Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Caodemarte
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by Caodemarte » Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:51 am

You might find this helpful http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/ there are many other directories on-line as well. In any case, good luck!

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No_Mind
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by No_Mind » Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:03 am

Caodemarte wrote:You might find this helpful http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/ there are many other directories on-line as well. In any case, good luck!
I have written elsewhere in this forum .. no monks in the city I live in .. a small collection of Theravadins (they have been Buddhists for probably over 1,000 years) and a small temple for their purpose -- community religious practices (birth, death, daily evening Buddha Vandana and so on). The monks present are not used to Buddhist practice of the type we (the members of DW) speak of.

They are as removed from meditation as priest of a local parish is from hesychasm.

I had to find address of Dipa Ma's daughter from a woman in France !! None of these monks are even aware that a meditator (and member of the same community) who attained eigth jhana was at all living here 30 years ago.
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_anicca_
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by _anicca_ » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:20 pm

I am in a similar situation where there are no serious Theravadin groups/practitioners in the immediate area.

Even though it is not a replacement for practicing with others and receiving guidance in the "flesh and blood", I find it best to utilize the resources I have on the internet as best as possible. It may not be much, but at least I have the ability to call and email esteemed teachers for advice/direction, chat with others through these virtual forums, and accrue knowledge based on the myriad dhamma talks presented online.

It's easy to focus on the reasons that we have for not committing to our practice without being thankful for the plethora of resources that are available - which are quite a few.

:anjali:
"A virtuous monk, Kotthita my friend, should attend in an appropriate way to the five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self."

:buddha1:

http://vipassanameditation.asia

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Zom
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by Zom » Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:19 am

That surely is practice but not serious practice. If I was engaged in serious practice I would make an effort to eradicate these mental formations. But I am just on "maintenance mode."
The problem here is this: are you sure you will have enough vigor for "serious practice" once you get the time? I know people who became monks and so they had a plenty of time for that. But. After some years of "intensive practice" they gave up and live... how to say... well, like other people do -) Not because they are just bad monks, but simply because they realized that their personal "serious practice" is not sitting 24/7 in meditation, etc, - but something more prosaic, something to be pracised in daily life routine, like helping people, trying to be courteous, trying to speak gently, etc etc. (<--- things that can be practised by a busy lay person as well).

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No_Mind
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:19 am

Zom wrote:
That surely is practice but not serious practice. If I was engaged in serious practice I would make an effort to eradicate these mental formations. But I am just on "maintenance mode."
The problem here is this: are you sure you will have enough vigor for "serious practice" once you get the time? I know people who became monks and so they had a plenty of time for that. But. After some years of "intensive practice" they gave up and live... how to say... well, like other people do -) Not because they are just bad monks, but simply because they realized that their personal "serious practice" is not sitting 24/7 in meditation, etc, - but something more prosaic, something to be pracised in daily life routine, like helping people, trying to be courteous, trying to speak gently, etc etc. (<--- things that can be practised by a busy lay person as well).
I am sure by this time DW members are thoroughly bored of this topic. Zom, the answer is not meant to be personal or offensive in any way (to you or others).

I can put it in many ways .. let me try to write it as skillfully as possible but it will not be skillful because it cannot be.

We should all exercise if we are overweight. Sound advice unless the person being asked to do so is confined to a hospital bed for breaking his/her hip. All that person can do is hope the hip mends and he/she can reduce weight at some point in the future. Till that time the fat guy in traction can reduce daily calorie intake to 1500 (same as following five precepts and 20 minutes meditation) and hope for the best.

If the hip never mends an overweight person has to accept he will go through life wearing plus sized garments (because all weight loss exercises require the hip). All I have tried to ask -- is spiritual life also to some extent like that? There is a time and place. For some people there will be neither time nor place.

The unfortunate part about discussing Buddhism in a forum is -- a busy guy having to meet targets (or get sacked) has to mingle with people who may be having a job that carries no responsibilities or stress -- e.g a sociology lecturer in a Grade C college or a night watchman at a mall (not meant to demean night watchmen). Of course the former will have more distractions and worries than the latter.

Therefore I had stated after the first few replies that I should never have asked this question in the first place. I regret asking it.

After three years here it struck me (I called it an epiphany) that one cannot ask behavioural and life pattern related questions here but direct Pali Canon related questions such as "What is meaning of aggregates?"

But behaviour and life pattern is very important part of Buddhist practice. However I will not repeat my mistake again. All my questions from now on will be "What is meaning of .."

Hopefully I will retire from work in next twenty years and still have at least a decade (if not three) left for serious practice. If not .. then I am like the fat guy who can never exercise.

:namaste:
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Dan74
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:40 am

I think it's a good question, No_Mind.

But I am wondering - whatever our constraints, don't we want to make the most of them? So your fat guy with a fractured hip, he could stuff himself like there's no tomorrow, seeing that he is not able to exercise the way he wants to. Or he could eat healthily and still do some limited exercise. The results, while not ideal, would be heaps better than in the former option.

The only person for whom the time's not yet right is the one who firmly believes that chasing money, pleasure and happiness is the only thing worth doing. In your example, the fat guy who's in denial that he is fat or that anything needs changing.
_/|\_

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No_Mind
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:46 am

Dan74 wrote: But I am wondering - whatever our constraints, don't we want to make the most of them? So your fat guy with a fractured hip, he could stuff himself like there's no tomorrow, seeing that he is not able to exercise the way he wants to. Or he could eat healthily and still do some limited exercise. The results, while not ideal, would be heaps better than in the former option.

The only person for whom the time's not yet right is the one who firmly believes that chasing money, pleasure and happiness is the only thing worth doing. In your example, the fat guy who's in denial that he is fat or that anything needs changing.
That is why I am practising the 1500 calories version of Buddhism (five precepts and 20 minutes meditation). It may (my practice) cause me to slim down but will leave behind lot of excess skin and flaccid muscles due to lack of cardio (equivalent in Buddhism).

But the real part, the hard core part .. the desire (though desire is a wrong word) of advancing along the path by doing retreats, doing 2 hours of meditation daily (something even S N Goenka urged his students to do once they completed the 10 day workshop), reading lot more suttas .. will have to wait till I retire from work. If possible I will have chance then to do it the way it is supposed to be done.
Last edited by No_Mind on Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Dan74
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:52 am

If you meditate more you will be able to sleep less (at least eventually). I'm pretty lax myself at the moment and I have all the usual excuses. At the end of the day it's a matter of priorities and 1500 calories version can gradually move to 1200 etc.

But even more important is how we live in between the practice sessions. How we integrate life and practice.
_/|\_

binocular
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by binocular » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:09 am

No_Mind wrote:
binocular wrote:I've searched Access To Insight for the keywords procrastinate, delay, postpone, and urgency/urgent.
There are some really interesting texts to highlight the concerns involved in delaying the practice!
The texts relate to those who have not yet accepted the Dhamma or do not practice it.
Have you done the search yourself?

I have collected for about 40 pages of passages from ATI addressing issues of procrastination, delay, postponing, and urgency.


It seems that those who have accepted the Dhamma and practice it would know how to proceed and how to deal with problems in their practice.

/.../There are classical lists of topics for recollection when you find that you’re
frustrated, when there’s aversion, lust, fear, anxiety. There are specific topics you
can think about. You can think about the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha
to develop a sense of confidence, to overcome any sense of aversion you may
have either to your meditation object or to yourself. Think about the members of
the Noble Sangha in the past who went through lots of difficulties, years of effort,
and couldn’t make any headway, and yet ultimately were able to gain
Awakening. They developed the patience needed to do that. They were human
beings; you’re a human being. You can develop that patience as well. Once you
find that your attitude is more appropriate, then you can get back to the breath.
All of the ten topics for recollection are types of meditation. We tend to think
of meditation as only one or two vipassana techniques, but that’s not true. There
are lots of techniques for dealing with all different kinds of problems in the mind.
When teachers give you just one technique, it’s sort of one-size-fits-all, or Henry
Ford’s old maxim: People can have whatever color car they want as long as it’s
black. Given the complexity of the mind, there’s no way that one single
technique is going to work in all cases, or that one particular person will have to
stick to one technique all the time. You have to realize that the Buddha offers a
whole toolbox here, lots of different methods, lots of different approaches.
/.../
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... alks_1.pdf

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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by binocular » Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:11 am

No_Mind wrote:But the real part, the hard core part .. the desire (though desire is a wrong word) of advancing along the path by doing retreats, doing 2 hours of meditation daily (something even S N Goenka urged his students to do once they completed the 10 day workshop), reading lot more suttas .. will have to wait till I retire from work. If possible I will have chance then to do it the way it is supposed to be done.
Dang it! Looks like enlightenment doesn't want to come to you the way you want it.
:sage:

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Zom
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by Zom » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:54 am

But the real part, the hard core part .. the desire (though desire is a wrong word) of advancing along the path by doing retreats, doing 2 hours of meditation daily (something even S N Goenka urged his students to do once they completed the 10 day workshop), reading lot more suttas .. will have to wait till I retire from work.
And what will you do if you retire, but that 2h meditation daily won't help at all, and you'll find out that (for some [many] other reasons) you still can't practise as you have hoped? I'm asking, because most likely this will be the case. Free time and lack of duties is not a guarantee of the successful and fruitful practice. I say this because, well, I know buddhists having these both and I can't say they are practising much better or have achieved some superior results.

Sometimes I keep thinking about such people as Ven. Buddhaghosa. He was very knowledgeable in Buddhism, did an astonishing work compiling and writing extensive commentaries. He wrote so much about meditation and its aspects. And without a doubt he had a lot of free time to practise. But in the end he wrote a message that he wants to be reborn in some future time to practise under Metteyya Buddha. Why? What was wrong with him? Where was his this-life-time-arahantship? The answer is: rarely who is really prepared for "serious practice", even if they want it and have perfect conditions for that. For most of people just keeping these "5 precepts" - is their serious practice. How about telling small lies or speaking rude words? How about idle chatter? Are you sure that tons of meditation will help dealing with such verbal misbehavior? Again, from what I see in "hardcore meditators" - it won't. Something else works here .)

However, I do not say that busy lay life is just as well for practice as a life of a monk. Of course, you have to slow down to some extent to see things more clearly, to react more skilfully, to have a vigor to rectify bad mind habits. What I'm saying is that even if you are in this good condition, this doesn't guarantee a boost in spiritual progress. Your own mind will still be with you, with all its bad and good qualities. And even in perfect conditions can find out that you still have to work a lot with those things you worked before - in a busy life full of responsibilities, etc.

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No_Mind
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:13 am

Zom wrote: And what will you do if you retire, but that 2h meditation daily won't help at all, and you'll find out that (for some [many] other reasons) you still can't practise as you have hoped? I'm asking, because most likely this will be the case.
I will die knowing either I am going to heaven/hell or there is nothing (dying is like a tv switched off) or that I will be reborn. I have no fear of rebirth (even as an insect).

However I am giving up the struggle of doing anything more than 1500 calorie Buddhism. The constant trying and failing is creating more mental formations. There is a time and place for everything and for me this is neither the time nor the place to try anything beyond ethical and virtuous living, following five precepts, 20 minute daily meditation, browse DW twice a week, try and fit in sutta study when possible. This is my plan for next twenty years.

I am happy to have reached a decision.

:namaste:
Last edited by No_Mind on Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:23 am

No_Mind wrote:However I am giving up the struggle of doing anything more than 1500 calorie Buddhism. The constant trying and failing is creating more metal formations. There is a time and place for everything and for me this is neither the time nor the place to try anything beyond ethical and virtuous living, following five precepts, 20 minute daily meditation, browse DW twice a week, try and fit in sutta study when possible. This is my plan for next twenty years.
Twenty years is a long time. ;)
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No_Mind
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:44 am

Spiny Norman wrote: Twenty years is a long time. ;)
I referred to the twenty, few posts back. It is when I get to retire (hopefully).
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binocular
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Re: Should we not begin serious practice unless we are at the stage in life conducive to commencing it?

Post by binocular » Thu Sep 01, 2016 12:08 pm

Zom wrote:How about telling small lies or speaking rude words? How about idle chatter? Are you sure that tons of meditation will help dealing with such verbal misbehavior? Again, from what I see in "hardcore meditators" - it won't.

Something else works here .)
What is that something else that works here?

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