"Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

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

"Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby householder » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:51 am

Trucks going up and down streets in front of monks in line at Pindapat, blaring out chanting/dhamma at very high volumes.

Loudspeakers at both ends of a street that start up at 7am; again, very loud.

Trucks with 9 speakers roped together driving around during Kathina blaring out 'Gangnam Style'.

Monks and nuns that gamble, beg for money and actively approach people in restaurants morning and afternoon with their begging bowls for cash. Beyond Sayadaw U Pandita (who doesn't handle cash as far as I'm aware), I've not met a single monk here that does not handle cash.

I revere the Buddha and Dhamma; here, I don't revere the Sangha much at all, nor the laity whose idea of elements of dhamma practice/dhammaduta manifests in the most intrusive and in-your-face expression of religion of any country I've ever spent time in, on par with some of the Islamic-majority countries. In terms of the social activism element of monks, I'm ambivalent (especially when they're rallying negative sentiments towards groups of people).

Any scriptural support for the above practices?
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby plwk » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:45 am

I was reading these some time back, if these are of any help here...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, a frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.'
When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself.

"And how does one, when watching after oneself, watch after others? Through pursuing [the practice], through developing it, through devoting oneself to it.
This is how one, when watching after oneself, watches after others.

"And how does one, when watching after others, watch after oneself? Through endurance, through harmlessness, and through a mind of kindness & sympathy.
This is how one, when watching after others, watches after oneself.

"A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.'
When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"That disciple of the Noble Ones — thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth.
Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will.
He discerns, 'Before, this mind of mine was limited & undeveloped. But now this mind of mine is immeasurable & well developed. And whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there.'

See: In the Refuge of Sangha
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby SarathW » Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:04 am

Hi House hold
When you take three refuges you take the refuge of Ariya Sangha. That is Sanghas who have attained at least one stage of saint hood. So please do not lose faith on Sangha.
All Buddhist monks have not attained Magga Phala and hence they are called Sikha (students) However those monks are trying hard to service the community the way they can. There are some monks who have joined the order for other reasons. Please extend your loving kindness towards them.
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby householder » Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:33 am

Thanks for the advice. I shall bring to mind those inspiring and disciplined monks I have been fortunate to encounter here and disregard those who give the Sangha a bad name, even though the latter are more visible and prevalent on a day-to-day basis (still won't forget the monastery with the gambling monk who was beating the laypeople in a game of cards for cash, or the sayadaw of a monastery who was alone with a woman and giggling was heard). Not many seem to question it or challenge it and do, in fact, appear to support and encourage disregard of the vinaya by the elements of the Sangha; it's interesting to observe. No doubt the reasons and history are complex and layered, but I can only go on what I observe.

Still, it's not just here and what I describe certainly doesn't appear to be the worst of it! :)

http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/602 ... exception/
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:24 pm

You could also try Chanmyay Yeikthā at 55A Kaba Aye Ceti Lan, near the Chattha Sangayana Cave. I know that the Sayādaw is scrupulous, as is more usual with Shwegyin monks, but yes, its hard to find any Theravāda monks anywhere who don't use money these days. Its sometimes better outside of the big cities.

I suspect that you would face similar issues in Bangkok or Colombo.

The best universal advice given by the Buddha is not to regard the faults of others, but to remove your own. It is a very long time since the Buddha lived and taught the Dhamma/Vinaya. Its the nature of all things to decay and perish.
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Dec 06, 2012 9:22 pm

Bhante,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The best universal advice given by the Buddha is not to regard the faults of others, but to remove your own. It is a very long time since the Buddha lived and taught the Dhamma/Vinaya. Its the nature of all things to decay and perish.

I think that's excellent advice. It should be clear to anyone who has made an effort to have some contact with monastics (and lay people) that there is a vast range of "seriousness" out there. I see no point in complaining about the bad bits. Better to focus on finding the good bits. Which are there...

:anjali:
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:29 am

There would of been a time where I would be shocked and agitated over what the original poster has witnessed.. but I'm sure we all realize that just because people are Buddhist doesn't make them anything other then people... regardless of the belief/religion/tradition... this is just the nature of things. It is only for us to work out our own salvation and " appamadena sampadetha" (strive diligently).
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby SarathW » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:44 am

Hi Household
I read the attachment. To me it is hilarious. I am sure the monk in question must have come to the realisation of what Buddha taught was correct!
Good luck to him either way.
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby bazzaman » Fri Dec 07, 2012 8:06 am

It has been some years since I was last in Myanmar; but, even so, I find it hard to imagine that only the Ven. U Pandita Sayadaw is left to maintain the vinaya. I don't deny that there were lots of monks wandering the streets looking for cash years ago. But the majority of monks that I was around kept very strict adherence to the vinaya. In addition to U Pandita Sayadaw's monastery, the other monasteries/meditation centres I stayed were serious about keeping the precepts. These included: Chanmyay Yeiktha, Swee Oo Min Tawya and Pa-Auk Tawya Yeikta.
In addition to the monasteries I had direct experience of, others, as well, had a reputation for scrupulously keeping the precepts... e.g. Ven. Taungpulu Saydaw's centres.
So my view is that the serious practioners were also serious about keeping their precepts. As to the others... who cares?
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby convivium » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:49 am

your just looking to the wrong places in burma. look at the forest centers and meditation centers, all the mahasi centers and branches, mogok centers, pa auk centers, that's funny that gangnam style caught on there. you're right they handle money on the street. it's not such a big deal when you consider the context of why a lot of people in burma ordain to begin with. ordain, have a pre-established family business, or join the military. hmm... it's funny hearing white people being indignant about this sort of thing.
edit: oh yeah, and taungpulu (however, i don't know how prominent he is, really; i tried to find his place in sagaing hills but couldn't). oh yeah shwe oo min too.. anyway, it's still strong there, you just have to look in the right places.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby Mr Man » Sat Dec 08, 2012 1:14 pm

convivium wrote:it's funny hearing white people being indignant about this sort of thing.
Not sure of the relivence of race here.
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby James the Giant » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:50 pm

convivium wrote: it's funny hearing white people being indignant about this sort of thing.

Hypocrisy has the same stink no matter what colour skin one has.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby daverupa » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:55 pm

James the Giant wrote:
convivium wrote: it's funny hearing white people being indignant about this sort of thing.

Hypocrisy has the same stink no matter what colour skin one has.


'Our' reasonable exception is 'their' inexcusable deviation, generally. Attribution bias is quite a bugbear; perhaps this was the thrust of the comment?
    "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: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby convivium » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:33 pm

it's not the race; it's the privilege.
Just keep breathing in and out like this. Don't be interested in anything else. It doesn't matter even if someone is standing on their head with their ass in the air. Don't pay it any attention. Just stay with the in-breath and the out-breath. Concentrate your awareness on the breath. Just keep doing it. http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Just_Do_It_1_2.php
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Re: "Dhamma" practices in Myanmar

Postby Goob » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:57 pm

Good point Convivum. Western buddhist converts are often blind to this aspect of the issue and quite frankly often assume a rather obnoxious 'holier than thou' attitude when it comes to being learned buddhists. Not necessarily talking about anyone in particular in here though.
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