Population Control

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

Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Mon Nov 25, 2013 10:03 am

Dear Sangha,

I am trying to address a variety of problems that came hand-in-hand with my Buddhist practice, and ironically the third Buddhist precept has given me tonnes of challenges over the past years. When I was a student I had schoolmates that nicknamed me "Erector" synonymous with a big p3nis, it was very upsetting and abusive, yet between kids it was just a name that I grew up with. School-time abuse within the classroom knows little beginning and knows no end imho. Anyways, lately I'm troubled because there is one major problem and the solution is very simple, and the obstacles are so humorous, it comes to a juncture when I keep refraining from blaming, yet Buddhism is the major cause of the problem.

You see in Theravada Buddhism for instance, living simply is important, celibacy too is, veganism too is, and when I dislike any aspect of Theravada I can adjourn next door where the Mahayana is, then again that ain't the problem. The problem is, "HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO GET INTIMATE, WHEN I NEED TO, WITH SO MANY Buddhist and even grandmothers' and mothers' precepts to be adhered?

So this year my mother told me to refrain from attending weddings, or wakes, or birthday bashes. Then her sister i.e. an aunt enforced another rule saying to refrain from bringing a(ny) girl(s) home. And the family forbids me from working, and much lesser from travelling overseas. They keep telling me to find a job, yet when my economy is that globalised, and they create so many obstacles that prevent me from even working within the heartlands, how am I supposed to find work beyond my Small Office Home Office? The humour is of course, the absence of any solid concrete business lead or romantic partner. I agree. Yet what happens here is that you know these are Chinese that I am living with. You might recall how in the ancient China palaces they get ladies to bind their feet until it is so small, they can barely walk. That keeps their dynasty regime in force. Same thing here in Singapore where I'm living in. Without complaints, it's just so terrible, that in order for a bunch of old people to die at a rate of 2 per decade within the extended family, people are taught not to have sex. People are taught not to have money. People like me, a graduate, am told to skip work, and wait for my father to die.

So the irony is even political. My founding father of the country is 90,he complains about low birth rates, so low that the city state country is one of the lowest in the entire world, comparable with Japan.

On one side it says on a spiritual track "Refrain from sexual misconduct". On the other side, on a sociological track the society including the law of the time says "Please make babies".

Within the household, my old fogies say "Refrain from bringing girls home", "Refrain from working overseas", and the neighbourhood is only 716.1 km2 with a population density of 7,540/km2. I'm feeling very cramped out!

Within the economic side, my country says in 2012 our National Debt is as 100+% of GDP.

I need a place to have sex and a place to work and I don't even have a cubicle I don't even have a bed. I am so stressed out, the only feasible solution is reducing the population density and being lenient on the precepts -- I know when the time comes when people need to leave, people have to leave -- the problem is that procreation i.e. reproduction, and carnality i.e. intimacy are two simple things that should I need a Buddha to teach me how to make babies and have intimacy, then I am suggesting that the religion, the sangha including the entire forum should be the first to be scraped.

I ain't starting a schism, I am just telling the community that I face low birth rates in my society. And when a society brings in religion, politics, education, commerce, and all sorts of funny jokes under the sun to try to address a simple problem that billions of years ago the cavemen had sex without having to worship and extoll the virtues and dhamma of a well-endowed Buddha Tathgatha, all they had were Tyrannosaurus Rexes billions of years ago, and they made babies over billions of years till AD 2013 and I hope we can still carry on this baby making business.

WHAT ON EARTH DID THE BUDDHA SAY ABOUT Tyrannosaurus Rexes and low birth rates in AD 2013 here in Singapore???
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Re: Population Control

Postby dagon » Mon Nov 25, 2013 11:27 am

Singapore is a country of surprising contrasts – built on Chinese business innovations yet at the same time one of the most stifling cultures on earth.

If I understand you post correctly it could be rephrased how do I get a life within constrains imposed by national, cultural and religious doctrines and dogmas. The items that you appear to be identifying in this are an ability to have relationships, personal space, employment opportunities; all of which are interrelated.

The Dhamma teaches that the debt that you owe your parents is so great …. The family extends this to blind obedience and this is further reinforced by the order obsessive early governments of the country. Then lets add to the confusion with a catholic education superimposing concepts of guilt and sin that do not necessary conform with what the Dhamma teaches us. Sorry if that sound a bit brutal.

What can add to the confusion is that what you describe is essentially a householders life which I think what the Buddha expected most to do. Here on DW there is often a confused conversation that floats between the two pathways in the Dhamma.

What may be a good starting point for you is to read A Simple Guide to Life By Robert Bogoda
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el397.html

metta
paul
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Re: Population Control

Postby fivebells » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:12 pm

Is that you James? You're getting more sophisticated!
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Re: Population Control

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:00 pm

ricebowl wrote: You see in Theravada Buddhism for instance, living simply is important, celibacy too is, veganism too is, and when I dislike any aspect of Theravada I can adjourn next door where the Mahayana is, then again that ain't the problem. The problem is, "HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO GET INTIMATE, WHEN I NEED TO, WITH SO MANY Buddhist and even grandmothers' and mothers' precepts to be adhered?


Theravada does not demand celibacy or veganism. Celibacy is only for monks and nuns. You appear to be placing too high a standard that Theravada does not require.

If you are living at home and you are referring to your mother's wishes, that is another matter, nothing to do with Theravada. Why not find your own place and look for a suitable partner?
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Re: Population Control

Postby kmath » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:37 pm

ricebowl wrote:On one side it says on a spiritual track "Refrain from sexual misconduct". On the other side, on a sociological track the society including the law of the time says "Please make babies".


Making babies is not sexual misconduct.
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Re: Population Control

Postby Babadhari » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:45 pm

'Making babies is not sexual misconduct.'

it sure is if you don't stick around to raise them :tongue:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Population Control

Postby Mkoll » Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:00 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
ricebowl wrote: You see in Theravada Buddhism for instance, living simply is important, celibacy too is, veganism too is, and when I dislike any aspect of Theravada I can adjourn next door where the Mahayana is, then again that ain't the problem. The problem is, "HOW ON EARTH AM I SUPPOSED TO GET INTIMATE, WHEN I NEED TO, WITH SO MANY Buddhist and even grandmothers' and mothers' precepts to be adhered?


Theravada does not demand celibacy or veganism. Celibacy is only for monks and nuns. You appear to be placing too high a standard that Theravada does not require.

If you are living at home and you are referring to your mother's wishes, that is another matter, nothing to do with Theravada. Why not find your own place and look for a suitable partner?

:goodpost:

~~~

Dear ricebowl,

When you read the Buddha's teachings or commentaries of them, historical or contemporary, be very careful to discern who the target audience is and whether you're a part of it. The Buddha's basic teaching for laypeople is actually quite barebones and and easy to understand. The Buddha taught this because he knew it would lead to the well-being of those who followed it and the well-being of the world; it is enough for a layperson to follow these basic teachings or the Buddha wouldn't have taught and recommended them.

When the Dhamma becomes complicated, then you can be sure that the Buddha was addressing monastics and serious practitioners. Furthermore, the Buddha tailored his speech based on the spiritual "degree" (for lack of a better word) of his audience. So even if one is an advanced practitioner, there are still teachings that will remain at least partly esoteric and can't be most effectively applied to one's practice, yet.

You needn't put yourself in these other groups until you feel ready to do so. Doing so before you're ready is like trying to run before you've learned to walk.

Metta.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:01 am

dagon wrote:Singapore is a country of surprising contrasts – built on Chinese business innovations yet at the same time one of the most stifling cultures on earth.

If I understand you post correctly it could be rephrased how do I get a life within constrains imposed by national, cultural and religious doctrines and dogmas. The items that you appear to be identifying in this are an ability to have relationships, personal space, employment opportunities; all of which are interrelated.

The Dhamma teaches that the debt that you owe your parents is so great …. The family extends this to blind obedience and this is further reinforced by the order obsessive early governments of the country. Then lets add to the confusion with a catholic education superimposing concepts of guilt and sin that do not necessary conform with what the Dhamma teaches us. Sorry if that sound a bit brutal.

What can add to the confusion is that what you describe is essentially a householders life which I think what the Buddha expected most to do. Here on DW there is often a confused conversation that floats between the two pathways in the Dhamma.

What may be a good starting point for you is to read A Simple Guide to Life By Robert Bogoda
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el397.html

metta
paul

Thanks paul, put in this manner the theravada buddhist teachings is relevant and effective beyond reasonable doubt in as far as my personal experience is concerned.

On a cultural context yes you pointed out the dhamma that I personally reckon as totaly hitting the nail on the spot. China/Chinese is a facet of this planet that gives me a degree of challenges.

Lord Shakyamuni Buddha was from North India if we all recall correctly. So on the context of how a Chinese actually became interested in Buddhism, I went to school over years with English as its primary medium of instruction. When I first started with Buddhism, most of my materials that got me active were in English. I meditate in English when I do vipassana, nuff said.

:heart: So recently with the Asian internet and economic boom, I ended up with India vs China all the time where I am in cosmopolitan Singapore.
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:02 am

fivebells wrote:Is that you James? You're getting more sophisticated!

I knew a James Ball from another Buddhist forum, and I recall a James in this forum too
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:14 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Theravada does not demand celibacy or veganism. Celibacy is only for monks and nuns. You appear to be placing too high a standard that Theravada does not require.

If you are living at home and you are referring to your mother's wishes, that is another matter, nothing to do with Theravada. Why not find your own place and look for a suitable partner?

Hi David, my family elders withheld my passport, and Singapore as a country is only this big, if I'm in New York I reckoned Washington is just a rail ride away; if I'm in Beijing again Shanghai is just a few hours ride away; if I'm in Berlin while I have yet visited Germany I recall Warsaw is accessible as a European. When I'm a Singaporean and my passport is being kept my elders, finding my own place and searching for a suitable partner is again prohibited by the law -- as a single citizen without marriage the national housing authorities prohibit life beyond one's parents until I reach 35, as a civilian seeking a matrimonial alliance and requesting an apartment, the waiting list is long enough to suggest that a baby born following legal marriage is the only legitimate excuse why a couple can be given preferential treatment -- there is only one known political opinion here in singapore and he is 90 years old
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:15 am

kmath wrote:
ricebowl wrote:On one side it says on a spiritual track "Refrain from sexual misconduct". On the other side, on a sociological track the society including the law of the time says "Please make babies".


Making babies is not sexual misconduct.

:hug:
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:16 am

kitztack wrote:'Making babies is not sexual misconduct.'

it sure is if you don't stick around to raise them :tongue:

Well there is anicca
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:20 am

Mkoll wrote: :goodpost:

~~~

Dear ricebowl,

When you read the Buddha's teachings or commentaries of them, historical or contemporary, be very careful to discern who the target audience is and whether you're a part of it. The Buddha's basic teaching for laypeople is actually quite barebones and and easy to understand. The Buddha taught this because he knew it would lead to the well-being of those who followed it and the well-being of the world; it is enough for a layperson to follow these basic teachings or the Buddha wouldn't have taught and recommended them.

When the Dhamma becomes complicated, then you can be sure that the Buddha was addressing monastics and serious practitioners. Furthermore, the Buddha tailored his speech based on the spiritual "degree" (for lack of a better word) of his audience. So even if one is an advanced practitioner, there are still teachings that will remain at least partly esoteric and can't be most effectively applied to one's practice, yet.

You needn't put yourself in these other groups until you feel ready to do so. Doing so before you're ready is like trying to run before you've learned to walk.

Metta.

:anjali:

This is exactly what I missed out until you pointed it out, indeed my bad, when reading accesstoinsight or various theravadin suttas there is a tendency when I put myself in Venerable Ananda's stance whether knowingly or unknowingly. (The thing about studying the suttas is trying to understand what Ananda understood before understanding what I am supposed to understand)
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Re: Population Control

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jan 11, 2014 6:21 am

ricebowl wrote:This is exactly what I missed out until you pointed it out, indeed my bad, when reading accesstoinsight or various theravadin suttas there is a tendency when I put myself in Venerable Ananda's stance whether knowingly or unknowingly. (The thing about studying the suttas is trying to understand what Ananda understood before understanding what I am supposed to understand)


Thank you for pointing this out. I've never given Ven. Ananda's understanding much thought, but I will in the future.

:anjali:
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Re: Population Control

Postby Pondera » Sun Jan 12, 2014 7:56 am

You're more than welcome in Canada. Plenty of space. Lots of womens. Lots of coffee shops for people with degrees to advance into managerial positions...
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Re: Population Control

Postby ricebowl » Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:44 am

Pondera wrote:You're more than welcome in Canada. Plenty of space. Lots of womens. Lots of coffee shops for people with degrees to advance into managerial positions...

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... ment_Index

Canada's HDI is 0.911 with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $43,146 in 2012, i.e. Canadians are slightly less stressed because they earn lesser
Singapore's HDI is 0.895 with a per capita GDP (PPP) of $61,046 in 2012, i.e. Singaporeans are slightly more stressed because they earn more
My government will gladly welcome you on all circumstances.
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Re: Population Control

Postby Eightfolder » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:48 pm

I found this topic interesting and enjoyed the postings. Ricebowl brought up the core issue that all humans have to contend with; the unique constraints and boundaries within each and every society. While these constraints change according to culture, political context, and educational access, the fact remains that the principles and practices of The Dhamma can help anyone who is serious enough and lucky enough to get their hands on the right information. I recognize Kamma merits everyday which acclumulated in my life under a different philosophy but with very similar ethical teachings as the Buddhist precepts. I have simply adopted the Buddha-Dhamma and all my past good deeds transfer over as well - like a big fat bank account moving to a new country. I took Vipassana (Goenka style) in 2007 but had difficulty staying with the practice. As time went on I persisted and read more. I did another 10 day in 2012 and since have found myself reading and listening to the lectures and teachings of Ven. Nyanaponika Thera, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Ajahn Sumedho, and now Bhante V. who seems to be a rather controverial figure among the old armchair Buddhists! I can't get over the amount of information on the internet alone and all the sites offering the full teachings of Pali Canon. It's a popouri of Dhamma....all over...spilling out onto the people of the world. The only thing I still can't get my head around is this idea of a non-substance like "something" transmigrating or moving on to the next life. Does anyone else have a problem with this concept? I confess to being an atheist, skeptic, etc but with enough faith in humanity and free will to know that we can change our minds and mental processes with work and patience. If I didn't believe I wouldn't be posting here now. But something transferring from one life to the next? Just no evidence for such a process.

8F
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Re: Population Control

Postby culaavuso » Tue Feb 11, 2014 8:00 pm

Eightfolder wrote:The only thing I still can't get my head around is this idea of a non-substance like "something" transmigrating or moving on to the next life. Does anyone else have a problem with this concept? I confess to being an atheist, skeptic, etc but with enough faith in humanity and free will to know that we can change our minds and mental processes with work and patience. If I didn't believe I wouldn't be posting here now. But something transferring from one life to the next? Just no evidence for such a process.


Light a fire. Put a fresh piece of wood in the fire. A non-substance like "something" (fire) moves from one piece of wood to another. There is no "thing", just cause and effect.

Make a splash in a container of water. Watch the wave travel across the water. A non-substance like "something" (wave) moves across the water. There is no "thing", the water itself isn't moving that distance. There is just cause and effect causing the wave to move across the water.

Generate passion. Observe events passing through the mind. A non-substance like "something" (passion, intentions, feelings) moves from one momentary set of experiences to another. There is no "thing", just cause and effect of mentality.

There are many more interesting responses to this topic in a thread that seems more directly related to the subject called What is rebirth and where does this idea comes from?
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Re: Population Control

Postby Eightfolder » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:19 pm

Thanks for that link to the topic. I found Bhikkhu Bodhi's article interesting and extremely persuasive but I have ideas of my own about our place in this universe. To see ourselves not as particles but part of a wave is a wonderful metaphor but in the daily business of living we are each accountable for our individual actions. In a constitutional republic or a democracy we have a set of principles and laws that are suppose to govern our actions. We have religions that preach morality with a threat/reward system (hell/heaven) to guide our actions.
And we all know these systems are far from perfect because innocent people get locked up and real criminals run major institutions and governments. Gotoma was said to have said that he "knows" there are other realms of existence although he had not gone to them. Why would such an assertion be made by someone whose every other word seems to rest on a systematic, empirical analysis of the accuracy of the mind?

8F :juggling:
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Re: Population Control

Postby culaavuso » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:09 pm

Eightfolder wrote:I found Bhikkhu Bodhi's article interesting and extremely persuasive but I have ideas of my own about our place in this universe. To see ourselves not as particles but part of a wave is a wonderful metaphor but in the daily business of living we are each accountable for our individual actions. In a constitutional republic or a democracy we have a set of principles and laws that are suppose to govern our actions. We have religions that preach morality with a threat/reward system (hell/heaven) to guide our actions.


Individual labels are useful for talking about the world and behaving in the world, but that doesn't mean that just because we put a label on something that it has its own independent existence. A specific fire can be labeled, but that doesn't make the fire any less of a process. A specific wave can be labeled, but that doesn't make the wave a "thing" rather than a process. The label could be useful, however, when trying to direct someone to put out the most dangerous fire in the forest first, or when trying to point someone to a wave that will crush them if they don't take action to avoid it. Individuals interact on the basis of laws and waves each individually encounter waveguides and wave breaks and deal with the consequences as individual waves. Labels are useful approximations that function as tools for accomplishing goals related to those labels, but this does not mean the labels represent absolute truth. Whether you decide to apply a label or not depends on what you're trying to accomplish. Hammers are useful, but they don't serve every purpose. Labels of individuality are similarly useful in some situations, and not in others. The Vinaya uses the tool of labeling individuals, so the notion of these labels is not entirely foreign to the Dhamma and Vinaya.

Eightfolder wrote:Gotoma was said to have said that he "knows" there are other realms of existence although he had not gone to them. Why would such an assertion be made by someone whose every other word seems to rest on a systematic, empirical analysis of the accuracy of the mind?


It doesn't seem that worrying about what someone was said to have said or why they might have said the thing if they said what they're said to have said is really helpful in putting an end to stress and suffering. The suttas in many places quote the Buddha as saying that all he teaches is covered by the four noble truths. Wondering what was said or why only creates doubt and uncertainty without any benefits. If it's impossible to ever definitively answer the question either way, then the answer must not really matter. If the answer really mattered, then there would be a way to discern the answer through personal experience.

Darrell Huff wrote:A difference is a difference only if it makes a difference


MN 63
MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta wrote:So, Malunkyaputta, remember what is undeclared by me as undeclared, and what is declared by me as declared. And what is undeclared by me? 'The cosmos is eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is not eternal,' is undeclared by me. 'The cosmos is finite'... 'The cosmos is infinite'... 'The soul & the body are the same'... 'The soul is one thing and the body another'... 'After death a Tathagata exists'... 'After death a Tathagata does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'... 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist,' is undeclared by me.

And why are they undeclared by me? Because they are not connected with the goal, are not fundamental to the holy life. They do not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are undeclared by me.

And what is declared by me? 'This is stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the origination of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress,' is declared by me. And why are they declared by me? Because they are connected with the goal, are fundamental to the holy life. They lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calming, direct knowledge, self-awakening, Unbinding. That's why they are declared by me.
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