Re: Rituals and Practices? (Attachment to...)

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Rituals and Practices? (Attachment to...)

Postby Virgo » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:46 pm

lkearns wrote:viewtopic.php?f=24&t=18572&p=261161#p260852
Hello everyone,

For about a year now, I have been making my way following Buddhist teachings and practicing frequent meditation; I have begun to take an interest in formal Buddhist rituals and practices, but I really have no idea where to begin!

I am looking to learn about simple rituals that I can practice daily, alongside meditation, and I would also like to learn about the ethical use and creation of a small home shrine.

Thank you all :)

:namaste:

One of the fetters rooted out by the sotapanna is silabbattaparamasa, or attachment to rites and rituals.

Kevin
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby lkearns » Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:00 pm

Virgo wrote:
lkearns wrote:Hello everyone,

For about a year now, I have been making my way following Buddhist teachings and practicing frequent meditation; I have begun to take an interest in formal Buddhist rituals and practices, but I really have no idea where to begin!

I am looking to learn about simple rituals that I can practice daily, alongside meditation, and I would also like to learn about the ethical use and creation of a small home shrine.

Thank you all :)

:namaste:

One of the fetters rooted out by the sotapanna is silabbattaparamasa, or attachment to rites and rituals.

Kevin


Yes I have thought about that a bit. Forgive me if I am misinterpereting your message, but the fact that attatchment to rites and rituals can exist is not a reason to not practice them?
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby upekha » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:24 am

Virgo wrote:
lkearns wrote:Hello everyone,

For about a year now, I have been making my way following Buddhist teachings and practicing frequent meditation; I have begun to take an interest in formal Buddhist rituals and practices, but I really have no idea where to begin!

I am looking to learn about simple rituals that I can practice daily, alongside meditation, and I would also like to learn about the ethical use and creation of a small home shrine.

Thank you all :)

:namaste:




One of the fetters rooted out by the sotapanna is silabbattaparamasa, or attachment to rites and rituals.
Kevin


From what I understnad, Silabbattaparamasa does not mean doing simple rituals . During the time of the Buddha, there was an incident where Ven. Ananda spoke to the Buddha about people coming to see him and their disappointment in finding out that the Buddha was not in that monestry that day. Ven. Ananda asked the Buddha, what they could do when they come and find out that he ,the Buddha was not there. The Buddha then said, if he is not in residence, then it is ok to offer flowers etc to the Bo Tree. It was from that day, that this Bo tree was known as the Ananda Bodhiya.

Unfortunately, I can't remember where I read it.

From what I understand, What is meant by silabbattaparamasa is doing rites and rituals in the hope that , that would lead to Nibbana. In the time of the Buddha, there were ascetics who used to live like cattle, not using their hands to eat and not taking baths etc. Then there was another sect that believed that not wearing clothes they would attain Nibbana. This is what is meant by silabbattaparamasa.

From my understanding, offering flowers, incense and a candle or lamp does not mean one is doing silabbattaparamasa but that one does it as gratitude towards the Buddha for showing us the way to attain Nibbana.

with metta
Last edited by upekha on Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Virgo » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:42 am

lkearns wrote:Yes I have thought about that a bit. Forgive me if I am misinterpereting your message, but the fact that attatchment to rites and rituals can exist is not a reason to not practice them?

Hi lkearns : )

The way I understand it is that attachment arises very frequently. Take now, for example, there could be subtle attachment to the colors on the screen while you read this post - so subtle that you do not even notice it. Even though it is very subtle, all attachment is dangerous. My point in the discussion isn't really about rites and rituals. If you wish to recite texts, do prostrations, etc. etc., that is absolutely fine with me and I in no way discourage it. What I am attempting to point out is that we can be attached to those very things just as we can be "attached" to food, attached to clothing, the pleasant touch of a loved one, etc. Sometimes people take attachment to things which they see as "good things" as being OK - but it isn't, it is still attachment. "Good things" should be done with wisdom, and motivated by wisdom and other wholesome qualities as well, and as we do them, if attachment arises we show know it (if we can) and we should understand that the attachment (even to the good thing) is unwholesome. This does not really negate doing the good deed. We should especially notice it if it is attachment (or other unwholesome qualities such as aversion or conceit) itself that motivates us to actually do the deed in the first place. Sometimes it is.

I know these are subtle points. I am simply pointing this out because all attachment is unwholesome clinging.

Take care,

Kevin
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby lkearns » Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:53 am

Thanks Kevin, that is interesting to think about.
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Virgo » Fri Sep 13, 2013 1:33 am

No problem lkearns. I enjoyed our discussion.

upekha wrote:From my understanding, offering flowers, incense and a candle or lamp does not mean one is doing silabbattaparamasa but that one does it as gratitude towards the Buddha for showing us the way to attain Nibbana.

with metta

Perhaps. And then it is done with saddhā, faith or confidence.

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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Kusala » Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:46 am

Virgo wrote:
lkearns wrote:Yes I have thought about that a bit. Forgive me if I am misinterpereting your message, but the fact that attatchment to rites and rituals can exist is not a reason to not practice them?

Hi lkearns : )

The way I understand it is that attachment arises very frequently. Take now, for example, there could be subtle attachment to the colors on the screen while you read this post - so subtle that you do not even notice it. Even though it is very subtle, all attachment is dangerous. My point in the discussion isn't really about rites and rituals. If you wish to recite texts, do prostrations, etc. etc., that is absolutely fine with me and I in no way discourage it. What I am attempting to point out is that we can be attached to those very things just as we can be "attached" to food, attached to clothing, the pleasant touch of a loved one, etc. Sometimes people take attachment to things which they see as "good things" as being OK - but it isn't, it is still attachment. "Good things" should be done with wisdom, and motivated by wisdom and other wholesome qualities as well, and as we do them, if attachment arises we show know it (if we can) and we should understand that the attachment (even to the good thing) is unwholesome. This does not really negate doing the good deed. We should especially notice it if it is attachment (or other unwholesome qualities such as aversion or conceit) itself that motivates us to actually do the deed in the first place. Sometimes it is.

I know these are subtle points. I am simply pointing this out because all attachment is unwholesome clinging.

Take care,

Kevin


True, but keep in mind that the Buddha taught a gradual path to enlightenment.
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Virgo » Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:15 pm

Kusala wrote:
Virgo wrote:I know these are subtle points. I am simply pointing this out because all attachment is unwholesome clinging.

Take care,

Kevin


True, but keep in mind that the Buddha taught a gradual path to enlightenment.

So should we practice attachment now?

Kevin
Last edited by Virgo on Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:23 am

Virgo wrote:So should we practice attachment now?

We can't help practising attachment. :embarassed:
The trick is to be as aware of it as possible, minimise it where possible, and aim for attachment to good things rather than bad things while we can't avoid attachment.
In this context, that means (IMO) adopting rituals and practices which enhance our progress on the path but without ever mistaking the rituals for the path and without becoming so hooked on them that (e.g.) we can't meditate unless we are sitting facing a shrine.

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:51 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Virgo wrote:So should we practice attachment now?

We can't help practising attachment. :embarassed:
The trick is to be as aware of it as possible, minimise it where possible, and aim for attachment to good things rather than bad things while we can't avoid attachment.
In this context, that means (IMO) adopting rituals and practices which enhance our progress on the path but without ever mistaking the rituals for the path and without becoming so hooked on them that (e.g.) we can't meditate unless we are sitting facing a shrine.

:namaste:
Kim

Hi Kim,

It's true: we can't help but having attachment, we can't help but having attachment, we can't help but having attachment. I said it three times! :tongue: But why? Because we should really focus on that fact to understand that it is anatta, not-self.. it just arises, we can't control it. If, however, wisdom arises, there can be detachment.

And likewise, we can't help but having self view. Why? It is anatta, and there are conditions for it to arise.

What I think is importanat though is understanding. Even though we can't stop attachment from arising, we can have deeper understanding of it (even just on the intellectual level), and then, there may be conditions for some understanding to arise and for there to be detachment from time to time (there may be...).

But to think attachment is OK (even to good things), I think is dangerous. We should know that it is also unwholesome in those cases even though we can't help it from arising. But again, may be we can understand, and then may be, by conditions, some detachment will arise (or maybe not... depending on conditions)?

What do you think?

Kevin
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Ajisai » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:19 am

This a very interesting topic. I was recently asking myself the questions Kevin is being asking in this thread, and it occurs that I read a chapter about this matter yesterday, in the book "A taste of freedom" based on the talks by Ajahn Chah.

Here is a quote of the beginning of the chapter, called "The middle way within":

The teaching of Buddhism is about giving up evil and practising good. Then, when evil is given up and goodness is established, we must let go of both good and evil.


The rest of the chapter is all about how be able to do this. It is very interesting, and it is very easy to find the book on the internet if you have never read it.

I'm new to Buddhism too, but in my opinion, I think it is good (or rather, it is not bad) that Ikearns wants some to practice the rituals.
Maybe it will help him get in the right concentrated mind to reflect upon what he learnt, or then read and study the Dhamma. In practicing the rituals, maybe he will make his will to keep the 5 precepts stronger for example.
Yes, maybe he'll get attached to the rituals. But when he will go further in his Buddhist training, he will be able to let them go too! I agree with Kusala with the fact the path must be gradual.
We can't get rid of our clingings and attachements immediately, or we would all be arahants.

Such debates make me realize how hard it is to become an arahant.
How many Buddhists are attached to the Dhamma, the meditation, or attached to the idea you must not be attached?

Maybe Ikearns will be attached to the rituals, but maybe it will help him giving up other bad attachements such as ill-will, etc. I do not think it is unwholesome. It's a first step.
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 14, 2013 3:35 am

If you choose attachment to the round that is fine with me.

Kevin
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:38 am

Virgo wrote:
Kim OHara wrote:
Virgo wrote:So should we practice attachment now?

We can't help practising attachment. :embarassed:
The trick is to be as aware of it as possible, minimise it where possible, and aim for attachment to good things rather than bad things while we can't avoid attachment.
In this context, that means (IMO) adopting rituals and practices which enhance our progress on the path but without ever mistaking the rituals for the path and without becoming so hooked on them that (e.g.) we can't meditate unless we are sitting facing a shrine.

:namaste:
Kim

Hi Kim,

It's true: we can't help but having attachment, we can't help but having attachment, we can't help but having attachment. I said it three times! :tongue: But why? Because we should really focus on that fact to understand that it is anatta, not-self.. it just arises, we can't control it. If, however, wisdom arises, there can be detachment.

And likewise, we can't help but having self view. Why? It is anatta, and there are conditions for it to arise.

What I think is importanat though is understanding. Even though we can't stop attachment from arising, we can have deeper understanding of it (even just on the intellectual level), and then, there may be conditions for some understanding to arise and for there to be detachment from time to time (there may be...).

But to think attachment is OK (even to good things), I think is dangerous. We should know that it is also unwholesome in those cases even though we can't help it from arising. But again, may be we can understand, and then may be, by conditions, some detachment will arise (or maybe not... depending on conditions)?

What do you think?

Kevin

I agree with Ajisai. :group:
Baby steps ...

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Rituals and Practices?

Postby Kusala » Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:39 am

Virgo wrote:
Kusala wrote:
Virgo wrote:I know these are subtle points. I am simply pointing this out because all attachment is unwholesome clinging.

Take care,

Kevin


True, but keep in mind that the Buddha taught a gradual path to enlightenment.

So should we practice attachment now?

Kevin


No...
Image

Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Rituals and Practices? (Attachment to...)

Postby SDC » Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:13 am

Good responses so far. Just to add to points brought up by Kevin and upekha:

Any ritual that one does - candles, prostrations, chants, etc. - should be done to develop and maintain appreciation and devotion (saddha) to the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. This devotion is the foundation. Without it there is no reason to want to walk the path the Buddha did. You have to be devoted to what the Buddha accomplished.

These rituals should not be done blindly with the belief that the mere act itself will bring about some benefit, nor should they be done because it is "what your supposed to do."

Hope this helps. :smile:
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