Practice as "a project"?! - Dhamma Wheel

Practice as "a project"?!

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Practice as "a project"?!

Postby Vardali » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:58 am

Hi, once again I have been wondering about how to improve my practice, meditation for one, but also systematic sutta studies, daily practices of care and compassion (my weak spot) etc.

As I am still in the more "conceptual" phase of learning about buddhist practice, my natural response as a researcher and project manager is ... to set up a project plan.
You know the stuff, define "goal" (minimun "favourable rebirth", maximum "stream entry"). Assuming that this will be a life-long project, it seems most sensible to approach it with defined phases and quality gate/milestones to develop a "step up" approach ...

Now I am wondering if this project approach might be totally unfeasible because maturing as a Buddhist is understood by me as an experience-based instead of conceptual path. But I am getting stuck on whether this implies to just take practice "as it comes" or if i can drive it systematical, as I would in any "normal" project.

It's a pretty natural response to my style and life experience to approach spiritual development as a project with defined milestones; but perhaps it's just totally off in terms of having even the slightest chance to progress this way.

How do you "plan" or work on your path of practice? Any pointers or warnings you could share? Or any links to threads here where this might have been discussed (I didn't find anything related to my "project"-based ideas so I might not have looked for the right key words).

Thank you :)


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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:27 am

Greetings Vardali,

Interesting concept. As someone also involved in projects, I can say I can't really see much benefit from any kind of overlay.

But just for fun...

Start-Up: :shrug:

Initiation: :reading:

Execution: :anjali:

Closure: :buddha2:

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

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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby appicchato » Sat Oct 03, 2009 9:36 am

Although not ever having been a goal oriented person I would think that setting one's self goals on this spiritual path is an invitation to disappointment, or worse, should the goals not be achieved, change, or become unachievable...

My poa (plan of attack) is to try to do the best I can with what I've got as I move on down the expectations...with the realization that things won't always go the way I wish them to, while nurturing faith and confidence that this is the right way to go...

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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby Ben » Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:54 pm

Hi Vardali
Venerable said what I was going to say.
I'd also like to say that if you want to get serious about your practice, then try and maintain it on a day-to-day level, at its most fundamental. And if you think you've got it 'down pat', then its probably worthwhile revisiting it and making a decision with strong determination to be more scrupulous with your practice.
Maintain the purity of your precepts and use every opportunity througout the day to develop samadhi and panna. If you do this, then progress, and the goal, will take care of themselves.
Kind regards

“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

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby Vardali » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:34 pm

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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby vitellius » Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:45 pm

Hello Vardali,

Maybe it's more like wandering through a wild and unknown land. You may be lucky to get a map and to consult persons who have already been there, but you never in fact know what may happen next. And initial plans are corrected many times as you get familiar to this land and develop traveling skills.

I think that plans for practice may be useful, but mostly for short-time periods. And a ready-to-be-updated strategy for a long-time ones.

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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:12 pm

(practice) contemplating and reviewing precepts
(goal) keeping 5 precepts

setting up daily meditation practice-->
gradually increasing time (5 mins a week) to 1-2 hour a day, 1-2 sessions per day
(goal) a mind free from hindrances,--> 1st jhana,--> 1-4 jhana

devoting time daily for vipassana, especially in between sitting meditation AND while sitting
seeing and understanding nama-rupa-differentiating them in everything you perceive- (goal) seeing the world in terms of namarupa
seeing and understanding nama-rupa in terms of cases and effects- (goal) seeing the world in terms of causes and effects
understanding the three characteristics
seeing and understanding arising and passing away of all phenomena-stages of revulsion, dispassion and cessation.
(goal) magga citta-phala citta (stream entry)
With Metta

& Upekkha

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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

Postby Vardali » Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:52 pm

Apologies for not replying sooner, I have been away on business trips and missed those replies.
But yes, Row, this is the sort of structure I was having in mind. though I will have to conemplate the Panna bit, I feel I am missing some pieces there, still.

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