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

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

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:34 am

Hi Adam,

I think if you follow some straightforward instructions, such as "Mindfulness in Plain English", by Bhante G. (recommended by Pink_Trike) and try to not have any particular expectations of what will happen in your meditation you should be fine. If you go into the retreat with the idea that you are there to learn, not to judge the instructions against what you've been doing, but with some practise and discipline in sitting watching your breath that would likely be an advantage, I think. And presumably the style they teach at the Bhavana Society is compatible with Bhante G's book. You might consider reading and listening to some of the other resources there.

I'm not personally that familiar with Bhante G, but I did read Mindfulness in Plain English a while ago and I recall it being good. And many people recommend it. Different teachers have different approaches to beginning meditation, so in my view it's less confusing to just take your advice from one (reputable!) teacher, or one group, such as the Bhavana Society. It's not that the other teachers are "wrong", but they may emphasise different things, perhaps in different orders, so it can become confusing...

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

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Nov 05, 2009 2:45 am

In fact, at the Bhavana Society it says:

http://www.bhavanasociety.org/main/faq_ ... d%20before
What if I have not meditated before?

There are lots of resources on this site as well as a list of books we recomend.

If you are coming to a retreat and have never meditated before, we recomend very highly that you read Bhante G’s book, Mindfulness in Plain English. We also recomend that you start to do some meditation on your own just so you have a little bit of experience before you get here. But no experience is required for beginner retreats.

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

Postby pink_trike » Thu Nov 05, 2009 4:33 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Pink,
pink_trike wrote:Sounds like information overload - it's a dis-ease of modern culture. So much to read. So much to talk about. You could go a a whole life time just talking and reading...

When I stepped onto the path, teachers advocated 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.
...

I think this is an excellent illustration of why a real-life teacher is so useful. It's much easier to accept the (standard) approach you are expounding when it comes from a real-life teacher that one has confidence in than from an internet forum (no reflection on you personally, of course :))

Yup. Just being in the presence of a highly practiced teacher can be a teaching by itself. There's the pudding and the proof right in front of you in the energy and clarity of their communication, expressions, and movements - there's an equanimity and contentment/happiness there that can't be faked.
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.
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Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby PeterB » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:53 am

Aint that the truth. And even the most eloquent and knowledgable writer cannot convey that aspect of themselves in print. I was very fortunate in that almost the first flesh and blood Buddhist that I met ( the monk who became Dhiravamsa ) conveyed all those qualities, the equanimity and contentment/happiness. So, in addition to practice practice practice, i too would strongly recommend seeking out those who embody those qualities. Their ability to inspire is enormous.
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Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby zavk » Thu Nov 05, 2009 11:12 am

Yes, yes. That has been my experience too. I've only ever had the chance to be around four ordained teachers. They each have their own unique admirable qualities. But one of them in particular left a deep impression on me. The quality of dhamma that emanated from his speech and actions inspired me in a way that no book could.
With metta,
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Re: Ritual, Practice, and The Path... What?

Postby suriyopama » Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:23 am

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

http://www.amazon.com/recomended-Theravada-books-for-newbies/lm/R283ILSR3KXA6X/ref=cm_srch_res_rpli_alt_4


Great list! :twothumbsup:

At Wisdom Books you can also browse few Theravada titles:
http://www.wisdom-books.com/SubjectHead.asp?PG=B&SHID=12
They use to give books for free (Wat Pa Baan Taad publications)
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