I don’t believe the Satipatthana Sutta, as we have it in this form, is original.
“The informal education one receives by learning from one’s experiences, both good and bad, rather than a formal educational institution. My uncle might not have made it past grade school, but he’s learned more from the university of life than most of our professors. A proper education is indeed important, but do not neglect the lessons you receive from the university of life.” - thefreedictionary.com
You probably need to stick to a teacher you have faith in. But exclusivity is not a quality mentioned in the suttas. Learning as much dhamma from a wide range of sources as possible will really help you (if there is conflict just come back to the EBTS).
That sounds good but, what if, the teacher you have ‘faith’ in teaches the exact opposite of what you have advised i.e. do not learn the Dhamma from a wide range of sources. Listen to what I teach about the Dhamma and don’t listen to other teachers. I will explain to you the true meaning of the teachings in the suttas. Do not rely on your findings, do not accept the interpretations of others. If you do this you will get diluted Dhamma teachings. You may get confused and be mislead. I have received the pure-original Dhamma from my teacher and I will pass it on to you. Our original teachers received a special teaching from the Buddha just before he died and they were instructed to teach this pure Dhamma and meditation technique to others. You will not find this information in the suttas, it was passed on orally directly from the Buddha to the first two teachers in our pure Dhamma tradition. We should not practice with others who have not received our Dhamma teachings. We need to keep ourselves pure and uncontaminated by other teachings and lineages.
everything_is_teaching_us.pdf (1.6 MB)
Furthermore, what if this is part of the message transmitted during intensive meditation camps where people are being exposed to difficult and pain inducing practices and being kept awake for extended periods of time - even if they are exhausted - and, whose every move is being monitored just in case they miss periods of practice, who are in a situation where it has been impressed upon them that if they were to leave something troubling and disturbing may happen to them etc.
Delightful. Thank you. This also reflects my experience with teachers, all to whom I am grateful. Regardless of the efficacy or direction of their teaching. I always learned something.
Well, who knows, and as long as I see a way between them …
Run away. Keep running…
On the other hand, it’s a little pointless to go to a retreat with a particular teacher and spending a week arguing (internally or externally) with the instructions… (I’ve figured that out by trial and error… ).
Clearly, there can be problems with overbearing teachers. However, one only has to hang out on Forums like this for a while to find examples of people who could probably benefit a teacher or a spiritual friend to give them a serious talking to and point them in the right direction. When working on a life-changing process it’s very difficult to judge your own progress…
How many students listen to their teachers?
That would seem fairly obvious. However, this teaching is transmitted to many participants who are largely unfamiliar with the teachings of the historical Buddha.
They just turn up at meditation courses and participate. They are told from the outset that what they are about to participate in has nothing to do with Buddhism. Although, the previous teacher in the tradition had no problem referring to it as Buddhism.
During many days of pain inducing and often tiring practice - which is obligatory - they are told about the special status of the teaching they have received. The technique that is transmitted ‘purely’ in Goenkaji’s lineage. A technique that Goenkaji is teaching them but is not recorded anywhere in the EBT’s.
Others are unaware of this special transmission until they learn about it from people like me. We are the heirs of the true and pure Dhamma. Don’t mix our Dhamma with the Dhamma of others. Practice only what we teach you and you will be successful. We assure you of this, you are bound to be successful.
There is no need to question this - we are telling you the truth - we are onto a sure thing. The technique that leads to awakening, the end of all your troubles and suffering.
They may not always follow without making slip-ups but many blindly conform to and faithfully accept what their teachers teach. It’s called indoctrination, conditioning, ideology, mimicry etc. It’s a humungous problem that leads to the blind leading the blind. A plague of ignorance on humanity leading to heartbreak and sorrow through the ages. The Buddha tried to fix this problem. To understand the Buddha is to understand this problem and come out of it. If the opposite takes place in the name of the Buddha then we are obliged to make this clear.
I did one of those retreats ten years ago. It was a very useful part of my development. That’s one of the times I had some problems with internal arguments about the teaching… But once I got over that, it was very useful…
I am glad you got over it but others simply accept the spin and conform to it. It is an in-group that people identify with and conform to. If you see no problem with this kind of dynamic then you might be missing the point somehow. The Buddha did not teach or encourage blind conformity as an awakening process. When it is said that the Buddha did endorse this kind of conformity it needs to be made clear that this is false.
Yes, once again, if we are talking about becoming the new Buddha and the effective teaching has been lost already, then of course, we would have to reinvent the wheel and put ourselves through the wrong way to realise it was wrong.
Even if we are benefitting directly from the words of the Buddha, we have to apply it to our daily lived experience, but unlike I’ve seen from supposed disciples, pain is not necessary for progress in the Buddha’s teaching. I believe I cover that in the document I linked to, collecting advice from the Buddha on studying his teaching, which I’m guessing you haven’t read; (or maybe it’s my comparative Buddha words study of teachings on Joy).
Anyone who reads it (the former, or actually either), if they know more advice on the matter from the Buddha, please let me know it, or start a new topic to collect it.
A popular notion not supported by Buddha’s words that I have seen is, basically the self mortification principle of ‘no pain no gain’. i do believe there are some painful sensations/emotions that have to be born to learn from, but that is quite different to the application I generally see promoted. One simple case was a Goenka teacher saying a monk disciple broke his own kneecaps, so he had to sit. I certainly objected to this, pointing out it as not taught by the Buddha and I think they have stopped saying that since.
There is a popular notion that human birth is the best for progress on the path, but I don’t recall that taught by the Buddha. It goes that the gods are too caught in pleasure and the devils pain, but we (oops humans - don’t like to speak for others) have a moderate mix. This seems to contradict the teachings that one must develop unbroken morality (early fruit of stream entry) and the benefits of that is, one no longer takes birth in a lower realm, only a higher (godly) one. To me it matters not which realm one is in, but whether one reflects wisely on one’s experience to see Dep. Orig.; firstly on reflection on past experience (first super knowledge re the past) to identify binding patterns; then immediate experience (second super knowledge re the present ‘arising beings’) to see the binding patterns in action and break them.
But understanding all that has come from my application of the adivce of the Buddha on studying his teaching…
Maybe this is heading towards a new topic.
Another thing is, it seems to me that all Buddhist traditions spring from the one teacher, our current Buddha. You can of course choose to study under any Buddhist teacher and then compare what they teach with the teaching of the Buddha, but I have more of a sense of urgency. (Maybe cause I’m getting older, but I had it since I was spurred by modern ‘teachers’ to focus on the Buddhas words, nearly 30 years ago.)
I’d rather, now that I have the choice, having realised there is actual advice from the Buddha on studying his teaching and having collected that advice, to just study directly Buddha’s words and then compare what modern teachers say to that. (It also seems to fit the instruction from the Buddha to take the Dhamma/oneself as the refuge, no other refuge.) It seems to the other way round of your suggestion, which I feel sad to say, seems to give more honour to modern teachers, than the Buddha. But it’s also what I did in the start and is understandable not having the conditions I mentioned (having realised there is actual advice from the Buddha on studying his teaching and having collected that advice).
Please be very careful of the statements you make to ensure they are factual, because if you say, ‘this is not in the suttas’ and it is, you are misrepresenting the Buddha and Dhamma, which is very serious bad kamma.
If you say ‘I don’t believe this is in the suttas’ then that is just expressing your opinion and is fine.
That’s partly why the Buddha gave the training: ‘when we express our opinion, just say ‘I believe this’, not ‘this is so’.’ the other part is to eradicate arrogance.
This time, you have been misinformed. I find exclusivity not only in the suttas, but ascribed to the Buddha in the suttas. This is just one example:
and they are asked at the beginning of the retreat, to commit to do whatever the teacher instructs, without hesitation or question, without knowing what those instructions will be = blind faith
So first you say
And now this!
Seems quite useless.
I never said anything like this - what I had in mind was a Sutta that you may be able to identify.
I made a comment about how competent students of the Buddha would impart their understanding of the practice to those who had insufficient experience. This was happening while the Buddha was living in the Sangha. This continues to this day.
People recieve instructions on how to meditate from those who engage in a variety of different meditation practices.
Newcomers are not just instructed to read the EBT’s and determine for themselves what they need to do if they have an interest.
Some of the assistance we receive from those who are practicing in line with the Buddha’s teachings can be exceedingly helpful.
Those whose instructions do not reflect the Buddha’s teachings accurately can contribute to the unfortunate outcome I have tried to draw attention to i.e indoctrination, conditioning, blind conformity and mimicry. I don’t believe the Buddha taught others in this way.
I believe the Buddha was aware of the prevalence of blind following in his day and he spoke out against it.
I don’t believe we should just accept the teachings of a contemporary teacher or lineage if we have faith in them and just conform to what is taught and ignore everything else.
I don’t believe this kind of advice accurately reflects what the Buddha taught - or encouraged.
I believe this is the wrong advice to give anyone. Especially on a site like this that is meant to encourage critical and open inquiry into the EBT’s.