Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

The Scriptures

Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
edited July 2015 in Meditation

The Scriptures

I have mentioned this before in other posts but I feel it is worth mentioning again because it is very much related to this post.

I will never intentionally discuss any aspect of spirituality that I do not understand from my own direct knowing. I suppose one could say that this is my "Prime Directive".

How could I speak of it genuinely if it is not in my direct knowing? I will only be repeating what someone else has written. Someone else's thoughts or views. Which may or may not be from direct knowing. I may be the cause of more confusion. Isn't there enough perceived confusion in mind?

If I don't know I will keep my mouth closed. Or I will ask specific questions so that I have a better understanding.

What I will never do is use scripture, as a weapon, to try and discredit other people's words. That's not to suggest that scripture is always used in this way. But I've had countless bulleyes painted on my forehead. So I can say that this is so in some cases.

Sometimes it's simply because one's understanding is only intellectual and the alternate explanation does not fit within one's own interpretation of the scripture. It's all concepts floating around in one's head. It's not a living practice.

Or it may be an honest inquiry. The person may sincerely be making an effort to understand deep within the heart.

But I feel that sometimes what we have read may hinder our progress, if we cling to tightly to them. If our experiences do not match our interpretations of the Scriptures, then we may believe we're headed in the wrong direction. If we close our minds to other possibilities which may not yet be in our own experience; we may hinder our own progression.

Remember that scriptures have been interpreted by many mind's over the centuries before being put into print. How can anyone know that they are valid unless they have known directly? We cannot know unless we live it. How can we use scriptures to defend our points and say to others that they are wrong, when we have not known what the scriptures speak of directly? Moment to moment. It's all or mostly intellectual.

If one desires to defend one's own words and views then please do. But do it from your own experience. Not using someone else's words that you cannot verify from living it, as truth.

So how can I say to another, I disagree with what you say because this Sutta that I have read, interpreted and understood (which is based only on the concepts in my head) disagrees with your statement. It is not in my personal experience. I think I may have experienced a few times But it's not in the Suttas so I disagree.

How arrogant that would be of me to presume that because it's not in my understanding that it is incorrect. Isn't this how we sometimes operate? Because we don't agree then the other person must be wrong? Because we understand their words differently, so their words must be flawed? Maybe we are the ones who are flawed. Maybe it's our conceptual understanding that's flawed. And even if we are 100% accurate, what value is it If it hasn't penetrated our hearts from living it? It's only words in our heads. We don't live it moment to moment. Isn't this why we practice? So that these truths can penetrate our hearts.

Maybe we should approach such discussions related to the scriptures and spirituality always with an open mind and humbly. I mean genuinely humble with an authentic desire to know. And yes this is one of those desires that is completely necessary in order to go beyond craving and desire. How can one practice if there's no desire to do so? We approach discussions with a beginners mind, understanding that our prior views may possibly be incorrect.

There is a Sufi expression which I always keep close to my heart:

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind?

"Paying our last respects"

Get yourself down to practice. I am very concerned about my companions. I have no doubts about the Dhamma talks that I give to my group of companions, no matter what the situation. No matter what type, level or subject of talk, I pull it out of my heart to become a talk.

I don’t go and look in the holy scriptures. Understand, I do not look down on the holy scripture, but this inner scripture of my heart, becomes evident on its own.

The Lord Buddha taught us in the holy scriptures, to look for the holy scriptures in our heart. So when the holy scriptures appear in our heart, where else should we look for answers?

See, the teaching is pulled out of my heart to teach you. Teaching according to the scriptures is one thing that is often incorrect.

When one teaches from the textbooks, this means one teaches from memory, including one’s doubts about it. As long as one is suspicious, then teaching others will not lead to certainty. How can the person who listens to this, get the full benefit from it? But when we know and see from within our citta, and pull Dhamma out through knowing and seeing the truth of everything; any audience will gain full benefit from it no matter what level or what depth of Dhamma, as long as it is taken and comes fully from the heart and we are certain about it.

Got it?

Others use their memory of the scriptures to teach and they just search and grope at it, consequently they teach others on the surface, but there is no base and experience to it. It simply is like this. But the foundation of the truth of Dhamma and the true religion, originates within the heart. All of the truth can be found in the heart. Since this knowledge covers everything in this universe, what can one doubt in this world? There is no doubt.

Source: In Commemoration of Venerable Acharn Maha Bua Ñanasampanno

"Paying our Last Respects"

Pages 62 and 63

http://www.luangta.eu/site/books.php

Or download the book directly from the link below.

http://www.luangta.eu/site/books/book12_respect/Book-last-respects-v3.zip

Earthninjalobstermmonamarupa

Comments

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @Tony_A_Simien said: I will never intentionally discuss any aspect of spirituality that I do not understand from my own direct knowing. I suppose one could say that this is my "Prime Directive".

    I find sutta discussion quite helpful for my understanding, but I agree it shouldn't become an ego trip or an excuse to bash somebody else's views. Actually a lot of suttas relate directly to practice, those are the ones I find most interesting these days, an obvious example is MN10.
    https://suttacentral.net/en/mn10

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

    It is a wonderful vision or vow or hope -- to speak from personal experience when alluding to scripture. But there is also the question that arises, "If this is personal experience, why bother alluding to scripture?"

    Over time -- and this is admittedly personal -- I have found myself willing to listen and munch on what one individual or another may say or suggest. But when such sayings or suggestions are freighted up with scripture (often referred to as "authentic"), I tend to zone out.

    It's not so much a matter of criticism or skepticism ... it's a matter of staying awake. What someone else says may be very nice indeed, but what you say is priceless ... right, wrong or indifferent: priceless. Mind you, I have benefited from reading scripture or hearing its wisdoms regurgitated in the past but these days, I prefer what might be called the horse's mouth ... i.e. yours.

    Just my increasingly lazy point of view. :)

    Tony_A_Simienlobster
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @Tony_A_Simien very wise words, my own experience versus what I believe have clashed before. Thankfully.
    This has opened my eyes up in some regards :)

    We even think in English, That should be a clue alone. Thank you for your post.

    Tony_A_Simienlobster
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    I have read (sorry, I can't remember where) that the Buddha's teachings were tailored to specific audiences, and as such can seem contradictory when compared to each other. Thus a given sutra may not be suitable for a particular person. Myself, I haven't done a lot of scriptural readings, and mostly heed the literature and teachings that resonate with me and seem to make sense. I find the language of most suttas difficult to parse, and hence rely mostly on modern teachers.

    EarthninjaTony_A_Simienlobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @nakazcid said:I find the language of most suttas difficult to parse, and hence rely mostly on modern teachers.

    That's fine, but I've found that contemporary teachers often have different interpretations and sometimes it's useful to refer back to the source material to understand how those differences have come about.

    EarthninjaTony_A_Simien
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    The kural is a little known Holy book. I have read it a few times.
    http://www.projectmadurai.org/pm_etexts/pdf/pm0153.pdf

    There is an old Lobsterian proverb
    'Never judge a book by its contents but yours'

    Tony_A_Simien
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 2015

    "Remember that scriptures have been interpreted by many mind's over the centuries before being put into print. How can anyone know that they are valid unless they have known directly? We cannot know unless we live it. How can we use scriptures to defend our points and say to others that they are wrong, when we have not known what the scriptures speak of directly? Moment to moment. It's all or mostly intellectual."

    Very good point @Tony_A_Simien

    If I can't find the words to express a certain experience, but find that others who have had similar experiences (I can relate to) can and can express it more eloquently than I ( eg, the suttas or some ancient or modern philosophers/spiritual leaders/mystics etc), then why go to all the trouble trying reinventing the wheel ?

    Some of us do not have the language/verbal skills to put into words our experiential knowledge/understanding...We just live it....

    Some like to reinvent the wheel, whiles others just roll with it....

    I guess it's "Different strokes for different folks!" whatever floats ones amphibious raft....

    Tony_A_SimienlobsterWalkerBuddhadragon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    You iz sutta suitor!

    Hardcore dharma practice is very pure, specfic and suitable for the terminally Buddhist. The Buddhas advice to monks was then and is today suitable for nones, nuns, monk minders and even those trying to get into or out of the hell realms to visit the serpent queen.

    http://www.angelfire.com/indie/anna_jones1/arhat.html

  • It makes sense. I would rather listen to an explanation by someone who has been through the journey, than to read a map without any guidance, or have someone who didn't create the map explain what the map means.

    mmo
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited July 2015

    @namarupa said: I would rather listen to an explanation by someone who has been through the journey, than to read a map without any guidance, or have someone who didn't create the map explain what the map means.

    There are many contemporary Buddhist teachers, all with their own ideas about how the map should be read. Which to choose? ;)

    Should we learn how to read the map ourselves? Or ignore the map completely?

    Tony_A_SimienBuddhadragonlobster
  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    If I call myself a Buddhist, it is because I consider myself a follower of the Buddha's teachings, and because the Buddha's teachings have agreed with me, or resonated with me, or made sense to me.

    Buddhadharma are the Scriptures. There are like 80000 versions of more or less the same basic teachings, which for the sake of synthesis, can be narrowed down to the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold path, and I am not even including bodhicitta, not to complicate matters even more.

    So, if I choose to call myself a Buddhist, it is because my personal experience and my spiritual path have managed to bring the dead letter to life, because all that I have read has been assimilated in my gut, put into practice, and through trial and error, made sense in my life. Because Buddhadharma has made sense to me or because my personal experience has proved to me that it works.

    The Scriptures are there to draw the boundary with what might be too personal, subjective, erratic interpretation and judgement.
    Suttas do not rule out personal experience, nor invalidate personal experience.
    They are there to enrich personal experience.
    And if I choose to call myself a Buddhist, that experience will take place within the framework of the suttas, in the same way as a Christian could hardly call himself a Christian if he dismissed Jesus teachings or tweaked them to fit his personal ethos.

    And I insist: Buddhadharma is what it is. Not my personal interpretation, nor what my reading abilities want to read into it.
    There is a difference between being a Buddhist and simply being inspired by Buddhism.
    Those who are too attached to their personal viewpoint and interpretation of Buddhadharma might as well fall into the second category.

    ShoshinlobsterEarthninjanamarupa
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    Should we learn how to read the map ourselves? Or ignore the map completely?

    I think we should use all the tools and resources we have and keep them handy if we have not yet proven them to be false. It would be a mistake on our part if we misinterpret a teaching or draw a wrong conclusion without directly experiencing it for ourselves. There is only so many words to describe something, but there is none to adequately describe an experience.

  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran
    edited July 2015

    The scriptures aren't really the scriptures. They are not from someone who was there with Buddha, writing it all down as it happened. It was all written long, long afterward, so you need not worry if some well-read scholar tells you that you've got a detail wrong because of a scriptural nuance. Same is true of the New Testament, by the way. Though there may be much wisdom contained in the writings, they are not contemporaneous accounts or verbatim quotes.

    Find your path within.

    Earthninjavinlynsilver
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    ... it's a matter of staying awake.

    ... Or sleeping through the phases and phrases innapropriate or unskilfull to the needs of the moment.

    The lazing Buddhas have their skills. The experiential have their insight. The 'dharma uber alles' their way.

    Communication flits between the phased and the transitional. In other words, our words and the responses to others comprehensive but different expression is the potential for movement.

    Not going anywhere is a still status and still being. Sometimes backward is the only way forward ...

    We iz aquaplaning!

Sign In or Register to comment.