Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby christopher::: » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:18 am

Do any of you feel that sometimes we can get lost in interesting topics which have little to do with our day-to-day practice of the dhamma? If so, why is that? If not, what is the value of arguing and debating topics not directly related to our practice in this moment?

:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:49 am

christopher::: wrote:Do any of you feel that sometimes we can get lost in interesting topics which have little to do with our day-to-day practice of the dhamma? If so, why is that? If not, what is the value of arguing and debating topics not directly related to our practice in this moment?

:anjali:
On the other hand who is to judge that a debate or a discussion is not directly related to our practice in the moment? Are you in a position to say this or that discussion has no value for my practice?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby christopher::: » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:09 am

tiltbillings wrote:On the other hand who is to judge that a debate or a discussion is not directly related to our practice in the moment? Are you in a position to say this or that discussion has no value for my practice?


LOL, no tilt. That's why I phrased the OP as a question, rather than a statement.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:20 am

christopher::: wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:On the other hand who is to judge that a debate or a discussion is not directly related to our practice in the moment? Are you in a position to say this or that discussion has no value for my practice?


LOL, no tilt. That's why I phrased the OP as a question, rather than a statement.
But asking a question can be a way of making a statement and implying a criticism.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby christopher::: » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:31 am

tiltbillings wrote:But asking a question can be a way of making a statement and implying a criticism.


True.

But it can also be an attempt to seek reflection and input from others. I'm still very much a beginner here...

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby jcsuperstar » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:39 am

i thought getting lost and then coming back was the practice...
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
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby BlackBird » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:58 am

Do any of you feel that sometimes we can get lost in interesting topics which have little to do with our day-to-day practice of the dhamma?


Topics of conversation are only the tip of the iceburg. How many of us can say we spend all our waking moments engaged in one skillful activity or another? I can only speak for myself when I say that since the beginning of my life through to this very moment, the majority of my actions have been rooted in greed, hatred and delusion.

A friend told me an interesting story the other day about a man who ran a community garden here in Dunedin, offering free fruit and vege to anyone who wanted it. He was also on the unemployment benefit, and had no intention of finding a job. He justified his unwillingness to get off the benefit by his giving through the community garden, which he funded from his dole money. Now my friend had a problem with this, she said it was abusing the system, that if he really wanted to help people he'd get a job and go and do it, after all she argued: "the unemployment benefit is supposed to be a safety net, a bridge to help you get a new job."

My response was that, sure - It was an abuse of the system, it wasn't how the politicians had intended her taxpayer money to be spent, but to look at the whole picture. There are tens of thousands of people on the unemployment benefit in NZ. Some people are 2nd and 3rd generation dole-bludgers, some spend most of their dole money on booze while their kids go without food to eat in the morning. Here's a man who was using his dole to give people fresh fruit and veges... So what's the priority here? Do we go after fruit-n-vege man, or do we go after the "Jake Heke's" of the world?

You could liken our occasional frivolous conversations here to the fruit-n-vege man, sure it's not always skillful or productive, but for me there's far more sinister manifestations of defilement coming into play in my daily life. Plant analogy? Pulling the plant up by it's roots, as opposed to picking off a leaf.

metta
Jack :heart:
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby Cittasanto » Mon Mar 08, 2010 5:54 pm

Hi jack, and all,
every action has a skill to it.
that doesn't mean the skill is skillful, but if the action leads to refining the skillful qualities already present, or developing skilful qualities not present then even an unskilful action has its benefits!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby Wind » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:02 pm

BlackBird wrote:
Do any of you feel that sometimes we can get lost in interesting topics which have little to do with our day-to-day practice of the dhamma?


Topics of conversation are only the tip of the iceburg. How many of us can say we spend all our waking moments engaged in one skillful activity or another? I can only speak for myself when I say that since the beginning of my life through to this very moment, the majority of my actions have been rooted in greed, hatred and delusion.

A friend told me an interesting story the other day about a man who ran a community garden here in Dunedin, offering free fruit and vege to anyone who wanted it. He was also on the unemployment benefit, and had no intention of finding a job. He justified his unwillingness to get off the benefit by his giving through the community garden, which he funded from his dole money. Now my friend had a problem with this, she said it was abusing the system, that if he really wanted to help people he'd get a job and go and do it, after all she argued: "the unemployment benefit is supposed to be a safety net, a bridge to help you get a new job."

My response was that, sure - It was an abuse of the system, it wasn't how the politicians had intended her taxpayer money to be spent, but to look at the whole picture. There are tens of thousands of people on the unemployment benefit in NZ. Some people are 2nd and 3rd generation dole-bludgers, some spend most of their dole money on booze while their kids go without food to eat in the morning. Here's a man who was using his dole to give people fresh fruit and veges... So what's the priority here? Do we go after fruit-n-vege man, or do we go after the "Jake Heke's" of the world?

You could liken our occasional frivolous conversations here to the fruit-n-vege man, sure it's not always skillful or productive, but for me there's far more sinister manifestations of defilement coming into play in my daily life. Plant analogy? Pulling the plant up by it's roots, as opposed to picking off a leaf.

metta
Jack :heart:


How long does the unemployment benefits last in NZ? It doesn't last forever does it? Btw, I had always wanted to grow a garden so I can give my veggies and fruits away but of course I would fund it with my own hard earn money or donations :)
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby Vardali » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:22 pm

christopher::: wrote:Do any of you feel that sometimes we can get lost in interesting topics which have little to do with our day-to-day practice of the dhamma? If so, why is that? If not, what is the value of arguing and debating topics not directly related to our practice in this moment?

:anjali:

I guess the mind is looking for stimulus and entertainment, so intense discussion does provide some. At least this seems to hold true for my mind. I am trying not to indulge into this too much, because I am aware that it's mostly fruitless to me.
But I cannot fully abstain (yet) ;)
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby Fede » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:58 pm

Actually, at the risk of making myself sound like a sycophantic sucker-up, I'm with Tiltbillings, here.

The Buddha taught us about the origin and cessation of suffering, and illustrated that we lead lives through the three poisons.... and as such, gave us a remedy, an antidote.
This wasn't something to be taken three times a day, with meals, and with a glass of water....
This is a remedy we need to take, orally, intravenously, topically, through ingestion, libation and inhalation all the time....
So actually, every moment of dialogue, exchange, interaction and engagement with another person, via whichever medium you wish to mention, within any given topic of discussion, is an opportunity to be mindful, and to practice.
Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Awareness, Right Meditation.
All of these, are part of every single discussion.

Adhering to them, is the practice.
Practising them, is continuous.
not Continual.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:47 pm

:twothumbsup:

Also, it's good not to let the best be the enemy of the good.
Don't let the fact that you're not meditating when you're hanging out here stop you from hanging out with dhamma friends and helping newcomers.
Be honest: would you really be meditating right now if you weren't visiting DW right now? And this is surely better for you than sitting in front of the TV or going down to the pub. :tongue:

:namaste:
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:32 pm

ok then, take one thing away from each thread that you participate it and use it in your daily practice. bear it in your mind and mindfulness and use it to change yourself as a person.

yes agreed, we are not axe murderers, but is this just dhamma entertainment? More consumption, no real change?
:stirthepot:
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby BlackBird » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:52 pm

Wind wrote:How long does the unemployment benefits last in NZ? It doesn't last forever does it?


It lasts forever w/ strings.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby catmoon » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:20 am

When I started out on the net, I would go hammer and tongs at any statement that seemed wrong to me. It was all about finding incorrectness and destroying it. Not only I, but some of our moderators used to play this game! There were some exciting battles.

But as Dharma takes hold, the battles lose their appeal as you start to see the harm they do. Intellectual jousting starts to seem irrelevant, too.
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby christopher::: » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:48 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Don't let the fact that you're not meditating when you're hanging out here stop you from hanging out with dhamma friends and helping newcomers.
Be honest: would you really be meditating right now if you weren't visiting DW right now? And this is surely better for you than sitting in front of the TV or going down to the pub. :tongue:


Helping others is a definite dharma activity. True, Kim, meditating is the one thing we cannot do here while reading and writing, but there are a great many dharma factors that can be cultivated and practiced when we participate here. Metta, karuna, mudita, mindfulness, uppheka, right speech, right intention, etc...

catmoon wrote:When I started out on the net, I would go hammer and tongs at any statement that seemed wrong to me. It was all about finding incorrectness and destroying it. Not only I, but some of our moderators used to play this game! There were some exciting battles.

But as Dharma takes hold, the battles lose their appeal as you start to see the harm they do. Intellectual jousting starts to seem irrelevant, too.


Yeah, i think this can be a real trap. I've been a moderator, and you sometimes feel you need to correct errors, set people straight. And it's important, but how important? What can happen is that practice related discussions in a forum can get ignored, where people are seeking guidance on their day-to-day implementation of the dharma.

This is where mindfulness of the big picture is essential. If a topic is moving at high speed, with multiple mods and "advanced" dharma students joining in, it sometimes might be helpful to take a step back. Consider, is this really the best use of my time and attention? And, why do i feel motivated to participate here, is there any ego involved?

rowyourboat wrote:ok then, take one thing away from each thread that you participate it and use it in your daily practice. bear it in your mind and mindfulness and use it to change yourself as a person.

yes agreed, we are not axe murderers, but is this just dhamma entertainment? More consumption, no real change?
:stirthepot:


Some good pot stirring there, ryb.

:group:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Day-to-Day Practice Issues vs. Everything Else

Postby Clueless Git » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:09 am

christopher::: wrote:Do any of you feel that sometimes we can get lost in interesting topics which have little to do with our day-to-day practice of the dhamma? If so, why is that? If not, what is the value of arguing and debating topics not directly related to our practice in this moment?

:anjali:

Good topic question, I thought, Christopher :bow:

Personaly I don't think any discussion of owt but the totaly mundane is without value.

I am minded of the addage "seek to understand before you seek to be understood" ...

Personaly I find my total inability to make myself understood a usefull indicator of how little I understand.

How usefull a part of daily practice is owt which reminds us of that?
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