o Higher ordination
o Cannot be taken until one is 20 (from conception, not birth)
o Far more formal and elaborate than pabbajja
o The postulant novice is presented by one monk, his 'teacher', to a formally constituted assemblage of monks presided over by another officiant, the 'preceptor', and is admitted as one of their number when he is shown himself duly qualified
o Not valued unless it is conferred by a quorum of monks, those own ordination must be valid too
o The monks should be learned and at least ten years' standing
o The quorum was set at ten, but five for 'border areas'
o The ceremony proceeds:
♣ By the presiding monk putting the proposal to the assembly three times
♣ Silence signifies consent, and unanimity is essential
♣ When the proposal has thus been accepted the presiding officer states it a fourth and final time
♣ Before the proposal is put, the candidate is asked whether he is human, male, free from certain serious diseases, free from debt, not a slave or a soldier, whether he is of age and has his parents' consent
• He may not be a criminal, crippled or deformed
• He is also examination his ability to recite a few canonical texts
o Lists of "perfections" (parami, Pali; paramita, Sanskrit) in Buddhism. These various lists are of qualities that, if perfected, lead to buddhahood.
o Generosity, determination, transcendental wisdom, virtue, energy, truthfulness, patience, renunciation, kindness, serenity
o After the Buddha's cremation his relics were divided into eight parts and given to eight people, each of whom built a stupa over the relics and instituted a festival in their honor
o The gods insisted that the Buddha's body be carried through the middle of the town near which he died and burnt to the east - the most auspicious direction
♣ The preservation and worship of his physical remains follows the same symbolic pattern
♣ Usually corpse is extremely impure, but the Buddha is pure because he 'sent against the stream'
o The relic could be a piece of scripture inscribed on gold; this reflected the Buddha's dictum that 'he who sees the Dhamma sees me'
o Three kinds: corporeal, objects used by the Buddha, and reminders
♣ Corporeal relics are always bone, teeth or hair
♣ Object used are such things as begging bowls, but also the tree under which the Buddha sat to attain Enlightenment (known as the Bo tree)
♣ First two are venerated from very early times and the third came later
♣ The stupa (originally it was held to be an object of worship only because of the relic it contained) but in due course it became a 'reminder', in particular of the Buddha's death
♣ Statue could be a 'reminder relic'
o The doctrine of relics is fundamental to the practice of Buddhist worship
♣ It is important to understand that in Buddhism such devotional practice is individual, not congregational
♣ The layperson makes his or her way to the shrine and offers flowers or incense before a Buddha image and recites Pali verses, as if in prayer, but it is all an exercise to purify one's mind
o Performing meritorious activities such as feeding monks or sponsoring the recitation or copying of religious texts in the name of someone who has died or in the name of all living things
o For laypeople, their moral concepts were correspondingly more mechanistic
♣ For them, merit was a kind of spiritual cash, a medium of exchange which could get you the things money cannot buy
o Buddhist ideology, by having recourse to the fundamental doctrine that only intention counts in ethics, has performed a sleight of hand and invented a rationale for the process
o If merit lies in good intention, a person who does a meritorious deed - be it feeding monks or going on a pilgrimage - can get a second lot of merit by thinking, generously, that he wishes other people could reap the benefits of his actions
♣ Of course they cannot -that is the law of karma - so one loses nothing, but he gets good marks, as it were, for wishing that they could
♣ The result is as if merit, spiritual currency, were transferred, with the difference that the original merit-maker does not lose his (i.e. Buddhists compare the process to lighting one candle from one to another)
o The transfer of merit plays a large part in Theravadin practice