Could someone please explain this rule?

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

Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:59 am

The link to the rule and the explanation provides some pretty logical reasons for the rule:

A more likely explanation is that at the time of the Buddha the duty of memorizing and reciting the texts was considered the province of the bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs. Although some lay people memorized discourses (Mv.III.5.9), and bhikkhus of course taught the Dhamma to lay people, there was apparently the feeling that to teach non-ordainees to become skilled reciters of the texts was not good for the relationship between bhikkhus and the unordained. There are three possible reasons for this:

1) People may have felt that the bhikkhus were shirking their responsibilities by trying to pass their duty off onto others.
2) Brahmans at the time were very strict in not allowing anyone outside their caste to memorize the Vedas, and their example may have led lay people to feel disrespect for bhikkhus who were not equally protective of their own tradition.
3) A bhikkhu acting as a tutor for a lay person wishing to memorize the Dhamma might, over time, come to be seen as the lay person's hireling.


It is important to know the context and in doing so, the rules all have a logical basis for existing.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:35 am

Monkey Mind wrote:The first time I jay-walked, and a group of kids mimicked my behavior, I thought twice about my logic. The kids had no reference for how fast cars are driving, or the ability/ inability of drivers to see pedestrians and respond appropriately. I don't jay-walk any more.

:goodpost:

The Buddha gave ten reasons for the laying down of the Vinaya Rules: (The Heart of Buddhism)
  1. For the excellence of the Sangha.
  2. For the well-being of the Sangha.
  3. To control wicked individuals.
  4. For the comfort of well-behaved bhikkhus.
  5. To restrain present taints.
  6. To prevent the arising of future taints.
  7. To arouse faith in those who lack faith.
  8. To strengthen faith in those who have faith.
  9. To establish the true Dhamma.
  10. To support the Vinaya.” (A v 70)
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:08 pm

alan wrote:Are you seriously comparing Charlie Parker with a rule book?


Majjima Nikaya 11 - The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html
9. "Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of clinging. What four? Clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self.

Charlie Parker was talking about how to develop a skill. Virtue, concentration, and discernment all have components that require skill. This is why Buddhism is practiced. One must learn the very basic fundamentals of virtue in a rudimentary way that makes a person act outside of their normal comfort zone. This is like learning the chords (boring, tedious, etc). After mastery, one does not need to cling to rules because they clearly see actions that lead to suffering vs liberation. This is like virtuoso musicianship. Thus, "Learn the changes, then forget them" is akin to "learn the rules, then forget them".

Kudos on the Jay Walking post, Monkey Mind :anjali:
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:26 pm

Alan,

I don't mean any disrespect, but you seem to have such high disregard for rules, what do you think of the Five Precepts?

I, for one, see all the rules as valid. Don't ask me to explain it, it's just how I feel.

Also, as far as removing the minor rules that the Buddha said could be removed, I think the time for that has passed. I don't think anyone in this modern age is fit to decide which rules He was talking about and subsequently abolish them.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby daverupa » Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:53 pm

theravada_guy wrote:Also, as far as removing the minor rules that the Buddha said could be removed, I think the time for that has passed. I don't think anyone in this modern age is fit to decide which rules He was talking about and subsequently abolish them.


It's true that the Buddha changed the Vinaya quite a number of times throughout his career, laying down a rule and then changing it or revoking it as the situation warranted; basically, the Vinaya is among the first case-law legal documents. For example, the Buddha made three robes the limit because three robes were all that were required for sufficient warmth through the night in that climate. So, if the Buddha had arisen, say, among the Norse, the "triple robe" would be very different.

Another example: If it hadn't been for people complaining about bhikkhus and bhikkunis trampling vegetation and microbes during the Rains, the Buddha might not have instituted the Rains Retreat. With just a subtle change in culture or climate, many aspects of the Vinaya would have necessarily been different than what we have now.

So, some thoughts for us:

1. Isn't it possible that the sekhiya rules were added after the parinibbana, as they don't have a penalty ascribed to them?

2. What about those rules which were introduced because of layfolk - isn't it at least possible that, with different layfolk, there'd be a different Vinaya in these respects?
    "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: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:48 am

daverupa, it seems you are taking a pragmatic approach, but if we're being practical one would have to convince a well respected senior monk to establish a new lineage that uses those modified rules. Zen monks don't follow the same rules, but I'm not sure the history of how that evolved.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby alan » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:42 am

I'm not against all rules--just the dumb ones. Some rules are useful, obviously.
I'm complaining about centuries of non-thinking conformity to pointless, irrelevant rules, which are then assumed to be untouchable points of reference, even as they may be detrimental, or wasteful of time and emotional energy.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:25 pm

alan wrote:I'm not against all rules--just the dumb ones. Some rules are useful, obviously.
I'm complaining about centuries of non-thinking conformity to pointless, irrelevant rules, which are then assumed to be untouchable points of reference, even as they may be detrimental, or wasteful of time and emotional energy.


Pakinnaka (miscellaneous):

...
A bhikku should train himself thus: If I am not sick... I will not defecate, urinate or spit into water.


It seems to me that this is a minor rule, for example.
    "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: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:35 pm

Buckwheat wrote:daverupa, it seems you are taking a pragmatic approach, but if we're being practical one would have to convince a well respected senior monk to establish a new lineage that uses those modified rules. Zen monks don't follow the same rules, but I'm not sure the history of how that evolved.


Regarding the Japanese situation, here's an article for those interested, written by one of the foremost Rinzai masters of recent times, late Soko Morinaga. He also puts forward his view regarding the usefulness of rules and issues that may result. It's more of a personal account rather than a scholarly essay.

http://www.pcf.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_cclergy_doc_01011993_zen_en.html
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby pulga » Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:46 pm

I personally would have greater respect for a 10-precept samanera who authentically and sincerely believed in the code of conduct by which he lived his life while accepting the indignity of his lower monastic status than a bhikkhu who meticulously - and perhaps I might add neurotically - adhered to the Vinaya in an inauthentic manner out of concern for what others might think of him. There's something disconcerting about basing one's sense of purity on a code of behavior that one doesn't believe in. But the Vinaya Pitaka should remain sacrosanct and closed, just as the Sutta Pitaka.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:27 pm

pulga wrote:But the Vinaya Pitaka should remain sacrosanct and closed, just as the Sutta Pitaka.


Not even the Buddha treated the Vinaya as a closed system, unlike the Dhamma. I think ossifying the Vinaya is just as silly as throwing it all out the window.
    "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: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby pulga » Tue Dec 06, 2011 5:38 pm

daverupa wrote:
Not even the Buddha treated the Vinaya as a closed system, unlike the Dhamma. I think ossifying the Vinaya is just as silly as throwing it all out the window.


I suppose as the Buddha he had a perogative that we as puthujjanas shouldn't assume that we are entitled to.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:27 pm

pulga wrote:I suppose as the Buddha he had a perogative that we as puthujjanas shouldn't assume that we are entitled to.


I think the fact that lay complaints were a prime mover of Vinaya formation even while the Buddha was alive puts things in a rather different light.
    "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: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby pulga » Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:14 pm

daverupa wrote:I think the fact that lay complaints were a prime mover of Vinaya formation even while the Buddha was alive puts things in a rather different light.


I must admit that I have sympathy with your view. But I think the Theravada Sangha provides a place for those who question the reasonableness of its rules by allowing such persons to remain as samaneras. It's really just a matter of tolerance on both sides: the tradition needn't be violated in any way.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby manas » Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:50 pm

daverupa wrote:
alan wrote:I'm not against all rules--just the dumb ones. Some rules are useful, obviously.
I'm complaining about centuries of non-thinking conformity to pointless, irrelevant rules, which are then assumed to be untouchable points of reference, even as they may be detrimental, or wasteful of time and emotional energy.


Pakinnaka (miscellaneous):

...
A bhikku should train himself thus: If I am not sick... I will not defecate, urinate or spit into water.


It seems to me that this is a minor rule, for example.


Actually dave, there was a quite valid reason for that one:

Attitude towards Pollution

Environmental pollution has assumed such vast proportions today that man has been forced to recognize the presence of an ecological crisis. He can no longer turn a blind eye to the situation as he is already threatened with new pollution-related diseases. Pollution to this extent was unheard of during the time of the Buddha. But there is sufficient evidence in the Pali canon to give us insight into the Buddhist attitude towards the pollution problem. Several Vinaya rules prohibit monks from polluting green grass and water with saliva, urine, and feces.[43] These were the common agents of pollution known during the Buddha's day and rules were promulgated against causing such pollution. Cleanliness was highly commended by the Buddhists both in the person and in the environment. They were much concerned about keeping water clean, be it in the river, pond, or well. These sources of water were for public use and each individual had to use them with proper public-spirited caution so that others after him could use them with the same degree of cleanliness. Rules regarding the cleanliness of green grass were prompted by ethical and aesthetic considerations. Moreover, grass is food for most animals and it is man's duty to refrain from polluting it by his activities.


(source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... itude.html

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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:06 pm

manasikara wrote:Actually dave, there was a quite valid reason for that one:


Yes, there was. But, is there? Times change, and given the motive for the rule, new and better environmental Vinaya could be undertaken, could it not?
    "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: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:17 am

daverupa wrote:
manasikara wrote:Actually dave, there was a quite valid reason for that one:


Yes, there was. But, is there? Times change, and given the motive for the rule, new and better environmental Vinaya could be undertaken, could it not?

Actually, there still is a need for this rule, and maybe even more so. Fortunately, even if it wasn't in the monk's code, there are already governmental regulations against defecating close to bodies of water. When I'm camping I have to be so and so far away from water to start a fire, relieve myself, or any other type of terrible pollution. And I'm thankful for that rule. With the overcrowding of even our wilderness areas now days, I don't think the lakes would be enjoyable without those rules.

From my understanding, monks can still use a toilet, so the rule really just applies to natural bodies of water (lakes, river, streams...). Anybody know if I am correct on that?
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Ytrog » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:23 pm

When reading the pages that was referred on this thread I came upon the following rule
Should any bhikkhu lie down together (in the same dwelling) with an unordained person for more than two or three consecutive nights, it is to be confessed.

I now understand a bit why it was forbidden as a lay person to enter specific areas of the monastery (Cittaviveka, upper floor main building). It isn't only a matter of privacy for the monks (which would be understandable in it's own right), but there is more to it. :anjali:

"Now at that time, lay men came to the monastery to hear the Dhamma. After the Dhamma had been taught, each of the elder bhikkhus went to his own dwelling, while the newer bhikkhus went to sleep right there in the assembly hall with the lay men — with muddled mindfulness, unalert, naked, mumbling, and snoring. The lay men criticized and complained and spread it about, 'How can their reverences go to sleep with muddled mindfulness, unalert, naked, mumbling, and snoring?'"


I suppose that every (closed) room in a building counts as a separate dwelling for this rule, so that this rule isn't broken when lay people and Bhikkus live on separate floors of the same building. :reading:

Oh, and about the above discussion whether rules are silly or not: you lay those rules upon yourselves. It's you that decides to follow the five precepts and it is you who decides to become a monk and follow the Patimokkha. Besides: I've heard some monks say that it's the rules that free them from worry. The freedom of not having to worry about whether you did something wrong or not. It's the very reason Sila is listed as necessary for meditation.
I must admit that when I was visiting Cittaviveka earlier this year and took the eight precepts it was a weight coming off my shoulders. Try it and you might find for yourself why rules aren't always a restriction, but sometimes quite the opposite. :)
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Bankei » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:23 am

daverupa wrote:
alan wrote:I'm not against all rules--just the dumb ones. Some rules are useful, obviously.
I'm complaining about centuries of non-thinking conformity to pointless, irrelevant rules, which are then assumed to be untouchable points of reference, even as they may be detrimental, or wasteful of time and emotional energy.


Pakinnaka (miscellaneous):

...
A bhikku should train himself thus: If I am not sick... I will not defecate, urinate or spit into water.


It seems to me that this is a minor rule, for example.


Modern toilets have water in the bowls. Many Thai toilets had water up to the top of the bowl too. How would a monk get around this rule if they were not living in a forest.
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Re: Could someone please explain this rule?

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:19 am

Bankei wrote:Modern toilets have water in the bowls. Many Thai toilets had water up to the top of the bowl too. How would a monk get around this rule if they were not living in a forest.

According to: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... .ch10.html
75. Not being ill, I will not defecate, urinate, or spit in water: a training to be observed.

According to the Commentary, water here includes water fit for drinking or bathing, but not water unfit for such use — e.g., salt water, stagnant water, water already befouled with spit, urine, or feces — or water in a toilet. If there is a flood with no dry ground available, there is no offense in relieving oneself in the water.

As under the preceding rule, the Vibhaṅga says that there is no offense if — after defecating, urinating, or spitting on the ground — the feces, urine, or saliva then spreads into the water (§).
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