Do What???

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
Posts: 1959
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:51 pm

Re: Do What???

Post by kirk5a » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:23 pm

The (frequently misrepresented) Kalama sutta is highly relevant. Recommend reading it to your friend.
They leave us absolutely uncertain & in doubt: Which of these venerable brahmans & contemplatives are speaking the truth, and which ones are lying?" ... than.html"
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

User avatar
Diego Hemken
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:45 am
Location: SF, California

Re: Do What???

Post by Diego Hemken » Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:24 am

Tell him to read the Pali canon.

Posts: 6158
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Andromeda looks nice

Re: Do What???

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:28 am

Diego Hemken wrote:Tell him to read the Pali canon.
But not all in one go. :tongue:
Buddha save me from new-agers!

User avatar
Diego Hemken
Posts: 43
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:45 am
Location: SF, California

Re: Do What???

Post by Diego Hemken » Sat Feb 13, 2016 7:31 am

I started by clicking the "random sutta" button on
Do that a bunch of times and you will get some good dhamma.

User avatar
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Gallifrey

Re: Do What???

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:36 pm

Myotai wrote:My close friend has been developing an interest in meditating for some time. However, he has raised a very interesting question that has now opened up a bag of worms for me. So I thought I'd post it on the sub forum for reasons that will be clear.

When first being introduced to Buddhism the first thing we learn is that all traditions meditate (Nichiren? Maybe not) but you know what I mean. :stirthepot:

The we learn that there isn't just 'Buddhism' there's loads of them!!! Zen, Theravada, Tibetan and so on....

Then we learn that the Zennies use these things called Koans.......oh hang on, but some just sit there and don't 'do' anything.

Then there's the Tibetans who have lots of Deities and really cool stuff like astral travel and mind reading. They meditate very analytically to see into how things exist.

The zennies disagree and say this is a waste of time!

Uh Ho! Its getting confusing now....

Then theres the Theravadins who say "...if you really want it from the horses mouth then you need to read the Pali Canon. This is REALLY what he said and anything else is fantasy".

But then EVEN THEY can't agree on whether we should meditate on the breath, or the abdomen, to note mental events or not....then they talk about Jhana and Bliss....but then so do the Tantric Tibetans..............

Good grief....!

I am of course being facetious. But what can I tell him when he asks ", who is right then"?
Hi. :)

I think you should explain him that buddhism boils down to the common denominators in the various traditions: moral discipline and generosity, concentration, and direct knowledge of the 4 noble truths and the 3 characteristics. This is common to all traditions. Wether concentration is with the abdomen, or the nose, or wether the technique is noting, or just watching rise and fall, all buddhist traditions aim, one way or another, to practice and acomplish these three fundamental aspects of buddhism. And whoever exposes a wholesome and effective way of doing this is right.

My 2 cents.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

User avatar
Posts: 690
Joined: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:49 am

Re: Do What???

Post by cjmacie » Fri Feb 19, 2016 11:08 am

How one can catch-on and get started in some right direction is, IMO, many-factored:
1) a matter of "paramis", or temperament and conditioned background – one's leanings and capabilities;
2) what one just happens to get exposed to – information and/or personal examples.

I would say try to guide someone new towards personal contact with teachers whose presence, as well as content of teaching are reputable. In this day and age, doing this in person is much easier than perhaps ever before, but, practically speaking, the easiest route may be getting exposed to "live" teaching in terms of internet you-tube type presence.

Perhaps try to direct someone to a range of such "live" examples of, say, a Zen master, a Thai Theravadan master, a Burmese Theravadan master, a Tibetan one – and there are probably top-quality possibilities in the areas of Korean, Chinese etc., examples too. Then see if anything catches their interest, generates the attraction and motivation that begins a path.

Another possible route is getting familiar with on-line forums, but this also exposes one to a lot of noise, evangelism, and rancor. My guess is it's more effect to first find anchor in some teacher / tradition, and then seek out individuals, forums – in general 'kalyana mittata' – that support that direction.

Then again, given the wayward nature of many of us Westerns, as in my own case, one finds some 'sangha' and gets inspired by it, starts practice experience, but then 'outgrows' it after a while, disillusioned, or runs across some other venue that appears to personally offer more. One gradually accumulates a sort of 'discernment' to be able to wend such a winding path successfully.

In my case, after encounters with Kriya Yoga (Yogananda lineage), and then IM/VM (Insight/Vipassana Meditation movement), I ran across Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Than-Geoff), whose teachings, after exposure in several day-long in-person teachings, and hundreds of hours of reading and listening to his tapes, CDs etc., have taken root and prove increasingly rewarding.

All this seems to occur 'accidentally', so to speak. As also with exposure to and successful practice in PaAuk Sayadaw style jhana (through Shaila Catherine, whose weekly meditation meeting place just happened to be 2 miles from home). And further chancing upon "DharmaOverground" and in-depth exposure to Mahasi Sayadaw lineage methods – where it just happens one of the Panditadhamma meditation centers (Tathagata Meditation Center, San Jose, Calif) is just 12 miles from my home, offering a couple of weekend retreats per month, and four month-long retreats a year (and these radically less expensive than those IM/VM style, overly comfort-oriented retreats that abound in this geographical area).

I find, for instance, the Thai-Wilderness style of Than-Geoff, the jhana and insight style of PaAuk, and the vipassana-khanika-samadhi style of Mahasi, in spite of their oft touted differences, to be at core identical practices.

Clearly in my case finding home in Theravada tradition, but it's equally possible to do the same with Zen (Japanese, Korean, Chinese,…), Tibetan, or other historically deep lineages. Some even find a fruitful path with some of the ubiquitous newer lay-teacher offerings, but here there's a broad range of quality and a suspicious amount of hype.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: befriend, DNS, Google [Bot] and 24 guests