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Why Meditate? - Page 4 - Dhamma Wheel

Why Meditate?

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: Why Meditate?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 18, 2012 11:11 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 18, 2012 11:12 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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tiltbillings
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 18, 2012 11:22 am


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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri May 18, 2012 11:31 am

Greetings Tilt,

Sure, and to clarify mine... there's Dhamma which is the natural law, independent of the person understanding it and interpreting it.

When an identifier is attached to it, it signifies whose perspective on that natural law is being discussed. In the Buddha's day, other's had their own take on the Dhamma and way of relating it to others, and in the last two and a half millennia, others have had different ways of relating it too.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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tiltbillings
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri May 18, 2012 11:38 am


Ron Crouch
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby Ron Crouch » Fri May 18, 2012 3:29 pm

This really got into some counting-angels-on-a-pin territory pretty fast.

I'd like to address a couple of points that were raised that might be useful in terms of practice rather than which "ism" one identifies with.

The first is the use of the term "dark night". I know, I know. It's a Christian term. In some quarters it's a pretty bad thing to use anything Christian, and I get that. However, this is actually a pretty commonly used term among people who have been through it. I picked it up from my teacher, and thought he came up with it until another teacher corrected me and told me that the senior teachers at IMS had been using it behind closed doors for years, and that is where it slipped into the common lexicon among buddhist practitioners. Perhaps it's an American thing. So if most people here prefer we could stick with the term used in the Vissudimagga: "dukkha nanas".

But that is more angels on the pin. Here is the practice issue: what are these things? For those who are interested in the direct reference (and from the conversations here I think a lot of folks are), you can read about them in the Vissudimagga directly at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... on2011.pdf

However, the description of them doesn't start until the section labeled: "Purification By Knowledge and Vision of the Way" which begins, very ominously, on page 666. It is placed in the section of "Understanding" as opposed to "Morality" or "Concentration", and that speaks to another point raised here, which is this: why are these bad experiences part of the path if this is a path that leads one to let go of bad experiences? This is retro's point, I believe, when he raises the right effort issue.

What these are is a direct experience of the first noble truth, that is why it is in the "Understanding" section and not in the "Morality" section (where right effort is found). You need this first in order to let go of suffering. You can find info about that in the section on "The Three Kinds of Full Understanding", but I'll give the cliff notes here: first you understanding by "knowing" something (i.e. tasting it directly), second you understand it by "investigating" it (watching it arise and disappear many times), and lastly you understand it by letting go of it (no longer automatically seeing it as "me" or "mine"). When you go through the nanas you get a direct taste of each of the three noble truths: impermanence in the arising and passing, suffering in the dukkha nanas, and non-self in equanimity. The progress made through the nanas is essentially the process of letting go. You simply don't move to the next one until you have learned how to let go of the one you are in.

So, directly facing suffering and letting it go is a core part of what one does in insight practice. It's my personal opinion that it is also a core part of what folks are doing in other traditions too (hence the references to Christian terms and so on).

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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 18, 2012 8:49 pm


Mark1234
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby Mark1234 » Fri May 18, 2012 9:18 pm

Hi,

I am new to this forum and I have not read all the responses, only some - but I did get the general flavour of what was said.

Why meditate?

Meditation is an end in itself. It is not a means to an end.

Meditation should not be thought of as an ego driven activity. It is not about striving and achieving. It is about letting go.

* I am not an unenlightened person who has to do something in the future in order to become an enlightened person

* The unconditioned is not a reward for good behaviour or hard work; it is not an attainment

* The unconditioned is completely natural. It is unconditioned, which means it is not an artifact. It is not the product of some kind of exotic conditioning.

When we meditate therefore we are taking refuge in the Buddha. To be more precise, we are in fact taking refuge in the Buddho which is to say, the Buddha's way of seeing. That is the essence. The truth of the way it is. To be present in the present moment.

Don't expect magic. Don't think that the skies will open and choirs of Devata's will sing or that there will be unending bliss, but there is freedom from suffering. The unconditioned is ordinary, so ordinary, it is over-looked.

In fact the unconditioned is only the beginning, not the end. Learn to make it your refuge and whatever happens in life, we can cope and live mindfully without creating any suffering for ourself or others.

Now there are the Jhanna's but these are also anicca, dhukka, anatta. There is no refuge in the Samadhi.

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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 18, 2012 9:30 pm


befriend
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby befriend » Fri May 18, 2012 9:40 pm

in the book a path with heart by jack kornfield i think wrote it, he talks about the dark night of the soul. i think weve all had little dark nights of the soul in our practices, would it not be scarey to the ego to see the true nature of reality? is it not scarey to see for split second there is no self. buddha was confronted with an army of demons from mara, that doesnt sound too pleasant.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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manas
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby manas » Fri May 18, 2012 10:00 pm

.
Last edited by manas on Mon May 21, 2012 8:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby Travis » Fri May 18, 2012 10:03 pm


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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby mikenz66 » Fri May 18, 2012 10:12 pm


Ron Crouch
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby Ron Crouch » Sat May 19, 2012 12:12 am

@ manas - there are a lot of people with that same experience. Good for them and good for you. It's a silver lining. There are just as many people though who don't have such a nice experience of it. And many really feel like they were suckered into something without being given all the important information up front. I don't worry about you. I worry about them. I see them all the time in my teaching practice.

That might seem like radical advice but you can find it from lots of other teachers out there. In fact, there is a whole thread on one of those quotes here: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=4362

One teacher described it this way (paraphrasing): "You're either on the ride or off the ride. On the ride means ups and downs, terrible states and stages, and you have to finish. Off the ride means you are just going through the motions and trying to be a nice person."

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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat May 19, 2012 12:30 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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robertk
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby robertk » Sat May 19, 2012 2:35 am

Just to note that according to the ancient Commentaries during any moments of genuine insight there can never be any unpleasant feeling, disgust, in the sense of averion in any way, fear, etc.
These ideas that people having insight will have unpleasant experiences seems to come from a major misunderstanding by some relatively recent meditation technique follwers/ leaders.
The terms such as dispassion and bhaya used in the visuddhimagga are desrbing a very calm understanding level of the nature of reality. Which is inherently unsubstantial.

dhamma_newb
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby dhamma_newb » Sat May 19, 2012 3:28 am

The watched mind brings happiness.
Dhp 36

I am larger and better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness.
Walt Whitman

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Ben
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby Ben » Sat May 19, 2012 4:05 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Ron Crouch
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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby Ron Crouch » Sat May 19, 2012 4:29 am


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Re: Why Meditate?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat May 19, 2012 4:44 am



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