An attempt at a catharsis!

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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tiltbillings
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by tiltbillings »

Myotai wrote:Hi,

I am at a crossroads and have been for a while now...possibly years.

Torn between two traditions, Zen/Chan and the Theravada.
{{{sigh}}} You seem to be making this way more difficult than it needs be.
I just need to make a commitment to a practice and move on now
Do you need a rigid structure that holds your hand, directs you, as you try to toddle down the path? The question is: What do you want?

But keep in mind, what you want is going to, if you are doing the practice, change. Basically, in the very least, cultivate the precepts, but not blindly, and cultivate concentration and mindfulness with a lightness of touch.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Myotai
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Myotai »

tiltbillings wrote:
Myotai wrote:Hi,

I am at a crossroads and have been for a while now...possibly years.

Torn between two traditions, Zen/Chan and the Theravada.
{{{sigh}}} You seem to be making this way more difficult than it needs be.
I just need to make a commitment to a practice and move on now
Do you need a rigid structure that holds your hand, directs you, as you try to toddle down the path? The question is: What do you want?

But keep in mind, what you want is going to, if you are doing the practice, change. Basically, in the very least, cultivate the precepts, but not blindly, and cultivate concentration and mindfulness with a lightness of touch.
There is a message somewhere in this thing that I see as a quandary - and its staring me right in the face but I cannot see it.

Its something to do with impermanence, almost like I am aware of the empty nature of tradition, schools and so on....but am equally not allowing myself to accept it.

Doesn't help though and I am wasting time :shrug:

Its actually starting to piss me off a little now!

I feel like there is a button there somewhere that I need to push to remove this hideous procrastination for good....searching for it is a part of the problem too.

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Anagarika
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Anagarika »

Practice Theravada, Myotai. It's the school that focuses on the Early Buddhist Texts, and if you are interested in focusing on the teachings actually offered by the Teacher himself, this is where you will focus. Within those men and women that have ordained in Theravada, you will find teachers and scholars that have spent their lives translating and teaching from these, and other, source materials. I've always had this bias that if one wanted to be a "Buddhist," great care and effort should be taken to really understand (and live) what this man taught and how he taught it.

Mahayana and Zen is/are beautiful traditions, with a lot of fine teachers and good people that practice within. However, if your goal is to learn the guitar, don't play football. In other words, you won't get much exposure to the Buddha's teachings, and the approach to meditation, IMO, is very different, than the approaches of the Suttas. In my case, as much as I enjoy football, I really wanted to learn and play the guitar, and playing football wasn't getting me closer to understanding the guitar.

Choosing one approach or the other is, at the end of the day, a good place to be. Even though I find some of what I hear out of Zen corners to be silly and antithetical to what the Buddha was trying to teach, even the silliest Zenny is usually focused on peace, compassion, and kindness, which puts them far ahead of the rest of the world, especially these days.

So, my bias is to work to become accomplished at the guitar, practice it every day, but if I feel the moment, to go out and kick the football every so often.

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Myotai
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Myotai »

Anagarika wrote:Practice Theravada, Myotai. It's the school that focuses on the Early Buddhist Texts, and if you are interested in focusing on the teachings actually offered by the Teacher himself....
Thanks, again, really helpful... :anjali:

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Goofaholix
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Goofaholix »

Myotai wrote:I just need to make a commitment to a practice and move on now – otherwise I am going to become an academically wise old fart full of shit!

My question to you is….

…what made you commit to the Theravada and what keeps you there?
I never did choose, and nothing is necessarily keeping me here, nobody told me I had to choose.

When someone is walking the path they just put one step in front of the other and start moving. Taking advantage of the opportunities that are available to you as you go and this leads to opportunities of a similar nature in future. As you go on some ideas that seemed important and helpful in the early days no often longer do and drop away, other ideas take it's place as being of importance.

One learns a framework (like vipassana or zen) by applying it imperfectly through misunderstanding what the path is about and gradually evolving as one is forced to let go of expectations and agendas, this doesn't matter because ultimately it's all about learning the nature of the mind.

It seems to me like you've been asking the same question for a few years now and it's a dilemma of your own making.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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Myotai
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Myotai »

You're right. But I'm no closer to solving, reconciling or otherwise alleviating it.

It's not like I want or prefer to think in this way...

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Mkoll
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Mkoll »

Anagarika wrote:Practice Theravada, Myotai. It's the school that focuses on the Early Buddhist Texts, and if you are interested in focusing on the teachings actually offered by the Teacher himself, this is where you will focus. Within those men and women that have ordained in Theravada, you will find teachers and scholars that have spent their lives translating and teaching from these, and other, source materials. I've always had this bias that if one wanted to be a "Buddhist," great care and effort should be taken to really understand (and live) what this man taught and how he taught it.

Mahayana and Zen is/are beautiful traditions, with a lot of fine teachers and good people that practice within. However, if your goal is to learn the guitar, don't play football. In other words, you won't get much exposure to the Buddha's teachings, and the approach to meditation, IMO, is very different, than the approaches of the Suttas. In my case, as much as I enjoy football, I really wanted to learn and play the guitar, and playing football wasn't getting me closer to understanding the guitar.

Choosing one approach or the other is, at the end of the day, a good place to be. Even though I find some of what I hear out of Zen corners to be silly and antithetical to what the Buddha was trying to teach, even the silliest Zenny is usually focused on peace, compassion, and kindness, which puts them far ahead of the rest of the world, especially these days.

So, my bias is to work to become accomplished at the guitar, practice it every day, but if I feel the moment, to go out and kick the football every so often.
Surely football is far too removed for this metaphor? Another musical instrument, even a stringed one, may be more accurate. That Myotai is in his present dilemma speaks to their close kinship.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Modus.Ponens »

Hello Myotai.

Two things:

1- I know this sounds like a cliché, but I really think you're too focused on the label of each shool, rather than the dharma of each school. Even within theravada there are differences in the dharma that is taught. I like to think of the word "dharma" as the "truth that sets free". In that sense, all schools of buddhism have a lot of the truth that liberates.

I also personally identify a lot more with theravada. But I think all schools evolved in some direction from the original teachings of the Buddha. This is just my personal opinion because I don't know the original teachings. But what it looks like to me is that theravada evolved in the direction of perfectionism.

The best example I can find of this is how the interpretation of jhana changed in the perfectionist direction. The orthodox view is still that, while in jhana, there is no volition, no perception of the body and no perception of the senses. I think the same thing happened with the ideal of the arahat and that ended up influencing how nibbana is conceived. If this ideal arahat doesn't feel anything, or just feels the jhana factors and brahmaviharas, then nibbana must be understood as some kind of flat, emotionless state. So parinibbana will be like spiritual suicide. And that, in my opinion, is ridiculous. Because if that was the case, the Buddha would clearly state it.

Bhikkhu Bodhi, who is one of the most respected schollars of buddhism, doesn't believe this and he has an article where he explains his position against this nihilistic aproach that became the perfectionist orthodoxy. (google is your friend and will find you the article)

2- As I've said in a previous thread where you complained about this subject, practice both shikantaza and your theravada method of choice. Since you like shikantaza, then do it because that makes you enjoy the path in the present. That is crucial. Since you believe the theravada doctrinal framework is the best for your future attainmemnt of enlightenment, then also practice your theravada method for your future enjoyment.

Metta :)
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

daverupa
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by daverupa »

Myotai wrote:I'm no closer to solving, reconciling or otherwise alleviating it.
So, what is the choice between, really? Is it a choice between shikantaza & some sort of vipassana, between getting the fat buddharupa or the skinnier one with the weird hair, or how do you actually see the difference as mattering?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Mr Man
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Mr Man »

I think it can be difficult to commit if you have no external supporting structure?

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Myotai
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Myotai »

If you have found a tradition with no cultural accoutrements then let me know. Sometimes we have aesthetic preferences for one tradition or another. Each has its own characteristics. 'Choice' is inevitable.

daverupa
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by daverupa »

Myotai wrote:Sometimes we have aesthetic preferences for one tradition or another. Each has its own characteristics. 'Choice' is inevitable.
So then admit that it is an aesthetic choice, and just choose the art-stuffs you prefer & which motivate you. Done and done, neh?
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Modus.Ponens »

If I understand correctly this is a conflict between choosing to enjoy meditation or to strive for liberation.

If this is correct, then choose to do both types of meditation.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Myotai
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Myotai »

Hmmm, not quite as simple as that - and sorry for delay in getting back.

There is something that dictates or doesn't allow me to rest in a tradition or practice. Like a cat on the proverbial hot tin roof....sometimes I get a very strong feeling of being at home in a practice (yes including the aesthetic preferences too) then almost as quickly I become hugely unsettled only to go through it all again. Its pathological now!

Irritating and worthy of scorn - but powerful and inhibitive nonetheless!

Spiny Norman
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Re: An attempt at a catharsis!

Post by Spiny Norman »

Myotai wrote: Torn between two traditions, Zen/Chan and the Theravada.
I know what you mean. I think it might just be a personality thing, some people need more structure ( clarity? ) than others. Personally I do need a certain amount of structure and get rather confused without it. Though I am also rather restless and get bored with a consistent approach.

On the other hand if a particular approach to meditation feels right more than another, then maybe that's the one to go for?
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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