Cỏ làm hại ruộng vườn, si làm hại người đời. Bố thí người ly si, do vậy được quả lớn.Kinh Pháp Cú (Kệ số 358)
Mỗi cơn giận luôn có một nguyên nhân, nhưng rất hiếm khi đó là nguyên nhân chính đáng. (Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one.)Benjamin Franklin
Mục đích của cuộc sống là sống có mục đích.Sưu tầm
Thương yêu là phương thuốc diệu kỳ có thể giúp mỗi người chúng ta xoa dịu những nỗi đau của chính mình và mọi người quanh ta.Tủ sách Rộng Mở Tâm Hồn
Trời không giúp những ai không tự giúp mình. (Heaven never helps the man who will not act. )Sophocles
Kẻ ngu dầu trọn đời được thân cận bậc hiền trí cũng không hiểu lý pháp, như muỗng với vị canh.Kinh Pháp Cú - Kệ số 64
Bạn có thể lừa dối mọi người trong một lúc nào đó, hoặc có thể lừa dối một số người mãi mãi, nhưng bạn không thể lừa dối tất cả mọi người mãi mãi. (You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.)Abraham Lincoln
Ngay cả khi ta không tin có thế giới nào khác, không có sự tưởng thưởng hay trừng phạt trong tương lai đối với những hành động tốt hoặc xấu, ta vẫn có thể sống hạnh phúc bằng cách không để mình rơi vào sự thù hận, ác ý và lo lắng. (Even if (one believes) there is no other world, no future reward for good actions or punishment for evil ones, still in this very life one can live happily, by keeping oneself free from hatred, ill will, and anxiety.)Lời Phật dạy (Kinh Kesamutti)
Những người hay khuyên dạy, ngăn người khác làm ác, được người hiền kính yêu, bị kẻ ác không thích.Kinh Pháp cú (Kệ số 77)
Kẻ thất bại chỉ sống trong quá khứ. Người chiến thắng là người học hỏi được từ quá khứ, vui thích với công việc trong hiện tại hướng đến tương lai. (Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future. )Denis Waitley

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Lời Phật dạy về sự hòa hợp trong cộng đồng và xã hội - VII. Cộng đồng thành lập có chủ đích

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SÁCH AMAZON



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Introduction

Communities can be distinguished into two types, which we might call the natural and the intentional. A natural community is one that emerges spontaneously from the natural bonds between people. In concrete experience the natural community is already given along with the lifeworld in which we are embedded. We do not form natural communities but find ourselves immersed in them, even from birth, as completely as a fish is immersed in the sea. Our lives are thoroughly interwoven with the natural community, from which we can never be separated; only a floating and porous boundary separates the personal self and the natural community. Intentional communities, in contrast, are formed deliberately. They bring people together under the banner of a shared purpose or common ideals. They usually set up qualifications for membership and are governed by rules and regulations. They are subject to fissures and must ensure that their members remain loyal to the purpose of the group and behave in ways that support its success. Such communities usually also set up boundaries the transgression of which entails expulsion from their ranks.

The principles that govern an intentional community were of particular concern to the Buddha because he was the founder of a monastic order that brought together men and women under a shared commitment to this teaching. The members of the order came from different geographical areas, had been born into different castes, had very different ideas and attitudes, and even spoke different dialects. He was also the guide to a still larger congregation of lay followers spread out over an area that extended roughly from present-day Delhi to West Bengal. Thus for the Buddha, maintaining the cohesiveness of his community was a critical task, constantly being challenged by the tensions in communal living. He foresaw that to ensure that his teaching survived intact, it was necessary to lay down rules that would prescribe uniform standards of behavior and define the procedures for conducting communal affairs. In the face of divisive pressures and even rebellion, he had to preserve harmony and heal conflicts, which erupted several times in the course of his teaching career.

Part VII consists of texts that pertain to the establishment and maintenance of the intentional community. While most of the texts chosen make particular reference to the monastic order, the purposes behind these principles are not necessarily tied to a monastic regimen. The principles they propose can be adopted by other communities and modified in accordance with their aims.

The chapter begins with a series of short discourses, Texts VII,1(1)–(5), that distinguish five opposite kinds of communities — the shallow and the deep, the divided and the harmonious, and so forth — extolling the worthy types of community over the unworthy types.1 Texts VII,2(1)–(3) discuss the forces of attraction that draw people together into communities. The general factor is stated in VII,2(1): people meet and unite “by way of elements.” On account of their disposition (adhimutti), people unite with those who share their interests and aims. The forces of attraction again divide the resultant communities into two types: the bad union, which is like excrement merging with excrement or spittle with spittle, and the good union, which is like milk merging with milk or honey with honey.

Text VII,2(2) chains together a number of discourses that specify the “elements” on account of which people unite, mentioning both the bad qualities and the good qualities that bring people together. In still another discourse not included here (SN 14:15), the Buddha points out how monks inclined to wisdom gather around Sāriputta; those inclined to psychic powers gather around Moggallāna; those interested in monastic discipline gather around Upāli; those disposed to the austere practices gather around Mahākassapa; and those of evil desires congregate around Devadatta, the Buddha’s ambitious cousin.

One set of principles for building a healthy community is the four saṅgahavatthu, a term that might be translated as the “four means of embracing others” or the “four means of attraction and support.” These were initially prescribed as methods by which an individual could build up a network of friendships, but they can also be utilized to create and maintain harmonious relationships within a larger group. The four — sketched in Text VII,2(3) — are giving, endearing speech, beneficient conduct, and impartiality, the last interpreted to mean the treatment of others as equal to oneself. This particular set, strangely, is mentioned only on a few occasions in the scriptures of Early Buddhism. They receive much more attention in the Mahāyāna sūtras and treatises, where they are listed as one of the chief means that a bodhisattva employs to attract others and transform them in a positive direction.

Once an intentional community has taken shape, critical to its success is the issue of leadership. During the Buddha’s own lifetime, his followers always looked to him as the standard of authority and thus his personal charisma was sufficient for the disciples to accept his injunctions as binding. But before his passing, the Buddha refused to appoint a personal successor, instead urging his disciples to regard the Dhamma and the Vinaya as their teacher and standard of authority: “It may be, Ānanda, that you think: ‘The teaching has lost its teacher. We no longer have a teacher.’ You should not think in such a way. The Dhamma and Vinaya taught and promulgated by me will be your teacher after I am gone.”2 Text VII,3(1) enunciates the same principle. The Venerable Ānanda is asked by the brahmin Vassakāra, chief minister of Magadha, how the monks remain cohesive when their teacher has passed away. Ānanda replies that even though the Buddha is gone, they are not without a refuge, for they still have the Dhamma as their refuge.

As a legislator for his community, the Buddha laid down a detailed set of rules for the monks and nuns, which are minutely described and defined in the Vinaya Piṭaka. The training rules were also intended to promote concord and harmony, both among monastics and between the monastics and the lay community. This can be seen in Text VII,3(2), which enumerates the ten reasons the Buddha promulgates a training rule. Two among the ten reasons show that the rules were partly laid down to inspire faith in those householders without faith in the teaching and to strengthen the faith of those lay devotees who had already accepted the Dhamma.

The Vinaya Piṭaka contains not only explanations of the individual monastic rules but also the regulations for conducting communal acts. These regulations also bring to light the Buddha’s concern to safeguard communal harmony. In order for a communal procedure to be valid for a Sangha living in a particular locality, all residents (whether permanent or visiting) must either be present or, if they cannot participate directly (for instance, because of illness), they must have given their consent for the procedure to take place in their absence. Transactions are divided into four categories: those that can be authorized merely on the basis of an announcement; those that require a motion; those that require a motion and a single proclamation; and those that require a motion and three proclamations. Those acts that require a more complex procedure are considered more important than those that can pass with a simpler procedure. Thus an act of ordination, by which a new candidate is admitted to the Sangha, is considered an important procedure that requires a motion and three proclamations, while appointing a monk as a distributor of meals requires only a motion and one proclamation. During the procedure, the members of the community give their consent by remaining silent. All present are invited to voice any objection during the process, and if there are no objections, the transaction is declared to have taken place.3

To maintain harmony in the monastic community, the Buddha laid down a set of guidelines known as the six principles of cordiality (dhammā sāraṇīyā), included here as Text VII,3(3). These principles are extolled as “leading to affection, respect, concord, harmony, non-dispute, and unity.” Originally intended for the monastic order, with suitable modifications they can be adopted by other intentional communities. Their emphasis on reciprocal kindness, good conduct, and sharing of gains makes them a strong antidote to the individualism and selfishness that can divide communities and tear them asunder. On an extended interpretation, where the text speaks of sharing the contents of the almsbowl, this can be understood to imply the sharing of resources and the social redistribution of revenues to eliminate flagrant disparities of wealth. Where the text speaks of harmony of views, in a pluralistic society this can be interpreted to mean mutual respect and tolerance among those holding diverse views. Ten additional principles of cordiality, similarly described but with a more monastic focus, are laid out in Text VII,3(4).

As was common in India during his time, the Buddha was occasionally approached by leaders of civil society and asked for advice about promoting cohesion within their own communities. In response he laid down seven principles designed to foster social harmony. The locus classicus for this is found in Text VII,3(5), where he teaches “seven conditions for non-decline” to the Vajjis, a confederation of patrician republics centered around the thriving city of Vesālī. The seven conditions were intended to ensure that the Vajjis could withstand the challenges posed by neighboring monarchies, particularly the state of Magadha, whose king was keen on absorbing their territory into his realm. On occasion the Buddha took guidelines originally intended for civil society and then, with appropriate alterations, prescribed them to the monastic order. This is done with the seven principles for non-decline in Text VII,3(6), a version that suits the situation of the monks.

The next text, VII,3(7), deals with a specific aspect of communal living, care for the sick. Here the Buddha enumerates five desirable qualities of a nurse and five desirable qualities of a patient. Although he seems to be speaking of care for the sick in a monastery, where professional nursing care is generally not available, the same qualities can serve as guideposts for care for a patient in household life.

As is well known, Indian society during the Buddha’s time was divided into four castes or social estates, determined on the basis of birth. There were the khattiyas (Sanskrit kshatriyas), the aristocratic or administrative caste; the brāhmaṇas, the priestly caste; the vessas (vaishyas), the merchants and agriculturists; and the suddas (śūdras), the menial workers and other laborers. Outside the fourfold class system were those without caste status, known as outcasts, people working in the very lowest occupations, such as trash collectors, latrine cleaners, and cremation ground attendants. In this chapter I present the Buddha’s attitude to caste within the monastic order; in the last chapter I will deal with the Buddhist view of caste status in secular society. Within the monastic order, the Buddha regarded caste status as irrelevant. In Text VII,4(1) he says that, just as the waters of the great Indian rivers, on reaching the ocean, give up the names of their rivers and become known simply as “water of the ocean,” so people from all four castes who join the Sangha give up their caste status and become known simply as followers of the Sakyan sage. In Text VII,4(2) he declares that people from any caste background who enter the homeless life can develop an exalted mind of loving-kindness and, going still further, can attain the final goal, the destruction of all defilements. Text VII,4(3), addressed to King Pasenadi, states that anyone who abandons the five mental hindrances and attains the five perfections of an arahant is a supreme field of merit regardless of caste background.

Text VII,5 offers a shining account of a small group of monks who lived together in perfect unity, blending like milk and water. The secret to their success, they say, is that each puts aside what he wants and considers what the others want. In such a way, though they are different in body, they are one in mind.

In a Buddhist society harmony is essential not only within the lay community and the monastic order as they conduct their separate internal affairs, but also between the two communities in their mutual interactions. Thus the last section of this chapter is devoted to collaboration between the monastic and lay communities. Text VII,6(1) states categorically that the teaching flourishes when the two branches of the Buddhist community recognize their specific obligations toward one another and support each other in a spirit of shared appreciation. The following three suttas, Texts VII,6(2)–(4), illustrate this from both points of view, showing the proper way for laypeople to treat monastics and for monastics to treat laypeople. It should be borne in mind that the standards of conduct set forth here presuppose the ancient Indian culture out of which Buddhism arose — a time when laypeople rarely had access to the higher teachings and were generally concerned with meritorious practices leading to a heavenly rebirth. In today’s world, when laypeople can study the Dhamma in depth and undertake periods of intensive practice, changes in these specific relationships will naturally follow. However, if harmony is to prevail between the two communities, the spirit of respect and kindness that informs these relationships must remain a constant.

VII. The Intentional Community

1. KINDS OF COMMUNITIES

(1) The Shallow and the Deep

“Monks, there are these two kinds of communities. What two? The shallow community and the deep community.

“And what is the shallow community? The community in which the monks are restless, puffed up, vain, talkative, rambling in their talk, with muddled mindfulness, lacking in clear comprehension, unconcentrated, with wandering minds, with loose sense faculties: this is called the shallow community.

“And what is the deep community? The community in which the monks are not restless, puffed up, vain, talkative, and rambling in their talk, but have established mindfulness, clearly comprehend, are concentrated, with one-pointed minds and restrained sense faculties: this is called the deep community.

“These are the two kinds of communities. Of these two kinds of communities, the deep community is foremost.”

(AN 2:42, NDB 161)

(2) The Divided and the Harmonious

“Monks, there are these two kinds of communities. What two? The divided community and the harmonious community.

“And what is the divided community? The community in which the monks take to arguing and quarreling and fall into disputes, stabbing each other with piercing words: this is called the divided community.

“And what is the harmonious community? The community in which the monks dwell in concord, harmoniously, without disputes, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with eyes of affection: this is called the harmonious community.

“These are the two kinds of communities. Of these two kinds of communities, the harmonious community is foremost.”

(AN 2:43, NDB 161)

(3) The Inferior and the Superior

“Monks, there are these two kinds of communities. What two? The community of the inferior and the community of the superior.

“And what is the community of the inferior? Here, in this kind of community the elder monks are luxurious and lax, leaders in backsliding, discarding the duty of solitude; they do not arouse energy for the attainment of the as-yet-unattained, for the achievement of the as-yet-unachieved, for the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. Those in the next generation follow their example. They too become luxurious and lax, leaders in backsliding, discarding the duty of solitude; they too do not arouse energy for the attainment of the as-yet-unattained, for the achievement of the as-yet-unachieved, for the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. This is called the community of the inferior.

“And what is the community of the superior? Here, in this kind of community the elder monks are not luxurious and lax but discard backsliding and take the lead in solitude; they arouse energy for the attainment of the as-yet-unattained, for the achievement of the as-yet-unachieved, for the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. Those in the next generation follow their example. They too do not become luxurious and lax but discard backsliding and take the lead in solitude; they too arouse energy for the attainment of the as-yet-unattained, for the achievement of the as-yet-unachieved, for the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. This is called the community of the foremost.

“These are the two kinds of communities. Of these two kinds of communities, the community of the superior is foremost.”

(AN 2:44, NDB 161–62)

(4) The Ignoble and the Noble

“Monks, there are these two kinds of communities. What two? The community of the noble and the community of the ignoble.

“And what is the community of the ignoble? The community in which the monks do not understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering; this is the origin of suffering; this is the cessation of suffering; this is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’: this is called the community of the ignoble.

“And what is the community of the noble? The community in which the monks understand as it really is: ‘This is suffering; this is the origin of suffering; this is the cessation of suffering; this is the way leading to the cessation of suffering’: this is called the community of the noble.

“These are the two kinds of communities. Of these two kinds of communities, the community of the noble is foremost.”

(AN 2:45, NDB 162–63)

(5) The Unrighteous and the Righteous

“Monks, there are these two kinds of communities. What two? The unrighteous community and the righteous community.

“And what is the unrighteous community? Here, in this community disciplinary acts contrary to the Dhamma are enacted and disciplinary acts in accordance with the Dhamma are not enacted; disciplinary acts contrary to the discipline are enacted and disciplinary acts in accordance with the discipline are not enacted. Disciplinary acts contrary to the Dhamma are put forward and disciplinary acts in accordance with the Dhamma are not put forward; disciplinary acts contrary to the discipline are put forward and disciplinary acts in accordance with the discipline are not put forward. This is called the unrighteous community. It is because it is unrighteous that in this community disciplinary acts contrary to the Dhamma are enacted . . . and disciplinary acts in accordance with the discipline are not put forward.

“And what is the righteous community? Here, in this community disciplinary acts that accord with the Dhamma are enacted and disciplinary acts contrary to the Dhamma are not enacted; disciplinary acts that accord with the discipline are enacted and disciplinary acts contrary to the discipline are not enacted. Disciplinary acts that accord with the Dhamma are put forward and disciplinary acts contrary to the Dhamma are not put forward; disciplinary acts that accord with the discipline are put forward and disciplinary acts contrary to the discipline are not put forward. This is called the righteous community. It is because it is righteous that in this community disciplinary acts that accord with the Dhamma are enacted . . . and disciplinary acts contrary to the discipline are not put forward.

“These are the two kinds of communities. Of these two kinds of communities, the righteous community is foremost.”

(AN 2:49, NDB 165–66)

2. THE FORMATION OF COMMUNITY

(1) How Beings Come Together and Unite

“Monks, it is by way of elements that beings come together and unite: those of a low disposition come together and unite with those of a low disposition. In the past they did so, in the future they will do so, and now at present they do so too. Just as excrement comes together and unites with excrement, urine with urine, spittle with spittle, pus with pus, and blood with blood, so too, it is by way of elements that beings come together and unite: those of a low disposition come together and unite with those of a low disposition. In the past they did so, in the future they will do so, and now at present they do so too.

“Monks, it is by way of elements that beings come together and unite: those of a good disposition come together and unite with those of a good disposition. In the past they did so, in the future they will do so, and now at present they do so too. Just as milk comes together and unites with milk, oil with oil, ghee with ghee, honey with honey, and molasses with molasses, so too, monks, it is by way of elements that beings come together and unite: those of a good disposition come together and unite with those of a good disposition. In the past they did so, in the future they will do so, and now at present they do so too.”

(SN 14:16, CDB 640)

(2) Like Attracts Like

“Monks, it is by way of elements that beings come together and unite. Those lacking faith come together and unite with those lacking faith, the shameless with the shameless, those unafraid of wrongdoing with those unafraid of wrongdoing, the unlearned with the unlearned, the lazy with the lazy, the muddle-minded with the muddle-minded, the unwise with the unwise. In the past it was so; in the future it will be so; and now too at present it is so.

“Monks, it is by way of elements that beings come together and unite. Those having faith come together and unite with those having faith, those having a sense of shame with those having a sense of shame, those afraid of wrongdoing with those afraid of wrongdoing, the learned with the learned, the energetic with the energetic, the mindful with the mindful, the wise with the wise. In the past it was so; in the future it will be so; and now too at present it is so.

“Those who destroy life come together and unite with those who destroy life; those who take what is not given . . . who engage in sexual misconduct . . . who speak falsehood . . . who indulge in wine, liquor, and intoxicants come together and unite with those who indulge in intoxicants.

“Those who abstain from the destruction of life come together and unite with those who abstain from the destruction of life; those who abstain from taking what is not given . . . from sexual misconduct . . . from false speech . . . from wine, liquor, and intoxicants come together and unite with those who abstain from intoxicants.”

“Those of wrong view come together and unite with those of wrong view; those of wrong intention . . . wrong speech . . . wrong action . . . wrong livelihood . . . wrong effort . . . wrong mindfulness . . . wrong concentration come together and unite with those of wrong concentration.

“Those of right view come together and unite with those of right view; those of right intention . . . right speech . . . right action . . . right livelihood . . . right effort . . . right mindfulness . . . right concentration come together and unite with those of right concentration.”

(SN 14:17, 14:25, 14:28; CDB 641, 644, 645)

(3) Four Means of Embracing Others

“Monks, there are these four means of embracing others. What four? Giving, endearing speech, beneficent conduct, and impartiality. These are the four means of embracing others.”

Giving, endearing speech,
beneficent conduct, and impartiality
under diverse worldly conditions,
as is suitable to fit each case:

these means of embracing others
are like the linchpin of a rolling chariot.
If there were no such means of embracing others,
neither mother nor father
would be able to obtain esteem
and veneration from their son.

But these means of embracing exist,
and therefore the wise respect them;
thus they attain to greatness
and are highly praised.

(AN 4:32, NDB 419–20)

3. SUSTAINING COMMUNITY

(1) The Standard of Authority

The brahmin Vassakāra, chief minister of Magadha, asked the Venerable Ānanda: “Is there, Master Ānanda, any single monk who was appointed by the Buddha thus: ‘He will be your refuge when I am gone,’ and whom you now have recourse to?”4

“There is no single monk who was appointed by the Blessed One thus: ‘He will be your refuge when I am gone,’ and whom we now have recourse to.”

“But is there, Master Ānanda, any single monk who has been chosen by the Sangha and appointed by a number of elder monks thus: ‘He will be our refuge after the Blessed One has gone,’ and whom you now have recourse to?”

“There is no single monk who has been chosen by the Sangha and appointed by a number of elder monks thus: ‘He will be our refuge after the Blessed One has gone,’ and whom we now have recourse to.”

“But if you have no refuge, Master Ānanda, what is the cause for your concord?”

“We are not without a refuge, brahmin. We have a refuge; we have the Dhamma as our refuge.”

“You say, Master Ānanda, that you have the Dhamma as your refuge. How should this be understood?”

“Brahmin, the Blessed One prescribed the course of training for monks and has laid down the Pātimokkha. On the uposatha days5 as many of us as live in dependence upon a single village district meet together in unison, and when we meet we ask one who knows the Pātimokkha to recite it. If a monk remembers an offense or a transgression while the Pātimokkha is being recited, we deal with him according to the Dhamma in the way we have been instructed. It is not the worthy ones who deal with us; it is the Dhamma that deals with us.”

(MN 108, MLDB 892–95)

(2) The Reasons for the Training Rules

The Venerable Upāli approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Bhante, on how many grounds has the Tathāgata prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha?”

“It is, Upāli, on ten grounds that the Tathāgata has prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha. What ten? (1) For the well-being of the Sangha; (2) for the ease of the Sangha; (3) for keeping recalcitrant persons in check; (4) so that well-behaved monks can dwell at ease; (5) for the restraint of influxes pertaining to this present life; (6) for the dispelling of influxes pertaining to future lives; (7) so that non-believers might gain faith; and (8) for increasing the faith of the believers; (9) for the continuation of the good Dhamma; and (10) for promoting discipline. It is on these ten grounds that the Tathāgata has prescribed the training rules for his disciples and recited the Pātimokkha.”

(AN 20:31, NDB 1387)

(3) Six Principles of Cordiality

“Monks, there are these six principles of cordiality that create affection and respect and conduce to cohesiveness, non-dispute, concord, and unity. What six?

(1) “Here, a monk maintains bodily acts of loving-kindness toward his fellow monks both openly and privately. This is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to cohesiveness, non-dispute, concord, and unity.

(2) “Again, a monk maintains verbal acts of loving-kindness toward his fellow monks both openly and privately. This, too, is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect. . . .

(3) “Again, a monk maintains mental acts of loving-kindness toward his fellow monks both openly and privately. This, too, is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect. . . .

(4) “Again, a monk shares without reservation any righteous gains that have been righteously obtained, including even the contents of his almsbowl, and uses such things in common with his virtuous fellow monks. This, too, is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect. . . .

(5) “Again, a monk dwells both openly and privately possessing in common with his fellow monks virtuous behavior that is unbroken, flawless, unblemished, unblotched, freeing, praised by the wise, ungrasped, leading to concentration. This, too, is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect. . . .

(6) “Again, a monk dwells both openly and privately possessing in common with his fellow monks a view that is noble and emancipating, which leads out, for one who acts upon it, to the complete destruction of suffering. This, too, is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect. . . .

“These, monks, are the six principles of cordiality that create affection and respect and conduce to cohesiveness, to non-dispute, to concord, and to unity.”

(AN 6:12, NDB 866–67; see MN 48, MLDB 420–21)

(4) Ten Principles of Cordiality

On one occasion a number of monks assembled in the assembly hall and were sitting together when they took to arguing and quarreling and fell into a dispute, stabbing each other with piercing words. Then, in the evening, the Blessed One emerged from seclusion and went to the assembly hall, where he sat down on the prepared seat. The Blessed One then addressed the monks: “Monks, what discussion were you engaged in just now as you were sitting together here? What was the conversation that was underway?”

“Here, Bhante, after our meal, on returning from our alms round, we assembled in the assembly hall and were sitting together when we took to arguing and quarreling and fell into a dispute, stabbing each other with piercing words.”

“Monks, it is not suitable for you clansmen who have gone forth out of faith from the household life into homelessness to take to arguing and quarreling and to fall into a dispute, stabbing each other with piercing words.

“There are, monks, these ten principles of cordiality that create affection and respect and conduce to cohesiveness, to non-dispute, to concord, and to unity. What ten?

(1) “Here, a monk is virtuous; he dwells restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he trains in them. Since a monk is virtuous . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to cohesiveness, to non-dispute, to concord, and to unity.

(2) “Again, a monk has learned much, remembers what he has learned, and accumulates what he has learned. Those teachings that are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, which proclaim the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life — such teachings as these he has learned much of, retained in mind, recited verbally, investigated mentally, and penetrated well by view. Since a monk has learned much . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(3) “Again, a monk has good friends, good companions, good comrades. Since a monk has good friends . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(4) “Again, a monk is easy to correct and possesses qualities that make him easy to correct; he is patient and receives instruction respectfully. Since a monk is easy to correct . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(5) “Again, a monk is skillful and diligent in attending to the diverse chores that are to be done for his fellow monks; he possesses appropriate investigation there, and he is able to carry out and arrange everything properly. Since a monk is skillful and diligent . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(6) “Again, a monk loves the Dhamma and is pleasing in his assertions, filled with a lofty joy pertaining to the Dhamma and discipline. Since a monk loves the Dhamma . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(7) “Again, a monk has aroused energy for abandoning unwholesome qualities and acquiring wholesome qualities; he is strong, firm in exertion, not casting off the duty of cultivating wholesome qualities. Since a monk has aroused energy . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(8) “Again, a monk is content with any kind of robe, almsfood, lodging, and medicines and provisions for the sick. Since a monk is content with any kind of robe . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(9) “Again, a monk is mindful, possessing supreme mindfulness and alertness, one who remembers and recollects what was done and said long ago. Since a monk is mindful . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

(10) “Again, a monk is wise; he possesses the wisdom that discerns arising and passing away, which is noble and penetrative and leads to the complete destruction of suffering. Since a monk is wise . . . this is a principle of cordiality that creates affection and respect and conduces to unity.

“These, monks, are the ten principles of cordiality that create affection and respect and conduce to cohesiveness, to non-dispute, to concord, and to unity.”

(AN 10:50, NDB 1399–1401)

(5) Seven Conditions for Social Harmony

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī at the Sārandada Shrine. Then a number of Licchavis approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One said this to them: “I will teach you, Licchavis, seven principles of non-decline. Listen and attend closely. I will speak.”

“Yes, Bhante,” those Licchavis replied. The Blessed One said this: “And what, Licchavis, are the seven principles of non-decline?

(1) “Licchavis, as long as the Vajjis assemble often and hold frequent assemblies, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(2) “As long as the Vajjis assemble in harmony, adjourn in harmony, and conduct the affairs of the Vajjis in harmony, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(3) “As long as the Vajjis do not decree anything that has not been decreed or abolish anything that has already been decreed but undertake and follow the ancient Vajji principles as they have been decreed, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(4) “As long as the Vajjis honor, respect, esteem, and venerate the Vajji elders and think they should be heeded, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(5) “As long as the Vajjis do not abduct women and girls from their families and force them to live with them, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(6) “As long as the Vajjis honor, respect, esteem, and venerate their traditional shrines, both those within the city and those outside, and do not neglect the righteous oblations as given and done to them in the past, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(7) “As long as the Vajjis provide righteous protection, shelter, and guard for arahants, so that those arahants who have not yet come may arrive, and those arahants who have already come may dwell at ease there, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

“Licchavis, as long as these seven principles of non-decline continue among the Vajjis, and the Vajjis are seen established in them, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.”

(AN 7:21, NDB 1009–10)

(6) Seven Conditions for Monastic Harmony

The Blessed One said to the monks: “Monks, I will teach you seven principles of non-decline. Listen and attend closely. I will speak.”

“Yes, Bhante,” those monks replied. The Blessed One said this: “And what, monks, are the seven principles of non-decline?

(1) “As long as the monks assemble often and hold frequent assemblies, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(2) “As long as the monks assemble in harmony, adjourn in harmony, and conduct the affairs of the Sangha in harmony, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(3) “As long as the monks do not decree anything that has not been decreed or abolish anything that has already been decreed, but undertake and follow the training rules as they have been decreed, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(4) “As long as the monks honor, respect, esteem, and venerate those monks who are elders, of long standing, long gone forth, fathers and guides of the Sangha, and think they should be heeded, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(5) “As long as the monks do not come under the control of arisen craving that leads to renewed existence, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(6) “As long as the monks are intent on forest lodgings, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

(7) “As long as the monks each individually establish mindfulness so that well-behaved fellow monks who have not yet come may arrive, and so well-behaved fellow monks who have already come may dwell at ease there, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.

“Monks, as long as these seven principles of non-decline continue among the monks, and the monks are seen established in them, only growth is to be expected for them, not decline.”

(AN 7:23, NDB 1013–14)

(7) Attending on the Sick

“Monks, possessing five qualities, an attendant is qualified to take care of a patient. What five? (1) He is able to prepare medicine. (2) He knows what is beneficial and harmful, so that he withholds what is harmful and offers what is beneficial. (3) He takes care of the patient with a mind of loving-kindness, not for the sake of material rewards. (4) He is not disgusted at having to remove feces, urine, vomit, or spittle. (5) He is able from time to time to instruct, encourage, inspire, and gladden the patient with a Dhamma talk. Possessing these five qualities, an attendant is qualified to take care of a patient.

“Possessing five other qualities, a patient is easy to take care of. What five? (1) He does what is beneficial. (2) He observes moderation in what is beneficial. (3) He takes his medicine. (4) He accurately discloses his symptoms to his kind-hearted attendant; he reports, as fits the case, that his condition is getting worse, or getting better, or remaining the same. (5) He can patiently endure arisen bodily feelings that are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, harrowing, disagreeable, sapping one’s vitality. Possessing these five qualities, a patient is easy to take care of.”

(AN 5:123–24 combined, NDB 741–42)

4. CASTE IS IRRELEVANT

(1) Merging Like the Rivers in the Ocean

“Just as, when the great rivers — the Ganges, the Yamunā, the Aciravatī, the Sarabhū and the Mahī — reach the great ocean, they give up their former names and designations and are simply called the great ocean, so too, when members of the four castes — khattiyas, brahmins, vessas, and suddas6 — go forth from the household life into homelessness in the Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata, they give up their former names and clans and are simply called ascetics following the Sakyan son.”

(from AN 8:19, NDB 1144; Ud 5.5)

(2) All Can Realize the Highest Goal

“Suppose there was a pond with clear, agreeable cool water, transparent, with smooth banks, delightful. If a man, scorched and exhausted by hot weather, weary, parched, and thirsty, came from the east or from the west or from the north or from the south or from where you will, having reached the pond he would quench his thirst and his hot-weather fever. So too, if anyone from a clan of khattiyas goes forth from the home life into homelessness, or from a clan of brahmins or a clan of vessas or a clan of suddas, and after encountering the Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata, he develops loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity, and thereby gains internal peace, then because of that internal peace he practices the way proper to the ascetic, I say.

“Monks, if anyone from a clan of khattiyas goes forth from the home life into homelessness, or from a clan of brahmins or a clan of vessas or a clan of suddas, and by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge he here and now enters upon and abides in the liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, that is influx-free through the destruction of the influxes, then he is an ascetic because of the destruction of the influxes.”

(from MN 40, MLDB 374–75)

(3) The Criteria of Spiritual Worth

[The Buddha is questioning King Pasenadi:] “What do you think, great king? Suppose you were at war and a battle was about to take place. Then a khattiya youth would arrive, one who is untrained, unskilled, unpracticed, inexperienced, timid, petrified, frightened, quick to flee. Would you employ that man?” – “Surely not, Bhante.”

“Then a brahmin youth would arrive . . . a vessa youth . . . a sudda youth . . . who is untrained . . . quick to flee. Would you employ that man, and would you have any use for such a man?” – “Surely not, venerable sir.”

“What do you think, great king? Suppose you are at war and a battle is about to take place. Then a khattiya youth would arrive, one who is trained, skilled, practiced, experienced, brave, courageous, bold, ready to stand his place. Would you employ that man?” – “I would, Bhante.”

“Then a brahmin youth would arrive . . . a vessa youth . . . a sudda youth . . . who is trained . . . ready to stand his place. Would you employ that man?” – “I would, Bhante.”

“So too, great king, when a person has gone forth from the household life into homelessness, no matter from what clan, if he has abandoned five factors and possesses five factors, then what is given to him is of great fruit. What five factors have been abandoned? Sensual desire, ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt. What five factors does he possess? He possesses the aggregate of virtue of one beyond training, the aggregate of concentration of one beyond training, the aggregate of wisdom of one beyond training, the aggregate of liberation of one beyond training, the aggregate of the knowledge and vision of liberation of one beyond training. Thus what is given to one who has abandoned five factors and who possesses five factors is of great fruit.

“As a king intent on waging war
Would employ a youth skilled with the bow,
One endowed with strength and vigor,
But not the coward on account of his birth —

So even though he be of low birth,
One should honor the person of noble conduct,
The sagely man in whom are established
The virtues of patience and gentleness.”

(from SN 3:24; CDB 190–91)

5. A MODEL OF MONASTIC HARMONY

On one occasion when the Venerables Anuruddha, Nandiya, and Kimbila were living in the Gosinga Sāla-tree Wood, the Blessed One went to visit them. When they heard he had arrived, all three went to meet the Blessed One. One took his bowl and outer robe, one prepared a seat, and one set out water for washing the feet. The Blessed One sat down on the seat made ready and washed his feet. Then those three venerable ones paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side. When they were seated, the Blessed One said to them: “I hope you are all keeping well, Anuruddha. I hope you are all comfortable and not having any trouble getting almsfood.”

“We are keeping well, Blessed One, we are comfortable, and we are not having any trouble getting almsfood.”

“I hope, Anuruddha, that you are all living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.”

“Surely, Bhante, we are living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.”

“But, Anuruddha, how do you live thus?”

“Bhante, as to that, I think: ‘It is a gain for me, it is a great gain for me, that I am living with such companions in the holy life.’ I maintain bodily acts of loving-kindness toward those venerable ones both openly and privately; I maintain verbal acts of loving-kindness toward them both openly and privately; I maintain mental acts of loving-kindness toward them both openly and privately. I consider: ‘Why should I not set aside what I wish to do and do what they wish to do?’ Then I set aside what I wish to do and do what they wish to do. We are different in body, but one in mind. That is how, Bhante, we are living in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes.”

“Good, good! I hope that you all abide diligent, ardent, and resolute.”

“Surely, Bhante, we abide diligent, ardent, and resolute.”

“But, Anuruddha, how do you abide thus?”

“Bhante, as to that, whichever of us returns first from the village with almsfood prepares the seats, sets out the water for drinking and for washing, and puts the refuse bucket in its place. Whichever of us returns last eats any food left over, if he wishes; otherwise he throws it away where there is no greenery or drops it into water where there is no life. He puts away the seats and the water for drinking and for washing. He puts away the refuse bucket after washing it and he sweeps out the refectory. Whoever notices that the pots of water for drinking, washing, or the latrine are low or empty takes care of them. If they are too heavy for him, he calls someone else by a signal of the hand and they move it by joining hands, but because of this we do not break out into speech. But every five days we sit together all night discussing the Dhamma. That is how we abide diligent, ardent, and resolute.”

(from MN 31, MLDB 301–2)

6. MONASTICS AND LAITY

(1) Mutual Support

“Monks, householders are very helpful to you. They provide you with the requisites of robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines in time of sickness. And you, monks, are very helpful to householders, as you teach them the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, the middle, and the end, with the right meaning and wording, and you proclaim the spiritual life in its fulfillment and complete purity. Thus, monks, this spiritual life is lived with mutual support for the purpose of crossing the flood and making a complete end of suffering.”

(It §107)

(2) A Visitor of Families

“Monks, possessing five qualities, a monk who is a visitor of families is displeasing and disagreeable to them and is neither respected nor esteemed by them. What five? (1) He presumes intimacy upon mere acquaintance; (2) he distributes things that he does not own; (3) he consorts for the sake of creating divisions; (4) he whispers in the ear; and (5) he makes excessive requests. Possessing these five qualities, a monk who is a visitor of families is displeasing and disagreeable to them and is neither respected nor esteemed by them.

“Monks, possessing five other qualities, a monk who is a visitor of families is pleasing and agreeable to them and is respected and esteemed by them. What five? (1) He does not presume intimacy upon mere acquaintance; (2) he does not distribute things that he does not own; (3) he does not consort for the sake of creating divisions; (4) he does not whisper in the ear; and (5) he does not make excessive requests. Possessing these five qualities, a monk who is a visitor of families is pleasing and agreeable to them and is respected and esteemed by them.”

(AN 5:111, NDB 736)

(3) Showing Compassion to Laypeople

“Monks, possessing five qualities, a resident monk shows compassion to laypeople. What five? (1) He encourages them in regard to virtuous behavior. (2) He settles them in understanding of the Dhamma. (3) When they are ill he approaches them and reminds them to establish mindfulness on the arahants. (4) When a large company of monks has arrived, including monks from various states, he approaches laypeople and informs them: ‘Friends, a large company of monks has arrived including monks from various states. Make merit. It is an occasion to make merit.’ (5) He himself eats whatever food they give him, whether coarse or excellent; he does not squander what has been given out of faith. Possessing these five qualities, a resident monk shows compassion to laypeople.”

(AN 5:235, NDB 832)

(4) Families Worth Approaching

“Monks, possessing nine factors, a family that has not yet been approached is not worth approaching, or one that has been approached is not worth sitting with. What nine? (1) They do not rise up in an agreeable way. (2) They do not pay homage in an agreeable way. (3) They do not offer a seat in an agreeable way. (4) They hide what they have from one. (5) Even when they have much, they give little. (6) Even when they have excellent things, they give coarse things. (7) They give without respect, not respectfully. (8) They do not sit close by to listen to the Dhamma. (9) They do not savor the flavor of one’s words. Possessing these nine factors, a family that has not yet been approached is not worth approaching, or one that has been approached is not worth sitting with.

“Monks, possessing nine factors, a family that has not yet been approached is worth approaching or one that has been approached is worth sitting with. What nine? (1) They rise up in an agreeable way. (2) They pay homage in an agreeable way. (3) They offer a seat in an agreeable way. (4) They do not hide what they have from one. (5) When they have much, they give much. (6) When they have excellent things, they give excellent things. (7) They give respectfully, not without respect. (8) They sit close by to listen to the Dhamma. (9) They savor the flavor of one’s words. Possessing these nine factors, a family that has not yet been approached is worth approaching, or one that has been approached is worth sitting with.”

(AN 9:17, NDB 1270–71)


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