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Aloka
16 Sep 11, 08:13
Dear friends,

I found this article and wondered if anyone had any comments about it.


Sri Lanka and folk Buddhism

by R Chandrasoma


"Is the Folk-Buddhism currently practiced in Sri Lanka a major shift from the Canonical Buddhism of the Sutras?"

continued :

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=43,10457,0,0,1,0

FBM
16 Sep 11, 09:01
Sounds a lot like the way things work in Korea and Thailand, too. There's a widely held belief among the laity that reading the suttas is for the ordained, while their duty is to accumulate merit to transfer to their parents' cosmic merit account. Failing to do so makes them bad Buddhists and bad children.

Among the monks, there are few who actually teach the public about what's in the suttas/sutras. Instead, they (in my experience) repeat the words of their own teacher and encourage hero-worship of him. Preserving and promoting their lineage often becomes the real focus, rather than spreading the Buddha's dhamma.

But there are bhikkhus and bhikkunis who are committed to walking the path and sharing their experiences sincerely (and for free) with the public. Problem is, they don't try to gain a following. They tend to remain in solitude most of the time. Because most of these bhikkhus and bhikkhunis are so low-profile, the public tends to equate Buddhism with the more visible examples, which are the monks who give blessings, appear on TV, write books, give speeches and take donations.

There are exceptions, of course. The above is just a rough outline of my experience. Offhand, I can't remember meeting a single monk who was in either a leadership position or in the public eye, and whom I also thought was sincere about either practicing or spreading the Buddha's dhamma. I imagine there are some, don't get me wrong, but I haven't personally met one.

stuka
16 Sep 11, 22:00
Sounds like 99% of the "Buddhism" I have encountered.

I think the author is spot on.

Element
16 Sep 11, 22:50
This is the way things are, which the Buddha called 'suchness', 'thusness', tathatā

To believe most religious Buddhists should study the suttas is a delusion

retrofuturist
16 Sep 11, 23:47
Greetings Aloka,

Thanks for sharing.

Many of us who are not from traditional Buddhist countries had to go to some degree of effort, investigation, or conscious decision, to arrive at Buddhism as our spiritual path.

The situation must be significantly different when you are born into a "Buddhist country", or if you are just Buddhist "by default" despite having negligible interest in spiritual cultivation.

Are there any members of this fine community who were born into a Buddhist country who might be able to share their experiences in this context?

Metta,
Retro. ;D

Lazy Eye
17 Sep 11, 01:11
Interesting read. It seems to me he gets to the heart of the issue when he writes:


The attainment of Nirvanic Bliss through a systematic treading of the Arya Magga or path of purification is [seen as being] for a narrow elite of the morally and spiritually gifted.

For the masses however, this is of marginal interest. The chief aim of the majority is not about esoteric transcendence leading to nirvanic bliss, but the betterment of prevailing existence in this world or the next.

In other words, it all boils down to the question: what to do with the laypeople? Besides collect their dana, that is. ;)

Obviously the tendencies which he describes are one sort of answer. What would be a better one? Keeping in mind that the sangha "was originally a band of renunciants pursuing a solitary path of spiritual discovery in an esoteric domain", and that the path is one of renunciation.

Have to admit that as a busy householder, with small kids to raise, "esoteric transcendence leading to nirvanic bliss" is not always on the front burner for me either. Too many dishes in the sink...


Are there any members of this fine community who were born into a Buddhist country who might be able to share their experiences in this context?

I'd like to hear this perspective also.

FBM
17 Sep 11, 06:25
Yep, the newly-enlightened Buddha is said to have at first resisted trying to teach the dhamma because it was too hard. Then he realized that there would be a few with "just a little dust in their eyes" and that teaching for the sake of those few was worthwhile.

stuka
17 Sep 11, 13:52
To believe most religious Buddhists should study the suttas is a delusion

To believe that "most religious Buddhists" today are incapable of grasping the Buddha's teachings is a delusion.

The world has changed.

hajurba
17 Sep 11, 14:19
Greetings Aloka,

Thanks for sharing.

Many of us who are not from traditional Buddhist countries had to go to some degree of effort, investigation, or conscious decision, to arrive at Buddhism as our spiritual path.

The situation must be significantly different when you are born into a "Buddhist country", or if you are just Buddhist "by default" despite having negligible interest in spiritual cultivation.

Are there any members of this fine community who were born into a Buddhist country who might be able to share their experiences in this context?

Metta,
Retro. ;D Yep! ; I try to explain a few naive sounding facts to our friends at BWB all the time....follow me dear friend...search what I try to say...lonely I am in here....ask me everything about it. I am ready to answer...I have a thousand questions too. Never before did I find a place to launch my questions ever since the world wide web was opened for us simpletons here in Nepal. The time is now...ask :hands:P.S. Sometimes I even have the impression that some (not many..just a tiny few...) members try to "over-rule" my opinion...but I consider this as a natural thing...out of some degree of ignorance about other cultures! :lol: Don't ask me names...I will not play a game about this.It would lead to nothing! It's not YOU or You or You...ha-ha! I love you all.:up2:

Esho
17 Sep 11, 14:24
Many of us who are not from traditional Buddhist countries had to go to some degree of effort, investigation, or conscious decision, to arrive at Buddhism as our spiritual path.

And when the country is non Buddhist at all... this effort is a lot more bigger...

;D

FBM
17 Sep 11, 14:47
Yep! ; I try to explain a few naive sounding facts to our friends at BWB all the time....follow me dear friend...search what I try to say...lonely I am in here....ask me everything about it. I am ready to answer...I have a thousand questions too. Never before did I find a place to launch my questions ever since the world wide web was opened for us simpletons here in Nepal. The time is now...ask :hands:P.S. Sometimes I even have the impression that some (not many..just a tiny few...) members try to "over-rule" my opinion...but I consider this as a natural thing...out of some degree of ignorance about other cultures! :lol: Don't ask me names...I will not play a game about this.It would lead to nothing! It's not YOU or You or You...ha-ha! I love you all.:up2:

Hajurba, I hope I haven't tried to over-rule your opinions. I've found your words to be very insightful and fascinating. My monastic experience was in the forests of western Thailand, near the Burmese border, but so many things you describe also fit almost exactly with my experience. Of course, one year in a monastery would not give me the same depth of insight as someone who was born and raised in a Buddhist culture. I hope to learn more from you as time goes on.

Incidentally, there was one Nepalese monk who stayed at our wat for a few months. He was far more familiar with the details of the Pali Canon than even our ajahn (abbot). More than that, he was extremely kind, gentle and generous with the rest of us, and we all looked to him as a source of inspiration and knowledge. It may just be my imagination, but I get the same sort of feeling when I read what you write. I may not have said it before, but I am grateful for you being here. :up2:

hajurba
17 Sep 11, 14:52
Thanks FBM...I already had this felling about you....it encourages me a lot! ;)

FBM
17 Sep 11, 15:21
Thanks FBM...I already had this felling about you....it encourages me a lot! ;)

I'm glad to hear it! I meant what I said. I feel like you are a breath of fresh air to the forum. :peace:

stuka
17 Sep 11, 18:26
Sometimes I even have the impression that some (not many..just a tiny few...) members try to "over-rule" my opinion...but I consider this as a natural thing...out of some degree of ignorance about other cultures!

Or that could just be a compounded collection of presumptions.

Aloka
17 Sep 11, 19:16
Sometimes I even have the impression that some (not many..just a tiny few...) members try to "over-rule" my opinion...but I consider this as a natural thing...out of some degree of ignorance about other cultures



I haven't noticed this happening, Hajurba - so I'm puzzled about what you mean by that.

However, as this is an international discussion/debating/ learning community, its ok for people to share different views, we can still do that whilst all being friends together ! I realise that you're not familiar with cross-tradition debating and that English isn't your first language either, so it might just be a misunderstanding . I hope so. We're not just westerners by the way, we have members from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, the Middle East, Mexico etc etc

This thread in the Theravada forum is the wrong place for off topic chat about forum communications though -so if you wish to continue this discussion about members trying to '' over rule your opinion'', perhaps a thread in the Tea Room would be more appropriate, please ? - or if you have any serious concerns you can always contact me privately of course and I'll do my best to help.

Thank you. :hands:


~I'd be grateful if we could all now return to discussing the points raised in the original post #1 please. ~

:flower:

upekka
29 Sep 11, 23:44
i am a Sri lankan, buddhist, live in Australia

i went to Sunday School (learn Dhamma - learn to recite buddhist stanzas without knowing the real meaning) in my childhood

studied buddhism as a subject upto secondary level (O/L) and got a Credit pass

followed buddhist traditional and cultural things like alms giving to sangha, offering flowers etc. to Buddha status, bodhi puja etc. until i was 45 years old

one day i found an interesting article about Buddhism, on my desk (i do not know who put it on my desk and i was reading for PhD at a University in Australia by that time)

this article made me to investigate other religions especially, Hinduism and Christianity

up to that my understanding of religions was limited to Buddhism (that also was a limited understanding)

From this point onwards i started to think about Buddha's Teaching and practicing meditation
(one more point i have to mention here
by this time i was become very sick owing to some illness and my husband took me to the temple (monastry) to practice meditation
now i think, the illness was a blessing in disguise)

nearly 15 years i have been practicing meditation (on and off i didn't do) and listened to dhamma talks, participate forum discussions, read a few number of suttas and all of them help me to develop my faith in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

my faith is confirmed and nobody can shake it anymore