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Spreading Buddhism - Page 3 - Dhamma Wheel

Spreading Buddhism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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pink_trike
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby pink_trike » Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:13 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:17 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:44 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:15 am

Greetings,

With all due respect to Mr. Goenka, I think his chanting is a bit counter-productive in the sense that if he's trying to appeal to anyone and everyone, regardless of their religious denomination, introducing a "religious" element such as chanting, when the meditation techniques you're teaching are not inherently religious and don't require it, will be a cause of possible concern to atheists and theists alike. Even as a dedicated Theravadin Buddhist, I did not feel that this was useful in the observance of vedana, so wondered what productive outcome he hoped it would achieve? Perhaps one of his students might know. Ben?

I love that Mr. Goenka wants to praise the Buddha, I'm just a little worried about the time and place for such things and any conflict with his primary objective of having people across the world experience the benefits that come from vipassana meditation.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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pink_trike
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby pink_trike » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:49 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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retrofuturist
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:55 am

Greetings Pink_Trike,

If you think the Dhamma needs to be restated and translated (into non-Dhammic terms) then by all means do it.

My conviction in the Buddha (as both teacher, and enlightened being) combined with my absence of any Mahayana bodhicitta, render that pursuit unnecessary.

Nonetheless, I remain interested in spreading Buddhism, albeit primarily in what I consider to be its most original form.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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zavk
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby zavk » Fri Sep 25, 2009 5:58 am

Hi Retro

I can totally understand why some people would be uncomfortable with the chanting. Once, when I was serving as a manager at a course, a student requested to speak to the assistant teacher. So I brought him to the AT and I heard him telling the teacher, 'Goenka's chanting... it's very irritating!' :rofl:

The 'standard' answer to your question (that Goenka gives himself) is that the chanting is just a means for the teacher to generate the so-called 'good vibrations' for a conducive environment for practice. However, I can see how some people may not be satisfied with this answer. To be honest, if pressed further I can't say for sure if chanting does produce 'good vibrations' or not--although anthropological and/or scientific research into the functions of chanting would seem to support this.

I personally like the chanting and find it useful in helping me 'get in the zone'. Even though it has a certain ritualism to it, I don't see it as inherently 'religious'. I would draw a comparison with other 'ritualistic' activities that we are familiar with in everyday non-religious contexts. Take for example, a musical recital at a non-religious event like, say, the inauguration of a president. Before the president is sworn into office, there is usually a reading of poetry or a short musical performance (as was indeed the case with the inauguration of President Obama). These activities are performed at other events as well like the start of a major conference, start of the Olympics, even at non-religious funerals and weddings.

Now, the way I look at it, these events do not strictly require these 'ritualistic' activities. These 'ritualistic' activities serve a symbolic purpose. But this symbolic purpose, although not measurable or quantifiable, is an important (and even indispensable) part of those events. I can't imagine not having these activities at a wedding, a funeral, an inauguration of a president, and so forth. When we listen to and/or watch these activities, we feel part of the event, we are brought 'into the zone', so to speak. I'd even say that these activities help to 'set the vibe'.

But of course just as some people may not appreciate certain poetry or musical recital ('don't feel the vibe', they might say), so too would some people not appreciate Goenka's chanting.

This is how I would explain the chanting to new students anyway.
Last edited by zavk on Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
With metta,
zavk

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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:04 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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zavk
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby zavk » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:07 am

Last edited by zavk on Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
With metta,
zavk

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retrofuturist
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:08 am

Greetings zavk,

I didn't think you would interpret it that way... I just wanted to ensure that others wouldn't, too.

Metta,
Retro. :)

P.S. Go Saints!
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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pink_trike
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby pink_trike » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:47 am

It's interesting to consider the effect of ritualized sound on the patterns of the brain in relationship to receiving teachings and as a preparation for meditation. Chanting of words and sounds has been used in many cultures not just to place an idea or set of ideas in the mind-stream but it's also been used to modify the pattern of brain waves...to flatten or smooth them, clearing agitation and increasing receptivity in some cases, and others are toned to activate specific areas of the brain - a chant might start off calibrating one section of the brain and through a series of tonal/sound changes calibrate through several areas of the brain. The effects of chanting on brain patterns has been measured and verified by modern science. I don't know if Mr. Goenka is doing this, but I learned many years ago not to underestimate the skills of an accomplished teacher or to second guess the purpose of their methodology.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Ben
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby Ben » Fri Sep 25, 2009 6:59 am

Hi Paul
I don't want to reiterate what Zavk said which I think answers your question - I hope!
Personally, I recoiled from the chanting when I first attended my first course many moons ago. In later years I had amassed a small cd-library of Goenkaji's sutta chants and group-sit chants (which I needed for organising group sits) and played one or other of them nearly daily while I meditated. The duration of the chants were convenient time-pieces and it did assist me to generate a meditative ambience whether it was meditating at home or while commuting. I also found that with the use of noise-reduction head-phones and the chant - I could block out distracting background noise and I could maintain my awareness on the principal object for longer periods with greater ease.
At the moment I'm inclined to silence and if I feel like it - use the Atanatiya Sutta or a recording of U Ba Khin's chant of the Tikapatthana.

And yes, may the Saints be victorious!
metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Sanghamitta
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:09 am

On a personal note, I have no problem with the idea that the "ism" aspect of the Dhamma can be softened with no ill effects. Isms are a very western Greek Logic way of viewing things.
There are though those of us who have gravitated to a traditional expression through informed choice because it suits our temprement and interests and who knows? May be in keeping with our kamma. I am sure that no one intends to suggest that those who make such a choice need a reverse missionary effort to shake them into a different way of thinking, but at times it can feel like that......
When I chant Buddham Saranam Gatcchami, Dhammam Saranam Gatcchami, Sangham Saranam Gacchami, I have summed up my own path. I am not saying that others must do the same, but that is my vehicle and the same is true of most of my Buddhist companions on that path. In my experience there are those who are ready for the Dhamma and for them a full on exposure to unapologetic Buddhism with a capital B is just what the doctor ordered. :smile: Other people need other remedies at this time.

with metta to all.

Valerie.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Zack
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby Zack » Sun Sep 27, 2009 8:17 pm

IMHO
Following the path and maintaining the precepts promotes the Dhamma to those who's kamma has allowed them be receptive to it.
Please support the Sangha however you can.
I am of nature to decay, I have not gone beyond decay.
I am of the nature to be diseased, I have not gone beyond disease.
I am of the nature to die, I have not done beyond death.
All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to
my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do,
whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya v.57

rowyourboat
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:45 pm

In answer to the original question- buddhism does have it's own app- quite a good introductory one actually by an Indian company.

I think Buddhism is a lot about making information available- books, internet, meetings, podcasts, mp3 etc. It doesnt work very well with street corner shouting IMO- that is not the nature of the dhamma, not what we are trying to portray. But then again setting up a stall and quietly handing out free books for distribution- dont see anything wrong with that-and shows great compassion. Thinking of sri lanka- theres so much of it in the media that even people from other religions accept it- are drawn to the wisdom. But that will never be a model in the west, atleast not now. I am waiting for the day we see a Buddhist TV channel.

Setting up a small group to discuss teachings is a good way to go I think. If you can find like minded people- a bit of meditation- listen to a talk by ajhan brahm-have a discussion and a laugh-some food-socialize- its a good way to spend an evening! For someone to truly mature in the dhamma a group of kalyanamittas is necessary. Initially the 'fun' aspect is important to glue things together.

with metta

RYB
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

Clueless Git
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby Clueless Git » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:06 am


Clueless Git
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby Clueless Git » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:29 am

Not directly related to the topic, more of a 'confession' really ...

In contrast to the guy in my previous post. I was once pursued by a freind of my fathers who had made it his mission to convert me by masqerading as my freind.

Lost my temper with him I did. Took him through every aspect of what he was, what he did, what he had acheived, how he looked and just about everything in comparison to what I had going on at the time. (Materiasticaly, realtionship wise, career wise ... things were going well from me back then.)

Having done the dismantling, denegrating and ridiculing of the chap I stuck the knife in deep. "Ray" I said "Tell me just one thing that would be make ME want to be anything like YOU".

Clearly hurt he left and I never saw him again.

I kinda know now that, have it been misguided or no, his attempts to convert me were done out of kindess and I returned that with spite.

One day I hope to bump into Ray again so I can tell him "Ray, what I did back then made me a lesser man than you."

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appicchato
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby appicchato » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:31 pm


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retrofuturist
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:58 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

Individual
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Re: Spreading Buddhism

Postby Individual » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:26 am

The best things in life aren't things.



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