Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Buddhist Layperson (sutra)

Dhr. Seven, Pfc. Sandoval, Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly; The Buddhist Lay[person], essays by R. Bogoda, Susan Elbaum Jootla, Maurice O'C. Walshe (BPS.lk/AccesstoInsight.org)
Temporary novice touches Indonesian image of the Buddha (Massulan/flickr)
The Lotus-like Lay-follower
Wisdom Quarterly (AN 5.175) 
Novice and layperson (deepblue66/flickr)
The Buddha said: A lay-follower (upasaka) with five qualities is a jewel of a lay-follower, is a lily, is a lotus.
What are the five qualities?

1. One has confidence (faith).

2. One is virtuous.

3. One is levelheaded (rather than superstitious).

4. One believes in the efficacy of action (karma) rather than luck or omen.

5. One looks to and attends first to the spiritual-community (Sangha) for those worthy of support.

Meditation hall as Tulku Dakpa Rinpoche gives teaching on seven-point mind-training at Danakosha Dharma Center (Mitjoruohoniemi/flickr)
Ten Qualities of the Lay-follower
King Milinda (Menander I) coin
These ten, great king, are the qualities of the [Buddhist] lay-follower: 

1. One shares the joys and sorrows of the spiritual-community (the lay, monks', and nuns' Sangha collectively).

2. One places the Dharma (truth) first [that is, before self and worldly considerations, referring to the three dominant influences (adhipateyya), Dharma being the third, after atta (self) and loka (plane of existence); see AN 3.40].

3. One enjoys giving according to one's ability.

4. If one sees a decline in the Dispensation of the Teaching of the Buddha, one strives for its strong growth.

Meditation is not mandatory but joyful, helpful.
5. One cultivates right views, disregarding belief in superstitions and omens, and will not accept a replacement teacher to supplant the Buddha/Dharma, not even for the sake of life. (That is not to say that one has no other teachers. Even at the time of the Buddha, Buddhists had additional teachers like the Buddha's four chief disciples, Sariputra, Khema, Maha Moggallana, and Uppalavanna. They also had preceptors and noble helpers (kalyana mittas) given that "noble friendship" is the whole of path to enlightenment (SN 45.2).
It is characteristic of a stream enterer and other noble disciples, once having seen for oneself that the Buddha was correct and the only one pointing to nirvana, it is not possible to doubt. There is no need for any teaching to gain enlightenment other than one in line with the Dharma he taught and that other noble ones in the Sangha espouse).

Come on, I want to hear the Dharma in this beautiful gompa! (Daniel O'Donnell/flickr.com)
6. One guards one's deeds and words.
7. One loves and cherishes peace and concord.

8. One is not envious or jealous.

9. One does not live a Buddhist life by way of deception or hypocrisy.

10. One has gone for guidance (sarana) to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
Four Essays for Lay Buddhists
  1. Principles of Lay Buddhism (R. Bogoda)
  2. Right Livelihood: The Noble Eightfold Path in the Working Life (Susan Elbaum Jootla)
  3. Having Taken the First Step (Maurice O'Connell Walshe)
  4. Detachment (M.O'C. Walshe)

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