Thread: Zen buddhists and money etc
12-19-2005, 08:18 #1
Zen buddhists and money etc
Is someone studying Japanese Zen Buddhism a "monk"?
can someone explain how the whole rank thing works if there is one. (I dont know anything about this) Also how does a "monk" consider wealth ?
E.g can a Japanese Zen Buddhist practitioner (monk or not) be rich ? let alone have much if any money ? Also how do they feel about hunting animals and looking after themselves. Just a few questions thanks to any1 with help.
12-20-2005, 21:37 #2
In order to be a monk, one must live in a monestary.
Just studying zen does not make a person a monk... no more than studying christianity makes one a friar.
Most students of zen, in the western world at least, are "lay practioners", who most likely have taken the "3 jewels" and may or may not have taken the first 5 precepts.
For the rest of your questions, consider some of the precepts nearly all ordained practioners of buddhism take:
the very first is "I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures." so that should answer your question about hunting.
Another precept (for more dedicated practioners) is "I undertake the precept to refrain from accepting gold and silver." Which should answer your question about getting rich.
However, the precepts are not "commandments", they are more like presonal commitments. No angry god will smite thee for breaking the precepts.... however breaking the precepts will probably make it far more difficult for you to practice buddhism "properly".
For example, its very hard to act with loving-kindness (though not impossible) by killing. Its very hard to practice simplicity and contentment (though not impossible) by striving for the aquisition of (impermanent) wealth.
12-21-2005, 00:08 #3
Good research on the precepts, there, Joe. However, I might add that with Zen, especially with Zen, actually, sometimes the rules get a little bent out of shape.
For example, technically, you're supposed to be a vegetarian in Buddhism (to which I point to Joe's first precept), but many lay practitioners are not. In fact, many monks will eat meat if they are offered it, so there's one case.
There is also a prohibition on alcohol, although this is almost without exception broken from time to time. Plenty of stories of monks and I would say most lay practitioners do not keep that one.
As far as money goes, I do know that there are a lot of zen masters who make a killing in Japan (something which has been a problem in Japan for a while) and drive Lexus' and all that other stuff.
A lot of the reason for this particular character of zen is how specifically zen treats the establishment and subsequent honoring of rules. Not that they don't . . . it's just different. But what Joe says, that being the rules are there not because those commitments are the only thing allowing the possibility of enlightenment, but rather because it's generally difficult for many people to . . . realize enlightenment, by pursuing said hindrances. For some people, it's not, so they don't follow said precepts.
Like I said, for zen, it's very complicated, but that's my two cents piggybacking on Joe's ten.Ryan Layman
12-21-2005, 00:22 #4
Well Ryan, I once heard it said "A zen man should be able to eat dog s**t and drink gasoline"........... Yes, those Zen boys do tend to do things their own way dont they?
12-21-2005, 10:09 #5
tell me more please..
12-21-2005, 18:34 #6Originally Posted by Chris McLean
12-21-2005, 18:38 #7Originally Posted by gr455h0pp3r
If your just looking for general information, there are better sources than this message board.
12-21-2005, 18:54 #8For example, technically, you're supposed to be a vegetarian in Buddhism (to which I point to Joe's first precept), but many lay practitioners are not. In fact, many monks will eat meat if they are offered it, so there's one case.
eatting meat isnt against the rules.
destroying living creatures is, and we know that on a practical level, this is impossible. Objects which have never been alive, tend not to be edible. Even drinking water kills billions of living things.
Its the intention which is important, and in the case of eatting meat, the intention is to eat, not to kill or cause harm. If it just happens that the food presented is chicken not tofu, oh well, even more so if your a monk who makes begging rounds for food.
On top of that, it could be argued that by providing nourishment for a monk, and by the monk reciting sutras over the meal before eatting, the giver of the flesh might actually recieve enough merit to be born into a better life later..... However this part falls into the "superstitious religion" aspect, rather than the practical technical aspect cause-and-effect aspect of buddhist practice we were talking about.
12-21-2005, 18:56 #9Originally Posted by Chris McLean
12-26-2005, 20:47 #10
Not really big on the vegetarianism thing, either. But as far as it goes, I think that was just more because other Buddhists weren't as likely to provide you with food back in the old days, which meant if you were getting your food from a Buddhist, it was likely to be a vegetarian diet. Not a rule, persay, but more of a result of it, I would imagine.Ryan Layman
12-27-2005, 00:42 #11
I don't think that it's so much that rules are "allowed" to be broken in zen buddhism, I think that it's more that there are different ideas on how the rules should be followed. On the vegetarianism thing, some say that eating meat is killing the animal, others say that since the animal is already dead, it isn't killing it to eat the dead flesh. A zen buddhist who eats meat might not be breaking the rule, they are simply applying it in a different way.
A more general example is the idea of "conquering desire". The most common interpretation is that one should be satisfied with their situation and not desire anything more than what they have. However, some buddhists have interpreted this as meaning that they should refrain from partaking in anything which they desire, leading them to abstain from sex, bathing, and even eating and drinking to the point that some die. On the other extreme, some say that they should conquer desire by partaking in everything they desire (because then they don't desire it anymore; they have it). There are a lot of different schools of thought on this sort of thing.In practice, don't say, "Uke will do this," or "Uke will not do that." I don't even know what I will do in a fight, let alone what uke will do.
01-04-2006, 13:36 #12
I was gonna comment, but Joe hit the point on the head. It's not about actions per se, but about attachment and intent.Dillon Beyer
The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.
George Bernard Shaw