Dharma in "daily life"

thumbnail
Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 10:33 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 10:32 AM

Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Bhante Sujato talk on applying the dhamma to "daily life" (a phrase he dislikes for reasons he makes clear).

Basic idea here is that you want to develop and pursue the Eightfold Path, not allow one aspect or one technique to stand in for the whole. This is the mistake the "mindfulness" people make. They think when you're at work and people are annoying you with requests and pointless stuff, you should "remain mindful", feel the sensations of the breath, observe sensations, that sort of stuff. Sujato says, no, you shouldn't do that; in fact you can't do that, and the Buddha would have to be a fool to suggest doing something you can't do. When you're at work, that's the time to work on right speech, not on "mindfulness" or even investigation of the three characteristics.

He also makes a good point in here about anger, which I've heard other bright, hardcore Buddhists like Yuttadhammo make, which is that when you feel angry, the solution is not to note it or to see the three characteristics in it. The solution is metta. Sujato suggests reading the relevant section of the Vissudhimagga, which I'll eventually get around to.

The larger point here - which I think Sujato makes convincingly - is that the Buddhist path is about more than blasting things with noting, seeing the three characteristics, or cultivating "blips". It's a mind-training aimed at reducing and eventually ending distress. There's a lot more to that than just seeing your experience as devoid of a center of as without agency. And if you try to deal with difficult feelings or situations that way, you're going to have a bad time!
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 11:06 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 11:06 AM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
"Most peoples minds are pretty crap." Ha ha.
Christian Calamus, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:26 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:26 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 88 Join Date: 10/23/10 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:

This is the mistake the "mindfulness" people make. They think when you're at work and people are annoying you with requests and pointless stuff, you should "remain mindful", feel the sensations of the breath, observe sensations, that sort of stuff. Sujato says, no, you shouldn't do that; in fact you can't do that, and the Buddha would have to be a fool to suggest doing something you can't do. When you're at work, that's the time to work on right speech, not on "mindfulness" or even investigation of the three characteristics.


Fitter, this is an important point, thank you for bringing it up. I've been trying to actively work on integration of insight into "daily life" and find it rather difficult. Recently I seem to have stumbled into the mindfulness trap you have pointed out. There is a lot of confusion around the theme of integration, and it's sad that the pragmatism of pragmatic dharma stops short of this important point. It would be great to have a set of systematic, accessible and pragmatic instructions for how to carry ones practice and insight into daily life.
thumbnail
Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:26 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:26 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Some Guy:
"Most peoples minds are pretty crap." Ha ha.


I know, he's great.
thumbnail
Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:36 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:33 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Christian B:
Fitter Stoke:

This is the mistake the "mindfulness" people make. They think when you're at work and people are annoying you with requests and pointless stuff, you should "remain mindful", feel the sensations of the breath, observe sensations, that sort of stuff. Sujato says, no, you shouldn't do that; in fact you can't do that, and the Buddha would have to be a fool to suggest doing something you can't do. When you're at work, that's the time to work on right speech, not on "mindfulness" or even investigation of the three characteristics.


Fitter, this is an important point, thank you for bringing it up. I've been trying to actively work on integration of insight into "daily life" and find it rather difficult. Recently I seem to have stumbled into the mindfulness trap you have pointed out. There is a lot of confusion around the theme of integration, and it's sad that the pragmatism of pragmatic dharma stops short of this important point. It would be great to have a set of systematic, accessible and pragmatic instructions for how to carry ones practice and insight into daily life.


It's part of the problem with hardcore/pragmatic dharma in general that it's focused on "insight" almost to the total exclusion of every other aspect of the Buddhist path. Liberating good insight technique from the bonds of Baby Boomer political correctness was an important advance. MCTB is a foundational text in that regard. But we shouldn't be measuring ourselves against what the people at IMS are doing. So what if our practice kicks the crap out of theirs? That's like crowning yourself King Shit of Turd Island.

The bottom line is, most people get into this stuff because they want to alleviate their (dis)stress, their depression, their suffering, their dukkha, not because there's something special about having a quarter second conk-out in their experience or getting into the 6th jhana (as awesome - and necessary to advanced practice - as those experiences are). When the practice is solely about those things, though, it becomes a complete and total mystery what the connection is between what we're doing and the stated goal of the Buddhist path.
thumbnail
Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:42 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 12:42 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Also, it's interesting and totally worthwhile to look at what Buddhisms other than Theravada have to say about these issues. Theravada is a path of renunciation: renunciation is both the goal and the means of the path. Listen to what Sujado says about how much easier it is to follow the path when you're a monk, when you forgo sex, drink, idle discourse, listening to music, and the like. It's too easy to forget this when you think the whole thing is about blasting through ├▒anas and getting your fruition.

The situation is very different in other branches of Buddhism. In Vajrayana, for instance, drinking alcohol isn't only allowed; it's compulsory. Sex is seen as a means to getting enlightened. Emotions like anger are not viewed as something to be gotten rid of, since any emotion is merely "energy" in the body, and energy is neither good nor bad. In many ways, it's 180 degrees from Theravada. You might think, "Oh, that's just ethics, though." Well, what the hell else is this about besides living a good life? I don't get it. How can you throw yourself fully into a practice without looking at the people who follow that practice the hardest and considering whether you want to be like them?
Some Guy, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 2:14 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 2:14 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 343 Join Date: 8/9/11 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:
I don't get it. How can you throw yourself fully into a practice without looking at the people who follow that practice the hardest and considering whether you want to be like them?


Most of us probably see ourselves living lives more like that of Kenneth and Daniel and the other regular Joe's who hang around here. Part of the appeal of MCTB etc. is that you don't have to be like a monk to do the practice and enjoy its fruits. It's not theravada light. If it were, there would very likely be a lot less waking up going on (because it wouldn't attract pragmatic practitioners).

Morality and all the challenges of worldly life become much more manageable with insight. For example, the advice to practice metta in the face of anger seems a lot more realistic to me now than it would have prior to stream entry. Before SE, Metta instructions would have done me no more or less good than mindfulness or positive thinking. Daniel touches on this in the book, saying essentially, good luck working on your problems without awakening. So, the shotgun approach of hardcore dharma has advantages.

For me, any practice is appealing not because I want to be like the people who peddle it but so I can test it out and see for myself. With a refined technique like meditation fidelity to instructions is key. Morality and daily life are more improvisatory and - for lack of a better word - personal. As you point out, every buddhist culture has modified its ethics to suit a time and place.

Anyway, I'd be very interested to hear anyone's experience in bringing sila and practice together.

... It's too easy to forget this when you think the whole thing is about blasting through ├▒anas and getting your fruition


Worked for you, didn't it? ;)
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 3:09 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 3:08 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
thumbnail
Jake , modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:00 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:00 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
It's a good topic.

I see the three trainings as pointing to aspects of human nature. Just as human nature has these integrated facets so does training. Each includes the others in some respect. Experientially this seems pretty simple and direct, but it's tough to conceptualize. I'll try anyway!

For instance, (and this could be articulated many ways, I'm just improvising here), ethics training could be summed up as cultivating beneficial behaviors of body speech and mind. Ethics could be glossed as 'taking care of __'. Taking care of myself, of other sentients, of tools, of nature etc. Taking good care of things by choosing beneficial behaviors, by changing habits. This includes cultivating the habit of being present in experience in an open and relaxed and clear way (peaceful abiding). Letting go of habits of agitation and distraction. Building habits of open clear non-reactive attention. However if we just cultivate discrete habits of behaving 'ethically' or manifesting a calm mind, we can only go so far; we reach the wall of the identities we form as righteous and/or jhannicaly adept practitioners.

Ultimately ethics as 'taking care of __' means taking care of the way things actually are, being authentic, cultivating an authentic way-of-being. When we look with a calm clear mind at the experiencing of experience we don't find anything permanent, separate-- either subjectively or objectively (twofold emptiness, insight). By cultivating attention to this true nature and letting go of ways of being which are inauthentic (based on assumptions of solid separate independently existing selves and things), we are cultivating an appreciation and respect for an ultimate integrity. Ethics as kindness and respect for all implies discovering/cultivating deeper capacities for peaceful abiding and insightful clarity.

Mind training in peaceful abiding implies the ethical as above; on one level it is a process of cultivating beneficial habits and letting go of harmful ones. This means seeing what's actually happening in experience, or else we will just be coming up with half baked concepts of ethical 'shoulds' or imagining ourselves as more calm and clear and kind. So we need to actually do the training of cultivating that peaceful abiding, being present in a clear, open and kind way to the flow of experiencing, in order to do anything else on this path. We need to train our minds. And yet, it is easy to solidify that calm open 'observor' if we limit ourselves to cultivating habits. We also need insight into the natural state of mind, its basic nature as open clear and kind which is already present before we start churning out identifications. So beyond cultivating peaceful abiding, there is insight into the primordial nature of mind as empty clarity.

Insight into twofold emptiness naturally seems to involve a sense of kindness or an openness to others' being. So going about activities when not sitting can certainly be opportunity to investigate the kinds of 'self' and 'objects' that arise in the course of those activities as reactive emotions of attachment and aversion arise in ordinary circumstances. The primal clarity and peacefulness of mind can be uncovered like a sun behind the clouds of subject/object reactions in the midst of ordinary activities, whether waking and dreaming. And don't we all have some experience of this already? Isn't it just a matter of taking care of our life, moment to moment, regardless of whether we are sitting or not?

Historically, it definitely seems like mainstream Western Buddhism emphasizes ethics and to a lesser degree mind training (cultivating calm presence) to the detriment of insight and awakening. Pragmatic or Hardcore Dharma emphasizes insight and awakening, a necessary corrective, with a secondary emphasis on concentration practices. It seems obvious and natural that a swing now towards a more holistic approach that explicitly emphasizes a coordinated integral multifaceted training (three trainings) will emerge which retains the hardcore commitment to insight and yet embraces the need for ethics as explicit practice (and one which is not separate from insight-- different, but not separate).

Our human nature is an individual phenomenological stream, one facet of which however is our being with others, which in turn shapes our individual stream of phenomena through culture and other interactions. The circularity of our nature with regard to individual stream of phenomena and our being with others is reflected in the circularity of practices for training our nature which emphasize insight into the nature of the stream of phenomena and those which emphasize the interaction of multiple experiential continua (ethics as inter-experiential). Ethics needs to be insightful and insight when authentic has ethical implications. A well trained mind that is stable and clear is best suited for optimizing ethical insightfulness/insightful ethics.
thumbnail
Jake , modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:11 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 4:11 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 695 Join Date: 5/22/10 Recent Posts
In other words the three trainings point to the same integral human nature and as such are differentiable but inseparable. In various moments or in various phases of life one aspect of our nature may need more attention and thus one aspect of training may become more prominent. But explicitly seeing how each training points to our integral human nature and thus implies the other two trainings is a protective view that can prevent one sided cultivation. I guess there is a strong claim underlying what I am saying, along the lines of if you think you can cultivate ethics without insight (mushroom dharma) or if you have cultivated insight to the point of transforming your experiential continuum to a degree of high resolution emptiness/centerlessness and yet are still causing lots of suffering for yourself and others, than you in either case have not been cultivating authentic ethics or authentic insight, but rather a lopsided simulation of authentic ethical insightfulness/insightful ethics, or 'good practice'.
thumbnail
Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 7:48 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 7:47 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
This is definitely a good topic because strong concentration and mindfulness of the 3 Cs while using high computation at work and talking to bosses is not recommended. emoticon I think Daniel put it right when he said to just keep some attention in the body while working but to just get on with working. I also think as you get better on the path you become more friendly and conversation naturally flows from it.

Imagining what your behaviour looks like to other people is a good practice to see if there is any skillfulness there or not.
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 3/6/13 12:01 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/5/13 11:39 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:

The situation is very different in other branches of Buddhism. In Vajrayana, for instance, drinking alcohol isn't only allowed; it's compulsory.


That's very context-dependent and easy to take out of context. You're supposed to have small amounts of it during a tsok (a feast offering) and avoid it the rest of the time. Some people are of the belief that it's OK for non-monastics to drink serious amounts in Vajrayana, as long as they're able to maintain their concentration. I won't contradict them, but I think the criteria for that are very demanding. The Average Joe vajrayanist who doesn't have fantastic concentration isn't supposed to drink outside of tsok.


Sex is seen as a means to getting enlightened.


Yes, but all male practitioners are also subject to a vow to not lose single drop of semen while having sex unless they're trying to have child. That's a serious obstacle to having sex. Being able to practice seminal retention is through very advanced practices. How many people can do that? The percentage of vajrayanists who even know the techniques for seminal retention and using sex to achieve liberation is minuscule. The percentage of people who can successfully do those techniques to any extent is even smaller. Despite the public perception and the sexual imagery in diety practice, tantrism largely isn't about sex, it's about celibacy. Celibacy matters far, far more in tantric versions of Buddhism than in the non-tantric versions. I'm not saying that most people practice this way (I don't want to pass judgment), but the texts are adamant that you need to do it this way to achieve the results of the practice.

The rules of vajrayana are very hard to follow properly.

Emotions like anger are not viewed as something to be gotten rid of, since any emotion is merely "energy" in the body, and energy is neither good nor bad. In many ways, it's 180 degrees from Theravada.


But again, this is context-dependent. To apply that statement to anything but the highest practices is to overgeneralize and say things that simply aren't the case outside of a narrow context. In the context of ngondro, and basic forms of diety yoga, anger isn't something that practitioners should engage in. It's quite bad and destroys merit. The wrathful dieties are still expressions of relative and absolute boddhicitta, in other words emptiness and compassion. Dzogchen and Mahamudra have different perspectives, which I can't claim to understand and deal with negative emotions in a completely different way that doesn't reject them and does seem in accord with what you're saying (I stopped studying vajrayana at that point and didn't learn trekchod and togyal, so everything I know about Dzogchen is from books and therefore just hearsay), but they are founded on ngondro and the energy practices that precede them, none of which draw on anger as far as I know. Every diety practice I learned, be it peaceful or wrathful, was about compassion. I do get the impression that anger is transformed through diety practice, but it seems to be an advanced effect. No teacher ever told me "Draw on your anger". It's generally seen as a hindrance to meditation, just as it is in Theravada.

You might think, "Oh, that's just ethics, though." Well, what the hell else is this about besides living a good life? I don't get it. How can you throw yourself fully into a practice without looking at the people who follow that practice the hardest and considering whether you want to be like them?


Ethics in Vajrayana is a fairly complicated topic since it includes samayas that are very difficult to maintain, such as the two I mentioned above and vows to maintain the view and meditation day and night with no interruptions (I suppose except for sleep). See Twenty-seven root samayas and Twenty-five branch samayas. You're initially not expected to be able to keep them all or even understand them all, since it requires being an advanced meditator. Rather, you confess your faults every day and do lots your tradition's purification practice (typically but not always Vajrasattva) and try to work on it all until you're able to keep the samayas. It's hard. Theravada ethics are much easier to understand.
Christian Calamus, modified 9 Years ago at 3/6/13 1:17 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/6/13 1:17 AM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 88 Join Date: 10/23/10 Recent Posts
Some Guy:

Morality and all the challenges of worldly life become much more manageable with insight.


Everybody says that, and I find in my own experience that it's true to some extent. But shouldn't we ask why and how this process actually works and how we can actively support it?

MCTB suggests to distinguish between relative and absolute truth and to not expect any changes in "daily life" due to ones insight. That's one extreme position - which has its value because it takes the pressure of and allows one to practice for the fun of it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who seem to think of enlightenment (e.g. in the context of the ten fetter model) as something that can be attained by (hardcore) meditation alone, without morality and off-the-cushion practice etc. Many advanced practicioners talk about changes in their life that seem to stem from their practice, but in all honesty I don't see how practical skill can be instilled in the mind by hitting it with fruition often and hard enough. I'm not saying it doesn't happen - I just think it's very worthwhile to ask how exactly the connection of practice and life works (and how it can be strengthened). Up until now, the connection of insight and skillful living seems to be a blind spot.


Fitter Stoke:

Also, it's interesting and totally worthwhile to look at what Buddhisms other than Theravada have to say about these issues. Theravada is a path of renunciation: renunciation is both the goal and the means of the path. [...]
The situation is very different in other branches of Buddhism.


I don't know much about other Buddhist schools, but this seems to be a century-old debate. Alan Watts cites an old tantric text in one of his talks that touches upon this issue:
Saraha's Treasury of Songs

Some excerpts:

10

Then there are the novices and bhikshus with the teaching of the Old School,
Who renounce the world to be monks.
Some are seen sitting and reading the scriptures,
Some wither away in their concentration on thought.

11

Others have recourse to the Great Vehicle.
This is the doctrine which expounds the original texts, (they say).
Others just meditate on mandala-circles.
Others strive to define the fourth stage of bliss.

12

With such investigating they fall from the Way;
Some would envisage it as space,
Others endow it with the nature of voidness,
And thus they are generally in disagreement.

13

Whoever deprived of the Innate, seeks nirvana,
Can in no wise acquire the absolute truth.

14

Whoever is intent on anything else, how may he gain release?
Will one gain release, abiding in meditation?
What's the use of lamps? What's the use of offerings?
What's to be done by reliance on mantras?

15

What is the use of austerities?
What is the use of going on pilgrimage?
Is release achieved by bathing in water?

16

Abandon such false attachments and renounce such illusion!
Than knowledge of This there is nothing else.
Other than This no one can know.

17

It is This that's read and This that's meditated,
It's This that's discussed in treatises and old legends.
There is no school of thought that does not have This as its aim,
But one sees it only at the feet of one's master.

18

If the world of one's master but enter the heart,
It seems like a treasure in the palm of one's hand.
The world is enslaved by falsehood, says Saraha,
And the fool does not perceive his true nature.

19

Without meditating, without renouncing the world,
One may stay at home in the company of one's wife.
Can that be called perfect knowledge, Saraha says,
If one is not released while enjoying the pleasures of sense?

20

If it's already manifest, what's the use of meditation?
And if it is hidden, one is just measuring darkness.
Saraha cries: The nature of the Innate is neither existent nor non-existent.
thumbnail
Andrew K, modified 9 Years ago at 3/22/13 8:11 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/22/13 8:11 AM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 52 Join Date: 2/27/12 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:


Basic idea here is that you want to develop and pursue the Eightfold Path, not allow one aspect or one technique to stand in for the whole. This is the mistake [...]


yes! this really makes a lot of sense to me. reserving insight and concentration practices for formal sitting, and then during daily activities focusing on the N8FP makes so much sense to me. especially considering how insight practices can be so disorienting, and concentration practices can bring up your stuff, those are all things that you precisely DON'T want to bring up during your daily life, you want to get into that when you can be sure it won't be spilling out onto others, meaning in formal sitting or on retreat.

For myself at least, so much of the struggle and difficulty about practice is knowing that lots of this stuff can get slightly worse before it gets better, and worrying about the daily life consequences and spillover from trying to simultaneously practice concentration/insight while being around people or living real life just makes everything crap. honestly, the worry about spillover and supposedly being a "meditator" or a "buddhist practitioner" and being a terrible example or a neurotic mess while going through some difficult practice in daily life, and tarnishing the reputation of dhamma in the eyes of everyone around you, is a really rubbish mindset that can surely be evaded almost entirely if the position is to just do your best to have right speech when around people, right view when thinking about the world, right intention when deciding what to do, etc etc etc, instead of just noting the hell out of the infinite fractal mind which doesn't make sense anyway and having your speech and intentions and view be subject to whatever random framework/whim/trip you have going on.

living life from the point of view of N8FP (right speech, view, effort etc) is so much more sane an approach than living it from the point of view of whatever insanity you get into if the main focus is insight or concentration. and i'm pretty sure there are big warnings in MTCB about this but somehow i think i personally missed it, and i think it's because i still wasn't sure what exactly the daily life framework had to be, and obviously its N8FP..

anyway, sorry if this post was somewhat self centered, but i wanted to express my thankfulness to you for sharing this idea and how useful it is to me. maybe someone will find it useful by relating to my shadow.




note about anger/metta:
i've heard this other places too, while reading Wisdom Wide and Deep by Shaila Catherine, in the concentration practices she explains that overcoming ill-will and anger (classified in the book's method as one of five hindrances to jhana) is done by cultivating joy (cultivating joy while feeling ill-will as an antidote to ill-will). the point is that if during practice/life you get irritated or angry, you don't get out of it by repeatedly noting it, you get out of it by letting go and bringing in positive/joyful feelings (but of course you have to note it at least once in order to take that step). i've practiced this and i get good results from it.



as to the larger point - i think MTCB is in complete agreement with this. which is why D goes on and on about having your psychological, moral, social trips all together, enjoying life and not being a mess, lists all those books on metta practices and kindness, etc. Doing all the 3C and insight stuff as the sole purpose of your existence will surely drive anyone bonkers because there is nothing in those practices about how to function in daily life. you can be as nondual as you want and still be a non-suffering mess. you can't think about being nice to people if all your mental attention is taken up into noting.
thumbnail
Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 3/23/13 7:26 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 3/23/13 7:25 AM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
Andrew Ken:
this really makes a lot of sense to me. reserving insight and concentration practices for formal sitting, and then during daily activities focusing on the N8FP makes so much sense to me


That's not precisely what I'm saying, though it's close.

There's only one thing - not two things - the Buddhist path addresses, and that's dukkha:

Uncle Sid:
Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress: Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful. (link)


And the Noble Eightfold Path is the Buddha's solution to this problem of stress:

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.


As far as I can tell, nowhere does the Buddha say, "Okay, the proper way to deal with stress on the cushion is XYZ, but the proper way to deal with it over here is ABC." Instead, it's presented as a program of interlocking parts, where one part reinforces another.

I cover some of this in my latest post. Right speech is supported by right intention, right view, and right mindfulness, which are all qualities that are perfected in meditation.

But right speech has a part to play in the perfection of meditation. For one thing, controlling one's own speech is a useful propaedeutic to controlling one's mind. Also, if you've made enemies or have transgressed with your speech, the consequences of this are likely to distract you while you're trying to enter into jhana. One way around this would be to not interact with anyone or anything ever, thereby creating no effect, but this isn't practical (I tried!), nor is it the way the Buddha taught.

Andrew Ken:
instead of just noting the hell out of the infinite fractal mind which doesn't make sense anyway and having your speech and intentions and view be subject to whatever random framework/whim/trip you have going on.


Yeah. You're not going to be able to blast everything with noting. Not because there's anything wrong with noting, but just because life is complex, and what works in one situation may not work well or at all in another. This is why it's a good idea, pretty early on, to learn multiple techniques for approaching (dis)stress. It's also where having a teacher comes in handy, since they can suggest the right approaches at the right times.
thumbnail
bernd the broter, modified 9 Years ago at 4/4/13 4:34 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/4/13 4:34 AM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 376 Join Date: 6/13/12 Recent Posts
Just watched the talk. Awesome dude. I looked for more talks by him, but couldn't find any on this channel.
Does anyone know if there are more?
thumbnail
Fitter Stoke, modified 9 Years ago at 4/4/13 6:17 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/4/13 6:17 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 487 Join Date: 1/23/12 Recent Posts
There are a bunch of them. Just search "Ajahn Sujato" on youtube and you'll find them. He often fills in for Ajahn Brahm in Perth.
thumbnail
Dream Walker, modified 9 Years ago at 4/4/13 6:39 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 4/4/13 6:39 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 1430 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
I always saw the 8 fold path as 2 parts...getting enlightened and morality to stop doing stupid crap that distracts you so you could work on getting enlightened. I am under the impression that early Buddha was more about enlightenment and along the way he was forced to make a ton of rules to keep lay peeps and monks from breaking the golden rule. I don't know where I got this impression or if it is true.
thumbnail
Aregente Noir, modified 8 Years ago at 10/11/13 10:41 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/11/13 10:41 AM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 4 Join Date: 10/10/13 Recent Posts
Fitter Stoke:


Thank you posting this! Exactly what I needed to hear!
thumbnail
Jenny, modified 8 Years ago at 10/11/13 10:56 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 10/11/13 10:53 PM

RE: Dharma in "daily life"

Posts: 566 Join Date: 7/28/13 Recent Posts
Christian B:
Some Guy:

Morality and all the challenges of worldly life become much more manageable with insight.


Everybody says that, and I find in my own experience that it's true to some extent. But shouldn't we ask why and how this process actually works and how we can actively support it?

MCTB suggests to distinguish between relative and absolute truth and to not expect any changes in "daily life" due to ones insight. That's one extreme position - which has its value because it takes the pressure of and allows one to practice for the fun of it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those who seem to think of enlightenment (e.g. in the context of the ten fetter model) as something that can be attained by (hardcore) meditation alone, without morality and off-the-cushion practice etc. Many advanced practicioners talk about changes in their life that seem to stem from their practice, but in all honesty I don't see how practical skill can be instilled in the mind by hitting it with fruition often and hard enough. I'm not saying it doesn't happen - I just think it's very worthwhile to ask how exactly the connection of practice and life works (and how it can be strengthened). Up until now, the connection of insight and skillful living seems to be a blind spot.


Fitter Stoke:

Also, it's interesting and totally worthwhile to look at what Buddhisms other than Theravada have to say about these issues. Theravada is a path of renunciation: renunciation is both the goal and the means of the path. [...]
The situation is very different in other branches of Buddhism.


I don't know much about other Buddhist schools, but this seems to be a century-old debate. Alan Watts cites an old tantric text in one of his talks that touches upon this issue:
Saraha's Treasury of Songs

Some excerpts:

10

Then there are the novices and bhikshus with the teaching of the Old School,
Who renounce the world to be monks.
Some are seen sitting and reading the scriptures,
Some wither away in their concentration on thought.

11

Others have recourse to the Great Vehicle.
This is the doctrine which expounds the original texts, (they say).
Others just meditate on mandala-circles.
Others strive to define the fourth stage of bliss.

12

With such investigating they fall from the Way;
Some would envisage it as space,
Others endow it with the nature of voidness,
And thus they are generally in disagreement.

13

Whoever deprived of the Innate, seeks nirvana,
Can in no wise acquire the absolute truth.

14

Whoever is intent on anything else, how may he gain release?
Will one gain release, abiding in meditation?
What's the use of lamps? What's the use of offerings?
What's to be done by reliance on mantras?

15

What is the use of austerities?
What is the use of going on pilgrimage?
Is release achieved by bathing in water?

16

Abandon such false attachments and renounce such illusion!
Than knowledge of This there is nothing else.
Other than This no one can know.

17

It is This that's read and This that's meditated,
It's This that's discussed in treatises and old legends.
There is no school of thought that does not have This as its aim,
But one sees it only at the feet of one's master.

18

If the world of one's master but enter the heart,
It seems like a treasure in the palm of one's hand.
The world is enslaved by falsehood, says Saraha,
And the fool does not perceive his true nature.

19

Without meditating, without renouncing the world,
One may stay at home in the company of one's wife.
Can that be called perfect knowledge, Saraha says,
If one is not released while enjoying the pleasures of sense?

20

If it's already manifest, what's the use of meditation?
And if it is hidden, one is just measuring darkness.
Saraha cries: The nature of the Innate is neither existent nor non-existent.


The whole thread is great, but Christian's reply takes the cake (has it and emoticon eats it, too).

Breadcrumb