what the buddha taught

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby baratgab » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:51 pm

kayy wrote:Maybe some people would tell me that by returning to my worldly attachments, I was just running away from my suffering, trying to find solace in impermanent things.

This is true.

But when you suffer from depression, and when you are suicidally depressed, it is simply not a viable option to delve into it. It is too dangerous: what lies further into depression but psychosis and possible suicide?

Distraction is really the only option (in the immediate term anyway). After... then you can deal with the underlying problems. But depressives need external support, distractions, family, friends, exercise, etc.


Most people come to Buddhism with a fault-finding mind, and they practice Buddhism with a fault-finding mind. When the dhamma teaches that there is something better than what we have, we start to see that there is something wrong in what we have... When the dhamma teaches stilling the mind, we wrestle the mind... No wonder that we suffer. :)

And the best part is that suffering Buddhists actually condition others for suffering too, with their involuntary way of expressing the dhamma. Because of this, it is paramount to keep in mind in every single moment that the true doctrine have one taste, the taste of freedom, just like the taste of salt in the ocean. That the true path is free from torture, free from groaning and free from suffering. If your experience differs, the problem is not with the dhamma, but the problem is that what you have is not the dhamma. If there is awareness regarding this in the mind, then there is a chance of discovering the true dhamma.
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"
User avatar
baratgab
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:55 pm
Location: Hungary

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby seanpdx » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:51 pm

Ben wrote:
seanpdx wrote:And while tilt happily cites one particular scholar who does, in fact, accept the bulk of the canon as being authentic, he does a disservice in not citing contrary opinions from other scholars.

That's a cheap shot. If you want an alternative point of view Sean, I suggest you pull your finger out and back up your argument with citations yourself. Its not anyone else's responsibility except yours.


Actually, it wasn't a shot at all. Tilt is one of the few folks around here whose opinion I genuinely regard rather highly.

Gombrich is very highly regarded and considered by many as an authority.


Thank you. I'll look him up.
seanpdx
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:56 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby BlackBird » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:52 pm

Hi Sean

What are your motives for posting here?

I ask as a friend, not as a foe.

metta
Jack :heart:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby seanpdx » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:57 pm

BlackBird wrote:Hi Sean

What are your motives for posting here?

I ask as a friend, not as a foe.

metta
Jack :heart:


Read my first two posts. My motive is to answer Katy's question objectively.

Of course, the topic has strayed somewhat since her OP, so I've since ended up sending her a PM.
seanpdx
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:56 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:01 am

seanpdx wrote:]

In terms of objectivity, it's a disservice.
I am giving a considered opinion, which is not being objective: it is an opinion.

To practice? No, and not much, respectively. But I read the OP from an epistemological perspective, not merely the perspective of someone who wishes to practice. On the other hand... the case can be made that if one doesn't really know what the Buddha taught, then one doesn't really know whether one is practicing the Buddha's dhamma.
What the Buddha taught, what the tradition teaches. Since we cannot know with objective certainty what the Buddha taught, though I have studied at some length, in terms of practice, I do not get too terribly worried about it, but we can know pretty much what the tradition teaches, and that is workable.
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
User avatar
tiltbillings
 
Posts: 19562
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby seanpdx » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:20 am

tiltbillings wrote:
seanpdx wrote:]

In terms of objectivity, it's a disservice.
I am giving a considered opinion, which is not being objective: it is an opinion.

To practice? No, and not much, respectively. But I read the OP from an epistemological perspective, not merely the perspective of someone who wishes to practice. On the other hand... the case can be made that if one doesn't really know what the Buddha taught, then one doesn't really know whether one is practicing the Buddha's dhamma.
What the Buddha taught, what the tradition teaches. Since we cannot know with objective certainty what the Buddha taught, though I have studied at some length, in terms of practice, I do not get too terribly worried about it, but we can know pretty much what the tradition teaches, and that is workable.


No doubt we know what the tradition teaches -- on that I don't disagree in the least bit. But let's face it... most of the responses she's likely to get here will be from the traditional perspective. A little variety is nice, n'est-ce pas?
seanpdx
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:56 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby BlackBird » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:26 am

seanpdx wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Hi Sean

What are your motives for posting here?

I ask as a friend, not as a foe.

metta
Jack :heart:


Read my first two posts. My motive is to answer Katy's question objectively.

Of course, the topic has strayed somewhat since her OP, so I've since ended up sending her a PM.


I meant in general mate, sorry for not being clear.

metta
Jack :heart:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
User avatar
BlackBird
 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:07 pm
Location: New Zealand

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby seanpdx » Thu Feb 04, 2010 12:28 am

BlackBird wrote:
seanpdx wrote:
BlackBird wrote:Hi Sean

What are your motives for posting here?

I ask as a friend, not as a foe.

metta
Jack :heart:


Read my first two posts. My motive is to answer Katy's question objectively.

Of course, the topic has strayed somewhat since her OP, so I've since ended up sending her a PM.


I meant in general mate, sorry for not being clear.

metta
Jack :heart:


Kinda off-topic, eh? Perhaps that's a question more suitable for a PM?
seanpdx
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:56 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby appicchato » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:07 am

baratgab wrote:That the true path is free from torture, free from groaning and free from suffering.


Sorry...the path is full of torture, groaning, and suffering...it's only when one is liberated that these things are eliminated...then the path has been followed to the end (and the goal has been reached)...i.e. no more path...

My read anyway...
User avatar
appicchato
 
Posts: 1598
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:25 am

Hi Sean,
seanpdx wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
seanpdx wrote:And while tilt happily cites one particular scholar who does, in fact, accept the bulk of the canon as being authentic, he does a disservice in not citing contrary opinions from other scholars.
Disservice? Only in your opinion, which to misses the fact that what I was expressing is my opinion, which is nicely voiced by Gombrich.


In terms of objectivity, it's a disservice.

Well, why not cite some yourself then? Retro gave a link to Bhikkhu Sujato, who has his own particular slant on what he considers authentic and what he doesn't.

Here's Bhikhu Bodhi (In the Buddha's Words, page 9, from the PDF here: http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display.lasso?-KeyValue=104)
Even though we can detect clear signs of historical development between
different portions of the canon, this alignment with a single school
gives the texts a certain degree of uniformity. Among the texts stemming
from the same period, we can even speak of a homogeneity of
contents, a single flavor underlying the manifold expressions of the
doctrine. This homogeneity is most evident in the four Nikayas and the
older parts of the fifth Nikaya and gives us reason to believe that with
these texts—allowing for the qualification expressed above, that they
have counterparts in other extinct Buddhist schools—we have reached
the most ancient stratum of Buddhist literature discoverable.

Metta
Mike
User avatar
mikenz66
 
Posts: 10389
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby baratgab » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:03 pm

appicchato wrote:
baratgab wrote:That the true path is free from torture, free from groaning and free from suffering.


Sorry...the path is full of torture, groaning, and suffering...it's only when one is liberated that these things are eliminated...then the path has been followed to the end (and the goal has been reached)...i.e. no more path...

My read anyway...


Yes, Bhante, if you define the path as the aggregate of experiences, you are quite right, and I agree. :smile: I just referred to the influence of the dhamma as the path, which should always bring ease to the mind, and not burden. Or at least this is what I am confident in, based on the "elephant's footprint" concept of the Four Noble Truths. My impression is that practitioners are fallible to slipping into a borderline case of the false Jain view that suffering in and of itself is of a value in attaining liberation.

Downright self-torture is rare, of course, but I see all the time the phenomena of not taking up reachable spiritual happiness, which can be seen as a quality of holding onto inferior states, suffering. And since we see the roots of suffering in the defilements, this can be seen as a quality of holding onto the defilements. Undoubtedly, with a less happy mind one have a much harder time being mindful, being upright and being compassionate towards other beings. In the meditation practice it is common that the meditators deny themselves (actively or passively) the bliss that is born from stillness and seclusion. I can't reconcile these things with the path, and I think that our traditions should pay more attention to encouraging spiritual happiness. But of course these are just my own reflections; they can be completely wrong...
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"
User avatar
baratgab
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:55 pm
Location: Hungary

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby kayy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 8:58 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Katy,

In reading through your response to me and your “depression” msg, I think I see what you are struggling with. One teacher that I had would say: Keep it light and easy. Do not get so grim about it. Part of the problem is that you are looking at texts that are directed at monastics, and the Buddha can be quite uncompromising in his exhortation to the monks and nuns. It is context and to whom these texts are addressed that is actually quite important to consider. You are not a monastic, so do not have take that level of practice as a model for your practice. There is no need for it.

I would strongly suggest backing off more than a bit from the stuff that is depressing you, that you find difficult. Just give yourself some space. There is really nice book out there by Jack Kornfield called A PATH WITH HEART. He is a very, very experienced teacher. This book, which is the result of his years of teaching, is well worth spending with. It will help you get some balance dealing with these issues. I would strongly recommend it.

tilt



Hi Tilt - I read your message earlier on today and the word "grim" made me laugh. Because I do take things quite grimly, and I guess I need to lighten up about it and take things slowly. Definitely.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I like Jack Kornfield a lot. I like his soft voice and his eyes. Is that a good enough set of criteria for buying a book? I think so... I'll give it a go! :reading:

Best wishes to you,

Katy
kayy
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:20 pm

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby kayy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:02 pm

baratgab wrote:
kayy wrote:Maybe some people would tell me that by returning to my worldly attachments, I was just running away from my suffering, trying to find solace in impermanent things.

This is true.

But when you suffer from depression, and when you are suicidally depressed, it is simply not a viable option to delve into it. It is too dangerous: what lies further into depression but psychosis and possible suicide?

Distraction is really the only option (in the immediate term anyway). After... then you can deal with the underlying problems. But depressives need external support, distractions, family, friends, exercise, etc.


Most people come to Buddhism with a fault-finding mind, and they practice Buddhism with a fault-finding mind. When the dhamma teaches that there is something better than what we have, we start to see that there is something wrong in what we have... When the dhamma teaches stilling the mind, we wrestle the mind... No wonder that we suffer. :)

And the best part is that suffering Buddhists actually condition others for suffering too, with their involuntary way of expressing the dhamma. Because of this, it is paramount to keep in mind in every single moment that the true doctrine have one taste, the taste of freedom, just like the taste of salt in the ocean. That the true path is free from torture, free from groaning and free from suffering. If your experience differs, the problem is not with the dhamma, but the problem is that what you have is not the dhamma. If there is awareness regarding this in the mind, then there is a chance of discovering the true dhamma.



Basically, if it's making me miserable it's probably cos it's not the Dhamma?

I think you're right.

It's true about the fault-finding mind thing. I'm beginning to realise that I've approached Buddhism in the same way as I approach anything, and it's not in Buddhism as a concept, or in reading, or thinking, or anything external that we call "Buddhism" that I'm going to become happier. It's in changing my own mind.

Thanks baratgab for your thoughts. It's much appreciated.

Best wishes

Katy
kayy
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:20 pm

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby kayy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:04 pm

Apologies to all for the slight detour into depression and whatnot...!

:focus:
kayy
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:20 pm

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby nowheat » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:50 pm

kayy wrote:Maybe some people would tell me that by returning to my worldly attachments, I was just running away from my suffering, trying to find solace in impermanent things.

This is true.

But when you suffer from depression, and when you are suicidally depressed, it is simply not a viable option to delve into it. It is too dangerous: what lies further into depression but psychosis and possible suicide?

Distraction is really the only option (in the immediate term anyway). After... then you can deal with the underlying problems. But depressives need external support, distractions, family, friends, exercise, etc.

Oh certainly don't give it all up, Katy. If you want to become a monk and renounce, that is one way to go, but it is not the only way to go, and some people may not be suited to it; or may not be ready for it now and will be later.

Most of us householders will tell you that we find our involvement in life very good for our Buddhist practice. It seems even the Buddha thought it would be easier to "give it all up" cold turkey, just go off in the woods and meditate, but he didn't say everyone needed to do it.

It's not about not caring about people, or not being involved in hobbies, or even giving up all material wealth, it's about how you relate to these. You can still be a part of the world, offer kindness, love, experience joy, and make a difference in the world.

Someday, when we are ready to renounce, we will. Until then you may find your practice enriches your life and the lives of those around you.

metta
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby Guy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 11:55 pm

nowheat wrote:
kayy wrote:Maybe some people would tell me that by returning to my worldly attachments, I was just running away from my suffering, trying to find solace in impermanent things.

This is true.

But when you suffer from depression, and when you are suicidally depressed, it is simply not a viable option to delve into it. It is too dangerous: what lies further into depression but psychosis and possible suicide?

Distraction is really the only option (in the immediate term anyway). After... then you can deal with the underlying problems. But depressives need external support, distractions, family, friends, exercise, etc.

Oh certainly don't give it all up, Katy. If you want to become a monk and renounce, that is one way to go, but it is not the only way to go, and some people may not be suited to it; or may not be ready for it now and will be later.

Most of us householders will tell you that we find our involvement in life very good for our Buddhist practice. It seems even the Buddha thought it would be easier to "give it all up" cold turkey, just go off in the woods and meditate, but he didn't say everyone needed to do it.

It's not about not caring about people, or not being involved in hobbies, or even giving up all material wealth, it's about how you relate to these. You can still be a part of the world, offer kindness, love, experience joy, and make a difference in the world.

Someday, when we are ready to renounce, we will. Until then you may find your practice enriches your life and the lives of those around you.

metta


:goodpost:
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
User avatar
Guy
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby nowheat » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:18 am

kayy wrote:I was wondering: I have seen/heard many times that the Buddha's teachings were not written down until several hundred years after his death, and that until then, they were passed down from generation to generation of practitioners, monks etc through speech.

How, then, do we know that the suttas are really what the Buddha taught? How can we be sure to take them word-for-word, when the people who put them down on paper were most likely unenlightened beings who spoke a different language from the Buddha himself, half a century after he lived?

I don't mean this as a criticism - it's just something that's bugging me.

Any answers would be most lovely.

Read a lot, especially the suttas if you can. Meditate regularly. Listen to the wise. Think about what you read, see for yourself, and hear, and practice, practice, practice.

I believe that what the Buddha taught had complete internal consistency with no need for complicated explanations*. If you look for truth that fits together seamlessly, and practice it in your life and find it works, you'll find the dhamma underneath all the confusion, and that's what really matters.

* This is, of course, the dhamma I am referring to, not the suttas. The suttas, now, were first transmitted orally for about 500 years. They were first written down in about 100 C.E. Our oldest copies are not nearly that old. The language the Buddha spoke was thought by some to be "Magadhi" (named for the most powerful state at the time he lived) and it is quite close to the Pali, though Pali is a simple, clean language that was, if my understanding is correct, designed specifically to convey the suttas.

It's not reasonable to think that understanding will not have changed in even 100 years of oral transmission, much less 500 years. Heck, the Buddha was scolding his own monks for spreading wrong information even while he was still alive -- how likely is it then that after he died, everyone got everything exactly right? There's even a rule in the monk's books of discipline that says, "if you can't remember where a sutta took place, say 'in Savatthi'" which is a good rule for something minor like setting, but what did they do when they forgot more important things?

And then transcription comes along, and it's sometimes hard to read the copy you have when you're transcribing, so you make the best sense of it you can. Richard Gombrich also points out that when it comes to organizing who is going to remember what sutta, or copy it down, the ones no one really understands, or perhaps the ones they feel are in some way "wrong" -- disagreeing with their understanding of what the Buddha taught -- will not get memorized or copied as being "too low priority". Our oldest copies of Pali texts, Gombrich says, are about 500 years old, giving 2000 years of human error to creep in, of what was written down to possibly narrow to few copies at some points, and then what's left to be copied and spread again when the authors saw the danger of losing all that treasure.

There is a remarkable consistency in what we have, both across different tradition's versions of the same sutta, and in the suttas themselves. I went into reading suttas expecting them to be thoroughly corrupted but am frequently astounded by how much of what's there is clearly remaining from the earliest days. The whole seems to almost make a hologram.

:namaste:
nowheat
 
Posts: 525
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:42 am

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby Guy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:30 am

Hi All,

I know that Bhante Sujato has already been mentioned in this thread, but I thought I'd post this audio link of his analysis of the Satipatthana Sutta. http://www.dhammanet.org/download.php?view.96

It's a four hour audio file...you have been warned.

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
User avatar
Guy
 
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 4:05 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby baratgab » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:10 pm

kayy wrote:It's true about the fault-finding mind thing. I'm beginning to realise that I've approached Buddhism in the same way as I approach anything, and it's not in Buddhism as a concept, or in reading, or thinking, or anything external that we call "Buddhism" that I'm going to become happier. It's in changing my own mind.


Well, yes. :smile: As I like to say it: All the tidy intellectual concepts in the world don't make any difference in how we feel ourselves or where we get in spiritual practice. The only thing that matters is that how much peace, compassion and appreciation we have towards what is given in any moment.

If you think about it, lay people need so much stuff not because they appreciate them, but precisely because they don't appreciate them. They are continuously discontented, and destined to an endless running for a never-to-be contentment, very much like a dog chasing his own tail. The path of Buddhism is like paying more and more attention, making peace and appreciating things more and more. Consequently we are more and more contented, and eventually we need less and less. This is the recluse life that the Buddha encouraged: one that arises from a mind thoroughly suffused with peace and contentment. And this is quite in contrary with finding faults in what we have and denying ourselves from them, which only leads to frustration, depression and craving, because the underlying attitude problem is not alleviated, but aggravated.

All of this is highly relevant to what the Buddha really taught, in my view. :geek:
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"
User avatar
baratgab
 
Posts: 82
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:55 pm
Location: Hungary

Re: what the buddha taught

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Feb 05, 2010 7:20 pm

appicchato wrote:
baratgab wrote:That the true path is free from torture, free from groaning and free from suffering.


Sorry...the path is full of torture, groaning, and suffering...it's only when one is liberated that these things are eliminated...then the path has been followed to the end (and the goal has been reached)...i.e. no more path...

My read anyway...


I have quoted this before but one of the Ajahns trained by Luang Por Chah told me that Luang Por once said to him. " Until your practice has brought you three times to the edge of despair, it hasnt properly started."
Many of us are hard nuts to crack. We need strong nut crackers. Fortunately life is usually ready to supply them.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
Sanghamitta
 
Posts: 1614
Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:21 am
Location: By the River Thames near London.

PreviousNext

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests