about a Mesopotamian/India connection, it would be absurd to suppose that Indians kept all their financial undertakings in their heads. And given that bark records don't survive long in India...


Illiterate civilizations in the past had other ways to keep track of numbers, like using strings for example.

In any case, Magadha in the Buddha's day was not technologically or economically so well developed yet. A lot of advances came with the Persian refugees after Alexander.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:14 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:It is quite likely that some form of writing existed in India during the time of Buddha.


Show us the evidence. There is no evidence of this as far as I know, and most scholars agree.


Most scholars at one time agreed that Troy was a myth...further, Megasthenes is not a reliable witness.
Last edited by Malcolm on Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Son of Buddha » Thu Apr 10, 2014 3:22 pm

Indrajala
I am however very independent (and find it inherently difficult to conform to any institution) and as time goes on less interested in what the Vinayahas to say about how I should live my life after reading and researching


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Under chapter heading 6

"After I am gone, the sangha —if it wants —may abolish the lesser & minor training rules."

just keep the major precepts based on mind,body,speech and a basic but common sense moral code.

A large part of the vinaya precepts were actually forced upon the Buddhist Sangha by angry outsiders or scandal based cercumstances, for example the Buddha allowed soldiers to ordain, but then the kings/generals started getting mad and threated to kill the sangha.....so the precept against ordaining soldiers was instituted.

Do you follow the Brahma Net Sutra as you ordination platform or the older vinaya?
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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:10 pm

Malcolm wrote:Most scholars at one time agreed that Troy was a myth...further, Megasthenes is not a reliable witness.


And why wouldn't he have been a reliable witness? If writing existed you'd have had mention of it in the earliest stratum of Jain and Buddhist literature, but as far as I know there are no such references. You cannot dismiss him as a period witness.

In any case the Vinaya literature reveals multiple layers of historical development. Read Schopen and educate yourself.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:13 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:Do you follow the Brahma Net Sutra as you ordination platform or the older vinaya?


Technically both.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:24 pm

Son of Buddha wrote:"After I am gone, the sangha —if it wants —may abolish the lesser & minor training rules."


In practice this was already done ages ago, though they keep transmitting those precepts to people as a matter of formality. It really makes no sense to make people swear they won't eat past noon, and then serve lunch well past noon the next day.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:33 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Most scholars at one time agreed that Troy was a myth...further, Megasthenes is not a reliable witness.


And why wouldn't he have been a reliable witness? If writing existed you'd have had mention of it in the earliest stratum of Jain and Buddhist literature, but as far as I know there are no such references. You cannot dismiss him as a period witness.

In any case the Vinaya literature reveals multiple layers of historical development. Read Schopen and educate yourself.


The fact that Vinaya was composed in layers was known a long time before Schopen. Anyone who has studied the three vows literature is already well acquainted with this fact. Read Gorampa (for one) and educate yourself.

According to Schopen, there are no "earliest" records. As you know, he basically does not think anything is reliably datable based on text criticism alone.

Megasthenes had very limited contact with Indian culture and civilization.

We can say with certainty that Ashoka used writing. We cannot say with certainty when writing first was used in India and by whom. All we can really say with certainty is that it, like most other scripts in the ancient world, was based on Western Semitic, where aleph = an Ox.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:52 pm

Malcolm wrote:According to Schopen, there are no "earliest" records. As you know, he basically does not think anything is reliably datable based on text criticism alone.


That doesn't undermine what I'm saying. Our earliest specimens of Buddhist literature are translations of other materials (even the Pali), yet even if they're from around the first century CE onward they don't mention writing as being part of society or religion in Magadha. As far as I know, nor do Jain texts make such references.


Megasthenes had very limited contact with Indian culture and civilization.


He did live there for some time. Your argument is silly.


We can say with certainty that Ashoka used writing. We cannot say with certainty when writing first was used in India and by whom. All we can really say with certainty is that it, like most other scripts in the ancient world, was based on Western Semitic, where aleph = an Ox.


You're saying "it is quite likely that some form of writing existed in India during the time of Buddha." Well, you have no evidence for this.

I'm quite solid in my position stating that later developments in Vinaya literature where the Buddha is talking about drawing up loan contracts with people is in fact a much later development and moreover an indication of ignorance on the part of the author(s), who were unaware that writing didn't exist in the Buddha's day. As a Buddhist, I don't feel much faith towards their ideas in this respect. It isn't buddhavacana, but really just opportunism of a sick kind. So, what amount of Vinaya literature, prescriptions and proscriptions are we supposed to take seriously?

I personally think just following the basic outline of a śramaṇa lifestyle is enough. However, this undermines the authority of some ecclesiastical authorities, so predictably not much will ever change.

Nevertheless, there's still the option of being outside the authority of such institutions.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 10, 2014 5:01 pm

Indrajala wrote:

Megasthenes had very limited contact with Indian culture and civilization.


He did live there for some time. Your argument is silly.


He did not see very much of India. His fragments certainly do not constitute an accurate picture of Indian life in the 4th century BCE.



You're saying "it is quite likely that some form of writing existed in India during the time of Buddha." Well, you have no evidence for this.


There is also no evidence to the contrary apart from a single passage in a fragment by a Greek Ambassador in a book for which there is no original.

M
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Re: Ordination

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:49 pm

Indrajala wrote:I'm quite solid in my position stating that later developments in Vinaya literature where the Buddha is talking about drawing up loan contracts with people is in fact a much later development and moreover an indication of ignorance on the part of the author(s), who were unaware that writing didn't exist in the Buddha's day.


Even if there were writing at the time of the Buddha, the loan contracts thingy would not make sense, since the Buddha expressively prohibited monastics from handling money (if we believe that part of the Vinaya to be Buddhavacana, which is very likely).
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Re: Ordination

Postby Uhu » Thu Apr 10, 2014 10:51 pm

Indrajala wrote:If all this makes me a heretic, then I'll happily walk away from Buddhism and simply follow Buddhadharma. :anjali:


Hi, Indrajala. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. We have some ideas in common. It was not just out of curiosity that I asked you about your ordination. I have some questions and I think you may help me. I will send a PM. Thanks a lot! :namaste:
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:22 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
Indrajala wrote:I'm quite solid in my position stating that later developments in Vinaya literature where the Buddha is talking about drawing up loan contracts with people is in fact a much later development and moreover an indication of ignorance on the part of the author(s), who were unaware that writing didn't exist in the Buddha's day.


Even if there were writing at the time of the Buddha, the loan contracts thingy would not make sense, since the Buddha expressively prohibited monastics from handling money (if we believe that part of the Vinaya to be Buddhavacana, which is very likely).


There were always bursars in monasteries, who were charged with managing money.

M
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Re: Ordination

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:40 pm

Malcolm wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
Indrajala wrote:I'm quite solid in my position stating that later developments in Vinaya literature where the Buddha is talking about drawing up loan contracts with people is in fact a much later development and moreover an indication of ignorance on the part of the author(s), who were unaware that writing didn't exist in the Buddha's day.


Even if there were writing at the time of the Buddha, the loan contracts thingy would not make sense, since the Buddha expressively prohibited monastics from handling money (if we believe that part of the Vinaya to be Buddhavacana, which is very likely).


There were always bursars in monasteries, who were charged with managing money.

M


Is there evidence that such bursaries were established during the Buddha's time? The Buddhist community wandered around as travelling mendicants most of the time (except during retreats), were supposed to only have the 4 requisites, cannot handle money, etc. So all these point the bursars towards a later phase in monastic Buddhism.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Thu Apr 10, 2014 11:46 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
Is there evidence that such bursaries were established during the Buddha's time? The Buddhist community wandered around as travelling mendicants most of the time (except during retreats), were supposed to only have the 4 requisites, cannot handle money, etc. So all these point the bursars towards a later phase in monastic Buddhism.


There is a difference between a monastic officer handling money and a monk handling money personally. You must recall, the Buddha was gifted with property during his lifetime. There is evidence that within 100 years of the Buddha's PN there were permanent Viharas.
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Re: Ordination

Postby tingdzin » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:34 am

I suggest that the experts out there put their opinions in writing in a refereed journal and have them evaluated by other knowledgeable people. Until then , don't be too dogmatic about your opinions. An internet forum is a pretty small pond.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:41 am

tingdzin wrote:I suggest that the experts out there put their opinions in writing in a refereed journal and have them evaluated by other knowledgeable people. Until then , don't be too dogmatic about your opinions. An internet forum is a pretty small pond.



Personally, I am not that invested in the issue. I simply find it a little far-fetched to believe that Indians widely adopted a writing system based on a Phoenician script within the 150 year time frame.

Secondly, Indians had concepts of debt and contracts, found in the Vedas on up. Buddha, for example, clearly refers to karma has a kind of a debt. Where there are debts, there must be means of keeping records of such debts, etc.
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Re: Ordination

Postby pueraeternus » Fri Apr 11, 2014 1:46 am

Malcolm wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
Is there evidence that such bursaries were established during the Buddha's time? The Buddhist community wandered around as travelling mendicants most of the time (except during retreats), were supposed to only have the 4 requisites, cannot handle money, etc. So all these point the bursars towards a later phase in monastic Buddhism.


There is a difference between a monastic officer handling money and a monk handling money personally. You must recall, the Buddha was gifted with property during his lifetime. There is evidence that within 100 years of the Buddha's PN there were permanent Viharas.


Not likely, because:
The rule about a bhikkhu not accepting money came to be made when Ven. Upananda went to visit his regular supporters on alms round. The meat that had been set aside for him that morning had instead been given to the family's hungry son. The householder wished to give something else to make up for it and asked what he could offer to the value of a kahaapana coin. Ven. Upananda inquired if he was making a gift of a kahaapana coin to him, and then took the money away. Lay people were disgusted with this, saying, "Just as we lay people accept money, so too do these Buddhist monks!."

This Rule has been variously translated:

"Should any bhikkhu take gold and silver, or have it taken, or consent to its being deposited (near him), it is to be forfeited and confessed."(Nis. Paac. 18; BMC p.214)

"Should any bhikkhu pick up, or cause to be picked up or consent to the deposit of gold or silver, this entails Confession with Forfeiture." (Nis. Paac. 18; Paat. 1966 Ed. p.42)

"A monk, who accepts gold or money or gets another to accept for him, or acquiesces in its being put near him, commits [an offence requiring Confession with Forfeiture.]" (Nis. Paac. 18; BBC p.116)

"If a bhikkhu himself receives gold and silver (money) or gets someone else to receive it, or if he is glad about money that is being kept for him, it is [an offence of Confession with Forfeiture.]"(Nis. Paac. 18; Nv p.11)
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 11, 2014 10:48 am

Malcolm wrote:Secondly, Indians had concepts of debt and contracts, found in the Vedas on up. Buddha, for example, clearly refers to karma has a kind of a debt. Where there are debts, there must be means of keeping records of such debts, etc.


You can keep track of debts with colored stones in jars or ropes tied together.

You don't need writing to keep records. Some Mesoamerican civilizations managed fine with just ropes.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:40 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Secondly, Indians had concepts of debt and contracts, found in the Vedas on up. Buddha, for example, clearly refers to karma has a kind of a debt. Where there are debts, there must be means of keeping records of such debts, etc.


You can keep track of debts with colored stones in jars or ropes tied together.

You don't need writing to keep records. Some Mesoamerican civilizations managed fine with just ropes.


Indeed, but the fact that Indians were surrounded with people who had writing, and were in contact with people who had writing (Phoenicians, Greeks, Persians, Chinese) makes it unlikely that Indians were unaware of writing.

Basically, I find it unlikely that Indians all of a sudden adopted writing merely because of tenuous contacts with the Greeks. What I am suggesting as a more likely scenario is that Indians used writing for commercial documents, not religious texts, during this period. We have no paper documents at all from the Subcontinent that date earlier than Gandharan finds.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Sherlock » Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:05 pm

That would make sense. The earliest Mycenean Greek inscriptions in Linear B were mostly tax and commerical lists for example and later on the Greeks invented their own alphabets based on Phoenician letters. Greek speaking people on Cyprus though still used a script descended from Linear B until fairly late times.

The only problem is that we have no examples of pre-Ashokan script.
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