Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:00 am

One of the interesting things about that book is that it contains translations of both the Pali sutta and the equivalent sutra translated from Chinese (which was in turn translated from Sanskrit). This predates the recent interest in such comparisons.

:anjali:
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby danieLion » Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:48 pm

mikenz66 wrote:One of the interesting things about that book is that it contains translations of both the Pali sutta and the equivalent sutra translated from Chinese (which was in turn translated from Sanskrit). This predates the recent interest in such comparisons.

:anjali:
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That's an excellent point. Despite what I said above, I still do draw on this translation from time to time.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Paribbajaka » Fri May 10, 2013 1:30 pm

Cittasanto wrote:if I remember the Book propperly his has the only english rendering of the Chinese Agama versions that are freely & readily available in English, so it has some worth from that perspective. But I have never really liked the lovey dovey approach or the realigning of sanghadisesa rules that his community has done so.


Not to confront you, but out of a genuine interest, why the dislike for the "lovey dovey" approach? I have seen that sentiment reiterated often enough amongst both online and offline Buddhists to take note of it, and it puzzles me. I have never, not even in Thich Nhat Hanh's writings, seen an approach to the Dhamma that is purely all sunshine and rainbows. But it's important to keep in mind that when dealing with a religion that places emphasis on things like compassion, lovin-kindness, non-harm, etc. things will get a little saccharine from time to time :anjali:
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby marc108 » Sat May 11, 2013 12:41 am

free :)

http://www.dhammatalks.org/ebook_index. ... verybreath
A new breath meditation manual by Thanissaro Bhikkhu drawing on two sources: the Buddha’s own set of instructions on how to use the breath in training the mind, and Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo’s method of breath meditation — which builds on the Buddha’s instructions, explaining in detail many of the points that the Buddha left in condensed form. A page has been added to this site with download links to all of the .mp3 dhammatalks referenced in this manual: With Each & Every Breath audio files.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 11, 2013 1:53 am

Paribbajaka wrote:Not to confront you, but out of a genuine interest, why the dislike for the "lovey dovey" approach? I have seen that sentiment reiterated often enough amongst both online and offline Buddhists to take note of it, and it puzzles me. I have never, not even in Thich Nhat Hanh's writings, seen an approach to the Dhamma that is purely all sunshine and rainbows. But it's important to keep in mind that when dealing with a religion that places emphasis on things like compassion, lovin-kindness, non-harm, etc. things will get a little saccharine from time to time :anjali:


Thich Nhat Hanh writes in a direct, plainspoken style which can be mistaken for sentimentality, though I suspect this is often projection on the part of the reader. He also mentions flowers and children a lot.

I certainly don't think the purpose of his books is to induce transports of sentimental attachment; rather they are designed to encourage reflection and awareness of impermanence.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Aloka » Sat May 11, 2013 8:23 am

I once read a couple of Thich Nhat Hahns books quite some time ago - and wasn't too impressed (though obviously his motivation was very good!)

WhenI read them, I thought they were quite unnecessarily flowery and sentimental - for example talking about holding and caring for anger like a baby - and going into lengthy idealised descriptions of mother and baby scenarios. :shrug:

There's a section about Anapanasati in "Now is the Knowing" by Ajahn Sumedho :

http://www.buddhanet.net/nowknow2.htm

.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Paribbajaka » Sat May 11, 2013 12:35 pm

Aloka wrote:I once read a couple of Thich Nhat Hahns books and wasn't too impressed (though obviously his motivation was very good!)

I thought they were quite unnecessarily flowery and sentimental - for example talking about holding and caring for anger like a baby - and going into lengthy idealised descriptions of mother and baby scenarios. :shrug:
.


Lord Buddha wrote: As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.
With good will for the entire cosmos,
cultivate a limitless heart:


How very unBuddhalike of him :tongue:
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Aloka » Sat May 11, 2013 12:46 pm

Paribbajaka wrote:
Aloka wrote:I once read a couple of Thich Nhat Hahns books and wasn't too impressed (though obviously his motivation was very good!)

I thought they were quite unnecessarily flowery and sentimental - for example talking about holding and caring for anger like a baby - and going into lengthy idealised descriptions of mother and baby scenarios. :shrug:
.


Lord Buddha wrote: As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.
With good will for the entire cosmos,
cultivate a limitless heart:


How very unBuddhalike of him :tongue:


A statement by the Buddha about how a mother would risk her life to protect her child isn't quite the same thing.

I suggest you read the sections with the titles: "Caring for Your Baby, Anger" and "Holding Your Baby," inThich Nhat Hhan's book "Anger" to see what I'm refering to.

:)
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Paribbajaka » Sat May 11, 2013 1:57 pm

Aloka wrote:A statement by the Buddha about how a mother would risk her life to protect her child isn't quite the same thing.

I suggest you read the sections with the titles: "Caring for Your Baby, Anger" and "Holding Your Baby," inThich Nhat Hhan's book "Anger" to see what I'm refering to.

:)


I've read Anger. I don't dispute that Thich Nhat Hanh can get a little fluffy at times, but he is teaching the Dhamma and it is reaching people who may other wise never reach. I perosnally know many Buddhists who began to practice due to TNH and have since become sincere and dedicated practitioners (I also know many who still hold him as there primary source and are still sincere and dedicated practitioners). Different tastes for different palletes.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Aloka » Sat May 11, 2013 2:13 pm

Paribbajaka wrote:
... Different tastes for different palletes.


Sure, "different strokes for different folks" as the old saying goes here in the UK.

:smile:
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat May 11, 2013 3:22 pm

Paribbajaka wrote:
I've read Anger. I don't dispute that Thich Nhat Hanh can get a little fluffy at times, but he is teaching the Dhamma and it is reaching people who may other wise never reach. I perosnally know many Buddhists who began to practice due to TNH and have since become sincere and dedicated practitioners (I also know many who still hold him as there primary source and are still sincere and dedicated practitioners). Different tastes for different palletes.


Sure, he is not to everyone's taste. But is he "sentimental"? I'm not sure this label is accurate.

When we say that a writer is sentimental, we mean that he or she is trying to drum up a kind of gluey emotional state, as in a corny pop song or bad Victorian poetry.

But I don't see TNH doing this. It seems to me, rather, that he is using the example of motherhood as a teaching tool designed to convey the notion of heedfulness to a secular audience that may include many non-Buddhists.

The intent isn't to summon up dreamy, romantic visions of motherhood but to give a practical analogy that his readers will easily understand. Taking care of an infant or small child requires a great deal of patience and care. And an angry adult is often like an infant or small child.

"Flowery" usually connotes a writing style that is ornate or overloaded with adjectives, but TNH's style is quite plain and uses a simple vocabulary -- again, probably in keeping with the desire to reach a mass audience. And possibly also as a result of translation from Vietnamese.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby purple planet » Sat May 11, 2013 3:29 pm

In hebrew we say : "on taste and smell there is nothing to argue about"
Please send merit to my old dog named Mika - thanks in advance
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 11, 2013 9:21 pm

It seems to me that a number of teachers who make an effort to reach out to the general public, such as the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Ajahn Brahm, can very easily be read as "fluffy" when one only looks at particular areas of their teaching.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote:I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
http://www.quietspaces.com/poemHanh.html


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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby mal4mac » Sun Jul 21, 2013 10:12 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Generally, Rosenberg is a little less structured in his practice; whereas Buddhadasa instructs one to go through all sixteen steps, one by one, during each session, Rosenberg is more free-form. This might be better for an introduction, but I think Buddhadasa is one who really captures the essence of "capital-A" Anapanasati practice instead of just general breath meditation...


Rosenberg explains exactly why he is "more free form" in the introduction to "Breath by Breath". He suggests you may *automatically* go through all sixteen stages. This still seems "capital A" to me, just in a different font! :)

P.S. Is Rosenberg really more free form and unstructured? You have to watch the breath, not watch anything else, keep on watching that breath! That seems just as strict as watching a sequence of different things.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good interpretation?

Postby Javi » Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:07 am

I have not read Breathe! You are alive, but I have read his "Transformation and Healing" which is on the Satipatthana sutta. My sangha uses this text (I was pleasantly surprised because we are a zen sangha, but then again it is Vietnamese and they tend to have more contact with Theravadin influence due to geography). Anyways it's not bad per se, but I cannot say I came away impressed, especially since I had just finished reading Venerable Analayo's book. Some things from the book are just kind of jarring, for example when talking about the first satipatthana he says:

"he [the Buddha] rejected them [jhanas] as not leading to liberation from suffering. These states of concentration probably found their way back into the sutras around two hundred years after the Buddha passed into mahaparanirvana" (p44 on the 1990 version)

Then there is the fact that he really doesn't cover all of the material. The section on the five hindrances only talks about a few of the hindrances, the section on the seven factors of awakening only mentions joy. I guess it's meant as an intro book, but I just didn't find much there to be helpful. :shrug:

Still have a lot of respect for the man though, he's probably done more to spread the dhamma than most people alive today.
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Re: Breathe! You Are Alive - good translation?

Postby mal4mac » Fri Aug 02, 2013 10:41 am

I'm reading "Breath by Breath" by Larry Rosenberg at the moment. He has a detailed line by line analysis of the Anapanasati Sutta in an appendix, and bases the whole book on this sutta. It's not a difficult book to read, no more difficult than Hanh's popular books.
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