(content deleted and moved to PM)
Aha!! … I don’t think the question is about whether you’re inline with the EBTs or not.
I think the question is whether we (as a group) are discussing the EBTS, whether the topic is the text, or something that has sprung directly from it.
If it isn’t, then it’s best to question whether it’s good to post it at all, and if so to keep it brief.
I think we’re not here just to talk about our own ideas. Why is that? Because Bhante Sujato and The Team have gone to a lot of effort to present the suttas as a free online resource in as many versions as possible, and that this free forum was created to facilitate discussion about both this work and about the contents of the texts. The forum guidelines show that this is the intended focus.
It’s true that we weave backwards and forwards in this regard and sometimes move away from focussing on the texts. When we do move away a lot, one or other of the moderators are likely to jump in with a comment that draws us back into focus.
And, yes, I’m afraid that this means that those members with a good knowledge of the texts, or who spend a lot of time reading and investigating them, will probably get a lot more occasions when they feel they have some relevant to the EBTs to contribute.
with metta, thanks for taking the time to read my contribution.
Yes, I understand this - very good. And, I understand the necessity of relating the conversation directly to the early strata of the teachings.
Now, if you wish to think about and question what is said or, if anyone else in the discussion has reason to believe the views expressed deviate from the teachings then, that’s most welcome.
It’s important that this is seen and discussed. It’s part of the learning process?
If, it turns out that questions arise and points of difference are discussed, that’s called critical-thinking.
Critical thinking is encouraged in the early teachings. In fact, it’s a requirement? I will find EBT sources to support this view being expressed by me.
What seems to be required in all this is that I directly link what I am discussing with the early teachings - and that is perfectly reasonable - given the fact that this is an EBT website.
Praise of Dhamma - yes. One of the last paragraphs mentioned environmental vandalism.
That’s basically it!!! . I remember when I was new here I answered a question with my best opinion and I was told directly to base my answer in the EBTs; I scurried away and was so relieved when I found something that fitted. Since then I’ve found it’s mostly better to start from a textual focus and work outwards towards personal responses.
When we do want to have a less focussed and more personal exchange, there are always personal messages. Actually, I notice that @karl_lew deleted something and sent you a PM instead. That’s a great way to go, and I hope you are having a productive and enjoyable conversation.
I’d just like to add that I post to learn. I learn the most when others take issue with what I have posted. I love the posted replies that nudge me to look at a new EBT or personal experience of an EBT that contradicts what I have posted. In this way, insight grows and my idiosyncracies vanish.
From a personal point of view I understand and share your feelings. I’m a long way from enlightenment and desirous of finding ways of decreasing my load of suffering, Karl.
However, as moderator I have to keep asking what the most important things about this forum are and what helps it to run smoothly and achieve its goals (like the awesome SCVoice does). That’s when I’m reminded that there are other online groups where I could share my personal stuff, whether that at any one point in time is focussed on teaching others or on deepening my own understandings.
The EBT’s are quite large and overwhelming. Yet they are consistent and thorough. We touch and traverse the EBT’s through our limited personal experience. Often, we find resonance with a particular sutta. Even more often, we find EBT’s that confound or contradict our experience. Here in this forum, we have many dedicated to the study of EBT’s. Each of us has found a personal resonance with one or more suttas. Within this forum, we can help each other understand the EBT’s by learning to see the suttas through each other’s eyes and ears.
In this forum we have a choice to read or post. Some post and do not read. Some read and do not post. If we post and do not read, we are not learning. If we read and do not post, we deprive others of our understanding and wisdom. However, difficulties do arise when we post.
I remember reading a sutta about a quarreling sangha that decided to mandate silence during rains retreat to afford some peace from all the wrangling. When the Buddha heard about this he dismissed the mandate as nonsense. I suppose it was a noisy and vexing and productive rains retreat. I actually cannot find this sutta, but I keep looking for it (Help!). Because I think that sutta would speak to the question you have posed about running the forum smoothly and achieving it’s goals. Sadly, I have proven inept at re-finding that sutta and would appeal to the others here who might recognize it.
Well I failed again at finding this memory. But I did find the following when looking for argue rains:
“Mendicants, these are the three assemblies.
An assembly of the best, a divided assembly, and a harmonious assembly.
And what is an assembly of the best?
An assembly where the senior mendicants are not indulgent or slack, nor are they backsliders. Instead, they take the lead in seclusion, rousing energy for attaining the unattained, achieving the unachieved, and realizing the unrealized. And those who come afterwards follow their example.
They too are not indulgent or slack, nor are they backsliders. Instead, they take the lead in seclusion, rousing energy for attaining the unattained, achieving the unachieved, and realizing the unrealized.
This is called an assembly of the best.
Therefore, let us encourage each other here to be part of the best assembly. Notice that harmonious is third.
Here it is, Karl:
Thank you, Christopher! Yes. That is indeed it.
I see that it is part of the Vinaya! No wonder I could not find it on SuttaCentral Voice. The Vinaya has yet to be included in SCV.
Monks, an observance of members of other sects, the practice of silence, should not be observed. Whoever should observe it, there is an offence of wrong-doing.
And a little further down in that same sutta
" Now, Truthfinders (sometimes) ask knowing, and knowing (sometimes) do not ask; they ask, knowing the right time (to ask), and they do not ask, knowing the right time (when not to ask). Truthfinders ask about what belongs to the goal, not about what does not belong to the goal; there is bridge-breaking for Truthfinders in whatever does not belong to the goal. In two ways do awakened ones, Lords question monks, either: “Shall we teach dhamma ?” or “Shall we lay down a rule of training for disciples?” Then the Lord spoke thus to these monks:…"
The last seven comments are completely unrelated to the theme of the thread. They involve an interesting and important topic but they are unrelated to Joy and Beauty.
It’s possible that the respondents did find their conversation beautiful in some way? I don’t think this is a cause for concern if they were delighted with what was said?
“This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, those bhikkhus delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, the minds of the thousand bhikkhus were liberated from the taints by nonclinging.” - Ādittas Sutta
The crux of what I have been trying to say is: it’s possible to have beautiful and joyful experiences that don’t lead ‘inexorably’ to clinging.
We have experiences like this all the time and, they are completely benign. Somehow, this fairly obvious observation was seen as a contradiction of the teachings.
Efforts were made to refute the obvious connection between perceptions of beauty, the deepening of natural stillness, awakening and, having a pleasant and enjoyable life. It’s bizarre?
There are so many occasions in the suttas where audiences delight in what they have heard that I’m sure you are right. I guess the skill is to know whether oneself is experiencing ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ delight.
Does anyone know of an EBT teaching that addresses this distinction?
Beautiful, that’s a very important distinction. When I refer to every day experiences of beauty and joy that don’t lead ‘inexorably’ to craving and clinging I am not saying something ‘abstract’.
An example: I am in the mall and I see a mother talking to her baby. I just experience this, it brings me joy to see this, it’s a beautiful thing for a mum to do with her baby and, that’s the end of it. I walk away from that scene, having had that perception and, I am not worse off for the experience.
Our lives are full of many experiences of joy and beautiful things that simply happen. This is not a problem in terms of our ability to practice Buddhism. It’s safe - not a problem!
To fail to see and acknowledge the difference between:
would suggest that there’s some kind of confusion with regard to the teachings found in the suttas.
The Vipassana tradition with its heavy reliance on commentaries may be partially responsible for this confusion and/or later developments in Buddhist teachings?
What follows is an extract from another thread that is insightful and has plenty of references to sutta-sources. I will try the link- thing (see below).
“Learning patience and learning how to be happy in the present moment seems to be quite important. I believe, we must be able to be present if this Path is to work. MN 131, MN 132, MN 133, MN 134. And I think the only way to make our minds present is if we can make the present pleasant! I mean, I’m so restless that if the present isn’t enticing enough, I’ll just shoot off on some train of thought or other! I think we have to learn to use vedana as a secret weapon which will eventually turn on itself! And the only way we can be pleasantly present is if we are basing ourselves in virtue and kindness; and then I think it gets easier if we get some good meditation or understand how to meditate and get a bit of wisdom going. I think that’s what AN 11.1 and AN 10.2 are all about.” - Kay
Some of the things said in this other thread - cited above - are a bit ‘hit and miss’ IMO but, there are observations that are right on target.
The Dhamma is beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and, beautiful in the end.
The-Basic-Method-of-Meditation.pdf (1.0 MB)
In terms of finding what the Buddha taught my list is-
Having extensively read the sutta pitaka
Listening to dhamma from a wide spectrum of teachers
Awareness of some suttas, specifically
Focus on only a single teacher
That’s a nice list Mat - I could think of a few extras! But, it’s great to read your contributions. Thankyou for your unfailing Dhamma friendship and your wise reflections.
Thank you, to you too Laurence!
However, if you don’t mind me asking, why is this on the list:
I have had the good fortune of having a number of inspiring and insightful teachers over the years that have helped me a great deal.
Is there any EBT teachings that state that we should have only one teacher?
Even in the suttas it’s not just the Buddha who gives teachings and, we also have the therighata etc.?
We mustn’t focus exclusively on a single teacher, was what I was trying to say (the list is a hierarchy with the better options closer to the top). Having said that having some teacher is better than having no access to the dhamma at all (and having a bad teacher who is morally corrupt or teaching an idiosyncratic dhamma might be worse than having nothing). Obviously the Buddha is the source but he wouldn’t be able to single-handedley teach everyone. There is instances of practitioners being directed to tranquility experts or insight experts depending on need:
Monks, these four types of individuals are to be found existing in the world. Which four?
“There is the case of the individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness, but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment. Then there is the case of the individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, but not internal tranquillity of awareness. Then there is the case of the individual who has attained neither internal tranquillity of awareness nor insight into phenomena through heightened discernment. And then there is the case of the individual who has attained both internal tranquillity of awareness & insight into phenomena through heightened discernment.
The individual who has attained internal tranquillity of awareness, but not insight into phenomena through heightened discernment, should approach an individual who has attained insight into phenomena through heightened discernment and ask him: ‘How should fabrications be regarded? How should they be investigated? How should they be seen with insight?’ AN 4.94: Concentration (Tranquillity and Insight) (English) - Catukka Nipāta - SuttaCentral
That makes sense! I learn many valuable Dhamma lessons from a variety of people and situations.
These days, I am spending a lot of time with a ‘friend’ who has multi-phasic autism and O.C.D. They are a great teacher - amazing.
My friend is incredibly sweet, beautiful and, vulnerable. I am amazed at how they manage to live with so little disturbance and passivity. They don’t appear to understand a lot about the worlds in which they find themselves.
I think we all have the potential for beauty - in every moment - to one degree or another, even when the shit hits the fan!
“It would be a pity, on falling from a great height, not to enjoy the breeze on the way down.” - Tibetan crazy-wisdom
Like my friend, many of us are not completely clear about what is actually happening - or why?
I believe the Buddha taught us to not be judgmental. I will find the EBT quote and post it!
Ajahn Brahm was once visiting a Christian school and they had some kind of Christian shrine in the place he was going to teach.
The people he was with - who were connected to the school - said that they were going to make some kind of respectful gesture when they past this shrine but, they didn’t expect him to do anything of the sort - as he was not a Christian.
Ajahn Brahm said: I will just find something there that I find worthy of respect and, I will acknowledge that in some way.
I believe the deeper we go into the Dhamma the more we develop the sense that everything has something to teach us if, we are sensitive, wise and, kind.
“Everything is teaching us!” - Ajahn Chah
“Four ways of being inclusive: Giving, kind speech, taking care, and equality.” - Balasutta
“Don’t be judgmental about people.” - Migasālāsutta
Everything is our teacher, every moment is a blessing, this is a precious human rebirth - warts and all! Home is where the is? We can love ourselves unconditionally as we are. We can love others as we love ourselves - problem solved.
There’s something that ‘must be done’ by beings to gain the state of peacefulness and, as a consequence deep natural stillness - samadhi - and then, awakening?
"What should be done by one
who is skilled in wholesomeness,
to gain the State of Peacefulness is this:
One should be able, upright, straight and not proud,
easy to speak to, mild and well content,
easily satisfied and not caught up
in too much bustle, and frugal in one’s ways,
with senses calmed, intelligent, not bold,
not being covetous when with other folk,
not even doing little things that other wise ones blame.
(And this the thought that one should always hold):
“May beings all (live happily) and safe,
and may their (hearts rejoice) within themselves.
Whatever there may be with breath of life,
whether they be frail or very strong,
without exception, be they long or short,
or middle-sized, or be big or small,
or dense, or visible or invisible,
or whether they dwell far or they dwell near,
those that are here, those seeking to exist—
(may beings all rejoice) within themselves.”
Let no one bring about another’s ruin
and not despise in any way or place;
let them not wish each other any ill
from provocation or from enmity.
Just as a mother at the risk of life
loves and protects her child, her only child,
so one should cultivate this boundless love
to all that live in the whole universe—
extending from a consciousness sublime
upwards and downwards and across the world,
untroubled, free from hate and enmity.
And while one stands and while one sits
or when one lies down still free from drowsiness,
one should be intent on this mindfulness—
this is divine abiding here they say.
But when one lives quite free from any view,
is virtuous, with perfect insight won,
and greed for selfish desires let go,
one surely comes no more to be reborn." - Metta Sutta