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Must attain enlightenment?

I'm reading book The Kindness of Others by Geshe Tegchok and I'm having a hard time with his assertion that we must attain enlightenment in order to benefit everyone. It feels like something we're supposed to cherish and I don't want to cherish that. I just want to practice compassion and loving. Can someone help me with this? Thanks

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Comments

  • To help beings to the greatest extent you need to have the necessary wisdom.

    lobster
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran
    Exactly, someone who is enlightened has the greatest potential to truly help others because they are completely free from greed, hatred and delusion.

    It is noble to help others to the best of our abilities but our help only comes from delusion until we are free.

    They are also the most likely to help wake up others. Which is what we truly need.
    Nerima
  • All it's trying to do is point out that your own struggle for happiness in life can be motivated by a desire to help the world, not just yourself. We all start out miserable and motivated by self-interest. At some point, you begin to see the world with a clear mind and the wish for others to be happy becomes a motivation in your practice. Don't get too caught up in this "you must be enlightened to make a difference" sort of debate. When you extend a helping hand to someone, you're being a Buddha. That's all you need to understand.

    lobsterToshNerima
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    YOU are free, YOU just don't see it yet. You will only see it when you get over the feeble ideas which keep you bound to a conceptual 'enlightenment'; What do you really want from your life? If it is to understand your spiritual nature by giving another spiritual authority over you then so be it, at some point however, you will have to decouple!

    Whats that nagging duhkha in the back of your mind?

    First you have to understand your need for the teacher. Then you must come to understand yourself. Then you have to realise how much you depend on him/her; and only then can you realise how much they depend on you - it's very simple really. It's staring right out at you!

    silverEarthninjaNerima
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Statements like that can certainly be daunting when starting out on this path @Nerima‌. That's for sure.

    Don't be overwhelmed by it though. Just carry on doing what you're doing, it's fine!

    Good luck!

    CinorjerNerima
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    I'm reading book The Kindness of Others by Geshe Tegchok and I'm having a hard time with his assertion that we must attain enlightenment in order to benefit everyone. It feels like something we're supposed to cherish and I don't want to cherish that. I just want to practice compassion and loving. Can someone help me with this?

    Don't be so sure there is a difference between what you intend and 'enlightenment'.

    The reason I say this is that we UNenlightened ones, muddling around in our human bodies more subject to its whims than not, may not understand what 'enlightenment' really is, or what it looks/sounds/feels like.

    And while you are still not a Buddha, it's totally OK to cherish 'enlightenment', compassion, mudita, equanimity. It's a much better 'trade' than cherishing greed and resentment any day :)

    CinorjersilverNerima
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited January 2015
    It sounds right enough but it would be a shame to wait until we awaken before trying to benefit at least some.

    If only there was a way we could wake others without having to be awake ourselves... There likely is but it probably happens by accident.
    lobsterHamsaka
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    When you start to trust your own wisdom more, is what the learning and enlightenment is all about. I say don't worry about it more than any other daily concern.

    Nerima
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I am uncomfortable suggesting that someone or something is somehow unenlightened.

    I am less uncomfortable saying there are things "to do" and things "not to do."

    Which is which and how each may be realized is the task at hand.

    lobsterHamsaka
  • @ourself said:
    It sounds right enough but it would be a shame to wait until we awaken before trying to benefit at least some.

    We benefit others by being kind.

    If only there was a way we could wake others without having to be awake ourselves... There likely is but it probably happens by accident.

    A book has no capacity for wisdom. Still it transmits.

    Maximum spiritual/awakening benefit comes from the enlightened. Right aspiration. Good plan. 8-)

    Hamsaka
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    Alternatively you could join Theravada and attain enlightenment for purely selfish reasons... ;)

    Actually, that's one thing that draws me to Theravada. Saving all sentient beings is a tall order I just don't think I'm up to. Enlightening myself, now there's a goal I might be able to accomplish. Sadly, there are no Theravada teachers or temples in my area.

  • misecmisc1misecmisc1 I am a Hindu India Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Nerima said:
    I'm reading book The Kindness of Others by Geshe Tegchok and I'm having a hard time with his assertion that we must attain enlightenment in order to benefit everyone. It feels like something we're supposed to cherish and I don't want to cherish that. I just want to practice compassion and loving. Can someone help me with this? Thanks

    I have not read this book, but the screenshot which you are referring to, I think you have misunderstood it slightly. The lines which you have highlighted does not say that you must attain enlightenment in order to benefit everyone, rather it says that to help others in the highest possible way, you should desire that you must attain enlightenment. But you could still help others, by not cherishing to attain enlightenment, though it will not be the perfection of helping others, but still it will be a help which can benefit others. Anyways, just do what you can do in your circumstances and let nature/God/Tao take care of the rest.

    JeffreyNerima
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Some dudes on a non-duality forum I know, say that we are all enlightened - we just don't know it yet...and they are quite insistent.

    What, me worry?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @silver said:
    Some dudes on a non-duality forum I know, say that we are all enlightened - we just don't know it yet...and they are quite insistent.

    I don't feel enlightened. ;)

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I don't feel enlightened. ;)

    That's okay. It's not about the 'feelings', heh. Or is it? Do you even know what it's supposed to 'feel' like?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @nakazcid said:Actually, that's one thing that draws me to Theravada. Saving all sentient beings is a tall order I just don't think I'm up to. Enlightening myself, now there's a goal I might be able to accomplish.>

    Me too! But of course it's all skillful means anyway. Enlightenment is enlightenment, and the idea that somebody who attained enlightenment with Theravada practice would end with a selfish version of enlightenment is rather silly when you think about it.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Earthninja said:
    Who says Buddhism is all the same thing!

    LOL
    funny post.

    There are in mystical and Buddhist practice experiences and alignments that are conducive to our awakening.

    Just as hitting the snooze button, yet again gets us nowhere real.

    The goals for Buddhists may just be comfort, stress release, certainty, friendship, nice temple visits etc.

    The more focussed and dedicated may be going for enlightenment.

    Start when ready but don't expect transformation is easy or instant . . . just be honest and head in the right direction . . . :) :love:

    Bunks
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said: I don't feel enlightened.

    I haven't got the book in my hand, but somewhere or other the Zen teacher Ta Hui (1089–1163) wrote approximately, "I have always taken a great vow that I would rather suffer the fires of hell for all eternity than to portray Zen as a human emotion."

    This is a challenging statement, assuming anyone takes it seriously. It suggests that there is a difference between "feeling good" and "enlightenment."

    Worth considering? I don't know: Your choice, your life.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited January 2015
    @silver;

    What is enlightenment if we can be enlightened without knowing it?

    If a burden is gone but we believe we still carry it, isn't that still a kind of burden? Like phantom limb?

    We can have Buddha Nature (the potential to wake up) without knowing it but the potential isn't quite the fruition.
    SpinyNormanNerima
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @genkaku said: This is a challenging statement, assuming anyone takes it seriously. It suggests that there is a difference between "feeling good" and "enlightenment."

    Yes, that's true. Though coming at it from the other direction, the teachings on dependent origination seem to say that not feeling good is an aspect of dukkha, the root cause of which is ignorance, and that enlightenment depends on the cessation of ignorance.

    lobster
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    @silver said:
    Some dudes on a non-duality forum I know, say that we are all enlightened - we just don't know it yet...and they are quite insistent.

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I don't feel enlightened. ;)

    It seems likely that if you've always been enlightened, its how you have always felt...

    Feel it (k)now?

    silver
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    @nakazcid said:
    Actually, that's one thing that draws me to Theravada. Saving all sentient beings is a tall order I just don't think I'm up to. Enlightening myself, now there's a goal I might be able to accomplish

    The further you go, saving them all is the only thing that occurs to do maybe. I can even think of murderers without wanting to push the button on the electric chair, that is huge progress. That affects my words, which once in a while impact someone else. That's how you 'save' all sentient beings, or at least, the ones not at arms reach (and by then, you have LOTS of arms and few excuses.)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @anataman said:
    Feel it (k)now?

    Nah, not right now! I think maybe I've had few glimpses, sometimes in strong meditative states, sometimes in moments of strong mindfulness, being fully in the present.
    But mostly, no, far from it!

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    As a little distraction and to bring the thread to a buddhist teaching point, i.e. the 3 marks of existence...

    Impermanence:
    I think it's probably incomprehensible to feel what it's like to be yourself, because you're being what you are; labeling aspects of your being as I feel 'thus and so' is a mental distraction - enlightened mind or unenlightened mind are just thoughts and thoughts arise and disappear so don't exist other than when you are thinking about them, thoughts are impermanent, so go back to what you are doing or having done to you... When you are being yourself being, what more can you be? You can't be more than that, as you are just being that which is trying to be more, which is what you were really being - and that leads to frustration...

    Duhkha:

    @nakazcid said:
    Actually, that's one thing that draws me to Theravada. Saving all sentient beings is a tall order I just don't think I'm up to. Enlightening myself, now there's a goal I might be able to accomplish

    @Hamsaka said:

    The further you go, saving them all is the only thing that occurs to do maybe. I can even think of murderers without wanting to push the button on the electric chair, that is huge progress. That affects my words, which once in a while impact someone else. That's how you 'save' all sentient beings, or at least, the ones not at arms reach (and by then, you have LOTS of arms and few excuses.)

    Anatman
    I have come to understand through study of interdependence and interpenetration in mahayana buddhism, that you can't really help or 'save' someone else - it's for them to do, but you can assist them to see the reality that they are not an independent permanent self, everyone's existence in any moment depends on everything else (the net of jewels is a marvelous concept - great to meditate on, you can really get lost in, and and amazed by it!) and every being is reliant on everything other being throughout space and time; if you think you are an independent self you are just attached or hung up on a particular idea, and need to let it go. It's so easy to forget how easily you can be attached and not realise it.

    Then as you let go of that concept of a permanent independent self, you can relax as you start to tell yourself another story, like you've transcended reality now, and have reached Nirvana, and you understand everything now. But as you have already become sneakily attached to the concept of Nirvana, and come to see anatman and atman as yet more conceptual distractions, it's time to come back home and scrub those dishes with renewed vigour!

    Welcome home!

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I asked myself, why do I tend to believe/'know' we are all already enlightened? Is it laziness? Nah...I tend to lean towards the simplest route...Occam's Razor comes to mind - saying that makes me feel like a genius, ha ha...While reading some of the posts here, I think perhaps some have had a little too much humble pie...stepping on over into false humility perhaps?

    When it was said that 'the kingdom of god is within each of us,' this is precisely what Jesus was talking about. We just have to stop side-stepping it in one fashion or another.

    lobster
  • @silver said:
    I asked myself, why do I tend to believe/'know' we are all already enlightened? Is it laziness? Nah...I tend to lean towards the simplest route...Occam's Razor comes to mind - saying that makes me feel like a genius, ha ha...While reading some of the posts here, I think perhaps some have had a little too much humble pie...stepping on over into false humility perhaps?

    When it was said that 'the kingdom of god is within each of us,' this is precisely what Jesus was talking about. We just have to stop side-stepping it in one fashion or another.

    Sounds easy.

    When it's light out you can walk easily through the woods.

    When it's dark there are painful obstacles and things can go from bad to worse.
    The woods are the same. So are you.

    From the Buddhist point of view we are stumbling in the dark. Wandering on through endless births in different forms.

    So now we have found ourselves as humans. I don't know what occurred to wind up here, but I can see countless other beings who are not human.

    For many of us childhood was a happy, safe time that we took nice memories from. That does not appear to be the norm.
    Childhood is a dangerous, painful time for many, if not most humans. Weak, defensless and dependent. Subject to disease, abuse and exploitation.

    As teenagers there is a whole host of other perils, many of them from bad decisions or being used as cannon fodder.

    Most adults face a life of danger, drudgery and toil as men, and the same as women with the addition of subservience to men, and abuse as the physically weaker sex.

    Then, consider the possibility that time may not be linear. Perhaps there is no guarantee that future births take place in future times and one could be born into dark circumstances in which dharma is not present? That is the theme of Buddhism as I read it.

    Life does not look like an enlightened existence simply on account of being born human. There is no evidence of it and most forms of Buddhism don't teach it that way.

    Thinking that we are already enlightened might be the most treacherous of wrong views, for some people. It is not a view that is beneficial to newcomers to Buddhism.

    NerimaJeffreypegembara
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @anataman said:
    As a little distraction and to bring the thread to a buddhist teaching point, i.e. the 3 marks of existence...

    I've worked with those quite a lot over the years, but it seems to depend on mindfulness, investigating experience. And for that a calm and clear mind is required, something it's not always easy to maintain.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Yes, but once you've realised them, you've realised them, it's just remembering they are in your realised arsenal which to me appears to be rather limited - especially in my case (as is yours likewise it seems from the above statement); limited in terms of that which can have a devastating effect on the ego, as opposed to your distracting conceptual arsenal (which has a devastating effect on effort, focus and concentration) which seems is infinite!

    So I suppose I agree it probably does depend on mindfulness, and your willingness to investigate things beyond the superficial concepts and ideas.

    Hang on what are we talking about here, I'm lost again?

    ...\lol/...

    Nerima
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @robot said:Sounds easy.When it's light out you can walk easily through the woods.

    When it's dark there are painful obstacles and things can go from bad to worse.
    The woods are the same. So are you.
    .......
    >

    Exactly: sounds easy. Never said I thought it was - easy. Trust me when I say my life from the very beginning has had lots and lots of ups n downs, and continues at the present. I'm not even quite sure what you're possibly implying by all that. And I'm not sure at all that the Buddha promised a rose garden if we 'got enlightened'. I really thought it was most if not all about acceptance of WHAT IS.

    The last bit you said: "Life does not look like an enlightened existence simply on account of being born human. There is no evidence of it and most forms of Buddhism don't teach it that way.

    Thinking that we are already enlightened might be the most treacherous of wrong views, for some people. It is not a view that is beneficial to newcomers to Buddhism," once again, not sure what you're implying by life 'does not look like an enlightened existence...' and I wasn't implying it would look like anything other than 'what is now'. When I first joined a non-duality forum, there was so much I didn't understand and it turned everything I 'knew' topsy-turvy, and continue to be somewhat confused, but since mindfulness and meditation practice, things have calmed down in my brain. As the Buddha has been recorded as saying, we all must study, ponder, decide for ourselves - the journey is ours and ours alone to do the figuring.

    p.s. I tried to quote the whole thing, but the quote function ... well ... :anguished:

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    @silver said: When it was said that 'the kingdom of god is within each of us,' this is precisely what Jesus was talking about. We just have to stop side-stepping it in one fashion or another.

    Martin Luther King Jr. once observed: "It's not what's wrong with the world that scares people. What really scares them is that everything is all right."

    silver
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @anataman said:
    Hang on what are we talking about here, I'm lost again?

    It's the difference between intellectual and intuitive understanding I think. Different degrees of knowing.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    Different degrees of knowledge - HHhhhhhmmmmmm - real chewing gum for the mind!

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I posted this recently in another thread, but it seems relevant here too - it's from MN1, The Root Sequence:

    "The Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — directly knows earth as earth. Directly knowing earth as earth, he does not conceive things about earth, does not conceive things in earth, does not conceive things coming out of earth, does not conceive earth as 'mine,' does not delight in earth. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has comprehended it to the end, I tell you."

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.001.than.html

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    edited January 2015

    Yep - Sadly I have to raise my hand <3 and say, as the uninstructed one, I understand why the monks were displeased...

    But you have direct knowledge to this too...

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    The enlightenment that let the Buddha fully see the 4 Noble truths and Dependent Origination is the enlightenment that I want to attain.

  • The Tathagata: Super-Man or Man?

    Yes, over the centuries the status of the Arahant or Tathagata or Enlightened Master grew until he (always a he) became someone whose mind could not even be comprehended by the ordinary lay Buddhist. Like the Catholic church, we even began worshiping their dead bodies and miraculous claims of incorruptibility as well as supernatural control over their own life and death became centerstones of worship.

    Eventually the monk's ego grew until they claimed only a Temple monk could possibly be enlightened. This elevated them above the muck and mud of the peasant or shopkeeper who could only admire them from afar and give offerings to accumulate drabs of merit for their next life. In the meantime, Karma meant you not only deserved your present suffering, but it meant you were doomed to endless lives of suffering.

    And this was almost the ruin of Buddhism. It was not what Buddha preached. He preached freedom from karma. He preached enlightenment was available to all, not just the lucky few who left all that trouble behind. Instead of locking yourself away from the world and refusing to defile yourself with the daily struggles and chores, he taught a middle way.

    So when Christianity and Islam showed up, with their promise of Heaven for everyone, Priest and butcher alike, is it any wonder their ranks grew? That's still going on today. Why would I want to remain Buddhist if a better deal is offered me?

    But some monks through the centuries did "get it". Enlightenment is your ordinary mind. Nothing special. It's not something out there, not something you attain. You wake up and open your eyes to the reality of life. That's all.

    And that's my sermon for today, for what it's worth. Something to think about. Just sayin'

    Bunkssilveranatamanpegembara
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @robot said:

    At the same time it is a matter of view. In my sangha a practice to favorable birth is to recite the Samantrabadracharya which is the last bit of the avatamsaka sutra. The idea is to try to be reborn in a place where dharma is taught but is accomplished by reading this very long piece where we are attuned to finding the Buddhas and turning our thought to the dharma. For example on the tip of a hair there are infinite number of Buddhas. It is a matter of view to be in a Buddha realm. Otherwise we will just have to hope we are reborn as Maitreyas (the next Buddha coming after Shakyamuni) next door neighbor I guess?

  • @Cinorjer said:
    The Tathagata: Super-Man or Man?

    Yes, over the centuries the status of the Arahant or Tathagata or Enlightened Master grew until he (always a he) became someone whose mind could not even be comprehended by the ordinary lay Buddhist. Like the Catholic church, we even began worshiping their dead bodies and miraculous claims of incorruptibility as well as supernatural control over their own life and death became centerstones of worship.

    Eventually the monk's ego grew until they claimed only a Temple monk could possibly be enlightened. This elevated them above the muck and mud of the peasant or shopkeeper who could only admire them from afar and give offerings to accumulate drabs of merit for their next life. In the meantime, Karma meant you not only deserved your present suffering, but it meant you were doomed to endless lives of suffering.

    And this was almost the ruin of Buddhism. It was not what Buddha preached. He preached freedom from karma. He preached enlightenment was available to all, not just the lucky few who left all that trouble behind. Instead of locking yourself away from the world and refusing to defile yourself with the daily struggles and chores, he taught a middle way.

    So when Christianity and Islam showed up, with their promise of Heaven for everyone, Priest and butcher alike, is it any wonder their ranks grew? That's still going on today. Why would I want to remain Buddhist if a better deal is offered me?

    But some monks through the centuries did "get it". Enlightenment is your ordinary mind. Nothing special. It's not something out there, not something you attain. You wake up and open your eyes to the reality of life. That's all.

    And that's my sermon for today, for what it's worth. Something to think about. Just sayin'

    So is there a difference between Buddha and other interesting guys such as Ralph Waldo Emerson or other thinkers?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @Cinorjer said:
    But some monks through the centuries did "get it". Enlightenment is your ordinary mind. Nothing special. It's not something out there, not something you attain. You wake up and open your eyes to the reality of life. That's all.

    I know that Zen always wants to make enlightenment very ordinary and accessible, but I do wonder if that underplays the experience. Taking a broader pan-Buddhist perspective it looks to me like an extraordinary experience, nothing mundane about it.
    I recall one master described it as a "turning about in the deepest seat of consciousness", which sounds pretty radical.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    double bleedin' post, no delete button, why don't nuffink here work proper?

    Earthninja
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    double bleedin' post, no delete button, why don't nuffink here work proper?

    Dukkha. o:)

    More tips on request ;)

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I recall one master described it as a "turning about in the deepest seat of consciousness", which sounds pretty radical.

    Yes radical turning AND nothing special . . .
    The experience leads to a radical awareness of nothing special to change. This settling or letting go, leads to radical change but there is nothing to change.

    Simplicity is complicated . . .

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited January 2015

    I remember when I first learned to sail, it all seemed very complicated, no idea where the wind was coming from, which ropes to pull or which way to push the tiller. And we got given lots of theory about how sails act like a plane wing, the forces on the boat and so on, blah, blah.
    But after a while, with practice, it just sort of clicked. I could feel the wind through the main sheet and on my face, and that was enough.
    My favourite boat was a Fireball which I had with a friend. I also sailed Lasers but those are very hard work!

    PS The main sheet is the rope attached to the main sail.

    lobsterCinorjerDavid
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited January 2015

    I know that Zen always wants to make enlightenment very ordinary and accessible, but I do wonder if that underplays the experience. Taking a broader pan-Buddhist perspective it looks to me like an extraordinary experience, nothing mundane about it.

    @SpinyNorman -- From one point of view, I think you're right ... Zen can be pretty insistent about the ordinary nature of what is extraordinary... "things are not what they seem, nor are they otherwise" ... that sort of stuff. And then there are all those purveyors of sepulchral paradox and seeming whimsey.

    Who, when seeking out a more peaceful life, would not long for a hero(ine) or exemplar, some anchor with which to tie off the shuddering skiff? It is human and touching and not to be denied. The extraordinary is extraordinary precisely because of the 'ordinary,' don't you think?

    I think Buddhism challenges all of us to challenge our own versions of the perfected and heroic -- to stop simply praising and longing and really dig in and investigate. It's not that all the wowsers stuff needs to disappear overnight as those with more sailing skills might suggest. Everyone goes at his or her own speed. But bit by bit, as with your very good sailing example, the dime just drops with practice and the impediment of what is "extraordinary" wanes. It's pretty nifty, perhaps, but the fact that it is nifty is not the point.

    Sailing is the point.

    PS. And if you need a daily dose of wowsers, how about this 200-year-old mummified monk?

    Cinorjeranatamanlobster
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited January 2015

    @jeffrey While I don't know Emerson except for a sketchy biography and I know he was one of the founders of Transcendentalism, I get the meaning of your question. All I can say is, it's possible if these men and women applied their insights to their own lives and practiced what they preached. When we look at the world with a clear mind, we are realizing our Buddha Nature. The Dharma is Gautama's gift to the world, a clear method of achieving this, but Buddha did not invent nor does he hold patent on either suffering or enlightenment.

    In the 1600s Zen Master Bankei preached the Dharma to crowds of up to 50 thousand people as he traveled Japan, telling everyone, rich and poor, monk and butcher, that they could all follow Buddha's example and be Buddhas themselves without shaving their head, retreating behind temple walls, and rejecting the world. He taught the original or unborn mind and that being a Buddha was as easy as letting go of selfishness and breaking bad mind habits. His temples treated laity and monk as equal and were co-ed where men and women meditated side by side. It caused a huge revival of Buddhism in Japan and even the Emperor honored him.

    But by a few generations after his death, the Zen Masters and monks had once again retreated behind temple walls with no trespassing signs and insisted enlightenment was a process that took all your effort 24 hours a day and they didn't have time for those defilements we call normal lives. And Buddhism began to decline as Christian missionaries established churches and invited everyone in for salvation.

    Western Buddhism has to some extent incorporated this lesson, in that we have joined the Sangha as, if not being equal to the monks, at least capable of comprehending the Dharma. Women have once again been given an equal place, in some cases, even if some monks have not gotten the message (cough Thailand cough). Sometimes we mistake cultural trappings for essential dharma practice, but that's OK. Ritual has a place alongside meditation.

    Whether you folks know it or not, you're part of this movement to extend enlightenment to everyone. All this dharma debate and meditation and practice is not what the lay people are told is being a good Buddhist in most of history. You'd be given some basic moral rules and told to accumulate merit where possible. Only if you were lucky enough to move into a monastery would questions about the sutras and philosophical points about the Dharma be part of your practice.

    DavidlobsterJeffrey
  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    edited January 2015

    I love sailing as well @SpinyNorman, we (my kids and I) sail in lasers as it so happens.

    There is an analogy in the union of man and the technology of the boat to (Zen) buddhism.

    You can quite easily be carried across the water with very little effort, and with a little effort (zig-zagging) you can go against the wind and water by tacking. It's interesting to think that the design of the sail enables you to gather the wind coming at you and funnel it in bit of shaped cloth and use it's power to forge your way upstream and against the current of the air and liquid reality trying to push you in the opposite direction.

    I've found myself in a zenny state on a warm cloudless summers day gently holding the mainsheets and floating along merrily, not sure if I am moving the boat or the boat is moving me.

    Anataman starts to drift away on his memories again.

    Oops, what was the point of this thread?

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @anataman said:
    I've found myself in a zenny state on a warm cloudless summers day gently holding the mainsheets and floating along merrily, not sure if I am moving the boat or the boat is moving me.

    Yes, that can be quite blissful. The other thing I like is going out in a strong wind where you need full concentration on the boat, no room for worries or even thinking much.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    edited January 2015

    Yes I know what you mean - that can really focus your attention. I once went on an over night trip along the English Channel as part of a 3 man crew taking a friends yacht up to Southampton. We had a very strong breeze with gale force gusts at times (hence my acquaintance with the 'sailing by' theme music for the midnight shipping forecast ), and I had never sailed at night. The skipper was a very seasoned sailor, and told us some chilling tales of being caught in severe storms thousands of miles from land; his hobby was to take yachts around the world for people. It was at dawn the following morning having been heeling at a 45 degree angle for most of the night and travelling between 12 and 15 knots) when the winds really picked up as we were coming up to the Isle of Wight.

    I watched a yacht far off in the distance capsize and a mayday call go out on the VHF radio for the lifeboat (no one injured but the boats keel had snapped) and caught sight of our keel barely in the water. I don't think I had really felt fear for my life so strongly and for so long as that morning. I understand what it feels like to be a pale shade of green :anguished:

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran

    You can never take the sea and weather for granted:
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/comment/431568#Comment_431568

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