sutta study for lay people

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Sher
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sutta study for lay people

Postby Sher » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:39 pm

In a traditional setting such as Thailand, would lay people read and study suttas on their own, or would they only be exposed to the suttas through monks giving talks on the suttas?

Do Westerners have access to suttas and approach sutta study in a different way than what lay people would in a traditional setting?

Sher

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jcsuperstar
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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:15 pm

from my experience lay people (except for a very small minority) dont study suttas and do no meditate either. if one wanted to spend their time doing such things they would become a monk, or mae chee.
making merit and knowing a jataka tale or famous monks stories make up the bulk of lay practice in thailand.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Sher
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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby Sher » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:51 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:from my experience lay people (except for a very small minority) dont study suttas and do no meditate either. if one wanted to spend their time doing such things they would become a monk, or mae chee.
making merit and knowing a jataka tale or famous monks stories make up the bulk of lay practice in thailand.



I just find it interesting how different the approach is in the US, for example. In the US, meditation seems to take priority, and in some schools social action is quite important, and the way we take Refuge manifests in very different ways. I struggle a bit with how to take refuge in the Sangha, for example. For those of you who are remote how do you go about taking refuge in the Sangha? I interpret this as communicating with Sangha members via Internet re. dhamma, and providing support in any way I can, which is monetarily as dana. Sher

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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:29 pm

One goes for refuge to the Sangha in the same way one goes for refuge to the Buddha.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:48 pm

maybe i'm wrong, but i think the sangha we take refuge in is the ariya sangha, so that would mean arahants only it's in mahayana or modern buddhism where the sangha is expanded to mean all buddhists
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:01 pm

I agree, but the Ariyan Sangha includes the "four pairs" (i.e. all levels).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#morning


Praise for the Sangha
(LEADER):

Handa mayaṃ saṅghābhithutiṃ karoma se:

Now let us give high praise to the Sangha:

(ALL):

[Yo so supaṭipanno] bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced well,

Uju-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced straightforwardly,

Ñāya-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced methodically,

Sāmīci-paṭipanno bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho,

the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples who have practiced masterfully,

Yadidaṃ cattāri purisa-yugāni aṭṭha purisa-puggalā:

i.e., the four pairs — the eight types — of Noble Ones:

Esa bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho —

That is the Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples —

Āhuneyyo pāhuneyyo dakkhiṇeyyo añjali-karaṇīyo,

worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of respect,

Anuttaraṃ puññakkhettaṃ lokassa:

the incomparable field of merit for the world:
Tam-ahaṃ saṅghaṃ abhipūjayāmi,
Tam-ahaṃ saṅghaṃ sirasā namāmi.
I worship most highly that Sangha,
To that Sangha I bow my head down.


See also:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... legem.html

Mike

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Sher
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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby Sher » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:14 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:maybe i'm wrong, but i think the sangha we take refuge in is the ariya sangha, so that would mean arahants only it's in mahayana or modern buddhism where the sangha is expanded to mean all buddhists



That might explain Peter's comment, which I did not understand. If we take refuge in the arahants as the sangha, then I can understand better how they would be like the Buddha-in that, it is a more of psychic taking refuge. When I take refuge in the Buddha, I recollect his accomplishments, qualities, and practices, and I have found this recollection to be really helpful. Taking refuge in the sangha might be similar in his way, but it is quite different from what I thought. i was thinking of Sangha as those men and women who have left the householder life to pursue full time the teachings and lifestyle of the Buddha--and I know I did n't say that in a very elegant way. Based on Peter's comment and what you have said, I guess I have a wrong conception of what is meant by taking refuge in the Sangha. I obviously need to do some research. Thanks, Sher

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Sher
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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby Sher » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:17 pm

I agree, but the Ariyan Sangha includes the "four pairs" (i.e. all levels).
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#morning


Mike
I think your post was coming in as I was typing my reply to jcsuperstar--thanks for the links...I will go and take a look. Sher

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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:55 pm

I think we can go for refuge to the noble Sangha by remembering the Buddha's teachings are not just a historical artifact, but are something which can be learned and developed and perfected... just as the noble Sangha did.

I think we can go for refuge to the monastic Sangha by remembering they are the keepers of the teachings, preserving them, sharing them, and striving to embody them.

In this way, every time we encounter a dhamma book or recorded lecture we are actually in the presence of all three (four?) objects of refuge. The Dhamma is the teaching itself, the Buddha taught it, the noble Sangha learned it and developed it to perfection, and the monastic Sangha preserved it and passed it on to you.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:58 pm

But I personally feel the way to regard the refuges is: the teacher, the teaching, and the successful students. Without one, the other two are useless.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Sher
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Re: sutta study for lay people

Postby Sher » Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:09 am

In looking into this further I found an excellent and clear explanation from Thanissaro on The Triple Gem and what it means to take refuge, and since this thread is about "Discovering" perhaps someone beside me will find his explanation helpful. Below the quote is a direct link to the site --from Access to Insight .

"The word Sangha, on the external level, has two senses: conventional and ideal. In its ideal sense, the Sangha consists of all people, lay or ordained, who have practiced the Dhamma to the point of gaining at least a glimpse of the Deathless. In a conventional sense, Sangha denotes the communities of ordained monks and nuns. The two meanings overlap but are not necessarily identical. Some members of the ideal Sangha are not ordained; some monks and nuns have yet to touch the Deathless. All those who take refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha become members of the Buddha's four-fold assembly (parisa) of followers: monks, nuns, male lay devotees, and female lay devotees. Although there's a widespread belief that all Buddhist followers are members of the Sangha, this is not the case. Only those who are ordained are members of the conventional Sangha; only those who have glimpsed the Deathless are members of the ideal Sangha. Nevertheless, any followers who don't belong to the Sangha in either sense of the word still count as genuine Buddhists in that they are members of the Buddha's parisa.

When taking refuge in the external Sangha, one takes refuge in both senses of the Sangha, but the two senses provide different levels of refuge. The conventional Sangha has helped keep the teaching alive for more than 2,500 years. Without them, we would never have learned what the Buddha taught. However, not all members of the conventional Sangha are reliable models of behavior. So when looking for guidance in the conduct of our lives, we must look to the living and recorded examples provided by the ideal Sangha. Without their example, we would not know (1) that Awakening is available to all, and not just to the Buddha; and (2) how Awakening expresses itself in real life.

On the internal level, the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha are the skillful qualities we develop in our own minds in imitation of our external models. For instance, the Buddha was a person of wisdom, purity, and compassion. When we develop wisdom, purity, and compassion in our own minds, they form our refuge on an internal level. The Buddha tasted Awakening by developing conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. When we develop these same qualities to the point of attaining Awakening too, that Awakening is our ultimate refuge. This is the point where the three aspects of the Triple Gem become one: beyond the reach of greed, anger, and delusion, and thus totally secure "( Thanissaro http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... efuge.html)

Thanks everyone for helping out with the question. Sher


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