Sangha as Heroes. Wendy Ridley

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1 Sangha as Heroes Clear Vision Buddhism Conference 23 November 2007 Wendy Ridley Jamyang Buddhist Centre Leeds

2 Learning Objectives Students will: understand the history of Buddhist Sangha know about the diversity of Buddhist Sangha worldwide reflect on the significance of Buddhist Sangha

3 Which is the odd one out?

4 What do they all have in common? They are all heroes! The 3 Refuges!

5 What are the Three Refuges? The Buddha The Dharma (teachings) like the doctor who diagnoses the problem and prescribes the cure like the medicine which cures the problem; (medicine); role is to inspire; role is to provide the means to analyse deeply The Sangha - (community) like the nurses who assist in using the medicine correctly for the greatest benefit; role of Sangha is: - to put view into action; - to walk side by side on path of compassion and wisdom - to act as a model

6 What does the word Sangha mean? Common use: a monastic community of Buddhist monks and nuns. Actually: all who have realised the 4 Noble Truths - ordained or lay. This realisation then shows in their actions. Consists of 4 assemblies: monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen

7

8 When was the monastic Sangha established? After his enlightenment, when asked, Buddha taught in Sarnath his 5 ascetic friends. They became his first students and the first members of the Buddhist Sangha. Turning the Wheel of Dharma Soon more people joined so Buddha founded an order of monks. To join, you had to ask for permission and be accepted, or ordained, by the Buddha or his authorised disciples. Later, with Ananda s insistance, Buddha ordained nuns the first was his aunt.

9 For 45 years, Buddha and his Sangha wandered through Northern India teaching people the Dharma. During the rainy season they stopped walking and did retreat. By the time of his death 1000 s of people had become his followers. But Buddha wasn t interested in having large numbers of disciples. He was concerned that people only follow his teachings as a result of careful investigation.

10 What was the purpose of establishing ordained Sangha? to provide a community which gives the optimum opportunity for its members to practice the Dharma and attain Nirvana. to transmit the Dharma and be a witness to its transforming power.

11 Who developed the rules? Buddha First Council when 500 monks met for 7 months to agree on & memorise his words in sacred chants. The Three Baskets - Tripitaka basket of discourses - sutra pitaka basket of discipline - vinaya pitaka higher teachings - abhidharma

12 What is the Vinaya Pitaka? Code of conduct for developing virtue through morality, how to behave, including monastic precepts; rules for governing the Sangha, and what happens if the rules are broken Pratimoksa, the code of discipline includes: the 5 lay precepts novice ordination - 10 precepts fully-ordained monk rules fully-ordained nun rules

13 Right Conduct No killing No stealing No lying & deceitfulness No sexual misconduct No intoxicants The Five Precepts (for everybody) & the Ten Precepts (for monks & nuns) Eat moderately & not after midday. Avoid dancing, singing, & other entertainments. Don t use garlands, scents, or ornaments. Avoid luxurious beds. Don t handle money

14 These rules are all skillful means for manifesting beautiful behaviour. The discipline of the Sangha is intended to be conducive to the arising of mindfulness and wisdom. The Vinaya is not an end in itself but a tool, which can be instrumental in leading to the end of suffering.

15 Why were monasteries established? Lay followers donated parks to Buddha for Sangha to use as permanent places of residence. This improved opportunities to discuss the Teachings & instruct lay followers. These grew into institutions with assembly hall, storeroom, kitchen, toilets, and Sangha units. Running large institutions required administrative officials. Within 200 years of Buddha s death monasteries were common. When Buddhism reached other countries in Asia, monastic life continued to be important.

16 Where did the Sangha go?

17 Role of Sangha expanded beyond that of the practitioner and teacher to become: educators, artists, social workers, counsellors scholars, physicians, engineers, builders and even rulers. Always been Sangha who have lived simple lives, meditating, teaching and gently influencing the communities around them.

18

19 What is the function of the Sangha? Buddha s teachings have two aspects: scriptural (Dharma) and realisations that come from practice. Existence of Sangha ensures the transmission of the teachings to future generations. Buddhadharma exists because for 2600 years monastics have learned, practiced, realised, and taught the teachings.

20

21

22

23 Zen Zen Sitting quietly Doing nothing Spring comes all by itself

24 Sengtsan The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent everything becomes clear and undisguised. 6th Patriarch of Zen

25 HH Dalai Lama "I never thought I was better than anyone."

26

27

28

29 Lama Zopa Rinpoche

30 What does taking refuge in the Sangha mean? Sangha represents noble qualities -purity, clarity, and harmony Returning to and relying on the purity and clarity of our mind. Purity and clarity are found within ourselves. Not influenced by daily wearisome affairs, lust & craving Our bodhi nature is fundamentally pure, clear, and tranquil.

31 Why might Sangha be heroes? A real hero is a hero over the delusions, who is able to conquer greed, hatred, ignorance & gain control over the mind, which brings liberation and enlightenment. Not easy being Sangha- especially in West - many obstacles - materialistic culture - rarely respect for Sangha - challenge to live in vows whilst mixing with people who have different values Easier in Chinese & Asian countries where society respects Sangha, offers service - more security & safety So it s heroic & brave to stay a monk or nun.

32

33 What worldly pre-occupations do Sangha try to avoid? Seeking Praise Seeking Gain Seeking Pleasure Avoiding Loss Avoiding Pain Seeking Fame Avoiding Blame Avoiding Disgrace

34 Ordination ceremony for monks (bhiksu, Pali bhikkhu) in Thailand. A monk's robes, belt, razor, thread and needle, water strainer and alms bowl

35 Ordination ceremony at Throssel Hole Priory, Northumberland Ordination for Nuns (bhiksuni, Pali bhikkhuni) in Thailand

36 What happens about food? In Theravadan tradition it is common for lay people to give alms. Bases of merit: generosity, ethical conduct and meditation

37 What happens about food?

38 Thai Sangha

39 Tibetan Sangha

40 Burmese Sangha

41 Chinese Sangha

42 Japanese Sangha

43 Korean Sangha

44 Mongolian Sangha Vietnamese Sangha

45 Sri Lankan Sangha

46

47 Although ordained Sangha have renounced the worldly life, they still have important contributions to make to the welfare of society.

48

49

50 Were the learning objectives achieved? Do you: understand the history of Buddhist Sangha? know about the diversity of Buddhist Sangha worldwide? and have you reflected on the significance of Buddhist Sangha?

51 Tell me something about true happiness.

52 The Kalama Sutra Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions merely because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

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