Theravada for lay people

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
woodsman
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Theravada for lay people

Post by woodsman »

I've been considering of late how much the Theravadin tradition might be more geared to monastic life than lay. To the point that it often feels like there is a massive difference between the practice of the lay and the monastic is huge. Any thoughts on this or am I overthinking?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Ceisiwr »

woodsman wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:13 pm I've been considering of late how much the Theravadin tradition might be more geared to monastic life than lay. To the point that it often feels like there is a massive difference between the practice of the lay and the monastic is huge. Any thoughts on this or am I overthinking?
There are plenty of suttas aimed as householders. Householders can also obtain any of the level of awakening bar Arahantship, with the right practice.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood."


Mettagūmāṇavapucchā
woodsman
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by woodsman »

Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:35 pm
woodsman wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:13 pm I've been considering of late how much the Theravadin tradition might be more geared to monastic life than lay. To the point that it often feels like there is a massive difference between the practice of the lay and the monastic is huge. Any thoughts on this or am I overthinking?
There are plenty of suttas aimed as householders. Householders can also obtain any of the level of awakening bar Arahantship, with the right practice.
See, it's that exclusivity that troubles me. What's the rationale for that statement?
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Ceisiwr »

woodsman wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:48 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:35 pm
woodsman wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:13 pm I've been considering of late how much the Theravadin tradition might be more geared to monastic life than lay. To the point that it often feels like there is a massive difference between the practice of the lay and the monastic is huge. Any thoughts on this or am I overthinking?
There are plenty of suttas aimed as householders. Householders can also obtain any of the level of awakening bar Arahantship, with the right practice.
See, it's that exclusivity that troubles me. What's the rationale for that statement?
There are no accounts of lay people becoming arahants in the suttas. This idea was also rejected by the Theravādins at the 3rd Buddhist council, as recorded in the Kathāvatthu. I'm not sure why this is a problem? Even by reaching sotāpanna level of awakening one has achieved a lot, with only 7 more births at a maximum to go. So, a lay person can make a lot of progress on the path.
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood."


Mettagūmāṇavapucchā
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Dhamma Chameleon
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Dhamma Chameleon »

woodsman wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:48 pm
Ceisiwr wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:35 pm
There are plenty of suttas aimed as householders. Householders can also obtain any of the level of awakening bar Arahantship, with the right practice.
See, it's that exclusivity that troubles me. What's the rationale for that statement?
It's not exclusivity by design, like the Buddha decided arahantship is only available to monastics. It's about what kind of training and lifestyle is desirable and conducive to completing that final step.

On the one hand a householder life is too distracting and caught up in other things to create the right conditions for total release. At the same time, an anagami (third stage) will at some point simply no longer have the inclination or desire to remain a householder. So it's symbiotic and natural progression rather than a forced move.
dharmacorps
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by dharmacorps »

While not common, there are examples of lay people becoming arahants just before death, or becoming an arahant then immediately ordaining. So it is possible. The lay life is typically not conducive to the conditions which give rise to total enlightenment. Has nothing to do with the potential, everything to do with conditions.
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Zom
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Zom »

Householders can also obtain any of the level of awakening bar Arahantship
Highest possible is anagaminship, though, hardly attainable these days.
2600htz
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by 2600htz »

Hi:

Not sure what you mean, but sound like overthinking.

The Buddha was a monastic, and the teaching is lived at the highest standard as a monastic, but there is plenty of domain for lay people, just
like there is plenty of domain for someone that is not a body builder at a gym, and plenty of use of mathematics for someone who is not a mathematician.

Regards.
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by DarrenM »

Zom wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:08 pm
Householders can also obtain any of the level of awakening bar Arahantship
Highest possible is anagaminship, though, hardly attainable these days.
I agree, very difficult with modern day job, family, etc, huge obstacles in the way.

Personally I believe only way to enter the path is either ordain or live secluded. Even then there may be distractions.
“Householder, you have provided the community of monks with robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick, but you shouldn’t rest content with the thought, ‘We have provided the community of monks with robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick.’ So you should train yourself, ‘Let’s periodically enter & remain in seclusion & rapture.’ That’s how you should train yourself.”
AN 5.176- Rapture
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Zom
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Zom »

Personally I believe only way to enter the path is either ordain or live secluded. Even then there may be distractions.
Nah, entering the path is more than possible in a lay life. Anagaminship, though, is the path almost fully treaded.
santa100
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by santa100 »

woodsman wrote:See, it's that exclusivity that troubles me. What's the rationale for that statement?
Because the reality is that you can't have it all. It's simply impossible to attain the highest fruit while still owning big house, beautiful wife, happy kids, etc. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and that's especially true for pursuing the Dhamma Path. Just one simple example, monastics automatically have at least an 8-hour advantage over us lay people to solely focus on cultivating the Path, while we're busting our behinds working, sometimes even do 10-14 work hours a day! Then countless of other mundane concerns like paying all sorts of bills, mortgages, loans, investments, biz transactions, etc. So, like I said, you can't have it all!
SarathW
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by SarathW »

It is gradual training.
You will naturally want to become a monk when you progress on the path.
Last edited by SarathW on Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Ceisiwr
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Ceisiwr »

santa100 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:30 am
woodsman wrote:See, it's that exclusivity that troubles me. What's the rationale for that statement?
Because the reality is that you can't have it all. It's simply impossible to attain the highest fruit while still owning big house, beautiful wife, happy kids, etc. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and that's especially true for pursuing the Dhamma Path. Just one simple example, monastics automatically have at least an 8-hour advantage over us lay people to solely focus on cultivating the Path, while we're busting our behinds working, sometimes even do 10-14 work hours a day! Then countless of other mundane concerns like paying all sorts of bills, mortgages, loans, investments, biz transactions, etc. So, like I said, you can't have it all!
:goodpost:
“No one in the world, Dhotaka,
can I release from doubting.
But knowing the most excellent Dhamma,
you will cross over the flood."


Mettagūmāṇavapucchā
woodsman
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by woodsman »

santa100 wrote: Sun Aug 30, 2020 1:30 am
woodsman wrote:See, it's that exclusivity that troubles me. What's the rationale for that statement?
Because the reality is that you can't have it all. It's simply impossible to attain the highest fruit while still owning big house, beautiful wife, happy kids, etc. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and that's especially true for pursuing the Dhamma Path. Just one simple example, monastics automatically have at least an 8-hour advantage over us lay people to solely focus on cultivating the Path, while we're busting our behinds working, sometimes even do 10-14 work hours a day! Then countless of other mundane concerns like paying all sorts of bills, mortgages, loans, investments, biz transactions, etc. So, like I said, you can't have it all!
Hmmm....don't monastics carry the same kind that I do during my work day? Mind is mind surely regardless of what its contents are? So not sure of your extra 8 hours argument. Having a partner, children and earning a living in order to eat and have shelter are a natural part of the perpetuation of our species. Stop that and there would be no more monastics! So it feels really skewed to suggest I would have to step out of the natural order of things to even begin to have the privilege of even a potential for Arhantship. Something feels very wrong there. Sorry.
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Dhamma Chameleon
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Re: Theravada for lay people

Post by Dhamma Chameleon »

Woodsman, it sounds like this is discouraging you and causing doubt. That's not helpful. So why not set the worry about it aside for now, aim for stream entry, and cross this bridge if and when it becomes relevant to your practice?
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