Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

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Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby nachiketas » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:36 am

Zen stuff is so depressive. I always got that sense that things will never get better and that's life and deal with it. We are circumscribed by our limitations and faults, transformative experiences are stupid and the real deal is carrying buckets with patience when you spill the water. Like Guishan said "I've lived my entire life here, eating Mt Gui's meal and shitting Mt Gui's shit, always taming a water buffallo that goes astray."

Isn't this view too limited? Theravada books, with their mappiness, always give me the opposite impression. When I read about the five hindrances, I can see I have them all in my mind, and I imagine how much my life will be improved when I get rid on them. Untouched by desire, energetic, unavoiding, calm, confident and so on. Here's the problem, here's what to do, now get this dharma thing down and move to more important things, like picking up hot chicks and getting rich!

In your experience, what do you say? Does Theravada lead to a better place, or to the same place quicker?

My question sounds a bit shallow and silly, but don't we actually think like this when comparing ways?
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:48 am

Zen is hard work
So is Theravada
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:58 am

After many years of offline Vajrayana practice with Tibetan teachers - who often seemed to give standardised teachings with similar content even down to the occasional identical jokes, it was like a breath of fresh air discovering the western teachers of the Theravada Thai Forest Tradition.

They don't teach from standard texts and the only occasional references they give are to the suttas. I think they might well be more accomplished themselves. As for students who are practitioners with both traditions, I don't know, because I don't have the power to be able to see the practice accomplishments of others!
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby manas » Sat Nov 19, 2011 11:23 am

Hi nachiketas

In answer to your original question - I don't know.

But I was wondering, you sound like you are in a hurry to get enlightenment out of the way, so you can get on with picking up girls and getting rich. Well at least you are honest about it, and don't try to conceal it! But I must gently warn you that you can't 'fool' the mind. It knows if you're not sincere. If you are going to try to let go of the hindrance of sensual desire, even temporarily for the sake of jhana, you have to really mean it - even just for that one hour or half hour of sitting. And for that, you might need to mentally peel a few layers off those 'hot chicks' till they don't seem quite so alluring anymore. ime, anyway.

with metta,
manas.

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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Nov 19, 2011 12:15 pm

The more often you stop to assess your progress, the longer the journey will take.

To Get Results Take Time, Perfection Takes Even Longer.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby befriend » Sat Nov 19, 2011 4:00 pm

ive met or seen powerful people from all traditions who seem spiritually advanced. john daido loori was a very powerful soul. and he was a zen master. also i have met theravadan teachers who are like walking talking diamonds.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby manas » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:40 pm

By the way, nachiketas - hello and welcome to Dhamma Wheel! :hello:

metta,
manas.

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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby sublime » Sat Nov 19, 2011 7:46 pm

Learn from the traditions but beware of them. Keep an open mind. Nobody has "the answer."
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:45 am

It sounds to me like you don't really understand Zen. The teachings you've described aren't meant to be a definition of what life is all about and how to make it better, rather something to jolt you out of assumptions and attachments and help you see things from a different perspective.

Look at the moon, not the finger.

Theravada has quite a different approach and the only way to find out if it resonates with you better is to practise it for a while, ultimately the process is much the same though.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby nobody12345 » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:58 pm

Theravada is the map with all the details printed out clearly can guide you to your destination.
When the map has been modified, edited, and changed, it cannot guide you to the destination.
Following the genuine path is painful and generate tremendous amount of suffering.
However, we who follow the genuine teaching of the Awakened One should not choose our path based upon the easiness of it.
What is the point of the enjoyable journey in this life time following the enjoyable map if that map lead to another round of fresh rebirth/fresh suffering*trillions*trillions*trillions*trillons life times?
Although Theravada is not perfect, the core portion of Theravada (the Major Nikayas) is THE authentic map of the Awakened One.
So regarding your original question, let me re-phrase the question.
Are people following genuine map will get to the destination or people following the distorted map will get to the destination?
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby manas » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:43 am

Hi imaginos,
imaginos wrote:However, we who follow the genuine teaching of the Awakened One should not choose our path based upon the easiness of it.
That's a very good point.

imaginos wrote:Following the genuine path is painful and generate tremendous amount of suffering.
I am a bit concerned about this one. As far as I know, at every step this Path reduces our 'sum total' of suffering. If you are referring to the occasional 'test' by Mara, then yes they can be excruciating, I agree. But let's not forget that samma samadhi (properly supported by the other seven factors of the N8FP) is going to involve more bliss and happiness than we have ever experienced through gross sense enjoyment, if the Buddha is to be believed. As I recall, Ajahn Brahm seems to imply that knowing jhana, one will wonder what all the fuss was about, regarding sensual pleasures which, according to Aj.B. (and of course the Buddha) are quite inferior. There are immense challenges in our Path, but let's not forget that ultimately it's a Path of joy. Even the basic level of keeping five precepts reduces all the suffering that comes from breaking them. After a while the mind not only stops feeling tempted to break even one of them, it actually feels horrified at the thought of breaking even one them. Even that basic level of practice can lead to Heaven, and it's just the beginning...we really should be celebrating.

with metta
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby nobody12345 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:31 pm

Hi manasikara.
Yes, I do agree that the path eradicates pain and suffering, gradually.
However my point is, when one really takes off gloves and get down to battle defilements (or fighting Mara and his minions), it generates a lot of suffering.
Is it a bad thing?
No.
Dhamma is a solitary journey and a solitary battle.
All the great disciples of the Buddha who banished from Samsara for good walked the path alone, fight the battle alone, and slayed the Mara alone.
The Awakened One only shows the way and the rest is 100% our responsibilities.
I know others invented certain figures to promote false maps that the battle can be avoided and you can just think of **** and go to the pure land and etc.
Sounds sweet and enticing but it's not Dhamma.
Sham Dhamma sells because it's sweet.

Generally speaking, we are not the first tier followers of the Buddha.
The top tier followers of Dhamma were born in to the time of the Buddha and many of them already banished from Samsara for good.
They are top tiers in terms of accumulated merit of spritual faculties and that's why some of them even attained Arahantship with mere listening the discourse of the Buddha.
But if we study the written account of modern day Arahants (such as Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Mun and etc.) they put thier lives at stake to attain Arahantship.
That's not because there's something wrong with Dhamma.
That's because we are not the top tiers.
The solution is simple.
Like those Ajahns did, we need to strive with much more vigor and efforts for specific attainment than those top tiers in the time of the Buddha.
And even if one's goal is Sotapanaship, one has to strive much harder than those who were practicing for Sotapanaship in the time of the Buddha.
That's what I mean by 'suffering, pain, (striving, exertion, clenching teeth, and etc.)'
Is it demanding?
Yes.
Is it worth effort?
Absolutely.

Metta.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Nov 28, 2011 4:45 pm

imaginos wrote:Following the genuine path is painful and generate tremendous amount of suffering.


Confront and investigate the suffering... yes. Generate it? No.

These are the seven factors for awakening:

1. Mindfulness
2. Dhamma Vicaya
3. Energy
4. Joy
5. Tranquility
6. Concentration
7. Equanimity

Confronting the dukkha (as it arises), I think that would be equanimity, and investigating it (as it arises, stands, and falls away) would be the dhamma vicaya. There's nothing here about generating dukkha... only joy (#4) and tranquility (#5), which are quite the opposite... generate that instead.

Some people who claim that Theravada is the only true path, I think that the Pali Canon (and consequently the Theravadin tradition) is probably much more deeper than what they realize.

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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby nameless » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:56 pm

Imaginos,

Perhaps it's not about the striving "with much more vigor and efforts" nor the 'suffering, pain, (striving, exertion, clenching teeth, and etc.)', but finding the right balance as in this sutta.

Sham dhamma sells because it's sweet, but that doesn't mean that any dhamma which sounds sweet is a sham.

Maybe "Modern day Arahants" put their lives at stake AND "attained" arahantship. It doesn't necessarily mean that they did so TO "attain" arahantship (though of course it doesn't exclude that possibility), nor does it mean we need to do so in order to have "attainments". Having such a view may even hinder one's progress, at least I believe so.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby manas » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:09 pm

imaginos wrote:I know others invented certain figures to promote false maps that the battle can be avoided and you can just think of **** and go to the pure land and etc.
Sounds sweet and enticing but it's not Dhamma.
Sham Dhamma sells because it's sweet.
Hi imaginos,
please reread what I actually wrote...this little comment you made here has nothing to do with what I wrote, but so long as everyone reads what I actually wrote, they will also see this, so I'm not going to get upset by it. But please exercise care in what you say.

Yes there is a battle of sorts. And there can be some difficult times walking this Path. But as others have pointed out, it's not the practice of the Path that causes the pain, but rather our own stubborn clinging to defilements. The Path itself is sweet, we are the ones who make it seem bitter, imo.

with metta.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby nobody12345 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:19 am

Hi manasikara.

Regarding my comment that you quoted (pure land and etc.) is not the one directed at you.
I was speaking in general in terms of later development in Buddhism that went to dangerous territory.
If it came off as a comment regarding your post, my apologies.

Metta.

manasikara wrote:
imaginos wrote:I know others invented certain figures to promote false maps that the battle can be avoided and you can just think of **** and go to the pure land and etc.
Sounds sweet and enticing but it's not Dhamma.
Sham Dhamma sells because it's sweet.
Hi imaginos,
please reread what I actually wrote...this little comment you made here has nothing to do with what I wrote, but so long as everyone reads what I actually wrote, they will also see this, so I'm not going to get upset by it. But please exercise care in what you say.

Yes there is a battle of sorts. And there can be some difficult times walking this Path. But as others have pointed out, it's not the practice of the Path that causes the pain, but rather our own stubborn clinging to defilements. The Path itself is sweet, we are the ones who make it seem bitter, imo.

with metta.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby nobody12345 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 1:49 am

To others who commented.
My comment on the part of difficulties of attaining Arahantship in recent times (i.e. put their lives at stake) does not mean that the people who are aiming for Sotapanaship need to put their lives at stakes.
I mentioned that part to emphasize difficulties in this day and age to follow the path.
I do aware many movements come up with their programs with 'easiness' as its selling point.
For an example, there's a movement to give express passage to the pure land per amount of donation of the individual member.
This happened in the Buddhist country which I will not name here.
I do feel there have been many movements (from all over the world) that sell themselves as Dhamma and put followers wellbeing into grave dangers.
And I do feel it's important to speak/warn on this.
And whenever a new sham Dhamma rises and expands, it always use the people's natural tendency (myself include) of choosing easiness and rejecting any of exertion/teeth clenching/ suffering and etc.
So I think it is valuable to remind oneself whenever something sounds too sweet or too easy it can be a bear trap, especially it has additional ingredients which were never discussed by the Buddha.
However, it seems my speech did not benefit any of you so I will not discuss any more about Theravada or Sham Dhamma (and its selling point) issue.
If any of you took it personal for whatever reason, my apologies as well.
From now on, I will not get involved with any futher discussion regarding Theravada and Sham Dhamma.

Metta.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby manas » Thu Dec 01, 2011 11:55 pm

Hi imaginos,

thank you for clarifying, I see now that your reference to people offering an easy ride to 'pure land' was not directed at me at all. Sorry, I misunderstood and I was overreacting a little.

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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby Anagarika » Sat Dec 03, 2011 4:27 pm

My thought on the question as to "Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?" might to be first offer the idea that maybe accomplishments are not the focus of the practice, now should there be, to my mind, a competition between traditions over which tradition offers the "fast track" to enlightenment.

Having said that, one factor that is compelling to me is that Theravada has as its foundation the Tipitaka, and at the center of the foundation, the Vinaya and the Suttas. This foundation is what Buddha taught. If one is to follow the Buddha path, then it seems to me best, and most authentic, to study and practice what Buddha actually taught.

My comment above is not intended to detract from Zen or Vajrayana, but it seems an undisputed fact that these traditions are disconnected to a greater or lesser degree from the BuddhaDhamma. These traditions assume a platform of Dhamma, but they seem to me to be exotic or esoteric derivations of Dhamma, and not true Dhamma.

So, are Theravada practitioners more accomplished? Well, to my mind what the Buddha taught and instructed might be considered a roadmap for life and for release from dukkha. Theravada is a practice that follows the directions set forth on the roadmap. Other traditions might claim to be a tourist map to the same location, but these maps deviate from the course, send one over potholes in the road, create rest stops that are unnecessary, pass celebrity homes, direct one to sensual gardens, and some deviate so far as to lose their sense of direction completely.

If I'm on a journey and need to buy a map, I'll buy the one created by the original and authentic cartographer.
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Re: Are theravada practicioners more accomplished?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Dec 04, 2011 2:15 pm

nachiketas wrote:My question sounds a bit shallow and silly, but don't we actually think like this when comparing ways?


Yes, it's natural to compare, but that can only be done on the basis of personal experience, not on other peoples' opinions or propaganda from various traditions.
I think that different approaches / traditions suit different personalities, but also that it's difficult to generalise about this.
I think that generally speaking, progress in any tradition is proportionate to the amount of time and energy that we invest in actually practising, so some commitment is required.

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