Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SamKR
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Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Sun Jul 19, 2009 6:04 pm

Hi Everybody,

Do you think it is a good idea to consider the Buddha as my only teacher and try to follow exactly according to his words (Pali Tipitaka, especially Sutta Pitaka) and nothing else.

I was born in a Hindu family, so I still have to be involved in Hindu culture. But for almost 10 years I have been "trying" to follow the Buddha's teachings. I have been introduced to the Buddha's life and basic teachings since childhood but I came to recognize the profundity of the teaching only after taking a ten day Vipassana course in Goenkaji's tradition.

Recently I have decided not to follow any specific tradition, technique, or modern teacher but to follow exactly according to what the Buddha said (recorded in Pali Tipitaka). I am not against any teacher, tradition or technique but I felt why should I follow others when the instructions of the supreme Buddha himself is available. Maybe I will need someone's help only when I need to interpret some part of Pali teachings correctly, or when I have some unique meditative experience which I want to be explained. Only in such cases I would like to consult not one but many teachers, traditions or scholars, but still I would not be committed to any single teacher or tradition except the Buddha and his original words.

Is my decision wholesome? I would like to read your comments and suggestions.
Thanks.
Last edited by SamKR on Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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kc2dpt
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:49 pm

Which Buddha's words? The Pali scriptures? The Chinese scriptures? The Tibetan scriptures? Pick one and you've already chosen a tradition.

Which translator? Pick one you've chosen that translator's tradition.

Going to do the translation yourself? Who's dictionary are you going to use?

The truth is you do not have access to the Buddha as your only teacher. The Buddha is long dead and his teachings have passed through the hands of many people since.
- Peter


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clw_uk
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Jul 19, 2009 7:54 pm

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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kc2dpt
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:05 pm

My last post is part 1. Here's part 2.

Every teacher and every tradition believes they are teaching what the Buddha really taught. Many hundreds of years and many thousands of minds went into what you have before you. For what reason do you reject all this effort? For what reason do you believe you can do a better job, thousands of years later and with no experience or insight? I think it pays to examine this wish in case there is unwholesome qualities underlying it, like ego or pride or stubbornness.
- Peter


nathan
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:40 pm

But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

SamKR
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:08 pm

I think I could not really explain clearly what I wanted to ask.

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cooran
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:45 pm

Hello SamKR,

I was like you for many years, practising on my own, and using the internet and books. I know it must be difficult when your famiy follow another religious faith - but the Buddha taught respect for all religions. My family are Christian and some of them barely tolerate my devotion to the Buddha.

But I came to realise that the Buddha was right when he stated that you cannot do this practice alone - that having admirable friends (those more advanced on the Path) is the whole of the holy life. Even if you are only able to go to a respected teacher for a retreat once a year, you should plan for this.

Upaddha Sutta: Half (of the Holy Life)
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sakyans. Now there is a Sakyan town named Sakkara. There Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Ananda said to the Blessed One, "This is half of the holy life, lord: admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie."1
"Don't say that, Ananda. Don't say that. Admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life. When a monk has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, he can be expected to develop & pursue the noble eightfold path.
"And how does a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & comrades, develop & pursue the noble eightfold path? There is the case where a monk develops right view dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. He develops right resolve ... right speech ... right action ... right livelihood ... right effort ... right mindfulness ... right concentration dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in relinquishment. This is how a monk who has admirable people as friends, companions, & colleagues, develops & pursues the noble eightfold path.
"And through this line of reasoning one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life: It is in dependence on me as an admirable friend that beings subject to birth have gained release from birth, that beings subject to aging have gained release from aging, that beings subject to death have gained release from death, that beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair have gained release from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. It is through this line of reasoning that one may know how admirable friendship, admirable companionship, admirable camaraderie is actually the whole of the holy life."
Notes
1. As AN 8.54 points out, this means not only associating with good people, but also learning from them and emulating their good qualities.
See also: MN 95; AN 4.192; AN 8.54; AN 9.1; Ud 4.1; Iti 17.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

SamKR
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:57 pm


SamKR
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:12 pm


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Ben
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby Ben » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:21 pm

Hi SamKR
My advice is to continue practicing as you've been taught by Sri Goenka but supplement your meditative practice with pariyatti (study). I have been his student since 1985 and this whayt I do. For suttas I recommend, Bhikkhu Bodhi's 'In the Buddha's Words' or the 'Majjhima Nikaya' which you can study along with a set of audio file lectures at www.bodhimonastery,com
That will get you started.
Metta

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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SamKR
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Sun Jul 19, 2009 10:26 pm


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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:02 pm

Last edited by SamKR on Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

nathan
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:08 pm

hi SamKR

Friend, I have absolutely unshakeable confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. There is not a word of the Tipitaka that I can find fault with. I am entirely sure that following the Buddha's teachings in whole or in part will be for your lasting benefit and welfare and the benefit and welfare of everyone you ever know.

It is a very wise choice and you can be entirely private about it. You do not need any statues or trinkets of any kind to practice all of the teachings fully at all times, only your heart and mind, and your growing joy and peace.
:anjali:
upekkha
nathan
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

nathan
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:11 pm

But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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retrofuturist
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:36 pm

Greetings SamKR,

I think your approach is a good one, although Peter has done well to point out some of the "unintended influences" that may come through from such an approach, despite your best efforts. I think the best tool you can have to complement this approach is to be completely honest with yourself, otherwise you might let your own prejudices colour your perception.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

nathan
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby nathan » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:47 pm

But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}

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kc2dpt
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:31 am

- Peter


SamKR
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby SamKR » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:13 am

Last edited by SamKR on Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:15 am


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kc2dpt
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Re: Buddha/Pali Tipitaka as the only Teacher?

Postby kc2dpt » Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:29 pm

- Peter



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