Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 03:14 pm
In Buddhism, the dharmachakra emblem of Hindu origin resembles a wagon wheel with eight spokes, each representing one of the eight principles of Buddhist belief.

This wheel represents the completeness of the Dharma, while the spokes represent the eightfold path leading to enlightenment, which are Right faith, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, and right meditation.

Wikipedia brief introduction on Dharma:
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Didymos Thomas
 
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Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 03:38 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dharma can have a variety of meanings when used in context. If we are coming from a Buddhist perspective, in addiction to what is described above, the we could mean the teachings of Buddha, or the teachings of Buddha and a great deal of additional scripture valued by Buddhists.

One thing to remember is that the Buddha can refer to more than the historical Buddha of our time, Shakyamuni Buddha; Buddha can refer to any Buddha, past or future. Their teachings, of course, are also dharma.

Here is a passage from the Diamond Sutra (The Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra):

Quote:
NOTHING ATTAINED, NOTHING SPOKEN, SEVEN
" Subhuti, what do you think, did the Thus Come One attain Anuttarasamyaksambodhi? Did the Thus Come One speak any Dharma?"

Subhuti answered, "As I understand what the Buddha has said, there is no predetermined Dharma called Anuttarasamyaksambodhi (*), and there are not any predetermined Dharmas which the Thus Come One could speak. Why? All the Dharma which the Thus Come One has spoken can neither be clung to nor spoken of. It is neither Dharma nor non-dharma. Why is that so? All Worthy Ones and Sages are different because of Unconditioned Dharmas."
* This was my own insert. Anuttarasamyaksambodhi refers to the perfect and universal enlightenment of a Buddha, and includes the levels of enlightenment of a Bodhisattva (one who can enlighten sentient beings) and of an Arhat (one who is enlightened).

So I think, when we speak of dharma in the most general sense, the dharma is a tool for the purpose of enlightenment. Absolutes and always applicable answers are not the functions of a dharma, cultivating the Eight Fold Path and enlightenment are the purposes of any dharma.

More conservative explanations may disagree with me here, but I would call the teachings of Jesus a dharma. A good one, at that.

If you have any questions about the Eightfold Path, I'll do the best I can with them.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 04:47 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
While I do realize much of this is available to learn about online, it is helpful when someone can put it together-one who has studied the information.

Right understanding, which is said to be the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths-the understanding of oneself as one really is (a brief explanation I found on the internet), does seem to make sense and I think I'm getting the idea of that. It seems that it's an understanding of what we are and how we work-the Law of our being-how to become perfected while trying to avoid any obstacles of suffering as much as possible.

It's said that most all suffering comes from wrong thinking (at least from what I'm understanding); I've even heard James Allen, someone who has studied Buddhism, say:[INDENT] It is pleasing to human vanity to believe that one suffers because of one's virtue; but not until a man has extirpated every sickly, bitter, and impure thought from his mind, and washed every sinful stain from his soul, can he be in a position to know and declare that his sufferings are the result of his good, and not of his bad qualities; and on the way to that supreme perfection, he will have found working in his mind and life, the Great Law which is absolutely just, and which cannot give good for evil, evil for good. Possessed of such knowledge, he will then know, looking back upon his past ignorance and blindness, that his life is, and always was, justly ordered, and that all his past experiences, good and bad, were the equitable outworking of his evolving, yet unevolved self.

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results; bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it; but few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.

Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be not object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer.

[/INDENT]Also, I've read that Buddhism is based on knowledge and not unreasonable belief; it probably wouldn't be too hard to come up with some examples of those.

Perhaps you could comment on what I've written. Hope it's not too far off. Smile
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Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 05:09 pm
@Dustin phil,
Quote:
While I do realize much of this is available to learn about online, it is helpful when someone can put it together-one who has studied the information.


Then I should have spent more time studying!

There is a treasure trove of information online, but you are right, having someone address particular curiosities is most helpful. Even better to have a teacher.

As long as everyone remembers I am not authoritative, and that I am prone to mistakes, and simple ignorance, I have no problem answering what I can, as best as I can. But I do suggest also spending time with source materials on your own. Buddhism is deep and significant. Best to learn for yourself when you can - which is right now.

But enough of that - I do not even take my own advice.

Quote:
Right understanding, which is said to be the knowledge of the Four Noble Truths-the understanding of oneself as one really is (a brief explanation I found on the internet), does seem to make sense and I think I'm getting the idea of that. It seems that it's an understanding of what we are and how we work-the Law of our being-how to become perfected while trying to avoid all suffering as much as possible.


This is also called Right View. This is the cognitive aspect of wisdom - perceiving and understanding things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truths.

Right View is more than an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is more than being intelligent. Right view is cultivated through the mind - it begins with the understanding that all sentient beings suffer, and ends with complete understanding of the nauture and source of that suffering, and of all things.

Most basically, we could call Right View the world view that informs the Buddhist practitioner. Our worldview influences everything we do - if I have the world view that all men are by nature necessarily selfish, this will have an enourmous (negative) impact on my life and actions, an enourmous impact on the way I interact with others.

By cultivating Right View, we can see into the heart of issues. We see that compassion for those who hate us is truly the best medicine.

Quote:
Also, I've read that Buddhism is based on knowledge and not unreasonable belief; it probably wouldn't be too hard to come up with some examples of those.


Yes, you might say that. I just want to be careful about language - it is easy to get caught up in language and thereby miss the whole point, especially in Eastern thought and Buddhism (though, Buddhism isn't as tricky in this respect as Taoism, I do not think).

The Eightfold Path, and any other bit of dharma, should not be taken blindly. If the dharma, any dharma, does not make sense to you, do not embrace it. Investigate it. In this way, Buddhism, the personal practice, is based on your knowledge, your experience.

For example, if you do not see how all sentient beings suffer, you do not have a firm grasp of Right Understanding. You might understand it intellectually. When you see how all sentient beings suffer, you now have that understanding, and now you have that aspect of Right Understanding - even if you do not understand all of the intellectual arguments.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 07:31 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
Then I should have spent more time studying!

There is a treasure trove of information online, but you are right, having someone address particular curiosities is most helpful. Even better to have a teacher.

As long as everyone remembers I am not authoritative, and that I am prone to mistakes, and simple ignorance, I have no problem answering what I can, as best as I can. But I do suggest also spending time with source materials on your own. Buddhism is deep and significant. Best to learn for yourself when you can - which is right now.

But enough of that - I do not even take my own advice.


That's very honest of you, and I think it's a problem we all tend to have. Would you recommend any material in particular? I'm starting to understand of the many different forms of dharma. You'd think once we'd learned the basics, we would have sort of our own of twist of dharma.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
This is also called Right View. This is the cognitive aspect of wisdom - perceiving and understanding things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truths.


Ah yes, you're right. And to keep things simple, I should have probably realized what I first wrote about its other name, faith.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Right View is more than an intellectual capacity, just as wisdom is more than being intelligent. Right view is cultivated through the mind - it begins with the understanding that all sentient beings suffer, and ends with complete understanding of the nature and source of that suffering, and of all things.


I would have to agree that it is more than an intellectual understanding. When you mention how it begins with an understanding that all sentient beings suffer, and of the nature-I assume your talking about the Law, correct?

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Most basically, we could call Right View the world view that informs the Buddhist practitioner. Our worldview influences everything we do - if I have the world view that all men are by nature necessarily selfish, this will have an enormous (negative) impact on my life and actions, an enormous impact on the way I interact with others.


While I haven't read much about Buddhism, it does seem relative to what I've read in other material. I tend to believe this as well: that if we only see negative, it plays a major role in our everyday lives. I have heard the expression like attracts like and so forth.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
By cultivating Right View, we can see into the heart of issues. We see that compassion for those who hate us is truly the best medicine.


Very good! It does seem the best medicine, as you say; and our eyes more opened to what's really going on when we take the Right View. This is good.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
Yes, you might say that. I just want to be careful about language - it is easy to get caught up in language and thereby miss the whole point, especially in Eastern thought and Buddhism (though, Buddhism isn't as tricky in this respect as Taoism, I do not think).


Yes, I'm starting to realize that. I actually have the Tao Te Ching in audio format and found it very enjoyable. I'll have to refresh on that a bit.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
The Eightfold Path, and any other bit of dharma, should not be taken blindly. If the dharma, any dharma, does not make sense to you, do not embrace it. Investigate it. In this way, Buddhism, the personal practice, is based on your knowledge, your experience.


I totally agree, and I think that's what you were trying to establish in other threads when you mentioned how particular faiths can be arbitrary. Yes, experience is the key-totally agree! If we didn't look into to things, experience it, live it, understand it, that wouldn't really seem like the thing to do. Conformity to others' beliefs without understanding isn't the correct approach, nor is it logical.

Didymos Thomas wrote:
For example, if you do not see how all sentient beings suffer, you do not have a firm grasp of Right Understanding. You might understand it intellectually. When you see how all sentient beings suffer, you now have that understanding, and now you have that aspect of Right Understanding - even if you do not understand all of the intellectual arguments.


I think I'm beginning to understand what you're saying. It's sort of like eyes of another angle so to speak.

OK.

2. Right Thoughts / Intention are threefold:
  • Thoughts of renunciation, which are opposed to sense-pleasures.
  • Kind thoughts, which are opposed to ill-will
  • Thoughts of harmlessness, which are opposed to cruelty
I realize there are probably many different forms of dharma, and perhaps, as you mentioned, the need of experiencing / living the practices to see if they work for the individual, are completely necessary.

Now by thoughts of renunciation, I assume that would mean not wanting / desiring earthly things, because we obviously cannot abstain from these things completely-at least most of us anyway. So, I'm thinking it's rather the strong, possibly vain desire that is wrong. The other two: Kind Thoughts and Thoughts of Harmlessness seem pretty self explanatory.
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Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 08:14 pm
@Dustin phil,
Quote:
That's very honest of you, and I think it's a problem we all tend to have. Would you recommend any material in particular? I'm starting to understand of the many different forms of dharma. You'd think once we'd learned the basics, we would have sort of our own of twist of dharma.


We're discussing dharma here, not some silly bullshit philosophical topic. I'll play around with other issues, but not this one. That we are lucky enough to live in an age where the dharma is taught is a blessing - that we live in an age where this scripture is available to millions of people in an instant is nothing short of a miracle. I cannot stress enough how lucky we are to be able to hear the dharma.

Yes, I do have some recomendations. The first is a book, "Inner Revolution" by Robert Thurman. This is the best introduction to Buddhism I know of, and I recomend it to everyone. The book is a must read.

Karen Armstrong's biography of Shakyamuni Buddha was a good read, simply titled "Buddha". But, if you're going to buy just one book, get the Thurman.

Here you will find a number of great resources:
Ron Epstein's Online Educational Resources

The more you learn about Buddhadharma, the less you will wonder about having your own twist of dharma. Not that you will, not that you wont, but you wont wonder.

You can also find some wonderful videos on youtube and that sort of thing. Can't really go wrong listening to HH the Dalai Lama speak. His lectures are a good place to start. There is a nice series that youtube has available - Thurman does the introductions. You'll know it when you find it.

Quote:
I would have to agree that it is more than an intellectual understanding. When you mention how it begins with an understanding that all sentient beings suffer, and of the nature-I assume your talking about the Law, correct?


Yes, it is more than intellectualizing. I really don't address Buddhist principles as Laws or anything like that. Maybe we could, but "Law" doesn't seem to capture the meaning. Law is some mandate - these are not mandates, but self evident truths which you can/will discover on your own if you look deeply.

In this particular instance, understanding that all sentient beings suffer, this is something that you experience. I'm no monk, so dont take me too seriously, but in my own life, it's watching people gleefully shopping at the mall for things they do not need, and knowing that they are perpetuating their suffering. And it's seeing deeply into the nature of your own suffering - realizing that your desires, even when fulfilled, only perpetuate your own suffering.

Quote:
While I haven't read much about Buddhism, it does seem relative to what I've read in other material. I tend to believe this as well: that if we only see negative, it plays a major role in our everyday lives. I have heard the expression like attracts like and so forth.


Going back to the example about believing that all men are inherently selfish, period.
That sort of world view cultivates strife between people. If we instead believe that all men suffer, and that we should respond to that suffering with compassion, we have a worldview that cultivates love.

Make any sense?

Quote:
Yes, I'm starting to realize that. I actually have the Tao Te Ching in audio format and found it very enjoyable. I'll have to refresh on that a bit.


The problem with Taoism is that the Chinese language, much less the ancient dialects, are not rooted in the Indo-European tradition - sanskrit and English are derived from the old Indo-European languages.

Quote:
I think I'm beginning to understand what you're saying. It's sort of like eyes of another angle so to speak.


You have heard all of these things before - and last you heard them, your instructor was probably more qualified than I am.

Quote:
Now by thoughts of renunciation, I assume that would mean not wanting / desiring earthly things, because we obviously cannot abstain from these things completely-at least most of us anyway.


Yes: The middle way.

Right View is the cognitive aspect of wisdom, Right Intention is the volitional aspect. Renunciation is not total abstinence from the physical world, nor even some wild asceticism. Renunciation is resistance to the pull of desires. It's nonattachment to sense pleasures. Sure, you need to eat, but you do not need to eat a whole gallon of ice cream.

Right View should provide the perspective we need to properly cultivate Right Intention. RV helps us investigate our desires, find their root, and learn the way the influence us and others. RI is the commitment to practice RV in the real world.

Does that help some?

Now, Dustin, you come from the Christian tradition, so belief is probably not something you cringe to think of. However, there is a book called "Buddhism Without Beliefs". I cant recall the author, and I've not read the book. However, I have it on good authority that the text is wonderful. The title is self-explanatory.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 08:40 pm
@Dustin phil,
A great way to learn about Buddhism is to get the audio course from the Teaching Company. It's 24 half-hour long lectures which you can download and listen to on your iPod. Its price varies depending on whether there is a sale. I've listened to the whole course several times.

Another excellent book is called "Visions of the Buddha", which in addition to good text has amazing pictures of the different Buddhist traditions.
0 Replies
 
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 08:55 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas wrote:
You have heard all of these things before - and last you heard them, your instructor was probably more qualified than I am.


It's funny you said that, because I have only one teacher!

Thanks for the help.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 23 Mar, 2008 08:56 pm
@Dustin phil,
Aedes wrote:
A great way to learn about Buddhism is to get the audio course from the Teaching Company. It's 24 half-hour long lectures which you can download and listen to on your iPod. Its price varies depending on whether there is a sale. I've listened to the whole course several times.

Another excellent book is called "Visions of the Buddha", which in addition to good text has amazing pictures of the different Buddhist traditions.


I just love audio! Thanks for all of the suggestions and I appreciate the help.
0 Replies
 
vajrasattva
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Apr, 2008 06:53 pm
@Dustin phil,
Right faith, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right endeavor, right mindfulness, and right meditation.

All these together entail enlightenment for the being who practices them. I find it interesting that the Buddha used the word right as opposed to perfect. The use of the word right makes enlightenment possible for others, a view not commonly held by the common Mahayana Buddhist.

The essence of true Buddhist dhamma is emptiness, so it could be said that all and nothing is true dhamma because emptiness is the essence of everything and nothing
The true Buddhist dhamma is all embracing and is accessible to the nihilists and the eteranalist the wrathful and the peaceful and shouts love compassion and wisdom to all beings.

"unarising and unceasing
neither defiled nor pure

the heart sutra

so true dhamma is accepted by every being and the essence of enlightenment is realizing the true self of non self in all aspects of life. When this is done the all is embraced with love wisdom and compassion in everything only then is one truely enlightened.

Enlightenment is a simple thing however it is not easy to attain and once it is attained it one realizes that one has always had enlightenment the were just not enlightened.

Enlightenment is true being, pure consciousness and unhindered awareness in a mind compelled by love compassion and wisdom that embraces the true and perfect dhamma of nonduality. when this is done then all is, and all is not, all is perfect and is the path of nirvana and is placed in the depths of samsara hence the saying

Patience is the highest pennance
long suffering the highest nirvana

Sidhartha Gotama
the dhammapada

Paitence due to ones excitement for the liberation of beings by their own conscuousness
long suffering because nirvana and samsara are one and the same






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