PDA

View Full Version : Intellectual understanding v practical application



Dragonfleye
10 Sep 10, 11:08
I find I can intellectually comprehend much of the buddhist teachings and greatly notice the benefits of meditating, mindfulness and bodhichitta (to name a few) in my life but I struggle to implement some of the other concepts into daily life.

On one level I completely get the idea that everything is illusion (like a hologram or dream) - I like the concepts of no-self - emptiness - no-thing. That all emotions are dukkha. Everything is connected.

On another level in this dream I have a human form that would like a roof over its head and food and clothes and friends - that feels happy and sad (even if I have learnt not to react so much to the more negative emotions or crave only things that make me happy) - that feels pain.

Sometimes I get stuck on the concepts of emptiness and illusion and the living of this human form in this lifetime.

What are others thoughts on this.

Aloka
10 Sep 10, 11:33
On one level I completely get the idea that everything is illusion (like a hologram or dream) - I like the concepts of no-self - emptiness - no-thing. That all emotions are dukkha. Everything is connected.

On another level in this dream I have a human form that would like a roof over its head and food and clothes and friends - that feels happy and sad (even if I have learnt not to react so much to the more negative emotions or crave only things that make me happy) - that feels pain.

Sometimes I get stuck on the concepts of emptiness and illusion and the living of this human form in this lifetime.



Hello Dragonfleye and welcome,

I think you might be getting a little muddled in general about what the Buddha actually taught.

I suggest that first perhaps you focus carefully on his teachings and what he actually advised regarding the Four Noble Truths, as taught by Ajahn Sumedho here:


http://www.buddhanet.net/4noble.htm


You might also like to investigate the meditation videos in Study Links.


Kind regards,

Dazzle

fletcher
10 Sep 10, 13:30
Dragonfleye, I actually find the practical application of Buddhism far easier than the intellectual understanding. The precepts are great for me, they keep me right, they're a reminder of what's wholesome and what isn't. Other than that studying the 4NT and 8FP is enough just now.
Gary :hands:

Esho
10 Sep 10, 14:24
Dragonfleye, I actually find the practical application of Buddhism far easier than the intellectual understanding. The precepts are great for me, they keep me right, they're a reminder of what's wholesome and what isn't. Other than that studying the 4NT and 8FP is enough just now.

Sure Gary...


I suggest that first perhaps you focus carefully on his teachings and what he actually advised regarding the Four Noble Truths, as taught by Ajahn Sumedho here:

Great link Dazz

Maybe some Buddhisms are a wonderfull intellectual endeavour... but what Buddha taught is not about an intellectual struggle... is about understanding, practice and result... its a great advice to start thoroughly with the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path... the rest will come by itself...

:hands:

stuka
10 Sep 10, 17:00
On one level I completely get the idea that everything is illusion (like a hologram or dream) - I like the concepts of no-self - emptiness - no-thing. That all emotions are dukkha. Everything is connected.


Actually, DF, the idea that it is all an illusion isn't quite what the Buddha taught. His angle on things is that we "see things through our own eyes" (as well as our other senses), and that the fact of our perspective, if not taken into account, can blind us to how things really are. A simple example is if we see an angry person, we might tend to view them as a threat and fail to see that their anger is suffering and that it has a cause that might be dealt with and maybe remedied in a better fashion than our going to battle stations out of out perception of "threat". The Buddha's take here is a practical matter, rather than a metaphysical speculations. Makes things a lot easier to understand.

The business about "emptiness" is also much simpler than so many make it out to be: What the Buddha said was that "all things are empty of self or anything pertaining to a self". This is an indictment of notions of self-view, status and ownership. It's like the ideas, "you can't take it with you when you go", and "things are just things", along with a reminder that we see ourselves differently from how other see us, and that our view of ourselves (and of others as well) tends to change radically from one set of circumstances to another. It is also an indictment of selfishness, self-centeredness, self-absorption, etc. Again, it is practical rather than metaphysical.


Sometimes I get stuck on the concepts of emptiness and illusion and the living of this human form in this lifetime.

Easy to become unstuck when you see things how the Buddha taught them, without the burden of metaphysical speculations that came into "Buddhism" long after the man we call "Buddha' passed.

And welcome to the group :-)

Deshy
10 Sep 10, 17:53
I find I can intellectually comprehend much of the buddhist teachings and greatly notice the benefits of meditating, mindfulness and bodhichitta (to name a few) in my life but I struggle to implement some of the other concepts into daily life.

Everyone struggles. Even the most respected monks who are believed to have realized some of the highest states of Buddhist practice have struggled too. That is why it is called a practice and a cultivation. It is a continuous thing.



On one level I completely get the idea that everything is illusion (like a hologram or dream) - I like the concepts of no-self - emptiness - no-thing. That all emotions are dukkha. Everything is connected.


First, where did the Buddha say that everything is an illusion and a dream? He said attachment to things is dukkha not necessarily emotions as such. I am sure the Buddha himself had emotions like compassion towards others. Enlightenment is not a zombie state where you don't feel anything at all. It is a state where you don't emotionally attach to anything as "me" or "mine"

Further, emptiness in Buddhism is meant to mean that "phenomena is emprty of self or things belonging to a self". This is supposed to be "experienced in meditation" not just intellectually comprehended IMO. Intellectual learning is good so that you don't follow a wrong path but without meditative experience it will create just a dry scholar.



On another level in this dream I have a human form that would like a roof over its head and food and clothes and friends - that feels happy and sad (even if I have learnt not to react so much to the more negative emotions or crave only things that make me happy) - that feels pain.

Sometimes I get stuck on the concepts of emptiness and illusion and the living of this human form in this lifetime.

What are others thoughts on this.

I suggest that you read more of Bhikku Buddhadasa: http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/ or any other teacher from the Thai forest tradition. Their teachings are more focused on the here and now practice

Aloka
10 Sep 10, 18:08
This is supposed to be "experienced in meditation" not just intellectually comprehended IMO. Intellectual learning is good so that you don't follow a wrong path but without meditative experience it will create just a dry scholar.


Absolutely. (and really good to see you again, Deshy.:up2:)