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Author Topic: [Q&A] Why should one not address a venerable as friend?  (Read 137 times)

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Offline Johann

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[Q&A] Why should one not address a venerable as friend?
« on: February 15, 2018, 08:52:56 AM »
Why should one not address a venerable as friend?

Quote from: Upasaka Chris on BSE
Why should one not address a venerable as friend?

Here is a quote from MN 26 :

One, standing up to greet me, received my robe & bowl. Another spread out a seat. Another set out water for washing my feet. However, they addressed me by name and as 'friend.'

So I said to them,
'Don't address the Tathagata by name and as "friend." The Tathagata, friends, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened. Lend ear, friends: the Deathless has been attained. I will instruct you. I will teach you the Dhamma.

I can understand why the Tathagata might not be addressed by name; but why not as "friend"?

Perhaps similarly, from the Maha-parinibbana Sutta:

And, Ananda, whereas now the bhikkhus address one another as 'friend (āvuso)', let it not be so when I am gone. The senior bhikkhus, Ananda, may address the junior ones by their name, their family name, or as 'friend'; but the junior bhikkhus should address the senior ones as 'venerable sir (āyasmā)' or 'your reverence (bhante)'.

What's the need for, what's the benefit of, the "reverent" form of address? Or what's the harm, if any, in the "friendly" mode of address?

If you can, I'd appreciate answers:
  • From canonical sources (e.g. suttas or commentary)
  • From post-canonical sources (e.g. later, or modern, articles or dhamma talks)
  • From personal experience
  • and/or which apply to lay people (when addressing monks, or teachers or other venerables)


I think that ruben202's answer is ample evidence that it is so, in the culture and in the suttas and other scriptures.

I'm not sure I understand why, though. For example:

  • A venerable is a friend -- or are they not?
  • Is the behaviour (or mode of address) mere ritual?
  • Is there said to be a benefit, some purpose, some effect: for society, for the individual's state of mind or karma, or even for the venerable?

I imagine one benefit may be orderliness in the classroom: giving the venerable an opportunity to speak; another benefit is that it might be somehow associated with "faith" (i.e. being willing to listen without yet knowing); is another obedience for some good reason?

The whole question seems to me a bit associated with some identity-view and so thicket-of-views.

The only answer I can think of is a reference to the sutta (reference required) where the Buddha said that people need some teacher or leader, and he (having none) would take the Dhamma as his -- but that's speculation, whereas I'm asking for answers based on references or experience.

This is an attempt to reword this question :

Quote from: Johann on BSE on account of moderators estimate of father, teachers, the sublime Gems
How to explain that relationship with someone worthy of respect is more than just a friendship?

If someone asked, "What? My father, teacher, ... are not just friends?" -- how would one explain significant differences between "tolerance" and "deep respect and regard", of people being in front and what is called a "person worthy of respect"?

Since it might sometimes occur, in modern or western world, that one gives the gift of appreciation to someone who you count as an equal -- how to make best, or explain now the further step, respect, reverence and even refuge and total devotion?

Does anybody have, can provide, a good answer, strategy, to solve such?

Maybe under the headline, "Neither your father, your teachers and many others, nor the Buddha, are your "homies" or your "colleagues" (co-worker on same stage), proper to call and address by name or with 'friend'".

Practical try, as well possible inspiration to answer this, might be found under the question: "Why should one not address a venerable as friend?", by Upasaka Chris . And why the question is very importand and reasonable, why "homie"-like meetings and ways are destructive for a grow, might be also find inspiring answers later possible here . (this is later addition)

[It's not required to try to answer if the significant different is not really traced yet. Possible better to ask another question. And yes it's another challenging and possible not much broadly beloved question. And yes, feel free to upvote the question as well, if thinking that this gives release.

Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

  _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community  _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,


"Why should one not address a venerable as friend?"

Because he/she is an enemy (at least as such perceived), or because one prevers giving what is proper and can be given, maybe...? It would not be of benefit to give without confidence and joy, that what is good for all and praised by the wise.

For long time benefit and aimed even beyound, some inspirations:

If somebody desiring sharing merits by a more extended answer here and seeking sources to be able, Opening the Door to the Dhamma , also Mv I 15: Upajjhāyavattakathā — The Discussion of Duties Toward a Preceptor /teacher and a collection "Respect and Veneration ", might be good "starter":

...Paying Respect or Veneration (also regard, obeisance, high esteem, honour, admiration) (pi apacāyana, apa + cāy root pūja=abound, scarify; verb apaciti; gārava) , is the fourth of the traditional listed ten skilful/meritorious deeds (pi puññakiriya-vatthus), a practice which would be maintained beginning in childhood within families and societies in Buddhist environments. Within the three major kinds meritorious deeds (dāna, sīla, bhāvana) it counts to the virtue group as an aspect of sila. More known accesses, which will be maybe not suddenly regarded as aspects of respect, is the Refuge into the Three Jewels, honour and respect as the access point into the Dhamma and one of the Four Sublime Attributes (brahma vihara), Mudita, often translated as sympathy joy or appreciation. Mudita means joy and appreciation, and with it respect, in regard of one own goodness that one has developed and that of others...more in Detail

If having further an detail question or seeking for an intensive discussion to work thinks good out, one might feel always given to do so here (careholders here don't like such to happen here, sometimes but not always).

Always happy, since people at large often give statistics more value then discerning observations, inwardly and outwardly, this topic here "Lessons from Sardinia: respect towards elders leads to a significantly longer life" , in a usuall opposing proper discerment enviroment, might give some source of thoughts in regard of "one gets what one gives" and why "conservative" (good tradition preserving) societies are more garants for harmonious and long live while usually pseudo liberalism, postmodern and commonist tendencies are merely the enviroments of short live and joyless vegetating.


Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

  niccaṃ vuḍḍhāpacāyino;
  Cattāro dhammā vaḍḍhanti,
  āyu vaṇṇo sukhaṃ balaṃ.

For one of respectful and virtuous nature who continuously honours those who are older and more virtuous, four benefits, viz., longevity, beauty, happiness and strength, will increase.

...and of course vizi-versa, one becomes weak, ugly, thin and founds one self lost in a hot wide desert.

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa

"There is the case where a woman or man is obstinate & arrogant. He/she does not pay homage to those who deserve homage, rise up for those for whom one should rise up, give a seat to those to whom one should give a seat, make way for those for whom one should make way, worship those who should be worshipped, respect those who should be respected, revere those who should be revered, or honor those who should be honored. Through having adopted & carried out such actions, on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in the plane of deprivation... If instead he/she comes to the human state, then he/she is low-born wherever reborn. This is the way leading to a low birth: to be obstinate & arrogant, not to pay homage to those who deserve homage, nor rise up for... nor give a seat to... nor make way for... nor worship... nor respect... nor revere... nor honor those who should be honored.

So really good to think much about the starter for a good walk-about: "What is worthy to go after and fall for it?", and how to not forget and fall into self-centeredness., get stuck.

May all beings have always proper and never to less Respect, Confidence and Patient , and even it may sound contradict, starting with goodwill to be able, with one self, since someone not estimating ones own merits, does not know the cause of pleasure, how could he/she ever find any real refuge and follow it?

Addition because it could work to make the way of approach for a fruitful relay-tion-ship reasonable more understandable.

What kind of guided person in a relation do you like to be? (Drawn from nun Uppalavanas translation of AN 7.13, seven kinds of wives)


- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

Sujatha these are the seven wives to a man. Of them what are you, or like to be?

Venerable sir, from today remember me as a slave wife to my husband.

While Sujatha, and others, even if worse, could trace practice and good ways within her sociaty and being reminded, it's probably total impossible for a modern, western person, having grown up in a communist, socialisitic, postmodern society to ever get a needed enviroment given that they seek for advices in even more "brotherly" Kolkhoz (resource another), under other slaves with no liberality or usuals to walk after liberation.

So if really wishing to get it understood and become capable to adopt and practice good conduct, like always, starts with association with wise and avoiding the fools like poision, or to best train to possible gain existence in a area where basic right view is still something practiced amoung many, become blessed.

For even, as my person heard, recommended and as good estimated branches of monks even wish their lay people not to use proper addressing - "don't do so, we are all equal here in search" - and prefer that what they are used to, by birth, not having chanced, the lighter bearable "homie-hood" to ensure their gain, growth and existence.

Let my person share a simile for encouragement to put all effort into seek for real refuge, inwardly and outwardly and to learn to become a devotional person not to Mara, not to Death, as usual in the world, amoung "friends", in a dusty on-house-holding (e.g. senses) life:

Quote from: Ajahn Chah
The King of Death

We live like a chicken who doesn't know what's going on. In the morning it takes its baby chicks out to scratch for food. In the evening, it goes back to sleep in the coop. The next morning it goes out to look for food again. Its owner scatters rice for it to eat every day, but it doesn't know why its owner is feeding it. The chicken and its owner are thinking in very different ways.

The owner is thinking, "How much does the chicken weigh?" The chicken, though, is engrossed in the food. When the owner picks it up to heft its weight, it thinks the owner is showing affection.

We too don't know what's going on: where we come from, how many more years we'll live, where we'll go, who will take us there. We don't know this at all.

The King of Death is like the owner of the chicken. "We" don't know when he'll catch up with us, for "we're" engrossed — engrossed in sights, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, and ideas. "We" have no sense that "we're" growing older. "We" have no sense of enough.

And possible end up in not having found real refuge again but just a more "comfortable" better more tricky chicken raising farm, with all good for health and grow and good managed, where "non" even able to harm the other.

"Under friends"

Vandāmi is a usual, even often just a ritual, practice under devoted lay followers, a homage, asking for pardon and asking for the share of the juwels merits (e.g. father, teacher, Sangha, Dhamma, Buddha) and as it is pointed out in the Vinaya, to confess faults amoung those of equal, is of no use, would not help and support a better, neither for the individual nor for the paticular community (which can possible not be helped).
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 08:59:04 AM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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March 19, 2018, 05:20:12 AM
This "wiki"-like backup tool is meant as a outwardy insurance that one does not be afraid that anything possible good can be desroyed or made bad while looking for cleaning it. So worry at all, kamma does not dissapear. No need to fear to make good deeds, knowing that.


March 19, 2018, 04:03:35 AM
And there is no intention to just make a museum out of a working and concentration camp, since the Dhamma can not be understood by just looking on forms but by learning and experiance skillful deeds.


March 19, 2018, 04:00:47 AM
Post-history: http://sangham.net/index.php/topic,1164.0.html (but there is no notification system). My person uses to make a @mention , off topic "/me" in the OP.


March 19, 2018, 03:49:28 AM
Or to simply make a new post. No need to be shy in doing good things. It's not a museum, it's a working and concentration place. Mudita.


March 19, 2018, 03:47:57 AM
There is such as a "wiki" backup function in all posts, Nyom Danilo. Good is to use the mention option, at the places where making changes @Johann , that it gets not "lost".


March 19, 2018, 03:02:46 AM
I have a backup of the original post in any case. I might review the second post next time. Very insightful teaching. _/\_


March 19, 2018, 03:01:35 AM
I've recently fixed many words and sentences of the first post of the thread "Debts, but to whom?". It take me some time trying to figure out the meaning of some sentences. So it would be good if Bhante could check if the original intended meaning of the post still intact. I have a backup of the ori


March 19, 2018, 01:57:28 AM
_/\_ _/\_ _/\_


March 19, 2018, 12:01:09 AM
One leading to peaks pointing downward so that aging, sickness and death can be seen, know him/her as a sage, a giver of release.


March 18, 2018, 11:57:30 PM
One leading people to papanca, promoting rejoicing in objectification as the heart wood, increases to fields of corpse in the world.


March 18, 2018, 12:03:14 AM
Good night _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:59:14 PM
Vandami, Bhante _/\_


March 17, 2018, 11:51:37 PM


March 16, 2018, 01:19:17 AM


March 15, 2018, 09:53:07 PM
 :-* ich wünschen allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-*


March 14, 2018, 11:19:11 PM
Sounds like a good idea to rest. I will be taking a break from the internet for a while i feel detached a lot from the worldly feminisms and all. It is wonderful not to be lusting, walking the streets with lowered gaze, delighting in meditation... I fear it compromises me to even think about the pol


March 14, 2018, 11:10:27 PM


March 14, 2018, 10:58:38 PM
Marcel, Morits, Upasaka X, it's time to break up this auspicious coming in touch now also for my person. Observe, remember, how you have been yesterday an now and guess of what will be tomorrow probably... maybe just not sure.


March 14, 2018, 10:06:46 PM
Sadhu, _/\_

may Bhante have a peaceful day.

Chom reap sour.


March 14, 2018, 09:58:42 PM
 :-* :-* :-*


March 14, 2018, 09:55:00 PM
O yes... will be a long day, this yesterday, but possible a remorseless.


March 14, 2018, 09:46:45 PM
Vandami Bhante,
good evening (morning in Cambodia?).



March 14, 2018, 03:03:38 AM
Wie war es gestern? Wie geht es heute?

How was it yesterday? How are you today?


March 06, 2018, 02:24:03 PM
Nyom Jens.


March 05, 2018, 02:25:22 PM
 :-* erhwürdiger bhante johann  :-*


March 05, 2018, 02:17:57 PM
Nyom Marcel


March 01, 2018, 12:52:02 AM
Sadhu, eine des Magha-puja allen jenen die sie heute Begehen.


February 28, 2018, 09:48:58 PM
 :-* allen ein verdienstvollen uposatha tag :-*


February 24, 2018, 02:37:41 AM


February 24, 2018, 01:31:25 AM


February 24, 2018, 12:50:00 AM
Es ist sehr selten, ungewöhnlich und erfreulich, zur Mitfreude anregend, junge Menschen Kloster aufsuchend zu sehen.


February 23, 2018, 02:56:54 PM
Namasakara, Bhante _/\_


February 23, 2018, 04:04:45 AM


February 23, 2018, 02:16:16 AM
Nyom Danilo.
(Atma will leave for a while for his almsround.)


February 22, 2018, 10:08:41 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, ja ich ahb die khmer tastatur installiert! ich werde in den nächsten tagen text teilen und berichten!  :-*


February 22, 2018, 12:34:06 PM
Hat Nyom Marcel schon eine Khmer Tastatur installiert?


February 22, 2018, 12:32:21 PM
So ist das. Wenn Nahrung aufgebraucht, dann ist da für eine Weile Ende, und Wiedergeboren, es wieder brennen wird. Zum endgültigen legen des Feuers sind wir hier, oder? Pfau ruft, Gecko balzt, alles in Ordnung, oder?


February 22, 2018, 12:16:35 PM
 :-* ehrwürdiger bhante johann, letzte nacht davon geträumt, dass es beim ashram brennt!!
ich hoffe, das feuer hat sich gelegt  :-*


February 22, 2018, 11:43:37 AM
Nyom Marcel.


February 22, 2018, 09:08:57 AM


February 22, 2018, 08:49:51 AM
Möge Regen kommen und alle beschützt werden


February 22, 2018, 01:59:08 AM


February 22, 2018, 01:04:19 AM
ich  wünsche einen verdienstvollen uposatha!! all jende für morgen auch einen hervorragenden uposatha!!!
 :-* :-* :-*


February 19, 2018, 06:00:04 PM
Much joy and releasing touches here, Nyom Chris, my person will leave for today, befor it becomes tomorrow, and rest a little.


February 14, 2018, 03:57:33 PM
Sadhu, auch jenen, die ihn morgen, auch Chinesisches Neujahrsfest, begehen, einhalten.


February 14, 2018, 01:37:51 PM
einen verdienstvollen uposatha allen!!!


February 10, 2018, 12:31:09 PM
Sadhu! Mag er fruchtvoll verlaufen sein. Gerade wieder Möglichkeit erhalten, in dieser Welt hier beizutragen.


February 08, 2018, 12:46:43 PM
 :-* :-* :-* ich wünsche allen einen verdienstvollen uposatha  :-* :-* :-*


February 05, 2018, 02:19:14 PM

 :-* :-* :-* sadhu,sadhu,sadhu

 :-* :-* :-*


February 02, 2018, 12:38:06 PM
Meinereiner ist so schnell ie noch nie genesen. Die Symptome des Befalls nur 2 Tage, und die üblichen 5 Tage um das Medikament zu überstehen. Atma ist gerade wohl auf und auch das ist wie für alle nicht sicher. Nutze den Tag heißt vorallem über Alter, Krankheit und Tod, wie Alternative z

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