YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What? - Dhamma Wheel

Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:53 am

I'll admit, before even continuing on, that I'm ignorant of much of what is even possible to study about Theravada Buddhism. As such, there could be a lot of things I say in this post, comparisons I make, and lines I draw, that will be incorrect. I would appreciate your guidance on this matter as I'm going to be laying out a small frustration, some theory, and so on.

Let me first begin by simply saying this: I am very, very, confused. I have attempted to curb my enthusiasm for this religion in such a way as to make sure I adopt the pillars of it (such as the 8 fold path and the five precepts) in an appropriate way. I've been doing more and more reading as recommended by the fine members of this forum, and not only has this done very little to quell my confusion in many ways it has exacerbated it. This is not your failing as a community, I assume it's mine for not understanding. Perhaps my frustration would be easier to quell if I had a teacher to guide me, and much of the reading I've done suggests as much.

My first frustration is with documentation in itself. The "reading list" for these forums spans dozens of articles that are many pages each. With varying degrees of quality of translation, etc., I suppose I only find this frustrating relative to the somewhat available documentation of other religions (The Qur'an, The holy bible (although it has many translations that vary slightly), and so forth..) I haven't really found or been told of just one set of documents that I can go to for the original discourses of the buddha, etc., Many of the admittedly great articles that you all link to provide interpretation of suttas for me, and I'm thankful that teachers have done this and published it; but it feels like, to make a comparison, I'm a Christian listening to sermons without ever reading the bible. It feels as though there is a piece missing. What SHOULD I be reading and will these texts in themselves help me with my practice?

My second area of confusion, and I've asked a lot of questions on the topic here, is vipassana. Perhaps I'm just misunderstanding the guides I've read, and the teachers, etc., but the more I read about it the more convinced I am that I'm doing something incorrect in my practice. My current approach is to sit, find my breath, spread loving-kindness, and then attempt to stay focused on my breath, just noting everything else that comes up and watching it without really trying to get involved or contemplate it. Is that essentially the correct practice, or is there a kind of "end all be all" guide to vipassana?

The last confusion I have is one of relativity. I am both thankful and kind of lost at the lack of ritual in theravada. This may be where my ignorance shows. The only other religion I know of that has basic rules for living and is as much a practice as it is a religion, is Islam. But Islam has its important practices, and things that must be done daily (praying five times a day facing mecca, etc.,). I want to be clear that I understand these rituals and practices are just trappings if they're all you do and focus on, but I particularly feel like in my case I'm a little too "free flowing" and that makes it very easy for me to "go off the rails" and lose track of my mindfulness or even just let my entire day go off the rails. Is there a practice to Theravada that I'm not aware of, or is it really just as simple as attempting to follow the path?

Again, I apologize for being so ignorant on these matters, but I'm thankful that I have such a wonderful community to, at the least, ask these questions of.

User avatar
acinteyyo
Posts: 1684
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:48 am
Location: Bavaria / Germany

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:23 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

User avatar
Ben
Posts: 18442
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: kanamaluka

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:25 am

“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]..

adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Sun Oct 25, 2009 2:14 pm


User avatar
Jechbi
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am
Contact:

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby Jechbi » Sun Oct 25, 2009 3:28 pm

Hi Adam, here are my completely biased suggestions:

1) Buy "The Long Discourses of the Buddha," a translation of the Digha Nikaya by Maurice Walshe. (As cheap as $23.95 at Amazon.) You can easily read this book, it's only about 600 pages long, and it takes you directly to the source.

2) Take a two week vacation and . It's not too far from where you live. I really believe you'd benefit.

3) Regarding structure in your daily life, create it for yourself if it's useful. Commit to two periods of sitting meditation each day, one early in the morning and one in the evening. Set the alarm to make sure you don't miss it. Schedule your life around it. Make sacrifices for it. If you think that would be helpful.

Any way, Ben's suggestions are awesome. Other folks will have other thoughts. These are just mine.

Best wishes!

User avatar
pink_trike
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am
Contact:

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:41 pm

Hi Adam,

You won't find what you're likely really looking by searching for the "definitive Buddhism 101". First, it doesn't exist and secondly, what you're likely looking for you wouldn't find there anyway even if it did exist. What you're likely looking for has to be found inside of you...it's a personal journey, not a workshop or college track. The suttas and all the commentary are simply guides, just like Lonely Planet publishes guides for traveling all over the world. I'd recommend finding a teacher and starting at the beginning. A good teacher will facilitate your inward journey, but you're the captain...and where your rowboat arrives is where you steer it.

You might consider a retreat here:

http://www.bhavanasociety.org/

This is Bhante Henepola Gunaratana's center

...and his book:

http://www.amazon.com/Mindfulness-Plain ... 977&sr=8-1

... is one of the best starter guides available...and like it says, it's in plain English.

It's your journey...take hold of the rudder and start rowing.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:01 am


User avatar
pink_trike
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am
Contact:

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby pink_trike » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:32 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

User avatar
IanAnd
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:44 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:55 am


User avatar
jcsuperstar
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska
Contact:

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:29 am

here's an amazon list of theravada books i made that might help

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

User avatar
IanAnd
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Oct 19, 2009 5:19 am
Location: the deserts of Arizona

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby IanAnd » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:16 am

"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV

adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:58 pm


notself
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby notself » Wed Nov 04, 2009 7:15 pm

Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

User avatar
pink_trike
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am
Contact:

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby pink_trike » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:44 pm

Sounds like information overload - it's a dis-ease of modern culture. So much to read. So much to talk about. You could easily go a whole life time in a blink of an eye just talking and reading...

When I stepped onto the path, teachers advocated and emphasized PRACTICE. Study came later...usually much later. After a student had settled into a committed practice, then sutras were generally given to them one at a time...one sutra was studied for an extended period of time, while continuing with a committed practice...before another sutra was introduced.

The "ritual" when early on the path is to sit regularly...commitment to practice is ritual. This commitment to practice and the practice itself is what prepares the mind to be able to understand the sutras.

Its really much simpler than what you're describing in your confusion. You can just stop. Sit. Breathe. Commit to sitting and breathing. In our intellectualized culture we think we have to "get it" before we do it. Our Dharma ancestors understood that we need to do it before we "get it".

I recommend Mindfulness in Plain English by Ven. Henepola Gunaratana as a sensible starting place. Basically he says "Poop or get off the pot". You can download it here:

http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html

From the introduction:

---

"The subject of this book is Vipassana meditation practice. Repeat, practice. This is a meditation manual, a nuts-and-bolts, step-by-step guide to Insight meditation. It is meant to be practical. It is meant for use.

There are already many comprehensive books on Buddhism as a philosophy, and on the theoretical aspects of Buddhist meditation.

This book is a 'How to.' It is written for those who actually want to meditate and especially for those who want to start now."

---
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 14947
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:02 pm


notself
Posts: 134
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby notself » Wed Nov 04, 2009 11:21 pm

I practice alone. After reading What the Buddha Taught, I jumped into Access to Insight and started reading the Suttas. At first I was totally lost. I didn't understand the definitions of the Pali words. I was confused by the sentence structure. I was baffled by the concepts. I kept on reading and found a good glossary, link below. Although having a teacher would have certainly helped, I managed to begin to figure things out. The Buddhist forums, especially E-sangha, helped tremendously. I now find even more useful information and discussion on this forum. The links that I pick up from posts are always terrific.

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/dic_idx.html

Dive in, get lost and then found in the Suttas. :reading:
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103

adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 05, 2009 12:34 am

I've decided that I'm simply not in a position to study and practice entirely on my own. My confidence in my ability to gleam, from texts, the knowledge that I need to truly begin practicing well is not much. So, I've signed up for a beginner's meditation retreat next year: April 15, 2010 at Bhavana Society (which is a couple hours from here.)

User avatar
pink_trike
Posts: 1130
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 7:29 am
Contact:

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:31 am

Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

adamposey
Posts: 158
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 8:16 pm

Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby adamposey » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:04 am



Return to “Discovering Theravāda”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine