Author Topic: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.  (Read 5756 times)

ommanipadmehum

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Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« on: February 04, 2014, 04:17:29 AM »
A beginner has many questions... 

How many enlightened people do you know?  Even advanced meditators sometimes realize they have been practicing only samadhi for decades and neglected insight...
"A little bit of insight brings a little bit of calm, and a little bit of calm brings a little bit of insight."
 --Ayya Khema

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 05:48:35 PM »
I don't know any enlightened people. In fact I've never heard or read of anyone currently alive who has claimed to be enlightened.

A beginner has many questions for this is what an untrained mind is want to do, trivialize, investigate, measure etc. The questions are many but the answers are few. Relax, practice, take your time and let go are the answers for most of them, albeit with some fleshing out.

Matthew

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2014, 06:32:41 PM »
....
How many enlightened people do you know?

Not met one as far as I know. Not heard of one either. As I've said many times before I suspect this is due to the path being lost and needing to be found again. After all in the Buddha's Sangha by the time of his death Arahants numbered in their thousands ... so it can't be as hard a path to tread as we are lead to believe, given the right instruction. Probably the fault lines started appearing soon after the death of Shakyamuni and within a few generations the last of the true Dhamma was totally polluted. The Buddha taught this would happen ... and with so many hundreds of thousands of people trying to meditate and follow the various colours and flavours of the path today, well you'd expect quite a few enlightened people to be around but I don't see the signs of them  :-\

Even advanced meditators sometimes realize they have been practicing only samadhi for decades and neglected insight...

This is very true. A common mistake due to the pollution of the teachings and the failure of people to understand what ego means. Instead of letting the ego de construct through the glare of insight the ego incorporates "being a meditator" or "being Buddhist" into itself. Some of these 30, 40 year practitioners are completely deluded a-holes with a high almighty sense of their own self-worth - after all they've been practicing for years they must be "advanced practitioners", eh?

Then again the same can be true of people who think they are practicing something called "insight meditation" or "Vipassana" but without a firm grounding in Shamatha. The Buddha rarely mentions the word Vipassana in the Suttas, whereas he tells Bikhus to "go do Jhanna" when referring to meditation.
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redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 11:58:19 PM »

Not met one as far as I know. Not heard of one either. As I've said many times before I suspect this is due to the path being lost and needing to be found again.
I've met lots of highly evolved saintly people, and disagree that the path is lost. I'm sorry you feel this way about your practice.

 
so it can't be as hard a path to tread as we are lead to believe, given the right instruction.
You can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink. Some have not suffered enough.

 

Mpgkona

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 04:03:24 AM »
As an evidence based sort of person I'm not so sure if anyone has ever been enlightened (in terms of its definition in the suttas). I think walking the path is simply a means to a more content life, with the least amount of suffering possible. Maybe enlightment is a promise added into the suttas at later times. I rarely contemplate enlightment, which is probably due to the fact that it is incomprehensible. I meditate and tread the path because I see and feel the small fruits it offers. Maybe enlightment is an empty promise. I'm not trying to be a downer. Just throwing my two cents in.
When you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 05:33:09 AM »
Im on the fence. It seems like enlightenment has been elevated to a metaphysical myth rather than what seems more likely; open mindedness, destruction of ego and separation of emotion from thought. That said my practice seems to keep going to previously unenvisagable places so who knows. Best not to put too much stock in it.

Viktor

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 12:29:09 PM »
I don't know any enlightened people. In fact I've never heard or read of anyone currently alive who has claimed to be enlightened.

I believe David Hawkins claims to be enlightened, but as soon a person claims to be so it raises doubt and wariness in myself. (I must add that I enjoyed his books nonetheless)



Concerning the stories of the thousands of arahants at Buddhas time, these stories always seemed more inspirational than anything else. Goenka talks of the story of the murderer of 999 people who came in contact with the dhamma shortly before he killed his 1000th victim. As the story goes, he reached liberation within, I don't know, some time, before his death in any case. I simply cannot believe something like that. But yes, maybe I am merely taking this too literally, and the stories are meant to instill a conviction that nobody is truly lost.



At home I have this on my wall, half seriously, half in jest; it is from a book by Rob Brezsny


Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2014, 03:17:14 PM »
Goenka talks of the story of the murderer of 999 people who came in contact with the dhamma shortly before he killed his 1000th victim. As the story goes, he reached liberation within, I don't know, some time, before his death in any case. I simply cannot believe something like that. But yes, maybe I am merely taking this too literally, and the stories are meant to instill a conviction that nobody is truly lost.


The story of angulimal is where he is one of the most virtuous kid, turns to a murderer because of circumstances and again back to being virtuous. Its best understood when one reads his whole story. He didnt really want to kill them but was pushed into the situation because of his virtuous character.

Matthew

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2014, 05:16:18 PM »

Not met one as far as I know. Not heard of one either. As I've said many times before I suspect this is due to the path being lost and needing to be found again.
I've met lots of highly evolved saintly people, and disagree that the path is lost. 

.....

I doubt any of them had "reached the goal, done what had to be done" - however "highly evolved" or "saintly" they were - i.e. My suspicion would be that they had not entirely destroyed the fetters: people who have leave huge marks on the history books. I met Mother Theresa, often thought of as highly saintly, to me she seemed rather scared of being in her skin ... and if you familiarise yourself with her more deeply with her history, she was a bit of a brute by many accounts and an apologist for the sins of the Catholic Church.

I'm sorry you feel this way about your practice.

It's not about my practice, it's about reality. Don't turn my words into an ad-hominem attack Red.
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redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2014, 10:20:24 PM »
It's not about my practice, it's about reality.
Well your statement does not speak of my practice or experience, so if the shoe fits.
Don't turn my words into an ad-hominem attack Red.
What is an ad-hominem attack???

redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 12:59:02 AM »
and the stories are meant to instill a conviction that nobody is truly lost.

I believe the Buddha's teachings are meant to be as inclusive as possible, so a person who has committed ANY regrettable action can still freely follow the path to liberation.


Dharmic Tui

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2014, 07:24:19 AM »
Well your statement does not speak of my practice or experience, so if the shoe fits.
Experience and one's analysis can be subjective. Case in point, Matthew claims not to have come across anyone genuinely "enlightened", and you rebut that by mentioning meeting "highly evolved saintly people". Are highly evolved saintly people enlightened?
What is an ad-hominem attack???
Playing the man and not the ball.

redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2014, 11:44:14 AM »
Experience and one's analysis can be subjective. Case in point, Matthew claims not to have come across anyone genuinely "enlightened", and you rebut that by mentioning meeting "highly evolved saintly people". Are highly evolved saintly people enlightened?

Matthew claimed the teachings of the Buddha are dead, I simply do not share this opinion. I see the path everywhere in many different traditions.
And I have come across many individuals of varying degrees of awakening. Some monks and some laypeople.
What is an ad-hominem attack???
Playing the man and not the ball.
[/quote]
I would prefer to hear Matthews answer to this as he seems to not understand its meaning. I would feel this similar to calling someone a scrabble player instead of directly discussing the points made. I simply redirected his faulty statement back at his own Dhamma and do not wish to be associated with this opinion as I do not share it in the least! :)

Hockey defensemen, play the man not the puck.  :)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 12:28:10 PM by redalert »

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2014, 06:58:54 PM »

Matthew claimed the teachings of the Buddha are dead, I simply do not share this opinion.
Not to speak too much for someone else, but he claimed it was lost, which is rather different from dead. I took that to imply it's still there, it's just obscured by ceremony, ego, tradition, and other such hindrances. For the most part it appears humans have added so much unnecessary meaning to Buddhism and the path that it is quite overgrown.
I would prefer to hear Matthews answer to this as he seems to not understand its meaning. I would feel this similar to calling someone a scrabble player instead of directly discussing the points made.
It's similar, but in one instance a comment is being made on someone's actions, in the other is directed at the person themselves.

"Could you please refrain from engaging in wordplay" would be different to "I take pity on you for your need to engage in wordplay".

redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2014, 09:52:48 PM »
Not to speak too much for someone else, but he claimed it was lost, which is rather different from dead.
Fair enough I still do not share this view point, their are many practices that will lead one to the path.

I still don't see how my comment to Matthew was an attack, but I do see the scrabble comment as disrespectful. Matthew has made plenty of comments towards me that I have found disrespectful, I'm not going to put up with his lack of respect for another moment.

He is a grown man and does not need you answering for him.


redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2014, 11:49:45 PM »
  Matthew claims not to have come across anyone genuinely "enlightened", and you rebut that by mentioning meeting "highly evolved saintly people". Are highly evolved saintly people enlightened?

Having tasted Nibbanic peace, Yes I would say they are awakened to some extent. Stream enterer, once returner, etc... these are just labels mind you, but I have met many individuals who I believe have tasted the ultimate truth. I have met some seriously dedicated renunciates whom I have the pleasure of calling my friends. I do not feel the goal is out of reach, quite the contrary. The final goal is available to anyone who practices continuously.

This is why I suggested that Matthew was mistaken when saying the teachings were lost, they are very much alive within the Goenka tradition. People are awakening and receiving benefit and this tradition is growing at an incredible rate. I also hear of people speaking very highly and having much success within the Mahasi tradition. I see the path within many traditions. The Buddha's teachings are not lost, they are alive and well, but they are not to dabble in. You need to practice continuously it takes a great deal of dedication.

Matthew

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2014, 01:29:58 AM »
OK Red, I've not reacted to your posts, choosing to respond as the wiser option. Before you introduce any more negativity I choose to take my time to respond. To do this you win a 48 hr ban from posting - which will be lifted once I have responded.

Kindly,

Matthew
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Dharmic Tui

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2014, 01:33:04 AM »
Fair enough I still do not share this view point, their are many practices that will lead one to the path.
I felt that was his point, that there is only one path and it is relatively bare, and we have many convoluted or bastardized practices that refer to themselves as the path which aren't.
He is a grown man and does not need you answering for him.
I think I'm entitled to post on this forum, and the gist of what he was saying seemed pretty obvious to me, but apparently not for you. I'm sure if I'm way off base he will no doubt speak up.

EDIT: Whoops, looks like he has responded while I was composing this. I will leave you guys to sort this out.

DarkNightOfNoSoul

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2014, 06:06:18 AM »
I don't know any enlightened people. In fact I've never heard or read of anyone currently alive who has claimed to be enlightened.
How about "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" by "The Arahant, Daniel M. Ingram"?

http://www.amazon.com/Mastering-Core-Teachings-Buddha-Unusually/dp/1904658407

Although I've found this quite a helpful book, I'm nevertheless suspicious of anyone who claims to be enlightened. And I've gathered it seems to be a bit of a faux pas (at least in the Theravada tradition) to go around speculating about who is enlightened and who isn't.

Just as an aside, having been away from this forum for a bit, I've noticed that many of the discussions these days seem to inevitably turn into several rounds of Redalert versus Matthew and Dharmic Tui!  :)

Dharmic Tui

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2014, 09:12:22 AM »
Ah yes, I'd forgotten about Daniel and his claims. I found his work interesting and I tended to ignore his self promotion :)

Re: your other comment, it certainly would appear that way. Im not sure if there is much benefit from such discourse, hopefully a middle way can be found.

Matthew

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2014, 05:16:09 PM »
Red,

There are a number of issues I feel need looking at raised in the above posts. Please accept my apology for the temporary ban. I had a busy day today and there was already much demand from you that I engage with your posts. To stop this reply from being any longer I chose to stop you from posting more before I could reply to that you had already posted.


Language

Not met one as far as I know. Not heard of one either. As I've said many times before I suspect this is due to the path being lost and needing to be found again.

I doubt any of them had "reached the goal, done what had to be done" ... i.e. My suspicion would be that they had not entirely destroyed the fetters...

The highlighted sections make it clear when I am expressing an opinion - but not claiming to "know" the truth. I am careful with my words, I know what I know and I know what I do not know. When expressing an opinion based on some evidence but not enough evidence that I am sure you will find I qualify my statements with "I believe", "I suspect", "I doubt" or some other form of words to avoid confusion. You don't seem to notice this:

I ... disagree that the path is lost. 

Matthew claimed the teachings of the Buddha are dead ...

Not to speak too much for someone else, but he claimed it was lost, which is rather different from dead.

I did not say that the path is lost or that the path is dead. What I said is that "I suspect this is due to the path being lost ...". In any case the path can not "die", the teachings of the Buddha can not be "dead" - the path is always there, it is not dependent on conditions. However, that does not exclude the very real possibility that right now nobody understands and/or has fully walked the path and that the Buddha-Dhamma is lost.

After all the Buddha taught the understanding of his Dhamma would be lost. You seem to wish to ignore this teaching whilst clinging dogmatically to the Dhamma as you understand it/have been taught, based on a claim of direct lineage back to the Buddha - which if it had any integrity would surely recognise this teaching and that it invalidates any such claims, would it not?


Ad-hominem attack

I'm sorry you feel this way about your practice.


It's not about my practice, it's about reality. Don't turn my words into an ad-hominem attack Red.

What is an ad-hominem attack???

I would prefer to hear Matthews answer to this as he seems to not understand its meaning.


From the above it seems you are saying that you know what an ad-hominem attack is and I do not. So your question to me "What is an ad-hominem attack???" was not asked for clarification but to try and play games. Is this understanding incorrect? Do you consider this right speech?

This does not make me inclined to answer the question, yet I will, again for the sake of clarity. An ad-hominem attack is a fallacious attack on the person to discredit their argument - rather than engaging with the argument itself.

Quote from: wikipedia
An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.


...
Well your statement does not speak of my practice or experience, so if the shoe fits.
...

Yet another ad-hominem attack! Personalising arguments does not help clarify understandings.

Hockey defensemen, play the man not the puck.  :)

And a defence for these attcks!


Word-games

I still don't see how my comment to Matthew was an attack, but I do see the scrabble comment as disrespectful.


You are referring to this comment:

Quote from: Matthew
Quote from: Dharmic Tui
Surely once you put aside the wordplay .....

...

... put aside the wordplay ... " :D :D :D scrabble is his favourite game don't forget :D :D :D


The problem for me here Red is that you play word-games - a lot.

It's very difficult communicating with you at times as you often ignore questions, refuse to engage in the real arguments, sidestep into different areas, regurgitate Dhamma-Dogma or just come out with what seems to me to be plain nonsense.

When I made that scrabble comment it was referring to all the above types of activity. It was made with laughing faces around it because, though there was a serious point behind it, I wanted to make that point in a light-hearted way. Can you not see yourself doing this? And - if you can - can you not laugh at yourself for doing so?

You see this as disrespectful and I recognise that, in and of itself, it may be construed as "unwholesome speech".

I apologise for any offence. I also ask you to please stop playing word-games.


Etiquette

Matthew has made plenty of comments towards me that I have found disrespectful, I'm not going to put up with his lack of respect for another moment.

I do not respect either your Dhamma or your way of trying to ply it upon every situation that presents itself on the forums. You have admitted that you have been thrown off a number of other forums and I and the other members here have given you a vast amount of leeway regarding your behaviour - that frankly would have gotten you thrown off most forums I know by now.

However, and having made the above point, I will continue to maintain my best efforts to engage with you using "wholesome speech". Sid has recently commented elsewhere on your behaviour on the forum in regard to the issue of forcing your understanding on every situation and inappropriately: leading to confusion not clarification.  In fact it very much seems you want to be the teacher!

I know you have not had a chance to answer him yet. I trust you will engage with that question head-on and not sidestep it.

He is a grown man and does not need you answering for him.

It's a forum. Anyone is welcome to engage in discussion. You can not demand that I answer you or demand that another person does not. Live with it.

Matthew
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Matthew

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2014, 05:17:04 PM »
....
Just as an aside, having been away from this forum for a bit, I've noticed that many of the discussions these days seem to inevitably turn into several rounds of Redalert versus Matthew and Dharmic Tui!  :)

Yeah - it's pretty boring. And please accept my apologies but I don't think it's over quite yet.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 05:39:42 PM by Matthew »
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Matthew

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2014, 05:39:07 PM »
  Matthew claims not to have come across anyone genuinely "enlightened", and you rebut that by mentioning meeting "highly evolved saintly people". Are highly evolved saintly people enlightened?

Having tasted Nibbanic peace, Yes I would say they are awakened to some extent. Stream enterer, once returner, etc... these are just labels mind you, but I have met many individuals who I believe have tasted the ultimate truth.

So they are not enlightened. They may have "tasted Nibbanic peace" or be "awakened to some extent" (who is this not true of???) - but they are, by your own admission, not enlightened.

I have met some seriously dedicated renunciates whom I have the pleasure of calling my friends. I do not feel the goal is out of reach, quite the contrary. The final goal is available to anyone who practices continuously.

The final goal is available to anyone who practices correctly. I doubt anyone is as I have made clear. It's nice you have pleasurable Dhamma friends but that does not mean they are enlightened either.

This is why I suggested that Matthew was mistaken when saying the teachings were lost, they are very much alive within the Goenka tradition. People are awakening and receiving benefit and this tradition is growing at an incredible rate. I also hear of people speaking very highly and having much success within the Mahasi tradition. I see the path within many traditions. The Buddha's teachings are not lost, they are alive and well, but they are not to dabble in. You need to practice continuously it takes a great deal of dedication.

Goenka died recently yet still the teachings at his retreats are 25 year old recordings of this dead man. The "Assistant teachers" are not allowed to teach or able to teach. This is not a living tradition - it is a DVD mausoleum tradition.

You state the Buddha's teachings are not lost. I stated I suspect ... the path is lost. There is a big difference between those two statements - one is qualified and recognises the possibility of being mistaken, the other is stated as outright truth. Can you see it?

And "growing at an incredible rate" has nothing to do with ultimate truth. National Socialism grew "at an incredible rate" under the third Reich.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 05:42:14 PM by Matthew »
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redalert

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Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2014, 08:42:58 PM »
Red,

There are a number of issues I feel need looking at raised in the above posts. Please accept my apology for the temporary ban. I had a busy day today and there was already much demand from you that I engage with your posts. To stop this reply from being any longer I chose to stop you from posting more before I could reply to that you had already posted.

You said I was banned because I was posting uncontrollably, not for the reasons posted here. The simple truth is you were angry and lashed out, now that you have had a chance to cool off you are using kinder words. Same old story Matthew, you blow up at me then come back with some story of your life being in chaos and then apologise to me and the Sangha for your behaviour. That won't fly this time, I find your treatment of me to be intolerable and I am demanding it to stop. DT was posting on your behalf and we were both communicating did he receive a ban as well?






I did not say that the path is lost or that the path is dead. What I said is that "I suspect this is due to the path being lost ...".
This sounds to me as though you feel the path is lost, you suspect the path is lost. This is why I responded with the apology for your practice, this was not an attack but a logical conclusion. If you suspect the path is lost than you must not be practicing it.

However, that does not exclude the very real possibility that right now nobody understands and/or has fully walked the path and that the Buddha-Dhamma is lost.

And I posted that I had met some highly evolved people on my journey, both monks, and laypersons, and although I have no way of deciphering if they were Arahants (don't care) they very well may be. So again, I disagree with this statement of yours with the teachings being lost, they are very much alive within the Goenka tradition. The teachers there are wonderful gracious beings, and I have not met a one that has not been anything but helpful and supportive to me regardless of their attainments. I'm sure that any of the Acharya teachers could do an excellent job of teaching the Dhamma on their own but why change a system that is working wonderfully at the moment, this may change as I'm sure it will, but at current it is working as is.

After all the Buddha taught the understanding of his Dhamma would be lost. You seem to wish to ignore this teaching whilst clinging dogmatically to the Dhamma as you understand it/have been taught, based on a claim of direct lineage back to the Buddha - which if it had any integrity would surely recognise this teaching and that it invalidates any such claims, would it not?

Experienced it Matthew, not merely accepted it, this is why I speak with confidence that the teachings have not been lost, they are very much available to those who wish to practice.

From the above it seems you are saying that you know what an ad-hominem attack is and I do not.

Yes, that is exactly what I meant, no games Matthew.
Your first post back recently was an insult to me calling me a game player(scrabble) once again and surrounding it with laughing faces, what this attempts to do is discredit the statement that I made by making me into some kind of joke, this is an ad-hominem attack, my comment was based from your statement I was directly responding to your words. Notice how I did not throw a hissy-fit when you attacked me.



And a defence for these attcks!

Yes, I will defend myself from your attacks.



The problem for me here Red is that you play word-games - a lot.

No, I do not!  We are coming from different understandings and backgrounds, you are simply intolerant of my opinions.

It's very difficult communicating with you at times as you often ignore questions, refuse to engage in the real arguments, sidestep into different areas, regurgitate Dhamma-Dogma or just come out with what seems to me to be plain nonsense.
Right back at ya.

When I made that scrabble comment it was referring to all the above types of activity. It was made with laughing faces around it because, though there was a serious point behind it, I wanted to make that point in a light-hearted way.
Because of our past I did not take the comment in that way, it appeared insulting to me at the time, I figured you were still in a bad place from nearly being killed by your roommates and lack of regular practice,  I simply did what I normally do and ignored your disrespectful comment, as I was answering a practice related question from DT.


I apologise for any offence.
No, you will have to earn my forgiveness this time, I simply do not trust you.


I do not respect either your Dhamma or your way of trying to ply it upon every situation that presents itself on the forums.
This is both obvious and unfortunate, as their are many here from this tradition.

You have admitted that you have been thrown off a number of other forums and I and the other members here have given you a vast amount of leeway regarding your behaviour - that frankly would have gotten you thrown off most forums I know by now.
What other members, my inbox has been empty and I personally asked Vivek to touch base with me if I posted anything that posed difficulties. To date nothing received from moderation staff.

However, and having made the above point, I will continue to maintain my best efforts to engage with you using "wholesome speech".
You have said this before and your first post back was disrespectful.
Sid has recently commented elsewhere on your behaviour on the forum in regard to the issue of forcing your understanding on every situation and inappropriately: leading to confusion not clarification.  In fact it very much seems you want to be the teacher!
Nope, and I am currently having a talk with Sid in private.


Dharmic Tui

  • Member
  • Something
    • Some Theravada, some secular
Re: Enlightenment, the Path and etc.
« Reply #24 on: February 08, 2014, 12:54:33 AM »
How about "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" by "The Arahant, Daniel M. Ingram"?
Out of interest I looked into Daniel's forum last night, the Dharma Overground. It was an interesting exercise, everyone seems overly caught up in defined stages and modes, far too complex for me.

 

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