daverupa wrote:So what's helpful needs to be held against these sorts of Dhammic benchmarks.
Which takes for granted that the Dhammic benchmarks are the objectively, independently valid ones, for everyone, at all times.
Spiny Norman wrote:I think you've missed my point, which was that the definition of "helpful" is likely to depend on one's spiritual tradition.
I didn't miss that point at all. Which is why I said earlier -
"And then there are the issues of self-fulfilling prophecies
, the placebo effect, and self-referentiality
So somebody in a theist tradition would regard faith in God as helpful to their practice
I still think that's an odd idea. Have you ever heard an actual theist say that "believing in God helps me in my spiritual practice"?
It's like saying "Knowing how to drive a truck helps me in my job as a truck driver." While it is trivially true, it is also the case that it is not possible to be a truck driver without knowing how to drive a truck to begin with; being able to drive a truck is fundamental to being a truck driver.
In comparison, "Not drinking alcohol helps me in my job as a truck driver" - "not drinking alcohol" is not fundamental to nor specific to being a truck driver.
Non-fundamental and non-specific things can indeed be regarded as "helpful", but basic ones (like believing in God is for a theist, or taking refuge in the Triple Gem is for a Buddhist) are in a category of their own, they are neither helpful nor non-helpful, but definitive.