The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

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The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Bankei » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:38 am

Hi

Robert's other thread on the Bhikkhuni reminded me of a question I was meaning to ask. It seems many regard the Bhikkhu (of the Mulasarvastivda and Dharmaguptaka) and Bhikkhini Lineages (Dharmaguptaka) as being invalid or corrupt.

I am wondering what some of the arguments for this could be - from a classical Theravada POV.

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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 07, 2010 5:51 am

Greetings,

If you don't mind, may I append a related question to your's, which also arose after reading Robert's postings? The question being...

Is another sect's status deemed schismatic, based on a corruption of their understanding of the:

1. Dhamma,
2. Vinaya, or
3. Dhamma and Vinaya?

... and if it is point #1, does that invalidate their Vinaya and corresponding ordinations performed under that Vinaya, even if it was not the difference in Vinaya which rendered them schismatic?

(All the above assumes continuous lineage back to the Buddha)

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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:26 am

Bankei wrote:Hi

Robert's other thread on the Bhikkhuni reminded me of a question I was meaning to ask. It seems many regard the Bhikkhu (of the Mulasarvastivda and Dharmaguptaka) and Bhikkhini Lineages (Dharmaguptaka) as being invalid or corrupt.

Who does?

not all those who wear robes are bhikkhus, some of the Tibetan Lamas aren't Bhikkhus and the same goes for others in other groups.
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:29 am

Greetings,

Just a reminder that we're in the Classical Theravada forum... let's aim to stick closely within the guidelines in order to keep the discussion focused.

Thank you.

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


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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Bankei » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:11 am

Manapa wrote:
Bankei wrote:Hi

Robert's other thread on the Bhikkhuni reminded me of a question I was meaning to ask. It seems many regard the Bhikkhu (of the Mulasarvastivda and Dharmaguptaka) and Bhikkhini Lineages (Dharmaguptaka) as being invalid or corrupt.

Who does?

not all those who wear robes are bhikkhus, some of the Tibetan Lamas aren't Bhikkhus and the same goes for others in other groups.


Yes, i know that some are tulkus or lay people or even novices, but there are still Bhikkhu among these traditions.
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:07 am

Hi
being a tulku doesn't mean they aren't Bhikkhus.

but do you have any references to where the Theravada have made this claim classically, and why?
Monks in England (FS) wear jackets, this is against the rules, but they do so due to climate and because of complaints from the locals, so isn't necessarily against the spirit of the rule, and monks when they went abroad originally were faced with similar situations, some found themselves in areas which saw mendicants as no more than beggars and as such a dishonourable profession, so they had to adapt to survive, and maintain the 'honour & purity of the life' hence some have rules about vegetarianism and omit prohibitions on growing their own food, which isn't necessarilly against the spirit of the vinaya, so the early splits aren't necessarily schismatic splits, although they may of become so at some point, so I need specific references to the the splits you are referring to.

& Sorry Retro didn't see the forum.
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:38 am

Manapa wrote:... hence some have rules about vegetarianism and omit prohibitions on growing their own food, which isn't necessarilly against the spirit of the vinaya, ...


If the bit about vegetarianism is wrt to the Chinese traditions, it doesn't really have anything to do with their bhiksu/ni ordination lineage. It's a Yogacarabhumi / Mahayanabrahmajalasutra bodhisattva precept issue.

If the "growing their own food" is also wrt to the Chinese (Chan) traditions, this didn't come about until quite a bit later, and only in some groups (probably much less than the popular idea suggests). Nowadays it is actually quite uncommon.
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Bankei » Sun Jan 10, 2010 12:40 pm

I can think of two reasons why some may dispute the validity of the Dharmaguptaka and Mulasarvastivada lineages:

1. Simas
2. Break in the chain somewhere in the past.

I think the concept of Simas must be different in Tibetan and Chinese communities. In Theravada, the rules of the sima where developed mainly in the commentaries. Since these other schools don't follow the Theravada commentaries then they must have different requirements for simas - their establishment and use etc. Does anyone know about sima in these traditions?

Also, the Chinese in particular seem to have switched and changed vinayas a few times throughout history. eg once a particular community may have been using the Sarvastivada vinaya and they, without reordaining, they suddenly switch and start using the Dharmaguptaka one. This can be seen when the Bhikkhuni went from Sri Lanka in the 400s to China and established the Bhikkhuni lineage there. They were following the Mahisasaka vinaya. However, changing vinayas may not necessarily mean a break in the chain.

Another possible reason is:

3. Language
Theravadins are very particular about the correct usage of language in ordination. it must be done in Pali, and ideally with the correct pronunciation. Tibetan and Chinese schools translated the ceremony into their local language.
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:00 am

Bankei wrote:Hi

Robert's other thread on the Bhikkhuni reminded me of a question I was meaning to ask. It seems many regard the Bhikkhu (of the Mulasarvastivda and Dharmaguptaka) and Bhikkhini Lineages (Dharmaguptaka) as being invalid or corrupt.

I am wondering what some of the arguments for this could be - from a classical Theravada POV.


Sabbatthivaadin and Dhammaguttiya monks and nuns are not accepted as validly-ordained by some conservative Theravadins because both schools are included in the list of schismatic schools given in the Diipavamsa, the oldest of the Ceylonese chronicles. The Diipavamsa's judgment is repeated and endorsed by Buddhaghosa in his commentary to the Kathaavatthu. It is further endorsed in the later Ceylonese chronicles, and in the 12th-13th century sub-commentataries. It was similarly endorsed by the Burmese in their chronicles, such as the 18th century Saasanavamsa and most recently the judgment was endorsed by Mahasi Sayadaw in his acclaimed commentary tothe Visuddhimagga. In short, the Theravada has a long and consistent history of viewing these two schools as schismatical, with no record of any dissenting voices in the matter, nor of any official and vinayaically lawful rapprochement between the schools.

I can think of two reasons why some may dispute the validity of the Dharmaguptaka and Mulasarvastivada lineages:

1. Simas
2. Break in the chain somewhere in the past.


It's more fundamental than that: if the Diipavamsa's judgment of the Sabbathivaadins and Dhammaguttiyas is correct, then there never was a "chain" to be broken. In the Pali Vinaya a schism in the sangha is a sort of one-generation-only virus, for the Buddha's rulings are such that no schism is capable of outliving the bhikkhus responsible for it. To be specific, there is a ruling that sanghakammas will be invalid in any case where schismatical bhikkhus complete the quorum. In other words, for a sanghakamma to be valid there must be enough non-schismatical bhikkhus present to constitute a quorum by themselves. So, if a sanghakamma, e.g., bhikkhu ordination, is invalid when schismatics complete the quorum, how much more so when schismatics constitute the entire quorum.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:33 am

Bhante, thank you for the informative post.
I am curious, may I ask on what grounds every school other than their own is considered "schismatic" by the aforementioned Theravadin representatives?
For instance, what were the actual schismatic acts that they performed (in each and every case)?
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:20 am

It has been a while since I last said this but where is the thumb up button to press?
:thumbsup:
Very informative as always Bhante!

Dhammanando wrote:
Bankei wrote:Hi

Robert's other thread on the Bhikkhuni reminded me of a question I was meaning to ask. It seems many regard the Bhikkhu (of the Mulasarvastivda and Dharmaguptaka) and Bhikkhini Lineages (Dharmaguptaka) as being invalid or corrupt.

I am wondering what some of the arguments for this could be - from a classical Theravada POV.


Sabbatthivaadin and Dhammaguttiya monks and nuns are not accepted as validly-ordained by some conservative Theravadins because both schools are included in the list of schismatic schools given in the Diipavamsa, the oldest of the Ceylonese chronicles. The Diipavamsa's judgment is repeated and endorsed by Buddhaghosa in his commentary to the Kathaavatthu. It is further endorsed in the later Ceylonese chronicles, and in the 12th-13th century sub-commentataries. It was similarly endorsed by the Burmese in their chronicles, such as the 18th century Saasanavamsa and most recently the judgment was endorsed by Mahasi Sayadaw in his acclaimed commentary tothe Visuddhimagga. In short, the Theravada has a long and consistent history of viewing these two schools as schismatical, with no record of any dissenting voices in the matter, nor of any official and vinayaically lawful rapprochement between the schools.

I can think of two reasons why some may dispute the validity of the Dharmaguptaka and Mulasarvastivada lineages:

1. Simas
2. Break in the chain somewhere in the past.


It's more fundamental than that: if the Diipavamsa's judgment of the Sabbathivaadins and Dhammaguttiyas is correct, then there never was a "chain" to be broken. In the Pali Vinaya a schism in the sangha is a sort of one-generation-only virus, for the Buddha's rulings are such that no schism is capable of outliving the bhikkhus responsible for it. To be specific, there is a ruling that sanghakammas will be invalid in any case where schismatical bhikkhus complete the quorum. In other words, for a sanghakamma to be valid there must be enough non-schismatical bhikkhus present to constitute a quorum by themselves. So, if a sanghakamma, e.g., bhikkhu ordination, is invalid when schismatics complete the quorum, how much more so when schismatics constitute the entire quorum.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Bankei » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:26 pm

Yes, very good Bhante, thank you for that.

That explains why conservative Theravadins think the Bhikkhuni ordination is invalid and cannot be revived.

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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Bankei » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:44 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Bankei wrote:Hi

Robert's other thread on the Bhikkhuni reminded me of a question I was meaning to ask. It seems many regard the Bhikkhu (of the Mulasarvastivda and Dharmaguptaka) and Bhikkhini Lineages (Dharmaguptaka) as being invalid or corrupt.

I am wondering what some of the arguments for this could be - from a classical Theravada POV.


Sabbatthivaadin and Dhammaguttiya monks and nuns are not accepted as validly-ordained by some conservative Theravadins because both schools are included in the list of schismatic schools given in the Diipavamsa, the oldest of the Ceylonese chronicles. The Diipavamsa's judgment is repeated and endorsed by Buddhaghosa in his commentary to the Kathaavatthu. It is further endorsed in the later Ceylonese chronicles, and in the 12th-13th century sub-commentataries. It was similarly endorsed by the Burmese in their chronicles, such as the 18th century Saasanavamsa and most recently the judgment was endorsed by Mahasi Sayadaw in his acclaimed commentary tothe Visuddhimagga. In short, the Theravada has a long and consistent history of viewing these two schools as schismatical, with no record of any dissenting voices in the matter, nor of any official and vinayaically lawful rapprochement between the schools.

I can think of two reasons why some may dispute the validity of the Dharmaguptaka and Mulasarvastivada lineages:

1. Simas
2. Break in the chain somewhere in the past.


It's more fundamental than that: if the Diipavamsa's judgment of the Sabbathivaadins and Dhammaguttiyas is correct, then there never was a "chain" to be broken. In the Pali Vinaya a schism in the sangha is a sort of one-generation-only virus, for the Buddha's rulings are such that no schism is capable of outliving the bhikkhus responsible for it. To be specific, there is a ruling that sanghakammas will be invalid in any case where schismatical bhikkhus complete the quorum. In other words, for a sanghakamma to be valid there must be enough non-schismatical bhikkhus present to constitute a quorum by themselves. So, if a sanghakamma, e.g., bhikkhu ordination, is invalid when schismatics complete the quorum, how much more so when schismatics constitute the entire quorum.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando



Hi Bhante

Assuming the Theravada account is correct for a moment, If a schism did occur, then it is possible for reproachment to occur according to Thannisaro's BMC. I assume reproachment he was referring to was during the lifetime of the monks involved. Would it be possible for some Dharmaguptaka monks of today to admit their errors and seek to rejoin with Theravada. Is this possible considering the schism occured 2000+ years ago?
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Re: The Validity of Non-Theravada Ordinations Lineages

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:03 am

Hi Bhante and Bankei,

Just to let you know that I've read your posts and will post a reply after a few days (I'm not much online these days).

Best wishes,
Dhammanando
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
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