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Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys? - Dhamma Wheel

Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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tiltbillings
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Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 02, 2010 8:27 am


PeterB
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby PeterB » Sun May 02, 2010 8:33 am

Personally I take quiet joy and sometimes noisier joy, from an uncluttered room that is light and airy. Personally I dont feel the need drag anything into it.
I guess if people are used to high colour and drama with their Buddhism it might look spare.
I dont see how adding makes one happier.
I find happiness and calm joy comes from shedding.

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Goofaholix
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby Goofaholix » Sun May 02, 2010 9:12 am


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Kim OHara
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby Kim OHara » Sun May 02, 2010 10:36 am

Some of us are, sometimes.
It's one of Ven Dhammika's criticisms of Theravadin Buddhism, if you remember the Broken Buddha thread - .
And I'm sure you have the 'Sabbe sankhara dukkha' thread fresh in your memory, too. Lots of dukkha there, not much sukkha.

But a proverb about pots and kettles does come to mind. From what I know of Zen, their traditions are pretty pared-back. On the whole, I think the Tibetans have most fun.
:stirthepot:
Kim

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tiltbillings
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun May 02, 2010 10:42 am


PeterB
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby PeterB » Sun May 02, 2010 10:49 am

Not to speak of the endless chuckles to to be had in " Vajra Hell "....a special hell state reserved for those who commit to the Vajrayana and then change their mind ...

One of the most well known Vajrayana teachers in recent decades used to commence all of his talks with a side splitting half hour description of Vajra Hell...He had 'em rolling in the aisles..
Last edited by PeterB on Sun May 02, 2010 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Dan74
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby Dan74 » Sun May 02, 2010 10:50 am

I've heard this view from some early Western books on Buddhism, I think, and occasionally from talk about how bad samsara is, how unwholesome our lay lives are, etc. I guess it can happen that one takes these kinds of teachings that are meant to loosen our craving and develop an aversion to what life has to offer. This is like replacing one sickness with another.

There is also various talk about it being bad to laugh and seemingly to enjoy anything. But from my limited experience with Theravadins offline, this Gregory's contention doesn't seem to hold.

Besides, it is only in some modern incarnations of Zen with ignorance or a radical reinterpretation of Mahayana that desires seem to have been brought back into the fold and we are meant to happily cavort our way to enlightenment. Traditionally the monks' and nuns' training was very focused on ethics and pretty austere. And in many places it still is.

Still, it is interesting to observe the dour reception much of Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings have received. He is someone who has tried to rehabilitate enjoyment and gratitude for experience and I think this is a valid way of letting go. In fact one can't truly enjoy until one lets go - when there is no need to enjoy and no notion of how it should all be.

As for Theravadins being sour grim killjoys, I think Ven Dhammica says something about that, the meditation on corpses, etc. I can't say. My Theravadin friend doesn't fit this description at all but maybe when I first met her 7 years ago, she was a little closer to it, not sure. Ajahns Brahm and Sumedho whom I have heard and read, also don't fit IMO. But no doubt for some people this is what the Buddha's injunctions on craving boil down to and for others it may be a stage in their practice before attaining equanimity. :shrug:
_/|\_

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retrofuturist
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun May 02, 2010 10:58 am

Greetings,

The more realization of impermanence, the less clinging, the less suffering, the more peace and happiness.

:buddha2:

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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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby PeterB » Sun May 02, 2010 11:12 am

I am not sure that that TNH 's version of Dhamma has been received dourly.

I find it amusing, and I know others who agree.

In my experience it is finding TNH amusing that is treated dourly. To the point of reporting posts critical of him.

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 02, 2010 11:54 am

Two words: Ajahn Bhram :) Arguably the funniest spiritual guide around.

I do find the tone here a little more serious than i have seen at other boards, could just be my perception. Otoh there also seems to be a lower stupidity quotient here than i have seen elsewhere, but that might just be good mod and admin work.
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Sun May 02, 2010 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
“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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m0rl0ck
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 02, 2010 11:58 am

“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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Phra Chuntawongso
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Sun May 02, 2010 11:59 am

In my experience there are people of all traditions who appear to be stuck on the first noble truth and they tend to walk around looking like they have been sucking on a lemon.I also find that it is the westerners who are like this as opposed to the locals.I spend a lot of time in Thailand and really like the way that Thai people enjoy their Buddhism.All of my monk friends seem to be happy people including farang monks.I guess I have to say no,we are not ALL a bunchof sour,grim killjoys,just some of us. :smile:
And crawling on the planets face,some insects called the human race.
Lost in time
Lost in space
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appicchato
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby appicchato » Sun May 02, 2010 12:25 pm


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Ben
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby Ben » Sun May 02, 2010 12:29 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]..

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m0rl0ck
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun May 02, 2010 12:39 pm

“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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christopher:::
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby christopher::: » Sun May 02, 2010 3:01 pm

I think sometimes "serious practitioners" forget to prioritize the brahmaviharas. When that happens, life is less joyful and loving, suffering is magnified, imo. Do Theravadins fall into this trap more then others? I haven't noticed that, at all, and as chiangmaigreg mentioned- if you know Thai folks, they're definitely not a bunch of sour, grim killjoys...

with the exception of some of the street protesters...
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun May 02, 2010 3:06 pm

Image




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christopher:::
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby christopher::: » Sun May 02, 2010 3:26 pm

I must protest, David..! :heart:

I had the great pleasure of attending my first ever Theravadin Buddhist meeting today, with a teacher from Sri Lanka. He talked indeed of the futility of chasing "happiness" - believing that it comes with sensual pleasures, in getting this, attaining that, buying new things, etc...

BUT then his smile brightened and he talked of the joys of life, of mudita and of metta, of our relatedness to all living things. He rarely stopped smiling when he looked at us. So yes, chasing joy is futile, but happiness and joy can be experienced daily, in our lives.

Please don't let DW turn into the sour grey forum..!

:console:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009

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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby Anicca » Sun May 02, 2010 3:43 pm


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bodom
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Re: Are we a bunch of sour, grim killjoys?

Postby bodom » Sun May 02, 2010 4:29 pm

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
http://www.ajahnchah.org/


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