Download merit-making by offering the giant paddy heap

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Geyi wikipedia , lookup

Enlightenment in Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent wikipedia , lookup

Early Buddhist schools wikipedia , lookup

History of Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Silk Road transmission of Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism and violence wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Buddhist art wikipedia , lookup

Theravada wikipedia , lookup

Pre-sectarian Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism and Hinduism wikipedia , lookup

History of Buddhism in India wikipedia , lookup

Dalit Buddhist movement wikipedia , lookup

Buddhist philosophy wikipedia , lookup

Women in Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Skandha wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism in the United States wikipedia , lookup

Persecution of Buddhists wikipedia , lookup

Merit (Buddhism) wikipedia , lookup

Seongcheol wikipedia , lookup

Noble Eightfold Path wikipedia , lookup

Catuṣkoṭi wikipedia , lookup

Dhyāna in Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism and sexual orientation wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism and psychology wikipedia , lookup

Greco-Buddhism wikipedia , lookup

Buddhism and Western philosophy wikipedia , lookup

Buddhist ethics wikipedia , lookup

Triratna Buddhist Community wikipedia , lookup

An exemplary model of
Buddhist Economy
Merit-making by offering the giant
paddy heap
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dipti Mahanta
 Boonkumkhaoyai
is an Isaan word
having four syllables
 Boon means merit
 Kum means gather or heap
 Khao means rice
 Yai means big or giant
In Northeast Thailand, or Isaan, there are twelve
distinct ceremonies known as Prapheni Heet
Sibsong that mark the entire lunar calendar. Each of
these ceremonies is an occasion for merit-making,
observance of the precepts, and cultivation of
morality (sīla), meditation (samādhi) and wisdom
Based strictly on Buddhist principles, each ceremony
in the entire corpus of Prapheni Heet Sibsong points
towards a gradual progress along spiritual path, and
has since time immemorial formed the warp and woof
of the traditional Isaan way of life.
Boonkumkhaoyai (previously known as “Boonkhunlarn”)
is a ceremony that marks the second lunar month and falls
approximately in the month of January.
It is an ancient traditional ceremony that is held at the end
of the harvest season in order to create harmony and
mutual co-existence among all people in the village.
The historical origin of the ceremony can be traced back
to the inspiration drawn by Isaan people from the story of
the previous lives of both Kondanna, the first disciple of
the Buddha to attain arahatship and Subhadda
Paribbachaka, a lay devotee who was the last person to be
enlightened just before the passing away of the Buddha.
A reflection on the underlying ethical principles of
Boonkumkhaoyai will help us understand the original
Buddhist way of life, which when viewed from the
economic perspective is one of moderation,
contentment, generosity and right livelihood.
Boonkumkhaoyai is a typical example of how agrobased rural Isaan community practices the Buddhist
way of life is a genuine way and an analysis of it will
show us the Buddhist approach to a balanced living,
the supporting principles of which will pave the way
for solving any economic crisis no matter where,
when and how it originates.
The underlying supporting principles of
Boonkumkhaoyai are –
 Right
 Generosity
 Moderation
 Contentment
 Control of greed
 Loving-kindness
 Merit-making
 Egalitarianism
 Belief in Kamma
A view of the giant paddy heap at night
Another view at night
Plain rice in sacks and the heap of
unhusked sticky rice at the centre
Celebration of Boonkumkhaoyai on the premises
of the Buddhist University, Khonkaen Campus
Devotees clad in white observe the precepts and
listen to dhamma talks on the occasion
Lay devotees practice
standing meditation at night
Preparing for walking meditation
Another view
Observance of the precepts and
walking meditation on the first night
Monks leading the lay devotees in
walking meditation on the first night
Right Livelihood as endorsed in the
concept of Boonkumkhaoyai
Right Livelihood (samma ājīva) is an essential
component of the Ethical Conduct that forms the
foundational base of the Noble Eightfold Path.
Since Boonkumkhaoyai originated in rural Isaan
where majority of the population engages in
farming as the chief means of livelihood, it can be
assumed that Right Livelihood is endorsed in the
very concept of Boonkumkhaoyai.
Generosity and the practice of Dana
Closely related to Right Livelihood is the Isaan
farmers’ inherent zeal to practice generosity at a
communal level for the welfare of the entire
community and society at large.
At the end of the harvest season a section of the
grain is donated for welfare of the entire village
community as an acknowledgement of the fact of
mutual co-existence and interdependence.
In rural Isaan society, generosity and moderation
work in tandem, otherwise Boonkumkhaoyai
would have been a defunct tradition by now.
Today’s consumerist culture is characterized by
the trend of material indulgence more than
moderation and so genuine acts of charity and
generosity are hard to find.
Having limited needs and being moderate in
spending, a typical Isaan peasant couple has not
yet become a slave of the consumerist culture.
Moderation cannot be practiced if there is no
Isaan peasantry still has a good foundation: most
people are content, not prone to extravagance, are
relatively less obsessed with consumption, and
know the means to sufficiency economy.
Boonkumkhaoyai is a glorious example of how the
spirit of contentment can guide collective action
leading to both individual and social prosperity.
Control of greed
The binding effect of generosity, moderation and
contentment leads to the control of greed.
In order to help flourish a healthy society free of
crime and corruption it is necessary to control
greed through the threefold practice of
generosity, moderation and contentment.
Today’s consumerist culture tends to capitalize
on greed.
 The
participants in Boonkumkhaoyai have
loving-kindness deeply rooted in their hearts;
otherwise, they would have been niggardly and
reluctant to share the fruits of toil and labor.
 The
desire to share implies sacrifice, which in
turn originates from an innate feeling of
loving-kindness and compassion.
 Merit-making
is part and parcel of Thai
Buddhists in general and traditional Isaan
lifestyle epitomizes it fully.
 Isaan
people have successfully preserved the
culture of merit-making by still adhering to its
pristine values and practicing it within the
folds of twelve-months’ tradition.
Egalitarian participation
Like most Isaan ceremonies, Boonkumkhaoyai is a
gender neutral ceremony in which men and women
take part equally.
 The hosts of the ceremony, who donate sacks of
unhusked paddy to form the giant paddy heap, are
humble village folks.
 Each village community has its colourful parade with
men beating traditional drums and cymbals and
women folks dancing to the rhythm holding lotuses,
yellow robes, pillows, money-tree in their hands.
Belief in Kamma
Isaan people, like all Buddhists throughout the world,
have strong faith in the Law of Kamma.
The words of the Buddha “…people sow their seeds
determine their fruits: those who do good, receive good;
those who do evil receive evil” are deeply implanted in
the hearts of rural Isaan people who try to accumulate
merit for spiritual progress and a good birth in the next
The accruement of good deeds will not only bring good
fortunes, happiness and assure a good birth in next life,
but will also lead to higher spiritual attainments.
Moral benefits the participants in
Boonkumkhaoyai reap
Mental well-being
Observance of the precepts
Getting rid of defilements
Acquiring wisdom
Social bonding
Sympathetic joy
Accumulation of merit
A reflection on Boonkumkhaoyai will enable us to
understand the Buddhist way of life vis-à-vis a
consumerist way of living and behaving.
The paradox of the present world situation is that the
values we have enumerated in our discussion, as
reflected in Boonkumkhaoyai are deficiently lacking
in society at large and particularly among affluent
power holders and policy makers.
In today’s highly consumerist culture people tend to
pay lip-service to moral and ethical values.
Consequently, generosity gave way to
contentment to insatiability, control of greed to
selfcenteredness, compassion to indifference,
merit-making to accumulation of wealth, and
belief in one’s own kamma to masquerading.
When all this negative developments gather
momentum, regional or world-wide economic
meltdown becomes inevitable.
 The
Asian Crisis of 1997 originated under
tremendous pressure that built up due to
steady escalation of various negative forces
such as: overconsumption, crony capitalism,
debt, default, excessive real estate speculation,
all of which point at the deterioration of moral
and ethical standard.
Economic crisis will repeat itself and with even
more devastating force if ethical problem are not
taken into consideration and moral standards
both at the national and international level are
not maintained.
 The Buddhist perspective on any economic crisis
will focus on the Right Way of Practice that
incorporates right livelihood, practice of
generosity, moderation, contentment, control of
greed, loving-kindness and compassion, meritmaking, egalitarianism and belief in the Law of
Kamma or volitional actions.
The Buddhist approach to economy is a Middle Way
approach that denies two extremes – living in abject
poverty and indulgence in wealth and materialism.
The dominant mainstream lifestyle and way of
thinking overrides this Middle Way approach.
Exemplary model such as Boonkumkhaoyai that
exists on the periphery ought to be highlighted in
order to counteract and minimize superficial and
vacuous elements in today’s consumerist culture
which is based on extremes such as
overconsumption, indulgence, unfair competition and
hoarding of wealth.
 It
can be concluded that Boonkumkhaoyai is a
Buddhist paradigm of balanced living based
on holistic principles through which the great
ideal of the Buddha’s teachings – ‘for the good
of the many, for the happiness of the many, out
of compassion for the many’ (bahujanahitāya
manifested in its microcosm.
Circumambulating the giant paddy heap three
times in festive mood and holding money trees
Egalitarian participation of lay devotees
Listening to rhythmic sung-sermon
(Thet Laeh Mahachat)
Mass standing meditation at night
Mass walking meditation at night