All or nothing.....

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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rucontent
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All or nothing.....

Post by rucontent » Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:29 pm

I am currently reading a "Message of the Buddha" in this document i was struck with something i am often struck with.....

"The buddha said......One day we will realize that the only way to escape the unsatisfactory cycle is to renounce all desire for worldly pleasures."

So considering i have heard people even say....if u can't do lay life...then go be a monk....but others who seem to follow buddhism in a less strict way.

Is it possible then to follow this practice without being radically obedient to the texts? Not sure if i am clear about my question...

thanks if u want to chime in.

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mikenz66
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:17 pm

Hi rucontent,

Do you mean you are reading this: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books11/Bhik ... Buddha.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; or something else? It's helpful to understand what you are asking to know what you are reading.

:anjali:
Mike

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reflection
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by reflection » Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:55 pm

Hi rucontent!

To be honest, I don't really see what you want to ask.
Do you want to know if it is possible to walk the path without being ordained? Or without "renouncing all wordly pleasures"?

The answer to both is yes, but to be able to answer a bit deeper, maybe you could clarify your question.


With loving kindness,
Reflection

rucontent
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by rucontent » Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:53 am

Yes you are correct about the text i was reading Mikenz66.

@reflection: Yes you are on the right track. Of course i know that anything is possible. And i know that it is possible to follow this practice without being ordained. But as far as "renouncing all worldly pleasures" goes.

My point was that it seems, according to the teachings, that to attain or to approach the highest state of being on MUST "renounce"


And so if that is the case isn't it necessary and not just an option.

It seems that there is an idea of the "Lay Buddhist" and it doesnt seem to match the intensity of the teachings. It is a commentary more than a question. I was just trying to put it out there to see if anyone had an insight about how i am looking at in the wrong way.

If it still doesnt make sense that is ok. I cant seem to verbalize it better. :thanks:

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ground
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by ground » Fri Mar 09, 2012 3:19 am

rucontent wrote:"The buddha said......One day we will realize that the only way to escape the unsatisfactory cycle is to renounce all desire for worldly pleasures."
If we take this as a stepping stone to "true" renunciation it may be valid.

Kind regards

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Zom
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by Zom » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:32 am

It seems that there is an idea of the "Lay Buddhist" and it doesnt seem to match the intensity of the teachings. It is a commentary more than a question. I was just trying to put it out there to see if anyone had an insight about how i am looking at in the wrong way.
Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path is not black-and-white. It's not about "All or nothing.....".
You should start with little and see what happens.
My point was that it seems, according to the teachings, that to attain or to approach the highest state of being on MUST "renounce"
The basic idea of this paper is to give you right understanding of the path. You should actually ask not "should I now drop all sensuality at all or not", but "why does this leads me to supreme happiness and to freedom from suffering?". That's the point. When you will understand this, you will be firm on the path. And when you are firm on the path - you will keep practising and experimenting. And from this practice and experiments you will see for yourself all the details and nuances, you will get your personal wisdom, personal direct seeing.

For example, when I started walking the path, I had a confidence that it is impossible for me to live without taking food 3 times a day. It was a torture for me to attend 2-days retreats with poor breakfast and average dinner. But I kept practising and then I realised that I can actually eat less. After some four years of practice I realised that now I can even live with taking food only once a day. Why is that? Because Path works, it lessens your craving for everything. But it happens gradually, not all at once. So you have to find your own "middle way" according to your personal mind with its personal mixture of defilements ,)

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robertk
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by robertk » Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:35 am

If you really have no more sense desire then yes you will become a monk.
That's why its all anatta, all the way down.

Yana
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by Yana » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:17 am

yes...i know it's hard to see ourselves living that type of life...we really think it's too extreme and simply not possible..but it's not extreme..it is the middle way...we view it as extreme because we are used to indulging in our own desires...anything less is too extreme or too much for us...extreme would be cutting or torturing yourself for your belief..or becoming a suicide bomber...We don't have to cut or harm ourselves or others like some beliefs require out of God bless them.. wrong views...all we need to do is have the Right View...to see desire as it is and not hold on to it..but no need to worry...this path is personal..and each person must strive little by little. let go what you honestly can..if you try to let go of it all at once you'll just face frustration and dissapointment...if you train yourself slowly ...and take it one step a time..someday.. perhaps in future lifetimes.. you'll be able to let go of it all and you would have found that it was all worth it. :namaste:
Life is preparing for Death

daverupa
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by daverupa » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:13 pm

rucontent wrote:I was just trying to put it out there to see if anyone had an insight about how i am looking at in the wrong way.
It is a gradual training, yet you are averse toward the initial stages; this may be impatience, or frustration, or confusion, or some other underlying conceptualization. Or something else.

:heart:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Lazy_eye
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by Lazy_eye » Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:14 pm

rucontent,

Have you run across this famous quote from Ajahn Chah?
Do everything with a mind that lets go...If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace.
Those of us who are practicing as laypeople have simply made the decision, for one reason or another, not to let go of certain things at this point (perhaps even in this lifetime).

My hunch is that it has something to do with the intensity of one's insight into dukkha. It's not "wrong" or "bad" to retain attachments, but there are consequences -- one's progress as a meditator may be limited, one may fall short of attaining nibbana in this life, etc. On the other hand, lay life also provides opportunities to practice the Buddha's teachings, as many here will attest. We can still make progress along the path, even to the level of sotapanna (stream entry) and beyond.

The Buddha taught to people of all capabilities, from worldly householders to home-leavers, so the important thing here may be to see clearly where you are on the path, set your goals and priorities, and apply the teachings accordingly.

nameless
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Re: All or nothing.....

Post by nameless » Sat Mar 10, 2012 3:58 am

Is it possible then to follow this practice without being radically obedient to the texts?
There are also texts for lay life.

I think if we put things in the context of more relatable activities, it becomes clearer. For example, if you want to be a world cup soccer player, you will need to have certain qualities and put in certain amounts of effort. But not all people who play soccer play in the world cup (in fact only a small proportion do). But, it is not so that playing soccer doesn't have its benefits if you don't play in the world cup.

So if you read a book written by a professional soccer player, and he says that "the only way to play soccer well is to...", the question that "is it possible to play soccer without adhering to his statement?" probably would not come up. It is more likely that his statement would be interpreted as "if you want to play at a standard that even he considers to be good, then this is the way to go" or "people who play at this standard are all able to do this". It is probably not an admonishment that "if you even want to start playing soccer be prepared for this".

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