What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

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What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Sher » Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:58 pm

Recently I was looking at the Bodhi Monastery where Bhikkhu Bodhi is now living and teaching from. http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/

I was struck by the combination on Theravadin and Mahayana in Bodhi's current teachings and by the structure of the monastery itself. The monastery seems to be a combination of Theravada and Mahayana. Why is this? Can anyone comment on what is happening with Bhikkhu Bodhi? Are there other institutions that teach a combination of traditions? I've not come across any?

I was thinking, though, of several sources I've read that said Mahayana was not a schism in the sense that we may think of rift such as happened between Catholicism and Protestantism. In the early days, shortly after Buddha's death, monks in Sanghas practiced both Theravadin and Mahayana strains within the same group, and nothing was really thought about this. It wasn't until later as scripture developed and ideas became established did groups of Mahayana practitioners separate off and form new groups. So, the thought came to my mind that perhaps Bodhi combo monastery is an attempt to return to what the early structure was like???? But, I don't know.

His current talks are interesting, because he often explains the Theravadin view and then the Mahayana view of the topic. I have heard few teachers do this. It is my understanding that Bhikkhu Bodhi has been a well respected and strongly published Theravadin scholar, and I wonder what his purpose is for his teachings and writings now? What is the purpose for the dual affiliation? I don't have a problem with it, it just strikes me as singular, and I wonder why he has chosen to do this? What's it all about? Can anyone who has followed Bhikkhu Bodhi throughout the years explain? Thank you--Sher
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:32 pm

I read or heard somewhere that it is just a coincidence that this monastery is named "Bodhi Monastery" and not to do with Bhikkhu Bodhi. It was founded by a Chinese monk from the Mahayana and Bhikkhu Bodhi was invited to stay there.

A few temples mix traditions, but it is rare.
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby andrewuk » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:37 pm

Hello,

Bhikkhu Bodhi was also at Chuang Yen Monastery.

This may answer some of your questions :

http://www.dharma.org/ij/archives/2002b ... _bodhi.htm

An interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Is it true that you have decided to re-settle in this country?

I originally intended to stay in the U.S. only as long as necessary to treat the headache and then return to Sri Lanka. Over the past few months, however, two thoughts grew increasingly compelling in my mind: first, that I should be closer to my father in his old age; and second, that I might be able to contribute more to the Dhamma here in America than in Sri Lanka. At the beginning of this year I formally retired as editor for the Buddhist Publication Society, and thus I no longer felt obliged to reside in Sri Lanka.

During my first six weeks in the U.S. I had been staying in the crowded and bustling New York Buddhist Vihara. In July I met by chance an old Chinese Dharma master and his translator, a young Chinese-Canadian monk, who invited me to visit their monastery in New Jersey. I expected it to be a busy devotional temple in a run-down urban ghetto, but to my pleasant surprise it turned out to be a serious study monastery located on quiet and spacious grounds in rural New Jersey, with wooded hills all around and herds of deer grazing on the lawns. Master Jen Chun and I took an immediate liking to each other, and he invited me to stay as long as I wish.

So you will live as a Theravada monk in a Chinese Mahayana monastery?

In ancient India it was not rare for monks of different Buddhist schools to dwell peacefully in the same monastery. I have found Master Jen Chun to be one of the most admirable monks I have ever known: vastly learned, with profound understanding of Buddhism, yet utterly simple, humble, and selfless; strict in discipline yet always bubbling with laughter and loving kindness. He is, moreover, an authority on the Agamas, a body of literature in the Chinese Tripitaka that corresponds to the Pali Nikayas. Thus I find his approach quite congruent with my own. He has asked me to give teachings at the monastery on the Pali suttas and the Pali language, and the resident monks and many lay followers are keen to attend both courses. We hope to make the monastery a place where well-disciplined monks of any authentic Vinaya tradition can reside and live together harmoniously. The place, incidentally, is named Bodhi Monastery, but it is sheer coincidence that I wound up at a monastery that bears my name.


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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:39 pm

About a year ago he moved to Chuang Yen but still visits Bodhi regularly.
- Peter

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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby kc2dpt » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:41 pm

From the website...

"The origins of Bodhi Monastery lie in the comprehensive, non–sectarian vision of Master Yin–Shun, the foremost Chinese scholar–monk of modern times, whose work has inspired a Buddhist intellectual renaissance in Taiwan. In line with the vision of Master Yin–Shun, Bodhi Monastery aims to promote the study and practice of Buddhism as an integral whole rather than to focus on the teachings of a particular Buddhist sect or branch.

"Bodhi Monastery aims to promote the study and practice of Buddhism as an integral whole, with special focus on the clear and direct teachings of ancient Pali Buddhism and their philosophical and ethical elaboration in the early Mahayana. The monastery thus represents a unique, spiritually enriching synthesis of these two major Buddhist traditions.

"Bodhi Monastery was founded in January 2000 by Master Jen–Chun, a senior disciple of Master Yin–Shun..."
- Peter

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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Sher » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:16 pm

Bhikkhu Bodhi was also at Chuang Yen Monastery.

This may answer some of your questions :

http://www.dharma.org/ij/archives/2002b ... _bodhi.htm


Andrew:
Thanks for posting this link; I found it helpful and interesting. In this interview Bodhi speaks of many topics of interest to me and pertaining to Buddhism in the West. I was surprised that he does not claim to be a scholar or to have reached any attainments due to his long-on-going headaches and other problems. His comments on Buddhism and psychology and pure vipassana meditation and on the weaknesses of western Buddhism and his comments on the possibilities and hopes found in western Buddhism made me thoughtful. Sher
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Sher » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:19 pm

Peter wrote:From the website...

"The origins of Bodhi Monastery lie in the comprehensive, non–sectarian vision of Master Yin–Shun, the foremost Chinese scholar–monk of modern times, whose work has inspired a Buddhist intellectual renaissance in Taiwan. In line with the vision of Master Yin–Shun, Bodhi Monastery aims to promote the study and practice of Buddhism as an integral whole rather than to focus on the teachings of a particular Buddhist sect or branch.

"Bodhi Monastery aims to promote the study and practice of Buddhism as an integral whole, with special focus on the clear and direct teachings of ancient Pali Buddhism and their philosophical and ethical elaboration in the early Mahayana. The monastery thus represents a unique, spiritually enriching synthesis of these two major Buddhist traditions.

"Bodhi Monastery was founded in January 2000 by Master Jen–Chun, a senior disciple of Master Yin–Shun..."



Peter: Do you have any thoughts regarding this approach toward synthesis of tradition? Sher
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby cooran » Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:39 pm

Hello sher,

His comments on Buddhism and psychology and pure vipassana meditation and on the weaknesses of western Buddhism and his comments on the possibilities and hopes found in western Buddhism made me thoughtful.


What sort of thoughts?
And why ought it to be of concern that one sees the commonalities across all schools of Buddhism - there is, after all, one Buddhadhamma.

metta
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Dan74 » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:07 pm

Wonderful to hear!

:bow:

In our time perhaps more than ever, healing rifts, transcending sectarianism towards a common purpose is more important than ever, I feel.
Much kudos to Bhikkhu Bodhi!

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_/|\_
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Sher » Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:26 pm

Chris wrote:Hello sher,

His comments on Buddhism and psychology and pure vipassana meditation and on the weaknesses of western Buddhism and his comments on the possibilities and hopes found in western Buddhism made me thoughtful.


What sort of thoughts?
And why ought it to be of concern that one sees the commonalities across all schools of Buddhism - there is, after all, one Buddhadhamma.

metta
Chris


Hi Chris:
I don't know if people will have concerns or not. I was curious about what others thought about this approach... It is helpful, sometimes, for me to listen to what others think on a subject. That is why I asked.

One Buddhadhamma but different paths of practice? Would we say not one more relevant or correct than the other? I am not sure of the answer to this, but I do see that I am able to work with some teachings more naturally and effectively than others.

I asked initially about Bhikkhu Bodhi, because I am accustomed to separations, somewhat, between traditions, and I was interested in the Bodhi Monastery model--just wondering what it was all about. I'm okay with asking questions not because I am concerned or because I want it to be another way, but because that is how I go about exploring. I wasn't sure what I was seeing, so I thought I would get some feedback.
Sher
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:40 am

Sher wrote:Peter: Do you have any thoughts regarding this approach toward synthesis of tradition? Sher

Nope. No thoughts and no interest. I'll leave synthesis to those more educated than I. When they work it out I'll be more than happy to read about it.
- Peter

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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:41 am

To elaborate on that... I find it takes all my time and energy just to try to understand one tradition. Trying to understand many traditions and then trying to merge them together is just more work than I am interested in.
- Peter

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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:06 am

My impression from listening to BB's talks is that he was taking the opportunity of being at Bodhi Monastery to learn more about other versions of the early teachings that are preserved in Chinese, etc, and to discuss various issues with people knowledgeable in Mahayana. In his talks he sometimes asks Ven Jen–Chun (I presume) about the Chinese Agamas, or how to pronounce some term in Chinese. In short, I would summarise what he is doing as learning rather than synthesis.

Mike
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Sher » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:16 pm

Peter wrote:To elaborate on that... I find it takes all my time and energy just to try to understand one tradition. Trying to understand many traditions and then trying to merge them together is just more work than I am interested in.



Hi Peter!

I am smiling -- and so agree with what you just said. Thanks, Sher
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby cooran » Sun Aug 30, 2009 6:17 am

Hello all,

On a side note, a friend of mine who is assisting with the finalisation of BB's Anguttara translation, was in the U.S. for a few weeks and spent some time with BB. Apparently the headaches are continuing unabated and are quite severe, so the printing of the full english Anguttara translation by BB may now be back to as late as 2010. :cry:

metta
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Ben » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:27 am

Thanks Chris for the update
I didn't know about Venerable's health concerns. I'll make sure that I will continue to extend metta to him.
May he be well, happy and liberated.
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:05 pm

Chris wrote:On a side note, a friend of mine who is assisting with the finalisation of BB's Anguttara translation, was in the U.S. for a few weeks and spent some time with BB. Apparently the headaches are continuing unabated and are quite severe, so the printing of the full english Anguttara translation by BB may now be back to as late as 2010. :cry:


No need to wait. The Pali Text Society has had an updated AN in translation for about 20 years now. Bhikkhu Bodh's will be much better, I am sure, but the PTS is still pretty good and their re-translation about 20 years ago removed most of the archaic English, that existed in previous editions.

http://palitext.com/
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:52 pm

I hope that Ven. is okay, and has investigated the source of his headaches to made sure it's not a symptom of something more serious. I'm extending much metta to him. Are his activities generally followed by word of mouth, or does he have any websites dedicated to his activities? I ask because when HHDL goes to the hospital or gets the flu or anything like that, it comes up right away on news feeds, etc. BB seems to be a central figure for Theravada scholars and practitioners. I've certainly relied on him for most of what I've learned in Theravada. Thanks for any info about my question.

:anjali:
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby cooran » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:54 am

Hello Ngawang Drolma, all,

Bhikkhu Bodhi has had these headaches for many many years. He has attended doctors and specialist clinics as well as consulting alternative health practitioners. He has undergone probably every test in existence in different parts of the world - even an acupuncturist in HK.
AFAIK, he is not ill - it is just the same old headaches which impede correcting the final draft of the text, as well as meditation.

This is a page maintained by a student with his permission on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/friends/?ref=tn ... 108&ref=mf

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: What's up with Bhikkhu Bodhi

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:53 am

Chris wrote:Hello Ngawang Drolma, all,

Bhikkhu Bodhi has had these headaches for many many years. He has attended doctors and specialist clinics as well as consulting alternative health practitioners. He has undergone probably every test in existence in different parts of the world - even an acupuncturist in HK.
AFAIK, he is not ill - it is just the same old headaches which impede correcting the final draft of the text, as well as meditation.

This is a page maintained by a student with his permission on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/friends/?ref=tn ... 108&ref=mf

metta
Chris


Thanks very much :anjali:
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