The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover up?

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The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover up?

Postby balive » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:42 am

I visited a friend who recently became a monk, and would not share with me about how is meditation was going.
I'd forgot... It's against the rules.

Then I recently read this, and found it to be a very interesting take on this rule:

"... he speaks openly about his personal experiences with meditative absorption (jhana). The orthodox monastic community believes this is a serious violation of the monastic code (Vinaya)... it is all too easy for a mediocre monk, nun, priest, minister or lay meditation teacher to hide behind these monastic rules that came centuries after the Buddha had left this Earth, and seem to have been instituted only to favour the mediocre non-contemplative community (sangha). After all, the record indicates the Buddha spoke openly about his experiences, and he often asked his students to speak openly about theirs as well."

What do you think?
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby cooran » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:46 am

Please give a link to your quote above.

With metta
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Aloof » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:56 am

cooran wrote:Please give a link to your quote above.

With metta
Chris


Why quote only? Why not logic as well.
What is the logic behind hiding the achievements?
If the achievement is truth of the sayer, he and listener both gain.
Sayer strengthens the WISDOM of the TRUTH, and a listener gains the knowledge.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby cooran » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:18 am

So you can't?

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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Aloof » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:22 am

cooran wrote:So you can't?

With metta,
Chris


Both Balive and me Aloof can not get you the quotes in support. We both are meditation
practioners and not experts of Suttas or quotes.
Balive am I right about this view with you?
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby pilgrim » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:47 am

Monks are allowed to speak of their meditative attainments to other monks, but not to lay people. There are many good reasons for this, one of them being compassion for lesser experienced monks, who otherwise would not receive much food for dana.

But even when speak of this they do so with great care as false claims of spiritual development is a parajika offence.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby purple planet » Mon Aug 12, 2013 6:58 am

One reason not to tell about meditation experience is not to make people "want" to get cretin experiences - if i tell someone i saw colors in meditation - and he will try to see colors he probably wont be able to because he needs to have a "clear" and "present" mind so if instead of sitting in meditation without any cravings - he craves to see colors it will ruin his entire meditation
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby manas » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:04 am

Aloof wrote:What is the logic behind hiding the achievements?
If the achievement is truth of the sayer, he and listener both gain.
Sayer strengthens the WISDOM of the TRUTH, and a listener gains the knowledge.


But what if the sayer has overestimated their achievement, and then has the embarrassing need to retract what they had previously said? And, what if by then, the lay person they initially told of their achievement, has gone off and told all of their friends, or even half the village? Wouldn't it be easier if the monk had just kept the achievement to himself, and allowed layfolk to gauge his spiritual advancement through his behaviour and ability to inspire others in the Dhamma, rather than any self-proclaimed attainment?

:anjali:
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Kumara » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:43 am

balive wrote:I visited a friend who recently became a monk, and would not share with me about how is meditation was going.
I'd forgot... It's against the rules.

Actually it's okay for a monk to share about his practice, so long as he keeps it within the monastic rules. In this case, it's Pacittiya 8:
Should any bhikkhu report (his own) superior human state, when it is factual, to an unordained person, it is to be confessed.
... The meaning of superior human state is discussed at length under Pr 4. In brief, it covers (a) jhana, (b) the cognitive powers that can arise as its result, and (c) the transcendent attainments. (Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... h08-1.html)

That's for the case of a factual claim. If he make a personal claim of an attainment that he knows it's not true, it's a parajika offence, which is an "irremediable offences that automatically and irrevocably end the bhikkhu-life."

But of course a monk could also use these rules as a means to encourage lay people to make speculations about his attainments.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Aloof » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:10 am

manas wrote:
Aloof wrote:What is the logic behind hiding the achievements?
If the achievement is truth of the sayer, he and listener both gain.
Sayer strengthens the WISDOM of the TRUTH, and a listener gains the knowledge.


But what if the sayer has overestimated their achievement, and then has the embarrassing need to retract what they had previously said? And, what if by then, the lay person they initially told of their achievement, has gone off and told all of their friends, or even half the village? Wouldn't it be easier if the monk had just kept the achievement to himself, and allowed layfolk to gauge his spiritual advancement through his behaviour and ability to inspire others in the Dhamma, rather than any self-proclaimed attainment?

:anjali:


I would prefer to come out and test my Truth. If my Truth is not absolute, i would
prefer to suffer, and gain wisdom out of suffering and move ahead.

Others are always gauging from all sides of my existence.And that is also a good
feed back.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Aloof » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:15 am

pilgrim wrote:But even when speak of this they do so with great care as false claims of spiritual development is a parajika offence.


Who is there to note my Parajikta offence if any.
My inner self only knows. And if it is an offence,
I better suffer and relearn, rather then timidly hide
myself.

Parajikta (wisdom) is opposite of ignorance.
And ignorance is suffering . Better come out of it fast.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby dhammapal » Sat Aug 17, 2013 8:28 pm

pilgrim wrote:Monks are allowed to speak of their meditative attainments to other monks, but not to lay people. There are many good reasons for this, one of them being compassion for lesser experienced monks, who otherwise would not receive much food for dana.

But even when speak of this they do so with great care as false claims of spiritual development is a parajika offence.

I think that monks can exploit their devotees by letting them think that they might be arahants.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:32 pm

balive wrote:I visited a friend who recently became a monk, and would not share with me about how is meditation was going.
I'd forgot... It's against the rules.

Then I recently read this, and found it to be a very interesting take on this rule:

"... he speaks openly about his personal experiences with meditative absorption (jhana). The orthodox monastic community believes this is a serious violation of the monastic code (Vinaya)... it is all too easy for a mediocre monk, nun, priest, minister or lay meditation teacher to hide behind these monastic rules that came centuries after the Buddha had left this Earth, and seem to have been instituted only to favour the mediocre non-contemplative community (sangha). After all, the record indicates the Buddha spoke openly about his experiences, and he often asked his students to speak openly about theirs as well."

What do you think?


I heard about the rule that a monk ( or nun ) could not speak of his or her attainments. I did not know that it came after the Buddha's death. I always thought it was a good idea as it would prevent ego games and cult followings. I don't think it is needed to cover up mediocre monks, as they don't need covering up. In some Asian countries monks are treated like celebrities just for being monks regardless of whether or not they meditate.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Jhana4 » Sat Aug 17, 2013 10:38 pm

FWIW I Googled on a string from the OP's quote in his/her OP.

I only found one hit at:
http://www.aypsite.org/forum/pop_printe ... IC_ID=2421

Sadly for all his achievements he appears to - how can I put this politely? - 'not entirely fit the general understanding of modest and self-unassuming' that is the case with high-level Buddhist practitioners (think HHDL eg). He is only too anxious to promote his achievements:

:About Jhanananda
Sotapanna (stream winner) Jhanananda (Jeffrey S. Brooks) is a self-ordained Western Buddhist monk in the Great Western Vehicle...

He has, however, been ostracized from the lay and monastic Buddhist community because he speaks openly about his personal experiences with meditative absorption (jhana/kundalini). The orthodox monastic community believes this is a serious violation of the monastic code (Vinaya). Jhanananda believes it is all too easy for a mediocre monk, nun, priest, minister or lay meditation teacher to hide behind these monastic rules that came centuries after the Buddha had left this Earth, and seem to have been instituted only to favor the mediocre non-contemplative community (sangha)...

In addition to acquiring and sustaining the various spiritual attainments (phala), such as Out-Of-Body (OOB) skills, various charismatic phenomena including clairvoyance and clairaudience, the tranquility and equanimity of “No Mind,” and the 8 meditative absorption states (jhanas) he has also mastered many of the meditation practices (magga) of these contemplative traditions.



In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Kumara » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:23 am

Aloof wrote:
pilgrim wrote:But even when speak of this they do so with great care as false claims of spiritual development is a parajika offence.


Who is there to note my Parajikta offence if any.
My inner self only knows. And if it is an offence,
I better suffer and relearn, rather then timidly hide
myself.

Parajikta (wisdom) is opposite of ignorance.
And ignorance is suffering . Better come out of it fast.


Parajikta means wisdom?
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby dagon » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:08 am

Jhana4 wrote:FWIW I Googled on a string from the OP's quote in his/her OP.

I only found one hit at:
http://www.aypsite.org/forum/pop_printe ... IC_ID=2421

Sadly for all his achievements he appears to - how can I put this politely? - 'not entirely fit the general understanding of modest and self-unassuming' that is the case with high-level Buddhist practitioners (think HHDL eg). He is only too anxious to promote his achievements:

:About Jhanananda
Sotapanna (stream winner) Jhanananda (Jeffrey S. Brooks) is a self-ordained Western Buddhist monk in the Great Western Vehicle...

He has, however, been ostracized from the lay and monastic Buddhist community because he speaks openly about his personal experiences with meditative absorption (jhana/kundalini). The orthodox monastic community believes this is a serious violation of the monastic code (Vinaya). Jhanananda believes it is all too easy for a mediocre monk, nun, priest, minister or lay meditation teacher to hide behind these monastic rules that came centuries after the Buddha had left this Earth, and seem to have been instituted only to favor the mediocre non-contemplative community (sangha)...

In addition to acquiring and sustaining the various spiritual attainments (phala), such as Out-Of-Body (OOB) skills, various charismatic phenomena including clairvoyance and clairaudience, the tranquility and equanimity of “No Mind,” and the 8 meditative absorption states (jhanas) he has also mastered many of the meditation practices (magga) of these contemplative traditions.





or see http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/jhanananda.html if you want to have Male Bovine Excrement as your meditation object

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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Kenshou » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:24 am

http://www.greatwesternvehicle.org/jhanananda.html


Oh, this guy's calling himself an arahant now. Huh. :shrug:
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:42 pm

Jhana4 wrote:FWIW I Googled on a string from the OP's quote in his/her OP.

I only found one hit at:
http://www.aypsite.org/forum/pop_printe ... IC_ID=2421

:clap:
A very useful technique! Works well against trolls, too.
:coffee:

:namaste:
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:34 am

Here are the relevant Vinaya quotes, regarding this issue in the OP:

Should any bhikkhu report (his own) superior human state, when it is factual, to an unordained person, it is to be confessed.
Pācittiya 8

A violation to be confessed, not a major violation; if the report is factual. If it is false, then it is a Pārājika (defeat).

Should any bhikkhu, without direct knowledge, claim a superior human state, a truly noble distinction of knowledge and vision, as present in himself, saying, "Thus do I know; thus do I see," such that regardless of whether or not he is cross-examined on a later occasion, he — being remorseful and desirous of purification — might say, "Friends, not knowing, I said I know; not seeing, I said I see — vainly, falsely, idly," unless it was from over-estimation, he also is defeated and no longer in affiliation.
Suttavibhanga III.90-91
PTS version, Volume 1, pages 151-158

The background stories to it seem logical; that if monks and nuns were allowed to broadcast their attainments, there might be disparities in dana given to monastics of various qualities and also encourage deceit in others.

Note that this is for monks and nuns, not lay people. A lay person making claims cannot be defeated (obviously) since they are not in robes, however they would be violating the 4th precept (of the 5 lay precepts) only if it is not factual.
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Re: The monk's rule of never sharing experiences... a cover

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:57 pm

Thanks David for improving the quality of this thread with a scholarly reference.

I am a bit disappointed that the reason behind the rule is only for practical purposes ( making sure all monks get fed ). I always assumed it was to avoid the nonsense that results whenever someone goes around bragging "I have achieved X,Y, & Z"
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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