jcsuperstar wrote:i went and read that whole article, and he makes a lot of valid points,however i think his solutions are somewhat absurd, and if not outright they at least border on wanting to cause a schism in the sangha...
From what I have read so far also I think his points are very valid. I would like to know others opinions on the minor rules of the Vinaya.
From The Buddhist Monks Discipline
Although the Teacher before his Parinibbana spoke thus: "After my passing Ananda, let the Sangha if it so desires abolish the lesser and minor rules of training," no Sangha anywhere actually ventured to do this, partly because of the uncertainty in defining "the lesser and minor rules" and partly because they were constrained out of respect to preserve that which had been instituted by the great Teacher.
Preserving a rule out of respect, as opposed to sense, even when the Buddha has given permission for such rules to be abolished. Seems like ritual to me...
Acariya Nagasena explains that "the Tathagata spoke thus testing the bhikkhus: 'Will my disciples on being left by me adhere to the passing, or will they repudiate them?'" (Milinda Pañha text, PTS p. 143). There is also the consideration that those of other sects might say, "While the Teacher (Gotama) was alive, his disciples respected and honored his precepts but now that he is no more, they throw off the training." But principally the reason was devotion arising from the successful practice of Dhamma Vinaya.
But how can one be sure that when the Buddha said "After my passing Ananda, let the Sangha if it so desires abolish the lesser and minor rules of training" he was only 'testing' the Sangha. Doesn't seem to be in character with what little I have learned of the Dhamma. That may be the issue here of course.
It seems practical and in keeping with the Dhamma, to examine and question things. So here I am questioning the importance of rules such as Paccitiya 56, as discussed in 'Broken Buddha' by S. Dhammika
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .html#Pc56
"Now at that time, in the winter months, bhikkhus warmed themselves, having kindled a fire by a large hollow log. And in that ]b]hollow a cobra was scorched by the fire. Coming out, it sprang at the bhikkhus.[/b] The bhikkhus ran off every which way."
Makes sense... In ancient India!
Ven. Thanissaro goes on to say:
Intention. There is no offense if one lights a fire or has one lit for purposes other than warming oneself. Thus one may light a lamp or light a fire to boil water, burn dead leaves, or fire an alms bowl without penalty.
Alright, so Monks in Alaska for example, aren't allowed to light fires to keep themselves warm because there might be a cobra lurking near the wood they're burning! But if they want to burn off some leaves, that's fine. Oh and don't worry about that cobra, it will understand the difference. (Sorry, couldn't help myself )
I would argue that some rules in the Vinaya no longer have any practical value and have simply become rituals.
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure we're supposed to abandon rituals...
Please, if you feel I have fallen into wrong view - feel free to correct me.