The value of non-Buddhist literature?

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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:34 am

Huifeng wrote:Sorry, I'm not so clear. Which "example" are you referring to?


The bodhi tree.

Huifeng wrote:The OP is referring to non-Buddhist literature, so I don't see the implication of the Buddha reading anything.


Ok fine :D I dont blame him a bit.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby purplelotus10 » Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:39 am

I have recently read a book about Bede Griffiths (Beyond the Darkness) and as a Buddhist I found it very inspiring. It was a very honest book, no hagiography here, but showed how a fallible human being overcame all the obstacles on his path to crystallise into what many believe to be sainthood.

Really recommend it.

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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:00 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:
Huifeng wrote:Morlock, my I ask what kind of teachings you teach your students?


Im not a teacher, but to get back to the subject of reading, and speaking from my own experience, i would have been better off not to have behaved as if the example we were given by the buddha was sitting under a tree reading a stack of dharma books.

EDIT: and btw my apologies for diverting the discussion to buddhist reading matter



Well, ideally we put into practise the teachings of the Buddha, but the teachings of the Buddha may be read, contemplated and assimilated just as they may be heard, contemplated and assimilated.

Whether you read or hear the dharma it makes little difference provided the teaching is contemplated and accurately ascertained followed up by active assimilation of it.

Have you had negative experiences after reading a stack of dharma books?
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:09 pm

Huifeng wrote:The outcome [for students] would be that they would be able to at least practice to some meaningful extent, while setting up intention towards going further. If one only aims high, often many people just can't get anything at all, and thus will not pursue the path in the future.


Wonderful words :bow:
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Luke » Wed Mar 17, 2010 6:15 pm

Anything (including non-Buddhist literature) has value if it helps to increase our love and compassion for other sentient beings. These feelings can be used as the starting point for meditations on loving-kindness.

So basically, non-Buddhist literature has value if it helps some people develop qualities which are necessary or useful for Buddhism.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Huifeng » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:26 am

Luke wrote:Anything (including non-Buddhist literature) has value if it helps to increase our love and compassion for other sentient beings. These feelings can be used as the starting point for meditations on loving-kindness.

So basically, non-Buddhist literature has value if it helps some people develop qualities which are necessary or useful for Buddhism.


Well said, Luke. :smile:
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Luke » Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:52 am

Huifeng wrote:
Luke wrote:Anything (including non-Buddhist literature) has value if it helps to increase our love and compassion for other sentient beings. These feelings can be used as the starting point for meditations on loving-kindness.

So basically, non-Buddhist literature has value if it helps some people develop qualities which are necessary or useful for Buddhism.


Well said, Luke. :smile:


Thank you Ven. Huifeng, but I must add that these opinions really come from my lama. I am happy that both you and my lama agree.

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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby meindzai » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:36 pm

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Huifeng wrote:The outcome [for students] would be that they would be able to at least practice to some meaningful extent, while setting up intention towards going further. If one only aims high, often many people just can't get anything at all, and thus will not pursue the path in the future.


Wonderful words :bow:


I remember my first visit to a Zen monastery, where I was given the assignment of doing some cleaning in the Dharma Communications building at MRO. I was vacuuming an office when I saw that there were some books on a desk. I believe one was about about inventory management. Buddhist? Non-Buddhist? Well, anytime I've ordered anything from there I've always had very good service. So....

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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby shel » Thu Mar 18, 2010 6:48 pm

I'm currently reading a non-Buddhist book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by Chip Heath & Dan Heath.

Why? Because Buddhist change is hard! :tongue:
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby muni » Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:41 am

Yes, sure there is value! In that way our understanding can emerge.

Like a book of Phylosophy, can open eyes how people in the past could have wonderful clear expressions. And also to see in the social status-rules ( Human Rights) based on swimming in me-grasping with harm to many through centuries. Easy other works as well like pieces of Darwin and so. Now a book Destructive Emotions ( Dalai Lama-Daniel Coleman) is lecture today.
Also comical books. Like "Aama in America" and others. Very good gym for the cheeks.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby LastLegend » Sat Apr 16, 2011 6:48 pm

1) If you are deluded, Sutras to you are not BuddhaDharma. If you are not deluded, then everything to you is BuddhaDharma. I guess not deluded here means the ability to see clearly.

2) Confucianism and Taoism in China actually taught people how live as a human being which is accord with what Buddha taught through 5 precepts, for example. Another example is The Ten Wholesome Ways Of Actions in The Discourse On The Ten Wholesome Ways Of Actions.
http://buddhasutra.com/files/ten_wholesome.htm
http://buddhasutra.com/index.html

3) From what being said above, you can see that in the West, we don't practice Confucianism and Taoism as much. But this is not to discredit our behavior as human beings. It is just different. For example, we seem to keep boundaries in the West as a way to to respect each other. This is usually the case at workplace. So we have to find ways to integrate Buddhism into Western/Modern lifestyle without changing its essence.

Nowadays, even in Asia, Confucianism and Taoism seem to die out also due to change in technologies,lifestyles, globalization, mentality, thinking, etc. So what I said in number 3 applies to most people living on this earth now.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby fragrant herbs » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:35 pm

I, myself, can not take a 24 hour dose of Buddhism, otherwise all I would be doing is reading Buddhist books and meditating and cleaning the house or gardening. For a break I read books and watch TV. If this slows down my progress then so be it as there are other lives when I may be more interested in being a monastic. I desire to enjoy this life, after all there are enough negative things in it. I just try to be careful as to what I read and what I watch on TV. There are some teachers that believe that even being on a Buddhist forum is a waste of time.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:19 am

Those teachers are pretty much right, but we go ahead and do it anyway! :rolling:
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby LastLegend » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:45 am

Huseng wrote:Basically what I'm asking is if Confucius, bless his filial heart, is useful if we want to understand East Asian Buddhism better?

I would say yes. What do you think?


Filial respect is where we start excuting the practice of Buddhism. At least this is the teaching for Asians, especially Chinese and Vietnamese. Respect here means you nurture the body and Mind of parents by not doing anything that will bring suffering to them. If you don't get along with your siblings, you are disrespecting your parents. Why? Because you make them worry. You are not doing good in school, you are disrespecting your parents. Why? You make them worry. Ultimately parents want us to achieve the best. As you can see compassion starts from parents to children, and children to parents. If we can extend this compassion to other people, "all the males are my fathers, and all the females are my mothers." So you can treat others as your own parents especially old folks. If we can extend this compassion to all beings across space and time. So this is basic teaching of Buddhism.

The past, present, and future are one, one body. The past Buddhas, Present Buddhas, and Future Buddhas (we, and other beings) are One out of many in terms of Buddha Nature, inseparable. Ultimately, Buddhas just like parents want all sentients to achieve the greatest potential which is become Buddha. It is said that Buddhas have never given up on sentient beings, and always continue to guide beings from one life to the next until they become Buddha. This is the work of Bodhisavattas and Buddhas. From this, we can see that Bodhisavattas and Buddhas compassion cannot be described in words. The only way for us to show respect to Bodhisavattas and Buddhas is to cultivate with diligence to become Buddha.

There are Sutras on filial respect. Also consider stories of Earth Store Bodhisavatta where this being were girls who saved their mothers by reciting Buddha name and making vows.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby ground » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:05 am

Astus wrote:"As a Bodhisattva always comes to live in this world in order to save the sentient beings, he/she must be proficient in all kinds of worldly knowledge and skills. Thus, he/she should have a good profession for earning a living and serving the other people. Through all these actions, he/she can gather the other sentient beings and show them how to cultivate the Buddhist Way. A Bodhisattva must have a good knowledge of the Five Sciences."

Five sciences (pancavidya):

Language (Sabda)
Craftsmanship (Silpakarmasthana)
Medicine (Cikitsa)
Logic (Hetu)
Philosophy (Adhyatma)

Source


1. Showing the greatness of the teaching's author in order to establish that it is of noble origin
1.1 How he took rebirth in an excellent lineage
1.2 How upon that basis he gained good qualities

By the time he was twenty-one, he had become a full-fledged scholar after training in the four knowledges - of grammar, logic, the crafts, and medicine....
until thirty-one, Atisha trained in the higher and lower scriptural collections of Buddhist knowledge within the tradition of philosophy.


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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:29 am

I can relate to the OP because I used to feel this way. But you know what, I don't think it's a good idea as a Buddhist to become too uptight and rigid and "strictly business" and lack a sense of humor or joie de vivre... For the non-realized (like myself), reading non-Dharma literature one enjoys can help one relax and recharge and prevent burnout, as well as be inspired and creative . There's no reason one shouldn't still enjoy life just because one is a practitioner. It's about prioritizing, cultivating good time management skills, and not over-indulging in distractions...
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:53 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:I can relate to the OP because I used to feel this way. But you know what, I don't think it's a good idea as a Buddhist to become too uptight and rigid and "strictly business" and lack a sense of humor or joie de vivre... For the non-realized (like myself), reading non-Dharma literature one enjoys can help one relax and recharge and prevent burnout, as well as be inspired and creative . There's no reason one shouldn't still enjoy life just because one is a practitioner. It's about prioritizing, cultivating good time management skills, and not over-indulging in distractions...


Obviously I agree, but I like the way you worded it.
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Will » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:17 pm

For bodhisattvas helping beings in any and all ways is required. That means not just teaching buddhadharma, but doing everything to relieve suffering, even if temporarily.

Avatamsaka Sutra has a passage in the Ten Grounds chapter 26 mentioning some of the useful skills Fifth stage bodhisattvas use:

They do not cease their accumulation of virtue and higher knowledge;
Without weariness or laxity seeking power,
They develop lands, features, and voices of buddhas
Unceasing, all their deeds being for the weal of the living.

In order to mature people, they establish arts and skills—
Writing, printing, mathematics, medical sciences,
Exorcism, antidotes, curing,
Establishing excellent education, compassionate, kind, intelligent.

Witty in the finest song and dance, they build delightful places—
Canals, parks with flowers and fruits, places to sit,
Doing many things for the pleasure of beings,
Even revealing many kinds of treasure troves.

Mastering observation of the movements of celestial bodies and
earth As well as physiognomy,
They accomplish formless meditations, mystic knowledges, and
the immeasurables,
Desiring well-being and happiness for the world.



From Cleary 742-3
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to the OP> how small a world do you want

Postby Rael » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:01 pm

lets have a book burning!!!

lets demolish all culture and anything non buddhist...

wait!!!! heavens to betsy.....

some Mahayana might get burned in the crossfire....
Love Love Love
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Re: The value of non-Buddhist literature?

Postby Heruka » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:40 pm

i actually read and investigate whatever my mind directs me too, at the moment im reading about ancient egyptian and sumer cultures. various creation myths are also interesting. Im also interested in the story of lucretia and the rise of the roman cesars. I also like to bust buddhist chops about politics and tolerence.

Whatever activity one is engaged in is not seperate from dharma, nor is the dharma affected by it. :yinyang:

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