Author Topic: Compassion of a Theravadan monk  (Read 9261 times)

ratanasutra

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Re: Compassion of a Theravadan monk
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2012, 04:43:05 PM »
In Theravada Buddhist there is a Dharma which call 'The Four Sublime States of mind' for everyone to practice and apply in daily either they work in corporation, in temple, school etc which help them to generate bodhichitta mind as in the details below. This is a foundation and very common practice in theravada wich most of lay man are practice so i do not think that they are not practice compassion same as other type of buddhism.

The Four Sublime States of Mind 
1. Loving-kindness (Metta)
2. Compassion (Karuna)
3. Sympathetic joy over others' achievement (Mudita)
4. Equanimity (Upekkha)

By the way, ensapa thank you for sharing this inspiration story.

Klein

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Re: Compassion of a Theravardan monk
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2012, 07:47:31 PM »
Compassion is being taught in all the 3 vehicles of Buddhism.

It is said clearly in the Lamrim text that all the 3 schools are inter linked and are  necessary progressions of one to the other.

Understanding that one must realize the unsatisfactory state of samsara and the importance of developing the spontaneous wish to renounce is the emphasis of the Theravardan school , self liberation seem like the main practice of this school. However, before one can have this wish for self liberation, one must first develop compassion for oneself. Therefore compassion is definitely  an important part of the Theravardan school. In their daily practice, Theravardan monks have engaged in numerous community activities eg. hospitals, orphanages , schools etc  to care for others

Unfortunately, the emphasis on personal self liberation does mislead the public into thinking compassion teaching is lacking in the Theravardan school which is not true.

Benny, you are right to point this out. I hope this misunderstanding is dispelled as in essence there is really no huge difference between the different schools of Buddhism. Compassion and wisdom are always the 2 main focuses of all the 3 schools.


I agree with you. Theravadans do have compassion. They don't focus much on charities like the Mahayanas, but they do focus on teaching others on how to self liberate. This is compassion. The highest form of charity is spirituality. When one realises compassion through spiritual practice, one will naturally want to benefit others in their best capacity.

Theravadans teach meditation and the buddha dharma in their centres.

A great example of a well known charity organisation is http://www.dhamma.org/. They have meditation centres all over the world. Through meditation, they state that the practioner will dissolve any mental impurities and develop a mind full of compassion and love.

Ensapa

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Re: Compassion of a Theravardan monk
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2012, 08:12:32 AM »
Compassion is being taught in all the 3 vehicles of Buddhism.

It is said clearly in the Lamrim text that all the 3 schools are inter linked and are  necessary progressions of one to the other.

Understanding that one must realize the unsatisfactory state of samsara and the importance of developing the spontaneous wish to renounce is the emphasis of the Theravardan school , self liberation seem like the main practice of this school. However, before one can have this wish for self liberation, one must first develop compassion for oneself. Therefore compassion is definitely  an important part of the Theravardan school. In their daily practice, Theravardan monks have engaged in numerous community activities eg. hospitals, orphanages , schools etc  to care for others
Compassion is part of the theravardan teachings, bu it is not emphasized. Also, most lay practitioners will tend to avoid the Abhiddhama set of teachings, saying that it is too advanced for them when all the essential teachings such as the explanation on the law of karma is found within that. They tend to prefer the sutra set of teachings. And even when they do, they only read what they like and thus we end up with lots of misinterpretations.

Unfortunately, the emphasis on personal self liberation does mislead the public into thinking compassion teaching is lacking in the Theravardan school which is not true.
It is there, but people tend to avoid the topic of compassion in Theravarda due to one reason: it is too difficult to understand and it is often mention in passing within the sutras.

Benny, you are right to point this out. I hope this misunderstanding is dispelled as in essence there is really no huge difference between the different schools of Buddhism. Compassion and wisdom are always the 2 main focuses of all the 3 schools.


I agree with you. Theravadans do have compassion. They don't focus much on charities like the Mahayanas, but they do focus on teaching others on how to self liberate. This is compassion. The highest form of charity is spirituality. When one realises compassion through spiritual practice, one will naturally want to benefit others in their best capacity.

I dont quite understand what you mean here. Spirituality is the highest form of charity? in what way? I know in all traditions, giving the Dharma is the highest gift...but spirituality...?

Theravadans teach meditation and the buddha dharma in their centres.

A great example of a well known charity organisation is http://www.dhamma.org/. They have meditation centres all over the world. Through meditation, they state that the practioner will dissolve any mental impurities and develop a mind full of compassion and love.


As I was saying since the first post, most LAY theravardan practitioners these days practice loving kindness as opposed to compassion. Loving kindness is generating the thoughts of compassion towards someone or something, but compassion is actually going all the way: from helping that person to the after sales care of that person. For example, if we see a puppy in the river, loving kindness would be "oh you poor thing! may you be saved!", compassion would be actually saving the puppy and then making sure that the puppy has a good home and is not injured, as to just saving it out of the river and letting it fend for itself.

The teachings of compassion are not that obvious, but the Buddha did teach about it. Another teaching that the Buddha taught was Guru devotion, but the lay theravardans till this day deny it....do you get my point?

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Compassion of a Theravadan monk
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2015, 06:42:05 AM »
There are quite a lot of differences between the Theravadan and Mahayana doctrines.  However the essence of Buddhism is very similar and do not differ at all among all Buddhist sects. 

Buddhism teaches the 4 noble truths of suffering and the 8 fold paths to overcome suffering and to begin our path to virtuous living and to enlightenment.

Methods will differ but all will be based on Wisdom and Compassion.  Learning of the doctrine will make us realise to purify our negative Karma through collection of virtuous acts and obtaining merits thereon.

I rejoice to see a Sangha in action of compassion. 
 

MoMo

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Re: Compassion of a Theravadan monk
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2015, 03:51:21 PM »
There was a lot of this conception of the Theravadan practitioners do not place compassion as their focus of practice.  IMHO, this misconception was due to the lack of understanding of Theravadan’s doctrine. I am not here to claim to have vast knowledge of it, if we use common Buddhist logic to analyse the many of the great past Mahathera and their results, we cannot deny that they have achieved their final goal of Nibbana (the highest achievable according to the Theravadan tradition) . to achieve this, we will come to a conclusion that wisdom and compassion arise simultaneously as one advances through the path , and no result could be achieved without any of the two mentioned .  Hence, a Theravadan monk shows compassion to his Sangha members or to the society should not be taken as spectacle . Instead, I rejoice in Bhante virtuous deeds in setting an example for all Buddhist around the world to practice metta-karuna towards sentient beings.

eyesoftara

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Re: Compassion of a Theravadan monk
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2015, 07:10:40 AM »
From my understanding of the Lamrim, the Theravadan path:

1) Is not contradictory to the Boddhisattva path but is mandatory as part of the graduated path. It is part shared with the small and medium scope of the Lamrim. The goal is to achieve self Liberation commonly known as Nirvana.

2) The main practice of the Theravadan path is of the 3 Higher Training ie Morality, Concentration and Wisdom. The main focus of the training is on the 4 Noble Truth and the 12 Dependent Links, with Meditation of the Wisdom of Selflessness.

3) In this path the practice of Compassion is not the focus but it still exist even though that is not the main practice. We can observe the fact that the practice is past on from the Sangha generation after generations and social works of the the Theravadan Sangha shows that compassion exist. However, this compassion is the alleviate the suffering of beings through self Liberation.

4) The Great Scope of the Lamrim has the final goal of Full Enlightenment. The main difference with the Theravadan goal is the Boddhisattva path "attains" full omniscience of phenomena ie elimination of cognitive obscurations in addition to elimination of mental obscuration that is shared with the Theravadan path.

Hence, in conclusion, both the Theravadan path and the Boddhisattva path practices compassion but the method and the goal is different. The Theravadan practice compassion by bringing beings to Self Liberation and the Boddhisattva path practice compassion by encapsulating beings as cognitive phenomena (outside of the self), with the self and on that basis achieve Full Enlightenment of non duality.



yontenjamyang

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Re: Compassion of a Theravadan monk
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2015, 09:52:57 AM »
There was a lot of this conception of the Theravadan practitioners do not place compassion as their focus of practice.  IMHO, this misconception was due to the lack of understanding of Theravadan’s doctrine. I am not here to claim to have vast knowledge of it, if we use common Buddhist logic to analyse the many of the great past Mahathera and their results, we cannot deny that they have achieved their final goal of Nibbana (the highest achievable according to the Theravadan tradition) . to achieve this, we will come to a conclusion that wisdom and compassion arise simultaneously as one advances through the path , and no result could be achieved without any of the two mentioned .  Hence, a Theravadan monk shows compassion to his Sangha members or to the society should not be taken as spectacle . Instead, I rejoice in Bhante virtuous deeds in setting an example for all Buddhist around the world to practice metta-karuna towards sentient beings.

I think this misconception comes from the lack of understanding of the Theravadan tradition and also the strong emphasis by the Mahayana tradition on the practice of compassion. It is perhaps true that the Theravadans do not speak of compassion like the Mahayanas and hence the impression that the Theravadan "do not practice compassion.

Also, because the goal of the Theravadan is "Nibbana" or Self Liberation, We then to think of the Theravadans as working for the "Self" only.

Perhaps, to put it another way, if one do not practice altruistic compassion, one can still achieve Liberation based of the practice of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom but it is impossible to achieve Full Enlightenment if one do not practice compassion.