WOW! SO MUCH!

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Rob427W
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WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Rob427W » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:37 am

Hi, folks,


As I'm quite new to the tradition, I'm wondering how I might even begin to undertake the tremendous task of beginning to study the Suttas.

Here I am, about to begin listening to the Satipatthana teachings from Joseph Goldstein. Should I grab pen and paper, or just listen intently?


Any advice on how to begin study would be *wonderful*!


Thanks! :group:

---Rob

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 1:45 am

I suggest starting with Bhikkhu Bodi's book "In the Buddha's Words" which is cheap, well organised, and well-written.

See viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2392 for a link to Bhikkhu Bodhi's talks based on the book.

Book and reviews: http://wisdompubs.org/Pages/display.lasso?-KeyValue=104
(You can read the first chapter as a PDF).

Metta
Mike

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby sherubtse » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:07 am

A simpler intro would be Ven. Nyanatiloka's "The Word of the Buddha":

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/wordofbuddha.pdf

With metta,
Sherubtse

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:23 am

Greetings Rob,

I recently posted this short list of texts which comprise of, or are based around, the Buddha's sutta-based teachings...

In The Buddha's Words - Bhikkhu Bodhi
Wings To Awakening - Venerable Thanissaro
What The Buddha Taught - Walpola Rahula
The Buddha's Ancient Path - Thera Piyadassi

I have read the last three and found them to be good. I haven't read the first, but I've read Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations and modern commentaries and see no reason why that wouldn't be at least as good as the others.

I never felt the need for pen and paper, but you may feel otherwise... I suspect that's a very individualised 'learning style' kind of issue.

See also:

Befriending the Suttas: Tips on Reading the Pali Discourses
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... nding.html

and...

"Thus you should train yourselves: 'We will listen when discourses that are words of the Tathagata — deep, deep in their meaning, transcendent, connected with emptiness — are being recited. We will lend ear, will set our hearts on knowing them, will regard these teachings as worth grasping & mastering.' That's how you should train yourselves."

— SN 20.7


:reading:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 2:42 am

sherubtse wrote:A simpler intro would be Ven. Nyanatiloka's "The Word of the Buddha":
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/wordofbuddha.pdf

Yes, that's a very good option. And free too... I enjoyed that, but I felt focussed on particular issues. As does Thanissaro Bhikkhu's book that Retro mentions (which is also available free online), which is very much a presentation of his viewpoint. Not that that is bad, but it's not written as a general introduction to the Suttas.

For me, Bhikkhu Bodhi's collection has much broader coverage and diversity than anything else I've seen. Suttas about "mundane" topics such as how to live a good life, how to respect parents, how to look after spouses on up to Suttas about kamma, meditation, and liberation. Also, it has a lot of complete or near-complete Suttas, rather than the extracts that the other works resort to.

Edit:
Personally, my Sutta study path went:
1. In the Buddha's Words
2. BB's translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, with the aid of BB's talks http://www.bodhimonastery.net/bm/about- ... ikaya.html
3. Other stuff...

Metta
Mike

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:00 am

Also keep in mind that there is a library of mp3 audio files of Bhikkhu Bodhi's Majjhima Nikaya lecture series at the Bodhi Monastery site:
http://www.bodhimonastery.net/courses/MN/MN_course.html
Its worthwhile acquiring a copy of the Bodhi/Narada translation of the Majjhima Nikaya published by Wisdom for this, but if you get 'In the Buddha's Words' as Mike suggests, you'll find that many of the suttas are also in that work.
metta

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Rob427W » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:21 am

I find it weird, sounding like Dorothy when I say this, but, thank you all so VERY very much.


I really appreciate the advice, and am excited to start studying shortly! :thanks:


Lots of love!

Rob

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Oct 20, 2009 3:26 am

Hi
retros sugestions are all equally good!

here are some links
Access to insight, excellen resourse for suttas
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index.html

Sutta readings, wher suttas are read aloud links from Access to insight also
http://www.suttareadings.net/index.html

Wikipiaka, loads of suttas some of which are not on A2I
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page

PS you can also get the wings to awakening n Access too insight
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby pink_trike » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:25 am

Many good suggestions, but its good to remember that quantity is no substitute for slow and careful ingestion/digestion of information.
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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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:48 am

pink_trike wrote:Many good suggestions, but its good to remember that quantity is no substitute for slow and careful ingestion/digestion of information.

This is a very good point. I agree that it is better to study some key Suttas carefully than try to read them all. I read "In the Buddha's words" several times over several months when I first got it, getting more out of it each time. Having done that, when I look at almost any other Sutta I can see where it fits in to the sequence Bhikkhu Bodhi used and how it elaborates on something that is in that collection.

I just got it back from someone I loaned it to. Probably time to read it again...

Mike

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby christopher::: » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:24 am

pink_trike wrote:Many good suggestions, but its good to remember that quantity is no substitute for slow and careful ingestion/digestion of information.


Which is linked to direct and careful observation of one's own body/feelings/experiences/mind over an extended period of time. In other words, study needs to be balanced with practice.

Maybe that doesn't need to be said?

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:45 am

christopher::: wrote:Maybe that doesn't need to be said?


Oh no, dear Christopher!
It needs to be said over, and over, and over again.
metta

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

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Oct 20, 2009 6:51 am

One use of pen and paper that i would recommend for those to whom it suits, is the ancient and traditional practice of Sutta copying. You take good clean paper and a good pen, you sit in a way that you find comfortable, but that aids awareness and you copy the Suttas line by line. You do this as mindfully as you can , it makes sense to have a set time for each session. It has two obvious effects . The mind becomes calm and clear, and the Suttas go in almost subliminally and sink through the various " layers" of the mind. Most people find that they have learned sections of the Suttas without consciously trying to. As well as creating a relaxed but aware state which maximises the chance of insights arising.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby zavk » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:11 am

christopher::: wrote:
pink_trike wrote:Many good suggestions, but its good to remember that quantity is no substitute for slow and careful ingestion/digestion of information.


Which is linked to direct and careful observation of one's own body/feelings/experiences/mind over an extended period of time. In other words, study needs to be balanced with practice.

Maybe that doesn't need to be said?

:anjali:


I'm not very well-read when it comes to the sutta. I have probably read the few key ones that delineate the basic aspects of the practice. But even then, I can't even remember the titles of those suttas! It is not that I'm avoiding the suttas or that I'm dismissing the value of reading suttas closely and repeatedly. But as far as my practice is concerned, I find that those few basic aspects of the teachings--i.e. craving, impermanence, equanimity--are more than enough for me to deal with!

As far as the direct and careful observation of my own experience goes, those few aspects have been enough to sustain my practice. However, I must say that I am slowly beginning to feel the need to study more suttas. But even if I were to study more suttas, I suspect that when I transpose that knowledge onto the cushion and/or the sphere of everyday life, it will only come back to reinforce those basic concepts that I thought I 'already understood'.
With metta,
zavk

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:23 am

Its a bit like vitamin C Zavk. You can take a vitamin c capsule, or you can eat fresh fruit and veg which gives you not only vitamins but a range of micronutrients and roughage too...The Suttas are more than the basic nutrition. More than the key concepts.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby zavk » Tue Oct 20, 2009 7:32 am

Sanghamitta wrote:Its a bit like vitamin C Zavk. You can take a vitamin c capsule, or you can eat fresh fruit and veg which gives you not only vitamins but a range of micronutrients and roughage too...The Suttas are more than the basic nutrition. More than the key concepts.


Hahaha...yes. To continue your metaphor a little further. I've been working hard at establishing a 'healthy lifestyle', developing various healthy activities in my everyday life and also in formal 'gym' sessions (if you know what I mean). Now that I have established this base of a 'healthy lifestyle', I feel more inclined to explore a wider range of 'healthy foods' to further improve my 'healthy lifestyle'. :)
With metta,
zavk

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Oct 20, 2009 11:49 am

Sanghamitta wrote:One use of pen and paper that i would recommend for those to whom it suits, is the ancient and traditional practice of Sutta copying. You take good clean paper and a good pen, you sit in a way that you find comfortable, but that aids awareness and you copy the Suttas line by line. You do this as mindfully as you can , it makes sense to have a set time for each session. It has two obvious effects . The mind becomes calm and clear, and the Suttas go in almost subliminally and sink through the various " layers" of the mind. Most people find that they have learned sections of the Suttas without consciously trying to. As well as creating a relaxed but aware state which maximises the chance of insights arising.


This is something I have never thought of doing! sounds like a really good prctice!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby sherubtse » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:33 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
For me, Bhikkhu Bodhi's collection has much broader coverage and diversity than anything else I've seen. Suttas about "mundane" topics such as how to live a good life, how to respect parents, how to look after spouses on up to Suttas about kamma, meditation, and liberation. Also, it has a lot of complete or near-complete Suttas, rather than the extracts that the other works resort to.

Metta
Mike


Yes, BB's work is the best introduction to the suttas. But I think it may be unsuitable for someone who is at the very start of such study. Some of his chapters are rather dense and "technical" and may be "off-putting" or confusing for someone just starting study of the suttas.

With metta,
Sherubtse

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:26 pm

Greetings Sherubtse,
sherubtse wrote:Yes, BB's work is the best introduction to the suttas. But I think it may be unsuitable for someone who is at the very start of such study. Some of his chapters are rather dense and "technical" and may be "off-putting" or confusing for someone just starting study of the suttas.

Yes, it's certainly true that some of the Suttas are rather technical. This seems unavoidable. It's possible that Ven Nyanatiloka's collection might be a little more manageable to start with. However, another approach would be to concentrate on reading the early chapters of BB's book on living a better life, etc, and leave the more technical topics aside for a time. It is clear from reading the Suttas that the Buddha didn't teach the more advanced teachings until the audience was well versed in the basics of generosity and sila.

In terms of technicality, my view is that Ven Thanissaro is much more difficult than Bhikkhu Bodhi. I find his work useful and interesting, but to me "Wings to Awakening" reads like a graduate thesis (presenting the Venerable's perspective on liberation) where "In the Buddhas Words" reads like a well-balanced introductory text book (with a few hard bits...).

Metta
Mike

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Re: WOW! SO MUCH!

Postby sherubtse » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:44 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
However, another approach would be to concentrate on reading the early chapters of BB's book on living a better life, etc, and leave the more technical topics aside for a time. It is clear from reading the Suttas that the Buddha didn't teach the more advanced teachings until the audience was well versed in the basics of generosity and sila.



Yes, that approach makes alot of sense, and is a good alternative to what I had proposed previously.

mikenz66 wrote:
In terms of technicality, my view is that Ven Thanissaro is much more difficult than Bhikkhu Bodhi. I find his work useful and interesting, but to me "Wings to Awakening" reads like a graduate thesis (presenting the Venerable's perspective on liberation) where "In the Buddhas Words" reads like a well-balanced introductory text book (with a few hard bits...).



I have never read anything by the Ven. Thanissaro, I must admit. I have heard much about him, pro and con, but have avoided his work. I think that it is time to rectify that. Where would you recommend that I start, Mike?

Thanks.

With metta,
Sherubtse


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