which dhamma texts would you pick?

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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby ground » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:37 am

Sort of "Survival" books may be more appropriate, books about simply agriculture ... because it is an "island in the middle of nowhere" :sage:
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:39 am

Greetings,

alan... wrote:why the dhammapada? is it a commentary along with it?

There's a set of stories that have been forcibly retrofitted into it, but I'm not aware of a commentary beyond that.

another ajahn chah mention! he must be good.

There's a free PDF online that collects all his translated Dhamma talks.

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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby Nyana » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:56 pm

alan... wrote:ajahn chah is really popular! i know little about him. is he as meticulous and specific as ajahn brahm? all i've read by him are snippets and quotes that seem vague, but then again snippets and quotes are frequently in themselves vague.

I haven't found Ajahn Chah to be vague. IMO he often gets to the heart of the matter. Many translations of his teachings are available here: ajahnchah.org.

alan... wrote:why the dhammapada?

It's a useful collection of teachings that cover various aspects of conduct and practice.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:23 pm

Ñāṇa wrote:
alan... wrote:why the dhammapada?

It's a useful collection of teachings that cover various aspects of conduct and practice.
It is a very rich and deep text.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:31 pm

ground wrote:Sort of "Survival" books may be more appropriate, books about simply agriculture ... because it is an "island in the middle of nowhere" :sage:


He must mean Australia.
When you get here, he'll see we've had various forms of agriculture for 40,000 years +.
We've also got the tipitaka, commentaries and the storehouse of Theravadin post-canonical literature.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:14 pm

alan... wrote:why the dhammapada? is it a commentary along with it?


There is an old commentary to it, traditionally attributed to Buddhaghosa. The commentary comprises an explanation of the words in each verse, along with some story that ostensibly accounts for the verse's origin. The stories were translated many decades ago by Burlingame as Buddhist Legends, but he left out the arguably much more useful word-commentary. The latter has now been translated by John Ross Carter, but you need to get the right edition. The Ross Carter translation that Ñāṇa linked to is the 112-page edition, with the verses only. For the word-commentary you need to get the 552-page edition by Ross Carter, Mahinda Palihawadana and Jaroslav Pelikan:

http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/ReligionTheology/Buddhism/?ci=9780195108606

But if you don't want to spend $65 there is also a Kindle version for $7.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby alan... » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:34 pm

Ben wrote:
ground wrote:Sort of "Survival" books may be more appropriate, books about simply agriculture ... because it is an "island in the middle of nowhere" :sage:


He must mean Australia.
When you get here, he'll see we've had various forms of agriculture for 40,000 years +.
We've also got the tipitaka, commentaries and the storehouse of Theravadin post-canonical literature.


just so everyone is clear i was never talking about australia. as far as i know australia is just like any other modern country such as england, france, japan, or the united states. my fictional island has no tv, internet, etc. it's your classic lost island in the middle of nowhere scenario. whereas australia is totally modern and connected with everyone else via all sorts of technology. australia would in no way fit my hypothetical scenario.

how in the world people think i'm talking about australia is beyond me.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:41 pm

If it's NOT Australia, then I would bring the Samyutta Nikaya hollowed out and filled with tons of horrifying spiders - I wouldn't want my island nation to feel wimpy in comparison.

Seriously Australia what's up with your spiders
Image

Anyway, I would suggest, as a text, the Majjhima Nikaya or the Sutta Nipata - I value the latter more, but the former is probably filled with more worthwhile stuff just because of its size. As a non-canonical source, Buddhadasa's Mindfulness with Breathing would be all the meditation instruction anyone out there would need.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby reflection » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:45 pm

alan... wrote:
Ben wrote:
ground wrote:Sort of "Survival" books may be more appropriate, books about simply agriculture ... because it is an "island in the middle of nowhere" :sage:


He must mean Australia.
When you get here, he'll see we've had various forms of agriculture for 40,000 years +.
We've also got the tipitaka, commentaries and the storehouse of Theravadin post-canonical literature.


just so everyone is clear i was never talking about australia. as far as i know australia is just like any other modern country such as england, france, japan, or the united states. my fictional island has no tv, internet, etc. it's your classic lost island in the middle of nowhere scenario. whereas australia is totally modern and connected with everyone else via all sorts of technology. australia would in no way fit my hypothetical scenario.

how in the world people think i'm talking about australia is beyond me.

Pretty much sounds like a place I'll be visiting soonish.. All the bookwork I take is a map to get me off again at the other end. :D I do think of taking a dhammapada, though. To have something inspiring to read in the evenings.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby reflection » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:48 pm

ground wrote:Sort of "Survival" books may be more appropriate, books about simply agriculture ... because it is an "island in the middle of nowhere" :sage:


Image

:jumping:
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby alan... » Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:59 pm

the only thing about the dhammapada is that for someone with little knowledge about the dhamma it is not very informative without a commentary of some kind. with all the work surrounding it, it is a beautiful work. for me, already a buddhist with some knowledge, it's a very useful text, i have a little pocket sized version of it that i keep nearby almost at all times. but give a copy of just that text with no commentary to this fictional group and nothing else and they will not be able to work much practical advice out of it. it does not give direct and clear instruction on any practical elements of the dhamma, it's largely poetic with the only truly clear parts being the parts on morality. one could not walk away from reading it with knowledge on how to meditate, practice insight, or much else really. again i'm speaking from the perspective of someone who has only this book and nothing else and knows no dhamma beforehand.

if you had two groups and two islands and gave one just the dhammapada (an edition with no commentary, just the bare text) and the other just the majjhima nikaya (the edition with bhikkhu bodhi's notes) and then visited each group fifty years later i would imagine the majjhima group would be practicing a version of the dhamma that is much closer to what we all think of the dhamma as than the dhammapada only group.

not that anyone was suggesting giving them just the dhammapada anyway. i'm using this as an extreme example to make clear what i'm saying and why i don't understand it as a choice at all. if you are only giving a small number of books, why would one be the dhammapada?

unless of course it's a large book including the text and extensive commentary, that's a different story. in that case it's an excellent choice. that's why i was asking if it had a commentary, specifically the book image in the post i was responding too.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby alan... » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:10 am

ground wrote:Sort of "Survival" books may be more appropriate, books about simply agriculture ... because it is an "island in the middle of nowhere" :sage:


in this scenario the people have EVERYTHING they need, the only thing they lack is dhamma. otherwise you could make all kinds of similar assumptions: "they need books on architecture, sanitation, boat building, agriculture, medicine, and so on and so on."
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby Nyana » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:10 am

alan... wrote:if you had two groups and two islands and gave one just the dhammapada (an edition with no commentary, just the bare text) and the other just the majjhima nikaya (the edition with bhikkhu bodhi's notes) and then visited each group fifty years later i would imagine the majjhima group would be practicing a version of the dhamma that is much closer to what we all think of the dhamma as than the dhammapada only group.

Without knowledgeable teachers and monastics capable of transmitting the complete dhammavinaya lineage I wouldn't give either of your groups much of a chance of sustaining a living dhamma practice community over a period of 50 years. I think your hypothetical scenario is quite unrealistic.

alan... wrote:not that anyone was suggesting giving them just the dhammapada anyway. i'm using this as an extreme example to make clear what i'm saying and why i don't understand it as a choice at all. if you are only giving a small number of books, why would one be the dhammapada?

I don't understand why you started this thread. But when someone asks me what books I would recommend to people who "know almost nothing about the dhamma," I often recommend the Dhammapada.
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Re: which dhamma texts would you pick?

Postby alan... » Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:50 am

Ñāṇa wrote:
alan... wrote:if you had two groups and two islands and gave one just the dhammapada (an edition with no commentary, just the bare text) and the other just the majjhima nikaya (the edition with bhikkhu bodhi's notes) and then visited each group fifty years later i would imagine the majjhima group would be practicing a version of the dhamma that is much closer to what we all think of the dhamma as than the dhammapada only group.

Without knowledgeable teachers and monastics capable of transmitting the complete dhammavinaya lineage I wouldn't give either of your groups much of a chance of sustaining a living dhamma practice community over a period of 50 years. I think your hypothetical scenario is quite unrealistic.

alan... wrote:not that anyone was suggesting giving them just the dhammapada anyway. i'm using this as an extreme example to make clear what i'm saying and why i don't understand it as a choice at all. if you are only giving a small number of books, why would one be the dhammapada?

I don't understand why you started this thread. But when someone asks me what books I would recommend to people who "know almost nothing about the dhamma," I often recommend the Dhammapada.


they wouldn't have much chance to have what we might consider good dhamma but it could be something akin to it. i see no reason why this hypothetical group of people couldn't develop some kind of understanding of the dhamma, even if it's not perfect they surely could come up with some good practices and moral foundations that could last much longer than fifty years with a good selection of books. i'm sure somewhere in history and lore we could find a story where someone reaches nibbana or close to it just by reading some texts or hearing them recited so it's not such a stretch really. actually this kind of thing is seen frequently in the history of the dhamma, across all traditions.

why did i start this thread? see the earlier post where this same question was asked. i don't know why people keep asking this.

it's just for fun. no big deal.

if it bothers you just remember it's a silly hypothetical situation.

the situation is actually fairly irrelevant, the only important things are the conditions. i was just using the situation to get a straight answer out of people without a bunch of confusion over what i was asking or too much thought or analysis into what books i was looking for. it was more fun to make a game out of it than to just write: what books do you like for under $60, no internet articles, no free books, no audio files, etc., etc. stuff i can find on amazon. and i got just that! lot's of posts with amazing book selections!

not only that, it's more fun to make it a scenario! it makes people think more creatively and take their answers more seriously but since it's just hypothetical they don't over think them either.

the dhammapada is a wonderful thing. all i was saying is if that was all someone had, with no commentary, it wouldn't be as useful as a whole nikaya or more. as an introductory item with many more volumes and teachings potentially behind it it is absolutely a perfect choice. but inside this thread for our hypothetical group, it alone, with no commentary, would not serve much use. again, if this bothers you, please remember this is just silliness, i'm not saying anything bad about the dhammapada.
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