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How Far Can A Householder Proceed - Dhamma Wheel

How Far Can A Householder Proceed

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
arijitmitter
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How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby arijitmitter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:49 pm

Give or take a few days, I have been studying Buddhism for about 3 months now. I have learned about anicca, dukkha, anatta. I have read few of the most important Suttas and learned about Dependent Origination. I have adopted the five precepts ( they were already present in my life to begin with, three months back ). Meditation is there when I have the time.

But my question is - how much can a lay Buddhist actually expect to proceed. In some religions for the lay person there is prayer. But Buddha is not a Divine being and he clearly rules out any appeal for intercessory prayer. Much of Buddhism beyond the first 100 lines is meant for monks. Buddha has made it reasonably clear that you cannot live in a house, be a family man and achieve much in spiritual life. He himself left his home. But being a wealthy person and son of a King he did not have to worry about welfare of his wife and son. Also his wife gracefully accepted him when he returned. I am not sure my wife will.

We can study the Suttas and think of their meaning and any hidden meaning. But that alone does not make one progress on the spiritual path. Far from it. Reading 1000 pages of the Suttas or economics is no different unless you are going to live in a monastery and meditate at a stretch reaching higher and higher stages.

Yes we become better. I have become a better person in last 90 days. I speak slowly and calmly, I do not speak unless I have a reason to, I contemplate more, I am more philosophical, I have understood the nature of my life as it is ( that my sorrows are part of my Kamma and no matter how much I howl is my Kamma going to let me be alone; I have to pay for my sins in this life and in lives before and it is better to do it in a dignified and calm manner ).

Next is what ?

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Zenainder
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:30 pm

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arijitmitter
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby arijitmitter » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:42 pm


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Zenainder
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Zenainder » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:30 pm

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santa100
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby santa100 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:40 pm

How far one can proceed is directly proportional to how far one is willing to let go. And it's not just the obvious defilements but also the subtlest underlying tendencies. While a householder might be able to eliminate the grosser delilements without much trouble, s/he will have a tougher time eliminating those underlying tendencies (compared to monks) because lay life is bound up with such heavy baggage: job, money, properties, family, wife and kids, all kinds of responsibilites to manage, etc. That's why although lay folks were mentioned frequently in the suttas for attaining stream entry and once return, there're much rarer instances for those who attained non-return and arahantship. That's why that common stock phrase was mentioned frequently in the Nikayas: "it's not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair & beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?". But hey, if stream entry could be attained in this life for lay folks, it wouldn't be too shabby at all..

Bakmoon
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Bakmoon » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:32 pm

A lay person can go all the way, or at least very high. The Buddha's own father Sudhodana was a layperson and became an Arahant shortly before he died, and there are prominent lay people mentioned in the Suttas who became Anagamis. The question isn't whether you are lay or ordained, but rather how much you devote yourself to practice.

The next step is to practice the path as best you can. Keep the precepts to the best of your abilities, enjoy entertainment in moderation, and perhaps consider occasionally taking the 8 precepts.

Meditation is the big one though. If you want to make real progress, you will need to make meditation a priority in your life. I would recommend meditating in the morning and the evening and maintain mindfulness throughout the day.
The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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reflection
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby reflection » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:47 pm

In a way, once reached right view, the rest of the path is a given. So if we agree householders can see beyond self view -which I for one think they can- then they can also go all the way. Perhaps not in this life but then very soon after. The difference is really quite negligible.

But that said, it is not particularly useful to generalize either laypeople or monks. If some householders can reach right view doesn't say they all can. And monkhood is no guarantee for it either.

arijitmitter
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby arijitmitter » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:46 am


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fig tree
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby fig tree » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:34 am


arijitmitter
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby arijitmitter » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:40 am


Bakmoon
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:11 am

The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Zenainder
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:26 am

Money does not make life easier, quite naive to think as such. It comes down to your practice on the pillow and followed through with heedfulness off the pillow. Life happens to the poor, rich, homeless, or even a bhikkhu. Life is suffering with or without money.
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santa100
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby santa100 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:44 pm


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Zenainder
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:41 pm

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arijitmitter
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby arijitmitter » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:14 pm


santa100
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby santa100 » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:28 pm


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Zenainder
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Zenainder » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:53 pm

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Bakmoon
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby Bakmoon » Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:26 pm

The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

arijitmitter
Posts: 118
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 11:24 am

Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby arijitmitter » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:35 am

Last edited by arijitmitter on Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

SarathW
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Re: How Far Can A Householder Proceed

Postby SarathW » Thu Jul 18, 2013 4:47 am

When I think about this issue in a lighter note, the biggest road block, for a house holder is to maintain a celibacy life. With very little experience I have, I am not sure whether all monks observe celibacy anyway! When I go to a temple what I see is that the monk’s life is harder and busier than a lay person. They spent too much time with building temples and attending to rituals. This issue also should give enough weighing to the number of monks who attain any spiritual attainment as well.
I have very little exposure to forest monks.
If someone is single and got the internet, they will have all the support require to attain Nirvana. Doing a day job is not a major hurdle . If Buddha was here today he would have used internet as his Dhamma launching pad! :coffee: What we need are some very good monks to support us.
In my opinion a person should try his very best to live like a monk before he leave his/her house hold life. The best place to try your virtues is the householder life. If you can survive here you can survive anywhere.
Having said all this I have not eliminate the possibility that one day I also will be a monk wearing a robe. :)
Please give some thought to the attached article if you are planning to become a monk. Please note that I do not endorse the content of this article. It is just some food for thought.

http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/pdf/Dha ... Buddha.pdf
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”


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