"The only measure on this path is our level of equanimity and awareness" - S.N. Goenka
But I've also read that insight needs to happen and email@example.com has 7 stages of realisations.
How do we know we are on the right path (for cessation of suffering) ? What if we spend 50 years and have gotten no closer to the goal.
I feel both of the above go with each other, we need equanimity and awareness and this should increase. BUT I feel you still need insights I to the nature of things.
I read a Therevada list of stages of realisations, I think they have like 20 of them. Don't remember where I read it.
My definition of insight is a clear experience that does not include an intellectual understanding. It is in relation to how we perceive reality.
No doubt S. N. Goenka's version rings true for many here....
I like to keep things simple.....
I find by the consistent level of ones happiness and contentment with life...especially when shit happens...(which is inevitable ) I guess this is similar to what Goenka is on about with "level of equanimity and awareness" ...
"Beware of unhappy Buddhists -they are not really practising-but just being intellectual "
By changing the way one looks at things - The things one looks at change! (and this change- "shift in perception" comes about from having insight [beyond the intellect] into the true nature of things)
But as usual "I" could be wrong........So don't quote 'me' on this
On a spiritual level, I would put this down to ones ripened or unripened (wholesome (or unwholesome) karma, but I guess it would also depend on what ones 'goal' was to start with....
From TNH's The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, chapter 19 The Three Doors of Liberation:
'There is no need to put anything in front of us and run after it. We already have everything we are looking for, everything we want to become. We are already a Buddha so why not just take the hand of another Buddha and practice walking meditation?'
I guess the best 'barometer' for being on the right track is asking ourselves, 'am I happy?'
Yea. Somebody said something about Buddha saying enlightenment was possible in a moment. It helps me remember that this isn't a competition.
Thanks guys !
For me it's not about me looking at things differently, they happen by themselves. All of a sudden these shifts in perception happen. I've never had any of these happen by will. ? :
Understanding and behavour changes.
More insight, more compassion. More skill.
Less questions, less obstacles, less wrong tracks.
'These qualities lead to dispassion,
not to passion;
to being unfettered,
not to being fettered;
not to accumulating;
not to self-aggrandizement;
not to discontent;
not to entanglement;
to aroused persistence,
not to laziness;
to being unburdensome,
not to being burdensome':
You may definitely hold,
'This is the Dhamma,
this is the Vinaya,
this is the Teacher's instruction.'
@Earthninja ...That's interesting...I see your point, no matter how much one might 'desire' change, change will only comes when karmic conditions are right...Which leads me to the following questions.....
What happen during your little Vipassana adventure ? Could the seeds of perception shift have been planted and nurtured through ongoing meditation ?
The gradual shift in perception began to happen, (for this 'being' anyway) when "I" (the bundle of vibrating energy held together by karmic glueAKA Shoshin ) was ready to begin the journey of non self discovery...(the teacher/s appeared-so to speak and the lessons begun and are continuing -I'm a "life-time student" always being tested-no peace for the wicked )
The Tibetan Buddhists talk a lot about "Training the mind" and this training of the mind is to change the way we looks at things, which in effect is to will a shift in perception.....( which I guess is also down to karmic conditioning)
Through knowledge of the principle and knowledge of entailment.
What happen during your little Vipassana adventure ? Could the seeds of perception shift have been planted and nurtured through ongoing meditation ?
I had some experiences during the retreat but nothing as profound as when recently just walking the dogs. Could they have started then? Maybe but it could also have been how I was as a child. I don't think you can narrow it down, kind of like a moving story.
Yeah I would say it does definitely depend on the person, it seems some people are more prone or receptive(karma).
Ok so my question to you is, does insight change the way you look at the world?
Or does changing the way you look at the world create insight. ?
For me personally it is more so that the insight happens and you can never look at the world the same way, but who knows what caused this. Nobody can say.
Maybe you will.
The will, or focus and concentration is the means to deliberate change. It can be obsessionally fixated in an unhelpful way but I would suggest it is a very important tool that determines the discipline initially required.
For example a determined will to bring the attention to the breath is good but if it reinforces our path as a 'consciousness nazi' we end up little more than a spring loaded suppression ...
Go back to the Catholics I suppose.
Yes, but insight arises out of equanimity and awareness, so we need to create the right conditions by practising. It's a gradual process of opening out.
Seems that way for sure. there is resistance to just sitting and watching breath. We have 1 billion reasons to not sit.
Always follow resistance! Breath is a great teacher,
Sitting is important, but IMO it's practice off the cushion where we really get to grips with this stuff.
There was a slight shift in perception when the crises point was reached (hitting rock bottom) and this change lead me to 'investigate' more and to 'develop' insight via meditation practice...Which in turn was the catalyst for major changes to perception...Paradoxically it's as if there is still perception but much less self-involvement....
On the right track? The way we express ourselves is a good indicator. And what is written between the lines. The same thing can be said in so many ways. There are endless amount of phenomena that could and should be criticised - without going into too personal level. Even the word "compassion" can be used as a weapon to hurt someone else.
In zen, at least in some zen traditions, it's being able to answer more and more difficult koans. Which is basically the teacher checking you personally and telling you where you are.
The Five Ranks of Tozan is popular in Japanese zen.
In traditional chan or zen, if one wanted to check their understanding, they would go seek out a more advanced master and get themselves checked or verified.
@Earthninja How do we know we are on the right path (for cessation of suffering) ? What if we spend 50 years and have gotten no closer to the goal.
I say when we start living less and less attached to anything. In the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah, there is a sign where it says "If you still living with likes and dislikes - You are not even started to practice Buddhism" - something like that. Buddhism can be defined in two words - "Letting Go"
@mockeymind Hahaha I've read his book. "A quiet forest pool" or something like that. He was a very funny master, I respect what he taught and he never lost his humour.
I remember in his book he was walking past a group of monks doing walking meditation.
He said they looked like it was a mental asylum, he said to them "hope you get well soon" haha.
Cool so liking and disliking, let it go!
Seems a bit trite though don't you think?
If there are no preferences, why practice Buddhism over say, Taoism? And why one school of Buddhism?
If Buddhism could be simply defined as "letting go" it would not have been written down eventually.
I'm sure there are many correct answers but I think the best way to measure our progress is in two ways.
When we can see compassion as a matter of common sense and no longer question whether it is an ideal or an evolutionary necessity.
And then when compassion and wisdom are in equal measure.
Once I make it to that point I'll probably have a better answer.
I suspect that not worrying about the "right track" is a good indicator of being on the right track.
Many worries about being on the right track, are just a miss direction of an identity under duress.
a worthy track is often marked by the unsettling dissipation of the tracker.
The good track will help show you how to discern one from the other.
There are many faiths and religions that believe they are on the right track no? Both completely different.
I've often heard of the phrase "the fruits of one's practice", and you would think that there should be something noticeably different. I'm only guessing.
Sometimes it happens to me and then I think: "how anxious am I today, and how anxious was I a year ago?" And every doubt is enlightened.
A Vipassana teacher said to me, if I follow this twice a day for an hour. You will notice the difference straight away. No empty promises. Try it and you will see.
I agree with you there, should be direct noticeable changes.
Otherwise surely we should be asking if it is working.
Part of the value of prostrations is losing the ability to bring offerings.
Initially one has difficulties, concerns, eight tracks or many more of self improving self and others.
On into subtleties and nuances of Buddha gifts.
When will a groove run out by habit?
When the questions and quest has nothing to offer or satisfy?
... meanwhile be kind to the pathless ...
Well no further serious/philosophical questions from me then. At least not to other people.
That's certainly true over a period of time, though when we are working through things it can sometimes feel like 1 step forward and 2 back.
Well, monkey mind, if taught, acquiesces to Buddha nature more and more. It also panics less, if personal experience is any guide. So, that is part of the value of practice including meditation.
There is a mindset that I am trying to develop in my practice - and that is not to focus much on the destination but to be interested in on the "how" step by step. I've been experimenting for quite some time for this, and it gave me a lot of awareness, to just do one thing at the time.
I use to listen to a music while doing programming, tv turned on while having meal, reading newspaper (yes I still prefer a hard copy) while having a cup of coffee. When I apply one thing at a time mindset - I developed more concentration and clear focus on whatever I am doing. I enjoy much of the journey now rather that reaching destination.
@namarupa .... perhaps the difference would be that the hunger had dissipated?
Being a more peaceful person, and having a higher respect for peace is one thing that I notice.
Noticeable differences? [lobster faints over the obvious simplicity]
If practice causes more favourable life for us and others ... we are on dharma track ... sounds like a very simple plan.
I likes it!
@lobster Simple is good. Be at peace or peace be upon you.
The practise Is the path.
right and wrong are projections of mind.
So just keep practising
I'm a computer geek so everything is a computer metaphor to me.
I had this program called Happiness I had been trying to install on this modern OS everybody runs: OS Ego and Status. It kept crashing and throwing up errors. Debt errors, alienation errors, frustration and pain errors. Just couldn't get this program to run very well. Ran for a little while maybe.
Got rid of that OS, running this older OS called Buddhism, older but more reliable. Runs much better and leaner by dumping that ego, attachment and desire bloatware. Happiness software running much better now.
So how well is that happiness software running for you and people around you? Is it better than your old OS? That's how well you're on the path.
Atheism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Ego and Status, all just mental operating systems to me. Just got to get everyone to network.
^^^ I speak fluent geek (just been compiling my first Nim test program in Puppy Linux)
Welcome to NewBuddhist
Buddhism is a template or operating system/paradigm (OS) as you suggest and we do have to implement its various functions. The best functions are open source, freely available.
As an operating system it often suits very well the precise formulaic thinking of geeks, programmers and the tenaciously logical.
I would also suggest that fuzzy logic, artistic intuition and AEI (Artificial Emotional Intelligence) is sometimes a requirement. Quantum processing if you will ...
... and now back to the deprogramming track ...
Then you would have lived a life of trying to do good and be a better person. In what way would you consider this a failure? It is all any of us, enlightened or not, can hope for.
Even to come across the teaching of Anatta and to see for oneself that there truly is not a self to be found, and to accept the teaching, is a great thing by itself.
Yeah, not keen on the ones that take ten percent of your resources.
I would suggest this is the path. To be inspired. To practice. To stay the course. Failure is inevitable but success is optional.
I started reading about dhamma last year and doing meditation (still working on regularity) I don't know if my mindfulness is stronger than before or not. But, the progress I notice so far is, I have more sati when it comes to my weaknesses.
E.g. I have been listening to talks from Pema Choldron lately. And I quite enjoy them. But, every time she mentions about Chogyam Trungpa, who is supposedly a spiritual teacher with a couple of worldly addictions and broken monastic vows, it brings out my subjective views and ideas. My prejudices and judgements are struggles for me to overcome.
While we should not overlook the weaknesses of our Teachers or make excuses, a person can be skillful in teaching the Dharma while not being able to live up to its standards. The problem is, the Teacher is also supposed to be an example of the Dharma in action and can abuse his authority while hiding inside his Enlightenment.
How much you're able or should separate the two is something debated among Buddhists today. I think there was too much separation in the past. Not healthy for Buddhism or the Sangha.
what I have learned is that we all are living the life we already made in the previous life.
and now we are making the next life right now at this every moment. so as a result, you can almost say that three different time is happening at the same time - past life & present life & future life. we are living the karmic result of the past life and making the next life in present life time at the same time. We have to be very careful every moment of our lives because once you made nidana(chain of causation) and Karma, they are unchangeable. The ONLY way to postpone the karmic result temporarily is to practice the correct (corresponding) Law for each time ( age of correct law, age of counterfeit law, latter days of the law ), so you can accumulate merit (punya), so that Tathagata can help you with the obstacles of life. about the corresponding practice, Shakyamuni Buddha predicted that during the 1st 500 years since (Shakyamuni Buddha)'s extinction, Buddha's teaching will be strongly stands among the monks, during the 2nd 500 years after his extinction, only samadhi ( such as meditation) will hold power among Buddha's teachings of correct law, during 3rd 500 years since Shakyamuni Buddha's extinction,his teaching of the law will stand firm only by reading reciting and writing sutras , and during next 4th 500 years of his extinction, his law will stand firmly stands by building towers and temples. from 5th 500 years, people will start arguing and fighting about my teachings and the white law will vanish.
Then he preached the Innumerable meanings sutra which is the opening of the Lotus Sutra. In which he said " throw away the expedient means honestly and only preach the Highest law ( meaning teachings of Lotus Sutra ).
so what I am trying to say it that everyone is on their right path as we made in our past lives. important thing is to follow the teachings of Buddha the right way so we make next life a happy one. as to the present life we already made in our previous life, we can practice the right practice and avoid unhappiness. hope this make sense...it's bit hard to translate in english ..
Indeed. It's not enough to talk the talk, one must also be able to walk the walk.
How to know whether we are on the right track?
When we watch our moods and emotions, and are not falling in to their traps.
Following our moods easily turns to our disadvantage.
The same with like and dislike, praise and blame, we don’t feel that
we need to foolishly run after it.
"We behave like one who can let things be. We behave like saman. as, like anagarikas ¯ (homeless ones), who are not bound up. This is the way we train. Training ourselves like this is really
peaceful. We make peace arise all the time. Whenever we are in society, we will always
have smoothness and tranquility" Luang Por Liem