We need new rules

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We need new rules

Postby alan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:31 am

We no longer walk around India. Rules made for a group of monks 2500 years ago do not necessarily apply to our lives, or work for our betterment. Worshipping rules, and following them mindlessly, is slowly strangling Buddhism, and It will kill it eventually. Why? Because no one who has a creative, independent mind will put up with it. Lose those people, and you lose it all.

We need to take a fresh look at how to go about things, friends. Let's start with getting rid of all the accumulated junk.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 29, 2013 3:51 am

Being a monastic is not a requirement. See retro's good post here:
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18983&start=60#p266256

There is absolutely no rule that to be a Buddhist you must be a monk or nun. In fact, there are reports of some lay people attaining full enlightenment (in the Pali Canon).

Which rules do you want to get rid of?
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Re: We need new rules

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:04 am

Hi Alan,
How are rules strangling Buddhism?
Kind regards,
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Re: We need new rules

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:06 am

alan wrote:We no longer walk around India. Rules made for a group of monks 2500 years ago do not necessarily apply to our lives, or work for our betterment. Worshipping rules, and following them mindlessly, is slowly strangling Buddhism, and It will kill it eventually. Why? Because no one who has a creative, independent mind will put up with it. Lose those people, and you lose it all.

We need to take a fresh look at how to go about things, friends. Let's start with getting rid of all the accumulated junk.

Hi, Alan,
I'm with you in a general sort of way but
• There were always different guidelines and expectations for ordained and lay Buddhists but Western Buddhists have been blurring the difference between them - in both directions. On the one hand, some enthusiastic lay practitioners want to be as much like monks as possible; on the other, we have a new class of un-ordained teachers. I have suggested several times that we ought to look at Christianity occasionally just to see how the difference between amateurs and professionals plays out in a community that isn't comprised primarily of converts.

• Quite separately from all that, monastic life and practice in traditionally-Buddhist countries has drifted (or evolved) away from what it was in the Buddha's time. I'm not sure the the original vinaya can be made to fit modern monasteries without a lot of, ah, creative interpretation. I'm also not sure whether either the original model or the evolved model is the best way of organising an ordained community in 21st century Western communities. However, I do suspect the answers are all "no".

:namaste:
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Re: We need new rules

Postby alan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:32 am

Smart, creative people are not getting into Buddhism. We're losing the demographic race. Why? Because the way it it presented is based upon morality and rules. Rule followers, and those who have a need to feel superior morality, will find other religions. We're shooting ourselves in the foot by thinking others will just accept our rules and arcane procedures.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:33 am

Greetings,

alan wrote:We're shooting ourselves in the foot by thinking others will just accept our rules and arcane procedures.

What "rules and arcane procedures" do the laity need to abide by, alan?

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: We need new rules

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:41 am

alan wrote:We no longer walk around India. Rules made for a group of monks 2500 years ago do not necessarily apply to our lives, or work for our betterment. Worshipping rules, and following them mindlessly, is slowly strangling Buddhism, and It will kill it eventually. Why? Because no one who has a creative, independent mind will put up with it. Lose those people, and you lose it all.

We need to take a fresh look at how to go about things, friends. Let's start with getting rid of all the accumulated junk.


Hmmm... I guess there are many rules in the Vinaya that are no longer relevant. But to reform an old tradition is hard. People will get turned off, striking the right balance is tricky. In Mahayana bikkhus and bikkunis are not strict on the minor rules generally, I guess, so this is de facto reform.
_/|\_
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Re: We need new rules

Postby alan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:48 am

Guess it depends on who you want to talk to. If we're discussing this with those who have the kamma to already find the teachings, that's one thing. If you want to spread the Dhamma to others, we'll have to present it in a different way.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby Dan74 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 4:58 am

I guess this is one reason why Theravada has found fewer adherents in the West - there is a perception of rigidity, a rule book mentality akin to what we are familiar with from Judeo-Christian tradition.
_/|\_
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Re: We need new rules

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:04 am

Dan74 wrote:I guess this is one reason why Theravada has found fewer adherents in the West - there is a perception of rigidity, a rule book mentality akin to what we are familiar with from Judeo-Christian tradition.


Do you have a source for those statistics? IMS and Spirit Rock, as well as many Ajahn Chah monasteries seem to be doing very well along with many other Theravada temples and centers.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby alan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:09 am

I think we've built up an ideology. Monks are so holy, they must always be good and right, because they eat once a day and don't touch women. But you can give them gifts and therefore get good kamma, It's nonsense, of course. No thinking person believes it.
Oh, by the way, I should mention Spirit Rock. They banned me, because I pointed out the fact that they were just looking for money, not really trying to teach.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:12 am

If vajrayana does happen to be doing better in the West, how much of the difference can we thank the Chinese for?
Without the Tibetan diaspora they forced, there would be far fewer Tibetan centres in the West.

:juggling:
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Re: We need new rules

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:13 am

alan wrote:Oh, by the way, I should mention Spirit Rock. They banned me, because I pointed out the fact that they were just looking for money, not really trying to teach.


Banned? So you are not allowed to step foot on Spirit Rock property? But that is a lay-based organization, which seems to be what you are pulling for, correct?
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Re: We need new rules

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:18 am

alan.
is that spirit rock comment fact, or just a claim?
if fact can you prove it?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: We need new rules

Postby alan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:28 am

I'm blocked from their Facebook page for pointing out that they were using posts to gain money. True fact. They didn't respond to my messages.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby SarathW » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:29 am

I understand that Arahants are not abide by the rules.
So the best way to get around this is to become and Arahant first and become a monk later!
Like Buddha did.
This will eliminate the people who want to become a monk for lifestyle reasons and economic reasons.
:shrug:
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Re: We need new rules

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:30 am

alan wrote:I'm blocked from their Facebook page for pointing out that they were using posts to gain money.


So maybe monastic institutions are not so bad? ;)
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Re: We need new rules

Postby alan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:33 am

New ones are what we need. Based on reason. And a love of truth.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby reflection » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:41 am

Why should Buddhism change to fit society instead of the other way around?
I've read the monk rules and none seem impossible. And there are monasteries in the west that make it work, and still seem to be well supported. There are also creative people there.
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Re: We need new rules

Postby rohana » Tue Oct 29, 2013 5:59 am

Relevant post here.

If vajrayana does happen to be doing better in the West, how much of the difference can we thank the Chinese for?
Without the Tibetan diaspora they forced, there would be far fewer Tibetan centres in the West

Yes, often it comes largely down to political/economical events(e.g. The decline of Buddhism in India; The Mahāyāna was a small fringe movement during a large part of Indian Buddhism, but survived by spreading outside of India. The Sthaviravāda also survived by spreading outside India.) Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism have become quite popular while Chán remains relatively unknown outside Chinese-speaking circles(I assume). Regarding the popularity of Theravāda in particular, other reasons could be emphasis on strict vinaya(e.g. Thai forest tradition) and renunciation as the ideal, lack of well known Bhikkhunis, emphasis on precepts(particularly the 5th), etc. Most of these are completely antithetical to the prevailing culture. Other traditions have these too, but I think the Theravāda emphasizes them the most (well, they're emphasized because they're emphasized in the Pāli Dhamma and Vinaya).

We're losing the demographic race.

We're in a demographic race? Who knew? :shrug:

The Buddha said that the world is swimming downstream while his disciples are swimming upstream. I'd be skeptical of a Buddhist movement that would be going along with the flow of the world.
"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43
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