Thursday, September 5, 2019
Fearless Mountain Buddhist Monastery, USA
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery (Thai Forest Tradition, California, 2016); Wisdom Quarterly
For over a millennium Theravādins have endeavored to preserve the Dharma (Dhamma) as recorded in their school's sacred texts.
Let's visit a Buddhist monastery complex in Northern California. The documentary Fearless Mountain was produced and filmed by Tony and Andrew Anthony about the Western Theravada monastic community at Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California. For more information see ukiahdailyjournal.com.
White California monks practicing Theravada Buddhism
Wiki edited by Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Crystal Quintero, Wisdom Quarterly
Theravāda ("The Teaching of the Elders," the enlightened male and female monastic disciples of the historical Buddha) is the name of Buddhism's oldest extant school.
The school's adherents, or Theravada Buddhists, have preserved Siddhartha Gautama's teaching in the Pāli canon, the only complete Buddhist set of writings surviving in a classical Indian language.
Pali -- or Magadhan, an Indo-Aryan/Iranian Magadhi Prakrit -- is a simpler form of Sanskrit (at that time an exclusive liturgical language of Vedic/Hindu Brahmin priests, who used it like Roman Catholic priests once used Latin). It was the ancient lingua franca spoken by the Buddha.
Pali rather than Sanskrit is this school's sacred text language. As it is a dead language with no other use but Buddhism, it is the only exclusively Buddhist language today, whereas Sanskrit is the language of Hinduism.
Pali was used in the northwestern frontier, which the Buddhist Emperor Asoka conquered and brought together as the "India" we recognize today centuries after the Buddha (in and around Great Bharat, the ancient remnants of the Indus Valley Civilization around Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, Gandhara, Afghanistan (home of the Scythians/Shakyians, the Buddha's family clan, and not Nepal, according to historian Dr. Ranajit Pal), Kashmir, Magadha, Bihar, and the Gangetic plain.
In contrast to Chinese-dominated Mahāyāna and Tibetan-dominated Vajrayāna, Southeast Asian Theravāda tends to be conservative (i.e., getting "back to basics" and as such being closer to what the historical Buddha actually taught) in matters of doctrine and monastic discipline. More