Buddha's Words

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Buddha's Words

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:28 am

Below is an excerpt from a post I found extremely interesting and I believe supports the notion that the Buddha taught very straightforwardly with an open hand.

Wow! This is very straight forward. So you do follow the Buddha’s words in your mind. If I understand this correctly, a contemplation on a topic of the Dhamma itself, if practiced correctly, will turn into a deep meditation by itself. Very interesting. But how can thinking lead to a concentrated mind, to the jhanas, to vipassana?

[The Buddha:]….Whoever, o monks, greedy has rid himself of greediness, ill-tempered has rid himself of ill-temper, angry has kid himself of anger…He observes himself cleansed from all these evil unwholesome qualities. Him, observing himself cleansed from all these evil unwholesome qualities gladness arises. For the gladdened one joy is born. The body of the joyful calms down. With a calm body he feels happiness. The happy one’s mind attains concentration.

Yassa kassaci, bhikkhave, bhikkhuno abhijjhālussa abhijjhā pahīnā hoti, byāpannacittassa byāpādo pahīno hoti, kodhanassa kodho pahīno hoti… So sabbehi imehi pāpakehi akusalehi dhammehi visuddhamattānaṃ samanupassati. Tassa sabbehi imehi pāpakehi akusalehi dhammehi visuddhamattānaṃ samanupassato pāmojjaṃ jāyati, pamuditassa pīti jāyati, pītimanassa kāyo passambhati, passaddhakāyo sukhaṃ vedeti, sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati. =>MN, Cula Assapura Sutta


http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/how-to-really-cleanse-your-mind/
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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby IanAnd » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:21 am

Brizzy wrote:Below is an excerpt from a post I found extremely interesting and I believe supports the notion that the Buddha taught very straightforwardly with an open hand.

Wow! This is very straight forward. So you do follow the Buddha’s words in your mind. If I understand this correctly, a contemplation on a topic of the Dhamma itself, if practiced correctly, will turn into a deep meditation by itself. Very interesting. But how can thinking lead to a concentrated mind, to the jhanas, to vipassana?

[The Buddha:]….Whoever, o monks, greedy has rid himself of greediness, ill-tempered has rid himself of ill-temper, angry has kid himself of anger…He observes himself cleansed from all these evil unwholesome qualities. Him, observing himself cleansed from all these evil unwholesome qualities gladness arises. For the gladdened one joy is born. The body of the joyful calms down. With a calm body he feels happiness. The happy one’s mind attains concentration.


http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2011/12/25/how-to-really-cleanse-your-mind/

A few of us here are advocates of this "straightforward" approach to learning about what Gotama taught. The key is being able to determine for oneself, one way or another, the intent of what is stated in the sutta discourses. Once one becomes confident in that interpretation from an experiential standpoint, it becomes much easier to see many of the suttas in a straightforward manner.

So many people want to complicate what is so simply stated in the discourses, and they resort to various means (commentaries both new and old) to back up their position. And then they can become involved in scholarly argumentation. But when all is said and done, all that really matters is what YOU yourself get from reading and endeavoring to understand the discourses from your own first hand experience of them and the practice.

Assuming that Gotama (or anyone attempting to explain his words and their intent) means anything more than some of the simple definitions we commonly come across can lead to confusion and a waste of time attempting to figure out whose interpretation is correct. Best to go with your own first hand experience and be open to changing your opinion of interpretation as you become more adept and experienced at the practice. If you keep at it long enough, you'll eventually figure out for yourself the intent (after reading and considering and pondering various opinions about these points from the standpoint of your own experience) of any given passage once you've been able to establish a baseline of meaning and definition of the main terms being used (such as jhana/concentration/samadhi, which all refer basically to the same or similar experience).

People want to define jhana according to stock descriptions given in the suttas, but there are times when this can be taken too far and cause more trouble than it is worth. Someone who is calm and at ease will attain a concentrated mind just in the process of becoming calm and at ease and developing equanimity about formations. From there, realizing the heart of the Dhamma that Gotama taught is actually pretty much straightforward. It's not that difficult to achieve once you've been able to make certain determinations about what you're seeing and experiencing from the practice.

A very good book to read which takes this approach (a more straightforward approach of interpreting Gotama's words) in many sections is Vishvapani Blomfield's Gautama Buddha, The Life and Teachings of the Awakened One. You might enjoy it.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby Brizzy » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:57 pm

Thanks for the book recommendation, I will be buying it in the near future. Can you give me a few examples of what you gleaned from it.

Metta

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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:45 pm

Greetings IanAnd,

Excellent posting ~ thanks for sharing.

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


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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby IanAnd » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:45 am

Brizzy wrote:Thanks for the book recommendation, I will be buying it in the near future. Can you give me a few examples of what you gleaned from it.

I haven't quite finished it yet (am about two thirds the way through) because I am very busy with other projects, and reading this takes a back seat to the other things I have to attend to. If I get to it at all, it's usually late at night.

When I first bought it, I wanted to just assure myself that I had not just bought another book that blindly glorified its subject matter but rather undertook to look at the data from a realistic point of view. It took about 50 or so pages before I became assured of that, and since then it's been of secondary importance while I attend to "making a living."

As such, I did not keep up with my note normal taking as I read, and soon enough gave up trying to as I got ahead of myself in reading and would have had to go back and re-read sections to capture the notations and page markers I had made in the margins. So, I don't have many notes that I can easily look back upon to come up with the examples you ask about.

The book looks at Gotama's life from the standpoint of his being just an extraordinary human being and not some kind of demigod, as is many times the case in biographies of this type about "religious" figgers. This is the kind of approach I was looking for, somewhat similar to Hans Schumann's The Historical Buddha, The Times, Life and Teachings of the Founder of Buddhism, which I also found to be very good and which provided some valuable details about the actual life that Gotama lead over and above the glorified picture one reads about in the discourses.

Here's one little snippet that might help explain the simplicity of what Gotama and his disciples were endeavoring to teach: "For Shariputra [Sariputta], the ideal monk was one 'who masters his mind rather than letting his mind master him'; and when the discussion was reported to Gautama, he said that this was his opinion as well." That statement resonated with my experience of realizing and practicing the Dhamma as well. For anyone who has read and digested Ven. Nanananda's book Concept and Reality, this concept of mastering the mind (seeing and becoming aware of the mind's tendency to proliferate thought and to react to such proliferation, causing upset and anxiety) shines through quite clearly.

Another large snippet is the following:

"A particular problem was literalism. Gautama's insistence that the concepts he used were a means to an end, and therefore not 'absolute truth', is one of the most remarkable characteristics of his teaching. He wished each of his disciples to become a liberated arahant who 'no longer clings to sensual pleasure, views, rules and observances (or) a doctrine of self', and urged them to hold his teachings lightly and 'relinquish them easily'. But he commented (perhaps a little wearily) that some of his students knew his teachings very well but failed to achieve realization because they 'put the words first'. Gautama told one particularly literal-minded follower that grasping his meaning was like picking up a snake—the only way not to be bitten was to carefully 'hold down its head with a cleft stick and grasp it by the neck'. The key is to recall the purpose of a teaching. Having become a nun, Prajapati prepared to leave for the wilderness and worried that she might not know which of Gautama's teachings to focus on. He told her to consider the effect a teaching had on her. If she could confidently say that it 'lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered' then she could conclude: 'This is the Dharma ... this is the Teachers's instruction'. Gautama was rigorously consistent in his teachings in focusing on liberation."

Another: "The challenge for Gautama was to show what the Dharma meant within the concrete reality of people's daily activities, and that meant engaging with the issues and concerns that shaped ordinary lives in the Ganges Valley. Some of those concerns have modern parallels, but others belong to a pre-modern society. These include acute fear of the spirit world and anxiety about what lay ahead after death."

There are many more examples, but I do not have the time or inclination at the moment to track them down. I'm already way past my bedtime.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby Brizzy » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:20 pm

Thank you for your reply, I look forward to reading. It sounds like the sort of book that makes one think about the real 'realities' of Dhamma and daily life.

Metta

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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby Brizzy » Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:09 am

IanAnd wrote:...........A very good book to read which takes this approach (a more straightforward approach of interpreting Gotama's words) in many sections is Vishvapani Blomfield's Gautama Buddha, The Life and Teachings of the Awakened One. You might enjoy it.



Just started reading the book. Early days, but it has nice feel & flow.

Metta

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Re: Buddha's Words

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:54 pm

For those, like me, who (like me) are a little slow at putting stuff together, I note that Theravadin is a big fan of Ven Nananada: http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2010/10 ... etic-sage/

I noticed this because Theravadin has a link from the Nananda Wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katukurund ... rnal_links
Theravada practice blog in the tradition of Nanananda/Nanarama meditation system

:anjali:
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