My last statement: How to be Happy

Bill McCloskey, modified 7 Years ago.

My last statement: How to be Happy

Posts: 34 Join Date: 6/20/14 Recent Posts
Everyone,

I announced I was no longer going to be posting here in an earlier post but I was kindly asked to reconsider and I was glad I did. It did allow me to express some views that I think are important but are often misunderstood by the newest members of the path.

But with this post, I will really will have said all that I think important to say, so this really will be my last post.

Yesterday I posted on a Path with No Fear. This was in response to what I see as the very real dangers of some of the ideas that pass for Buddhism today.

This post will be designed to give you everything else that I have to say on the subject of Buddhism. And I give it to you in hopes that at least one or two of you might find it valuable.

First: the number one thing I think you can do if you wish to follow the Buddhist path is to take the 5 precepts. No lying, no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, and no intoxicants. No single practice will bring you more peace and equanimity.  

Second: renounce as much as you can. Giving up things like drugs and alcohol will first of all save you a ton of money, and financial security can greatly reduce your stress level. Few of us can survive the way the monks did on daily alms rounds, so we need to figure out a way to maintain ourselves with as little stress as possible, and not wasting money is a great way to do that. But the continuing of weening away from our other pleasures in life will help tremendously as well. A number of years ago I went through a divorce and left home. I rented a furnished room and only took a few essentials: clothes, a few books, and I really felt the freedom that comes with giving up the possessions that really hold us down and imprison us.

One way to slowly ween yourself away is to practice similar to the the christian’s church’s Lent. Try giving up that thing that you crave most for 40 days and see how it goes.

The next thing is to make your practice your own. The Buddha talks about learning how to be a basket weaver. The teacher shows you how to make the basket, and after you learn how to make a basket, you need to figure out yourself how to make the best basket. That is where mastery comes in. Does the basket need to be higher? How high? You need to examine it from every side. Once you have finally made the perfect basket, you use that as YOUR guide to making baskets. The same applies to meditation. so much of meditation is a private affair and an individual affair. You will never become a master by slavishly following what has worked for someone else. Once you have the basics, you yourself need to search within yourself for mastery.

And finally how to tell a good path from a bad path. In a good path, every day you should see yourself becoming calmer, more dispassionate, more patient and above all HAPPIER. If your path is making you agitated, depressed, unsure, confused, or defensive, it is the wrong path.

And when evaluating a path, look to see if the students of that path exhibit wisdom, patience, calmness, and above all happiness. If they seem agitated, defensive, obsessive, confused and above all not happy, than that is a path to avoid.

I hope some of this will be of use to some of you. Unfortunately, I won’t be back to answer any questions since I have decided to renounce internet forums completely.

I wish you all find happiness in this life and choose the best path to get your there.

Bill
Matthew Horn, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My last statement: How to be Happy

Posts: 119 Join Date: 1/30/13 Recent Posts
Bill McCloskey:

And finally how to tell a good path from a bad path. In a good path, every day you should see yourself becoming calmer, more dispassionate, more patient and above all HAPPIER. If your path is making you agitated, depressed, unsure, confused, or defensive, it is the wrong path.

And when evaluating a path, look to see if the students of that path exhibit wisdom, patience, calmness, and above all happiness. If they seem agitated, defensive, obsessive, confused and above all not happy, than that is a path to avoid.

Bill, I enjoyed this post and many of your points are spot-on, but I disagree with the one I quoted above.

Here's the Buddha in the Vitthara Sutta:


Monks, there are these four modes of practice. Which four? Painful practice with slow intuition, painful practice with quick intuition, pleasant practice with slow intuition, & pleasant practice with quick intuition.


If you read the whole sutta, you'll see that for some practitioners, practice is quite painful according to their nature and due to no fault of their own or the technique. The suttas do not support your claim that a good path is necessarily easy and peaceful. I think practitioners who make pleasant progress, which is a consequence of their nature, sometimes believe that others are at fault or practicing incorrectly when they have a difficult experience on the path, when that isn't the case.

It's OK to swear off this forum if you feel that is best for you, but we have benefited from your contributions. It would also be OK to leave for a while and return to contribute more if the inspiration should strike you. According to the commentaries, the Buddha would sometimes teach almost continuously, sleeping only an hour a night, but other times he would go into private retreat. I've seen many people here stop posting for awhile and then return as the currents of their practice change , alternating between engagement with other practitioners and seeking solitude.

I hope you do decide to participate here and on Reddit again . Your posts in /r/buddhism have also been topical, concise, and illuminating: deserving of all the upvotes.
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Jane Laurel Carrington, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My last statement: How to be Happy

Posts: 442 Join Date: 4/7/14 Recent Posts
Well, yes and no. His posts have reflected a person who believes what he believes, which is fine, but there's no sense whatsoever of willingness to listen or engage with anyone else. The only reason he opted to stay as long as he did was to tell the rest of us what's what. Daniel, in contrast, will listen and engage, consider what others are saying, and converse. Mr. McCloskey won't do that because he is a dogmatist. Dogmatists can be interesting and their point of view may be valuable, but after awhile it gets old. 

I had to laugh because he claimed his age-60-as a reason why he should be listened to. He had been through it all and now he knows what works and what doesn't. I think people can listen and learn at any age. Getting frozen in a particular point of view is not something to aim for. And by the way, I'm the same age he is. I have a lot of the same satisfactions in my own life that he describes in his. This does not make me an expert on how to live. My path and his have been quite different; among other things, there was a lot more struggle in my case. 

In spite of his preaching, I have enjoyed reading his posts. I tend to enjoy reading most people's posts, whether I agree with them or not. That's the beauty of Internet forums. I'm feeling gratitude toward everyone who has posted in true sincerity, and particularly grateful to Daniel for establishing and maintaining this place.  
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Florian Weps, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: My last statement: How to be Happy

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
Jane Laurel Carrington:
I had to laugh because he claimed his age-60-as a reason why he should be listened to. He had been through it all and now he knows what works and what doesn't. I think people can listen and learn at any age. Getting frozen in a particular point of view is not something to aim for. And by the way, I'm the same age he is. I have a lot of the same satisfactions in my own life that he describes in his. This does not make me an expert on how to live. My path and his have been quite different; among other things, there was a lot more struggle in my case.


Thanks, Jane.

Cheers,
Florian

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