Conditions for successful practice

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Conditions for successful practice

Postby Inge » Mon Feb 21, 2011 8:57 pm

In Sutras and other texts there are often mentioned conditions for the practice to be effective. Here are some examples:

From the Heart Sutra:
"Sariputra, any noble sons or daughters who wish to practice the perfection of wisdom should see this way:"

Who are the noble sons or daughters?

From the Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva:
"If good men or women of the future hear this Bodhisattva’s name, praise him, behold and bow to him, call his name, make offerings to him, or if they draw, carve, cast, sculpt, or make lacquered images of him, such people will be reborn in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three one hundred times and will never fall into the Evil Paths."

So this instruction apparently is only for the good men or women. Who are they?

These good men and women are mentioned many times in this sutra (http://cttbusa.org/ess/earthstore12.htm). I have been trying to do some of these practices, but without success, is this because I don't belong to the group of good men and women, or are there some other conditions that is lacking?

I just read also in Torch of Certainty that when you do Vajrasattva purification practice, if the visualization is not continuous throughout the practice, then it utterly useless, and even if you do the practice forever it will not be successfull.

It is also often mentioned that one needs a sincere mind, a straightforward mind, a concentrated mind. That one needs to have faith, devotion, etc.

The formula seems to be: if this or that condition is not met, it is like boiling sand in order to get food, you will never succeed.

Why can't there be some practice, for instance a mantra, that you can do whether or not you belong to the noble family, if you are good or bad, that you can do with or without faith, devotion, concentration, sincerity... and that still is effective?

Do you know if there are any such practice available?
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby conebeckham » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:04 pm

Inge-

"Noble" or "Good" folks are merely those folks who have taken refuge, who have embraced the path of the Buddha.

Perhaps the first, and most important, thing is to recognize one's own basic inner goodness.

Practice is hard, on one level. Visualization becomes better with repeated practice. In fact, any meditation technique will usually improve with repeated exposure, provided one doesn't over-extend oneself. Short sessions, plentiful in number....

But the most important thing, I think, is to recognize one's own state, and acknowledge one's own potential. We are all basically good, we have the capacity to reach enlightenment, ultimately, and also the capacity to benefit ourselves and others along the way. We must have compassion for ourselves, first of all.

I sincerely hope these words help you.
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby ground » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:06 pm

Inge wrote:...if the visualization is not continuous throughout the practice, then it utterly useless, and even if you do the practice forever it will not be successfull.

I think such statements are a bit overdone and may be discouraging although they are meant to arouse right effort.

Inge wrote:It is also often mentioned that one needs a sincere mind, a straightforward mind, a concentrated mind. That one needs to have faith, devotion, etc.


The formula seems to be: if this or that condition is not met, it is like boiling sand in order to get food, you will never succeed.

I think faith is the main quality needed ... and not to take statements like this above too literal.

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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby ground » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:09 pm

One single mantra recited with deep faith outweighs hundreds of thousands mantras recited and counted "materialistically".

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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:55 pm

TMingyur wrote:One single mantra recited with deep faith outweighs hundreds of thousands mantras recited and counted "materialistically".

Kind regards


Good, good post.

Best,
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:26 pm

conebeckham wrote:Inge-

"Noble" or "Good" folks are merely those folks who have taken refuge, who have embraced the path of the Buddha.

Perhaps the first, and most important, thing is to recognize one's own basic inner goodness.

Practice is hard, on one level. Visualization becomes better with repeated practice. In fact, any meditation technique will usually improve with repeated exposure, provided one doesn't over-extend oneself. Short sessions, plentiful in number....

But the most important thing, I think, is to recognize one's own state, and acknowledge one's own potential. We are all basically good, we have the capacity to reach enlightenment, ultimately, and also the capacity to benefit ourselves and others along the way. We must have compassion for ourselves, first of all.

I sincerely hope these words help you.


:good:

I would also examine what you do in everyday life which you may interpret as practising compassion, helping others, practising patience etc.

Tantra must be based upon compassion, equanimity and bodhichitta or even if a visualisation is sustained, it will be pretty pointless.

One exercise, rather than viualisation or self-generation, is simply to hold the aspect of mind the deity represents. So instead of meditating on Chenrezig, we try to maintain a mind of Compassion for an hour, an afternoon, a day, etc. ....and contemplate how much practise you already perform in relation to other beings. It's important to value that. ;)
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby Tilopa » Mon Feb 21, 2011 10:59 pm

Inge wrote:I just read also in Torch of Certainty that when you do Vajrasattva purification practice, if the visualization is not continuous throughout the practice, then it utterly useless, and even if you do the practice forever it will not be successfull.


Not true. The mantra is what purifies, not the visualization. The better the visualization the more powerful the practice but no visualization doesn't mean no benefit at all.

It is also often mentioned that one needs a sincere mind, a straightforward mind, a concentrated mind. That one needs to have faith, devotion, etc.

Yes faith is the foundation of the path. If we have no confidence in Buddha or the 4 noble truths why would we bother with practice?



Why can't there be some practice, for instance a mantra, that you can do whether or not you belong to the noble family, if you are good or bad, that you can do with or without faith, devotion, concentration, sincerity... and that still is effective?

There is - OM MANI PADME HUNG
http://www.fpmt.org/teachings/lzr/ommanibenefits.php
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby Adamantine » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:32 pm

Tilopa wrote:
Inge wrote:I just read also in Torch of Certainty that when you do Vajrasattva purification practice, if the visualization is not continuous throughout the practice, then it utterly useless, and even if you do the practice forever it will not be successfull.


Not true. The mantra is what purifies, not the visualization. The better the visualization the more powerful the practice but no visualization doesn't mean no benefit at all.

It is also often mentioned that one needs a sincere mind, a straightforward mind, a concentrated mind. That one needs to have faith, devotion, etc.

Yes faith is the foundation of the path. If we have no confidence in Buddha or the 4 noble truths why would we bother with practice?



Why can't there be some practice, for instance a mantra, that you can do whether or not you belong to the noble family, if you are good or bad, that you can do with or without faith, devotion, concentration, sincerity... and that still is effective?

There is - OM MANI PADME HUNG
http://www.fpmt.org/teachings/lzr/ommanibenefits.php



Yeah faith and devotion will only help, but the Mani will help these grow, as well as compassion. Also, even using a Mani-wheel you can generate merit with a minimum of attention. By spinning a Mani-wheel, you are generating virtue of the body.. if you chant Mani simultaneously, you generate virtue of speech- - and if you are also visualizing along with these two activities, along with faith and devotion, -then you are generating virtue of mind-- together, body, speech, mind- then this is the best. But any one on it's own is still profound, and much better than using these aspects for other non-virtuous activities.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby ground » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:24 am

Another aspect which is a condition for sucessful practice which often is not even mentioned and which Lama Tsongkhapa teaches as an aspect of the paramita of joyous perseverance:

The power of relinquishment
If you become physically or mentally fatigued from your perseverance, you must rest for a while. Otherwise you will become exhausted and very disheartened, thereby later preventing your joyous perseverance.
...
Do not overexert yourself. You must avoid both being overly intense and being overly relaxed, so make continuous effort like a river.



Kind regards
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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby ground » Tue Feb 22, 2011 4:46 am

TMingyur wrote:
The power of relinquishment
....
so make continuous effort like a river.


Bhikkhus, just as the river Ganges slants, slopes, and inclines towards the east, so too a bhikkhu who develops and cultivates the seven factors of enlightenment slants, slopes, and inclines towards Nibbana.

SN46.77 (transl. by B. Bhodi)


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Re: Conditions for successful practice

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:43 am

TMingyur wrote:
Inge wrote:...if the visualization is not continuous throughout the practice, then it utterly useless, and even if you do the practice forever it will not be successfull.

I think such statements are a bit overdone and may be discouraging although they are meant to arouse right effort.

Inge wrote:It is also often mentioned that one needs a sincere mind, a straightforward mind, a concentrated mind. That one needs to have faith, devotion, etc.


The formula seems to be: if this or that condition is not met, it is like boiling sand in order to get food, you will never succeed.

I think faith is the main quality needed ... and not to take statements like this above too literal.

Kind regards

:good:

What TMingyur has said about faith echoes what all of my lamas have always said, and which they repeat all the time. Two of the most important factors to sadhana practice 1) training in not allowing oneself to become distracted from what one is doing during the practice (regardless of the quality of one's visualization) and 2) maintaining faith in the efficacy of the practice.

In time, the strength of one's visualization will come, and if one has trained in having faith all along, then one's progress on the path will not have suffered at all.

Unfortunately, Inge, since samsara and nirvana stem from the mind, if the mind is distracted during liberating practices, then the mind will not be affected by them. That's life. The good news is one's concentration can be cultivated if one is determined and persistent enough. If one wants it, one has to do the work. It's as simple as that.
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