Dan74 wrote: ↑
Tue Sep 03, 2019 4:43 pm
binocular wrote: ↑
Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:17 pmI think the Dhamma is, or should be like mathematics in this regard: whenever one doesn't understand something, one should, as a rule, be able to trace that back to lacking knowledge of some other, more basic thing. Once that lack is done away with, only then can one move on.
Thank you for a clear description. [boldface mine] Does this resonate with other people's experience of Dhamma practice?
In some sense I agree. Except the 'lack' as you put it, is rarely something that is arrived at through analysis. IME, it is rather something that a combination of practice, life and skilful pointers by an experienced guide overcome.
I don't know why you think that that is not implied in what I'm talking about.
You seem to operate with an extremely limited notion of "analysis".
In maths, one formulates a precise question and can certainly receive an intelligible answer (if one has the requisite training and ability). In Dhamma practice, one often doesn't quite know where the real stumbling block lies and can practice in a wrong or a 'stuck' manner for decades, especially if one doesn't have the right motivation or a skilful experienced guide.
Again, you're missing my point. To give an example from tutoring mathematics: A student came to me for help with logarithms. I quickly established that it's not just logarithms that she had trouble with, but with something much more basic, namely, fractions. And we first had to master fractions before we could move on to logarithms. The reason she could not do logarithms was that she could not do fractions.
And this is how I think that Dhamma practice should be like mathematics: One starts off with some particular idea of what the problem is (as in the above example, logarithms), but then, digging a bit deeper, it turns out the problem is with something other, perhaps more basic (as in the above example, fractions). And then when one takes appropriate action to address that, the other problem should either go away or be possible to solve.
skilful experienced guide
You keep talking about this "skilful experienced guide". So where can I buy one? One of the main characteristics of spiritual/religious teachers is, as has been my experience, that they don't have time for me.
To give one example, when I started meditating for quite a while there was an observer, like a homunculus, watching me meditate, watching me focus on the breath, watching my discomfort. It took me a while to discern the two 'structures' - to become aware of them. Initially I was more identified with the observer and the experience on the cushion (and to wit, most of the off-the-cushion experience) was kinda muted. But I didn't know that, because that was what I was used to. Once I became conscious of the observer, which in my case was a kind of a defence mechanism, I think, I could let it go. What also helped was many pointers from the teacher and RL as to how I was not really present, not really embodied, especially when doing physical work. Once the observer was let gone of, the experience of meditation became much more vivid and energetic.
Sorry, I don't see what your particular meditation practice has to do with the Dhamma.
I don't know if this makes sense. Even teaching maths, particularly weaker students, it can be tricky to identify the gap and to close it in a way the student (who likely learned things wrong) will be able to digest, I think.
That's why there are tutors, private instructors. It's their job to sit down with the student, study the student's work, watch them as they try to solve study matter problems, and then based on that figure out what it is that the student doesn't know and what he needs help with, and then help them learn that.
That's the difference between an ordinary teacher who is just a lecturer, and a tutor.
So no, I don't think Dhamma practice is a technology one can completely systematically apply and systematically fix whatever issues arise.
If it's not that, then it's just more mysticism, esoteric nonsense.
Reading the stories of great modern teachers, one sees the organic, sometimes paradoxical way their practice progressed. And they had all had flesh-and-blood teachers. I think this is very important. The teacher and the practice community. Online can only bring one this far, and oftentimes this far in the wrong direction.
You just can't resist putting me down, eh?