Disposal

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Disposal

Postby plwk » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:39 pm

How do Mahayana/Vajrayana Buddhists...

a. dispose off Dharma items which have degenerated due to reasons like aging, wrong printing, spoilage and etc?
b. Dharma items: ranging from printed materials to statues etc

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Re: Disposal

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:06 pm

Generally, people burn them. I dissolve printed materials in water. For me, this is like dissolving a visualization (as in vajrayana).
I also do this with the type of paper documents that most people shred. Sometimes the paper pulp can be used in gardening. Worms like to eat paper. This way you can say that the dharma is going to all those worms and insects. But these days I am using the stuff for papier mache.

Statues? keep them or give them to a temple or to another buddhist person.

Sometimes when Buddhists die their family doesn't know what to do with all their dharma stuff.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 1:44 pm

Why not just throw away the papers, sell the books on Amazon's Marketplace, and give the statues to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or some other organization that accepts donations?

It's just stuff.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Silent Bob » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:02 pm

Epistemes wrote:Why not just throw away the papers, sell the books on Amazon's Marketplace, and give the statues to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or some other organization that accepts donations?

It's just stuff.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:35 pm

Respect for what? It's inanimate.

These ceremonial actions border on St Francis of Assisi's practice of picking up any scrap of writing that he found and venerating it (for reasons known to only the theologian).

Throwing the printed materials in the shredder and letting my rabbit use it as waste paper isn't going to earn me bad karma so long as I practice the dharma.

Say what you will about the psychology of our dharma actions implicit in doing such a thing, but it's just paper. The teachings are ubiquitous.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Silent Bob » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:15 pm

Epistemes wrote:Respect for what? It's inanimate.

These ceremonial actions border on St Francis of Assisi's practice of picking up any scrap of writing that he found and venerating it (for reasons known to only the theologian).

Throwing the printed materials in the shredder and letting my rabbit use it as waste paper isn't going to earn me bad karma so long as I practice the dharma.

Say what you will about the psychology of our dharma actions implicit in doing such a thing, but it's just paper. The teachings are ubiquitous.


Clearly, your relationship to your teachers, if you have any, and to the dharma is different than mine. May I ask, if your mother were to die, would you put her inanimate body at the curb for the garbage collectors?

"YOU SPIT, I BOW

The morning after Philip Kapleau and Professor Phillips arrived at Ryutakuji Monastery they were given a tour of the place by Abbot Soen Nakagawa. Both Americans had been heavily influenced by tales of ancient Chinese masters who'd destroyed sacred texts, and even images of the Buddha, in order to free themselves from attachment to anything. They were thus surprised and disturbed to find themselves being led into a ceremonial hall, where the Roshi invited them to pay respects to a statue of the temple's founder, Hakuin Zenji, by bowing and offering incense.

On seeing Nakagawa bow before the image, Phillips couldn't contain himself, and burst out: "The old Chinese masters burned or spit on Buddha statues! Why do you bow down before them?"

"If you want to spit, you spit," replied the Roshi. "I prefer to bow." "

From: One Bird One Stone: 108 American Zen Stories by Sean Murphy
"All the sublime teachings, so profound--to throw away one and then grab yet another will not bear even a single fruit. Persevere, therefore, in simply one."
--Dudjom Rinpoche, "Nectar for the Hearts of Fortunate Disciples. Song No. 8"
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:46 pm

Comparing scraps of paper to a once beloved corpse is like comparing apples to oranges and saying they are the same because both are round-ish.

The sanitary and legal sanctions surrounding proper disposal of a body are in place for a reason; therefore, I would not dispose of her body in such a manner since such an act would be incompassionate from the standpoint of potentially causing disease or be interpreted as criminal or scandalous.

While I would be comfortable having my body thrown to the sharks, those who hold me dear would perhaps be averse to such a thought or sight.

The statue is composite materials. Shakyamuni nor Avolekitesvara nor Amithabha are not consciously present in it, and it's a figment of our imagination to suppose that their nirvana is disturbed by pigeon waste or a whole other host of base excrements. My statue is a reminder of what the dharma says I am to do. At best, I'd shake the Buddha's hand, thank him for the advice, and get on with it. If I wanted reverence, I'd become Hindu.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Silent Bob » Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:04 pm

I think you should do what you want (big old YAWN here...) :zzz:
Last edited by Silent Bob on Tue Aug 23, 2011 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 7:16 pm

That's pretty much the concensus around here...
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Re: Disposal

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:11 pm

Since the value of various objects is imputed by the mind to begin with, then there is a sense of follow-through with their disposal. For example, Some people receive stuff in the mail from Monasteries or Dharma centers and they have images of Buddhas and teachers printed on them. So, we regard these as meaningful because that is the mind.

Of course, on very close examination there are no images printed on them, merely tiny ink dots. But the mind gathers this together, and what see see is those images which in our mind are significant.

So, it does not seem appropriate to just throw it into the trash even though we know that it is just a scrap of paper. For this reason, with full understanding that this is all just play of the mind, people will sometimes burn "sacred trash" meaning old copies of teachings, maybe things that were run off on a copier but are now in published form or whatever, and, just as with incense or prayer flags, use this as an opportunity to wish that one's aspirations to benefit others are carried in all directions by the wind. So, the point is to provide an opportunity for the one disposing of the stuff.

Just as valid, of course, is the example of the raft which one discards after using it to cross a stream. Being overly attached to objects is not particularly beneficial.

It should be noted, however, that various traditions which have come to the west from the east often lose their importance due to simple cultural circumstances. As you may know, the Chinese way of writing and its development is entirely different from that of any alphabetical language. Characters are actually pictorial symbols (or derived from pictures) of things they represent. For this reason, the written word itself, as a thing in itself, has a particular value in Chinese culture that simply does not exist in the west, and not merely in terms of any calligraphic aesthetic. In traditional Chinese culture, a written character was often regarded as retaining somewhat the essence of the thing it represented. Likewise, Seed syllables such as "OM" written in Sanskrit held a similar power, or characteristic, in Indian culture.

Alphabetical languages, by contrast rely on strings of letters which represent vocal noises rather than the objects being spoken, or written about. So, for example, a chair is not a combination of cheese and hair. This may seem silly, but it is an essential consideration. But in Chinese, written characters are often combinations of things. In a sense, each character is like a charm which produces a communicated idea, and so the written word holds a different status in many Asian countries, simply due to the fact of its development.

This doesn't mean you need to do one thing or another with whatever you need to get rid of, but i just wanted to suggest that what often seems like some stupid concern sometimes has a reason which is not really so stupid after all. The reasons why buddhist garbage is often disposed of "mindfully" has its roots in history, even though the original reasons may not apply today.

When you delete files from your computer, where do they go?
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:39 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:It should be noted, however, that various traditions which have come to the west from the east often lose their importance due to simple cultural circumstances. As you may know, the Chinese way of writing and its development is entirely different from that of any alphabetical language. Characters are actually pictorial symbols (or derived from pictures) of things they represent. For this reason, the written word itself, as a thing in itself, has a particular value in Chinese culture that simply does not exist in the west, and not merely in terms of any calligraphic aesthetic. In traditional Chinese culture, a written character was often regarded as retaining somewhat the essence of the thing it represented. Likewise, Seed syllables such as "OM" written in Sanskrit held a similar power, or characteristic, in Indian culture.


The West's regard for the written word may have diminished since the printing press (and e-mail), but Plotinus, the earliest Christians, and even St. Francis of Assisi all valued the written word and recognized in words the creation of the cosmos. During Mass, Roman Catholics don't just stand during a reading of the Gospel because it gives them a chance to stretch their legs.

But what do I know? I digress due to ignorance.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Jikan » Tue Aug 23, 2011 8:57 pm

Epistemes wrote:The West's regard for the written word may have diminished since the printing press (and e-mail), but Plotinus, the earliest Christians, and even St. Francis of Assisi all valued the written word and recognized in words the creation of the cosmos. During Mass, Roman Catholics don't just stand during a reading of the Gospel because it gives them a chance to stretch their legs.


So you're saying they R E S P E C T the word as a vehicle of the teachings of Christ?

Here's another approach to your earlier concern. Consider caring for your Dharma texts and images as a form of practice. In keeping them clean and properly arranged, you cultivate a healthy respect and devotion for the teachings beyond the material form they take in books and pictures and statues and things.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 9:17 pm

Jikan wrote:So you're saying they R E S P E C T the word as a vehicle of the teachings of Christ?


R E S P E C T is a vast understatement. Worship or veneration is more apt.

And, as explained above, I find cultivating any practice regarding the ceremonial dissipation of materials to be counterproductive, counterintuitive and simply superfluous.
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Re: Disposal

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:52 am

Epistemes wrote:And, as explained above, I find cultivating any practice regarding the ceremonial dissipation of materials to be counterproductive, counterintuitive and simply superfluous.


Does "materials" include the human brain?
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:52 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Epistemes wrote:And, as explained above, I find cultivating any practice regarding the ceremonial dissipation of materials to be counterproductive, counterintuitive and simply superfluous.


Does "materials" include the human brain?


Why just the human brain?
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Re: Disposal

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:54 pm

Epistemes wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Epistemes wrote:And, as explained above, I find cultivating any practice regarding the ceremonial dissipation of materials to be counterproductive, counterintuitive and simply superfluous.


Does "materials" include the human brain?


Why just the human brain?


generally, it's humans who think about dharma. My point was that there may not be that much of a difference between dharma printed in a book, and dharma committed to memory, except that our brains are not made of paper. So, with regard to the "dissipation of materials" I was implying that one could apply the same rules to a book that one applies to one's own brain.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Epistemes » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:07 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:generally, it's humans who think about dharma. My point was that there may not be that much of a difference between dharma printed in a book, and dharma committed to memory, except that our brains are not made of paper. So, with regard to the "dissipation of materials" I was implying that one could apply the same rules to a book that one applies to one's own brain.


Your point being that because both "materials" contain dharma both should be treated reverently and ceremoniously? On paper, the dharma is nothing but a bunch of words - and yet even those words are not even really words, but ink, or crayon, of pencil, or whatever. And even that ink, crayon, pencil, etc. is not really....You know where I'm going. The dharma is not living unless practiced, and paper cannot practice, statues cannot practice, etc. so there is actually no dharma contained in those materials.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Malcolm » Wed Aug 24, 2011 6:21 pm

Epistemes wrote:
Jikan wrote:So you're saying they R E S P E C T the word as a vehicle of the teachings of Christ?


R E S P E C T is a vast understatement. Worship or veneration is more apt.

And, as explained above, I find cultivating any practice regarding the ceremonial dissipation of materials to be counterproductive, counterintuitive and simply superfluous.


In Buddhism, such care comes from a time when paper was rare and expensive, and books were hard to come by.

However these days you can see people releasing paper prayer flags by the thousands so that they literally cover the ground, and then walking all over them.

And, with millions of Buddhist fliers printed on colored paper with toxic ink, it is not really practical nor safe to burn this stuff outdoors. It is not like rice paper. Thus, in general, I recyle so called Dharma "garbage". And in fact everything is empty.
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Re: Disposal

Postby Karma Yeshe » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:05 pm

This can be a somewhat tricky topic, even more so for those of us like me who live in a city.

When I took Refuge It was taught that we should respect Buddha Images texts etc. That we should keep them in High places in or home and not put them on the floor or on chairs or other places where we sit. The Monistery will, at times, allow people to bring things up to be burned but it can be a bit of a problem to store things until then.

In some cases I think the best bet might be to place images etc in a seperate bag for disposal and decicate them to the use of the Beings of the lower
realms, as when you change offering water, rice etc.

Out of Respect for the Buddha and the Dharma Teachings, I do not put anything like this in the kitchen or bathroom trash.
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