couple of questions

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couple of questions

Postby frankinnc » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:39 am

Hi, I've got a couple of questions for you guys:

I've been told that the only folks whom practice meditation in the theravada tradition are the monks..and that the lay-folk simply practice precepts and feed the monks. True? Explain?

While there's a lot of good folks practicing within the zen tradition, I've met many whom don't take the precepts very seriously (i,e, they drink alcohol, some are promiscous, reinterpret the precepts to mean what they want them to mean, etc.). This is a big- no-no in the theravada tradition, right?


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Re: couple of questions

Postby Ben » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:54 am

frankinnc wrote:Hi, I've got a couple of questions for you guys:

I've been told that the only folks whom practice meditation in the theravada tradition are the monks..and that the lay-folk simply practice precepts and feed the monks. True? Explain?

No, its actually a bit more complicated. There are a very large number of Theravada practitioners who practice meditation. As there are a large number of monks who do not. Certainly within some traditional Theravadin societies, traditionally the main practice for many lay people is the creation of merit. "Theravada" isn't monolithic and there's a lot of diversity within the school.

frankinnc wrote:While there's a lot of good folks practicing within the zen tradition, I've met many whom don't take the precepts very seriously (i,e, they drink alcohol, some are promiscous, reinterpret the precepts to mean what they want them to mean, etc.). This is a big- no-no in the theravada tradition, right?

I think you'll find that for most serious buddhists the precepts are extremely important. However, you'll find people engaging in unskilful activity wherever you go.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: couple of questions

Postby Magoo » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:39 am

frankinnc wrote:I've been told that the only folks whom practice meditation in the theravada tradition are the monks..and that the lay-folk simply practice precepts and feed the monks. True? Explain?


Further to Bens repsonse which was very good. My understanding is that this statement could be historically true in certain traditional Buddhist countries such as Thailand. Whether this is still the case today, I am not so sure. It could be a generalisation. But I am from Perth Western Australia and Ajahn Brahm, Abbot of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia (Theravadin) and a buddhist monk of the Thai Forrest Tradition promotes meditation to all Dhamma practitioners as extremely important, in order to obtain the wisdom required to successfully travel this path.

With MeggaMetta
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Re: couple of questions

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:57 am

frankinnc wrote:Hi, I've got a couple of questions for you guys:

I've been told that the only folks whom practice meditation in the theravada tradition are the monks..and that the lay-folk simply practice precepts and feed the monks. True? Explain?

untrue. Meditation is practiced by many lay followers of theravada, as well as many other forms of practice such as generosity, morality, and the rest.
the only difference between mendicants and lay-people can be precepts. Lay-followers can follow a life of renunciation, and the only real difference between some mendicants and lay-people is the amount of precepts & lifestyle.

While there's a lot of good folks practicing within the zen tradition, I've met many whom don't take the precepts very seriously (i,e, they drink alcohol, some are promiscous, reinterpret the precepts to mean what they want them to mean, etc.). This is a big- no-no in the theravada tradition, right?

It depends what Zen they follow. the rules where changed in japan so drinking is quite common.
but it depends upon the individual whether or not the try to act skilfully.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: couple of questions

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Aug 28, 2012 4:40 pm

frankinnc wrote:Hi, I've got a couple of questions for you guys:

I've been told that the only folks whom practice meditation in the theravada tradition are the monks..and that the lay-folk simply practice precepts and feed the monks. True? Explain?

This unfortunate system has partially developed over time in some countries; however, diligently practicing laypeople can be found in great numbers everywhere, especially in the West.

While there's a lot of good folks practicing within the zen tradition, I've met many whom don't take the precepts very seriously (i,e, they drink alcohol, some are promiscous, reinterpret the precepts to mean what they want them to mean, etc.). This is a big- no-no in the theravada tradition, right?

Although, as Ben said, there are those who engage in unwholesome behavior everywhere, I would venture to say that Theravada, on the whole, is far more strict on such matters.
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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