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Thread: The Wisdom of Lay Buddhists

  1. #1

    The Wisdom of Lay Buddhists

    Greetings friends,
    So I was just thinking about a sort of project related to this forum, and I would like to hear your opinion.
    The idea was to do a Dhamma Book, of sorts, with the most interesting posts on this forum. A collection, basically. We all know, from seeing these forums, that Lay people have a lot to contribute, and there are very interesting discussions in here. Even though I have not posted here, I have seen a lot of Incredible and extremely interesting suff.
    I would very much love to collect them myself, with a little help in the foraging process by my fellow forum'ers
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Mara Pacers's Avatar
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    Hi Joao,

    This idea makes me a little uneasy, especially in todays climate where there is so much corruption in the transmission of the Dhamma. There are so many resources from the Sangha made available here, I'm not sure about the merit of expanding that. Certainly there are also resources from lay members when they deliver guest talks at BSWA especially during Vassa, and also if they choose to write and publish articles. If people are interested to look at or participate in discussion on the online forum, that is great, but it isn't to be confused with expert answers.

    For me personally, the way that we can workshop in this community and think about and challenge things as they relate to us personally is wonderful. All my comments are just works-in-progress. If any greater significance was given, then I would feel much more restricted in my interactions here.

    Anyway - just my 2 cents worth this morning.

    with Metta

    Mara

    Mara

  3. #3
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    Joao,

    I think it is a wonderful idea. There is a lot that can be learned from lay people, especially when it comes to applying the dhamma to everyday living out in the "real world" as monastics can't know as much about that. I am spread pretty thin myself in terms of projects, but I wish you lots of luck in seeing this through. Be well.

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    It started with Right View

    Ancient Buddhist Canon mainly preserved the Buddha's instructions to the monks and nuns. Some Lay People might find Dhamma irrelevant to everyday events and issues unless they reflect deeply on the Right View teaching.

    Right View is most often explained as comprised of two parts: Mundane Right View & Supra-mundane Right View. While the two parts are connected, they are not the same. When the Buddha taught the monastics he focused on the Supra-mundane Right View. (Take a look at Bhikkhu Bodhi's "The Noble Eightfold Path")

    One example is how we look at that piece of news in the NY Times about a rabbi conducting a Jewish wedding for two gay Zen monks. Political Correctness alone cannot place the story in proper perspective. It requires understanding Right View to appreciate the cognitive dissonance of the affair.

  5. #5
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    Franz,

    Is your above post intended for this thread? Please let me know if I should move it as it doesn't seem to fit here.

    Thank you.

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    The Right View - a perspective of the gay monk wedding

    It is exactly where it should be. It is about understanding a very basic teaching of the Buddha: Right View. In fact, I was amused that story about the wedding was moved from this forum- I supposed it was moved because it seemed politically incorrect? I posted it here to elicit a discussion of Right View. It appears nobody else see the connection at the other forum either.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mara Pacers's Avatar
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    Franz, Thanks for pointing out Right View. I personally find it a challenge to try and keep focus on wholesome and skillful things, it feels like it is under constant assault from all sides. Sometimes, I find it hard to even distinguish... the 'rational' arguments can appear so pursuasive. I suppose that is why associating with people who are wise and skillful is so important. I do feel, with the proliferation of pseudo- spiritual "teachers", that we need to be aware and vigilant. But at the same time to keep the capacity to question and explore the Dhamma each for ourselves. The middle way, sounds so easy, I certainly don't find it to be so.

    May all beings be free from suffering

    With Metta

    Mara

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    The Importance of "Right View"

    Hi Mara,
    Quote Originally Posted by Mara Pacers View Post
    I do feel, with the proliferation of pseudo- spiritual "teachers", that we need to be aware and vigilant.
    Proliferation of "wrong teaching" is nothing new. So-called "Spiritual Teachers" are dime a dozen. The problem is: "every one of them claims and perhaps sincerely thinks their view is right." Moreover, the devout followers staunchly follow their "guru": till death do they part, as if it's a wedding vow. At this time in history we are witnessing the blatant liars in high office accusing legitimate reporters as spreading "fake news". They, and their zealous supporters, might even believe in their own lies. Go figure.

    The most difficult "wrong views" for Buddhists to discern are typically not teachings from other religions but "pseudo-Buddhism teachings". They slap on a "Buddhism" label, adopted superficial "Buddhist" trappings, and over time fool the general public to think that they are the genuine article. There was a simile used in the sutta that describes them as the maggots on the body of a wounded lion: while other animals are still afraid of the king of the beasts, it is the maggots clinging to the body of the lion that will ultimately destroy it.

    There were at least 62 documented schools of erroneous spiritual teachings in the Buddha's time. The Buddha must be constantly bombarded with questions from confused and baffled people. The event described in the Kalama Sutta is most likely just one of hundreds of such encounters. Being politically incorrect, the Buddha did not pull back from calling them out. It's all preserved in the Buddhist canon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mara Pacers View Post
    But at the same time to keep the capacity to question and explore the Dhamma each for ourselves.Mara
    The Buddha encouraged the elders of Kalama to ask questions. The Buddha did not tell the Kalama people to just trust and believe him. He left it to each person to make their own choices. It is their intention, action, and thus their karma to own.

    As followers of the Buddha we need to get a clear idea about what is the "Right View" taught by the Sakyamuni Buddha.
    A couple of simple questions we should ask ourselves:
    - what is a concise statement about the Buddha's Right View teaching?
    - why is Right View placed at the very beginning of the Noble Eightfold Path? i.e. why is Right View so very important?

    I just thought the NY Times wedding story was a good place to start such a discussion. As it happens, it is related to what lay followers should know about Buddhist monastics. And we can add this question: with Right View in mind, how to read that story about a rabbi conducting the wedding ceremony for two gay Zen monks.

  9. #9
    Administrator/ 5 Precept Keeper Senior Member Jerrod Lopes's Avatar
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    Franz and all,

    It doesn't seem to follow this thread at all. The OP is about peoples' opinions on publishing a collection of the wisdom of lay people from this site. Your post doesn't follow that in any clear way, hence I questioned it, which as administrator of this forum I enjoy the pergogative to do.

    Not getting off topic much further, but I will tell you I moved your post about the wedding to a more appropriate forum, again a perogative I exercise as administrator of this forum. I care not a single bit for political correctness, but I do have an eye for proper timing and placement, surely part of why I was given the lovely honor of organizing and policing this site. Right action follows right thought which follows right view. All of them as important as the rest, yes? Can we please leave politics off of the forums or at least in a private group? This is NOT the place for such things. Thank you.

    Let's please everyone limit our responses to Joao's question to fairly direct responses regarding his original post with a manner and spirit in which it was asked.
    Last edited by Jerrod Lopes; 30th-July-2017 at 01:57 PM.

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    Lay Person's perspective of world events through the lens of Right View

    Jerrod, of course it is your prerogative to do whatever you choose with entries to this forum.
    Since Joao was interested in how lay people view the world through the lens of dhamma, it is not totally off topic to add a related example.
    We can either shut down further discussion on this example about Right View, or move it to another thread. No sweat. No drama.

    Metta, Franz

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