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Thread: Take what is useful. What have you implemented and what have you discarded?

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    Forums Member trusolo's Avatar
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    Take what is useful. What have you implemented and what have you discarded?

    I was reading Ajahn Amaro’s book and I thought of asking this question. In the preface there is a quote:
    “The encouragement the Buddha always gave was to investigate the teachings and then use them and see if they work for oneself. If they do work, if they bring benefit, then continue to apply them. If they don’t work, or they don’t have meaning, or one finds them to be wrong, then just put them aside and leave them.”

    Excerpt From
    Finding the Missing Peace
    Ajahn Amaro
    This material may be protected by copyright.
    So my question is what have you found useful in the teachings that you have implemented in your personal and professional life and what have you discarded?

    metta,
    trush

    PS: sorry for typos and formatting errors. im still figuring it out.
    Last edited by Aloka; 28 Nov 19 at 20:16. Reason: correcting formatting

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    Forums Member KathyLauren's Avatar
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    Interesting question.

    I don't have a strong urge to take every teaching literally, which leads me to discard less than someone who had to take everything literally.

    Certainly the teachings on Buddhist cosmology (i.e. Mt. Meru in the centre, four continents around it, etc.) don't fit with what we know from science. I don't see much importance in those teachings, nor any significant figurative meaning, so I have pretty much discarded them.

    The teachings on rebirth work figuratively, and support ethical conduct. I am less certain if they work literally, though I don't see any scientific evidence against them. I am on the fence with regards to a literal interpretation, but, as I said, I don't need them to be literal to be useful.

    Most Tibetan traditions that I have been exposed to teach some form of guru worship: the guru can do no wrong, you have to do everything the guru tells you to do, even if it goes against your own principles, etc.. I find that view to be dangerous. I am all for respect for the guru, but that is revocable if the guru does something dis-respectable. I am opposed to putting one's own conscience on hold just because the guru said so. Of course, I am not suggesting putting one's own ego up against the guru's teachings either. The middle way, in this case.

    Those are about the only teachings where I have significant reservations. Most, I am able to accept.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    I just practice meditation and the teachings of the Buddha from the four nikayas. I don't care about other traditions or teachings.


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    Forums Member trusolo's Avatar
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    Hi Kathy and Esho,

    Thanks for the replies! I was going to elaborate a bit more but got caught up in thanksgiving prep as soon as I finished the post.

    I agree with you both. For example, I have the same reservations about any guru based systems and any system that claims any sort of “direct transmission”. I find it very elitist and no different than secret handshakes of secret societies.

    But even in the suttas, are there portions that you find out dated? unnecessary?

    My other query is about actual implementation in daily life. Which bits do you find useful, which bits do you think doesn’t need to be adhered to excessively strictly. I mean even monastics have pretty nifty online presence but they still observe some moon-based rituals. So I am wondering how people with different mindsets and life situations come up with their own system of things to follow as rigorously as possible and which ideas they deem not to be followed very strictly.
    Last edited by trusolo; 29 Nov 19 at 05:33.

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    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Hi, trusolo.

    My approach to the practice is to learn through study, verify and validate through practice, keep and continue if beneficial, abandon if harmful, or does not lead to the goal of unbinding and release.

    So far, with this approach, only my delusions of self have acted as fetters and cankers.

    Ron

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    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trusolo View Post
    But even in the suttas, are there portions that you find out dated? unnecessary?
    Well, there are some passages in some suttas that speak about the Buddha flying and going through walls... those are unnecessary.

    My other query is about actual implementation in daily life. Which bits do you find useful, which bits do you think doesn’t need to be adhered to excessively strictly. I mean even monastics have pretty nifty online presence but they still observe some moon-based rituals. So I am wondering how people with different mindsets and life situations come up with their own system of things to follow as rigorously as possible and which ideas they deem not to be followed very strictly.
    In daily life I practice meditation and I celebrate Uposatha days (moon based rituals). Those days I meditate as much as possible and read suttas. That is my practice. That is what I keep. Quite simple. I have discarded all the rest of things that adorn Buddhist practice, like sanghas, temples, gurus, etc...


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    Hi Trusolo

    Interesting question, I think I have taken the umbrella teaching of Sila, Samadhi, Panna as the core teaching, it informs my practice and my life

    Buddha taught that life is a process not an event, that process is informed by your experiences, those experiences form the frame that you see life through.

    It is a problem, we create stress in our lives because we see reality through the filter of our frame.

    We all are highly emotional creatures, I like to say 95% emotionally driven, 5% rational of which 4% is used to rationalise our emotional decisions.

    So our frames of reference are hugely emotional, we either reject what does not fit with our deeply held beliefs or worse still don't even register what does not fit with our world views

    The Buddha really understood this, his whole teaching career was engaged in talking directly to the person in front of him, so much of the Pali Canon is evidence of the Buddha taking that person's paradigm and gently nudging them toward reality and therefore liberation.

    So the Umbrella of Sila - Ethics, leading an ethical life doing no harm, leads to a quiet contentment, the Buddha called it the Bliss of blamelessness,

    This cultivates a state of mind which is able to be flexible, not defensive.

    Samadhi - Meditation, cuts through the framing, sampajanna - Clear seeing, is what is developed when you meditate, all that banal papancca, that busy mind that seems to be chaotic and random, is actually the reality of your everyday mind, it is driven by causes and conditions, that you can be aware of it and therefore not caught by it

    You see that you are a process and that process is driven by causes and conditions, you see the stresses you carry and the beliefs that create them

    This is Panna - Wisdom, the wisdom that is uniquely yours, the wisdom that comes from knowing and in knowing understanding

    The wisdom is slow, but as it builds understanding, you let go of the stressful beliefs and attitudes that contribute so much to your stress, quite unnecessarily in most cases

    That is the transformative power of the practice

    What do I ignore, none of it, I understand that Buddha was an iron age man living in the iron age, much of how he taught relied on connecting with the paradigms of the iron age.

    Are they true or relevant, I think this is also an interesting question, best answered by asking what was the Buddha trying to say in that Sutta

    Although the Buddha famously said that he did not teach an esoteric doctrine, he also said his teaching was incredibly subtle, that subtlety requires a paradigm shift in the frames we hold as true, that requires sila, samadhi, panna to operate as a feedback system

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    Forums Member trusolo's Avatar
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    So our frames of reference are hugely emotional, we either reject what does not fit with our deeply held beliefs or worse still don't even register what does not fit with our world views

    The Buddha really understood this, his whole teaching career was engaged in talking directly to the person in front of him, so much of the Pali Canon is evidence of the Buddha taking that person's paradigm and gently nudging them toward reality and therefore liberation.
    I was thinking about that too. The issue of different people with different life situations was also present in Buddha’s time. He had disciples who were farmers, butchers, richest business folks, courtesans, kings, and even a serial killer who used to cut fingers as trophies and wear them as a necklace. They may have entered the Dhamma because of hearing and understanding the four noble truths but their subsequent practice must have significantly differed. If anyone who has done extensive sutta studies and cross referencing with other literature can shed light on these differences would be helpful.

    Trush

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    Forums Member KathyLauren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trusolo View Post
    My other query is about actual implementation in daily life. Which bits do you find useful, which bits do you think doesn’t need to be adhered to excessively strictly.
    When I took the Precepts, I only took four of them, not five. I was given the option to exclude the Precept against consuming intoxicants, and I took advantage of that permission. I still keep in in principle: it has been nearly 40 years since I consumed to excess, but I do, on occasion, consume a glass of wine.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

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    Forums Member trusolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KathyLauren View Post
    When I took the Precepts, I only took four of them, not five. I was given the option to exclude the Precept against consuming intoxicants, and I took advantage of that permission. I still keep in in principle: it has been nearly 40 years since I consumed to excess, but I do, on occasion, consume a glass of wine.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy
    Thanks Kathy. This is exactly the kind of personal preferences I was curious about. If I am not mistaken, the four precepts are against lying, stealing, sexual misconduct, and I forget the fourth one.

    I have never taken any precepts formally, not even come close to it. When you take precepts, do you have to be answerable to the person who gives them to you or you are on your own in terms of following them. I guess the latter.

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