Is Enlightenment a team effort?

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Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby dhammapal » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:05 am

Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:People new to Buddhism often take the Dharma to be a purely individual path of spiritual development. They imagine that the only correct way to follow the Dharma is to lock oneself up in one’s room, turn off the lights, and devote all one’s efforts to practicing meditation. However, if we look at the Buddhist texts, we would see that the Buddha again and again stressed the value of spiritual friendship as a support for the Buddhist path throughout the entire course of its practice. On one occasion the Venerable Ananda, the Buddha’s attendant, came to the Buddha and said that in his view half the spiritual life revolves around spiritual friendship. The Buddha immediately corrected him and said, “Do not say this, Ananda! Do not say this, Ananda! Spiritual friendship is not half the spiritual life. It’s the entire spiritual life!” Then, with reference to himself, the Buddha added, “In this whole world, I am the supreme spiritual friend of living beings, because it is in dependence upon me, by relying upon me, that those who are subject to birth, old age, and death become liberated from birth, old age, and death.”

I want to make a distinction between two types of spiritual friendship, which might be called the “horizontal type” and the “vertical type.” What I call horizontal spiritual friendship is friendship between people who are at roughly the same level in following the path; this is the friendship between “partners” in following the path, and what unites them as spiritual friends is a common dedication to following the Buddhist path.
From: Spiritual Friendship by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi

To what extent is Enlightenment a team effort?

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Sep 06, 2013 12:57 am

I think it is safe to say that if one communes or associates with unwholesome characters, one would be slowly dragged into unwholesome acts, while one who does not, instead choosing the association of wise friends, wholesome characters, would be more likely to perform wholesome acts.

Ultimately the one individual's kamma is his alone, but we can each be a light for others around us.

I'm not sure if this really answers your question... if not, I apologize. Be well, friend. :anjali:
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Re: Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby SarathW » Fri Sep 06, 2013 2:04 am

Hi Dhammapal
Direct answer to your question: No it is not a team effort.
Good friends always a help to accomplish any of your goals. This matter is well explained by the passage you provided.
Say you want to drive from Sydney to Melbourne. You ask the help of your good friend for direction.
You have to do the driving yourself to reach your destination.
:)
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Re: Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby Aloka » Sat Sep 07, 2013 8:41 am

To what extent is Enlightenment a team effort?


We have to make the effort to practice for ourselves, but certainly in my own experience, spiritual friends and interaction with teachers can be a big help on the path.


:)
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Re: Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby dhammapal » Sat Sep 07, 2013 10:51 am

the Buddha wrote:The growth of the bhikkhus is to be expected, not their decline, bhikkhus, so long as they do not delight in, are not pleased with, and are not fond of activities, talk, sleep, and company; so long as they do not harbor, do not come under the spell of evil desires; have no bad friends, associates, or companions; and so long as they do not stop halfway on account of some trifling achievement. So long, bhikkhus, as these seven conditions leading to welfare endure among the bhikkhus and the bhikkhus are known for it, their growth is to be expected, not their decline.
From: Maha-parinibbana Sutta translated by Sister Vajira and Francis Story

I think that good friendship can just mean a brief instruction followed by long periods in seclusion.
Does being fond of talk and company mean taking pleasure in them as ends in themselves?

Thanks / dhammapal.
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Re: Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby dhammapal » Sun Sep 08, 2013 5:30 am

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The alms round itself is also a gift that goes both ways. On the one hand, daily contact with lay donors reminds the monastics that their practice is not just an individual matter, but a concern of the entire community. They are indebted to others for the right and opportunity to practice, and should do their best to practice diligently as a way of repaying that debt. At the same time, the opportunity to walk through a village early in the morning, passing by the houses of the rich and poor, the happy and unhappy, gives plenty of opportunities to reflect on the human condition and the need to find a way out of the grinding cycle of death and rebirth.
From: The Economy of Gifts by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Is Enlightenment a team effort?

Postby TyroneCampbell » Sun Sep 15, 2013 6:39 pm

dhammapal wrote:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:People new to Buddhism often take the Dharma to be a purely individual path of spiritual development. They imagine that the only correct way to follow the Dharma is to lock oneself up in one’s room, turn off the led lights, and devote all one’s efforts to practicing meditation. However, if we look at the Buddhist texts, we would see that the Buddha again and again stressed the value of spiritual friendship as a support for the Buddhist path throughout the entire course of its practice. On one occasion the Venerable Ananda, the Buddha’s attendant, came to the Buddha and said that in his view half the spiritual life revolves around spiritual friendship. The Buddha immediately corrected him and said, “Do not say this, Ananda! Do not say this, Ananda! Spiritual friendship is not half the spiritual life. It’s the entire spiritual life!” Then, with reference to himself, the Buddha added, “In this whole world, I am the supreme spiritual friend of living beings, because it is in dependence upon me, by relying upon me, that those who are subject to birth, old age, and death become liberated from birth, old age, and death.”

I want to make a distinction between two types of spiritual friendship, which might be called the “horizontal type” and the “vertical type.” What I call horizontal spiritual friendship is friendship between people who are at roughly the same level in following the path; this is the friendship between “partners” in following the path, and what unites them as spiritual friends is a common dedication to following the Buddhist path.

From: Spiritual Friendship by Ven Bhikkhu Bodhi

To what extent is Enlightenment a team effort?

Thanks / dhammapal.


it does happen.. Every beginning river starts to make its own path and finally catches main river to be in sea..So a newcomer in buddhism starts its own way but finally comes to original path
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