kinds of Bhikkhus

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kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Jul 03, 2009 8:58 pm

Hi All,
Put this here rather than the clasical section although I think either would do but unsure if the lounge would be a better place so if the moderators feel it would be better in another section please do.

Anyone who has read my exploration knows I think there are two kinds of monks, and I know there are others who think this also, but I was wondering if there is any specific place in the tipitaka where the buddha calls a layman a Bhikkhu or Samana?

I came accross this passage in a section in a Mahasi text yesterday and can not find other than the hints in the suttas any other evidence for this from another teacher.
I think the explanation in the quote explains what I mean better than I could word what I mean so here it is!

02. Two kinds of bhikkhus

The Ariyaavaasa-sutta is addressed to bhikkhus. There are two kinds of bhikkhus, viz., the sutta-bhikkhu and the vinaya-bhikkhu. The sutta-bhikkhu is, according to the commentaries, any person who practises the Dhamma to get liberated from the cycle of life (sa"msaara). He is not necessarily a member of the Sangha, for he may be a deva or a layman.

The practice of the Dhamma enables the yogi to overcome defilements. Through the practice of morality, the yogi seeks to overcome active defilements (vitikkama kilesaa) such as greed, hatred, etc. that lead to killing, stealing and other misdeeds. The yogi who develops concentration (samaadhibhaavanaa) overcomes the arousal of greed, hatred, etc. that always lie in our consciousness (pariyutthaana kiilesa). Finally the yogi overcomes potential or dormant defilments (anusaya kilesaa) through the development of insight-knowledge and wisdom. Every moment of mindfulness means the gradual destruction of latent defilements. It is somewhat like cutting away a piece of wood with a small axe, every stroke helping to get rid of the unwanted fragments of wood. Whenever the yogi focuses on the psycho-physical phenomena arising from sense-contact with the external world, the defilements become weak and impotent. Such a yogi is the bhikkhu of sutta pitaka.

The vinaya-bhikkhu is the monk who leads a good life based on vinaya rules. In the time of the Buddha the Lord himself ordained some of them by saying, "Come hither, bhikkhus." Most of them, however, were ordained by the Sangha in accordance with vinaya rules.

The bhikkhu referred to in Ariyaavaasa sutta is the sutta-bhikkhu, a term that applies to any human being, deva or Brahmaa who practises the Dhamma.

The Buddha preached the Ariyaavaasa sutta in order that we might live in the abode of Ariyas, safe, secure and protected from the perils of sa"msaara. The perils of sa"msaara (round of rebirth) are more terrifying than those that beset a man who does not live in a well-protected house. They follow us from one existence to another. One may land in the lower world as a peta or an animal and suffer for many years or one may be reborn as a poor, wretched man who has to face many hardships for a living as well as the universal evils of life viz, old age, sickness and death. These are the perils of sa"msaara that repeatedly engulf those who do not live in the abode of Ariyas or in other words, who do not practice Ariyaavaasa dhamma.
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby cooran » Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:08 pm

Hello manapa, all,

Thanks for this reminder.

This is why the Suttas can't be dismissed as mainly applying just to monks, and implying lay persons ought only to meditate, keep the precepts and support the monks.

This sutta makes it clear that the suttas also apply to lay persons.

http://daophatngaynay.com/english/buddh ... sut049.htm

metta
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jul 03, 2009 10:18 pm

Greetings,

Mahasi, as quoted by Manapa wrote:There are two kinds of bhikkhus, viz., the sutta-bhikkhu and the vinaya-bhikkhu. The sutta-bhikkhu is, according to the commentaries, any person who practises the Dhamma to get liberated from the cycle of life (sa"msaara). He is not necessarily a member of the Sangha, for he may be a deva or a layman.

Sometimes I think the commentaries unneccessarily complicate things... I'm quite content being a layman who practises the Dhamma to get liberated from samsara. I don't think that makes me a bhikkhu of any variety.

Metta,
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby BlackBird » Sat Jul 04, 2009 1:36 am

There are situations that come up, where by a practitioner may feel some kind of inferiority complex.

Eg.

"A lot of these Sutta's are just the Buddha addressing the Monks, this doesn't apply to me!"
"I'm a women, I have no chance of understanding the Buddha-Dhamma, so I should just be generous to the Sangha and hope for a better rebirth"
"This religion thinks I am inferior simply because I don't wear robes and shave my head."
"I can't achieve anything; I'm not a monk..."

All of these unskillful mental qualities give rise to doubt in the Buddha-Dhamma itself! But if the concept of being a 'Sutta-Bhikkhu' becomes cemented in such a person, then this could be a handy way to be rid of this kilesa, this defilement which is clouding the practitioners mind.

Ultimately there's is nothing in the Buddha-Dhamma that states that one must be a Monk in order to get something out of practising the Dhamma in earnest. In fact the Sutta Pitaka gives several accounts of Lay people becoming Ariyas - Noble ones. As long as people harbor these thoughts that they are somehow disadvantaged, then little progress is possible.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 04, 2009 3:41 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Mahasi, as quoted by Manapa wrote:There are two kinds of bhikkhus, viz., the sutta-bhikkhu and the vinaya-bhikkhu. The sutta-bhikkhu is, according to the commentaries, any person who practises the Dhamma to get liberated from the cycle of life (sa"msaara). He is not necessarily a member of the Sangha, for he may be a deva or a layman.

Sometimes I think the commentaries unneccessarily complicate things... I'm quite content being a layman who practises the Dhamma to get liberated from samsara. I don't think that makes me a bhikkhu of any variety.

Metta,
Retro. :)


A rose by any other name and all that!

I agree the commentaried do over complicate things at times, but I suppose that is just the comentators way of expressing things more than the commentaries as a whole (not being an expert my any means on them, and not read many of them).
Personally I do hold a similar view to the one I quoted although I wouldn't say Buikkhu, prefering rather member of the sangha (as a whole not being specific). I just reread my OP and think I expressed my view poorly there.
I still wonder if there are any specific Suttas which address any distinction, apart from the few passages similar to the Rose by anyother name is still a rose sort of passages found in the Dhammapada.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby genkaku » Sat Jul 04, 2009 4:52 pm

Just because there's a fence around the farm doesn't mean there's a fence around the prairie.

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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:52 am

BlackBird wrote:As long as people harbor these thoughts that they are somehow disadvantaged, then little progress is possible.

But we are disadvantaged.

"The household life is crowded, a dusty road. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living in a home, to lead the holy life that is totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell." - Buddha, MN 36
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 05, 2009 12:57 am

Hi Manapa

I remember reading, I think it was Nyaniponika Thera's Heart of Buddhist Meditation where he mentioned that Bhikkhu can be translated as anyone who is totally committed to the path, regardless of whether they were ordained or not. I neither agree nor disagree with the Thera's translation and I would never describe myself as a 'bhikkhu' on the weight of his words. It's been about 20 years since i read HBM, so I could be wrong.
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:17 am

Y'know, there's that chapter of the Dhammapada where the Buddha calls all sorts of people "Brahman". I don't think he was trying to equate these people with those people born of a certain parentage. I think it was a figure of speech. In a similar way, I think there's some figure-of-speeching in evidence in this thread.
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby BlackBird » Sun Jul 05, 2009 5:56 am

Peter wrote:
BlackBird wrote:As long as people harbor these thoughts that they are somehow disadvantaged, then little progress is possible.

But we are disadvantaged.

"The household life is crowded, a dusty road. Life gone forth is the open air. It isn't easy, living in a home, to lead the holy life that is totally perfect, totally pure, a polished shell." - Buddha, MN 36


You're right.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby Individual » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:28 am

The ideas in the original post is stated more concisely in the Dhammapada.

He who is stained (with defilements) without self-control and truthfulness, is not worthy of wearing the yellow robes.

He who is purged of all stain, is well-established in morals and endowed with self-control and truthfulness, is indeed worthy of the yellow robe.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: kinds of Bhikkhus

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:06 am

Hi Peter & individual
Peter wrote:Y'know, there's that chapter of the Dhammapada where the Buddha calls all sorts of people "Brahman". I don't think he was trying to equate these people with those people born of a certain parentage. I think it was a figure of speech. In a similar way, I think there's some figure-of-speeching in evidence in this thread.


Dhammapada 362 is another one very similare to the Brahmin verse Peter uses, and I agree there is quite allot of figure of speach in the passages I know of and thread respectively.

I used one in my second post here 'a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet'.

Bhikkhu means begger, or one who lives on alms, and I suppose if it was broken down to its context one who lives off Dana may be just as apt? so to a certain extent all buddhists who recieve gifts to help them on the path, be it food, or teaching could be considered a Bhikkhu to an extent.and yes this is figuritively
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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