Trying to gain more insight...

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Trying to gain more insight...

Postby TessaHenley » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:53 am

Hello All!

I've just begun to devote myself to Buddhism in my every day being. I do however want to get insight from people that are more evolved than I am. I am familiar with the Eightfold Path, The Five Precepts, and The Three Refuges. I am aware of them and I try to follow them as closely as I can. I also meditate every morning. I am starting with a 15 minute meditation every morning, and when I get comfortable with that I will add 5 minutes to it. I am practicing Insight Meditation. There is the Insight Meditation and Loving-Kindness Meditation, right? Are these the only kinds of meditation?

Even though I am doing all this, I still do not feel as though I am doing enough. I feel as though the Buddhist elements I mentioned is just the kind of person I am, and I'm not really doing much different. The challenging part of Buddhism for me is how I think. I am a very self-conscious person, and I am always trying to please other people. I have this insane compassion for other beings, but I want to not be so concerned about how they think of me. I would love to go on a retreat of some sort to get me off to a good start, but that is not really possible for me right now. Living in a small town in Wisconsin, the closest group meeting/temple is 5 hours in Milwaukee! Also, there are no teachers up here so the best refuge I could get is from the discussion group.

Please share your thoughts. I would be forever grateful!
Tessa
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:54 am

What type of meditation are you doing when you say insight meditation? Do you know in which tradition it falls, or the main source of your technique?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby TessaHenley » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:58 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:What type of meditation are you doing when you say insight meditation? Do you know in which tradition it falls, or the main source of your technique?


When I say Insight Meditation, I mean the typical meditation you would usually see. Legs crossed, back straight, focusing on breathing, etc. I do not know which tradition it falls under although I would like to know. I also would like to know different forms of meditation per tradition.

Please bare with me. I've done my reading to understand what Buddhism is all about, but I do not know many details.
I appreciate you!
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:15 am

TessaHenley wrote:When I say Insight Meditation, I mean the typical meditation you would usually see. Legs crossed, back straight, focusing on breathing, etc. I do not know which tradition it falls under although I would like to know. I also would like to know different forms of meditation per tradition.

Please bare with me. I've done my reading to understand what Buddhism is all about, but I do not know many details.
I appreciate you!

In meditation, we are looking for two qualities to arise - vipassana, or insight, and samatha, or calm. Vipassana is the deep knowledge of the impermanence of all things while samatha is the deep stilling of the mind.

What do you do with your mind when you meditate? Do you try and concentrate on the breath until you still your mind, or do you note phenomena as they arise and try and see them with wisdom?
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby manas » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:36 am

TessaHenley wrote:Hello All!

I've just begun to devote myself to Buddhism in my every day being. I do however want to get insight from people that are more evolved than I am. I am familiar with the Eightfold Path, The Five Precepts, and The Three Refuges. I am aware of them and I try to follow them as closely as I can. I also meditate every morning. I am starting with a 15 minute meditation every morning, and when I get comfortable with that I will add 5 minutes to it. I am practicing Insight Meditation. There is the Insight Meditation and Loving-Kindness Meditation, right? Are these the only kinds of meditation?

Even though I am doing all this, I still do not feel as though I am doing enough. I feel as though the Buddhist elements I mentioned is just the kind of person I am, and I'm not really doing much different. The challenging part of Buddhism for me is how I think. I am a very self-conscious person, and I am always trying to please other people. I have this insane compassion for other beings, but I want to not be so concerned about how they think of me. I would love to go on a retreat of some sort to get me off to a good start, but that is not really possible for me right now. Living in a small town in Wisconsin, the closest group meeting/temple is 5 hours in Milwaukee! Also, there are no teachers up here so the best refuge I could get is from the discussion group.

Please share your thoughts. I would be forever grateful!
Tessa


Hi Tessa,

I am in the midst of very challenging times, so my advice is going to sound fragmented and unintellectual.

Be patient with yourself. This path takes time. Cultivate your mind like you would a garden. Pull out the weeds when you see them appear. Plant good seeds and water them. The garden will improve gradually, though, not all of a sudden.

Let go of any expectations when you meditate. When you sit, put into practice the instructions you have been given (whether from suttas, a teacher, etc), but it's best not to expect anything in particular. Aim to see clearly what is actually here, rather than any preconceived notions.

There is alot more, but these things sprang to mind right now.

mettafully.
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby Hanzze » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:02 am

Dear TessaHenley, Mana raised good an proper words, I guess.

Maybe something in addition that might be useful:

Practice for the Householder (from "A Still forest pool")

You have often asked about the path of the householder. Household life is both hard and easy hard to do, easy to understand. It is as if you were to come complaining to me with a red-hot coal in your hand, and I were to tell you to simply drop it. "No, I won't," you say. "I want it to be cold." Either you must drop it, or you must learn to be very patient.

"How can I drop it?" you ask. Can you just drop your family? Drop it in your heart. Let go of your inner attachment. You are like a bird that has laid eggs; you have a responsibility to sit with and hatch them. Otherwise, they will become rotten.

You may want the members of your family to appreciate you, to understand why you act in certain ways, yet they may not. Their attitude may be intolerant, closed-minded. If the father is a thief and the son disapproves, is he a bad child? Explain things as well as you can, make an honest effort, then let go. If you have a pain and go to the doctor, but he and all his medicines cannot cure it, what can you do but let it go?

If you think in terms of my family, my practice, this kind of self-centered view is just another cause of suffering. Do not think of finding happiness, either living with others or living alone-just live with the Dharma. Buddhism helps to work out problems, but we must practice and develop wisdom first. You do not just throw rice into a potful of water and immediately have boiled rice. You have to build the fire, bring the water to a boil, and let the rice cook long enough. With wisdom, problems can eventually be solved by taking into account the karma of beings. Understanding family life, you can really learn about karma, about cause and effect, and can begin to take care of your action in the future.

Practicing in a group, in a monastery, or at a retreat is not so hard; you are too embarrassed to miss sittings with others. But when you go home, you find it difficult; you say that you are lazy or unable to find time. You give away your personal power, projecting it onto others, onto situations or teachers outside yourself. Just wake up! You create your own world. Do you want to practice or not?

Just as we monks must strive with our precepts and ascetic practices, developing the discipline that leads to freedom, so you lay people must do likewise. As you practice in your homes, you should endeavour to refine the basic precepts. Strive to put body and speech in order. Make real effort, practice continuously. As for concentrating the mind, do not give up because you have tried it once or twice and are not at peace. Why should it not take a long time? How long have you let your mind wander as it wished without
doing anything to control it? How long have you allowed it to lead you around by the nose? Is it any. wonder that a month or two is not enough to still it?

Of course, the mind is hard to train. When a horse is really stubborn, do not feed it for a while-it will come around. When it starts to follow the right.
course, feed it a little. The beauty of our way of life is that the mind can be trained. With our own right effort, we can come to wisdom.

To live the lay life and practice Dharma, one must be in the world but remain above it. Virtue, beginning with the five basic precepts, is all important, parent to all good things. It is the basis for removing wrong from the mind, removing the cause of distress and agitation. Make virtue really firm. Then practice your formal meditation when the opportunity presents itself. Sometimes the meditation will be good, sometimes not. Do not worry about it, just continue. If doubts arise, just realize that they, like everything else in the mind, are impermanent.

As you continue, concentration will arise. Use it to develop wisdom. See like and dislike arising from sense contact and do not attach to them. Do not be anxious for results or quick progress. An infant first crawls, then learns to walk, then to run. Just be firm in your virtue and keep practicing.


Not to much posts training: 7. Post/ 4.10. 12:00 am (accordiny messurement: 9 posts the last 24h) current value: 10 post/24h
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby pegembara » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:43 am

I found Mindfulness in Plain English easy to get into and at the same time insightful. You can get the paperback or the free pdf version here -http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/mindfulness_in_plain_english.pdf
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby santa100 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:08 pm

Since you mentioned mindfulness of breathing in your practice, you also might want to check out this link for detail instruction:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... bl115.html
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby TessaHenley » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:29 pm

I appreciate very much everybody's help! It is all very insightful and inspirational.

With Buddhism, there is so much to learn. Since I am still very young in this journey, what is the best way to start in learning all there is to learn? I'm not expecting to become a scholar in the subject, but there is so much informations that I do not even know where to begin!

What are your recommendations?

With Gratitude.
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby whynotme » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:44 pm

Maybe start reading all Nikaya suttas and Vinaya. They are the bible of the buddhism, the guiding star of the buddhists.

Regards

PS: as Hanzze quoted a great article of Ajanh Chah, I think for beginner like TessaHenley, it is the most important thing that you should realize your own problem. What is your problem? Of course you had them and your problems are unique and different to others. People often think by keeping practice and practice, they will solve every problem. No, you see your problem when you putting many efforts in practice but can't attain what is described. Then you ask yourself, why can't I achieve what is described, then you will see your problem.
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby TessaHenley » Thu Oct 04, 2012 3:57 pm

whynotme wrote:Maybe start reading all Nikaya suttas and Vinaya. They are the bible of the buddhism, the guiding star of the buddhists.

Regards

PS: as Hanzze quoted a great article of Ajanh Chah, I think for beginner like TessaHenley, it is the most important thing that you should realize your own problem. What is your problem? Of course you had them and your problems are unique and different to others. People often think by keeping practice and practice, they will solve every problem. No, you see your problem when you putting many efforts in practice but can't attain what is described. Then you ask yourself, why can't I achieve what is described, then you will see your problem.



Thank you!
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby TessaHenley » Thu Oct 04, 2012 4:05 pm

To start from the beginning...

There is Theravada and Mahayana? Are these two only two forms of Buddhism? Are there many more types, because I'm pretty sure I've seen the term Zen Buddhism around.

There is so much information that it all overlaps and is confusing to me. I apologize if I'm being overwhelming. Any help is appreciated!
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:14 pm

TessaHenley wrote:To start from the beginning...

There is Theravada and Mahayana? Are these two only two forms of Buddhism? Are there many more types, because I'm pretty sure I've seen the term Zen Buddhism around.

There is so much information that it all overlaps and is confusing to me. I apologize if I'm being overwhelming. Any help is appreciated!


This may be a good start.
    "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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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:18 pm

TessaHenley wrote:To start from the beginning...

There is Theravada and Mahayana? Are these two only two forms of Buddhism? Are there many more types, because I'm pretty sure I've seen the term Zen Buddhism around.

There is so much information that it all overlaps and is confusing to me. I apologize if I'm being overwhelming. Any help is appreciated!

Hi Tessa

There are basically three traditions: Theravada, Mahayana and Zen. But that should not bother you for now. What is more important is to find a teacher or experienced friend. Even if it's just a once a year meetup or online chat.

In any case, there is no way around the tough part, like extending the practise period little by little and meeting some less convenient aspects of mind.

:meditate:
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby TessaHenley » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:08 pm

daverupa wrote:
TessaHenley wrote:To start from the beginning...

There is Theravada and Mahayana? Are these two only two forms of Buddhism? Are there many more types, because I'm pretty sure I've seen the term Zen Buddhism around.

There is so much information that it all overlaps and is confusing to me. I apologize if I'm being overwhelming. Any help is appreciated!


This may be a good start.



As dumb as I may feel, it helped! Greatly appreciated!
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Re: Trying to gain more insight...

Postby Mal » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:27 pm

nibbuti wrote:There are basically three traditions: Theravada, Mahayana and Zen.


That's perhaps one to way to split them, but not everyone splits them that way. Wikipedia says:

"Two major branches of Buddhism are recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Mahayana ... includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, etc(!). In some classifications, Vajrayana ... is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana. There are other categorisations of these three Vehicles..."

What sources are you using for your current meditation practice?
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