Is modernity bad for practice?

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby tobes » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:01 am

Simon E. wrote:Supposing I get on with the sadhana which I am committed to this morning instead ?

Instead of defining modernity I am a lot more interested in those practices that get to the root of that and all other forms of mental proliferation..


:namaste:



That's terrific, and I encourage you to erase that root.

But you were interested enough to read, and you were interested to enough to post about the short comings of other posts......

And now, after criticising these other views - what is more damning than to call something papanca? - you lose interest.

My advice would be to complete your practice, and when you have some spare time, return here and tell us why we are wasting our time and why you have the right response to this difficult problematic. And I say this in a spirit of openness.

We would like to hear what you think.

:anjali:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:54 am

Yes we don´t need to give eachother unsolicited practice advice. Let´s not make this personal... Let´s discuss the topic at hand.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby muni » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:53 pm

muni wrote:I learned whatever Dharma means for us and how we interact with modern stuff, to rely on a master is the key to know how to do.
Since we cannot all in the woods, is simple impermanence great teaching for me to decrease desire to stuff, and not to be engaged in too much 'worldy businesses' which is nothing more than laziness for dharma. Less greed, let roll the modern impermanence, cannot harm.
In fact what are 'possessions' other than grasping?

Contentment is a nice practice. :anjali:


Apologize!

Clarification: part of teaching by Longchenpa, the precious garland, applied by example in daily life.

Practice-posting cannot be separate.

:anjali:
Last edited by muni on Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:59 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Yes we don´t need to give eachother unsolicited practice advice. Let´s not make this personal... Let´s discuss the topic at hand.

My apologies. I have absolutely no interest in philosophy and if that is indeed the subject of this thread then I have mistakenly blundered into it..I thought perhaps it was to do with the way that modern mindsets...including the preoccupation with the philosophy which underpins those mindsets...can prove an obstacle to the actual realisation of Dharma.
As this appears to be not the case I can only apologise and withdraw..
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:24 pm

Please continue discussing, it was a general reminder to stay on topic and not get too personal . I just want to avoid contention in the thread.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:05 pm

jeeprs wrote:
viniketa wrote:So, is postmodernity better for practice?


Actually, yes. I think that a lot of what the postmoderns are *trying* to do, is to show up how un-self-aware 'modernity' is in regards to its own assumptions and beliefs about the world. Whilst post-modernism is often a blight in the academic context, on account of its potential for total anarchy and verbose meaninglessness, it has nevertheless got some real nuggets of insight. The only book I ever bought on the topic was Walter Truett Anderson's Truth about the Truth, which had some great contributions from Huston Smith and Vaklav Havel about the shortcomings of materialism, and the importance of spirituality.


I've not read Anderson, but in "deconstructing" modernity, aren't we really just exploring what it means to be modern?

jeeprs wrote:You could argue that the Mahdyamika Dialectic provided a template for the post-modern practice of 'deconstruction', millenia ago. In fact I saw a great presentation at the first Science and Non-duality Conference in 2009 on exactly that idea.


It seems that the author futerko found agrees with you:

futerko wrote:I was googling and came across this essay, http://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/j ... le/view/81 which I thought made a good argument about Hegel being one step ahead of Derrida.

Then I realised it reminded me of something very similar I'd read on Nagarjuna.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Nag ... hought.pdf

It seems the common denominator is Graham Priest.


Though I've never met him, Priest may be one of the few writing today who have a good grasp of Nāgārjuna. Hegel's thought is not so different. For all that he got wrong about India and its history, Hegel seems to have understood a great deal of Indian philosophy.

As to practice, gad rgyangs hit the nail on the head rather early-on this thread:

gad rgyangs wrote:nostalgia for the "good old days", whatever one's fantasy version of that that happens to be, is always escapist. that is not good for practice.

and if, instead of nostalgia, what you are proposing is that the here and now should be different from what they are, then that is equally escapist....

...if you cant practice as you are, where you are, in the time you are, then you're already in trouble.


Is there something particular to modernity that makes practice more difficult? Pre-occupation with daily life? Seems that Indian householders were just a pre-occupied as we are today. Sure, the pace of daily life has accelerated, the content is different, but is the pre-occupation so different?

I would say the aspect of Buddhism that is made more complex in complex modern societies is not individual practice, but the structure and function of Buddhism as an institution.

:namaste:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Thrasymachus » Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:41 pm

In late August of this year when I visited a Drikung Kagyu retreat center nearest near me, I noticed immediately how they setup the layout of the house. They had no television to be seen anywhere, no phone that I could see(but they have at least one), no stereo, etc. Granted I just saw part of the first floor, but it was still setup totally contrary to the typical American home. Most Americans arrange the layout of their houses so that the television, computers, etc., can be the centerpieces so you can sit and easily consume them. If you arrange it so you can easily consume digital distractions, that is what you will do more often than not. On the contrary the harder you make those activities to do, the less you will partake of them.

Another thing I heard from a health retreat in 2011 from Luanne Pennesi was "a cluttered house is a cluttered mind." Even by inference you can know this is true, especially if you meditate or look inward. The more things you have, the more things you have to keep track of mentally. So the less you possess, and the better organized your living space is, the more carefree and uncluttered your mind will be. If you have too much crap, poorly organized, you always cannot find things, you often get frustrated and suffer. A characteristic of most people in the developed world is that they feel they need to have way too much stuff. I would assume the average American to have a minimum of 10,000 distinct cultural objects if they are allowed to have a whole house to store their accumulation. That is alot of possessions to keep on the mind.

Thus I don't know how people here can say that modernity does not matter. I suspect it is case of wishing something to be so, by ignoring it, rather than making it so or actually analyzing it. More likely than not those who argue such have houses just as cluttered with too many objects and arranged to consume digital media as that of any other contemporary Westerner. However, I strongly doubt this is the case for the generation of elderly lamas that Huseng is referencing, since they grew up living contrary to alot of our default assumptions.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Karma Chochi Jinpa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:52 pm

It is only bad if you are lost in fascination. When we complain about something, anything really, our teacher reminds us how lucky we are to have such great karma to have such wonderful teachers. The Chinese saying, "May you be blessed to live in an interesting time." is also said "May you be cursed to live in an interesting time." These things are only a distraction if you're perception of reality is still unskillful. Like everything else it is your perception that is the hindrance.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Queequeg » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:29 pm

"Wahhhhh. :tantrum: Samsara is overwhelming!"

Duh.

If we surrender to the obstacles of "modernity", stick a fork in the Dharma. Its done. Papiyas has won.

Buck up. Mara does not surrender just because you chant a few sutras or invoke some protective dharani. He must be met with commensurate effort.

Get to work. Do something about these problems you see instead of worrying about how you wish you could retreat to your cave with no electricity and running water to escape the distractions of our present world. There are billions with little dust in the eyes. If they can't understand Pali, or Sanskrit, or Ancient Chinese, or Tibetan, or archaic mythology, those of us who understand these languages need to translate it and break it down into language the average "modern" can understand. It means you'll have to put off settling into your samadhi this life time and instead get down and dirty with the ignorant folk. If you don't understand that this is the vow you took as a bodhisattva, then let me remind you of the immense merit you will accumulate for your efforts.

How's that for a half-time pep talk?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby shel » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:40 pm

:applause:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:50 pm

Queequeg wrote:"Wahhhhh. :tantrum: Samsara is overwhelming!"

Duh.

If we surrender to the obstacles of "modernity", stick a fork in the Dharma. Its done. Papiyas has won.

Buck up. Mara does not surrender just because you chant a few sutras or invoke some protective dharani. He must be met with commensurate effort.

Get to work. Do something about these problems you see instead of worrying about how you wish you could retreat to your cave with no electricity and running water to escape the distractions of our present world. There are billions with little dust in the eyes. If they can't understand Pali, or Sanskrit, or Ancient Chinese, or Tibetan, or archaic mythology, those of us who understand these languages need to translate it and break it down into language the average "modern" can understand. It means you'll have to put off settling into your samadhi this life time and instead get down and dirty with the ignorant folk. If you don't understand that this is the vow you took as a bodhisattva, then let me remind you of the immense merit you will accumulate for your efforts.

How's that for a half-time pep talk?


:good: :good: :thanks:
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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: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:00 pm

Sadhu ! :namaste:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby muni » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:01 pm

Karma Chochi Jinpa wrote: it is your perception that is the hindrance.



:anjali:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Nemo » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:19 pm

Maybe it says more about me but I found deconstructionists back in the day engaged in masturbatory self aggrandizement. The ones in academia are a total write off. Toadying sycophants of the ruling class enjoying their tenure.

Good 'ol Hegelian thesis>antithesis>synthesis is actually a useful paradigm. Let's throw that at our current ecological problems which are largely ethical and then let free market capitalism deal with Marxian critiques. I don't get deconstructionists and their end of history bullshit. I found they all lived off their girlfriends. I actually started to wonder if being a deconstructionist was a sign of bad character.

The essence of our current system, modernity if you like, is competition. This is the main problem IMO. Competition and practice are in total opposition.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby muni » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:30 pm

Simon E. wrote:What are people scared of ?

'Scared' to investigate in mind and so continue to investigate in minds' reflections.

:namaste:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:36 pm

Nemo wrote:The essence of our current system, modernity if you like, is competition. This is the main problem IMO. Competition and practice are in total opposition.


Competition, by definition, takes place under circumstances where participants have common norms about the allocation of resources; without the common agreement about norms, we have conflict over resources. Conflict between humans is older than history and is certainly in opposition to practice.

One feature of modernity is the proliferation of "secondary" relationships with others. Secondary relationships are impersonal, often do not involve face-to-face contact, and are mediated by sets of written rules. One may not agree with the rules but, the moment one enters the relationship, the rules govern the allocation of resources. This forum is a prime example. So, I post here, but if I do so and knowingly disagree with the rules, then break the rules, this "resource" can be made inaccessible to me. From the moment I disagree with and break the rules, conflict ensues.

In modernity, our lives are dominated by these secondary relationships. HHDL suggests that, in practice, one should cultivate gratitude for all the resources our secondary relationship bring to us: our homes, our clothes, our food, the Internet, etc. Without the hard work of all these people I do not know, I would be homeless, hungry, naked, etc. When I first read that, it changed my attitude about all these relationships I am in that, truly, I did not appreciate and sometimes cursed and brought myself to grief over. Now, I am mindful of what I do consume and practice appreciation for the hard work of others (work that is, too often, not compensated by a living wage) and their contribution to my well-being.

These small forms of practice, at least for me, are more difficult to cultivate than ritualized performance. However, it is these small practices that are the most transformative of daily life in the modern world.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:53 pm

Very nice... :applause:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:16 pm

muni wrote:
Simon E. wrote:What are people scared of ?

'Scared' to investigate in mind and so continue to investigate in minds' reflections.

:namaste:


We seem to be suffering from an outbreak of unproductive and dualistic meta-comments.

Mind's reflections are not mind, the finger pointing at the moon is not the moon, appearances are not emptiness, etc…

You might want to take a look at Nagarjuna and/or Mipham for an antidote to that.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:11 pm

muni wrote:
Simon E. wrote:What are people scared of ?

'Scared' to investigate in mind and so continue to investigate in minds' reflections.

:namaste:


If I am not mistaken, muni is "pointing" to the teaching that mind is like a mirror; a purified mind gives a pure reflection. The reflection is under our own control, not that of the world around us.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:40 pm

viniketa wrote:
muni wrote:
Simon E. wrote:What are people scared of ?

'Scared' to investigate in mind and so continue to investigate in minds' reflections.

:namaste:


If I am not mistaken, muni is "pointing" to the teaching that mind is like a mirror; a purified mind gives a pure reflection. The reflection is under our own control, not that of the world around us.

:namaste:


That pointing finger was dangerously on the verge of wagging! :tongue:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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