What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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SilaSamadhi
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What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by SilaSamadhi » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:58 am

I've come across texts that promote the perfection of a craft as a spiritual path of Buddhist practice. The most famous example is Eugen Herrigel's Zen in the Art of Archery, describing a spiritual practice through a course of Kyūdō - the Japanese martial art of archery.

There seem to be numerous yet somewhat elusive connections between Buddhism / Zen and other crafts, such as Japanese calligraphy and Japanese tea ceremony.

Can anyone shed light on the overall underpinnings of this form of practice?

In particular, is there any basis for this form of in Theravada? Any reference to it in Theravada sources, such as the Pali Canon or any Commentaries?

Or is it entirely specific to Japanese Zen Buddhism?

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cappuccino
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Re: What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by cappuccino » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:06 am

Zen is concerned with posture.

Theravada with the teaching.
Dhamma is karma & rebirth.

Garrib
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Re: What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by Garrib » Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:50 am

Mangala Sutta:

This is what I heard: At one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthi, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s grounds in Jeta’s Wood. Then a certain god, at the end of the night, having lit up the whole of Jeta’s Wood with his surpassing beauty, approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he stood on one side. While standing on one side that god recited this verse to the Gracious One:

“Many are the gods and the men
who have thought about the blessings
hoping for safety:
now please say what is a supreme blessing.”

“Not associating with fools,
with the wise associating,
honouring those worthy of honour:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Living in a suitable place,
formerly having done good deeds,
having the right aspiration for oneself:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Having great learning and craft,
being disciplined and well trained,

and whatever words are well spoken:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Attending on one’s mother and father,
looking after one’s wife and sons,
having work that is not confusing:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Giving, and living by the Dhamma,
and looking after one’s relatives,
performing actions that are blameless:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Abstaining, refraining from bad deeds,
restraint from intoxicating drink,
being heedful regarding all things:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Having respect and being humble,
being satisfied and grateful,
listening to the Dhamma at the right time:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Being patient and easily spoken to,
having sight of ascetics,
discussing the Dhamma at the right time:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Austerity, living spiritually,
insight into the noble truths,
and experiencing Emancipation:
this is a supreme blessing.

“He whose mind does not waver,
when it is touched by things of this world,
being griefless, dustless, and secure:
this is a supreme blessing.

“Having done as here directed,
being undefeated everywhere,
they go everywhere in safety:
for them this is a supreme blessing.”

SarathW
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Re: What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by SarathW » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:26 am

:goodpost: Garrib
Surprisingly Japanese have taken this perfecting a craft to the highest level.
You can see this in every aspect of their lives.
Customer service, running the transport system with only one-second variation, geisha women etc.
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

paul
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Re: What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by paul » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:29 am

On the mundane level the Buddha constantly applies the word ‘skilful’ to actions which are morally good and productive of favourable kamma results, so the Theravada craft is that of mental development. Regarding the supramundane the subject should not be discussed:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

SarathW
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Re: What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by SarathW » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:00 am

so the Theravada craft is that of mental development.
Agree.
Tea ceremonies etc are just rituals.
I do not think they will get you anywhere except some mental calm.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Sam Vara
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Re: What's the spiritual significance of perfecting a craft in Buddhism?

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Nov 16, 2017 10:45 am

paul wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:29 am
On the mundane level the Buddha constantly applies the word ‘skilful’ to actions which are morally good and productive of favourable kamma results, so the Theravada craft is that of mental development. Regarding the supramundane the subject should not be discussed:
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
:goodpost: This reminded me of the verse in the Dhammapada:
Irrigators regulate the rivers; fletchers straighten the arrow shaft; carpenters shape the wood; the wise control themselves.
Apart from this "craft" of mental cultivation, there are two other points raised above which are both interesting, but separate. The first is the Buddha's recommendation that lay people learn a craft or some means of supporting themselves. Whatever else it might be, this is simple common sense. The second point is whether certain crafts or activities (whether or not pursued for economic gain) are in some sense conducive to spiritual development. My experience is that some are. Martial arts were one of the ways in which I became interested in Buddhism. The same certainly applies to the tea ceremony, although I have never taken part myself. Friends told me that anyone can do it (i.e. go through the motions of making and serving tea according to an archaic and foreign culture) but to do it properly, you need to be in a very calm, empty, and bright state of mind. As with the type of martial art I studied, one brings about the mind-state as a means of perfecting the performance of the craft or art.

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