Dan74 wrote:It varies.
Firstly do you mean doctrinally Theravada are more strict or place more emphasis on renunciation? Or do you mean in practice?
Also compared to whom? Vajrayana, Chinese Chan, Japanese Zen, Vietnamese Pure Land, Sokkagakai, Korean Seon? And even within schools, there are different lineages which approach these questions in radically different ways.
And in Theravada too, I am sure. You go to one temple and the monks are committed, disciplined and hard-working. You go to another and the precepts are respected more in breach, while the monks are just slackers in robes.
As for the doctrine, some scholars believe that Mahayana actually arose as a movement towards deeper commitment to following the Buddha's path (see eg Williams). Certainly in many places renunciation is very important. Except for Japan, monks follow Vinaya which is very similar to the one Theravada monks take and dates to an ancient school.
A few Mahayana monastics I know do handle money and generally take a pretty liberal approach to many rules. They also work extremely hard for their communities and are very committed celibate Dharma teachers. In many traditional monasteries life is very simple and austere. There is a great book by Buswell called The Zen Monastic Experience about life in one of the main Korean temples to give one a taste.
I guess Theravada historically placed a great deal of emphasis on preserving the teachings (perhaps more than on practicing them in some instances). I recall a Burmese monk telling me how the monks in Burma at one stage were very learned but didn't know how to meditate. And in Sri Lanka there was a similar story I believe until the Dhamma almost died out. Whereas Mahayana schools having in some way broken away from the letter of the original canon(s) (but not the spirit hopefully!) sometimes felt more at liberty to push the boundaries - crazy wisdom ala Ikkyu or Drugpa Kunley, etc
Mind you my take on this matter is not scholarly and probably quite inaccurate, so I will appreciate a correction from the more learned and apologize for any misrepresentation!
Forest Shangha? Are there monks that live in forests ? Isn't that a bit over the top? I thought the Buddha taught the middle way between very ascetic and self-indulgence in sense pleasures.
Hanzze wrote:Nanadhaja wrote:I pretty much agree with Dan here.
Different traditons do things different ways and even within those traditions,different schools do things differently.
As you can see by my avatar(yeah that is me)I am a monk in the Theravada tradition.
As you can also see I have internet access.
Not all temples would allow this.My temple pays my internet for me.
I doubt that the forest sanghas would allow this.
I cannot answer for the other traditions as to be honest I do not know enough about them and so will leave it up to people from these traditions to give you there views.
Venerable Nanadhaja, please let me ask you some questions.
Venerable Nanadhaja, would you say that the way you are walking is the way Buddha had taught?
Venerable Nanadhaja, would you say that the life of monasteries is according to what the Buddha has taught?
Venerable Nanadhaja, would you say that you have given up and live ascetic?
Dear Ven. Nanadhaja, what them is the reason for it?
Why, Ven. Nanadhaja, if there is no different in view of the dhamma, why then is that forum (just as a near example) described as "...on the dhamma of theravada"?
Why, Ven. Nanadhaja, if there is no different in the result of the way, why then publish other schools that this and that way will not lead to Nibbana?
Ven. Nanadhaja, is it useful for the practice to think "This is his way, and I walk my way" if I am identified as representative of one group?
I thought the Buddha taught the middle way between very ascetic and self-indulgence in sense pleasures.
I also thought Buddha taught compassion, how can you be compassionate to other people if you live in the forest?
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