Daily Practice Commitments

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Daily Practice Commitments

Postby shel » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:36 pm

Wow, I've never been no-matter-what rigid about anything. I guess that I don't see the world so black and white, but as more fluid.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:47 pm

shel wrote:Wow, I've never been no-matter-what rigid about anything. I guess that I don't see the world so black and white, but as more fluid.
Firstly, you could try being a little less judgemental. Secondly, do not take up Vajrayana, it's full of "no-matter-whats" :tongue:
"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: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:07 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Lifelong commitments for specific daily practices.


Anyone in their right mind would forgo daily religious practices to save the life of a child, for example. We all realize that "no matter what" is just an expression of commitment and not to be taken literally. The only question is how far the commitment is taken, and what that may indicate about the practitioner.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:25 am

shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Lifelong commitments for specific daily practices.


Anyone in their right mind would forgo daily religious practices to save the life of a child, for example. We all realize that "no matter what" is just an expression of commitment and not to be taken literally. The only question is how far the commitment is taken, and what that may indicate about the practitioner.


Define "practice." Would you attempt to save a child's life without mindfulness or concentration? (since we're working with hypotheticals...)

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Samaya

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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:43 am

Jikan wrote:
shel wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Lifelong commitments for specific daily practices.


Anyone in their right mind would forgo daily religious practices to save the life of a child, for example. We all realize that "no matter what" is just an expression of commitment and not to be taken literally. The only question is how far the commitment is taken, and what that may indicate about the practitioner.


Define "practice." Would you attempt to save a child's life without mindfulness or concentration? (since we're working with hypotheticals...)


This line of discussion started with Myozankodo mentioning "No matter what, I sit everyday: in the morning and at night." There may be circumstances where the life of a child can be saved while in the seated position but, in most likely situations it would require moving about, at least a little. Perhaps your point is that Myozankodo used the term "sit" as loosely as he used the phrase "no matter what," and sitting encompasses more than what appears on the surface.

Can we try to stay on topic everyone? I'll try to take my own advice on this, I swear...

Please stop trying. :smile:
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:10 am

OK, I see what you mean shel.

I think it's good to stick rigorously to a daily practice regimen. If seated meditation is your practice, and you're able, then keep that commitment. Of course it would be foolish to keep that commitment at that if your kid is choking on something and no one else is around to save her skin (for instance).

I'm interested in the equation of sitting with meditation. I know that seated meditation is emphasized strongly in Soto Zen. But is sitting necessarily synonymous with meditation? It is possible to put one's body on the cushion, wear the proper accoutrement, maintain good posture... and daydream the whole session. I know, I've done it myself. It's also possible to practice meditation quite rigorously in many other postures.

The equation of the terms "meditation" and "Buddhism" or "Zen" (as though meditation is the totality of Buddhist practice) is a separate thing. I'm not sure of Treeleaf does this, but I've seen it in other Soto Zen contexts in the English-speaking world...
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby ToddR » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:39 pm

I think a good point is the idea of the "four exhilarations". These are eating, sleeping, meditation, and taking care of the body. Like, no matter what, I eat everyday. This is a true statement for nearly all people :) People may not take care of their body everyday, but everyone's got to shower eventually. Once you get into a habit of it, meditation seems not like a committment but like a vital part of the day. This is why vajrayana is for students who are already steeped in practice.

If it feels like a burden, then don't take it on yourself. If you want the creditial of being a vajrayana practitioner, I would look into the motivation of that desire.
Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty, and so released himself from suffering.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:04 pm

shel wrote:Anyone in their right mind would forgo daily religious practices to save the life of a child, for example.

Doesn't really come up most of the time though does it. 99.9999999999999999999% of the time we're not in a real crisis.
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:35 pm

I think you left out some 9's there somewhere. :tongue:
"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: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Feb 05, 2013 5:40 pm

I think it's good to make yourself do something no matter what..in addition to the fact that you are simply doing it more, you are also learning a kind of persistence that makes things stick, the times when it's hardest to do a thing are the times when you are most likely to grow in it, in my experience.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:29 pm

For me the daily practice commitments I took make sure that I do at least SOMETHING everyday. Without them I am sure there is a risk on days when I am lazy/busy that I wouldn't do anything at all, so I see the commitments as a valuable tool for direction in my life.

That being said, I made sure I took only a few daily recitation commitments that are very manageable.

I know practitioners who are in a state of panic every evening as they are worried about being able to finish their practice. I wonder if the sense of dread they describe is helpful for cultivation...
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:33 pm

JKhedrup wrote:For me the daily practice commitments I took make sure that I do at least SOMETHING everyday. Without them I am sure there is a risk on days when I am lazy/busy that I wouldn't do anything at all, so I see the commitments as a valuable tool for direction in my life.

That being said, I made sure I took only a few daily recitation commitments that are very manageable.

I know practitioners who are in a state of panic every evening as they are worried about being able to finish their practice. I wonder if the sense of dread they describe is helpful for cultivation...


This is a really good point. Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche teaches very simple ways of keeping all samayas according to the dzogchen path, and I have heard the same from many other teachers. The important thing is to do one's best. Being in a panic to keep a rule is not really the intention of the vows, however if one structures one's life in ways that make it difficult to keep the vows then perhaps one is not putting the priority where it should be. We know when we are not being serious.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
~Arthur Carlson
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:37 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I think it's good to make yourself do something no matter what..in addition to the fact that you are simply doing it more, you are also learning a kind of persistence that makes things stick, the times when it's hardest to do a thing are the times when you are most likely to grow in it, in my experience.


This is an important point, particularly when we are looking at arising yoga as preparing us for bardo experience after death. We want to have very strong habits of arising as the deity and seeing our environment as pure so that at some point in the after-death states this habit propels us into recognition of our real nature and liberates us. Just practicing in a half-assed way on weekends won't give us this kind of habitual momentum.
"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby Yudron » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:45 pm

Well, you can save the child, then practice.

Somedays I say to myself, "Yudron--you have a lot to do, maybe you should just skip formal practice today." Then, most of the time I examine what it is that I think is so important, and look at my text, think of my lama--and the the next thing you know, I'm doing the formal practice. But, in my tradition there are work-arounds -- substitutions that can be done in a couple of minutes off the cushion--for nearly everything. On those special days I set aside my desire for a lot of formal practice for the sake of others' needs.

The life of a Vajrayana practitioner who really practices lights up with meaning. :jumping:
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Re: Daily Practice Commitments

Postby Jainarayan » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:05 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I know practitioners who are in a state of panic every evening as they are worried about being able to finish their practice. I wonder if the sense of dread they describe is helpful for cultivation...


I'm one of those practitioners. I'm not worried about finishing, I'm worried about starting. I haven't opened my shrine in at least a week. Not to say I have not done mantras, prayers and a tiny bit of meditation at other times and places. To open the shrine (I have Japanese screens surrounding the shrine area), light an oil lamp, candles and incense, offer water and sweets, say some mantras and prayers will take all of 10 minutes, if that. But as someone with OCPD, not to mention GAD and the possibility of mild Asperger's (to be fully determined yet) I feel that if I can't give it my all, why bother. Is it helpful for cultivation? Absolutely not.
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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