Ordained & the social networking services

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby gavesako » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:01 pm

As with other similar modern situations, one has to refer to the Four Great Standards in the Vinaya to find out whether something fits in with what is allowed or with something which is not allowed by the Buddha. Yes, monks can take and make use of some basic necessities which have no individual owner, such as drinking water or firewood or cloth which has been discarded/left over at a shop. In the same way, we could say that the internet services nowadays are offered freely to anyone who signs up, but there is a catch: most of them will be financed by displaying ads, in the hope of attracting potential customers. However, there is no actual contract between the company and the user promising to buy things from them. So a monk is no different from a layperson in such a situation. More fundamentally, though, the internet was initially created mainly for the purpose of disseminating knowledge and academic discussion, which is something that monks can also contribute to.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Feb 01, 2014 2:53 pm

mirco wrote:_()_
Dear Cittasanto,
Cittasanto wrote:I fail to see any wrongdoing, the services are freely provided for anyone without discrimination, and they have gained access to the internet by allowable means. So you maybe thinking to much into this.

maybe I am.

I was/am thinking, that Bhikkhunis and Bhikkhus are only allowed to take
what is offered with exactly the purpose to support their daily living as fully ordained Buddhists.
Like food, meds, vihaara/room and clothing. But as I said, given with the intention to support a Bhikkhu.

:?:
_()_

You do realise Mendicants are allowed to use things outside four requisites. Furniture can and is donated and accounted for with some of the vinaya rules, as are other items.

To get specific, mendicants are only to expect to live with an expectation of the bare minimum of the requisites, i.e. scraps of food, fermented urine, shade of a tree, and rag robes; however, they aren't forbidden to use what is made available to them.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby mirco » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:42 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote:I feel that the Vinaya and precepts are sacrosanct, but that they're not intended to be ordinances by which laws are enforced, or commandments that result in "sin" accruing to the monk or layperson. Rather, they have much to do with the intention and ethics of the person taking the precepts. So when we question whether a Bhukkhu/Bhikkhuni violates the monastic precepts by signing up for a Facebook account and using FB to teach Dhamma and be in contact with students, we can understand that the intention is pure and skillful, and speculation about Vinaya interpretations is, to me, not that relevant. Picking fruit off of the forest floor? Why not? It's not offered, but it is there to either be eaten, or to rot. How could a monk taking this fruit not be acting skillfully?

Part of the beauty of the Buddha's precepts is the idea that it is our own sila and kamma that guides us in making these decisions and actions. Each of us have to be the ethical lamp that guides us, and save for serious monastic offenses, we shouldn't be too ready to split hairs as to whether the Vinaya disallows a monk from joining Facebook. If a monastic picks up a piece of fruit off of a forest floor, I hope it is sweet and nutritious, and supplies her with fuel for her journey. If a monk opens a Facebook account and gains access to students who benefit from his teachings, all the better.

But a monk picking up fruits is to alone.

As I understand it, the Buddha made up the daily almsround, to get them in contact.
The ones that are in advanced training (Bhikkhus) get in contact with the beginners (lay people).
But these beginners are true one's, since they have so much faith in the advanced trainees it makes them share their food with them.
And these are the ones where e.g. Dhamma Talks on other occasions make sense, they are open minded.

This is, why taking only, what is given faithfully to a monastic makes sense to me.

_()_
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:57 pm

mirco wrote:
BuddhaSoup wrote:I feel that the Vinaya and precepts are sacrosanct, but that they're not intended to be ordinances by which laws are enforced, or commandments that result in "sin" accruing to the monk or layperson. Rather, they have much to do with the intention and ethics of the person taking the precepts. So when we question whether a Bhukkhu/Bhikkhuni violates the monastic precepts by signing up for a Facebook account and using FB to teach Dhamma and be in contact with students, we can understand that the intention is pure and skillful, and speculation about Vinaya interpretations is, to me, not that relevant. Picking fruit off of the forest floor? Why not? It's not offered, but it is there to either be eaten, or to rot. How could a monk taking this fruit not be acting skillfully?

Part of the beauty of the Buddha's precepts is the idea that it is our own sila and kamma that guides us in making these decisions and actions. Each of us have to be the ethical lamp that guides us, and save for serious monastic offenses, we shouldn't be too ready to split hairs as to whether the Vinaya disallows a monk from joining Facebook. If a monastic picks up a piece of fruit off of a forest floor, I hope it is sweet and nutritious, and supplies her with fuel for her journey. If a monk opens a Facebook account and gains access to students who benefit from his teachings, all the better.

But a monk picking up fruits is to alone.

As I understand it, the Buddha made up the daily almsround, to get them in contact.
The ones that are in advanced training (Bhikkhus) get in contact with the beginners (lay people).
But these beginners are true one's, since they have so much faith in the advanced trainees it makes them share their food with them.
And these are the ones where e.g. Dhamma Talks on other occasions make sense, they are open minded.

This is, why taking only, what is given faithfully to a monastic makes sense to me.

_()_

There are allowances for famine situations when the basic requisite of food is hard to come by on the best of days.
Have you actually studied and read the actual Vinaya, or are you assuming from limited information?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby cooran » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:57 pm

Thank you to the individual lay people and the organisations which provide computers and pay electricity and Internet bills to enable the great Teachings and advice we get from Ordained Sangha members online. Thank you to our wonderful Venerables! I wouldn't be a Buddhist without them. Sadhu!

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:00 pm

cooran wrote:Thank you to the individual lay people and the organisations which provide computers and pay electricity and Internet bills to enable the great Teachings and advice we get from Ordained Sangha members online. Thank you to our wonderful Venerables! I wouldn't be a Buddhist without them. Sadhu!

With metta,
Chris

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby mirco » Sat Feb 01, 2014 11:33 pm

Cittasanto wrote:
mirco wrote:But a monk picking up fruits is to alone.

As I understand it, the Buddha made up the daily almsround, to get them in contact.
The ones that are in advanced training (Bhikkhus) get in contact with the beginners (lay people).
But these beginners are true one's, since they have so much faith in the advanced trainees it makes them share their food with them.
And these are the ones where e.g. Dhamma Talks on other occasions make sense, they are open minded.

This is, why taking only, what is given faithfully to a monastic makes sense to me.

There are allowances for famine situations when the basic requisite of food is hard to come by on the best of days.
Have you actually studied and read the actual Vinaya, or are you assuming from limited information?

Yeah, well, this is not about famine situations.
And no, although I have access, I haven't been studying the actual Vinaya.

_()_
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:55 pm

mirco wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:
mirco wrote:But a monk picking up fruits is to alone.

As I understand it, the Buddha made up the daily almsround, to get them in contact.
The ones that are in advanced training (Bhikkhus) get in contact with the beginners (lay people).
But these beginners are true one's, since they have so much faith in the advanced trainees it makes them share their food with them.
And these are the ones where e.g. Dhamma Talks on other occasions make sense, they are open minded.

This is, why taking only, what is given faithfully to a monastic makes sense to me.

There are allowances for famine situations when the basic requisite of food is hard to come by on the best of days.
Have you actually studied and read the actual Vinaya, or are you assuming from limited information?

Yeah, well, this is not about famine situations.
And no, although I have access, I haven't been studying the actual Vinaya.

_()_

As food and drink had been used within this discussion, that example was used to show that the vinaya isn't some black and white document that categorically denies mendicants from only using what is directly given to them, or as the case is here, what has been made available freely to them.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby seeker242 » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:22 pm

The Buddha and his first monks got their robes out of rubbish heaps or from the charnel grounds, etc. Technically, this is "taking something not given", since an abandoned, bloated, festering corpse can't intentionally give you something. I doubt still doing that would be a precepts violation. Now, if it was a nice piece of fabric draped on someone's grave to adorn it, etc. that would be a different story as someone might be upset if you took it.

2. Should any bhikkhu, in what is reckoned a theft, take what is not given from an inhabited area or from the wilderness — just as when, in the taking of what is not given, kings arresting the criminal would flog, imprison, or banish him, saying, "You are a robber, you are a fool, you are benighted, you are a thief" — a bhikkhu in the same way taking what is not given also is defeated and no longer in affiliation. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ti.html#pr


If the taking of something would, if everyone found out about it, never cause anyone to call you, or think of you, as a "thief", then it seems to me to be permissible. Of course, signing up for a free internet service would never cause anyone to say this. This precept is only about "stealing".

A good commentary on this precept starts on page 50. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... o/bmc1.pdf

The Vibhanga defines the act of stealing in terms of four factors.

1) Object: anything belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
2) Perception: One perceives the object as belonging to another human being or a group of human beings.
3) Intention: One decides to steal it.
4) Effort: One takes it.


The action has to meet all 4 conditions in order for it to be an offense.


Object.

For an object to qualify as what is not given the rule’s term for anything that may be the object of a theft it must belong to someone else: “not given, not forfeited, not abandoned/discarded; guarded, protected, claimed (literally, ‘viewed as “mine”’), possessed by someone else.”

Perception.
For the act of taking what is not given to count as theft, one must also perceive the object as not given. Thus there is no offense if one takes an object, even if it is not given, if one sincerely believes that it is ownerless or thrown away. Similarly, if a bhikkhu takes an object mistaking it for his own or as belonging to a friend who has given him permission to take his things on trust, there is no offense even if the assumption about the trust proves to be a misperception. Also, a bhikkhu who takes things from the Community’s common stores, on the assumption that he has the right to help himself, commits no offense even if the assumption proves false.

Intention.

The act of taking what is not given, even when one perceives it as not given, counts as theft only if one’s intention is to steal it. Thus, as the non offense clauses say, a bhikkhu incurs no offense if he takes an object temporarily or on trust.

Effort.
Assuming that all of the above conditions are met the object belongs to someone else, one perceives it as belonging to someone else, and one intends
to steal it if one then takes it, that constitutes stealing. The question then arises as to precisely what acts constitute taking. The Vibhanga, instead of giving a systematic answer to this question, provides a long list of possible situations and then defines how taking is defined in each case.


So signing up for a free internet service, most certainly does not qualify. This is how I read it anyway. :anjali:
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby binocular » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:18 pm

seeker242 wrote:If the taking of something would, if everyone found out about it, never cause anyone to call you, or think of you, as a "thief", then it seems to me to be permissible. Of course, signing up for a free internet service would never cause anyone to say this. This precept is only about "stealing".

On the other hand, internet access is provided and payed for by lay supporters to begin with. It's a gift.

If monks misuse this gift, this might not formally constitute theft, but it does so in spirit.
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Re: Ordained & the social networking services

Postby Feathers » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:41 pm

cooran wrote:Thank you to the individual lay people and the organisations which provide computers and pay electricity and Internet bills to enable the great Teachings and advice we get from Ordained Sangha members online. Thank you to our wonderful Venerables! I wouldn't be a Buddhist without them. Sadhu!

With metta,
Chris


This.

I am incredibly grateful to have access to talks by monks and nuns, and for access to this forum, and for the fact that Bikkhus do contribute to some discussions here.
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