We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby ground » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:39 am

Prasadachitta wrote:
ezzirah wrote: I have said many times on various posts what gets renounced is suffering, not the responsibilities of this life.

Just my 1 1/2 cent....


Hi ezzirah,

I think we need to find out in our experience what the cause of suffering is. Then renounce that. Its easy to think about renouncing suffering but the causes are more difficult to discern.


And one may find out that the thought "responsibilities of this life" is one of the causes if there are actually no other people being directly dependent on what oneself is doing or not doing.
But if there are other people being directly dependent on what oneself is doing or not doing then of course suspension of factual responsibilities may be a cause of future suffering.



Kind regards

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:35 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Prasadachitta wrote:
ezzirah wrote: I have said many times on various posts what gets renounced is suffering, not the responsibilities of this life.

Just my 1 1/2 cent....


Hi ezzirah,

I think we need to find out in our experience what the cause of suffering is. Then renounce that. Its easy to think about renouncing suffering but the causes are more difficult to discern.


And one may find out that the thought "responsibilities of this life" is one of the causes if there are actually no other people being directly dependent on what oneself is doing or not doing.
But if there are other people being directly dependent on what oneself is doing or not doing then of course suspension of factual responsibilities may be a cause of future suffering.


The Buddha also asked us to reduce our responsibilities- we won't become happier by taking on more and more responsibilities, but it happens by reducing our responsibilities little by little.

:namaste:

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:52 pm

I find it interesting that in the Dighajanu Sutta the Buddha gives instruction to householders on how to gain, keep and spend wealth, yet at the end of the same sutta says that one should also develop wisdom:

"What is the accomplishment of wisdom?

"Herein a householder is wise: he is endowed with wisdom that understands the arising and cessation (of the five aggregates of existence); he is possessed of the noble penetrating insight that leads to the destruction of suffering. This is called the accomplishment of wisdom.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... 4.nara.htm

It would seem from this sutta that developing wisdom as a householder is not dependent on renunciation of material goods and sense pleasures, (though the easiest path) but through the renunciation of attachment and clinging to these things. Learning how to use them wisely.

From Buddhadasa:

There is another kind of short cut particularly for lay­people who have never ordained or studied the scriptures and for those who cannot read at all. It has the same meaning and aim, the knowledge of the emptiness of all things, but with such people we don't use the word emptiness as they will not understand; We tell them to make a habit of contemplating what there is that is worth having and what there is that is worth being. Gaining wealth, possessions, prestige and power, what is worth gaining, what is worth having? Being a human being, being a millionaire, being a beggar, being a king, being a king's subject, being a celestial being, what is worth being, what about it is worth being?

First of all we must understand the words 'have' and 'be' correctly. These words refer directly to grasping and clinging. To fulfill the meaning of the words 'have' or 'gain' there must be a grasping at something to make it ours.

For instance if we take diamonds and jewels and pile them up so that they completely fill a room and there is no clinging to them as being ours or that we are their owners, it's the same as if there is no possession or gain. The pile of precious stones stands there without meaning. But if grasping at 'I' occurs, that 'I have got them', 'I have made them mine', then that is having or gaining. Please understand these words in this way.

I'll ask again, what is there worth having? What is there worth gaining? What is there that having been possessed won't cause its owner to suffer? Every single thing there is will burn up its owner, pierce, strangle and entangle him, envelop and oppress him should he start to 'have' or to 'be'. But should the precious stones stand piled up filling the room and he has no feeling of having or being, then there is no burning, entangling or strangling of any kind. This is called not-having and not-­being. So what is there, that having possessed it or having become it we will be free from Dukkha?

Once there is the feeling of having or being, we don't have to be in the room with the stones, we can be in the forest or in another country on the other side of the world and the mind will still experience Dukkha. Try having children living in America you'll see that if you still cling to 'I' and 'mine' they will be able to give you sleepless nights or even a nervous breakdown.

Please make it a habit to regularly contemplate what is worth having and what is worth being; what is there that once possessed or become, will not cause us Dukkha. When we discover the truth that there is absolutely nothing that is worthy of the feelings of having or being then we become even - mind­ed towards all things. Whatever action we perform, be it arranging, having, collecting, using or whatever, we just do what needs to be done. So don't let the mind have or become! Keep in mind the principle of doerless doing:

The doing is done but no doer is there.

The path has been walked but no walker is there.


http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... _EMPTINESS

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Dan74 » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:03 am

rowyourboat wrote:
TMingyur wrote:And one may find out that the thought "responsibilities of this life" is one of the causes if there are actually no other people being directly dependent on what oneself is doing or not doing.
But if there are other people being directly dependent on what oneself is doing or not doing then of course suspension of factual responsibilities may be a cause of future suffering.



The Buddha also asked us to reduce our responsibilities- we won't become happier by taking on more and more responsibilities, but it happens by reducing our responsibilities little by little.

:namaste:

With metta

Matheesha


Do you have a reference, Matheesha?

Some monastics are extremely busy people with many responsibilities but handle them in a light stress-free manner.

As usual, I suspect that the Buddha's counsel is to be taken as a general guidance than a hard-and-fast rule.
_/|\_

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:57 pm

Ben wrote:...And I think that as one progresses on the path, that which one derives pleasure - changes. So as we progress we may find that there is less fun to be had in hanging out in nightclubs, casual sex, getting intoxicated, engaging in risky and dangerous activities. Also, the nature of 'fun' changes. It becomes less gross and much more subtle and resembles contentment and equanimity than the excitement that characterised our sense of fun we had BD (Before Dhamma).
kind regards

Ben


I don't mean to revive a dead post, but this post just gave me so much help with my woes. I've noticed this start to happen to me and I was worried that I'd start getting depressed and relive what I used to be like. [shivers] :(

Thank you so much! I'm even more glad I came here now. :D

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Ben » Sat Aug 20, 2011 11:13 pm

FaceaceRAWR wrote:
Ben wrote:...And I think that as one progresses on the path, that which one derives pleasure - changes. So as we progress we may find that there is less fun to be had in hanging out in nightclubs, casual sex, getting intoxicated, engaging in risky and dangerous activities. Also, the nature of 'fun' changes. It becomes less gross and much more subtle and resembles contentment and equanimity than the excitement that characterised our sense of fun we had BD (Before Dhamma).
kind regards

Ben


I don't mean to revive a dead post, but this post just gave me so much help with my woes. I've noticed this start to happen to me and I was worried that I'd start getting depressed and relive what I used to be like. [shivers] :(

Thank you so much! I'm even more glad I came here now. :D


Hi Ace,
Its good to know that I could be of assistance to you!
May you progress on the path!
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby FaceaceRAWR » Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:24 pm

Yes, may I progress. :heart:

My birthday is in four days and the only things I desire is knowledge to help me along the path. For what this forum is giving me, I can not express the gratitude I feel. :hug:

Sincerely,
Ace :strawman:

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby robertk » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:04 am

Ben wrote:
Zom wrote:
Piya Tan shows that it is not quite the distinct divide between monastics and lay and that there was/is more of a blur between the two, with examples of lay people teaching Dhamma even in the time of the Buddha.


I remember a sutta where layman Citta (anagami) teaches Dhamma to the monks.


Indeed. Within my own tradition, Ledi Sayadaw authorised the layman U Po Thet to teach and before the Sayadaw died in the early 1920s told the monks at his monastery to listen to Saya Thetgyi. Since then, monastics have been going to Saya Thetgyi's meditation centre in Pyebwegi for insight meditation retreats.
kind regards

Ben

DO u have the reference for that, I have all the saydawas writings in English as far as i know but obviously you have some stuff I havent read.

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:25 am

Hi Robert,

Its from a mimeographed biography of Saya Thetgyi that I read at his meditation centre in Pyebwegi. I regret not retaining it when it was offered. At the time I seemed to have recalled having read the same biography before - perhaps its in John Coleman's "Quiet Mind", or perhaps an earlier incarnation of the mimeographed biography that I had seen at Vipassana Centres in India or the west.

Also at the Centre at Pyebwegi, I had seen recent photos of bhikkhu sangha members in group photos at Saya Thetgyi's centre on the wall there and in a photo album. Some of the Americans I was with, it was their second visit, told me that on their first visit that the centre was filled with monks doing a meditation retreat. The custodians of the centre, through a translator, also mentioned that large retreats of monks are held there - perhaps several times a year.

I may have taken a photo of one of the group photos on the wall which was captioned. I'll have a look tonight on my external hard drive. There maybe some more material in some International Meditation Centre publications which I picked up and brought home with me. I'll check tonight.

Unfortuntely, my trip to the Archives and Library of Buddhism under Shwedagon Paya bore no fruit. I had gone wishing to do some research on the history of meditation practices in Myanmar. I got there only to be told that I needed a letter from the University of Rangoon authorizing me to do research. I also had the opportunity to stay at SITAGU University in Sagaing but didn't avail myself on that occassion. Next time, perhaps.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Dhammanucara » Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:22 pm

I just stumbled upon this post and found it correlated with my thought some time ago. When I adopted the Theravadan path, many of my friends actually asked me: are you going to be a monk? are you not going to have a family? In that case, how do you even need to study and work now? (at that time I was still a student).

To be honest, I find it difficult to answer the question. I could not deny the emphasis placed by the Buddha on the greater utility of renouncing the householder's life and entering into a renunciate's life. At the same time, I could not totally deny the householder's life either. Besides, living in a society governed by Confucian values further erodes the image of Theravada Buddhism and the value of monkhood. A person is supposed to get a good education, get a job to support his parents who had worked hard when he was young, get married and have children to continue the family lineage, and at that time, I'm just a college-attending student. How am I supposed to defy this order?

At this point of dilemma, I encountered my teacher, the late Ven Suvanno Mahathera from Malaysia. His biography was so inspiring as if I was awakened to a new truth. Called "Striving to be a Nobody," it narrates his life from young from the moment he was "dumped" by his mother and raised in a unfriendly environment up to the moment he became a Maha-Thera. It was said that, Ven Suvanno had been a practicing Buddhist even before becoming a monk. He first found solace in Buddhism in his childhood and realized the meaning of dukkha through his own hardships. Since then he had always harnessed the intention to renounce the householder's life, but then he persisted until having a basic education, a stable job and finally had a family with children. Then, at the age of 60 (if I remembered correctly), after his children were all well-established in values and their lives and his wife having a stable on-going income to survive, he renounced the householder's life. One thing that struck my mind was one of his messages in the book that learning and practicing Buddhism does not solely mean renouncing your current life; in fact, (Ven Suvanno) believed that his continuous engagement in Buddhist practice of Dhamma and meditation during his householder's life provides a strong foundational background for his monkhood and further enhances his practice later as a monk.

With metta,
Dhammanucara :anjali:

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Epistemes » Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:52 pm

I'm not really sure I follow all this talk about the difference between householder vs. bhikkhu Buddhism, but I can say that as an outsider looking in, Buddhism definitely seems to sap the fun out of life. I remember after reading Steve Hagen's book 12 years ago I thought Buddhism was a breath of fresh air and I remember trying hard to practice the Eightfold Path and still having fun, but now, as I'm older and reading this forum and Dharma Wheel, reading the books and trying to practice meditation, Buddhism is like every other dogmatic institution controlled by people. Life was more enjoyable before I tried pretending to be a Buddhist again.
The wind spins without end,
one moment southward,
the next moment northward.

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby daverupa » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:55 pm

Epistemes wrote:pretending to be a Buddhist


The benefit is using the Dhamma to think with, not using it to think about. It isn't an additional series of ideas to wallpaper your mind with, it's a tool chest to remove your mind.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:13 am

Greetings,

I was reading "Sakka's Quest", Sister Vajira's translation of DN 21, where the Buddha explained the dependent origination of papanca.

The whole thing is available at http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh010-p.html , but this part piqued my interest in the context of this topic...

DN 21 wrote:“It is thus, O king of gods, that a bhikkhu must conduct himself to become fit for the path leading to the dissolution of the continual influx of multifarious perceptions.”

In this manner it was that Bhagava answered the question put by Sakka, the king of gods. Edified, Sakka, the king of gods, approved of the Bhagava’s saying and took delight in it: “Thus it is, O Bhagava! Thus it is, O Sugata! Conquered are my doubts, gone is my uncertainty, having heard the Bhagava’s answer to this question.”


Sister Vajira wrote:Comment: A task such as the dissolution of diversified perception rooted in diversifying of craving is but one of the many courses of training towards the same ultimate goal of Nibbana. It can be attempted only by a bhikkhu. That much is quite clear to Sakka. That is, he does not hope for its accomplishment in his present life as a deity, but dedicates himself to the life of a bhikkhu in a birth to come which will be in the human world, as he himself later announces.

Compare, for example to the commentary to the Satipatthana Sutta that regards "bhikkhus" as inclusive of anyone "who earnestly endeavors to accomplish the practice of the teaching"... (ref: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... wayof.html )

Bhikkhave = "Bhikkhus." This is a term for addressing persons who accept the teaching.

Bhikkhu is a term to indicate a person who earnestly endeavors to accomplish the practice of the teaching. Others, gods and men, too, certainly strive earnestly to accomplish the practice of the teaching, but because of the excellence of the bhikkhu-state by way of practice, the Master said: "Bhikkhu." For amongst those who accept the teaching of the Buddha, the bhikkhu is the highest owing to fitness for receiving manifold instruction. Further, when that highest kind of person, the bhikkhu, is reckoned, the rest too are reckoned, as in regard to a royal procession and the like, when the king is reckoned, by the reckoning of the king, the retinue is reckoned. Also the word "bhikkhu" was used by the Buddha to point out the bhikkhu-state through practice of the teaching in this way: "He who practices this practice of the Arousing of Mindfulness is called a bhikkhu." He who follows the teaching, be he a shining one [deva] or a human, is indeed called a bhikkhu. Accordingly it is said:

"Well-dressed one may be, but if one is calm,
Tamed, humble, pure, a man who does no harm
To aught that lives, that one's a brahman true.
An ascetic and mendicant too.

Two very different ways of approaching what one reads in the suttas, and the subsequent possibility of benefit for lay-folk in following instructions pitched at bhikkhus!

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby altar » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:07 pm

of interest is the sutta where a householder, perhaps a niganthan, debates with the buddha. the buddha "wins" and the layman emphatically wishes to be his follower. But the Buddha says to him to inquire, that he is a householder of much status, and to inquire first.
it believe its in the MN.

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Sep 03, 2011 9:08 pm

Upali Sutta, MN 56
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh098-u.html# ... %81liSutta
“Householder, make a thorough investigation! It is good for a distinguished man like you to (first) make a thorough investigation.”

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby freefall68 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:03 am

Monkey Mind wrote:Saijun raises the same question that I am pondering in my daily life. Is the intention of "unburdened with duties" to be "free from duties" or "manage duties with equanimity"?

Allow me to present a different perspective from my Hindu background.

The attitude you are talking about is called "karma yoga" and is considered the main theme of Bhagavadgita.

In Hinduism, renunciates are the main audience of advaita vedanta path. Shankara lays great emphasis on sannyasa for realization but accepts the validity of karma yoga as a preparation for maturity of mind established in equanimity that is necessary to realize the truth of advaita.

OTOH, Krishna in Bhagavadgita has elevated karma yoga to be an independent path of realization.

Personally I do not know if karma yoga is only a preparation of mind for the knowledge or an independent path by itself, but I have found that it does bring with it a sort of maturity and upkekkha in our mental attitude.

In short, the karma yoga is 1) Doing your duty to your best without caring for results 2) Knowing all the time that it is not "I" who is the doer, but the gunas of prakriti acting through this body mind organism. So even while you are in the middle of intense activity, you have to be mindful of your motives.

Monastics seem to be (to my outside perspective) some of the busiest people I know.


The label might be missing, but they are karma yogis.

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Sep 08, 2011 2:11 am

Greetings Freefall,

Thanks for sharing.

Whilst of course what you said isn't Theravada, it is certainly appreciated, because many of us are to different degrees unfamiliar with the Indian religious diaspora, against which the Buddha's teaching is invariably set. It's useful context.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Freefall,

Thanks for sharing.

Whilst of course what you said isn't Theravada, it is certainly appreciated, because many of us are to different degrees unfamiliar with the Indian religious diaspora, against which the Buddha's teaching is invariably set. It's useful context.

Metta,
Retro. :)


Hi Retro,

I would like to add that much of that "Indian religious diaspora" is not only the background for the Buddhas teaching but also the product of its influence.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby grasshopper » Thu Sep 08, 2011 9:38 am

It is said that Buddha's father - King Suddhodhana, achieved Arahatship whilst still a lay man, albeit on his deathbed, when he was preached by none other than the Buddha himself.

Epistemes wrote: Buddhism definitely seems to sap the fun out of life.

My experience has been the same. Though I find much comfort in Buddhist philosphy, it does take away the fun out of the equation. But according to people like Ajahn Brahm, the pleasures of jhana farrrrr exceed the pleasures of mundane joy such as sex. I remember hearing him say that the reason why he did not disrobe is 'cos of the jhanas.

May be removal of mundane fun, joy and "good times" and making life dull and boring is necessary, if it's not already, to set a fertile ground for our mind to settle down and allow the arising of jhana through meditation? :shrug:

Epistemes wrote: Buddhism is like every other dogmatic institution controlled by people.

Again, my experience has been the same! Buddhism with generous wrappings of cultural mumbo jumbo and corrupt monks appear so much like dogmatic organised religions but fortunately or unfortunately, my mind always tends to find solace with the teachings of the Buddha just like a dog on a leash always comes back to rest near the pole to which its leash is tied.

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Re: We don't want to renounce. We want to have fun.

Postby DarwidHalim » Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:04 pm

Depending on our individual capacity in understanding the meaning of renunciation.

To me, it is because I renounce this samsara, finally I can have fun.

Without renunciation, the fun that I have is the fun covered by fire.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!


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