Martine & Stephen

Batchelor

Time to time I dip into the “Numerical Discourses” as it is my favourite collection of short sutras.  One time I fell upon “Noble Lineages”.  Ah! I thought: ‘What did the Buddha say about this challenging topic?’  So many people claim that their tradition or their teacher is better, higher, purer because supposedly s/he comes from a long unbroken lineage, sometimes even all the way back to the Buddha himself!

In this short sutra, the Buddha introduces the subject by stating that there are 4 noble lineages – “pristine, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated ….”.  So what are those lineages, which are announced as being really the top of the tops, the cream of the creams?

            “Here, monks, a monk is content with any kind of robe …. He does not engage in a wrong search, in what is improper for the sake of a robe.”

            “Further, monks, a monk is content with any kind of almsfood….”

            “Further monks, a monk is content with any kind of lodging….”

            “Further, monks, a monk finds delight in the development (of meditation) …

It seems that we are abiding in a noble lineage when we are contented and practising meditation.  There is no need of great ceremonies, Dharma combats, special clothes or mystical transmission.  Thus being contented might be the greatest practice – a practice of non-clinging and acceptance.

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