Thread: Layperson Cravings and Time Management

  1. #1
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    I hope I gave this an appropriate title. Forgive my ignorance as I learn.

    First I want to state that the goal of my journey into Buddhism is not to become a monk, but to practice as a layperson. I hope my question is a basic one that many of you have grappled with and can answer easily.

    Ok here it is. Should I feel guilty for taking part in pleasures (cravings) instead of spending more time in my practice? Time is limited. So is it falling victim to a craving if I read a (non-Buddhism) book or some other activity that I enjoy (like posting on a non-Buddhism forum), instead of reading Buddhist material, meditating or checking in on Buddhist forums?

    The activities I am thinking of are fairly benign (e.g. I am not talking about sneaking away to get drunk), so it really comes down to time commitment.

    Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.

    NR

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    I don't think it is a bad thing to get away from practice! I am still in school so between that and other things it can be hard to get any practice sometimes. But the key thing to know is that you must be practicing while not physically practicing! what i mean i if your talking with your friends be thing to yourself, " 3 poisons are Lust, hatred and selfishness" or any other kind of practice.And try your best to meditate at least once a day! hope i help since i am also a beginner!

  3. #3
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    To practice Buddhism do not mean not to enjoy life. The problem comes when you find yourself attached to that. That can be a source of suffering and stress. I recommend to start meditation or to join a group of people offline that practice Buddhism.


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    Forums Member fojiao2's Avatar
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    It is good to bring your practice into everything you do. Even when getting drunk. At the same time, you should set up a reasonable amount of time --which means giving yourself permission-- to do formal dharma practice (meditation, for example) and stick to that. This way you will have accumulative benefits from doing it. Of course, a lot of people think dharma practice means certain activities: meditation, chanting, bowing, whatever. These are really the means to doing dharma practice which includes mindfulness and compassion.

    Many years ago when my son was born, he never slept more than an hour at a time. As a result, neither did I. I had no time to meditate (when i tried i would either fall asleep, or wait to be interrupted) And as he grew up I had to put away all the "stuff" --the candles, incense, bowls of rice or water. It was then that I really had to examine where my dharma practice was really happening. It wasn't about any of that stuff at all.

    Of course, it is good, especially for beginners, to use all of these tools. And these days I have got my meditation space all set up and appropriately cluttered once again. But especially, devote a specific amount of time and stick to that. You will also have time for all of your other guilty pleasures.

  5. #5
    Forums Member Element's Avatar
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    Hi NR

    In traditional Buddhism, there is quite a strong distinction made between monks and laypeople.

    This distinction became blurred or even unknown in the West for at least three reasons:

    (1) Originally, the Western scholars focused on the core teachings, which in the Buddha's time, were, for the most part, only taught to monks

    (2) Originally, Western students focused on meditation and therefore the core teachings

    (3) The original Asian teachers (eg. Suzuki, Lama Yeshe, Ajahn Chah, Buddhadasa, Tich Nhat Han, etc), in both servicing the curiosity about meditation and following their assumptions the educated scientific West was ready, for the most part, only taught the core teachings

    Today, as Buddhism grows more popular in the West, the reincarnation & karma doctrine is heavily taught as gurus realise people want to hear these kinds of teachings rather than just the core teachings. However, the shortcoming of this is the reincarnation & karma teachings become somewhat serious & heavy.

    If we study the original scriptures, we find:

    (1) The Buddha provided many teachings specifically for laypeople; (example: Anana Sutta, Samajivina Sutta, Sigalovada Sutta, Veludvareyya Sutta, Lokavipatti Sutta, Upajjhatthana Sutta)

    (2) The Buddha did not give a heavy karma teaching to laypeople. The Buddha did not admonish pleasure and the Buddha did not urge meditation.

    The Buddha simply strongly exhorted living according to the five precepts and developing skillful means in relationships & life in general.

    A summary of the Buddha's teachings for laypeople is here: http://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Contents.html

    Kind regards

    Last edited by Element; 05 Mar 11 at 21:57.

  6. #6
    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fojiao2 View Post
    It is good to bring your practice into everything you do. Even when getting drunk. At the same time, you should set up a reasonable amount of time --which means giving yourself permission-- to do formal dharma practice (meditation, for example) and stick to that. This way you will have accumulative benefits from doing it. Of course, a lot of people think dharma practice means certain activities: meditation, chanting, bowing, whatever. These are really the means to doing dharma practice which includes mindfulness and compassion.

    Many years ago when my son was born, he never slept more than an hour at a time. As a result, neither did I. I had no time to meditate (when i tried i would either fall asleep, or wait to be interrupted) And as he grew up I had to put away all the "stuff" --the candles, incense, bowls of rice or water. It was then that I really had to examine where my dharma practice was really happening. It wasn't about any of that stuff at all.

    Of course, it is good, especially for beginners, to use all of these tools. And these days I have got my meditation space all set up and appropriately cluttered once again. But especially, devote a specific amount of time and stick to that. You will also have time for all of your other guilty pleasures.
    I totally agree with this, we've got all our lives to practice.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by fojiao2
    It is good to bring your practice into everything you do
    Absolutely. I try to remember that sudden change and death can happen at any time, so practice should always be in the here and now both on and off the cushion.

  8. #8
    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fletcher View Post
    I totally agree with this, we've got all our lives to practice.
    When I say that I don't mean put it off until another day, I mean don't give up what you enjoy, it's a long journey, it should be a happy one.

  9. #9
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fletcher #8
    I mean don't give up what you enjoy,
    Sure not. What has to change is, maybe, our relationship with what we enjoy.

  10. #10
    Forums Member millyone's Avatar
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    Hello NR

    I understand what you mean, but I think maybe you are very tough on yourself. We are all human and must have ways to relax and enjoy life. Discipline is necessary to achieve things in life but I think the key is balance. That is what I strive for and I am happier these days than ever before.

    So enjoy your weekend!

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