"whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

"whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Stephen K » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:40 pm

"As a cesspool filled over a number of years is difficult to clean, similarly, whoever is full of impurity is difficult to make pure. Whoever you know to be such, bhikkhus, bent on worldliness, having wrong desires, wrong thoughts, wrong behavior and resort, being completely united avoid him, sweep him out like dirt, remove him like rubbish. Winnow like chaff the non-recluses. Having ejected those of wrong desires, of wrong behavior and resort, be pure and mindful, dwelling with those who are pure. Being united and prudent you will make an end to suffering."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html


What is your interpretation of the above-quoted sutta? Should we not greet or speak to people who are "full of impurity"? Or am I misunderstanding the meaning of the sutta?
Last edited by Stephen K on Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
User avatar
Stephen K
 
Posts: 815
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm

Re: whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:51 pm

I think there are a couple of possibilities here Stefan..is it authentic ? Is the translation correct ?
If the answer to both these questions is yes then we have a problem here. Because modern sensibilities would put us at odds with the Buddha.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish

Postby Stephen K » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:55 pm

Right, I just read this description of the sutta which states:

"The monks are encouraged to avoid monks who conduct their lives in unwholesome ways."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html

So I guess it refers only to monks.

Still, the question remains.
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
User avatar
Stephen K
 
Posts: 815
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm

Re: whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:57 pm

No way to treat even errant monks imo. " Sweep him out like dirt, remove him like rubbish " sounds more like the Taliban.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:21 pm

The teachings strongly advocate skillful relationships and friendships. (See: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-ditthi/kalyanamittata.html)

But imo we can't take the avoidance of unskillful or evil people to such an extreme that we breach the components of right speech and right action. I think the sutta you quoted is simply advocating the polite, skillful avoidance of those unhelpful to the path, not blatant rudeness or expulsion.
User avatar
OcTavO
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:27 am

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Stephen K » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:22 pm

OcTavO wrote:The teachings strongly advocate skillful relationships and friendships. (See: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/samma-ditthi/kalyanamittata.html)

But imo we can't take the avoidance of unskillful or evil people to such an extreme that we breach the components of right speech and right action. I think the sutta you quoted is simply advocating the polite, skillful avoidance of those unhelpful to the path, not blatant rudeness or expulsion.


Thanks. I completely agree with you.
With metta,
Upāsaka Sumana
User avatar
Stephen K
 
Posts: 815
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:25 pm

Gloss over it how you like OcTaVo..If any of us advocated sweeping someone off the forum like rubbish because they were not living up to our standards we would be suspended and quite rightly.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:47 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:Gloss over it how you like OcTaVo..If any of us advocated sweeping someone off the forum like rubbish because they were not living up to our standards we would be suspended and quite rightly.


But is that really what the Sutta is advocating? I see nothing in it that suggests we do such "sweeping like rubbish" actions in an outward manner? I think the teaching is talking about affecting an internal comprehension of who is and isn't helpful to be around. I think it's also important to note that it's addressing monastics, not the laity.
User avatar
OcTavO
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:27 am

Re: whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:57 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:modern sensibilities would put us at odds with the Buddha.

It is not uncommon, in my experience, to find modern sensibilities at odds with the Buddha. The Buddha of the scriptures was not as much of a fluffy bunny as some modern spiritual teachers would suggest.

Sanghamitta wrote:If any of us advocated sweeping someone off the forum like rubbish because they were not living up to our standards we would be suspended and quite rightly.

I have been a moderator of more than one Buddhist forum and I can tell you with certainty that people were "swept off the forum" all the time. However, it was never done lightly nor quickly but only after much consideration. Likewise, I don't expect the Sangha was too rough with each other over minor transgressions, but rather only when someone repeatedly showed themselves to be stubborn and untrainable.

As for the above sutta quote...

"After I am gone, the monk Channa should be given the brahma penalty."
"What, lord, is the brahma penalty?"
"Channa may say what he wants, Ananda, but he is not to be spoken to, instructed, or admonished by the monks."
- DN 16

Here we can see a specific example of "sweeping out the rubbish". And yet the story does have a happy ending. Cv.XI tells of how news of the brahma-penalty shocked Channa to his senses. As a result, he changed his ways and eventually became an arahant.

I am reminded of another sutta... AN 4.111.
Kesi the horse trainer: "If a tamable horse does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild and harsh training, lord, then I kill it."
Buddha: "If a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, then I kill him, Kesi."
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:01 pm

How are we to understand that "kill" Peter. Clearly it is not literal.
I take your point entirely about the Buddha not being a fluffy bunny. I am quite sure that he would have scared the bejesus out of anyone with New Age leanings.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:18 pm

Stefan wrote:What is your interpretation of the above-quoted sutta? Should we not greet or speak to people who are "full of impurity"? Or am I misunderstanding the meaning of the sutta?

I interpret in in light of other suttas which speak of admirable friends, or wise friends. We should strive to associate with admirable people, with wise people - for they will help us become better people. We should strive to avoid unadmirable people and unwise people - for they will drag us down and help us people worse people.

One should also, in my opinion, remember the analogy of being stuck in the mud. If you are stuck in the mud you do not grab on to another person stuck in the mud but rather grab on to someone firmly on dry ground. Similarly, if you are to help someone stuck in the mud it is best to first ensure you yourself are on firm ground.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:23 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:How are we to understand that "kill" Peter. Clearly it is not literal.
I take your point entirely about the Buddha not being a fluffy bunny. I am quite sure that he would have scared the bejesus out of anyone with New Age leanings.


"But it's not proper for our Blessed One to take life! And yet the Blessed One just said, 'I kill him, Kesi.'"

"It is true, Kesi, that it's not proper for a Tathagata to take life. But if a tamable person does not submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, then the Tathagata does not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. His knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard him as being worth speaking to or admonishing. This is what it means to be totally destroyed in the Doctrine & Discipline, when the Tathagata does not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing, and one's knowledgeable fellows in the holy life do not regard one as being worth speaking to or admonishing."
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
User avatar
Modus.Ponens
 
Posts: 2142
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Anicca » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:46 pm

Howdy Sanghamitta!
Sanghamitta wrote:Gloss over it how you like OcTaVo..If any of us advocated sweeping someone off the forum like rubbish because they were not living up to our standards we would be suspended and quite rightly.

I seriously doubt that if i went to the lounge and announced that you were placed on my foe list - the mods would do nothing - it is an automatic feature built into to the system to sweep out the rubbish for us. Please correct me if i am wrong about this.

What are my Friends and Foes lists?
If you add a user to your foes list, any posts they make will be hidden by default.


Swept away - no fuss - no muss.

Metta
Anicca
 
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:11 am
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:59 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:How are we to understand that "kill" Peter. Clearly it is not literal.

That's why I posted the link. It is an invitation for you to read it for yourself.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby OcTavO » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:01 pm

Anicca wrote:Swept away - no fuss - no muss.


Yes, not to mention no Buddhist ethics broken and no feelings hurt...
User avatar
OcTavO
 
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:27 am

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Goedert » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:28 am

Once on an Uposatha day, the Buddha sat silently throughout the whole night in front of the assembly of monks. When the morning dawned, he only said: "This assembly is impure." Thereupon Moggallana surveyed with his mind the entire assembly from monk to monk and saw that one monk was entirely corrupted. He went towards him and asked him to leave. When that monk did not move though asked thrice, Moggallana took him by the arm, led him out of the hall and bolted the door. Then he begged the Exalted One to recite the Rules of Monastic Discipline (Patimokkha), as the assembly was now pure again. (A. VIII, 20)
User avatar
Goedert
 
Posts: 312
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 9:24 pm
Location: SC, Brazil

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Jul 09, 2010 12:59 am

Sounds harsh and all, but think of the abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church. Maybe its leaders would have done well to "remove the rubbish".
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 864
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:01 am

The Buddha has consistently advise his followers not to associate with fools. It's a good advice that has help me avoid unnecessary problems.
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Wind » Fri Jul 09, 2010 1:04 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Sounds harsh and all, but think of the abuse and corruption in the Catholic Church. Maybe its leaders would have done well to "remove the rubbish".


Very good point Lazy_eye. Monks rely on the generosity of lay people to support them and a bad monk can jeopardize the integrity of the entire monastics and everyone may suffer. It is wise to simply remove him and it might even do him some good since he'll have to contemplate his actions and give up his wrong deeds if he ever wants to return.
User avatar
Wind
 
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:10 pm

Re: "whoever is full of impurity ... remove him like rubbish"

Postby Sobeh » Fri Jul 09, 2010 2:59 am

The reference to a hell-realm surely offers a significant contextual clue... but we need the text. Without the Pali, this thread is of little use.
User avatar
Sobeh
 
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:35 am
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: fershethshahendh, Google [Bot], mikenz66, Spiny Norman and 10 guests