Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

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rowyourboat
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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 01, 2011 3:25 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:The above sutta has a nice framework of the kinds of teaching we must do with others. It is not only stating dhamma facts, but so much more, as can be seen. This whole framework of how one goes about practicing the dhamma must be taught, as a skills set.


Yes, I think it's about leading by example - that can be a good practice in itself. So it's walking the walk, not just talking the talk... ;-)

Spiny


Indeed. This sutta quote explains walking the walk, talking the talk even more.

.
"There will be, in the course of the future, monks undeveloped in body,[1] undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind, undeveloped in discernment. They — being undeveloped in body, undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind, undeveloped in discernment — will give full ordination to others and will not be able to discipline them in heightened virtue, heightened mind, heightened discernment. These too will then be undeveloped in body... virtue... mind... discernment. They — being undeveloped in body... virtue... mind... discernment — will give full ordination to still others and will not be able to discipline them in heightened virtue, heightened mind, heightened discernment. These too will then be undeveloped in body... virtue... mind... discernment. Thus from corrupt Dhamma comes corrupt discipline; from corrupt discipline, corrupt Dhamma.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:49 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:The Buddha was not averse to stating what was painful to hear. He was asked if he ever used harsh speech - he said he did- if it meant that kusala (the wholesome) would arise in the person he addressed in that manner, as a result. This is of course sometimes required, with difficult students. Once again though, we must be careful of the motives behind this type of speech- it might be based on craving or ego, rather than metta or equanimity (easier with the latter).


Yes, and unless we know somebody really well it's difficult to judge what effect our words will have.

Spiny


Bodom had just posted this nice sutta:

How to admonish another skillfully

"O bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who desires to admonish another should do so after investigating five conditions in himself and after establishing five other conditions in himself. What are the five conditions which he should investigate in himself?

[1] "Am I one who practices purity in bodily action, flawless and untainted...?

[2] "Am I one who practices purity in speech, flawless and untainted...?

[3] "Is the heart of goodwill, free from malice, established in me towards fellow-farers in the holy life...?

[4] "Am I or am I not one who has heard much, who bears in mind what he has heard, who stores up what he has heard? Those teachings which are good alike in their beginning, middle, and ending, proclaiming perfectly the spirit and the letter of the utterly purified holy life — have such teachings been much heard by me, borne in mind, practiced in speech, pondered in the heart and rightly penetrated by insight...?

[5] "Are the Patimokkhas [rules of conduct for monks and nuns] in full thoroughly learned by heart, well-analyzed with thorough knowledge of their meanings, clearly divided sutta by sutta and known in minute detail by me...?

"These five conditions must be investigated in himself.

"And what other five conditions must be established in himself?

[1] "Do I speak at the right time, or not?

[2] "Do I speak of facts, or not?

[3] "Do I speak gently or harshly?

[4] "Do I speak profitable words or not?

[5] "Do I speak with a kindly heart, or inwardly malicious?

"O bhikkhus, these five conditions are to be investigated in himself and the latter five established in himself by a bhikkhu who desires to admonish another."

— AN V (From The Patimokkha, Ñanamoli Thera, trans.)


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Spiny O'Norman
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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Jul 04, 2011 8:23 am

I regularly get enquires from people with mental health problems, some have been informally referred by medical types on the basis that meditation would be good for them. From previous experience as a social worker I have a reasonably good understanding of these issues and how to deal with them, but I'd be interested to hear how others approach this.

Spiny

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby Aloka » Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:16 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:From previous experience as a social worker I have a reasonably good understanding of these issues and how to deal with them, but I'd be interested to hear how others approach this.

Spiny


Oh,I'm confused now, was that a change-over then? - I thought you once said you worked as a classroom assistant to schoolteachers like myself, Spiny.

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:55 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:I regularly get enquires from people with mental health problems, some have been informally referred by medical types on the basis that meditation would be good for them. From previous experience as a social worker I have a reasonably good understanding of these issues and how to deal with them, but I'd be interested to hear how others approach this.

Spiny


Hi Spiney

To be succinct..

Psychosis- only light mindfulness, avoid concentration practices
depression- four noble truth contemplation, focusing on happy,pleasurable states, mindfulness to the exclusion of (negative) thoughts
anxiety- practices in the vitakkasantana sutta, exposure to the feared object (bhayaberava sutta), calming practices as adjunct
elation- calming practices
depression relapse prevention if a person has had more than 2 episodes of depression- mindfulness based cognitive therapy (focusing on mindfulness, concentration, acceptance, metta, learning about depression).

We are trying to 'detox' the thoughts of their negative associations. Remove negative emotions. Promote self acceptance. Objectify thoughts so that we can work with them and not see them as 'truths' etc.

I think it is important to note that Buddhist practice is not an alternative to therapy. It might be better seen as a helpful add on. Meditation can make hallucinations and delusions (psychosis) worse. Deep vipassana or even simple contemplations of suffering are best avoided in depression, unless with an experienced teacher.

with metta

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 04, 2011 11:06 pm

SN 42.7 PTS: S iv 314 CDB ii 1338
Desanaa Sutta: Teaching
translated from the Pali by
Maurice O'Connell Walshe
© 2007–2011
The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.
[At Naalandaa the village headman Asibandhakaputta asks the Buddha:] "Does not the Blessed One dwell in compassion for all living beings?"

"Indeed, headman, the Tathaagata does dwell in compassion for all living beings."

"Well then, Lord, does not the Blessed One teach Dhamma in full[1] to some, but not so fully to others?"

"I will reply to this question, headman, with another. Answer as seems proper to you. What do you think? Suppose a peasant farmer has three fields, one excellent, one middling, and one poor, sandy, salty, with bad soil. Tell me: when the farmer wants to sow his seed, which field would he sow first: the excellent one, the middling one or the poor one that is sandy, salty and with bad soil?"

"Lord, the farmer who wanted to sow his seed would sow the excellent field first. Having done that, he would sow the middling field next, and the one that was poor, sandy, salty, with bad soil he might or might not sow. Why? Well it might do for cattle-food."

"Well, headman, that excellent field is like my monks and nuns. To them I teach the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its ending, in spirit and in letter,[2] I display to them the holy life, perfectly fulfilled and purified. Why? Because these people adhere to me as their island, their shelter, their resort, their refuge.

"The middling field is like my male and female lay-followers. To these too I teach the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its ending, in spirit and in letter, I display to them the holy life, perfectly fulfilled and purified. Why? Because these people adhere to me as their island, their shelter, their resort, their refuge.

"The poor field that is sandy, salty and with bad soil is like my wandering recluses and Brahmans of other sects.[3] To them I also teach the Dhamma which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle and lovely in its ending, in spirit and in letter, I display to them the holy life, perfectly fulfilled and purified. Why? Because if they only understand a single phrase, it would long be for their profit."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html

This sutta tells us that some aspects of dhamma are best taught to those ready to receive it. Otherwise we run the risk of confusing them and risking doing more harm than good.

In choosing what dhamma to teach- it is best to keep a simple 'rule-of-thumb' in mind- 'just take the next step' - that is, teach them the next higher step in their practice (if they keep their precepts, teach them how to meditate and develop samadhi for example, and after that, teach them the development of panna). This is useful format, even when talking of attainments within teacher-student relationships- it is better to talk of the next higher attainment from where the student is currently. Talking of enlightenment with a beginner might leave him with doubt, skepticism etc, whereas the next higher attainment (talking of jhana to someone who has some samadhi, for example) might actually help to motivate the student to do a bit more..
:smile:
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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby chownah » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:06 am

rowyourboat,
I agree with the idea of teaching what can be received but I do not think that the Sutta you provide actually points to this.....while the headman had distinctly different ways of treating the three different plots of land the Buddha had the same exact verbatim reply to each....and also note that in the link in the discussion of note number two it describes the teaching (which seems to be given as appropriate for all three groups) to be, "with its meaning and (detailed) characteristics".....so even though I agree with your approach to teaching I do think that this Sutta is meant to emphasize that the Buddha teaches in the same manner to all people as an example of how "the Tathaagata does dwell in compassion for all living beings." which is part of the introduction of the Sutta and as such might be expected to be key to the meaning of the text that follows....I guess.....
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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:12 am

Aloka wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:From previous experience as a social worker I have a reasonably good understanding of these issues and how to deal with them, but I'd be interested to hear how others approach this.

Spiny


Oh,I'm confused now, was that a change-over then? - I thought you once said you worked as a classroom assistant to schoolteachers like myself, Spiny.


I've done many things over the years. ;-)

Spiny

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:17 am

rowyourboat wrote:Psychosis- only light mindfulness, avoid concentration practices
depression- four noble truth contemplation, focusing on happy,pleasurable states, mindfulness to the exclusion of (negative) thoughts
anxiety- practices in the vitakkasantana sutta, exposure to the feared object (bhayaberava sutta), calming practices as adjunct
elation- calming practices
depression relapse prevention if a person has had more than 2 episodes of depression- mindfulness based cognitive therapy (focusing on mindfulness, concentration, acceptance, metta, learning about depression).


Thanks for that. Mostly I seem to be dealing with depression and anxiety in various forms - perhaps it's a sign of the times? Sometimes I will refer people on to other things if it seems appropriate. I generally keep the practices quite simple, so it's mostly mindfulness of breathing and metta bahavana.

Not everyone wants to develop a serious interest in Buddhism, but people do seem to benefit from learning meditation.

Spiny

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:46 am

rowyourboat wrote:In choosing what dhamma to teach- it is best to keep a simple 'rule-of-thumb' in mind- 'just take the next step' - that is, teach them the next higher step in their practice (if they keep their precepts, teach them how to meditate and develop samadhi for example, and after that, teach them the development of panna).


I agree, and IMO this underlines the importance of understanding where people are really at, and not where we might like them to be.

Spiny

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:06 am

chownah wrote:rowyourboat,
I agree with the idea of teaching what can be received but I do not think that the Sutta you provide actually points to this.....while the headman had distinctly different ways of treating the three different plots of land the Buddha had the same exact verbatim reply to each....and also note that in the link in the discussion of note number two it describes the teaching (which seems to be given as appropriate for all three groups) to be, "with its meaning and (detailed) characteristics".....so even though I agree with your approach to teaching I do think that this Sutta is meant to emphasize that the Buddha teaches in the same manner to all people as an example of how "the Tathaagata does dwell in compassion for all living beings." which is part of the introduction of the Sutta and as such might be expected to be key to the meaning of the text that follows....I guess.....
chownah


Hi Chownah,

You may be right. :anjali:

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:08 am

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
rowyourboat wrote:Psychosis- ..


Thanks for that. Mostly I seem to be dealing with depression and anxiety in various forms - perhaps it's a sign of the times? Sometimes I will refer people on to other things if it seems appropriate. I generally keep the practices quite simple, so it's mostly mindfulness of breathing and metta bahavana.

Not everyone wants to develop a serious interest in Buddhism, but people do seem to benefit from learning meditation.

Spiny


Our so called 'mental illness' is mostly about excessive craving of some sort or the other. I think the biggest problem the world has now is Craving.

..and people know instinctively that calming, quietning, contentment, appeasement - the opposite of craving, clinging will bring them peace.

:anjali:

So it is our job to verbalize and put into a conceptual framework, what they already know at some level - to make it apparent that this is what they are doing, when they do meditation. Also to show how, while craving might bring temporary pleasure- it leads to harm and displeasure over the long term. -help them mature- be responsible for the course their lives are taking them: to either happiness/satisfaction or unhappiness/mental ill health/dissatisfaction!

with metta

Matheesha
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Karuna
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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:21 am

VI. Sariputta
1231. Of profound wisdom, intelligent, skilled in knowledge of the right and wrong path, Sariputta of great wisdom teaches Dhamma to the monks.

1232. He teaches in brief, he speaks with detailed explanation, his voice is (pleasing) like that of the mynah bird; he demonstrates readiness of speech.[20]

1233. Listening to his sweet utterance[21] while he is teaching with a voice that is captivating, pleasing, and lovely, the monks give ear, with minds elated and joyful.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#poem-05


There is another sutta where the Buddha says (cant locate it right now) that other teachers teach the dhamma in a way that it leads to arising of 'dark' dhammas/mental states in the mind. Now as can be seen from Ven Sariputta's teaching- it is quite the opposite effect- he inentionally (even though the text doesnt say it, these things dont arise magically/are born with it) speaks in a way that is beneficial for himself and others. The effect is one where people leave feeling happy and contented :smile:. So we should try and aim for this type of effect/impact! This doesnt necessarily mean that we should try to speak in a different tone of voice when teaching the dhamma ( :jumping: ) but rather convey it in a pleasing way- which requires mindfulness when speaking..

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 21, 2011 10:56 pm

Another nice sutta:

AN 5.20 PTS: A iii 14
Hita Sutta: Benefit
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
© 1998–2011

"A monk endowed with five qualities practices both for his own benefit and for that of others. Which five?

"There is the case where a monk is himself consummate in virtue and encourages others to be consummate in virtue. He himself is consummate in concentration and encourages others to be consummate in concentration. He himself is consummate in discernment and encourages others to be consummate in discernment. He himself is consummate in release and encourages others to be consummate in release. He himself is consummate in the knowledge & vision of release and encourages others to be consummate in the knowledge & vision of release.

"Endowed with these five qualities, a monk practices both for his own benefit and for that of others.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:namaste:

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby befriend » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:59 pm

i suffer from very high anxiety, its more like mind numbing fear sometimes, vipassana seems to amplify this anxiety, what do i do for meditation? maybe do shikantaza?

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Re: Teachin the dhamma, and teachers

Postby daverupa » Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:09 pm

befriend wrote:vipassana seems to amplify this anxiety, what do i do for meditation? maybe do shikantaza?


What about anapanasati?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]


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