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Open Discussion / Obstacles
« Last post by Chaz on March 11, 2021, 12:20:04 AM »
I was reading a thread on another forum about obstacles.  While reading this occurred to me:  Obstacles on the Path, are those things we cling to.

We cling to things - thoughts, emotion, etc - because we don't want something to change.  In doing this we ake something immaterial and dynamic, fixed, static, unmoving, and as long as we cling we are as unmoving as the thing we cling to.  We go nowhere.  So our clinging and that which cling to become an obstacle.  The way to get past this is to not cling.   

Some think that clinging is something that can be completely eliminated.  I think that's true, but only to a point.  In our experience, clinging is episodic.  We see that we are clinging, we let go, and move on, but this is not the end.  Sooner or latter we cling to something else we have to let go of.  This goes on ad nauseum.  I suppose there comes a point where there is no more clinging, but that attainment is so far down the road as to be pointless to worry about.  It's just another obstacle to overcome.  All we can really do is practice - let go of the things we cling to, until theres nothing left to cling to.

Thoughts?
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Open Discussion / Re: Cultural Baggage
« Last post by Chaz on February 28, 2021, 11:52:43 PM »
Long divergent groups with wholly different foundational understandings using language to transmit what took millennia to form and practiced in some way or another as cultural behavior and expressed or veiled under many different heritages....Sometimes its just a wonder we can speak to one another.

Yes it is, but is we are to understand what others are trying to say, we must not only understand thee actual language we have to understand the culture as well.  They go hand-in-hand.

For example, When Tibetan teachers talk about meditation, they often use the word "Gom" - their word for "meditation".  The word actually means "become familiar".  This is important and interesting as it shows how the culture relates to the activity/practice.  In the west most people often think of something like navel-gazing when we talk about meditation.  When a Tibetan meditation master teaches "meditation" he teaching somehing quite different that.  Unless we make an effort to look into the cultural underpinnings of a people, we are less likely to understand them.  It's important and not something we should be so careless to discard.
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Open Discussion / Re: Cultural Baggage
« Last post by Anemephistus on February 23, 2021, 04:13:05 AM »
With regards to christian ideas influencing associative thinking as a kind of western meme, I am a bit of a dry on the mystic aspect sort of thinker and am sometimes confronted with a solid confusion as I attempt to explain that my understanding of things does not result in "something" that is "really me"becoming for instance a Donkey....There must be, without question some challenges to overcome. I don't mean to offend because I understand this thinking is sect specific but its hard without context to even explain whats off about the question.

I enjoy the idea of "baggage" just because it conveys that it comes from group thinking and results in misunderstanding. The thinking I encountered with Buddhist thought the first time was earth shattering for me. Long divergent groups with wholly different foundational understandings using language to transmit what took millennia to form and practiced in some way or another as cultural behavior and expressed or veiled under many different heritages....Sometimes its just a wonder we can speak to one another.
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Open Discussion / The Application of Mindfulness of the Sacred Dharma
« Last post by Chaz on February 16, 2021, 08:38:43 PM »
 From BuddhistDoor:

Quote
On the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the global nonprofit 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha is announcing publication of a new translation of an important sūtra known as The Application of Mindfulness of the Sacred Dharma. This scripture, one of the longest texts of the Tibetan Buddhist Canon, has never before been made fully available in English.

https://read.84000.co/translation/toh287.html

This looks real interesting.

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Open Discussion / Re: Losar
« Last post by Gibbon on February 13, 2021, 12:37:07 AM »
Burning green juniper bows -- I love that.  And there are also giant khapse to eat, I really miss that.  And the game of sho.

Will put in some extra practice time tonight :)
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Open Discussion / Re: Losar
« Last post by Chaz on February 13, 2021, 12:20:51 AM »
Great, just don't put a giant yak head on it!

On a serious note, I am thinking that this is a good occasion to practice the perfection of generosity.  Often donations to temples and monasteries are given on Losar and help support Dharma work for the coming year.  It is nice being able to dedicate that!

No Yak head.  Yes, Gibbon-la.

As I understand it, Losar is among the most auspicious of days in the calendar.  The merit of all practice is multiplied.  So, yes, it's a great occasion for perfection of generosity.

Offerings, practice, hanging prayer flags, sutra recitation are all excellent.  In the kagyu, activities include burning green juniper bows.  Leaving offerings for Hungy Ghosts and so on
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Open Discussion / Re: Losar
« Last post by Gibbon on February 12, 2021, 11:13:17 PM »
Great, just don't put a giant yak head on it!

On a serious note, I am thinking that this is a good occasion to practice the perfection of generosity.  Often donations to temples and monasteries are given on Losar and help support Dharma work for the coming year.  It is nice being able to dedicate that!
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Open Discussion / Re: Losar
« Last post by Chaz on February 12, 2021, 10:39:05 PM »
Happy Tibetan New Year, year of the Iron Ox!

Gods, it is Losar, isn't it?  Well Tashi Delek!

Shoulda taken the day off and dusted off the shrine :-)
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Open Discussion / Losar
« Last post by Gibbon on February 12, 2021, 03:56:14 PM »
Happy Tibetan New Year, year of the Iron Ox!
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Open Discussion / Re: Cultural Baggage
« Last post by Gibbon on February 11, 2021, 10:33:55 PM »
Thank you, Chaz -- I was typing on a mobile device in a bit of a hurry, but this is exactly what I was looking for -- some concrete examples to start the discussion.  Of course, it is hard to see outside one's own upbringing and belief system -- in the West they are heavily influenced by Christianity, on one side, and the European Enlightenment ideas.  So, yes, such views are definitely conditioned and could themselves be considered "cultural baggage".

In general, there is a tendency to remove anything that is magical or miraculous and leave just the material.  This strikes me as very Protestant thinking.  The Buddha is not the only victim -- there was a scholar, for example, Ernest Renan, who did the same thing to Jesus Christ.  He just stripped the Gospels of all the miracles and published a tedious life of Jesus as a regular Joe.

Karma and rebirth are central to the teaching of the Buddha and I don't see how one can skip that -- if uncomfortable with both, it is probably best to become (or remain) a Christian.  The Christian idea is that we are all born as blank slates and the Creator then doles out fates to us, possibly at random.  This has never made any sense to me, but a lot of people think it is natural.

As to rituals, implements, and such, they serve a profound function in transforming the mind of the practitioner.  The challenge is not to use them for materialistic ends which defeats the purpose.  We have all met people who are dressed to the nines in Buddhist paraphernalia, but is their practice pure -- does it lead to a transformation of the mind?  On the other hand, throwing it all away can also be pollution of the Dharma, so it is better to strike the middle ground.

The Tibetans spent a lot of time adopting Indian culture as a vehicle for Buddhism.  They have great respect for it.  If you look at a Dharma text in Tibetan, it will have titles in both Sanskrit and Tibetan and even the shape of the book derives from that of Indian manuscripts.  Tibetan Buddhism is basically Indian Buddhism that has evolved in some outside aspects to adapt to its new environment.  But the transmission of Dharma to Tibet was pure and complete -- there was neither rejection nor aping. 
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