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Benefits of Lay Buddhism?

I feel most of us, I certainly do, have a deep respect and am inspired by the commitment and efforts of the Sangha. Particularly in the West were the commitment, integrity and effort seems less of a rite of passage or only chance of education, socialisation or some institutional organisation.

However most of us here are lay Buddhists and we have considerable advantages. In some ways our committed practice is more easily distracted but even so is it advantageous to think of distinctions based on life style?

Comments

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited November 2014

    OP, could you explain a bit more the concept you want us to discuss? I'm not getting it. Are you comparing sangha-based practice with those who study and practice without a sangha or with only an online sangha?

    I also don't understand the statement, "[ As lay Buddhists] we have considerable advantages". Advantages over whom? Compared to what? Non-Buddhists? Buddhist monastics? Sorry, not getting your drift.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Being a lay-Buddhist means having your cake and eating it. :p

    lobsterRowan1980
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    It's easier to stay in bed?

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    No robes to lose.
    sova
  • I think sometimes, ignorance is bliss. The less we understand, the less we feel accountable. We are allowed more foibles, if not by others, at least by ourselves.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited November 2014

    @AllbuddhaBound said:
    I think sometimes, ignorance is bliss. The less we understand, the less we feel accountable. We are allowed more foibles, if not by others, at least by ourselves.

    I think knowledge is bliss, @AllbuddhaBound.
    Precisely because we understand, we feel accountable, we assume responsibility, we are tolerant towards our foibles (though not lenient) and towards others'

    Jeffrey
  • Yes, I understand what you mean @DhammaDragon, but I believe the bliss you are speaking of is enlightenment. Me being far from that, I guess I settle for a lower standard of bliss. The road to enlightenment for a monastic would be much more attainable, but also much more austere.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Some of us are not cut out for a monastic life.

    Could you elaborate on that?

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Could you elaborate on that?

    Leading a monastic life implies having the calling, the vocation to do so.
    I, for one, love being married and having a son.
    What kind of nun would I do?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Fair enough. I wondered if you meant that certain personality types weren't suited to a monastic life.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited November 2014

    Those people who are not ready to renounce a household life, nor renounce a sexual life, are not suited for a monastic life.

    Edit: We have seen enough bad examples in all confessions of people who decided to embrace a religious life and did not live up to the job description, so to speak.

    vinlyndhammachick
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I lived in Buddhist communities when I was younger but it was easier back then with few commitments.

    Jerm
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited November 2014

    Benefits of Lay Buddhism?

    I like the excuses.....( I hasten to add as lay people we have the luxury of excuses when we don't feel up to doing our practice)

    DhammaDragon
  • howhow Veteran
    edited November 2014

    @Shoshin said:
    Benefits of Lay Buddhism?

    I like the excuses.....( I hasten to add as lay people we have the luxury of excuses when we don't feel up to doing our practice)

    I would say that excuses for lax practice is actually a human practice belonging as much to the laity as to monastics.

    Shoshindhammachicklobster
  • Partly, I was under the misapprehension that monks did it better and had a better shot at 'enlightenment' than mere laymen like myself.

    Tsk, tsk to think that monastics feel they are nearer by virtue of superficialities . . . What are superficialities?

    Dress, location and behaviour.

    That is outer form. Enlightenment is an inner function empty of form.
    The enlightened too wear awareness, are located everywhere and behave according to the situation. They are independent of advertising, symbolic virtue and ignorance based on form.

    This is were integrity and practice overcomes the trappings of lay or monastic 'ultra spirituals'.

    I would humbly suggest that a real person, whether a monk or laity is on the path because of their commitment to change the Hinyana mentality (small minded inner wheels and deals) to a certainty that the Buddha had. Under this tree and no escape.

    We all come to the Bo tree under which the Buddha sat. That is a symbolic placement where we realise that our outer form, situation in life and behaviour ain't working.

    Now what?

    Suggestions on a cushion to the usual addressing.

    HamsakaCinorjer
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran

    I think the only real benefit monks and nuns have... is not having other distractions. This brings the incessant craving to the fore as they become incredibly bored. :mrgreen:

    CinorjerHamsakasilverrohit
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I don't think monks and nuns have time to get bored.

    ShoshinHamsaka
  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited November 2014

    Sure they do, it's all that time they're expected to be meditating. :wink: Unless they love meditating so much that it's all they want to do, ceaseless craving will rear its head. They can't satisfy those cravings; cravings for sex, good food, entertainment, music, and all the other trappings of lay life.

    This results in suffering. That's actually a good thing. It drives them to either give up monastic life, or put effort toward the goal. There's no other choice, unless they wish to wallow in suffering, which doesn't solve anything!

    SarahTvinlyn
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I suspect monks and nuns are more contented though.

  • ToraldrisToraldris   -`-,-{@     Zen Nud... Buddhist     @}-,-`-   East Coast, USA Veteran
    edited November 2014

    Eventually, if they get used to it. Many people can't take it and quit before very long, or so I've read in books by Buddhist monks.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I suspect monks and nuns are more contented though.

    Isn't that a bit like watching a family sitcom on TV and imagining that this is how real life would be if I just had my head screwed on right?

    ToraldrisvinlynupekkaHamsaka
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited November 2014

    My comment was based on having been on retreat to monasteries, having talked to monks, having seen talks by monks etc.

    But going back to the OP, have we actually identified any benefits from lay-practice? Are there any advantages to lay-practice compared to monastic practice?

    Jeffrey
  • I find there are advantages to both the lay and cloistered approaches. Both are a question of what works. So to answer @SpinyNorman‌, I feel we have to work from the position we are in - cyber laity in the main. Is enlightenment possible for us? You bet your incense stick it is.

    We have to find a practice that works. Remember we are different in needs, dharma experience, life experience and many other factors.

    I am finding inspiration and commitment from others progress. Many people here are developing palpable progress, tightening into the way and overcoming the diversity of obstacles that both sangha and laity can ignore or learn from. I certainly learn a great deal by having my limitations widened, my approach reflected in others and I value the community insights that people here kindly offer.

    <3

    SarahTDhammaDragonJamieG
  • @lobster said:

    Is enlightenment possible for us?

    according to suttas the first three stages (stream winner, once returner, non returner) are possible for lay buddhists

    yes, the first stage (stream winner) is possible for us for sure

    lobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran
    edited November 2014

    @Toraldris said:
    Sure they do, it's all that time they're expected to be meditating. :wink: Unless they love meditating so much that it's all they want to do, ceaseless craving will rear its head. They can't satisfy those cravings; cravings for sex, good food, entertainment, music, and all the other trappings of lay life.
    This results in suffering. That's actually a good thing. It drives them to either give up monastic life, or put effort toward the goal. There's no other choice, unless they wish to wallow in suffering, which doesn't solve anything!

    This is where my comment on "having the calling or vocation" fits in.

    People who choose to lead a monastic life by pure personal choice, do not have as much problem as we laypeople would like to believe in dealing with their cravings and dukkha.

    The fact that there are so many religious people in all religions all over the world is the living proof that some people are cut out for a monastic life.

    Those who aren't, either don't go down that path, or drop out after trying it for size for a while.

    lobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:
    Yes, I can still get laid. Hey, that's my honest answer.

    Bravo, Cinor!
    I can still get laid too!

    Cinorjerlobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Some guys have all the luck......

    TMI....? :D

    DhammaDragonCinorjer
  • Lays have more options, including sex, life, death, children, IPads and the Interweb. We have more . . . potentially more distractions . . . or more opportunities to practice. So it is not the location but the inclination that separates the ladies from the nuns, the men from the boy sangha, the wood from the trees . . . [lobster rambles off into the dharmic sunset . . . ] B)

    CinorjernamarupaDhammaDragon
  • I guess if your a lay now, are you not peeling or making a start for maybe a next life, in which you might become a monk? Just my simple 2 cents.

  • TalisTalis Explorer
    edited March 2015

    I must admit that a few years ago I wanted to become a monk, probably a romanticised view. But having been a solider for 9yrs I felt that I would like the structure. In the position I now find myself if I could become a “Lay-Monk” I would ;) but I guess my personal commitment plus physical impairments don’t allow for a monastic life.........Note to self Buddhist Monk next time round please B)

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    There are all sorts of vocations outside the monastery that lay along the Path...

  • I’m an autistic who is called highly functional. And I’ve an autistic son who’s not so ”highly functional”. I have succeeded as a researcher in biology, but I was regarded a bit retarded in the elementary school, which was quite a horrible place for me. Above all I disliked teachers whose speech I couldn’t understand. They couldn’t teach me hardly anything, and at the same time I had a stepfather who made me dislike any kind of authorities even more.

    The beauty and core of Buddhism have attracted me for decades, but please no masters and schools!

    JeffreyDhammaDragon

  • Here's a pic I took last Summer. Walking on those "endless" bogs. It's painful and soothing at the same time. Different strokes for different folks.

  • howhow Veteran

    @Lobster

    The primary potential benefit of being a monk comes from living within a practice environment that is supportive of spiritual selflessness over worldly selfishness.

    The primary potential benefit of being a layperson comes from learning how to achieve such selflessness while immersed within the selfishness of the world..

    nakazcidlobsterDhammaDragonJamieG
  • Very good answer @how, many thanks.

    Totally agree with the difference and potentials within the two approaches.

    I feel the potential depth of practice is initially easier in a secluded, protected environment, hence the benefit of retreats and group practice.

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