still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Mr Man
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by Mr Man » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:29 am

alan... wrote:. i don't know what the other thing you're talking about is.
I didn't either and searched - I think Xian = Christian.

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daverupa
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by daverupa » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:42 am

Mr Man wrote:
alan... wrote:. i don't know what the other thing you're talking about is.
I didn't either and searched - I think Xian = Christian.
Yes, exactly. I hope this wasn't too confusing; it's an old abbreviation.
  • "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]

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beeblebrox
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by beeblebrox » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:39 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Although I have been Theravadin at heart since I met the suttas I have, for similar reasons, found myself trying to practice with Zen, Seon, Vajrayana. In the end I feel like I wasted a lot of time. There will always be some cognitive dissonance there and you will never be able to really listen and/or learn from them so you will be doing a disservice to both parties.
Hi Khalil,

Sorry if this seems off-topic... but I'm curious if there's not still some cognitive dissonance when you're just practicing with the Theravada tradition?

For example, (other than the obvious stuff, like the supernatural descriptions in the Pali Canon), what do you think of the Bhikkhuni ordination issue? Especially when there are at least some western Bhikkhus who are in disfavor... in spite of the society where they're supposed to receive alms from?

How would someone resolve that for himself? Especially so that he could continue his own practice in good conscience?

How do you think a sincere female practitioner (granted, neither you or Alan are females) should resolve this... especially when she wants to surrender herself completely to the Triple Gem, and devote her own full life to maintaining it?

If you were able to resolve that kind of thing for yourself, then why this problem of trying to practice with others who only follow a different tradition from yours?

I think that there is dissonance everywhere. There's no escaping it... it is exactly the nature of the world that we live in. That is dukkha.

When you read about the cognitive dissonance on the Wikipedia, it says the following:
The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements.
This kind of drive isn't a part of our practice... whether it's Mahayana or Theravadin.

It obviously goes directly against the first noble truth... which is to recognize the dukkha, as it is. That is... to contemplate the dissonance in its own full, clear glory.

It is only then that we'll be able to see exactly how it passes away. If we get that kind of insight for ourselves, then we'll be able to build the eight-fold path out of it.

There's no running away from things. There's not even trying to compartmentalize it to other traditions... as an attempt to keep it away from ourselves, and our own practices. This is not how we escape the samsara.

How's that for fortune cookie Buddhism?

:anjali:

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Sun Mar 03, 2013 2:09 am

Hi Beeblebrox,

Yes, I see your point. There is certainly enough to entangle one within the Theravada which is precisely why I am so weary adding anything else to the mix. Mettaya! :anjali:
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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http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

Sylvester
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by Sylvester » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:44 am

daverupa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
alan... wrote:. i don't know what the other thing you're talking about is.
I didn't either and searched - I think Xian = Christian.
Yes, exactly. I hope this wasn't too confusing; it's an old abbreviation.

While we are on the subject of the "X", check out Ven Hui Feng's exciting PhD thesis on the deep and hidden X structures belying the chaotic appearance of the Prajnaparamita literature.

:focus:

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beeblebrox
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by beeblebrox » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:25 pm

Khalil Bodhi wrote:Yes, I see your point. There is certainly enough to entangle one within the Theravada which is precisely why I am so weary adding anything else to the mix. Mettaya!
Hi Khalil,

That makes sense, and I appreciate you responding in the way that you did. I thought I went a bit overboard with my last post and was worried it might lead the thread off in the wrong direction. I'm glad that it didn't.

:anjali:

alan...
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:23 am

Sylvester wrote: While we are on the subject of the "X", check out Ven Hui Feng's exciting PhD thesis on the deep and hidden X structures belying the chaotic appearance of the Prajnaparamita literature.

:focus:
interesting. could you explain what this is more?

alan...
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by alan... » Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:32 am

beeblebrox wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:Although I have been Theravadin at heart since I met the suttas I have, for similar reasons, found myself trying to practice with Zen, Seon, Vajrayana. In the end I feel like I wasted a lot of time. There will always be some cognitive dissonance there and you will never be able to really listen and/or learn from them so you will be doing a disservice to both parties.
Hi Khalil,

Sorry if this seems off-topic... but I'm curious if there's not still some cognitive dissonance when you're just practicing with the Theravada tradition?

For example, (other than the obvious stuff, like the supernatural descriptions in the Pali Canon), what do you think of the Bhikkhuni ordination issue? Especially when there are at least some western Bhikkhus who are in disfavor... in spite of the society where they're supposed to receive alms from?

How would someone resolve that for himself? Especially so that he could continue his own practice in good conscience?

How do you think a sincere female practitioner (granted, neither you or Alan are females) should resolve this... especially when she wants to surrender herself completely to the Triple Gem, and devote her own full life to maintaining it?

If you were able to resolve that kind of thing for yourself, then why this problem of trying to practice with others who only follow a different tradition from yours?

I think that there is dissonance everywhere. There's no escaping it... it is exactly the nature of the world that we live in. That is dukkha.

When you read about the cognitive dissonance on the Wikipedia, it says the following:
The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements.
This kind of drive isn't a part of our practice... whether it's Mahayana or Theravadin.

It obviously goes directly against the first noble truth... which is to recognize the dukkha, as it is. That is... to contemplate the dissonance in its own full, clear glory.

It is only then that we'll be able to see exactly how it passes away. If we get that kind of insight for ourselves, then we'll be able to build the eight-fold path out of it.

There's no running away from things. There's not even trying to compartmentalize it to other traditions... as an attempt to keep it away from ourselves, and our own practices. This is not how we escape the samsara.

How's that for fortune cookie Buddhism?

:anjali:

bhikkhuni ordination is a whole different story. i'm talking about two different traditions that don't even use the same scriptures, so there could be huge inconsistencies in what i may be learning and trying to practice.

i think men and women are equal. i have no ties to any specific theravada lineage, i use the pali canon as my guide. i think women should be allowed to do anything men are allowed to do.

if bhikkhunis are not allowed that is a sad state of affairs but again, no comparison to differences in scripture and practice. if i go theravada i may reach nibbana, if i go zen, i may reach satori, if i go both i may get confused or who knows, maybe it will work better? if there is or is not bhikkhuni ordination that doesn't really affect my practice one way or the other since there are no theravada temples near me, hence the OP in the first place. if i were going to ordain and i had a choice i would go with a school that allows it. some of my zen teachers were women and one of my favorite authors is ayya khema. it would be hard for me to ordain in a school that didn't allow women to ordain.

bongrf
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by bongrf » Wed Mar 06, 2013 11:56 pm

Because I stepped onto this path without a teacher and practiced in relative solitude for a number of years, I find myself moved to make several comments. One is that if your heart tells you that Theravada is your spiritual home, as mine did me, then I feel you should honor that. However, this does not mean judging and avoiding all other opportunities for fellowship on the path that might be helpful to you. During that time I attended a Zen retreat and also a Tibetan workshop and I continue to read widely. I keep in mind a teaching...someone may know from where, I'm sorry that I don't...that one should not be attached to anything. And that includes the idea of being a Buddhist. I expand this to think that attachment to a particular school is also problematic.

Keep a sure sense of your intention, practice with diligence, know your mind. Teachers come...online, in books, in friends and children, and sometimes where we think we are seeking them, that is, in the person of some "teacher" we meet on retreat or at a center. Everything is teaching us, if our hearts are open and we are rooted solidly in dhamma.

Wishing you well.

alan...
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by alan... » Thu Mar 07, 2013 3:15 am

bongrf wrote:Because I stepped onto this path without a teacher and practiced in relative solitude for a number of years, I find myself moved to make several comments. One is that if your heart tells you that Theravada is your spiritual home, as mine did me, then I feel you should honor that. However, this does not mean judging and avoiding all other opportunities for fellowship on the path that might be helpful to you. During that time I attended a Zen retreat and also a Tibetan workshop and I continue to read widely. I keep in mind a teaching...someone may know from where, I'm sorry that I don't...that one should not be attached to anything. And that includes the idea of being a Buddhist. I expand this to think that attachment to a particular school is also problematic.

Keep a sure sense of your intention, practice with diligence, know your mind. Teachers come...online, in books, in friends and children, and sometimes where we think we are seeking them, that is, in the person of some "teacher" we meet on retreat or at a center. Everything is teaching us, if our hearts are open and we are rooted solidly in dhamma.

Wishing you well.
wonderful thoughts, thank you. the teaching you keep in mind is spoken many times in zen and theravada across the board. likely in many other traditions as well. very applicable!

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Dmytro
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Re: still no hope of a teacher, should i switch schools?

Post by Dmytro » Thu Mar 07, 2013 4:02 am

bongrf wrote:I keep in mind a teaching...someone may know from where, I'm sorry that I don't...that one should not be attached to anything.
"Here. Moggalāna, a bhikkhu has heard: 'Nothing is worth holding to.' When a bhikkhu has heard: 'Nothing is worth holding to,' he directly knows all things. Having directly known all things, he fully understands all things. Having fully understood all things, whatever feeling he feels - whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant - he dwells contemplating impermanence in those feelings, contemplating dispassion in those feelings, contemplating cessation in those feelings. As he dwells contemplating impermanence ... dispassion ... cessation ... relinquishment in those feelings, he does not appropriate anything anything in the world. Not appropriating, he is not agitated. Being unagitated, he personally attains Nibbāna. He understands: 'Destroyed is birth, the spiritual life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming back to any state of being.'

AN 7.58

:anjali:

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