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Monks with Girl friends... Cool or Not ???

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  • Monks with Girl friends... Cool or Not ???

    OK. All in all I'm totaly fine with a monk seeing a woman. I hope they don't do the do, but he / she is a person after all and theirfor inclined to the presure of living like everyone else in a normal society. That is if he she lives outside the monestary.

    My problem is, tooday I saw one of my shifu's, a Sholin monk with his girl friend. (I never knew he had one !) We were on the bus and who got on, but my two shifu's. The older already has a girl friend but he's not very phisical with her in public, mostly just makes fun of her ! But the slightly younger monk (24) got on the bus and introduced me to his "friend". Then he proceeded to put his arm around her for the duration of the ride !

    I was happy for him as I could see he was happy as a kid in a candy shop, but I couldn't help but find the situation a little wierd !!!

    I know they are good people and decent monks, although I have watched them eat meat and smoke cigarettes before, but where do you draw the line.

    If a Wu Seng (Martial Monk) can eat meat, drink beer, smoke cigarettes, go buy things in the city, wear normal clothes, wear short hair, and have a girl friend, then where do you draw the line ? Where does he cease to be a monk and begin to be a normal person again. At that point should he / she drop their adopted Buddhist name ?

    And who are we to say otherwise ?
    "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest

  • #2
    it's the differnace between a "fighting monk" and the traditional western idea of a monk brought to mind by guys like the dalai lama.


    There are only 10 types of people in this world.
    Those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    • #3
      I always thought the purpose of becoming a "monk" was to abstain from certain things in order to devote oneself fully to their religious or spiritual practices. In ths case buddhism and the ultimate goal of enlightenment.

      If you desires are something else in that you wish to have a normal life with girl friends and a family and whatever else, then thats fine too. Just dont keep on calling yourself a monk. In reality your just a normal person that practices and teaches martial arts.
      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!

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      • #4
        celibacy in religious systems usually has more to do with inheritance issues and ownership/power/control along the lines of descent. nowhere is this clearer than in catholicism- where church property began to pass outside of church control, and families of priests began exerting control over issues- and if you are knowledgeable enough you can still be a catholic priest and be married- either through conversion from another sect or knowing about the different rites. I've noticed that while attending mass presided over by a married Catholic Priest, the altar does not split in half at his approach the way I am sure my grandmother would have predicted it would.

        if gotoma had put away his family probably there might be something to say against those who do not or who eventually develop relationships like "normal" people.

        but he didn't.

        if at shaolin, the respected and older monks did not return with families in tow, maybe things would be different and there would still be strict orthodoxy in that regard. but they didn't. in fact, their sons even became monks themselves. seems like some people would prefer for that not to have happened. Why, I have no idea. And seems like some monks agree, and others do not.

        having a girlfriend is not necessarily a roadblock to achieving anything, any more or less so than it would be an impediment to learning gong fu, learning to paint or draw, learning to cook, have a career...having a best friend or close gong fu brother...everything depends on the causes and conditions and how these manifest.
        "Arhat, I am your father..."
        -the Dark Lord Cod

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        • #5
          Rich you really didn't address my first point as to devote oneself to the ultimate goal of enlightenment as all buddhist monks hope to achieve.. right???

          If your running a business, have a wife, 4 kids, like to drink, party, play video games, watch movies, and so on adn so forth like so many of the rest of us enjoy doing. Well, then I have to ask where is the time to be on this enlightening journey? Youll probably say there are different ways to go about achieving this and this just happens to be one of them. Well then I would reason to say your definition of a "monk" is someone that is in reality just a normal person. So, then what exactly makes a monk a monk????? I would actually be curious to hear your definition.

          Seems like your suggestins to be a monk you don't have to be a monk, in the common sense anyways. Which then also raises another question. Why even bother calling yourself a monk?
          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!

          Comment


          • #6


            To all of you guys, Arhat, Iron Cross, Baiwanxi, Renato.

            There might be things that you don't know about the term "monk". In Catholic a monk is a person who celibate themselves and live in the churches or monasteries and they never go out of the monastery because they have vows and to serve the God.

            In Buddhism, we don't call them a monk. The interpretation of "He Shang" is not a monk in Buddhism, it is a person who left the house and became a pratitioner by taking vows to become one. Shakyamuni Buddha never called them "monk". He called his disciples the 500 Arhat, just a practitioner and at that time, there is no such "monk". There is only "Yogi". And Shakyamuni Buddha was also a yogi.

            The term of Shakyamuni Buddha has a meaning: "Shakya" is a clan. And "Muni" is an ascetic. "Buddha" is the highest level of attainment that a person can achieve. Siddharta Gautama attained that level and became a Buddha.
            The people at that time doesn't know what to call him in a plain word. But an old ancient Indian language had a term called a "Buddha" that means; he who had attained the enlightenment.

            So, Shayamuni Buddha is; He, an ascetic who had attained an enligtenment from Sakya clan.

            As times goes by the term of a yogi still carried on until the 500 disciples attained an Arhat level of practice. In sutras of so many translations, they never put a word called "monk". This word only works here in the Western Country such as US. People now don't use the term of "Bhante" to a Mahayana practitioner. It would be very unusual for them to address that to a Mahayana practitioner. So, they use a term of "monk" in a plain word. (Bhante is how laypeople address a male Buddhist pratitioner. It is a pali language)

            Since it is easy to understand and it is very common word for people to know that it refers to a Buddhist practitioner.

            Now, in the term of Shaolin Temple here in US or China or everywhere else, there are 2 kinds of "monk". Usually we don't call them a "monk" to "Wu Seng" or martial artis. We call them "Wu Seng" or "Su Jia Di Zi" (means; lay disciple). They are just a regular lay people who practice martial arts and meditation. They wear only an orange color of clothing for performing, they can have a girlfriend or whatsoever. Nobody will say anything, because they are just a martial arts performers not a "monk".

            The other "monk" is a practitioner. Means, he took vows (that devided into stages) and stay in the temple. He can also practice martial arts, but he must practice the Buddhist philosophy to deepening his knowledge of Buddha Dharma. There are so many school that was established to deepening the Dharma in China, including in Shaolin Temple. It is not located in the temple since the temple doesn't have land to do that. It was located further down He Nan. Also the Nunery was established years back and they called them A Bodhidharma Garden.

            So, as so many people confusing about the term "monk", it is just what we don't understand it. As a martial artis, why don't we stay with what we are. And if we see there is something wrong with one of our teacher, then we can ask them. If the answer is not satisfy enough to you, you can also go Buddhist websites that shows how the way of living of a "monk". If not, find the answer inside you.

            It is not a good example to point a finger to somebody while the rest of the three fingers pointing at yourself. But, it is also a good example to understand why and how.

            Thank you

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            • #7
              That's because it is not a point, but an opinion, arbitrarily assigned at that, which if you read my reply, should be clear to see.

              Enlightenment comes, doesn't necessarily matter the manner in which it arises. Recall the story of Hui Neng. Out chopping wood in the kitchen and BAM!

              Monk is just a word people use to convey a concept about a particular way of life, and some other things...which to bring them up would only result in endless sharings of opinions. Your opinion is a slippery slope, because we can introduce examples all day long that would basically convey the same context.

              An orange, an apple, a tomato. I think we can all agree these are all fruit. If you can not accept that, then yes, your concept of what Monk means is now vulnerable by way of it's definitions.

              You should occupy your time writing letters to the Japanese. Please inform them that they are not to call the Abbots of their temples "Abbots," unless of course they dismiss their wives and families. May as well get in touch with all the history books about Gotoma, he had some freakin' nerve founding a whole religion with his wife and kids there.

              Let them know your next campaign will come against the Dalai lama, and that they are to join you, the DL is to dismiss eating meat, as are all Tibetan Buddhists, as this may distract them from achieving enlightenment- as well as this annoying deification thing they have going, cluttering up their Buddhism what with prayer wheels and 10 armed Gods.

              I'm sorry Joe, but the idea of monks as reclusives is quaint, seems in the case of buddhism particularly western and particularly ill founded, and fortunately- for the most part- over.
              "Arhat, I am your father..."
              -the Dark Lord Cod

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              • #8
                Maybe its jsut me but wasn't buddhism never intended ot be a religion in the first place? You called it a religion just now but if I remember correctly Buddhas origional goal was sort of an anti-religion and an anti-caste system from which he came.

                Seems he was against orders or power and what not. Yet he also predicted that his teaching would eventually be corrupted or taken out of context.

                I am kinda taken back to the stories we used to hear when there was still buddhism class at shaolin. The southern emperor built all those bitchin buddhist temples and statues and asked if they were good deed or something. Damo said nope.... I believe the point there was buddhism comes more from our actions than from some external means.. ie. building statues, temples or wearing robes and shaving your head.... Guess you could read sutras all day long but it means nothing if you dont understand them or practice them..


                I'm not sure if you really answered my question rich.. in that what does being a monk mean from your point of view?? You said its just a word to convey a certian way of life. Well you also state that the particular way of life is really no different from any other one. They marry, have children, drink, socialize and the works. Jsut like the rest of the world... If thats the case the term "monk" because entierly meaningless does it not?

                If this is the case I could make up an entirely new word to describe the same thing. Like calling how I live my life "Fubdinging". Of course since my lfie is really no different in any major way that anyone elses this term is completely uselss and has no meaning... Wy not invent a term to describe people that need oxygen to live. Or a term for people that drink water on a daily basis????

                Amrta made some good points as well. Int that in the origional context the term "monk" as we know it did not exist in buddhim. But it is simply a western term which does not convey the actual meaning of said people. If this is the case why do those veyr people hold on to the term? If anything they should be the ones clearing up the confusion and stating they are not monks as westerners think of monks.. Instead they are just practitinoners of their philosophy. I guess thats a harder sell than SHAOLIN MONK!!!! That has a sweet ring to it and people can identify having seen so many kung fu movies and all...

                I guess saying your a Real Life Practitioner of Shaolin Philosophy doesnt sound as cool, or is harder to figure out.... Saying Shaolin Monk is easier for westerners to digest. Who cares if its totally worng right?
                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!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Iron Cross
                  Maybe its jsut me but wasn't buddhism never intended ot be a religion in the first place? You called it a religion just now but if I remember correctly ...
                  Yes I used the word religion for the sake of conversation. He expressed a philosophy which according to human nature is corruptible, hence his prediction. You use the word "seems" a lot, then put forth a conclusion based on what you don't seem to actually know.

                  If the Buddha were against order why would he have ordered his community.

                  LFJ has the kernal in his sig tag. Everything else is a corruption, depending. That's the beauty of the dharma, since it is self manifesting, only obvious, and self arising.


                  I am kinda taken back to the stories we used to hear when there was still buddhism class at shaolin. The southern emperor built all those bitchin buddhist temples and statues and asked if they were good deed or something. Damo said nope.... I believe the point there was buddhism comes more from our actions than from some external means.. ie. building statues, temples or wearing robes and shaving your head.... Guess you could read sutras all day long but it means nothing if you dont understand them or practice them..
                  Actually he had several points. When you think of that story add to it the famous koan, What is This? At the same time the emperor did do good works, they were empty of goodness, due to his perspective and cause of action. Depending. That's why you have to develop wisdom and why so much seems ridiculous and superfluous.


                  I'm not sure if you really answered my question rich.. in that what does being a monk mean from your point of view?? You said its just a word to convey a certian way of life. Well you also state that the particular way of life is really no different from any other one.
                  Yeah, now you are getting it. In one way it is completely different, in another way it is not. It is fully engaged living of life, depending on how that living arises, direct pointing to the nature of things.

                  My point of view? Well if that does not beat all. Let me ask you, what does my point of view have to do on this? For my point of view it's stupid to argue about something that is obvious.

                  Joe- monks are normal people. What do you think goes on inside temples and monasteries? Unless there is a vow of silence, they talk, joke, fool around, work. They eat, celebrate feasts, in catholic monasteries they consume superb beers and ales, even when fasting. They play games, in Shaolin they practice gong fu...this is kind of what I am talking about...much of the argument for dropping the usage of the word monk comes from some ignorant and rather ludicrous positions and concepts of what monks are and do. Eventually the conception of a temple being a walled enclosure of clusters of buildings drops away, the same way as the understanding that gong fu is more than just about fighting- IF we have that kind of grip.

                  They marry, have children, drink, socialize and the works. Jsut like the rest of the world... If thats the case the term "monk" because entierly meaningless does it not?
                  You have yet to show how this robs the word of any meaning at all. Japanese abbots are still abbots. Buddha was still Buddha. The Four Olds were still well respected MONKS. Lol. People think the monastery removes from people the day to day. They are free from cares in the monastery,such to the point that they can concentrate on study and spirituality. Only fools have such conceptions. A monastery points a giant magnifying glass on life, so I was told. Spend time amongst monastics and you soon see they are normal people, doing normal things that everyone else does, with some differences of course for local flavor. They eat, shit, sleep, breathe just like you and I. The true difference, which you are grasping for, is their understanding of these things. The other poster mentions He Shang. This term, he is right, does not mean "monk." It means "Harmony." With Shaolin you have further difficulties because a monk like Li Peng did not care very much for Ch'an buddhism, but then you have a monk like De Yang who does, now. There are actually five stages of "monk", for lack of a better word.

                  If this is the case I could make up an entirely new word to describe the same thing. Like calling how I live my life "Fubdinging". Of course since my lfie is really no different in any major way that anyone elses this term is completely uselss and has no meaning... Wy not invent a term to describe people that need oxygen to live. Or a term for people that drink water on a daily basis????
                  To suggest that someone should go around constantly manufacturing new words, strings of words, when one that is already entered and used in the common lexicon, and is more than appropriate, because you have a hang up over one or two conditional things that are sometimes umbrella'd under the term...if I may be frank, get a grip. For example, if I use the word "priest" to refer to a person, it conveys a meaning. It may not convey that the person is a Zoraostrian, or Jew, or Ethiopian or Assyrian Christian- each of which are different, but it still conveys quite nicely MOST of what that person is, for the purposes of conversation at least.

                  But have at it, make up your terms. Go nuts with it. You're creative they should be funny, if redundant.

                  Who cares if its totally worng right?
                  I think your spelling of the word is ironic.
                  "Arhat, I am your father..."
                  -the Dark Lord Cod

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by amrta


                    To all of you guys, Arhat, Iron Cross, Baiwanxi, Renato.

                    There might be things that you don't know about the term "monk". In Catholic a monk is a person who celibate themselves and live in the churches or monasteries and they never go out of the monastery because they have vows and to serve the God.
                    This is actually no longer true, and actually you should know that it never really was true. Catholic monks are often what is called now, "engaged." Such as Thomas Merton.

                    The people at that time doesn't know what to call him in a plain word. But an old ancient Indian language had a term called a "Buddha" that means; he who had attained the enlightenment.

                    So, Shayamuni Buddha is; He, an ascetic who had attained an enligtenment from Sakya clan.
                    These are very good points you raise, and something which I was attempting to convey- the term monk is the best term we have in english to convey what people reference, because of analogous spiritual structures in traditions the west is familiar with.

                    Also, a better translation of the word Buddha in english, and the one employed by Campbell, whom I hold in the highest of esteem, personally speaking, is the "One Thus Come", also alternately the Thus Come One. So here we can see, it is much more convenient to say, Buddha, even though according to Cross, it is totally "worng."
                    Now, in the term of Shaolin Temple here in US or China or everywhere else, there are 2 kinds of "monk". Usually we don't call them a "monk" to "Wu Seng" or martial artis. We call them "Wu Seng" or "Su Jia Di Zi" (means; lay disciple). They are just a regular lay people who practice martial arts and meditation. They wear only an orange color of clothing for performing, they can have a girlfriend or whatsoever. Nobody will say anything, because they are just a martial arts performers not a "monk".
                    Minor point- there are five levels, so to speak.

                    Also, I'd like to say, some wu seng may be better practitioners than those fully ordained...much depends on the individual and their masters and how they transmit their instruction. I know one wu seng who wouldn't know a sutra if one fell out of a tree and hit him, and yet others know them forward and backward.
                    "Arhat, I am your father..."
                    -the Dark Lord Cod

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by arhat
                      I'm sorry Joe, but the idea of monks as reclusives is quaint, seems in the case of buddhism particularly western and particularly ill founded, and fortunately- for the most part- over.
                      I think that if you traveled extensively in western China / Tibet, or Thailand, or Vietnam for that matter, you would have a different opinion of what a monk is.

                      Trust me, you're not learning about it in New York.

                      Come to Thailand. I'll show you, in between our small pillow hard head qi gong lessons.
                      Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                      "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                      (more comments in my User Profile)
                      russbo.com


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                      • #12
                        Rich you sound like an SAT or IQ test question now... lol

                        If all monks are normal people which must be true?

                        a) all normal people are monks
                        b) no normal people are monks
                        c) some normal people are monks
                        d) not enough information to decide
                        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!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I know in south asia the majority of Buddhists are Theravadian, and that the Theravadian Buddhists are often considered very "monastic". However most Theravadian Buddhists have wives and children. If you see them, they still wear the orange robes and spend alot of time chanting sutras and such. I believe, in the western sense, it would be safe to call these men / women monks ! So if you hold a comparison, a buddhist can still have a wife and children and be a "monk". But I am talking about Theravadian Buddhism, and Chan is Mahayana... There is a difference unless all I have learned has been flawed ! A Mahayanist who has taken the vow to be a fully ordained monk (not a "wuseng", i'll come back to that) has made a vow not to eat meat, drink alcohol, touch or even look at women, and so on and so on. I have even heard of practices such as keeping your eyes downcast at all times as well as not eating anything after 12 noon. Of course, the previous could not apply to Shaolin as it would make practicing Gongfu rather difficult. So,,, Chan is a sect of Mahayana Buddhism and Shaolin claims to be the founder of Chan, thanks to Damo.

                          Ahhhhh, The Plot Thickens !!!

                          So, as I understand a proper "Mahayanist" ordained monk, for lack of a more fitting term, lives in the temple, keeps to his vows and definitely does not have a girlfriend... Well that would be fine and dandy if we were'nt talking about a Shaolin monk, but, we are ! No, that Tang emeror just had to come along and grant the temple the ability to have the classification of a "Wuseng", the martial monk, the monk who is exempt from those boring 'ol vows of abstinence from meat and wine ! But what about women ???? I mean that's what my question was all about.

                          If opinion comes into play, I'm all for a "monk" having a wife, or girlfriend (for sake of my earlier thread) as I would like belive that obtaining enlightenment could be possible with the mutual assistance of a significant other, just not as easy as leaving the world to persue enlightenment. But I'm not interested in some other monk. We are talking about "Shaolin" here, so what are the specifics of the Shaolin Wuseng ? When he leaves the temple is he / she considered a lay monk ? If he is a lay monk can he still be considered a Wuseng ? And if he is a Wuseng then he is permitted to eat meat and drink wine, maybe even watch t.v. and have a smoke from time to time, but what about women ???????????

                          My question remains ! Should a SHAOLIN Wuseng (obviously not a monk of a higher level or he would not leave the temple and would remain celibate as well as abstinent from meat and alcohol) have a girlfriend or even get married if he is a true Shaolin Wuseng, a true Mahayanist Wuseng ?

                          Now I'm not a fool. I know things have changed from 100 years ago, especialy after the Cultural Revolution, but A REAL monk, (again, for lack of a better term) these days, should try his best to be a Mahayanist Buddhist if he wants to call himself a Shaolin monk, right ? I can see a Wuseng smoking a cigerette and feeling that that falls into the category of meat and alcohol and things of that type.(to be loose and cut him some slack) I can see a beer or two drank recreationaly, as long as he's not getting sloppy drunk. I mean nowadays the pressure to drink can be a bitch ! Especialy at dinner here in China ! I can also see watching a little t.v.. Even if you are a monk, it's good to stay educated about the going on's of the world. Ya know, in case of another S.A.R.S. epidemic. Welcome to the 21st century where monks watch t.v..

                          But what about girlfriends / wives ? Is it OK for a Shaolin Wuseng ??? I don't think that's what the emperop of the Tang dynasty intended when he allowed Shaolin that privilege, to have monks running around outside the temple, eating meat, drinkin it up like you or me (assuming your not a raging alcoholic) and gettin girls.

                          But I'm not a scholar ! In fact far from it. So if I'm wrong about the whole Mahayanist thing, or if you some how know the intricacies of the Shaolin Wuseng practice. Please let me know.......
                          Last edited by baiwanxi; 12-18-2006, 02:53 PM.
                          "Winners turn to losers, losers are forgotten..." - A Tribe Called Quest

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by baiwanxi
                            I know in south asia the majority of Buddhists are Theravadian, and that the Theravadian Buddhists are often considered very "monastic". However most Theravadian Buddhists have wives and children. .
                            Absolutely not.

                            You need to go to Thailand and spend time with these guys. I have, I know quite a few. Granted, you get this rare moment when one of them is in the newspaper, after accosting a woman, or murdering someone. But for the most part, they lead very monastic, and very respected, lives.

                            I'll write about them one day. They were going to be a chapter in my book. The one that exposes a lot of the bullshit. Which, as time goes on (Xingwei, Kevin, etc), I'm more and more inclined to write....
                            Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                            "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                            (more comments in my User Profile)
                            russbo.com


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                            • #15
                              Iron Cross, Baiwanxi, arhat,

                              Why do you guys argue about the title "monk"? Does it change your life's perception?

                              If you are not happy about the term "monk"", don't use it. If you don't like to see your teacher a "monk", leave him. if you don't like Shaolin Temple, cease it from your mind.

                              Then, why do you come to Russbo and argue?? That is Ch'an

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