Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Sangha: Duties and Responsibilities

After the Buddha's parinibbana, the arahants decreased gradually in number. Nowadays the Sammuti Sanghas come to increase, and the Ariya Sangha becomes very rare, but not yet extinct. For this reason the role of Sammuti Sangha is more important. They require patience with the heavy duty of the Buddha Sasana.  

The Sammuti Sanghas carry out the two main duties:  
[1] the duty of learning dhamma literature (Ganthadhura);  
[2] the duty of practising meditation (Vipassanadhura).  

The first one concerns with the doctrine and the discipline laid down by the Buddha. The second one is relevant to the practical aspect for the path to the enlightenment.

In addition they have two great responsibilities. That is an endeavour for the sake of preserving and propagating Buddhism. So, the Buddhist people must first encourage everyone to contribute in those honorable tasks such as:
[1] Maintenance and Restoration,  
[2] Propagation and Promotion of Buddhism.

What we do to achieve all is to have faith in the Sangha for providing them with four things that the Buddha had permitted monks to accept as offerings. Those are monastery, robes, food and medicine.

To fulfil the first responsibility, every learned monk and nun first need to study and comprehend thoroughly the teachings of Buddha. Then those monks would in turn pass on to and educate the successors—no matter how young and old, rich and poor, high and low they are.   

To try for the second responsibility, each monk and nun must be well trained and prepared for any challenging tasks that lie ahead. It must also be fluent in conversation on the Buddha's Dhamma in foreign languages.  
In a nutshell, the Buddha advised his disciples (Savakas), "Go forth, Bhikkhu, for the benefit of the many, for the welfare of the many, in compassion for the world. Preach the glorious teachings in Dhamma; proclaim the life of holiness."

Posted by Nyan U.

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