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quest10101
13 Dec 14, 23:18
Buddhism tries to do two very different and in the end deeply contradictory things. It is successful in only one of them.

Is Buddhism for 'the many' by which I mean everyone - ordained and laity alike? Or is it only for 'the few' by which I mean Monks?

Of course the Vinnaya which defines the Monastic form is only for the few. It defines the relationships between the ordained community and their supporters among the lay community and amongst other things it is designed to protect the ordained community from criticism and thereby ensure that they continue to be supported.The ordained Sangha depend completely on the wider lay community. This is fundamental. Without lay support, there would be no monastery and no vinnaya - never mind about the four requisites.

But the Buddha was pointing to universal truths in the human condition and therefore his message was for everyone. Just as suffering has its origins in the human condition, so does the way out of suffering also lie in the human condition.

http://buddhaspace.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-unborn-ajahn-sumedho.html

The Buddha said (Udana VIII.3) There is the unborn, uncreated, unformed, unoriginated, and therefore there is an escape from the born, created, formed, originated.

Note that the Buddha did not say that you can get the unborn, uncreated... by following a strict diet and a harsh exercise regime or by passing an exam or by a long course of study. He said that there is the unborn; in other words it is a reality now. It is there. It is something natural. It is not something has has to be manufactured or in some way attained. It just has to be recognised or realised. The unconditioned is something natural. It is not an artefact. It is not the product of some kind of exotic conditioning. To quote the author of the above article, 'The unconditioned is not about doing something in order to get something, or get rid of something'. 'I am not an unenlightened person who has to do something or order to get something or get rid of something in the future.' This is a message for everyone. We can all be Buddhists because we can all be mindful. We can all meditate, but we can't all be monks and even monks can't be monks without our support.

What if we say that our lot in life is to support monks because only they can understand Buddhism and all we can receive is Merit for the next life. In that case Buddhism would only be for the few. The many would be palmed off with inferior substitutes like holy water blessings and Merit for Dana. In effect, the many would have become merely spectators, by-standers and on-lookers. If Buddhism is for the few, it cannot be for the many.

If we all become Buddhist meditators though, we can all realise the unconditioned and the way the Buddha showed us to leave suffering. What use will we then have for the ordained few and their antique Vinnaya? What need will we have for all the rites and rituals? If there is no incentive for the many to support the few since the many know for themselves that 'there is nothing to get or get rid of', then there is no Merit to be gained in supporting the few. The many will be less inclined to be deferential to the few. They will be less inclined to hang on to their coat tails so to speak. If a monk is deemed to be a good monk well good for him! What is that to me? It is not who you know that is important but what you know! If Buddhism ever does truly become for the many, then the few will soon become surplus to requirements. Thus if Buddhism is for the many, it cannot also be for the few.

You can't have it both ways. It is one or the other.

Aloka
14 Dec 14, 00:39
Hi quest10101,



What if we say that our lot in life is to support monks because only they can understand Buddhism and all we can receive is Merit for the next life. In that case Buddhism would only be for the few. The many would be palmed off with inferior substitutes like holy water blessings and Merit for Dana. In effect, the many would have become merely spectators, by-standers and on-lookers. If Buddhism is for the few, it cannot be for the many.

And what if we don't say or believe any of that ?

I also find it strange that you're quoting about the unconditioned (from a quote on someone's blog) from the chapter "Refuge in Awareness" in the book "The Sound of Silence" by Ajahn Sumedho, who is a monk, - while at the same time you appear to have a down on people who are ordained.

Have you read the actual book ?


The many would be palmed off with inferior substitutes like holy water blessings and Merit for Dana.

Holy water blessings ? Where did you receive those ? Personally I don't believe in seeking personal 'merit', I give offerings spontaneously.


If we all become Buddhist meditators though, we can all realise the unconditioned and the way the Buddha showed us to leave suffering.


Have you realised the unconditioned yourself ?


What use will we then have for the ordained few and their antique Vinnaya? .

Lets not forget that the Buddha chose to be a monk himself. How many monasteries have you been to and how many of "the ordained few" have you actually spoken to personally ? (It's "Vinaya", by the way)



What need will we have for all the rites and rituals


and from your own experience (rather than reading about them), these are......... ?


.

quest10101
14 Dec 14, 09:15
Have you read the actual book ?

Yes. That book and many others. Not only that but I have listened to his talks as they were given and been on his retreats and lived in the place and much more besides.



Holy water blessings ? Where did you receive those ?

At Buddhist monasteries. It is common practice - not only the sprinkling of holy water but other things are also done by monks to keep the lay people happy. Monks often give out photographs of themselves. They give out talismans as well. This encourages lay people to bond with the monks. I have also seen monks encourage lay people to make requests as if the monks were capable of sorting out all their worldly problems. All of this encourages the idea that the lay people in supporting the monks are 'doing something in order to get something.' In a sense the monks who are dependent on lay people are projecting this dependency on to the lay people and encouraging them to believe that they are in turn dependent on monks so lay people internalise the belief that Buddhism is for the few and not for the many. You may not believe in Merit but most Buddhists do.


Have you realised the unconditioned yourself ?


Yes, of course I have! The unconditioned is 'what you start with' (please note this is not just my personal opinion, the quotes are there because the words come from Luang Por Sumedho. Although, it appears that you have not realised the unconditioned and that therefore any further discussion is rather pointless. How are you going to experience the unconditioned? Do you think that you will be able to do something in the future in order to get something or get rid of something and hey presto, the unconditioned will suddenly fall out of the sky and land on your lap? 'The unconditioned is not a reward for good behaviour or hard work' LP Sumedho is fond of repeating this over and over again. The only time you can experience the unconditioned is in the present moment - NOW. When we meditate we take refuge in the unconditioned. You can't really call yourself a Buddhist unless you have understood this central point.



Lets not forget that the Buddha chose to be a monk himself. How many monasteries have you been to and how many of "the ordained few" have you actually spoken to personally ? (It's "Vinaya", by the way)


I have been to many monasteries over nearly 20 years. I know and have spoken to and lived with lots of monks. Yes, the Buddha himself chose to be a monk. That is the contradiction at the heart of Buddhism.

Buddhism cannot be for the many and for the few at the same time especially if the few depend on the many for their rules and for their requisites.

Aloka
14 Dec 14, 09:51
Hello again quest10101,


....and been on his retreats and lived in the place and much more besides.


Where was that, Amaravati monastery ?


They give out talismans as well. This encourages lay people to bond with the monks.

What kind of talismans and where did you experience this ?





Have you realised the unconditioned yourself ?

Yes, of course I have! The unconditioned is 'what you start with' (please note this is not just my personal opinion, the quotes are there because the words come from Luang Por Sumedho.


Here's something from Ajahn Chah for the benefit of anyone who hasn't come across the expression "the unconditioned"..... or who doesn't actually know what it means.





The Buddha talked about sankhata dhammas and asankhata dhammas — conditioned and unconditioned things. Conditioned things are innumerable — material or immaterial, big or small — if our mind is under the influence of delusion, it will proliferate about these things, dividing them up into good and bad, short and long, coarse and refined. Why does the mind proliferate like this? Because it doesn't know determined reality, it doesn't see the Dhamma. Not seeing the Dhamma, the mind is full of clinging. As long as the mind is held down by clinging there can be no escape, there is confusion, birth, old age, sickness and death, even in the thinking processes. This kind of mind is called the sankhata dhamma (conditioned mind).

Asankhata dhamma, the unconditioned, refers to the mind which has seen the Dhamma, the truth, of the Five Khandhas as they are — as Transient, Imperfect and Ownerless. All ideas of "me" and "them," "mine" and "theirs," belong to the determined reality. Really they are all conditions. When we know the truth of conditions, as neither ourselves nor belonging to us, we let go of conditions and the determined. When we let go of conditions we attain the Dhamma, we enter into and realize the Dhamma. When we attain the Dhamma we know clearly. What do we know? We know that there are only conditions and determinations, no being, no self, no "us" nor "them." This is knowledge of the way things are.

Seeing in this way the mind transcends things. The body may grow old, get sick and die, but the mind transcends this state. When the mind transcends conditions, it knows the unconditioned. the mind becomes the unconditioned, the state which no longer contains conditioning factors. The mind is no longer conditioned by the concerns of the world, conditions no longer contaminate the mind. Pleasure and pain no longer affect it. Nothing can affect the mind or change it, the mind is assured, it has escaped all constructions. Seeing the true nature of conditions and the determined, the mind becomes free.

This freed mind is called the Unconditioned, that which is beyond the power of constructing influences.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/chah/living.html#toward




Although, it appears that you have not realised the unconditioned and that therefore any further discussion is rather pointless.



Are you claiming psychic powers as well ?


You can't really call yourself a Buddhist unless you have understood this central point


Lol, I think I'll just call myself anything I want, thanks....and I very much doubt that Ajahn Sumedho would have actually said that himself.

Additionally, the buddha said the following about being a lay follower (Buddhist)



On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Park. Then Mahānāma the Sakyan approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“In what way, Bhante, is one a lay follower?”

“ When, Mahānāma, one has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, in that way one is a lay follower.”

http://suttacentral.net/en/an8.25







I have been to many monasteries over nearly 20 years.

Names of the many monasteries, please ?


Buddhism cannot be for the many and for the few at the same time especially if the few depend on the many for their rules and for their requisites

In my opinion "Buddhism" in the modern world is for anyone who's interested, and it takes many different forms, including with the ordained sangha of the different Buddhist traditions.

quest10101
14 Dec 14, 12:11
Aloka,

I have been to many places including Amaravati.

There are monks who give out Talismans. Even I was once given one. Indeed I still have it. There are Talismans that can be purchased as well and some Asian ladies have been known to spend thousands of pounds on them.

Why should I claim psychic powers? I do not and have never done that. I have no need of them.

Being a Buddhist is not a label you know. It is not like saying 'I think I will call myself Aloka today.' I think I will call myself a Buddhist - there you see - I am a Buddhist now.

You have to take refuge in Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha. That does not mean chatting to monks or visiting monasteries from time to time. It does not mean reading books or even going on Retreats. It is not about 'doing something in order to get something at all. It is an a-perception; an imminent act of awakening in the present moment. It is Sati/Sampajannya. Mindfulness with true comprehension.

Are there any grown-ups on this forum?

daverupa
14 Dec 14, 12:51
Is Buddhism for 'the many' by which I mean everyone - ordained and laity alike? Or is it only for 'the few' by which I mean Monks? False dichotomy.
The unconditioned is something natural. It is not an artefact. It is not the product of some kind of exotic conditioning. Actually, the Path is indeed conditioned; the raft is conditioned and then set aside, while you seem to have an idea that the raft is conditioned, and so not used, which is odd.
What if we say that our lot in life is to support monks because only they can understand Buddhism and all we can receive is Merit for the next life. Why say that? "What if" indeed - two things that are false, yet let's pretend they're true so I can write a diatribe. Sounds like you're spinning your worries into whole cloth while also attacking cultural Buddhism.
Are there any grown-ups on this forum? Not many; some people write things like the above sentence, a childish and petulant act.

.

quest10101
15 Dec 14, 19:55
False dichotomy?

Why? Where is you counter argument? A forum is for discussion not for hurling insults at each other.


Actually, the Path is indeed conditioned; the raft is conditioned and then set aside, while you seem to have an idea that the raft is conditioned, and so not used, which is odd.


The raft will not float without the unborn, the unformed... Try reading my Post.


http://buddhaspace.blogspot.co.uk/20...n-sumedho.html

The Buddha said (Udana VIII.3) There is the unborn, uncreated, unformed, unoriginated, and therefore there is an escape from the born, created, formed, originated.

Note that the Buddha did not say that you can get the unborn, uncreated... by following a strict diet and a harsh exercise regime or by passing an exam or by a long course of study. He said that there is the unborn; in other words it is a reality now. It is there. It is something natural. It is not something has has to be manufactured or in some way attained. It just has to be recognised or realised. The unconditioned is something natural. It is not an artefact. It is not the product of some kind of exotic conditioning. To quote the author of the above article, 'The unconditioned is not about doing something in order to get something, or get rid of something'. 'I am not an unenlightened person who has to do something or order to get something or get rid of something in the future.' This is a message for everyone. We can all be Buddhists because we can all be mindful. We can all meditate, but we can't all be monks and even monks can't be monks without our support.

Why say that? "What if" indeed - two things that are false, yet let's pretend they're true so I can write a diatribe. Sounds like you're spinning your worries into whole cloth while also attacking cultural Buddhism.

Not at all sure what you are saying here? I doubt it is worth taking the time over anyway.

Not many; some people write things like the above sentence, a childish and petulant act.

Obviously, I am still conversing with children.

woodscooter
15 Dec 14, 20:55
Are there any grown-ups on this forum?





False dichotomy?

Why? Where is you counter argument? A forum is for discussion not for hurling insults at each other.

...

Obviously, I am still conversing with children.

Oh dear, quest10101 your presence in this Forum has not got off to a very good start.

From our Code of Conduct:


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When disagreements occur, we will expect you to:

a) Focus on the ideas and not the person-and debate rationally without making personal comments to/about other members of the group, or other people in general...

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Woodscooter
Technical Administrator.