Monks and internet forums

Discussion of ordination, the Vinaya and monastic life. How and where to ordain? Bhikkhuni ordination etc.
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BrokenBones
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Monks and internet forums

Post by BrokenBones »

The internet is a breeding ground for the five hindrances and forums especially so (ergo my reduced participation). Is it beneficial for monks or nuns to become embroiled in Dhamma slanging matches? Such goings on are part and parcel for us laypeople (unfortunately so) but should a monk abandon their real job (Self-enlightenment and spreading of the Dhamma) to participate in the vulgar?
https://suttacentral.net/sn56.10/en/sujato

Websites are a useful source of Dhamma and help make the ordained accessible but I ask for your opinion of whether forums have the same benefits.

Metta
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retrofuturist
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Re: Monks and internet forums

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

As per the Sutta you post, I think it is always a blessing when a Bhikkhu speaks Dhamma, whether one agrees with their presentation or not, as it provides an opportunity for contemplation of the Dhamma. I don't think it matters fundamentally whether this is via a Dhamma talk, a forum discussion or a book etc. Regardless, the Dhamma is the greatest of all gifts.

As per your Sutta, however, words which are animal talk would appear to be detrimental "because those discussions aren’t beneficial or relevant to the fundamentals of the spiritual life. They don’t lead to disillusionment, dispassion, cessation, peace, insight, awakening, and extinguishment."

:pig:

If Dhamma is the greatest of all gifts, then I imagine the "gift" of such Adhamma is not quite so great. Especially so if it is packaged as somehow being connected to or relevant to the Dhamma.

The following Vinaya also comes to mind in the context of your inquiry...
The Buddhist Monastic Code I: The Patimokkha Training Rules Translated and Explained wrote:The Cullavagga, in a section that begins with the same origin story as the one for this rule (Cv.I.13-16), treats the banishment transaction in full detail, saying that a Community of bhikkhus, if it sees fit, has the authority to perform a banishment transaction against a bhikkhu with any of the following qualities:

1) He is a maker of strife, disputes, quarrels, and issues in the Community.
2) He is inexperienced, incompetent, and indiscriminately full of offenses.
3) He lives in unbecoming association with householders.
4) He is defective in his virtue, conduct, or views.
5) He speaks in dispraise of the Buddha, Dhamma, or Sangha.
6) He is frivolous in word, deed, or both.
7) He misbehaves in word, deed, or both.
8) He is vindictive in word, deed, or both.
9) He practices wrong modes of livelihood

A bhikkhu banished for indulging in any of these activities is duty-bound to
undergo the observances listed in Cv.I.15 (see BMC2, Chapter 20) and to mend
his ways so that the Community will revoke the banishment transaction.
Rather than partake in animal talk, here are the ten proper topics of conversation for a bhikkhu...
AN 10.69 wrote:"There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun & moon, so mighty, so powerful — to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects."
Furthermore...
Ud 2.2 wrote:"It isn't proper, monks, that sons of good families, on having gone forth out of faith from home to the homeless life, should talk on such a topic. When you have gathered you have two duties: either Dhamma-talk or noble silence.
Lastly ...
AN 8.53 wrote:I have heard that at on one occasion the Blessed One was staying at Vesali, in the Peaked Roof Hall in the Great Forest.

Then Mahapajapati Gotami went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, stood to one side. As she was standing there she said to him: "It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in brief such that, having heard the Dhamma from the Blessed One, I might dwell alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute."

"Gotami, the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead:

to passion, not to dispassion;
to being fettered, not to being unfettered;
to accumulating, not to shedding;
to self-aggrandizement, not to modesty;
to discontent, not to contentment;
to entanglement, not to seclusion;
to laziness, not to aroused persistence;
to being burdensome, not to being unburdensome':

You may categorically hold, 'This is not the Dhamma, this is not the Vinaya, this is not the Teacher's instruction.'

"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead:

to dispassion, not to passion;
to being unfettered, not to being fettered;
to shedding, not to accumulating;
to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement;
to contentment, not to discontent;
to seclusion, not to entanglement;
to aroused persistence, not to laziness;
to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome':

You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction.'"

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, Mahapajapati Gotami delighted at his words.
Praise be to the rightly practicing Noble Sangha, guided by the Dhamma of the Sammasambuddha!

:candle: :candle: :candle:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
Chanh Dao
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Re: Monks and internet forums

Post by Chanh Dao »

BrokenBones wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 1:17 pm The internet is a breeding ground for the five hindrances and forums especially so (ergo my reduced participation). Is it beneficial for monks or nuns to become embroiled in Dhamma slanging matches? Such goings on are part and parcel for us laypeople (unfortunately so) but should a monk abandon their real job (Self-enlightenment and spreading of the Dhamma) to participate in the vulgar?
https://suttacentral.net/sn56.10/en/sujato

Websites are a useful source of Dhamma and help make the ordained accessible but I ask for your opinion of whether forums have the same benefits.

Metta
Hello there, I myself am aforementioned Monastic on the forum/internet.

Each situation will be unique.

In general most monks regularly use the Internet hopefully in wholesome ways.

Monastic life is often over idealized.

Monks are humans and a big part of being a monk is trial and error.

Making mistakes, having distraction, coming back to the dhamma coming back to samatha, visspasanna, Sila, samadhi, dukkha, Anatta, etc etc.

In doing this we continue to follow according to the teachings of the Buddha.
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mikenz66
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Re: Monks and internet forums

Post by mikenz66 »

Chanh Dao wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:31 pm Monastic life is often over idealized.

Monks are humans and a big part of being a monk is trial and error.

Making mistakes, having distraction, coming back to the dhamma coming back to samatha, visspasanna, Sila, samadhi, dukkha, Anatta, etc etc.

In doing this we continue to follow according to the teachings of the Buddha.
Thank you Bhante,

I agree that it is easy to have idealised ideas of what monastic life entails.

There are many, many suttas that provide a guide to fruitful interaction of lay people with monks. It's a very common scenario for the Buddha, or one of his monastics, to go to someones house for a meal, and then talk to them about the Dhamma and how to apply it to their lives.

This symbiosis between monastic and lay people is important in ensuring a continuation of the Dhamma, and I am very pleased to see monastics on this and other Internet Forums sharing their experience and their knowledge.

:bow:
Mike
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retrofuturist
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Re: Monks and internet forums

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,
Chanh Dao wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 2:31 pm Monastic life is often over idealized.
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:28 pm I agree that it is easy to have idealised ideas of what monastic life entails.
Indeed, individuals may certainly do this.
mikenz66 wrote: Tue Jun 09, 2020 9:28 pm There are many, many suttas that provide a guide to fruitful interaction of lay people with monks.
Yes, and there are likewise many, many chapters of the Vinaya that provide the framework for living as a monk, and cohesion as a community, which would include, as you say, "fruitful interaction of lay people with monks"

Thus, I agree with you that the basis for conduct of monk life is objectively defined in the Tipitaka, independently of how individuals may perceive the monastic livelihood, or how individuals might regard and relate to warnings of decline and degeneracy, which the Buddha foreshadowed during his lifetime.

This symbiosis between monastic and lay people is important in ensuring a continuation of the Dhamma, and I am very pleased to see monastics on this and other Internet Forums sharing their knowledge of the Dhamma.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"It is natural that one who knows and sees things as they really are is disenchanted and dispassionate." (AN 10.2)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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