Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby Dugu » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:00 am

I admire the Amish people for their simple way of life, even though they live in a very materialistic country like the United States. I wonder if there is a Buddhist community similar to this?
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:26 am

The Thai Forest Tradition live out in the middle of the woods in Thailand, trying to live the way the early Buddhists did.

In the past, there also used to be a tradition in Japan of Zen Buddhist monks who wandered around, homeless. Early Chan\Zen Buddhism was also structured through independent communes, much like the Amish, though I think they received outside financial support (from the government, maybe?) and don't believe they exist anymore.

I think that's about as close as you'll get. However, many Buddhist monks adhere strictly to Vinaya, which precludes personal property ownership, money, and going to movies, listening to music, dancing, etc..
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby Dugu » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:06 am

I guess I should clarify that I was looking for a lay Buddhist's community similar to the Amish. I just imagine it would be a nice place to live, the community will support the monks and everyone would live a simple life away from modern influences like the Amish. :smile:
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:43 am

Dugu wrote:I guess I should clarify that I was looking for a lay Buddhist's community similar to the Amish. I just imagine it would be a nice place to live, the community will support the monks and everyone would live a simple life away from modern influences like the Amish. :smile:

Thich Nhant Hanh's lay community is probably the closest to that.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Nov 02, 2009 7:54 am

I guess the difficulty in finding a near equivalent, is that most Buddhist communities (in the broad sense) are composed of both renunciant and house-holder individuals, and that there are often clear distinctions between the roles of both. Though the former is somewhat voluntarily restricted in certain activities, the latter is largely not. Whereas for the Amish community, according to my very limited understanding, there is no renunciant / house-holder distinction, so even the religious leaders in the community have full time occupations and families, etc.
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:31 am

Santi Asoke, maybe
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby Dugu » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:03 am

jcsuperstar wrote:Santi Asoke, maybe


very interesting :reading:
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby imagemarie » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:38 pm

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperie ... h-preview/

I caught this excellent documentary on British t.v last night. It was difficult, for all their Christian religiosity, not to feel great sympathy for the Amish.
They seem to know something about surrender, non-attachment, and not-self. A very moving film.

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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby poto » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:12 am

I've lived near some Amish and have personally known a few of them.

What you see on television and popular media doesn't really capture an accurate portrait of them IMHO. For instance, most of the Amish aren't against modern technology, they are just slow adopters. Most want to make sure that anything new doesn't disrupt their way of life or interfere with their faith. Some of the Amish these days have cell phones and power tools. But of the ones that have cell phones they tend to have rules, like they only use the cell phones in a little phone booth away from the house to limit it's use.

Also, there's some disparity in the Amish community. Some of the Amish are fairly wealthy and own hundreds, sometimes thousands of acres of land. Most of this they rent/lease to other area farmers who farm the land with modern equipment. This alone can bring in hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars a year for the Amish. Of course, of the wealthy Amish, most of that is held by one guy which is the head of that family. These families can be pretty large with dozens of people, children, grandchildren, etc. Most of the children don't live nearly as well and have to obey the head of the family or they risk getting kicked out with nothing to their names.

They don't educate their children past about the 8th grade either. I don't know if this has anything to do with it, but a good number of the Amish kids I've met seemed to be a bit slow... this also works against the kids since it makes it harder for them to find work outside the community and be able to leave.

I know some of the shows make it seem like an idealistic life, living off the land and whatnot, but the reality isn't always so.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby imagemarie » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:49 am

Hi

Yes - thanks. Most of these points were made in the documentary,which was an honest portrayal. Of course, many of the Amish practices are questionable, if not bizarre. What made the film a powerful one for me, was the way it pointed up our own unskilful modes of living, and addressed, or illustrated, some profound existential questions that for the most part go unacknowledged.


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Re: Is there a Buddhist version of the Amish community?

Postby poto » Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:53 pm

imagemarie wrote:Hi

Yes - thanks. Most of these points were made in the documentary,which was an honest portrayal. Of course, many of the Amish practices are questionable, if not bizarre. What made the film a powerful one for me, was the way it pointed up our own unskilful modes of living, and addressed, or illustrated, some profound existential questions that for the most part go unacknowledged.


:anjali:


The PBS flash player didn't like me yesterday so I didn't get to watch the documentary you posted. I was just sharing my personal experiences. Seems to be working today, so I'll watch it later tonight when I have more free time.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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