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134399Re: [dsg] Q. Jataka commentaries? Part 4

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  • jonoabb
    Dec 19, 2013

      Hi Nina (and Sarah)

      ---In dhammastudygroup@{{emailDomain}}, <vangorko@...> wrote:

      Dear Sarah,

      When people read these discussions I think that misunderstandings may arise. 

      Op 19 dec 2013, om 06:48 heeft sarah abbott het volgende geschreven:

      R: No need for the books so much, it's more the daily life then. Is that right?

      A Sujin: It doesn't matter at all as long as they are all realities which are conditioned. So just understand whatever appears. It's time to see, it sees, it's conditioned to see right now. It's time to think, it thinks. It's time to be angry, it's anger, not self who is angry.
      N: Of course it is very good to stress the present moment that arises because of conditions:  <It's time to see, it sees, it's conditioned to see right now. It's time to think, it thinks. It's time to be angry, it's anger, not self who is angry.>

      The Buddha taught for fortyfive years, and listening is emphasized very much in the teachings. Listening to what? To the Buddha's words. It depends on a person's accumulations whether or not he listens to the teachings, or what part of the teachings he prefers. If there were no listening or association with the good friend in Dhamma we would be lost. We need also the good friend in Dhamma, because if we just read by ourselves we may read with wrong understanding. Not knowing that the whole of the Buddha's teachings are aimed to have more understanding of whatever reality appears. They may separate the teachings and daily life.  

      J: Yes, without constant reminders there is for all of us the tendency to separate the teachings and daily life.

      As you say, people reading that exchange may misunderstand. For example, Phil reads AS as saying that "understanding can be conditioned just as well by reading the Bible or fashion magazines", whereas I don’t find that being said (or implied) at all.

      And as we know, the teachings themselves can be misunderstood. For example, one often comes across the idea -- whether expressed in so many words or implied in a question or comment -- that reading the texts is better than reading a fashion magazine, or that the more reading of texts or listening to talks the better. Often this is explained on the basis that there must be the hearing of the Dhamma in order for understanding to develop (which of course is correct).

      To my understanding, however, the Buddha no more told his lay followers to spend more time going to the temple on full moon days and listening to talks than he told his monks to spend more time in the forest or sitting with legs crossed and erect spine. He praised the doing of these things when done with kusala citta, by accumulations, but not otherwise.

      Of course, hearing the dhamma, and hearing it repeatedly, is essential for the development of understanding. But hearing the true dhamma is heavily dependent on association with the 'good friend', because it must be dhamma that is explained in a way that is meaningful for us at that time. Otherwise it does not condition the arising of understanding or calm.

      N:  As to the Jaatakas, I find the way A. Sujin quoted them in her Perfections very helpful. Valuable reminders for daily life.
      J: Yes, agreed. But then having the Jatakas explained in that context is a lot different to reading them on one's own without having had them explained.  

      And even so, there will be those who read the Perfections and misunderstand :-))


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