YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Full Theravada - Dhamma Wheel

Full Theravada

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
User avatar
Maitri
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:43 am
Location: United States of America

Full Theravada

Postby Maitri » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:50 pm

Hello,

I've recently been studying and practicing Theravada with a local Sri Lankan lineage temple & Bhante. Over the years I've noticed that some Westerners within Buddhism (in all the traditions) tend to shy away from the full aspects of the Buddhist/Theravada tradition. For instance, engaging in devotional practices such as chanting suttas, offering puja, and observance of holy days to focus on practice. I've noticed this in some Westerners who want only meditation and reduce Buddhism to psychology and self-help, but I would like to engage it as a real,living and vibrant tradition. Dare I say it... as a religion. I want to participate in all of the aforementioned practices and really root my life in the Dhamma as a lay person. I am not disregarding people who only meditate, but I don't find that to be enough for me.

I don't mean to make sweeping generalizations of Westerners ( heck, I'm one), but I sometimes I don't seem to find the same desire in others to practice in a holistic manner. I am not talking about being a fundamentalist, or acting in a strident manner at all. I am very open to textual criticism, debate and intellectual engagement of Buddhism. But I want to live in a way that is more of where the Dhamma is present in many facets of our lives instead of just meditation. My husband and I, for instance, chant portions of the Sigalovada Sutta together and refer to the Buddha's teachings on marriage as a way to live. I don't share this with other Westerners because I'm not sure how they would act. The Bhante has encouraged us to do this and also gave us a few others suttas to use as well.

So, I wonder are there other Westerners who practice a full Theravada way, or am I an outlier here :rolleye: I am also newly rediscovering Theravada, so any advice or personal anecdote too would be great! :buddha1:
"Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom." Dhammapada: Pupphavagga


User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2206
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Apr 03, 2010 1:58 pm

I personally do puja every morning, chant suttas, offer dana to bhikkhus when possible and see myself as an upasaka in the fullest sense. I would be cautious about the phrase "Full Theravada" but I see what you mean. There are people who practice in the manner you have described but-to be honest-I myself have met very few. Nonetheless you should continue to practice to the best of you ability, finding kalyana-mittas when you can and going it alone when this isn't possible. Whatever happens I wish you well.

Metta,

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:
My Practice Blog:

Virgo
Posts: 1315
Joined: Sun Feb 14, 2010 10:52 pm

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Virgo » Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:48 pm

It boils down to accumulations in the citta, what makes a person how they are.


meindzai
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Full Theravada

Postby meindzai » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:31 pm

The basic practice of Buddhism is the eightfold path, and you are right that there is a lot more to it than just meditation. In fact the Buddha states that the other 7 parts of the path serve as "support and requisite" for right concentration.

However, some of the things you've included in your definition of "full Theravada" include cultural forms and adaptations. The eightfold path doesn't include pujas, chanting, etc. These can be supportive of the practice though, and I've done these things on occasion. I certainly do them when I'm on a retreat or visiting a monastery, but they don't form a regular part of my practice.

-M

User avatar
bodom
Posts: 5713
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Full Theravada

Postby bodom » Sat Apr 03, 2010 3:42 pm

Use whatever inspires and motivates your practice. Just dont mistake the rituals AS the practice.

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Full Theravada

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:47 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Goofaholix » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:03 pm

I participate in the rituals when I am in a traditional context but have never seen much point in doing so outside of a traditional context.

In Asia for most people most of the rituals and observances are about generating good luck or worshipping the Buddha as if he were a diety, neither of those are supported by the teachings.

So putting those motivations aside we are left with practices that could be seen as useful to humble and collect the heart in preparation for meditation, or as a kind of meditation themselves.

So if they are just another kind of meditation I guess a lot of westerners don't prefer meditations that appear outwardly to be no different from what you'd find in any other theistic religion.

It's interesting that westerners embrace ritualism in Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, the former I think because deity worship is an integral part of the practice, the latter because their ritual is quite elegant I suppose. In comparison I think some Theravada rituals seem a bit tacky.

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8502
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Full Theravada

Postby cooran » Sat Apr 03, 2010 9:42 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Full Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 03, 2010 11:29 pm

"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

User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 10648
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Full Theravada

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:35 am

Image




meindzai
Posts: 595
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:10 pm

Re: Full Theravada

Postby meindzai » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:52 am

To be honest, I think my practice could really benefit from a more devotional aspect. But I find it difficult to give priority to that aspect in private practice. It does end up feeling wierd to do alone.

-M

User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:47 am


Mukunda
Posts: 295
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:54 am

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Mukunda » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:31 am

As part of my daily practice, I bow, offer flowers and incense, and chant the Taking of Refuge and Precepts, 8 Fold Middle Path, Dependent Arising, 5 Recollections, and 3 Characteristics of Conditioned Existence prior to beginning my meditation, and after my meditation I chant one of several suttas and dedicate the merit. I also do a separate metta practice where I chant the Metta Sutta, the benefits of Metta, and a gatha for sharing metta prior to doing metta meditation.

At one time, I was very anti ceremony and ritual and thought just sitting in meditation was enough. But a friend convinced me to chant a couple of things prior to meditating, and it made such a huge difference in my practice, I expanded on it. Each time I sit to meditate, the ritual and chanting serve to remind me of what it is I am trying to accomplish, and reinforce the Buddha's teachings in my mind. Today I realize that being anti-ritual is as big a mistake as being attached to ritual. The rituals are nothing more than a useful tool, one I am grateful to have at my disposal.

User avatar
Maitri
Posts: 205
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:43 am
Location: United States of America

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Maitri » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:49 am

Hello,

Wow! Great and thoughtful replies, thanks!

I want to clarify that in addition to the devotional aspects I mentioned, I do meditate and follow the five precepts. I wasn't only advocating just devotional practice, but was curious how other Western Buddhists see that as a part of their lives. I know that "full Theravada" is probably not the best term to use, but I was trying to convey how to integrate some of the other aspects of the tradition in a way that is comprehensive and encompassing.

Chris,

The Bhante is Sri Lankan and the majority of people attending the temple on a regular basis are Westerners. As for lineage... I guess I meant that he is a Theravadan teacher from Sri Lanka as opposed to say Thailand or Vietnam. I am still not sure how the specific lineages within the Theravadan tradition work. If you could explain that I'd be really grateful! :jumping:

Mike,

Your practice is very encouraging to me. I too am doing the best as I can as an upasika in this day and age. Some Western Buddhists I've met tend to regard any aspect of devotion as "cultural baggage" and dis-regard it completely. I am not an awakened person, so I find chanting and reading the suttas to be a good reflection of what I am aiming for. I don't believe that just by chanting a sutta will I get magical benefits. It helps keep the dharma in my mind stream, so to speak. It also inspires me to practice.

Goof,

I agree some of the things you mentioned aren't appealing to me either. Just cultural preferences and aesthetics, I suppose. When I go temples that have neon or flashing lights behind the Buddha's head, I raise an eyebrow. :lol:
"Upon a heap of rubbish in the road-side ditch blooms a lotus, fragrant and pleasing.
Even so, on the rubbish heap of blinded mortals the disciple of the Supremely Enlightened One shines resplendent in wisdom." Dhammapada: Pupphavagga


Paññāsikhara
Posts: 980
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
Contact:

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:53 am

I think that it is a good attitude to approach the Dhamma as an holistic practice. Even the term from which we derive the English word "meditation", ie. "bhavana", is all about developing the mind (from citta-√bhū). The mind is a very complex thing, and approaching it's development from a number of angles and with a number of methods, is thus a very intelligent approach. The main idea behind puja, devotionals, and so forth, is that when we engage in these external actions, these actions will more readily aid in arising certain positive mental states internally. As such, correct practice of these pujas, etc. is also not other than "mental development", ie. what we usually call meditation. Of course, if we are only doing them for superficial reasons, or without the intention to arise these mental states, that is another matter! They are methods, methods to arise positive states such as faith, respect, etc. just as much as sitting meditation is a helpful physical (non-)action which is more conducive to mental calm, and focus, etc.
My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Full Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:58 am

Nice summary, bhante.

:thumbsup:

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

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Full Theravada

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 4:59 am


User avatar
Goofaholix
Posts: 2928
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 3:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Apr 04, 2010 8:21 pm


User avatar
general0bvious
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:44 pm
Location: Sweden
Contact:

Re: Full Theravada

Postby general0bvious » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:59 pm


User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4346
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Full Theravada

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Apr 05, 2010 7:50 am



Return to “Discovering Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine