PeterB wrote:For the second poll I considered having above the" Very Positive " option an " Essential" option.but seemed to have the potential to be divisive.
As there was the possibilty that it would be interpretated not simply as essential for that individual, but for for everyone.
When I first started practise rightly or wrongly I viewed the life of the Theravadin monk forsaking homelife as the standard of Buddhist practise handed down by the Buddha, after all what we are seeking to achieve is supposed to be something you dedicate your life to because it isn't something that comes easy.
Doing regular intensive retreats instead as a layman I think is a good compromise on that, giving the chance to experience elements of the monastic life for periods of time while still being engaged in the outside world.
I don't think one really can understand the mind and how dukkha works unless one has spent weeks or months looking at it with no distraction and no escape.
I realise that some people are just beginning and others have commitments that prevent them for the time being, but talking about Buddhism on the internet is no substitute, though it can be a good complement.