Practice as "a project"?!

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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 :)

:anjali:
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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:

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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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 pike...no 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

Ben
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Re: Practice as "a project"?!

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

retrofuturist wrote:...
But just for fun...

Start-Up: :shrug:

Initiation: :reading:

Execution: :anjali:

Closure: :buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)

Haha, thank you, this made me laugh :D

appicchato wrote: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 pike...no 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...

Well, I would agree if I considered the milestones on a time-scale; but I do not see the contradiction so much if the "project phases" were based on defined quality gates.

I guess the idea popped up when I read Ajahn Brahm's book on meditation (Mindfulness, Bliss and beyond) and heard a talk by Sister Vayama regarding preparation for dying. Both seemed to indicate a sequential line to practice maturity and progress. So, if there has to be a step 1 - step 2 - step 3 ... why not plan the practice elements to systematically build up this experience?
This is not based in expectations, but in setting up a practice system that can be managed both in terms of actions but also in the sequence of progress - if indeed such a sequence exists. I guess this is my question, really. And if one "phase" of practice maturity builds upon the other, it might be able to plan all the relevant areas instead of basically stumbling upon them per chance which is my current approach (i.e. subject matter approach based on a whim ;) ).

Ben wrote:
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.

I guess this is what I am thinking about - how do you organize "getting serious about your practice"; for me, this implies a systematic approach, including daily routines of various sorts - i.e. having/making a "plan" on how to proceed.

eg. defining substreams for meditation, sutta studies, talks, skillfull social activities etc. Scheduling in terms of relevance for the "phase" I am (in my case pariyatta plus a subsequent shift putting in practice after the study part). But this not "as it comes" but on a preplanned plan (not defined in where I want to be next year, but which quality gates I have to pass to progress ;) ).

But maybe this is just a brain fart from my side, so thank you very much for taking time to respond :)

:group: :anjali:
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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

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

Samadhi
(practice)
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

Panna
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

Karuna
Mudita
& 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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