I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby SarathW » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:20 am

I just use the common sense!
A) Cut the apple in to three. First I offer it to the Arahant then chid and I have the rest.
B) If you insist that I should give the whole apple to one I will give it to Arahant. I know he will cut that into three and will be shared.
When I go to my local temple the monk always offer me food, tea and coffee.
C) I haven’t met an Arahant but I know that he/she will not be plump.

:group:
SarathW
 
Posts: 1315
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:20 am

Well, as I said, and I am quite sure, for almost anybody here, morality=sila. Issues revolving around generosity do not belong to the field of morality. The common logic behind these two is that of kamma. Are you sure you don't mistake morality for theories regarding kammic outcome of actions?



Yet we argue what sila means and how to apply it, so it helps to define our morality, ergo my first post to you which, btw, you still haven't defined (morality) :coffee:


Generosity does fall into the ethical debate :/


And I am not mistaking anything :) theories regarding kammic outcome fall into morality
Last edited by clw_uk on Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:25 am, edited 3 times in total.
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3284
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:22 am

Ben wrote:I want to know more about the plump arahants!


Hotei:
Image

Here is an especially huge version:
Image

Damnit, the Mahayanists get all the fun!
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7667
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:22 am

It's a discussion among civilized people, so let's not be rude.



Yes, let's not ;)
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3284
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Sekha » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:24 am

clw_uk wrote:I am not mistaking anything :) theories regarding kammic outcome fall into morality

well, if you say so..
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 729
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:25 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Ben wrote:I want to know more about the plump arahants!


Hotei:
Image

Here is an especially huge version:
Image

Damnit, the Mahayanists get all the fun!


Oh my lord!
"Only those who take to meditation with good intentions can be assured of success. With the development of the purity and the power of the mind backed by the insight into the ultimate truth of nature, one might be able to do a lot of things in the right direction for the benefit of mankind."

Sayagyi U Ba Khin


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global Relief
UNHCR Syria Emergency Relief AppealTyphoon Haiyan Relief AppealKiva: (person to person micro-finance)

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 15786
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:26 am

Sekha wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I am not mistaking anything :) theories regarding kammic outcome fall into morality

well, if you say so..



What other caregory does kamma fall into, physics?
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3284
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby dagon » Mon Sep 16, 2013 12:49 am

Ben wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:
Ben wrote:I want to know more about the plump arahants!


Hotei:
Image

Here is an especially huge version:
Image

Damnit, the Mahayanists get all the fun!


Oh my lord!


Like others i went looking for plump arahants. google let me down and provided this instead, may be interesting.

One example for this potential of the Agamas can be found in relation to a passage in the Sabbåsava Sutta, concerned with proper use of the requisites of a monk or a nun. The Pali version of this discourse instructs that alms food should not be used for, among other things, ‘ornament’ and ‘adornment’.1

On considering this stipulation, one might wonder how food could be misused for ornament and adornment. The
Visuddhimagga explains these two expressions as referring to not taking food in order to become plump or to have a clear skin, as harem women or actors might do.

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... liDis1.pdf
dagon
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby manas » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:14 pm

Jhana4 wrote:In Asia people take food away from their own children to feed monks. They also donate money to build statues while poor people live in horrible condtions.


That kind of thing is the more extreme manifestation, of an attitude which, I'm sad to say, is nevertheless also present amongst some Western Buddhists I've met over the years, yes even in my home town of Melbourne, Australia - the calculating aspect (ie giving according to where one will 'get' the most 'merit' - even when the recipient is obviously already quite well looked after, and copiously attended to (which is what I was trying to imply with the word 'plump'; I am well aware that most arahants would probably be on the skinny side).

I understand there is some humour about the 'plump arahant' term I used. Maybe I ought to have said, "already obviously well-fed and attended to, and not needing the apple as much as the starving child", but that would not have fitted into the title. Despite the humour, it is a real concern I have, however although I've dispensed with that attitude, I am trying to have compassion for those who still cling to it. But as I now see it - we ought to give first to the Bhikkhu / Bhikkhuni Sangha, if we know they are short of food and requisites, etc, rather than others - yes, let us support those who are dedicating their lives to the practice! But if it is obvious that the monks or nuns are already well looked after and attended to (and in a lot of Temples I've visited, it is pretty obvious), then maybe one could consider using one's resources to simply relieve the suffering of some other beings, just for that sake alone.
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
User avatar
manas
 
Posts: 1943
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Jhana4 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:11 am

manas wrote:
Jhana4 wrote:In Asia people take food away from their own children to feed monks. They also donate money to build statues while poor people live in horrible condtions.


That kind of thing is the more extreme manifestation, of an attitude which, I'm sad to say, is nevertheless also present amongst some Western Buddhists I've met over the years, yes even in my home town of Melbourne, Australia - the calculating aspect (ie giving according to where one will 'get' the most 'merit' - even when the recipient is obviously already quite well looked after, and copiously attended to (which is what I was trying to imply with the word 'plump'; I am well aware that most arahants would probably be on the skinny side).


Maybe not, there are a lot of fat meditation teachers and monks who seem to be very well developed internally. Some people have bodies that will get fat without care and my opinion is that people far along on a spiritual path may just not care what their body looks like as long as their basic health is good.

What you wrote about some Austrailians doing the same thing is interesting. Thanks. I think that is even more unforgivable since those people are likely conversts. Scoring merit like points wasn't something they were born into. They chose to suspend their healthy disbelief, IMO.

Someone in my Facebook sphere posted a humanist quote that I really liked. Something about a-religious people helping people, having ethics in the absence of the promise of a reward or a threat of a punishment. Wonderful! Ethics kept for the sake of getting rewareds or avoiding punishment isn't ethics at all.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Mr Man » Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:49 am

Jhana4 wrote:
Mr Man wrote:How about would you feed a starving child rather than giving something to yourself? In my opinion that makes the dilemma more real.


In Asia people take food away from their own children to feed monks. They also donate money to build statues while poor people live in horrible condtions.


Hi Jhana4
What do you mean by "In Asia people take food away from their own children to feed monks"? Do they actually take food away from their own children to feed monks? Is this a common practice? All over the world we use money on fancy cars, entertainment, drink, war, things we don't need, superstition etc. while poor people live in horrible conditions.
User avatar
Mr Man
 
Posts: 1051
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby dagon » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:46 pm

:goodpost: and thank you.

i was writing my own response but i think you have said it better, but i will post it anyway

The understanding that I have from the Dhamma is that we are responsible for our own intentions/actions. This would include our speech and there for what we say about ethics. While we are entitled to our own opinions in a discussion we are not entitled to our own facts.

Jhana4 wrote:
In Asia people take food away from their own children to feed monks.


I can only reply to that statement in accordance with my own experience, which is limited. Well there are billions of people in Asia so anyone could only ever get to know what the practice of a few are. Given the limitations of my experience what I have seen is a continuum of practices. Therefore I do not believe that it would be truthful or ethical for me to say “in asia” blah blah blah. I was hoping that perhaps following posts would limit this very general statement. I could be misunderstanding the words but then I see

What Jhana4 wrote
some Austrailians doing the same thing is interesting


The ‘Asians’ that I know best are my wife and sisters, all of them have told me the same thing. That the merit from giving a monk one grain of rice is that same as giving more. If they fill the bowl up with food that stops others from gaining merit and so there is bad karma in doing that.

Jhana4 wrote
They also donate money to build statues while poor people live in horrible condtions.


I would agree that some people “donate money to build statues“ IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD”. I think (reflecting on the 4 Noble Truths) that we all live in “horrible conditions”. I am not sure what definition of poor people is being used. There is economic poverty and there is spiritual poverty. In the poor parts of Asia I have been to there was usually spiritual riches where there was economic poverty.

My experience as a parent is that if there is not enough food the children get fed first – so if the food given to the monks was to come out of anyone’s food it would be the parents – maybe other people behave differently. Now I think about it I have seen in all parts of the world the situation where parents use money that should be used to feed the kids to feed drug habits. However I think it unlikely that those people are one that would feed monks or build statues.

metta
paul
dagon
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby mal4mac » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:48 pm

"I weigh 30 pounds more than when I graduated from Oberlin."

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Articles/Bhi ... erview.htm
mal4mac
 
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:51 pm

mal4mac wrote:"I weigh 30 pounds more than when I graduated from Oberlin."

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Articles/Bhi ... erview.htm


That was in response to the question:
You get one meal a day. Are you getting enough fiber? Are you getting enough protein?


So he was apparently assuring the interviewer that he gets enough to eat, not that he is fat. From his pictures he does not look too plump. He may have been skinny at Oberlin, so a 30 pound weight gain may have been needed.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7667
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:45 pm

Agreed. He is comparing his weight as a 50/60+ year old sedentary monk to a potentially skinny college student. It seems strange to me he went to Oberlin. The only people I met from Oberlin were other students in the 90s, and for lack of a better set of terms, they were all very doctrinaire Idealogues ( aka "PC" ). Given that early impression of the school, it is hard to imagine it producing someone like a TB
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
Jhana4
 
Posts: 1308
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby kc2dpt_deactivated » Tue Sep 24, 2013 5:23 pm

manas wrote:If I have an apple in my hand, and before me I see a starving beggar child, and a plump arahant on alms round, I will give the apple to the starving beggar child, yes even if that means I miss out on a million 'merit points' and a thousand years of feasting in Heaven.


Please pardon me for saying so, but this strikes me as a "strawman argument". I am aware of no such teaching in Buddhism which instructs us to give to a "plump arahant" before giving to a "starving beggar child".

How sad that some folks actually need to be threatened with pain and suffering, so that they restrain themselves from inflicting it on others.


There are many sad things about samsara, of which this is only one.

It is also sad when, upon seeing another person engaging in unwholesome behavior, contempt arises rather than compassion. May we find ways to eliminate contempt and cultivate compassion. And may we find peace.
kc2dpt_deactivated
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:09 pm

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 25, 2013 12:12 am

Greetings,

kc2dpt wrote:
manas wrote:If I have an apple in my hand, and before me I see a starving beggar child, and a plump arahant on alms round, I will give the apple to the starving beggar child, yes even if that means I miss out on a million 'merit points' and a thousand years of feasting in Heaven.

Please pardon me for saying so, but this strikes me as a "strawman argument". I am aware of no such teaching in Buddhism which instructs us to give to a "plump arahant" before giving to a "starving beggar child"

Well it's not worded as such, but there are suttas that say an offering to an arahant yields greater merit to an offering to a non-arahant.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14520
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby kc2dpt_deactivated » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:22 am

retrofuturist wrote:there are suttas that say an offering to an arahant yields greater merit to an offering to a non-arahant.


Which suttas?
kc2dpt_deactivated
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:09 pm

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:48 am

Greetings,

King Kosala once asked the Buddha to whom alms should be given (S.i,98). The Buddha replied that alms should be given to those by giving to whom one becomes happy. Then the king asked another question: To whom should alms be offered to obtain great fruit? The Buddha discriminated the two as different questions and replied that alms offered to the virtuous bears great fruit. He further clarified that offerings yield great fruit when made to virtuous recluses who have eliminated the five mental hindrances (nivarana) and culivated moral habits, concentration, wisdom, emancipation and knowledge and vision of emancipation (sila, samadhi, pañña, vimutti, vimuttinanadassana).

...

The Magha Sutta (Sn.p.86) gives a detailed account of the virtues of the arahant to show to whom alms should be offered by one desiring merit. The Brahmanasamyutta (S.i,175) maintains that offerings bear greatest results when they are made to those who know their previous lives, who have seen heavens and hells, who have put an end to birth and who have realized ultimate knowledge. Thus the Sangha comprising morally perfect, worthy personages as described in the suttas constitutes the field of merit (punnakkhetta, M.i,447). Just as seeds sown in fertile well-watered fields yields bountiful crops, alms given to the virtuous established on the Noble Eightfold Path yield great results (A.iv,238; i,162). The Dhammapada maintains that fields have weeds as their blemish; lust, hatred, delusion and desire are the blemishes of people and therefore what is given to those who have eliminated those blemishes bears great fruit (Dhp. 356-59). The results of generosity are measured more by the quality of the field of merit represented by the recipient than by the quantity and value of the gift given.

The Anguttara Nikaya (A.iv,392-95) records a fabulous alms-giving conducted by the Bodhisatta when he was born as a brahman named Velama. Lavish gifts of silver, gold, elephants, cows, carriages, etc., not to mention food, drink and clothing, were distributed among everybody who came forward to receive them. But this open-handed munificence was not very valuable as far as merit was concerned because there were no worthy recipients. It is said to be more meritorious to feed one person with right view, a stream-enterer (sotapanna), than to give great alms such as that given by Velama. It is more meritorious to feed one once-returner than a hundred stream-enterers. Next in order come non-returners, arahants, Paccekabuddhas and Sammasambuddhas. Feeding the Buddha and the Sangha is more meritorious than feeding the Buddha alone. It is even more meritorious to construct a monastery for the general use of the Sangha of the four quarters of all times. Taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha is better still. Abiding by the Five Precepts is even more valuable. But better still is the cultivation of metta, loving-kindness, and best of all, the insight into impermanence, which leads to Nibbana.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el367.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14520
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

Postby kc2dpt_deactivated » Wed Sep 25, 2013 1:51 pm

retrofuturist wrote:there are suttas that say an offering to an arahant yields greater merit to an offering to a non-arahant.

Do these suttas instructs us to give to a "plump arahant" before giving to a "starving beggar child"?
What does it mean to "yield greater merit"?
I'd like to take a closer look at the suttas you referenced.


King Kosala once asked the Buddha to whom alms should be given (S.i,98). The Buddha replied that alms should be given to those by giving to whom one becomes happy.

It seems the OP would be happier giving to the starving beggar child than to the plump arahant.

Then the king asked another question: To whom should alms be offered to obtain great fruit?

I was troubled by how this question was phrased so I looked to Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation for comparison:

Where does what is given become of great fruit?

I think there is a difference in talking about how one obtains great fruit and how a gift becomes great fruit. The former seems tied up with greed while the later speaks only of cause and effect. The OP objects to approaching the question of giving in terms of what the giver will get in return. I think this is a valid objection and I think the Bodhi translation avoids this issue. Now for the Buddha's answer...

The Buddha's answer to the first question is translated by Bodhi as "Wherever one's mind has confidence" which is also quite telling; it would seem the OP has little confidence in an alleged arahant who is plump.

The Buddha's answer to the second question is given by Bodhi as "What is given to one who is virtuous is of great fruit, not so what is given to an immoral person." It would seem a teaching regarding [a virtuous person vs an immoral person] is quite different than a teaching regarding [a starving beggar child vs a plump arahant].

He then gives a simile of, while at war, employing an unskilled soldier vs employing a skilled one. Paying the first is more useful than paying the second. Again, highlighting the objective cause and effect of ones actions rather than some mystical "acquiring of merit".


The Magha Sutta (Sn.p.86) gives a detailed account of the virtues of the arahant to show to whom alms should be offered by one desiring merit.

Again with the "desiring merit". I am willing to bet this is translated differently in other sources. I found one which asks "Where will the oblation of such an offerer prosper?" That certainly makes things clearer! :lol:


The Brahmanasamyutta (S.i,175) maintains that offerings bear greatest results...

Nothing more needs to be said.

Thus the Sangha ... constitutes the field of merit (punnakkhetta, M.i,447).

And what is a "field of merit"?

"Just as seeds sown in fertile well-watered fields yields bountiful crops, alms given to the virtuous ... yield great results (A.iv,238; i,162). The Dhammapada maintains that fields have weeds as their blemish; lust, hatred, delusion and desire are the blemishes of people and therefore what is given to those who have eliminated those blemishes bears great fruit (Dhp. 356-59)."


The Anguttara Nikaya (A.iv,392-95) records... better still is the cultivation of metta, loving-kindness".


In this sutta we read: "If one were to develop even just one whiff of a heart of good will, that would be more fruitful than... if one were to feed 100 arahants."


As I said, I do not know of a teaching which instructs us to give to a "plump arahant" before giving to a "starving beggar child". I do know that Buddhism has often been misunderstood and even mistaught as having as it's highest goal a "million 'merit points' and a thousand years of feasting in Heaven" but I do not think this is borne out by a reading of the actual texts.
kc2dpt_deactivated
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:09 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 2 guests