How to find the middle way?

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How to find the middle way?

Postby purple planet » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:22 pm

The way i understand ( from dhamma talks ect) the middle way is to take the middle way in everything in life - not just to run away from small pain or seek pleasures - sometimes the middle way must be extreme (for example cutting you leg when its infected or meditating even though it hurts) but its still the middle way

so for whoever thinks like me that the middle way is the middle of every two extremes in life ( dont confuse with mediocrity or fear of doing extreme actions ) how do you find the middle way ?
Please send merit to my old dog named Mika - thanks in advance
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby binocular » Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:26 pm

Several Forest teachers discuss the middleness of the Middle Way.
Just search ATI for the keyword "middleness" to get the results.
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby Sekha » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:44 pm

Even though it may be with pain, even though it may be with sorrow, even though he may be crying, his face in tears, he lives the holy life that is perfect & pure.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby Feathers » Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:22 pm

Not sure this is helpful of me, but: I think that what is 'middle way' for one person may not be for another.
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby purple planet » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:25 pm

Not sure this is helpful of me, but: I think that what is 'middle way' for one person may not be for another.


not damaging anyway lol . of this im clear : its true the middle-way is different for every person but not only that but for different situations also - if i run into a 200kg barbell to lift it would be extreme to me but not for a strongman athlete - two different people same situation - and if i need to lift groceries which weigh 4 kg it would be extreme of me not to lift them - same person different situation

the problem for me is the mildness of the middle way (started to read on ati and the link dont understand yet) when exactly is the weight too small and when exactly too big
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jan 13, 2014 8:54 pm

Right Effort is a Courageous Effort, not a half-hearted effort.
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby purple planet » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:02 pm

Right Effort is a Courageous Effort, not a half-hearted effort.


So what is the full "range" of the middle way ? is it :

to just not to harm your body for no purpose - and not to seek pleasure at all?

or is it to balance the brahma vihara ?

or is it on everything except for the effort in meditation and being mindful ?
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:28 pm

Didn't we already discuss this back here: http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 53#p271020 :thinking:

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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby purple planet » Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:32 pm

hmmm :embarassed: ok so maybe combine them - but here im asking from a little different prespective


i got a good answer back then if it was only about meditation - but now im asking from a different perspective -

assuming the middle-way is about everything
where do we draw the exact line in different situations in life even secular non spiritual ones ?

but now Bhikkhu Pesala answer made me wonder is it really about everything or not

(since that thread i saw in a few places - that the middle way is talked about as something that is the main philosophy and true to everything in life and from the thread you linked i understood it as to avoid the two extremes - and now saw this thread which makes me wonder if its just to balance the brahma viharas : viewtopic.php?f=42&t=19483 )
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jan 13, 2014 11:02 pm

As I've said before I don't think the "middle way" is really about balance, I think it's about transcendence:
Bhikkhu Ñānananda wrote:“All those kinds of dual­i­ties, be it asti/nāsti or sabbaṃ ekattaṃ/sabbaṃ puthuttaṃ etc. were rejected by the Bud­dha: majjhena Tathā­gato Dhammaṃ deseti – he taught the Dhamma by the mid­dle. It’s not just the mid­dle path. It’s not a mix­ture of 50% of each. We usu­ally think that the mid­dle is between two ends. It’s a rejec­tion of both ends and an intro­duc­tion of a novel stand­point. Again, I remem­ber Dr. W.S. Karunaratne say­ing how paṭiccasamuppāda, both as a phi­los­o­phy and as a word, was novel to Indian think­ing. There were other vāda–s such as Adhic­casamup­pāda and Issaran­im­māna, but not paṭiccasamuppāda, and it is not a vāda.
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... %2C_Part_2

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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby culaavuso » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:10 am

I think the middle way is to maintain the noble eightfold path without being caught up on the dualities that language tends to impose. The most common duality cited in this discussion is pleasure/pain, but it's also easy to be caught up on dualities like gain/loss, existence/nonexistence, etc. Aside from their relevance in learning the skills of ending suffering, the dualities are irrelevant. It's a "middle" not because the scale is balanced on both sides so much as because the scale is completely ignored. The problem is understanding stress, abandoning the causes of stress, realizing the cessation of stress, and developing the path to the cessation of stress. Labeling the world with dualities is beside the point.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn56/sn56.011.than.html
SN56.11: Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta wrote:"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

"And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/waytoend.html
Bhikkhu Bodhi: The Noble Eightfold Path: The Way to the End of Suffering wrote:To eliminate ignorance we need wisdom, but how is wisdom to be acquired? As indubitable knowledge of the ultimate nature of things, wisdom cannot be gained by mere learning, by gathering and accumulating a battery of facts. However, the Buddha says, wisdom can be cultivated. It comes into being through a set of conditions, conditions which we have the power to develop. These conditions are actually mental factors, components of consciousness, which fit together into a systematic structure that can be called a path in the word's essential meaning: a courseway for movement leading to a goal. The goal here is the end of suffering, and the path leading to it is the Noble Eightfold Path with its eight factors: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

The Buddha calls this path the middle way (majjhima patipada). It is the middle way because it steers clear of two extremes, two misguided attempts to gain release from suffering. One is the extreme of indulgence in sense pleasures, the attempt to extinguish dissatisfaction by gratifying desire. This approach gives pleasure, but the enjoyment won is gross, transitory, and devoid of deep contentment. The Buddha recognized that sensual desire can exercise a tight grip over the minds of human beings, and he was keenly aware of how ardently attached people become to the pleasures of the senses. But he also knew that this pleasure is far inferior to the happiness that arises from renunciation, and therefore he repeatedly taught that the way to the Ultimate eventually requires the relinquishment of sensual desire. Thus the Buddha describes the indulgence in sense pleasures as "low, common, worldly, ignoble, not leading to the goal."

The other extreme is the practice of self-mortification, the attempt to gain liberation by afflicting the body. This approach may stem from a genuine aspiration for deliverance, but it works within the compass of a wrong assumption that renders the energy expended barren of results. The error is taking the body to be the cause of bondage, when the real source of trouble lies in the mind — the mind obsessed by greed, aversion, and delusion. To rid the mind of these defilements the affliction of the body is not only useless but self-defeating, for it is the impairment of a necessary instrument. Thus the Buddha describes this second extreme as "painful, ignoble, not leading to the goal."

Aloof from these two extreme approaches is the Noble Eightfold Path, called the middle way, not in the sense that it effects a compromise between the extremes, but in the sense that it transcends them both by avoiding the errors that each involves. The path avoids the extreme of sense indulgence by its recognition of the futility of desire and its stress on renunciation. Desire and sensuality, far from being means to happiness, are springs of suffering to be abandoned as the requisite of deliverance. But the practice of renunciation does not entail the tormenting of the body. It consists in mental training, and for this the body must be fit, a sturdy support for the inward work. Thus the body is to be looked after well, kept in good health, while the mental faculties are trained to generate the liberating wisdom. That is the middle way, the Noble Eightfold Path, which "gives rise to vision, gives rise to knowledge, and leads to peace, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbana."
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 14, 2014 12:14 am

I think the issue here is that people think that balance means 50% this and 50% that, or halfway between this and that.

This is compromise not balance.

I'm not sure it's rejecting the two extremes either but rather rejecting them as fixed positions. So the starting point should be seeing the merits and limitations of both of the extremes.

For example one can see that practise should be open, receptive, accepting, and relaxed while at the same time see that practise should be energetic, persistant, targetted, and determined.

The middle way is developing a recipe that balances those incrediants without falling into one exteme or another that can be fluid enough to be adjusted according to conditions as they unfold.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby chownah » Tue Jan 14, 2014 2:50 am

To find the middle way do not grasp at things; instead, examine them with discernment.
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Re: How to find the middle way?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:20 am

mikenz66 wrote:As I've said before I don't think the "middle way" is really about balance, I think it's about transcendence:


Yes, exactly. All too often some Buddhists use the "middle way" to justify just about anything. The Buddha didn't allow "some" killing or some poisons. It is more about a whole new standpoint, not found in the extremes, nor "a little of this and a little of that."
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