Studying, thinking, practising...


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Posted by Zolla (202.84.145.7) on November 10, 2000 at 21:28:11:

In Reply to: Re: You are wrong, Buddha, Bodhisattva and Arhat is three different nature. A Buddha is a fully enlightened one, an Arhat still attach to the bliss of Nirvana and a Bodhisattva is a fully compassion being. The three of them are different ... posted by Savaka on November 09, 2000 at 21:09:44:

First, I personally do not wanna say "I'm right, you're wrong". I believe there are misinterpretations of my intention of raising the topics at the first place. I'll TRY to explain it more clearly later. As I keep saying, please be patience.

Second, I don't think everybody who responded only read and not practise. and also, what is "practise"? Does practise only means meditation or any formal exercises? I believe nobody here would think so.

I see studying and thinking are also parts of practice. Of course formal ones such as meditation too. But before meditation, I would say a good conduct, a good morality, a good mind...are even more important. It is always said that if one can apply mindfulness in all kind of situations, it's already a very powerful meditation. So don't think it's a "basic" thing.

Tibetan tradition has been placing much emphasis on following the path gradually and going through all three "yanas". Chogyam Trungpa once said that without actually going through the principles used by Hinayana one have misunderstandings of all three Yanas. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche also explained the two principle methods used in the Tibetan tradition: Shamatha and Vipashyana, mantras, visualizations for examples are shamatha practices, they are practised in order to achieve concentration and tranquility, while the Vipashyana is employed to acquire insights (wisdom). That's about the practice. So for example when we suddenly feel that everything stop or disappear or when we see several unusual things in our concentration exercises, we should know that it isn't real emptiness nor are the things we see anything more than mind projections.

With that knowledge in mind, we'll be able to see that even Tibetan schools use methods that look very different from the older schools, there is still a sense of continuity, or consistence in the teachings of all three "yanas", and the basic principles still correspond to the central Buddhist concepts as in the four Nikayas. So far, I haven't come across with major differences that are too painfully to accept, except for certain popular beliefs that mix Buddhist concepts with other beliefs such as folklores, or take the Buddhist forms to teach other things while having obvious misconceptions about certain key Buddhist concepts.

For those who haven't got so much time, I don't think they can afford to follow the path so thoroughly. So they have to stick with their own ways. I believe the important thing shouldn't be which school is the "highest" or the "most advanced", but, really, whether or not a particular method or system work for us. Here I don't mean one gets unusual experiences in his practises. I think as positive signs, first of all we should be able to notice that the mind is more tamed, we become more patience, we don't "react" all the time without being mindful to what happens inside.

There are people who have already accumulated many Paramis for uncountable lifetimes, they might attain realization by, for example, just hearing a few words, such kind of cases have already recorded in Theravada, it was not until Hui Nang that we suddenly have this kind of "sudden enlightenment" thing. For the most of us, reading things taught by those people is really amazing, it sometime gives us the feeling that such way is the most advanced that we should follow, all other ways are simply waste of time...but...as I asked myself this: okay we can all talk a great deal about the meanings of those teachings, such as form is emptiness, emptiness is form, but do I, myself, actually realize anything? Then I began to realize that I really honest to ourselves...

Here I am not argueing which one is more "correct" (i.e. the Mahayana belief that the Buddha actually wanted everyone to become Buddhas or the more classical schools' standpoint that the Buddha's concern was simply to show people the way to end suffering and in such case attaining Arhat is already THE GOAL--the's the final liberation, period)*, as I am sure there are a lot of different intepretations, depending on which school we follow, I think nobody can give us a definite answer except the Buddha himself. My point is, when we think about things like Bodhicitta, Emptiness, Absolute Views...etc, whether we get into the "actual" or we simply go for concepts?

Once I attained a teaching given by a renowned Theravada master, at the end of the class there was one student asking, whether or not the Nibbana that a person who follows Theravada can reach at the end exactly the same thing as the Emptiness taught in the more later schools? The teacher simply smiled and said, whatever it is, be it Nibanna or Emptiness, you have to actually go there to realize it for yourself, otherwise it'll remain simply a concept.

There are simple people who practise simple methods such as chanting a Buddha's name or repeating a mantra--wholeheartedly. I believe this also works. If somehow someone find something works for him, unless we know for sure there are better things that suit him better, it'll be better not to interrupt them--this is mentioned in "Entering the Bodhisattva Path". Enlighten or not, well let it depend on conditions, just take it naturally, don't rush for something just because it gives you some very glamourous ideas that attract you. At times, we may read something that are so amazing, eg. someone who suddenly realized emptiness then he cut all the incorrect views. But then, first of all, do we actually realize what the person teaches about? Second, even if we know for sure that this view is absolutely right, what if other people? Consider it carefully especially if we think we wanna follow the Bodhisattva Path. I strongly believe an All-Knowing One knows all different ways that suits best different people so that he doesn't make the mistake of confusing others' mind by teaching them methods that do not suit them.

Thank you very much for all your time.


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