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Pizza and meditation - Dhamma Wheel

Pizza and meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
fabianfred
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Pizza and meditation

Postby fabianfred » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:50 am

Those of us fortunate enough to have met and understood the Buddha's Dhamma, realise that all that he taught was aimed at helping beings to reach Nirvana, escape suffering. The heart of all he taught is in the practice, not study. We only have to study until we know the correct way to practice, then go and practice, and then further study can become a hindrance to the practice. The practice, the way to reach Nirvana, is meditation, initially Concentration techniques may be used, but ultimately we must employ the Buddha's own method, Vipassana or mindfulness, without which we will not reach Nirvana.

Meditation can therefore be said to be the most important part of all Buddhist practice.

I have noticed that the Novices do not meditate in their free time, and only do so when forced, such as during a retreat or during morning or evening chanting. Why is this? Do they not like it? Have they not been taught properly how to do it and therefore make no progress? Have they been taught just how important it is? Do they know just what a fortunate rebirth they are in now to be able to meet the Buddha's teachings, ordain and have time to practice?

Why is meditation often given to them as punishment??? A more stupid thing I could not imagine! This will cause them to hate meditation! Hating it they will not practice, make no progress, get no benefits, and will just be bored whilst doing it.
Suppose you had heard that pizza is tasty and want to try it. Your mother says "OK, I'll make you some", but she has never tried pizza either and doesn't know what it tastes like, only seen a picture. She makes a pizza, but it is awful. You try it and decide that you do not like the taste of pizza. Later on someone comes to ask you about pizza and you say " oh, don't bother, it tastes awful" so that person goes away not having tasted real pizza either. Those who have tasted the real thing know it can be good, but others will never know its real flavour.

If you are taught meditation by one who was not taught properly or never practiced until they got the real flavour of it, will you be able to know it either?

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Ben
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Ben » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:20 am

Greetings Bhante,
Its a real shame that meditation is being used as a disciplinary tool.
I'm wondering whether it is worthwhile having a conversation with the abbot of the monastery where you are observing this?
I feel sorry for the young sameneras who maybe turned away from practice.
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.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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cooran
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby cooran » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:28 am

Hello Bhante,

I have always felt comfortable with Bhikkhu Bodhi’s article ‘’The Importance of Study’’:

The recent upsurge of interest in Buddhism, both East and West, has been marked by a vigorous practical orientation and a drive to discover the peace and freedom to which the practice of Dhamma leads. This zeal for practice, however, has often been accompanied by another trait which may not be so fruitful, namely, a tendency to neglect or even belittle the methodical study of the Buddha's teachings.
The arguments offered in defense of this attitude have already become familiar currency among us. It is said, for example, that study is concerned with words and concepts, not with realities; that it leads only to learning, not to wisdom; that it can change only our ideas but fails to touch us at the deeper levels of our lives. To clinch the case the testimony of the Buddha himself is enlisted, with his famous remarks that to learn much without practicing is like counting the cows of others or like carrying a raft on one's head instead of using it to cross the stream.

This contention, to be sure, has its aspect of truth, but also suffers from a one-sided emphasis which may actually thwart rather than aid our progress on the Buddhist path. It is certainly true that learning without practice is fruitless, but the other side of the issue also should be considered. Should a person gather cows if he knows nothing about how to take care of them? Should he try to cross a rough and dangerous river without knowing how to operate a raft? The Buddha himself insisted that his followers learn and transmit the Dhamma both in the letter and the spirit, but rather than appealing to traditional formulations, let us inquire ourselves into the value and function of Dhamma study.

The point at issue, it must be stressed, is not study as an academic discipline or the accumulation of a wealth of learning, but the acquisition of a sound and solid working knowledge of the basic Buddhist doctrines. Now to see why this is so essential, we must recall that the entire practice of the proper Buddhist path develops out of the act through which we enter the path — the going for refuge to the Triple Gem. If we have taken this step honestly, with correct motivation, it implies that we have acknowledged our need for spiritual guidance and have entrusted ourselves to the Buddha as our guide and to his teaching as our vehicle of guidance. By taking refuge in the Dhamma we accept not merely a technique of meditation that we can use at liberty for our own self-appointed purposes, but a profound and comprehensive teaching on the true nature of the human condition, a teaching designed to awaken in us a perception of this truth as the means for reaching the full and final end of suffering. The liberation offered by the Dhamma comes, not from simply practicing meditation in the context of our own preconceptions and desires, but from practicing upon the groundwork of the right understanding and right intentions communicated to us by the Buddha.

This cognitive character of the Buddhist path elevates doctrinal study and intellectual inquiry to a position of great importance. Though the knowledge that frees the mind from bondage emerges only from intuitive insight and not from a mass of doctrinal facts, genuine insight always develops on the basis of a preliminary conceptual grasp of the basic principles essential to right understanding, in the absence of which its growth will inevitably be obstructed.

The study and systematic reflection through which we arrive at this preparatory right view necessarily involve concepts and ideas. But before we hasten to dismiss Dhamma study as being therefore only a worthless tangle of verbiage, let us consider that concepts and ideas are our indispensable tools of understanding and communication. Concepts, however, can be valid and invalid tools of understanding; ideas can be fruitful or useless, capable of bringing immense benefit or of entailing enormous harm. The object of studying the Dhamma as part of our spiritual quest is to learn to comprehend our experience correctly: to be able to distinguish the valid from the invalid, the true from the false, the wholesome from the unwholesome.

It is only by making a thorough and careful investigation that we will be in a position to reject what is detrimental to our growth and to apply ourselves with confidence to cultivating what is truly beneficial. Without having reached this preliminary conceptual clarification, without having succeeded in "straightening out our views," there can indeed be the earnest practice of Buddhist meditation techniques, but there will not be the practice of the meditation pertaining to the integral Noble Eightfold Path. And while such free-based meditation may bring its practitioners the mundane benefits of greater calm, awareness and equanimity, lacking the guidance of right view and the driving power of right motivation, it is questionable whether it can lead to the penetrative realization of the Dhamma, or to its final goal, the complete cessation of suffering.

It is almost impossible to give a single word of counsel on the subject of study applicable to all followers of the Dhamma. Needs and interests vary so greatly from one person to another that each will have to strike the balance between study and practice that suits his or her own disposition.

But without hesitation it can be said that all who earnestly endeavor to live by the Buddha's teaching will find their practice strengthened by the methodical study of his Dhamma. Such an undertaking, of course, will not be easy, but it is just through facing and surmounting the challenges we meet that our understanding will ripen and mature in the higher wisdom.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_05.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

rowyourboat
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:07 pm

I wondered if the samanera's ordained for the right reasons.. Maybe they didnt have a choice in the matter.. Maybe the elder monks dont know how the importance of meditation, or how to manage a group of people with defilements.. maybe..maybe.. maybe.. :thinking:

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
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& Upekkha

Jhana4
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:51 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Jhana4
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:10 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Ben
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:12 pm

“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.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:38 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Ben
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Location: kanamaluka

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Ben » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:41 pm

fair enough.
“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.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

PaulD
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Nov 09, 2009 2:40 am

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby PaulD » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:27 am

How about rewarding the novices with pizza after each meditation session?

alan
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Location: Miramar beach, Fl.

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby alan » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:21 am

..
Last edited by alan on Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Refugee
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Refugee » Mon Jun 06, 2011 4:22 pm

It would be interesting to know how the people (monks and laity) in the Buddha's time and several hundred years after that (that is before the suttas were written down) engaged in "Dhamma Study". Perhaps monks recited some suttas followed by discussion/debates of sorts? Is there any online material I can refer to?
My practice is simply this: Avoid evil, do good, and purify the mind.

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daverupa
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby daverupa » Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:55 pm

As the Suttas sometimes convey, "As I was meditating this afternoon a reflection arose in my mind thus:..." This probably started many such evening discussions.

rowyourboat
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:17 pm

Or someone like Ven Sariputta would deliberately ask a question 'stream, stream, what is meant by the stream'?!

With metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

rowyourboat
Posts: 1952
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Location: London, UK

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jun 06, 2011 7:22 pm

With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Jhana4 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:00 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

fabianfred
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:06 am

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby fabianfred » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:02 pm


fabianfred
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:06 am

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby fabianfred » Mon Jun 06, 2011 9:18 pm

In Thailand where people 'grow up' as Buddhist, they do not tend to seperate their religion from daily life as we tend to do in the West. Perhaps this causes them to take it less seriously than Westerners who 'convert'.
Anyway most novices are ordained because their parents cannot afford even the Government free schooling, which still needs uniforms and other materials to be paid for, in order to get an education. At our temple there is a Dhamma school for the mathayom level (senior school) where they learn ordinary subjects as well as the Dhamma for six years from about 12 to 18. Some then go to Chiangmai for further study and maybe eventual ordination as monks at twenty, but most disrobe.
The trouble is that their teachers, the Thai monks, have been through the same system and taught badly in the same way they are teaching the new crop.
We Western monks might try to be more correct and serious but we are not taken seriously by the Thai monks or novices....after all, how can we know anything, we aren't even Thai (the attitude of some.)
My Thai is quite good enough to teach them but they probably would rebel at being taught by a Farang. Their egos and the ever problematical Asian 'face' (although these shouldn't be a problem with Buddhists who are supposed to know about annatta) wouldn't allow them to listen.
I feel sorry for them all.... but am aware that the Dhamma is slipping into oblivion in Asia, caused by these misunderstandings, bad teachers and stress upon merit-making and chanting rather than practice.

Our new site by my fellow monk from New Zealand is here....
http://watsriboenruang.wordpress.com/

He was ordained at a Burmese run Vipassana centre in Malaysia following the Mahasi Sayadaw tradition. When he was moving to Thailand the Burmese monks teased him that he had better start learning to chant, since in Thailand they did much chanting but little meditation practice. Sad but true.

Freawaru
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Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby Freawaru » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:59 am

Dear Bhante,

in my experience the Thai are - in some respects - simply different. There are some aspects of their culture that do not exist in ours. Likely never existed. That what they call "respect" is such an example. It is translated as respect but it differs completely from our concept of respect. Even after many discussions with my Thai friends I have not found anything resembling to it in the Western cultures. It is thoroughly alien if you ask me.

On the other hand the Thai culture does not have some aspects that are very important in our culture. For example artistic licence. Years ago I participated on a forum regarding the "Anna and the king of Siam" book and movie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_and_the_King. The Thais maintained that we Westerners would never offend our kings and queens in such a way. For example they took strong offence that the actor Chow Yun-fat didn't look anything like their historical King Mongkut. The Westerners on the forum disagreed of course (regarding artistic license, there can be no doubt that the actor didn't look like the historical king) but prove of our free use of artistic license only let many of them despise Westerners for not having respect.

It seems to me that artistic license and Thai respect exclude each other. At times I "saw through their eyes" and I think now these cultural aspects - both so important in our respective cultures - can't be combined.

I think it is very difficult for most of them to understand us. They are told by their elders that Farang are different, but I am not sure they always realise how different as they still keep trying to find Thai respect in our culture. It was for the best to forbid "Anna and the king of Siam" in Thailand - they would not have understood the movie. It seems to me that they feel very insecure and confused whenever something disagrees with the Thai respect.

fabianfred
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:06 am

Re: Pizza and meditation

Postby fabianfred » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:26 pm

Yet the Thai word and concept 'Grengjai' is my favourite of all... a single word which requires sentences to try and explain in English. :anjali:


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