David's Book : The 84,000 Dhamma Doors

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

David's Book : The 84,000 Dhamma Doors

Postby yawares » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:31 pm

Dear Members,

David's Book : The 84,000 Dhamma Doors
[By Dr. David N. Snyder]

The 84,000 Dhamma Doors; Buddha and Tolerance

The 84,000 Dhamma doors are a metaphor to basically state that there are innumerable paths to
enlightenment. This is a representative teaching to the Buddha‘s tolerance for other religions.
Anyone following any religion who is basically a good, moral person is assured to reach that
religion‘s goal, which is typically heaven. In the Buddhist cosmology there are several heavenly
realms all of which are attainable by members of any religion.

The teachings in this book are from the orthodox, oldest version of Buddhism, ―The Way of the
Elders known as Theravada. There are many other fine schools of Buddhism and also other
religions. Buddhism is tolerant to all faiths and allows followers to belong to other religions.
All religions and moral ways of life can be said to be on the ―Path‖ that is, the Path to
enlightenment. Some ways may be a little shorter than others, but there is no need to critically
judge which ones are short and which ones are long paths. In Buddhist practice we can say that
the life of a monk or nun is definitely a ―short‖ path, but not the only path. Lay people can still
attain the goal in this very life, it just might be a bit more challenging. Monks and nuns have
made the self-less sacrifice of leaving the worldly life and possessions for their practice and to
help others with the teaching of Dhamma. The discipline of having no possessions makes it
more conducive for greed and suffering not to arise. Lay people can eliminate selfish craving
and keep a balanced mind in other worldly matters, practice, and attain enlightenment.

Vimalakirti was a lay man during the time of the Buddha who practiced the teachings and
obtained enlightenment. There are several instances of lay people who attained enlightenment,
confirmed by the Buddha and written in the Pali Canon. The Buddha said that there are monks
and ascetics who wear robes and sit in meditation and claim to practice, but inside are full of
defilements. He said that anyone could obtain enlightenment, be they monk, nun, or lay person.
The Buddha said:
―But he who lives purely and self assured, in quietness and virtue, who is without harm or hurt
or blame, even if he wears fine clothes, so long as he also has faith, he is a true seeker.
chapter 10)

There is no fetter bound by which Citta the householder could return to this world. Samyutta
Nikaya 41.9 Citta was a non-returner and a layman.
In the Theravada Pali Canon there are other
statements of other lay people who attained enlightenment or to the level of non-returner.
The Buddha explained that there is no difference between a lay arahant and a monastic arahant:
―I say there is no difference between a lay follower who is liberated in mind and a bhikkhu who
has been liberated in mind, that is, between one liberation and the other.

Samyutta Nikaya 55.54

In the Pali Canon, the gift of Dhamma is considered the highest gift. Because Buddhism is a
peaceful and compassionate and tolerant religion, sometimes Buddhists confuse this with
meaning that missionary activities are not allowed. But the Buddha clearly did allow missionary
work. There is no harm in trying to help people to get out of suffering, to learn meditation, so
that they can be better, more peaceful people. This is not about converting people from one
religion to another, but rather from suffering to no suffering, to peace.
―Bhikkhus, I am freed from all snares, both celestial and human. You too, bhikkhus are freed
from all snares, both celestial and human. Wander forth, O bhikkhus, for the welfare of the
multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good,
welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. Let not two go the same way. Teach, O bhikkhus,
the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, good in the end, with the right
meaning and phrasing.
Samyutta Nikaya 4.453

Teaching the Dhamma should be done only to those who are interested and want to learn and not
in a forceful or argumentative way. But in no way should teaching others be avoided, because as
the Buddha said, ―there are those with little dust in their eyes who will benefit from this
teaching. Samyutta Nikaya 4

Some people ask, ―I am a firm believer in God and I am a strong Christian, can I still practice
vipassana? The answer is of course, yes. In the Buddhist cosmology there are higher beings,
deities or angels, so atheist is not really an accurate label for a Buddhist. Nibbana is sometimes
referred to as the great Divine ocean and each mind of ours is like a drop entering this ocean in
the experience of nibbana. This, should not be taken literally however, since our language limits
us and nibbana is not limited and can not be explained by language. Nibbana is the unlimited,
the unconditioned, the perfect state (sounds a lot like the Western theistic view of God, doesn‘t
In one discourse the Buddha held a handful of leaves next to a forest and told some monks that
his teachings are like the leaves in his hand, but his wisdom and knowledge are like all the leaves
in the forest. He taught the way to liberation, to the end of suffering, nothing more. Nothing
more is necessary. We can practice all kinds of other rituals and ceremonies, but all that is really
needed is the basic foundation teachings of the Buddha found in the Theravada school of
Buddhism, which is vipassana meditation and the Eightfold Middle Path. There are no secret
teachings in Buddhism: ―These three things, O monks, shine openly, not in secrecy. What
three? The disc of the moon, the disc of the sun, and the Dhamma and Discipline explained by
the Tathagata.
Anguttara Nikaya 3.129

There are many other fine schools of Buddhism and also other religions, all of which are
compatible with the Buddha‘s original teachings. The five major versions of Buddhism found in
modern, developed countries are:
1. Theravada - ―The way of the elders. The oldest, most orthodox form of Buddhism. The
teachings and practices are virtually unchanged from the time of the Buddha, including the
monastic orders and the rules for the monastic communities and the emphasis on
meditation and the teachings of the Eightfold Middle Path. There are two basic forms of
Theravada that have developed in modern, developed countries. One is the ethnic-Asian form
which has come to modern countries virtually unchanged from its form in its home country
(typically or usually a Southeast Asian country). In the ethnic-Asian form there are more rituals,
chanting, and ceremonies. In many cases the Buddhist temple is also a cultural center. The other
form of Theravada that has developed in modern countries is a non-sectarian vipassana.
A typical service at a Theravada temple might be something like:
20 minutes Chanting
30 minutes Sitting meditation
30 minutes Tea and social

2. Non-sectarian Vipassana - In this form there are few, if any, rituals, chanting, or ceremonies
and the Dhamma teacher is more likely to be a lay person rather than a monk or nun. The
emphasis is on vipassana meditation and many of the members of such a group are likely to
report that they are not Buddhist. The ethnic form is more religious in general and justifies that
by the fact of keeping the teachings alive through the use of some rituals and community
ceremonies. The vipassana form appeals more to people who do not wish to be labeled a
particular religion, but still enjoy studying and practicing the Buddha‘s teachings. Both forms of
the Theravada are in complete agreement with the Buddha‘s original teachings and are excellent
forms of practice to follow. They are not in conflict with each other just as no Buddhist school is
in conflict with another or any other religion.
A typical service at a vipassana center might be something like:
45 minutes Sitting meditation
15 minutes Walking meditation
20 minutes Dhamma talk or discussion
30 minutes Tea and social

3. Zen - Zen Buddhism is the form of Buddhism that developed in China, known as the Ch‘an
school and then later became more popularly known by its Japanese name of zen, which means
meditation. Like vipassana, in zen the emphasis is on meditation, however, the zen school is a
part of Mahayana Buddhism and includes a heavy emphasis on the Bodhisattva ideal. The
meditation practice centers around the subject of the breath only (instead of the 40 meditation
subjects of vipassana) and in some zen schools on koans (riddles that can not be solved by the
intellect, but rather must be solved through spontaneous experiential insight). The founder of
zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma, is credited with the founding of the martial arts. Like vipassana,
zen has applied itself to various aspects of daily life, including work meditations and others.
This is an excellent practice for those who do not mind the meditation subject being limited
to the breath and enjoy the more religious flavor to the practice along with a good dosage of
Far East Asian culture (typically Japanese, but in some zen schools, Korean or Chinese).
A typical service at a zen temple might be something like:
20 minutes Chanting and / or prostrations
25 minutes Sitting meditation
10 minutes Walking meditation
25 minutes Sitting meditation
10 minutes Walking meditation
20 minutes Dharma (Sanskrit for Dhamma)* talk
30 minutes Tea and social
* (Mahayana scriptures are in Sanskrit)

4. Pure Land - Amida Buddha is the Buddha of the Western Paradise of the Pure Land school
of Buddhism. Followers invoke the name of Amida (also Amitabha) through prayer and
chanting in the hope of being re-born in this heavenly realm, where once there enlightenment
will be easier to attain. This is an excellent practice for those who tend to be of the ―devotional‖
persuasion with its emphasis on prayer and for those who simply feel that enlightenment is too
hard to achieve in this life.
A typical service at a Pure Land temple might be something like:
10 minutes Prostrations
45 minutes Chanting
20 minutes Dharma talk
30 minutes Tea and social

5. Vajrayana - ―The indestructible vehicle,‖ also known as Tibetan Buddhism or Esoteric
Buddhism. This type of Buddhism developed when Buddhism mixed with the indigenous
culture of Tibet. This school includes tantrism which involves taking such poisons as
aggression and passion and transforming those energies to wisdom. This is an excellent practice
to follow for those who like the basic teachings of the Buddha, but prefer some other methods
and techniques which can be practiced in addition to the traditional Buddhist practices.
A typical service at a vajrayana temple might be something like:
5 minutes Prostrations
20 minutes Chanting
25 minutes Sitting meditation
10 minutes Walking meditation
25 minutes Sitting meditation
10 minutes Walking meditation
25 minutes Sitting meditation
10 minutes Walking meditation
30 minutes Tea and social

-----------to be continued------------
yawares :anjali:
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Re: David's Book : The 84,000 Dhamma Doors

Postby yawares » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:47 pm

Dear David,

Believe it or not..Triplegem is very strick...only let me post Abhidhamma/Itivuttaka/Dhammapada/Sutta/Buddha's Verses....not let me post temple's pictures/stories...must not be very long post...may be that's why not many members post anything...except I/Dr.Han Tun/Nori/Dieter...so far. BUT... many subscribers who love to read Buddha's Dhamma etc.

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