Monday, 28 March 2011

Fundamental Characteristics of Monastic Education


It is well known that the Buddha had to introduce disciplinary rules with the growth of the order in number of the members. The way of discipline was for controlling and avoiding minor and major offences. Another aspect needed for monastic life was establishing a system of education especially for training of new comers. The main purpose of Buddhist monastic life is to attain liberation. The KitAgirisutta of MN says.

ßaddhasa bhikkhave kulaputtassa satthUsAsane pariyogAya vattato dvinnaM phalAnaM aJJAtaraM phalaM pATikankhA diTTheva dhamme aJJA sati vA upAdisesa anAgAmitA

=O monks! The son of a family who lives fully engaged in the Buddhist order one of two fruits to be wished, being realized in this life itself or attain the stage of non-returner of dead.

This is the main purpose of Buddhist monastic life as the Buddha wish to be. But with the development of the order the picture of nature of monks particularly with reference to their behaviour changed to be. The MahAvaggapAli explains such a situation as follows.

†ena kho pana samayena bhikkhU anupajjhAyakA anovayamAnA ananusAsiyamAnA dunnivattA duppArutA anAkappasampannA piNDiya carati
=At that time monks wandered for food  without preceptors, not being advised and instructed, not with proper cloth and not properly dressed an not being proper attitude  (of a monk).

These who go for alms in that manner give the bowl with remaining food to the people who are having their food. They ask for rice and curries. They make a big sound in the alms hall. The devotees do not like being this kind of forms of behaviour started to criticize in saying that Buddhist monks are Brahmins at the alms hall. So the Buddha recommended for each monk to have (anujAnAmi bhikkhave upajjhAyaM). When the preceptor passed away or disrobed the monks have to live without even teacher, in such a case the teacher was appointed to the duties of the preceptor (anujAnAmi bhikkhave Acariya).

Here it is important to examine the special characteristic of the preceptor and teacher. According to the ßamantpAsAdika a commentary on the vinayapitaka, preceptor is a person who shows what is the right and wrong (vajjAvajjaM upanijjhAyako). Teacher means that the person teaches proper form of behaviour (AcArasamAcArA sikkhApanako Acariyo). According to the MahAvaggapAli the new comer should request an elder monk to be his teacher or preceptor (upajjhAyako me bhante hohi, Acariya me bhante hohi). The pupil of the upajjhAya is called saddhiviharika (co-dweller) and the pupil of the teacher is called antevAsika (who lives near).

The preceptor and co-dweller should mind of father and son toward each other

UpajjhAyo bhikkhave saddhivihArikamhi puttacittaM upaTThApessati saddhivihArako upajjhAyamhi pitucittaM upaTThApessati

They should be respective toward each other (aJJamaJJA sagAravA), with help to each other (sappatissA) and with suitable behaviour to each other (sabhAgavuttino). The Buddha says if the elder of younger live like this that is conducive to the growth of sAsana.
In understanding the role of the teacher it is a significant to know what is the advice and instruction because these are two duties of the teacher toward student.

OvAdoti anotiNNe vatthusmiM idaM karohi, idaM maM karitthAti vacanaM anisAsanIti otiNNe vA paThamaM vacanaM ovAde, punapuna vacanaM anusAsanIti
=Advice means the word do it or don’t do it before comiting the offence. Instruction means after committing the offence. Again if he commits or not the first advice is called ovAda, repeated instruction is called anusAsana.

The next important of this topic is examined the suitable advice and instruction. Once a bhikkhu named Vangantaputta Upasena was preceptor being two years old from upasampada to a monk  who was one year old from the upasmpada. On this reason the Buddha instructed the qualities of the proper preceptor. The monk who is to be advised by others should not advise others. A monk is basically suitable to advise when he is ten years old from upasampada, otherwise advising or instructing are offence. Even ten years old the preceptor should be wise (paNDito), clever (vyatto), learned (bahusuto) and erudite (paJJavanto).
 To be Acariya or upajjhAya one must be asekha (arahant) or sekha (trainee). An arahant has five qualities namely.
1.   Morality (sIla)
2.   Concentration (samAdhi)
3.   Wisdom (paJJA)
4.   liberation (vimutti)
5.   Knowledge and vision of the liberation (vimuttiJAnadassana). Therefore he suitable to higher ordain other, to be the teacher and to be attended be the novices.

The trainee is faithful (saddha hoti) he has shame in what is evil (hIrimA hoti), he is afraid of what is sinful (ottappi hoti), he is courages (Araddha viriya hoti), he is mindful (upaTThita sati hoti) danger in behaviour (AcAravipatti) danger in vision (diTThi upatti), well learned (bahusuto) and erudite (paJJavanto). The teacher or preceptor should be able facilitate saddhivirika or antevAsika to help him to achieve self-actualization.

Patibalo hoti antevAsikaM vA saddhiviharikaM vA gilAnaM vA upATThAtuM vAupaTThApetuM vA

=he should be capable of attending for cause or attend to the student, co-resident or sick

ånabhirataM vUpAkasetuM vA vUpAsApetuM vA
=Capable of remaining any dislike ness in the monastic life or cause to do so
Āpatti jAnAti
Āpatti vuTTHAnaM jAnAti

In the µahAvaggapAli five more qualities of the teacher or preceptor are given are given as suitable qualities to train and discipline.

1.   ĀbhisamAcikAya sikkhAya sikkhApetuM – to discipline in the precepts that are related to proper ethical behaviour as a monk.
2.   ĀdibrahmacariyakAya sikkhAya vinetuM - to discipline in the precepts that are related to the noble life.
3.  ådhidhamme vinetuM – to discipline in higher doctrine
4.  åbhivinaye vinetuM – to discipline in higher discipline
5.   UppannaM diTThigataM dhammato vinayetuM – to criticize an arisen wrong view according to the dhamma.

When the preceptor or teacher is thus qualified the student should like in some specified way toward them. Basically the student well behaved in every aspect (sammA vattitabbaM). The following duties and forms of behaviour also specially mentioned. The student should get up earlier and should prepared brush-sticks, water foe washing and seats. If there is gruel next that should be offered. When cleaning cups and plats etc that should be done in a way that it should not disturb the teacher.

ñIcaM katvaM sAdhukaM aparisaGghantena dhovitvA paTisAmetabbaM

=washing should be done having lowered and without cleaning the items and then should be kept then in order.

If the teacher wishes to go on the alms round bowl and robe should given to him. He wishes a follower should be done so by the permission of the teacher. When the teacher is speaking the student not talk and the teacher is speaking offensive words an attempt should be done to stop it. The students also should be aware of offences and he should remind the teacher accordingly. When the teacher is returning from the alms round the student should every things for him. The bowl and the robe of the teacher should be kept neat and tidy. Domestic items should be arranged in order and they should be kept clean. The student should prepare hot and cool water for bathing all the others necessary things for bathing should also be prepared.

If environment is dirty every things should be cleaned very carefully. Every attempt should be done to maintain pure surrounding. The doors and windows should open and close in proper time in a way that the dust does not come in. Water should arrange everywhere as it is necessary for monastic use. The student should be careful; in order to do what is necessary. If dislikeness in the order, restlessness in the precepts and wrong views are born in the teacher he should put them forward. If he happens to do a great mistake and the student is interested to cause the sangha to do protection (parivAsa), period of respected state (mAnatta)  and rehabilitation (abbhAna) kamma. If a punishment meted righteously in the teacher the student should be mindful on it. The student should do colouring the robes of the teacher by himself.

According to the ĀcAriyavatta of the µahAvaggapAli the student should not give robe and bowl of the teacher to any other person also eh should not take robe or bowl without teacher’s permission. The student should not engage in activities belong onto others. He should not follow another teacher or faith and every thing should be done by permission of the teacher.

In monastic disciplinary the teacher also should live well towards the student. Material necessities and encouragement in spiritual matter should be given. In the case of illness the teacher should do all the duties towards the student. The student should be trained to perform the duties of the saddhivihArika and antevAsika. If the both does not perform their duties well it is taken as an offence. 

ña bhikkhave saddhavihArikena upajjhAyamhi na sammAvattabbaM, yo na sammAvatteyya Apatti dukkaTassa

In the case the trainee is not under control the teacher is advised to expel (anujAnAmi bhikkhave sammAvattantaM panAmetaM). If the teacher let the student to be understood that he is expelled, the teacher does not contact verbal or otherwise with trainee. If the student comes towards to apologize then he is doing a mistake (na bhikkhave panAmitena na khamapetabbA, yo na khamapeyya Apatti dukkaTassa).  The text says if the teacher is not going to grant the apology to the student he might go away (pakkamanti), disrobe (vimbhamanti) or go to other religions (aJJatiTThiyesupi samkamanti).

The teacher is not allowed to expel when the student is behaving in good. The teacher can a trainee expel in following in five reasons.
1.  ñAdhimattaM pemaM hoti
2.  ñAdhimattaM pasAdaM hoti
3.  ñAdhimattaM hirI hoti
4.  ñAdhimattaM garavavaM hoti
5.  ñAdhimattaM bhAvanA hoti

When the student lacks with great care, pleasantness, shininess, respect and loving kindness toward the teacher the student should be expelled. 

PaJcahi aGgehi samannAgataM saddhivihArikaM apanAmanto upajjhAyo sAtisAro hoti, panAmanto anutisAro

=By expelling the co-resident who is endowed with above five characteristics, the preceptor becomes fold free, by non-expelling the preceptor becomes faulty.

It is the duty of the upajjhAya to supply the trainee with close observing instruction that instruction which is intimately taken is caaled Nisa.
ånujAnAmi bhikkhave byattena bhikkhunA paTibalena paJcavassAni nissaya vattuM abyattena yAvajIvaM

=O monks! I allow the erudite monk who is capable to live closely observing instruction for five years, and whole life is to practice the same by the unable.

There are twenty one reasons (21) given because of what the trainee should have Nisa.

1.  ña asekhena sIlakkhandhena virtours to be practiced
2.  ña asekhena samAdhikkhaandhena concentration to be developed
3.  ña asekhena paJJakkhandhena wisdom to be developed
4.  ña asekhena vimuttikkhandhena liberation to be achieved
5.  ña asekhena vittiJJAnadassanakkhandhena knowledge and freedom to be achieved
6.  åssaddho –being faithless
7.  åhiriko – being shiless
8.  ånottappi – being fearless
9.  KusIto – being lazy
10. µuTThasakkhi – being careless
11. ßIlavipanno – being imperfect in morally
12. ĀcAravipanno – being imperfect in behaviour
13. ∂iTThivipanno – holding wrong view
14. åpassuto being les learned
15. ∂uppaJJo – being unwise
16. Āpatti na jAnati does not know offence
17. ånApattiM na jAnati does not know non-offence
18. ¬ohukApattiM na jAnati does not know general offence
19. ©arukApittiM na jAnati does not know serious offence
20. UbhayAni pATimokkhAni na jAnti does not know the higher morality of monks and nuns
21. ŪNa paJcavasso being below five rainy retreats

Those monks who have these weaknesses should spend their times under a ñissAcariya without it a proper life of a monk becomes impossible.

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