help! check my methods?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
alan...
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help! check my methods?

Post by alan... » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:41 am

i'm alone, no teacher or temple nearby so i need advice.

the suttas are my teacher as well as some books by modern authors.

what i'm doing is using the eightfold path and further division into the three trainings of morality, concentration and wisdom.

morality:

so i'm following morality rules according to the suttas, easy enough.

for concentration (which includes mindfulness):

mindfulness i'm memorizing satipatthana sutta, reading "satipatthana: the direct path to realization" by Analayo and "four foundations of mindfulness in plain english" by bhante g. i think this should cover mindfulness, yes?

for jhana i've read "mindfulness, bliss and beyond" by brahm, "focused and fearless" by catherine. there is so much debate on proper jhana i'm at a loss here. i can sometimes enter the first jhana but not always with the same methods, i kind of mix and match so clearly i need advice here.

for wisdom: i'm observing anicca, dukkha and anatta in all things both on and off the cushion. reading the suttas, and so on. in my understanding wisdom develops as a result of the former mentioned steps in conjunction with some prior knowledge of the dhamma (you have to know what you're looking for). and i intend to get books on the anapanasati sutta as well as memorize the sutta itself to help develop wisdom.

critiques? advice? i really need to know about jhana! it's super ambiguous in the suttas and no two authors teach it the same.

nibbuti
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by nibbuti » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:11 am

alan... wrote:critiques? advice? i really need to know about jhana! it's super ambiguous in the suttas and no two authors teach it the same.
Indeed it is, and no two authors teach the same. Because it is not about additing something, like some special knowledge or technique, but rather about taking something away or letting go, and this doesn't sell. Authors tend to keep holding students 'on the rod', while the Buddha taught to dismiss his students.

:meditate:

alan...
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by alan... » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:22 am

nibbuti wrote:
alan... wrote:critiques? advice? i really need to know about jhana! it's super ambiguous in the suttas and no two authors teach it the same.
Indeed it is, and no two authors teach the same. Because it is not about additing something, like some special knowledge or technique, but rather about taking something away or letting go, and this doesn't sell. Authors tend to keep holding students 'on the rod', while the Buddha taught to dismiss his students.

:meditate:
hmm. so what should i do then?

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James the Giant
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by James the Giant » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:28 am

It sounds to me like you've got a good program going, so pat yourself on the back and relax.
Good work.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

nibbuti
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by nibbuti » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:47 am

alan... wrote:hmm. so what should i do then?
Stop craving for jhana :tantrum: , donate your books to the local library :thanks: and focus on overcoming hindrances and release/non-attachment via body/breath :meditate:.

alan...
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by alan... » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:02 am

James the Giant wrote:It sounds to me like you've got a good program going, so pat yourself on the back and relax.
Good work.
that made my day james. thanks!

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tiltbillings
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:33 am

nibbuti wrote:
alan... wrote:hmm. so what should i do then?
Stop craving for jhana :tantrum: , donate your books to the local library :thanks: and focus on overcoming hindrances and release/non-attachment via body/breath :meditate:.
Craving jhana seems to be rather a common affliction.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan...
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by alan... » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:10 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
nibbuti wrote:
alan... wrote:hmm. so what should i do then?
Stop craving for jhana :tantrum: , donate your books to the local library :thanks: and focus on overcoming hindrances and release/non-attachment via body/breath :meditate:.
Craving jhana seems to be rather a common affliction.
indeed. i believe this is because it is talked about very frequently in the suttas and is a step in the eightfold path. the suttas clearly and in no uncertain terms say that one can enter into nibbana by learning and practicing jhana. the buddha recommends it with great frequency and makes statements such as "practice jhana ananda, do not delay or you will regret it later!" (MN 152, but this is found in many places with different names where ananda is). in many suttas he and others talk about it as an utterly essential part of the path. it seems to me odd for anyone to not try to practice it.

other than of course dry insight workers or people who only do metta as these ideas have some support in the suttas as well.

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Alobha
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by Alobha » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:41 pm

alan... wrote: morality:

so i'm following morality rules according to the suttas, easy enough.
Are you keeping five or eight precepts? What about mental behavior?
critiques? advice? i really need to know about jhana! it's super ambiguous in the suttas and no two authors teach it the same.
For how long do you practice now?
How much formal meditation do you do every day?

alan...
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by alan... » Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:45 pm

Alobha wrote:
alan... wrote: morality:

so i'm following morality rules according to the suttas, easy enough.
Are you keeping five or eight precepts? What about mental behavior?
critiques? advice? i really need to know about jhana! it's super ambiguous in the suttas and no two authors teach it the same.
For how long do you practice now?
How much formal meditation do you do every day?
five precepts. i have to eat every few hours due to a health condition (and i'm quite thin, it's not an excuse thing for over eating). sleeping on the floor would anger my wife to no end and not seeing shows would mean no movies or tv and again i'm married so refusing to watch movies with my wife would be a big problem for our marriage as that's one of a few activities we have always done together. i'm pretty good with mental behavior. i maintain mindfulness most of the time and don't let myself get lost in negative thoughts.

at least an hour of formal meditation a day. sometimes two in two sessions of one hour each.

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ground
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by ground » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:46 pm

alan... wrote:critiques? advice? .
Never mind. Just sit. :sage:

Justsit
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by Justsit » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:53 pm

ground wrote:
alan... wrote:critiques? advice? .
Never mind. Just sit. :sage:
:thumbsup:


"To avoid all evil
To do good.
To purify one's mind.
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas."

--Dhammapāda, XIV, 5

(italics mine).

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Alobha
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by Alobha » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:25 pm

Just keep going and have some patience. Sounds like you're doing just fine.

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daverupa
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by daverupa » Tue Jan 15, 2013 6:44 pm

The Grade of the Tamed

Section 13 begins a description of the gradual training. I recommend adhering as much as possible to this format in one's training.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

lojong1
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Re: help! check my methods?

Post by lojong1 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:32 pm

alan wrote:...i can sometimes enter the first jhana but not always with the same methods...
Find the common ground of the methods and other circumstances that have worked for you. This will leave you with one practice that works, fits the sutta descriptions, and is wholly compatible with the various methods you drew from, whether those teachers recognize it or not.

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