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What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?

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What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 5/22/09 1:15 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 5/22/09 3:39 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Kenneth Folk 5/22/09 6:06 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? tarin greco 5/22/09 8:53 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 5/22/09 9:57 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Abingdon . 5/22/09 10:35 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? D C 5/22/09 1:21 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Mike L 5/23/09 5:11 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? tarin greco 5/23/09 8:17 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? C4 Chaos 6/11/09 5:36 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? j g 6/11/09 7:24 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/12/09 2:20 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/12/09 3:05 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/12/09 3:12 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/12/09 4:13 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? nic s 6/12/09 5:25 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/13/09 8:23 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Tina Hamilton 6/13/09 11:08 AM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/17/09 3:44 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? Wet Paint 6/17/09 6:03 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? triple think 6/19/09 10:54 PM
RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice? C4 Chaos 6/20/09 4:54 AM
Author: PaulMarshall
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Here's a (non-exhaustive) list:

1) Liberation is gained through insight meditation, not through calm abiding alone.
2) Theory's all well and good, but you can only *really* make sense of it after sufficient experience.
3) Shop around.
4) People still attain liberation, if they give the effort. Aim high.
5) Lineage is important – find a tradition that is producing liberated practitioners and isn’t either a theoretical talking shop or a bunch of new-age bunk.

Anyone else?

Paul

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/22/09 3:39 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: sean2.0

This is probably embedded in your #1 and #5, but I'd add this:

*There are specific practices that can enable your progress at specific levels.

I had more of a "tossed salad" impression of meditation practices when I started.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/22/09 6:06 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I like what Paul and Sean said. I would add:

Conclusions are stage-specific and cyclical. Always stay open to the possibility (likelihood) that what you are selling today is the very thing you'll be railing against tomorrow.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/22/09 8:53 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
haha, i like that. sounds like my musical chairs theory from another thread. building on that, how bout staying open to the possibility that you wont be open to staying open tmrw?

i wish i knew that there were so many different ways to do things effectively and that they actually oppose or contraindicate each other way way less than i thought must be the case (suspicious sectarian dogmatism).

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/22/09 9:57 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: PaulMarshall

One thing I forgot:

6) The Buddhist view of things is nearly always described from the viewpoint of *experience*, namely the 6 senses, not from some objective third person viewpoint.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/22/09 10:35 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
This may be somewhat tangential, but I wish that I had learned earlier that there was more to Buddhism than prostrations and ceremonies and talk about reincarnation. A dozen years ago I had a very close friend who was Buddhist and that's about all I learned about it from her. I wrote off Buddhism because I thought it was just another religion, just like the Christianity I long ago abandoned. If I had found something like MCTB or this site 12 years ago, who knows where I'd be now! :-)

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/22/09 1:21 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
1.The process is cogent and doable, without losing any of its fundamental beauty and mystery.

2. 'Cycling' - dark night territory - is an inevitable, integral aspect of progress.

edit: by 'process', I refer, of course, to the process of awakening.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/23/09 5:11 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
It's more what I wish I'd known sooner *so that* I could practice. For too long I was looking for something I could do, and all I was finding was "just sit" for decades or "realize what is already true" right now. Not appealing and not helpful. I didn't really practice seriously. So, apart from a clear description of map-based practice with specific, simple techniques, I would quickly add: that concentration/jhana/samadhi practice need not be separate from insight practice. Here's where I (again!?) pimp Shankman's "Samadhi" book, or at least his Buddhist Geeks interview, or Thanissaro Bikkhu's concise "Path of Concentration & Mindfulness" http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/concmind.html

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
5/23/09 8:17 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
oh here's another one:

goenka told me that good meditation (blissful / peaceful) and bad meditation (sloppy / painful) are equal in value because the point is to be equanimous about both. now i get what he means.

if only he'd just said smth along the lines of 'both blissful/peaceful sits and sloppy/painful sits are comprised of different sensations but all of which manifest the characteristics you're looking for, so all you have to do is keep looking and it doesn't really matter what you're looking at'.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/11/09 5:36 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Paul Marshall,

(i think this corresponds to #3, #4, #5)

due to my geeky proclivity, i wish i knew more about Buddhism from a historical academic perspective so that i could've chosen my practice with more information at hand. also, i could've avoided the confusion i've had with the different schools/lineages and various philosophical debates among the multi-faceted dimensions of the Buddhist tradition.

the good thing is, thanks to the internets, i can now catch up with this information online via Buddhist scholars like Lewis Lancaster. check out this scholarly summary of the spread of Buddhism.

Burke Lecture: Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology ~http://bit.ly/11gTct

if i knew this information way back, then i'd probably had much bigger, more balanced, and more appreciative perspective of Buddhism from the start.

that said, i now have a good idea that i resonate more with Theravada with a hint of Zen emoticon

~C

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/11/09 7:24 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
My two cents:

1a- Stay skeptical, test everything for yourself.
1b- Don't take one person's word for it.
1c- Don't be too haste, give yourself time to sort through what you are looking at.
1d- Be careful about having tunnel vision.
1e- Play Mara's advocate against your own sacred cows.

2- Trust your instincts. If it smells like bullshit, it probably is.

3a- Not everyone wants to wake up, some people are quite happy in their delusions.
3b- Most people could care less about your path to liberation.
3c- Some people get their jollies watching you fail and fall back into delusion. It makes them feel better about their own delusions.

4- Silence really is golden.

5- Sitting cross-legged can be damn painful. Full lotus takes a fat boy time and effort. Start stretching now.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/12/09 2:20 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: KristerHolmes

What I wish I knew 10 years ago is that emptiness is not the goal. As the Dali Lama says "emptiness is the womb of compassion"!

Generating compassion and loving kindness are the goal - for me. As I worked with these (using good solid tested techniques) the rest just fell in line.

I spent years sitting for hours at a time with nothing - absolutely nothing so it was kind of cool - in my mind. But as soon as I started working with compassion I was so much happier in a few months. I'd be a mushroom if my practice hadn't incorporated compassion and the grounding of insight in the real world. Everything - and I mean EVERYTHING else is just a trick, a game or, at best, a fulcrum to help you realize the little cul de sac of love/spectacular node of awareness you and everything else is. For me It made the difficulties turn into little sparks of joy (I had a hair tickling my nose for pretty much a whole session the other day and it was absolutely TRANSCENDENT!...?) and the really hard things more bearable and easier to heal.

I realized after msj's comment that the way I'd worded it could have been taken entirely wrongly. I didn't in any way mean to posit any conclusion's superiority over any other. Just what made the biggest difference to me. Sorry if I offended, or if I'm taking your comments wrongly msj. Seemed to me as though you might be posing a valid criticism of the way I'd put things.

emoticon

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/12/09 3:05 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: msj123

No clinging, no expectations, no positions, no answers.

Just do it.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/12/09 3:12 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: msj123

Great!

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/12/09 4:13 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: KristerHolmes

I would like in some small way to disagree that ALL conclusions are stage specific.

The desire to obtain universal compassion for all beings (the conclusion required being that this goal is necessary or good) is not stage specific or is perhaps the ground for all stages or the reason for all of this anyway.

also the desire for utter nothingness also requires the conclusion that this is necessary or good. Otherwise why are you doing it?

also you'll notice that "Conclusions are stage-specific and cyclical. Always stay open to the possibility (likelihood) that what you are selling today is the very thing you'll be railing against tomorrow." is also a conclusion and hence stage specific and something you may be railing against tomorrow too!

emoticon

Maybe it's not really the type of conclusion you're talking about though...

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/12/09 5:25 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
interesting thread! i guess everyone has to overcome their own conceptual and mental barriers, before they can make more enjoyable progress on the path.

mine was to think that enlightenment could only be achieved by those who had become perfected moral human beings, whatever that was. my concept of that was the complete absence of any negative thought or emotion. an unshakable ability to always know what was the right thing to do and think in any given situation. this was also my preconceived notion of what "to be enlightened" meant.

it didn't occur to me that perfection of moral development isn't finite, achievable or existent. that it can be approximated to a certain degree, but never completed, because that would mean to be in complete denial
of one's own humanity.

it also isn't a pre-requisite for enlightenment. but development on both axis can be mutually beneficial.
enlightenment is a finite process and it may help facilitate moral development, but it doesn't guarantee it.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/13/09 8:23 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: ccasey

Thank you to the posters here. I agree very much, ditto.

And, I would add that it doesn't matter how you hold your hands in meditation. Early in practice, I got a ganglion cyst in my wrist that formed after holding a mudra at a sesshin where the posture was emphasized. It had to be removed surgically, and took over three months to heal... And, hence my gratitude also for seeing the thread on "How Do You Sit?" Geez, the things I didn't know... :-)

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/13/09 11:08 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I wish I would have known then what I know now. On the other hand, it's good that I didn't know what I now know... cuz for me it's all part of the process. The process is cyclic... and ongoing.
A lot can be said for the usefulness of serendipity. emoticon

I suppose on a more concrete level, it would have been nice to have followed one tradition. Rather than trying to sort out a bunch of lingo from one tradition to the next and then to eventually learn that they were all saying basically the same thing. It was initially very confusing and kinda overwhelming.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/17/09 3:44 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: leenutter

1. Find a good teacher. If you can't find a good one, at least find some like minded friends to help you along your way and keep you motivated and on track.

2. When talking to your friends don't ever mention the word Buddhism unless they are a fellow practitioner. Unfortunately many people will immediately turn off or discount what you've said if you do. _When_ someone does this, don't take it personally or try to push your point. Lead by example and don't force your opinion on anyone, instead listen intently and learn what you can from them.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/17/09 6:03 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: pookee

Before starting I wish I had known more about how to stretch and strengthen the body because at one point I sat too long and pinched a nerve in my back, causing sciatica. Yoga has helped it a lot, but I'd rather have avoided all that trouble.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/19/09 10:54 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
That so much of the Tipitaka existed, is available in english, heck, that the Dharma even existed. Sometimes the practice starts without you. But to have all the little details so clearly spelled out....that's how I spell relief.

I do the work. I sit, I walk, I breathe.

But to have the technical minutia so well spoken too. That is invaluable. Ok, that's my plug for traditional textual studies. Worth doing too, imho, don't really think anyone has said it better than the Buddha since he first gave his discourses. But people have updated it, carried it into a new times so that helps as well, but the core stuff really is from the core guy, check it out and reflect on it, the Buddha's discourses have incredible depth.

RE: What do you wish you knew whan you started with Buddhist practice?
Answer
6/20/09 4:54 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
triplethink,

i couldn't agree more! there's nothing like going back to the source. practice and intellectual concepts go hand in hand.

thanks for the reminder. i need to brush up on my original Buddha's discourse studies emoticon

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/index.html

~C