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Which flavour should I choose? - Dhamma Wheel

Which flavour should I choose?

A forum for beginners and members of other Buddhist traditions to ask questions about Theravāda (The Way of the Elders). Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
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JiaYi
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Which flavour should I choose?

Postby JiaYi » Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:55 am

When I first picked up a discarded book on Buddhism, I wasn't quite prepared for the impact it had on me, in a good way that is. The trail of breadcrumbs soon turned into an overwhelming torrent, thanks to Google. It would've been a simple slam dunk for me if not for that fork in the road that crept up on me really quickly.

It's really like a Baskin Robbins 31-flavour type of situation. What's good - Mahayana, Theravada, Vajrayana, New Age, or a salad mix? I still don't know how to choose. My experiment with Mahayana was short-lived because there's only so much mysticism I can handle. Will I feel the same way about the next one I try?

I know most people will say just go with what you feel comfortable and decide when the time comes with but that's just the thing. What if everything seems plausible to you at the beginning and you decide to try each flavour one at a time, rejecting things based on your own ideas about what's reasonable and not, guided by your pet aversions and delusions. How long will it take before you get exhausted and confused?

I came to Theravada because it appeals to my rationale, but that's before I've tried out the others (bar Mahayana.) I am mindful of the fact that life is precious and we should maximize it; that we really don't have the luxury of spending too much time on trial and error.

The internet has been indispensable to me in seeking the dhamma but wading through the thicket of intra- and inter-sectarian views has been exhausting. I've realized that even abandoning the internet for a real teacher won't help me escape the same question eventually: Do I go for the teacher in the grey robe, yellow robe, maroon robe, or the one in jeans that looks like a hippie? On what basis do I choose?

On what basis did you choose?
Last edited by JiaYi on Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:00 am

I went for the teacher who was a self-confessed "Square".

Just take your time. And if you have time, try a residential retreat or two.
And hang out here for awhile. Get to know some practitioners and ask questions.
All the best,

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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JiaYi
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby JiaYi » Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:39 am

Thanks Ben. That square guy didn't happen to be Spongebob, did it. LOL.

People compare the cultivation process to a journey. It doesn't matter which road you take because they all lead to the same place.

Funny because I thought its more like baking a cake. Use different amounts of the same ingredient and you get an entirely different cake.

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mikenz66
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:58 am

I just stuck with a place I stumbled onto where the monks and lay people seemed happy. No thinking or choosing involved since I had no intention of taking up Buddhism.

:anjali:
Mike

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retrofuturist
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:02 am

Greetings JiaYi,

Ask yourself this... do you want a spiritual path that gives you sure fire answers to all things cosmological, philosophical, ontological, metaphysical etc.? Or do you want the cessation of suffering?

In connection with that, see:

MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Where do your priorities lay?

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Dan74
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:13 am

_/|\_

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retrofuturist
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:38 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Ben
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Location: kanamaluka

Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby Ben » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:11 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
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Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:27 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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m0rl0ck
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:56 pm

I would advise not making a choice based on what you feel like you might want to beleive. Buddhism is about practice. First find a practice that you feel at home with. If practice is interesting and comfortable for you, you may do more of it :)

Your practice will be with you long after the finer points of doctrine and dogma begin to lose their meaning.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Tex
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Location: Austin, TX, USA

Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby Tex » Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:30 pm

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

Nyana
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby Nyana » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:10 am


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DarwidHalim
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Location: Neither Samsara nor Nirvana

Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Oct 25, 2011 7:56 am

Follow the one which you think easy to understand at your current capacity.

If you think Theravada is easy to follow, then follow it.

If you think why there are various interpretations, study the reasons why they are different. It will enhance your knowledge.

A true Buddhist practitioner is the one who is free from label.

There is a saying we study self in order to forget self.

Similarly we study Buddhism in order to forget Buddhism.

In emptiness, there is only direct experiences free from schools and labels.

Theravada school can bring you to that reality, which finally you will be beyond Theravada or other Buddhist schools.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!

rowyourboat
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Location: London, UK

Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:19 am

Issues to consider: Practicality- is the centre within commutable distance? -having a group to practice with is really helpful

will i benefit from this? (by this I mean moral, spiritual development- becoming a better person, reducing your suffering)

Do I get on with the teacher? -if you dont have some faith in his/her teachings it is going to be difficult to follow and practice accordingly.

Is it too different from my own beliefs- it is good to be challenged a bit but too much might just put you off- trying to swallow what you cannot..

Is the teacher (atleast) ethical, virtuous, kind/wise. Are the students (generally) look to you like they have benefited.

Remember you don't need to commit to one teacher- in fact, it is probably better if you don't. (when we think of religion often we think of committing- but is this really necessary?) Remember that this is your journey- you need to draw nourishment from where ever you can- and those needs will change from time to time- so as some teachers are better at somethings than others, you will need to draw upon different teachers and teachings at different times. Clinging to one teacher and getting railroaded into one way of thinking is not helpful- stay open. Your mind and needs are too complex to be satisfied with one teacher, in this journey to enlightenment.

Having said that, it is good to stay with a group of spiritual friends who will be your companions over many years- this helps motivate. You can take on their main practice while exploring other teachers/teachings- nothing wrong in that.

Hope that helps :)

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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JiaYi
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby JiaYi » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:30 am

Hi friends, I'm most attracted to Theravada, which I feel appeals to my need for reason than belief, and I do find occasional Zen one-liner hilarious.

One question. If our senses are defiled and not to be trusted, should we trust the choices we make, including the type of Buddhism we that we find appealing? We are not exactly picking out a fashion item but if sensory appeal is our guide, isn't that what we're doing? Just a thought.

:anjali:

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anjali
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Re: Which flavour should I choose?

Postby anjali » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:32 am

I've spent some time studying Theravada (Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Maha Bua,Upasika Kee Nanayon), Mahayana (Chan: Huang Po, Xu Yun, Hsuan Hua, Sheng Yen; Zen: Uchiyama Roshi, Chinul) and Vajrayana (Mahamudra/Dzogchen, Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche). Also, I've spent some time at several retreat centers in some of the different traditions.

In my opinion what they all have in common is the dual meditative approaches of samatha/vipassana or samadhi/panna (Therevada), shamatha/vipashyana (Vajrayana Mahamudra), samadhi/prajna or stopping/seeing (Chan/Zen). Pick the path you seem most attracted to for now, then look under the covers at these dual aspects of practice as a unifying theme. It cuts through to the heart of empty awareness or unentangled knowing. Maybe these thoughts will help. Maybe not. Your mileage may vary. ;-)


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