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Neat Buddhism is help for growing up, and developing as an adult too, for "The mind, when developed and cultivated, brings about happiness." [Anguttara Nikaya 1.30]

Buddhism calls for proficiency. Meditation may be good for you, and key Buddhist practices are for free. Below you may find answers to questions you have not begun to ask yet too.

Is Buddhism a Religion or a Royal Philosophy?

Buddhism can be both, but first and foremost an all right way of living. Buddhism contains teachings and yoga methods for decent and fit development. It counsels as to how to behave well in regular scenarios of living, how to be a good friend, spouse, parent, and so on. It goes for sound development of one's standing and mind. It is not heartless, and may compete well with other faiths, for it offers help with the all-round basics for self-helpers and others.

In many circumstances of daily living there is a place for a Buddhist view or two. They may serve. But even Buddhist views differ from one another, for there are very many schools of thinking in Buddhism. What matters the most is to get a hold of practical affairs in a deep enough way to profit or get afloat.

There is value in development of mind and body and related to one's surroundings. There are many facets to take hold of, as part of your main self-help or lay Buddhist practice. And very good teachings tend toward being general teachings, which suggests they can be fit for many.

There are many forms of contemplation (meditation) to enjoy. See what methods give best results for beginner and over time. There is much research to look into. Others have compared some methods. The knowledge it has brought, can be good help. Based on the current research, I suggest you take up TM, Transcendental Meditation. Thousands of Buddhists monks have done so, and many prisoners. See for yourself: [◦A comparison] [◦More on TM]

The help of balance or faith enough to test things well

Well regulated, balancing meditation can be integrated in your daily living and accommodations. The faith that is asked for, is more like one of testing out hypotheses than getting rigid and foolish from sticking to hard-headed teachings without reserve. Proper skills ride above faith in these matters of gliding into your Sound Self.

By this it is suggested that proficient TM and Buddhist practice calls for a certain kind of faith called shradda in Sanskrit and saddha in the Sanskrit-derived Pali language. The faith that Buddha calls for, is not blind faith but provisional. This suggests an amount of fair confidence on your part to try out aspects of Gautama Buddha's teachings (also called Dharma), and study whether and how far these teachings, when practiced adequately, can lead to the good, solid living and rewards you are told of. Buddha's fundamental teachings ought to be understood in a best way; it tends to be individual. [LINK]

Our saddha or trying-out of the best among the basic teachings had rather be cool or scientific - that is, subject to on-going, critical evaluation of both the stances, teachings, and the quality of our practice and circumstances. For this we should need and develop discernment, bearing in mind that capacities are different.

Buddhistic progress teachings may in part fit an individual and psychodynamic approach. A standard counsel is to focus on what helps and fosters great development and get rid of nuisances on the way, such as really unwelcome qualities, or qualities that cannot serve goodness under the circumstances we are subjected to. They may differ, although some moral basics tend to be fixed, like roots in the soil.

Deep Insights Matter

Your path to Awakening is also your own. You help yourself as you best see how and can. Teachers help by speaking of things to do and avoid, but eventually you take responsibility and strive to adhere to the Dharma (law or teachings) teachings or the Dharma that rests deep within. Buddha's great teachings are rooted in That.

Some seem to awaken to insights. Insight is a word with several meanings and shades and degrees of meanings too:

  • It can mean a flash or series of flashes of intuitive understandings;
  • It can signify the mind's ability to witness clearly as events unfold here-and-now. Such observance may be termed a skill that good contemplation may help on and up. Seeing "with fresh eyes" is the platform of it. With practice, this skill can bring the meditator to the threshold of liberating insights. Learning to observe can be tackled and handled through study and training outside delving traditions too. Compare: [Link]
  • Then there is vipassana bhavana, or "Insight Meditation" which is based on an interpretation of old teachings ascribed to Buddha. [More]

In Buddhism, shradda may be just provisional on the way to individual insights of value.

If There Is no Self, Who Gets Enlightened?

When asked about the existence of a self, Atman, Buddha often refused to answer. Yet there is room for Atman in various Mahayana schools. It is expressed by such as, "Atman is an essence . . . an intrinsic nature". Also, the Tathagatagarbha sutras declare that "atman" exists. Further, pre-Buddhist upanishads of Hinduism link atman to the feeling "I am". And the Upanishadic "Self" shares certain characteristics with nirvana. (WP, "Anatta")

You could add some thoughts of your own in the matter, if that is interesting to you. However, what would matter the most should be plumbing on, diving on, and going for a better life too, as time and conditions allow. It is part of a way of life that is rooted in one's own convictions, ideally. However, listen very carefully to what Buddha says: It is possible to get Enlightened, and many work hard for it, life after life, too. So there is Enlightenment. Moreover, Buddha lived, walked and talked for forty years after his Enlightenment (Awakening), we are told. So extinction is not the core of nirvana either.

Who gets Enlightened in such a scenario? And what is Enlightenment supposed to mean? You get enlightened in time: Enlightenment is the great Awakening, the understanding or inward experiencing of much that can be like a closed book to an unenlightened mind.

Who gets wet?

God and Persons in Buddhism

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Does Buddhism rule out a God? Yes and no, and also not really. Buddha would not divulge much about cosmos either. He advises to discard useless speculation, for one thing. Instead he taught about sticking to helpful practice, and ideas that serve progress. Do you exist? Does God exist? Did Buddha exist or not?
  • If you don't exist, you don't read this.
  • If Buddha did not exist, there would been no Buddha to preach for forty years.
  • If God the Creator did not exist, there would not have been any such preaching by Buddha either, says an ancient sutra.

The ancient Buddhist texts tell that the very first to hear a Buddha sermon after Buddha was enlightened, was Creator-God. That is what one old text says.

Sitting under a tree, during the night Siddhartha [Buddha-to-be] entered into progressively deeper meditative states. Thus he came to understand - By dawn next morning he had completely awakened and is from now on called "Buddha", which means the Awakened One.

Buddha understood that his realization was too deep to be fathomed by most beings. But then Brahma, Creator-God, appeared before him and asked him to teach what he had learned for the benefit of those few beings who could understand and profit from his wisdom. Moved by compassion for all those caught up in the round of cyclic existence, Buddha agreed.

Shortly after being asked by Brahma and committing to doing what God asked of him, Buddha delivered his first public sermon in a Deer Park near Varanasi (Benares). In that lecture a core message is that it is highly important to follow a "middle way" and not indulge in extremes, including extreme asceticism. He also shows a beneficient way out of suffering, if it is adhered to comparatively all right.

The old text says Buddhism owes God a whole lot - up to all of Buddha's teachings, in fact. And without them, there would be no Buddhism as we know it today.

[Retold from a chapter in Anthology of Scriptures of World Religions, by John Powers and James Fieser, published by McGraw-Hill Publications in 1997. On-line.]

God Creator, Brahma, made Buddhism flourish, the ancient text says

Pudgala reckoned with as early as the 200s BCE

Now, unknown to many in our times, for twelve hundred years in the long history of Buddhism in its homeland India, perhaps one third of the Buddhists believed there really is a pudgala, a Person Inside somehow. Two blending Buddhist schools of thinking are known for this outlook, they are the ancient Sammatiya and Vatsiputriya schools.

The Chinese pilgrim Hsüan-tsang described the Sammatiya school somewhere in the 600s CE as one of the four main Buddhist takes of that time. Further, reports of Chinese Buddhist pilgrims in the 600s CE tell there were a lot of followers along the Ganges valley. The school also flourished in Gujarat, in eastern India, and in Champa, which is central Vietnam in our times. A Tibetan account from the 1500s states that it still flourished up to the end of the 1000s CE.

The root of the teaching of the Inward Person, pudgala, is a saying where Buddha speaks of a "bundle" (components of a being) and of one "who carries the bundle". That is the textual foundation of the very old pudgala teachings, where the pudgala is is a conscious someone who exists and wanders from life to life while other parts of life do not. Thus your Inward "Soul" or spirit is said to transmigrate and live in intermediary realms between death and rebirth too. Still, you are free to believe as you wish in such doctrinal matters, as the Kalama Sutra explains: [Link]

The Buddhist who adheres to the belief on an Inward Person, can hold on to the practical everyday notion that he is someone. Other Buddhist, who think differently, can have problems with justifying themselves and their thinking, and that is a serious matter. Leaving that issue for now, those Buddhists who believe there is Person within, have traditionally been called Pudgalavadins ("Teachers of the Pudgala"), or Vatsiputriyas. Pudgala teachings of Buddhism appear already in the 200s BCE.

The ancient Sammatiya and Vatsiputriya schools were widely spread, and with several subschools. Sammatiya Buddhism holds that the enduring Person (pudgala) within is distinct from both the conditioned and the unconditioned. One may regard it as close to an individual who hosts a personality during a life. Such an Inward Person is said to be greater than the sum of the parts that make up the organism. This view resembles the theory of Atman in Brahmanistic Hinduism, that is, of an ultimate Self. Sammatiyas maintained that a person (pudgala) is basically an Essence.

The faith that an inmost Essence transmigrates is surely easier to accommodate one's thinking to than the stale "there is no Self, but reincarnation is a fact, and many are headed for Enlightenment." Hence there can be room for God in Buddhist thinking too. [EB, "Sammatiya"; "Buddhism"]

Some Buddhists today are not aware of the Deep Person teachings in Buddhism (see below for more).

The Person within is called Pudgala and basically an Essence.

Teachings of Padma Sambhava (Guru Rinpoche)

The One cannot really be well described [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:225]

There is no need to fall under the sway of Ignorance [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:224]. (4)

One-pointedness is a mental concept. "Existence and non-existence" are also concepts of the mind [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:234]. (5)

The Quintessential Deep Mind is at-one with all deep minds [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:212]. (6)

One mind embraces the whole Sangsara and Nirvana eternally, ever clear, radiant and not visible [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:203]. (7)

[More]

Teachings of Walter Y. Evans-Wentz

By attention turned on itself, the mind may eventually be retained within the Hridaya [the central source, "inner heart"] [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:230n]

Enlightened mind consists of homogenous Sangsara in the present [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:222n].

One is to attain right understanding of mind by stilling of the mundane mind [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:214n].

The Great Universe symbolizes Brahman [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:230n].

"Mind-chains", "mind-associations", meaning "association of ideas", can change world-conceptions [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:231, 231n].

Unsound beliefs and practices result in increased bondage - W. Y. E.-W. [Evans-Wentz 1968:205-6n]

What Plato has called the realm of Ideas, Mahayanists call the One Mind, the homogeneous at-one-ment [also called the Primordial Essence]. - W. Y. E.-W. [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:216n]. (6)

Normally, the body has to be disciplined for Thatness [Primordial Essence] to be attained or realised - through transcending much and common thinking [cf. Evans-Wentz 1968:236n]. (7)

Hence, one can "turn homogenous" against many unverified, current beliefs around.

The subtle art of meditation is the core of handy Buddhism

You are not required to spend thoughts on subtle things and concepts of nirvana and the hidden depth of the world. Yet, some ideas make far more sense than others, and in Buddhism too there are or have been competing ideas at times - and many shared ideas as well. If you live under the sway of not knowing anything about them, you might try out the gist of Mahayana teachings instead of speculating. That is, adhere to good, solid teachings that can make you proficient in living your own life, as you manage. You can probably live with some uncertainty. Besides, thoughts are hardly able to describe what is beyond ordinary thinking. Bad ideas can mar a life though, so the value of proficient thinking - up to some levels - is great too. But within some limits. And little good may come out of doctrinal dispute.

Watch out for what can develop the mind and health and assist in good conditions for you too. Hence, "Dogen teaches us that Buddhism is just to practice Zazen, and to practice Zazen is Buddhism," says Reverend Gudo Nishijima of Dogen's line. Zazen is Zen sitting, that is sitting, or lying and walking in alert contemplation. Sitting may be preferrable to the alternatives, but allow for alternatives as may be fit. [More]

The Dogen quotation can be seen in the light of something Adi Shankara wrote: "Study of the scriptures is fruitless as long as Brahman [God] has not been experienced. And when Brahman has been experienced, it is useless to read the scriptures." Useless, but perhaps not always completely unwelcome, one may add. At times fun, at times entertaining and enlightening in a way too. And the results may at times assist others on the Way. [Link]

Consider a statement by Shankaracharya Brahmananda too: "Spiritual teachings . . . cannot throw light on the inner Self, for the Self is Light." [More]

To assist good and decent conditions for the inner Self's non-brutal thriving is fair and seldom all useless.

Sunyata, a Fake Void

To know "the inward Void", Sunyata, you must see it at least, and if you are there and experience it somehow, it is not empty, as your awareness is there. If you get aware of a void, then your awareness is there too, so the void is not completely void after all.

Your inner awareness is the experiencer. Those who claim the Void within is empty, seem to forget experiencers of the Void. Further, to talk about a thing meaningfully, you have to be someone as well.

To read a little for upliftment may be done guardedly in this light. Dogen holds that as good too. But it is easy to get confused: Buddhism encompasses many schools and sects. Their understanding of central terms and conceps differ, and their profiling is somewhat different too. For example, in the influential Buddhist work The Heart Sutra, the pivoting term sunyata is commonly translated as 'emptiness'. But it does not have to be that way. In fact, it is not the only understanding of the term "void" in Buddhism:

"Many people are afraid to empty their minds lest they should plunge into the Void. They do not know that their own mind [contains] the Void." [With Huang-po]

Also, according to Daizetz T. Suzuki (1870-1966), the total self-identity of "I am I" is the state of non-time and is equivalent to the emptiness of Buddhist philosophy. Reverend Gudo Nishijima of Dogen's Soto Zen line informs that Eihei Dogen [1200-53] says things similar to it:

He denies that sunyata (emptiness), is "nothingness, non-existence, or non-reality." "Sunyata is not non-existence." In Master Dogen's teaching sunyata is not the denial of real existence - it expresses the absence of anything other than real existence." [See Nishijima and Cross 1996, Chapter "Bussho"] [More]

Major texts of Mahayana Buddhism, such as the Mahaparinirvana Sutra or Lankavatara Sutra, teach that the Void (sunyata) is not really void. The Lankavatara Sutra repeats with variations, "Avoid the erroneous reasonings of the philosophers and seek this self-realisation of Noble Wisdom", and "Erroneous teachings do not recognise that the world-mind-system also includes the mind itself. Deep Mind is as real as anything and anyone."

There needs to be someone to experience or perceive a void to manage totalk of it later too. Bearing in mind the Gothamites who counted themselves and got the wrong number each time because those who counted always forgot themselves, we should not overlook the obvious in this essential matter.

Milarepa's deep teachings include: "Deep words of initiation serve as fetters for those who are not initiated." "I have forgot all creeds and dogma and all definitions." "Now I have done away with all distinctions of black or white." "Carry the teachings into practice in your everyday life."

Little good may come out of philosophy, compared with TM or other helps for progressively improving living - called "setting the wheel of Dharma in motion", which probably counts ta lot.

Other things than Enlightenment are possible in your way

"Pure" is taken to mean this and that, depending on contexts (settings). One should not be mislead about it. What is needed is to be yourself, and become a good yourself. Further, a monk's and nun's lifestyle is not needed for enlightenment, tells Buddha.

To practice essential meditation and very helpful, set-up ways of living, no one has to become a Buddhist for it. The main thing is a fit method and correct (enough) practice in the long run that should be the main focus and effort.

Vajrayana Buddhism, also called Tibetan Tantric Buddhism and at times Mahayana Buddhism too, recognises yab-yum. In Buddhist art of India, Nepal, and Tibet, Yam-yum (Tibetan: "father-mother") shows the male deity in sexual embrace with his female consort, showing a fusion of method or force (female) and wisdom (maleness).'

Guard your privacy well, as well as you are up to at any rate. There are probably times when beeing taciturn may be good for you, quite as the British proverb says: "One should keep silent when necessary (Fergusson 1983:217)." It is possible to have yogic sex too. And you can possibly do what is beneficial to yourself and many others without great and alarming ruins in its wake.

In Mahayana Buddhism it became possible to present supreme buddhahood as the union of a male and female pair. Sexual union as a symbol of mystical union evolved from Indian Tantra, and may not be for general use, and may depend on adequate instruction.

There are many Tantric treatises. One of them puts a manifestation of the Buddha Akshobhya in the centre of the universe; he is embracing his consort Visvamatri (Mother of All, Mother of the Universe). Buddhist Tantras are traced to the 600s or earlier, says Encyclopaedia Britannica. [EB "Tantra", "yab-yum" etc].

TO TOP

Deep Rest, Don't Be Fooled

Adapting to many things beforehand without knowing a fig about them, can be very, very wise. It shows up in time.

Deep rest is doubly needed when work-life is awfully hard, and preferably before the burn-out - And deep rest helps solve many problems; the koan above too. You may enter the stream of that koan by taking a peek into several major sides to life according to refrains like "Don't be silly; adjust if you can cope and whern there is time, preferably in advance of what is to come," "Forewarned can be forearmed," and "We live in troubled times, although some might not prefer that you understand who benefit from it."

  • Urban development. A look into how cities have developed and are developing can be quite an eye-opener.

    Inadequate dimensioning through lack of forethough. In, say, a hundred years many cities have grown and expanded like cancers in their former countryside, where people used thrive more and keep healthier. Some cities, like New York, have more than doubled their size since the plumbing system, waste system, roads and much else were found adequate. In fact, there are maps that show how New York has grown to cover tens of times as large areas in the course of time.

    But the sewage pipes and road net is not easy or cheap to make adequate for today's flow and traffic, so there is much - eh - traffic congestion around. And regrettably too little planning for future expansions and the needs they probably involve too.

    "Strangling" the inhabitants by various means. You may have seen how towns gradually take to "milk" their inhabitants a lot to get money in dominant ways. In the case of Norway the tough trend has been to extract or extort money from people for driving on the roads, for parking, and so on, and not do what it takes to get rid of air pollution in towns. These annoyances come along with many others, such as heavy taxes on the fuel, high costs of car maintainance, and taxes on the cars, taxes for using the road system, A lot crops up fairly often and take the joy out of having your own car. If there is one thing to be pretty sure of, it is that "future costs are likely to rise; it is a dangerous or alarming trend."

    Costs of living are increased, and unfoldment spaces have dwindled. Another way residents are troubled, is by property taxes, taxes on heritage - and if you settle in a new dwelling, note how the garden has shrunk from those of former generations, and there is a need to travel - at a cost - watch TV - whatever helps a little. Towns need to be regulated much better, instead of spreading, spreading in patchwork manner decade after decade. Sound id-attuned living conditions have to be met, or towns become "modern slums" with fine facades. Far too many get preoccupied with wearing masks of professionalism etc., and fine facades otherwise too. It can develop neuroticism.

  • Adequate household management. "Keep it simple" won't always do. Good outfit may be appreciated in time, such as the refrigerator and the washing-machine. On one hand there is a need to be handy or get handy, well instructed, read the instructions until they "sit" well enough, and making allowances for futher, future equipment too. Why? It may cost very much and be more than a bit embarrassing to buy a bigger house just to house all the rooms and things that you and your growing family need over time, and when you get old, you have perhaps more need to rest on the couch than trim the grass in the huge garden. You might also prefer to hand over parts of the property to your near ones when you have reached old age, to make life much better for yourself. So: Think ahead, calculate the growing and changing needs that usually appear over a generation's time, and allow for new "somethings" that usually don't carry with them a reduced need of room on your part - to the contrary.

    The needs of water supply, of handling waste and garbage properly and wiring up to supply the present electrically based equipment etc, these needs have to be met among the many legal regulations, prohibitions and fines. A partial way to cut future costs or inconveniences might be to calibrate the hoses and wire systems for more of what you need just now, because you realise something more is probably needed in addition in future times. It should be much more convenient to adjust the dimensions of your piping to more extensive uses later, say, in thirty years ahead. How? By adjusting the dimensions beforehand, among other things.

  • Family deterioration to come? Family deterioration on a grand scale lies in part in the hands of the government and large business corporations, as they determine the general housing conditions, working hours, regulations around the housing and wider. Some who try to compete in the "rat race" find themselves victims of what is called burnout - they crack down and are too ill to work, for many a reason. Stress and mental health problems may accompany it. If daddy or mommy find they have to work harder, neglect their needs while they deny their problems, they may lose contact and withdraw, empty within, and depressed. Some collapse physically and emotionally.

    Another definition of burnout: "the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest." There are socalled high and lower levels of burnouts. Engagement and efficacy may counteract it to some degree. - it may set in already in one's thirties. It suggests the toll on mom and dad and Jeder may be more taxing than they are able to withstand or cope with. And a little help may be hard to find. And dealing with the warning signs in good time, to avoid being scapegoated - Also, it is not a first-class society that drains its workforce to be able to compete on an international market with ups and downs so far, and further. [More: Wikipedia: s.v. "Burnout (psychology)"]

    There are extended families around in some countries - grandparents, parents, children and others living together as best they can. In the industrialised world the trends show that extended families may be in for a hard time. In urban areas, many old folks are living much of the time alone, too separated from their children and grandchildren most of the time. The utterly silly core family gets maimed in two ways, in addition: Men and wives divorse. Divorce statistics reveal that in Sweden about two out of three divorce. It is even more than that in Oklahoma. Decadent young people stay away from kin and increasingly from friends too, while they resort to the Internet. Good, traditional fares and methods dwindle along with aligned manual dexterity. Much can be interpreted to signal "Hard times are coming, and already on lots of people."

    To enlarge on the last few points above just a little: A recent international survey was conducted among 3,000 students and young people under 30 years in 13 countries by the IT company Cisco. The survey shows: "Facebook is more important than to meeting friends. Over half of the participants in the survey believe they cannot live without the Internet and the Internet is an integral part of their life. [That's what families are for . . .] [Adresseavisen, 26/09/2011]

    Also, many young people see the Internet as just as important as food and shelter. Two out of three would choose the Internet rather than having a car, while two in five say that the Internet is more important than dating, dealing with friends and music. More than one in four students believe it is more important to remain updated on Facebook than partying, dating, music or physical contact with friends. The survey also shows that young people prefer the new mobile devices like smart phones and web boards rather than desktop PCs, TV, newspapers or books.

    The survey indicates that resources and use of time is taken away from what is concrete, and made use of for just semblances of the real "things." Compare Jean Baudrillard's views of how semblances little by little infiltrate the sense world so that the end results fail due to widespread reductionism. Baudrillard claims that our current society has replaced human experience with only simulated reality. Media, including television, film, print and the Internet, can also serve to blur the line between goods that are needed and goods for which a need is created by commercial images. Multinational capitalism; urbanization; which separates humans from the natural world; and language camouflage or obscure dominant goings, rather than reveal or reflect some of them. [Wikipedia, s.v. "Simulacra and Simulation" and "Simulated reality" for more]

    It is the escape from reality as we ordinarily perceive it, with bodies, senses, and personal communication with body stances, grins, and so on. The results are not bound to be fine because they are wide-spread; compare the survey results above.

    Many of those that benefit from industrialisation and creating huge corporations and their networks took advantage of splitting up former unities, in particular the large family that was much more common in earlier times in Western countries. Among the aims were are and prestige, money and power - profit, while the general living conditions in urbal setting get more minimized and even cramped, generation after generation. Nowadays people also have to pay for leisure time in public, - not only for using roads and parking lots. The free spaces around, such as fields and large gardens, are dwindling or disappearing altogether, for the sake of roads, parking places, cramped dwellings, and further. Where is fit generousity on behalf of the common man? It is deep in the pockets of guys in power almost all of the time in the West.

    What are supposed to be progress, consists in part of basically uncivilised, undermining and other measures and half-measures that serve governments and large business interests the world over. Some are served by enticing or extorting resources from the common man and woman.

    Many families suffer, drift apart, and fall apart in time, and think it is all their own fault. It may not be so. And yet their own adaptations to the large society tend not to support a family by giving the members quality time and good conditions together, and in their close environment either.

    Some governments finds it best that children get conformised together by compulsory public schooling from kindergarden and on. It can suit socialism and blockheadism rather than individualism.

    There are modern ways of getting scapegoated, for your information. and perhaps he is not the most scapegoated who knows he is being scapegoated.

  • Theories and ways and means from the arena of science. Stubborn people in set ways are found "everywhere", and in science too. There are many sincere words by top-notch scientists in the matter, for example by Werner Heisenberg: "When new groups of phenomena compel changes in the pattern of thought . . . even the most eminent of physicists find immense difficulties. For the demand for change in the thought patterns may engender the feeling that the ground is to be pulled from under one's feet . . . I believe that the difficulties at this point can hardly be overestimated. Once one has experienced the desperation with which clever and conciliatory men of science react to the demand for a change in the thought pattern, one can only be amazed that such revolutions in science have actually been possible at all. [Zukav 1979:211]."

    Thomas Kuhn goes into similar phenomena, speaking about paradigm shifts in the sciences [Kuhn 1970]. A paradigm is a set of basic assumptions at the back or bottom of a scientific discipline.

    Many say that things change only when old brooms go away and new broom take over - brooms with different notions, and at times with other ways of sweeping. By 'broom', try and read 'faculty dean' and maybe 'professor' too.

  • More blunt and less civilized. I think the total impact of the "development" that means deleloped technology put in the service of exploiting more, and not less, may ruin many beneficient sides to life for generations to come. "If it is worthwhile, someone tries to make profit from it" - it is not a golden rule, but rather a description of a tendency so far.

    Development should have meant better living conditions for humans and human growth in balance with much natural environment. It should have meant better, broader security to pass on to future generations. It should have meant enabling in fit, suave ways too, and not always subjection to machinery, gadgets, and gameboy living. But at present the future of the whole planet is at stake, it seems.

As was highlighted above, beneath the section heading, "Adapting to many things beforehand without knowing a fig about them, can be very, very wise." There are many hazards involved in modern living, and great system changes may not be feasible without complete or partial breakdowns, also of monetary systems and balances.

How to adapt to possible and likely future goings or disasters ahead? Mind that some day you have to say farewell to dog and cat and many others that depended on you anyway. What happens next depends on your amassed karma, teaches Buddha. There is good reason to insist: Don't be part of the problem. Try to be part of a good solution, rather. So Buddha counsels you to think way ahead and into another side to existence, and act accordingly.

Extrication, solid work and delightful meditation

What are good solutions? If you have to be told what they are, maybe you have not found from within the ones that fit you one hundred percent. You could try some first-hand self-searching for it, in addition to being carefully prepared, as judged from present and former dominant trends of life. Many a little might help: much could be needed, and helpful neighbours too.

Also bring into the considerations that there are upcoming events and conditions not reckoned with so far. The rise of television-conformised living, the Internet and the massive use of PCs were such dominant, half-enslaving things. Today we witness the rise of apps and much else that are marketed as "making life or work more enjoyable", but which helps others to make use of its users in many ways. If a thing is tiresome, it could be good to extricate yourself from it by-and-by so long as it is something foolish and not all right - something that demands quality time, energy, and money to the end that you get used somehow, even better than ever before - but where all other options are worse and you don't find better options and ways into better options opened up, what can you do? Maybe it is time to do more than intoning "Sesame, sesame", and instead sit still and meditate for twenty minutes or so a few times a day. The results may surprise you. I'd say, "Take up meditation in good time, even if there is much else you can do, for work and meditation may go hand in hand and bring great results too." [◦ Meditation method]

If you don't like the trends that surround you or that you are immersed in, maybe you cannot change them all by yourself. If so, maybe there are good ways to lessen their dominant, harm-causing effects. Stress-mastery could be one way. Taking time to rest well is also into the great picture. In the West, millions meditate against being stressed out. Developing sound skilfulness may be possible too. It can help a lot. Getting one's private garden may be found to be another boon, and so on. If you can adjust to your profit - or your benefit - without risking your moral, life and health and the good moral, life and health of others, Buddha tells that may be OK.

Somewhere between teachings and practices you say 'yes' and 'no' to, there may be a large group of ideas and practices, skills and much else that you could profit from if you knew how.

Buddha speaks in favour of skilfulness.

Sound skilfulness

Skilfulness and proficiency are well thought of in Buddhism. Being proficent in meditation comes first, and second come all the other proficiencies that make life fair, delightful, good. Opposite to that is doing away with being of sound mind and body and letting others suffer for it too, by bitching and worse. Ask: "Skilful in what, to what ends, and how far is it beneficial to go?" Adjust to the sensible, reasonable tokens.

Further, it may become good for yourself and many others that you make decent and good (appropriate) estimate and use of your sound opportunities. And opportunities need to be judged and handled properly in harmony with the essential moral nature, or with the Dharma teachings of Buddhism, to avoid marring, tough repercussions.

Still, it is well to consider Buddhist texts with some caution, quite as Buddha teaches in the Kalama Sutra. Sound skilfulness in such vital matters brings help, at least to some.

And go for keeping and maintaining a little 'room' or space in your mind for the yet unresolved sides to living, the still undiscovered, not reckoned with - or "something unexpected". Such calm openness could help. Many fall short in just that. The teaching of reserving muchmore room for something - perhaps underestimated, undervalued, or unfound yet, or novelties in life - can be good, as many resources may be won and very much effort may be saved by skilled forethought, which also includes "have more space (available) that you need today". Physically and mentally, as the case may be.

Buddha's Great Teachings

You are not supposed to forego successes, including money, wealth, friends, family and privacy to be a lay Buddhist. Lay follower may get enlightened too, says Buddha.

"Plant pears for your heirs (Proverb)." It is essential to know what is good for you and your nearest ones. The skilful man's accommodation strategies also include artful and skilful ways and norms transmitted to children and young ones, for example: "Don't do it if it harms yourself, or happy and fair others, or proper things of value." These and similar, well instilled attitudes can help, but not always enough, for there is more that goes into living along than good counsels, allowances, prohibitions and punishments. At times initiative is needed. At other times withdrawal and rest. And at still other times a bold. fit perspective on things of vital interests. And so on. Encouragement and feeding the inner life of developing skills, talents and interests may also help, and a good example. One does well to encourage positive outlets and truths, and a little leeway as the case may be. What is agreed on and allowed in the "enclave" also plays a great part in life.

You could come to wonder if singing while taking a shower is OK, or doing some quick dance steps in your kitchen. The question is "Does it matter?" If it does not matter, it should not be much dangerous. So one needed, extra question for the discerning lay person is "Does it matter?" It matters to adhere to the spirit of Buddha's teachings, and maybe not always to all the letter of what has been handed over - Not if that letter is questionable in the first place, is hashed over, and wont to kills good and higher outlets of our nature.

More goes into life than singing in the shower.

Temple Dancing in Buddhism

That leads us to belly dance and similar outlets. Most things may be more complicated than what meets the eye of the beginner. The setting has to follow suit too. For example, moving your body by belly dancing or other outlets could be very, very good for you healthwise. It is exercise to music, among other things. But if the setting drags you down for it, refrain. It is the same with tanning without a bikini and other garments. In your private garden it could be nice and fit for yourself, and in some other settings too. It depends. Bare breasts in public is a hot potato in some cultures and some places. Thus, consider, and as long as you are not a corpse in mind, you have a say yourself. Let it be a pretty valuable and welcome say, accordingly.

A temple that moves rhytmically to music, isn't that impressive in its way? Consider how "A temple of bones is more than a temple of stones." Temple dancing is OK in India, and one of the arts. Dancing is a primal art. Bees dance too. Dancing may be used to express tales, legends, mythology, rituals and ceremonies too. So there is dancing and singing on the major Buddhist festival, All Souls Day, in China and Japan. In the largest sect of Buddhism in Japan, music, dance, and drama are important forms of expression. However, Buddha teaches that monks and nuns must do without dancing, and instead value self-effort along his Way. as seen in his expanded ethics for monastics. "Singing and dancing, the playing of musical instruments and the watching of entertainments . . . are stumbling blocks to that which is wholesome." [see the seventh precept of the Uposatha Sila: The Eight-Precept Observance].

One may still leap and dance for joy, a Buddhist parables says.

[EB "bharata-natya" [More for householders]

Dance may serve to express legends and rituals, also religious rituals, but spirituality is a more fit thing to go for.

What Is Your Long-term Burden or Privilege instead of Decent or Updated Following?

Buddha grants freedom to discern and choose a lot, in the Kalama Sutta. Bear in mind how "Good things and teachings are excellent in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end," as Buddha is into. It is pretty counsel.

A Buddhist council was held at Vaishali (in the Bihar state) a little more than a century after Buddha's death. It was called to settle a dispute about the relaxed rules of discipline followed by the monks of Vaishali. What became a matter of dispute was the storing of salt, among other things. Disagreements about storing of salt etc. led to the first schism of ancient Buddhism. The "mahasangha, "great order of monks" and the Theravadins split up. "They seem to have had little to disagree on, and disagree the did."

The Great Order spread to southern India too. Its texts were written in Prakrit. The school was a precursor of Mahayana ("Greater Vehicle") Buddhism, widely adhered to in China, Korea, Japan, and Tibet as in its Indian "home culture".

Mahayana Buddhism emerged in about the first century CE from the ancient Buddhist schools as a more liberal and innovative interpretation of the Buddha's teachings, while the Buddhist conservatives or today are known as Theravadins of Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. In Japan, Mahayana Buddhism has a significant modern following in Zen Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, and Tendai.

The Mahayana scriptures were composed mainly in Sanskrit. Where original Sanskrit versions seem to be lost, there are translations of some of them, for example in Tibetan and Chinese.

What is excellent in modern times is fit for life today and not always what was written down in India in Sanskrit or related languages very long ago, when conditions were in part widely different. Besides, nearly all that is ordained for monks and nuns is not required of lay Buddhists.

Buddhism and Stringed Instruments

Many kinds of stringed instruments are plucked with the fingers. Hindu goddesses may or may not be represented as playing on vinas. A vina is a stringed instrument too. One version of it has two resonating gourds. One gourd rests on the left shoulder and the other gourd restson the right knee or hip. Another version of the vina is a lute with a long neck.

Playing musical instruments does not seem to be included in the Buddhist rules for householders. However, attending vain, pompous or macabre shows and performances that a parent has a right to think and say "think twice" to is not welcome,, as inexperienced young ones and older ones may be abused in several ways.

Some hurts are subtle. Some harm is subtle, and experience is a costly teacher, maybe too expensive. One should mind the sincere efforts of elders to protect and care for tender children and adolescents and other young ones and progress along such a vein as Buddha lays bare in the Kalama Sutta, where he says such as:

  • Do not believe something just because it has been passed along and retold for many generations.
  • Do not believe something just because it is cited in a text.
  • Do not be led by preconceived ideas.
  • When you yourselves directly know, "This is [these things are] unwholesome, this is blameworthy, this is condemned or censured by the wise, these things when accepted and practised lead to poverty and harm and suffering," then you should give them up.

He ends his sermon of counsels to outsiders (not-yet-followers) on a positive note also, namely to aim for well-being, prosperity and happiness. Young ones are blameworthy if they should give way over and over and not back up themselves and going for wealth and progress enough, at least mentally-inwardly. [More].

These things are relevant to consider - even at length - in a Buddhist life - in any life:

  • What Buddha says in the most authoritative suttas (discourses). Due to what was involved in the traditional handing-over, allow yourself some leeway by adhering well to what gist you find attractive and are grateful for at least - for example, "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful. [Buddha, attributed]"

  • Yourself, your own, ongoing life. Being a good Buddhist is being yourself well enough. Buddha is credited with saying something vitally important: "You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person will not be found: You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection. [Buddha, attributed]"

  • A fit tradition to conform to. It is not one of duping. The congenial fellowship is included, and the good books of it. Buddha warns you here too: "Do not believe something merely because it has become a traditional practice — Do not believe something solely on the grounds of logical reasoning — Do not believe something merely because it accords with your philosophy — Do not believe something, thinking, "This is what our teacher says"." Assess such things, Buddha says in the Kalama Sutta. You should not overlook your own culture, but try to get the best out of it before it is too late. Buddha himself illustrates the way to deal with conformity and a wide array of teachings. The best is many a time what you can stay with, having a heart (compassion is included).

Contents


Pudgala, Person, Pudgalavadins, Brahma in Buddhism, Buddhist meditation Buddhism with a person inside, Literature  

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, the same as Britannica Online.

Evans-Wentz, Walter Y., ed. The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation or the Method of Realizing Nirvana through Knowing the Mind. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.

Fergusson, Rosalind. The Penguin Dictionary of Proverbs. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983.

Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 2nd enlarged ed. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1970.

Masunaga, Reiho tr: A Primer of Soto Zen. A Translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki. University Press. Honolulu, 1975.

Nishijima, Gudo Wafo and Cross, Chodo, trs.: Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. Book 2. Windbell Publications. London, 1996.

Zukav, Gary. The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics. London: Rider, 1979.

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