Posts Tagged ‘Theravada’

PGRDSeveral months ago a friend of mine who is a devout Buddhist got into a good discussion with me about why I felt such a need to study Buddhist scriptures so throughly, literally, and why I searched so much for a very pure practice. You see, I would be practicing Soto and would start reading Dogen and wonder why our current practice was so far off from his teachings. Or I would study the Pali Canon and wonder why so much of it is ignored. I also was looking for a practice that was “pure” from the standpoint of it being very established, traditional, and with a long lineage and history behind it.

He, on the other hand, was very eclectic and had little concern otherwise. He was into really anything that appealed to him at that moment, gathering things from here and there along his path, and forming his own kind of practice that suited him best. There was certainly a kind of freedom there that he was enjoying that I was not, but I questioned if this was right way, or at least if this was the way for me.

I was more of the mindset of researching and finding a tradition/Master that I felt in my heart to be true and sticking to it… even the parts that I didn’t like or that “cramped my style”. Also, as a scholar, I was and still am into the notion that scripture and history must be revered and considered seriously. Now I am not saying that it ALWAYS has to be followed — just that it always has to be considered seriously and if not followed for good and defensible reason.

He proposed two arguments to me which I had no real answer for that I would like to finally answer today. They were as follows:

1. If whatever it is they are doing/believing, is helping them they who really cares if it’s false or true?
2. Even the oldest of scriptures still is most likely impure, so who cares if we adjust them even more?

The first of the two arguments lead into a long discussion on Upaya, and it did open my mind up to a lot of things. There is some truth to this argument, and I must concur that there is time and place for expedient means. However, we must also agree that the purpose of Upaya is to get someone to move from one state to another, so that they may receive a new truth and be freed from the old one. Once this is accomplished the individual now should be able to walk in this new truth and no longer feel the need to cling to the past delusion or the delusion that was presented to them through Upaya to motivate them in the first place. If this is not done, then was progress really made?

Also, what is the definition of something helping? What is the definition of something not harming? Does something help someone if it does not really lead them to liberation? Doesn’t it harm someone if they pick up some teaching or mindset along the way that hinders their long-term progress even though it provides some kind of temporary solution to a problem? This technique of expedient means must be used by a Master out of loving-kindness and tempered with wisdom, for the good of their student to move them along the path. It is not license for us to simply do as we wish and see fit without skill and purpose.

For the second argument, I was already familiar with this topic from my days in Bible Seminary. Not only do we have to take into account when reading ancient text that it may have been, and was most likely altered by people with alteriar motives or agendas, but we also have to take into account the fact that even the most pure, divine revelation is still going to have to be filtered through the eyes and mind of a mortal and even their most direct and accurate account will still be tainted in some way, shape or form. As the Apostle Paul wrote himself, “we see in a mirrordimly“.

Yet, does this give taint us license to further filter scripture as we see fit to adjust it to our own social, political, personal or other preferences?

I think it is a lot like peeing in a pool.

If you were in a large pool of water with a group of people and word got out that someone may have peed in it, does that mean that we all then will just figure it’s ok for the rest of us to take a dump in it?


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I know that I have already gone over The Eightfold Path before, but I would like to cover at least one of the spokes of this Dharma Wheel a bit more in-dept—that being Right View.

Out of all 8, I am sure that we each have our favorites. Now, don’t get your meditation pants all in a bunch; I am not talking about perceiving, judging, and determining dualisms; I am talking about how, at different points in our lives, there are certain ones that we naturally gravitate to, or relate to, over others. For me, at this point in my life, it is Right View and Meditation. However, being aware that I myself am also highly transitory, I remain aware that this too is in flux and is subject to change.

Besides the fact that I like it, I also want to cover Right View a bit because I think a lot of people are not really aware of what it “is”. During various Buddhist meetings and talks on the matter of the Eightfold Path, I have experienced hearing lots of people say that they do not like or relate to Right View, but that they love Mindfulness, or Right Action, or something else. But, when I talk to them more I come to find out that they are constantly reading good Buddhist books, are listening to good dharma talks, are in book groups, study groups, etc., etc.

The fact of the matter is that they are already practicing Right View. Actually, you are practicing it Right Now. Right View is really nothing more than the intellectual pursuit of understanding, or study and cognition, of The Four Nobel Truths and The Eightfold Path. Not that I am trying to de-spiritualize the thing, but there is nothing about it to de-spiritualize in the first-place—this step (out of the Eight) it is not a “spiritual” process to begin with, it is a mental process. Right View is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It is knowledge.

If you take a look at any of your good Buddhist books, you should come to find that in some way they all at the very least address 1 of the Four Nobel Truths, or 1 element of the Eightfold Path. Odds are, that inadvertently that book, teaching, or recording, hits on several of them. So that book on Mindfulness that you are really into right now, probably is also covering topics on Meditation, Right Action, Right Speech, and, to top it all off… the intellectual process you are going through to study and understand more on the topic is, in its own way, practicing Right View.

It is actually quite hard, if not impossible, to really practice any one of the eight solely; for, they all tend to lead into and blend into one another. I know that different groups like to “specialize”, or focus, on one as their primary one; kind-of carving out a distinct flavor or niche for themselves in the Buddhist community; but, in the long-run, unless you try really, really hard to fight it, your grabbing onto that first spoke and pulling it has started that big ‘ol wheel a-turning.


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A friend of mine took some time to remind me of how there really is a place for all kinds of Buddhist teachings, styles, and philosophies; that, even though I may like the more rigid or traditional, there really is a place for it all. I do understand that what really maters is if the person is getting something out of it, and that the vehicle is leading them further along the way than they were before. I get that. I really do.

I was then posed the question, “Why do you find self-help Buddhism so annoying? Why such a strong reaction to it?” To this, I could not answer right away. Instead I promised to take some time to think about it.

After thinking about it I did come to the conclusion that I was being a bit too hard on these people, and that there are places for everything. I DO, however, still think that the psychology found in these self-help books is not actually “Buddhism” per-say, but that it is the same techniques I find in any other book. And yes, I do study psychology in college. Whether the book be Christian, New Age, Jewish, Athiest or Buddhist, they all follow the same format and then just throw in little stories of quotes from their particular model (Jesus, Buddha, and I have even seen them using Star Wars or Winnie the Pooh) to make it fit their target audience.

So I do feel this way, but I am glad that these people are getting some help. If it gets them past where they are and deeper into the practice, then I am glad for it. I guess my problem is when people simply get to this point and “park there”; thinking that this is the end-all. Some even think that anything beyond this initail point is silly, religious, old-school, and pointless.

The other day I was reading a Buddhist magazine and it had a fun little story about a bunch of Buddhist monks who went to an amusement park to have fun and ride on the roller-coasters. They too, felt as though this fun and roller-coaster riding also has “a place in the practice”, and they are right. It does.

However, you can’t take this thing that has a place in the practice and make it your practice. You cannot build an entire new sect of the practice around riding roller-coasters. Now maybe that would RULE! I mean… roller-coaster meditation!? How awesome is that? But seriously, it would not last. It would be lacking something, it could only grow you so far, and sooner or later you will not be able to go on the rides anymore? What happens when they break down? What about when the park is closed? What happens when the ride gets boring and no longer gives you that thrill? Do you have to keep on moving on to park after park, looking for a more exciting ride?

The same thing can also be said about people who make their practice ABOUT THEIR PAIN. And that is what I think alot of these insight groups are doing these days. The practice centers around hurt and pain. How to confront it, deal with it, end it, find it, talk about it, think through it, etc. Now, what happens when the pain stops? The practice stops. So what do the do? Well, they stop or they go back to the pain, or they go and find some new pain to practice around. It can only get you so far, and since the entire practice feeds off these negative energies it really has no ability to truly release you from them. There is a time when you are going to have to just let it all go. There is a point where instead of getting away from the monster, you are actually feeding it.

One book about dealing with your anger/depression? Fine. A seminar to help you think some things out? Great. But making it your entire life and your entire practice? 10 books, 20? The subject of your every talk and the point of every retreat you go to? That I disagree with. That is feeding the thing; even your attempts to fight the issue can give it more strength than it ever deserved if not done skillfully.

Anyway, anyone know where I can get involved with Theme Park Roller-Coaster Zen?


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Yesterday was quite eventful for me. I was out taking a walk downtown by the river with a friend, and along the way I ran into this guy I know from my sangha. He has just graduated High School, and has slowly began to come around to meditation less and less these days. A lot of it has to do with the fact that he is partying and experimenting with drugs. So we ran into him and his friends and he was very happy to see me, he gave me a big hig and introduced me to all his friends as “a devout Buddhist that he really looks up to”… wow, no pressure hugh? Surprisingly, his friends were happy to meet me and started asking me all kinds of questions about meditation and Buddhism; also, some questions about other eastern religions that they thought were Buddhist, but that I was able to answer anyway since I studied them all.

After a while they said that they had to go to the bar to see this band they really like perform named The Heavy. One of his friends hugged me as well and he invited me and my friend to meet them at the bar. I could not speak for my friend and me so I said that we would finish our walk and consider going to see the band as an option. We parted ways and as my friend and I walked on I told them that I wanted to go to the show. Part of the reason was the whole “living in the moment” thing, but the main reason was that it was very kind of them to invite us and who are we to think that it was beneath us to do? Also, it would really let the guy who has dropped away from the sangha some know that he is accepted, ok, and not judged.

When I was a youth pastor I did stuff like this all the time; I wasn’t “trained” to do it, in-fact… the leaders would get really mad that I did it, but my groups were always the closest-knit and the healthiest. I did it because I care about people, especially the young ones, especially the ones going through a bit of a rough time. It is just ingrained in me, part of my make-up.

We went to the show and had a blast. By the way, The Heavey is really good, and they seemed like nice people. It has been a while since I have been in a show/bar environment, but I had a good time. I left that scene when I quit drinking and drugs, and have not felt comfortable being back in a club for a while now, but this time it was ok. I think that it was because I had a good Buddhist friend with me, and that we were there for a good reason — with good intent. The guy from the sangah was so happy to see us there and we had a great time listening to the band, and that eventually led into some pretty deep talks about where he was at in life, what he is going through, and about the practice.

The night turned into us sitting outside and talking. He feels bad, like he is sinning or disapointing people, because he is experimenting with drugs and drinking. I think it (the guilt) also has something to do with his father who has some addictions of his own. I told him that he is ok, accepted, and to stop being so hard on himself; that would not get him anywhere (guilt, shame, etc.). I don’t really think there is “sin”, but that there is just skillful actions that help us in our practice, and unskillful ones. After making him feel very accepted I then added to it that, “Even though I accept all this I want you to know I would still really rather you stop; that it is not going to help you in the end; that this is all just going to be empty for a while.” Sure it is fun at first, but it ends up hollow and empty, but maybe you will figure that out after tonight, maybe it will take more time, or, maybe you are going to have to hit rock-bottom first? I don’t know, I hope it is sooner vs later, but either way I am your friend.

After the show was over I got invited to go with all the kids to some after party at one of their houses. I decided to go.

Everyone there as very nice to me, and were all very high. It winds up that the house was the home of a local pot and E dealer, and just about everyone there was rolling. The night started with people playing music on guitars, sing-alongs by a fire, and some really deep talks about meditation and Buddhism. Nobody had a bad reaction to it, and I even got to show some people how to sit and explain somethings in-depth. After a while though the drugs degraded the party to a bunch of zombie-kids, grinding their teeth, zoning out, and desperate for water.

The best talk I had with them was about IF there was a valid place for drugs in meditation.

I told them that there are many cultures and religions (especially older ones like in native cultures, shamans, pagans, etc.) drugs do sometimes come into play for certain “satori” experiences. I then described that it basically boils down to the thought that there is body, mind and spirit, and that there is a belief that for some reason the flesh-body is imprisoning the spirit and these drugs will help set it free… for a moment. I then said that the same train of thought applies to practices where people are trying to starve themselves, fast, hurt their bodies, or deny themselves pleasures… all in an attempt to beat the flesh down so the spirit can rise above.

This though, is not Buddhism. Are some of the experiences these people are having legitimate? Maybe. Probably. Who am I to say they are not, and how did so many different cultures come up with similar ideas if there was not some element of truth to it? Does this make the practice a good one though? I don’t personally think so.

I ended the discussion with bringing it back to the life of the Buddha, and also a bit of Dogen. I said that the Buddha tried many different things in his search for enlightenment, some even the things mentioned above, and that he did come to certain “experiences” of awakening during these things. But he was always disappointed in the fact that as soon as the fasting, starving, punishment, denials or in their case… the drugs were over, that the experience was over with it. Disappointed that there was nothing to take with him after that “great moment” had ended that was going to follow him through his daily life and make him a better person on a day-to-day basis in the real world. It was because of that he searched further and found the Middle Way. Dogen had a very similar experience/want out of his practice as well.

I mentioned that a consistent, daily, meditation practice is like having a good marriage. Sure sometimes it may get to be a bit dull or boring; sometimes it is hard, but the long lasting benefits of security and love far-outlast everything else you could find in a temporary romance. Maybe it is fun to run off to a bar and hook-up with some random person you don’t even know and have that one-night-stand; maybe you can have a great time with a hooker, but these things, as fun as they are, will never compare to the long-lasting benefits you will find in a committed relationship. They also will cause you harm after a while, while the marriage will not. So basically, the drug experience may be valid, but it is the one night stand or the hooker, and a daily meditation practice is the marriage that will get you through and actually fill that void instead of causing more of them.

Oh well, that was my night. I was invited to come back tonight for one of their birthday parties and I think that I am going to. Man, I wish someone would hire me to the a Buddhist youth pastor:)


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Am I wrong about what the Bodhisattva Vow is? Honestly, I can’t tell, because the answer changes from person to person, and each thing I read differs too much.

The basic answer that I get is that a bodhisattva is simply as person who has gained (or is seeking) enlightenment for the benefit of others–to help others. Some take a vow to remind themselves that it is for others over themselves, and that they will strive the rest of their lives (not rest) until all others reach the end of suffering as well. But, what does this mean? Does it mean that they themselves never reach Nirvana? That they die without reaching their own end to suffering? Does it mean that they still must be reborn? Or, like the Buddha, does it mean that they don’t just mentally “check-out” in some blissful state of Nirvana… sitting around in a cave contemplating their belly-button in bliss while the rest of the world is in pain? That they opt not to dwell in Nirvana, but to still function and go about daily lives teaching and helping people? Like the Buddha, do they still get to enter into this final bliss on their death?

I cannot get a straight answer, so I ask you all who may read this to let me know what you know on the subject. I would like to know if I am right or wrong on my latest ideas on the matter, which are clearly coming from a Theravada source and may be skewed.

Still though, if I am wrong about the reincarnation part, and the vow is not null without it… then again, isn’t it just a vow to not check-out and help people? If that is all that it is, then what really sets the vow apart from what the Theravada were already vowing to do in the first place as well? They already had a vow and coined the term bodhisattva as one who is enlightened to help others.


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Reincarnation is on my mind a lot these days; following a weekend retreat with Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and having studied various writings of Dogen, and the Soto Zen sect; where it is quite obvious that in traditional Zen a faith in reincarnation was considered an essential, fundamental belief of their Zen practice. Now, I can understand why it would mean something to the Theravada, but it took me a while to relate the necessity of the belief to the Mahayana.

One thing that struck me was the whole point behind the Bodhisattva Vow. I did my research, and despite whatever your modern-day Zen teacher may tell you, the whole vow centers around reincarnation. In fact, the vow is pointless without it.

Both the Theravada and the Mahayana believe in Right Action, compassion, kindness… your general do-gooding. To the Theravada it was just expected—it is expected that as a Buddhist, monk, enlightened being, you will become more compassionate towards others. The Mahayana took the whole thing a step further and stated that they were going to take a vow that although they will reach enlightenment, they will not let themselves reach the point where they become Non-Returners. Non-Returning being the point where if they die they will reach Nirvana, instead of continuing in the cycle of rebirth. The goal is to purposefully deny Nirvana (although enlightened) so that they may be reborn as a human being (or bodhisattva) again and again, in order to help others find the Way as well.

Cool concept. I can understand it. However, it makes no sense to take such a vow if you are a modern-day Mahayanan who shuns the concept of reincarnation. I cannot think of one Zen practitioner that I know, or have met, who believes in reincarnation, but some of them have taken the vow, and others believe in it—that it puts them above the Theravada. I also know some Zen monks and priests who say that they do not believe in reincarnation either, but they flaunt the vow.

Think about it though.

The whole point of the vow is that even though you hit enlightenment you vow to not become a Non-Returner (as in, this being your last life), but IF you do not believe in reincarnation, then are you not a Non-Returner anyway? This life being your last (and only life). It’s a moot point.

If there is no reincarnation then this is your last life, you ARE a Non-Returner anyway, so a vow to deny yourself rebirth is pointless. And if you are denying yourself some certain level of enlightenment to fulfill the vow, but do not believe in reincarnation anyway, then it was all for nothing.

Tonight I had the chance to bring this up to some elders in the Zen community and they said that they cannot deny that this was the initial purpose of the vow. They then added though, that although they do not believe in reincarnation, they feel that the vow is just a really good metaphor, or reminder that they have to be loving, kind, compassionate, and put the needs of others above themselves.

I asked them though, “So to boil it down some… you are all basically promising to be really, really, cool to people?” That is what the vow means to you now?

Look, I don’t know where I am going with this, but personally… if there was such a thing as full-enlightenment in my reach I would like to experience that. If the only thing stopping me from doing so was some vow concerning reincarnation, and I don’t believe in reincarnation, then why would that stop me either?

It is obvious that reincarnation is a fundamental to both traditions, and to say otherwise is just self-denial. If we are going to do away with it, in our Westernization of the practice, then fine… but then we should do away with all of it… vows included.

On the other hand, I am not saying that there is no reincarnation. I don’t know. I am undecided. I do know though that what we seem to be preaching these days is pretty darn inconsistent. I could drive a bus through some of these holes.

Today a Mahayana told me that what seperated them from the Theravada was the Bodhisattva vow, but then that they did not believe in reincarnation anway–then admitting that really it was just a vow reminding them to be good to people. Do we really believe that nowhere in the 43 volumes of the Pail Canon do they have verses telling them to be nice to people? Really? Come on. Of course they do.


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Dharma Talk: Monday, June 22nd 2009
Subject: Dualities

Tonight we are going to be speaking about the concept of Dualities in Buddhism, and hopefully begin to see that there can be a marriage between Mahayahan and Theravadan thought on the matter. Since I am the most familiar with the writings of Zen Master Dogen and the early Pali Canon, I will be reading selected writings from both of these schools of thought tonight.

One of my favorite quotes from Dogen that address duality from a Zen perspective is as follows,

“To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between one’s self and others. — Dogen ” — The Manifestation of the Koan, Shobo-genzo

Another for our topic, is from the Shusho-gi.

For those interested in history, the Shusho-gi was actually compiled about 600 years after Dogen’s death, but is still considered to a Zen writing of upmost importance. What is most important about the Shusho-gi is not found within its content, but rather, is in its intent. Its content is basic, a rudimentary summary of Dogen’s larger work (the Shobogenzo), but they reason why it was produced is in and of itself extraordinary. Certain Zen monks and Masters in Japan began teaching the practice to commoners, to those outside of the monasteries, and began encouraging regular people to take up a home practice. They also began to treat these lay workers as valid members of their Buddhist community, and exalted the role and position of lay-workers in the practice. When some other Buddhist sects in the region began to scorn this idea, calling it “farmer zen” they called out for them to correct this “mistake” of taking Buddhism outside of the monasteries. Now, how did these Zen leaders respond? Instead of shying away from it, they opted to start producing reading materials and teachings that they commoners could understand and that they could take home with them to read, outside of the libraries of the monasteries which were normally off-limits to the common people. They decided to officially open the practice up to and embrace the lay-worker and the non-monk Buddhist.

The following is taken from the first chapter of the Susho-gi,

“The thorough understanding of what enlightenment and delusion is—this is the most important question facing all Buddhists. If the Buddha lives both within enlightenment delusion, then where does delusion exist? Simply understand that enlightenment and delusion are both in themselves Nirvana; there being then, neither delusion to be hated nor Nirvana to be desired. Then, for the first time, you will be freed from enlightenment and delusion. Realize that this understanding is of the utmost importance.”

So, in keeping this text in mind, where is there not-Buddha? Where is there not Buddha-nature, the potential for enlightenment? If the Buddha is everywhere then the Buddha is in enlightenment, and in delusion. This being the case, is there really such a thing as delusion to hate, a body to hate, a mind to hate? This being the case, is there really such a thing as enlightenment to love, to attain, to strive for? Somewhere and somehow being freed from this concept of duality brings a freedom that is part of the enlightenment experience itself.

But how can this non-duality in any way come to terms with earlier Buddhist writings that appear to be so dualistic in nature?

If, to study the self is to forget the self, then a study of the self is necessary before one can move on to the forgetting of oneself. I must know before one can forget. We, as human beings, cannot simply start at the point of non-self, non-dualities, non-thought, non-striving. To start at the end is impossible for most; instead we start at the beginning. The beginning is to meditate, still the mind, live a contemplative life, and study the self thoroughly. We see which thoughts, desires, emotions, actions arise and we inspect them—continually letting go and further refining the process until it becomes less and less.

This check, comparison, introspection, and effort may seem like striving or grasping to us… and it is. However, it is “skillful grasping”. It is a sort of grasping that is necessary for the study of self that moves us skillfully along the path, until we are able quiet ourselves to the point of this effort no longer being necessary. It is a vehicle that we use to cross over, and then must know when to let go of, or maybe that just naturally happens?

If we are to constantly study and know the self so that we may forget the self, then what do we compare the self against? There are times in which we know our good intent and our bad intent, but there are other times that a deluded mind is unable to know the difference between delusion and truth. So what do we do in these cases? What do we take refuge in? We take refuge in the Buddha. We take refuge in the Sangha. We take refuge in the Dharma (Buddhist scriptures).

When checking ourselves as deluded or contemplative, we need additional insight and a standard by which to measure ourselves against. We need a Sangha that can offer us advice; we need a Master that we can trust to give us proper insight, and we also have a vast resource available to us of Buddhist scriptures that we can use to help us see the difference between deluded self and non-deluded self.

Keep in mind though, that in both Zen and in Theravada practices this is a vehicle to use towards forgetting self. We use duality skillfully so that one day we can move past these dualities.

To end this part of the discussion I am now going to give a reading from the first chapter of the Dhammapada—one of the oldest texts available to us in Buddhist literature. For those unfamiliar with the Dhammapada, think of it as a book of Buddhist Proverbs—a collection of wise sayings attributed to the Buddha. Many modern Buddhists consider the Dhammapada to be a bit “old-school” since it deals mostly with proper ethics for a follower of the Way, but I believe that it is still an important text that may be grossly misunderstood today due to its translation, and due to our misunderstanding on how the perceived duality here does come to an end—that the end-goal is still the surpassing of these dualities. I believe that it can be a useful tool to use in the studying of ourselves to forget ourselves, and in studying the Way so that we can forget the Way.

Translation by The New Heretics

(1) As one thinks, so one acts. All that we do is led by our minds, and is made by our minds. If one speaks or acts with suffering in their mind, suffering follows, as the wheels of a wagon follow the horse that pulls it.

(2) As one thinks, so one acts. All that we do is led by our minds, and is made by our minds. If one speaks or acts with a tranquil mind, happiness follows, as a shadow follows a traveler on a sunny day.

(3) “I was hurt, I was mistreated, I was defeated, I was wronged!” For those who cannot let go of such things, their pain will never cease.

(4) “I was hurt, I was mistreated, I was defeated, I was wronged!” For those who learn to let go of such things, their pain ceases.

(5) For harboring hatred for those who hurt you does not get rid of pain, it only adds to it. Suffering can only be ended by non-suffering; the cycle must be broken with kindness. This is an ancient truth.

(6) Most do not live in the realization that life is short. For those who fully realize this, quarrels become unimportant.

(7) One who lives for seeking out pleasures, is over-indulgent, uncontrolled, unrestrained, full of laziness and apathy, is easily broken by hard-times and temptation, just as a little wind can easily break a weak and hollow tree.

(8) One who does not live seeking out pleasures, is moderate, controlled, restrained, not afraid of hard work and devout, cannot be easily broken by hard-times and temptation, just as a great wind cannot move a mountain.

(9) The robe does not make the monk. If the one wearing the robe lacks self-control and honesty, they are unworthy of such a robe.

(10) The monk makes the robe. If the one wearing the robe has self-control, honesty, is well established in our virtues, they are worthy of such a robe.

(11) Those who consider the unimportant things in life to be important and the truly important as unimportant will never find that which is important, for they were looking in the wrong place all along.

(12) However, those who correctly see the important as important and the unimportant as unimportant will find the important, knowing where to begin looking for it.

(13) Were you lazy when you built your house, or diligent? As rain will still find a way through a poorly-made roof, corrupting the house, so Want will find its way into an unreflective mind.

(14) Were you lazy when you built your house, or diligent? As rain cannot find a way through a well-made roof, and into the house, so Want cannot find its way into a well-reflective mind.

(15) For those who do wrong to others it will only end in grief, grief in the present, grief in the future. In both states there is grief; from seeing the suffering that they have caused, from having to live with what they have done.

(16) For those who do well to others there is much rejoicing, rejoicing in the present, rejoicing in the future. In both states there is joy; seeing one’s own pure acts bear fruit brings joy and delight.

(17) Those who do wrong suffer in the present, suffer in the future. In both states there is suffering. Tormented today by the thought, “I have done wrong”, tormented tomorrow, by falling into the cycle of suffering.

(18) Those who do well to others delight in the present, delight in the future. In both states there is delight. Here they are delighted knowing, “I have treated others well”, and tomorrow, in entering the cycle of bliss.

(19) One, who studies the teachings, memorizes them, quotes them often but, doesn’t do what they say, is like a banker, surrounded by other people’s wealth, counting it as their own, deluding themselves into thinking that they are now rich. Such a person does not gain any real benefit from their studies.

(20) One, who knows little, but still lives according to the Dharma, free of grasping, hate, and delusions; aware of the Four Noble Truths, not clinging to this life or the next, such a person, will gain the benefits of the contemplative life.


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