Being A Buddhist

Dicussions on Buddism

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Buddhists are poor?

 His holiness lord Buddha had advised lay people to earn by a righteous living and spend those earnings intelligently. But people who had left lay life to achieve their enlightenment were given completely different instructions. Like that, to let go everything that are not needed in such a life style. And also his holiness Lord Buddha had admired that kind of  life style.

 But still we have to understand that his holiness had never admired a person, who had or have not a willingness to give up lay life to join monk-hood,  having poverty in his life. What his holiness admires is simplicity and that it never should be mistaken for poverty.

And if a layman really study and follows the philosophy of Buddhism, they should be really happy and contented in their lives in every way, including  financial success in it, too.

Buddhism values poverty! true or false?

Few days ago I had a discussion with One of  my best friends about money. What I understood from it was, that she’d been mis-informed, that poverty is as same as consolation in life. Even though I tried to point out that it is not  so, and that Buddhism does not recommend poverty for laymen, my attempt was in vain. She showed  agreeing in some ways but again returned to her own misconception stubbornly. With some people I’ve seen that it so. Sometimes there is no other choice, even if they are great friends,  but we have  to let them realize the truth themselves, even if it could give them   bitter experiences later.  I realize that it may be same with her on this subject as she shows on openness to analyze it, but only wanting to stick to what she wants to believe on it. Anyway what made  me feel for her is that the fact that she is running a small business herself. So  this kind of myth would or could never help her to progress in whatever way, but to suffer.  I’m hoping she’d have good karma to get away from any miserables and move on happily.

However it would be, I think it shows another a worldwide popular myth that could be seen nowadays.  That is,  that the Buddhism values poverty. Even more, some people go further by acknowledging this as the reason for poor Buddhist countries to exist, which is a most untruthful fact. Likewise, if someone  says him as  a Buddhist-layman, and then if he assess the poverty as a value he would have, concerning Buddhist teachings, that his opinion clearly shows, how shallow he knows about the philosophy he says to follow.

If there’s anyone having such empty ideas, they should look into how some counts and other laymen had had been advised to live happily by his holiness lord Buddha. And they should correct their perceptions and their life styles. Buddhism has clear instructions to  how to make this current life  happy. It’s true Buddhism focuses on how to end the sufferings completely. So people assume that all teachings are on enlightenment. But looking into the teachings in whole shows that majority part of sutta/sections are told to laymen and on how to make their lay-lives happy, contented and successful.

If someone adheres to such mis-conceptions, like my friend, without having analyzed it to see whether it’s true or not (as Dhamma says), but if chooses to stick to them just because that they’ve heard it from someone  or felt it that way themselves, then it’s clearly  their delusion/moha working on it blindly. Main Buddhist teaching that a follower should remember when trying to understand something,  as to my understanding, is Kalama sutta.

The best Buddhist meditation type? Samatha or Wipassana!

There are two major categories of Buddhist meditations.  Samatha (Samadhi) and Wipassana. Why are there two?  and,  what could be the best?

As I ‘ve already mentioned before,  meditations similar to types in Samatha had had already existed before the time of His holiness Lord Buddha. It is clear from the history, that there had been some meditators who had achieved it’s  highest level at that time. One such person was the teacher of king Suddhodana, Asitha Kaladewala ( father of prince Siddhartha:His  holiness lord Buddha’s laymen life’s). He was said to had the ability to travel to the heavens by his mere wish, additional to achieving the furthest state  of Samatha meditation. A lot of such meditators are heard of having many supernatural abilities by developing mind using meditation knowledge that existed at that time.

But then, Wipassana meditation type had been never known before his holiness lord Buddha himself discovered and taught it to this world. Which unveils the path to Nirvana / final enlightenment. And unlike those meditations, that were kept and shared only  among higher casts, His holiness lord Buddha let anyone to learn and practice his holiness’s teachings to enlightenment.

His holiness lord Buddha himself had tried all those  knowledge that existed at the time before starting to look for a new method  to achieve the liberation from sufferings. So his holiness had also tried various available types of Samatha meditation at the time. And after achieving enlightenment, his holiness had recommended to use Samatha meditation to develop mind,  needed for the path. But had given own instructions on how to practice them differently from those ways known where needed. So original teachings of Buddhist Samatha meditation types are known different from those were before that time.  However it seems that some of the elder teachers had/have introduce and teach their experiences and beliefs when teaching their students.

So when considering  about the second one,  deciding the best. The reality is, in general, when we are to meditate as beginners these both types could come in handy. Because one type could help to reduce different unwanted qualities in mind and other some other qualities.
So Samatha which is the very best to achieve qualities  like consciousness or calm,  and then  Wipassana for qualities like insight or prajna,  both,  could be specified for a particular person based on his personality.

The first to decide, the best for a person, is to know exactly what he or she wants to achieve by meditating. If he is interested in achieving the depth of wisdom of Buddhist teachings, then sticking to Samathya will never take him to his desired destination.So practicing it even after achieving the status of mind he need to move on the path, would only  delay his desired journey.   Wipassana or insight meditation, on the other hand, would help to achieve any stage of enlightenment, where Samatha will never give any of the stages, despite of how much or how long he may practice it. The status that are available to a samatha meditator are the status of Dhyana/jhana. That would  increase his mind to various status and reduce negative qualities of mind, but all in  temporarily, but still which would definitely determine his next birth place.

So if a meditator is interested in ending, permanently, his sufferings  and rebirth, he should definitely chose Wipassana and should consider Samatha only as some mean to improve his meditation and to distract any unwanted qualities in his mind.

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