Layman Pang and me/us

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Layman Pang and me/us

Postby KwanSeum » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:24 pm

Layman Pangs story haunts me (here: http://zbohy.zatma.org/Dharma/zbohy/Lit ... pang1.html). He was an enlightened layman who didn't join a monastery. He did however give up all his possessions by sinking them into a lake since he figured that his wealth would spiritually burden anyone who received it.

It haunts me because of my own material wealth. I've no savings and by the end of the month my wages are gone but I own certain personal items (eg, watch [£800]; jewellery [£300]; cds [hundreds]) that are supliferous and/or overly ostantagious and could be got rid of. Other things, like this computer isn't really mine but shared with my family and is also used for work would be very difficult to get rid of. And how about the car? Could we live without a car? Could I live without a mobile phone?

I did some research and it'd take an hour and a half to walk to work (obviously less to cycle and we all own bikes already). Further, how does it make sense to drive to work then afterwards drive to the gym and do cycling, running and stuff to keep fit. The time spent driving to and from and in the gym could be used travelling healthy and environmentally to work.

My question is, can I justify having all this stuff. I might want a car and the other stuff, but if I don't need them then shouldn't I get rid of them?

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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 2:38 pm

The story of Pang Yun is just a story, take it as that. Renunciation of possessions can happen mainly in two ways: you become a monk or you remain a lay person but learn not to be (too) hung up by the things you have. Throwing out things for the sake of not having them, sure you can do that, but how would it help anyone? The problem doesn't lie in the things you have but your relationship with them. Ultimately you don't need anything beyond the four things needed by a monk (food, clothes, abode, medicine). Practically, as you're living in a developed country and you're not a monk hidden in a remote monastery, there are many things you use from spoon to central heating. And as I've heard UK is not the best place for spending your life in the shade of a tree.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby KwanSeum » Thu Jun 02, 2011 3:32 pm

Astus wrote:The problem doesn't lie in the things you have but your relationship with them.


True enough but as my example of the car outlined the relationships aren't always good. For example, saving time on journeys and using that time in the gym. Of course the other bit to that is that running a car is the biggest cost overall year upon year (tax, service, insurance, petrol, etc, etc, etc). In this case the relationship is dubious.

Astus wrote:And as I've heard UK is not the best place for spending your life in the shade of a tree.


So I should keep my car and Tag Heuer watch because otherwise I'd have to live in a field? :smile:

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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:02 pm

As long as the things you own don't own you. That's the idea. You still go to work, of course you will have to use a watch or clock for time. Detachment is from within not on the surface. Suppose that some people say they are really detached from material possession and you see that they live very poorly, but somewhere they hide gold.
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:14 pm

KwanSeum wrote:So I should keep my car and Tag Heuer watch because otherwise I'd have to live in a field?


Keep it or leave it - these are extremes. You should find your priorities and see what use you can find for the things you have. If you want some extra cash you can sell your watch, if you don't need money now you can just keep it in a drawer. Or you can throw it out the window or give it to someone, whatever. Pang threw out his stuff because he didn't want them and thought that they'd only cause trouble to others. What do you think? If you gave your watch to a poor man, is that good for him or bad? If you keep it, is that good for you or bad? What makes something good or bad?
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:21 pm

Astus is right. If we are deluded, everything can be really bad. If we are not deluded, bad and good can not really bother us.
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Astus » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:23 pm

LastLegend wrote:Astus is right. If we are deluded, everything can be really bad. If we are not deluded, bad and good can not really bother us.


I'd rather say that we should be clear about causes and results while also aware of our mental state.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby LastLegend » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:36 pm

Astus wrote:
LastLegend wrote:Astus is right. If we are deluded, everything can be really bad. If we are not deluded, bad and good can not really bother us.


I'd rather say that we should be clear about causes and results while also aware of our mental state.


I think what I said is no difference than what you said just in different terms. When I said deluded, I mean we don't live by the attachments of everything around us, does not mean we are enlightened but we are able to see clearly...Regarding bad or good, I think it is really hard to tell if we are not enlightened. Like we are trying to do something that meant well but end up bad. For example, there was a drunk man in the village who was so drunk he disrespected an official, but the official thought, " he's drunk right now I should not be mad at him." A year has passed on this day, the man went to jail. The official thought "oh if I took him to court and beat him with a couple sticks at the time he was drunk, then he will not end up in jail." Just an example so that we get the idea. I might not say the story accurately.
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Quiet Heart » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:11 am

:smile:
I shouldn't "hijack "this topic...so I'll apologise in advance for doing that.
But anyone who goes to that URL that the original poster posted, should GO ON after the Layman Pang stories end.
Go through all those lessons there, read them and consider what is being s said. Think about them carefully.
Those lessons are reaaly excellant lessons...not only as a study of Chan...but just as a teaching of Buddhisim...whatever you consider that to be.
Be SURE to read and think about all those lessons.
:twothumbsup:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby KwanSeum » Tue Jun 14, 2011 1:42 pm

I have now given away most of my stuff. I gave my jewelery to my wife (with the instructions to sell it and buy a new guitar) and CDs and other stuff went to neighbors and charity.

I am still left with a bass guitar and functional things like a car and cloths (walking to work naked wouldn't have been appreciated).

It's funny because not a single person said thank you for the stuff I gave them.

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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 4:47 pm

KwanSeum wrote:I have now given away most of my stuff. I gave my jewelery to my wife (with the instructions to sell it and buy a new guitar) and CDs and other stuff went to neighbors and charity.

I am still left with a bass guitar and functional things like a car and cloths (walking to work naked wouldn't have been appreciated).


I don't know what the hell you think you are doing... are you going to be a wandering yogi or something?

It's funny because not a single person said thank you for the stuff I gave them.

KwanSeum


You may be giving all your things away friend, but seems you're still holding to your expectations about how others should behave. It seems to me that these should be the first to go and then you could give your stuff away. I have the slight impression that the way you are doing seems reversed.

I'd think first one should cut attachments in the mind, and this also means attachments to our expectations about others, their good deeds and flaws. It also means not going around announcing such actions in a public forum. Then what we do with the stuff we have is of less importance. We can keep them or give them, since they don't hold us back any longer and I'm pretty sure we would do it without commenting the reactions of those who received our stuff.

I believe you may be making too much of a big deal out of this and may be mistaking what you are doing by actual mind of renunciation. This and still being judgmental is a recipe for disaster, if you ask me. In other words, it seems to me you may be living a fantasy about what means renunciation. You are not a monk or a wandering yogi, so why act as one? I hope I'm completely wrong, but what you are doing doesn't seem very balanced. How is your wife reacting to this?
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby KwanSeum » Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:27 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:You may be giving all your things away friend, but seems you're still holding to your expectations about how others should behave. It seems to me that these should be the first to go and then you could give your stuff away.


Why would you feel disturbed about me giving my things away? I have no use of them. I had no expectations about how others should behave. Furthermore I've given to charity shops before and know it's a very matter of fact business. It's just worth nothing that one can spend a lifetime collecting things and no-one actually cares about the things one accumulates.

Dechen Norbu wrote:It also means not going around announcing such actions in a public forum.


Does it? Really? I had assumed this was a forum where Buddhists resided and it was possible that others would feel an affinity for the Buddha-dharma and stories and actions such as Layman Pang and others, such as Buddha, who had given up attachment to material things. Perhaps I am wrong.

Dechen Norbu wrote:Then what we do with the stuff we have is of less importance. We can keep them or give them, since they don't hold us back any longer and I'm pretty sure we would do it without commenting the reactions of those who received our stuff.


Are you talking as someone who has become enlightened? Are you saying that I should keep all my useless belongings?

Dechen Norbu wrote:You are not a monk?


And you know this because?

Dechen Norbu wrote:How is your wife reacting to this?


Do you imagine creating shelf space by giving away CDS and stuff is going to be a marriage breaker? Do you imagine my wife is offended by her getting several hundreds of pounds of gold?
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:43 pm

I've answered your PM. Choose friend. We either talk here of via PM. I'd appreciate not having both.
Now, let me see what you wrote and answer back in the thread. :smile:
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:00 pm

Ok, let me go by points.
Why would you feel disturbed about me giving my things away? I have no use of them. I had no expectations about how others should behave. Furthermore I've given to charity shops before and know it's a very matter of fact business. It's just worth nothing that one can spend a lifetime collecting things and no-one actually cares about the things one accumulates.


You are assuming I'm disturbed. I'm not. I find your understanding of renunciation shallow. As you make a public spectacle out of it, you may induce others to think that what you are doing is all there is to renunciation. It's not and that attitude may get people in trouble. Renunciation starts in the mind. As I said you by PM, you can live in a palace and be a renunciate and you can live under a bridge with your mind full of greed. It's mind that binds you, not objects. As I also told you, not all objects of desire are physical and most powerful ones usually aren't.

If you didn't have expectations about others behavior, why do you find funny that people didn't thank you when you gave them stuff? Does it occur to you that they may be accepting not to hurt you while in fact they don't have any use for them? Just a possibility.

Does it? Really? I had assumed this was a forum where Buddhists resided and it was possible that others would feel an affinity for the Buddha-dharma and stories and actions such as Layman Pang and others, such as Buddha, who had given up attachment to material things. Perhaps I am wrong.


Yes, this is a Buddhist forum. As such, making a public spectacle about how renunciate one is, commenting what one is giving away and how others reacted to this, doesn't seem the best course of action. I'm sure people feel affinity for the Buddhadharma though. You could do all that in silence. Otherwise it's just bragging one's qualities.

Are you talking as someone who has become enlightened? Are you saying that I should keep all my useless belongings?


I'm talking as someone with good common sense. Giving all away while unprepared may get people in trouble. Others with a shallow understanding of what is renunciation may follow your example only to find out that they've messed their lives.
I'm also saying that mind is what binds you, not objects. Besides if those belongings are useless, then what's the merit of you giving them to others? I find merit when one gives what one needs to others.

And you know this because?

You said you were married, right? Monks can't be married right? If you are a monk, this thread makes it even worse, I'm sorry to say.

Do you imagine creating shelf space by giving away CDS and stuff is going to be a marriage breaker? Do you imagine my wife is offended by her getting several hundreds of pounds of gold?

I'm glad to know you wife finds your behavior very adjusted.

The main point here: seems to me that your understanding of renunciation is shallow and you are not giving a good example. It's not by giving things away that you become a renunciate. Not when you make a big deal out of this.
If I give an old rag to someone, I won't make a topic out of it. Why? Because an old rag means nothing to me. If I make a thread out of giving things, it means that those things still hold a power over me. That or, even worse, that I like to brag about my renunciation. This is self defeating.

Hey, but if you want to keep giving everything away, that's your problem. My post only serves to alert others that what you are doing is not seen as true renunciation by everyone, so they should think twice before following your example.

Best wishes. (You can give them away too :lol: )
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby catmoon » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:17 pm

Careful there, Kwanseum. This world is quite fond of nailing renunciates to crosses and such.

In any event, I would say well done! I have trouble parting with pocket change on the street, myself. I'm a lousy tipper too.

I suppose we are all on the path of renunciation to some degree. I pretty much left television behind some years ago, I don't have a stereo, and I eat a much simpler diet. My crowning achievement (lol) is that I renounced cell phones before I ever owned one!

So perhaps we are all headed in roughly the same direction.
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:57 pm

Yes, as catmoon said. I don't want to sound too critic of your attitude. My words of caution come from concern that people unprepared start giving things away, only to find out that they weren't ready too late. You see, I've seen this happening already with ugly results. There are a few warning signs I've pointed in my previous post, so I won't go over them again. As I said, I hope I'm terribly wrong in your case. Well, at least you are being generous, which is always worthy. :smile:
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby KwanSeum » Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:46 pm

catmoon wrote:Careful there, Kwanseum. This world is quite fond of nailing renunciates to crosses and such.


LOL - a nenunciate! Hardly, I only gave away a few things I didn't need.

I hardly think it's going to undermine the fabric of society. :smile:

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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby catmoon » Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:40 am

KwanSeum wrote:
catmoon wrote:Careful there, Kwanseum. This world is quite fond of nailing renunciates to crosses and such.


LOL - a nenunciate! Hardly, I only gave away a few things I didn't need.

I hardly think it's going to undermine the fabric of society. :smile:

KwanSeum


You don't think so? You need to do some hard thinking there buddy.
Suppose everyone started doing as you have done. Suddenly we would be awash in stuff that nobody particularly wanted. Nothing would have any monetary value. It would become impossible to make PROFITS fer heaven's sake. The advertising industry would crash overnight, and the streets would be filled with unemployed, homeless advertising execs looking for revenge. And they would be looking particularly for the guy who started it all.
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Re: Layman Pang and me/us

Postby KwanSeum » Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:41 pm

catmoon wrote:You don't think so? You need to do some hard thinking there buddy.
Suppose everyone started doing as you have done. Suddenly we would be awash in stuff that nobody particularly wanted. Nothing would have any monetary value. It would become impossible to make PROFITS fer heaven's sake. The advertising industry would crash overnight, and the streets would be filled with unemployed, homeless advertising execs looking for revenge. And they would be looking particularly for the guy who started it all.


LOL - you've got me converted! I'm off downtown, credit card in hand to save the world

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