The lay buddhist family

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

The lay buddhist family

Postby gal » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:10 pm

Is having a family an ideal that lay Theravada Buddhists aspire to? I've searched and I'm sure the answer is out there but I have not seen many things about the Theravada view of family. I understand that the ultimate ideal is to move into the forest and live a life of joyous celibacy but what about families? I guess the heart of my question is about lay buddhist life and karmic results, because one will inevitably be attached to a wife and children.
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Re: The lay buddhist family

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:22 pm

The Buddha said, "If a man can find a suitable and understanding wife and a woman can find a suitable and understanding husband, both are fortunate indeed."

If you are thinking of becoming a monk or nun, then getting married isn't a good idea. Otherwise, if you are deeply devoted to another person, you can have a fulfilling and constructive life together. The life of a householder is not going to make you an arahant, but the Buddha's teachings can bring happiness and harmony to any situation, married life included.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: The lay buddhist family

Postby bodom » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:30 pm

...I have not seen many things about the Theravada view of family...


See the Sigalovada Sutta for the Buddhas advice on raising a family:

Sigalovada Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nara.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The lay buddhist family

Postby jason c » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:06 pm

hi gal,
i'm married, we have two children and a dog. i will not say it has been easy to incorporate a meditative practice into my life. many times i've wished for silence or time to myself, to meditate in peace. when one begins down this path, and we start meditating seriously, alot of stuff comes to the surface(sankhara's). this can be like trying to navigate in a storm, and one has a tendency to think that one's life situation is the cause of this. some may give up at this point. the truth is, that one has started practicing properly, and these storms are your past stock of sankharas coming to the surface. if you can weather these storms and see this as progress on the path and not regression, your family can be a great asset. your family can teach you compassion, your kids can teach you to live with less sleep, your dog can teach you to meditate in noisy environments. all the time we are thinking of ourselves, i could do this if only this situation was different, i could do that if only these things weren't there. but the truth is, whatever your current life situation is, this is the perfect one for you to start down this path, nothing needs to change. a monk or nun may have more time to practice, but they have other unique obstacles to overcome(living in the forest is not as peaceful as one may think). if you begin practicing properly, your life changes, you don't see problems, just another lesson to be learned. eventually i believe your choices will become more obvious, they will come from a place of need rather than want, and the opposition to them will not be there.

metta,
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The lay buddhist family

Postby GraemeR » Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:03 am

gal wrote:Is having a family an ideal that lay Theravada Buddhists aspire to? I've searched and I'm sure the answer is out there but I have not seen many things about the Theravada view of family. I understand that the ultimate ideal is to move into the forest and live a life of joyous celibacy but what about families? I guess the heart of my question is about lay buddhist life and karmic results, because one will inevitably be attached to a wife and children.


I hope that I can give my children a step up from my experience.

Graham
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Re: The lay buddhist family

Postby Hanzze » Wed Jun 06, 2012 4:14 am

Dear gal,

I found this very useful, especial for daily life: Mangala Suta Uannana - Ven. K. Gunaratana Thera

There is also a good essay: Opening the Door to the Dhamma - Respect in Buddhist Thought & Practice which is for sure worthy to read.

And of cause the Sigalovada Sutta (some call it the Vinaya for lay-people) is the brilliant orientation for all relationships.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: The lay buddhist family

Postby bodom » Wed Jun 06, 2012 2:56 pm

Making offerings, listening to teachings, practicing meditation, whatever we do should be done for the purpose of developing wisdom. Developing wisdom is for the purpose of liberation, freedom from all these conditions and phenomena. When we are free then no matter what our situation, we don't have to suffer. If we have children, we don't have to suffer. If we work, we don't have to suffer. If we have a house, we don't have to suffer. It's like a lotus in the water. ''I grow in the water, but I don't suffer because of the water. I can't be drowned or burned, because I live in the water.'' When the water ebbs and flows it doesn't affect the lotus. The water and the lotus can exist together without conflict. They are together yet separate. Whatever is in the water nourishes the lotus and helps it grow into something beautiful.

Here it's the same for us. Wealth, home, family, and all defilements of mind, they no longer defile us but rather they help us develop parami, the spiritual perfections.

- Ajahn Chah
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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