Strategies for Cultivation

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Strategies for Cultivation

Postby Murkve » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:52 pm

The cornerstone of Buddhist practice seems to be Meditation - and for good reason. It is calming, develops concentration, wisdom, and insight, and is simple enough to build a habit around.

However, I'm wondering if there are other practices and techniques that develop mindfulness and cultivate the Eightfold Path. For example: In Stoicism, a sect of Ancient Greek philosophy, practitioners were encouraged to visualize upon waking how they wanted to be that day, and reflect upon this before sleep. Many Stoics also kept a journal of sorts, the most famous of these being "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius.

Does anyone know of any alternative forms of practice used by Buddhists throughout history to develop along the Eightfold Path? Or even alternative methods practiced by Sakyamuni or his Monks in the Suttas? I relish opportunities to know the versatility of the Dhamma.
"Change alone is eternal, perpetual, immortal." - Arthur Schopenhauer
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Re: Strategies for Cultivation

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:05 am

Murkve wrote
In Stoicism, a sect of Ancient Greek philosophy, practitioners were encouraged to visualize upon waking how they wanted to be that day, and reflect upon this before sleep.


Hi Murkve ,
As far as Im concerned what you describe above is a form of mediation. There are a great many traditional ways to cultivate wholesome qualities in Buddhism. Many are very similar to what you describe above. There are practices where one contemplates the unwholesome qualities that have manifested and resolves to bring them to an end. There are practices where one reflects on the wholesome qualities that have arisen and resolves to cultivate them further. Its really pretty straight forward stuff. Associate with wholesome and admirable friends. Contemplate the value of these friendships. Look out for all the ways we limit ourselves. Keep up our effort and keep it as joyfull and clear minded as we can.

Metta

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"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Strategies for Cultivation

Postby Murkve » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:23 am

Hi Prasadachitta!

So does this mean that, if I may borrow a phrase from my own practice as an educator, that "To be a reflective practitioner" is the essence of Dhamma cultivation, and that this reflection itself is a form of Meditation? Please don't think that I'm looking to replace more traditional forms, but this would make cultivation far more integrated with waking life - for me anyway.
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Re: Strategies for Cultivation

Postby Prasadachitta » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:34 am

Hi, Murkve

Well, Im not sure I would speak in terms of the "essence of Dhamma cultivation". Reflection is an important aspect of meditation. It is more or less important depending on what practice one is engaging in. Some practices have more to do with cultivating attentiveness and lucidity. Obviously these qualities are in turn very supportive of more specific reflection on the particularities of our lives.

Kindly

Prasadachitta
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Strategies for Cultivation

Postby ground » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:08 am

Murkve wrote:However, I'm wondering if there are other practices and techniques that develop mindfulness and cultivate the Eightfold Path.

Mindfulness is developed by means of being mindful. There is no other way.
The 8fold path is cultivated by means of the 8fold path. There is no other way. However if you think of the fruits of the 8fold path, there may be other ways.

Murkve wrote:Does anyone know of any alternative forms of practice used by Buddhists throughout history ...

You just have to explore other buddhist traditions. :sage:
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Re: Strategies for Cultivation

Postby Nyana » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:59 am

Murkve wrote:For example: In Stoicism, a sect of Ancient Greek philosophy, practitioners were encouraged to visualize upon waking how they wanted to be that day, and reflect upon this before sleep.

There are somewhat similar instructions in the suttas. For example, AN 6.20.

Murkve wrote:Does anyone know of any alternative forms of practice used by Buddhists throughout history to develop along the Eightfold Path? Or even alternative methods practiced by Sakyamuni or his Monks in the Suttas? I relish opportunities to know the versatility of the Dhamma.

There are many practices given in the Pāli suttas, such as recollection of the Buddha (Buddhānussati), the development of loving-kindness (mettābhāvanā), the recognition of unattractiveness (asubhasaññā), the recognition of impermanence (aniccasaññā), and many more. Ten of these practices are included in AN 10.60. These and more have been collected together and commented upon in the Vimuttimagga and the Visuddhimagga.

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Re: Strategies for Cultivation

Postby Dmytro » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:49 am

Hi Murkve,

Murkve wrote:The cornerstone of Buddhist practice seems to be Meditation - and for good reason. It is calming, develops concentration, wisdom, and insight, and is simple enough to build a habit around.


Meditation is emphasized very much in Western Buddhism.

In the Buddha's teaching, the path of practice flows seamlessly from the development of virtue (sila) to the development of composure (samadhi) and wisdom (panna).

The development of virtue is integral to the success on the following stages.

Murkve wrote:However, I'm wondering if there are other practices and techniques that develop mindfulness and cultivate the Eightfold Path. For example: In Stoicism, a sect of Ancient Greek philosophy, practitioners were encouraged to visualize upon waking how they wanted to be that day, and reflect upon this before sleep. Many Stoics also kept a journal of sorts, the most famous of these being "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius.

Does anyone know of any alternative forms of practice used by Buddhists throughout history to develop along the Eightfold Path? Or even alternative methods practiced by Sakyamuni or his Monks in the Suttas? I relish opportunities to know the versatility of the Dhamma.


Reflection is the key practice for enhancing virtue. You can read more about it at:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=13032&p=195634&hilit=reflection#p195634
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