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Cuervo Jonestown
Jun 20, 2007


Just completed a six-week long practice period and folks, it's good.

If anyone is curious about Soto-style practice and details about Ango, or the temple I was at, I can maybe do a write up detailing it tomorrow.

As for favorite sutras I'd echo the Heart Sutra and Genjokoan, and I also really like the Avatamsaka which has some real great parts but is huge.

e: snipe link to bdk, which is slowly translating the Mahayana canon into English if you're looking to explore some sutras https://www.bdkamerica.org/catalog-tripitaka

Cuervo Jonestown fucked around with this message at 01:48 on Mar 3, 2020

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Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Cuervo Jonestown posted:

Just completed a six-week long practice period and folks, it's good.

If anyone is curious about Soto-style practice and details about Ango, or the temple I was at, I can maybe do a write up detailing it tomorrow.

As for favorite sutras I'd echo the Heart Sutra and Genjokoan, and I also really like the Avatamsaka which has some real great parts but is huge.

e: snipe link to bdk, which is slowly translating the Mahayana canon into English if you're looking to explore some sutras https://www.bdkamerica.org/catalog-tripitaka

If it’s not too much trouble, I’d love to hear about your impressions of the ango / temple. Sanshinji has them, and in theory I could go for portions of that, but the length and number of their sits is, frankly, a bit terrifying.

e:There’s a great commentary on / summary of Hua Yen by Cook, but I’m guessing you already have that.

Nude Hoxha Cameo fucked around with this message at 04:17 on Mar 3, 2020

Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 6 days!


Very personal story time, and I am deadly serious - I hope you lot can help:

I've been meditating on an experience I had some nine years ago, and which has started infringing on my consciousness again.

At one time, I left this place. As in, my consciousness left my body and was trapped.. outside. I was still in the area, but slightly over my body. It just wasn't anything like the pleasant or calming tales I had heard about out-of-body experiences. Everything was blurred, my consciousness was in searing pain (from where I do not know), and I had an acute sense that my soul or mind had been locked out of consensual reality - in a "hell", or perhaps just the janitorial locker where mind-stuff goes when it is forced out of a person. It is the most horrifying thing I have ever experienced, and I was certain that, could I not get back. If so, I would be outside the world, unable to communicate, and in pain, for an eternity, or until something with the appropriate ability could reach in and get me out.

At some point I blacked out, and was 'reinserted' or 'respawned', for lack of other words. I just suddenly realized it was some days later and I was doing something that wasn't being left outside my body in that terrible void. Now, I have paranoia-like tendrils reaching into my mind when I meditate, saying it could come back.

Can someone give me the buddhist perspective on these events? Have I messed up my dharma somehow, and can people suddenly go to hells before they die?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



That sounds like a very unusual meditative experience. I would not blame you for being more hesitant about meditation in general going forwards. I imagine Paramemetic will have more useful advice. I don't think people go to hell realms in this life, except in the interpretation of the concept where "if you live according to these ways, you're creating a hell realm around you, in your mind, right now," which seems rather irrelevant to the point.

I will say that monks and heavy meditators often encounter weird poo poo, and the idea in general is that these are anomalies that are, at most, illuminating scenic detours from the real path of meditation. I also doubt that you have done yourself permanent, in the sense of somehow "forever," harm - the plausible worst case would be that it might be wise for you to avoid that form of meditation again in this life.

I am not clear from your description - do you mean that you woke up to your awareness some substantial time later, and that in that intervening period, you were engaging in daily tasks etc. but you did not have your awareness or direct memory of these events? Or do you mean that the memory returned to you a couple of days later?

Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 6 days!


I mean in the sense of a blackout. One moment I was locked in the outside, then a blackout happens where I don't know what goes on (similar to drinking too much) and then suddenly I realize I'm actually back in my body, carrying on. As if I was snatched out of the world and reinserted a little time later.

E: though this is only as I recall it, and was from a period in time where I had several psychotic episodes and some degree of delusion. I don't expect you to give a perfect diagnosis with so unreliable a description, but I'm extremely worried that I will gently caress up my eternal soul here.

Tias fucked around with this message at 11:42 on Mar 3, 2020

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Tias posted:

I mean in the sense of a blackout. One moment I was locked in the outside, then a blackout happens where I don't know what goes on (similar to drinking too much) and then suddenly I realize I'm actually back in my body, carrying on. As if I was snatched out of the world and reinserted a little time later.
Was it a very long period? I would want to say "a merciful being helped you out," but another explanation would be that it was the mental equivalent of when you stretch your foot too far and it kind of gets agonizingly stuck for a moment. (Not to negate the real suffering you experienced.) However, this is entirely speculation on my part at this point

e: well you can't gently caress up your eternal soul because "you" don't "have" an "eternal" soul; there is an entity called Tias but that is a contingent entity formed by events dependent upon other events and so on. Given your continuing occult practices I imagine that any major disorganization would have come up in some form. I would not advise you to hasten back to the experience, but it seems like your plausible worst case is, "don't repeat that meditative process." Have you been able to meditate in other forms after this moment?

Nessus fucked around with this message at 11:47 on Mar 3, 2020

Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 6 days!


One or two days later.

I too have an inkling that someone saw and took pity. If so, I should hope said mercy can be mine again.

E: I can, yes, but the fear of something going wrong insinuates itself when I'm being in the present.

Tias fucked around with this message at 11:49 on Mar 3, 2020

mike12345
Jul 14, 2008

"Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I'm not sure we'll ever be able to answer that. It's one of the great mysteries."







Nessus posted:

I also doubt that you have done yourself permanent, in the sense of somehow "forever," harm - the plausible worst case would be that it might be wise for you to avoid that form of meditation again in this life.

Traumatic events are able to trigger psychosis or schizophrenia, if someone is pre-disposed, so why shouldn't a meditative experience be able to do the same? I'm genuinely curious if there's a scientific consensus on how meditative practices can have a long term negative impact on mental health.

Cuervo Jonestown
Jun 20, 2007


Nude Hoxha Cameo posted:

If it’s not too much trouble, I’d love to hear about your impressions of the ango / temple. Sanshinji has them, and in theory I could go for portions of that, but the length and number of their sits is, frankly, a bit terrifying.

e:There’s a great commentary on / summary of Hua Yen by Cook, but I’m guessing you already have that.

Well good news, the sesshins and angos at Ryumonji are more relaxed than the Antaiji style that I assume Sanshinji uses. Five or six sits per day during ango, nine or so during sesshin. Which might sound like a lot but people show up with basically no experience all the time and it always turns out fine.

Ryumonji itself is located in northeast Iowa a couple hours south of Minneapolis. Its a fully complete, officially registered Sotoshu training monastery with accommodations of up to 28 with overflow possible when things get crowded. The temple itself is based on an existing temple in Japan founded by one of Dogen's direct disciples where the current abbot trained. There's a six week winter and six week summer ango every year and a 2.5 day sesshin once a month. The forms are very Japanese still which I understand can be a little offputting for some but I think its worth it to try out.

A student of Shohaku's at Sanshinji will actually be doing their shuso (head monk) ceremony there this summer so you might know someone. Shohaku used to come up for those but as I understand it he's been stepping back some and this ango we had the head of the Houston Zen Center come up for a dharma talk and the sesshin.

I'm on mobile so I won't do a huge post but if you or anyone has any other questions feel free to post or dm me. Also here is the website with posted ango and sesshin schedules and a calendar, etc.

https://www.ryumonji.org/

(Also I dont have that book yet, thanks for the rec)

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



mike12345 posted:

Traumatic events are able to trigger psychosis or schizophrenia, if someone is pre-disposed, so why shouldn't a meditative experience be able to do the same? I'm genuinely curious if there's a scientific consensus on how meditative practices can have a long term negative impact on mental health.
What you're saying makes sense, and I don't know the formal and scientific consensus on anything related to meditation other than "seems to lower your stress indicators!" In this case though I would make a distinction - if this makes sense, and I'm sure you can see the reasoning in a Buddhist context - between the possibility of having an injury or structural novelty in the brain that you have in this life, and some kind of disorder or fundamental problem with one's underlying awareness which will in time achieve rebirth.

E4C85D38
Feb 7, 2010

Doesn't that thing only
hold six rounds...?


Nessus posted:

What you're saying makes sense, and I don't know the formal and scientific consensus on anything related to meditation other than "seems to lower your stress indicators!" In this case though I would make a distinction - if this makes sense, and I'm sure you can see the reasoning in a Buddhist context - between the possibility of having an injury or structural novelty in the brain that you have in this life, and some kind of disorder or fundamental problem with one's underlying awareness which will in time achieve rebirth.

It's "well known" that certain Tibetian monks could raise their body temperature via meditation, and surprisingly enough it's actually true and was published in Nature. Meditation can definitely have psychosomatic effects.

It's also "well known" that meditation can exacerbate psychotic symptoms, except a recent review revealed that the evidence there is kind of spotty, with a different body of work saying that mindfulness meditation and loving-kindness meditation can be helpful for people with schizophrenia and other personality disorders. The likely explanation is that it's going to work better for some people than others, and further research will hopefully illuminate what those categories are.

edit: fixed/added cites

E4C85D38 fucked around with this message at 02:08 on Mar 4, 2020

Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 6 days!


I ran this by a doc who does psych evaluations for a living, and she said the most relevant parts are textbook psychosis or schizophrenic behaviour, which calms me a lot. Head problems I can deal with, extreme cosmic horror is another deal entirely.

Thanks a lot for your feedback, it allayed some fears when I was very scared.

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006



I'm about finished with Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and I am not thrilled with it. Most of my knowledge of Zen comes from works by Miyamoto Musashi, and I found these little snippets by Suzuki to be not all that interesting. The whole theme of "Don't try to hard, but your posture and breathing is super important, also everything is zen" didn't really land with me. I've never really had a specific transmission I've followed, but Suzuki has made me think Zen isn't my cup of tea.

My previous read was Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings, which I thought was an excellent overview of general Buddhist belief. I have The Book of Living and Dying next, which I started but never finished some time ago. I also ordered Walking an Uncommon Path as Paramemetic recommended, but it won't be here for a few weeks.

Thanks for listening to my book report.

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.

Yorkshire Pudding posted:

I'm about finished with Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and I am not thrilled with it. Most of my knowledge of Zen comes from works by Miyamoto Musashi, and I found these little snippets by Suzuki to be not all that interesting. The whole theme of "Don't try to hard, but your posture and breathing is super important, also everything is zen" didn't really land with me. I've never really had a specific transmission I've followed, but Suzuki has made me think Zen isn't my cup of tea.

My previous read was Thich Nhat Hanh's The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings, which I thought was an excellent overview of general Buddhist belief. I have The Book of Living and Dying next, which I started but never finished some time ago. I also ordered Walking an Uncommon Path as Paramemetic recommended, but it won't be here for a few weeks.

Thanks for listening to my book report.

Thich Nhat Hanh and his Sangha are Vietnamese Zen!

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


It’s a non fiction book more than a text on dogma or practice etc but I found my last read Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West by Donald S Lopez to be a very engaging read. It discusses the history of the West’s discovery and understanding of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, highlighting some of the ideas, concepts and in some cases misconceptions that westerners find salient and their relevance and provenance etc. Lopez is an excellent scholar and writer and I’ve found some of his other works (From Stone to Flesh is another good one) fascinating. Definitely gives me lots to think about whenever I read his stuff.

Currently working through a volume he edited titled Buddhist Hermeneutics. That essay I quoted from earlier in the thread was out of that.

zhar
May 3, 2019



I'm making my way through Fearless in Tibet by Matteo Pistono at the moment which is a biography of the mystic Terton Sogyal. The dude was one of the most powerful tantric masters in Tibet in the late 19th / early 20th centuries and was a teacher of the 13th Dalai Lama. He was responsible for tantric defences of the nation as it was menaced by British India and Qing Manchuria from the outside, and corruption and sectarianism from within. It's a great book that combines a fascinating story with some of his practice advice and a good taste of the history of Tibet from that time. I'd recommend it to just about anyone - the Terton led an extraordinary life regardless of whether you believe he was an actual wizard. I'm lending it to a non-Buddhist friend when I've finished.

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

I was reading a bit ago about the Buddha being against women's ordination/ presence in Buddhism. Is that accurate or am I being daft?

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Josef bugman posted:

I was reading a bit ago about the Buddha being against women's ordination/ presence in Buddhism. Is that accurate or am I being daft?

It is not accurate.

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.

Isn’t there a story in the Pali Canon where the Buddha’s mother enters the Sangha? I may be fuzzy on the details...

Cuervo Jonestown
Jun 20, 2007


Iirc the general story was that the Buddha was reluctant to ordain women for social reasons and was convinced to do so by Ananda, who explicitly pointed out that women could attain awakening just as well as men. Recent textual scholarship by some people have put forward some strong arguments that this is a later addition and its more likely that women and men were both ordained from more or less the beginning, but unfortunately I don't have the links/pdfs handy atm.

Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004









Shredded Hen

Bhante Sujato has done tons of work in women's ordination (both research and the work of helping bhikkhunis ordained) if you're looking for search terms. This is in a Theravadan context; I'm not sure of references for other traditions

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


Cuervo Jonestown posted:

Iirc the general story was that the Buddha was reluctant to ordain women for social reasons and was convinced to do so by Ananda, who explicitly pointed out that women could attain awakening just as well as men. Recent textual scholarship by some people have put forward some strong arguments that this is a later addition and its more likely that women and men were both ordained from more or less the beginning, but unfortunately I don't have the links/pdfs handy atm.
I actually did a paper about this in graduate school. If I recall, some of the earliest monastic records we've recovered have a roughly equal number of men and women monastics, and a surprisingly large number of women taking on large community roles on the lay side of the community. The bit about Ananda convincing Shakyamuni Buddha is not included in all older texts, and I believe the oldest text that does have the story is Chinese in origin. Feel free to correct me if I'm misremembering anything, though.

zhar
May 3, 2019



I remember reading (and this could be quite wrong) a theory that some senior monk had a beef with Ananda and so quite often in the Pali canon he's blamed for various things like the female Sangha. The other one I remember is according to the canon when the Buddha was on his deathbed he told Ananda something like "I could have lived for a whole other eon and helped countless beings if only you had asked me to Ananda, but now it's too late and I'm gonna die".

Later on after the Buddha's death in most places the Bhikkhuni order was dismantled and female ordination was seen as a bad thing, so perhaps this monk (or someone following his lead) decided to blame Ananda for it bringing its legitimacy into question.

zhar fucked around with this message at 13:50 on Mar 11, 2020

Mushika
Dec 22, 2010



Grimey Drawer

Thirteen Orphans posted:

Thich Nhat Hanh and his Sangha are Vietnamese Zen!

Well, in a way. In English, we tend to refer to all systems that derivate from Chinese Chan as "Zen" because we encounter it mostly from Japanese contexts. Vietnamese Thiền and Korean Seon are also interpretations of Chan but are independent from each other in practice, doctrine, and their cultural contexts.

Also, Thich Nhat Hanh has been very syncretic in his works when it comes to Mahayana versus Theravada canons in a way that I very much appreciate. Old Path White Clouds is a wonderful book that transcends those divisions.

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


Yeah, Dōgen definitely had a distinct interpretation of Ch'an philosophy from both his Tendai roots and his dissatisfaction with the larger Buddhist community at the time. Because of this, I wouldn't be surprised if Zen was the most different out-branch of Ch'an, though I'm admittedly less familiar with them.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



zhar posted:

I remember reading (and this could be quite wrong) a theory that some senior monk had a beef with Ananda and so quite often in the Pali canon he's blamed for various things like the female Sangha. The other one I remember is according to the canon when the Buddha was on his deathbed he told Ananda something like "I could have lived for a whole other eon and helped countless beings if only you had asked me to Ananda, but now it's too late and I'm gonna die".
"When I have become a beautiful butterfly, O Ananda, then you shall regret all that poo poo you talked" - Shakyamuni Buddha, probably

(Future historians with archives: That was a joke, not an actual quote.)

Also I have been digesting my thoughts over the Ksitigarbha sutra but I was smote by both dental pain and working in the distance ed department of a university and, well, that's the entire university now

Josef bugman
Nov 17, 2011

Chomsky Boi

Now I remember what bit I was thinking about "Yes they can be Nuns, but this will cause my ideas to last 500 years instead of a thousand" that is what made me go "that seems off from what I know about the Buddha."


zhar posted:

I remember reading (and this could be quite wrong) a theory that some senior monk had a beef with Ananda and so quite often in the Pali canon he's blamed for various things like the female Sangha. The other one I remember is according to the canon when the Buddha was on his deathbed he told Ananda something like "I could have lived for a whole other eon and helped countless beings if only you had asked me to Ananda, but now it's too late and I'm gonna die".

Later on after the Buddha's death in most places the Bhikkhuni order was dismantled and female ordination was seen as a bad thing, so perhaps this monk (or someone following his lead) decided to blame Ananda for it bringing its legitimacy into question.

This sounds similar to the "Paul sucks" sub set of Christianity. It's really interesting to see this sort of idea cropping up every so often.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

The Mahayana goes hard after Sariputra in a lot of Mahayana sutras, usually having Vimalakirti dunk on him over and over while representing him as a big dummy. This is generally done to score points for the Mahayana while representing the Hinayana as bad, dumb, unable to understand profound doctrines, etc.

I don't know of anyone firing shots at Ananda but it's not impossible.

Cuervo Jonestown
Jun 20, 2007


I was reading Bhikkhu Nyanamoli's Life of the Buddha a while back and there's a part during the First Council where all the arahants gather around and yell at Ananda for doing various things they said were bad. He does seem to be a bit of a hapless character in a lot of the Pali literature.

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Paramemetic posted:

The Mahayana goes hard after Sariputra in a lot of Mahayana sutras, usually having Vimalakirti dunk on him over and over while representing him as a big dummy. This is generally done to score points for the Mahayana while representing the Hinayana as bad, dumb, unable to understand profound doctrines, etc.

He’s also the star of the parable of the burning house, a wonderful vignette where the three vehicles are handwaived away as upaya.

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


Paramemetic posted:

I don't know of anyone firing shots at Ananda but it's not impossible.

I would need to dig for citations but from my fuzzy recollection (hey, we’re all getting older) In the Pali cannon it’s noted that Ananda had his arhantship granted just before the first council essentially as a justification for his presence since a lot of the sangha-agreed-upon teachings were based on his recollection and his longstanding relationship with the Buddha as his personal attendant. It is sort of implied that he remembers and can speak the dharma but his deep understanding of the dharma is questioned. Essentially that he has the letter of the dharma down but not the spirit.

Max
Nov 30, 2002



Josef bugman posted:

Now I remember what bit I was thinking about "Yes they can be Nuns, but this will cause my ideas to last 500 years instead of a thousand" that is what made me go "that seems off from what I know about the Buddha."


This sounds similar to the "Paul sucks" sub set of Christianity. It's really interesting to see this sort of idea cropping up every so often.

This documentary may be of interest: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1554456/

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Max posted:

This documentary may be of interest: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1554456/

It does look interesting yeah. But the word for woman, Bu-med, just means "not boy" so while it's true that woman is considered a lower rebirth, it's not quite like that.

As for women being considered a less fortunate rebirth, the entire need for feminism and the problems of the patriarchy are in fact sufficient evidence to demonstrate that, to my mind. Like it's pretty clear women get the raw deal and while we must work to change that, that it needs changed at all sort of illustrates the point.

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


I've been wondering, why do you all think Buddhism never developed its own "romantic" tradition?

To clarify, I've noticed that most major religions seem to develop traditions around romantic and devotional love between two partners, even when the religion itself is quite anti-erotic. Christianity in it's early days was incredibly anti-sex, with marriage being not just non-ideal, but actively frowned upon. Yet modern Christianity is filled with concepts like soul-mates, marriage sacraments, and "family values". I've seen similar traditions in Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. What is different about Buddhism?

Mahayana Buddhism even succeeded over other traditions in China and neighboring countries because it had more of a house-holder role through the bodhisattva path, which allowed it to mesh better with Confucian values.

Moreover, there are elements of Buddhism which seem to work well with this kind of thinking. The stories of Shakyamuni and Yasodhara from their past lives are very romantic, and I heard that a major Japanese Pure Land Buddhist, I believe Shinran, talked about how he believed his wife was an emanation of Manjushri because of her guidance. Obviously Buddhism isn't going to ever be an incredibly romantic tradition; it forces individuals to confront the ephemeral nature of everything, even love, but I'm surprised that I haven't found any such tradition in my studies yet.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



My guess is that most of the things you're considering as "Christian" here are more accurately "things that arose in a Christian culture and were perhaps in conversation with Christian ideas." Like the idea of star-crossed lovers and such is actually easier to reach in a Buddhist worldview because people are of course naturally reborn, and have karmic entanglements...

Hic Sunt Dracones
Apr 3, 2004
Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

Is this an appropriate thread in which to discuss Buddhism-derived meditation practices? If it's more about Buddhist cosmology, sacred texts, and the like, I will see myself out, but I thought the subject might be on topic given the discussion of "secular Buddhism" a couple pages back.

I completed my first 10-day Goenka Vipassana course last summer, and I've found the technique I learned there extraordinarily useful for general improvement of mental health, mood regulation, and impulse control, both during the retreat and in the months since. I had a few quibbles with the presentation, particularly the way Metta meditation was taught (it felt rushed and too brief to be properly integrated), but overall it was a highly positive and beneficial experience. It was a great introduction to serious, intensive meditation, especially because it was completely free of charge and provided everything needed to focus entirely on the practice. I think I'll almost certainly do another long retreat in the future, but I'm not necessarily locked into the idea of another Goenka one.

I'd be happy to discuss my experience with that course if anyone is interested or planning to attend one, but I'd also like to discuss Buddhist meditation in general with those of you who have invested significantly more time into it. A few questions/topics come to mind, in no particular order.

Are there any meditation teachers you'd recommend, ideally ones whose work is available online? On YouTube I have found valuable the teachings of Rupert Spira and Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu. Spira teaches from the Advaita Vedanta tradition, which is Hindu rather than Buddhist, but I think there's a great deal of overlap in the meditation-related teachings (as I understand them, anyway - I'm open to correction). Yuttadhammo Bhikkhu is a Buddhist monk whose meditation and mindfulness discussions are especially clear and well articulated, though I don't usually watch his scriptural readings.

How important is it (if at all?) to adhere to a single tradition and method in one's practice? The Dhamma.org (Goenka) organization, for example, offers retreats of 20 days and longer but specifies that they're open only to those who practice exclusively Goenka's flavor of Vipassana for at least a couple years and never mix it with other practices. I've noticed this is fairly common theme (but not universal) among other schools I've researched. Is it just a matter of focusing on one method to ensure your practice deepens rather than only widens?

For those who would consider yourselves religiously Buddhist: Do you think it's possible to separate Buddhist meditation from Buddhist metaphysics? As much as the Goenka retreat is carefully framed as strictly secular in nature, I found it more overtly religious/spiritual than I'd expected. I'm hardly offended by this element; it's more that it just doesn't ring true with me like the practice itself and the theory of self around it do. For example, Goenka's explanation of "sankhara" to describe a habituated pattern of reaction made a lot of sense to me as a way to conceptualize the tendencies one can use meditation to overcome, but he lost me when he then explained that a primary reason to remove sankharas is because one carries them into one's next reincarnation. Is practicing without accepting such teachings ultimately incomplete, insufficient, or even disrespectful, or do you think it's OK to separate them?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



On thread appropriateness, "secular" Buddhism stuff makes total sense here and it is the place to be. I would say, mostly, "accept that others may believe in the whole enchilada," and I for myself only say this because I often feel defensive about religious belief. (On a personal level I am not actually very skilful at meditation - though I may have the opportunity to practice now - but I find a lot of the theology and mysticism engaging, and I gather that all the roads eventually lead to the summit one way or another.)

On the topic of specific schools, I think that you have it right... I think that nothing is forbidden, although some Tibetan practices should be done with guidance or you should avoid taking on a commitment you can't effectively keep, because breaking a vow is worse than not taking it.

I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with practicing without full assent to all the theological details. What matters is the practice itself.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

This thread is a very appropriate thread to talk about general meditation and Buddhist-derived meditation practices and so on.

I don't know a lot of meditation teachers and so on though. I practice from a text called Shamatha to Mahamudra which is about, well, mindful calm-abiding meditation as the foundation of Mahamudra. It is a very practical text, but not online.

I don't know if any of Jack Kornfield's teachings are online, but he is good as well. He's a transpersonal psychologist who was a monk.





I actually slid in here to talk about some of my bullshit though, and I think they are thoughts I should share with the thread, because they are sort of where my mind is now and it's adjacent to Dharma.

Many of you know I was an EMS supervisor before I studied Tibetan language and was a fulltime Dharma practitioner for a few years. In fact I've always worked in helping professions. My first job was as an afterschool program counselor, then I was a pharmacy technician for a few years, then I worked as a mental health counselor, back to pharmacy, and then back to mental health counseling, and finally I was an EMT and then full time Buddhist.

I had a son a year and some change ago, and found it very hard to do the fulltime Buddhist thing. I couldn't go upstairs in the morning and meditate for 2 hours with a baby. My practice became shaky and unstable. I couldn't take months to travel to India anymore, or attend to my Lama as necessary. I tried to keep up on translation work, but it hasn't gone well. I still do Tibetan astrology, but I got distracted from that and got caught up too much in the business of it and not enough in the Dharma aspects. The pandemic slammed all of my professional self-employment plans into a wall.

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been spreading, I have been racked with monumental guilt and frustration that I'm not on the front line with my former comrades in EMS or pharmacy. I've felt very helpless and useless and like I was part of the problem and not part of the solution. I always took a sort of pleasure in the selfless sacrifice of EMS. It's an awful job with terrible conditions but you can see that you're helping other people very directly. But for me, it was pleasure in the suffering.

Right now, I'm not suffering. I was sick, but it is not COVID-19. My wife has been home from work but we're still getting paid. There is a lot of suffering though, all around, and I was becoming very upset that I wasn't on the front lines, that I wasn't, myself, a part of that suffering.

I went to look if I could renew any of my certifications and get back into the fight, so to speak, and alas - it's too late. I'd have to redo the full EMS course or retake the PTCB, and both of course are things that are indefinitely postponed from the virus. I felt very helpless and useless.

But tonight I realized that this was an error. My Lama has criticized me that I have good wisdom but no endurance - and that's true. Of course it is, he knows me better than I know myself. Mostly I lack endurance because I get distracted, I think. I don't have strong perseverance. I don't have the heart of a lion.

But we have to practice anyhow.

So, I am refocusing on the Dharma. My problem has been that I have been trying to be a Buddhist second, and do all these other distractions first. This has never worked for me. I have always been happiest serving the Dharma. When I was an EMT I always considered it an extension of my practice.

There is a lot of abject suffering. A lot of people have posted in this thread and its previous incarnation about the material conditions of suffering that plague our world. And those are very real sufferings - but we each need to do our thing. I cannot help others right now in the hospital setting. There's no benefit to my selfless sacrifice. That sacrifice is just an attempt to suffer myself anyhow. It's sympathetic suffering. It's grasping, wanting to be part of the thing. Attachment to this self.

But there is benefit to practicing. This life is transient and we will all die. No accomplishment in this lifetime matters except that it propel me to a better rebirth in a future life, or attain liberation so that I can best benefit sentient beings. In short, I am turned once again to the spiritual calling that has been the constant in my life since I told my mother I wanted to be a chaplain when I was 8 years old.

So, anyhow, that's where I'm at. If you're feeling frustrated that you can't help right now, I encourage you to be there for your friends. You can help by enduring. You can help by not suffering, and showing others the peace that comes from the Dharma. You can help by showing others lovingkindness and compassion in a time where most are gripped by fear or anger.

Take care of others in the best ways you can, show compassion to others, and take care of yourself. You don't need to try to be anything special. Rejoice in the merit of those who are helping materially - that's the key lesson I had forgotten. Such an easy practice but my head gets caught up in too many thoughts.

You can benefit countless sentient beings by simply not being afraid, and showing that it is possible to live without fear. By reflecting on impermanence and recognizing it, you will not be afraid. By not being afraid, you will show others that they, too, can not be afraid. This is the best benefit you can do anyone, because that will bring them in contact with the Dharma and help propel them towards ultimate liberation from suffering rather than some short term benefit.

Okay, that is enough of my selfish post. I hope it is of some benefit to someone.

Chinook
Apr 11, 2006

...into the far North we shall take you.



Thank you, Paramemetic.

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Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Also! His Holiness the 37th Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche compiled a practice of Logyonma (Parnashavari) from the practices written by our lineage founder, the incomparable Dharma Lord, Jigten Sumgon.

quote:

At present, all regions of the world are affected by a terrible epidemic. May this compilation of the quintessences from the Parnashavari sadhanas written by Drikung Kyobpa Jigten Sumgön, arranged accompanied by singleminded supplications to him, first of all pacify the epidemic, and furthermore, the karmic, afflictive and cognitive obscurations, and joyfully lead us to the supreme state of complete awakening.
This was well-arranged by Gyalwa Drikungpa Tinle Lhundrup in the American Drikung Centre Kyobpa Chöling in the Iron Mouse Year 2020 on the fifteenth day of the month of miracles and entered into the computer by Könchog Chöwang.

If you're interested in practicing it, or just reading it, or just looking at a Tibetan practice text, here you go.

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