Why not ordain?

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.

Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings bhante,

Phra Chuntawongso wrote:While this does fall into the classification of rites and rituals I find myself taking part in some of these things.

In saying that though, I think it's worth making clear what is being meant by "rites and rituals".

In terms of the fetter of "rites and rituals" (sīlabbata-parāmāso) which is to be broken, I believe this relates not to partaking in certain "rites and rituals" but a belief in their efficacy.

Which isn't to say for example that chanting isn't beneficial, if done with a pure mind and such (therefore being wholesome), but there's no belief that the words or tones have some kind of magical potency.

Metta,
Retro. :)

I agree.Unfortunately there probably are those who believe in the efficacy of these things,but as you say these things done with a pure mind can only be viewed as wholesome.
When the Thai people come to the temple for what ever reason,I think they do so with the right intention.
Anyway this is probably heading way off topic,so I will wish those who would like to ordain all the best and all those who do not,or can not I wish them all well on their paths.
It is not about us and them.Artists all have different styles,so do we.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Maitri » Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:11 pm

I am not ordaining as I am married. However, I have spoken openly with my spouse the possibility of ordaining if he passes away before I. Hopefully that is many years in the future. :heart:
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Viscid » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:36 am

Can't ordain because that would require me to make believe that the Buddha was the grandest guy ever.
"What holds attention determines action." - William James
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:23 am

Viscid wrote:Can't ordain because that would require me to make believe that the Buddha was the grandest guy ever.


Correct me if i am wrong, but it sounds like you are ridiculing those who ordain out of faith in the triple gem.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby pilgrim » Sun Feb 06, 2011 4:41 am

Viscid wrote:Can't ordain because that would require me to make believe that the Buddha was the grandest guy ever.

Belief is unnecessary as it is factual.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby kirana » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:01 am

Viscid wrote:Can't ordain because that would require me to make believe that the Buddha was the grandest guy ever.

the Buddha only show the way, we have to go along.

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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Viscid » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:17 am

Guy wrote:Correct me if i am wrong, but it sounds like you are ridiculing those who ordain out of faith in the triple gem.


I'm not; they don't think they're playing make believe. I respect that.

However, I am convinced after reading and comparing the writings of contemplatives in other religions, that worship of The Buddha is not required for enlightenment. I hold him in no higher regard than I hold Aristotle.

While Buddhist teachings are remarkably accurate, and the Theravadin Sangha is probably the best developed monastic community there is, the requirement to treat The Buddha with reverence is unsubstantiated.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:39 am

Viscid wrote:While Buddhist teachings are remarkably accurate, and the Theravadin Sangha is probably the best developed monastic community there is, the requirement to treat The Buddha with reverence is unsubstantiated.


I would have thought that in order to follow the teachings of the Buddha would in a certain sense "require" than we humbly bow down to (what we believe to be) his supreme wisdom. But some might regard the Buddha as being merely more knowledgeable than the average human, rather than a supremely wise teacher, in which case I can understand why they would not particularly want to revere him.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Viscid » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:52 am

Guy wrote:...it is only considered unsubstantiated to those who do not believe that the Buddha discovered the Four Noble Truths and was therefore worthy of titles such as Arahant (Worthy One) and Buddha (Awakened One).


I am fully willing to lend belief that he authored the four noble truths and was worthy of such titles. It does not warrant his worship. Such mandate is unnecessary.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:58 am

Viscid wrote:I am fully willing to lend belief that he authored the four noble truths and was worthy of such titles. It does not warrant his worship. Such mandate is unnecessary.


I suppose it depends on how important we believe the Four Noble Truths are. Do we consider the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths equal to, say, the knowledge of how to ride a bike? Or do we consider it to be the highest form of knowledge which is the only knowledge that is capable of leading to liberation?

Unless we are Enlightened, this is a matter of faith.
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Viscid » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:14 am

Guy wrote:I suppose it depends on how important we believe the Four Noble Truths are. Do we consider the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths equal to, say, the knowledge of how to ride a bike?


But why would any idea, no matter how great, warrant worship of its progenitor?
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Ben » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:17 am

Greetings Guy,
Guy wrote:Unless we are Enlightened, this is a matter of faith.

Ummm....
Not quite (from my pov). There is one's own experience. Having experienced the benefits of practice, even at the mundane level, one is filled with gratitude and devotion to the Buddha. Devotion is the first of the panca bala and balances and to an extent conditions wisdom. Devotion in this context isn't blind. In the words of my teacher, devotion must be an 'enlightened devotion', a devotion that has the eye of wisdom open.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Guy » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:47 am

Hi Ben,

Ben wrote:
Guy wrote:Unless we are Enlightened, this is a matter of faith.

Not quite (from my pov). There is one's own experience. Having experienced the benefits of practice, even at the mundane level, one is filled with gratitude and devotion to the Buddha. Devotion is the first of the panca bala and balances and to an extent conditions wisdom. Devotion in this context isn't blind. In the words of my teacher, devotion must be an 'enlightened devotion', a devotion that has the eye of wisdom open.


You are right, one's experience can help to strengthen faith. We can keep the precepts, for example, and see that we are indeed free from remorse and our general mood is uplifted. We can practice meditation and see that we are becoming more peaceful, less caught up in the worldly winds and capable of seeing things in a more realistic way. This is certainly a basis for an increase of faith. This is a reason to believe that the Buddha's teaching is indeed more useful than knowing how to ride a bike.

However, the point I was making is that we cannot be absolutely 100% sure that the Buddha was Fully Enlightened until we have at least reached the stage of Stream Entry/opened the eye of wisdom. Until such time it might be best described as "inferential faith" if we have experienced some benefit but are not yet a Noble One. If we were Fully Enlightened then it would not be accurate to say that we have faith in the Buddha, instead it would be accurate to say that we have realised the same Truth that he had realised.

I would have thought that a natural consequence of experiencing benefit as a result of practice would be increased faith/reverence/devotion/worship. But maybe I am wrong about this. Worship here, I would define as seeing the "worth" in something. I believe the Buddha is the "Worthy One" so I "worship" him.

This is what I meant by "unless we are enlightened this is a matter of faith"...but I probably should have expanded on that a little.

Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:10 am

Hello all,

I think there could be a misunderstanding about the word ‘’worship’’.

‘Worship’ in the Buddhist world simply means to ‘pay respect’ by bowing.

Lay people and Ordained people bow to the Buddha. Lay people bow to those who have Ordained.

It doesn’t mean the one bowing regards the object of the bowing as a God.

It is simply paying respect to those worthy of respect. With monks, I am not judging who is worthy or not – I simply bow to the yellow robe as symbolising the Ariya Sangha.

with metta
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Vardali » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:54 am

cooran wrote:It is simply paying respect to those worthy of respect.

It's fine to pay respect but that doesn't have to include "worship" (which I understand as blind idolation) nor bowing (which appears to me a cultural/traditional form for expressing respect rather than a necessity in itself). Respect for the Buddha's achievement and his wisdom can well be expressed in speech, general behaviour etc.

If Viscid was coming from that angle, I would actually agree with him in that the Buddha does not warrant any (special) idolation/worship.

I still bow if I visit a temple (but out of respect for customs more than worship, and that applies to Hindu temples as well as Buddhist temples), I cover my head when visiting churches in Spain etc., and I enjoy my Buddha statue at home as a reminder of the path ;)

But respect doesn't equate worship for me ...
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Viscid » Sun Feb 06, 2011 6:46 pm

Vardali wrote:
cooran wrote:It is simply paying respect to those worthy of respect.

It's fine to pay respect but that doesn't have to include "worship" (which I understand as blind idolation) nor bowing (which appears to me a cultural/traditional form for expressing respect rather than a necessity in itself). Respect for the Buddha's achievement and his wisdom can well be expressed in speech, general behaviour etc.

If Viscid was coming from that angle, I would actually agree with him in that the Buddha does not warrant any (special) idolation/worship.


My point is that the outstanding degree to which Buddhist monks express their reverence for The Buddha does not reflect my respect for him. If I were to ordain, and had to also express reverence to The Buddha to such a degree, I would feel deceitful.

I respect Neil Armstrong for being the first man on the moon. I do not revere him. If I were to attempt a moon landing, I'd see what he did right and do the same. I wouldn't recant his name, I wouldn't bow to his image, but I would still have a great deal of respect and admiration for his accomplishment.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:00 pm

Viscid wrote:While Buddhist teachings are remarkably accurate, and the Theravadin Sangha is probably the best developed monastic community there is, the requirement to treat The Buddha with reverence is unsubstantiated.



IMHO, to treat Buddha with reverence means to follow his teaching (purify one's mind from all unwholesome states and reach ultimate peace).
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:29 pm

Viscid wrote:My point is that the outstanding degree to which Buddhist monks express their reverence for The Buddha does not reflect my respect for him. If I were to ordain, and had to also express reverence to The Buddha to such a degree, I would feel deceitful.

I respect Neil Armstrong for being the first man on the moon. I do not revere him. If I were to attempt a moon landing, I'd see what he did right and do the same. I wouldn't recant his name, I wouldn't bow to his image, but I would still have a great deal of respect and admiration for his accomplishment.


You are correct of course, except why would you assume that respect for Buddha involves respect for a man who lived and died 2500 years ago?

Buddha means a quality of knowing, this is what one should pay respect to because this is our ideal.

Even if one thinks that we shouldn't pay respect to the quality of knowing in a ritualistic way the point of the ritual is the affect it has on one's mind and ones other practises, it's just a practise like any other.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby EmptyShadow » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:06 am

:focus:

I guess i 'm not ordained for several reasons, and the main is that over the years when i was younger i developed something like sociophobia.I feel unease when i'm around ppl i dont know, and having to talk with strangers is usualy painful for me, i dont feel like sharing my views or talking about random staff at all, and usualy i have regrets after i say something like "why i said this or instead of that or why i acted like this instead otherwise.."(only in real life tho, no problems behind a computer :tongue: ).And since the life of a bhikkhu is more or less involved with social contacts i would feel realy uncomfortable.

As a lay person i have hopes and aspirations that i can achieve progress in meditation on my own and attain stream-entry althow sometimes it seems impossible to me, with my lack of persistency and attachment to sensual pleasures.
Anyway i think that the ordained life is most supportive for the realisation of the dhamma and i would encourage anyone who have seriouse thoughts about it.

I remember in some of the posts on E-sangha forum that some of the moderators have related a story about asking an elder bhikkhu how he can describe his expirience in the monkhood.And the bhikkhu's answer was something like this: At first it was alot of pain - pain in the knees, pain in the head, pain in the back.. but after that there was a lot of happiness and peace.
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Re: Why not ordain?

Postby pilgrim » Sat Feb 12, 2011 8:51 am

Viscid wrote:
My point is that the outstanding degree to which Buddhist monks express their reverence for The Buddha does not reflect my respect for him. If I were to ordain, and had to also express reverence to The Buddha to such a degree, I would feel deceitful.

I respect Neil Armstrong for being the first man on the moon. I do not revere him. If I were to attempt a moon landing, I'd see what he did right and do the same. I wouldn't recant his name, I wouldn't bow to his image, but I would still have a great deal of respect and admiration for his accomplishment.


This approach to the Dhamma strikes me as one holding to a cup that's already full. Why not approach the Dhamma with a "don't -know mind"? , with a fresh perspective that allows new experiences and insights? if one's mind is already made up, what is there to learn? In the Theravada tradition that is a meditation known as Buddhanusati where one recalls the Buddha's great qualities and cultivates saddha, the first of the 5 spiritual powers (pance-bala) . The exercise of bowing is part of this meditative exercise. Many of the forms of Theravada practice may seem insignificant or meaningless initially, but will reveal itself to be of great importance to the practitioner later.
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