Buddhist monasticism

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Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, so too, the bhikkhu becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, he experiences within himself a bliss that is blameless.

Buddhist monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of organized monasticism in the history of religion.

Quotes[edit]

  • 'Suppose there were a man, a slave, a labourer, getting up before you and going to bed after you, willingly doing whatever has to be done, well-mannered, pleasant-spoken, working in your presence. And he might think, ... "I ought to do something meritorious. Suppose I were to shave off my hair and beard, don yellow robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness!" And before long, he does so. And he, having gone forth might dwell, restrained in body, speech and thought, satisfied with the minimum of food and clothing, content, in solitude. And then if people were to announce to you: "Sire, you remember that slave who worked in your presence, and who shaved off his hair and beard and went forth into homelessness?" ... Would you then say: "That man must come back and be a slave and work for me as before?"'

    'No indeed, Lord. For we should pay homage to him, we should rise and invite him and press him to receive from us robes, food, lodging, medicines for sickness and requisites, and make arrangements for his proper protection.'

  • Here, friend Sāriputta, a bhikkhu is a forest dweller himself and speaks in praise of forest dwelling; he is an almsfood eater himself and speaks in praise of eating almsfood; he is a refuse-rag wearer himself and speaks in praise of wearing refuse-rag robes; he is a triple-robe wearer himself and speaks in praise of wearing the triple robe; he has few wishes himself and speaks in praise of fewness of wishes; he is content himself and speaks in praise of contentment; he is secluded himself and speaks in praise of seclusion; he is aloof from society himself and speaks in praise of aloofness from society; he is energetic himself and speaks in praise of arousing energy; he has attained to virtue himself and speaks in praise of the attainment of virtue; he has attained to concentration himself and speaks in praise of the attainment of concentration; he has attained to wisdom himself and speaks in praise of the attainment of wisdom; he has attained to deliverance himself and speaks in praise of the attainment of deliverance; he has attained to the knowledge and vision of deliverance himself and speaks in praise of the attainment of the knowledge and vision of deliverance.
  • Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, so too, the bhikkhu becomes content with robes to protect his body and with almsfood to maintain his stomach, and wherever he goes he sets out taking only these with him. Possessing this aggregate of noble virtue, he experiences within himself a bliss that is blameless.
  • In the past ... when a bhikkhu was a forest dweller and spoke in praise of forest dwelling … the elder bhikkhus would invite him to a seat. ... Now it is the bhikkhu who is well known and famous ... that the elder bhikkhus invite to a seat. ... Then it occurs to the newly ordained bhikkhus: ‘It seems that when a bhikkhu is well known and famous, ... the elder bhikkhus invite him to a seat.’ ... They practise accordingly, and that leads to their harm and suffering for a long time.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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