Why do monks reside in temples

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CosmosFF
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Why do monks reside in temples

Post by CosmosFF »

Instead of living in shacks or caves? What is the use of buildings being grand and ornamented when their inhabitants are supposed to achieve some state of not wanting that stuff? thats why you go there...

(Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #4)
The World-Honored One Points to the Ground

When the World-Honored One was walking with his assembly, he pointed to the ground with his hand and said, “This place is good for building a temple.”
Indra took a stalk of grass and stuck it in the ground and said, “The temple has been built.”
The World-Honored One smiled.

A blade of grass is hard to live in, but a mud hut protects from rain...
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Redfaery
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Redfaery »

Well, certainly there are monks who do in fact go into retreat and live in caves and simple hermitages. However, I imagine that it's very hard to serve the community of layfolk if the sangha is so isolated. There is also a difference between "wanting" a grand temple and needing adequate shelter from the elements. A mud hut really would not do in a Tibetan winter. Besides, I have not seen many grand temples here in the USA where I live!
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Monks may take up residence at the temples,
but not in the temples.
Monks who take care of temples reside in the living quarters adjacent to temples, and those living quarters will usually be very simple, like a student dorm.
Every monastery, places where monks or nuns live, will have some kind of temple, and sometimes this temple in turn serves as a public temple for the surrounding community as well. If people make lots of contributions to the temple, it can grow to be very large and also very richly ornamented. And improvements might be made to the living quarters of the monastic residents too. But it’s not as though they will suddenly be living in a palace. Who do you think has to do all the maintenance and cleaning?

Here is a photo of monks quarters, at a monastery in Canada. They live 10 monks to a room. It’s very nice, but they aren’t living like kings!
AA54D7CC-4A45-4BA9-A42A-EC7D32443354.jpeg
AA54D7CC-4A45-4BA9-A42A-EC7D32443354.jpeg (50.13 KiB) Viewed 718 times
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Queequeg
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Queequeg »

Monasteries are training grounds. We, lay people, give them those facilities to support their study and practice. We hope they'll proceed more quickly to awakening if they're not having to deal with latrine duty and begging enough food for the whole group. Its not an easy life. Its very regimented. There isn't a lot of freedom.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
CosmosFF
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by CosmosFF »

who builds them to be like that, you can buy food for money
Genjo Conan
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Genjo Conan »

When I lived in a monastery, it was not terribly grand. Three of us in a room; we had space under our beds for a trunk or suitcase, and we shared a bookshelf and a desk. The hall was heated, but the individual rooms were not, so whether your room got heat seemingly depended on architecture and luck. The bell rang at 3:50 a.m. Two periods of Zazen in the morning, followed by service and breakfast. One work period from 8 to noon, lunch from 12-1, and then another work period until 4. Another period of Zazen, and then you got a little bit of free time until dinner. After dinner, there was either another period of Zazen, or a dharma talk or class. Then free time until bed; most of us were asleep by 9. Most of us were also chronically sleep-deprived. The food was pretty good but the coffee sucked.

I have a lot of fond memories from my short time there, but it wasn't because it was a luxurious existence.
CosmosFF
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by CosmosFF »

the living quarters themselves being simple i think i can understand but what is the actual reason temples look like they do? who builds them?
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

CosmosFF wrote: Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:24 pm the living quarters themselves being simple i think i can understand but what is the actual reason temples look like they do? who builds them?
Because people find religious art and architecture inspiring? Buddhist art is one of the things has kept Buddhist culture going for 2500 years. There are certainly places where it can get questionable, but questioning the need for art or architecture is a little silly.

There are certainly places where we could ask if the money is well spent, HHDL has recommended we build schools instead of more temples, but temples do in fact serve a vital purpose in the larger Buddhist community.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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Queequeg
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Queequeg »

First, there are a range of aesthetics in Buddhist monasteries. There are zen monasteries that are very monochromatic and sparse. Then you have Vajrayana halls that are explosions of color and gold leaf. To an extent, those aesthetics are directly connected to practice.

One reason we give and support what some might call extravagant monasteries is because it inspires us, it valorizes the Dharma, it makes a good impression on people. It shows that a community is willing to give its seal of approval to what is happening there with our money and donations. It makes a difference if a teacher is in an uninspiring physical environment - many people are shallow. They need their "church" to be inspiring to them. Some monasteries abuse the generosity of the community, but most are not doing that.

And hey, its just money. If you're so worried and stingy about how your money is spent after you give it away, how do you expect to obtain the release of nirvana? The only thing that really matters is one's own intention when alms are given. Its not really our job to micromanage. If you find a particular place unworthy of your support, then move on - surely you'll find one that you could support. Alternatively, maybe you're just not interested in giving alms and just want to be a busy body, counting the monasteries money. If that's the case, happiness will be illusive no matter the circumstance.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
CosmosFF
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by CosmosFF »

Queequeg wrote: Mon Dec 07, 2020 8:54 pm First, there are a range of aesthetics in Buddhist monasteries. There are zen monasteries that are very monochromatic and sparse. Then you have Vajrayana halls that are explosions of color and gold leaf. To an extent, those aesthetics are directly connected to practice.

One reason we give and support what some might call extravagant monasteries is because it inspires us, it valorizes the Dharma, it makes a good impression on people. It shows that a community is willing to give its seal of approval to what is happening there with our money and donations. It makes a difference if a teacher is in an uninspiring physical environment - many people are shallow. They need their "church" to be inspiring to them. Some monasteries abuse the generosity of the community, but most are not doing that.

And hey, its just money. If you're so worried and stingy about how your money is spent after you give it away, how do you expect to obtain the release of nirvana? The only thing that really matters is one's own intention when alms are given. Its not really our job to micromanage. If you find a particular place unworthy of your support, then move on - surely you'll find one that you could support. Alternatively, maybe you're just not interested in giving alms and just want to be a busy body, counting the monasteries money. If that's the case, happiness will be illusive no matter the circumstance.
Haha, thank you, i am just a curious little man. The money thing i wasn't serious about, and i agree with your point on it
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Könchok Chödrak »

Being attached to Temple life in Buddhism gives one great strides in the cultivation of understanding very important Dharmic principles, as everyone in a Temple is supposed to be pursuing the goal of achieving oneness with the Dharma. If it is a true Sangha and the spirit of the Buddha is present, then you can take refuge there and create lifelong lasting practitional Spiritual relationships that have and will continue on beyond your current lifetime. Buddhism is meant to be practiced in a setting where it is being taught to others, and Temples are wonderful places to do this. I highly recommend visiting a Buddhist Temple. You don't have to decide to reside in one, but just visiting daily or even once, you may meet lifelong Dharma friends who you'll see again. I still remember the first time I entered an open Buddhist Temple, sat there, and the monk that was observing me surely saved my life. Om.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

CosmosFF wrote: Mon Dec 07, 2020 5:07 pm who builds them to be like that, you can buy food for money
Since the time of the Buddha, the wealthy nobility and royalty has donated large sums of money for the construction of temples and monasteries. Today, with there being so many millionaires now in China, where making grand donations is regarded as creating merit and gaining “face” money is still spent on extravagant temples, if not in Chiba itself, then in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, the United States, and those recipients also use much of the donations for humanitarian projects. But, like it or not, when big donors make big donations, they expect to see some flash. Or giant Buddhas. This, in turn, attracts tourists and tourist money helps support the monasteries and their projects.
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by neander »

Monks live in temples because they do not follow the Dharma.

We know nothing about original Buddhism (please see Wikipedia page on original Buddhism and read all the scholarly references and you will understand for yourself not even the 4 Noble Truth is certain)

One of the few things we know is that the original Buddha followers were a wandering community (with the only exception of the rainy season). Even besides The two traditions of meditation in ancient India of Prof Bronkhorst, Google is your friend ad you can easily find scholarly references for this.

if Buddha deemed it necessary to establish a fixed community in a monastery he would have created one so all modern monasteries do not have the foundation on original Buddhism; life among nature was more conducive to enlightenment for Buddha than monastic life, staying all day long sitting meditating was not his Dharma..
Last edited by neander on Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by DNS »

neander wrote: Mon Dec 07, 2020 10:37 pm if Buddha deemed it necessary to establish a fixed community in a monastery he would have created one so all modern monasteries do not have the foundation on original Buddhism; life among nature was more conducive to enlightenment for Buddha than monastic life, staying all day long sitting meditating was not his Dharma..
Where did you get those ideas from? The Buddha did have monasteries. He had several built. Jetavanārāma was one of several constructed during the Buddha's time, from the donation of Anathapindika.
https://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?ti ... thapindika
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Redfaery
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Redfaery »

Neander, do you think monks sit in temples all day long? In my observation they do other things as well. What tradition do you study, may I ask?
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neander
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by neander »

I follow Nichiren as independent studying mainly Sokka Gakkai articles and adapting them

The idea that monks sit all day is a little bit of an exaggeration but it was to reiterate my concept...

As said please read the paper quoted and use google..

D. N. De L. Young The Sangha in Buddhist History

https://www.britannica.com/topic/sangha

https://www.learnreligions.com/the-firs ... nks-450082
Last edited by neander on Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
neander
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by neander »

My initial statement was a little bit provocative as Original Buddhism is surrounded by a deep mist, unfortunately.. as you know nothing can be attributed to Buddha directly, so we are not talking here about 100% certainty but about probability seen the historical contest, analysis of the earliest sutra, and various tradition at the time and we cannot exclude that later myths were added...
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Queequeg »

Oh... Original Buddhism or whatever doesn't get a good reception in these parts...

I guess if you're going to join the discussion, may as well jump into the deep end of the pool...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Upaya Chapter

純一実相。実相外。更無別法。法性寂然名止。寂而常渉照名観。
There is only reality; there is nothing separate from reality. The naturally tranquil nature of dharmas is shamatha. The abiding luminosity of tranquility is vipashyana.

-From Guanding's Introduction to Zhiyi's Great Shamatha and Vipashyana
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Redfaery
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Redfaery »

I must confess I'm not sure why you feel the need to make these statements. If you are adapting your own unique interpretation of SGI teachings, I'm not sure how you can claim monks in temples aren't following the Dharma?
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!
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Re: Why do monks reside in temples

Post by Genjo Conan »

As noted above, Anathapindika canonically founded Jetavana during Sakyamuni's lifetime. Visakha also founded Migaramatupasada while he was alive. And the Vinaya speaks clearly of and to monastic living. Nor is it true that the early Buddhist communities lived an eremitic lifestyle out in nature: they needed to be close to towns, so they could get food.

edit: I think it at least borderline slanders the triple gem to imply that 2.5 thousand years worth of homeleavers "have not followed the dharma" because they lived in a dedicated building rather than camping out under a ficus tree or something.
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