Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

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Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby dsaly1969 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:17 pm

Hi all,

I've been away from the forum for a while but have been keeping up with my practice. I came to Buddhism through the Japanese Mahayana schools of Jodo Shinshu (Shin Buddhism, which is a Pure Land sect) and Rissho Kosei-kai (aka RKK, which is a Lotus Sutra centered group). Due to the fantasical imagery of the Mahayana sutras which are the focus of their practices, both groups tended to have a large number of people with metaphorical views of the mythos of the Pure Land and the Lotus Sutra respectively so they gravitated towards views that approximate "secular Buddhism" as it is termed. However, RKK placed a heavy emphasis on learning and implementing some of the basic core teachings of Buddhism like the 4NT and 8FP.

So when I came to look at Theravada initially, I came with that "secular Buddhist" mindset which downplays a literal view of rebirth (and the "supernatural") and the commentaries. After practicing for a while, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps I should not set up myself as an equal authority to the Buddha and accept rebirth as a working hypothesis. I have found that accepting Buddhadhamma as a whole and then practicing from that basis has worked much better for me as it does not overly deconstruct the teachings like the Wheel of Rebirth. My daily practice comes from the more traditional Theravada practice of the Salutation (Namo tassa, bhagavato, arahato, samma-sambudhassa 3x), Ti Sarana (Taking Refuge 3x formula), Five Precepts (I do these in English), and then walking and sitting meditation in the Vipassana tradition.

Unfortunately I do not have a local Buddhist practice group. So I now want to start studying more of the Pali Canon and commentaries. Any suggestions or constructive feedback?

Dave
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby Mkoll » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:42 pm

Dear Dave,

The introductory resources section on this website has some great things to get started. I always recommend interested new learners to check out Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi's anthology of the Pali Canon: In the Buddha's Words. It gives a good foundation of the Buddha's main teachings with direct translations of many suttas on different subjects.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:23 pm

Here's the introductory thread referred to above: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=148

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jan 06, 2014 12:46 am

Check out the Sutta study group here mate. As others have said Ven. Bodhi's anthology is very good. Ven. Thanissaro also has some sutta study guides at accesstoinsight.org that are really quite good.

Metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby dsaly1969 » Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:07 am

Thanks all for the great suggestions! I will be checking out the links and the Sutta study group here at Dhamma Wheel.

I'm also hoping to find some good Android apps to support my practice while I am at work (I supervise social workers in the field of child abuse and neglect investigations, interventions to address said issues, as well as working with former foster youth transitioning to more self-sufficiency and hopefully a productive adulthood. Obviously a job with its own challenges and stresses.)

Other online practice resources and groups in the Theravada tradition would be appreciated!

Thanks!
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby Feathers » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:35 am

Sorry I've nothing to contribute advice-wise, but I'd like to thank you for sharing your approach and your way of dealing with the supernatural/rebirth etc. elements. It's an interesting approach (for me) to consider, as I generally have problems with some of those elements as well.
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby BlackBird » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:56 pm

dsaly1969 wrote:Thanks all for the great suggestions! I will be checking out the links and the Sutta study group here at Dhamma Wheel.

I'm also hoping to find some good Android apps to support my practice while I am at work (I supervise social workers in the field of child abuse and neglect investigations, interventions to address said issues, as well as working with former foster youth transitioning to more self-sufficiency and hopefully a productive adulthood. Obviously a job with its own challenges and stresses.)

Other online practice resources and groups in the Theravada tradition would be appreciated!

Thanks!


Access to insight has an android app which is essentially the entire website of suttas, essays, transcribed talks and bios all available offline:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... active.ati

A number of us here use the Insight Timer app for our meditation, as the title suggests it times your meditation session and has a nice bell at the end, it's has a lot of cool features such as graphs to keep track of how much you've meditated etc, and social media elements such as forums and friend-abilities:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... timerlite2

There is also a paid for version, which I think is very worth it for only $3 or so.

I made a list of good resources online for those interested in Theravada here too, this talk of apps gives me an idea for a new section:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3012

metta
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby Spiny Norman » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:55 pm

dsaly1969 wrote:Unfortunately I do not have a local Buddhist practice group.


Dave, I'd recommend double-checking to see if there are any Theravada groups in your area, as face-to-face contact with other Buddhists can be very helpful, even if it's only on an occasional basis - or maybe there is somewhere you could do a retreat?
This site might be helpful: http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/ - not all local groups sign up to this directory, but the ones who do have a listing should know what else is going on in their area.
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:27 am

Greetings Dave,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel ~ I hope you find it a valuable resource as you investigate and learn the Dhamma further.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby Jayantha-NJ » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:16 pm

welcome to "theravada",


I consider myself an agnostic, always have, I've never felt anything in the theravada or pali scriptures was so mythical or fantastic that it took away from the important part, the practice here and now. Even the Buddha himself really spoke more about practice, practice, practice, look at his last words.

for those who really get hung up on rebirth and kamma I always offer the Kalama sutta, not the famous paragraph, but one down at the bottom

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

"Now, Kalamas, one who is a disciple of the noble ones — his mind thus free from hostility, free from ill will, undefiled, & pure — acquires four assurances in the here-&-now:

"'If there is a world after death, if there is the fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then this is the basis by which, with the break-up of the body, after death, I will reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.' This is the first assurance he acquires.

"'But if there is no world after death, if there is no fruit of actions rightly & wrongly done, then here in the present life I look after myself with ease — free from hostility, free from ill will, free from trouble.' This is the second assurance he acquires."


You never hear the Buddha say " hah you don't believe in rebirth? you suck then you can't be a buddhist"... instead he takes a pragmatic approach.. even if there is no such thing as rebirth and kamma.. you live skillfully and in peace right here and now, how can you go wrong?
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Re: Going from Mahayana to "Secular Buddhism" to Theravada

Postby dsaly1969 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:52 am

Thanks for the great feedback. I'm still practicing. :buddha2:
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