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Meditation: Is it Required? - Dhamma Wheel

Meditation: Is it Required?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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theravada_guy
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Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:23 pm

Greetings all,

I was reading the Theravada section on the Religious Tolerance Web site, based in Ontario, Canada and came across this quote:

"Theravada Buddhism initially reserved the practice of meditation to monks. The laity were "... encouraged to engage in merit-making activities to improve their future rebirth status." However, in recent times, the laity have embraced meditation and aspire "to more dramatic progress along the path to nirvana."

Is this true, in any way? Did early Theravada reserve meditation for the Sangha only? And, if so, does that give us, who follow Theravada today, the choice of whether or not we wish to engage in meditation, or dispense with it?

The quotes within my own quote come from an outside source, and are not my quotations. Here is the link to the full article:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/buddther.htm
With metta,

Justin

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bodom
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby bodom » Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:56 pm

It was the burmese who started the lay meditation movement but the Buddha did instruct the laity to meditate. Note that below rapture refers to the first two jhanas as explained by the commentary.

Then Anathapindika the householder, surrounded by about 500 lay followers, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him, "Householder, you have provided the community of monks with robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick, but you shouldn't rest content with the thought, 'We have provided the community of monks with robes, alms food, lodgings, & medicinal requisites for the sick.' So you should train yourself, 'Let's periodically enter & remain in seclusion & rapture.' That's how you should train yourself.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

:anjali:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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theravada_guy
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Jan 18, 2010 7:24 pm

Greetings bodom,

Thank you for the clarification!
With metta,

Justin

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:00 pm

Of course the Buddha taught meditation to lay people. There are many examples, but he taught to suit their ability to understand. Although when the Buddha taught the Dhamma addressing the monks — bhikkhave — the audience usually included lay people. When lay people were wise enough to understand higher teachings, then the Buddha taught discourses like the .

He taught the among the Kuru people because by nature were earnest in the application of the Arousing of Mindfulness to their daily life.

To the Kālāmas the Buddha taught the four Brahmavihāras. They were not yet lay followers, and this is also the case with many other discourses.

After gaining faith in the Dhamma, many lay people would have attended regular discourses, and thus learnt about meditation practise — both samatha and vipassanā.

was a lay women who looked after the needs of forest monks. She asked them for meditation instructions, and soon gained mind-reading powers.

Although it may be true, just as it is now, that the majority of lay people did not practise meditation, the Buddha and the monks certainly taught meditation to those who were able to understand.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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retrofuturist
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Jan 18, 2010 10:06 pm

Greetings,

Moved to the Meditation Forum at theravada_guy's request.

Metta,
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

PeterB
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby PeterB » Tue May 04, 2010 7:56 am


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Agent
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby Agent » Thu May 06, 2010 8:21 pm

The laity certainly didn't have much interest in meditation at the Sinhalese temple where I used to meditate. The temple seemed to be more of a cultural center for the Sinhalese people in the area. On the other hand, the western laity tended to just use the temple as a place to meditate. In my experience we could learn something from the lay practitioners of other countries when it comes to dana and they could learn something from western laity when it comes to practicing meditation.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā.

Jack
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby Jack » Tue May 11, 2010 3:33 pm

A monk once told me that only 4% of Thera monks meditate. I have no idea where he got that number and think he is probably wrong. I do know that few monks at some of the Thera centers here in the Midwest do meditate.

My experience is that few of the laity either in SE Asia or from SE Asia and now live in the west meditate.

jack

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue May 11, 2010 8:56 pm


PeterB
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby PeterB » Tue May 11, 2010 9:40 pm


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bodom
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby bodom » Tue May 11, 2010 10:06 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

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retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed May 12, 2010 1:03 am

"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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bodom
Posts: 5713
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 6:18 pm
Location: San Antonio, Texas

Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby bodom » Wed May 12, 2010 1:31 am

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/

PeterB
Posts: 3909
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby PeterB » Tue May 18, 2010 12:50 pm

While agreeing I find myself wondering how many people are actually in the position of not having access to a teacher..
I have this theory which I am happy to have disproved, that least least some people who do not have a teacher or teachers actually eschew teachers because of a kind of fear.

Be that as it may M.O.B and the BV's seem to cover most of our needs.

whitewedding
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby whitewedding » Wed May 19, 2010 7:37 pm


PeterB
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Re: Meditation: Is it Required?

Postby PeterB » Thu May 20, 2010 3:19 pm



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