Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby boris » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:40 am

tiltbillings wrote:
boris wrote:Interesting question is, when 'self" as separate entity disappears how others can remain?
Then what do you do?


Then there is nothing more to do.
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila
boris
 
Posts: 468
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:00 pm

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:42 am

boris wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
boris wrote:Interesting question is, when 'self" as separate entity disappears how others can remain?
Then what do you do?


Then there is nothing more to do.
Of course there is nothing more to do. So, what do you do?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19763
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby boris » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:00 am

I am writing reply to you.
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila
boris
 
Posts: 468
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:00 pm

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:10 am

boris wrote:I am writing reply to you.

Of course.

But let assume that somehow it happened for you that you done what is needed to be done having nothing more to do (you are an arahant). What do you do?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19763
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby boris » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:13 am

Is it still Dhamma discussion? It sounds more like Zen Dharma combat. I used to play like this more than 20 years ago, now I'm sorry I will not continue.
Good lack.
The man who wants to avoid grotesque collapses should not look for anything to fulfill him in space and time.

Nicolás Gómez Dávila
boris
 
Posts: 468
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:00 pm

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Nov 30, 2009 11:18 am

boris wrote:Is it still Dhamma discussion? It sounds more like Zen Dharma combat. I used to play like this more than 20 years ago, now I'm sorry I will not continue.
Good lack.


You stated: "Interesting question is, when 'self" as separate entity disappears how others can remain?"

It is an appropriate question following from what you stated. What does an arahant do after awakening?
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19763
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby fragrant herbs » Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:09 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
boris wrote:You study Dhamma and I study Dhamma. However I have impression that we study not only different Suttas in Pali Canan, but rather that you are Mahayana follower.

Well, you'd be completely mistaken.
boris wrote: If this is so, you should know that detachment is prised by The Buddha much more often then generosity, not to speak about social service which is just criticised in Suttas, monks should try to avoided it:

I'm aware of the advice to monks who have reached that stage, but the Buddha also taught according to his audience and taught that the development of generosity was a key part of the path.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

Metta
Mike


Thank you Mike for that sutta. You have renewed my faith in Buddha's teachings. So many Buddhist groups are against helping others except to bring them into the dhamma.

To me, even if a person is giving alms (or doing other charitble works) for self gain, I would rather it was being done than not done.
fragrant herbs
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:32 pm

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby dhamma follower » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:40 pm

fragrant herbs wrote:I have been wondering about this for some time. What does Buddha say about charity works? Is this something that he would suggest that we do or not? This is the idea that we spend time helping others out of their poverty or helping a group of people to better their life through education or health.


This article is somewhat related to your question to a certain degree:

http://www.roundfree.org/roundfree_merit.htm

Some relevant extracts:

There are ten kinds of merit:

1. dāna: generosity – giving as well as sharing

2. sīla: virtue or moral conduct – not to break the precepts, i.e. to restrain one’s bodily and verbal actions

3. bhāvanā: mental development either through calm (samatha-bhāvanā) or insight (vipassanā-bhāvanā)

4. apacāyana: to respect and honour, revere, those who are worthy of it

5. veyyāvacca: to be energetic in doing the duties that ought to be done

6. pattidāna: to dedicate to others the merit one has done

7. pattānumodanā: i.e. anumodanā, to rejoice in the merit others have done

8. dhammassavana: to listen to the Dhamma, Lord Buddha’s Teaching

9. dhammadesanā: to teach the Dhamma [7]

10.diṭṭhujukamma: it translates as “the straightening of one’s views.” This is only an expression; it actually means “sammā-diṭṭhi”, namely, right view. In some places this term is used instead.

We can see there are a lot of different kinds of merit -including dāna. When it is merit, as a rule, it must be among these, the ten puñña-kiriya-vatthu[7] —there’s no other kind of merit apart from these ten kinds.
The meaning of the word “merit”

The word “merit” is translated from the Pali term “puñña” which comes from the verbal roots “pu” and “pur.” “Pu” translates as “to cleanse”: attasanntām punāti sotetīti puññam—“it’s termed merit (puñña) because it has the meaning of ‘to cleanse’.” Here “to cleanse” means to make something pure, to make one’s “continuity”[8] pure, clean from the impurities that defile it, namely, lust (rāga), hate (dosa) and delusion (moha). Impurity means corrosion, that which defiles or soils. “Continuity (santāna)” here means one’s continuity of consciousness. The various meritorious deeds that are performed—such as dāna, etc.—will cleanse [8] the doer’s continuity of consciousness to make it pure. As to what the continuity of consciousness is cleansed from, that will depend on the kind of merit that is performed. Not just any kind of merit will cause the continuity of consciousness to become pure from lust, hate and delusion [that is to say, different kinds of merit reach different levels of defilement[9]]. As to the second verbal root, “Pur”, this one has the meaning of “complete”, i.e. it is called “puñña” meaning that “it is something that should be completed” or “if there’s none of it yet, then one should make it happen; if there’s only a little, not yet complete, one must make it complete, and also plentiful.”

So this is what is called “merit” (puñña), and it’s a way to measure in the first place whether what we are doing ought to be called “merit” or not. It’s not that one chooses one meaning or the other, if it is merit it has both: (1) a means to cleanse the continuity of consciousness to make it pure, and (2) something that ought to be brought to completeness, and also plentifulness.

On dana:

1. Dāna — Giving/Generosity.

Dāna proceeds by the power of two causes: (1) A heart/mind with the thought of veneration (pūjā): When giving to those people above us who have guṇa,[12] like our father and mother, teachers or the community of monks (bikkhu-saṅgha), etc., in the appropriate occasions, dāna is carried out because the mind is thinking of veneration (pūjā), in other words, veneration to the goodness they posses. (2) A heart/mind with the thought of compassion (karuṇā): When one sees the suffering in other people and as a result compassion—pity, sympathy—arises, and one desires to help to relieve their suffering by giving and sharing utilities, food, wealth or money, it is called accomplishing dāna with compassion. Some discourses (suttas) mention that even love-and-kindness (mettā) can cause people to be energetic about performing dāna as well, that is, once an affectionate mind arises wishing to extend the benefits of happiness to others one gives dāna.

At the time of giving dāna, the merit is not the thing one is going to get, but it is the cause that makes one give, that is, a heart/mind which is thinking of veneration (for veneration-based dāna), or a compassionate sympathetic heart (for compassion-based dāna). It doesn’t matter whether one knows if it’s merit or not, but if giving arises from any of these two causes [16] it means merit has taken place.

So when one offers to someone who has guṇa (good inner qualities) or to someone who has suffering, merit is either the thought of veneration or the thought of compassion, which are both associated with the intention of giving up or sacrificing (something).[13] Although it is said that the intention (cetanā) of giving up is called “dāna”, it has to be accompanied by the thought of either veneration or compassion, only then may it be considered dāna. If one gives up with any other kind of intention—for example, because one wants to be the donee’s favorite—it isn’t dāna. When it isn’t dāna, it isn’t merit.

Dāna that doesn’t have to depend on material things

Some kinds of dāna are not dependent on material things. For example, giving knowledge that is beneficial to others (Dhamma-dāna). Or refraining to take away the life of a person who has behaved wrongly and is in a position where he can be punished by taking away his life, as a result of compassion arising when considering the suffering affecting his family due to his death; this is called “abhaya-dāna” (amnesty).

[17] A clear example of this is the opportunity that the King often has to perform amnesty. This occurs when someone is found guilty of a serious offence and is sentenced to the death penalty, and his relatives or anyone else makes an appeal to His Majesty to consider suspension of the punishment. As the King deems it to be appropriate he will suspend the death penalty, thus allowing the convict to escape death.

There are other kinds of giving that don’t depend on material things, such as offering one’s labour, which are also regarded as dāna.

Merit does not increase with the amount of money or things that one gives

Whether the act of dāna is more meritorious or less meritorious does not depend on the amount of money or the quantity of things that one sacrifices. One can give a lot and get little merit, or one can give a little and get a lot of merit. There’s an analogy in some Dhamma text where a very rich man—whose wealth was as great as many ten hundred thousands (koti)—wanted to do merit by offering food to the monks’ community (bikkhu-saṅgha). He felt that doing it himself would involve a lot of effort: he would have to get up early in the morning to get all the dishes ready for the meal, and so on. So he put it all under the care of a servant. He had his servant replace him in everything, including the preparation of [18] the food and sweets. When they left this world, the wealthy man entered a lower heaven; however, the servant entered a higher heaven as a result of his complete enthusiasm and devotion up to the top, in spite of not having spent any money at all. This points to the fact that [the quality of] the heart/mind at the time of giving is more important than the object [that is given]. The fact that the wealthy man didn’t want to take the trouble to do it himself, though he had the intention of doing merit, shows that his faith and eagerness were not very powerful. The merit of these two people thus brought heavenly results of a different sort.

Therefore, getting much or little merit is not at all a matter of the amount of money [one spends]. There was one person who couldn’t perform merit because he didn’t have the opportunity or the money to do it. But when he saw someone else doing it, a mind abounding with anumodanā [14] arose; this other person had just offered food and sweets in the alms bowl of a monk who was an Arahant. So he recalled the anumodanā and also rejoiced in the other person’s opportunity to give by placing food in an Arahant’s alms bowl. The power of this merit was stronger than that of the person who actually placed the food in the alms bowl who saw the monk as merely a common monk no different from the others.

[19] Giving for the purpose of eliminating stinginess

Seeing the danger of stinginess and thinking of giving dāna in order to eliminate stinginess is something Lord Buddha particularly praised very much. Supposing a monk goes out on his alms round, and his alms bowl gets full, but people still want to offer more—this is called craving to get merit; it’s not getting rid of stinginess. If one actually wants to get rid of stinginess one should donate to people who are really in need because then the feeling of sacrifice or giving up will be genuine, seeing that if there’s no one willing to give, that person will be in trouble. Sometimes when giving to people who have enough to eat, indecision arises: “should I give or should I not?” But when one gives to people who are in need, indecision does not arise at all—this is an aiding condition (paccaya) that strengthens merit and is able to diminish stinginess effectively.

Giving for the purpose of veneration is more refined than giving with compassion

Between people who have morality (sīla)[15] and people who don’t, the merit of giving to those who do is more powerful because in this way one recalls the good qualities of the donee; this kind of giving classed under veneration. Giving with a mind that intends to venerate the good qualities (guṇa) of the individual is more refined than giving with compassion. [20] Recalling the praising words of the wise, “To give, to sacrifice, to donate, is the wealth, the provisions to walk the path that reaches nibbāna of the giver himself, because if there is stinginess defiling the mind/heart, when the time of giving up something arrives, one might not be able to give it up due to the ardent care with which one guards the things one possesses, and this causes rebirth as a very poor person, a pauper, who lacks the provisions needed to walk the path to reach nibbāna.” After thus having recalled the words of the wise, having faith and belief in their words, one gives with the intention to venerate, that is, having faith in the walking path of the wise which is sammā-paṭipatti (the correct practice): “I will practice the way they practice. All sages practice dāna, so I will practice it too.” This is classed as “giving for the purpose of veneration”, namely, venerating the path of the wise, which is more refined than giving with compassion, because the quality of the mind is more delicate, more subtle.

Giving simply because one sees it is a bikkhu (Buddhist monk)

[In Thailand] we all know that a bikkhu is someone who keeps sīla; thus nobody is interested in knowing what kind of religious life the monk keeps, [21] people just give to whoever is ordained as a monk—that’s as far as they can get. They have no interest in knowing whether he exerts himself in his religious duties as a Buddhist monk after he became ordained or not, if he is a parasite to the religion or if he is helping the religion to have a long life. They never take these things into consideration thinking that to give to a monk is in itself auspicious.

An example of placing food in a monk’s bowl with greed: In the early morning at the market the woman vendor arranges the food in little plastic bags so that they are ready for people to buy them and place them in the monk’s alms bowl. When the monk goes out on his alms round (pindapāta) to the market, people buy the things from the woman vendor to place them in his alms bowl. When the monk finishes receiving the offerings he goes on his first round to the back of the shop, to empty his bowl. The vendor’s assistant counts how many bags he has and pays him by sets. She sells one set for ten baht but buys back one set from the monk for only three baht, something that the monk accepts. Everything is done openly without hiding anything. The people who do the offerings see it before their very eyes but they don’t mind. They do that every day. They see it as the normal thing to do. [22] Why is it that in spite of the monk’s behaviour they still place offerings in the monk’s bowl, while there are still many poor and needy people around?



If people say they venerate (by giving) for the sake of the good qualities (guṇa) of the monk—monks have a higher condition than the laity or householders, they have sīla, virtuous conduct (kalyāṅa-dhamma), and the like—then monks should show no reproachable behaviour. However, they are seeing the bad behaviour with their own very eyes. So these people who place offerings in the monks’ alms bowls in the morning, venerate the monk on account of what? Such behaviour displays the sort of person who ought not to be venerated. This shows how much ignorance is involved in this subject of giving to the monks, because people think that once they have offered to a monk it means they got a lot of merit, consequently they are very diligent to do it. To make it short, they are merely wishing for merit, which means that greed (lobha) is what is guiding the way: The people who place offerings in the monks’ bowl are greedy for merit, the monks who sell back to the woman vendor are greedy for money—all the same.

“Wise attention” regarding dāna

How can one adjust one’s heart/mind appropriately to have wise attention (yoniso-manasikāra)[16] in regards to the performance of dāna, turning the act of giving to actually be dāna or merit? [23] If dāna didn’t have any subsequent results (ānisamsa) as to happiness or well-being, as to the prevention of danger in the round [of death and rebirth] (vaṭṭa), as to helping to reach a happy destination [either human or celestial], in all probability nobody would be doing it because they’d be getting nothing in return, it would be wasting time. But if one wants a result then it is greed, not merit—in that case one should just go ahead and do it not caring whether there’s a result or not, well… this again is not correct. Then how should one adjust one’s heart/mind so that it becomes meritorious?

Lord Buddha states that the subsequent results of dāna are manifold, as well as the harmful effects of not yielding to give or donate. He refers to people who don’t give up or donate as stingy people who will be reborn poor and needy, etc., and in plenty of discourses he speaks about dāna pertaining to happy destinations. By speaking this way, Lord Buddha does not mean to persuade people to become greedy about the subsequent results of dāna. Lord Buddha is pointing out that performing dāna has a result -and not that it does not have a result. As one type of wrong doctrine (miccha-vāda), within the ten kinds of wrong view, which states that dāna does not have results, for example that the act of veneration (pūjā) does not have results, etc. Once one has understood this, one keeps the knowledge within, but at the time of actually performing the act there’s no need to focus in advance on the subsequent results (ānisamsa). Supposing that at that time one is giving to a person in need, then one does it only with compassion (karuṇā), without [24] aiming at the subsequent results or advantages as [if they were] something substantial (sāra). One knows [one is aware there are advantages] but one just knows [there’s no need to put the attention at the result]. Lastly, one contemplates the dāna that has been performed as anicca,[17] dukkha[18] and anattā.[19] Dāna doesn’t have any higher meaning (sāra: essence, purpose, importance) other than helping us walk life smoothly in all planes of existence in subsequent births. It is not capable of taking us beyond birth, aging, sickness and death. One contemplates in this way in order not to get overly attached to dāna thinking it will grant us with this and that superb benefit in the form of happiness.

Recalling the subsequent results (ānisamsa) of dāna causes the arising of interest, and therefore of energy, to do good kamma, from the most elementary level which in turn becomes an aiding condition to go up to the highest level. But that’s all, nothing else—in the long run dāna also falls under the power of the Three Characteristics: anicca, dukkha and anattā.[20] While it is true that dāna helps us reach a happy destination, to be reborn as a male or female deity (deva), ultimately even a deity still has to age and die according to natural law like beings reborn in other realms of existence; the only difference is that after being born in a happy destination one has the opportunity to do more and more merit until reaching that condition which puts an end to dukkha;[21] but that’s all—nothing else.

[25] Lord Buddha taught the Dhamma step by step considering the listeners’ dispositions. To some people he had to explain the subsequent results of dāna first to have them exert themselves in dāna. Next he would point out that even dāna is devoid of any essence (sāra). He organized his method of teaching step by step. He did not teach people to focus only in the subsequent results of dāna and stop there


All the best,
D.F
dhamma follower
 
Posts: 330
Joined: Fri Nov 06, 2009 5:48 am

Re: Buddha and the CNN Hero Awards

Postby fragrant herbs » Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:05 pm

thanks so much D.F.
fragrant herbs
 
Posts: 85
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:32 pm

Previous

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 6 guests