Ordination

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Ordination

Postby plwk » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:27 am

Inspired by the sister site... http://dhammawheel.com/viewforum.php?f=30

I should think that by now, having been here from its days of infancy, under two profiles (the other one given a funeral :tongue: ) until now, Dharma Wheel perhaps has attained some sort of maturity (I believe we do have Ordained members in here) to have a forum of its own on Ordination.

If not mistaken, when Ordination comes to mind in the Mahayana/Vajrayana contexts, one is looking at:
a. the monastic and non-monastic systems (Dharmagupta/Mulasarvastivada and Bodhisattva/Tantric Vows/Precepts)
b. the East Asian Mahayana and its affiliates, the Japanese and its affiliates, the Tibetan Vajrayana and its affiliates

Then, this Forum should be an avenue to discuss and exchange ideas on:
a. Ordination
i. General discussions (typical Q&As, specifics on robes, fake monastics, customs/protocol of the Ordained and etc)
ii. The Experiential (from the fully Ordained to those who participated in short term monastic retreats and those who disrobed)
iii. Legal/Administrative issues (e.g when ordaining in a foreign country or when foreigners ordain in one's country)

b. Resources on Ordination

What do you think Admin/Mods/Members?
The above suggestions are not exhaustive and ideas are welcomed to improve and enhance further.

:anjali:
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:10 am

plwk wrote:Inspired by the sister site... http://dhammawheel.com/viewforum.php?f=30

I should think that by now, having been here from its days of infancy, under two profiles (the other one given a funeral :tongue: ) until now, Dharma Wheel perhaps has attained some sort of maturity (I believe we do have Ordained members in here) to have a forum of its own on Ordination.

If not mistaken, when Ordination comes to mind in the Mahayana/Vajrayana contexts, one is looking at:
a. the monastic and non-monastic systems (Dharmagupta/Mulasarvastivada and Bodhisattva/Tantric Vows/Precepts)
b. the East Asian Mahayana and its affiliates, the Japanese and its affiliates, the Tibetan Vajrayana and its affiliates

Then, this Forum should be an avenue to discuss and exchange ideas on:
a. Ordination
i. General discussions (typical Q&As, specifics on robes, fake monastics, customs/protocol of the Ordained and etc)
ii. The Experiential (from the fully Ordained to those who participated in short term monastic retreats and those who disrobed)
iii. Legal/Administrative issues (e.g when ordaining in a foreign country or when foreigners ordain in one's country)

b. Resources on Ordination

What do you think Admin/Mods/Members?
The above suggestions are not exhaustive and ideas are welcomed to improve and enhance further.

:anjali:



One of the main causes of people thinking we were fascists at e-sangha was when we tried to impose some order in validating who was actually ordained and who was not.

Sooner or later some clown who is not actually an authentic lama/monk/ etc. will show up here and it will cause problems.

Having an ordained forum will create this problem.
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Re: Ordination

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:54 am

Greetings plwk,

It's an interesting idea, but unlike Dhamma Wheel, I don't see many people here who indicate they are actually considering ordination, nor is there anything preventing someone from asking such questions in the Mahayana or Tibetan forums (depending on the ordination lineage of interest).

That said, I'm sure the administrators will give the suggestion due consideration.

Metta,
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Re: Ordination

Postby Caz » Fri Apr 01, 2011 7:46 am

Depends what your Idea of authentic is, Generally speaking I think if someone turns up claiming to be ordained and has in reality never been bestowed ordiantion from an order but is self proclaimed ordained then it would not be good to recognise a person as such.
And then we get on to the issue of personal judgment a few western orders do not ordain people according to the full vinaya but these people are still ordained and as everyone who takes these vows seriously trys to live by them to the best of their ability...So long as one doesnt opperate their own personal predjudice as to whom is keeping morale discipline then there shouldnt be a problem.
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:18 pm

Caz wrote:Depends what your Idea of authentic is, Generally speaking I think if someone turns up claiming to be ordained and has in reality never been bestowed ordiantion from an order but is self proclaimed ordained then it would not be good to recognise a person as such.
And then we get on to the issue of personal judgment a few western orders do not ordain people according to the full vinaya but these people are still ordained and as everyone who takes these vows seriously trys to live by them to the best of their ability...So long as one doesnt opperate their own personal predjudice as to whom is keeping morale discipline then there shouldnt be a problem.



Right, that was where the problem began at e-sangha. We would ask, people would get offended, etc. Then, in trying to establish international standards of ordination we ran into issues, such as Zen priests demanded to be treated and considered exactly the same as fully ordained bhikshus and so on. Our basic policy became that if you are not a shramana or bhiksu, you are not a member of the monastic sangha. You could be considered "ordained", but not as a monk. We drew a strong distinction, and a valid one at that, between lay "ordinations" and monastic ordinations.

This was what lead to the Zen debacle at e-sangha. It caused many other problems as well.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Caz » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:32 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Caz wrote:Depends what your Idea of authentic is, Generally speaking I think if someone turns up claiming to be ordained and has in reality never been bestowed ordiantion from an order but is self proclaimed ordained then it would not be good to recognise a person as such.
And then we get on to the issue of personal judgment a few western orders do not ordain people according to the full vinaya but these people are still ordained and as everyone who takes these vows seriously trys to live by them to the best of their ability...So long as one doesnt opperate their own personal predjudice as to whom is keeping morale discipline then there shouldnt be a problem.



Right, that was where the problem began at e-sangha. We would ask, people would get offended, etc. Then, in trying to establish international standards of ordination we ran into issues, such as Zen priests demanded to be treated and considered exactly the same as fully ordained bhikshus and so on. Our basic policy became that if you are not a shramana or bhiksu, you are not a member of the monastic sangha. You could be considered "ordained", but not as a monk. We drew a strong distinction, and a valid one at that, between lay "ordinations" and monastic ordinations.

This was what lead to the Zen debacle at e-sangha. It caused many other problems as well.


Well I wouldnt see there being an issue as far as recognising someone as ordained if one wishes to say they are a monk when following more or less vows, then there is no problem in my opinion as monk or nun in the classical western sense is easily applicable to those whom dont follow the full vinaya...There are not many these days who can remember the full ordination vows let alone keep them all, It is far better in my opinion to have morale discipline codes that are keepable and provide the much needed foundation of mind training. Extensive or condensed It matter not so long as good conduct is kept for focusing the mind.

Perhapes it should just be common courtesy to treat anyone who abides by morale discipline with respect regardless of what ones views are on how many vows there should or should not be afterall the basis of friendship is having a respect for one and other. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:45 pm

Caz wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Caz wrote:Depends what your Idea of authentic is, Generally speaking I think if someone turns up claiming to be ordained and has in reality never been bestowed ordiantion from an order but is self proclaimed ordained then it would not be good to recognise a person as such.
And then we get on to the issue of personal judgment a few western orders do not ordain people according to the full vinaya but these people are still ordained and as everyone who takes these vows seriously trys to live by them to the best of their ability...So long as one doesnt opperate their own personal predjudice as to whom is keeping morale discipline then there shouldnt be a problem.



Right, that was where the problem began at e-sangha. We would ask, people would get offended, etc. Then, in trying to establish international standards of ordination we ran into issues, such as Zen priests demanded to be treated and considered exactly the same as fully ordained bhikshus and so on. Our basic policy became that if you are not a shramana or bhiksu, you are not a member of the monastic sangha. You could be considered "ordained", but not as a monk. We drew a strong distinction, and a valid one at that, between lay "ordinations" and monastic ordinations.

This was what lead to the Zen debacle at e-sangha. It caused many other problems as well.


Well I wouldnt see there being an issue as far as recognising someone as ordained if one wishes to say they are a monk when following more or less vows, then there is no problem in my opinion as monk or nun in the classical western sense is easily applicable to those whom dont follow the full vinaya...There are not many these days who can remember the full ordination vows let alone keep them all, It is far better in my opinion to have morale discipline codes that are keepable and provide the much needed foundation of mind training. Extensive or condensed It matter not so long as good conduct is kept for focusing the mind.

Perhapes it should just be common courtesy to treat anyone who abides by morale discipline with respect regardless of what ones views are on how many vows there should or should not be afterall the basis of friendship is having a respect for one and other. :namaste:


From the point of the view of the spirit of the thing, perhaps -- but standards must be maintained. There are many people who are capable of upholding their vows -- so it is not impossible. Since there are such people, I think it is important their discipline be recognized and honored -- and it is not honored by allowing just anyone to call themselves or demand they themselves be treated as a fully ordained person just because they wish to have that status. People you are talking about won't care one way or another what they are called. But Bhikshus are the ambassadors of Shakyamuni Buddha. When his monastic sangha disappears, his dharma will be on the verge of collapsing.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Caz » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:11 pm

Namdrol


Right, that was where the problem began at e-sangha. We would ask, people would get offended, etc. Then, in trying to establish international standards of ordination we ran into issues, such as Zen priests demanded to be treated and considered exactly the same as fully ordained bhikshus and so on. Our basic policy became that if you are not a shramana or bhiksu, you are not a member of the monastic sangha. You could be considered "ordained", but not as a monk. We drew a strong distinction, and a valid one at that, between lay "ordinations" and monastic ordinations.

This was what lead to the Zen debacle at e-sangha. It caused many other problems as well.


Well I wouldnt see there being an issue as far as recognising someone as ordained if one wishes to say they are a monk when following more or less vows, then there is no problem in my opinion as monk or nun in the classical western sense is easily applicable to those whom dont follow the full vinaya...There are not many these days who can remember the full ordination vows let alone keep them all, It is far better in my opinion to have morale discipline codes that are keepable and provide the much needed foundation of mind training. Extensive or condensed It matter not so long as good conduct is kept for focusing the mind.

Perhapes it should just be common courtesy to treat anyone who abides by morale discipline with respect regardless of what ones views are on how many vows there should or should not be afterall the basis of friendship is having a respect for one and other. :namaste:[/quote]

From the point of the view of the spirit of the thing, perhaps -- but standards must be maintained. There are many people who are capable of upholding their vows -- so it is not impossible. Since there are such people, I think it is important their discipline be recognized and honored -- and it is not honored by allowing just anyone to call themselves or demand they themselves be treated as a fully ordained person just because they wish to have that status. People you are talking about won't care one way or another what they are called. But Bhikshus are the ambassadors of Shakyamuni Buddha. When his monastic sangha disappears, his dharma will be on the verge of collapsing.[/quote]

Yup standards should be maintained...In real sanghas. This is the internet and if your going to have a mixed sect specific forum then you have to make some expections and put personal view aside, Are people any less capable of attaining enlightenment by adhering to more or less vows of the vinaya ? Theres only room for authoritarian statements from certains sects leaders as to what and what shall not be abided by, As you say there where problems on E-sangha because of this and many other issues because it claimed to be an open and non sectarian forum and yet posters where expected to maintain standards that where not exactly always what you would expect from the front label, So again with ordination ones own personal opinions have to be overcome in order that the same flaw be not repeated. :cheers:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Ordination

Postby Will » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:48 pm

Buddha's principle, if I recall aright, was to make a new rule only after a problem appears that cannot be solved under existing rules. In this case, let us wait until an "ordained" one requests his own forum.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:54 pm

Caz wrote:As you say there where problems on E-sangha because of this and many other issues because it claimed to be an open and non sectarian forum and yet posters where expected to maintain standards that where not exactly always what you would expect from the front label, So again with ordination ones own personal opinions have to be overcome in order that the same flaw be not repeated. :cheers:



The initial problem came in this way -- people claiming to be monks (Zen priests) who were married, had kids, drank and held jobs, as well as some people posing as Lama "so and so" with no credentials.

The majority of people at the E-sangha team, including but not limited too, the several bhikshus from three distinct monastic lineages (Theravada, Chinese and Tibetan) we had on staff at the time, thought that this idea of a monk or lama was not correct.

We observed many beginners being very confused. So we tried to help by creating a protocol for properly identifying monastics as opposed to "alternate" ordinationsand lay teachers. but it didn't work in the end.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:54 pm

Will wrote:Buddha's principle, if I recall aright, was to make a new rule only after a problem appears that cannot be solved under existing rules. In this case, let us wait until an "ordained" one requests his own forum.



Right, that is exactly what happened at e-sangha -- problems arose, we tried to deal with it with a policy. Eventually, it collapsed.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 01, 2011 5:04 pm

Caz wrote:Well I wouldnt see there being an issue as far as recognising someone as ordained if one wishes to say they are a monk when following more or less vows, then there is no problem in my opinion as monk or nun in the classical western sense is easily applicable to those whom dont follow the full vinaya...There are not many these days who can remember the full ordination vows let alone keep them all, It is far better in my opinion to have morale discipline codes that are keepable and provide the much needed foundation of mind training. Extensive or condensed It matter not so long as good conduct is kept for focusing the mind.


One simple definition of "monk" in the context of Buddhism is one who is a bhiksu. A bhiksu is one who has formally received the 250 vows from a legitimate Vinaya holder.

However, when discussing what constitutes a monk in a Japanese context this can be problematic because souryo 僧侶 or obousan お坊さん both are translated as "monk" though no Japanese tradition upholds the Vinaya anymore. Moreover, in Japanese the same appellations are applicable when referring to Vinaya holding monks from foreign countries. A Theravada bhikku and a Japanese Zen obousan are both called souryo.

Now whether or not a bhiksu actually upholds and remembers all their vows aside, if they have formal Vinaya ordination, then they are a bhiksu or monk. Ordination in Buddhism from the start has meant becoming a bhiksu(ni) and the formal definition of sangha is five bhiksu (not laypeople), though in East Asia this meaning changed and was modified over time. There was a time in China when bodhisattva vows were seen as sufficient for being a renunciate and the Vinaya was completely rejected by a minority. However this does not seem to have been accepted by the state which demanded monks all have Vinaya vows. In Japan this line of thinking was carried out and the Tendai Patriarch Saicho started ordaining people without the Vinaya.

Anyway, the point is that a "Buddhist monk" in an English context should refer to a bhiksu. If somebody does not have the Vinaya ordination, then they are not a monk. They may otherwise be a priest, but that is different from being a monk.

Perhapes it should just be common courtesy to treat anyone who abides by morale discipline with respect regardless of what ones views are on how many vows there should or should not be afterall the basis of friendship is having a respect for one and other. :namaste:

[/quote]

We should respect everyone, but must recognize that there is a formal definition of bhiksu which corresponds to the English word monk.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Caz » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:50 pm

Considering as has been said there are lineages who dont abide by the vinaya anymore but they are still lineages of recognised Buddhism, There is an obvious difference between a fully ordained Bhikkshu and one whom calls there self a preist in a zen tradition for example...Here it isnt very difficult to make that distinction.
Priest, Monk. easy. Of course it does mean that one cannot or should not impose their own traditions standards upon another distinct lineage whatever our personal feelings maybe people are free to come to their own conclusions again the reason for morale discipiline is for the purposes of mind training and becoming an enlightened being. Buddha indentified 1000 different defilments so I would only assume that the number of vows are not set in stone but rather for the capacity of the beings in question seeking the paths to Liberation and enlightenment.
Now on the other hand there are also those who ordain but do not abide by the full vinaya either the traditions and masters in question feel that when crossing to the west there is a need for something more workable with the culture, I wouldnt say these are fully ordained monks according to the Vinaya but they are certainly monks to an extent abiding by morale discipline, Be it vinaya or a compilation of other vows.

Would it not be more suitable just to say that each tradition is responsible for their own lineage of ordination without making a direct example of people but at the same time posting a thread on vinaya conduct as a pointer ?
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Ordination

Postby conebeckham » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:10 pm

In my humble opinion, the issue arises only when there is potential for misrepresentation.

Thus, if someone is a Buddhist, and calls themselves a "monk," and appears to dress like a monk, and look like a monk, that person should, in fact, have been ordained as a monk, according to the Vinaya of a legitimate tradition going back to the Buddha. Titles, such as "Gen," "Gen-la," "Getsul," "Genyen," in Tibetan, and "Bhikku," "Bhikkshu," etc. should reflect the appropriate ordinations as laid down in Scripture, and by lineage, stretching back to the time of the Buddha.

Monks, and the institution of monasticism, do not benefit merely those who are monastic. The mere fact that the institution of Buddhist Monastic Lineage exists in the world is of benefit for the world, and not merely for the monks. Therefore, it is appropriate as Buddhists to understand the value of the institution, and to respect those who maintain and uphold the institution.
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Re: Ordination

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:04 am

Greetings,

I think we need to be quite clear about what we're discussing here.

A forum for those already ordained (and the ensuing matter of qualifying ordained, monastic etc.) is entirely different to a forum "about" ordination and what it involves.

The Dhamma Wheel Ordination forum referenced by plwk above, is certainly focused on the latter - http://dhammawheel.com/viewforum.php?f=30 - and is about ordination resources, questions about Vinaya, transitioning from the home to the homeless life, geographical logistics and visas etc.

It might be worth having a look at some of the topics (even just the headings) and seeing whether there's a parallel required here. At this point in time though, I suspect not.

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Re: Ordination

Postby plwk » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:07 am

Thank you for reading my mind retro and the lively discussion from others. The ball is now up in Dharma Wheel's court for consideration.
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Re: Ordination Questions

Postby Will » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:22 am

Even if the forum were focused on ordination questions we would need a Mahayana Bhikshu(ni) to answer questions. And who will vet him or her? Nah, drop the notion.

If people are thinking about ordaining then let them reveal how serious they are by approaching whatever temple(s) in whichever tradition and asking the resident monastics.

Some temples have websites with information too - such as: http://www.drba.org/sltp/

An online forum about is too likely to degenerate into scoffing at various dated or stupid or silly rules and just create bad karma for the lay scoffers.
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Re: Ordination

Postby Malcolm » Sat Apr 02, 2011 1:31 am

conebeckham wrote:Titles, such as "Gen," "Gen-la,"


Actually, as a doctor of Tibetan Medicine, the proper mode of address for me is Gen or Gegen. Gegen Namdrol, hmmmm, could get used to that....Or Gen Malcolm....
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Re: Ordination

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:19 pm

I'm with Cone on this one: No vinaya? No monastic!
Otherwise I can just go off, shave my head, slap on some robes, observe the rules I want to observe and call myself a monk. Nope! Doesn't work like that. I'm sorry!
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Re: Ordination

Postby Caz » Sat Apr 02, 2011 3:50 pm

Vinaya=extensive morale discipline.
I hope we can all keep some. :woohoo:
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