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Shaolin monks and marriage

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  • Shaolin monks and marriage

    Originally posted by arhat
    interesting post chicken.

    re: celibacy, don't forget that many who came back from the CR came back with families in tow, and there are monks whose sons then became monks. It seems a little ridiculous to me to impress celibacy considering that fact of the matter. The Buddha halls did not self destruct when these men came for worship, the sutras did not ignite at their touch.
    I wanted to ask you your opinion on this subject. Sorry if it's off topic.

    Venerable master Shi Suyun, one of Shi Decheng's masters, was one who had a family. His son, Shi DeAn (I think), has been a monk in Shaolin for many years now.

    This is one thing that after the CR has seemed to make Shaolin less concerned with the Buddhist dogma, and more concerned with spirituality- which is completely relative as you point out.

    But the thing is, in the Buddhist Vinaya, no matter the school or sect, all monks take a vow of celibacy and if they break that vow they are no longer a monk. This is an automatic thing. No punishment or questioning is needed from the Sangha. The moment they break this vow they are no longer a monk.

    However, many in Shaolin are known to have families yet are still considered monks. If they are not following the Vinaya they can hardly be considered a true Buddhist Sangha. But Shaolin, as I've said, seems not concerned with Buddhist dogma. It may be a technicality and I personally agree with their philosophy, but since they are technically no longer monks yet still claim it, I just wonder if they can be considered a Buddhist Sangha anymore, if they don't follow the Vinaya, despite their philosophical tradition. The fact remains of the automatic stripping of the monk title, no expulsion necessary.

    What's your opinion on this?

  • #2
    Some use the title "monk" because it gives meaning and makes them recognizable. It seems since the comercialization of Shaolin it makes good business sense to have lots of "monks" walking about the temple grounds.

    In the states all manner of people claim to be REAL monks in order to gain fame and respect as martial artists and teachers.

    I, however, dont see the point really. If someone is a good person he/she is a good person no matter what they call themsselves. You can call yourself a monk, wear the robes, shav your head, preach up and down the mountain and still be a horrible person inside... *wink* *wink* lol...

    Likewise you can conisder yourself an ordinary person and be a true gem... I've mentioned this before in that it does not matter what you call yourself but in how you act. I suppose you have to ask yourself whats so great about being called a monk? I kind of consider it a thing of antiquity. The title monk may have had purpose a long time ago when society was different but now people should just be people. Drop the titles...

    If you want to be a monk to help people and do all those good things. Well, you dont have to be a monk to do that, anyone can help anyone if they choose to. If you want to go to a "monk" and learn kung fu or buddhism or whatever. Well, you can learn those things anywhere and from any number of teachers. Many way more qualified than alot of these "monks" walking about these days.

    I say strive to be a good person and an honest person and forget the stupid titles.. Why is everyone always so caught up in titles anyways?
    The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


    • #3
      to be frank, LFJ, it depends on how you view the transmission of the vinaya.

      Some people hold it sacrosanct. Personally, I don't see how this is possible and it did not come directly from Gotoma as far as we know, it was a compilation.

      Also don't forget he had his family.

      One has to decide is it dogma which offers us definition or is it dharma.
      "Arhat, I am your father..."
      -the Dark Lord Cod


      • #4
        Rich you always point out everything in buddhism is a hinderence or complication. If you go down that road then the ultimate goal of buddhism is to free of all things and titles that may hold us down. if thats true then wouldn't calling oneself a monk only be holding you back to some extent? why not drop the title completely and just "BE"??
        The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


        • #5
          I wouldn't say everything is anything- it all depends.

          I mean why even say Buddhism at all, why not just "Be." Of course that is the answer at a certain intuitive level, but on a different, let's say practical level, it probably doesn't make a lot of sense.

          hindrances come mostly in static or this or that perceptions that bog down in dualities which mask and influence perception and what manifests from that perception as it arises. that's why i think it is important to be careful and to probe, but you have to understand how to question, because that is what can lead to discernment. many people have a problem with understanding how to question. often they are really just making statements and making inferences and non sequitors, while they think they are asking a question. it winds up all specious but they think they have understanding.

          once you open your mouth to speak about it, that's when you get shit. I mean "you" conversationally. to convey meaning you might have to choose to use terms which are loaded, but you might have to use them because they provide the best coverage. like anything, a term is a tool to convey meaning. in the scope of intuitive understanding, yes, some rigidity in comprehension is a hindrance depending. that's why I like Ch'an, because it predicts that the dharma is self evident and can be self manifest and is testable, unrestrained except for what it is.

          that's why the best koans are always the ones without a lot of words. at the same time words are meaningless they also mean things, but the real definitions are expressive of archetypes.

          if these terms we employ, and "monk" is a perfect example, are forced to be restrained to static definitions that are not influenced by intuitive understanding, I can tell you that Buddhism as a philosophy would be worthless- it would be torn apart by it's very practitioners who would be driven to exclaim themselves over others, and the tool with which they would wield would be exactly something like the code. Half of Japan's abbots would be illegitimate. But of course this is not so. That's why these kinds of processes and arguments always devolve into academics.
          "Arhat, I am your father..."
          -the Dark Lord Cod


          • #6
            seems to me there will always be people seeking power or authority by means of religion or philosophy. This is ture with any; whether that be buddhism christianity, islam, scientology, whatever.

            So, why not eliminate the middle man so to speak and just learn about what you wish to learn about and practice what you want to practice? I find the very idea that one can proclaim they are a "monk" or "enlightened master" as a contradiction... Seems to me to even imply these would be to suggest you have some kind of greater understand or have achieved something over the common man. Thus adding levels and structure to something that by its very nature rejects such a setup. Hence the hypocrisy in the system. So, I go back to my origional point. Why not do away with all the loaded language and just be who we all are? if you meet someone you can learn from then learn what you can.

            I found the notion of buddhist discipleship very confining in the end as well. Actually the idea that anyone can call anyone else a "master" makes no sense ot me anymore. If everyone is human and we are all the same how can anyone claim to be on a higher leve or to be the Master of anyone else? to me that smacks of ego. Once you go down that road. Is the monk with the most disciples automatically the best buddhist? or the best teacher? or the best anything?
            The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


            • #7
              In a way, this is kind of what I mean about probing and understanding how to have quality questions. It's a little obvious as to why people call themselves "monk" or "priest." They do so because they are part of a process of tradition and transmission that requires the adoption of such terminology and what it connotates.

              I'm quite certain you already know why there are masters and why there are students, why few people can cut out the middle man so to speak. There are those who can do that, I'd say Gotoma did that, but then he realized there must be middle men at the same time.

              The fact that there is a need for guidance is obvious because there have been masters who have transmitted a means of understanding which other people have sought out due to their natures and desires to understand the archetypal questions, and thus has the knowledge been transmitted. It is not to say the process must be inviolate or it is somehow invalidated- again it all depends. In the instance of Buddhism it has picked up local flavors to the point where depending on the area in which you are looking at it, effects some of the things we are discussing in this thread. Some would seem to suggest deviation = invalidation, but to me the dharma validates itself.

              So it is not the existence, or the exercise of authority over these methods that is a problem in and of itself. The exercise of authority can either be for great results or disastrous. Such as Mother Theresa or Jim Jones. There are paths, and then there are paths, and not all achieve the same way or to the same effect,and they can further be confused because people perceive differently the effects.

              learning what you want to learn is great if you are the author of, say...Emile. Even in this free for all model there is a teacher. This only makes sense, why bog down the whole of humanity to constant reinvention of the wheel. The issue here is, the definition of what is and is not a wheel and an argument over usage of a term that, when you boil it down, has function and serves usage and shouldn't be invested with argument in the first place because that is really to miss the point.

              But there are master wheelers, and there are people who are not yet master wheelers who do not exhibit mastery of the subject matter. There must be mastery because there are students and seekers. clearly, not everyone is on par, and yet everyone is. Don't look at only one side of the dichotomous nature of how things arise and are perceived.

              The word "master" seems to have taken on a skewed perception here as to what it means. I'm not sure your last statement logically follows as an inference.
              "Arhat, I am your father..."
              -the Dark Lord Cod


              • #8
                one mistake I think people make is they think mastery means "finished." or that the enlightened man is somehow done with it all.
                "Arhat, I am your father..."
                -the Dark Lord Cod


                • #9
                  You realize of course you follow a master who tells you to basically figure everything out on your own. I would classify that as every generation re-discovering that wheel...

                  Hows that going by the way?
                  The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                  • #10
                    again, you are looking at one side of the dichotomous nature of things, or even one facet of a jewel.

                    everyone must figure things out on their own in some way and internalize the methodologies being transmitted. this is moreso true for intuitive spiritual philosophies than something like math, for example.
                    "Arhat, I am your father..."
                    -the Dark Lord Cod


                    • #11
                      or Gong Fu
                      The essential point in science it not a complicated mathematical formalism or a ritualized experimentation. Rather the heart of science is a kind of shrewd honesty the springs from really wanting to know what the hell is going on!


                      • #12
                        From my understanding the Vinaya originates from the first sangha that lived with Sakyamuni. There are many practical stories that explain why such a rule was chosen.

                        As for who is a master, i think the critical view is the understanding of non violence one has, ie the compassion for the suffering of every living creatures. When it comes to that it seems many shaolin masters have no true understanding of the suffering of animals. I would like to see a shaolin practicioner catch a fish without using force and without making it suffer.
                        Namo Guan Yin Pusa / Dont create suffering / Dont harm animals!


                        • #13
                          If you read the sanskrit version, the wording is somewhat different to that of pali and then slightly differs again from other languaged version to version also.
                          I dont actually read it as saying that. It says ' sexual relations' , or something similiar, and i've spoken here before about the difference between sexual and asexually spiritual, right down to gender ownership and why some nuns are monks and the difference between that, from my interperatation of the concepts from my own prajna regarding this and stuff relative at any rate, and it also says 'sexual misconduct', being imo, anything outside of prescribed terms and parameters, and it also says that it's words are meant to be taken literally.

                          maybe that's where some monks see dharmic insight of it to marry and others dont.
                          Also imo, it's about karma and resolving that in a wholesome fashion, which could mean taking a partner or not at any given point. I also believe that that's what shakyamuni's criticism of brahmin was about, because without the concept of buddha to bounce that off of, and particularly from a perspective of boddhisattvism and beyond, I believe the transmission of doctrine and dharma surrounding that, gets overlooked and iit leads to samsaric disposition surrounding The concept of owning a self to empty of, and thereby the transformation buddhas regarding that throughout the immortal cycle and is centrally critical to parinirvana.

                          I think shakyamuni was extremely clear about this.
                          The key differentiator of righteous affections and so forth, therefore is relative to circumstances of relations and thaat relates to levels of avatar and elightenment, and hence that each expression throughout the cycle should exist.

                          I think most ppl miss the point about this and thaat is they key issue at the base of compassion and also at the base of what it arose from.

                          Blooming tianshi lotus.
                          "honestly girls dont seem to want anything other then whatever they want "atm" then that can always change:"
                          maestro's love genius.

                          first we work to live, then we live to work, ..& then when someone else can do it good enough without us - we can all run off and die.
                          Blooming tianshi lotus

                          "find something & thatd turn me on.." drahillionaire, warren buffet.

                          'if you keep going, eventually you get there' chuck norris


                          • #14
                            If you read the sanskrit version, the wording is somewhat different to that of pali and then slightly differs again from other languaged version to version also.
                            so you can read sanskrit, pali, as well as other versions?


                            • #15
                              I thought sanskrit and pali were pretty easy when I studied them in the monastery. However, as someone who was a monk, it's the same in all of Buddhism: complete chastity, no sex, no marriage, no significant others, period.
                              "For some reason I'm in a good mood today. I haven't left the house yet, though. "

                              "fa hui, you make buddhism sexy." -Zachsan

                              "Friends don't let friends do Taekwondo." -Nancy Reagan


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