Buddhist Eschatology

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

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:30 pm

Sylvester wrote:A bit difficult to see why the Buddha did not plan for the bhikkhuni order (if the "prophecy" were authentic)...

Who says the Buddha didn't plan for the bhikkhuni order? Just because he said no a few times and then said yes doesn't really tell us anything about what his original intentions were. So choose to read the events as Ananda changing the Buddha's mind. Others choose to read the same events as the Buddha waiting for Ananda to ask in the right way and knowing Ananda will eventually do so.

In other words, some believe the Buddha was able to have his mind changed and some people believe the whole conversation was inevitable. In other words, do you believe it is possible the Buddha would not have ordained women? Similarly, do you believe it is possible the Buddha would never have taught anyone were it not for Brahma asking him to?
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby appicchato » Mon Aug 03, 2009 12:45 pm

Peter wrote:...do you believe it is possible the Buddha would not have ordained women? Similarly, do you believe it is possible the Buddha would never have taught anyone were it not for Brahma asking him to?


Can't tell without a program...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1560
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby clw_uk » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:03 pm

Essentially, from what i understand, the Buddha thought it wouldnt last a long because of the vunerable state women were in at the time



As for the prediction we will never really know what was said, i see the time of 500 years as added later. To me he would have just said that it wouldnt last as long, of course just my thoughts cant really prove either way



I dont think the words have any real meaning now though since Buddhism has spread to far and wide and the modern world is now a better place for women (mostly). In effect i find it redundant


The prediction of his that i do agree with is that the teaching disappears when there are no more monks or nuns or laymen/women (paraphrased from a sutta)

Of course this is obvious as to why
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
User avatar
clw_uk
 
Posts: 3343
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:36 am
Location: Wales, United Kingdom

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Dhammakid » Mon Aug 03, 2009 11:16 pm

If you all don't mind me asking: is there any indication of what exactly the Buddha thought would happen to the pure Dhamma if women were ordained? Did he believe sexist political efforts would intentionally change the Dhamma in a manner oppressive to women, therefore staining the pure Dhamma? Something like that?

I don't think the words have any real meaning, either, per se. However, there are still Buddhist countries who refuse to ordain women. It seems the Buddha's words have been interpreted so many ways. In that sense, there is still some meaning to them today.

:anjali:
Dhammakid
User avatar
Dhammakid
 
Posts: 366
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 7:09 am
Location: Georgia, USA

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 3:18 am

Dhammakid wrote:is there any indication of what exactly the Buddha thought would happen to the pure Dhamma if women were ordained?

Other than what I've already posted, I'm not aware of anything.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Sylvester » Tue Aug 04, 2009 4:04 am

Peter wrote:
Sylvester wrote:A bit difficult to see why the Buddha did not plan for the bhikkhuni order (if the "prophecy" were authentic)...

Who says the Buddha didn't plan for the bhikkhuni order? Just because he said no a few times and then said yes doesn't really tell us anything about what his original intentions were. So choose to read the events as Ananda changing the Buddha's mind. Others choose to read the same events as the Buddha waiting for Ananda to ask in the right way and knowing Ananda will eventually do so.

In other words, some believe the Buddha was able to have his mind changed and some people believe the whole conversation was inevitable. In other words, do you believe it is possible the Buddha would not have ordained women? Similarly, do you believe it is possible the Buddha would never have taught anyone were it not for Brahma asking him to?


Hi Peter.

I'm not sure if I understand your queries in the 2nd paragraph. If you meant to suggest that the Buddha was waiting for Ananda's request and Brahma Sahampati's invitation on the 2 occassions pertaining to the bhikkhuni ordination and the Dispensation, that does seem plausible. I believe that is how the Commentaries explain the Buddha's wait for Brahma Sahampati's Invitation, which is also consistent with the Buddha having decided to establish the Dispensation in the 2nd week after his enlightenment, while the Invitation took place a few weeks later. I recall reading that Commentaries suggest that it is a rule that Buddhas wait for a Brahma's invitation before starting to teach.

But our Gotama Buddha did not seem to have followed all of the "rules". The Commentary mentions that as a rule, Buddhas fly from Neranjara to Isipatana to turn the Dhamma Wheel. Gotama Buddha decided to walk the road, in order to meet Upaka. Does the establishment of the 4-fold parissa form part of the inevitable rules of a Buddha's career? I seriously would not wish to speculate.

The point I was hoping to make is that the message in DN 16 seems to be inconsistent with the prophecy for the shortening of the Dispensation. As DN 16 puts it, the parissa would be -

"wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by appropriate conduct and, having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma".

There's no hint here of the Dispensation decaying with the establishment of the bhikkhuni order.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:19 am

Sylvester wrote:The point I was hoping to make is that the message in DN 16 seems to be inconsistent with the prophecy for the shortening of the Dispensation. As DN 16 puts it, the parissa would be -

"wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by appropriate conduct and, having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma".

There's no hint here of the Dispensation decaying with the establishment of the bhikkhuni order.

To you it seems inconsistent. To others it provides a clue. For it to be consistent, the establishment of the bhikkhuni order would have to lead to a decline or breakdown of one or more points in DN16. In other words...

if A = B and C and D and E
and
if !A = Z
then it follows that
Z = !B or !C or !D or !E

Off the top of my head... "plundered by robbers and thieves" seems to imply a threat from outside and in that list that seems to only match with "refute adverse opinions". If that is so, the it means admitting women to the order makes the order as a whole less able to refute adverse opinions. I don't know why that would be, but there it is.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Sylvester » Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:00 am

Thanks Peter.

I hope to one day be able to divine the clue.
Sylvester
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:57 am

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby fig tree » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:04 am

Possibly interesting: http://www.buddhistethics.org/6/chung991.pdf

Peter wrote:Who says the Buddha didn't plan for the bhikkhuni order?


Now I can't find where, but it's been argued that the notion of establishing a "fourfold community" is a fairly consistent theme in the canon, and unlikely to have been "incidental" change of plan.

Fig Tree
User avatar
fig tree
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:25 am

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby cooran » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:41 am

fig tree wrote:Possibly interesting: http://www.buddhistethics.org/6/chung991.pdf

Peter wrote:Who says the Buddha didn't plan for the bhikkhuni order?


Now I can't find where, but it's been argued that the notion of establishing a "fourfold community" is a fairly consistent theme in the canon, and unlikely to have been "incidental" change of plan.

Fig Tree



Thanks Fig Tree. For those who can't read the whole 77 pages - just skim to page 60 and 61 for the Conclusion.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7374
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 04, 2009 6:32 pm

Dhammakid wrote:If you all don't mind me asking: is there any indication of what exactly the Buddha thought would happen to the pure Dhamma if women were ordained? Did he believe sexist political efforts would intentionally change the Dhamma in a manner oppressive to women, therefore staining the pure Dhamma? Something like that?

I don't think the words have any real meaning, either, per se. However, there are still Buddhist countries who refuse to ordain women. It seems the Buddha's words have been interpreted so many ways. In that sense, there is still some meaning to them today.


IF we assume the Buddha really said those things and that he was not testing the resolve of Ananda and the women, then there is the possibility that:

If the 8 heavy rules were not instituted, the sexist society of the time would have rejected the Dhamma outright and we would not have the Dhamma or Buddhism today. Buddhism would have only lasted 500 years or less. But since society was so sexist (long before Buddha was born), the extra rules were placed there until a time would come when they are no longer needed. That time is now! (My opinion, of course.)
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:01 pm

Peter wrote:Off the top of my head... "plundered by robbers and thieves" seems to imply a threat from outside and in that list that seems to only match with "refute adverse opinions". If that is so, then it means admitting women to the order makes the order as a whole less able to refute adverse opinions. I don't know why that would be, but there it is.

It occurs to me that two teachings - that a woman cannot become sammasambuddha and that creating a nun's order would shorten the sasana - are likely stemming from the same reason. The function of a sammasambuddha is to discover and teach the Dhamma to others. The function of the sasana is to preserve and teach the Dhamma to others. If we substitute "women" for "gender which at that time and place is less respected" then what we have is the idea that due to the biases of an unawakened society one gender will be more capable at teaching than the other. Teaching in this case means commanding respect, convincing of ideas; convincing means overcoming egos; egos tend to be led astray by things like gender issues.

And if we also consider that monastic orders tend to attract people who are disadvantaged in lay life (poor, old, etc.) we can see how having an order which treats women as complete equals would attract many more women than orders which didn't. Likewise, it would attract less men for the same reason. This would seem to explain the first part of the analogy: "Just as a clan in which there are many women and few men..."

These two points combined (more women than men and women being less respected in debates ) would put Buddhism at a severe disadvantage to the many other religious orders of the time. Of course, all this has nothing to do with a woman's capacity to realize Nibbana. Thus it seems those eight rules might have been put in place to filter out those who would join for the wrong reasons in favor of those who would join to do the serious work of attaining Nibbana (thus the analogy of an embankment against flood waters) thus keeping the ratio of men to women higher thus keeping Buddhism on more competitive footing with the other religions of the time, thus enabling Buddhism to survive longer.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:03 pm

TheDhamma wrote:...until a time would come when they are no longer needed.

I am not aware of any teaching in Buddhism which says rules are only in effect until they are no longer needed. There is the instance of the Buddha abolishing rules on his deathbed but that is not the same as what you are saying.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 04, 2009 7:48 pm

Peter wrote:
TheDhamma wrote:...until a time would come when they are no longer needed.

I am not aware of any teaching in Buddhism which says rules are only in effect until they are no longer needed. There is the instance of the Buddha abolishing rules on his deathbed but that is not the same as what you are saying.


In the Vinaya Pitaka there are many example of rules being instituted when and as they are necessary. And there are also many instances of the Buddha changing the rule as the situtation and context called for it.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:02 pm

TheDhamma wrote:
Peter wrote:
TheDhamma wrote:...until a time would come when they are no longer needed.

I am not aware of any teaching in Buddhism which says rules are only in effect until they are no longer needed. There is the instance of the Buddha abolishing rules on his deathbed but that is not the same as what you are saying.

If you read the Vinaya Pitaka you will see many example of rules being instituted when and as they are necessary. And you will also see many instances of the Buddha changingthe rule as the situtation and context called for it.

Yes but is there any instance in the Vinaya of someone other than the Buddha instituting or changing or removing a rule? Is there any instance of the Buddha saying "You may remove this rule when it is no longer necessary?" Are there any procedures given for how monastics are to add, change, or remove rules? I think not.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:12 pm

The Buddha knew that he would not be around forever, which is why he stated:

After I am gone, the sangha — if it wants — may abolish the lesser and minor training rules.”
Digha Nikaya 16

The Buddha did not have to be alive as he states "after I am gone." Now I realize that no one could agree on which rules are no longer necessary, but the Vinaya shows that rules were added and changed as necessary and the Buddha did allow changes even after he is gone. If the Sangha can agree or not, that is another issue.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:11 am

TheDhamma wrote:The Buddha knew that he would not be around forever, which is why he stated:

After I am gone, the sangha — if it wants — may abolish the lesser and minor training rules.”
Digha Nikaya 16

The Buddha did not have to be alive as he states "after I am gone." Now I realize that no one could agree on which rules are no longer necessary, but the Vinaya shows that rules were added and changed as necessary and the Buddha did allow changes even after he is gone. If the Sangha can agree or not, that is another issue.

I already addressed this two posts ago. Saying "You may abolish all minor rules when I am dead" is not the same thing as saying "You may abolish a rule whenever you feel said rule is no longer necessary."

If the Sangha can agree or not

The Sangha did agree. They agreed to not abolish any rules.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:16 am

I do not see a need to resurrect the debate as to whether the nuns rules can be changed. People more knowledgeable than you or I have attempted to settle this issue and have not succeeded. Let us suffice to say you are of the opinion that the rules can and should be changed and I am of the opinion that there is no clear evidence the rules can be changed nor need to be changed and let's leave it at that.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby Ordinaryperson » Thu Aug 06, 2009 1:50 am

Peter: "Off the top of my head... "plundered by robbers and thieves" seems to imply a threat from outside and in that list that seems to only match with "refute adverse opinions". If that is so, the it means admitting women to the order makes the order as a whole less able to refute adverse opinions. I don't know why that would be, but there it is."


My understanding that admitting women into the order may weaken the order may due to the following reasons.

1) The nature of human that naturally gravitate towards the notion of opposite attracts. i.e. our nature is to reproduce or to mate just like animal.

2) The weakening of the ability to destroy the hardest of the Three Unwholesome Roots namely desire or craving. Again relating to the notion of opposite attracts - desire.

3) As the time passes the Unwholesome Root of desire started to slowly chip away the core of Buddha's teaching namely destroying the Three Unwholesome Roots. Rules may become lax. If I am not mistaken Desire is the hardest to eliminate.

4) The stronger the desire in human the less they are able to sustain and to practice the strict Buddha teaching.

5) When the strict teaching of Buddha is no longer observed there will be breaches and this also means the teaching of Buddha will become prone to criticisim. Scandal etc. i.e. external attacks / criticisims may be targeted at the perceived weaker sex to the point that they can no longer be contained.

6) When scandals being to take effect the confidence of the people in those who continue to teach Dhamma as taught by Buddha diminishes. i.e. if the "teachers" cannot follow the proper codes of conduct how can they teach others, as the teachers have not reached the stage where they themselves experience Dhamma in the purest sense.

7) With diminishing confidence of the teachers teaching Dhamma the Sangha slowly disappear and the end result is inevitable.

8) My guess is that to exclude women to the order is merely to help guard our senses against desire of men and women.

9) Another point is that women is traditional regarded as "property" of the men and even in our modern society women is still regarded less than men. i.e. a weaker sex in general physical sense.

10) Therefore, it is not because women cannot be arahants, they can (many attained it during Buddha's time), but merely that having women in the order strengthen the Three Unwholesome Roots of desire that leads to other things and reduce the effectiveness or the will of those that follow Buddha's teaching strictly in a longer run, which also leads to the less people attaining arahantship due to impurity (distraction) by comparison to say if there is only one sex (one problem less in the realm of desire).

:thinking:
~Actively trying to destroy the Three Unwholesome Roots of Greed, Hatred and Ignorance~
User avatar
Ordinaryperson
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:09 pm
Location: West

Re: Buddhist Eschatology

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:57 am

An interesting theory. However, the monks had to go into town almost daily to get food so they would still have regular contact with the opposite sex even if there weren't nuns.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Theravāda for the modern world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bhikkhu Cintita, Bing [Bot] and 3 guests