Buddhists and Intrigued Non-Buddhist Laymen, CONVERGE HERE:

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1126 Aondeug12th Jul 2012 08:47:02 PM from Our Dreams
Oh My
Don't know rtl. I will have to look that up. I know very little about the Dalai Lama.

Hedonism is incompatible with Buddhism due to part of the goal being to live a passionless existence and to avoid attachment to the world. Things like sex, music, and fancy food are just temporary pleasures. They are also held to be dangerous. There's a great deal of focus placed on how to safely live in moderation and while thinking for example. Pleasures are also held to often times increase attachment and greed.

Basically the idea is is that because pleasure doesn't result in permanent satisfaction it is empty and therefore an unworthy goal. Enlightenment involves putting aside both pleasure and pain, as these feelings are only temporary things. It is believed that once you have succeeded in this it will last as you will no longer see any point in emotion or want. Then you will die and stay dead in a state that is neither existence nor non-existence, but wholly above and apart from what we call reality.

Thus creating permanent bliss and freedom from pain.

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
1127 Aondeug12th Jul 2012 09:12:31 PM from Our Dreams
Oh My
I did some base googling of things I can't find any solid evidence that he himself owned slaves. Nor can I find any evidence to the contrary. I don't trust the words of the Chinese government or people who write in extremely aggressive fashions about the Dalai Lama. Nor do I trust most of the people supporting him that have spoken about this issue. At least from what I've got the extremes veer too far for me to think of them as valuable.

I can find proof that slavery was indeed a large issue in Tibet. As well as feudalism. This has apparently been stopped largely. There's some other odd and horrible things about Tibetan Buddhism involving things like boys being taken from their families at young ages and forced to become monks. This practice has been seen elsewhere as well. There's also the problems with financially exploiting people and the government.

So Tibet, at least the old feudal and theocratic Tibet, had lots of issues. It still does. Apparently the Dalai Lama isn't happy about old Tibet. At least this is what I've garnered.

Being that I've only briefly looked into the matter please don't consider what I say to be truth.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
Hm, it certainly seems worthy of further research. The current Dalai Lama at least doesn't seem like the sort of person who would condone those things, but one can't be sure.
Does anyone know if Sikhism would count as a dhammic religion? I'm fairly certain I read about it stemming from Hinduism, like Buddhism and Jainism did, so it seems like it would be.

edited 13th Aug '12 12:09:45 AM by randomtropeloser

1130 Aondeug13th Aug 2012 12:28:32 AM from Our Dreams
Oh My
It is yes. I'm not sure about its history and how exactly it came to be, but it is classified as Dhammic.

edited 13th Aug '12 12:29:22 AM by Aondeug

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
I quite like this new website I found. It's a good source for checking whether or not someone's cheesy Facebook status is an actual quota by the Buddha or just some random person trying to sound deep and enlightened and deciding that all Eastern philosophers sound pretty much the same anyway.
1132 Carciofus1st Sep 2012 12:30:15 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
This is pretty funny: Thai Buddhist abbot says that Steve Jobs was reincarnated as a warrior-philosopher.

Out of curiosity, how well-regarded is this "Dhammakaya" group?

edited 1st Sep '12 12:35:40 AM by Carciofus

But they seem to
know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

I hope badly/usually ignored/misguided is the answer, that way I can write them off a fringe and go back to admiring Buddhism despite not practicing it.
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After reading that, it looks like even a good number of other Buddhists are calling that guy out on this. Yeah, I don't personally hold a lot of stock in what he's saying, but I've never been really big on Buddhism's supernatural aspect to begin with.
1135 Carciofus1st Sep 2012 09:48:29 AM from Alpha Tucanae I
Is that cake frosting?
Yeah, it seems that they have added some information since I first noticed the article (or perhaps I did not read it attentively enough the first time). Apparently, that group is being compared to Christian televangelists (many of whom said stuff in comparison to which this sounds absolutely reasonable... tongue)
But they seem to
know where they are going, the ones who walk away from Omelas.

1136 Aondeug1st Sep 2012 10:33:11 AM from Our Dreams
Oh My
If the Dhammakaya can provide solid evidence to their statement and share how they discovered it we can learn a great deal about rebirth and how it works.


It's bullshit. When it comes to "person x was reborn as y" it's best to consider it bullshit and move on.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
Yeah, you can usually safely hold no stock at all in ridiculously specific predictions like that if the person presents little to no evidence to support it.
1138 Aondeug15th Sep 2012 05:57:52 PM from Our Dreams
1139 Aondeug20th Sep 2012 01:30:47 PM from Our Dreams
Oh My
I'm double posting because I'm bored. Also because this is neat and I want to share things. LOOK AT IT. OM, MOTHERFUCKERS. Om.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
I'm sure I would have loved that if I actually enjoyed Homestuck.

I'm sorry Aon, I've been a bad Buddhist as I've been drinking way too much lately.
1141 Aondeug28th Sep 2012 12:14:43 AM from Our Dreams
Oh My
Eh I got tipsy last night myself, but then that was the first time in quite a while...

RESIST, RTL. Resist the temptations of booze and its lovely taste and that tipsy feeling. And view mistakes as lessons to learn from. Don't beat yourself up about it. You're still learning after all.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
Well, I managed to resist drinking after an otherwise really crappy night. I guess that's sort of a step in the right direction, right?
1143 Aondeug29th Sep 2012 10:34:51 AM from Our Dreams
Oh My
That is indeed. Keep at it as you can, rtl.
If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
I'll do my best, to be sure. I also meditated for the first time in way too long yesterday, it felt pretty good to get rid of all the stray thoughts and other crap that gets into my head. Do you think it matters terribly how one sits when they meditate though? I often try to do it cross-legged, but sometimes the slight strain that causes my legs makes me lose focus.
1145 Aondeug29th Sep 2012 12:41:53 PM from Our Dreams
Oh My
It takes me at least half an hour to get into a firm state of concentration when it comes to sitting. An hour is my current comfortable area with undisturbed periods of sitting meditation. Half an hour to an hour seems to be the general sort of standard in that area, but no there really isn't anything that is saying you absolutely need to sit for this long. I personally like to switch from half hour sessions of sitting to fifteen minute sessions of walking meditation or yoga. It helps keep my body active, my feet from falling asleep, and keeps my mind better focused for longer periods of time. So that's basically my trick to meditating for three hours straight.

As for position it doesn't matter so long as the position is comfortable yet not too comfortable. You want to be comfortable with the position and not in pain or inconvenienced by it. So if sitting cross legged hurts then don't do that. At the same time you want to make sure you're not too comfortable because you might fall asleep. Generally that's why you avoid leaning against anything while meditating. Even if you do doze off you'll typically wake up when you start to fall.

edited 29th Sep '12 12:43:32 PM by Aondeug

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
As regards booze and meditating, I have spent a lot of time listening to and reflecting on the teachings of Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Ajahn Geoff), and one of the things that he stresses is that if you want to withdraw from stuff like alcohol use and other addictions, it really is best to use meditation to create strong states of pleasure in both body and mind. Forgive me if I'm rehashing things you've already heard, but he's one of the few Western monks in the Thai Forest Tradition that I know of that puts a marked emphasis on the gradual development of a regular practice of jhana as a practical goal. I've never been drunk in my life and am a teetotaler, so I can't speak to that, but I am celibate and have used meditation to uphold that discipline, and I would say that, as much as you may have heard it repeated, it really is essential to have a daily meditation practice, because otherwise, when the chips are down, you won't have the sense of inner strength and rapture that will allow you to avoid breaking a precept. If, however, you gain that sense of stability and meditative pleasure that permeates not only your mind but even your body (I've felt it as a pleasant and gentle "electric hum" that goes throughout my body but feels strongest at the extremities), your mind will not feel pressured by things outside, and it will be able to resist a lot of its own crazy ideas.

I hope that wasn't just a repeat of stuff you've heard before. I lurk this thread every couple of weeks and thought this would be a good time to share my thoughts with you. I've been a Buddhist for almost three and a half years now, and will have a future (if I live that long) as a Theravada bhikkhu, so I consider the Dhamma to be the most important thing in my life by far.

(If you're interested in listening to Thanissaro Bhikkhu's teachings, here's a url: dhammatalks.org He adheres closely to the Theravada tradition alone, and he also keeps very high Vinaya standards at his own monastery. You can find essays, books, and translations by him all over Dhamma Talks and at Access to Insight.)

P.S.: I noticed you guys discussing the Dhammakaya movement. They're a cult, as far as I can tell. They've gone through legal problems because of their unscrupulous finances, and they have an eccentric interpretation of the Dhamma that mainly focuses on how AWESOME their eccentric interpretation is compared to the traditional approach. Don't pay them any mind.

edited 30th Sep '12 4:09:47 PM by ThDaSu

1147 Aondeug30th Sep 2012 04:31:52 PM from Our Dreams
Oh My
The Thanissaro Bhikkhu is a fellow I'm quite fond of. His writings and translations of works in the Tipitaka in particular. He writes in a nice, clear and understandable manner that isn't unattractive. Which can be rare when dealing with this stuff. I myself plan to join the Sangha if I can as a Bhikkhuni. Given the work that is being done to revive the Bhikkhuni in Thailand's Theravada tradition my goal may be something I can achieve. I can't now though. I must live as a laywoman and with my girlfriend in particular. There are things to learn and leaving her wouldn't be right I don't feel. We've proven rather important in one anothers developments so far and there is time to be a Bhikkhuni later. I can't rush it.

Daily meditation is a good thing indeed. I try to hit at least an hour daily myself. It certainly does seem to help when I'm taking up the Eight Precepts for whatever reason I have. The one thing that really gets to me is music when my grandparents take me to the wat. That is very hard not to focus on. Grr...GRR. I will best it one day though. I really need to take up an extended stay at a wat sometime. Mmm...more Eight Precepts and manual labor.

edited 30th Sep '12 4:35:22 PM by Aondeug

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah
[up][up] Interesting, I never knew pleasure was one of the things I was supposed to go for while meditating. I always sort of just blanked out, in order to reach an understanding of the fact that I'm little more than a conglomeration of loosely connected thoughts and physical features with a title. From my readings, this is what I gathered meditation was about. As for my goal, I'm presently trying to go at least a month without drinking, and hope that daily meditation will help me accomplish it.

Also, I'd like to wish a belated welcome to a fellow Buddhist. It's nice to see someone else post here for a change.
1149 Aondeug12th Oct 2012 01:54:23 PM from Our Dreams
Oh My
Pleasure is one of the states of meditation. Namely sukkha is the first jhana. From what I've read and spoken with in regards to my teachers it's not the actual aim of meditation. It's a level one goes through naturally and one needs to be able to reach it, but it's not the last state of meditation. There are seven more jhanas after that one.

That's speaking of pleasure in terms of something emotionally pleasant and passionate though. Pleasure could be assigned to later stages of meditation as well as the result of it, much like how Nibbana is described as true happiness when it is not the emotion and series of such that we associate with happiness, but something beyond and above it.

The goal you mentioned rtl is part of meditation practice, in particular that of samatha. Meditation has a variety of goals that are being dealt with all at once in both forms of meditation (samatha and vipassana). These are all goals that lead to the ultimate end goal of meditation though. The culmination of the practice and what one is supposed to shoot for is Enlightenment. The other things are steps on the way. We need to strive to them to get to the end goal. If you don't strive to walk down the street past the barber shop how are you going to get to the library?

If someone wants to accuse us of eating coconut shells, then that's their business. We know what we're doing. - Achaan Chah

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