No affection? At all? Period?

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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:32 am

A (relevant) Zen story:

A mother learns her son has become the abbot of a famous monastery and she hasn't seen him since he ordained. She travels very far to go this monastery. She arrives at the entrance and asks one of the 500 monks at the monastery to see her son. The monk goes to the abbot and tells him that his mother is here to visit. The abbot remarks, "tell her I am not here at this monastery." The monk returns and tells her that her son is not here. She is insistent and demands to see her son. Again, the monk asks the abbot and pleads with him to just go and visit with his mother. The abbot refuses and and states again, "tell her I am not here at this monastery." The monk returns and tells her that her son is not here. The mother goes away crying profusely.

Later during the meditation session of the 500 monks, there are 499 monks crying and one abbot meditating.

That's a pretty graphic representation of non-attachment, but I suppose an ideal for a monk. In reality many monks do visit with their families. I remember my wife and I talking to a young monk from Sri Lanka who was about to head back to Sri Lanka for the first time in 3 years. We asked him if he had family there and if he missed them. He remarked, "oh yes, I have my parents, brothers and sisters, nephews, and nieces and miss them very much, I can't wait to see them." At the time, my wife hadn't visited with her family in over 15 years and she is an upasika, not a monastic. Monks and nuns are human though and some may not be ready for complete non-attachment.
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Kasina » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:45 am

David N. Snyder wrote:A (relevant) Zen story:

A mother learns her son has become the abbot of a famous monastery and she hasn't seen him since he ordained. She travels very far to go this monastery. She arrives at the entrance and asks one of the 500 monks at the monastery to see her son. The monk goes to the abbot and tells him that his mother is here to visit. The abbot remarks, "tell her I am not here at this monastery." The monk returns and tells her that her son is not here. She is insistent and demands to see her son. Again, the monk asks the abbot and pleads with him to just go and visit with his mother. The abbot refuses and and states again, "tell her I am not here at this monastery." The monk returns and tells her that her son is not here. The mother goes away crying profusely.

Later during the meditation session of the 500 monks, there are 499 monks crying and one abbot meditating.

That's a pretty graphic representation of non-attachment, but I suppose an ideal for a monk. In reality many monks do visit with their families. I remember my wife and I talking to a young monk from Sri Lanka who was about to head back to Sri Lanka for the first time in 3 years. We asked him if he had family there and if he missed them. He remarked, "oh yes, I have my parents, brothers and sisters, nephews, and nieces and miss them very much, I can't wait to see them." At the time, my wife hadn't visited with her family in over 15 years and she is an upasika, not a monastic. Monks and nuns are human though and some may not be ready for complete non-attachment.


Aha, Hello David, it's the first time one of my threads caught your attention!

Back on topic... This is becoming more difficult than I thought for reasons beyond simple renunciation. Maybe I'll need to just do my best to have my family adjust to it, but it's really difficult when nobody else is even remotely Buddhist and to them it's just, well, silly. It's unfortunate and somewhat disrespectful, but it can't be helped. :shrug:

Metta, Josh.
:anjali:
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

"Hope... is irrational."
- Huey Freeman
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:55 am

Kasina wrote:Aha, Hello David, it's the first time one of my threads caught your attention!


Really? Oops, sorry.

I just looked and found your "being crushed by the mind thread" and see there are some anxiety issues you have had to deal with. In that case, it might be good to take a more gradual detachment, provided of course the abbot / monastery allows it. As I mentioned, in actual practice most monks do visit with their families so I would still advise you to do so, with the permission of course of the monastery, at least for some transition period or longer.
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Kasina » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:05 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Kasina wrote:Aha, Hello David, it's the first time one of my threads caught your attention!


Really? Oops, sorry.

I just looked and found your "being crushed by the mind thread" and see there are some anxiety issues you have had to deal with. In that case, it might be good to take a more gradual detachment, provided of course the abbot / monastery allows it. As I mentioned, in actual practice most monks do visit with their families so I would still advise you to do so, with the permission of course of the monastery, at least for some transition period or longer.


Oh that's alright, haha. Yes, the anxiety. Hmm-hmm. Comes and goes, strangely, when I become lax in my meditation... Just being clear, this whole issue stems from my parents. I've been told they worry they'll never see me again, I'll put the monastery first, I can't touch my mother or my sister, so on, so forth. I'm not a heartless person. I mean a lot to my parents, but this kind of affection isn't important to me, hell, I've never even had romantic contact with a girl, or had a girlfriend. I just don't care, but I can't stand the thought of causing my family undue sadness and pain, but at the same time I want to be fair to myself-- I quit college for this, this is my chosen way to live.

Man...

EDIT: Yes, hopefully the abbot will be understanding (I imagine he will, he had a period of time where he left the monastery to care for his sick mother).
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

"Hope... is irrational."
- Huey Freeman
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:14 am

This is a Zen story I have not heard before, David, Where did you find it?

Another one comes to mind that goes something like this (Dan's retelling):

A young monk was very ardent in his practice, refraining from befriending his fellow monks and ignoring all requests from his family to see him. Above all else, he told the abbot, he wished to see the Buddha with his own eyes that would surely be a magnificent sight and certain to assist in his practice.

'Buddhas come in all guises, the abbot told him, 'you may even see one one day dressed in nothing but a nightgown with the hair all messed up!' The abbot chuckled but the monk was left confused. After a year of strenuous practice, the monk was all but exhausted and the abbot sent him off back to his home village for a visit.

His mother heard the news that her son was on his way home and when he knocked on her door late at night, rushed out to see him in nothing but a nightgown and with her hair all messed up. Then the young monk remembered the abbot's words and embraced his mother tenderly. Tears of gratitude welled in his eyes and he sat and put his knapsack down.

PS. My 2c is that both stories have some validity. However, monk or not, one is still a human being and learning to face this fact fully (which is not an easy task) is surely going to assist liberation.
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby waterchan » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:19 am

Kasina wrote:...but this kind of affection isn't important to me, hell, I've never even had romantic contact with a girl, or had a girlfriend. I just don't care...


Wow... I think that goes a very, very long way towards becoming a good monk. Sex drive is really nothing to be proud of. Wish there was an anti-libido drug I could take...
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Kasina » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:31 am

waterchan wrote:
Kasina wrote:...but this kind of affection isn't important to me, hell, I've never even had romantic contact with a girl, or had a girlfriend. I just don't care...


Wow... I think that goes a very, very long way towards becoming a good monk. Sex drive is really nothing to be proud of. Wish there was an anti-libido drug I could take...


Ohhhh, I have a sex drive. I just don't care about relationships. Don't care/see the point.
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

"Hope... is irrational."
- Huey Freeman
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:33 am

Dan74 wrote:This is a Zen story I have not heard before, David, Where did you find it?


IIRC, I heard it from Samu Sunim in Toronto, Canada during a (Kwan-Se-Um, Korean Zen) retreat he was leading.

PS. My 2c is that both stories have some validity. However, monk or not, one is still a human being and learning to face this fact fully (which is not an easy task) is surely going to assist liberation.


:thumbsup:
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Anagarika » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:56 am

On the issue of contact with family after ordination, it might be useful for the candidate to really research and evaluate monasteries, and abbots. I would hate to learn that a truly skilled and devoted Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni left monastic life only because they were told they needed to forsake their families. As we have discussed the Vinaya rules here on this thread, there does seem to be some leeway on the issue of contact with family (physical and otherwise). If total renunciation is the best fit for a candidate, then WPN might be a solution, what with the isolation from family for 6 years of training. If someone wished to go forth, but needed some measure of email, phone, or the occasional visit from family (and a hug from Mom), I'm betting there are monasteries that permit this both in Asia and the west.
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Kasina » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:12 pm

Anagarika wrote:On the issue of contact with family after ordination, it might be useful for the candidate to really research and evaluate monasteries, and abbots. I would hate to learn that a truly skilled and devoted Bhikkhu or Bhikkhuni left monastic life only because they were told they needed to forsake their families. As we have discussed the Vinaya rules here on this thread, there does seem to be some leeway on the issue of contact with family (physical and otherwise). If total renunciation is the best fit for a candidate, then WPN might be a solution, what with the isolation from family for 6 years of training. If someone wished to go forth, but needed some measure of email, phone, or the occasional visit from family (and a hug from Mom), I'm betting there are monasteries that permit this both in Asia and the west.


I will definitely be going to one in the west. I may consider going to asia when I'm older (if I'm still ordained... Touch wood!).

This, by the way, is the monastery I'm considering:

http://tisarana.ca/

Ajahn Vīradhammo is the abbot there.
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

"Hope... is irrational."
- Huey Freeman
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby James the Giant » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:57 pm

Kasina wrote:, by the way, is the monastery I'm considering:

http://tisarana.ca/

Ajahn Vīradhammo is the abbot there.

Oh way cool, that's a great little place, and Ajahn Viradhammo is great.
Really down-to-earth, great meditation teacher, relaxed, with a sense of humour. He spent how long caring for his mother? 5 years before she finally passed away?
He's the kind of ajahn I would aspire to be like.
When I was wondering which monastery to ordain at, another ajahn told me "Now that his mother has passed away, he is back at Tisarana full-time. You watch, in 5 or 10 years that place will be packed with monks who have come to learn from him. Get in now James, he's an ajahn who knows the way"
Cool eh.

Best of luck! I'd love to visit there one day, but alas, it is far.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Kasina » Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:37 pm

James the Giant wrote:
Kasina wrote:, by the way, is the monastery I'm considering:

http://tisarana.ca/

Ajahn Vīradhammo is the abbot there.

Oh way cool, that's a great little place, and Ajahn Viradhammo is great.
Really down-to-earth, great meditation teacher, relaxed, with a sense of humour. He spent how long caring for his mother? 5 years before she finally passed away?
He's the kind of ajahn I would aspire to be like.
When I was wondering which monastery to ordain at, another ajahn told me "Now that his mother has passed away, he is back at Tisarana full-time. You watch, in 5 or 10 years that place will be packed with monks who have come to learn from him. Get in now James, he's an ajahn who knows the way"
Cool eh.

Best of luck! I'd love to visit there one day, but alas, it is far.


Really? That's awesome to hear, and the other Ajahn was probably right. More and more people are becoming novices there as of late. Hopefully I can pay off my debt in the fall.
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

"Hope... is irrational."
- Huey Freeman
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:58 pm

I have to agree; it lacks compassion. but Jesus did the same, it seems....

http://atheism.about.com/od/biblegospel ... ark03e.htm

(Pardon the somewhat 'insular' Americanism... as if Americans are going to be the only ones reading this and taking anything of value! :roll: )
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



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‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby TheNoBSBuddhist » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:01 pm

(Hang on.... Where did Manas' post go....?!) :?:
:namaste:

You will not be punished FOR your 'emotions'; you will be punished BY your 'emotions'.



Image

Pay attention, simplify, and (Meditation instruction in a nutshell) "Mind - the Gap."
‘Absit invidia verbo’ - may ill-will be absent from the word. And mindful of that, if I don't respond, this may be why....
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Ananda26 » Thu May 08, 2014 3:33 pm

Kasina wrote:Here is a quote from a previous thread of mine:

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:This is the full text from Buddhist Monastic Code:

Intention. The Vinītavatthu contains cases of a bhikkhu who caresses his mother out of filial affection, one who caresses his daughter out of fatherly affection, and one who caresses his sister out of brotherly affection. In each case the penalty is a Dukkaṭa.
The Vibhaṅga does not discuss the issue of bhikkhus who intentionally make active contact with women for purposes other than lust or affection — e.g., helping a woman who has fallen into a raging river — but the Commentary does. It introduces the concept of anāmasa, things carrying a Dukkaṭa penalty when touched; women and clothing belonging to a woman top the list. It then goes into great detail to tell how one should behave when one’s mother falls into a raging river. Under no circumstances, it says, should one grab hold of her, although one may extend a rope, a board, etc., in her direction. If she happens to grab hold of her son the bhikkhu, he should not shake her off, but should simply let her hold on as he swims back to shore.
Where the Commentary gets the concepts of anāmasa is hard to say. Perhaps it came from the practices of the Brahmin caste, who are very careful not to touch certain things and people of certain lower castes. At any rate, there is no direct basis for it in the Canon. Although the concept has received universal acceptance in Theravādin Communities, many highly‑respected Vinaya experts have made an exception right here, saying that there is nothing wrong in touching a woman when one’s action is based not on lust, but on a desire to save her from danger. Even if there is an offence in doing so, there are other places where Buddhaghosa recommends that one be willing to incur a minor penalty for the sake of compassion (e.g., digging a person out of a hole into which he has fallen), and the same principle surely holds here.

So, shaking a woman's hand with the intention to avoid being impolite, or touching a woman to help her, not being lustful, nor out of affection, are no offence. However, touching or hugging out of affection are an offence of wrong-doing.

If a woman tries to shake my hand, I usually explain how to greet a bhikkhu by holding the hands in añjali, if circumstances are


http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... ly#p284154

What I gather is that if I want to be a monk, I cannot under any circumstance hug any of my family members... Which, well, is a problem, because I would really like to be a monk. However, if I were to say "sorry mom, I can't touch you anymore" she'd be less than thrilled, to say the least. I've already received a fair bit of resistance to my choice, and theres always, how do I put this, a frosty reception from my mother. Her eyes just glaze over and she meets anything I say about these sort of things with disbelief and utter disinterest. Honestly, it makes me very sad but I can't really expect much out of parents who aren't even religious (that isn't to say they're atheists, at least not my mother, my father probably doesn't even consider such things)... Anyways, say if I were to ordain (I'm ordaining at an Ajahn Chah monastery in Canada, 4 hours from where I live) I've read in the canon examples of people who utterly wanted to ordain but their parents wouldn't let them (mine have given me consent btw). Under these circumstances, conditional ordination was allowed. Could I have such an ordination, that would still allow me to interact with my family (physically, I'm positive there's no rule against me going for visits), so I could satisfy their wants and needs concerning my affection? If not is it possible to be a novice for, well, life so I needn't violate the vinaya?

Metta, Josh.


It may be a good idea to let your parents meet some Buddhist Society and Buddhist Culture. It may be easier for your mother to understand when she sees a Buddhist Culture practising this way. Maybe you can plan some alternative ways of your mother expressing her love to you that would be acceptable to the culture there. I have talked with some of my relatives about loving kindness. They like loving kindness. So then I have just suggested some ways of practising loving kindness that is appropriate.

Also letting them encounter more Buddhist Society may help better prepare them for your idea to become a monk.

Good luck and loving kindness to you.
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Re: No affection? At all? Period?

Postby Mkoll » Thu May 08, 2014 10:22 pm

Whatever happens, I think you'll do great Josh. You seem very conscientious and honest. All the best!
Peace,
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