Question : (Unedited)
Hi again my dear friend,
I hope you are fine. Thanks a lot for the sites you introduced.
You have left one of the questions I asked unanswered: “You had said “The monks are the GUARDIANCE of the Dhamma (Buddha's teachings).”
How can they be the guardiance of the Dhamma if they are not allowed to defend the Dhamma?”
You have said “The Buddha was never a begger!! We refer the giving of "alms food" to the monks as Dana. They never come begging from us. It is our willingness to provide them with the daily sustenance.”
How can you tell the difference between a begger and a monk if they dress like each other? (This question is being seriously asked. Please don`t take it as a joke.)
You have said “There were a lot of ascetics who wandered everywhere practising different forms of "spiritual ascetism". These people concentrated their whole lives in search of the "ultimate release". They lead a "carefree" life and the lay people would support them by offering them food. This was the way to follow when one wanted to find spiritual liberation. The Buddha merely followed that tradition and for good reason.”
A mistake, even if it becomes a tradition is still a mistake. For example marrying a child was an ACCEPTABLE TRADITION in Saudi Arabia 1400 years ago (Muhammad, the Prophet!! Himself had married a 9 year old girl named Aisha) But being a tradition doesn`t wash that mistake clean.
And I know that Buddha was against the ascetism and he preached the Middle Way.
A New Question
Could anybody besides the Buddha find spiritual liberation and ultimate release? If your answer is positive, what`s TTB`s idea about them?
You have said “Even today this tradition is followed. The lay people understand this traditional practice and always support the monks.”
That`s why most (meaning not all and not all because Buddhist culture is being combined by other countries cultures like Chinese and Japanese) of the Buddhist countries are economically poor.
And an interesting point about that Arabic-Islamic tradition. Even today, that tradition is still followed in some Islamic countries.
You have said “It is the Buddhist culture that we support the monks by providing them the material necessities while they concentrate on their spiritual cultivation and teaching us the Dhamma (Budhha's teachings).”
The Dhamma was taught once by Buddha, and it doesn`t need to be taught again. (Unless you believe that Buddha was not a fine teacher.) Everyone who is interested in Dhamma can study the Tipitika.
You have siad “Please be patient with your "learning" process.”
I`ve been patient for 2 years now and i`ll try to be in the future.
You have said “I take the liberty to assume that you are from a very different culture and are just being exposed to Buddhist tradition.”
That`s true, that`s very very true.
You have said “Once you are familiar with the Buddhist traditions, a lot of your doubts will gradually disappear.”
I hope so.
Anyway, I really THANK YOU for your answers.
Welcome back, and thank you for not being disappointed with my "answers". One day will come when you will understand why some questions cannot be satisfactorilly answered for that particular person. I can try my best to provide you with the "answers" but you may not agree with me. So the best diplomatic compromise is "agree to disagree", at least for the time being. Please be patient. So long as we do not enter into argument, there will be "light at the end of the tunnel".
Coming back to your questions:
To defend the Dhamma doesn't mean being intolerant of others' opposition. It means to preserve the purity of the Dhamma and to teach the Dhamma. We do not have to kill others who want to destroy the Dhamma. The Dhamma cannot be destroyed. It is Universal Truth, which transcends race, nationality, belief, time and space. To defend the Dhamma is also to practise the Dhamma.
Yes, this is a "problem" for those who are not familiar with Buddhist tradition. A lot of so-called Buddhists fall victims to this scam. But it is very easy to identify the real monks. Theravada monks go for alms round early in the morning, definitely before noon. They don't walk around begging for food. If they go "house-to-house" they will not skip any house. They will stand silently in front of the door with the alms bowl in hand. After a minute or so, if no response, they will move on to the next house. This traditional practice is only common in Northern Thailand, where the society understands the practice. The more common is for the monks to stand on one spot in a market place with alms bowl in hand, and to accept whatever alms food offered ...definitely not money...only food. When enough food is received, the monks will return to where they came from.
These poor Asian countries happen to be so-called "Buddhist" countries. They are poor not because they are "Buddhists". There is no Buddhist country in this world. There may be countries which have a large proportion of Buddhists. The Government of Thailand refused to enact into law that Buddhism is the "official" religion.
“Please be patient with your "learning" process.”
I`ve been patient for 2 years now and i`ll try to be in the future.>>
I am still learning the teachings of the Buddha after 50 years!!
The journey will be a long but rewarding one. As we travel along the path, we learn to experience happiness and inner peace through the three processes of learning, practising, and experiencing the positive results. With this experiencing, it further encourages us to put more effort to continue learning and practising. The final destination may be unreachable but the journey itself is a lesson in life. Have a pleasant journey.
<< You have said
“Once you are familiar with the Buddhist traditions, a lot of your doubts will gradually disappear.”
I hope so.>>
Have patience and resilience. The truth will prevail, so they say!!