My teacher said this about our technique, what do you think?

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jan 24, 2013 2:00 am

Lowlydog:

Have you ever heard of the four thoughs that turn the mind? It is part of the ngondro, a set of practices that I briefly described earlier that is practiced by all sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The ngondro does contain things such as prostrations, offerings, and chanting- practices that you seem to think conflict with the Buddha's teaching. For now, I would like to talk about the first part of the ngondro, the contemplation of the four thoughts. The four thoughts are contemplations on impermanence, karma, suffering, and the preciousness of human life. The contemplations on impermanence are very much like the meditation on the corpse that you described. I would like to know why you think that this is not so important these days. Sure, you can see blood and guts and corpses on TV, but how close to reality is that? Do the images we see on TV really make us think about our own mortality or are they just another distraction? I think that our ancestors of the past lived much closer to the reality of death than modern folks ever will. We do not embrace death, we deny it. Isn't it an insult just to say that you look old these days? Impermanence may seem elementary, but it is not something that is just for beginners, or something that you leave behind once you understand it. Impermanence is the essence of what the Buddha taught. There is so much out there to distract us, so much else we could be doing besides practicing and investigating our mind. Anything that encourages us to practice is essential. We are all going to die someday. Yes, we all know that, but how much do you think about it. Really? Most people try their best to forget about it. I just find it strange that you would say that this contemplation is somehow outdated.

And could you please explain exactly what these "rites and rituals" are that you keep referring to? Please be specific. Could you also please explain which sects of Buddhism practices the Dharma by worshipping statues as you describe in your post? I am really not trying to bash you, I honestly don't understand where you are coming from. I think that maybe you have a misconcieved notion of how Buddhism is practiced. You say that these are your personal observations. What have you observed? I've been practicing for a bit, not forevor, but I have lived in a monastary and I have never seen anyone- American or Tibetan- practicing in the way you describe. By the way, I also have a lot of respect for S.N. Goenka and his insight meditation.

Troy
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby lowlydog » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:00 am

CrawfordHollow wrote:Lowlydog:

Have you ever heard of the four thoughs that turn the mind? It is part of the ngondro, a set of practices that I briefly described earlier that is practiced by all sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The ngondro does contain things such as prostrations, offerings, and chanting- practices that you seem to think conflict with the Buddha's teaching. For now, I would like to talk about the first part of the ngondro, the contemplation of the four thoughts. The four thoughts are contemplations on impermanence, karma, suffering, and the preciousness of human life. The contemplations on impermanence are very much like the meditation on the corpse that you described. I would like to know why you think that this is not so important these days. Sure, you can see blood and guts and corpses on TV, but how close to reality is that? Do the images we see on TV really make us think about our own mortality or are they just another distraction? I think that our ancestors of the past lived much closer to the reality of death than modern folks ever will. We do not embrace death, we deny it. Isn't it an insult just to say that you look old these days? Impermanence may seem elementary, but it is not something that is just for beginners, or something that you leave behind once you understand it. Impermanence is the essence of what the Buddha taught. There is so much out there to distract us, so much else we could be doing besides practicing and investigating our mind. Anything that encourages us to practice is essential. We are all going to die someday. Yes, we all know that, but how much do you think about it. Really? Most people try their best to forget about it. I just find it strange that you would say that this contemplation is somehow outdated.

And could you please explain exactly what these "rites and rituals" are that you keep referring to? Please be specific. Could you also please explain which sects of Buddhism practices the Dharma by worshipping statues as you describe in your post? I am really not trying to bash you, I honestly don't understand where you are coming from. I think that maybe you have a misconcieved notion of how Buddhism is practiced. You say that these are your personal observations. What have you observed? I've been practicing for a bit, not forevor, but I have lived in a monastary and I have never seen anyone- American or Tibetan- practicing in the way you describe. By the way, I also have a lot of respect for S.N. Goenka and his insight meditation.

Troy


Rites and rituals would be believing that anything external can liberate you.

Belief that a statue of buddha can liberate you.
offering treats and sweets to a statue.
Bowing to statues.
incense burning
wearing of specific coloured clothes
saying sadhu,sadhu, sadhu if done out of habit

Now before I'm crucified, I'm not saying these things are unpleasant and should not be done. It's nice to smell incense look at pretty flowers in the temple, it adds colour to life. I often see many people using the temple as a church or community centre a gathering place for socialising and there are alot of people who call themselves buddhist and do not meditate or follow precepts. My teacher would say these people come to buddhism to recieve the seed of dharma, to be developed in a future birth, and that birth can come in this very lifetime. There is nothing wrong with these things and they can be pleasant, but I do not believe them to be liberative.

Now I did not say these things conflict with the buddhas teachings, I believe they can be a hindrence to progress if they are clung to to tightly, I believe they could aid in calming the mind and the developement of concentration if used appropriately but often I feel to much importance is placed on the ritual aspect of these practices and they are used in lue of mindfulness based practice.

As for the corpses, I do not feel it is necessary to look outwardly at another dead being to realise that I am going to decompose and wither away to dust,with the advancement of science and microscopes available today we all know that we are made up of subatomic particles, back in the buddhas time there were probably alot of people that would not know they had organs in their bodies and blood and that these things were changing.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:05 am

"rites and rituals would be believing that anything external can liberate you.

Belief that a statue of buddha can liberate you.
offering treats and sweets to a statue.
Bowing to statues.
incense burning
wearing of specific coloured clothes
saying sadhu,sadhu, sadhu if done out of habit"


None of that stuff in Vajrayana is looking to external source to liberate you.

Again,the crux of the issue is that you actually just don't really know anything about the stuff you are criticizing.

ow I did not say these things conflict with the buddhas teachings, I believe they can be a hindrence to progress if they are clung to to tightly, I believe they could aid in calming the mind and the developement of concentration if used appropriately but often I feel to much importance is placed on the ritual aspect of these practices and they are used in lue of mindfulness based practice.


Again, simply no idea what you are talking about, and even better..you think you know what other people's hindrances are. Are you a meditation teacher?

As for the corpses, I do not feel it is necessary to look outwardly at another dead being to realise that I am going to decompose and wither away to dust,with the advancement of science and microscopes available today we all know that we are made up of subatomic particles, back in the buddhas time there were probably alot of people that would not know they had organs in their bodies and blood and that these things were changing.


Charnel ground meditation is suggested in the Pali Canon.
Read up a bit on ancient india..they had a form of atomic theory, I don't think things like blood and organs changing would be any mystery.
"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: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby justsit » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:32 am

Have you been to our sister site dhammawheel.net? They are focused more on Theravada, with a number of Goenka practitioners also. Perhaps you would find more kindred spirits there?
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:36 am

I think you missed my point about the meditation on death and impermanence. Oh well, its past my bedtime. I will say this. Nothing external will liberate you, true. Realizing the true nature of what we see as external will liberate you, which is really what the Mahayana and Vajrayana are all about. Could it be that maybe you are making some assumptions about the traditions that you are critisizing? You keep saying that your teacher has told you this, but how much have you really learned about the Mahayana? Is it really all about external forms or is that just an assumption of yours that you are projecting? Do you really have it all figured out? Be honest. Sorry thats all I got for tonight. I wish you all a good night.

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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby CrawfordHollow » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:45 am

Back in the Buddha's time people were attached to their bodies and had aversion to death. Today people are attached to their bodies and have aversion to death. If you think that subatomic particles or knowledge in general have anything to do with contemplating death and impermanence than you have missed a very fundamental point. Now I'm really going to bed.

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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby lowlydog » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:11 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Charnel ground meditation is suggested in the Pali Canon.


Yes, but do you feel it is necessary(manditory) for liberation to occur. I did not say it was not helpful for some to practice this but do all Buddhist need to practice this to liberate from suffering?

,
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby lowlydog » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:19 pm

CrawfordHollow wrote: Nothing external will liberate you, true. Realizing the true nature of what we see as external will liberate you, which is really what the Mahayana and Vajrayana are all about. Troy


You may be saying the same thing but, realizing the true nature within will liberate, no subject and object created.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:37 pm

hammers.jpg
hammers.jpg (8.2 KiB) Viewed 659 times


See these? These are hammers, right? Hammers serve the purpose of being used to hammer (ie strike).

Now, while it is quite possible that you could use #5 to break stones and pieces of concrete and/or to drive wedges, and it is possible to use #2 to nail together a model table for a dolls house, well you wouldn't now, would you?

And why? Because although they serve the same purpose (ie striking) they are designed for minor differences in hammering needs. It's not a matter of: "They all serve the same function, thus we can just have one for all our needs", is it?

So if it is like this for something as simple as hammering, imagine the range of "tools" that are necessary to overcome the mental needs of sentient beings. It doesn't really take much intellectual analysis to understand what people here are saying, does it? Especially if you take the time to listen.
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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: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby conebeckham » Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:03 pm

lowlydog wrote:Rites and rituals would be believing that anything external can liberate you.

Belief that a statue of buddha can liberate you.
offering treats and sweets to a statue.
Bowing to statues.
incense burning
wearing of specific coloured clothes
saying sadhu,sadhu, sadhu if done out of habit

Now before I'm crucified, I'm not saying these things are unpleasant and should not be done. It's nice to smell incense look at pretty flowers in the temple, it adds colour to life. I often see many people using the temple as a church or community centre a gathering place for socialising and there are alot of people who call themselves buddhist and do not meditate or follow precepts. My teacher would say these people come to buddhism to recieve the seed of dharma, to be developed in a future birth, and that birth can come in this very lifetime. There is nothing wrong with these things and they can be pleasant, but I do not believe them to be liberative.


Well, you do not really understand these rites and rituals. You pass judgement on them, and on chanting and prostrations, but quite frankly you don't understand these methods. You've dismissed them without a full understanding. That's fine, really. I'm guessing that you've been conditioned, by whatever life events or circumstances, to have an internal bias against things which are "religious" and your teacher therefore appeals to this bias. It's skillful means. Heck, we don't even have to call our technique "Buddhist"--that surely allows it to be less off-putting to those who are biased against religion, or against Buddhism, specifically.

In the end, Lowlydog, all these "rites and rituals" you've dismissed can have a profound effect on the mind, and, in some cases, can be more effective and yield quicker results than the samadhi practices you've embraced. It is no doubt true that, for some people, these rites and rituals may be "pleas to another power," but even then, you shouldn't dismiss them as ineffective. After all, if there is no subject and object in reality, what does it matter whether the liberating power is seen to be internal or external?

Finally, I think it's important to understand that, for ignorant sentient beings such as ourselves, there's no doubt that "external" factors are to be relied upon, at this stage of the path. One's teacher, and the teachings themselves, were external to us, at least initially.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:07 pm

conebeckham wrote:...One's teacher, and the teachings themselves, were external to us, at least initially.
And then some!
"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: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby lowlydog » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:17 am

conebeckham wrote:Well, you do not really understand these rites and rituals. You pass judgement on them, and on chanting and prostrations, but quite frankly you don't understand these methods. You've dismissed them without a full understanding. That's fine, really. I'm guessing that you've been conditioned, by whatever life events or circumstances, to have an internal bias against things which are "religious" and your teacher therefore appeals to this bias. It's skillful means. Heck, we don't even have to call our technique "Buddhist"--that surely allows it to be less off-putting to those who are biased against religion, or against Buddhism, specifically.


Maybe you could explain their purpose to me, and we could discuss them. I'm not a closed book when it comes to my practice, Ive incorporated other enlightened teachings into my life and I'm really very interested in other practices and how they liberate. I may not fully understand these rituals but what I have seen of them does not appeal to me and never has appealed to me my entire life. Some of my family members are intense followers of christianity, and I have discussed my take on life with them to no avail, they are set in their beliefs and refuse to accept my non religious beliefs structure. They preach and preach about Jesus, and I ask, do you follow the ten commandments? Um ahhh um ahhh, excuse after excuse is made why Jesus did not really mean for us not to act this way and its ok for us to hate muslims, jews, indians because they do not follow Jesus and they are going to hell. This is what I have been brought up with my entire life it sickened me and I wanted nothing to do with it. I went in the other direction, there is no God, and when your dead your dead, so nothing matters. I had no morals did and acted as I felt, drank, smoked, ran with women, fought, stole, got arrested, my only concern was myself and my own pleasures. I put distance between myself and every other human on this planet unless they served a purpose to please me in some way or another, and if they got in my way watch out. Most people have that little voice in their head that hears another human beings suffering, and this voice stops you from beating another human to a pulp, I lost that voice in my head and it wasn't until I'd punched every tooth out of a your head, broken your jaw, and twisted your leg until I heard a crack would it be enough, most times people would have to tear me off of some poor fella, I just would not stop. I was infused with rage/anger all the time, I had no peace in my life.

conebeckam wrote:In the end, Lowlydog, all these "rites and rituals" you've dismissed can have a profound effect on the mind, and, in some cases, can be more effective and yield quicker results than the samadhi practices you've embraced. It is no doubt true that, for some people, these rites and rituals may be "pleas to another power," but even then, you shouldn't dismiss them as ineffective. After all, if there is no subject and object in reality, what does it matter whether the liberating power is seen to be internal or external?


I know about this other power.
It was the night I quit drinking and started on the path. Completely shitfaced drunk, I came stumbling in the door after driving home once again. My wife holding our baby girl in her arms screaming at me, when are you going to stop? I can't take this anymore, did you drive home again? where were you, blah blah blah is all I heard, I couldn't care in the least, I was probably going to be killed by someone or just kill myself. Who would care? what difference would it make? Then everything narrowed into a tunnel like vision and all sounds became muffled, my wife was screaming bloody murder at me, but I could not hear a thing a deep calm came over me, and I found myself looking at my body from above. But I could see what a horrible human I had become I saw the self and what suffering I was in and what suffering I was causing to others. I sort of hovered there for awhile and then bang I was back in my body, but something was different a huge weight had been lifted from me, and I felt joy. I took my cigarettes and threw them in the garbage, I had no use for them anymore, I looked my wife in the eyes and apologised for my behaviour and told her with such strong conviction that I was done with drinking, I had no more use for it, the horrible pain was gone and things were changed.

conebeckam wrote:Finally, I think it's important to understand that, for ignorant sentient beings such as ourselves, there's no doubt that "external" factors are to be relied upon, at this stage of the path. One's teacher, and the teachings themselves, were external to us, at least initially.


A few days later I found a copy of Eckhart Tolle's A new earth, This book returned God back into my life, but not the god that my relatives spoke of. The god that was simply presence, the god that freed me from a life of misery, the god that lifted the enormous weight that was crushing me, the god that relieved a portion of my ignorance, the god that awakened me. I then found myself at the door of a buddhist temple, and I began meditation. I could not sit on the floor for 5 minutes when I first walked into that temple, but I kept going back, this is what I needed to do. I still go to the same temple and it is an important part of my life as is Eckhart, but something did not sit well with me in the temple. I found that all the bowing and chanting and candles and shrines had no importance to me and I knew that I was a little different than most of the other devotees and did not really fit in. Someone told me to sit a goenka retreat and I did and I knew the moment I arrived that I had found my practice. Goenka gave me back all the worlds religions, Goenka gave me my meditation practice, this practice has shown me that dharma is dharma in all it true forms. I am my own master, I decide what is dharma and what is not. So now I am a tea drinking quasi vegan who has developed the ability to love unconditionally, what happened to the old Lowlydog? well he is still there in memory but I find it impossible to act as I did before. There has been a change in my life and it seems to be permanent, I have found god, and I am happy.

So this is who I am( well not ultimately), this is how I have found dharma, these are the teachers that have guided me, they are all a part of my life and they come with Lowlydog, I will not supress my speech on these people, nor is it my intention to disrespect members here at dharma wheel and push my path a superior in any way. If you feel that my dharma is not what you wish to hear then discuss it amongst yourselves send me a PM with your decision because these are things that I will not compromise about myself nor do I feel it necessary.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:44 am

I'm really glad to hear that you finally found peace with yourself lowlydog, It is always the first step before finding peace with those around you.

But you are not at the finishing line yet. One may overcome anger, only to have another mental poison become dominant. There are (depending on which tradition of Buddhism you follow) three, five, or six basic defiling emotions.

For me though the crux of your above confession comes to a screeching halt here:
I am my own master, I decide what is dharma and what is not.
This betrays the fact that you are still being heavily influenced by the very thing that sickened you. The superiority of personal views. You do not want to be judged through the prism of the view of others, yet you are quite happy to judge them.

It is not that people here are telling you to not follow your path, nor are they telling you to follow their path (eg take up rites and rituals). Nobody is trying to impose their view on you. They are merely pointing out that their view (or method) differs from yours, and yet works for them. You come across as judgemental and proselytising. Preaching your god to the ignorant heathens. You are acting in exactly the same manner as those you profess to be sickened by. You are trying to twist peoples "spiritual' legs until they crack.

You do this by comparing your god to the god of others on a scale of one to ten with your god at number one. This is pride. This pride then expresses itself as anger and an attempt to bludgeon others until they accept accept the dominance of your position. This is hypocrisy, because on the one hand you talk about not being a "closed book" yet on the other hand you agressively try to press your view.

Okay, we all have our flaws, we all make mistakes. Question is: do we learn from our mistakes?
: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: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby lowlydog » Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:58 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:For me though the crux of your above confession comes to a screeching halt here:
I am my own master, I decide what is dharma and what is not.
This betrays the fact that you are still being heavily influenced by the very thing that sickened you. The superiority of personal views. You do not want to be judged through the prism of the view of others, yet you are quite happy to judge them.


I am my own master is what Goenka teaches about dharma, not to place emphasis on others to liberate you. It is not a statement coming from ego, it means not to turn another into a guru or god, to find liberation within oneself.

greg wrote:It is not that people here are telling you to not follow your path, nor are they telling you to follow their path (eg take up rites and rituals). Nobody is trying to impose their view on you. They are merely pointing out that their view (or method) differs from yours, and yet works for them. You come across as judgemental and proselytising. Preaching your god to the ignorant heathens. You are acting in exactly the same manner as those you profess to be sickened by. You are trying to twist peoples "spiritual' legs until they crack.


Nobody is telling me not to follow my path and, I AM NOT telling anyone not to follow their path, If this is how I'm interpreted then you have misread my true meaning. You particularly Greg have told me that I cannot discuss a man who has been so helpful to my developement, you have decided that his teachings are not dharma, talk about judgemental. I come here professing that an individuals teachings have helped me to experience peace and have introduced god back into my life and I'm told this is not dharma. This is the crossroads for us if I am to stay a part of this community, because I will not be silenced with regard to anything on my spiritual path. I am not saying this is better, it is dharma. I'm not comparing different religions, I don't take part in religious behaviours. I'm non religious. Sticks and stone can break my bones but names can never hurt me, think about that statement it's dharma. How can I twist peoples "spiritual legs" until they crack. Nice try your argument is weak and I'm not buying it. Preaching my god to ignorant heathens, walk a mile in the shoes of my past Greg and you would know how ridiculous that statement is.

greg']You do this by comparing your god to the god of others on a scale of one to ten with your god at number one. This is pride. This pride then expresses itself as anger and an attempt to bludgeon others until they accept accept the dominance of your position. This is hypocrisy, because on the one hand you talk about not being a "closed book" yet on the other hand you agressively try to press your view.[/quote]
I am an open book, in the sense that I have no trouble listening to others views of dharma, the part of me that use to cringe when I heard people discussing god or gurus is gone. This does not mean that I accept what others are saying as truth, because some things they are saying are not my truth. Some times I hear someone talking about something and I think wow this person is out to lunch but then I retranslate what they were saying in a way that makes sense to me in my little world and then I'm able to accept it. Until that happens it stays on the back burner.

[quote="greg wrote:
Okay, we all have our flaws, we all make mistakes. Question is: do we learn from our mistakes?
:namaste:

Yes we all have our flaws, we are all deserving of forgiveness, all that really matters is our volition. Individually I feel the volition of each member here to be admirable, but the group mentality at both the DW's is capable of causing great hurt when acting as a mob especially to those who's views are different. Remember this is not a forum to discuss the teachings of Gotama the buddha alone this is a forum to discuss buddhism, the teachings of all liberated beings.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:15 pm

lowlydog wrote:...it means not to turn another into a guru or god, to find liberation within oneself.
You have no idea what you are talking about.
... you have decided that his teachings are not dharma, talk about judgemental.
This is a lie.
I come here professing that an individuals teachings have helped me to experience peace and have introduced god back into my life and I'm told this is not dharma. This is the crossroads for us if I am to stay a part of this community, because I will not be silenced with regard to anything on my spiritual path. I am not saying this is better, it is dharma.
You abide by the terms of Service you remain, you do not... This applies to all members.
I'm not comparing different religions...
This is also a lie.

So are we going to discuss Goenka, or are you going to derail yet another thread thus leading to its being locked?
: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: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby justsit » Fri Jan 25, 2013 2:19 pm

lowlydog wrote:Remember this is not a forum to discuss the teachings of Gotama the buddha alone this is a forum to discuss buddhism, the teachings of all liberated beings.

Actually, if you read the subtitle, this is a "Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."
Goenka is a secular meditation teacher.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:27 pm

Lowlydog-

Congratulations on turning your life around, and on the process you find yourself in. Seriously. It's a hard road to walk, but a worthwhile one.

The techniques you're talking about are valuable, no doubt. And I am positive there is great value in Goenka's method, and also in Eckhart Tolle's work. No one is dismissing them. BUT-

There's a subtle (and sometimes, not so subtle) hint of superiority in the message you're trying to convey. Whether you admit it or not, you have put down "rites and rituals," passed judgement on "Religious Buddhists," and you made a statement in this thread that your teacher felt such behaviors "planted the seed for later"--which, by definition, means such actions and attitudes as those displayed by "religious devotees" are somehow immature when compared to your own view. You should own this, first of all, and admit that you've passed judgement. To me, it seems you're not quite there, yet.

The Mind is primary. The mind is involved, whether we are sitting quietly in meditation, doing a "body scan," focusing on breath, or whatnot.....the mind is also involved when one is chanting devotionally, and when one is prostrating, and when one is making offerings. It's impossible to say what goes on in the minds of those involved in "religious activities"--no one can see another's mind, except Buddha--but there are teachings relating to all these "religious activities" which can turn such activities into powerful meditations, themselves. You should consider this, when you are evaluating the behavior of those around you.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby lowlydog » Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:28 pm

justsit wrote:
lowlydog wrote:Remember this is not a forum to discuss the teachings of Gotama the buddha alone this is a forum to discuss buddhism, the teachings of all liberated beings.

Actually, if you read the subtitle, this is a "Buddhist discussion forum on Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism."
Goenka is a secular meditation teacher.


The technique which S. N.Goenka teaches represents a tradition that is traced back to the Buddha. The Buddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dhamma - the way to liberation - which is universal. In the same tradition, Mr. Goenka's approach is totally non-sectarian. For this reason, his teaching has a profound appeal to people of all backgrounds, of every religion and no religion, and from every part of the world.
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Re: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:12 pm

The profound appeal of Goenkas technique (and any other Goenka you may wish to refer to) amounts to a piss in the ocean when compared to the 82% of people in the world that report being members of one of the four major world religions: Christianity 34%, Islam 23%, Hinduism 15%, Buddhism 10%

Now while it is true that people reporting no religion actually rate quite high (16%), I believe that people practicing mediation techniques that don't fall into one of the categories of the four major religions, still fall into the category of "syncretic religious practices" or the category "secular/nominal adherents". That is people that may believe in a god/gods but do not practice a formal religion, or secular practitioners of techniques that derive from a religion.

7% of the worlds population belongs to the category of "Other": Chinese traditional, Primal-Indigenous religions, African Traditional & Diasporic, Sikhism, Juche, Spiritism, Judaism, Baha'i, Jainism, Shinto, Cao Dai, Zoroastrianism, Tenrikyo, Neo-Paganism, Unitarian Universalism, Rastafarianism, Scientology, etc...

So the 100,000 or so people that have attended Goenka programs since their inception does no even come close to the 500,000 registered adherents of Scientology (the smallest official religion by population). So much for "profound appeal". And anyway, not all Goenka practitioners are irreligious or atheists as you yourself said:
...his teaching has a profound appeal to people of all backgrounds, of every religion and no religion...

Goenka teaches one technique within the vast range of Buddhist techniques and claims it is true Buddhism. Could the people that teach mindfulness based training, another secular meditation practice, basically Sati techniques without their Buddhist trappings, also claim the same thing? Real Buddhism without the religious trappings?

But let's not fool ourselves here, if the Global Vipassana Pagoda is not a religious structure then what is?
Global Vipassana Pagoda.jpg
Global Vipassana Pagoda.jpg (20.22 KiB) Viewed 445 times

Global Vipassana Pagoda

One of Goenka's wishes was fulfilled in November 2008 when the construction of the Global Vipassana Pagoda was completed on the outskirts of Mumbai. He hopes that this monument will act as a bridge between different communities, different sects, different countries and different races to make the world a more harmonious and peaceful place.
The Pagoda contains the world’s largest pillar-less stone dome structure and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world wanting to learn more about it and Vipassana meditation. Architecturally, this building is by far the largest single-span stone dome in the world, twice as big as the Basilica of St. Peter at the Vatican. At its centre is a circular meditation hall, 280 feet in diameter, which has a seating capacity of 8,000. At 325 feet height, it is almost as tall as a 30-story building. Approximately 2.5 million tons of stone was used in the construction.
The pagoda is seen by its creators as an expression of gratitude towards the Buddha and his teachings. It is also an expression of gratitude to the teachers who preserved the Buddha's teaching to this day, especially to Ba Khin. By choosing the form of a Burmese pagoda, it is also a sign of gratitude to the country of Myanmar which kept the tradition alive for over 2000 years.
So much for the secular nature of Goenka Vipassana.

As for non-sectarianism, I know that people that follow Goenka courses are not allowed to practice techniques from their "official" religions during the retreats. They are not allowed to pray, say mantra, mediate, etc... Not even during the free period of the day. They are only allowed to practice Vipassana during the courses. Smells like sectarianism to me. If they were truly non-sectarian, then there would be no problem with people practicing their professed religion during the course of the retreat.
"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: My teacher said this about our technique, what do you th

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 25, 2013 6:19 pm

lowlydog wrote:The technique which S. N.Goenka teaches represents a tradition that is traced back to the Buddha. The Buddha never taught a sectarian religion; he taught Dhamma - the way to liberation - which is universal. In the same tradition, Mr. Goenka's approach is totally non-sectarian. For this reason, his teaching has a profound appeal to people of all backgrounds, of every religion and no religion, and from every part of the world.


Do you think Christians feel that "Dhamma-the way to liberation"-is universal? I am quite certain that at least some Christians would find Goenka's techniques and methods sectarian. Maybe you could explain to them why they are not sectarian...but do you see what sort of situation you'd fall into by having to do that? I'd bet, in fact, that your "Christian relatives" think of Goenka's group as some sort of dangerous cult, eh?

And If we're going to discuss Goenka, after all, you should be aware that there are quite a few critiques out there of his organization, his method, and his claims of "lineage" as well. In the end, in my view, claims of being "universal" and "non-sectarian" raise red flags, frankly. Why must such claims be made? Is it skillful means, or skillful marketing?
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