Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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anthbrown84
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Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by anthbrown84 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:05 pm

Hello guys,

i have a dilemma in my life, when i try to keep my practise busy and take in loads of information about the Dhamma, i feel like im lost in it all and forget the basics...

when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...

being relatively new to Buddhism and a westener, has anyone got any advice on what is a good level of practice, what should i be doing daily?
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Mawkish1983 » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:36 pm

There can be a lot, and it can be overwhelming. I'd advise you to focus on one aspect of practice at first. I, for example, chose to focus on sila for a few years after being bogged down in sutta study. I recently shifted my focus back to vipassana.

I'd advise you to first mindfully uphold the precepts, try to develop the brahmaviharas and consider the wider consequences of your everyday choices before diving into anything deeper. You need a still, calm mind, and ethical perturbations don't help.

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by SarathW » Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:57 pm

:goodpost:
Just to repeat:

Do not overwhelmed by the teaching.
Observe the five precepts, and do half an hour meditation a week.
Mindful of the day to day activities.
Every thing else fall in to place itself.
:anjali:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by chownah » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:12 am

anthbrown84 wrote:Hello guys,
when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...
This is very good! That feeling like you are missing something is grasping and clinging. If you continue to focus on the basics and when this feeling arises it is a wonderful opportunity to directly observe your very own grasping and clinging. This is truly an opportunity for you. When this feeling arises be sensitive to where it comes from and why it happens. To help you along with this I recommend doing some daily study about grasping and clinging (the clinging aggregates for example) and about the ideas about the not-self doctrine (feelings are not really who you are for example). It can get really complicated and will probably take quite awhile to unravel these mysteries so keep focusing on the basics while you learn about this core construct and as you learn you will figure out ways to modify your practice to keep up with your new found knowledge......there is no reason that I know of for you to try to make your practice go beyond what you understand.
chownah
P.S. Let me repeat: there is no reason that I know of for you to try to make your practice go beyond what you understand.
chownah

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by dhammacoustic » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:24 am

Wise words, chownah

:anjali:
Uppādā vā tathagātanaṃ anuppādā vā tathagātanaṃ, ṭhitāva sā dhātu dhammaṭṭhitatā dhammaniyāmatā idappaccayatā. Taṃ tathagāto abhisam­buj­jhati abhisameti. Abhisam­bujjhitvā abhisametvā ācikkhati deseti paññāpeti paṭṭhapeti vivarati vibhajati uttānīkaroti. ‘Passathā’ti cāha; ‘avijjāpaccayā, bhikkhave, saṅkhārā’. Iti kho, bhikkhave, yā tatra tathatā avitathatā anaññathatā idappaccayatā-ayaṃ vuccati, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamup­pādo.
:heart: namō tassa bhagavatō, arahatō, sammā sambuddhassā

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:50 am

Greetings,

My suggestion would be to use the Noble Eightfold Path as your anchor, and that if you ever experience dukkha in the present moment, take a look at what view, habit or response is causing it to come forth.

All the best.

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)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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anthbrown84
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by anthbrown84 » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:23 am

Wow guys thankyou so much for your replies, they have really helped.

With Metta
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Zom » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:17 am

when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...

being relatively new to Buddhism and a westener, has anyone got any advice on what is a good level of practice, what should i be doing daily?
You should read more theoretical Dhamma and try to remember everything you've read. Once you've got the full picture, you will see what to do and how. Unless you don't understand what dhamma aspect is to be practised now and then - you will be lost all the time.

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by rolling_boulder » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:35 am

If you've ever learned how to play an instrument then you know that when it comes to learning a skill, it's best to start with the basics. How long did it take you to learn how to walk? Did you start off by learning how to sprint, or by learning how to balance?

If you have become skilled at a craft or an instrument or a sport or whatever, it's easy to relate the development of that skill to the development of the skill of the Path. For novice guitarists, it's amazing that anybody could even play a chord without serious discomfort. For intermediate guitarists, it's amazing that Hendrix could play with such amazing skill. For advanced guitarists, it's usually not as impressive. The key here is that the advanced guitarist started off as the beginner and only became advanced through daily, disciplined practice.

If you're new to the practice then the most fundamental things are watching over your ethical conduct and developing generosity and metta.

This talk outlines why generosity comes first and foremost in the practice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9CxuGgwcFQ
The world is swept away. It does not endure...
The world is without shelter, without protector...
The world is without ownership. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind...
The world is insufficient, insatiable, a slave to craving.

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Cittasanto » Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:06 am

anthbrown84 wrote:Hello guys,

i have a dilemma in my life, when i try to keep my practise busy and take in loads of information about the Dhamma, i feel like im lost in it all and forget the basics...

when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...

being relatively new to Buddhism and a westener, has anyone got any advice on what is a good level of practice, what should i be doing daily?
Hi
Focus on topics such as Gratitude, Morality, Meditation, or The Four Noble Truths. and don't overdo the studying. a good beginning ration is for every hour of meditation do 40 minutes of study, but do not try to do more than you meditate.
Kind Regards
Cittasanto
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by JadeRabbit » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:04 am

Hi, I agree with you, this practice can be overwhelming sometimes. When I feel confused or unsure what I should focus on, I use the list below to help remind myself of all the different aspects there are to practice and then choose one area to focus on; usually something I'm having difficulty with.

http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/ ... mma-lists/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I tend not to go too far from the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, to be honest.

Ajahn Sumedho says in his book on the Four Noble Truths,
Within the Buddhist world, there are not many Buddhists who use the Four Noble
Truths anymore, even in Thailand. People say, ‘Oh yes, the Four Noble Truths –
beginner’s stuff.’ Then they might use all kinds of vipassanà techniques and become
really obsessed with the sixteen stages before they get to the Noble Truths. I find it quite
boggling that in the Buddhist world the really profound teaching has been dismissed as
primitive Buddhism: ‘That’s for the little kids, the beginners. The advanced course is...’
They go into complicated theories and ideas – forgetting the most profound teaching.

The Four Noble Truths are a lifetime’s reflection. It is not just a matter of realising
the Four Noble Truths, the three aspects, and twelve stages and becoming an arahant
on one retreat and then going onto something advanced. The Four Noble Truths are not
easy like that. They require an ongoing attitude of vigilance and they provide the
context for a lifetime of examination
http://cdn.amaravati.org/wp-content/upl ... umedho.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:anjali:

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Aloka
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 30, 2015 9:18 am

JadeRabbit wrote:
I tend not to go too far from the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, to be honest.

Ajahn Sumedho says in his book on the Four Noble Truths,
Within the Buddhist world, there are not many Buddhists who use the Four Noble
Truths anymore, even in Thailand. People say, ‘Oh yes, the Four Noble Truths –
beginner’s stuff.’ Then they might use all kinds of vipassanà techniques and become
really obsessed with the sixteen stages before they get to the Noble Truths. I find it quite
boggling that in the Buddhist world the really profound teaching has been dismissed as
primitive Buddhism: ‘That’s for the little kids, the beginners. The advanced course is...’
They go into complicated theories and ideas – forgetting the most profound teaching.

The Four Noble Truths are a lifetime’s reflection. It is not just a matter of realising
the Four Noble Truths, the three aspects, and twelve stages and becoming an arahant
on one retreat and then going onto something advanced. The Four Noble Truths are not
easy like that. They require an ongoing attitude of vigilance and they provide the
context for a lifetime of examination
http://cdn.amaravati.org/wp-content/upl ... umedho.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
:goodpost:

I previously went to many talks & courses with another tradition and only remember the 4NT being briefly mentioned once, when in fact its an extremely important teaching which can be contemplated on a regular basis.

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Ben
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Ben » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:06 pm

anthbrown84 wrote:Hello guys,

i have a dilemma in my life, when i try to keep my practise busy and take in loads of information about the Dhamma, i feel like im lost in it all and forget the basics...

when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...

being relatively new to Buddhism and a westener, has anyone got any advice on what is a good level of practice, what should i be doing daily?
Keep it simple. Take refuge, follow the precepts. Practice Dāna, cultivate wholesome mental culture with meditation, investigate the teachings. But my advice is to study just enough to illuminate what you are doing and why. And as you progress, study more. It's a gradual training.
Kind regards,
Ben
“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

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:56 pm

Ben wrote:
anthbrown84 wrote:Hello guys,

i have a dilemma in my life, when i try to keep my practise busy and take in loads of information about the Dhamma, i feel like im lost in it all and forget the basics...

when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...

being relatively new to Buddhism and a westener, has anyone got any advice on what is a good level of practice, what should i be doing daily?
Keep it simple. Take refuge, follow the precepts. Practice Dāna, cultivate wholesome mental culture with meditation, investigate the teachings. But my advice is to study just enough to illuminate what you are doing and why. And as you progress, study more. It's a gradual training.
Kind regards,
Ben
:goodpost: This is the best advice ever...
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by peterve » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:08 pm

anthbrown84 wrote:Hello guys,

i have a dilemma in my life, when i try to keep my practise busy and take in loads of information about the Dhamma, i feel like im lost in it all and forget the basics...

when i focus on the basics and really simplify my practise i feel like im missing out on so much...

being relatively new to Buddhism and a westener, has anyone got any advice on what is a good level of practice, what should i be doing daily?
First of all, my first suggestion is do not take loads of information about the dhamma at once.
It will only make your mind roaming.
Learning a dhamma isn't a simple things take things slowly and one at a time. What is more important is that you must take these simple information seriously and to the heart and most of all learn the true meaning behind the basics.
That's all I can say for now.
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bodom
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by bodom » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:13 pm

I would like you to understand this phrase, "the heart of the Buddhist Teachings". Whenever we ask what the heart of the Buddhist Teachings is, there are so many contending replies that it's like a sea of mouths-everyone's got an answer! But whether they are correct or not is another matter, for people just answer according to what they have remembered or what they have worked out for themselves. Please look and see for yourselves how it is these days. Who truly knows the heart of the Buddhist Teachings? Who has truly reached it?

Whenever we ask what the heart of the Buddhist Teachings is, someone will probably say the four Noble Truths, others aniccamdukkhamanatta, and others may cite the verse :

Sabba pipassa akaranam

Kusalassupasampada

Sacitta pariyodapanam

Etam Buddhanasasanam



or, "Refraining from doing evil, doing only good, and purifying the mind, that is the 'heart of the Buddhist Teachings." That's correct, but only very slightly so because it's still something repeated by rote; it's not something that has been truly seen for oneself.

As to that which is the heart of the Buddhist Teachings, I would like to suggest the short saying, "Nothing whatsoever should be clung to". There is a section in the Majjhima Nikaya where someone approached the Buddha and asked him whether he could summarize his teachings in, one phrase and, if he could, what it would be. The Buddha replied that he could: "Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya". "Sabbe dhamma" means "all things", "nalam" means "should not be", "abhinivesaya" means "to be clung to". Nothing whatsoever should be clung to. Then the Buddha emphasized this point by saying that whoever had heard this core phrase had heard all of the Teachings, whoever had put it into practice had practised all of the Teachings, and whoever had received the fruits of practising this point had received all of the fruits of the Buddhist Teachings.

Now, if anyone realizes the truth of this point that there is not a: single thing to be clung to, it means that there is no "germ" to cause the disease of greed, hatred and delusion, or of wrong actions of any kind, whether of body, speech, or mind. So, whenever forms, sounds, odors, flavors, tangible objects mental phenomena crowd in, the antibody "Nothing whatsoever should be clung to" will strongly resist the disease. The "germs" will not enter or, if it is allowed to do so, it will be only in order to be completely destroyed. The "germ" will not spread and cause the disease because of the antibody continually destroying it. There will be an absolute and perpetual immunity. This then is the, heart of the Buddhist Teachings, of all Dhamma. Nothing whatsoever should be clung to : 'Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya'.
http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books/Bhikkh ... o_Tree.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


Ultimately, your meditation involves sustaining the knowing, followed by continuous letting go as you experience sense objects through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. It involves just this much and there is no need to make anything more out of it.

- Ajahn Chah

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anthbrown84
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by anthbrown84 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:55 am

A real heart felt thankyou to everyone.... Ive only just managed to read the second half of this page so my apologies for the delay.

I feel much more equipt now thanks to your amazing guidance :)


Ive have started to make the 4 noble truths my focus for the foreseeable.... getting to know Dukkha, the cause of etc etc etc

With Metta
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

mal4mac
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by mal4mac » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:47 pm

Cittasanto wrote: Focus on topics such as Gratitude, Morality, Meditation, or The Four Noble Truths. and don't overdo the studying. a good beginning ration is for every hour of meditation do 40 minutes of study, but do not try to do more than you meditate.
Do have any canonical backing for that time & ratio of study to meditation?
- Mal

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Cittasanto
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Re: Everything seems so much to remember... daily practise?

Post by Cittasanto » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:21 am

mal4mac wrote:
Cittasanto wrote: Focus on topics such as Gratitude, Morality, Meditation, or The Four Noble Truths. and don't overdo the studying. a good beginning ration is for every hour of meditation do 40 minutes of study, but do not try to do more than you meditate.
Do have any canonical backing for that time & ratio of study to meditation?
you won't find any advise on time & ration, in this area, with canonical backing.
Kind Regards
Cittasanto
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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