What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

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mettafuture
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What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby mettafuture » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:09 pm

What's wrong with going to school, getting a degree, working hard to earn a stable income, starting a family, enjoying the good, and learning how to tolerate the bad? Is the "worldly life" really that bad? This is the question that's been floating through my head lately.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Shonin » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:19 pm

No, actually it can be very good, especially if you have a loving partner and a steady income.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby mettafuture » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:39 pm

Shonin wrote:No, actually it can be very good, especially if you have a loving partner and a steady income.

But, throughout the suttas, the Buddha repeatedly tells us to renounce this life for the spiritual life. Yes, there are suttas directed toward householders that don't emphasize renunciation as much, but they're like little ants next to the other suttas. :D

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby bodom » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:40 pm

Nothing, and dont let the naysayers lead you to believe you must renounce these things. The Buddha praised this lifestyle for his lay followers. Please see the Mangala Sutta, Sigolavada Sutta and Vyagghapajja Sutta.

Everyman's Ethics: Four Discourses of the Buddha by Narada Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el014.html

: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: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby mettafuture » Sat Jul 03, 2010 4:48 pm

bodom wrote:Nothing, and dont let the naysayers lead you to believe you must renounce these things. The Buddha praised this lifestyle for his lay followers. Please see the Mangala Sutta, Sigolavada Sutta and Vyagghapajja Sutta.

Everyman's Ethics: Four Discourses of the Buddha by Narada Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el014.html

:anjali:

Thank you.

I'll give these suttas a closer look tonight.

:anjali:

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Mukunda » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:02 pm

mettafuture wrote:What's wrong with going to school, getting a degree, working hard to earn a stable income, starting a family, enjoying the good, and learning how to tolerate the bad? Is the "worldly life" really that bad? This is the question that's been floating through my head lately.


If you find satisfaction and do not see the dukkha involved in this kind of pursuit, then go for it.
:anjali:

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Mukunda » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:11 pm

bodom wrote:Nothing, and dont let the naysayers lead you to believe you must renounce these things. The Buddha praised this lifestyle for his lay followers. Please see the Mangala Sutta, Sigolavada Sutta and Vyagghapajja Sutta.

Everyman's Ethics: Four Discourses of the Buddha by Narada Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el014.html

:anjali:


Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm seeing the Buddha providing a code of ethics for lay persons, not "prais(ing) this lifestyle" in this sutta.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby plwk » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:16 pm

Tapussa Sutta

This Sutta made me realise one angle...in relation to the topic

It has challenged me to move beyond the 'norm', 'what everyone else is doing', 'what is expected of me'....
It is saying to me..'there's something greater, more meaningful, more noble'
Then the next question: 'Why do I let myself limit my own potential for the greater, meaningful & noble?'

Then most importantly...'Do I want the greater, more meaningful and noble than mere 'going to school, getting a degree, working hard to earn a stable income, starting a family, enjoying the good, and learning how to tolerate the bad'?'

:smile:
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If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Annapurna » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:32 pm

mettafuture wrote:What's wrong with going to school, getting a degree, working hard to earn a stable income, starting a family, enjoying the good, and learning how to tolerate the bad? Is the "worldly life" really that bad? This is the question that's been floating through my head lately.


Nothing wrong with it. If you get the call for ordained life, you'll know it. Just don't get attached to enjoying the good, because it shall pass.

Best wishes,

Anna
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Shonin » Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:51 pm

plwk wrote:Then most importantly...'Do I want the greater, more meaningful and noble than mere 'going to school, getting a degree, working hard to earn a stable income, starting a family, enjoying the good, and learning how to tolerate the bad'?'


Surely what is deemed 'greater' 'more meaningful' and 'noble' is based on value judgments rather than objective fact. If you subscribe to a set of values that declares lay life to be 'lesser', 'meaningless' and 'ignoble' regardless of how it satisfies you, then so it is, but only in relation to those values.

Personally I'm not persuaded much by value judgements - only by what brings lasting happiness.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby bodom » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:15 pm

Mukunda wrote:
bodom wrote:Nothing, and dont let the naysayers lead you to believe you must renounce these things. The Buddha praised this lifestyle for his lay followers. Please see the Mangala Sutta, Sigolavada Sutta and Vyagghapajja Sutta.

Everyman's Ethics: Four Discourses of the Buddha by Narada Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el014.html

:anjali:


Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm seeing the Buddha providing a code of ethics for lay persons, not "prais(ing) this lifestyle" in this sutta.


You can see it any way you like. :smile:

: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: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby OcTavO » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:20 pm

mettafuture wrote:But, throughout the suttas, the Buddha repeatedly tells us to renounce this life for the spiritual life. Yes, there are suttas directed toward householders that don't emphasize renunciation as much, but they're like little ants next to the other suttas.


In all fairness, the Buddha didn't tell everyone to renounce the worldly life. He just suggested that suffering and unsatisfactoriness was inherent in it... built into the very fabric of it. His instruction of renunciation was intended for those who wish transcend suffering. For the laypeople he simply advised an ethical life abiding by the precepts.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:48 pm

plwk wrote:Tapussa Sutta

This Sutta made me realise one angle...in relation to the topic

It has challenged me to move beyond the 'norm', 'what everyone else is doing', 'what is expected of me'....
It is saying to me..'there's something greater, more meaningful, more noble'
Then the next question: 'Why do I let myself limit my own potential for the greater, meaningful & noble?'

Then most importantly...'Do I want the greater, more meaningful and noble than mere 'going to school, getting a degree, working hard to earn a stable income, starting a family, enjoying the good, and learning how to tolerate the bad'?'

:smile:


:goodpost:

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Goedert » Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:46 am

Hello Friend,

There is nothing wrong with it.

A good heart is the core of everything... even for wisdom.

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Mukunda » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:31 am

bodom wrote:
Mukunda wrote:
bodom wrote:Nothing, and dont let the naysayers lead you to believe you must renounce these things. The Buddha praised this lifestyle for his lay followers. Please see the Mangala Sutta, Sigolavada Sutta and Vyagghapajja Sutta.

Everyman's Ethics: Four Discourses of the Buddha by Narada Thera
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el014.html

:anjali:


Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm seeing the Buddha providing a code of ethics for lay persons, not "prais(ing) this lifestyle" in this sutta.


You can see it any way you like. :smile:

:anjali:


If I am missing the praise, perhaps you'd be so kind as to point it out for me. :shrug:
:anjali:

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby bodom » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:05 am

Hi Mukunda

This comes at the end of the Sigalovada Sutta:

Who is fit to lead the household life, These six quarters he should salute. Who is wise and virtuous, Gentle and keen-witted, Humble and amenable, Such a one to honor may attain. Who is energetic and not indolent, In misfortune unshaken, Flawless in manner and intelligent, Such a one to honor may attain. Who is hospitable, and friendly, Liberal and unselfish, A guide, an instructor, a leader, Such a one to honor may attain. Generosity, sweet speech, Helpfulness to others, Impartiality to all, As the case demands. These four winning ways make the world go round, As the linchpin in a moving car. If these in the world exist not, Neither mother nor father will receive, Respect and honor from their children. Since these four winning ways The wise appraise in every way, To eminence they attain, And praise they rightly gain.


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

: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: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby bodom » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:20 am

Also from the Maha-mangala Sutta:

To have much learning, to be skillful in handicraft, well-trained in discipline, and to be of good speech — this is the greatest blessing.

To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing.

To be generous in giving, to be righteous in conduct, to help one's relatives, and to be blameless in action — this is the greatest blessing.

To loathe more evil and abstain from it, to refrain from intoxicants, and to be steadfast in virtue — this is the greatest blessing.


Personally to me this sounds like praise for living a good and moral household life. The Buddha is not asking anyone to renounce these "great blessings."

But if you see it another way thats fine. Im not gonna debate with you. We will have to agree to disagree.

:anjali:
Last edited by bodom on Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:14 am, edited 2 times in total.
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: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:34 am

i think it may be helpful to keep in mind that there are very few suttas in regards to householders in comparison to those aimed at monastics for the simple fact that it was monastics that remembered and kept the discourses. if it had been householders who took the initiative to remember and keep the discourses we'd probably have a different canon all together.
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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Shonin » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:07 am

Yeah, The Childcare Sutta, imagine it. :)

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Re: What's wrong with living a "normal" life?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:19 am

jcsuperstar wrote:i think it may be helpful to keep in mind that there are very few suttas in regards to householders in comparison to those aimed at monastics for the simple fact that it was monastics that remembered and kept the discourses. if it had been householders who took the initiative to remember and keep the discourses we'd probably have a different canon all together.

A very good point indeed. What we have is a way of life preserved by ( mostly ) male monastics.
Which must be extremely useful if you are a male who intends to live as a monastic or like one.
For the majority of lay Buddhists who do not it is not necessarily useful to be reminded that we fail the gold standard of the Vinaya. It would be useful to have the positive values of the FIVE precepts held up as OUR gold standard and reinforced when questions are asked about ethics, sexuality, etc.
The kamma for most of us is how to make the best of the teachings for lay people in the situations that they are in. Not in setting comparisons with those who have adopted the life of a Sangha member.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.


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