If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

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If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby soapy3 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:02 pm

There are authors of popular books on meditation and Buddhism that blend teachings from different types of Buddhism, theories from psychology, personal views of their teachers, and their own personal views.

Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?

Do you want helpful spiritual/psychological ideas only to come from Buddhism or a paritcular type of Buddhism?
Do you want helpful spiritual/psychological ideas to come from the suttas directly?

Is it enough for you that the idea is helpful to you and increases your happiness?

Do you care only in knowing where it comes from so you know what you are talking about?
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 6:46 pm

Interesting question. I think that attitudes to this question revolve around whether, when examining possible suggestions, one look for consistency with the suttas, or for confirmation from the suttas (the latter being a much stronger requirement).

:anjali:
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby binocular » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:10 pm

soapy3 wrote:Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?

Do you care only in knowing where it comes from so you know what you are talking about?

Yes, because if I find something helpful, I feel indebted to the person whom I have heard that idea from. And I wish to repay the debt somehow.

Do you want helpful spiritual/psychological ideas only to come from Buddhism or a paritcular type of Buddhism?

That never occured to me, but for all practical intents and purposes, it is more feasible, more economical to have just one big, rich source to which to refer to, as opposed to having to hop around all the time.

Do you want helpful spiritual/psychological ideas to come from the suttas directly?

Existing scriptures do have a certain stability to them which gives them a sense of relevance and authority that a single living person usually doesn't have.

Is it enough for you that the idea is helpful to you and increases your happiness?

To answer yes to that question strikes me as rather solipsistic and ungrateful.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 27, 2014 7:11 pm

soapy3 wrote:Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?


One important consideration is what the goal is when using an idea. An idea that comes from a source that understands a goal and the way to achieve that goal is more likely to be effective in achieving that goal than an idea that comes from a source which lacks such understanding. It's important to understand the source of ideas so that time is not wasted investigating false ideas from sources that misunderstand the issue. The educational system is built around such a concept of providing ideas on a given subject from sources that have demonstrated some degree of proficiency in that subject.

When seeking ideas about physics it's most useful to consider ideas that come from experienced physicists. When seeking ideas about happiness it's most useful to consider ideas that come from individuals that have personally attained that degree of happiness and understand the causes of that happiness. When seeking ideas about Nibbana it's most useful to consider ideas that come from individuals who have attained Nibbana and understand the path that leads there.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby m0rl0ck » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:22 pm

If it fits with what i know to be true from my expericence, makes sense and leads to good results, i dont care where it comes from.

Ok, whats the sutta qoute? :)
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:33 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:If it fits with what i know to be true from my expericence, makes sense and leads to good results, i dont care where it comes from.

Ok, whats the sutta qoute? :)

The one about "if it leads to good results it's dhamma"?
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I don't know :embarassed: but I do know it exists.

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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:42 pm

Kim OHara wrote:
m0rl0ck wrote:If it fits with what i know to be true from my expericence, makes sense and leads to good results, i dont care where it comes from.

Ok, whats the sutta qoute? :)

The one about "if it leads to good results it's dhamma"?
:broke:
I don't know :embarassed: but I do know it exists.

:namaste:
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AN 8.53?
    "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: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:44 pm

daverupa wrote:AN 8.53?


Probably either AN 8.53 or AN 3.65.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby seeker242 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:31 pm

soapy3 wrote:Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?


Yes :) When first hearing an idea, I would like to know where it's coming from to know whether or not it's worth pursuing to begin with. If it comes from a person who talks wise, but acts foolishly, this matters because it shows that the person does not know what they are talking about. And it's better to listen to people who do know what they are talking about.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby SarathW » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:46 pm

There are four major type of happiness with many sub divisions.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zAQU8MEHnM


So depend on your goal and intelligence, you have to decide what true happiness means.
If you need the very basic happiness by material things you can listen to a motivational speaker or a financial advisor etc.
If you need the highest happiness “Nirvana” (according to Buddha) you have to be a Buddhist.
I have chosen Theravada as it gives me a clear path to Nirvana.
:)
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:27 am

seeker242 wrote:
soapy3 wrote:Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?


Yes :) When first hearing an idea, I would like to know where it's coming from to know whether or not it's worth pursuing to begin with. If it comes from a person who talks wise, but acts foolishly, this matters because it shows that the person does not know what they are talking about. And it's better to listen to people who do know what they are talking about.

:goodpost:
I agree. This is absolutely true and very important.
On the other hand, I do accept good ideas from all traditions - from Theravada to Mahayana to Christianity to academic philosophy.

:reading:
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:30 am

culaavuso wrote:
daverupa wrote:AN 8.53?


Probably either AN 8.53 or AN 3.65.

Thanks - they are both relevant but the Gotami Sutta was the one I had in mind.

:namaste:
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Feathers » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:26 am

To an extent I don't care - I am still working my way through Pema Chodron's books, despite being perfectly convinced that Theravada is the best fit for me, because I find them helpful.

However I do think some caution is needed. On the one hand, if secular meditation stuff helps people, then great, but I do think it is a journey into the mind that needs to be handled with care.

Edit to add: for clarity, I mean that the habit of divorcing meditation from its religious roots is maybe being done a little carelessly. Not necessarily by the original proponents of it, but by the time it has filtered down to a poorly-trained therapist on the ground . . .
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:37 am

soapy3 wrote:Does it matter to you where an idea comes from?


Not really, providing that it makes sense and works. Despite an extensive search I haven't found anything that makes more sense or works better than Buddhism.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby daverupa » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:41 am

Maybe we should have a discussion about how to distinguish "it helps" from "I like it".

Right effort and doubt have an interesting interplay here; if someone wants to say they are helped by e.g. a wrong view (e.g. that there is a Creator deity), the response calls for a light touch with these points of Dhamma.
    "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: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Spiny Norman » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:30 pm

daverupa wrote:Maybe we should have a discussion about how to distinguish "it helps" from "I like it".

Right effort and doubt have an interesting interplay here; if someone wants to say they are helped by e.g. a wrong view (e.g. that there is a Creator deity), the response calls for a light touch with these points of Dhamma.


It depends what we mean by "helps", Dave - a theist would probably say that believing in God helps.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby binocular » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:34 am

Spiny Norman wrote:It depends what we mean by "helps", Dave - a theist would probably say that believing in God helps.

I don't think many theists would say that. Maybe some American ones. I've talked to and read from many theists, but I've never heard any one of them actually say such a thing.

I've heard from several ex-theists though that "believing in God" didn't "help them."

I find that from a theological perspective, it is a very strange proposition to "believe in God" because "it helps" or because "it works". This reveals a materialistic, reifying outlook, conceptualizing God as some kind of (supernatural) vending machine. It's no wonder that people with such an outlook don't remain around theism for long, or are superficial fanatics.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:07 am

binocular wrote:I find that from a theological perspective, it is a very strange proposition to "believe in God" because "it helps" or because "it works". This reveals a materialistic, reifying outlook, conceptualizing God as some kind of (supernatural) vending machine. It's no wonder that people with such an outlook don't remain around theism for long, or are superficial fanatics.

I agree. It is as odd as "choosing" to believe in God, a statement I've heard occasionally.

:coffee:
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby binocular » Sat Mar 29, 2014 7:30 am

daverupa wrote:Maybe we should have a discussion about how to distinguish "it helps" from "I like it".

And then there are the issue of self-fulfilling prophecies, the placebo effect, and self-referentiality.

A person can desire X, and then pick, choose and omit Buddhist teachings accordingly to get X. So for such a person, it can seem that following the Buddhist teachings "works" or "helps."
But that still doesn't mean that X is the best there is or the best to look for.
It also doesn't mean that the Buddha taught that X is the best there is.

I think the key with religions is that they define what the goal is, not the person themselves.
So thinking "I'm going to use religion A to get X" is misguided.
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Re: If it helps you, do you care where it comes from?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:32 am

binocular wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:It depends what we mean by "helps", Dave - a theist would probably say that believing in God helps.

I don't think many theists would say that.


I think you've missed my point, which was that the definition of "helpful" is likely to depend on one's spiritual tradition. So somebody in a theist tradition would regard faith in God as helpful to their practice while somebody in a non-theist tradition wouldn't.
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