Author Topic: Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner  (Read 1343 times)

raushan

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    • S. N. Goenka switched to Samatha Forest Tradition
Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner
« on: September 04, 2016, 06:37:11 PM »
Hi,
I have a doubt that should I read the suttas and other buddhism books as I have been doing the vipassana only for last 6 months. In 18-20 years of age I read many philosophical books like Osho and other and I couldn't understand it properly although I thought I understood everything. It wasn't beneficial rather it had negative impact.
Now before start reading books I want to take opinion of other experienced meditators what kinds of books related to vipassana will be beneficial for me?

Also, I think reading books will give the deeper understanding but can also create the confusion. I have completed one 10 days retreat. Is it fine if I just do the practice for now? Should I read the books too for more understanding and consistency of practice of the Dhamma.

Laurent

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Re: Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2016, 10:33:24 PM »
Meditation + suttas is an excellent combination, as practice is necessary to understand the suttas and suttas are an excellent guide for meditation and dhamma in general.

For other books, you are the judge, it can create doubt but in the long run, should be beneficial when you have read a lot of books. Overview of a lot of books is probably beneficial, i guess.
I have read a lot of books and couldn't say one is better than the other (perhaps the tibetan book of death was the worse though).
Though, i remember the book that lead me to go to Goenka. "Santana", written by Dominique Godrèche, but it is a french book, i don't know if it is translated in english. It could interest you.

I am 39 years old, practise the dhamma since the age of 22 (my first 10 days course  :) :) :)).
I was interested in buddhism since the age of 18 and have read tons of books within this period. Much less after my first 10 day course.

After this course i was rather searching for the suttas and, those days, it was difficult to find the pali canon in french.
I could read some extracts at the library, i remember this old book that we could only read but not borrow.
I did not really understand what i read but were very impressed.

Now it is easy to find suttas on the web and i regularly read them , for approximately one year.
It is the best thing i ever read in my whole life.
I think it is necessary to practice regularly to understand it, otherwise it can seem contextual, linked to an era, or esoteric (which is not).

When i read suttas, i always think that Buddha was probably aware that what he was saying would be heard by future generations and has made things in order to mislay the fewer persons as possible. And no other teacher i have read or heard have such a level of this skill.
Those scriptures really seem to come from an enlightened one, very skilled teacher and foresighted.


Good readings.




 
« Last Edit: September 04, 2016, 11:05:13 PM by Laurent »

VipassanaXYZ

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Re: Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2016, 04:10:19 PM »
Hello Raushan

Thats a very good question, I must praise you for your discretion.
Wrong information does do a lot of harm, it is better just to practice alone than to be engaged with diluted or wrong teachings.

Practice is 99% of the matter. Pariyatti (theory) and Patipatti (practice) complement and strengthen each other. 

Sending you a few links that are inline with the tradition:

Inspiring stories concerning the previous births of Gautama Buddha, some of these stories find mention in the 10-day discourses and later in 20 day and 30 day courses:
http://www.buddhanet.net/bt1_conts.htm

Goenkaji published a lot of material through the newsletters, all this material is available for free reading at:
http://www.vridhamma.org/Newsletters/English

Here is one very good website:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/
« Last Edit: September 05, 2016, 04:12:29 PM by poojavassa »

Vivek

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Re: Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2016, 03:34:02 PM »
Hi Raushan.

Quote
Is it fine if I just do the practice for now?

Yes, I would say that is fine for now. Theory and practice should go hand-in-hand. I would recommend attending more 10-day courses if and when you can manage to, there is no need to rush though. As you progress on the path, your understanding will also deepen. All the best.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2016, 03:52:50 PM by Vivek »
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

Nicky

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Re: Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 10:20:07 AM »
Also, I think reading books will give the deeper understanding but can also create the confusion. I have completed one 10 days retreat. Is it fine if I just do the practice for now? Should I read the books too for more understanding and consistency of practice of the Dhamma.

Buddhism is a field with a great diversity of schools, interpretations & opinions. The suttas are the same since they are interpreted differently by different people. Suttas can be read & interpreted the wrong way; particularly if the translations are inaccurate or the translator's footnote are wrong.

In my opinion, one's approach to Budddhist practise & study should be based on one's personal needs. For example, you begin practise with a certain goal in mind. If you are not achieving this goal you then ask a question about how to achieve your goal. Or if you read suttas, you relate them to your own practise. If you cannot see the relevance of the sutta to your practise, then ask a question.

In my experience, I think it is best to have some firm foundation in meditation practise before reading the suttas. Otherwise, the suttas may become like a religion of blind faith rather than about here-&-now realities.

Regards

stillpointdancer

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Re: Should I read suttas and other buddhism books as a beginner
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 11:50:29 AM »
Hi,
I have a doubt that should I read the suttas and other buddhism books as I have been doing the vipassana only for last 6 months. In 18-20 years of age I read many philosophical books like Osho and other and I couldn't understand it properly although I thought I understood everything. It wasn't beneficial rather it had negative impact.
Now before start reading books I want to take opinion of other experienced meditators what kinds of books related to vipassana will be beneficial for me?

Also, I think reading books will give the deeper understanding but can also create the confusion. I have completed one 10 days retreat. Is it fine if I just do the practice for now? Should I read the books too for more understanding and consistency of practice of the Dhamma.

You don't say whether you are trying to read the suttas or commentaries about the suttas. To see what I mean, try getting two or three versions of the same sutta with commentaries, and then look at the similarities and differences in the commentaries. Different schools, and different translators, bring different points of view to the same thing.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 

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