Tu Viện Quảng Đức105 Lynch Rd, Fawkner, Vic 3060. Australia. Tel: 9357 3544. quangduc@quangduc.com* Viện Chủ: TT Tâm Phương, Trụ Trì: TT Nguyên Tạng   

11. Monks and Nuns

06/05/201109:51(Xem: 560)
11. Monks and Nuns

GOOD QUESTION, GOOD ANSWER

Bhikkhu Shravasti Dhammika

[11]

Monks and Nuns

-ooOoo-

The monastic institution is an important one in Buddhism. What is the purpose of monks and nuns and what are they supposed to do?

The Buddha's purpose in founding an order of monks and nuns was to provide an environment in which spiritual development would be easier. The lay community provide monks and nuns with their basic needs - food, clothing, shelter, and medicine - so they can devote their time to the study and practice of the Dhamma. The ordered and simple lifestyle of the monastery is conducive to inner peace and meditation. In return, monks and nuns are expected to share what they know with the community and act as an example of how the good Buddhist should live. In actual practice this basic mission has sometimes been extended far beyond what the Buddha originally intended and today monks and nuns sometimes act as school teachers, social workers, artists, doctors, even politicians. Some have argued that taking such roles is alright if it helps promote Buddhism. Others point out that by doing such things monks and nuns too easily get entangled in worldly problems and forget the purpose they went to the monastery in the first place.

What kind of person becomes a monk or a nun?

Most people have a variety of interests in their lives - family, career, hobbies, politics, religion etc. Of these interests one will be primary, usually family or career, while the others will be less important to them. When the study and practice of the Buddha's teachings becomes the most important thing in the person's life, when that takes precedence over all other things, then that person will probably be interested in becoming a monk or a nun.

Do you have to be a monk or a nun to become enlightened?

Of course not. Some of the Buddha's most accomplished disciples were lay men and women. Some were spiritually developed enough to instruct the monks. In Buddhism the level of one's understanding is the most important thing and that has nothing to do with whether one wears a yellow robe or blue jeans, or whether one lives in a monastery or a home. Some might find the monastery, with all its advantages and disadvantages to be the best environment in which to spiritually grow. Others may find the home, with all its joys and sorrows, to be the best. Everyone is different.

Why do Buddhist monks and nuns wear a yellow robe?

When the ancient Indians looked into the jungle they could always tell which leaves were about to drop from the tree, because they were either yellow, orange or brown. Consequently, in India, yellow became the colour of renunciation. Monks and nuns robes are yellow so they can act as a constant reminder of the importance of not clinging, of letting go, of giving up.

Becoming a monk is all very well but what would happen if everyone became a monk?

One could ask the same thing about any vocation. "Becoming a dentist is all very well but what would happen if everyone became a dentist? There'd be no teachers, no cooks, no taxi drivers." "Becoming a teacher is all very well but what would happen if everyone became a teacher? There'd be no dentists, etc. etc." The Buddha did not suggest that everyone should become a monk or nun and indeed that is never going to happen. However, there will always be people who are attracted to the life of simplicity and renunciation and who take delight in the Buddha's teaching above all else. And like dentists and teachers they have special skills and knowledge that can be helpful to the community in which they live.

That might be so with those who teach or write books. But what about the monks and nuns who do nothing but meditate. What good are they to the community?

You might compare the hermit monk to the research scientist. Society supports the research scientist as he sits in his laboratory conducting experiments because it hopes that he will eventually discover or invent something that will be for the general good. Likewise the Buddhist community supports the meditating monk (and his needs are very meagre) because it hopes that he will attain wisdom and insights that will be for the general good. But even before this happens or even if it doesn't, the meditating monk can still benefit others. In some modern societies it is 'The Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous', with its extravagance, its conspicuous consumption and its self-indulgence which is held up as the ideal to follow, or at least to envy. The example that the meditating monk sets reminds us that one doesn't have to be rich to be content. It shows us that the gentle and simple lifestyle has its advantages too.

I have heard that there are no more Buddhist nuns. Is this true?

The Buddha founded the order of nuns in his lifetime and for five or six hundred years nuns played an important role in the spread and development of Buddhism. But for reasons that are not clear nuns never commanded the same esteem and consequently got the same support, as monks and in India and South-east Asia the order died out. However in Taiwan, Korea and Japan the order of nuns has continued to flourish. Today in Sri Lanka and Thailand steps are being taken to reintroduce the order of nuns from Taiwan although some traditionalists are not very enthusiastic about this. However, in keeping with the Buddha's original intentions, it is only right that women as well as men have the opportunity to live the monastic life and benefit from it.

Gửi ý kiến của bạn
Tắt
Telex
VNI
Tên của bạn
Email của bạn
13/07/201822:52(Xem: 516)
Smartphone Overuse, Youth Suicide and Buddhism as a Healing Source, Youth suicide is disturbingly rising. Ashley Welch, in her article “What’s behind the rise in youth suicides?” (2017), gave some insights into the trend. The author mentioned potential causes for this trauma and notably pointed to “the correlation between the rising popularity of smartphones and increased rates of suicide and depression among young people” (para. 17). Although Welch did not offer a clear reason for the correlation, this point raises an awareness of an irony. We, as readers, may wonder, “How can such a wonderful entertaining device cause that terrible thing?” In this paper, I will discuss the roots of this pain, and then suggest Buddhism as a healing source.
27/06/201809:22(Xem: 464)
Why Aren't We Teaching You Mindfulness? AnneMarie Rossi, Founder and CEO of BeMindful Harvard conducted a research study and they tracked more than 1,000 people from birth until age 32 looking for what made someone successful. What common characteristic or trait was seen in a successful individual? It wasn't their race, what language they spoke, what neighborhood they grow up in, or how much money their parents had. It wasn't how well they did on standardized tests or even their IQ. It was self-control; those who were successful, who had good careers, financial stability, loving relationships, and physical health. Those who were successful, were the ones who could focus, pay attention, and regulate their emotions.
22/05/201818:16(Xem: 1756)
The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, The Buddhist community is extremely upset by the inappropriate and disrespectful use of the image of Buddha, in a display at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) entitled the 'Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana, the Dying Gaul, Farnese Hercules, Night, Day, Sartyr and Bacchante, Funerary Genius, Achilles, Persian Soldier Fighting, Dancing Faun, Crouching Aphrodite, Narcisse Couché, Othryades the Spartan Dying, the Fall of Icarus, A River, Milo of Croton'. It can also be seen at: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/explore/collection/work/131149/ Although this display has been in place for some months, we have only just been made aware of its' existence. We are not usually outspoken, but this display desecrates the image of Buddha by placing images of these mythical images on him and in doing so, showing no apparent regard or respect for Him.
25/04/201816:25(Xem: 549)
Prior to sharing some thoughts on the question, 'According to 2010 statistics, the number of Buddhists around the world is consistently increasing by approximately 5% to 10% per annum. What do you think are the main causes for this increase?', I should mention that I'm often 'open-mindedly skeptical' about such surveys, and the statistics gathered during such surveys. For where does the information come from and how is the information gathered, and for what purpose, and so on and so forth.
10/03/201807:13(Xem: 634)
To give the briefest conclusion that I can think of to the question- 'Do you think that sectarian diversity affects the stability of Buddhism as a whole?', I would have to say, 'Yes' and 'No'. My intention here is not to give a definitive answer, but to give readers 'food for thought', to enable each of us to be responsible and maintain pure intentions, to think for ourselves and develop genuine wisdom and compassion. In the spirit of the Dharma, rather than dwelling on any possible problems, we should mainly focus on solutions to any such problems. With the hope of maintaining the integrity and purity of Buddhism in this world.
10/05/201701:00(Xem: 2526)
A celebration of Buddha’s 2,641st birthday was held on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at the Quang Duc Buddhist Monastery in Melbourne's northern suburb of Fawkner.
01/05/201717:53(Xem: 2778)
Come and join us for this multicultural celebration of the Buddha’s Birth Enlightenment and Passing Its a Free Event - All Welcome Vesak Procession & Commemoration in the City of Melbourne. 10am - 3.30pm, Saturday 27 May Come along to celebrate one of the most important days in the Buddhist Calendar and together commemorate the Buddha’s universal peace message for the world. Vesak Celebrations:
25/04/201711:41(Xem: 1838)
Birth of The Buddha, Written by Andrew. J. Williams Produced and performed by Andrew. J. Williams and Roger. J. McLachlan Recorded by Roger. J. McLachlan
25/04/201707:25(Xem: 2028)
UNIVERSAL LOVE OF THE BUDDHA Written by Andrew. J. Williams Produced and performed by Andrew. J. Williams and Roger. J. McLachlan Recorded by Roger. J. McLachlan SONGLIST 1. UNIVERSAL LOVE reprise (Williams) 2. DEAL OF GOLD (Williams) 3. GOLDEN GENEROSITY (Williams/McLachlan) 4. PROMISE (Williams) 5. UNIVERSAL LOVE reprise (Williams) 6. ONE PEOPLE (Williams) 7. PERFECT PLACE (Williams) 8. REVERENCE (Williams) 9. CELESTIAL BALLET (Williams) 10. OBSTACLES & FEARS (Williams/McLachlan) 11. THE SOLUTION (Williams) 12. LIBERATION (Williams) 13. UNIVERSAL LOVE (Williams) 14. MERIT DEDICATION (Williams)
24/04/201718:18(Xem: 2036)
ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE BUDDHA Written by Andrew. J. Williams Produced and performed by Andrew. J. Williams and Roger. J. McLachlan Recorded by Roger. J. McLachlan SONGLIST 01 Enlightenment (Buddha) 02 The Senses (Williams/McLachlan) 03 What is the Meaning of Life? (Williams/McLachlan) 04 The Four Signs (Williams) 05 What is the Meaning of Life? Reprise (Williams/McLachlan) 06 Farewell (Williams) 07 The Middle Path (Williams) 08 Sujata’s Song (Williams) 09 The Struggle (Williams) 10 The Enlightenment/The Teaching (Williams) 11 The Senses Reprise (Williams/McLachlan)