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"If you're practicing Dharma..."

October 18, 2014 - 12:27am

Michael Kewley: Self And No-Self

October 17, 2014 - 10:28pm

Studying Buddhism vs. Feeling Buddhism

October 17, 2014 - 6:36pm

I usually like maintaining a balance of the two, but I was interested in posting this question after the story my Shorinji Kempo teacher gave me.

He once told me he got in an argument with a westerner Buddhist in our area, she claimed that she was propagating "authentic Buddhism" through her studies, and my teacher more or less confronted her, calling her along the lines of being a "book-smart" Buddhist, and had no right to say she was some sort of orthodox or authentic practitioner(I understand if people are going about things the wrong way, and I'm not at all targeting Theravada sect, as their mindset is different from this. I just see that in Buddhism a minority only really care about strict dogma or purism).

(btw, if you want clarification of this story, don't be afraid to ask, I have a feeling that I left some important details out, but nothing comes to memory right now).

He went on to tell me that it's good to study the teachings, but what happens if you've lost the feeling, the training? I interpreted this as the same feeling as when you are playing an instrument, musicians will understand that there is indeed a technical vs. natural approach to things, and it's usually good to strike a balance, but in my experience it seems like "feeling the music" has now been emphasized over the technical aspect, a total flipping of the table considering what was the paradigm a hundred years ago I think :)

With this regard, I feel as if a lot of western Buddhist take too much of the technical approach, and when that happens, well, things just get a little uncomfortable, and in my opinion, opens a gateway to using buddhist teachings for specific agendas. The discourse is nice, but usually I lose track because I feel there is too much intellectualization where the given problem might actually need some other forms of insight, another totally different angle. What do you guys think?

submitted by Pishamentian
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Why don't we share some of our favourite suttas/sutras?

October 17, 2014 - 5:30pm

Theravada, Mahayana, Zen, anything! There are hundreds of thousands of suttas/sutras out there, so let's make some recommendations!

My current favourite is probably the Ariyapariyesana Sutta. It is one of many suttas that deal with the Buddha's enlightenment. Beginning with the definition of the "noble search", it tells the story of the Buddha's own search and enlightenment. At the end, it discusses the "five strings of sensuality" by using the analogy of a deer in a trap.

submitted by Ienpw_III
[link] [6 comments]

Cause and effect in feelings

October 17, 2014 - 4:52pm

I am rather stubborn and i find it hard to take things on faith, so i always have doubts about things like rebirth and karma. I still haven't answered my question on rebirth, but karma is clear to me. Here is my reasoning, based on my experience:

When someone is hurt, i feel sadness. I remember when i was fishing in upstate ny, a fish was caught. I saw it trying to breath and i cried.

Another example is in the case of a deceased person. I had a grandmother who was always very very kind to me. She would ask how i was, she would ask if i wanted anything, and she was very concerned. I always blew raspberries at her and was really crude to her. She died a while ago, and i cries, and when such a memory comes up it still makes me want to cry.

Another example is a dog i used to live with, he is a toy dog of the havanese breed, and he is very kind. He only licks people, he even licks strangers. Yet i would not walk him often, choosing instead to play warcraft 3. When asked, i always said i walked him. Years later, he still licks me and strangers. We got him as a pup from canada. When he arrived, he did not know how to growl, only lick. I would scare him and he did not know what to do, i would do this so often that eventually he learned to growl. Sometimes he would be scared of playing with me.

All these things really eat away at my mind, it is very painful.

From my experiences, there is only the logical conclusion that karma, in the sense that an unpleasant action gives rise to unpleasant actions, is true. And it does not go away, it stays for a very long time, and it hurts for a very long time.

This is a clear case of cause and effect. The cause was my action of harm, the effect is painful sadness and regret.

submitted by obliviron
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"Avalokiteshvara hears all the cries of the world and responds with 1000 outstretched, skillful hands."

October 17, 2014 - 12:51pm

From here: http://continuousmistake.com/2013/06/13/being-superman-being-jor-el/

The writer is a Soto Zen priest.

Well... My dharma teacher, a Zen priest, said that boddhisatvas are symbols. Okay. They "don't exist". There's no help from supernatural beings. Okay.

But, what it means? "Avalokiteshvara hears all the cries of the world and responds with 1000 outstretched, skillful hands", the other dharma teacher said.

So...Avalokiteshvara help us?

submitted by RyanVeeDee
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What does it mean to look at something with precision?

October 17, 2014 - 8:11am

I've come across the word "Precision" in a couple of books of tibetan lineage but can't find any definition for what this word means? Should I assume the dictionary definition? What does it mean to look at something with precision?

Is this something the Buddha actually taught or is it a later addition? What is the Pali/Sanskrit word for precision?

submitted by 93QP
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What We Do is Overrated

October 17, 2014 - 6:50am

How to cope with death of a very close person?..

October 17, 2014 - 6:20am

I won't be writing much, my grandfather that I grew up with and loved more than anything, passed away yesterday... I'm still in this state where I start to cry out of nowhere once I remember that he's no longer with us... I was trying to meditate yesterday but the feeling of this extreme sorrow wouldn't let me... Could anyone of you help me? Are there any sutras that I can read or any mantras I can meditate with so I won't feel this feeling of my heart breaking? I miss him so badly, is this also the attachment I should drop?...

submitted by Chmurka
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I have only a few thousand questions about time.

October 17, 2014 - 5:13am

What is it? Why does meditating for an hour seem to take sooo much longer than watching TV for an hour? Does it exist objectively or subjectively? Why am I invariably able to predict when the session will end within a minute of the actual time? How is it that we know to wake up from sleep after a certain duration of time, if it is required? Why is it so odd to realize that the pyramids were as old to Cleopatra as she is to us? If the future and past only exist conceptually i.e. in our heads, how is it that our conceptions of the future happen with such regularity?

You must have asked yourself similar questions on the quest for ultimate truth/reality. What do you think? What do Buddhists text say? What are some other questions?

submitted by kadis12
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Understanding permanence and impermanence - The Platform Sutra

October 17, 2014 - 1:57am

Bhikshu Chih Ch'e, a native of Chiang Hsi, had the family name Chang and the personal name Hsing Ch'ang. As a youth he was an itinerant warrior. When the schools split into the Northern and Southern, although the two leaders had lost the notion of self and other, the disciples stirred up love and hate. The disciples of the Northern School secretly set up Shen Hsiu as the Sixth Patriarch. Fearing that the country would hear of the transmission of the robe, they hired Hsing Ch'ang to assassinate the Master. But the Master had the power of knowing the thoughts of others. He knew of this matter in advance and set ten ounces of gold on his chair. That night Hsing Ch'ang entered his room intending to kill him. The Master just stretched out his neck. Hsing Ch'ang swung the blade three times but could not harm him.

The Master said,

A straight sword is not bent. A bent sword is not straight. I merely owe you gold. I do not owe you life.

Hsing Ch'ang fell to the ground in fright. After a while he came to and begged for mercy, repenting of his error and vowing to leave home. The Master gave him the gold and said, "Go! I fear that my followers will come to take revenge. Change your appearance and return another day and I will accept you."

Hsing Ch'ang received his orders and disappeared into the night. Later he left home under another Bhikshu, received the complete precepts and was vigorous in practice. One day, remembering the Master's words, he made the long journey to have an audience. The Master said, "I have thought of you for a long time. What took you so long?"

He replied, "The High Master once favored me by pardoning my crime. Although I have left home and although I practice austerities, I shall never be able to repay his kindness. May I try to repay you by transmitting the Dharma and taking living beings across?

"Your disciple often studies the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, but he has not yet understood the principles of permanence and impermanence. I beg the High Master to be compassionate and explain them for me."

The Master said, "Impermanence is just the Buddha nature and permanence is just the mind discriminating good and evil dharmas."

"High Master, your explanation contradicts the Sutra text!" Hsing Ch'ang replied.

The Master said, "I transmit the Buddha's mind-seal. How could I dare to contradict the Buddhas' Sutras?"

Hsing Ch'ang replied, "The Sutra says that the Buddha nature is permanent and the High Master has just said that it is impermanent; it says that good and evil dharmas, reaching even to the Bodhi Mind, are impermanent and the High Master has just said that they are permanent. This contradiction has merely intensified your student's doubt and delusion."

The Master said, "Formerly, I heard Bhikshuni Wu Chin Tsang recite the Nirvana Sutra. When I commented on it, there was not one word or principle which did not accord with the Sutra text. My explanation to you now is not different."

Hsing Ch'ang replied, "Your student's capacity for understanding is superficial. Will the High Master please explain further?"

The Master said, "Don't you understand? If the Buddha nature were permanent, what use would there be in speaking of good and evil dharmas? To the end of an eon not one person would produce the Bodhi Mind. Therefore I explain it as impermanent. That is exactly what the Buddha explained as the meaning of true permanence."

"Furthermore, if all dharmas were impermanent, all things would have a self-nature subject to birth and death, and the true permanent nature would not pervade all places. Therefore, I explain it as permanent. That is exactly what the Buddha explained as the meaning of true impermanence."

"It was for the sake of common people and those who belong to other religions who cling to deviant views of permanence, and for all those who follow the two-vehicle way, mistaking permanence for impermanence formulating the eight perverted views, that the Buddha in the ultimate Nirvana teaching destroyed their prejudiced views. He explained true permanence, true bliss, true selfhood, and true purity."

"You now contradict this meaning by relying on the words, taking annihilation to be impermanence and fixing on a lifeless permanence. In this way you misinterpret the last, subtle, complete and wonderful words of the Buddha. Even if you read it a thousand times, what benefit could you derive from it?"

Hsing Ch'ang suddenly achieved the great enlightenment and spoke this verse:

To those who hold impermanence in mind, The Buddha speaks of the permanent nature; Not knowing expedients is like Picking up pebbles from a spring pond. But now without an effort The Buddha nature manifests; The Master did not transmit it, And I did not obtain a thing.

The Master said, "Now you understand! You should be called 'Chih Ch'e' (breadth of understanding)."

Chih Ch'e thanked the Master, bowed, and withdrew.


submitted by suckinglemons
[link] [3 comments]

Buddhism: Elephant or Duck?

October 16, 2014 - 9:36pm

Attachment and emotion?

October 16, 2014 - 8:46pm

i've read before on this subreddit that death is not inherently sad, and that people suffer when someone they love dies because they are attached. but still when someone you love dies you feel sad, and from my understanding it is healthy to feel sad. if you are unattached and you understand their soul is simply moving and that you aren't losing anything because you never had them et cetera why do we still feel sad? is it just how humans work?

submitted by differentfaces
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What's a solid, non-pandering, education Buddhist Facebook page (if one even exists)?

October 16, 2014 - 3:55pm

I've had enough of Facebook.com/Buddhism telling me "You won't believe what happens next" or give me tips on how to detect heart attacks signals in women.

submitted by girafa
[link] [6 comments]

What is Pride, and how can I relinquish it?

October 16, 2014 - 3:33pm

Hey guys, my name is John and I think I suffer from Pride.

First, a few facts about myself – I'm not a practising Buddhist. I'm not religious, and for the most part I'm not spiritual. I don’t have any specific cause to which I would throw up my flag, though it isn't out of apathy – more, I'm too focused on myself and trying to make myself happy than trying to meaningfully change the world. That isn't even in a particularly selfish pursuit, it’s more that I'm unhappy and can’t really venture much further than myself because of it. I've spent the last few years of my life grappling with something which has always eluded me, like fighting smoke. I thought it was faith. I thought it was shame. I thought it was depression, and I thought it was anger. I recognised in all of them some shame. Now, I think I've finally put my hand upon it – I suffer with Pride. It makes me feel worthless.

I've turned to Buddhism because of what I know of it. I'm pretty ignorant of Buddhist beliefs and practices to be honest, and I don’t know if half of the things I know about it are particularly relevant or even true. However, the concept of no-self, of conquering the ego (maybe I'm enabling myself here, I don’t know) – this idea of finding balance, of not pursuing happiness but inner peace… I want it. I want to find it, to own it (yes, I said own – I’ll recognise that this is an unhealthy perspective, but I'm not here to impress people. I want to stop thinking about that). I'm not a religious person, as I said before. Maybe that makes my pursuit for peace a selfish one, and maybe that’s precisely why I haven’t found it.

To expand more upon why I think pride itself is what I suffer from, I’ll talk a bit about what I feel. I feel shame – about my body, my mind, my heart, most things in my life. I believe I can do better. I believe that I've thrown myself away, and that anything I do is a far-cry from my true calling. I love good stories and books, but I'm too interested to add a book to my collection of read literature than to draw anything from it. I love looking after myself, but I'm too keen to be faster, stronger, handsomer. I love helping people, but I'm too focused on appearing like some kind of healer to actually help anyone (not in any literal way, more just a kind friend with wisdom and presence).

More than all of that, I love to tell stories. But I'm so determined to extract some core truth from life that I can’t appreciate anything I do – chiefly because it hasn't done that. Not in any life-changing way.

I've felt like a ball of paradoxes my whole life – happy/sad, smart/dumb, healthy/unfit, beautiful/ugly. Everything is a double-standard, a ball and chain. I think in circles. I have this horrible disabling confusion that crawls across my brain like ants, and it won't let me think for more than a few minutes on this without breaking me out of it. Finishing this is a race; and yet this might be the first time I've thought of one clear honest pure subject that I can bring together into a single question that might give me an answer I can use:

What is Pride, and how can I relinquish it?

submitted by the_ekphrastic
[link] [12 comments]