Posted by zolla (188.8.131.52) on November 06, 2000 at 13:28:40:
In Reply to: to you all posted by seer on November 06, 2000 at 11:21:28:
I think first of all try to not see Buddhism as a "belief". To me it is a practical system.
Second, it is always adviced that do not expect anything or practise with the expectation of being anything--especially for beginners. As that can easily lead one to a wrong path.
Third, it is always adviced that do not cling on to any strange experiences. Especially if the experiences come very easily, the Abhidharma and many Buddhist texts have explained very clearly that there are several situations one may have different kinds of experiences but most of them are merely projections of the mind, if we get drawn to them, or even worse, follow them, we'll go on the a wrong path. There are Christians and people who follow different spiritual traditions also have strange experiences, this can easily happen to some people, but if we go after any unusual experiences, it's very likely that we'll go on a wrong way. We should always remember that experiences are different with the objective of the Buddhist path, which is the third part which I'm gonna explain in the next point.
Fourth, the Buddha didn't create his own path. The path he followed is called the Threefold path which contains three indepensible stages: i) conducts/morality, ii) concentration, iii) insight (wisdom). According to the sutras he had followed this path for uncountable lifetimes, under the teachings of previous Buddhas or many many many teachers, but instead of reaching personal liberation he had chosen to delay enlightenment in order to accumulate the Ten Perfections so that he could become a teacher whom can help many people. When one comes to his final lifetime in which he enlightens as a Buddha, there are several marks and signs and it is the nature's way that one whose paramis are about to ripe can enlighten alone without teacher, this probably gives us the idea that he discovered the path and enlightened alone without any teacher, in fact, we should bear into mind that he had followed the path for many many lifetimes, so he didn't "create" it. Now we arrive at the question whether it is possible one is actually a potential Buddha. Depending on the defination of a potential Buddha, if we are talking about potentional of attaining enlightenment in a generic sense, yes we all have the potentials; if we are talking specifically whether one will become a Buddha in this lifetime or not, just consider whether or not we have the signs and the qualities mentioned in the Sutras. That's it. There is also one potential danger in expecting to create one's own path is that it is very likely that one gets fooled by his own ego, not by anyone else, but by his own ego.
I think if we take it naturally and don't rush to become "something", the Fourth will not be a concern at all. Whether one can enlighten in this lifetime or not depends on so many conditions, if we didn't create enough suitable conditions in the past, there'll be no point in expecting to become fully enlightened in this life, right? Just take it naturally, take the first step to learn and be really patience.
This also applies to Dharma Student's question: what is the difference between studying scriptural teachings and practising Dharma. Traditionally, it is always taught that one should go thru' a three-stage process: i) hearing (or reading) about the Dharma, ii) thinking, inquiring, considering, iii) practising. This is the most widely accepted mode of practising Dharma by most major schools. For people who are still looking it is the most recommended way.
These are my recommendations. Hope it helps
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