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Tips for us beginners

How many experiences confirm the nature of dukkha and how soon do we intend to instigate the conditions for nirvana? Maybe we have a better life to live?
Spiritual inertia or progress is interwoven with our action and efforts.

As a beginner - always - I need all the help I can get. Here are my tips. What are yours?

List of tips:

  1. Meditate. The simplest is on the breath.
  2. Keep a journal/blog/spiritual diary. When we look back we realise our ignorance. That is the present condition. Even the Buddha was ignorant of paranirvana all his life.
  3. Study, listen, find good company.

KundohowBunksbookwormEarthninjaHollyRose1Vastmind

Comments

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran

    @Lobster those are some excellent tips!

    I have nothing more profound to add and will simply reiterate what I have found useful, beneficial, and worthy of praise in my "own" adventuring and processing..

    square) meditate every day, it will sharpen your senses and refresh your perceptions.

    if you are in good health full lotus or a zazen posture will be most effectual.. if you can't do the full lotus, drop in at a local yoga studio to do some cooperative stretching

    circle) sattipathana sutra (translation by jeff goldstein is wonderful)

    understand that Truth must be realized and cannot be grasped at conceptually, but concepts can be used as a bridge, false constructs you can use to abolish constructs altogether. Or to say it a different way, the picture of an ice cream cone is not a direct knowledge of the taste of ice cream, but it does give you a map to work with.

    delta-shape) empathy. generosity. patience.

    easy and beautiful words to say. try once a day to actually do (or restrain from doing) something that fulfills those words. generosity can be giving what you know someone will benefit from or simply enjoy, even if it is something cherished. once i read about "giving fearlessness" and found that a very powerful phrase. not all generosity is material, although material giving can open many a gateway indeed. (know all gifts bear fruit.)

    squiggle) study, reflect upon the most profound statements you find. steep yourself in good company, be they books or humans. ideally a bit of both.

    isosceles triangle) at least once a day, think of a person you can benefit. even mentally sending them things they would find useful plants a seed which blossoms into serendipitous conditions.

    dodecahedron) practice with sincerity. it is good to weep, it is good to laugh.

    big love and one love and all love

    lobsterhowEarthninja
  • NeleNele Veteran

    The journal idea is good. I do that, but not to "look back" to assess progress (or ignorance :-) Instead, I write a page about anything in the morning, and feel rather refreshed and empty afterwards...similar to meditation. For me it's a way of emptying the mind. Often what I write has a spiritual bent, but it can be anything.

    My "tip" is to consider reducing or eliminating habits that might seem innocuous, but on the whole are a burden on your practice. Television, talk radio (my personal nemesis), idle chatter come to mind. Just a little less of them on a daily basis can make a difference.

    Lazy_eye
  • One of the things I"m focusing on now is being alert to specific instances of dukkha that I experience, and then investigating what factors led to that dukkha. For example, if I'm bothered by restlessness -- where is that coming from? What is preventing me from being calm? Or if I'm irritated/angry with someone: what are the factors within my own mind that cause me to have that reaction? That kind of thing.

    It's kind of a "baby step" approach to nirvana. Rather than seeing nirvana simply as a big, hard-to-reach goal, one can start with applying recognition and cessation to specific afflictive processes as they come up. Here is some dukkha, here is where it came from, here is how it ceases. Little nirvanas, as it were -- but they can possibly build the capabilities that eventually lead to complete unbinding.

    Bhikkhu Samahita's daily dhamma posts often include strategies (taken directly from the suttas and commentaries) on how to address particular kinds of affliction, and I find these very beneficial. From a more secular perspective, there is the RAIN (recognize-accept-investigate-non-identify) model popularized by Jack Kornfield.

    Jeffrey
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Lazy_eye said:

    From a more secular perspective, there is the RAIN (recognize-accept-investigate-non-identify) model popularized by Jack Kornfield.

    That's interesting - it sounds like an informal way of describing sati and dhamma-vicaya ( mindfulness and investigation ).
    Could you say a bit more about the last one, "non-identify"? Does he suggest specific techniques?

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @lobster said:
    1. Meditate. The simplest is on the breath.
    2. Keep a journal/blog/spiritual diary. When we look back we realise our ignorance. That is the present condition. Even the Buddha was ignorant of paranirvana all his life.
    3. Study, listen, find good company.

    I'd add mindfulness ( off the cushion ), and sila ( ethical behaviour or precepts ).

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited August 2014

    Impressive tips all.
    Unable to improve upon any...a dalliance with a superfluous title is all I have.

    Since every nano second offers a new existence to practice within, who is or is not a beginner, is too complex a work for me to figure out.

    The maturing of a meditation practice though, can be determined by how steadfastly you find ways to manifest that meditation in whatever nano second you greet.

    This maturing is better measured by the success with which you can raise your meditation practice over any competing attachments, than with the duration that anyone has been practicing.

    But... the measure of a growing maturity in a meditation practice is most realistically done with whatever you are poorly able to meditatively address rather than whatever you happen to be able to meditatively excel in.

    bookwormsova
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    Could you say a bit more about the last one, "non-identify"? Does he suggest specific techniques?

    Yes, he suggests that we "inquire of every state, experience, and story, 'is this who we really are?'" I think this is to be done in the context of satipatthana, which is the "investigate" part of the rubric he is using.

    I found a link to a 2007 essay in which he presents the process in some detail. Link here.

    Coincidentally, I was just watching this video by Mindah-Lee Kumar in which she talks about non-identification with the kilesas.

  • ZenshinZenshin Veteran East Midlands UK Veteran

    @Lazy_eye‌ just wanted to say thanks for the video, I really enjoyed it.

    Earthninja
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    Useful tip would be to practice meditation with all due importance. As important as eating or brushing your teeth. That way you will always find time.

    In a Vipassana course I recently attended, the teacher said the only way to measure your progression is your level of equanimity :) this is for insight meditation.

    Great tips @lobster‌

    sova
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Lazy_eye said:

    Interesting description of mindfulness in the Jack Kornfield article:

    "He realized that awareness was not affected by any of these experiences, that it was open and untouched, like space itself. All his struggles, the painful feelings and thoughts, came and went without the slightest disturbance to awareness itself. Awareness became his refuge."

    EarthninjaBunksLazy_eye
  • @Lonely_Traveller said:
    Lazy_eye‌ just wanted to say thanks for the video, I really enjoyed it.

    And I would like to thank @Shoshin for making me aware of this nice series of videos.

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    "He realized that awareness was not affected by any of these experiences, that it was open and untouched, like space itself. All his struggles, the painful feelings and thoughts, came and went without the slightest disturbance to awareness itself. Awareness became his refuge."

    Yes -- do you think this is similar to "luminous mind" in the suttas?

    Earthninja
  • ZenshinZenshin Veteran East Midlands UK Veteran
    edited August 2014

    @Lazy_eye said:
    Yes -- do you think this is similar to "luminous mind" in the suttas?

    I would say it is. I've been using a technique mentioned by AJahn Sumedho. When my mind becomes calm I let myself become aware of the infinity of space. You can rest in the awareness of the infinite and it is very peaceful and joyous. If you try and conceive of the infinite you can't your mind just tightens up in frustration, simply letting go and becoming aware of the infinite reveals the boundless nature of your own mind.

    It reminds me a lot of the Tibetan meditation on the mind like the sky.

    Lazy_eyeJeffrey
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Lazy_eye said:
    Yes -- do you think this is similar to "luminous mind" in the suttas?

    Luminous mind is a tricky one, so I'm not sure. I assumed by "awareness" he was meaning mindfulness?

  • mindfulness is knowing the difference between virtue and poison I think, @SpinyNorman. Again, 'I think'. Awareness is what is always here for a sentient being.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    mindfulness is knowing the difference between virtue and poison I think, SpinyNorman. Again, 'I think'. Awareness is what is always here for a sentient being.

    But mindfulness is awareness too, isn't it? And what does "awareness" actually mean in a Buddhist context - are we really talking about consciousness?

  • Thanks guys.

    I find mindfulness a confused term. I tend to think more in terms of mind emptying. Awareness of emptying if you will or being attentive to the arising but not its convoluted need to chatter. This is for me emptiness . . .
    Perhaps another way of experiencing the emptiness is the 'witnessing' or mind attentive but unsettled on objects of arising, or spaciousness that has been mentioned . . .

    Anyway that would be a continual practice. :wave: .

    Hamsaka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2014

    @Nele said:

    My "tip" is to consider reducing or eliminating habits that might seem innocuous, but on the whole are a burden on your practice. Television, talk radio (my personal nemesis), idle chatter come to mind. Just a little less of them on a daily basis can make a difference.

    Good one. However if I might be so bold . . .

    'Thou shalt not' does not work on dharma punks.
    I find introducing more good habits helpful. Better diet, more hydrating. Exercise. Being kind and smiling more (careful ladies some strange institutional responses to smiling from those of a masculinated persuasion). Shrine care and maintenance . . . that sort of thing . . .

    :wave: .

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I'd b> @lobster said:

    Perhaps another way of experiencing the emptiness is the 'witnessing' or mind attentive but unsettled on objects of arising, or spaciousness that has been mentioned

    Spaciousness of mind seems to be important. One of my Tibetan teachers used to talk about the "sky-like nature of mind", where thoughts and feelings are just wispy clouds which continually form and disappear.

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