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do monks really live in the 'real' world?

zenmystezenmyste Veteran
edited May 2012 in Buddhism for Beginners
Did Buddha and Monks (past and present) live in the 'real' world?

When I say 'real' world.
Let's face it, the real world is getting up, getting ready for work, working a long hard day just to get abit of money to pay the bills and put food on the table for our family..

BUT not for monks!

No, they don't go to work all day and have the tax man asking questions etc etc.. They don't have to deal with the cost of petrol and the cost of living going up..

They have 'abandoned such a life' and become MONKS..
BUT don't monks live of the 'lay people'?

So the lay people go to work, work hard, earn their money and buy food, and then share it with the MONKS..

but what would happen if lay people decided not to give food anymore?
What would monks do then?

OR what if 'everyone' became MONKS and followed the way of Buddha. What if we didnt work and become beggers like he was and monks are.. Who would we beg to??

We would eventually all starv wouldn't we?

What are your opinions on this?



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Comments

  • Not all monks are tucked away behind the walls of a monastery, especially in the West. For example, the Ven. Kobutsu Malone spends the majority of his time doing out reach to those incarcerated and on death row.

    If that's not "real" enough for you and you have a week free of personal responsibilities, you're more than welcome to spend some time with me on the streets of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

    That's not to say that some of what you've said isn't a valid criticism, only that it's not exactly wise to paint such a portrait with a single brush.
  • personperson Veteran
    During the Buddha's time the monks would go out daily for their meals and in return often gave teachings to the lay population. The relationship is a symbiotic one. If there were no monks where would the lay population turn for deep spiritual teaching. Christian priests live off the donations of parishioners as well.

    Also, not everyone will become monks. Even in Buddha's own time there were many lay people. In old Tibet it is estimated that something like 1 in 5 men became monks and the lay population supported that without starving.
  • edited May 2012
    Even in the Buddha's lifetime, it is said that there were householders who embraced the Dharma, breaking the cycle of birth and death without becoming monks, though that was then and this is now, but it's certainly still within the reach of householders.
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    In a general sense, monks hold the Buddhist banner and are a get-serious reminder of the blood-sweat-and-tears of spiritual life. Those who are not monks or nuns look to them for inspiration ... and as a result may have a somewhat cockeyed vision of Buddhism and its necessities: Monks are seen as somehow holier or more correct in their applications.

    OK ... it's an early fantasy ... people running around thinking that IF ONLY I were a monk or nun, somehow I would be more aligned with the Buddhist stars. And that is why practice comes in handy. Practice weans us from our fantasies and puts us on whatever way is most useful and peaceful ... minus the fantasies.

    Fantasies are not something to look down upon. Sometimes fantasies inspire very good practice. But at the same time fantasies do not require disdain, they do need to be (bit by bit, perhaps) seen as fantasies. This does NOT happen overnight. For a long time, perhaps, monks and nuns are the best-est with the most-est. For a long time, perhaps, their monastic surroundings are viewed with awe and longing and (at a deeper level) skepticism.

    But in the end, it is our own shut-up-and-do-it practice that informs us all. Monks are monks, People who are not monks are not monks. But everyone is alive and everyone would cherish some peace of mind. So ... monk or layman ...

    Practice.
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    The Buddha was constantly looking for wealthy sponsors for his community. Nowadays there are adopt-a-monk charities, whereby people anywhere in the world can sign up to send a small stipend to a monk in a given monastery. The Tibetan monastery (for Westerners) above Geneva has involved sponsors from nearby communities to pay the living expenses of the monks.

    If we all became monastics, the human race would be gone within a couple of generations.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    We all live in the same world, being a monk or not doesn't make it more real.

    I think monks/nuns do have the courage to really face what is the real world. To give up family, money and posessions to learn about themselves is admirable. Also a lot of them give teachings regularly and at times may be working more than the avarage layperson, while getting paid nothing for it. And at times there is no-one to give food, so they don't even have something to eat.

    :vimp: Hats off to them. :D
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran
    Did Buddha and Monks (past and present) live in the 'real' world?

    When I say 'real' world.
    Let's face it, the real world is getting up, getting ready for work, working a long hard day just to get abit of money to pay the bills and put food on the table for our family..

    BUT not for monks!

    No, they don't go to work all day and have the tax man asking questions etc etc.. They don't have to deal with the cost of petrol and the cost of living going up..

    They have 'abandoned such a life' and become MONKS..
    BUT don't monks live of the 'lay people'?

    So the lay people go to work, work hard, earn their money and buy food, and then share it with the MONKS..

    but what would happen if lay people decided not to give food anymore?
    What would monks do then?

    OR what if 'everyone' became MONKS and followed the way of Buddha. What if we didnt work and become beggers like he was and monks are.. Who would we beg to??

    We would eventually all starv wouldn't we?

    What are your opinions on this?



    Let me begin by giving you a personal caution. You are free, of course, to express yourself in whatever way you wish. But on an earlier thread, I thought you started with some very good points (in terms of skepticism), but then got too aggressive to the point where it seemed you were becoming almost anti-Buddhist. May I suggest care through the middle path.

    Now in terms of your question. Having lived in Thailand for some time, and having visited at least hundreds of temples (perhaps over a thousand), I have seen monks simply being lazy. I have had people say, "Well, you're mistaking their doing nothing for them actually meditating". I know the difference between meditating and sleeping...for example loud snoring. At least in Thailand I think monks could take a lesson from Western ministers who are far more involved in things like charity work. It would allow monks to live away from the world to an extent, while not forgetting what the challenges of the "real world" are. And, it would allow monks to be far more in touch with charity and compassion.

  • SabreSabre Veteran
    If we all became monastics, the human race would be gone within a couple of generations.
    Of course. :p Have you ever seen a pregnant nun? :D
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran
    Not all monks are tucked away behind the walls of a monastery, especially in the West. For example, the Ven. Kobutsu Malone spends the majority of his time doing out reach to those incarcerated and on death row.

    If that's not "real" enough for you and you have a week free of personal responsibilities, you're more than welcome to spend some time with me on the streets of Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

    That's not to say that some of what you've said isn't a valid criticism, only that it's not exactly wise to paint such a portrait with a single brush.
    That's good to know. Outreach is a good term to use!

  • TakuanTakuan Veteran
    Monks do live in the real world. Not living in the real world implies that they are sheltered, which really isn't the case. There are many monks that do dharma work or public out reach. It's not all study and retreats! Take Tsem Tulku Rinpoche for example. He's a monk that works pretty darn hard to help spread dharma and take care of his students. Just because someone throws on some robes doesn't mean they leave the real world behind.
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    Laymen try to learn what monks seem to know at the very same moment that monks try to learn what laymen seem to know.

    It may seem a bit silly, but whether it's silly or not doesn't make it any less true.
  • If we all became monastics, the human race would be gone within a couple of generations.

    Of course. :p Have you ever seen a pregnant nun? :D
    Give it time LOL
  • personperson Veteran
    A monastic life can be seen as a training program to gain the skills for a compassionate, wise life. Just as you wouldn't criticize a doctor for not practicing medicine while in med school I don't think its really fair to criticize a monastic for not helping others while they develop the skills neccesary to do so. Some of them do spend their whole lives in retreat meditating (if they believe in rebirth it makes sense), many do eventually run centers, teach, perform ceremonies, begin charities or work for the betterment of society in some way.
  • I know the difference between meditating and sleeping...for example loud snoring.
    :D

    Dear vin

    I hear that in some countries including Thailand it is more of a cultural element rather than a genuine practice tradition -- not all of course but possibly quite a few.

    Thanks for the smile.

    _/\_
  • edited May 2012
    A monastic life can be seen as a training program to gain the skills for a compassionate, wise life. Just as you wouldn't criticize a doctor for not practicing medicine while in med school I don't think its really fair to criticize a monastic for not helping others while they develop the skills neccesary to do so. Some of them do spend their whole lives in retreat meditating (if they believe in rebirth it makes sense), many do eventually run centers, teach, perform ceremonies, begin charities or work for the betterment of society in some way.
    True, but many also enter the monastic life to escape the realities and responsibilities of being a householder --- as Vinlyn stated, many are simply lazy. All that really stands in a person's way is a series of some of the most ridiculous questions imaginable, whether they have leprosy, boils, eczema, TB, epilepsy, whether or not they're actually a human being, ect.


  • Cannot say it better than Luang Pu Dune Atulo:

    "When a person has shaved his hair and beard and put on the ochre robe, that's the symbol of his state as a monk. But it counts only on the external level. Only when he has shaved off the mental tangle — all lower preoccupations — from his heart can you call him a monk on the internal level.

    "When a head has been shaved, little creeping insects like lice can't take up residence there. In the same way, when a mind has gained release from its preoccupations and is freed from fabrication, suffering can't take up residence at all. When this becomes your normal state, you can be called a genuine monk."

  • edited May 2012
    When all is said and done, neither the length of hair or color of the robe make one a monk.
  • zenmystezenmyste Veteran
    Thanks everyone for your answers.

    When i say 'real' world, I only mean the world of 'paying for things, bringing up families, supporting friends in need etc etc..

    Anyway, my question only arised because a client of mine today asked me the very same question and i didnt know the answer.

    He asked me 'if people started not giving food to the monks then what would they do?
    Would they have to start working like the rest of us, and then with work comes TAX, with tax comes debt, with debt can come suffering etc etc...

    but thanks for answer anyway.
  • personperson Veteran
    A monastic life can be seen as a training program to gain the skills for a compassionate, wise life. Just as you wouldn't criticize a doctor for not practicing medicine while in med school I don't think its really fair to criticize a monastic for not helping others while they develop the skills neccesary to do so. Some of them do spend their whole lives in retreat meditating (if they believe in rebirth it makes sense), many do eventually run centers, teach, perform ceremonies, begin charities or work for the betterment of society in some way.


    True, but many also enter the monastic life to escape the realities and responsibilities of being a householder --- as Vinlyn stated, many are simply lazy. All that really stands in a person's way is a series of some of the most ridiculous questions imaginable, whether they have leprosy, boils, eczema, TB, epilepsy, whether or not they're actually a human being, ect.


    That's a good point. I guess when I was thinking of monks and nuns the image in my head was those of westerners that had become a monastic. Also, I think the Tibetan monks I know here in America are likely some of the more dedicated monks being that they were chosen to come here. Stories I've heard about some of the goings on in monasteries in Asia don't sound much like the Buddhism I know.
  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited May 2012
    Some Zen monks grow their own food, so that could be a solution. But I don't really think we need to worry about monks not getting food. There will probably always be somebody who is compassionate and gives them something.

    For those who think monks life is for the lazy, why don't you go and try it out? Sure in 'traditional' countries like Thailand there will be some lazy 'monks', but they won't be able to be it for long, I guess. A genuine monk's life seems to me to be quite tough and challenging. Probably worth it, but certainly not easy. A lot of lay people are already scared for going on a week long retreat.. Let alone for months or even years. There are only few people who can do that. Just goes to show how strong attachments can be.

    With metta,
    Sabre
  • edited May 2012
    Dear friends

    Lay and monks are both respected, if they practice. Humans are respected based on their personages, their heart and their warmth.

    Those whom are suffering are often the hardest people to get along with.

    In terms of Buddhist monks, for those whom practice, it is a fine tradition to provide and care for these people. It is a tradition laid down by the Buddha - in the Vinaya and in the dedicated service that many fine monks such as Ajahn Sumedho, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan monks, Master Sheng Yen, Sasaki Roshi etc all came to fruition.

    In the West we do not have such a strong tradition of dana, but I would not overlook it for those whom are within the Buddhist community. There is nothing wrong with supporting those carriers which serve practice.

    And it is in those efforts that we show our gratitude because if they, they are grappling with the battle of Dharma. And it is also not an easy one. It is the same for the lay order amongst us.

    We all choose our own lives and we can all evaluate what is and what is not. To broad brush any group, or any person even, might be a bit too much.

    Best wishes,
    Abu
  • edited May 2012
    THE TEACHINGS OF THE BUDDHA are the teachings that help us to understand ourselves. Even though it's quite possible for us to figure it out on our own, I really doubt whether I would be able to do it, so I'm quite grateful to have an established form and convention to use as a guide in order to understand my emotions, memories and habits.

    image

    Being committed to the convention of a samana means that it's something I give myself to voluntarily; it's something I feet grateful to and respect, so that I stay within the limitations that it places on me. Kataññu – gratitude – arises in the mind. I remember the tremendous feeling of gratitude that arose towards Tan Ajahn Chah and Thai society when I realised that they had provided me with the occasion and the support to live like this and to understand myself. When you realise the wonder of that, you gladly live within the conventions; you want to perfect them and be worthy, as a way of offering back to those who have supported you. So one goes back into society, in order to be of service and give that occasion to others.

    An alms-mendicant is one who gives the occasion for others to give alms. This is different from being a beggar going around scrounging off the neighbours. . . . A lot of people think we're just a bunch of beggars. ‘Why don't they go out and work? They probably laze around Chithurst House just waiting for someone to come along and feed them! Why don't they go out and get a job, do something important?' But an alms-mendicant gives the occasion for others to give the alms that are necessary for existence – such as food, robes, shelter and medicine. You don't need very much, and you have to live quite humbly and impeccably so you are worthy of alms. One reflects: 'Am I worthy of this, have I been living honestly and rightly within the discipline?' – because what people are giving to is not me as a personality, but to the Sangha which lives following the teaching of the Buddha.

    This monastery is dependent on alms. There are no fees for staying; it just depends on what people offer. If it was an institution based on fees, we wouldn't really be samanas any more, we'd be businessmen, making a business out of teaching the Dhamma which has been freely given to us. A country like this is regarded as a benevolent and good country, but it has become too bureaucratic and too materialistic. Here in Europe, people have lost that kataññu – we've become very demanding, always complaining and wanting things better and better, even though we don't really need such a high standard.

    As samanas, we give the occasion for people to give what they can, and that has a good effect on us as well as on society. When you open up the opportunity in a society where people can give to things they respect and love, people get a lot of happiness and joy. But if you have a tyrannical society where we're constantly trying to squeeze out everything we can get, we have a miserable and depressed society.

    So in Britain now, we as monks and nuns make ourselves worthy of love and respect, people make offerings and more people experience the arising of faith. More people come and listen – they want to practice the Dhamma, they want to have the occasion to go forth, and so it increases....

    Cittaviveka
  • edited May 2012
    He asked me 'if people started not giving food to the monks then what would they do? Would they have to start working like the rest of us, and then with work comes TAX, with tax comes debt, with debt can come suffering etc etc...
    On historical note, there are some scholars who are of the opinion that Islamic armies were only one factor in Buddhism's disappearance from India, that there was a combination of things at play, including a population of laity that came to view of the established Sangha of that time as being corrupt, that there was an attempt to starve it into compliance --- for example, Nalanda university was already in disrepair at that time.



  • Some Zen monks grow their own food, so that could be a solution. But I don't really think we need to worry about monks not getting food. There will probably always be somebody who is compassionate and gives them something.

    For those who think monks life is for the lazy, why don't you go and try it out? Sure in 'traditional' countries like Thailand there will be some lazy 'monks', but they won't be able to be it for long, I guess. A genuine monk's life seems to me to be quite tough and challenging. Probably worth it, but certainly not easy. A lot of lay people are already scared for going on a week long retreat.. Let alone for months or even years. There are only few people who can do that. Just goes to show how strong attachments can be.

    With metta,
    Sabre
    You might want to read "The Broken Buddha" by Bhante Dhammika:

    http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/brokenbuddhanew.pdf



  • SabreSabre Veteran
    edited May 2012
    Some Zen monks grow their own food, so that could be a solution. But I don't really think we need to worry about monks not getting food. There will probably always be somebody who is compassionate and gives them something.

    For those who think monks life is for the lazy, why don't you go and try it out? Sure in 'traditional' countries like Thailand there will be some lazy 'monks', but they won't be able to be it for long, I guess. A genuine monk's life seems to me to be quite tough and challenging. Probably worth it, but certainly not easy. A lot of lay people are already scared for going on a week long retreat.. Let alone for months or even years. There are only few people who can do that. Just goes to show how strong attachments can be.

    With metta,
    Sabre

    You might want to read "The Broken Buddha" by Bhante Dhammika:

    http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/brokenbuddhanew.pdf



    Care to explain or quote a passage?

    I remember skipping through this one before, not being impressed by what it had to say, so I don't feel it'll be worth my time to read it fully.

    With metta,
    Sabre
  • It's probably about all the corruption and negative stories from those circles.
  • I'm betting there are more differences between a local beggar and my mayor than there are between a layperson and a monk.

    If we're going to pick out a profession to judge, I'd probably start with ruthless billionaire ;)
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited May 2012
    I think part of the problem is that questions like this arise when taking certain things out of context and treating them as absolutes rather than social institutions constructed within a specific context and for specific purposes. For example, the main reason the Buddha constructed this particular relationship between monastics and the laity was to ensure that the monastic sangha was always connected to the laity by making them dependent upon the laity for food and material support. That way, they wouldn't just go off into the forest to practice, leaving householders without access to the teachings or the guidance of those who have dedicated their lives to practicing them and passing them on to future generations, as some of the other wandering ascetics and spiritual teachers did. Many Buddhist traditions attempt to care on this tradition, while others have become more self-sufficient, like growing their own food, etc. Either way, monastics are still a part of the world; they simply play different roles and provide for different needs than those in more 'worldly' occupations. A truly contemplative life is as much work as anything else.
  • I'm betting there are more differences between a local beggar and my mayor than there are between a layperson and a monk.

    If we're going to pick out a profession to judge, I'd probably start with ruthless billionaire ;)
    :)

    On the point of billionaires I still cannot believe they valued Facebook at 100 billion. What is wrong with this world, man!?

    Eek.
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    A monks world is more real than this world. Spending your whole life in the "rat race" to get a little bit more money. For what? So you can just die? What a waste!
  • zenmystezenmyste Veteran
    A monks world is more real than this world. Spending your whole life in the "rat race" to get a little bit more money. For what? !
    To raise my children and just, LIVE. It costs money unfortunitely. (monks dont need money coz 'we' give them the food.

    As for the rest of us non monks, we have to go work and provide and do what 'i think' is right..earn a living for my loved ones.

    (and i dont spend my life in the rat race to get a 'little bit more money' i do it coz i have to.)
    These days you cant get away with just leaving your wife and kids to search for enlightenment. You'd be hunted down and taken to court.
    We have to take responsibility for our actions = fathering children, we have to either bring them up (cost money) or give them money to support them (again, cost money) etc etc.

  • personperson Veteran
    Its not as if there is only one right answer and anyone not doing that thing is wrong. Calculus is the best math but that doesn't mean you should teach it to grade schoolers or that it would be of much use to a lawyer. There are many appropriate methods available to gain a wiser, happier mind. Not just one.
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran
    I'm betting there are more differences between a local beggar and my mayor than there are between a layperson and a monk.

    If we're going to pick out a profession to judge, I'd probably start with ruthless billionaire ;)


    :)

    On the point of billionaires I still cannot believe they valued Facebook at 100 billion. What is wrong with this world, man!?

    Eek.
    I heard a rather detailed analysis of this today, and the economists doing the talking said to pay no attention to what happened in trading today, because the financial institutions backing the offer were working hard behind the scenes today to make things turn out the way they predicted. They said wait 30 days and see what the valuation is then.

    So, it will be interesting.

    I think it's potentially dangerous to put a value on nothing...because if you stop and think about it, Facebook isn't a physical product at all, and it's very open to whatever the next evolution is in that field. Look at Yahoo.

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    Thanks everyone for your answers.

    When i say 'real' world, I only mean the world of 'paying for things, bringing up families, supporting friends in need etc etc..
    But why would that be any more "real" than the monastic life?
    Anyway, my question only arised because a client of mine today asked me the very same question and i didnt know the answer.
    Monks live in the real world in that they live on the same planet, in the same universe.
    He asked me 'if people started not giving food to the monks then what would they do?
    Would they have to start working like the rest of us, and then with work comes TAX, with tax comes debt, with debt can come suffering etc etc...

    but thanks for answer anyway.
    The point of monastic life isn't to "avoid suffering" because they aren't taxed/ don't have debt (even laypeople don't necessarily have debt).

    Monks can still "suffer" - they may have strong sexual desires while under celibacy vows, or strong feelings of anger towards someone they reside with, may still be attached to their family, etc. IMO, monastic life is to basically train oneself in the Dhamma with fewer "distractions." Some people stay home and play guitar all day to become legendary; others sit and meditate or study the Dhamma all day to see life as it really is.
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    A monks world is more real than this world. Spending your whole life in the "rat race" to get a little bit more money. For what? !


    To raise my children and just, LIVE. It costs money unfortunitely. (monks dont need money coz 'we' give them the food.

    As for the rest of us non monks, we have to go work and provide and do what 'i think' is right..earn a living for my loved ones.

    (and i dont spend my life in the rat race to get a 'little bit more money' i do it coz i have to.)
    These days you cant get away with just leaving your wife and kids to search for enlightenment. You'd be hunted down and taken to court.
    We have to take responsibility for our actions = fathering children, we have to either bring them up (cost money) or give them money to support them (again, cost money) etc etc.

    You know the goal of Buddhism isn't to become a monk, right?
  • edited May 2012

    For those who think monks life is for the lazy, why don't you go and try it out? Sure in 'traditional' countries like Thailand there will be some lazy 'monks', but they won't be able to be it for long, I guess. A genuine monk's life seems to me to be quite tough and challenging. Probably worth it, but certainly not easy. A lot of lay people are already scared for going on a week long retreat.. Let alone for months or even years. There are only few people who can do that. Just goes to show how strong attachments can be.

    With metta,
    Sabre

    You might want to read "The Broken Buddha" by Bhante Dhammika:

    http://www.buddhistische-gesellschaft-berlin.de/downloads/brokenbuddhanew.pdf


    Care to explain or quote a passage?

    I remember skipping through this one before, not being impressed by what it had to say, so I don't feel it'll be worth my time to read it fully.

    With metta,
    Sabre
    That quite to the contrary, some have been able to continue in any given misconduct with a good degree of immunity --- an excellent example can be found where Bhante Dhammika brings up the issue of money handling, recounting the way that some abbots and senior monks secret themselves away and divy up a percentage of the donations amongst themselves for their personal use.

    It would be funny, if it weren't utterly sad, but a similar thing has come to light in Korea recently in videos released by a former monk. One can hope that this kind of stuff isn't epidemic within the life of the modern day Sangha, but in instances where it has occured it's kind of hard to ignore the senior rank of those involved, which in turn permitted it to go unchecked.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited May 2012
    Sure, people aren't perfect. That's why the Buddha advised his followers to be careful who they choose to associate with (AN 7.35), and to scrutinize potential spiritual teachers by spending a lot of time with them and observing their behaviour (e.g., AN 4.192, MN 95, etc.)

    As for monastics not being part of the 'real' world (as if their world isn't real or productive in its own way), I find it interesting that the relatively modern concept of wage labour has so quickly become the only legitimate means of making a living in many people's eyes; and things like monasticism, which was once viewed as a noble profession/pursuit, is now looked down upon as something almost ignoble and essentially useless.
  • Hi Jason. Out of curiousity, do you think this might be in part due to a conditioned reaction or response, that in some cases such criticism occurs because of a practitioner's experience within a previous spiritual tradition?



  • edited May 2012
    This whole thread is based on a few false premises:

    1. That the world is divisble -- everything makes up 'this' world. To be corny, you only exist because of your father and mother, you are only a husband because of a wife, you are only a layperson because there are monks. There IS no division in this world, every part is IT

    2. That the world 'we' live in is real because WHOAH we have families and 'responsibilities' and we gotta 'pay bills'

    But guess what? So do monks and nuns. They have responsibilities - penetrating the Dharma, supporting lay people who want to practice, offering a sanctuary and place for others to come and learn more about the Dharma, caring for each other, solving problems within the Sangha.

    They also have to FEED all the people who come including themselves, and depending on the tradition they rely on alms or they have to earn this. For those whom rely on donations/alms such as Theravadin places they do not charge so it is only fair, you expect something for nothing but criticise them for accepting donations? The spirit is actually based on generosity, gratitude and respect if you can appreciate that. There is a lot of insecurity in that path also I imagine - no pension, no super, no career to fall back on - so I wouldn't just stand there and shun them for having it easy :)

    As Thanissaro Bhikkhu once said of his teacher Ajahn Fung they had a poor monastery but Ajahn Fung was always joyful and didnt focus on that because he saw it as dana. Likewise, Ajahn Chah spoke of how he and fellow monks were almost starving, but they kept to their principles

    I think the OP on the green is grasser on the other side groove, does not appreciate and understand that for practicing monasteries/monks they also share a difficult burden themself, but they are not on here casting us all (hopefully :) ) with the same brush ie about how lay people have it so easy with their big houses, cars, wife and kids, freedom to go shopping and watch movie etc...

    3. The whole thread is too broad brushed, and I feel, shows little care or genuine understanding of the position of monks and nuns in this world.

    I am not saying everyone deserves a whole lot of support, but to say that as a categorisation is far too much, in my opinion.

    Abu
  • A monks world is more real than this world. Spending your whole life in the "rat race" to get a little bit more money. For what? !


    To raise my children and just, LIVE. It costs money unfortunitely. (monks dont need money coz 'we' give them the food.

    As for the rest of us non monks, we have to go work and provide and do what 'i think' is right..earn a living for my loved ones.

    (and i dont spend my life in the rat race to get a 'little bit more money' i do it coz i have to.)
    These days you cant get away with just leaving your wife and kids to search for enlightenment. You'd be hunted down and taken to court.
    We have to take responsibility for our actions = fathering children, we have to either bring them up (cost money) or give them money to support them (again, cost money) etc etc.

    Hi @zenmyste

    But that's just your choice and the choices you have made. Every minute is a choice, and you make it now, including the consequences of your actions.

    It just sounds like negativity for people who have not chosen the path you choose, but I would not underestimate their challenges, fears and burdens also. It is not an easy path also and you can either support them, or at least not cast them with 'They are not living in the real world' brush.

    The real world is this whole world. All conditioned things are conditional, just like in the olden day real world soldiers would have to go fight for God and country in order to earn money for their wives back home.

    You choose that life, then it's a choice, it doesn't mean it's any more real than any other construction in this Universe.

    Best wishes,
    Abu


  • I heard a rather detailed analysis of this today, and the economists doing the talking said to pay no attention to what happened in trading today, because the financial institutions backing the offer were working hard behind the scenes today to make things turn out the way they predicted. They said wait 30 days and see what the valuation is then.

    So, it will be interesting.

    I think it's potentially dangerous to put a value on nothing...because if you stop and think about it, Facebook isn't a physical product at all, and it's very open to whatever the next evolution is in that field. Look at Yahoo.

    Hi vin

    Probably, in many ways I think the whole financial world is a rich man's game and we play the poor paupers following and being manipulated.

    Well it certainly looks like the way ahead is technology...but I also wonder how many people feel increasingly isolated. More connected, but more lonely? The world is at a materalistic peak and there do not seem to be that many genuine .. what's the word -- something deeper..people who offer something more deep and meaningful in peoples' lives. Certainly Buddhism has those shades for people whom practice but I am not sure for the large majority.

    Anyway, thanks for that relay. Interesting and sigh, not unexpected.

    Hope you are well

    _/\_
  • edited May 2012
    That quite to the contrary, some have been able to continue in any given misconduct with a good degree of immunity --- an excellent example can be found where Bhante Dhammika brings up the issue of money handling, recounting the way that some abbots and senior monks secret themselves away and divy up a percentage of the donations amongst themselves for their personal use.

    It would be funny, if it weren't utterly sad, but a similar thing has come to light in Korea recently in videos released by a former monk. One can hope that this kind of stuff isn't epidemic within the life of the modern day Sangha, but in instances where it has occured it's kind of hard to ignore the senior rank of those involved, which in turn permitted it to go unchecked.
    Hi @Dharmakara

    My view is this: there is no sphere (human) where human dynamics is not in play. In the world of theater, with politicians, in the NGOs, in charities, in families, in family dynasties, in spiritual circles. There is no where that greed, hatred, delusion and igorance do not have their play ground.

    ERGO there is no where, no place, no sphere (human wise) where Dharma cannot show its fruition. For the world of Dharma, the seeds are the dirt. Some people will use that to grow flowers of genuine beauty, and others cannot rise above the sh*t they create and are mired in. That part is called kamma :)

    I personally do not have a glossy eyed view of Buddhism or Buddhist monks and nuns, but what I do support is that they are places of practice, designed for practice and laity and support. Therefore, for any genuine place of practice then they have my respect for it too is imbued with its many many challenges, and if such a place has the good fortune of genuine teachers-practitioners, then the boon is for this whole entire world. As for places of genuine corruption, I would steer clear.

    Namaste,
    Abu
  • As for monastics not being part of the 'real' world (as if their world isn't real or productive in its own way), I find it interesting that the relatively modern concept of wage labour has so quickly become the only legitimate means of making a living in people's eyes; and things like monasticism, which was once viewed as a noble profession/pursuit, is now looked down upon as something almost ignoble and essentially useless.
    Perhaps not for everyone, but agreed.

    The 'current' concept of working for the companies, to pay for the goods/services of more companies, to create debt to pay for more companies, to ensure work for more companies, to get pay from the company, is truly a McDonalds success story. Congratulations, materialism, you have made it to GOD.

    Sad, and interesting.

    On the bright side! :vimp: when has it ever not been thusly. Every civilisation thought that was the norm. We are paid and shackled to ensure we do not think further than this - fed and consume cheap social TV, low quality news that passes off as journalism, marketed with the new want and necessity, consumed with the energy to survive and feed our families, taught how to think and speak. We are like the old Romans from the Gladiator field who were plied with wine and bread to cheer on the slaughter of humans and beast. Of course every generation thinks they are not as dumb as that, but think again.
  • Very true --- there's excellent teachers out there, as well as monasteries that uphold the Dharma. People just need to do their home work, or, like the expression goes, "you get what you paid for" :)
  • edited May 2012
    Very true --- there's excellent teachers out there, as well as monasteries that uphold the Dharma. People just need to do their home work, or, like the expression goes, "you get what you paid for" :)
    Yupper.

    The only issue I have found therein (!!) is it takes a certain practice maturity, or just plain luck, to also be able to evaluate who is a good teacher or not. For example, if I remember the story correctly, it was reported that the first person Buddha was said to have spoken to after his Awakening walked away. He then preached to the next group

    ... i.e. if a person walks past a golden pot but does not see its value, then there is no value. Another sees a shattered jug, and thinks they have found gold.

    So perhaps there is some luck at play as well. Or just the kammic connections working themselves through. Not to worry.

    And (I) just hope there are more clear teachers out there to increase the odds and who will thence benefit this world more ;)

    _/\_
  • I would suggest that waking up, going to work, paying taxes is not the real world. That kind of 'world' is fairly new even by human standards. Before then we were more in touch with the real world IMO.

    There is often a huge misconception when people think about monks/nuns, they think that they are lazy and all they do is sit around meditating all day. In the words of Ajahn Brahm, if you think it is so easy, go and try it for a few weeks.
  • edited May 2012
    @Abu --- Yes, the first person was Upaka, a naked ascetic who rejected what the Buddha had to offer.

    @Tom --- Agreed, but the forest tradition is well known (and respected) for it's practices, no one has ever said that was "easy" :)
  • @Abu --- Yes, the first person was Upaka, a naked ascetic who rejected what the Buddha had to offer.

    @Tom --- Agreed, but the forest tradition is well known (and respected) for it's practices, no one has ever said that was "easy" :)
    I just base that on 'non buddhist' people I have spoken to about monks and their notions of what kind of life they live. My mother for example said they don't have to do anything and live in an unrealistic world. If I try and explain my point of view that the world of chasing money paying taxes etc is unrealistic, I get called bone idle! :grumble:
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