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Inner Peace

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  • robmoult
    Hi All, I recently wrote the following and sent it to three Western friends (each about 50 years old) who had not been exposed to Buddhism: ===== Inner peace
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 27, 2011
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      Hi All,

      I recently wrote the following and sent it to three Western friends (each about 50 years old) who had not been exposed to Buddhism:

      =====

      Inner peace does not come from transient things such as wealth or fame. Inner peace comes from a purified mind.

      There are three kinds of mental states:
      1. Mental states that are unwholesome, unbeneficial and unskillful; these kinds of thoughts create bad habits that lead one away from having a purified mind.
      2. Mental states that are wholesome, beneficial and skillful; these kinds of thoughts create good habits that lead one to having a purified mind.
      3. Mental states that are neutral; these kinds of mental states are functional. For example, mental states that are part of the process of seeing or hearing are neutral; it is what the mind does with the sight or sound that leads one closer to or further from a purified mind.

      There are three categories of unwholesome mental states:
      1. Mental states with a root or foundation in greed, attachment, craving and clinging
      2. Mental states with a root or foundation in hatred, aversion, fear and guilt
      3. Mental states with a root or foundation in delusion, ignorance and mental blindness

      The mental states that are wholesome have the opposite roots; roots of generosity, loving-kindness and self-awareness.

      Mental states are constantly changing; they arise naturally triggered by two things:
      1. Whatever the mind is thinking about at that moment (the object of thought)
      2. Habits, tendencies or accumulations that constantly work in the background

      A mind with bad habits naturally inclines toward more mental states that are unwholesome. Similarly, a mind with good habits naturally inclines toward more mental states that are wholesome. In this way, habits are naturally self-perpetuatingÂ… habits constantly reinforce themselves.

      How does one break this natural cycle to nurture more good habits and diminish bad habits? Here are three strategies to train the mind:
      1. Make a conscious effort to be generous. Giving money to charity is easy (but still a good thing to do). Volunteering your time for a worthy cause is more impactful in terms of developing new good habits. Do it on a regular basis for constant reinforcement.
      2. Reserve ten minutes, once a day, to send thoughts of loving-kindness to people you know (start with yourself, move to individuals and then think about groups of people). Doing this regularly, ideally at the same time each day, is the key.
      3. Regularly practice self-awareness or mindfulness. Observe the mind carefully to see how one thought triggers another. If whatever you are thinking about triggers unwholesome mental states, then focus on something neutral such as being mindful of your breathing. Watching how your breath flows in and out gives the mind a new object to think about, thereby stopping the mind from spinning out of control with unwholesome mental states.

      =====

      The reactions of the three people was most interesting. One person said what I had written was very valuable, that they were placing it on their desktop so they could refer to it often. One person said that they were not looking for inner peace but rather how to maximize how they spend their lives. One person said that they strongly disagreed because, "It's as though someone who is looking for inner peace is lacking it due to something that they have done wrong."

      Metta,
      Rob M :-)
    • Nina van Gorkom
      Dear Rob M, great to hear from you. Do you still have a dhamma room where you had Dhamma discussions and where also monks attended? Once you sent a photo and
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 27, 2011
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        Dear Rob M,
        great to hear from you. Do you still have a dhamma room where you had
        Dhamma discussions and where also monks attended? Once you sent a
        photo and it looked very nice.
        Op 27-feb-2011, om 11:41 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:

        > The reactions of the three people was most interesting. One person
        > said what I had written was very valuable, that they were placing
        > it on their desktop so they could refer to it often. One person
        > said that they were not looking for inner peace but rather how to
        > maximize how they spend their lives. One person said that they
        > strongly disagreed because, "It's as though someone who is looking
        > for inner peace is lacking it due to something that they have done
        > wrong."
        --------
        N: So interesting, it shows the different accumulations of different
        people. How varied (vicitta) citta is.
        Nina.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • robmoult
        Hi Nina, Five years ago, each month, my wife would organize a dhamma talk (usually by a visiting monk, sometimes by a lay dhamma speaker) in our house. Fifteen
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 27, 2011
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          Hi Nina,

          Five years ago, each month, my wife would organize a dhamma talk (usually by a visiting monk, sometimes by a lay dhamma speaker) in our house. Fifteen to thirty friends would attend; we provided the meditation cushions so that people could sit comfortably on the floor and people brought snacks for all to share after the dhamma talk was over. We did this for a couple of years... it was wonderful fellowship.

          My travel schedule intensified and I was more frequently unable to make it home for the weekday evening when we held the event. As our sons got older, my wife felt more comfortable leaving them for longer periods and she started going to more retreats.

          We still do this, but now it is two or three times per year rather than according to a fixed monthly schedule.

          Nina, thank you so much for reminding me of those happy get-togethers. When my wife returns from her three-week retreat on Saturday, I will talk to her saying, "Let's organize one of those dhamma talks in our house soon..."

          Metta,
          Rob M :-)

          PS: FYI - this Sunday, I will be handing out 40 copies of your "Abhidhamma in Daily Life" in my Abdhidhamma class. Sabba Danam Dhamma Danam Jinati.

          --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
          >
          > Dear Rob M,
          > great to hear from you. Do you still have a dhamma room where you had
          > Dhamma discussions and where also monks attended? Once you sent a
          > photo and it looked very nice.
          > Op 27-feb-2011, om 11:41 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:
          >
          > > The reactions of the three people was most interesting. One person
          > > said what I had written was very valuable, that they were placing
          > > it on their desktop so they could refer to it often. One person
          > > said that they were not looking for inner peace but rather how to
          > > maximize how they spend their lives. One person said that they
          > > strongly disagreed because, "It's as though someone who is looking
          > > for inner peace is lacking it due to something that they have done
          > > wrong."
          > --------
          > N: So interesting, it shows the different accumulations of different
          > people. How varied (vicitta) citta is.
          > Nina.
          >
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Ken H
          ... Hi Rob M, Ken H here, you might remember me as someone who was always on at you about mere dhammas existing and no self . :-) I think that s what you
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 27, 2011
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            --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "robmoult" <rob.moult@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi All,
            >
            > I recently wrote the following and sent it to three Western friends (each about 50 years old) who had not been exposed to Buddhism:
            >
            >

            Hi Rob M,

            Ken H here, you might remember me as someone who was always on at you about "mere dhammas" existing and "no self". :-)

            I think that's what you left out in the message to your friends.

            Without it, your message sounded like just another religion, or just another self-help course. I don't blame your friends if they politely said "Thanks, but no thanks." :-)

            Please write back to them and explain that the Dhamma is something they have *never* heard before. The Dhamma is about the existence of mere mental and physical phenomena all of which contain a characteristic known as anatta, "no self". Explain how in this way, "Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found."

            They still won't be interested (not many people are) but at least they will have been told. The Dhamma is unique and new - unheard before by men or gods.

            Ken H
          • Nina van Gorkom
            Dear Rob M, ... N: Wonderful you still do this Abh class. I wrote an intro to the Abh which is shorter and I think more simple for beginners. I am still
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 27, 2011
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              Dear Rob M,
              Op 27-feb-2011, om 21:11 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:

              > his Sunday, I will be handing out 40 copies of your "Abhidhamma in
              > Daily Life" in my Abdhidhamma class.
              ------
              N: Wonderful you still do this Abh class. I wrote an intro to the Abh
              which is shorter and I think more simple for beginners. I am still
              checking it through and will send it to you on line. I shall ask pt
              to help me to get the Unicode format.
              Could you perhaps post again the letter you wrote to the friend who
              lost her husband? It is rather long ago and meanwhile, people are
              always dying and there is loss again and again of dear ones. This
              will be good for DSG. Thank you so much,
              Nina.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • robmoult
              Hi Nina and All, I shared a couple of letters that I wrote to my friend s widow and I am not sure which one Phil remembers after four years. Here is the
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 28, 2011
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                Hi Nina and All,

                I shared a couple of letters that I wrote to my friend's widow and I am not sure which one Phil remembers after four years. Here is the exchange that I had with her (please understand that English is not her first language).

                Letter from widow to me:

                =====

                I know you are a Buddhist and you may be able to give me an answer. I've heard from many people that 49 days after someone passed away is very important. Could you please explain it to me why? Do you know what is going to happen after someone passed away? Do you believe in life after life?

                I feel so empty and lost. I have no desire to live long and no reason to get up in the morning. I have lost my Hubby and my best friend at the same time... I feel so devastated. To be honest, I don't know why I have to keep on living. What is the purpose of my life? I wish I don't have to live long. I wish I could go and meet XXX.

                I feel completely lost. I really miss XXX very much. I don't know what I am supposed to do.

                If you don't mind, could you please give me an answer as a Buddhist?

                =====

                My reply to the widow:

                =====

                I am pleased to share some things that I have learned about Buddhism and I hope that this makes you feel better.

                Yes, I do believe in life after life. Every person is born with a unique set of talents, habits, likes and dislikes. I see these as carry-overs from the previous existence. I believe that XXX and you had been very close in one or more previous existences (perhaps even husband and wife) and this is why there was a natural interest or affinity when you first met. It is possible, perhaps likely, that you and XXX will meet in future lives and when this happens, the natural interest or affinity will happen again.

                There are different schools of Buddhism with slightly different beliefs about what happens immediately after death. One school (the one that I belong to), believes that rebirth happens instantly. The Tibetan school (the one headed by the Dali Lama) believes that rebirth happens after seven days. The Chinese school (the one most popular in Hong Kong) believes that rebirth happens after forty-nine days. Hindus believe that rebirth happens after thirteen days.

                Different traditions have various rituals which are performed, but performing rituals without understanding is of limited value. So what can you do now to help XXX? There is a concept in Buddhism called "transferring of merit". It means that when you have done something good, you think to yourself, "May the merit that I have accumulated from this good act be transferred to XXX." The exact words are not important; you can even reflect in Korean if that is comfortable to you - it is the thought that counts. Merit is like love; grows when it is shared.

                One of the main ideas of Buddhism is that everything is impermanent. A flower is beautiful today, but one month from now it will be wilted. Youth is impermanent, health is impermanent, life is impermanent and situations are impermanent. Impermanence is natural; we see it all around us.

                Another of the main ideas of Buddhism is that clinging or craving causes suffering. Your words reflect the suffering in your mind. This suffering is happening because you are attached to a previous time when XXX was beside you when you woke up in the morning.

                It is said that there is nothing more traumatic than the loss of a spouse. The suffering that you are feeling now is natural. The suffering that you are feeling now is not "wrong", but it is unhealthy. If, when suffering happens, you allow yourself to get caught up in it, then the suffering will multiply until it consumes your entire mind. On the other hand, when suffering happens, you can take away its power by reflecting, "Suffering is happening because I am chasing after something that is impossible to catch."

                A woman approached the Buddha saying, "My son has died. I am overcome with grief. Can you help me?" The Buddha told her to go into the city and bring back a mustard seed from any house that had not known death. Every house that she visited turned her away because they had known death. After failing to get the mustard seed from so many houses, the woman realized that it was a natural law that life was impermanent. She returned to the Buddha saying that this realization had helped her see things as they truly are and had taken away her grief.

                You need some time to heal now, but when you are stronger, my advice is that you look for things that you can do to help others and then transfer the merit of any good actions to XXX. You can start small by picking up some litter in the park or sweeping the walk in front of a community centre. You could even volunteer to help feed people at an old-folks home or massage children at a spastic centre. There are many ways that you can help others. If done with a very strong feeling, even a small donation of money is a very meritorious deed.

                There is so much more that I could write, but one does not take the entire bottle of medicine at once. You take medicine at regular intervals in measured doses and you sometimes vary the dosage or the medicine based on how you are feeling. Please consider this email as "your first dose of medicine for your heart". Please tell me which parts of my email make sense to you and which parts of my email do not make sense to you. Let me know what other questions you may have. When I get your feedback, I will send you a "second dose of medicine." Healing will take time.

                =====

                The widow's reply to me:

                =====

                Thank you so much for your kind reply. I am very impressed by your Buddhism. It is good to know that there is life after life.

                If every person is born again after death, are they going to be born again as a human being or animal or nature (like wind or rain)? If this is what is going to happen to everybody, how can I meet XXX again up there someday? It seems to me that it would be almost impossible to see him again unless I die soon.

                "Suffering is happening because I am chasing after something that is impossible to catch." I keep thinking about this sentence. It really makes sense. I am suffering because I keep thinking about XXX and I keep wishing XXX would be here with me. I keep thinking about lots of memory we shared together. I really miss him a lot. I wish I could see him again even if it is just a dream.
                If I can see him and If I can be with him again, I would do anything. I wish I could die soon so I could be with him.

                When XXX was with me, I thought 'This is a wonderful world.' Now it seems like it doesn't mean anything to me. If I could be sick without too much pain, it would be great. I am not afraid of dying any more. I am afraid that I may have to live long until I can see him again. What if he doesn't remember me?

                Memories are all I've got. They are so precious and important to me at the moment. It really hurts me so much. The pain what I am going through is beyond words. I can't even describe it.
                However, memories will never be gone until I die. Memories may bother me for the rest of my life.
                They may give me strength to carry on until my time comes. Maybe that's why I am still alive.
                I can never forget about them. The problem is how long am I going to suffer? I have a certain numbness inside. I don't think my brain functions properly. I have no appetite so I have to force myself to eat. I don't feel like sleeping so I just wait until I can fall asleep.

                There must be a reason I am still here without XXX. Why am I alone here? Have I done something really bad? Is this my punishment?

                =====

                My reply to the widow:

                =====

                I am so glad that you find that Buddhism makes some sense to you. I hope that it can help you cope with the difficult situation that you are facing.

                I sense from your words that losing XXX has left a big, painful hole in you. Reflecting on the truth of the statement, "Suffering is happening because you are chasing after something that is impossible to catch." can help the hole from getting any bigger and that is our first priority. When you are strong enough, helping others will begin to fill in the hole so that you can be whole again.

                What is it that continues from life to life? Obviously, it is not the body. It is the mind with its habits, accumulations and inclinations. Buddhists believe that we can be reborn as animals or humans, but we can also be reborn in a heavenly realm or a hell realm. We cannot be born as nature (wind or rain) because these things do not have a mind. Each of the rebirths are temporary, whatever is born will also die. Buddhists believe that we have experienced countless previous rebirths and we are destined for countless more rebirths. This cycle of rebirths only stops when we become enlightened.

                Dying soon will not allow you to meet XXX any sooner. I believe that you and XXX had been close companions in many previous existences. This is why when conditions supported your meeting in this existence, there was a natural attraction. At some time in the future, I believe that there is a very good chance that you will meet again, though you will have different names at that time. And when you do meet in the future, you will know in your heart that you were destined to be together and support each other again for a time in that existence.

                At the funeral, I briefly mentioned that according to Buddhism, the state of mind at the time of death could have an impact on where the person was reborn. I praised your devotion to XXX, especially in his final months and I told you that XXX had shared with me how happy you had made him. I genuinely believe that your actions helped XXX to a positive rebirth.

                I really want you to have a positive rebirth too. I believe that the best thing that you can do to improve the chances of meeting XXX again is to make yourself whole again so that your next rebirth is positive. Making yourself whole again will take some time.

                The hole inside you seems to be always with you. Be gentle with yourself, be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Loving-kindness, first towards yourself and later towards others, will make the hole shrink and speed your recovery.

                Some days will be better than others. Please relax and please try not to chase after something that is impossible to catch.

                =====

                Metta,
                Rob M :-)

                --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                >
                > Dear Rob M,
                > Op 27-feb-2011, om 21:11 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:
                >
                > > his Sunday, I will be handing out 40 copies of your "Abhidhamma in
                > > Daily Life" in my Abdhidhamma class.
                > ------
                > N: Wonderful you still do this Abh class. I wrote an intro to the Abh
                > which is shorter and I think more simple for beginners. I am still
                > checking it through and will send it to you on line. I shall ask pt
                > to help me to get the Unicode format.
                > Could you perhaps post again the letter you wrote to the friend who
                > lost her husband? It is rather long ago and meanwhile, people are
                > always dying and there is loss again and again of dear ones. This
                > will be good for DSG. Thank you so much,
                > Nina.
                >
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
              • robmoult
                Hi Nina, I would love to see your Intro to Abhidhamma and I would be pleased to help with fonts if I can. Metta, Rob M :-)
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 28, 2011
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                  Hi Nina,

                  I would love to see your "Intro to Abhidhamma" and I would be pleased to help with fonts if I can.

                  Metta,
                  Rob M :-)

                  --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Dear Rob M,
                  > Op 27-feb-2011, om 21:11 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:
                  >
                  > > his Sunday, I will be handing out 40 copies of your "Abhidhamma in
                  > > Daily Life" in my Abdhidhamma class.
                  > ------
                  > N: Wonderful you still do this Abh class. I wrote an intro to the Abh
                  > which is shorter and I think more simple for beginners. I am still
                  > checking it through and will send it to you on line. I shall ask pt
                  > to help me to get the Unicode format.
                  > Could you perhaps post again the letter you wrote to the friend who
                  > lost her husband? It is rather long ago and meanwhile, people are
                  > always dying and there is loss again and again of dear ones. This
                  > will be good for DSG. Thank you so much,
                  > Nina.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >
                • robmoult
                  Hi Ken H, Of course I remember you, with great fondness. You would never hesitate to challenge and that keeps me honest . You are correct that I did not
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 28, 2011
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                    Hi Ken H,

                    Of course I remember you, with great fondness. You would never hesitate to challenge and that "keeps me honest".

                    You are correct that I did not mention anatta in my letter to my friends... in my own defence, there were quite a few suttas where the Buddha did not mention anatta either :-)

                    Allow me to share a bit about the background to help put my message into context. Each of my three friends had shared with me that they were experiencing a stressful period in their lives. Unlike the widow four years ago (see my long post to Nina), they did not approach me asking about Buddhism. In fact, one of them is a staunch Christian and if I had mentioned Buddhism (or even hinted that I was talking about Buddhism), she would have immediately "turned off" to the message.

                    It was an attempt to calm the minds of non-Buddhists using basic principles of Buddhism, but not naming it as such. I also wanted tto make the message practical. It was similar in context to the Kalama Sutta, except that the Buddha's talk touched all of the Kalamas, whereas I had a 33% success rate with my message :-)

                    Metta,
                    Rob M :-)

                    --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "Ken H" <kenhowardau@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, "robmoult" <rob.moult@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hi All,
                    > >
                    > > I recently wrote the following and sent it to three Western friends (each about 50 years old) who had not been exposed to Buddhism:
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    > Hi Rob M,
                    >
                    > Ken H here, you might remember me as someone who was always on at you about "mere dhammas" existing and "no self". :-)
                    >
                    > I think that's what you left out in the message to your friends.
                    >
                    > Without it, your message sounded like just another religion, or just another self-help course. I don't blame your friends if they politely said "Thanks, but no thanks." :-)
                    >
                    > Please write back to them and explain that the Dhamma is something they have *never* heard before. The Dhamma is about the existence of mere mental and physical phenomena all of which contain a characteristic known as anatta, "no self". Explain how in this way, "Mere suffering exists, no sufferer is found."
                    >
                    > They still won't be interested (not many people are) but at least they will have been told. The Dhamma is unique and new - unheard before by men or gods.
                    >
                    > Ken H
                    >
                  • Nina van Gorkom
                    Dear Rob M, ... N: Thank you for sharing these letters. It is good for those who know nothing about Buddhism. And the widow s feelings make me think very much
                    Message 9 of 13 , Mar 1, 2011
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                      Dear Rob M,
                      Op 28-feb-2011, om 12:35 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:

                      > "Suffering is happening because I am chasing after something that
                      > is impossible to catch."
                      ------
                      N: Thank you for sharing these letters. It is good for those who know
                      nothing about Buddhism. And the widow's feelings make me think very
                      much of my sister in law who lost her husband, my brother, a year
                      ago. Just at that time we went to Thailand and I was glad to be
                      reminded by Kh Sujin of the present moment, but this is hard to
                      understand for my sister in law. Also my sister lost her partner a
                      few weeks ago.
                      I asked Lodewijk's advice about sending on your letters to my sister
                      in law, and we do not know when it is the right time. My own sister
                      is most critical about any religion, I think that she would not
                      appreciate it. We shall see. Anyway, thank you very much.
                      As to my intro to the Abh, I have to go over it very slowly first and
                      will send it later on to you.

                      Nina.



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • philip
                      Hi Rob M and Nina Wow, what a wonderful kusala treat to read an Abhidhamma teacher/writer telling another Abhidhamma teacher/writer whose book he is using
                      Message 10 of 13 , Mar 1, 2011
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                        Hi Rob M and Nina

                        Wow, what a wonderful kusala treat to read an Abhidhamma teacher/writer telling another Abhidhamma teacher/writer whose book he is using about his dana of 40 copies. What is the salutation that one is supposed to use in this case? Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu? In any case, great! :)

                        Metta,

                        Phil

                        p.s Rob, sorry I'll be in Thailand when you're in Tokyo, can you leave a nimitta behind once your actual rupa nama formations have fallen away so we can discuss when I get back to Japan? Haha, please let me know next time you're coming.



                        --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Dear Rob M,
                        > Op 27-feb-2011, om 21:11 heeft robmoult het volgende geschreven:
                        >
                        > > his Sunday, I will be handing out 40 copies of your "Abhidhamma in
                        > > Daily Life" in my Abdhidhamma class.
                        > ------
                        > N: Wonderful you still do this Abh class. I wrote an intro to the Abh
                        > which is shorter and I think more simple for beginners.
                      • Ken H
                        Hi Rob M, ... ... KH: Even if anatta is not always expressly mentioned in every sutta, it is central to the meaning of every sutta. As Nyanatiloka
                        Message 11 of 13 , Mar 1, 2011
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                          Hi Rob M,

                          Thanks for your reply. I was going to give you the last word but there was something I just couldn't let you get away with:

                          --------------
                          <. . .>
                          > RM: You are correct that I did not mention anatta in my letter to my friends... in my own defence, there were quite a few suttas where the Buddha did not mention anatta either :-)
                          --------------

                          KH: Even if anatta is not always expressly mentioned in every sutta, it is central to the meaning of every sutta. As Nyanatiloka says, "[Anatta] is the only really specific Buddhist doctrine, with which the entire structure of the Buddhist teaching stands or falls." (Buddhist Dictionary)

                          Therefore, if you are reading a sutta in a way that does not depend entirely on right understanding of anatta then you are seriously misreading it.

                          Nyanatiloka goes on to say, "All the remaining Buddhist doctrines may, more or less, be found in other philosophic systems and religions. . ." (end quote) I agree with that, but not in a way that would admit to any similarity between the Dhamma and other teachings. Those "remaining Buddhist doctrines" that Nyanatiloka refers to would be similar to other teachings *if* they were studied in isolation. However, when they are studied in conjunction with anatta they, too, become uniquely Buddhist.

                          So, please, let's not hear any more talk of suttas in which the Buddha supposedly did not mention anatta! :-)

                          Ken H
                        • sarah abbott
                          Dear Nina & Rob M, ... nothing about Buddhism. .... S: Yes, I appreciate them too - especially Rob s kindness. Of course, we could quibble about some parts,
                          Message 12 of 13 , Mar 1, 2011
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                            Dear Nina & Rob M,

                            --- On Tue, 1/3/11, Nina van Gorkom <vangorko@...> wrote:
                            >N: Thank you for sharing these letters. It is good for those who know
                            nothing about Buddhism.
                            ....
                            S: Yes, I appreciate them too - especially Rob's kindness. Of course, we could quibble about some parts, such as the 'metta to oneself', but I appreciate the gist.
                            ...
                            >N:And the widow's feelings make me think very
                            much of my sister in law who lost her husband, my brother, a year
                            ago. Just at that time we went to Thailand and I was glad to be
                            reminded by Kh Sujin of the present moment, but this is hard to
                            understand for my sister in law. Also my sister lost her partner a
                            few weeks ago.
                            I asked Lodewijk's advice about sending on your letters to my sister
                            in law, and we do not know when it is the right time. My own sister
                            is most critical about any religion, I think that she would not
                            appreciate it. We shall see. Anyway, thank you very much.
                            ....
                            S: I just gave the letters to my mother to read and also your note here, wondering whether they'd be appropriate for your sister and sister-in-law.

                            I asked my mother her opinion on this. She thought "better not" - she thinks we all think too deeply instead of just accepting the natural way of things. I think her point was that people without an interest in the Dhamma prefer to grieve in their own way and will ask (like the widow who asked Rob M) if they wish to hear our comments or read our writings. She thought it might cause extra confusion and agitation for them, especially when they don't understand the content. I personally think we sense if people would like to hear us speak/write a little and you know your sister and sister in law best.

                            Rob E could show the letters to his father and ask him his opinion on this too.

                            Metta

                            Sarah
                            =======
                          • robmoult
                            Hi Sarah and All, ... Your mother is wise. I wrote Inner Peace and offered it unsolicited to my three friends as I hoped that it would help them. Two of the
                            Message 13 of 13 , Mar 2, 2011
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                              Hi Sarah and All,

                              --- In dhammastudygroup@yahoogroups.com, sarah abbott <sarahprocterabbott@...> wrote:
                              > I asked my mother her opinion on this. She thought "better not" - she thinks we all think too deeply instead of just accepting the natural way of things. I think her point was that people without an interest in the Dhamma prefer to grieve in their own way and will ask (like the widow who asked Rob M) if they wish to hear our comments or read our writings. She thought it might cause extra confusion and agitation for them, especially when they don't understand the content. I personally think we sense if people would like to hear us speak/write a little and you know your sister and sister in law best.
                              >
                              Your mother is wise. I wrote "Inner Peace" and offered it unsolicited to my three friends as I hoped that it would help them. Two of the three people rejected it saying, "not interested".

                              Metta,
                              Rob M :-)
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