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I Have Questions about Buddhism...

Discussion in 'Buddhism DIR' started by Catsmeow, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. Tathagata

    Tathagata Freethinker

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    Legit by whose standards? The Buddha is my teacher. Why the need for a middle man?

    Many of the Suttas I have read in the Tipitaka have commentaries by Buddhagosa. I have also built upon a Buddhist understanding from the likes of Alan Watts, D.T. Suzuki, and the 14th Dalai Lama.


    .
     
  2. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    Well, it is obvious that some concepts can be understood wrong without the proper context or guidance, examples would be the "life is suffering" thing. Im not suggesting that you inherently lack the proper understanding of sutra, just mentioning the fact that sometimes one needs a teacher to properly understand concepts. The standards for the "legit" I mentioned would be along the lines of having actually realized the truths that they are expounding rather than just repeating what they have read because they have a firm intellectual understanding.


    Yeah, that kind of thing is what im talking about. I would also mention that, likely with the exception of D.T. Suzuki, those people have an experiential understanding of teachings rather than an intellectual understanding.


    Still waiting on a reply to that other question. If you dont want to answer it, you can just tell me, it's fine.
     
  3. wmjbyatt

    wmjbyatt Lunatic from birth

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    I still don't understand why you absolutely persist in saying that your position is doctrinally correct. Are you saying that every Zen master who has never uttered a word of the Abhidharma to his students is incorrect? Are you saying that Master Dogen, who said "zazen is satori," and whose education included some of the most comprehensive intellectual discussion of all time, was wrong?

    I simply don't understand why you persist on saying that the written word of the Sutras must be the absolutely correct Dharma, when the Buddha himself (in those Sutras) told us not to accept anything that did not seem correct in the light of our own experience. Experientialist Buddhism is still Buddhism, whether or not it is intellectually aware of the doctrinal teachings of the Sutras.

    Why cannot out experiential dharma be as valid as your intellectual dharma, why cannot both be expressions and manifestations of the Dharma?
     
  4. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    Basically, this is what im trying to tell you, and this time it is in the words of venerable ones, not plain old me.

    I hope this clarifies things :)
     
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  5. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    dear tathagata

    whilst book reading is a wonderfull thing and something I relied on very heavily in my early days due to finances and location, from experience I can only say that having access to a qualified teacher dramaticaly enhances any veiw we might obtain by study alone.

    when I say qualified I refer to a genuine liniage holder , who not only passes on the teachings , but bestows the blessing to practice ,
    teachings handed from master to student constitute direct transmition ,uninterupted
    wisdom transmition steming back to the buddha himself .

    the master is there to guide us through any difficultys we my experience, and to overcome even those obsticals that we are not aware exist ,it is no slight to say that a person canot fully comprehend without direct teaching , but it is simply that without their blessing we do not fully join the stream of dharma
     
  6. Tathagata

    Tathagata Freethinker

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    I suppose i can agree with you there. Especially life is suffering.

    Perhaps to the laymen, but I think after a long enough and deep enough research into Buddhist doctrine, you would eventually grasp the understanding without a teacher.

    Honestly I was too lazy to answer that question because it requires a lot of thought and may be a long drawn out answer. The short answer though is this. Scripture has not brought about a sudden realization or change in my character but rather a gradual realization and more wisdom in my every day life. I also simply enjoy reading scripture and am fascinated by its ancient wisdom far ahead of its time and shatters all convention including conventional Buddhist thought.
     
  7. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    dear tathagata

    eventualy ??? but how many lifetimes is that ?

    unless one posesses sufficient blessings , realisation through study alone would be an improbability .

    concidder the position of the dali lama , an incarnation of the bodhisattva chenreizig , and in his 14th sucessive birth as the dalai lama , yet he has undergone extremely rigerous training in this lifetime under numerous lamas , and still he talks of his human failability , and refers to himself as a simple buddhist monk .

    if there is need for chenreizig to take instruction what then of us ?


    :confused: ......some times we learn a lot from answering the questions of others it causes us to examine our selves , and teaches us patience .

    far ahead of its time ?........:no:
    simply realisation of the true nature of phenomena in its correct place in time .........:yes:

    shatters all conventions ????
    including buddhist thought ????.....shatters conceptual thought , :yes:

    shatters mundane thought , :yes:

    but , what do you mean by conventional buddhist thought ?

    surely buddhist thought is simply an attempt to convey bdddha dharma ?

    how can buddha dharma shatter buddha dharma ?

    prehaps you could explain
     
  8. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    From what I understand, when they talk of a person being an emanation of a "deity" it means they embody the attributes of that deity. The deities represent aspects of enlightened mind, and the Dalai Lama certainly is very compassionate.
     
  9. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    dear dread fish ,

    excuse me I used the term emination (meaning to manifest)

    it is a subtle understanding , one often played down by the present dalai lama , however it was allways commonly accepted that the dalai lama is an embodiment of chenreizig , not just the atributes of chenreizig .
    I have just finished reading a biography of the 13th dalai lama written just after his death , relating many conversations with the 13th during his reign and explaining the beleif of the tibetan people as to the divine nature of the succession of dalai lamas

    I canot quote the entire chapter relating to the nature of the dalai lama , but will quote a small section ,

    ....."it will be seen that the 13th dalai lama whos life is portrayed , allso fulfilled the triple role of preist , god and king . ....
    ....there are indeed others who like the dalai lama , have set aside the privilage of "passing beyond sorrow ", and have concented to be born again in order to help on the upward path all beings , men , women , birds , beasts , fishes and insects , infact every kind of "mind possessor". such a one is known as a "trul ku " i.e. "a phantom body ". these are lamas in whom the emination from some deity or byegone saint is present in an ocult manner ."

    I hope this gives some indication of the true nature which were attributed to the dalai lamas , I would stress the use of the the wording "present in an ocult manner"

    if earlier writings are studied it is possible to see the attitude of reverence held by the tibetans , towards the dalai lamas and any other eminations including the regents the panchen lamas and other high lamas , but in the light of the excile of the tibetan government and the 14th dalai lama there has been a distinct change in the emphasis from tenzin gyatso himself who is remarkably humble and for reasons of insight into the delicate position as regards to tibetan buddhism ,therefore he has chosen to teach according to the situation .

    hope that explains a little ,
     
  10. ratikala

    ratikala Istha gosthi

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    dear dread fish ,

    small thought ....

    .....on understanding "present in an ocult manner"

    concidder the life and activitys of guru rinpoche; padmasambhava , who is credited with formaly establishing buddhism in tibet , on one hand he is described as being a master who transported teachings in to tibet , yet symultaniously he is described as being eight or twelve different manifestations , the slayer of the malevolent spirits and a converter of the forces hostile to the establishment of buddhism ,and by many regatded as the second buddha of this age ,

    many things in tibetan buddhism are some what beyond conventional realities , :rainbow1:
     
  11. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I'm not against solo practice as I lone wolf it often myself. Yet having said that I recommend at least some contact with a transmitted teacher even if in a consulting capacity. It's IMO essential as its almost impossible to "grasp" without some kind of guidance now and then in order to get the gist as things play out.

    As a suggestion try the Treeleaf Zendo. It's an online sangha offering meditation and dokusan.
    Transmitted teachers are Jundo Cohen and Taigu Turlur of the Soto school if that's your thing. Personally I would have chosen Roshi Nonin as my teacher* (face to face) but hes way way too far from where I live, yet from the very brief online contact I had with him I discovered more than I could have done myself in years. At the time I was confusing focus with emptiness, and was promptly straightened out. From that point on I saw the immense value that a teacher/student relationship can bring whether it's for a few minutes or a lifetime.

    I'm not sure what your situation is or if you had contact with clergy already, but if so, its going to help in your studies and meditation practice.

    *Unrelated to Treeleaf Zendo.
     
  12. koan

    koan Active Member

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    Tathagata, practicing on your own without even rudimentary instruction would probably cause one to miss the nuance of correct practice.
     
  13. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    That's a big topic of debate in Buddhism. Does one need a teacher, or can one go it alone? It seems to me that ancient sources seemed to support both, but they certainly supported having a teacher more than going it alone, although the lone wolf path was completely unheard of. I myself seem to be divided over the issue, but I think that's mainly because right now I have no access to a teacher, and haven't in the year since I converted to Buddhism. I've had to go it alone, but more because that's really the only choice I've had. I would much rather prefer to have a teacher, at least for some time, to make sure I'm doing things correctly, and than maybe going it alone again after knowing my practice is correct.
     
  14. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    I also think there is a difference, of sorts, nowadays when one can access teachers teaching on the internet. While it is not direct instruction, which is invaluable in any kind practice (mechanics, cooking etc.), it is still a teacher giving teachings on subjects that students would otherwise have trouble on; so it seems to be somewhat of a midway between having a teacher and not having a teacher. Bodhidharma very often said that one will practically never realize their nature without a teacher and only one in a million realizes their nature on their own. Likewise, the same thing is taught throughout Vajrayana as well.

    I am also mixed on the subject. I have never had a direct teacher since I starting practicing Buddhism (other than a certain particularly wise person in my life who is not Buddhist, but nonetheless has a good understanding of things), but I have read different teachings by teachers both modern and of antiquity (and a lot of them). Regardless, I would certainly love to have a teacher, but it doesnt look like it will happen around here. Any nearest zen center or temple with an actual Dharma teacher is at least 2 hours away and the rest are just sitting groups practicing the basics.

    So im not sure if it is absolutely necessary for everybody just yet. I'll update everyone on what I think depending on whether I realize on my own or not :D


    Incidentally, anyone ever heard of The Wanderling?
     
  15. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    I've actually had experiences of what I can only discern was kensho. However, I'm not 100% sure on that, and I'd like to have a teacher who could confirm my experiences, and help me out on the way. But the closest center is 45 miles away, and we don't even have any sitting groups closer than that. One of the "perks" of living in the Bible belt, I suppose. Hopefully one day I will be able to find one.
     
  16. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    Yeah, I would imagine that it would be hard in Alabama. I probably have it easier in NC. Who'd a thunk that the only zen temple I have gone to would be in Asheville NC? lol I am lucky though, the teacher there is Teijo Munnich, she was given Dharma transmission by Dainin Katagiri Roshi. Regardless, it's almost 3 hours and $60 of gas away so, needless to say, I dont go there often.
     
  17. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    I noticed there are a lot of the Order of Interbeing centers in NC.
     
  18. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    Hmm, never heard of them. I just looked it up there. There are a good few Tich Nhat Hanh mindfulness groups too. I personally lean towards the Japanese and Chinese zen traditions more.


    Btw, in reference to your comment about having experience kensho; I have also had experiences like that. I think the safest conclusion is that, it doesnt matter too much whether it was a kensho or not, it happened, just keep practicing and dont attach to it. Other than self realization, these other "experiences" are conditional phenomena that happen as a result of practice. I think attaching to experiences is one of the pitfalls for those like us who dont have teachers.
     
  19. dyanaprajna2011

    dyanaprajna2011 Dharmapala

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    The Order of Interbeing is the group founded by Thich Nhat Hanh. And you're absolutely right about the experiences.
     
  20. DreadFish

    DreadFish Cosmic Vagabond

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    Ah, this is one of the reasons why I love RF, I dont get to talk with any Buddhists in my day-to-day life :D The past couple of weekends I have gone to the temple were the first time I have even met any Buddhists who are actually serious about practice (it was for beginning the process of taking precepts) and don't just call themselves Buddhist because they agree with the philosophy and worldview.

    I really appreciate having you and the others here to discuss with :D
     
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