Because I love my sangha

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Because I love my sangha

Postby ricebowl » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:59 pm

The Buddhist definition of the three characteristics has kept me going around in circles over the past years. Sometimes the very translation of the phrases from Pali/Sankrit to English or to Chinese gives me tonnes of headaches. And with each and every translation there is more than one opinion on what is a better expression of a very somewhat rigid set of characteristics. Trying to define what stress on a daily basis, yet stress is everywhere. Why bother with a fixed definition? Yet when a fixed view of what stress is - that itself is perhaps one form of unskillfulness, it reminds me of a scene in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers.

There was an American GI that asked a British tank commander to fire his tank arsenal at a particular direction because the infantrymen spotted a Nazi tank somewhere behind some trees and a big building. The British tank commander said approximately in the script, "when I can't see it I can't bl00dily shoot at it". By the time the British tank commander waited till he could see the Nazi tank from his binoculars, the Nazi tank already had time to fire and destroy the British tank.

So there is dukkha, there is anatta, there is anicca. When I have to translate and define these words across the American and British English dictionaries, I rather date a German beauty and learn another European language instead.

:meditate: When we meditate and all kinds of Buddhist definitions and translations appear in our consciousness, I start to put on weight instead by munching snacks.


I love my sangha, and it's because I love my sangha! Why do I need to read so many suttas in order to love a sangha!

_/|\_
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby poto » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:36 pm

Who says you have to read a lot of suttas?

I'm not a scholarly guy, but I just try to do the best I can... I don't read a lot of suttas these days.

IMHO, if you're having trouble with something, maybe set it aside for the time being and focus on your practice. If you get to a point in your practice that you feel you need to understand these things to progress, then either come back to them or find a teacher who can help explain them.

Another thing I find that helps me is trying to explain things to myself out loud. Sometimes reading something and then going over it again and trying to explain it to myself out load, as if I was trying to teach somebody else will help a lot.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby dagon » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:15 am

In the words of some one i respect-

Ajahn Chah said

However, if one only has knowledge of books and scriptures, sermons and suttas, that
is, only knowledge of the map or plans for the journey, even in hundreds of lives one will
never know purity, radiance and peacefulness of mind. Instead one will just waste time
and never get to the real benifets of practice. Teachers are those who only point out the
direction of the path. After listening to the teachers, whether or not we walk the path by
practicing ourselves, and thereby reap the fruits of practice, is strictly up to each one of
us.
Another way to look at it is to compare practice to a bottle of medicine a doctor leaves
for his patient. On the bottle is written detailed instructions on how to take the medicine,
but no matter how many hundred times the patient reads the directions, he is bound to die
if that is all he does. He will gain no benifet from the medicine. And before he dies he
may complain bitterly that the doctor wasn't any good, that the medicine didn't cure him!
He will think that the doctor was a fake or that the medicine was worthless, yet he has
only spent his time examining the bottle and reading the instructions. He hasn't followed
the advice of the doctor and taken the medicine


http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/teachings_chah.pdf

metta
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby nibbuti » Sat Oct 05, 2013 2:21 am

Nice instruction paul. Thanks.

:anjali:
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby ricebowl » Mon Oct 14, 2013 3:18 am


Dear Paul,

The kids lately taught me rather well. I am wasting their time by trying to talk to them, when I am my own worse problem, and when I am their own worse problem too.

I read several Ajahn Chah's books and they were great.

Is there a China-Chinese clone of Access to Insight, as far as my exploration within Buddhism has led me my sangha has always been English oriented, and at time versed in Pali and / or even Sanskrit. These days again and again whether at my neighbourhood buddhist activities, or when I meet new buddhists online, a lot of them are from the youthful generation of economic boom in China with healthy appetites whether of theravadin dharma or instant noodles. I tried working with them with English, they are eager in learning, faster than I am. Sometimes my duty as a facilitator or guest is more about helping Asian youths relearning religions that came from their hometown. They come surrounding me enquiring about phenomena that came from their own backyard. It's challenging because I can neither tell them that I know less than their parents, nor can I tell them that they probably know better than I do, they are just younger teens helping an older me relearn as I turn into somebody else's senior.

:hug: In their words yesterday as I attended a Buddhist youth gathering, I was nominated as an "Elder" rationale being I was the 3rd oldest survivor within the room. Within a seeming blink of an eyelid, what used to be a youngest junior foraying into Buddhism within that same setting, today has been nominated as an "Elder".

It caught me both by shocking surprise, while at the same time silly realisation. (I had aged)


Ajahn Chah is dead gosh I almost forgot.
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby dagon » Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:21 pm

Hi ricebowl

Maybe the Singapore Buddhist society would be helpful to you – I know they also hold Dhamma talks in Chinese and would probably have resources in Chinese as well.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=sing ... 3&ie=UTF-8

Teaching other people often forces you to think more clearly, to order your thinking. Often realizations come through this process. I think in part it is the processes of the mind, but I suspect that the metta and compassion that motivates you intentions and actions may have a part to play.

I had the good karma to be born in a Buddhist country, but leaving it was also a result of good karma as it forced me to value what I was taking for granted. The problem with inherited beliefs regardless of which faith we are talking about is often there is little questioning of the philosophy. We both know that Asian cultures do not encourage questioning as we respect older people and monks. Confidence in the philosophy only comes about through questioning and experience. A Hindu teacher once told me that “religion without philosophy was sentimentality”.

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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby ricebowl » Wed Nov 20, 2013 12:58 am

Thanks Paul, when you mention Singapore's Buddhist traditions, the solutions are very often part of my problems. The Singapore Buddhist Society is fine as a Buddhist mission, in fact I have been to more than one local Buddhist mission over the past decade or so. The island country is that small, Bangkok is bigger than it. As an old adage goes, the night often is darkest at the foot of any lighthouse, when I want to visit a neighbourhood Buddhist monastery it is easier for me to check out Plum Village or Tzuchi's websites and even listen to Ajahn Brahm's talks online instead. I need authorisations from local elders before I can visit a local monastery, because here in Singapore most of these monasteries are situated right smack next to red light districts and places of vice. The irony is comparable with Bangkok's city culture, where Buddhist shrines and massage spas are frequently within walking distance to one another.

I get by. I was trying to purchase HBO's the Pacific DVD series as a birthday gift for myself, just to remind myself of visible human suffering, it took 3 months just to watch the show and by then my grandfather passed away and I attended a real casket instead. Real, visible dukkha.

I like what you suggested.
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby ricebowl » Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:27 am

I renounced quite a fair bit of possessions lately so much so that I'm left with the following that I am still considering renounciation:
  • Sony PSP, my younger cousin is keeping it
  • Nintendo Wii, my younger cousin is keeping it
  • Canon 1000d, it's spoilt
  • Nokia C3-00, it's spoilt
  • Samsung GT-3530C
  • Two Chinese games
  • A personal policy that my mother and aunt bought me when I was young
  • Lots of clothings, belts, neckties
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Re: Because I love my sangha

Postby ricebowl » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:40 am

  • Sony PSP, my younger cousin is keeping it
  • Nintendo Wii, my younger cousin is keeping it
  • Canon 1000d, it's spoilt gave away its accessories
  • Nokia C3-00, it's spoilt threw it away
  • Two Chinese games, threw them away
What's beyond my individual jurisdiction
  • Samsung GT-3530C
  • A personal policy that my mother and aunt bought me when I was young
  • Lots of clothings, belts, neckties
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