Pali term or concept related to Grace?

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Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby Vipassana1501 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 6:53 pm

I'm a Buddhist Chaplaincy student at the who's been asked to do some research on comparing/translating the Christian concept of Grace in regards to Theravada practices. I feel like I may be missing something obvious but I keep finding myself going down dead ends. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby octathlon » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:09 pm

Vipassana1501 wrote:I'm a Buddhist Chaplaincy student at the who's been asked to do some research on comparing/translating the Christian concept of Grace in regards to Theravada practices. I feel like I may be missing something obvious but I keep finding myself going down dead ends. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

Hi Vipassana1501,
First, maybe you should explain exactly what you mean by the Christian concept of Grace, so we understand what we are trying to compare?

:smile:
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:10 pm

Vipassana1501 wrote:I'm a Buddhist Chaplaincy student at the who's been asked to do some research on comparing/translating the Christian concept of Grace in regards to Theravada practices. I feel like I may be missing something obvious but I keep finding myself going down dead ends. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!
For starters, it would help if you would define what you mean by grace. The dead ends are normal, given that grace tends to be a god linked notion. In a real sense we make our own grace by our actions, kamma.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:35 pm

Vipassana1501 wrote:I'm a Buddhist Chaplaincy student at the who's been asked to do some research on comparing/translating the Christian concept of Grace in regards to Theravada practices. I feel like I may be missing something obvious but I keep finding myself going down dead ends. Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!


A couple of definitions I found on wikipedia confirmed my understanding of the term;

"The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."
"Something that is God-given."

From that point of view the term has no relevance or equivilent in Theravada Buddhism.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:47 pm

are you refering to the prayer in thanks? as in, at a meal?

if so Anumodana would be one that comes to my mind first, but also Sympathetic Joy from the Divine abodes would possibly fall under this sort of field?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"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: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby bodom » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:03 pm

Maybe making merit (punna) might be the closest idea to grace in Buddhism? But as tilt said...

we make our own grace by our actions, kamma.


So in reality we bestow grace upon ourselves through cultivating merit and wholesome kamma. No need for blessings from "god".

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:10 pm

The other aspect of grace that I forgot to mention, I'm pretty sure it's seen as a gift, something you didn't earn.

This is the opposite of our understanding of kamma and of merit.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby Adrien » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:39 pm

In christianism, grace can be different things : an experience of the divine, an ability in a certain domain, or even the release of an addiction to cigarettes for exemple. All those things have one thing in common : they are given by God, and he only can give them. They never appear because of our efforts, they are just given (and we never deserve them). However, our efforts are necessary as a premilinary stage. For exemple, the three "vertues theologales" (sorry but I don't know the english name) which are faith, hope and charity are considered as graces, which can be given only if we have already developped the four cardinal virtues , wich are carefulness, moderation, strenght and justice.

In general, grace are only given if some efforts in the right way have already been done (generally contemplation). These efforts are necessary, but non sufficient, and that's why it is said that they are a gift (we don't deserve them).

In buddhism, we can have such things as realisations, or sudden things that arise in us. In fact, we call them sudden things, but we know that they only appear because of our work. So, for exemple, we meditate, we meditate, and we meditate again, and suddenly, something happen. There was no way to say that it would happen at this moment, but we know it was caused by our meditation. The Buddha said that it can be difficult to know at what point we are in our progression, and as it can create wonderings, we should just "do the work" without searching to know. If we're doing fine, the results will appear, sooner or later.

So, for both christianism and theravada, we cannot say when the "graces" will appear, or even if they will appear. But the difference is :
- in theravada, we think that these things are completely due to our practice (even if they seem to be sudden)
- for the christians, they are not caused by our practice, they are gift from God.

I'm not a specialist of christianism, so you will have to verify and adapt what I said about this...
Please don't hesitate to correct my english if you feel to
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:05 pm

bodom wrote:Maybe making merit (punna) might be the closest idea to grace in Buddhism? But as tilt said...

we make our own grace by our actions, kamma.


So in reality we bestow grace upon ourselves through cultivating merit and wholesome kamma. No need for blessings from "god".

:anjali:


I agree, making merit sounds close.

merit : (nt.) puñña; kusala; phala. (m.) vipāka; guṇavisesa. (v.t.) arahati || desirous of merit: (adj.) puññatthika || share of merit: (f.) patti. (m.) puññabhāga; transference of merit: (nt.) pattidāna.
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby octathlon » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:22 pm

I think it sounds like the exact opposite of making merit. :shrug:
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby Anicca » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:55 pm

Well, you certainly don't make grace - you do make merit - but then often one will dedicate the merit to others - the giving aspect of merit is perhaps similar to grace?
We all gave metta and merit to JC Superstar and James the Giant recently - Ben's horse got a good dose - ??? what they received might be considered our grace ???

I dunno ...

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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby bodom » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:24 am

Anicca wrote:Well, you certainly don't make grace - you do make merit - but then often one will dedicate the merit to others - the giving aspect of merit is perhaps similar to grace?
We all gave metta and merit to JC Superstar and James the Giant recently - Ben's horse got a good dose - ??? what they received might be considered our grace ???

I dunno ...

Metta


My line of thinking as well.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:38 am

Anicca wrote:Well, you certainly don't make grace - you do make merit - but then often one will dedicate the merit to others - the giving aspect of merit is perhaps similar to grace?
We all gave metta and merit to JC Superstar and James the Giant recently - Ben's horse got a good dose - ??? what they received might be considered our grace ???

I dunno ...

Metta
I don't agree. I thinbk we do make our grace by our own actions.

Metta is one thing, but do we really give our merit - the results of our kamma - to others other than in a symbolic way of well wishing? I do not think the Buddha taught that.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby octathlon » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:45 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Anicca wrote:Well, you certainly don't make grace - you do make merit - but then often one will dedicate the merit to others - the giving aspect of merit is perhaps similar to grace?
We all gave metta and merit to JC Superstar and James the Giant recently - Ben's horse got a good dose - ??? what they received might be considered our grace ???

I dunno ...

Metta
I don't agree. I thinbk we do make our grace by our own actions.

Metta is one thing, but do we really give our merit - the results of our kamma - to others other than in a symbolic way of well wishing? I do not think the Buddha taught that.


This is why we asked at the beginning for "grace" to be defined. If it is indeed an unearned blessing from God, then by definition we can't make our own grace by our actions. Otherwise we are just redefining "grace" to make it fit a completely different concept. Several posts here are bending over backwards to try and fit a Christian concept into a Buddhist worldview. Why do that? :?:
Next, should we translate "soul" into Theravadan terms as well?
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:52 am

octathlon wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Anicca wrote:Well, you certainly don't make grace - you do make merit - but then often one will dedicate the merit to others - the giving aspect of merit is perhaps similar to grace?
We all gave metta and merit to JC Superstar and James the Giant recently - Ben's horse got a good dose - ??? what they received might be considered our grace ???

I dunno ...

Metta
I don't agree. I thinbk we do make our grace by our own actions.

Metta is one thing, but do we really give our merit - the results of our kamma - to others other than in a symbolic way of well wishing? I do not think the Buddha taught that.


This is why we asked at the beginning for "grace" to be defined. If it is indeed an unearned blessing from God, then by definition we can't make our own grace by our actions.
Which is why grace has no real meaning in the Theravada, but as kamma "ripens" good comes out of the good we do. We cannot know when or how that is going to happen.
Otherwise we are just redefining "grace" to make it fit a completely different concept.
Yes; that is the point and as long as we are open and clear about that, it should not be a problem.
Several posts here are bending over backwards to try and fit a Christian concept into a Buddhist worldview. Why do that?
No need to do it.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby bodom » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:10 am

octathlon wrote:Several posts here are bending over backwards to try and fit a Christian concept into a Buddhist worldview.


Lol not sure who you're referring too, but I could not be further from a christian if I tried.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby octathlon » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:27 am

I don't remember whose specific posts they were, but comparing grace to either ripening of good kamma or dedicating merit seems like just too much of a stretch to me.

:smile:
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby bodom » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:36 am

And what is a Buddhist Chaplaincy? Buddhist priest program? There seem to be several concepts here that are foreign to the Theravada and Buddhist tradition as a whole. Maybe this thread could be moved to Free for all?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:44 am

bodom wrote:And what is a Buddhist Chaplaincy
That would be working in hospitals or prisons.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Pali term or concept related to Grace?

Postby bodom » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:48 am

tiltbillings wrote:
bodom wrote:And what is a Buddhist Chaplaincy
That would be working in hospitals or prisons.


Ahh, that makes sense. Thank you Tilt.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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