Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

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Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby VictoryInTruth » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:33 pm

I am reading a book called ¨The Buddha and His Teachings¨...on page 155 of the book it states that the Buddha said the following:

"If, Ananda, women had not received permission to renounce the world and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Tathagata, the Holy Life would have lasted long and the Sublime Dhamma would have survived for thousand years. But since women have entered this homeless state, the Holy Life would not last long and the Sublime Dhamma would now remain only for five hundred years.

"Just as, Ananda, houses in which there are many women and but few men are easily violated by burglars, even so, under whatsoever doctrine and discipline women are permitted to renounce the world and enter the homeless state, that Holy Life will not last long."


Why did the Buddha look so negatively on women and blame them as the cause for the Dhamma lasting only 500 years? It seems like he did not have that high of a view of women in the religious life and some 2,500 years later his words on the Dhamma lasting only 500 years has pretty much been proven wrong.

As a woman this makes it seem like there is something wrong with us as we are being made out to be the primary cause for the disappearance of the Dhamma. What are the thoughts of others on this?

:namaste:
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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:45 pm

VictoryInTruth wrote:Why did the Buddha look so negatively on women and blame them as the cause for the Dhamma lasting only 500 years? It seems like he did not have that high of a view of women in the religious life and some 2,500 years later his words on the Dhamma lasting only 500 years has pretty much been proven wrong.

As a woman this makes it seem like there is something wrong with us as we are being made out to be the primary cause for the disappearance of the Dhamma. What are the thoughts of others on this?



Those may not have been his words.

He did ordain women and he didn't have to. That is a potential contradiction to those being his words. I've found passages here and there which don't seem to fit with the main body of teachings and at the same time seem self serving to the institution of Buddhism/the monks or the cultures around them. I never believed that the Bible was free from mistakes or intentional alterations. I don't believe it for Buddhism either.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby Modus.Ponens » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:46 pm

An interesting article about this is here:

http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebsut067.htm

scroll down to the 8 rules part, which is relatively small. If it's true that the 8 rules are not cannonical, the 500 years story isn't too.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jun 17, 2011 12:44 am

VictoryInTruth wrote:Why did the Buddha look so negatively on women and blame them as the cause for the Dhamma lasting only 500 years? It seems like he did not have that high of a view of women in the religious life and some 2,500 years later his words on the Dhamma lasting only 500 years has pretty much been proven wrong.

As a woman this makes it seem like there is something wrong with us as we are being made out to be the primary cause for the disappearance of the Dhamma. What are the thoughts of others on this?


I may be opening a can of worms here.

Firstly, I don't think the Buddha looked negatively on women as people. He stated that women have the same ability to achieve nibbana as men. I think the Buddha however recognized that men and women's minds operate in different ways. Women give more precedence to their feelings than to logical underpinnings and tend to act in a way that adheres to their emotional integrity. Men in their natural capacity make for better decision makers, and women in positions of leadership tend to have to learn to think like a man. An example was the Prime Minister of New Zealand - Helen Clark. She was a brilliant politician, but she was emotionally removed - Some might even have described her as a little cold. In order to be successful in the holy life one has to generate a great deal of equanimity. Especially during the Buddha's time conditions for a mendicant were quite harsh, this was one reason for the Buddha's reluctance to ordain women in the first place.

The Buddha's Dhamma requires a sacrifice of your own opinions and feelings on matters, it may be that the Buddha saw that women would have a tougher time abandoning their predilections and emotional biases. A view is a pleasure and an attachment, conflicting views are the source of a lot of conflict, it may have been that the Buddha had seen that because women put more trust in their feelings, that they could be led astray by them. Speaking from my own experience, women tend to have a stronger set of values than men, they have a stronger idea of how they like things to be in their experience, and when this is violated they find the violation 'offensive'.

It's not that the way a woman's mind operates should be thought of as lesser. As far as evolutionary psychology is concerned it is of an equal and synergistic value to that of a man's mind. But as far as women's abilities to thrive in an environment of sensual and emotional deprivation, I think they have a tougher time, and it's not hard to imagine that in general more conflict would arise among groups of women than among groups of men. Speaking from experience, living in a monastic environment with women, a lot more conflict and disharmony arises when women are present in a monastic environment than when it's just men.

Finally it's important to note that '500' and '1000' years are two terms that in India of that time were used in the general sense of being 'large numbers' and were not taken as exact amounts. We can see this through the many suttas that speak of "travelling with a great company of monks - 500 monks" or "with an assembly of 1000 monks." these are not literal.

I imagine I will be grilled as a sexist for this, I can accept that but don't think that I view women negatively, I don't - I have the utmost admiration for women who chose to pursue the holy life and I am in favor of Bhikkhuni ordination. I do however think there are inherent differences between men and women in behavior and that these differences may have been the source of the Buddha's proclamation that his Dhamma would only last half as long if women were to be ordained in the Sangha.

metta
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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:21 am

Greetings all,
You might find the following interesting if not relevant to this discussion:

Buddhist Women at the Time of The Buddha by Hellmuth Hecker translated from the German by Sister Khema

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el292.html

kind regards

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

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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:39 am

More:

In conclusion, I hope to have presented you with some material for thinking that in the Buddha's time women were not despised and looked down on but, on the contrary, were respected and had a place of honor in the home. The difficulties they had to face and overcome were no more than normal for women in any time or country, even if their life was, at the worldly level, more restricted than it has come to be in the last decades as women go in more and more for public work and hold professional posts. At the higher, more spiritual level however, they had the great advantage and great joy of entering the Order of Nuns either because they wanted to get free of worldly sufferings or, more positively, and above everything else, because they wanted to find the way to the peace and bliss of Nibbana, all their former craving for sense-pleasures rooted out, tranquil and cool. Many of the women I have mentioned here, whether they have been nuns or lay-devotees, by their response to the majesty of the Buddha's Teaching, have made an imponderable contribution to its strength, vitality, expansion, and longevity. It is as well to survey again from time to time the lives of these ardent contemporaries of the Buddha. Indeed the Buddhist world owes them a large debt of gratitude.

-- Women in Early Buddhist Literature: A Talk to the All-Ceylon Buddhist Women's Association, I.B. Horner
-- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el030.html

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: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby octathlon » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:39 am

BlackBird wrote: I think the Buddha however recognized that men and women's minds operate in different ways. Women give more precedence to their feelings than to logical underpinnings and tend to act in a way that adheres to their emotional integrity. Men in their natural capacity make for better decision makers, and women in positions of leadership tend to have to learn to think like a man.

What a load of crap.
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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 17, 2011 1:46 am

Moderator note:


This is a moderator-mediated forum. Discovering Theravada forum is for the provision of information tailored to the needs of the op with material that represents mainstream Theravada. In keeping with the aim of the Discovering Theravada forum, I ask that all members desist from posting their own personal opinions and instead post links to or extracts from published material that answers the op's question.
Thanks for your cooperation.

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: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby daverupa » Fri Jun 17, 2011 2:02 am

BlackBird wrote:Finally it's important to note that '500' and '1000' years are two terms that in India of that time were used in the general sense of being 'large numbers' and were not taken as exact amounts. We can see this through the many suttas that speak of "travelling with a great company of monks - 500 monks" or "with an assembly of 1000 monks." these are not literal.


Bhante Sujato wrote:So isn’t it the case that the Buddha said that if bhikkhunis were ordained, Buddhism would die out after 500 years?

This prophecy is part of the same legend, and the text depicts the Buddha making this prophecy after accepting Mahāpa­jāpatī as a bhikkhuni. Obviously, it’s been a lot more than 500 years since then, and Buddhism has not yet died out! Either this statement was not spoken by the Buddha, or else he made a serious mistake. But given that nowhere else does the Buddha claim to be able to predict the future in this way, it seems certain that this is not an authentic saying. Anyone who is familiar with ancient mythic texts would know that, invariably, proph­ecies are a disguised way of referring to their own time, and only on the surface do they refer to the future.

Sometimes you might hear that the Buddha predicted that the Bhikkhuni Sangha would die out after 500 years, and it is argued from this that the Buddha intended the bhikkhunis to disappear. This is incorrect. The supposed prophecy refers to Buddhism as a whole, not to the bhikkhunis, as anyone who takes the time to read the text would know. In fact, it is now 2500 years, and neither the Bhikkhuni Sangha nor Buddhism look like vanishing any time soon.


Bhikkhuni FAQ
    "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: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby whynotme » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:41 am

I remember that there are at least 2 suttas about this, one said 500 years the other said 2500 years. And I remember Buddhaghosa explained that the time means the period of result a monk could reach. At first 500 years, Arahant could be attained, in the second 500 years period, the highest state could be attained is Aganami and so on.. Maybe it applies for the mass.

And for the 2500 version, with that explanation the dhamma would exist at least ten thousand yeas.

If I have time I will find it for you.

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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 17, 2011 6:03 am

Greetings,

whynotme wrote:If I have time I will find it for you.

That would be appreciated.

On matters where there is no single clear cut definitive answer, it's all the more important in the Discovering Theravada section that we provide clear references for the OP's benefit.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby VictoryInTruth » Fri Jun 17, 2011 5:01 pm

I´d like to thank everyone for their responses. :thanks: Whynotme, I hope that you are able to find the references for the 500 and 2,500 soon. As it will help to shed some more light on this matter.

Thanks again.
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Re: Dhamma remain only for five hundred years

Postby whynotme » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:30 pm

Sorry, I tried but couldn't find them, even in my language and English. There are several sources on the internet talk about 2500 years version, but I haven't found the source in the suttas yet.

I only found the 500 version but I remember there is at least 2 suttas in 2500 years version because a long time ago, I heard about that 500 years story, and I read in suttas that it is 2500 years and I think people were wrong, this memory is so clear. But recently, I have read the 500 years version and I know that people aren't all wrong as I thought.

I slowly spent several years to read almost all Nikaya suttas to know what the Buddha really said. But that is a gigantic amount and sometimes it is very hard for me to remember where did I read it. I hope I could find it later and if I found them I would let you know.

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