Are 'maps' counter-productive?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
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Re: Are 'maps' counter-productive?

Post by pyluyten » Fri May 10, 2019 8:49 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 7:00 pm
Someone brings you a treasure map
issue of maps in Buddhism and meditation more generally, is a geographical map may have tangible, unbiaised *clues*. A location is a location, open your GPS and ask it where you are.

But even provided a map, by the Dhamma, then you or your teacher will have to interpret where you are. This is intangible, biaised. Opinions. And you will not find any omniscient teacher in this world.

So, maps are counterproductive because there are no maps - descriptions, opinions, interpreations, and the very worst is our very own atachments, opinions. Why not just practice - after all most instructions are valid for any stage, anyone, anytime.

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Re: Are 'maps' counter-productive?

Post by rolling_boulder » Fri Jul 12, 2019 5:22 pm

I prefer to look at the practice as the development of a skill and not going through stages.

It is not performing a series of recipes, it is learning how to cook. A novice cook can have a whole larder chock full of ingredients, but they don't know how to make a meal out of it. They're too paralyzed by doubt. Someone who knows how to cook doesn't need recipes. They can just take whatever's there and make good tasty food with it. Because they know how to cook. They understand the principles of cooking. They know the terrain. They know there isn't only ONE way to do it. They just know THEIR way of doing it, and it's good enough. This is real understanding.

But paradoxically, one way to learn to cook is to follow a lot of recipes until the day where you suddenly "get it." It's same with music. Teach a kid music by showing them how to play a piece. It's wooden and mechanical, until one day, finally, there's music. There's the feel, the art of it.

If you are still attached to recipes, still attached to instructions, that is silabbatupadana (clinging to rites and rituals.) One doesn't go beyond doubt this way. One goes beyond doubt by seeing for oneself what is and what is not the path. That is, they see how they are generating suffering and how to not generate suffering. But of course you need the instructions to get to the point where you are beyond the instructions.

A map can be useful but the only way to really learn the terrain is to walk it. Many times.

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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