Some guidance if you can please?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:06 pm

Hi,

I will try and keep this as brief as possible.

Having been through the Tibetan traditions and flirted with other Meditation practices I eventually settled sometime ago into the Theravada tradition opting for its (on the surface) simple approach to practice and the relatively simple practices in comparison to the Tibetan Vajrayana practices I was weaned on! I like the way, certainly from the teachings of Ajhan Cha, there seems to be a "...if it works do it..." attitude.

In the light of this and following through my apparent subconscious wish to simplify my practice I came across the Chan practice of Silent Illumination as taught by Hongzhi. I have had some really quite deep moments of clarity and quiet using this method-less method.

You have been really patient!!! So, my question; does this practice 'fit in' with Theravadin methods or is it too 'Zen'. I only ask as the Theravada tradition is more accessible to me than any other but I'd feel uncomfortable doing a Chinese Zen practice whilst reading the works of Ajhan Cha...like eating custard and curry together....both great in themselves.

I gues this also throws up issues about reading per se...ie Can/Do/Should theravadins read the Diamond Sutra (for example) or does this effectively make them mutate into a Mahayanist.... :shrug:

Does that make any sense at all...???

Thanks for listening!

BB...
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:26 pm

Hi BB,

Flirt to your heart's content. There's no authority with a big stick who will beat you into submission if you don't tow the party line. I have been able to practice within differing Buddhist traditions because I have a firm grounding in the Theravada and I take the Pali Canon and the teachings of the Theravada as the foremost authority. In other words, although I can practice Korean Soen or Soto Zen in terms of form, my understanding of the meaning of those practices is informed by the Theravada. I hope this makes sense and it's only my own, very personal take on the situation. Mettaya!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby daverupa » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:33 pm

Is it possible to hold the instructions you're interested in alongside those found in other sources you consider trustworthy? I use the Nikayas in this sense, and I feel free to set aside those methods which don't seem to strike a chord there.

One could, allegedly, attain a useful level of concentration by doing the Jesus mantra with some beads, but while the concentration builds there's a whole lot of baggage coming along for the ride. Most meditation methods seem to do this to one extent or another - I try to make the baggage as Dhamma-laden as possible, which to my mind does tend to bar much of what Mahayana wants to convey.

Pulling useful snippets out of things like the Lotus Sutra feels, to me, akin to pulling useful snippets out of the writings of the Desert Fathers. There's some interesting stuff there, but it's all wrapped around a distracting & baroque structure I haven't got any use for.

But my practice is something of a statistical outlier, it seems, so be forwarned.
    "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: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby m0rl0ck » Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:56 pm

I do chan practices and in the theravada framework i consider them quite like cittapassana or related to the thai forest tradition way of looking at things.

You might find the comments on meditation on this page quite interesting http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html :)

Just picking one out at random
3. On the four noble truths

A senior monk of the meditation tradition came to pay his respects to Luang Pu on the first day of the Rains Retreat in 1956. After giving him instruction and a number of teachings on profound matters, Luang Pu summarized the four noble truths as follows:

"The mind sent outside is the origination of suffering.
The result of the mind sent outside is suffering.
The mind seeing the mind is the path.
The result of the mind seeing the mind is the cessation of suffering."


Reminiscent of the Silent Illumination method, is it not?
Joshu was asked,
"When a man comes to you with nothing,
what would you say to him ?"
Joshu replied, "Throw it away!"
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:37 am

I don't know anything about silent illumination but if it is like cittanupassana as morlock suggests I take that an an endorsement.

How long did this process of exploring different approaches take? To learn and practise properly all the approaches you've described should take decades of intensive practise. Perhaps it's a case of too much theory and not enough practise, just sit and watch the mind without worrying too much about the theory, continue and repeat and learn as you go.
"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: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Beautiful Breath » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:37 am

Thanks everyone. I guess its down to s subtle sense of the immediacy of things. I want to settle into a practice that's an effective method for seeing the inherent Emptiness of phenomena. So far as my mind is concerned a practice like Mahamudra, looking directly and analytically at the nature of the mind seems logical. But then I also appreciate the criticisms of such practices as potentially cluttering up the mind.

Confusing!

BB...
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:35 pm

If you're looking for a practice that focuses on Emptiness as such you will definitely want to stick with TIbetan Buddhist practice lineages as they make much of it in a way that Theravada does not (at least in my limited experience). I wish you wel and much success whatever path(s) you take! :heart:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Dallas » Wed Dec 19, 2012 6:06 am

Do what works. Worrying overmuch about Mahayana versus Theravada won't achieve anything but a divide. If clarity is your goal, do what brings clarity. After all, when you are sitting in meditation, are you really concerned with such labels as Theravada or Zen or Mahayana? Ultimately, these are as much constructs as your thoughts. If the path you are on is leading you where you want to go, then follow that path.
Visit leafSpirit for helpful articles on meditation.
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:00 pm

Dallas wrote:After all, when you are sitting in meditation, are you really concerned with such labels as Theravada or Zen or Mahayana?


Before one sat down, one learned a certain bhavana modality from one or another source, and this makes quite a difference. The labels simply signpost the fact that the teachings of those three are divergent in some key ways.
    "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: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby santa100 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:21 pm

"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction."


~~ http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html ~~
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:50 pm

santa100 wrote:
"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction."


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

:goodpost:
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:54 pm

santa100 wrote:
"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction."


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


It takes right view to do this without error, however...
    "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: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:55 pm

daverupa wrote:
santa100 wrote:
"As for the qualities of which you may know, 'These qualities lead to dispassion, not to passion; to being unfettered, not to being fettered; to shedding, not to accumulating; to modesty, not to self-aggrandizement; to contentment, not to discontent; to seclusion, not to entanglement; to aroused persistence, not to laziness; to being unburdensome, not to being burdensome': You may categorically hold, 'This is the Dhamma, this is the Vinaya, this is the Teacher's instruction."


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


It takes right view to do this without error, however...
And Right View is an ongoing process.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Some guidance if you can please?

Postby daverupa » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:24 pm

Yes!

MN 95 wrote:"The cultivation, development, & pursuit of those very same qualities: to this extent, Bharadvaja, there is the final attainment of the truth. To this extent one finally attains the truth. I describe this as the final attainment of the truth."


:heart:
:meditate:
    "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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