Renunciation

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Renunciation

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:36 pm

underthetree wrote:But it's a good point. How many realized beings are there in the world? Who is becoming realized in the West? How many have become enlightened in the last ten years? Twenty years? Fifty? The last century?

It gave me pause to read the recent thread on Buddhist saints. Every candidate was from the Middle Ages at the very latest.


I think in many ways modern industrial lifestyles and even values are counter-productive to liberation.

For example, when I was in Ladakh I was living in rather simple circumstances. Electricity for a few hours in the evening. No internet, TV or phone. Just my books and meditation cushion, and the great Himalayas to look out towards. I had the good fortune to drop my mp3 player in a wash bucket, too.

In such surroundings I was easily able to sit and read terse Buddhist texts in Classical Chinese for hours upon hours on end without taking a break. I found meditation a lot more efficacious and enjoyable as well. Living in Tokyo or Taipei I find I don't have the same level of mental stamina to read for extended periods or even meditation like I did in Ladakh.

Our modern industrial education system instils values that are quite contrary to the path. For instance, we are educated in such a way as to produce obedient workers that serve the system. Our lives revolve around economic output and consumption. We think of securing ourselves financially before engaging in serious practice for fear that we'll go hungry if we don't. We think in terms of money, nor merit. If we're emotionally invested in "careers" it is all the more difficult to detach from the mainstream and go live a solitary life away from the system.

So in the end the teachings are there and some teachers are available, but so few of us (myself included) really do what needs to be done.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Andrew108 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:43 pm

Enlightenment is happening all the time. It's just that there continues to be a materialist interpretation of what enlightenment should be. Trungpa Rinpoche's critique of spiritual materialism is just as relevant today as when he first presented the idea over 40 years ago. I also know that there are western practitioners who have genuine realization, but they are somewhat undervalued.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby underthetree » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:49 pm

For example, when I was in Ladakh I was living in rather simple circumstances. Electricity for a few hours in the evening. No internet, TV or phone. Just my books and meditation cushion, and the great Himalayas to look out towards. I had the good fortune to drop my mp3 player in a wash bucket, too.


Lucky you. I've tried to build a private Ladakh inside my head in which to practice but so far it ain't working...

But you're right. There's hardly any way to be calm any more, for any length of time, in our world.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:59 pm

underthetree wrote:But you're right. There's hardly any way to be calm any more, for any length of time, in our world.


It will get worse, especially as economic contraction takes it toll on the "developed world". Being kaliyuga there are a lot of events, both physical and occult, that are progressively making ordinary existence in this world harder and harder in both obvious and subtle ways. Demonic forces are becoming stronger as time goes on as well.

I think figures like Ajahn Brahm are worth considering. He's definitely an adept and highly attained yogi.

However, the lot of us sit on our arses worrying about our financial future and careers, so we're not really willing to give it all up for liberation. Perhaps doubt prevents many of us from doing it. The doubt that perhaps liberation isn't really possible, so you might as well play it safe by only going half-way while living the ordinary prescribed lifestyle.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:45 pm

Huseng wrote:
underthetree wrote:But you're right. There's hardly any way to be calm any more, for any length of time, in our world.


It will get worse, especially as economic contraction takes it toll on the "developed world". Being kaliyuga there are a lot of events, both physical and occult, that are progressively making ordinary existence in this world harder and harder in both obvious and subtle ways. Demonic forces are becoming stronger as time goes on as well.

I think figures like Ajahn Brahm are worth considering. He's definitely an adept and highly attained yogi.

However, the lot of us sit on our arses worrying about our financial future and careers, so we're not really willing to give it all up for liberation. Perhaps doubt prevents many of us from doing it. The doubt that perhaps liberation isn't really possible, so you might as well play it safe by only going half-way while living the ordinary prescribed lifestyle.



Liberation is a low-hanging fruit, you only need to pick it -- but you have to have a guide who can show you where that fruit is.

You don't need to give up anything to attain liberation.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:49 pm

Malcolm wrote:Liberation is a low-hanging fruit, you only need to pick it -- but you have to have a guide who can show you where that fruit is.

You don't need to give up anything to attain liberation.


The Buddha suggested otherwise: renunciation.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:55 pm

Huseng wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Liberation is a low-hanging fruit, you only need to pick it -- but you have to have a guide who can show you where that fruit is.

You don't need to give up anything to attain liberation.


The Buddha suggested otherwise: renunciation.


Depends on which of the Buddha's teachings you wish to consider definitive.

Renunciation is not a cause for liberation.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:06 pm

Malcolm wrote:Depends on which of the Buddha's teachings you wish to consider definitive.


I tend to favour teachings as found in the Āgamas and the early Mahāyāna teachings. Hence, I think it is best to give up worldly pursuits and a lot of pleasures in order to cultivate not just mental stability, but a simple unhindered lifestyle that allows for practice and morality (living a middle-class lifestyle as a businessman or something similar would probably not allow for it in my experience).

This is of course what Śākyamuni is recorded as having advocated: renunciation from desires and worldly pursuits.

I find after applying the remedy of his dharma I suffer a lot less now than I did before, but then supposing I have secured some level of stability and ease for this lifetime, my future rebirths remain uncertain.

I've personally experienced how easy it can be to go down "the dark side". Some years ago despite having been a generally good kid who couldn't kill insects I was ready to join the army and kill people in Afghanistan out of sheer personal anger and angst. Fortunately I met a genuine spiritual friend and teacher who either intentionally and unintentionally led me away from that path.

So, I'm not so certain, at least in my case, liberation in the true sense (complete freedom from saṃsāra) is so easy. I might have relative ease at the moment, but in future lives who knows.
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Re: The Buddhism trend in decline.

Postby Will » Tue Jul 31, 2012 3:53 pm

Malcolm: Renunciation is not a cause for liberation.


Baloney. Virtually every other spiritual tradition agrees with Buddha, that non-attachment or renunciation is a critical element on the path to liberation.

As for 'doubts' Jeff - that is what vows are for. Consider Peixiu's comments:

It is only your bodhicitta vows which do not forsake one and depart. They always continue to lead one straight on through, until one reaches bodhi. Therefore you must not generate doubts about making such vows as these traditional ones.

First, beings are boundlessly many. I vow to liberate them all.
Second, merit and wisdom are limitless. I vow to accumulate them.
Third, the Dharma of the Buddha is infinite. I vow to study it.
Fourth, the Tathāgatas are countless. I vow to serve them.
Fifth, I vow to realize the unsurpassed, right enlightenment.

One maintains these five vows, implementing them in one’s mind in thought after thought such that there is no interval in which they are not active. This constitutes complete implementation of the great mind of bodhi. This is what constitutes the upholding of the precepts of the bodhi mind. These Three Vast Minds [compassion, wisdom & vows] and the Five Vows are layered one upon the other in a way whereby they support each other.
From one buddha to the next, the path is the same. It does not go beyond this. It is precisely this which constitutes perfect generation of the anuttarasamyaksambodhi mind.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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