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DeDanan

Spirits, Good And Bad

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andyinkat sorry your explanation but i agree with naigreg's side remarks....

mai pen rai

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:D I'm [mildly] offended by Darknight's remarks. I was hoping that sort of post (mean-spirited, sophomoric, anti-buddha :o ) would be a rare event in this forum. Why do people become unnecessarily aggressive when communicating with a keyboard?

Yes, I must agree that Darknight, although having posted some interesting posts, seems to be being unecessarily aggressive.

I for one hope to learn from people who have had more experience than I.

I'm not agressive :D. It's just the biggest crap inside the buddhist traditions.

Why would only monks be able to reach enlightenment? Why wouldn't woman be able to attain it?

Maybe you can give me an answer on that first ?

Maybe you can go and have a look at the quotes i posted in another thread from "old masters" that actually specify that there is no need to "Be something, follow something or copy something".

It only shows how much you're still connected to the Mind and your ego, that you can't see beyond your precious Rules and Precepts.

Monks can only reach enlightenment after following this and doing that. It is just a self importance thing, "see we can do it" which is just the opposite of What Buddha meant.

It's the biggest <deleted> i've seen :D

Especially what you read into it says more about your perception then my writing :D

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I don't like the way this is going.

Darknight:

"Especially what you read into it says more about your perception then my writing"

DK, maybe the above quote applied to your reaction to Andy might be the path to enlightenment here?

As i understand it, he was referring to Theravada Buddhism, not his personal opinion, whatever that might be. You may not see your reaction as 'aggressive', so would 'agitated' be an acceptable term?

I think a button was pressed for you here, and I understand why, but please consider others responses to your reaction.

(who am I to say, I keep losing my temper, too)

Most posters here don't seek to create disharmony and offense intentionally, let's give each other credit for that.

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Bina, Stroll et al,

To clarify further, Stroll is correct – I was not giving my own opinion, I was giving the traditional Theravadan position on the role of women and lay people. I see from other posts that Darknight adheres to a Zen position which is very different. My MA thesis was actually entitled “The Role of Women in Buddhist Scriptures” in which I did a comparative study of this issue within Theravadan, Mahayana (including Zen) and Tibetan scriptures, so I’m not completely uninformed – I’ll spare you the scholarship however.

Like I said, it’s not MY view – indeed this was one of the main factors that prevented me from considering ordination within that tradition and led me towards Tibetan Buddhism which does include female Buddhas within its pantheon.

Bina – you ask about predestination/fatalism. I think the Buddha spelt out a clear middle path between fatalism and free will in a way that makes rational sense. What happens to you is the result of causes and conditions ‘you’ created in the past – i.e. your kammic seeds ripening. However, how you RESPOND to these events is your free will and will create the future conditions. For instance, if something bad happens to you, you can react with anger, which will create further negative conditions in the future; or you can respond positively in which case you create the conditions for positive outcomes in the future.

Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that, you might say. You don’t INTEND to react with anger, it just happens. But that is where the Buddhist practice comes in; through the mind training laid out by the Buddha your subconscious gradually transforms so that when you do react to events the reaction is governed by wisdom, compassion and skilfulness.

Past kammic seeds have to ripen sometime. When they ripen depends on the right conditions coming together. Sometimes it might be ‘instant’, sometimes it might be months or years later, sometimes it might be one or more lifetimes before the results manifest – in the latter case this might seem like ‘fate’. But only the omniscient mind of a Buddha can know when kamma will ripen; for us unenlightened mortals speculation is unprofitable (although there are plenty of ‘folk’ practices which claim to give answers) and the best position to take is to accept that whatever ‘fate’ throws at us is the outcome of past errors, be grateful that they are ripening now as that means they are finished with, and use the situation to sow positive kammic seeds and thus take control of our future ‘destiny’.

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in this world of instant its very hard to think i may have to wait a few lifetimes for anything....'sigh'...

thank you andy but what about the 'god' thing: when a thai says god... what is he/she intending? Buddha? the jewish god?; the christian one? a bunch of deities sitting in a heaven?... i looking at it from an anthropological and symantic point of view ... or is that just an expression that suits as a figure of speech like we in israel will often say 'insh allah' (as allah wishes) which obviously is moslem but has worked itself into our lexicon?

i've never heard thai say: as the gods wish it, or 'the gods will strike you down' although i was told Buddha would strike me dead when i lit a cigarette in some muban near udon and an old guy came running out and yelling at me including pointing at the sky and gestilating wildly (women dont smoke in public there and i didnt know)...so i translated that as god (a single deity) and not as a group of spirits watching me do bad or good things.

its really hard to discuss this stuff on a keyboard.... but very instant :o

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From what you wrote Bina, it seems to me the man is using western language in a rather shallow way - much like western people with secular outlooks might throw in the term 'God' without much philosophical depth. I believe that most young thais have no more 'real' grasp of their state religion than most young Europeans do of Christianity. So I can't really interpret what he meant fo ryou - you'd have to get him to clarify.

This thread has also brought up a separate issue I'd like to share my views on.

I don't personally agree with all aspects of contemporary Thai Theravadan Buddhism - however I do wish to UNDERSTAND it. This for me is all the more imperative when it is the dominant form of religion in my adopted home. I feel that any form of 'my Buddhist path is better than your Buddhist path' is utterly unsklful. The Buddha welcomed level-headed rational debate between different religious paths and there has been a long and healthy tradition of inter-Buddhist debate down the millennia.

I think that one of the subtest and most dangerous forms of attachment is not to the physical or even the mental, but to the Dhamma. Budda taught that the Dhamma (teaching, Truth) is a raft, a vehicle - not to be clung to. You do come across people who seem to understand this theoretically and quote all the right passages, but in practice you can tell from their behaviour and reactions that they are very attached to their concept of enlightenment; their version of the Dhamma/Dharma is the RIGHT one, all else is error. This is very ironic but was clearly understood and anticipated by the Buddha. After all, if you are truly endeavouring to lose your false ego what's all this 'I want enlightenment' about?

On the issue of women and enlightenment, the Pali Canon is unique in the scriptures of the major world religions in having a whole book, the Therigatha which is written by women - they are the songs of enlightened women during the lifetime of the Buddha. Sadly, for historical reasons this 'freshness' dried up within the Theravada tradition. There are reasons for this but they require an understanding of complex background issues. To repeat, I don't defend the position - quite the contrary in fact. Since nobody contributing to this thread is actually disagreeing on this issue I'd rather leave it anyway and suggest you talk to an Ajahn (Achaan). I would however like to suggest that to me at least, there is far more that is positive about Theravadan Buddhism than is negative and it is quite a distortion to home in on one issue to the exclusion of all else.

PS Stroll - I found your thread on becoming a monk and added a comment. :-)

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in this world of instant its very hard to think I may have to wait a few lifetimes for anything....'sigh'...

That’s a wonderfully witty and perceptive comment Bina. Instant gratification – the western disease. One of the great distortions of the buddhadramma in the West is to try to force it into a “I want it all and I want it now” framework. Such is the western ego.

There is another thread in this forum on ‘what is the nature of enlightenment’ – I chipped in a bit but tried to desist as it was getting very intellectual. But since you touch on it here let me make a brief observation – my understanding of the ‘goal’ of Buddhism if you will.

For me the key concept that makes sense of most of the Dhamma is ‘sati’ (in Pali) – often translated ‘mindfulness’. It means being fully aware, fully present in the moment. I think that Zen tends to express this particularly well but it is also clearly outlined in Theravada. The present moment, if looked into deeply enough, is an eternal moment.

The western mindset with the heaven/afterlife scenario projects the goal into the future and it takes this mindset into its understanding of nibbana/nirvana and looks for some distant goal. But ironically looking for a distant future goal is to lose focus on the present moment. A glimpse of the eternal now is possible – now.

For me – and I stress this is my personal understanding, not based on any high authority, enlightenment is simply moments of mindfulness all joined up. In other words every moment is a mindful moment.

A glimpse, an isolated momentary experience is achievable in many ways, not just through Buddhist training. Referring to earlier issues on this thread, I’m sure drug experiences can offer such a transient experience (altho’ I can’t personally verify that), as can ‘highs’ gained from art, nature, sex, many such methods. However they are transient and the Buddha insisted that of themselves are of no great worth. Buddhist training offers methods to put your mind in a position to make such experiences more likely to recur, and Buddhist ‘philosophy’ offers a structure to make sense of it all.

So, to make sense of all this in a sentence, what I’m basically saying is,

Forget about the future! Live in the Now.

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Darknight:

"Especially what you read into it says more about your perception then my writing"

DK, maybe the above quote applied to your reaction to Andy might be the path to enlightenment here?

As i understand it, he was referring to Theravada Buddhism, not his personal opinion, whatever that might be. You may not see your reaction as 'aggressive', so would 'agitated' be an acceptable term?

I think a button was pressed for you here, and I understand why, but please consider others responses to your reaction.

(who am I to say, I keep losing my temper, too)

Hihi :D not agitated at all stroll, i was actually pleased with Andy's explanations :D . By the way i think andy and i actually could be friends....

What you all don't get is that i'm putting up mirrors to reflect your own thoughts. Not all things in life have to be nice and agreable. Into your face is just a part of life as "can we discuss and agree to something". The latter challenges your brain and mind to understand. The first stirs your deep emotions and ego.

Your emotions and ego will show clearly your consious state, as your brain will only show you your attained knowledge. It's not the words you speak but the reaction to certain things that's important.

The master wouldn't have reacted to my comments. He just would have smiled...As he has trancended his ego reaction already he would understand that it is not important. The question and the reaction is not important. Neither is the need to answer or not...

First you have to realize the mirror, then later on you can start to look through it. :D

By the way , the button didn't angry me also, :o It was just another game in the illusion of daily life, Ask bluecat i told him before.

A glimpse, an isolated momentary experience is achievable in many ways, not just through Buddhist training. Referring to earlier issues on this thread, I’m sure drug experiences can offer such a transient experience (altho’ I can’t personally verify that), as can ‘highs’ gained from art, nature, sex, many such methods. However they are transient and the Buddha insisted that of themselves are of no great worth. Buddhist training offers methods to put your mind in a position to make such experiences more likely to recur, and Buddhist ‘philosophy’ offers a structure to make sense of it all.

Very true andy, Many paths and many religions lead to similar things. I think we just come from a opposite path to the same thing. You come from the scholastic side , i'm more from the ( kick in the butt, lot's of lessons quickly following, in your face, open your eyes, remember) side i would say. Each path where-ever you start has the same intrinsic value. no other being can understand that path since he can only realise his/hers/its. that's why i say "experience", don't study, teach, learn. It's no use at all.

Realization comes through experience, not from following a rule in a book

If you learn a rule and your being hasn't experienced the opposite, the middle, and the rule itself, it will always remain knowledge of no importance. Only the experience in all it's facets will give you wisdom.

Wisdom can't be transferred either, only knowledge can.

You are no different from Buddha.

There is no other Dharma.

Simply let your mind be carefree.

You do not need to contemplate

your action and to purify your mind.

Let your mind be boundless

and without any obstruction.

Be free from going and coming.

Whether you walk or stay,

sit or lie down, and whatever

you see or meet,

all are the subtle functions of Buddha.

It is joy without sorrow.

This is called Buddha.

- Fa-yung (593-657)

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Bina, in response to your question, one time while at a temple where my brother -inlawwas a monk, one of the other monks asked me if I loved God.

So, at least this particular monk recocnizes God as a single deity.

As for the original question to this post, doesn't the story of Ramakian answer the question of good and bad spirits in Buddhisim?

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mango head,

are u subtly reminding us that we digressed from the original post??

to the others,

thanx for the extremely interesting posts; a pleasure to read after talking all day to goats --

'zen and the art of goat herding' -- watching a goat chew her cud for two hours and let your mind be aware only of the goat chewing her cud....its very relaxing

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Spirits and Buddhism

According to the life of Buddha before his enlightenment Mara came and asked the the Earth GoddessBuddha what right he had to attain enlightenment in his life and bring people out of their ignorance. The Buddha replied that in his past lives he had accumulated enough merit to attain enlightenment in this life.

The Buddha then changed his attitude from meditation to that of subduing Mara by placing his right hand on his right knee calling the Earth Goddess from the ground who drowned the whole Mara Army by wringing out her hair. The Buddha then continued out his meditation until he arrived Supreme Enlightenment.

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That clarifies it.

Fascinating, the different directions a thread goes, yet the answer has been there for centuries.

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Hi Andy and Stroll & All,

I am the original post on this question and before Andy’s post I did not see how siprits (good or bad) can FIT with Buddha’s teaching…. Lets not get hung up on the male/female or indeed monk part of Andy’s post But on the over view ….. That is… sh1t if I have to explain it YOU have missed the point

However...

Have a Happy

DeDanan

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