Buddhist Identity in the Modern World
Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo
Upāsikā Day, Aug. 15, 2015
Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery in Redwood Valley, California
19 excerpts, 1:00:15 total duration

After introducing the topic of Buddhist identity in the modern world, Ajahn Pasanno leads a discussion around this theme.

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Ajahn Pasanno – Aug. 15, 2015 Download audio (1:13:04)
[Buddhist identity]

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1. [12:24] Comment: Secular Buddhism is a new Buddhist identity. [Secular Buddhism]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Abhayagiri] [Monastic life] [Culture/West] [Culture/Thailand]


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2. [14:35] “What did the Buddha think following his teachings should mean or entail?” [Three Refuges] [Precepts] [History/Western Buddhism] // [Virtue] [Lay life] [Faith] [Generosity] [Association with people of integrity] [Hearing the true Dhamma] [Learning] [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] [Conceit]

Sutta: AN 8.26 Jīvaka Sutta


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3. [22:11] “Is there a way to get involved in controversial political issues and still maintain a correct [audio unclear]?” [Politics and society] [Compassion] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Environment] // [Learning] [Corruption] [Divine Abidings] [Depression] [Ill-will] [Equanimity]

Reference: The Heart of the Revolution by Noah Levine.


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4. [27:30] “Why did Jīvaka ask whether a virtuous lay follower is practicing for themselves or others (AN 8.26)?” [Great disciples] [Lay life] [Virtue] [Compassion] // [Culture/India] [Lunar observance days] [Teaching Dhamma]

Vinaya: Kd 2.1.1: Origin of Lunar Observance Days.


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5. [31:27] “Are the qualities in the Jīvaka Sutta (AN 8.26) listed in order of ascending goodness?” [Skillful qualities] // [Practicing in accordance with Dhamma] [Stream entry]


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6. [33:50] Comment about the expectations people may have of Buddhists. [Precepts] [Virtue] [Idealism]

Story: An American asks Ajahn Chah why there are so many thieves in Thailand. Told by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Chah] [Culture/West] [Culture/Thailand] [Stealing]


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7. [36:38] Comments about the positive reputation of Buddhism in the West. [Culture/West] [Precepts] [Idealism]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.


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8. [39:02] “Is one of the benefits of being a monastic having to live up to people's expectations?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Monastic life] [Mutual lay/Saṅgha support] [Robes] // [Conventions] [Christianity] [Idealism] [Culture/West] [Culture/Thailand]


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9. [42:32] “The Dalai Lama is the iconic image of Buddhism in the West, but the Theravāda lineage is not much out there. How do you spread the word?” [Dalai Lama] [Culture/West] [Theravāda] // [Perfections] [Rebirth] [Advertizing] [Ajahn Pasanno] [Abhayagiri] [Dhamma books] [Generosity] [Virtue]


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10. [46:50] Comment regarding the power of encouraging as opposed to demanding. [Hearing the true Dhamma] [Generosity] [Abhayagiri]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno.


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11. [49:02] Comment: People outside will sometimes make fun of our efforts to keep the First Precept. [Killing] [Culture/West]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Ajahn Pasanno]


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12. [50:47] Story about not killing a rattlesnake. [Killing] [Culture/West] [Animal]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Wat Pah Nanachat] [Culture/Thailand]


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13. [54:41] “Should someone who follows the five precepts and meditates but has their own faith and belief call themselves a Buddhist?” [Five Precepts] [Meditation] [Faith] [Spiritual traditions] // [Dhamma] [Truth] [Eightfold Path] [Happiness]


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14. [56:58] Comment: Some Buddhists get upset when they hear someone say that Buddhism is a philosophy. [Philosophy] [Aversion]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno: "It's a lot more than that."


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15. [57:24] “Can you say more about how living up to cultural expectations can be skillful?” [Conscience and prudence] [Skillful qualities] // [Killing] [Sense restraint] [Clear comprehension] [Compassion] [Malicious speech] [Right Speech]


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16. [1:01:02] “If you know of an abusive situation and both the abuser and victim are stuck in it, how do you hold this? How to encourage them to follow this path?” [Abuse/violence] [Compassion] // [Cessation of Suffering]

Quote: “You plant seeds of possibility. You can't make the seeds grow, but you can plant the seeds.” [Similes]


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17. [1:03:15] “What is the right point to drop or ignore the desire to identify with the Buddhist identity?” Answered by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Relinquishment] [Desire] [Self-identity view] // [Suffering] [Perfectionism] [Clear comprehension] [Conventions] [Ajahn Chah] [Right Effort]


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18. [1:09:15] Story: A woman likes Buddhist teachings and principles, follows the precepts, and meditates, but hates when people identify with this and call themselves Buddhist. Told by Ajahn Karuṇadhammo. [Dhamma] [Precepts] [Meditation] [Aversion] [Clinging] [Self-identity view]


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19. [1:10:32] Comment by Ajahn Ñāṇiko: I keep coming back to true principle–what are we doing it all for? [Dhamma] [Killing] [Right Intention]

Response by Ajahn Pasanno. [Attachment to rites and rituals] [Suffering] [Happiness] [Skillful qualities]