Author Topic: Receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings  (Read 2739 times)

Offline Rayfield

  • Member
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings
« on: January 22, 2010, 07:06:16 am »
For the better part of a year, I've been sitting with a sangha that is rooted in the tradition as interpreted by Thich Nhat Hanh, and have attended a retreat in the same vein. It's been a good thing for me; there is definitely something empowering (for lack of a better word) about a sangha, as opposed to the time that I spent studying Buddhism on my own.

Having said that, I'm not yet convinced that Hanh's Order of Interbeing is the path that I will exclusively tread. I've sampled other Buddhist traditions, and can't discount the possibility of going down a Soto Zen or Theravadan road, if I ultimately found that they are a good match for me.

With that preamble, my question is this:
I have the opportunity to receive the 5 Mindfulness Trainings (Thich Nhat Hanh's interpretation of the Precepts) next month. I guess it's truly a newbie question, but I'm wondering if there is an ethical issue with me receiving this if I'm yet unsure of my future in that tradition. Or does it not really matter...?

I guess I was curious to get input from people that have spent more time around the traditions/schools, and perhaps understood the concept of Precept transmission a bit better than I do.

Thanks for any opinions.  :namaste:

Offline lowonthetotem

  • Member
  • Posts: 871
    • View Profile
Re: Receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 08:52:45 am »
THN's five mindfulness trainings are none other that the five lay precepts that you would undertake in any tradition.  They offer some further explanation than the general "I will not kill, lie, steal, mess around, drink alcohol" language that is common to the five precepts, but that is simply meant to make things less ambiguous and to bring them a little more "up-to-date" so to speak.  Undertaking these precepts is no different than undertaking the same precepts in a different school nor does it preclude you from undertaking the same precepts again in a different tradition.  Upon reviewing the ordination language for a householder in the OI, as that is what the ceremony is, an ordination ceremony, if you wish to relinguish your ordination you simply don't review the mindfulness trainings with your sangha for a month, or maybe it is just two weeks.  Bam! Do that, and you are no longer ordained in the OI.  So, if you join another group and do not sit with your current group for more than a few weeks, your perceived problem is resolved.

However, I would stress that this is a problem in perception only.  I guess some people have the impression that OI is somehow a "new" tradition, but it is simply a manifestation of Linji/Rinzai Buddhism that has come about in the twentieth century.  Furthermore, although OI is new, Thich Nhat Hanh's lineage transmission is a centuries old pedigree.  OI is based on very traditional Mahayana practices, although it does seem to attract many rather non-traditional practitioners, probably due to the fact that TNH has written so many books in English.  That is attractive to Western practitioners, who by the nature of their cultural background are generally, but not always, non-traditional in at least superficial ways.  I was ordained as an Upasaka in a group whose basis is the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, but I cannot stress enough that Thich Nhat Hanh did not just make up his teachings and that they come from a long history of Linji/Rinzai Patriarchs, even back to the First Chan Patriarch, Bodhidharma.  You may want to pick up, Nothing to Do Nowhere to Go (It may be the other way around).  That is Thay's commentary on the Record of Linji, Linji Lu.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2010, 08:56:20 am by lowonthetotem »

Offline Rayfield

  • Member
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: Receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 08:59:13 am »
Wow, thank you for the comprehensive answer. You responded to my question AND taught me a couple of things.  ;D


Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4485
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Receiving the 5 Mindfulness Trainings
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 09:35:25 am »
Hi, Rayfield.

My suggestion is to stick your nose into as many different traditions as to which you have access online and at brick and mortar operations.  Wherever you feel at home and can relate to members of The Sangha take the necessary next steps to satisfy your personal need for a sense of belonging.  You can do this by asking the appropriate ordained Bhante' (teacher) to assist you and guide you in your studies, and/or take refuge in The Triple Gem in accordance with the traditions of that group, and etc..

Take your time.  As an old dear friend of mine (now deceased) once pointed out to me:  "You got to circulate to percolate."

_/\_  Ron

Wow, thank you for the comprehensive answer. You responded to my question AND taught me a couple of things.  ;D


What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal