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One cap fits all?

One of the skills of the Sotāpanna is being a part of the right speaking 'Noble Sangha', which includes the Lay Community.
As a separate category, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment, whether or not they are members of the monastic community, they are referred to as the āryasaṅgha "noble Sangha"
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangha

Right speech in my view, varies from dogma and is related to how it is heard. So for example in Sufism, some would be students are warned against spiritual practice as they need life experience.

Would a Buddhist dogmatist insist that meditation or mindfulness is always helpful, when in fact mantra, sadhana, study or just devotional activities might be more appropriate in certain circumstances?

How does this relate to skilful means?

Comments

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @lobster. Sometimes even simple practices can conceal deeper ones. I have in mind two Vietnamese ladies I knew well. On the surface their practice seemed to be solely the offering of flowers,incense and prostrations. One day they invited me to keep vigil throughout the night during the full moon. Guess who had trouble staying awake? Not the ladies.

    lobsterDhammika
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited May 17

    My experience is that the fire of enthusiasm burns quite strongly in the youthful, and they tend to get swept along, while the insights of spirituality to me seem more appropriate to middle age.

    But I've heard it said by Buddhist monastic teachers "it takes a thousand young monks, out of whom one may turn out to be a jewel", so I think opinions differ on the value of age. Some would argue that Buddhism has turned into a religion of learning, and that to absorb all the knowledge and commentaries is best undertaken by young, spongelike minds.

    Similarly a Buddhist monk who has been teaching me a course on basics has said that many techniques in Vajrayana take a long time and deep insight to master. It makes me wonder about the validity of their path if it takes a lifetime of study to get there - is it truly a part of the natural path of human beings? Or some kind of huge stress that is built up over time in the mind.

    Certainly different people take different paths to the truth. I've explained Buddhist thinking to one of the older women in my family, and she said things like "I don't like the focus on suffering" or "life seems different to me", while she is very loving, mature, intelligent with a deep appreciation for life's mysteries.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks guys. <3

    I feel we are all on the path or perhaps the cycle of existence but some of us like to learn or accelerate our potential understanding/wisdom/unfolding.

    Those not engaged in a path still learn, even if it is nothing gainful/useful or helpful either to self, situation or society. Pah!

    A simple faith that @grackle mentions can be very empowering. As can a completely dissmissive of dharma approach that @Kerome mentions.

    Meditation, dharma, good cyber company, inspiration continues to yield results for me. However I like to have wholesome hobbies ... ;)

    dhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited July 16

    @Hozan He probably posted and then changed his mind so edited it (since we can't delete our posts once we post).

    (Mod. note: Posts now deleted in full. Pardon the intrusion, Karasti.)

    @Kerome With Vajrayna thoughts on it vary like anything else depending who you talk to, but the idea (as I understand) is that instead of taking lifetimes following that path might help you reach liberation in this lifetime because of the level of dedication that is involved in the practices. Not saying I agree with that. But that's kind of how it's sold. The reason (again, as I understand) is because it was something that was taught via the connection to the guru directly, as in, that strong of a teacher-student connection could allow the teacher to transmit information to them directly which speeds understanding along quite a bit but can only be done with particular high-level relationships. That is mostly a Dzogchen thing. But that is also why many old school teachers have been so upset that so much about Dzogchen and Vajrayana has been put out in books because it removes that relationship aspect that is required to understand the information fully because it is given to you, not simply taught.

    It's interesting to me when people label Buddhism as a "focus on suffering." To me it is a focus on understanding our human tendencies and lives and changing those conditionings and patterns. It's those that are where the suffering is. Not Buddhism.

    silverJeffrey
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Moderator note:

    If you wish to delete a post, by all means remove your text. Then leave a note/request to me within the same comment box (prefixed by @federica) and I will oblige by removing the post entirely. Thanks all. Please carry on.

    KeromekarastiKannon
  • DhammikaDhammika Veteran

    Thanks for all you do to make this a fine forum @federica!

    lobsterupekkaKannon
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Would a Buddhist dogmatist insist that meditation or mindfulness is always helpful, when in fact mantra, sadhana, study or just devotional activities might be more appropriate in certain circumstances?

    How does this relate to skilful means?

    Just to revisit this, just from people's choices on the forum you can see people are attracted to different forms of Buddhism. I think people are attracted to those forms that suit them - some the sparseness of Zen, some Thich Nhat Hanh's mindfulness, others the devotion of Pureland, still others the ritual and learning of Tibetan. People connect to the dharma on different levels.

    So one would hope that a good teacher - one capable of acting skillfully - would be able to guide a new student to the form of Buddhism that most attracts them, in the hope that they would have the motivation to progress far along the path. Unfortunately I think this rarely happens, few people seem to have the breadth and insight into multiple traditions.

    lobsterpersonShoshinkarasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Dhammika said:
    Thanks for all you do to make this a fine forum @federica!

    It's a pleasure, @Dhammika. I just bimble along, doing the best I can. :)

    upekka
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 16

    @lobster said:

    Would a Buddhist dogmatist insist that meditation or mindfulness is always helpful, when in fact mantra, sadhana, study or just devotional activities might be more appropriate in certain circumstances?

    How does this relate to skilful means?

    I find it's a matter of whatever floats one's raft and keeps it afloat...so a little bit of this (Theravada Original) and a little bit of that (Mahayana Add On ) goes a long way in balancing things out ...(as long as one is consistent )

    I'm under the impression that in the long run it all depends upon one's "conditioning" (how one has been taught to approach life) and one's ability (through whichever practice or combination of practices) to decondition (Change adapt this approach) ...

    When Buddhism first made contact with this self, "I" was under the impression there was just "The Dharma" regardless of all the bells & whistles that have developed/ been added on over the centuries...
    So my mind tends to filter out the noise of these bells & whistles leaving just the sound of The Dharma in its pure state,,, (Well it tries too anyhow :) )

    BTW being mindful (ie, mindfulness) is always helpful ...Mantras do a similar thing...

  • KannonKannon Ach-To Veteran

    no matter what kind of Buddhism we partake in or any at all we will undoubtedly suffer and wallow in ignorance. if we find something, in Buddhism or outside of Buddhism, which helps us find peace and understanding, what else is there to ponder?

    When one Dharma door opens, so does another... and another...and another

    IMO the Dharma is something to realize on one's own. whether it take the form of Theravada scripture, Mahayana practice, Christian prayer, atheist pragmatism, or good old life lessons, the end result is the same, and has a ripple effect

    skillfully, one must listen to their self. if we truly want to learn we will learn actively. intuition guides us to the Dharma door best suited to our needs. though doors look different they all open to the same place.

    upekkalobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    no matter what kind of Buddhism we partake in or any at all we will undoubtedly suffer and wallow in ignorance. if we find something, in Buddhism or outside of Buddhism, which helps us find peace and understanding, what else is there to ponder?

    When one Dharma door opens, so does another... and another...and another

    IMO the Dharma is something to realize on one's own. whether it take the form of Theravada scripture, Mahayana practice, Christian prayer, atheist pragmatism, or good old life lessons, the end result is the same, and has a ripple effect

    skillfully, one must listen to their self. if we truly want to learn we will learn actively. intuition guides us to the Dharma door best suited to our needs. though doors look different they all open to the same place.

    I agree with you. I'll take wisdom wherever I find it.

    upekka
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