How smart do you have to be to get it?

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How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby zenkarma » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:20 am

How smart do you have to be to be enlightened? Can even a stupid person of low iq get it, and is it easier or harder for them?
Also i read about the different "capacites" of different people. Do people of higher capacity need extra help? Because reading various buddhist bulletin boards, it seems that the ones that talk the most about capacity have the more complicated practices.
The substance of the Absolute is inwardly like wood or stone, in that it is motionless, and outwardly like the void, in that it is without bounds or obstructions. It is neither subjective nor objective, has no specific location, is formless, and cannot vanish. ~Huang Po
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby plwk » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:35 am

Culapanthaka & Arahantship of Sariputta

http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhi ... neng1.html
Learned Audience, our Essence of Mind (literally, self-nature) which is the seed or kernel of enlightenment (Bodhi) is pure by nature, and by making use of this mind alone we can reach Buddhahood directly. Now let me tell you something about my own life and how I came into possession of the esoteric teaching of the Dhyana (or the Zen) School.

My father, a native of Fan Yang, was dismissed from his official post and banished to be a commoner in Xin Zhou in Guangdong. I was unlucky in that my father died when I was very young, leaving my mother poor and miserable. We moved to Guangzhou (Canton) and were then in very bad circumstances.

I was selling firewood in the market one day, when one of my customers ordered some to be brought to his shop. Upon delivery being made and payment received, I left the shop, outside of which I found a man reciting a sutra. As soon as I heard the text of this sutra my mind at once became enlightened. Thereupon I asked the man the name of the book he was reciting and was told that it was the Diamond Sutra (Vajracchedika or Diamond Cutter). I further enquired whence he came and why he recited this particular sutra. He replied that he came from Dong Shan Monastery in the Huang Mei District of Qi Zhou; that the Abbot in charge of this temple was Hong Ren, the Fifth Patriarch; that there were about one thousand disciples under him; and that when he went there to pay homage to the Patriarch, he attended lectures on this sutra. He further told me that His Holiness used to encourage the laity as well as the monks to recite this scripture, as by doing so they might realize their own Essence of Mind, and thereby reach Buddhahood directly.

It must be due to my good karma in past lives that I heard about this, and that I was given ten taels for the maintenance of my mother by a man who advised me to go to Huang Mei to interview the Fifth Patriarch. After arrangements had been made for her, I left for Huang Mei, which took me less than thirty days to reach.
I then went to pay homage to the Patriarch, and was asked where I came from and what I expected to get from him. I replied, "I am a commoner from Xin Zhou of Guangdong. I have travelled far to pay you respect and I ask for nothing but Buddhahood." "You are a native of Guangdong, a barbarian? How can you expect to be a Buddha?" asked the Patriarch. I replied, "Although there are northern men and southern men, north and south make no difference to their Buddha-nature. A barbarian is different from Your Holiness physically, but there is no difference in our Buddha-nature." He was going to speak further to me, but the presence of other disciples made him stop short. He then ordered me to join the crowd to work.

"May I tell Your Holiness," said I, "that Prajna (transcendental Wisdom) often rises in my mind. When one does not go astray from one's own Essence of Mind, one may be called the 'field of merits'. I do not know what work Your Holiness would ask me to do."

"This barbarian is too bright," he remarked. "Go to the stable and speak no more." I then withdrew myself to the back yard and was told by a lay brother to split firewood and to pound rice.
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby zsc » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:15 am

Honestly, such a question got me reading about Rissho Kosei Kai and reading their (free) publications. They are less pedantic while not skimping on anything. While some may keep it simple with the 4 Noble Truths and the 8-fold Path, the more you find out, the more you find out you don't know. That's when the structure of studying under a certain school comes in. I just found the RKK to be the most palatable for me, even though I still attend my Theravadin Thai temple because I consider the monks there my friends.
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby lobster » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:30 am

No smarts required.
nirgunapa was a moron who became enlightened.
Smart people have complicated practices because they are still playing. Remember the Buddha engaged in all kind of stupid practices until finally just sitting and working it all out . . . :popcorn:
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:54 pm

zenkarma wrote:How smart do you have to be to be enlightened?

Being an intellectual on a spiritual path is a massive curse.
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:08 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
zenkarma wrote:How smart do you have to be to be enlightened?

Being an intellectual on a spiritual path is a massive curse.


At least, that's what Nagarjuna's mom said. :tongue:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby lisehull » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:17 pm

I don't consider myself dumb by any means, but I do find it discouraging when fellow forum members discuss things that are way over my head. Makes me feel as if I will never progress. (I have been practicing for almost five years now.)
:tantrum:
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby KGrey » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:00 pm

lisehull wrote:I don't consider myself dumb by any means, but I do find it discouraging when fellow forum members discuss things that are way over my head. Makes me feel as if I will never progress. (I have been practicing for almost five years now.)
:tantrum:
Lise


'Progress' is as inevitable as it is illusory. Let it be. Stop chasing your imagination.Your discouragement can teach you more than all the Sutras. It is direct practice, true 'path' - not stories of this or that. Can you see, or are you blinded by seeking?
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:06 pm

I really like Trungpas approach to 'giving up' on trying to be someone else, trying to be more scholarly, trying to be more spiritual.

In Meditation In Action he talks about taking The Manure of Experience and using it to fertilize the Field of Bodhi. Whoever you are, don't try to be someone else..just use who you are as fertilizer. So to my mind the answer is you don't have to be that smart at all, just use the manure of your own experience, whatever that is.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:39 pm

Kamalashila become a great scholar due to Manjushri practice. Before that he couldn't even read.

http://sugatagarbhatranslations.com/2011/06/10/clearing-away-the-darkness-of-delusion-a-manjushri-sadhana-by-khaydrub-raga-asya-karma-chakme-conferred-on-pema-thrinlay/

So yes intelligence is very useful in Buddhism, but a lack of it is only a minor problem. Also, one might not understand something due to obstacles not lack of intelligence.

Also, practice of anything is better than knowing everything and never practicing.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:10 pm

The sixth Patriarch of Chan Buddhism Huineng was an illiterate wood cutter. But, of course, illiteracy is not the same thing as stupidity. He was not an intellectual though. You don't have to be an intellectual to become enlightened.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Yudron » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:21 pm

I can't remember where I read it, but it is sometimes said in Mahayoga that the long complicated sadhanas are for people of the lowest capacity, those who are intellectuals and need something to think about. Getting less intellectual, and more full of trust and faith are signed of progress on the path. :consoling:
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:35 pm

Useless proliferation of concepts can be a drawback to people who are overly analytical or cerebral. So can the skepticism based on deeply rooted materialistic views present in today's intellectualism. Speaking from personal experience here :rolleye:

Mindfulness and compassion are within nearly everyone's grasp, regardless of intelligence. And the fuel for liberation is also available to everyone, the breath, five aggregates, impermanence, emptiness. These are basic elements of experience easily observed by human beings. Determination, devotion, and other helpful traits are also independent of intelligence.
Namu Amida Butsu
"When people of the Pure Land school chant Namu amida butsu, they are doing zazen with their mouths, and when we do zazen, we are performing Namu amida butsu with our whole body." - Kosho Uchiyama (Opening the Hand of Thought)
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby greentara » Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:39 pm

johnny, I presume you're talking about Chogyam Trungpa. I read his book 'cutting through spiritual materialism' years ago and was impressed. Was he a teacher of 'crazy wisdom'?
Or was he just a gifted speaker with a lusty nature?
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:36 am

I think Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism is the book that made me decide I was no longer just someone who read about Buddhism, but could count myself a Buddhist. In fact I doubt I would have ever set foot in a sangha or gone beyond very mild dabbling if not for that book.

Anyway, I don't know about Trungpa as a person, I know he is a very controversial figure, some seem to want to disregard his works based on his personal behavior. At least for me his books themselves have been a really big deal, and I cannot ignore them.

Don't want to derail the thread..but yeah, I suppose it's related, as there are plenty of people who write and speak on the Dharma that are saying things with simplicity and clarity, so maybe only a minimum of scholarship is necessary.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Jinzang » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:11 am

zenkarma wrote:How smart do you have to be to be enlightened? Can even a stupid person of low iq get it, and is it easier or harder for them?


You don't need any smarts at all. You just need to find a good teacher and practice their instructions.

Also i read about the different "capacites" of different people. Do people of higher capacity need extra help? Because reading various buddhist bulletin boards, it seems that the ones that talk the most about capacity have the more complicated practices.


Capacity is not IQ. It means ability to do the practices properly. This comes from prior practice, either in this life or previous lives.
Lamrim, lojong, and mahamudra are the unmistaken path.
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby justsit » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:36 am

Jinzang wrote:You don't need any smarts at all. You just need to find a good teacher and practice their instructions.


Yup.

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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby muni » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:23 am

justsit wrote:
Jinzang wrote:You don't need any smarts at all. You just need to find a good teacher and practice their instructions.


Yup.



Rinpoche: "Not to look too far away" :heart:
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby lobster » Tue Dec 11, 2012 10:00 am

use who you are as fertilizer
:toilet:

:woohoo:

. . . ahem normal levels of decorum and smarts are now resumed . . . :popcorn:
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Re: How smart do you have to be to get it?

Postby Namgyal » Tue Dec 11, 2012 11:38 am

Aside from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the greatest Buddhist master I have ever met was an elderly Tibetan monk, who was completely illiterate. He laughed at me saying 'Professor, you know everything about the external world. I only know about the inner nature of things, of which you know nothing at all. Which do you suppose is better?'
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