Author Topic: A question (actually two) about Dharma names  (Read 481 times)

Offline Marco Polo

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A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« on: January 25, 2017, 07:48:36 pm »
Hello,

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in XVIIth century Siam. Some characters are Buddhist monks and I have no idea what dharma names they could possibly have. I don't even know how Dharma names 'work'.

I thus have two questions:

1- Would someone know of an online list of common/possible Theravada dharma names that can be easily accessed? Something like 'pick any from column 1 and add any from column 2' would be ideal but I realize I might be asking for too much here...  :-P

2- Would giving my characters pali/sanskrit-sounding made-up names without any meaning whatsoever (Luang Pho Vesantharam, Luang Pho Posathirat...) be considered ridiculous or, worse, disrespectful?

I'll be grateful for any information/feedback.

Thanks a lot.

[I hope this is the proper part of the forum to ask these questions. If it is not, please bear with my newbieness and... show me the path. :namaste: ]

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2017, 09:21:47 pm »
Any information about how Dharma names are chosen/given would be welcome and appreciated too.

Thanks to all :hug:

Offline IdleChater

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2017, 11:20:00 am »
Any information about how Dharma names are chosen/given would be welcome and appreciated too.

Thanks to all :hug:

"Dharma names" are usually not chosen at least in Mahayana traditions.

For instance, I have two.  One was given to me when I took Refuge Vows, and the other when I took Bodhisattva Vows.  Both names were given by the person who presided over the ceremony - sometimes called the "preceptor".  Names are also given for monastic achievement and so on.

The names do mean something my Refuge name means Clear Light Dharma Bearer.

Offline IdleChater

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2017, 11:23:45 am »
Hello,

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in XVIIth century Siam. Some characters are Buddhist monks and I have no idea what dharma names they could possibly have. I don't even know how Dharma names 'work'.

I thus have two questions:

1- Would someone know of an online list of common/possible Theravada dharma names that can be easily accessed? Something like 'pick any from column 1 and add any from column 2' would be ideal but I realize I might be asking for too much here...  :-P

2- Would giving my characters pali/sanskrit-sounding made-up names without any meaning whatsoever (Luang Pho Vesantharam, Luang Pho Posathirat...) be considered ridiculous or, worse, disrespectful?

I'll be grateful for any information/feedback.

Thanks a lot.

[I hope this is the proper part of the forum to ask these questions. If it is not, please bear with my newbieness and... show me the path. :namaste: ]

It would only sound ridiculous to a Buddhist who knows the language enough to see that it's all rather contrived.  Average Joe On The Street, probably wouldn't know the difference.

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2017, 07:25:04 pm »
Hello,

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in XVIIth century Siam. Some characters are Buddhist monks and I have no idea what dharma names they could possibly have. I don't even know how Dharma names 'work'.

I thus have two questions:

1- Would someone know of an online list of common/possible Theravada dharma names that can be easily accessed? Something like 'pick any from column 1 and add any from column 2' would be ideal but I realize I might be asking for too much here...  :-P

2- Would giving my characters pali/sanskrit-sounding made-up names without any meaning whatsoever (Luang Pho Vesantharam, Luang Pho Posathirat...) be considered ridiculous or, worse, disrespectful?

I'll be grateful for any information/feedback.

Thanks a lot.

[I hope this is the proper part of the forum to ask these questions. If it is not, please bear with my newbieness and... show me the path. :namaste: ]

It would only sound ridiculous to a Buddhist who knows the language enough to see that it's all rather contrived.  Average Joe On The Street, probably wouldn't know the difference.

Thanks a lot, IdleChater

Offline lobsang~gazom

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 06:31:44 pm »
Any information about how Dharma names are chosen/given would be welcome and appreciated too.

Thanks to all :hug:

"Dharma names" are usually not chosen at least in Mahayana traditions.

For instance, I have two.  One was given to me when I took Refuge Vows, and the other when I took Bodhisattva Vows.  Both names were given by the person who presided over the ceremony - sometimes called the "preceptor".  Names are also given for monastic achievement and so on.

The names do mean something my Refuge name means Clear Light Dharma Bearer.
Same here, I got given my dharma names when I took refuge.
Hello,

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in XVIIth century Siam. Some characters are Buddhist monks and I have no idea what dharma names they could possibly have. I don't even know how Dharma names 'work'.

I thus have two questions:

1- Would someone know of an online list of common/possible Theravada dharma names that can be easily accessed? Something like 'pick any from column 1 and add any from column 2' would be ideal but I realize I might be asking for too much here...  :-P

2- Would giving my characters pali/sanskrit-sounding made-up names without any meaning whatsoever (Luang Pho Vesantharam, Luang Pho Posathirat...) be considered ridiculous or, worse, disrespectful?

I'll be grateful for any information/feedback.

Thanks a lot.

[I hope this is the proper part of the forum to ask these questions. If it is not, please bear with my newbieness and... show me the path. :namaste: ]


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Offline lobsang~gazom

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 06:33:17 pm »
Hello,

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in XVIIth century Siam. Some characters are Buddhist monks and I have no idea what dharma names they could possibly have. I don't even know how Dharma names 'work'.

I thus have two questions:

1- Would someone know of an online list of common/possible Theravada dharma names that can be easily accessed? Something like 'pick any from column 1 and add any from column 2' would be ideal but I realize I might be asking for too much here...  :-P

2- Would giving my characters pali/sanskrit-sounding made-up names without any meaning whatsoever (Luang Pho Vesantharam, Luang Pho Posathirat...) be considered ridiculous or, worse, disrespectful?

I'll be grateful for any information/feedback.

Thanks a lot.

[I hope this is the proper part of the forum to ask these questions. If it is not, please bear with my newbieness and... show me the path. :namaste: ]

It would only sound ridiculous to a Buddhist who knows the language enough to see that it's all rather contrived.  Average Joe On The Street, probably wouldn't know the difference.
Didn't get a second one when I took bodhicitta vows tho

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Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 10:34:24 am »
Since you are asking this question in The Theravadan forum, I will respond first with a correction, since it is an impropper question:

I have never heard of a Dharma Name in the Theravada, because "dharma" is a sanskrit word, which is used predominantly in The Mahayana traditions.  The translation for dharma in the language used by  Theravadan practitioners is "dhamma", which means:

Quote
Dhamma: lit. the 'bearer', constitution or nature of a thing, norm, law jus doctrine; justice, righteousness; quality; thing, object of mind see: āyatana phenomenon'. In all these meanings the word dhamma is to be met with in the texts. The Com. to D. instances 4 applications of this term guna quality, virtue, desanā instruction, pariyatti text, nijjīvatā soullessness, e.g.;all dhammā phenomena, are impersonal,; etc.. The Com. to Dhsee: has hetu condition instead of desanā Thus, the analytical knowledge of the law see: patisambhidā is explained in Vis.M XIV. and in Vibh. as hetumhi-ñāna knowledge of the conditions.

The Dhamma, as the liberating law discovered and proclaimed by the Buddha, is summed up in the 4 Noble Truths see: sacca It forms one of the 3 Gems ti-ratana and one of the 10 recollections anussati.

Dhamma, as object of mind dhammāyatana see: āyatana may be anything past, present or future, material or mental, conditioned or not cf. sankhāra 4, real or imaginary.

Dhamma-cakka: The 'Wheel realm of the Law', is a name for the doctrine 'set rolling' established by the Buddha, i.e. the 4 Noble Truths sacca.

;The Perfect One, o Bhikkhus, the Noble One, fully Enlightened One, in the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares, has set rolling established the unsurpassed Wheel realm of the Law; M. 141. Cf. cakka

Dhamma-desanā: 'exposition of the Doctrine law'; see: desanā

Dhamma-dhātu: mental-object-element see: dhātu

Dhammānupassanā: 'contemplation of the mental-objects' is the last of the 4 foundations of awareness or mindfulness satipatthāna

Dhammānusārī: the 'dhamma-devotee', is one of the 7 Noble Disciples ariya-puggala.

Dhammānussati: 'recollection of the Law', is one of the 10 recollections anussati.

Dhamma-patisambhidā: the 'analytical knowledge of the law, is one of the 4 kinds of analytical knowledge patisambhidā.

Dhamma-tthiti-ñāna: 'knowledge of the fixity of law, is a name for that 'insight which is leading up' to the entrance into one of the 4 supra-mundane paths vutthāna-gāminī-vipassanā. In the Susima Sutta see: XII, 70 this ascending insight is called the 'knowledge of the fixity of the law', namely:;At first, Susima, there exists the knowledge of the fixity of the law, and later the knowledge of Nibbāna.; See Vis.M XXI.

Dhamma-vicaya-sambojjhanga: 'investigation of the law as link to Awakening', is one of the 7 factors of enlightenment bojjhanga.

Dhammāyatana: 'mental-object as base' āyatana.



Most Theravadan monks (bhikkhus) and sisters (bhikkhuni's) that I have met take a name provided to them from the leaders of their sanghas during ordination.:

Here is a link which describes the ordination process:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/ordination1.htm

wherein is described the assignment of names to monks during ordination.  It appears to me that a way to approach this for you is to begin with "ordination" if you wish to become a monk.  To take a name for online purposes, you can simply choose any pali name, which appeals to you.  For example:  In my case, in The Kalama Sutta, Buddha addresses the elders of the community who put a question to him.  So, I chose the name:  Ron-The-Elder. :hug:
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 10:36:30 am by Ron-the-Elder »
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.

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2017, 03:33:37 am »
Marco Polo: if you are not too worried by authenticity you could try ascribing a name reflecting the quality of your character, which is what happens to those ordained in the West sometimes.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline IdleChater

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2017, 10:51:12 am »
Since you are asking this question in The Theravadan forum, I will respond first with a correction, since it is an impropper question:

I have never heard of a Dharma Name in the Theravada, because "dharma" is a sanskrit word, which is used predominantly in The Mahayana traditions.  The translation for dharma in the language used by  Theravadan practitioners is "dhamma", which means:

The exact same thing.  You're quibbling over semantics.  It's not an improper question at all.  The question was about someting quite different from what spelling is correct.  Everybody know what the OP was talking about.  Whats more important, the word or its meaning?

Offline IdleChater

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2017, 11:19:44 am »
Hello,

I am currently writing a novel that takes place in XVIIth century Siam. Some characters are Buddhist monks and I have no idea what dharma names they could possibly have. I don't even know how Dharma names 'work'.

I thus have two questions:

1- Would someone know of an online list of common/possible Theravada dharma names that can be easily accessed? Something like 'pick any from column 1 and add any from column 2' would be ideal but I realize I might be asking for too much here...  :-P

2- Would giving my characters pali/sanskrit-sounding made-up names without any meaning whatsoever (Luang Pho Vesantharam, Luang Pho Posathirat...) be considered ridiculous or, worse, disrespectful?

I'll be grateful for any information/feedback.

Thanks a lot.

[I hope this is the proper part of the forum to ask these questions. If it is not, please bear with my newbieness and... show me the path. :namaste: ]

It would only sound ridiculous to a Buddhist who knows the language enough to see that it's all rather contrived.  Average Joe On The Street, probably wouldn't know the difference.
Didn't get a second one when I took bodhicitta vows tho

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I don't  think it's all that important really.  After all, it's the vow that matters, not a name someone gives for it.  Most people don't use them.  Mine are in frames hanging on my office wall.  My mom got mad when I started using a different nickname.  If I started going by my Dharma name she'd  go apoplectic.

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: A question (actually two) about Dharma names
« Reply #11 on: April 06, 2017, 09:14:44 pm »
Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge  :namaste:

Take care

 


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