Sociology of Happiness and Buddhism – Janata Live
  • Friday, February 3, 2023

Sociology of Happiness and Buddhism

  • ST Sherpa
  • फागुन १७, २०७५

Sociology of Happiness and Buddhism

4.1 Happiness

Happiness forms a central theme of Buddhist teachings. For ultimate freedom from suffering, the Noble Eightfold Path leads its practitioner to Nirvana, a state of everlasting peace. Ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming craving in all forms. More mundane forms of happiness, such as acquiring wealth and maintaining good friendships, are also recognized as worthy goals for lay people. Buddhism also encourages the generation of loving kindness and compassion, the desire for the happiness and welfare of all beings. In sociological perspective to locate happiness as a research topic, we can begin with a distinction between objective and subjective well-being, where the latter is well-being that we experience and are conscious of experiencing. Happiness is the affective component of subjective well-being, while “life satisfaction” is the cognitive component, the evaluations we make about how well our lives are going. Examples of objective forms of well-being include income and other economic “goods”, political rights and freedoms, social relationships and health (a list far from complete). These are “objective” insofar as they are (at least arguably) desirable even if some individuals don’t recognize them as such, and perhaps desirable regardless of their subjective consequences. But subjective consequences (e.g. happiness) are important in their own right, and the reason to insist on this basic distinction between two types of well-being is that (as against the “revealed preferences” axiom of neo-classical economics) there is often not a strong correlation between them: a high level of objective well-being is no guarantee of happiness or satisfaction(Bartram,D. 2011).

How, then, to define happiness itself? Perhaps to an even greater extent than with other sociological concepts, defining happiness is challenging in part because its meaning in everyday usage seems so obvious. Everyday usage should of course guide and inform scholarly treatment, but good conceptualization can help overcome certain ambiguities common to informal discussions. For example, some people believe that happiness is equivalent to pleasure (or the experience of pleasure) – but few if any happiness researchers would find value in a purely hedonic definition of happiness.

For certain purposes, it is sufficient to define happiness as “feeling good – enjoying life and wanting that feeling to be maintained” (Layard 2005, 12). That definition captures the affective core of happiness in a way that connects well with people’s lived experience. There is, naturally, no shortage of more complex and elaborate definitions. The most compelling of these is from Haybron (2008), who defines happiness as a “positive emotional state” (and develops the definition over several chapters). This definition conveys a more durable quality than “feeling good”: happiness comprises positive moods and emotions, but it includes “mood propensities” as well. A happy person on this account is one who finds it (relatively) easy to experience positive moods and emotions, one whose experience of life amounts to “psychic affirmation”.

One great question underlies our experience, whether do we think about it consciously or not? What is the purpose of life? We have considered these question and would like to share our thoughts in the hope that they may be of direct, practical benefit to those who read them. People believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. From the moment of birth, every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, People simply desire contentment. His Holiness Dalai Lama said “I do not know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

According to His Holiness Dalai Lama for a start, it is possible to divide every kind of happiness and suffering into two main categories: mental and physical. Of the two, the mind exerts the greatest influence on most of us. Unless we are either gravely ill or deprived of necessities, our physical condition plays a secondary role in life. If the body is content, we virtually ignore it. The mind, however, registers every event, no matter how small. Hence, we should devote to our most serious efforts to bringing about mental peace. The Lama said, from my own limited experience, I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. Here we can use a historical example of Bhutanese practice of happiness based on Buddhist spiritual values for drastic change.

The term “gross national happiness” was coined in 1972 by Bhutan’s fourth Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who has opened Bhutan to the age of modernization soon after the demise of his father, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. He used this phrase to signal his commitment to building an economy that would serve Bhutan’s unique culture based on Buddhist spiritual values. At first offered as a casual, offhand remark, the concept was taken seriously, as the Centre for Bhutan Studies, under the leadership of Karma Ura, developed a sophisticated survey instrument to measure the population’s general level of well-being. Two Canadians, Michael and Martha Pennock played a major role in developing the Bhutanese survey, which took a six to seven hour interview to complete. They developed a shorter international version of the survey which has been used in their home region of Victoria BC as well as in Brazil. The Pennocks also collaborated with Ura in the production of a policy lens which is used by the Bhutanese GNH Commission for anticipating the impact of policy initiatives upon the levels of GNH in Bhutan. The Bhutanese grounding in Buddhist ideals suggests that beneficial development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occur side by side to complement and reinforce each other. The four pillars of GNH are the promotion of sustainable development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and establishment of good governance. At this level of generality, the concept of GNH is transcultural; a nation need not be Buddhist to value sustainable development, cultural integrity, ecosystem conservation, and good governance. Through collaboration with an international group of scholars and empirical researchers the Centre for Bhutan Studies further defined these four pillars with greater specificity into eight general contributors to happiness: physical, mental and spiritual health; time-balance; social and community vitality; cultural vitality; education; living standards; good governance; and ecological vitality. Although the GNH framework reflects its Buddhist origins, it is solidly based upon the empirical research literature of happiness, positive psychology and well-being.

The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater of our own sense of well being becomes. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. This helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the ultimate source of success in life. As long as we live in this world and we are bound to encounter problems. If, in such times, we lose our hope and become discouraged, we diminish our ability to face difficulties. The other hand, we remember that it is not just ourselves but also everyone who has to undergo suffering, this more realistic perspective will increase our determination and capacity to overcome troubles. Indeed, with this attitude and each new obstacle can be seen as yet another valuable opportunity to improve our mind! Thus, we can strive gradually to become more compassionate, and we can develop both genuine sympathy for others’ suffering and helps to remove their pains. As a result, our own serenity and inner strength will increase gradually.

We should begin by removing the greatest hindrances to compassion: anger and hatred. As we all know, these are extremely powerful emotions and they can overwhelm our entire mind. Nevertheless, they can be controlled. If, however, these negative emotions will plague us ‘with no extra effort on their part!’ and impede our quest for the happiness of a loving mind. Therefore, as a start, it is useful to investigate whether or not anger is of value. Sometimes, when we are discouraged by a difficult situation, anger does seem helpful, appearing to bring with it more energy, confidence and determination.

Here, though, we must examine our mental state carefully. While it is true that anger brings extra energy, if we explore the nature of this energy, we discover that it is blind: we cannot be sure whether its result will be positive or negative. This is because of anger eclipses the best part of our brain: its rationality. Therefore, the energy of anger is usually unreliable. It can cause an immense amount of destructive, unfortunate behavior. Moreover, if anger increases to the extreme, one becomes like a mad person, acting in ways that are as damaging to one as they are to others. It is possible, however, to develop an equally forceful but far more controlled energy with which to handle difficult situations. This controlled energy comes not only from a compassionate attitude, but also from reason and patience. These are the most powerful antidotes to anger. Unfortunately, many people misjudge these qualities as signs of weakness. I believe the opposite to be true: that they are the true signs of inner strength. Compassion is by nature gentle, peaceful and soft, but it is also very powerful. Those easily lose their patience that is insecure and unstable. Thus, to me, the arousal of anger is a direct sign of weakness.

Therefore, when a problem arises, try to remain humble and maintain a sincere attitude that will be concerned and the outcome are fair. Of course, others may try to take advantage of you, and if your remaining detached only encourages unjust aggression, adopt a strong stand. This, however, should be done with compassion, and if it is necessary to express your views and take strong countermeasures, do without anger or ill intent. We should realize that even though your opponents appear to be harming you, in the end, their destructive activity would damage only themselves. In order to check your own selfish impulse to retaliate, you should recall your desire to practice compassion and assume responsibility for helping prevent the other person from suffering the consequences of his or her acts. Thus, the measures you employ have been calmly chosen, they will be more effective, more accurate and more forceful. Retaliation based on the blind energy of anger seldom hits the target.

4.2 Sociology of Religion

Durkheim’s earlier concern with social regulation was in the main focused on the more external forces of control, particularly legal regulations that can be studied, so he argued, in the law books and without regarding to individuals. Later, he was led to consider forces of control that was internalized in individual consciousness. Being convinced that “society has to be present within the individual,” Durkheim, following the logic of his own theory, was led to the study of religion, one of the forces that created within individuals a sense of moral obligation to adhere to society’s demands. Durkheim had yet another motive for studying the functions of religion-namely, concern with mechanisms that might serve to shore up a threatened social order. In this respect, he was inquest of what would today be described as functional equivalents for religion in a fundamentally a religious age (Sherpa (ST), 2011:188).

Durkheim stands in the line of succession of a number of French thinkers who pondered the problem of the loss of faith. From the days when the Jacobins had destroyed Catholicism in France and attempted to fill the ensuing moral void by inventing a synthetic religion of reason, to Saint-Simon’s new Christianity and Auguste Comte’s religion of humanity. French secular thinkers had grappled with the modern problem of how public and private morality could be maintained without religious sanctions. They had asked, just like Ivan Karamasov “Once God is dead, does not everything become permissible?” Durkheim would not have phrased the question in such language, but he was concerned with a similar problem. In the past, he argued, religion had been the cement of society the means by which men had been led to turn from the everyday concerns in which they were variously enmeshed to a common devotion to sacred things. By thus, wrenching men from the utilitarian preoccupations of daily life, religion had been the anti-individualistic for balance excellence, inspiring communal devotion to ethical ends that transcended individual purposes. However, if the reign of traditional religious orientations had now ended, what would take their place? Would the end of traditional religion be a prelude to the dissolution of all moral community into a state of universal breakdown and anomie? Such questions intensified Durkheim’s concern with the sociology of religion, adding to the essential interest he had in terms of the internal logic of his system. Basic to his theory is the stress on religious phenomena as communal rather than individual. “A religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite in one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.” In contrast to William James, for example, Durkheim was not concerned with the variety of religious experience of individuals but rather with the communal activity and the communal bonds to which participation in religious activities gives rise.

Durkheim argued that religious phenomena emerge in any society when a separation is made between the sphere of the profane the realm of everyday utilitarian activities and the sphere of the sacred the area that pertains to the numerous, the transcendental, the extraordinary. An object is intrinsically neither sacred nor profane. It becomes the one or the other depending on whether men choose to consider the utilitarian value of the object or certain intrinsic attributes that have nothing to do with its instrumental value. The wine at mass has sacred ritual significance to the extent that it is considered by the believer to symbolize the blood of Christ; in this context, it is plainly not a beverage. The community of believers values sacred activities not as means to ends, but because the religious community has bestowed their meaning on them as part of its worship. Groups who band together in a cult and who are united by their common symbols and objects of worship always make distinctions between the spheres of the sacred and the profane. Religion is “an eminently collective thing.” It binds men together, as the etymology of the word religion testifies.

However, if religion, the great binding force, is on its deathbed, how can the malady of modern society? It is tendency to disintegrate, be upheld? Here Durkheim accomplished one of his most daring analytical leaps. Religion, he argued, is not only asocial creation, but it is in fact society divinized. In a manner reminiscent of Feuerbach, Durkheim stated that the deities, which men worship together, are only projections of the power of society. Religion is eminently social: it occurs in a social context, and, more importantly, when men celebrate sacred things, they unwittingly celebrate the power of their society. This power so transcends their own existence that they have to give it sacred significance in order to visualize it. If religion in its essence is a transcendental representation of the powers of society, then, Durkheim argued, the disappearance of traditional religion need not herald the dissolution of society. All that is required is for modern men now to realize directly that dependence on society which before they had recognized only through the medium of religious representations. “We must discover the rational substitutes for these religious notions that for a long time have served as the vehicle for the most essential moral ideas.” Society is the father of us all; therefore, it is to society we owe that profound debt of gratitude heretofore paid to the gods. The following passage, which in its rhetoric is rather uncharacteristic of Durkheim’s usual analytical style, reveals some of his innermost feelings: Society is not at all the illogical or a-logical, incoherent and fantastic being, which has too often been considered. Quite on the contrary, the collective consciousness is the highest form of psychic life, since it is the consciousness of consciousness. Being placed outside of and above individual and local contingencies, it sees things only in their permanent and essential aspects, which it crystallizes into communicable ideas. At the same time that it sees from above, it sees farther; at every moment of time, it embraces all known reality, which is why it alone can furnish the minds with the moulds which are applicable to the totality of things and which makes it possible to think of them.

Durkheim did not follow Saint Simon and Comte in attempting to institute a new humanitarian cult. Yet, being eager, as they were to give moral unity to a disintegrating society, he urged men to unite in a civic morality based on the recognition that we are what we are because of society. Society acts within us to elevate us not unlike the divine spark of old was said to transform laymen into creatures capable of transcending the limitations of their puny egos. Durkheim’s sociology of religion is not limited to these general considerations, which, in fact, are contained in only a few pages of his monumental work on “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life”. The volume of the book is devoted to a close and careful analysis of primitive religion, more particularly of the data on primitive Australian forms of cults and beliefs. Here, as elsewhere, Durkheim is concerned with elucidating the particular functions of religion rather than with simply describing variant forms. In a well-known critique, the Durkheim a scholar Harry Alpert conveniently classified Durkheim’s four major functions of religion as disciplinary, cohesive, vitalizing, and euphoric social forces.

Religious rituals prepare men for social life by imposing self discipline and a certain measure of asceticism. Religious ceremonies bring people together and thus serve to reaffirm their common bonds and to reinforce social solidarity. Religious observance maintains and revitalizes the social heritage of the group and helps transmit its enduring values to future generations. Finally, religion has a euphoric function in that it serves to counteract feelings of frustration and loss of faith and certitude by reestablishing the believers’ sense of well-being, their sense of the essential rightness of the moral world of which they are a part. By countering the sense of loss, which, as in the case of death, may be experienced on both the individual and the collective level, religion helps to reestablish the balance of private and public confidence. On the most general plane, religion as a social institution serves to give meaning to man’s existential predicaments by tying the individual to that supra-individual sphere of transcendent values which is ultimately rooted in his society.

4.3 A Sociological Perspective: Monks, Nuns and Laypeople
In the Buddha’s view of life, the one major responsibility of monks and nuns are to work for happiness, harmony and peace of lay people on the earth. The monks and nuns are living for the laity. This inter-relation is to promote the better life through Buddhism of Himalayan society. The monastic teaching and counseling the laity at request while nonprofessionals and ordinary women offer donations for their future support. The lay people believe that:
The strength of the family unit is intertwined with the practice of religion.

The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty
Regular religious practice generally inoculates individuals against host social problems
The regular practice of religion is good for personal mental health beneficial happiness
The regular practice of religion is good for personal physical health
It increases longevity, improves one’s chances of recovery from illness
Religious belief and practice contribute substantially to the formation of personal moral criteria
The religious belief and practice are major source of strength and recovery
Religious practice appears to have enormous potential for addressing today’s social problems

The monks and nuns are taught by expressing the words that are used in routine life of laypeople. Their expression is simple and impartial in its quality of disseminating the massage of the Buddha to the peace seekers. They are cause of social culture change for benefit of the community. All these qualities of expression will be reduce if one is not in good social and cultural environment their impressive looking for social justice in the Sherpa Buddhist religion of Sherpa monks and nuns. Peace, happiness and rebirth are the main causes of laypeople to become monk and nun. People happiness and peace journey is the education of Buddhist philosophy.

In this work, Nun Monastery was providing some historical late nun’s biography, which is useful data to analyze the causes and relations of nun with nun monastery in the past, where love and compassion available, there is happiness, humanity, peace and prestige. The regular practice of religion helps poor persons move out of poverty is to believe of laypeople. Therefore, the cause of poverty and family tragedy became the nun some nun of monastery. The other causes are to get peace and happiness of life. According to monastery late nun Chiangchup Doma, known also as Karma Zolpa, the name she adopted at the time of taking the rabzung vow, a Sherpa of Salaka clan from Dolongsa village of Sindhupalchok. Chiangchup Doma was married in Dolongsa and some 6 to 7 years her in family life. After husband’s death, she entered in this nun monastery with her daughter for happiness of life as surba (lay-nun). The regular practice of religion is good for personal mental health beneficial happiness. Where is property, there is dangerous and sorrow of life. Therefore, she abandoned the home and land after tragic life. Her avowed purpose of becoming a nun was the gaining of merit for social relation and public life. She cannot read the liturgical texts, but her daughter has learnt to read. Neither mother nor daughter has the status of thiba, but when the Tulku comes to nun monastery, they both intend to become thiba, i.e. fully committed nuns. Mother and daughter get all the supplies required for their maintenance from Dolongsa. Chiangchup Droma’s husband had no brothers, and when he died, his land passed to her, she has let it out, receiving as rent a share of the maize, wheat and millet grown on it. Her share of the crop is carried to monastery partly by her. Her daughter and partly by hired porters.

Likewise, nun Tashi Doma, a Sherpa of Salaka clan, came from Changku village north site of Dolakha. She was married and pregnant when her husband died. Ten years later, when she was 35 years old, she came to nun monastery, and brought her daughter with 10 years old. The daughter did not become a novice and died in the year of her arrival at monastery. She was became nun for peace and happy.

The other nun Sherpa Ongmu, also known as Hishi Ongmu, age of 31, is the daughter of a Drukpa father from Bhutan and a Sherpa mother of Bigu. Her father was Kusho Tendzen, one of the three nephews of the founder of nun monastery, and now, lives at Tsum. He did not marry her mother and left her when Sherpa Ongmu was six months old. Her mother subsequently married a Sherpa of Chhoitang, a village near Bigu, but he left her too and was supposed to live in India. Sherpa Ongmu entered nun monastery at the age of 18, and has since acquired a good knowledge of Tibetan scriptures and monastery ritual. Her mother’s sister was also a nun, and is believed that will be reborn as a man and to be a monk at Began; Sherpa Ongmu who had a hard childhood, and met her own father only once when she was 18, became a nun by her own decision. She received material support from her mother, who is a daughter of the younger brother of the misar (headman) of Bigu village. Her experience in ritual performances and outstanding personality, she was putting forward as candidate for the position of Umse, as the result of a compromise was chose as umse elect and deputy of the present Umse.

According to late nun Sangesongmu, was a Sherpa of Gardza clan from Tembathang near Chautara. She has been at nun monastery ever since its foundation before she married, and had four children, two of them had died. Her husband went to India and died there. Leaving her small son the five years old, with her parents’ in-law and she came to nun monastery taking her daughter with her. Both she and her daughter became nuns. Sangesomu applied herself to the study of Tibetan scriptures, and upgrading rapidly in the rank order of nuns, ultimately became Umse, a position she held for the usual seven year period. However, her daughter, who is now 40 years old, left the nun monastery and went to India, where she disappeared without trace. Sangesomu had some land, but it was registered in her husband’s name and when she became a nun. She gave it to her parent’s in-law to preserve it for her son. When that son also went to India and her parents-in-law died, relatives of her late husband took over the land. Since then, she has no income of her own, and depended entirely on alms. Every two days, she goes to one of the houses of Bigu to beg, and sometimes she goes to neighboring villages, such as Bulung, Alampu and Dolangsa to collect food. When, she is on one of those extended begging tours, she stays away for 4 to 6 days. She used to go also to Barabise to exchange grain for salt, which there is no doubt had come from Tibet. Previously, she also visited monastery in Tibet, such as for instance sun monastery.

According to nuns, biography of monastery late nun Lobsang Doma is a Sherpa of Kambache clan from Bigu, a younger sister of the mother of Sherpa Ongmu. Her father, who died, when she was an infant, was Kusho Lama, the younger brother of the misar Nim Pasang. She never married and entered the monastery at the age of 20. Her mother died some four years ago, but she has elder brothers, who support her, and two sisters. Late nun Tuchi Doma, age 52, is a Sherpa of Salaka clan from Changku about ten hours walk from Bigu. She has held the post of konier (sacristan). Before she became a nun, she was married and she has one daughter. However, when her husband died, she became a nun, in 21 years ago. She took the rabzung vow at nun monastery through the person of it founder. All those nuns who took the rabzung vow at that ceremony repeated it some seven years later when, the Tulku came to nun monastery. The perceived reason for this repetition was the fact that on their own admittance, they taken have pork with onions and wine when being entertained on their travels. Pema, age 66, is a Sherpa of Lama Sherwa clan from Dunge of Shyama. She was married and came to join Nun monastery years ago after her husband’s death. She had two children, but both of them had died too. As she joined the monastery only recently she has not yet taken the rabzung vow and has still the status of lay nun. She has no relatives among the nuns of the monastery, and arrived accompanied by her elder brother. In that time, her parents support her. She has one elder and four younger brothers as well as four younger sisters.

The data contained in the above nuns-list illustrated clearly that the some nuns entered nun monastery, after their husbands’ death. It is simply to determine the causes of a young Sherpa girl to leave her own village, renounce all prospects of marriage and motherhood, and accept the many restrictions of a nun’s life. One of the basic motivations for such a decision is undoubtedly the conviction deeply ingrained in Buddhist ideology that the attainment of religious merit is a path to future good fortune through favorable reincarnations, peace and contentment in this life.

There is moreover the undoubted fact that in the Sherpa society the status of those associated with a major monastery is still surrounded with prestige and certain glamour. This stems at least partly from the impressive splendor and artistic sophistication of monastery services, which form the main focal points for cultural creativeness. One can well imagine that the more sensitive among young people of both sexes are attracted to the participation in rituals. The performance of which arouses the awe and admiration of nonprofessionals used to the simplicity of daily life in their small mountain villages. However, nuns as well as monks live under a discipline, which imposes stringent sanctions on lapses from the chosen path of celibacy. Most Buddhist clerics are neither, puritanical nor unduly sanctimonious. Inmates of a monastery are not cut off from the life and normal pleasures of lay society. Nuns are free to accept hospitality in village houses and may pay extended visits to their families. They are allowed to attend weddings and other domestic celebrations, though the drinking of alcoholic beverages by monks and nuns is, frowned upon in practiced many nuns were part take of beer and occasionally even distilled liquor in modest quantities. Watching nuns at their domestic tasks and communal activities such as work on the fields one cannot help being impressed by their amiability and good humor. Particularly, among groups of young nuns, always laughter, hilarity, and one feels that the girls really enjoy life in the monastery community and do not pine for the even freer life in their home-villages. Some of the more articulate nuns voiced the opinion that it was better to become a nun than to marry. “If one marries,” said an old nun who had been married and was widowed, “one is happy at first, but later many troubles arise. One is likely to become unhappy; in the long nuns have a better life than married women. The worst a nun can do is to leave the monastery and get married. Such a breach of one’s vows inevitably results in a painful fate in one’s next reincarnation.” The latter view is by no means generally held, and married women, who had been nuns, believe that they can gain merit by good works and are clearly not in fear of a bad incarnation.

Sherpa Ongmu, one of the most intelligent younger nuns suggested that those nuns who came from a difficult family background and had experienced hardship as children appreciated the peaceful life in a monastery whereas young nuns who had happy memories of home often craved for family life and were more likely to leave the monastery in order to get married. Sherpa Ongmu nevertheless thought that it was preferable to be a nun rather than a wife: “As a married woman, one has to worry about one’s husband, one’s children and one’s parents, and whether they had all enough food. As a nun one may have to care for one’s old mother but when she dies one is quite free”. Her hope is to be reincarnated as a god or at least as a human, preferably as a man. “As a woman one is always inferior”, she argued, “However much, one learns one is never given as much respect as a lama. Even corrupt lamas are still treated with some respect; a man can lead a sinful life, and yet later becomes a lama and be considered superior to any woman”. Despite the rule that nuns leaving the monastery have to pay a fine, no great obstacles are placed in the way of those wanting to get married. However, Sange­songmu who has been at monastery ever since its foundation remem­bered only three cases of nuns being expelled because of love affairs and all three married the man with whom they had associated. In addition to paying fines into the monastery funds, they had to offer tea to all the nuns, burn butter lamps, and bow 108 times to the nuns “because they had left the dharma.”

In this work some existing nun were taken as informants to analyze the data for sociological perspective. Sherap Sangmu, age of 66, is a Sherpa of Garza clan from Lhongasa near Dunge of Shyama village. At the age of 18, she came to Nun Monastery, where her father’s sister Sange Gyelmu was a nun. Once when Sange Gyelmu visited her natal village, she followed her to Nun Monastery and decided to become a nun. By that time, her parents had died and she was living in the house of her father’s younger brother. She twice took the rabzung vow; once it was administered by a lama of monastery and the second time by the Tulku of other monastery. She is very happy being a nun for peace. She believes that rebirth as a monk in the next life. This is her happiness. Like wise other nun Urken Doma, age of 70, a Sherpa of Lama Sherwa clan from Jiri village, came to nun monastery at the age of 20. She had no relatives among the nuns but came with a friend on her own initiative. Her friend gave an idea of becoming a nun, even before she had cut her hair, but Urken Doma stayed on, and after two years took the rabzung vow. A reincarnated lama of Thimphu in Bhutan administered the rabzung vow once more for the novice life. Dorje Doma, age of 74, is a Sherpa of Salaka clan, her parents lived in the Maising settlement of Bigu, and both died within 15 days when she was 13 years old, her sister 9, and her brother 5. Earlier her parents had lived in Darjeeling, where her father worked in a bakery, and where both ‘she and her sister were born. They had returned to Maising five years before their death, and had farmed the land they owned there. After their death Dorje Doma, let out their land and stayed on in their house with a Thami servant, living on the income from her land. She never married and at the age of 18, she entered monastery and became a nun.

4.4 Gender Perspective

The socio-cultural status of Sherpa nuns are comparatively not in equal position in Buddhist society to the monk. However, comparatively with laywomen and other religious groups Sherpa nun has more high status and prestigious in the society. The religious thought of Buddhism and cultural practice of Sherpa nuns for the peace development and happiness of laypeople of society. The monastery has been teaching for nuns and laypeople. The Nyungne cultures of the Sherpa nuns, which practice in the monastery, remove the sin, sorrow of life and fault justice. The religious services of nuns are more prestigious and social peacemaker in the Sherpa society. Especially the widow women, helpless by man in the society but man do not an essential in the monastery for nun. The nun has direct relation with god, religion and culture. Moreover, nun has triangular relation in the monastery god, religion and society. The widow women are removed the family tragedy and become social peace maker as a nun in the monastery.

Sherpa people need monk/nun at birth, marriage and death compulsory. The child’s socialization of first phase naming when birth, second times culture of marriage affairs and last is death of life that is funeral rite. Thus, the findings claim that these are the sociological happiness of nun’s community and the Sherpa Buddhism. The requirement of adequate scrip­tural knowledge can be waived in relation to very young girls who entered the monastery as child and are living with an older nun responsible for their upbringing. Several lamas of the rank of Gelung are required to administer the rabzung vow, and there is the possibility of repeating the vow if a lama of particularly high status becomes available to preside over the ceremony. Many monks of learning attain the rank of gelung, but such advancement is denied for nuns. There is a tradition that in the early times of Buddhism women also could become Gelongma, but at the present women are not ordained as Gelongma; however, they may be by learning and devoting. Several nuns of nun monastery mentioned that they were hoping for a reincarnation as monk because they could attain more responsible and prestigious positions than as nuns and more specifically could become monk.

Theoretical the women have equal potential to achieve liberation but perhaps due to the nature of patriarchal society, the standards of monastic discipline for nuns are more stringent than those for monks. A monk, after full ordination, lives by the 227 more monastic rules, called Patimokkha, which are stated in the Tripitika where as the female Sramaneri if became a nun and will adhere to 311 rules of discipline. According to the tradition, when Mahaprajapati became a nun under Buddha, she was required to accept eight special rules (guru dharma) that technically made the nuns (fully ordained nuns). The eight chief rules vary slightly in different vinaya texts. The practice of these eight rules thus became a necessary condition for any woman wishing to become a Buddhist nun and guidelines of governing the relationship between the monk and nun communities. However, Diki Chhoden, age of 50, a Sherpa of Khambache clan from Dolangsa VDC of Sindhupalchok, holds the position of Umse, as such manages the kitchen and general household affairs of the monastery. She was never married came at the age of 16 and she took the rabzung vow in nun monastery. She has four brothers and three sisters. Nowadays, she is very happy being a Sherpa Buddhist nun because the nuns are religiously and culturally high prestigious in the society with love and compassion. Being a nun, she wishes her next life rebirth as a monk in this peace world because the social cause of gender issues.

Thupten Norjin, age 42, a Sherpa of Salaka clan from Dolangsa VDC of Sindhupalchok, is very happy being a nun the causes of the nuns are religiously and culturally high prestigious in the society. She wishes her next life rebirth as a monk in this peace world because the social cause of gender issues.

Thupten Namdul, age 40, a Sherpa of Chyaba clan from Dolangsa VDC of Sindhupalchok, holds the position of Umse and Kungir, and as such manages the kitchen and general household affairs of the monastery. She was never married came at the age of 18 and she took the rabzung vow in the nun monastery. Nowadays she is very happy being a Sherpa Buddhist nun because the nuns are religiously and culturally high prestigious in the society with love and compassion. Being a nun, she wishes her next life rebirth as a monk in this peace world because the social cause of gender issues. Thupten Chhejum, age of 45, a Sherpa of Lama clan from Gorthali VDC of Sindhupalchok, holds the position of Umse and Kungir, and as such manages the kitchen and general household affairs of the monastery. She was never married and came at the age of 20. She took the rabzung vow in the nun monastery. She has three brothers and seven sisters. Three sisters are nun in the different monasteries. Nowadays, she is very happy being a Sherpa Buddhist nun because the nuns are religiously and culturally high prestigious in the society with love and compassion. Being a nun, she wishes her next life rebirth as a monk in this peace world because the social cause of gender issues.

Chhimi Yangchhen, age of 41, a Sherpa of Salaka clan from Jimthang of Bigu, holds the position of Kungir, and as such manages the kitchen and general household affairs of the monastery. She was never married and came at the age of 19 and she took the rabzung vow in the nun monastery. She has three brothers and four sisters. Her experience is happiness and peace but she wishes her next life rebirth as a monk in this peace world because socially the causes of gender issues of domination of monk. Lobsang Chhechhon, age of 30, a Sherpa of Garza clan from Bigu, never holds the any position in the monastery and as such manages the kitchen and general household affairs of the monastery. She was never married came at the age of 15 and she took the rabzung vow in the nun monastery. Her experiences, life of nun very happy with love and compassion of Buddhism. She also, wishes her next life rebirth as a monk in this peace world because the causes of gender issues in the Buddhism.

In the Nyungne cultural function, nun and laywomen participants highly numbers then monk and laypeople. However, Nyungne is practicing leading by the lama. Nevertheless, revealed by feminist movement. Laywomen and nun claim that Nyungne was revealed by nun Gelongma Palmo that is the point of female domination in the Buddhism. By the gender perspectives, it is happy and pride of feminist movement. Nowadays, Nyungne culture is practicing for much more way to remove the sin, sorrow of life, fault justice of human being in the Sherpa community and the Himalayan society. Likewise, the regular practitioner laywoman Chhiring Ongmu Lama Sherpa shared her experiences about Nyungne culture and happiness. She said, historically, Buddhism is dominated by monk all most. However, the Gelongma Palmo has been revealed Nyungne culture in Buddhism, which is the focal point of female guided tradition. Sherpa laypeople are practicing the Nyungne to make good merit and remove the sin, sorrow, fault justice and welfare of human being. Thinking this is my happiness and wants to share with society and human community for exploration of Nyungne culture.

4.5 The Role of Monk and Nun Towards the Laypeople: Happiness and Truths of Life
The Sherpa monks and nuns are playing the beautiful role in the Sherpa society and suffering people. Monk’s and nun’s religious practices, yoga practices remove the disease and suffering problems. Nyungne practice removes the sin, sorrow and fault justice of life. Therefore, comparatively, past and present truth is universal truth of the Sherpa monks and nuns present now in Buddhism. Monks and nuns are fully capable to please for the laypeople by the message of the Buddha illustrating the example of their day to day life’s painful experience. An easy way to make them understand is with example of suffering from the disease, the problem of every individual, family and community. Life suffers the physically, mentally and physiologically. Every once are suffering of life. This is the first truth of life. There is cause of disease (2nd truth). That cause can be cured (third truth) and it is the prescription of medicine for cure (4th truth). This approach is similar to that of the physician to his patient. He firstly diagnoses malady, then seeks the cause of the malady, next finds out whether a cure is possible or not ? Finally, he prescribes the medicine. One major goal of Buddhist monk/nun is to support to lay person by the message of the Buddha that life has full of meaning. The laypeople should be encouraged by saying that one must not run away from the suffering. The true responsibility of the nuns is to disseminate the massage of the Buddha. The Buddha’s teaching are focused on the ‘Eightfold Middle Path’ that is characterized by morality, concentration, and wisdom. The ordinary person in many religions looks upon the present life as a ground for laying the foundation in a future life after physical death. The religious leaders (such as nuns education leader, social scientists, and social policy practitioners) should communicate the beneficial effects of religious belief in the community to promote the consideration of religious practice that provides or support maintain the health among laypeople. The religious belief brings greater happiness and lower psychological stress. The religious beliefs strengthen the family, maintain family, and maintain family stability with peace and happiness.


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