The path is the goal, or is it?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby piotr » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:43 am

tiltbillings wrote:There is more than one way to skin a cat.


There is a bunch of cats out there.

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Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Feb 03, 2011 1:32 pm

No need to have 'black and White thinking' : the path is gradual, the goal is gradually developed, and there is culmination of that path and that goal is fully realised- yes, it does include an aha moment at the point of culmination ( otherwise how would you know you are finished)?

Dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute, he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here & now. He knew: "Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world." And thus Ven. Sona became another one of the arahants.
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Re: Do you have physical/spiritual goals?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Actually, in a real it is, in that as the path is actualized by practicing it, by insight into it, by living it, the goal unfolds. The goal, in my opinion, is not some singular "a-ha" moment, but it is an unfolding, transformation over time.


Maybe it's that our understanding of the goal develops over time?

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Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby meindzai » Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:32 pm

You can be all logical about it or just take the statement as a poetic reference that can have different meanings based on context. Kind of like "the whole universe is in a glass of wine." I take it that Alan finds that statement nonsensical as well.

There is certainly a danger of what Thanissaro Bhikkhu warns about here, a kind of Buddhist romanticism. In fact I think he mentions this phrase specifically as something not coming out of Buddhism, but a kind of romantic idea that has crept it's way in. Possibly our Mahayanist neighbors let it in through the back door one day like a stray cat, and now it we are stuck with it too. (Ok, don't over think this metaphor either.)

The danger is that we lose sight of the fact that there *is* a goal (Nibanna) and that we are working towards it, so we just sort of take a go-with-the-flow attitude and don't put a lot of determination (adhitthana) and energy (viriya) into our practice.

The sense in which I find the statement true is that sometimes such an attitude is required to temper overzealousness, especially in meditation. We cannot achieve Nibanna by force of will.

If you want to get technical we can even talk about supermundane right view, stream entry, and a few other suttic ideas that might "back up" the statement. But I'm starting to lose interest in the firing back and forth of sutta quotes these days.

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Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby Nibbida » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:03 pm

"Path as goal" serves a useful function in getting a person to focus on what intentional choices they are making right now, how mindful they are right now. Of course the goal is nibbana. That's the direction we're moving in, but fixation on the goal, clinging to it, actually becomes a hindrance to reaching it (or working towards it). It's all to easy to fall into that. So this is a "focus on the process, not the product" strategy. Awakening is the general direction, but that is only reached by focusing on now.
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Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:38 pm

All the really juicy disagreements always seem to come down to the two truths.
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Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby ground » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:43 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:All the really juicy disagreements always seem to come down to the two truths.

If one has conditioned oneself in this view then it may appear so.

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Re: The path is the goal, or is it?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:45 pm

TMingyur wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:All the really juicy disagreements always seem to come down to the two truths.

If one has conditioned oneself in this view then it may appear so.

Kind regards


Touche.
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