Being A Buddhist

Dicussions on Buddism

Archive for the tag “wisdom”

The Watcher

While listening to a Damma Desana,  some time ago, this example took my attention. It led me think a lot on it  later and made it easier to remember and analyze that topic. I can’t say, that I remember the whole discussion or even that I did understood or followed everything that was said. But this specific one example, that was told, made its own individual place within my mind. Because of that, I feel it could be useful to anyone in some content, so that I should convey it even without those other stuff. So here it goes…

Say, there’s a one large room, of which many people coming and going out. This room has more than general number of doors. To be specific it has six doors. And all these doors are opened. Anyone can come in through them. And also, can go out through them. So there’s no stable status inside this room.

So no one knows, who goes in, or who goes out. So!..the authority  appoints a watcher. This watcher, is going to see what’s going on inside there. He has to watch, who is coming inside, what they do, who is leaving, if they do something right, do any problems occur, likewise. May be he’s  more than a watcher, anyway he’s kept really busy inside our room.

However our watcher can be his own boss. He can watch seriously and do his job to the word. He also can determine what is correct and incorrect. And how something should be done, or how to change them, like wise. So, He can have all the power within that room and power over everyone or anyone who is inside it. So, everything within that room would go smoothly, peacefully, without issues, thanks to our that smart keeper.

However,  our watcher is even free to do anything as he likes. He can just ignore it all, and let anything happen or  may be to some extent. He could become careless by not  doing his job. Like,  he could dose, or laze around, or just follow or be interested in one or more specific person, or may be just watch one door or more than one, or  watch all six doors if he wants or just vaguely, or do completely some thing else.

But, no one would be there, to tell  him, his job. However then, he might be missing some situations. And those  situations also would miss his interference on them. Then, anyone unwatched has freedom to do anything as they like. So, nothing inside there, would be as same as having a  keen eyed smart watcher to look after, right?

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.

A Truth

There’s a truth we do not like anyone to remind us of or remembered by ourselves. But still something we all will be facing sooner or later, the eternal truth of death. How matter death may sound strange, it is a truth about our being, once born have to face death. One we all have inherited without being treated differently.

With birth one brings death into life and  carries it everywhere with him, even though, how much he completely ignores it  or treats it as a totally unusual subject to bring up to discussion. But let’s face the fact that we all have to face death. Facing something is a better way to handle it than running away from it, and is a well  known wisdom .

In Buddhism “thinking of death in connection with Dhamma” is a type of well praised meditation (Maranānussati: ‘recollection of death’). One of the four meditations that are recommended as a Buddhist’s general meditation. An easy way to reduce and get rid of the fear of facing death. More importantly a method to stop idling in life and move oneself enthusiastically for success in both, life and enlightenment path.

A method to escape from suffering

OK this is not smart but I’ve edited my last post. I couldn’t make myself read it again to see what I’ve written there, so I split it in to two and edited. If you’ve found that it’s dull to read the same post, sorry for bothering you. Anyway I felt this as better.

In ( the beginning of last week’s) my last post, I discussed that the way feelings occur, improve and disappear could be used to deal with sufferings. But it’s not the final solution or the reason for  sufferings that is taught in Buddhism. Because this method may not help to vanish them forever, but suppress , and they may rise to surface again, later. But we’ll have the ability to easily make our lives better, by freeing mind from unpleasant conditions.

But, how could we release our mind from an unpleasant condition?

Majority of Lord Buddha’s teachings are concerned with, ending sufferings in this life and in the round of rebirth, and also on developing mind and on achieving a comfortable and contented life. So there are many sections in Dhamma, on how to end or escape from sufferings. ” Vitakkasanthana Sutta ” in Majjhima Nikaya of Dhamma can be used for us even you are a Buddhist or not, or have knowledge of Dhamma or not. If you think intellectually, it could be used in daily life to find relief from sufferings that play in your mind

This sutta says, one can  use, one or more of the following five, to escape from an unwanted thought ( a feeling or an emotion in our case ) or avoid occurring more thoughts (developing the feeling ) on it.

In such a situation you only have to,

  1.  Give attention to something else that change the condition of your mind (use the opposite thought ),
  2. Think about the dangers and bad effects that could result from your thoughts ( consider the resulting damages ),
  3. Avoid from recalling that thought in to your mind and  avoid from thinking in the same way on it repeatedly (Avoid recalling that thought ),
  4. Find out how that thought have started in your mind (find the origin ),
  5. And If any of above does not work with it , you  have to just suppress that feeling  by dictating your mind to get rid of it (When doing this, do not react to what’s going on inside mind ), ( try this by pressing tongue on the palate, that’s said to be most effective).( Firm determination ).

These instructions, in the sutta, are on how to deal with a negative or evil feelings in the mind and how to purify mind by clearing demerit thoughts and replacing with merits, to move on the path to enlightenment. So a Buddhist, who practices Dhamma, could use the knowledge of Buddha’s teachings, when trying specially on  1, 2,and 4  of above.

When talking about them generally, I think the fourth one may deliver more benefits. If we take the situation you’ve been angry, how did you start to feel angry? Did it exist before? When we take the example from last post, anger has started, most probably from what you’ve seen or heard  about that person. and remembering that reason, is the fourth of above:- the  origin of the thought . It may lead us to see how we behave in such situations and re-think about our decisions and the steps. We may realize that before that reason occurred,  we had no aversion (dislike) towards her in your mind. Not just hearing it but agreeing with your next thought ( probably about her being bad to you)  had started that anger that developed in to a hatred. In such occasions developing metta or loving kindness would relieve your mind.( this the first one :- (use the opposite thought )

Aversion is one of three ( Aversion, desire and delusion ), that would start a living being suffer. When you give them the opportunity to stay longer in mind, it develops more and more and make you suffer. Every time you involve with the object that was the reason for your hatred or longing, more it develops making it unbearable to stay away from reacting to it. More you play with your thoughts on that idea more they grow. So best way is to not let that thought enter in to your mind, never think further with it. If you can avoid from things that recall it until you can handle it in your mind. Just avoid from giving it a place in your mind, when a thought is ignored it becomes lessen. (Third one:- Avoid recalling that thought ).

Until we free our mind from such a negative feeling it could make us restless, Lose peace within mind. If you react with such feeling in your working place it might deliver you bad reputation. Some co-workers might start to see and treat you  differently from  the way they have used to and you may feel its oddness. A promotion that was due to come might be reconsidered affecting your career, and so on. So it’s always smart to think of the results that may badly affect you after your reaction or of the disharmony occurred in your mind  by having that feeling, then it may start to lose its impact on you.  (Second one:- consider the resulting damages ).

Worthy Friends

Yesterday I have listened to ” Dhamma (nava) sutta ” in Sutta Nipatha  on radio, describing that having  associations, with worthy men, advance our movement to the enlightenment.

His holiness Buddha has said, that a Buddhist should have talent for the path and whoever have an association with such talented worthy men, himself becomes talented and such an association would never deliver bad effects.

We all have associates, but have we ever considered  if they are helpful in our liberation? There’s such iinstructions on how to identify a fruitful  association to a Buddhist. it includes four facts, and needs all of them to be satisfied. They are, we should check whether,

by an association with a certain person

  • have we  engaged in ( deeds that deliver ) merits we’ve never had done before
  • have the merits we already have improved
  • have we never engage in  (deeds that deliver ) demerits we’ve never had done before
  • have the demerits we already have are suppressed or vanished

If we have, then we have come across a worthy friend . But still it says how to identify a worthy man. He should have these three characteristics.

  • Be a virtuous person who has control on his actions, words and thoughts and follow percepts
  • should have a good knowledge on Dhamma and should usually analyze Dhamma and understand it well.
  • should be wise and intellectual, knowing truth about world ( living ). Most probably some one who has lessened desire for senses.

If we haven’t been lucky so far

  • we can recognize worthy men from above and
  • then become associated with them
  • and receive directions

As worthy men never approve demerits, they would always try prevent their associates from doing wrong and take to the right track. So we will have the opportunity to receive right advice. If we ever open up about our hidden weakness, they would help us to correct them. So such a worthy man also becomes a good noble friend ( kalyana mittha ) to anyone associated with him.

As Buddhists can be at different stages on their path, one person can have better values than another person. So the most intelligent thing is, making friends with worthy men as many as we could find, and then we’ll be able to get more and more advises.

As his holiness Buddha has advised us on our path, that we should individually discover it from our own intelligence ( posts:  Buddhism and the difference from other paths and Basics: How to know your path ), we could analyze and work out our way to enlightenment,  with the guidance of these noble, worthy friends.

Buddhism and the difference from other paths

A picture - statue of Lord Buddha.

A statue of Lord Buddha

We can see a lot of religions in this world. But if we analyze Buddhism is not in the category of religions. It can be said as a Philosophy. It contains the path to enlightenment found By lord Buddha.

Buddhism Cannot also be called as a science. Sciences can be changed when new knowledge emerge. But Buddhism is knowledge that has been tested and proved by lord Buddha, the founder of it. Later so many people had followed the path and gained success.

It is true you can’t go back in history and check what others had done.  History is also a part of any community. But You always can analyze and check Buddhism in real life.

Buddhism is a free path that anyone can always come and check, if it suits to their lives, understandings or they can leave. of cause they always can  come back again if wanted or just leave for ever. No one forces to follow anything or anyone. Lord Buddha has never forced it on anyone.

What his holiness Buddha has said is:

  • Dhamma is well told in whole i.e. at the start, at the middle and at the end.
  • The path has to be understood and experienced by own intelligence of each person. (Anyone can only show you the path but can’t take you alone it.)
  • Dhamma is true at any time it yields without delay.
  • It is wise enough to tell anyone to come and check it.
  • each person should establish or it in own mind (realize true meanings) for success in path
  • intellectuals should  individually  experience Dhamma

(These are in the gata we use to honor Dhamma,

 Svàkkhàto Bhagavatà Dhammo,
Sanditthiko akàliko ehi-passiko,
Opanayiko pacchattam veditabbo vinnuhi’ti.

resources: http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books13/Chanting_PALI-and-ENG.pdf.pdf   and see the section     ” SUPREME PRAISE OF THE DHAMMA “

)

So  it  is our own liking to practice Buddhism or not. Only thing it needs to follow is the need itself (to follow). I.e. desire to practice Buddhism. Practicing Buddhism Is not suppressing our feelings. It’s analyzing  and understanding the reality (truth)  of everything about us.  One who follows the path would eventually reduce sufferings and finally  put all in to an end.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: