Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

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samtheman
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Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

Postby samtheman » Mon Oct 28, 2013 4:40 pm

Hello everyone,

Here are some beginner questions I have.

1) The thing with buddhism is when I read about it I can so understand it is the truth. For example I completely understand craving leads to more suffering. But I still crave for things. What do u call this? I mean I know what it is saying is true, but I still do it? How does meditation make you truly understand this

2) The thing I don't like about mediation is that there is no way to track your progress? I don't know much about this but is Jahna a way to track your progress. Has anyone here attained any Jahna, because if someone has it would convince me that meditation works.

3) If some one does no mediation, but carries on his daily day today activities with total awareness of the present moment and follows eight fold path. Can that person lead to nibbana without meditation?

4) If you do lot of good karma, would that lead you to nibbana?

5) After reading about Buddhism, I have a become a bit depressed. It is nothing to do with buddhism, it is amazing but i think I understood some of the concepts wrong, hence I'm here. I understand that at the end life is suffering. But now I find life a bit meaningless. I don't even feel like having fun because at the end life if just suffering?
Are we not meant to have fun in life if following buddhism?

Thanks a lot in advance for your help :)

santa100
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Re: Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

Postby santa100 » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:18 pm

1) You probably already read about Ignorance and because we have not destroyed ignorance, we still crave for things. Just like a chain smoker who's clearly aware that smoking is not good for his health and yet he still smokes! Meditation basically builds up the strength to help putting your understanding into practice. Without it, one can talks the talk but won't be able to walk the walk.

2) The litmus tests of your progress in meditation are pretty concrete and straightforward: are you able to see a decrease in greed, hatred, and delusion? Are you still easily agitated from things that disturb you? Are you still easily lusting after things that attract you? Do you still experiencing torpor or drowsiness during sitting? etc..

3) You probably already read about the Eightfold Noble Path: Right Concentration is also need to be cultivated beside Right Mindfulness. And actually the two will need to work closely together with the rest of the other six items of the Path

4) Good kamma alone won't be enough to lead to Nibbana (see #3 above)

5) A common misunderstanding about Buddhism is that one'll stop having fun in life. Quite the opposite, by cultivating virtues, meditation, and wisdom, one can attain the kind of "fun" that's far more superior to all the worldly fun which is fleeting and unsatisfactory..

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:35 pm

Snap: I wrote my reply without seeing the one before, and it's nice to see that the answers match almost perfectly.
  1. A smoker may understand quite well that smoking causes heart-disease and lung cancer. Intellectually, he or she understands, but craving for nicotine is not yet abandoned. Likewise, just understanding intellectually that craving causes suffering is not enough; one has to understand it directly. That is the purpose of developing mindfulness, to make the truth crystal clear. When genuine insight arises, craving will cease automatically.
  2. Progress may be imperceptible at first, but after some months of regular meditation practice you will know that you have made progress since you can restrain your craving and anger to some extent. There is no need to keep measuring how far you have travelled on a long journey, if you just keep walking in the right direction you will reach your destination, or at least you will be closer to it. You don't need to rely on what others say about their experience. What really matters is your own. If meditation doesn't seem to be working for you, check that you're practising correctly, and try harder.
  3. There is very little likelihood that anyone will be able to maintain total awareness of the present moment without at least some formal training in meditation exercises. Every athlete, musician, or artisan must practice basic skills repeatedly to become proficient. However, doing the formal practice alone is not enough either. It is vital to extend awareness to every moment of one's daily life.
  4. Other wholesome deeds, apart from meditation, such as charity, serving others, paying homage, listening to the Dhamma, asking intelligent questions about the meaning of the Dhamma, etc., all help to purify the mind by reducing greed, anger, pride, etc. They will lead you in the right direction, but mindfulness and concentration are vital factors to develop insight, and without insight there can be no realisation of nibbāna.
  5. The Buddha's teaching goes against the current of desire, therefore it does not appeal to the unwise, sensually indulgent, or lazy. The truth of suffering must be realised. Without seeing the danger in sensual pleasures, there can be no freedom from the cycle of becoming. Actually, there is a lot of joy to be found on the Path, and it is far superior to the joy of sensual pleasures, but there is also some hard work to be done to gain that spiritual happiness. “No pain, no gain,” is a common motto.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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reflection
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Re: Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

Postby reflection » Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:49 pm

Hi there!

Venerable Pesala gave a good reply, but let me just add my thoughts:

1. This truth works on so many levels, it's hard to explain. First you'll get an idea of what it's about, then you get more and more feeling and appreciation for it. Meditation helps on many levels.
2. In general you can track your progress by the amount of peace you receive from meditation. The more peace you receive, the deeper the meditation. People will probably not be claiming any attainments here, but you shouldn't get your inspiration from external things anyway. :)
3. I'd say no. The path is the eightfold path, which includes meditation.
4. Again, all eight path factors need to be practiced.
5. Of course you can have fun, but ideally you shouldn't attach to it. Some of these feelings are natural, but with time can disappear leaving peace instead.

samtheman
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Re: Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

Postby samtheman » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:17 pm

Thanks for all the replies everyone :) I will think about what has been said and get back if there are more confusions.

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Taijitu
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Re: Beginner questions I have about Buddhism?

Postby Taijitu » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:26 pm

santa100 wrote:1) You probably already read about Ignorance and because we have not destroyed ignorance, we still crave for things. Just like a chain smoker who's clearly aware that smoking is not good for his health and yet he still smokes! Meditation basically builds up the strength to help putting your understanding into practice. Without it, one can talks the talk but won't be able to walk the walk.


What if you smoke because you enjoy the sensation of the chemicals entering your lungs and the movement of your hand? If you can prove you can stop at any time and are not afraid of a long and painful death? Are you then delusional?
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