Lineage of monks

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

Re: Lineage of monks

Postby cittaanurakkho » Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:35 pm

Did the Buddha teach that only he could initiate a lineage of monks?

Assuming "teach" as dhamma vinnaya, then let's consider two scenarios:
1. Suppose there is no monks left in the world today to perform ordination or there is an insufficient quorum of monks. In this case, there is no alternative procedure or even an exception in the Vinaya to initiate a lineage, which is another words of saying that the Buddha did not established a procedure to restart his lineage once the members falls below a limit (5). Thus the Buddha asserted that he is the only one that could initiate his lineage in this eon. Untill Maetreya come along to established Meatreya lineage.

2. Suppose there are many Mahayana monks in the world today and only 4 Theravadins monks left in the world. I don't think the Vinaya prohibit the Theravadins monk from borrowing one Mahayana monk to perform Theravadin ordination. But this scenario is riddle with a paradox. If the 4 Theravadins consider themself as a distinct lineage from the Mahayana, then technically they are re-initialing Theravadins lineage with the help of a Mahayana monk. Thus re-initiating the lineage without the Buddha. Yet, having asked the Mahayana monk for help, can the Theravadins really consider themself a distinct lineage seperate from the Mahayana? So what is a lineage?

For this reason, I think the original question only make sense with scenario #1. For other scenario (including the state of Buddhism in the world today), it is an improperly frame question. Consider the fact that for all of his 40 years of ministry, the Buddha tried hard, formulated rules to prevent the breaks up of his lineage into various factions. So, why would he formulate a rule regarding initialing a lineage of monks when there were only one lineage when he is still alive. And usually he formulated a rule adhock: only when there is an incident.

Perhaps some rules are best left unformulated.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:57 pm

cittaanurakkho wrote:2. Suppose there are many Mahayana monks in the world today and only 4 Theravadins monks left in the world..
There is no Mahayana Vinaya. There are two surviviving Vinaya lineages outside of the Theravada, the Mula-Sarvastivadins and the Dhamaguptas. All three of these stem from, and reasonably claim to be, rooted in the order of monastics started by the Buddha, following the same rules of transmission.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:57 am

cittaanurakkho wrote:Did the Buddha teach that only he could initiate a lineage of monks?

Assuming "teach" as dhamma vinnaya, then let's consider two scenarios:
1. Suppose there is no monks left in the world today to perform ordination or there is an insufficient quorum of monks. In this case, there is no alternative procedure or even an exception in the Vinaya to initiate a lineage, which is another words of saying that the Buddha did not established a procedure to restart his lineage once the members falls below a limit (5). Thus the Buddha asserted that he is the only one that could initiate his lineage in this eon. Untill Maetreya come along to established Meatreya lineage.

2. Suppose there are many Mahayana monks in the world today and only 4 Theravadins monks left in the world. I don't think the Vinaya prohibit the Theravadins monk from borrowing one Mahayana monk to perform Theravadin ordination. But this scenario is riddle with a paradox. If the 4 Theravadins consider themself as a distinct lineage from the Mahayana, then technically they are re-initialing Theravadins lineage with the help of a Mahayana monk. Thus re-initiating the lineage without the Buddha. Yet, having asked the Mahayana monk for help, can the Theravadins really consider themself a distinct lineage seperate from the Mahayana? So what is a lineage?

For this reason, I think the original question only make sense with scenario #1. For other scenario (including the state of Buddhism in the world today), it is an improperly frame question. Consider the fact that for all of his 40 years of ministry, the Buddha tried hard, formulated rules to prevent the breaks up of his lineage into various factions. So, why would he formulate a rule regarding initialing a lineage of monks when there were only one lineage when he is still alive. And usually he formulated a rule adhock: only when there is an incident.

Perhaps some rules are best left unformulated.

cittaanurakkho,
Thank you for your reply and giving your views here. I see that you are repying to the first of the three questions I have asked....you are replying to, "Did the Buddha teach that only he could initiate a lineage of monks?"

I like what you have said and want to give a summary of it to be sure that I understand what you are saying. I think you are saying that although the Buddha did not declare that only he could start a lineage that actually in essence by giving rules so that if the number of monks fell below 5 then there was no way to continue or to restart his lineage he did in effect create a situation where only he could initiate his lineage. I think this is an interesting idea....but you are only applying it to HIS lineage.....this says nothing about someone else initiating a lineage....so I guess that you are saying is that in a certain sense your view is that the Buddha defined the ordination of monks so that only he could initiate HIS lineage. I think this is something worth thinking about. I'm wondering in what sense this thing called "lineage" can be thought of as being "his".....also...at the end of section #2 of your post you ask "So what is a lineage?" and I think that everyone has some vague ideas about what this means and perhaps some clearly understood ideas too and your post as well as the others is giving me a better understanding of what it means.......I think....

Also, you say that there is no reason why the Buddha would formulate a rule that only he could initiate his lineage in that he only made rules on an adhoc basis and the need never arose during his life....I think this is a good observation but there is a danger in this....taking this logic to further extents one could say that the Buddha did not make a rule against monks using the internet because the situation never arose in his lifetime and by saying that someone might be implying that monks should not use the internet......in other words it is of questionable value to try to assign an intent for not doing something....I know that you made no assertion of intent in the Buddha's non-formulation of a rule but I'm just wanting to show how someone might misconstrue this sort of thing.

And finally, I'm wondering what you think about the third question I asked, ""Is there a reference in the Pali texts where the Buddha says that he is going to initiate a lineage of monks or that he has initiated a lineage of monks?" The point of this question is that I have not been able to find anywhere that the concept of "lineage"was ever used by the Buddha in regards to monks. I am actively trying to find out if the Buddha taught any ideas that could help us understand how he would answer the question, "So what is a lineage? "

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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:27 am

chownah wrote:. . .
You are given carefully considered and informed answers (far more informed than the question) and you are just unreasonably blowing them off. And you have yet to define the key term in your question: lineage.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:59 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:. . .
You are given carefully considered and informed answers (far more informed than the question) and you are just unreasonably blowing them off. And you have yet to define the key term in your question: lineage.

On the contrary.....I am not "blowing them off" as you say.....I think that good ideas are being presented and I am glad to have them expressed and I have (I think) been helped by all the posts here in my pursuit of a better understanding of the questions I have presented.....I appreciate and accept what people have posted....if I think they are addressing related questions and have strayed from the main focus of this thread then I explain my thinking on that...I still value what they said and am glad that they have taken the time to say it....I'm hoping that more people will post about their ideas on these questions so that I may develop a better understanding of what the Buddha taught as revealed through the study of these issues on lineage. For instance, don't you think that it is remarkable that both Gena1480 and cittaanurakkho have talked about rules of ordination and that while their approaches are different they also have alot in common....I certainly am not wanting to "blow off" their observations and I'm glad that they presented them......don't you see the value in this?....for me it is very informative and even if I do think that they have strayed somewhat from the exact focus of the thread i think that they have helped in shedding light on what I'm looking for.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 09, 2011 5:28 am

chownah wrote:. . .
If you are going to a very specific word such as "lineage," it would when asking a question, if you give us some idea of what you mean by the words, why you think it is important to use; rather, you have opted to play rather annoying games around this issue. You want everyone else to do the heavy lifting, but from you not really anything. The question has been quite clearly answered, but I do not think you have a clue as what it is that you are asking.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby Gena1480 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:42 am

Chownah
your question should be
Can only Buddha turn the wheel of Dhamma
the answer is yes
creating the rules for ordination of monks is part
of turning the wheel of Dhamma
so for your question
can only Buddha establish a lineage of monks
regarding Dhamma and Discipline then the answer is yes.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:35 am

Gena1480 wrote:Chownah
your question should be
Can only Buddha turn the wheel of Dhamma
the answer is yes
creating the rules for ordination of monks is part
of turning the wheel of Dhamma
so for your question
can only Buddha establish a lineage of monks
regarding Dhamma and Discipline then the answer is yes.
metta

Gena1480,
"Can only Buddha turn the wheel of Dhamma" is a good question and I think you have given a good answer....but this is not the question I want to ask.
When you say, "can only Buddha establish a lineage of monks
regarding Dhamma and Discipline then the answer is yes." you are saying what your views are on the issue. I am asking whether the Buddha said something like this or is someone else in the Pali text said this or even whether the Buddha even used the idea of lineage at all. What you say is that you think that the Buddha started a lineage of monks but what I'm trying to find is something from the Pali texts that says this or something similar. You know, I don't think that there is anything in the Pali texts where it says anyting about monks and lineages....
but I just looked at the Pali foruma and there is some good info posted there by tiltbillings so I'll make another post soon about this.
thanks so much for your ideas,
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:42 am

chownah wrote: I am asking whether the Buddha said something like this or is someone else in the Pali text said this or even whether the Buddha even used the idea of lineage at all.
You are the one that brought up the term lineage. So, why would it matter? Did it ever occur to you that if you answered that question it might actually help, since you seem stuck on that word? Gena and and several others here have answered your question, and yet you persist with this. Lineage. You brought it up, so, define it.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:54 am

Over in the Pali Language forum I have been asking for Pali words for "lineage" ad tiltbillings has come up with two great ones I'll reproduce only part of each definition because they are rather long and if someone wants to see the entire text of both translations they are over in the Pali forum in the topic "Lineage".

1. Kula

Kula (nt.; but poetic pl. kulā Pv ii.943 [Idg. *qṷel (revolve); see under kaṇṭha, cakka and carati] 1. clan, a high social grade, "good family," cp. Gr. (doric) fua/, Goth. kuni. A collection of cognates and agnates, in sense of Ohg. sippa, clan; "house" in sense of line or descent ...........
.........."

2. Vaŋsa [Vedic vaŋśa reed, bamboo (R.V.)] 1. a bamboo Sn 38 (vaŋso visālo va; vaŋso expld at Nd2 556 as "veḷugumba," at SnA 76 as "veḷu"), ibid. (˚kaḷīra);
J vi.57; Vism 255 (˚kaḷīra); KhA 50 (id.). -- 2. race, lineage, family A ii.27 (ariya˚ of noble family); S v.168 (caṇḍāla˚); J i.89, 139; iv.390 (caṇḍāla˚); v.251 (uju˚); Mhvs 4, 5 (pitu -- ghātaka -- vaŋso a parricidal race). -- 3. tradition, hereditary custom, usage, reputation........
............."

For me these two words seem to convey some of the meaning of "lineage" as is commonly used in English.....so......since I want to learn about my third question which is whether the Buddha ever used a concept of lineage with respect to monks then I guess if someone could come up with a reference where the Buddha used either of those two terms concerning the body of monks then this would show that the Buddha was indeed thinking of the body of monks in terms of lineage......what do others think about this approach?

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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:57 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote: I am asking whether the Buddha said something like this or is someone else in the Pali text said this or even whether the Buddha even used the idea of lineage at all.
You are the one that brought up the term lineage. So, why would it matter? Did it ever occur to you that if you answered that question it might actually help, since you seem stuck on that word? Gena and and several others here have answered your question, and yet you persist with this. Lineage. You brought it up, so, define it.

By the time I am done I may very well have considered every single English lanuguage definition of "lineage" and I may very well have considered every single Pali word which can be shown to approximate any of the English language definitions.

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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:01 am

chownah wrote:what do others think about this approach?
The question has been answered.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 09, 2011 12:51 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:what do others think about this approach?
The question has been answered.

Perhaps your question has been answered but I'm not sure if mine has or not. Now I know that there are indeed at least two Pali words that are in my mind associated closely enough with the English word "lineage" that for me to find out if the Buddha used any concept of "lineage" with respect to the body of monks a good line of inquiry is to study the usage of these two words in the Pali texts.......there might be other avenues of discussion which shed light on this too.
Thanks again for providing the two definitions....that was very helpful.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby cittaanurakkho » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:38 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
cittaanurakkho wrote:2. Suppose there are many Mahayana monks in the world today and only 4 Theravadins monks left in the world..
There is no Mahayana Vinaya. There are two surviviving Vinaya lineages outside of the Theravada, the Mula-Sarvastivadins and the Dhamaguptas. All three of these stem from, and reasonably claim to be, rooted in the order of monastics started by the Buddha, following the same rules of transmission.


Good point. Perhaps just better use x and y for a hypothetical case.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby cittaanurakkho » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:48 pm

chownah,

In regard to your summary, you said "...he did in effect create a situation where only he could initiate his lineage......but you are applying it to HIS lineage". I like to use one Bodhi tree as the analogy. If lineages are the branches and twigs, than Buddha is the trunk of the Bodhi tree. Any other branches and twigs of the Bodhi tree are still the Bodhi tree.

Again the vinaya is formulated adhoc later on. It is difficult to justify the statement that he "...defined the ordination of monks so that only he could initiate HIS lineage...", implying some sort of preoccupation with lineage or with who can initiate what. I think it is more appropriate to say that the ordination procedure is established for a long term survival of the dhamma in a living community. Once the community is dead (defined as less than 5 monks) than there is no procedure for reviving it. No zombie.

Regarding "...Is there a reference in the Pali texts where the Buddha says that he is going to initiate a lineage of monks or that he has initiated a lineage of monks?"

I don't know any reference to that. Dhammacakkappavattana is the first sermon and the five acetics are his first group of monks. I believe they become monks simply by his unceremonious invitation: "Ehi Bhikkhu".
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:19 pm

chownah wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:what do others think about this approach?
The question has been answered.

Perhaps your question has been answered but I'm not sure if mine has or not.
But the problem is: We do not know what your question is. You do not have the decency to straight with us here.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:32 am

tiltbillings wrote:
chownah wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:The question has been answered.

Perhaps your question has been answered but I'm not sure if mine has or not.
But the problem is: We do not know what your question is. You do not have the decency to straight with us here.

I think you are correct and I am not decent....oh well.....better to not rely on the concepts of an indecent fellow....instead let's focus on what Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto (SEE THE NOTE BELOW AS THIS IS INCORRECT) meant when he said:

""Your majesty," the Buddha replied, "I now belong, not to the lineage of my family, but to the lineage of the noble ones. Theirs are the customs I follow.""

This "lineage of noble ones"....I'm not sure what he's talking about....a "lineage" of noble ones is not necessarily the same as a "lineage" of monks.....but I don't know since I don't know just what he means when he uses the term "lineage" in relation to "noble ones"....I think when he talks about "lineage" of family he is talking about biological procreation and I can understand this as the transmission of dna...so for instance an adopted child would not be considered to actually be of the lineage of the family I guess....but the family very well may treat the adopted child the same as their children who are of their lineage but of course some would not do so......but obviously the lineage of noble ones he is talking about can not be defined the same way......
chownah
NOTE: I misread a reference and so made an important mistake above....the reference:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... stoms.html
Above I attributed this quote, """Your majesty," the Buddha replied, "I now belong, not to the lineage of my family, but to the lineage of the noble ones. Theirs are the customs I follow.""" to Ajaan Mun Bhuridatto but this is wrong....the quote should actually be attributed to Thanissaro Bhikkhu who was apparently quoting some un-named Pali source.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby vkasdn » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:36 am

maybe im completely off, and dont get it....but

back in the Buddha's day, the only lineage that existed were those who listened to his teachings, and applied the effort to put the teachings into practice...this was undoubtedly initiated by the Buddha resulting from his unique realization into the nature of conditionality....Since we know this lineage has been initiated, how then can it again be initiated?

Seems that anyone can initiate a lineage, but it will not be a lineage connected to the Buddha's dhamma, it would just be someone else's interpretation....why would anyone want to initiate a new lineage? It seems to me, that a new lineage would require a perversion of what is already founded...

so lets think, during the time of the Buddha, if there is only one community of followers, what possibility would there be to initiate more lineages? and why would one even consider doing so at that time??

i cannot think of what else you might mean...it almost seems like you are asking if only the Buddha can start the Buddhist order....in which case i would say yes... :twothumbsup:
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Sun Nov 13, 2011 12:39 pm

vkasdn,
Thanks for the reply and expressing your interest!
vkasdn wrote:maybe im completely off, and dont get it....but

Don't worry about it! I dont get it either and that's why I'm asking for people's ideas and why I'm sort of brainstorming here in this topic....I'm just trying to get a grip on it.....
vkasdn wrote:back in the Buddha's day, the only lineage that existed were those who listened to his teachings, and applied the effort to put the teachings into practice...this was undoubtedly initiated by the Buddha resulting from his unique realization into the nature of conditionality....Since we know this lineage has been initiated, how then can it again be initiated?

You could replace "the only lineage" with the words "the only group of monks" and your statement would be pretty much unchanged...the idea of a "lineage" is not really necessary and frankly I'm not sure I know what is meant by "lineage" and one thing I'm trying to find out is whether the Buddha thought about monks in that way....one could look at this as that there is a way to make monks so there will be no shortage of monks!!!....no need to think in terms of "lineage"....do you have any thoughts on what is the practical aspect of using the term "lineage" instead of just thinking that "more monks can be made"?....I know that what I'm saying is a bit strange and I can see that too but I can't think of a better way to say it.
vkasdn wrote:Seems that anyone can initiate a lineage, but it will not be a lineage connected to the Buddha's dhamma, it would just be someone else's interpretation....why would anyone want to initiate a new lineage? It seems to me, that a new lineage would require a perversion of what is already founded...

I think that perversion is too strong a word....someone could define a different kind of monk for a different circumstance I guess without it being a perversion...it could be true to the dhamma I think.
vkasdn wrote:so lets think, during the time of the Buddha, if there is only one community of followers, what possibility would there be to initiate more lineages? and why would one even consider doing so at that time??

Well, what you are saying is true about one community of followers but even in the Buddha's time the need for women to be ordained became apparent so the Buddha started an ordination for women......I guess we could say that it is a different lineage....but what I'm wondering is if the Buddha ever described it as a "lineage" because I'm not really understanding if he ever spoke or thought that way about monks or nuns or any other of the wandering ascetics which were prevalent at that time and perhaps it is only us that think that way...I don't know....
vkasdn wrote:i cannot think of what else you might mean...it almost seems like you are asking if only the Buddha can start the Buddhist order....in which case i would say yes... :twothumbsup:

I'm wondering if an "order of monks" has to be the same thing as a "lineage of monks"...I really don't know.

Anyway....thanks again for presenting your ideas and if you come up with some more then please let us know.
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Re: Lineage of monks

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:35 pm

I have been thinking about the quote I presented a couple of posts back, that quote being:

""Your majesty," the Buddha replied, "I now belong, not to the lineage of my family, but to the lineage of the noble ones. Theirs are the customs I follow.""

I'm trying to learn more about this quote in the "incident in the buddha's life" thread over in the general theravada discussion forum....over there it was suggested that this came from the Dhammapadatthakatha but not sure.

Anyway...as you can see this is a usage of "lineage"...actually two usages....but also notice that neither instance of its usage refers to monkhood.....and what specifically I have been thinking about is that the Buddha chooses to say that he belongs to the lineage of noble ones....he does not choose to say that he belongs to a lineage of monks. So far no one has brought a Pali reference where the Buddha talks about a "lineage of monks" or even uses the word "lineage" in any way with respect to monks. Yet, here the Buddha uses the word lineage twice which shows that it was a concept that he used.....but not in relation to monks I guess...AND...more importantly the Buddha is stating that he is part of a lineage...but again this is not a lineage of monks.....for people who use the term "lineage of monks I would like to know if they consider the Buddha to be part of that lineage or not.....so far I can find no evidence that the Buddha thought of himself that way.....here he chooses to say he is in the lineage of noble ones...and it is their customs that he follows....he does not say that he follows the customs of the monks.....I don't have any solid conclusions to draw from this but really I find it a bit surprising that the Buddha seems to never have talked about a lineage of monks and he himself identifies with a lineage of noble ones and it is not the customs of monks he follows but rather the customs of the noble ones.....
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