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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby zavk » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:33 am

Dear friends,

I was thumbing through Thera Nyanaponika's The Heart of Buddhist Meditation and came across this sentence (p. 21):

True wisdom is always young, and always near to the grasp of an open mind which has painfully reached its heights and has earned its chance to listen to it.

I'm very taken by this sentence, although I can't quite say why. But perhaps this is precisely how wise words affect people. I'm happy to simply let these words reverberate in the caverns of my consciousness for now..... :meditate:

Anyway, I thought I'd share it.

Metta,
zavk
With metta,
zavk
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:38 am

Greetings,

Nyanaponika Thera is cool. :thumbsup:

I'm very pleased venerable Appicchato put me onto his works.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby phil » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:37 am

Hi zavk and all


Nice. I like that "earned the right to listen to it" part especially. We should all recall every day that the fact that we are so keen on Dhamma is not a nice fluke, it's due to very good kamma that we are here discussing and we should feel encouraged by that. "We" (so to speak) earned it.

Metta,

Phil
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:46 am

Hi all

I'm currently reading Nyaniponika Thera's work 'Abhidhamma Studies' which is brilliant. I remember reading Heart of Buddhist Meditation over 20 years ago and was moved back then by the depth of Venerable's wisdom and his humble and delicate expression.
Metta

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Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby appicchato » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:18 pm

retrofuturist wrote:I'm very pleased venerable Appicchato put me onto his works.

And I'm pleased you're pleased friend...you've (helped) make my day... :smile:
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby mudra » Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:19 am

Interesting. According to the Tibetan philosophical tenet system (passed down from Nagarjuna) one definition of the sanskrit "pramana" or "ideal mind" requires for it to be not only unmistaken but also "fresh" - "pra". Fresh in the sense of the first "aha" moment.
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 06, 2011 9:57 am

This is worth seeing again.

zavk wrote:Dear friends,

I was thumbing through Thera Nyanaponika's The Heart of Buddhist Meditation and came across this sentence (p. 21):

True wisdom is always young, and always near to the grasp of an open mind which has painfully reached its heights and has earned its chance to listen to it.

I'm very taken by this sentence, although I can't quite say why. But perhaps this is precisely how wise words affect people. I'm happy to simply let these words reverberate in the caverns of my consciousness for now..... :meditate:

Anyway, I thought I'd share it.

Metta,
zavk
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby IanAnd » Fri May 06, 2011 5:53 pm

zavk wrote:;I
zavk"];I was thumbingTherauNyanaponika'saponika's The Heart of Buddhist Meditation and came across this sentence (p. 21):

True wisdom is always young, and always near to the grasp of an open mind which has painfully reached its heights and has earned its chance to listen to it.

I'm very taken by this sentence, although I can't quite say why....

Perhaps because it is disguises it's wisdom within an intuitive realization. The rendering "always young" to my way of reading this is a reference to the unconditioned mind of youth, in the same way as what is talked about in Christianity as: "In order to enter heaven one must becoming again like a child." The ancients viewed such expressions as being the best way to describe what we today call the "unconditioned" state of mind.

A child sees only "what is." It is totally unmoved by preconception. Hence, an unconditioned mind which is open to whatever is presented and accepting of such just as it is, with equanimity.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby rowyourboat » Fri May 06, 2011 6:30 pm

Hi IandI

I take it you mean 'unconditioned' as in devoid of preconditions, rather than 'unfabricated'? I don't have much experience in the Venerable's writings. Can those here who are more familiar with his writings suggest a good article?

With metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 06, 2011 10:40 pm

The Heart of Buddhist Meditation is a classic. One of the earlies discussions of the Mahasi approach available in English, I believe. A number of monks, including Ajahn Tiradhammo, have mentioned it as being really useful when they were starting out and had nothing much to read in English...

There are a large number of articles here by Ven Nyanaponika here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... index.html
many (perhaps all?) available here:
http://www.bps.lk/onlinelibrary_wheels.asp
in better formats for printing.

Mike
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 06, 2011 11:21 pm

mikenz66 wrote:The Heart of Buddhist Meditation is a classic. One of the earlies discussions of the Mahasi approach available in English,
It is still worth reading.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 06, 2011 11:29 pm

Hi Tilt,
tiltbillings wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:The Heart of Buddhist Meditation is a classic. One of the earlies discussions of the Mahasi approach available in English,
It is still worth reading.

Certainly, that's why it's a "Classic", not a historical curiosity...

In fact, digging it out of my bookshelf, there is a useful comparison between the Mahasi approach and one based on the Anapanasati Sutta, and some extracts from both Theravada and Mahayana Suttas/Sutras and Commentary...

All in all, a rather modern book... Well it is only 50 years old....

:anjali:
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby ground » Sat May 07, 2011 3:21 am

If it is wisdom I don't mind if it is old.

Kind regards
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby alan » Sat May 07, 2011 3:45 am

True wisdom is...always open. Ok. But is it young? I don't see why.
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby LastLegend » Sun May 08, 2011 9:05 am

^Young is pure.
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby zavk » Sun May 15, 2011 8:29 am

I had forgotten about this thread. Thanks for bumping it, Tilt!

Reading this again, I'm reminded of a presentation I once attended. The speaker was a lovely retired professor. If memory serves, I recall her saying, with a wry smile, how after lengthy discussions with students about their different responses to a poem, some students would come up to her at the end of class and ask, almost exasperatedly, 'But what IS its meaning?'

:)

I'd say that Thera Nyanaponika's poetic musing is not unlike some song lyrics (e.g. those by poet-songwriters like Dylan, Patti Smith, Morrissey, Michael Stipe, etc): they resonate deeply with us precisely because of their allusiveness, precisely because we can't pin down in any fixed way what their meanings ARE.

I shall try to commit Thera Nyanaponika's words to memory. Thanks again Tilt.
With metta,
zavk
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Re: 'True wisdom is always young': Thera Nyanaponika

Postby christopher::: » Sun May 15, 2011 1:06 pm

Wonderful thoughts. Have any of you read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki? He presents some similar ideas. I'd say this is the theme of the book, actually...

"In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means "beginner's mind." The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner's mind. Suppose you recite the Prajna Paramita Sutra only once. It might be a very good recitation. But what would happen to you if you recited it twice, three times, four times, or more? You might easily lose your original attitude towards it. The same thing will happen in your other Zen practices. For a while you will keep your beginner's mind, but if you continue to practice one, two, three years or more, although you may improve some, you are liable to lose the limitless meaning of original mind.

For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our "original mind" includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self-sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind. If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few.

If you discriminate too much, you limit yourself. If you are too demanding or too greedy, your mind is not rich and self-sufficient. If we lose our original self-sufficient mind, we will lose all precepts. When your mind becomes demanding, when you long for something, you will end up violating your own precepts: not to tell lies, not to steal, not to kill, not to be immoral, and so forth. If you keep your original mind, the precepts will keep themselves.

In the beginner's mind there is no thought, "I have attained something." All self-centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless. Dogen-zenji, the founder of our school, always emphasized how important it is to resume our boundless original mind. Then we are always true to ourselves, in sympathy with all beings, and can actually practice.

So the most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner's mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind. You should not say, "I know what Zen is," or "I have attained enlightenment." This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner. Be very very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner's mind. It is the secret of Zen practice."

~Shunryu Suzuki
Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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