Learning Buddhism?

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Learning Buddhism?

Postby Sein » Tue May 28, 2013 5:55 pm

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_05.html
In "The Case for Study", bhikkhu Bodhi talks about the necessary of methodical study of Dhamma. What is it the method of studying Dhamma? How much academic is it involved? And what is your method?
How much is it enough to know you practice the right way? How much is it enough to distinguished the Dhamma and not-Dhamma?
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed May 29, 2013 1:05 pm

Sein wrote: And what is your method?

As a newbie, i try my best to listen to as many dhamma talks whenever i'm free. Don't stress yourself to understand everything at once, listen-study-relax let the mind absorbs as much as it is comfortable with. Practice meditation and don't be afraid to engage in dhamma discussion even being a noob, the seniors are always there to correct you and provide advice.

Sein wrote:How much is it enough to know you practice the right way?

When you notice any of the 5 hindrances(which is also greed, hatred and delusion) is decreasing in a convincing manner.

Sein wrote: How much is it enough to distinguished the Dhamma and not-Dhamma?

Until you reach enlightenment, you can't. Take advice from the Kalama sutta to have a strong grounding then feel free to entertain your curiosity.
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby UrbanContemplative » Wed Jun 05, 2013 6:44 pm

Not that I am an advanced student myself; but I recommend delving into the texts for your "study". I don't know what all you have read; but if you haven't already I would start by reading the Dhammapada. It captures the essence, or the heart of Buddhism and it will give you a fantastic overview. From there read "In the Buddha's Words." This is how I got started.

In terms of actual practice I like what barcsimalsi said. It's not so much a study for pure education sake, it's about integrating it into your daily life. Become aware of the 4 Noble Truths, try to strive and follow the Noble Eightfold Path. Be aware of the 5 aggregates as they come, as they manifest themselves. The Suttas do a good job of explaining this.

One way I like to look at that helps me is take for example the aggregate of feeling. When I become angry, it is like a cloud appearing in the sky. I 'catch' my thought and am aware of it; I think to myself...this is an angry feeling. But I do not attach myself to the feeling. Think of that feeling, that aggregate as a cloud. Let it pass by. Do not cling to it.

This is our perpetual problem with the aggregates. We cling to them. We let them control us.

Once you become aware that they are as passing clouds; you are living out the dhamma.
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby lyndon taylor » Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:44 pm

I would definetly recommend starting with a book or two about Buddhism, before getting into the scripture by the Buddha, and then definetly The Dhammapada is the first scripture I would recomend, Also starting with a good biography of the story of the Buddha's life.

I don't know if it is still pc, and its been so long but a book that was once highly recommended by many is What the Buddha Taught, by Walpul? Rahula, is that still a good one, other members??? What other introductions to Buddhism can you recommend for reading.

Somewhere in this process I would start looking on the web and asking around if there is a Thervevada South East Asian temple in driving distance, I don't really recommend learning from the more westernized catering to westerner Temples, but prefer to learn from mostly immigrant members very familar with the century old practices in their home countries(but this is just my preference) the down side to this is there can be a language barrier, and the monks with the best English are often the youngest, least qualified teachers, but for a basic introduction to buddhism even the young novice monks and lay people should all be able to give you some help. Be very sensitive to their culture, and traditional practices, its seen as very disrespectful to walk into the temple with your shoes on, sit in a chair, and not bow to the monk leader, for example. If you look at my post in the What to feed a monk thread, I go briefly into, food to bring, donations to bring, sitting posture, you might want to check that out before you visit a temple.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby duckfiasco » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:57 pm

Really excellent recommendations from others so far :) :popcorn:

I've been trying to use a little bit of study to nourish a lot of practice in relation.
If you have an analytical, idea-hungry mind like I do, it can be easy for reading to supplant the real work of handling your situation.
Be careful.
A lot of Buddhist teachings are like knowing someone's name versus knowing them in person.
Don't bother memorizing lists of names if you won't know who's who when you meet them.

Study is however excellent to help inform your Right View: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

I've noticed two things over time.
First, there are teachings that don't make sense at the time or seem totally irrelevant.
These the Buddha recommends we "set aside" for now, not striving too hard, battling, struggling to make ourselves understand.
That's another form of not practicing. It gives rise to doubt, even as our practice is still too small to doubt wisely.

Second, it's easy for intriguing ideas to become fodder for speculation and opinion.
On the internet, people comb over details of rebirth or, on Mahayana forums, the details of Buddha-nature or qualities of deities.
I'll be a little cruel here and say almost none of these well-intentioned people have any direct experience of what they're talking about.

Does what you read seem to drive at a cause of your suffering, describe it, and offer a means to address it? Do you then apply the medicine to your illness?

Liberation from suffering is the goal, not complex new theorems.
But gosh I sure do love me some fascinating theorems sometimes :toast:

That's been my main compass while wandering among the 84,000 dharma gates.
Good luck :) :bow:
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby mal4mac » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:51 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I don't know if it is still pc, and its been so long but a book that was once highly recommended by many is What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula, is that still a good one, other members??? What other introductions to Buddhism can you recommend for reading.


I'm thinking of reading "In the Buddha’s Words" by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Would that be as good an introduction as Rahula? If not, why not?

Would anyone recommend Peter Harvey's "An Introduction to Buddhism"? There's a new (2013) edition. Is there a better place to start a methodical study of "everything Buddhist"?
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:51 pm

mal4mac wrote:I'm thinking of reading "In the Buddha’s Words" by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Would that be as good an introduction as Rahula? If not, why not?

It's the best overview of the Suttas that I've seen.

See: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2392

:anjali:
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby SarathW » Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:52 am

Link to What Buddha taught by Walpola Rahula:
http://www.dhammaweb.net/books/Dr_Walpo ... Taught.pdf


This is the book what help me to get back to Buddhism:
Buddha's teaching by Narada
http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/buddh ... gsurw6.pdf
:)
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby BlackBird » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:53 am

I would second that. In the Buddha's words helped me very much and I have not heard a single person express a criticism of it. I would thoroughly recommend it to absolutely everyone. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi has done a marvellous job laying out a framework of suttas that allow one to get a basic overview of all the concepts of the Buddha Dhamma.

If you could only buy one Dhamma book in your life - I would recommend that one.

As for the OP: It is extremely important to learn enough about what the Buddha actually taught and said so that one is not misled by the vast multitude of people who express wrong views about the Dhamma. One will always run into these people, and some of them can be quite convincing and charismatic, it is important to know the real teachings so when you meet these people you do not adopt their mistaken views, and it might just happen that you also encounter those who hold mistaken views and yet have an open and pliable mind, these people you can then gently correct. Everyone should educate themselves to the best of their ability on what the Buddha actually taught. There are many benefits to doing so.

metta
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"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby mal4mac » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:59 am

SarathW wrote:Link to What Buddha taught by Walpola Rahula:
http://www.dhammaweb.net/books/Dr_Walpo ... Taught.pdf


Is this the "finished version" that you can buy in book form? There are no publication details, and nothing to say where it was sourced from.
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby Feathers » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:27 pm

I would recommend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Buddhism-For-Dummies-Lifestyles-Paperback/dp/111802379X/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1374600297&sr=8-1&keywords=buddhism+for+dummies if you are really just beginning - it gives a good very basic overview of all the schools. You'll still need to read more, especially if you are specifically interested in Theravada, but as a really basic introduction I found it brilliant.

I also love http://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Ordered-This-Truckload-Dung/dp/0861712781/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374600379&sr=1-1&keywords=who+ordered+this+truckload+of+dung by Ajahn Brahm. It's not so much for factual information about Buddhism, but as examples of ways to look at the world and possible Buddhist approaches to life. It's also really good fun to read :p
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Re: Learning Buddhism?

Postby mal4mac » Wed Jul 24, 2013 9:46 am

Feathers wrote:I would recommend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Buddhism-For-Dummies-Lifestyles-Paperback/dp/111802379X/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_pap?ie=UTF8&qid=1374600297&sr=8-1&keywords=buddhism+for+dummies if you are really just beginning - it gives a good very basic overview of all the schools. You'll still need to read more, especially if you are specifically interested in Theravada, but as a really basic introduction I found it brilliant.


I'm not really just beginning, but I'm inclined to try and adopt a "beginner's mind", at the moment. I've read "Buddhism for Dummies" and also found it a good basic overview - perhaps not of all the schools (!), but certainly of several, including the ones I was most interested in. I'm considering Harvey because it appears to go into more detail, and the full academic apparatus is there (complete citations, comprehensive index...)

Feathers wrote:I also love http://www.amazon.co.uk/Who-Ordered-This-Truckload-Dung/dp/0861712781/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374600379&sr=1-1&keywords=who+ordered+this+truckload+of+dung by Ajahn Brahm. It's not so much for factual information about Buddhism, but as examples of ways to look at the world and possible Buddhist approaches to life. It's also really good fun to read :p


Ajahm Brahm's book "Mindfulness" is one of my favourite meditation guides, I keep on meaning to explore his other books.

- Metta
- Mal
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