Temporarily taking robes?

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Temporarily taking robes?

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:48 pm

I had thought that the Tibetan Buddhist tradition did not permit someone to temporarily take robes although a Greek monk friend from esangha had said that TB does permit people to temporarily take robes. This came up when I was talking to our local Sakya nun and she confirmed that (in fact this had been done by one or two people at a reception after a vow taking ceremony).

In the Southern Tradition it is common to take robes temporarily both as a stage of life for young men and upon the death of a relative.

Is it a permitted practice or a common practice to take robes temporarily to accumulate merit for a deceased relative in Tibetan Buddhism?

Thanks!

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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby plwk » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:57 pm

In the Southern Tradition it is common to take robes temporarily both as a stage of life for young men and upon the death of a relative.

In the Northern Trad of the Chinese Mahayana, they also have short term monastic retreats and on top of that for the Laity who have taken the Refuge and Precepts (5 Precepts and above), they have the black refuge robe (Hai qing) and the plain brown precept sash/robe.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby justsit » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:05 pm

Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia has a temporary ordination program, minimum stay is 9 months.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:15 pm

Thanks for the responses so far but the actual question is: is it a Tibetan Buddhist practice to temporarily take robes upon the death of a relative in order to accumulate merit for them?

Thanks!

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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:19 pm

Thrangu Rimpoche has said that the novice or the monk or other ordination is not about clothes, it is about keeping the precepts that you have taken. He continued and said that you are a shramanerika or a bhikshu because of your precepts, not because of some weird clothes. When questioned he said: Yes, you can be a monk also in a business suit.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:28 pm

Aemilius wrote:Thrangu Rimpoche has said that the novice or the monk or other ordination is not about clothes, it is about keeping the precepts that you have taken. He continued and said that you are a shramanerika or a bhikshu because of your precepts, not because of some weird clothes. When questioned he said: Yes, you can be a monk also in a business suit.


Thanks Aemillius but this is not a question of wearing clothes.

The term "taking robes" is universally understood as the practice of taking and keeping the monastic vows and proper monastic behavior.

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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Dhondrub » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:13 pm

According to late Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: "The Buddha himself said it is permissible for anyone who has taken the vows of refuge to wear the monastic robes."
From an advice to 3 year retreatants: http://www.lotsawahouse.org/3_year_retreat.html
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Tilopa » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:05 pm

kirtu wrote: is it a Tibetan Buddhist practice to temporarily take robes upon the death of a relative in order to accumulate merit for them?


Definitely not.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:46 pm

Tilopa wrote:
kirtu wrote: is it a Tibetan Buddhist practice to temporarily take robes upon the death of a relative in order to accumulate merit for them?


Definitely not.


I think the idea comes from a Sutra which says Naga seeked Buddha's help from Garudra's attack. Buddha told them hold a piece of monk's robe on your horn, and Garudras dare not to attack them anymore.
And also many benefits described.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:55 pm

narraboth wrote:
Tilopa wrote:
kirtu wrote: is it a Tibetan Buddhist practice to temporarily take robes upon the death of a relative in order to accumulate merit for them?


Definitely not.


I think the idea comes from a Sutra which says Naga seeked Buddha's help from Garudra's attack. Buddha told them hold a piece of monk's robe on your horn, and Garudras dare not to attack them anymore.
And also many benefits described.


is there a source for this please?

I am familiar with Garuda as Black Garuda and within the 3 Wrathful Ones, who protects beings against Nagas and other harm such as disease. Nagas may require protection from Garuda, but humans don't as far as I know.

It is considered beneficial to tap the crown of the head of a dying person, and also to touch them with relics or possessions of virtuous lamas such as their mala, so I can see how the robe may be used in a similar fashion.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:26 pm

Yeshe wrote:
narraboth wrote:I think the idea comes from a Sutra which says Naga seeked Buddha's help from Garudra's attack. Buddha told them hold a piece of monk's robe on your horn, and Garudras dare not to attack them anymore.
And also many benefits described.


is there a source for this please?

I am familiar with Garuda as Black Garuda and within the 3 Wrathful Ones, who protects beings against Nagas and other harm such as disease. Nagas may require protection from Garuda, but humans don't as far as I know.

It is considered beneficial to tap the crown of the head of a dying person, and also to touch them with relics or possessions of virtuous lamas such as their mala, so I can see how the robe may be used in a similar fashion.


about the story that piece of robe rescue Nagas from Garudra fear:
佛說海龍王經
i am not sure the name in other language, maybe Nagaraja Sutra?

also in 地藏十輪經 (Khstigarbha ten wheels Sutra)
A man broke the law and was thrown to a field where many harmful spirits live. He wore a piece of monk's robe on his head and no spirit dared to harm him.

Also many description in Sutra. Lay people or non-human beings if hold and respect monk's robe, many benefits would appear.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:32 pm

I admire your great faith in monks and in the mere form of a monk. I just wonder what would the Nagas etc do if they saw you with a piece of a lawyer's suit ?
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:48 pm

Aemilius wrote:I admire your great faith in monks and in the mere form of a monk. I just wonder what would the Nagas etc do if they saw you with a piece of a lawyer's suit ?


haha, there should be some good lawyers...

anyway, it's not just my faith to monks, it's simply what Buddha said in sutra:

《悲華經》云:「釋迦如來昔為大悲菩薩時,曾於寶藏佛前,誓願於己成佛時,袈裟能成就五種功德:

一者,佛弟子雖犯種種邪見,然若能敬心尊重袈裟,必可達聲聞、緣覺、菩薩等三乘之果位,得不退轉。

二者,天、龍、神、鬼、人及非人,若能恭敬袈裟,則可於三乘解脫道上,得不退轉。

三者,若有鬼神、諸人,為饑渴、貧窮等所迫,得袈裟小塊乃至四分,即可飲食充足。

四者,若眾生共相衝突,起怨賊之想,如念及袈裟之神力,便生慈悲之心。

五者,若持有袈裟小塊,恭敬尊重,則一旦在兵陣,常得勝於他人。」

袈裟功德殊勝,凡有袈裟所在,一切天龍善神,悉予守護,使此安寧。佛曾告阿難:「過去諸佛著如是衣,得成佛道;未來諸佛亦當著如是衣,得成佛道。如我今日以刀割截成沙門衣,不為怨賊所劫,此是解脫服,福田之衣。若有眾生生起一念惡心,向三世諸佛、辟支、羅漢及著染衣人,獲罪無量。所以者何?壞色之衣,是聖賢標示,若能發心,敬染衣人,獲福無量。我由信心敬戴之至,得成佛道。」

In brief:
white lotus sutra:
when Buddha Shakyamuni was a boddhisattva, he vowed that when he attains Buddhahood, in his teaching the robe will have five qualities:
1. even a Buddha's disciple made many mistakes, as long as he can respect robe, he won't leave three yanas' path and will be liberated.
2. Deva, Naga, human or non-human, if they respect robe, they will be liberated through three yanas' path.
3. human or non-human, if they hold a piece of robe and respect it, they won't face hungry.
4. When beings against and attack each other, if they can think about the supreme of robe, they will generate compassion naturally.
5. If one hold a piece of robe and respect it, one will not fail in battle.
............... A dyed robe is the sign of holy beings. If one respect those who wear it, unlimited merit will generate; if one generate even one bad thought to those who wear it (Buddhas, Arhats, and monks), unlimited negative karma generated....

that's what the Sutra says.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby plwk » Thu Feb 24, 2011 4:01 pm

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
PARABLE 0114: FOOTPRINTS OF THE SAGES
A story is told in the Sutras of three deities who were trying to wash a Bhiksu's robe in the Ganges but could not soak it through.
Yet, as soon as they took a single grain of rice donated to a temple and placed it on the robe, the robe sank to the bottom.

The story illustrates how important offerings of the believers are, particularly if they are made with a pure mind.
If a monk or nun accepts such offerings, but does not cultivate the precepts, these offerings become great liabilities, leading the errant cleric down the path of perdition. Even deities and ghosts follow such a cleric and sweep away his very footprints to prevent anyone from following his example.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:42 pm

narraboth wrote:
Aemilius wrote:I admire your great faith in monks and in the mere form of a monk. I just wonder what would the Nagas etc do if they saw you with a piece of a lawyer's suit ?


haha, there should be some good lawyers...

anyway, it's not just my faith to monks, it's simply what Buddha said in sutra:

《悲華經》云:「釋迦如來昔為大悲菩薩時,曾於寶藏佛前,誓願於己成佛時,袈裟能成就五種功德:

一者,佛弟子雖犯種種邪見,然若能敬心尊重袈裟,必可達聲聞、緣覺、菩薩等三乘之果位,得不退轉。

二者,天、龍、神、鬼、人及非人,若能恭敬袈裟,則可於三乘解脫道上,得不退轉。

三者,若有鬼神、諸人,為饑渴、貧窮等所迫,得袈裟小塊乃至四分,即可飲食充足。

四者,若眾生共相衝突,起怨賊之想,如念及袈裟之神力,便生慈悲之心。

五者,若持有袈裟小塊,恭敬尊重,則一旦在兵陣,常得勝於他人。」

袈裟功德殊勝,凡有袈裟所在,一切天龍善神,悉予守護,使此安寧。佛曾告阿難:「過去諸佛著如是衣,得成佛道;未來諸佛亦當著如是衣,得成佛道。如我今日以刀割截成沙門衣,不為怨賊所劫,此是解脫服,福田之衣。若有眾生生起一念惡心,向三世諸佛、辟支、羅漢及著染衣人,獲罪無量。所以者何?壞色之衣,是聖賢標示,若能發心,敬染衣人,獲福無量。我由信心敬戴之至,得成佛道。」

In brief:
white lotus sutra:
when Buddha Shakyamuni was a boddhisattva, he vowed that when he attains Buddhahood, in his teaching the robe will have five qualities:
1. even a Buddha's disciple made many mistakes, as long as he can respect robe, he won't leave three yanas' path and will be liberated.
2. Deva, Naga, human or non-human, if they respect robe, they will be liberated through three yanas' path.
3. human or non-human, if they hold a piece of robe and respect it, they won't face hungry.
4. When beings against and attack each other, if they can think about the supreme of robe, they will generate compassion naturally.
5. If one hold a piece of robe and respect it, one will not fail in battle.
............... A dyed robe is the sign of holy beings. If one respect those who wear it, unlimited merit will generate; if one generate even one bad thought to those who wear it (Buddhas, Arhats, and monks), unlimited negative karma generated....

that's what the Sutra says.


I'd like to know where in the Lotus sutra this particular passage is ? Which translation is in question? Is it really in the Saddharma Pundarika sutra?
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:41 pm

Aemilius wrote:I'd like to know where in the Lotus sutra this particular passage is ? Which translation is in question? Is it really in the Saddharma Pundarika sutra?


No, no, it's not Saddharma Pundarika sutra; it's in 悲華經, Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka-sūtra, maybe can translated as compassion lotus sutra. I called it white lotus sutra because Pundarika is white lotus.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Mar 03, 2011 11:19 am

narraboth wrote:
Aemilius wrote:I'd like to know where in the Lotus sutra this particular passage is ? Which translation is in question? Is it really in the Saddharma Pundarika sutra?


No, no, it's not Saddharma Pundarika sutra; it's in 悲華經, Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka-sūtra, maybe can translated as compassion lotus sutra. I called it white lotus sutra because Pundarika is white lotus.


I thought so, that it must be from somewhere else, I have seen a partial translation of Karuna Pundarika Sutra or The Compassionate Lotus Sutra somewhere in Internett. I think it has existed in a printed form too, by a japanese translator ? It was a bulky volume, in a kind of prepublication format, I don't know if it ever appeared properly on the bookmarket ?
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:07 pm

Aemilius wrote:
narraboth wrote:
Aemilius wrote:I'd like to know where in the Lotus sutra this particular passage is ? Which translation is in question? Is it really in the Saddharma Pundarika sutra?


No, no, it's not Saddharma Pundarika sutra; it's in 悲華經, Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka-sūtra, maybe can translated as compassion lotus sutra. I called it white lotus sutra because Pundarika is white lotus.


I thought so, that it must be from somewhere else, I have seen a partial translation of Karuna Pundarika Sutra or The Compassionate Lotus Sutra somewhere in Internett. I think it has existed in a printed form too, by a japanese translator ? It was a bulky volume, in a kind of prepublication format, I don't know if it ever appeared properly on the bookmarket ?


I don't know, I am a chinese, I just read it from chinese mahapitaka....
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:57 pm

narraboth wrote:
Aemilius wrote:I admire your great faith in monks and in the mere form of a monk. I just wonder what would the Nagas etc do if they saw you with a piece of a lawyer's suit ?


haha, there should be some good lawyers...

anyway, it's not just my faith to monks, it's simply what Buddha said in sutra:

《悲華經》云:「釋迦如來昔為大悲菩薩時,曾於寶藏佛前,誓願於己成佛時,袈裟能成就五種功德:

一者,佛弟子雖犯種種邪見,然若能敬心尊重袈裟,必可達聲聞、緣覺、菩薩等三乘之果位,得不退轉。

二者,天、龍、神、鬼、人及非人,若能恭敬袈裟,則可於三乘解脫道上,得不退轉。

三者,若有鬼神、諸人,為饑渴、貧窮等所迫,得袈裟小塊乃至四分,即可飲食充足。

四者,若眾生共相衝突,起怨賊之想,如念及袈裟之神力,便生慈悲之心。

五者,若持有袈裟小塊,恭敬尊重,則一旦在兵陣,常得勝於他人。」

袈裟功德殊勝,凡有袈裟所在,一切天龍善神,悉予守護,使此安寧。佛曾告阿難:「過去諸佛著如是衣,得成佛道;未來諸佛亦當著如是衣,得成佛道。如我今日以刀割截成沙門衣,不為怨賊所劫,此是解脫服,福田之衣。若有眾生生起一念惡心,向三世諸佛、辟支、羅漢及著染衣人,獲罪無量。所以者何?壞色之衣,是聖賢標示,若能發心,敬染衣人,獲福無量。我由信心敬戴之至,得成佛道。」

In brief:
white lotus sutra:
when Buddha Shakyamuni was a boddhisattva, he vowed that when he attains Buddhahood, in his teaching the robe will have five qualities:
1. even a Buddha's disciple made many mistakes, as long as he can respect robe, he won't leave three yanas' path and will be liberated.
2. Deva, Naga, human or non-human, if they respect robe, they will be liberated through three yanas' path.
3. human or non-human, if they hold a piece of robe and respect it, they won't face hungry.
4. When beings against and attack each other, if they can think about the supreme of robe, they will generate compassion naturally.
5. If one hold a piece of robe and respect it, one will not fail in battle.
............... A dyed robe is the sign of holy beings. If one respect those who wear it, unlimited merit will generate; if one generate even one bad thought to those who wear it (Buddhas, Arhats, and monks), unlimited negative karma generated....

that's what the Sutra says.


These bodhisattava vows should be seen in the context of the Karuna Pundarika Sutra, in it there are also some fabulous vows of brahmin Manavaka, who was a bodhisattva too,...
later I found that Karma Chagme alias Raga Asya tells us that there is an indian Dzogchen lineage named after brahmin Manavaka !!? (in the book Spacious Path to Freedom), this is by the way, but very interesting.

One could write a whole book about robes, or even many books. If you really think that the robe itself has magical powers, are these powers independent of the person wearing the robe ?

In many suttas Buddha Shakyamuni is against this kind of ritualistic magical belief systems ! In Dhammapada He says that only a moral person is worthy of the Ochre coloured robe! In Diamond sutra He says that where there are signs there is deception, and that therefore one should see and realize the Dharmakaya beyond signs.

Have you read any of the vast material about robes in Vinaya?
The robe could preferably be found in a rubbish heap or even taken from a corpse in a cemetery. The robe Shakyamuni was wearing under Bodhi-tree was a taken-from-a-corpse type.
Some traditions place great emphasis on the fact that it must be stitched together from pieces, but are these pieces taken from rubbish heaps nowadays, or do they just cut new fabric to pieces ? The latter is certainly more likely the case.
Commentators have explained that "dyed" means "made unattractive", so it is found in a rubbish heap and then dyed or rather discolored. In modern times this would be equivalent to wearing discarded clothes, or clothes thrown away by others.
The robe existed before Siddhartha, the other ascetics wore a similar kind robe, did they not ? When Siddhartha starts His life of a wanderer He adopts an existing type of clothing, this type of clothing is common to all the shramanas.

You could also study the robes that exist in various parts of the ancient and modern world, like in Greece (himation), Rome(toga) and even in Ethiopia etc, where they also have this same indian type of clothing.
What makes a robe the robe with magical properties in your opinion? When we know that certain evolution or development has taken place, and today's tibetan or other robe is not like it was during Sidhhartha's time?
Last edited by Aemilius on Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Temporarily taking robes?

Postby narraboth » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:25 pm

Aemilius wrote: These bodhisattava vows should be seen in the context of the Karuna Pundarika Sutra, in it there are also some fabulous vows of brahmin Manavaka, who was a bodhisattva too,...
later I found that Karma Chagme alias Raga Asya tells us that there is an indian Dzogchen lineage named after brahmin Manavaka !!? (in the book Spacious Path to Freedom), this is by the way, but very interesting.

One could write a whole book about robes, or even many books. If you really think that the robe itself has magical powers, are these powers independent of the person wearing the robe ?

In many suttas Buddha Shakyamuni is against this kind of ritualistic magical belief systems ! In Dhammapada He says that only a moral person is worthy of the Ochre coloured robe! In Diamond sutra He says that where there are signs there is deception, and that therefore one should see and realize the Dharmakaya beyond signs.

Have you read any of the vast material about robes in Vinaya?
The robe could preferably be found in a rubbish heap or even taken from a corpse in a cemetery. The robe Shakyamuni was wearing under Bodhi-tree was a taken-from-a-corpse type.
Some traditions place great emphasis on the fact that it must be stiched together from pieces, but are these pieces taken from rubbish heaps nowadays, or do they just cut new fabric to pieces ? The latter is certainly more likely the case.
Commentators have explained that "dyed" means "made unattractive", so it is found in a rubbish heap and then dyed or rather discolored. In modern times this would be equivalent to wearing discarded clothes, or clothes thrown away by others.
The robe existed before Siddhartha, the other ascetics wore a similar kind robe, did they not ? When Siddhartha starts His life of a wanderer He adopts an existing type of clothing, this type of clothing is common to all the shramanas.

You could also study the robes that exist in various parts of the ancient and modern world, like in Greece (himation), Rome(toga) and even in Ethiopia etc, where they also have this same indian type of clothing.
What makes a robe the robe with magical properties in your opinion? When we know that certain evolution or development has taken place, and today's tibetan or other robe is not like it was during Sidhhartha's time?


Surely the robe here means buddhist robe (since we could only use English here, we have to use to term robe). I don't think other religion's robe would be the same because 1) the vow or wish already says 'when I attain buddhahood', which can also means 'in my (as a Buddha's) teaching period' 2) like chakraraja also has 32 superior body signs, only Buddhas' superior signs worth to be bowed to. Other sharmanas also have similar kind of robe (but Buddhist one has its special 'cutting' way), other people also use bowel to eat, and the monk stick was even used mainly by lowest level or clan. In the end they are all superior because they now represent holy sangha.

It's not about quality of the cloth, like it doesn't matter what thing you used to make a buddha statue; as long as it represent three jewels, it's special. And don't forget in sutra 'respect' and 'faith' are emphasized. A small piece of cloth representing three jewels, plus your devotion, i am sure it will do something.

I think it's just because we are not that ritualistic so that we can accept taking a lowest-level stick as holy object. the idea here is what the stuff represents also your devotion play the key role here. But what sutra said is, you don't know how big effect when those factors come together can generate. It sounds unbelievable and magical, but you need to know when you combine your devotion to even just a small piece of three jewels representives, it will be that powerful.
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