The best that one can do?

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The best that one can do?

Postby Digger » Sat May 07, 2011 10:43 pm

Greetings friends. Can I please get your opinions on the following issue that has been bothering me for a while:

1 – There are many conflicting sects and paths that may have some small common thread but have huge differences explaining what Buddhism is and what path one should take. The Buddha himself would probably not even recognize some of these as having anything to do with his teaching.

2 – There are disagreements regarding the Pali texts; which are truly the words of the Buddha and which are later creations / corruptions / additions.

3 – There are disagreements regarding the interpretation of the Pali texts into English (this English translation is right and that English translation is wrong) and what specifically the English translation means. Even if one were to become fluent in Pali, you sometimes still can not 100% grasp the meaning of something unless you can question the writer, which obviously we can’t do.

So is the best that one can do is to hunt for what makes sense within yourself and state this as being “Buddhism as I understand it”, since it is so difficult to find what is really the original path?

Thanks in advance for your responses.
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby Alex123 » Sat May 07, 2011 11:09 pm

Hello Digger, all,

Here are some of mine ideas:

1 – There are many conflicting sects and paths that may have some small common thread but have huge differences explaining what Buddhism is and what path one should take. The Buddha himself would probably not even recognize some of these as having anything to do with his teaching.


There can be a different specific approaches to the same issue (cessation of all craving).

2 – There are disagreements regarding the Pali texts; which are truly the words of the Buddha and which are later creations / corruptions / additions.


Often the disagreements are quite minor, and do not affect the overall practical message of letting go of all craving & ignorance.

So is the best that one can do is to hunt for what makes sense within yourself and state this as being “Buddhism as I understand it”, since it is so difficult to find what is really the original path?


IMHO, try to grasp the general message the whole point of the teaching, and follow that. Remember the 4NTs. Craving is the origin of dukkha, and cessation of craving is the cessation of dukkha. As I like to say "when you don't have any desire, undesirable things cannot possibly ever occur."

Don't be lost among the details talking about various fine points of certain concepts.




The recent notes I've made to myself is this:

Whatever you are aware right now, let go of clinging. Do it every moment, every day, until you are fully Awakened. And even then, continue doing it for pleasant abiding in the here and now. The awareness can be of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, bodily feeling, thinking or intending. It can also be awareness of body, feelings, thoughts, volitions, and consciousness. Or it can be awareness of eye and forms, ear and sounds, nose and smells, tongue and tastes, body and tangible objects, mind and mental objects.

Keep practicing. It is better to overshoot the mark, then stop short and fall off the path by attaching to various phenomena that arise during the practing thinking that one is awakened. If one actually does become fully Awakened, one will not mind to continue practicing. The practice would actually be effortless and enjoyable.

The hard part of this practice is to actually do it, and not be distracted by the defilements . It is very boring for the defilements.

How one practices to drop clinging? Whatever occurs, perceive it in the category of (impermanent, unsatisfactory, not-Self). Example: "It will pass. Let go."
Some other examples that may be used as needed in those circumstances are:
"inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. " (SN22.122)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html , http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html , VsM XX,105


Just my ideas as to what the path is all about.
Last edited by Alex123 on Sat May 07, 2011 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 07, 2011 11:09 pm

Greetings Digger,

Good questions.

I think it depends on how important it is for you to have Buddha-vacana (word of the Buddha), versus what others may be prepared to settle for.

There is no verifiable 100% exact Buddhavacana available to us, so somewhere on that road to 100% exact perfect Buddhavacana, there will come a point where the incremental value of any additional fractions you can put together become subordinate to the benefit from actually practically using the part that you're reasonably confident about, and that you know (or have reasonable belief) is leading in the right direction.

In other words, it is a question of benefit, and this shouldn't be lost sight of. Even those sects which are a long way from Buddhavacana can still yield benefit to practitioners if they are honest and dedicated. Knowing 100% of what the Buddha taught is not important, because the Buddha gave different instructions to different people, and bhikkhus, bhikkunis and lay followers of various persuasions were able to attain to noble states by following these teachings without a full log of every single word the Buddha ever spoke.

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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: The best that one can do?

Postby ground » Sun May 08, 2011 3:44 am

Digger wrote:So is the best that one can do is to hunt for what makes sense within yourself and state this as being “Buddhism as I understand it”, since it is so difficult to find what is really the original path?


If "sense" in "what makes sense within yourself" does not exclusively refer to "thinking about" then yes.

'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher."

When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.'

When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


So “Buddhism as I understand it” can never be appropriate if "understand" refers to the intellect exclusively.

“Buddhism as I experience it” may be more appropriate.


Kind regards
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby alan » Sun May 08, 2011 4:01 am

Hi Digger.
1) True.
2) Maybe, but it doesn't matter.
3) Read them, and think about what you have read. Then read them again!
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby daverupa » Sun May 08, 2011 4:22 am

Comments below.

Digger wrote:1 – There are many conflicting sects and paths that may have some small common thread but have huge differences explaining what Buddhism is and what path one should take. The Buddha himself would probably not even recognize some of these as having anything to do with his teaching.


This is why choice of which texts to allow as authoritative is important, of course bringing us to:

Digger wrote:2 – There are disagreements regarding the Pali texts; which are truly the words of the Buddha and which are later creations / corruptions / additions.


It's fairly clear-cut, despite there being grey boundaries. Digha I/Majjhima/Samyutta/Anguttara Nikayas are wholly acceptable, quality contingent on translation and textual analysis/critique:

Digger wrote:3 – There are disagreements regarding the interpretation of the Pali texts into English (this English translation is right and that English translation is wrong) and what specifically the English translation means. Even if one were to become fluent in Pali, you sometimes still can not 100% grasp the meaning of something unless you can question the writer, which obviously we can’t do.


Becoming fluent in Pali is highly recommended since the language is comparatively easy to learn; the "sometimes still" becomes minimized, and with meditation eliminated. The flavor of the Dhamma is still discernible.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby shjohnk » Thu May 12, 2011 1:54 am

'..the best that you can do, is fall in love'

Couldn't resist that! A horrible song from Christopher Cross that haunted 1980s TV in Australia...

Sorry for flippancy :tongue:

:focus: I think that one must investigate each path to see which one suits them best. Though my tip is, you've found Theravada, stick with it :)
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby ricketybridge » Thu May 12, 2011 6:42 pm

Alex123 wrote:The recent notes I've made to myself is this:

Whatever you are aware right now, let go of clinging. Do it every moment, every day, until you are fully Awakened. And even then, continue doing it for pleasant abiding in the here and now. The awareness can be of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, bodily feeling, thinking or intending. It can also be awareness of body, feelings, thoughts, volitions, and consciousness. Or it can be awareness of eye and forms, ear and sounds, nose and smells, tongue and tastes, body and tangible objects, mind and mental objects.

Keep practicing. It is better to overshoot the mark, then stop short and fall off the path by attaching to various phenomena that arise during the practing thinking that one is awakened...

How one practices to drop clinging? Whatever occurs, perceive it in the category of (impermanent, unsatisfactory, not-Self). Example: "It will pass. Let go."
Some other examples that may be used as needed in those circumstances are:
"inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. " (SN22.122)



Thank you for that. I found those notes really helpful.

Alex123 wrote:The hard part of this practice is to actually do it, and not be distracted by the defilements . It is very boring for the defilements.


LOL omg that's so true. :)
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Re: The best that one can do?

Postby icyteru » Fri May 27, 2011 3:22 pm

1. cattari ariya saccani
2. kamma & punnabbhava
3. tilakkhana
4. paticcasamuppada
5. sila & samadhi
The most complete english tipitaka on the internet world. http://realtruthlife.blogspot.com .
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