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What and how much? - Dhamma Wheel

What and how much?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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tiltbillings
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What and how much?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:03 pm

What do we need to know and how much do we need to know in order to practice the Dhamma?

Of course, one can list the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which are obvious, but to what level of detail do we need to know these things? And how sophisticated must our knowledge of what we must know be? If our knowledge lacks a certain degree of sophistication, we are not going to get awakened?




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bodom
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Re: What and how much?

Postby bodom » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:11 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


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David N. Snyder
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Re: What and how much?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:18 pm



Simple is good. But there are also different temperaments and some prefer the more complex. The Buddha taught different methods for different temperaments.
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David2
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Re: What and how much?

Postby David2 » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:19 pm

It is possible that people never heard of the Dhamma, but practiced according to it and got enlightened.
In this case, no intellectual knowledge would be necessary.

On the other hand, it gets easier to make progress if one knows some things.
I guess the most important thing to know is how to practice properly.
Then it is beneficial if one knows why one practices. (Not to get sense pleasures, but to develop equanimity and to come out of suffering in this way.)

More detail in intellectual knowledge is good to develop more faith in the path, and a better intellectual understanding.
But I don't think it is very helpful to know the most sophisticated aspects of the path.

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tiltbillings
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Re: What and how much?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:42 pm


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Ben
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Re: What and how much?

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:19 pm

Hi Tilt,

It was said of Webu Sayadaw by his students that he knew very little Pali, did not have a sophisticated knowledge of the teachings but practiced anapana-sati for many years until his purported liberation. His discourses are simple, down to earth and focus on the fundamentals of practice: sila, samadhi, panna and dana.
I think pariyatti and patipatti need to be balanced and match each other. Pariyatti can be very beneficial but it can also become a substitute for actually walking on the path just as a lack of knowledge can become a hindrance.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
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Re: What and how much?

Postby Fede » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:20 pm

"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Sam Vara
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Re: What and how much?

Postby Sam Vara » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:35 pm


befriend
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Re: What and how much?

Postby befriend » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:49 pm

do you think to practice the path effectively you only need to know how to practice charity, renunciation, ethics, and meditation?
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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retrofuturist
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Re: What and how much?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:50 pm

Greetings Tilt,

I feel the following sutta is directly relevant to your line of enquiry.

MN 141: Saccavibhanga Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Often when quoting suttas, I'm inclined to just paste in the relevant extracts, but I think the entire sutta is relevant in the case.

When reading it, in light of your line of enquiry, I would recommend taking account of:

1. The delineation of the "declaring, teaching, describing, setting forth, revealing, explaining, and making plain the four noble truths in detail" role of Sariputta as a teacher, versus that of Maha-Moggalana as one regarded as being proficient in the jhanas. As Thanissaro notes via his footnote, "The Buddha declared Sariputta to be foremost among his disciples in terms of discernment; Moggallana, foremost in terms of psychic powers. It might seem strange, then, that Sariputta takes on what seems to be a lower job, but as many Buddhist teachers have commented, it is much harder to train an ordinary person to enter the stream than it is to train a stream-winner to reach the highest goal."

2. Sariputta's training syllabus, taking particular note that "Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; not getting what is wanted is stressful." is equated with "the five clinging-aggregates are stressful." Thus, the stressful things listed, are aspects of the five aggregates (as compared to a practitioner/puggala possessing five aggregates, to whom these events of birth, aging, death, etc. occur) and being thus, they themselves are subject to the three characteristics (of which, interestingly, anicca and anatta make no explicit appearance in the sutta).

Metta,
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: What and how much?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:40 am



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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Cittasanto
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Re: What and how much?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:42 am



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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retrofuturist
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Re: What and how much?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:53 am

"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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retrofuturist
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Re: What and how much?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:08 am

"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

chownah
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Re: What and how much?

Postby chownah » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:13 am

Last edited by Ben on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Metadiscussion removed by Admin

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Re: What and how much?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:41 am

Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:49 am, edited 2 times in total.

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retrofuturist
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Re: What and how much?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:46 am

"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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tiltbillings
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Re: What and how much?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:52 am


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Re: What and how much?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:06 am


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retrofuturist
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Re: What and how much?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:09 am

"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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