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As we all know our take on Dharma and Buddhism is [insert evaluation] 😶
Yesterday whilst buying what I thought was macha tea, I ended up with maca - a Peruvian 'ginseng' superfood/adaptogen Tastes nice with muesli, will report back any health benefits ...
... Anyways, I am clearly not mindful enough to go shopping unsupervised. In a similar way, do we adapt dharma to our needs and times? I know I do. For example combining very simple zazen as used by fish allegedly, with a fair bit of Tantra for added flavour. I also like to add the odd bit of Sufism, Alchemy, Gnostic Heresy and Harry Potter spells. In fact anything useful and pragmatic. I iz hopeless case ...
Others are making 'soup dharma', focussing on a single mantra to help with ADHD, cherry picking, insisting on My Dharma 'uber alles', pick-and-mix Dharma and so on.
What is dharma, what is not? Who decides? The Maitreya? The first written records? Your favourite author ... or [shock horror] you?
Part of our capacity is mis-hearing (similar to the euphemism used by politicians for lying) ...
Mis-hearing, is listening out for what someone only minimally intended but is more fruitful to hear. In a similar way if skilful, we can mis-speak in such a way it potentially draws out the Truth from others (throw your good reputation out the window Bodhisattvas) ...
Have you all reached a point where you had to commit to a school or even a specific teacher and say, "this is where I get my stuff?" And learn mostly from books and teaching sessions thereafter?
What you think of as a school and teacher may change. It did for me. I rarely read from books, the Internet has sufficient information. I have not seen my teacher in years.
Many groups/schools incorporate Buddhist teachings whilst following completely different traditions. Just as Tantra or Zen incorporate teachings from other religions (Hinduism and Taoism in those two cases).
I feel your question is Buddhist teacher/school related and therefore the question is, 'what is useful?' A school may appear open, or expect commitment over lifetimes [lobster tries not to laugh], may offer social, psychological or emotional support, indoctrination, stimulation etc. What is required is transformation from ignorance to wisdom. The ignorant always feel they are very close to being wise. The wise are aware of their ignorance ...
What's the plan?
I feel some of us are starting to listen and appreciate this alternative perceptual stream. During meditation we start listening to our myriad/monkey selves. Our doubts, our noise and eventually our calm. It is that calm that can be unfolded into our daily life and listening ...
We live increasingly in societies that seem love and attention starved. It is the capacity to give attention rather than demand it, that results in some of the 'spooky powers' of the Bodhisattva.