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draftsman

Discipline in Buddhism and modern life

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Tashi Delek,

 

I have one question related to the importance of discipline from the Buddhist point of view {|:). I read in one book by a renowned Zen master that discipline in Buddhism is similar to that in the army :what!:. Actually, many things seems to be similar in Buddhism and the army: shaved heads of the monks and soldiers, minimum of clothes, renunciation, subjugation of an individual to a common cause, full dedication at the cost of life etc. Of course, the goal is different in both cases :wink:.

 

The Zen master writes further that monks believe in the sanctity of (manual) labour and that no work is beneath their dignity. They keep themselves busy in every way they can (sweeping, cleaning, cooking etc.) and are no idlers. Their motto is 'no work, no eating' and the whole point of regular work is to save them from mental inactivity or an unbalanced development of mind :)zzz. Otherwise they would be in danger of coming in the state of mental torpidity or drowsiness, in which ideas are presented as if they were wafting clouds. The Zen master says that in this situation one is wide awake and yet the mind is filled with the wildest dreams and visions, which are not at all related to realities of life. The other reason for regular working activity is also the fact that ideas must be put in practice and idle reverie is certainly not the way to do it :notme:.

 

In the west, it seems many times that by accepting spirituality, people start looking down on 'banality' of everyday life and denounce this kind of effort :roll:, especially compared to sitting cross legged in mediation l-). But shouldn't we instead take full advantage of the possibilites offered to us by our western society - i.e. acquire proper education and by it help as many sentient beings as possible? So, my question is: what is the role of discipline in Buddhism, especially in relation to studying and acquring proper education? Thank You.

 

Best regards,

 

Draftsman

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Tashi Delek, Draftsman.

 

Long ago a profession was something that one professes, i. e. believed in. Today a profession is usually something one is paid for. So, it is the problem of devaluation and here the discipline as itself can not help much, if it is not based on Ethics. About the Ethics, there are western approach, which understands the Ethics as a protection of society from the human being, which is by the nature sinful. The Buddhist approach is that the human being is by nature ethical, yet acts in unethical way because the very nature is distorted by conditioning.

It is also true that erudition and legalism usually detain us to get back to our very nature. Here are two solutions. Or stop studying or maybe apply some of the wisdom and turn the study and education to help the others and develop even more Bodhicitta.

 

Best regards,

Simona

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Tashi Delek,

 

Tashi delek,

 

From my understanding, proper education is very important. By getting it, speaking from conventional point of view, one can reach well renowned position in society and further more, by cultivating compassion and loving kindness acting out of his/her position can help a lot and offered great support to those in need.

I remember HH Dalai Lama’s teaching about educating process. It was pointed out that education is very important for one who wants to become more autonomous and sovereign but only by including and developing compassion (majority of audience was from academic's sphere). Becoming knowledgeable or reaching very high degree without compassion one become competitive to those in his /her range; become arrogant or /and underestimated towards lower range and finally very jealous towards those who belong to “upper class

Concerning discipline in general; thru education one can developed great discipline and also cultivate respectful relation toward his/her teachers, authorities and finally put an idea to deed – from thinking, wishing to accomplishment. Knowledge in a hand/head of ignorant can be a problem or knowledge in a sense of “BE or POSSES” and not in function of benefiting others is also a problem of our modern society. So, why not to get the highest possible degree? For somebody is this very important issue for some not. We had luck to meet our great teachers and we have opportunity to consult them.

I guess, discipline in Buddhism has even more important role; but better live that explanation to those more authorized.

With best wishes,

tatjana

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Tashi Delek!

 

I believe that we should take advantage of the possibilities offerred to us by the society in order to bring as much benefit to others as possble. It's the motivation that counts. Moreover, if we do not finish our studies and qualify for a profession in the western society, we might in the end need the help of others just to survive and won't be able to help other sentient beings!!! So I think it's important to be able to support ourselves and we can achieve that with proper education. But we should not get deluded and think that worldly success is the most important.

 

Buddha taught the middle way between both extremes: radical renunciation and materialism.

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Tashi delek,

 

So, my question is: what is the role of discipline in Buddhism, especially in relation to studying and acquring proper education? Thank You.

 

There was a time when people were attracted by Buddhism because it somehow "took them away from the problem of society". Kind of "flower power" approach.

This has ended with a better understanding of Buddha-Dharma, which, indeed, included a certain discipline. Discipline of the everyday life, sure; but mostly discipline of the mind.

 

Our mind/ego tends to take the easier or/and most satisfying way of life. And often falls in the trap of laziness, finding all kinds of justifications for it.

 

Connected with formal education:entering in Buddhism shall not make us forget that we are living in a society. If we wish to help from within that society, we need to acquire the necessary means requiered by that society to function in it ie. often: diploma.

And some profession can be very useful to help the others! Though, requiring a diploma, doctorate, or such.

 

Surely, one has to fight against a certain laziness to find the necessary courage to enter or follow the regular system of education, even once engaged into Buddhism. Because once engaged into Dharma, the firstthing which might appear is the uselessness of papers, studies, etc... since it is not all this which will bring us to Enlightenement. So, why to spend so much time in such studies instead of engageing more deeply into Dharma?

 

On the other side, if one is not able to undertake the burden of following few years of studies, how to fidnd the strengh to engage into the Bodhisattva Path (which will require much more efforts, and for unlimited amount of years, life, eons)?

At least, even before to fully engage into the Bodhisattva Path, once - with a diploma - will be able to help in the society where most people on this planet find themselves, voluntarily or not...

 

Of course, it's a matter of individual engagement and lifestyle. For some, it might appear obvious to quit all and become a monk/nun somewhere remote in a monastery (or to engage more deeply into daily help to many beings)! Though, one shall not step into monastic life with the conscious (or unconscious) wish to run away from the obligations of the societies, for the monastic life requieres also a certain amount of obligations!

And - indeed - some might be much more beneficial getting their diploma first (recognition of the society) and eventually later engage themselves in the monastic life, or more Dharma engaged life even as a lay person :)

 

All the best, Gelong T. Shenphen

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