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Bodhidharma: Re SOsburne.......

To: alt.philosophy.zen,alt.zen,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.religion,alt.religion.buddhism,talk.religion.buddhism,alt.consciousness,alt.philosophy.taoism
From: dreamer@dircon.co.uk (John Agapiou)
Subject: Re: Bodhidharma: Re SOsburne.......
Date: Mon, 08 Apr 1996 19:34:29 GMT

Bodhidharma  wrote:

>Dhyana Buddhism, brought to China (Zen's birthplace) by Bodhidharma, is a 
>"general name for all schools of Buddhism that place particular emphasis 
>on the practice of meditation as the way to enlightenment" (_Encyclopedia 
>of Eastern Religion and Philosophy_).  In my understanding, while 
>meditation is certainly an integral part of Theravada Buddhism (Right 
>Mindfulness is one step on the Noble Eightfold Path), it does not hold 
>the central place it does in Zen; in fact, I have read that it generally 
>is relegated to secondary status when compared to the "moralistic" 
>elements of the Path.  Can anyone verify this?

Yes.  From my visit to Amaravati (a Theravada monastery) it seemed to
me that meditation did indeed take second place to  things such as the
learning of the pali cannon.  The emphasis appears to be more on the
social importance of the sangha (the buddhist community).  I don't
know about other monasteries but there was a harsh set of rules other
than the usual precepts (e.g. no music at all!).  Most of the monks
time is divided amongst work about the monastery, cooking, cleaning
etc.  With a main meal before midday, after which there are no further
meals until the following morning which consists of gruel and a cuppa.
There are regular meetings where the monks pray, meditate, chant and
in the evening there is a discourse.  Also some monks (and nuns, it is
a mixed monastery) run workgroups including meditation.  Spare time
can be spent as you choose, the library there is impressive with a
whole bookcase dedicated to Taoism, more than I have found in any
public library!

It is possible to visit when the monks are not in retreat and you will
be expected to lend a hand in the workings of the monastery.  If you
go I recommend that you take an offering to the monks, preferably
food, (they cannot accept money) and obviously not meat!  Also keep
the precepts, there is no pressure to do this but it does give you a
better insight into their lives.

Sorry I don't know any contact address, but it's in great/little
Gadston, Hertfordshire.


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