i think i need to simplify my practice - Dhamma Wheel

i think i need to simplify my practice

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i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby hornets » Thu May 10, 2012 4:17 pm

I don't know about my fellow beginners but I STILL keep swamping myself with far too much information. It's like I can't just patiently and methodically develop my practice. More books! Look at really advanced posts on forums! Get confused! Get disheartened! Get another book! Repeat!

I keep forgetting that Dhamma really is very simple stuff (but also hard work, like anything worthwhile). Strip away hundreds and hundreds of years of acculturation, commentary, etc it has a profound relevance to my life in 2012.

I need to reel this crazyness in and I've decided that all I need at the moment is:

1. Daily meditation (with or without a downloaded Guided Meditation on my mp3)

2. Just these books (for me personally, it's not a suggestion)
i. Anguttara Nikaya Anthology: An Anthology of Discourses
ii. The Dhammapada
iii. Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of Suffering

3. Attend my local Vihara once a week

4. Buy a back support and stop griping

5. Practice what I preach (to myself)

I attend a Theravada place once a week and it is for the most part hugely beneficial. However, I keep picking up yet another free book each week and for the most part they are currently way too advanced for me. Yet I'll sit down and plough through them until my brain fogs up, usually halfway through the introduction. I'm like a bloody magpie with these books. Perhaps I subconsciously think merely owning them will help?

I've signed up to do the Elementary Dhamma exam and one of the monks gave me a big, thick book called the Manuals of Buddhism which I can make no sense of whatsover. He meant well, I know that, he must just think everyone's as massively accomplished and learned as he is.

Are there any beginners out there attending an offline Buddhist centre? Are you currently struggling with some of the aspects of your chosen tradition? I ask this in the spirit of 'keeping it simple'.

I genuinely struggle with some of the 'ritual' (for want of a better term) within the tradition I have chosen, especially after having read (here we go again!) some books about the early history of Buddhism. Yes, Stephen Batchelor being one, but also 'Gautama Buddha' by Vishvapani Blomfield, among others.

Am I just another potential Pick'n'Mix Westerner who just can't admit that? Hmmm.

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Thu May 10, 2012 5:25 pm

Didn't Ajahn Chah say "The only book worth reading is the book of the heart?"

I know how you feel. You're right on about trying to meditate more than read. As long as you know even the basics, it's going to be far more beneficial to explore your mind experientially than it will be to muse over high and lofty concepts that don't pertain to you at the moment. I wish I had your dedication! It seems I can't go more than a few days without sneaking another ill-understood essay or lecture into this brain.

Good luck!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby Aloka » Thu May 10, 2012 6:12 pm

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby Cittasanto » Thu May 10, 2012 9:51 pm

Keep It Simple Stupid
Keep It Simple Stupid

doing it twice may help :P
but seriously I keep going back to basics when things get wobbly, no point trying to do detailed reflections if your mind is not stable, and the basics are really good for me to stable the mind!
and even if they arent wobbly I normally start with the basics and guage where to go from there, but that could be 30mins of basics. Just one breath.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby Volcommerce » Thu May 10, 2012 10:36 pm


I would recommend you to ask you, and write down, what it is about buddhism that you feel is relevant to you, and why?

If your answers do not seem or feel up to ''par,'' thats fine, from here you can guage a starting point on what you are seeking.

If you don't feel comfortable expressing this on a post, please pm me.

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby retrofuturist » Thu May 10, 2012 11:09 pm

Greetings Hornets,

My recommendation is to keep the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path as your anchor.

Ensure your thoughts, speech, action, livelihood, intentions etc. accord with it.

The specifics as to how that alignment manifests in your life are secondary concerns compared to that.

Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby rowboat » Fri May 11, 2012 12:42 am

Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
Ud 5.5

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby hornets » Fri May 11, 2012 9:43 am

i love you guys. thank you for the posts, helpful and encouraging!

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby unspoken » Fri May 11, 2012 5:20 pm

Sometimes you cant push yourself too far till the edge. To grow, we need time. Its useless if you practice everyday meditation yet couldnt realize things in life. Just make it as part of daily routine and slow things down, because even a Buddha before becoming one, went through uncountable time

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby Bakmoon » Wed May 16, 2012 1:32 am

The non-doing of any evil,
The performance of what's skillful,
The cleansing of one's own mind:
This is the Buddhas' teaching.

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby Yana » Wed May 16, 2012 1:35 am


yes i know how you feel!grr...i have been swamping myself with too much things toooo and i get incredibly exhausted even before i start.

So i have decided to keep things simple.

Maybe just focus on meditation,mindfulness in daily activities,and keeping the five precepts!
Life is preparing for Death

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby KASHI » Mon May 21, 2012 1:44 pm

Hello friend,

I may be a bit late in this discussion but I understand where you are coming from. I have a fairly large selection of buddhist books and i find myself doing more reading then meditation. but at the same time the Buddha did say that the first thing to do in following the eightfold path is to have right view...which we all know is the first factor. So the way to get right view he said is listening to the dhamma and having good focus and these days reading would be the same thing as listening...but it is easy to get caught up in all the information. Some people here may have much better advice then myself but I would maybe just read a sutta or 2 a day and do a little meditation twice a day if your day allows the time for it.
good luck and may you benifit from the Buddhas teachings!!

In this world we walk on the roof of hell, gazing at flowers

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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby FrancesB » Wed May 30, 2012 6:06 am

Hi hornets,

I could have written your post. I honestly think that buying/acquiring books is a kind of addiction. If I spent time on the buddhist books that I already have I would be a lot better off than frequently buying more. I'm trying to stick to one at a time just now and I know that the books I already have could last for years, so I am trying not to acquire anymore for the next year. I do however have a wishlist so that I can keep track of useful books that I hear about.


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Re: i think i need to simplify my practice

Postby Ruralist » Sun Jun 10, 2012 4:50 pm

i think we all go through the book buying stage, heck i just downloaded a load of new ebook PDFs to my ipad for mobile dhamma but getting bogged down in what is essentially someone else's opinion/experience/translation is nowhere near as good as getting bogged down in you own experience
"Let monkeys be monkeys without getting emotionally involved. Peace can be born within you because you know the way monkeys are. Knowing the manner of monkeys, you will let go and be at peace, not getting tied up in monkey business." Ven. Ajahn Chah

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