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Thread: One Who Dwells in the Dhamma

  1. #1

    One Who Dwells in the Dhamma

    Dear friends,

    I was looking at Sutta AN 5.73 One Who Dwell's in the Dhamma - and I have a question, which is:

    "To what extent do you think that this advice for monks could apply to lay practitioners?"




    73. One Who Dwells in the Dhamma

    Then a certain monk went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “‘One who dwells in the Dhamma, one who dwells in the Dhamma’: thus it is said, lord. To what extent is a bhikkhu one who dwells in the Dhamma?”

    “Monk, there is the case where a monk studies the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions. He spends the day in Dhamma-study. He neglects seclusion. He doesn’t commit himself to internal tranquillity of awareness. This is called a monk who is keen on study, not one who dwells in the Dhamma.

    “Then there is the case where a monk takes the Dhamma as he has heard & studied it and teaches it in full detail to others. He spends the day in Dhamma-description. He neglects seclusion. He doesn’t commit himself to internal tranquillity of awareness. This is called a monk who is keen on description, not one who dwells in the Dhamma.

    “Then there is the case where a monk takes the Dhamma as he has heard & studied it and recites it in full detail. He spends the day in Dhamma-recitation. He neglects seclusion. He doesn’t commit himself to internal tranquillity of awareness. This is called a monk who is keen on recitation, not one who dwells in the Dhamma.

    “Then there is the case where a monk takes the Dhamma as he has heard & studied it and thinks about it, evaluates it, and examines it with his intellect. He spends the day in Dhamma-thinking. He neglects seclusion. He doesn’t commit himself to internal tranquillity of awareness. This is called a monk who is keen on thinking, not one who dwells in the Dhamma.

    “Then there is the case where a monk studies the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions. He doesn’t spend the day in Dhamma-study. He doesn’t neglect seclusion. He commits himself to internal tranquillity of awareness. This is called a monk who dwells in the Dhamma.

    “Now, monk, I have taught you the person who is keen on study, the one who is keen on description, the one who is keen on recitation, the one who is keen on thinking, and the one who dwells in the Dhamma. Whatever a teacher should do—seeking the welfare of his disciples, out of sympathy for them—that have I done for you. Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monk. Don’t be heedless. Don’t later fall into regret. This is our message to you.”

    https://suttacentral.net/en/an5.73


  2. #2
    Forums Member srivijaya's Avatar
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    Over there are the roots of trees; over there, empty dwellings. Practice jhana, monk. Don’t be heedless. Don’t later fall into regret. This is our message to you.”
    "Practice jhana, monk." It seems that so many people miss that nowadays. Lay people can do all of the above, even jhana.

  3. #3
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    As a Cultivator of buddha dhamma, the meditation on 4 jhana is a part of the practice :)

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    I don't think there is any need for a distinction between lay and others. If you are on the path you are on the path. The extent to which you decide to remove yourself from society is up to you, as is the extent to which you wish to accept rules developed in another time and place to ensure the propagation of monastic communities.

  5. #5
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    I think the following is a more accurate rendering of

    "Jhayatha bhikkhave ma pamadattha"

    "Bhikkhus, Contemplate on the specific object of meditation by means of Samatha Bhavana or contemplate on the characteristics of arising and passing away of the aggregates of mentality and materiality by means of Vipassana Bhavana."

    and not : "Practice jhana, monk."

    in other words what is being presented as "practice jhana" really means meditate or practice anapana (awareness of in and out breathing) and vipassana (insight, see things as they really are, observe anicca). (by doing so the jhanas may be realised). Note that as Buddha says here and elsewhere it is (only) by practicing, not intellectualising, that 'one dwells in the Dhamma".

    http://www.myanmarnet.net/nibbana/uttama2a.htm
    https://palidictionary.appspot.com/browse/a/ahuvattha
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....073.than.html
    https://obo.genaud.net/a/dhamma-vina...74.pali.bd.htm

    Therefore to answer the OP question. "To what extent do you think that this advice for monks could apply to lay practitioners?"

    In short : totally. Anyone can learn the meditation techniques taught by the Buddha. A person can have no booklearning and by following the teachings by a good teacher reach the ultimate truth, nibbana.

    One may have an extensive knowledge of the teaching and have no chance of attaining full self realisation. It is by putting the teaching into practice that each individual can progress on the path. Book learning can be helpful but only that.

    "Going forth" (becoming a monk) simply makes it easier. Less distraction, deeper detachment. 227 sila precepts as opposed to 5 for laypersons. (refrain from killing, stealing , lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxicants). Though a cursory reading of the 227 seems to indicate that many may be considered subsets of the 5.
    Last edited by Changing; 27 Mar 19 at 10:36.

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