(IPA: [θàɰ̃ɡà] )
(Pinyin: sēngjiā )
(Sang, Preah Sang)
(dge 'dun )
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Sangha is a Sanskritword used in many Indian languages, including Pali (saṅgha) meaning "association", "assembly", "company" or "community". It was historically used in a political context to denote a governing assembly in a republic or a kingdom. It is used in modern times by groups such as the political party and social movement Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. It has long been commonly used by religious associations including by Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.
In Buddhism, sangha refers to the monastic community of bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns). These communities are traditionally referred to as the bhikkhu-sangha or bhikkhuni-sangha. As a separate category, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment, whether or not they are members of the monastic community, are referred to as the āryasaṅgha "noble Sangha".
According to the Theravada school, the term "sangha" does not refer to the community of sāvakas (lay followers) nor the community of Buddhists as a whole.
In a glossary of Buddhist terms,Richard Robinson et al. define sangha as:
Sangha. Community. This word has two levels of meaning:
(1) on the ideal (arya) level, it denotes all of the Buddha’s followers, lay or ordained, who have at least attained the level of srotāpanna;
(2) on the conventional (saṃvṛti) level, it denotes the orders of the Bhikṣus and Bhikṣunis.
Mahayana practitioners may use the word "sangha" as a collective term for all Buddhists, but the Theravada Pāli Canon uses the word pariṣā (Sanskrit pariṣad) for the larger Buddhist community—the monks, nuns, lay men, and lay women who have taken the Three Refuges—with a few exceptionsreserving "sangha" for a its original use in the Pāli Canon—the ideal (arya) and the conventional.
The two meanings overlap but are not necessarily identical. Some members of the ideal Sangha are not ordained; some monastics have yet to acquire the Dharma-eye.
Unlike the present Sangha, the original Sangha viewed itself as following the mission laid down by the Master, viz, to go forth "…on tour for the blessing of the manyfolk, for the happiness of the manyfolk out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the blessing, the happiness of deva and men".
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The Sangha is the third of the Three Refuges in Buddhism.Common over all schools is that the āryasaṅgha is the foremost form of this third jewel. As for recognizable current-life forms, the interpretation of what is the Jewel depends on how a school defines Sangha. E.g. for many schools, monastic life is considered to provide the safest and most suitable environment for advancing toward enlightenment and liberation due to the temptations and vicissitudes of life in the world.
In Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha each are described as having certain characteristics. These characteristics are chanted either on a daily basis and/or on Uposatha days, depending on the school of Buddhism. In Theravada tradition they are a part of daily chanting:
The Sangha: The Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples (sāvakas) is:
That is, the four pairs of persons, the eight types of individuals - This Sangha of the Blessed One's disciples is:
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The Sangha was originally established by Gautama Buddha in the fifth century BCE in order to provide a means for those who wish to practice full-time in a direct and highly disciplined way, free from the restrictions and responsibilities of the household life.The Sangha also fulfils the function of preserving the Buddha’s original teachings and of providing spiritual support for the Buddhist lay-community. The Sangha has historically assumed responsibility for maintaining the integrity of the doctrine as well as the translation and propagation of the teachings of the Buddha.
The key feature of Buddhist monasticism is the adherence to the vinaya which contains an elaborate set of 227 main rules of conduct (known as Patimokkha in Pāli) including complete chastity, eating only before noon, and not indulging in malicious or salacious talk.Between midday and the next day, a strict life of scripture study, chanting, meditation, and occasional cleaning forms most of the duties for members of the Sangha. Transgression of rules carries penalties ranging from confession to permanent expulsion from the Sangha.
Saichō, the founder of the Japanese school of Tendai, decided to reduce the number of rules down to about 60 based on the Bodhisattva Precepts. In the Kamakura, many Japanese schools that originated in or were influenced by the Tendai such as Zen, Pure Land Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism abolished traditional ordination in favor of this new model of the monastic regulations.
The Order of Interbeing, established in 1964 and associated with the Plum Village Tradition, has fourteen precepts observed by all monastics.They were written by Thích Nhất Hạnh.
Monks and nuns generally own a minimum of possessions due to their samaya as renunciants, including three robes, an alms bowl, a cloth belt, a needle and thread, a razor for shaving the head, and a water filter. In practice, they often have a few additional personal possessions.
Traditionally, Buddhist monks, nuns, and novices eschew ordinary clothes and wear robes. Originally the robes were sewn together from rags and stained with earth or other available dyes. The color of modern robes varies from community to community: saffron is characteristic for Theravada groups; blue, grey or brown for Mahayana Sangha members in Vietnam, maroon in Tibetan Buddhism, grey in Korea, and black in Japan.
A Buddhist monk is a bhikkhu in Pali, Sanskrit bhikṣu, while a nun is a bhikkhuni, Sanskrit bhikṣuṇī. These words literally mean "beggar" or "one who lives by alms", 115 and it was traditional in early Buddhism for the Sangha to go on "alms round" for food, walking or standing quietly in populated areas with alms bowls ready to receive food offerings each day. Although in the vinaya laid down by the Gautama Buddha, the Sangha was not allowed to engage directly in agriculture, this later changed in some Mahayana schools when Buddhism moved to East Asia, so that in the East Asian cultural sphere, the monastic community traditionally has engaged in agriculture. An emphasis on working for food is attributed to additional training guidelines laid down by a Chan Buddhist master, Baizhang Huaihai, notably the phrase, "A day without work is a day without food" (Chinese :一日不做一日不食).[ This quote needs a citation ]:
The idea that all Buddhists, especially Sangha members, practice vegetarianism is a Western misperception.
In the Pali Canon, the Buddha rejected a suggestion by Devadatta to impose vegetarianism on the Sangha. According to the Pali Texts, the Buddha ate meat as long as the animal was not killed specifically for him. The Pāli Canon allowed Sangha members to eat whatever food is donated to them by laypeople, except that they may not eat meat if they know or suspect the animal was killed specifically for them. Consequently, the Theravada tradition does not practice strict vegetarianism, although an individual may do so as his or her personal choice .
On this question, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions vary depending on their interpretation of their scriptures. In some Mahayana sutras, meat-eating is strongly discouraged and it is stated that the Buddha did not eat meat. In particular, East Asian Sangha members take on the Bodhisattva Precepts originating in the Brahmajāla Sūtra , which has a vow of vegetarianism as part of the Triple Platform Ordination, where they receive the three sets of vows: śrāmaṇera/śrāmaṇerī (novitiate), monastic, and then the Brahmajāla Sūtra Bodhisattva Precepts, whereas the Tibetan lineages transmit a tradition of Bodhisattva Precepts from Asanga's Yogācārabhūmi-Śāstra , which do not include a vow of vegetarianism.
According to Mahayana sutras, Gautama Buddha always maintained that lay persons were capable of great wisdom and of reaching enlightenment. In some areas there has been a misconception that Theravada regards enlightenment to be an impossible goal for those outside the Sangha, but in Theravada suttas it is clearly recorded that the Buddha's uncle, a lay follower, reached enlightenment by hearing the Buddha's discourse, and there are many other such instances described in the Pāli Canon. Accordingly, emphasis on lay persons, as well as Sangha members, practicing the Buddhist path of morality, meditation, and wisdom is present in all major Buddhist schools.
Some scholars noted that sangha is frequently (and according to them, mistakenly) used in the West to refer to any sort of Buddhist community.The terms parisa and gaṇa are suggested as being more appropriate references to a community of Buddhists. Pariṣā means "following" and it refers to the four groups of the Buddha's followers: monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen. The Sanskrit term gaṇa has meanings of "flock, troop, multitude, number, tribe, series, class", and is usable as well in more mundane senses.
The Soka Gakkai, a new religious movement which began as a lay organization previously associated with Nichiren Shōshū, a branch of Nichiren-shū Buddhism in Japan, disputes the traditional definition of sangha. It interprets the meaning of the Three Jewels of Buddhism, in particular the "treasure of the Sangha," to include all people who practice Buddhism correctly, whether lay or clerical. After its excommunication in 1991, the organization re-published literature which then revised the terms such as "Treasure of the Priesthood" to "The Buddhist Order".Some, though not all, Nichiren-shū sects holds this position as do some progressive Mahayana movements as well.
Nichiren Shōshū maintains the traditional definition of the Sangha as the head temple priesthood collective as sole custodians and arbiters of Buddhist doctrine.
Buddhist cuisine is an Asian cuisine that is followed by monks and many believers from areas historically influenced by Mahayana Buddhism. It is vegetarian or vegan, and it is based on the Dharmic concept of ahimsa (non-violence). Vegetarianism is common in other Dharmic faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism, as well as East Asian religions like Taoism. While monks and a minority of believers are vegetarian year-round, many believers follow the Buddhist vegetarian diet for celebrations.
Theravāda is the most commonly accepted name of Buddhism's oldest existing school. The school's adherents, termed Theravādins, have preserved their version of Gautama Buddha's teaching in the Pāli Canon. The Pāli Canon is the most complete Buddhist canon surviving in a classical Indian language, Pāli, which serves as the school's sacred language and lingua franca. For over a millennium, theravādins have endeavored to preserve the dhamma as recorded in their school's texts. In contrast to Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna, Theravāda tends to be conservative in matters of doctrine and monastic discipline.
The Vinaya is the division of the Buddhist canon (Tripitaka) containing the rules and procedures that govern the Buddhist monastic community, or sangha. Three parallel Vinaya traditions remain in use by modern monastic communities: the Theravada, Mulasarvastivada and Dharmaguptaka. In addition to these Vinaya traditions, Vinaya texts of several extinct schools of Indian Buddhism are preserved in the Tibetan and East Asian canons, including those of the Kāśyapīya, the Mahāsāṃghika, the Mahīśāsaka, and the Sarvāstivāda
A bhikkhu is an ordained male monastic ("monk") in Buddhism. Male and female monastics are members of the Buddhist community.
A Buddhist chant is a form of musical verse or incantation, in some ways analogous to Hindu, Christian, Muslim or Jewish religious recitations.
Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem.
Śrāvaka (Sanskrit) or Sāvaka (Pali) means "hearer" or, more generally, "disciple". This term is used in Buddhism and Jainism. In Jainism, a śrāvaka is any lay Jain so the term śrāvaka has been used for the Jain community itself. Śrāvakācāras are the lay conduct outlined within the treaties by Śvetāmbara or Digambara mendicants. "In parallel to the prescriptive texts, Jain religious teachers have written a number of stories to illustrate vows in practice and produced a rich répertoire of characters.".
Theravada Buddhism is the largest, oldest and Official religion of Sri Lanka practiced by 70.19% of Sri Lanka's population as of 2012. Practitioners of Buddhism can be found amongst the Sinhalese population as well as the Tamil population. Buddhism has been given the foremost place under Article 9 of the Constitution which can be traced back to an attempt to bring the status of Buddhism back to the status it enjoyed prior to being destroyed by colonialists. However, by virtue of Article 10 of the Sri Lankan constitution, religious rights of all communities are preserved. Sri Lanka is the traditionally oldest religious Buddhist country where Buddhist culture is protected and preserved. The island has been a center of Buddhist scholarship and learning since the introduction of Buddhism in the third century BCE producing eminent scholars such as Buddhaghosa and preserving the vast Pāli Canon. Throughout most of its history, Sri Lankan kings have played a major role in the maintenance and revival of the Buddhist institutions of the island. During the 19th century, a modern Buddhist revival took place on the island which promoted Buddhist education and learning. There are around 6,000 Buddhist monasteries on Sri Lanka with approximately 15,000 monks.
Upāsaka (masculine) or Upāsikā (feminine) are from the Sanskrit and Pāli words for "attendant". This is the title of followers of Buddhism who are not monks, nuns, or novice monastics in a Buddhist order, and who undertake certain vows. In modern times they have a connotation of dedicated piety that is best suggested by terms such as "lay devotee" or "devout lay follower".
Buddhism is practiced by 90% of the country's population, and is predominantly of the Theravada tradition. It is the most religious Buddhist country in terms of the proportion of monks in the population and proportion of income spent on religion. Adherents are most likely found among the dominant Bamar people, Shan, Rakhine, Mon, Karen, and Chinese who are well integrated into Burmese society. Monks, collectively known as the sangha, are venerated members of Burmese society. Among many ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Bamar and Shan, Theravada Buddhism is practised in conjunction with nat worship, which involves the placation of spirits who can intercede in worldly affairs.
Buddhist monasticism is one of the earliest surviving forms of organized monasticism and one of the fundamental institutions of Buddhism. Monks and nuns, called bhikkhu and bhikkhuni, are responsible for the preservation and dissemination of the Buddha's teaching and the guidance of Buddhist lay people. Three surviving traditions of monastic discipline (Vinaya), govern modern monastic life in different regional traditions: Theravada, Dharmaguptaka, and Mulasarvastivada.
The Pratimokṣa is a list of rules governing the behaviour of Buddhist monastics. Prati means "towards" and mokṣa means "liberation" from cyclic existence (saṃsāra).
Buddhist vegetarianism is the practice of vegetarianism by significant portions of Mahayana Buddhist monks and nuns and some Buddhists of other sects. In Buddhism, the views on vegetarianism vary between different schools of thought. The Mahayana schools generally recommend a vegetarian diet because Gautama Buddha set forth in some of the sutras that his followers must not eat the flesh of any sentient being.
Buddhist ethics are traditionally based on what Buddhists view as the enlightened perspective of the Buddha, or other enlightened beings such as Bodhisattvas. The Indian term for ethics or morality used in Buddhism is Śīla or sīla (Pāli). Śīla in Buddhism is one of three sections of the Noble Eightfold Path, and is a code of conduct that embraces a commitment to harmony and self-restraint with the principal motivation being nonviolence, or freedom from causing harm. It has been variously described as virtue, moral discipline and precept.
In English translations of Buddhist texts, householder denotes a variety of terms. Most broadly, it refers to any layperson, and most narrowly, to a wealthy and prestigious familial patriarch. In contemporary Buddhist communities, householder is often used synonymously with laity, or non-monastics.
The Uposatha is a Buddhist day of observance, in existence from the Buddha's time, and still being kept today by Buddhist practitioners. The Buddha taught that the Uposatha day is for "the cleansing of the defiled mind," resulting in inner calm and joy. On this day, both lay and ordained members of the sangha intensify their practice, deepen their knowledge and express communal commitment through millennia-old acts of lay-monastic reciprocity. On these days, the lay followers make a conscious effort to keep the Five Precepts or the eight precepts. It is a day for practicing the Buddha's teachings and meditation.
Women in Buddhism is a topic that can be approached from varied perspectives including those of theology, history, anthropology, and feminism. Topical interests include the theological status of women, the treatment of women in Buddhist societies at home and in public, the history of women in Buddhism, and a comparison of the experiences of women across different forms of Buddhism. As in other religions, the experiences of Buddhist women have varied considerably.
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".
A bhikkhunī (Pali) or bhikṣuṇī (Sanskrit) is a fully ordained female monastic in Buddhism. Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by the Vinaya, a set of rules. Until recently, the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. From conservative perspectives, none of the contemporary bhikkuni ordinations are valid.
Buddhānusmṛti, meaning "Buddha-mindfulness", is a common Buddhist practice in all Buddhist traditions which involves meditating with a Buddha, such as Gautama or Amitābha, as the meditation subject.
The Holy Book says: "We ought to know that this place is the Kaidan.'" This means that whatever a place, where we practice the doctrines of the Holy Book, is fit for a "Kaidan." If it is fit for a "Kaidan," it is inhabited by all Buddhas. Such is the nature of the "Kaidan" taught by our Sect.