Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

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

Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby dhammapal » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:21 pm

Majjhima 82 wrote:Then Ratthapala, rising from his seat, bowing down to the Blessed One and keeping him on his right, went to his parents and said, "Mom, Dad, as I understand the Dhamma taught by the Blessed One, it's not easy, living at home, to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell. I want — having shaved off my hair & beard and putting on the ochre robe — to go forth from the household life into homelessness. Please give me your permission to go forth from the household life into homelessness."
From: Ratthapala Sutta: About Ratthapala
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Is a major reason for becoming a monastic that it is hard to survive financially in a Right Livelihood as a layperson? I vaguely remember a sutta where the Buddha says that people ordain not because they can't make a livelihood.

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:32 pm

Greetings Dhammapal,

dhammapal wrote:Is a major reason for becoming a monastic that it is hard to survive financially in a Right Livelihood as a layperson? I vaguely remember a sutta where the Buddha says that people ordain not because they can't make a livelihood.

I would say that a major reason why people go forth is to make an end of suffering, not because one can't find a job.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby BKh » Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:55 pm

dhammapal wrote:Is a major reason for becoming a monastic that it is hard to survive financially in a Right Livelihood as a layperson?

I think the passage you quoted is indicating that it is not easy to live a very pure life as a householder, not necessarily that it is hard to survive financially by doing so. For example you may have a job that is completely in accordance with right livelihood, but as a householder there are many distractions.

dhammapal wrote:I vaguely remember a sutta where the Buddha says that people ordain not because they can't make a livelihood.

Perhaps you are thinking of this passage...

They have not been forced into it by kings or robbers, nor through debt, through fear, nor through the loss of their livelihood, but through the thought: 'We are beset by birth, aging, & death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. O, that the end of this entire mass of suffering & stress might be known!'

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Re: Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby SDC » Thu Apr 26, 2012 3:03 pm

BKh wrote:I think the passage you quoted is indicating that it is not easy to live a very pure life as a householder, not necessarily that it is hard to survive financially by doing so. For example you may have a job that is completely in accordance with right livelihood, but as a householder there are many distractions.


Well said.
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Re: Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Apr 26, 2012 7:45 pm

Ben wrote:I would say that a major reason why people go forth is to make an end of suffering, not because one can't find a job.
kind regards,


I suspect in Thailand the opposite is true.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby Ben » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:43 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Ben wrote:I would say that a major reason why people go forth is to make an end of suffering, not because one can't find a job.
kind regards,


I suspect in Thailand the opposite is true.


Thanks for the clarification, Goof.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Laylife not an easy holy life = hard to survive?

Postby dhammapal » Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:28 am

BKh wrote:
dhammapal wrote:Is a major reason for becoming a monastic that it is hard to survive financially in a Right Livelihood as a layperson?

I think the passage you quoted is indicating that it is not easy to live a very pure life as a householder, not necessarily that it is hard to survive financially by doing so. For example you may have a job that is completely in accordance with right livelihood, but as a householder there are many distractions.

dhammapal wrote:I vaguely remember a sutta where the Buddha says that people ordain not because they can't make a livelihood.

Perhaps you are thinking of this passage...
They have not been forced into it by kings or robbers, nor through debt, through fear, nor through the loss of their livelihood, but through the thought: 'We are beset by birth, aging, & death, by sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs, beset by stress, overcome with stress. O, that the end of this entire mass of suffering & stress might be known!'

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.3.050-099.than.html#iti-091

Thanks Bhante! I'm sorry I didn't mean to be disrespectful: I'm having problems seeking a Right Livelihood (I am on welfare) and was looking for reassurance that the Buddha thought it was feasible for everyone to survive as an ethically sound self-sufficient layperson and that monastic life was not a safety net. So I'm thinking that I should focus on acquiring productive skills rather than envying the freedoms and status of being a monk. Even monks have lots of practical skills e.g. I saw the video Buddha comes to Sussex where the monks were cleaning up the mess at the old Chithurst House in the late '70s.

The passage I quoted is from Majjhima 82 Ratthapala Sutta. Ratthapala is offered vast wealth to revert to the lower life so he is not an example of my question. He even says:
Majjhima 82 wrote:"Householder, if you'd do as I say, you would have this heap of gold & silver loaded on carts and hauled away to be dumped midstream in the river Ganges. Why is that? This [wealth] will be the cause of your sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair."
From: Ratthapala Sutta: About Ratthapala
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
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