Author Topic: Things that make me go "hmmmm"  (Read 683 times)

Offline philboyd

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Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« on: July 14, 2018, 03:47:32 pm »
 Are the teachings of  Shakyamuni Buddha relevant to your practice? Is an understanding of the Four Noble Truths ( including the Eightfold Path ) a foundational element of your practice?  Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? Why do you practice? Do you consider your practice Buddhist?  What does awakening mean to you? Is salvation of an eternal agent , is religion, metaphysics, science, and etcetera your interest here? I am not expecting a response to these questions, but merely stating some of the subjective experience reading many of the posts here on Freesangha.com.
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Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2018, 06:48:39 pm »
Are the teachings of  Shakyamuni Buddha relevant to your practice? Is an understanding of the Four Noble Truths ( including the Eightfold Path ) a foundational element of your practice?  Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? Why do you practice? Do you consider your practice Buddhist?  What does awakening mean to you? Is salvation of an eternal agent , is religion, metaphysics, science, and etcetera your interest here? I am not expecting a response to these questions, but merely stating some of the subjective experience reading many of the posts here on Freesangha.com.

What about you? You could start with yourself. What are your answers to those questions you pose?
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline philboyd

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2018, 12:47:56 am »
Yes
Yes
I don't believe so
To grow as a human
Yes
Release of conceit for starters
No
No
No
Life is hard. I have utmost respect, and sincere gratitude for all that have the courage to express their thoughts and beliefs in an open forum. I benefit by refining my understanding through the lens of the questions I pose.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2018, 12:59:12 am by philboyd »
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2018, 03:29:16 am »
   Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? What does awakening mean to you?
There are many kinds of awakening, and which you choose determines your working definition. The context it arises within is vital for such a definition, so if it arises in a Buddhist context you have Buddhist awakening. Otherwise you have other kinds of awakening. The experience you go through is the same, but the subsequent effect changes with the context.

Meditation alone can do it. You just have to sit quietly long enough to not even think, and then the brain rewires itself to bring about the kind of experiences we know as insight or awakening. I've always read widely, but since I've retired I've had lots more time to read and re-read stuff that shows me how many people have had glimpses of awakening or even have gone through spontaneous awakening experiences. The problem with this awakening is that you have nothing to help you come to terms with what happened, and you are open to others defining, or at least influencing, your thoughts on what happened to you.

For me awakening is a human activity that we are all capable of experiencing, and, until the rise of organised religion , perhaps beginning with a form of shamanism, one we may have all have gone through as part of being human. Somewhere along the way to modern societies, maybe as the size of communities grew and we needed a shared understanding of the world to get along together, this ability got hijacked by those wishing to impose their view of reality, and only a chosen few got to define who went through these experiences and to define what they meant.

Luckily for us Buddhists, the Buddha showed us a path back to gaining enlightenment experiences for ourselves, and also gave us a context by which we could understand and use them for the rest of our lives.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline philboyd

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2018, 02:45:40 pm »
   Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? What does awakening mean to you?
There are many kinds of awakening, and which you choose determines your working definition. The context it arises within is vital for such a definition, so if it arises in a Buddhist context you have Buddhist awakening. Otherwise you have other kinds of awakening. The experience you go through is the same, but the subsequent effect changes with the context.

Meditation alone can do it. You just have to sit quietly long enough to not even think, and then the brain rewires itself to bring about the kind of experiences we know as insight or awakening. I've always read widely, but since I've retired I've had lots more time to read and re-read stuff that shows me how many people have had glimpses of awakening or even have gone through spontaneous awakening experiences. The problem with this awakening is that you have nothing to help you come to terms with what happened, and you are open to others defining, or at least influencing, your thoughts on what happened to you.

For me awakening is a human activity that we are all capable of experiencing, and, until the rise of organised religion , perhaps beginning with a form of shamanism, one we may have all have gone through as part of being human. Somewhere along the way to modern societies, maybe as the size of communities grew and we needed a shared understanding of the world to get along together, this ability got hijacked by those wishing to impose their view of reality, and only a chosen few got to define who went through these experiences and to define what they meant.

Luckily for us Buddhists, the Buddha showed us a path back to gaining enlightenment experiences for ourselves, and also gave us a context by which we could understand and use them for the rest of our lives.

Are there multiple contexts for Buddhist awakening? It seems so, and that is much grist for the mill! My confusion with your post is rooted in the idea that the Buddha "showed us a path", (the Noble Eightfold Path), which consists of much more than meditation alone, yet you also state that awakening can arise through meditation alone. That may be, but it is not what the Buddha taught. So it seems there are conflicting schools and as we make our case for our personal bent,  how much is a defense and how much is impersonal explication? These are questions I ask myself as part of the path I have chosen.
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Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2018, 08:14:18 am »
   Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? What does awakening mean to you?


 My confusion with your post is rooted in the idea that the Buddha "showed us a path", (the Noble Eightfold Path), which consists of much more than meditation alone, yet you also state that awakening can arise through meditation alone. That may be, but it is not what the Buddha taught.

The Buddha taught things in his own way. For me, he took what is a basic human experience, enlightenment, and then placed it in a context which allows us to understand and live with the experience in a better way. Hence Buddhist 'enlightenment'. All enlightenment experiences are the same timeless experiences, but the context determines their efficacy. It was only through understanding this that I could then understand the Buddha's teaching, and why he taught what he did.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2018, 10:20:28 am »
Hi philboyd,

You wrote –
Quote
So it seems there are conflicting schools and as we make our case for our personal bent, how much is a defense and how much is impersonal explication?

The only way there is “impersonal explication” in something like this is if you consider certain material to be like a bible -- revealed truth from some infallible source. Otherwise it’s all “personal” because it’s based on personal experience, either your own or others.

Your original questions tend to be quite revealing, between the lines. More so than your answers. But I did find the questions provocative, so I will try to give some of my own answers.

1. Are the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha relevant to your practice? Yes.

2. Is an understanding of the Four Noble Truths ( including the Eightfold Path ) a foundational element of your practice? Not so much. I’d put “Enlightenment” in that place -- with the understanding that it is the path as well as the goal. There is an undeniable sense that this life is incomplete, that somewhere along the line there was a fall from grace and that trying to find a way of return is a worthwhile endeavor. But I don’t see this life as nothing but Dukka and feel a burning need to escape. Just the opposite. I find this life awesome and wondrous, including both the suffering and the bliss. If there is Nirvana, it’s right here, no where else.

3. Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? In theory it is, but without some training and experience with a teacher and a sangha, the possibilities for rigorous practice are unlikely to occur. However, I think at a certain point meditation alone is enough.

4. Why do you practice? The same as #2.

5. Do you consider your practice Buddhist? I don’t find that very relevant. It looks to me like an attitude that has caused a lot of harm in this world.

6. What does awakening mean to you? Same as #2.

7. Is salvation of an eternal agent? It transcends both eternal or transitory.

8. Is religion, metaphysics, science, and etcetera your interest here? Not so much. Practice is my main interest.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2018, 11:51:13 am by zafrogzen »
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline philboyd

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2018, 04:52:25 am »
A primary teaching of the Buddha is a view that clings to objects, ideas, belief systems, feelings, and phenomenal occurrence leads to identification of a self based on ignorance of Four Noble Truths. When I find myself defending the path I have chosen, rather than attempting to explain it from an impersonal point of view, I demonstrate the ego building that I am attempting to eradicate.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2018, 04:59:27 am by philboyd »
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Offline Anemephistus

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Re: Things that make me go "hmmmm"
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2018, 10:08:44 pm »
Are the teachings of  Shakyamuni Buddha relevant to your practice? Is an understanding of the Four Noble Truths ( including the Eightfold Path ) a foundational element of your practice?  Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? Why do you practice? Do you consider your practice Buddhist?  What does awakening mean to you? Is salvation of an eternal agent , is religion, metaphysics, science, and etcetera your interest here? I am not expecting a response to these questions, but merely stating some of the subjective experience reading many of the posts here on Freesangha.com.

1. Are the teachings of  Shakyamuni Buddha relevant to your practice? Yes, they are the foundation. Though a certain Thiền teacher has also had a great impact on me.
2.  Is an understanding of the Four Noble Truths ( including the Eightfold Path ) a foundational element of your practice? Yes. With a great deal of effort and consideration as I weigh many actions by metric of the path.
3. Is meditation alone enough to deliver awakening? No. That is like driving a car with no gas. I once tried this approach (the meditation not the car but that has happened too:) ) I practiced a form of neopaganism when I was younger, I meditated but it was misdirected in my case, perhaps others have had better luck.
4. What does awakening mean to you? The cessation of suffering and end to Dukkha.
5.  Is salvation of an eternal agent , is religion, metaphysics, science, and etcetera your interest here? "Salvation" is not cessation and not my purpose, the other terms define subjective understandings I have used them as tools but my interest is in objective understanding of immutable truth.
6.  I am not expecting a response to these questions, but merely stating some of the subjective experience reading many of the posts here on Freesangha.com.

I was surprised by this site. I had an expectation that wasn't what I encountered but my expectation was the problem not the site and I have learned a lot from these posts and patient people. 

 


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