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Switch to Forum Live View Can I practice Buddhism if I don't meditate?
10 years ago  ::  Jan 14, 2008 - 10:15AM #41
trishnajewelry
Posts: 31
I took the time to rad all the posts, and can add to my previous post.  I have a partially disintegrated disc.  To do prostrations, an essential part of the Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice, is not an option for me, especially the 100,000 I was assigned.  I discussed this with my teacher, and he said that if I could do one slowly and mindfully at the start of my practice, to do that, and then do the prayers without the prostartions.  And on the days when I could get to the land and circumambulate the stupa, to do my practice while circumambulating the stups.  And on the days when I could do neither, not to worry about it!  The point is, one does what one can . . .   period.  If you have a teacher, speak honestly with that person.  Make sure this is a teacher you trust, and always, put no mind before your own.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 06, 2008 - 12:13PM #42
sophrosyne
Posts: 37
[QUOTE=seekinglikejonas;88772]"Can I practice Buddhism if I don't meditate?"

Hi.  I know that's an odd question.  Allow me to explain.

Personally, I try to make life into a kind of living meditation.  However, I don't do the "classic" techniques of meditation very well: sitting still and breathing, chanting, humming, etc.  In fact, I get bored out of my mind very quickly doing that.  So, I can work at the first 7 steps of the 8 fold path pretty well, but the 8th step is not only beyond me; it is beyond any interest of mine.  I like Buddhism as a philosophy for life, but (for me) meditation will just have to naturally result from the first 7 steps. [/QUOTE]

It's important to practice from where you are, rather than where you think you should be. I won't coddle you and say that Samadhi is unnecessary for Nirvana, but I can tell you that it isn't necessary to be considered a Buddhist. Refuge in the three Gems is really what fundamentally makes you a Buddhist, not what practices you take on.

[QUOTE]So, can I even practice Buddhism as a religion?  I like the social aspects of religion; I also like having rituals that express truths which language cannot fully convey, etc.  Yet, it seems that meditation is the main activity at Buddhist gatherings.  Maybe I am mistaken?  But, it seems that meditation is to Buddhists what prayer / praise / worship are to Christians. 

It can be pretty lonely as a solitary Buddhist, but what is there to *do* together as a group for Buddhists except  meditate ?
[/QUOTE]

Meditation is the primary activity at most Buddhist centers I've attended, but we also have nights where we study Sutras and discuss Buddhist teachings. Depending on whether yours is an ethnically supported temple, you might have holidays and festivals where there's tons of eating and socializing and no meditation whatsoever. If a center has a resident teacher, sometimes they'll give Dharma talks where all you have to do is go and listen. One thing I would personally like to see more of is Buddhist groups volunteering and doing charitable work in the community. Maybe you could organize something like that. The point is there are lots of options for group activities other than meditation.

On a final note, I've found that boredom is a wonderful teacher. I suggest you spend a little more time being bored. Only this time, pay attention.

cheers,
Ben
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2008 - 10:08PM #43
Silverada
Posts: 1,338
As buddhism psicology claims, the concentration fo the mind, has an intense effect upon the human conscious. It is said that the mental capacity is increased and its reach goes beyoond imagination . The increase of the mental energy and its capacities or reach, it is made posible throughout  mental concentration, stopping in its process dispersion and waste ,redirecting them to practical, intelectual and spirituals aims or goals, whatever we choose.


Mental concentration can also open up functions and specific faculties or our minds that we don´t even know exist, which will increase our will power, dedication, positive desires and the necessary inteligence and perseverance  to  persue  whatever is in our mind.

The internal conflits and conflicts with the outer world and  enviroment will have a better opportunity to be resolved, when our mind concentrate and percibe the cause of such conflits,  which by effect will restore harmony and peace within and without.

Meditation is not a sudden process it takes time, a lot of time.  It is a life time process that will finally take us to enjoy it and have  real and positive benefits .  It is a worthwhile effort  to do.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 19, 2008 - 10:08PM #44
Silverada
Posts: 1,338
As buddhism psicology claims, the concentration fo the mind, has an intense effect upon the human conscious. It is said that the mental capacity is increased and its reach goes beyoond imagination . The increase of the mental energy and its capacities or reach, it is made posible throughout  mental concentration, stopping in its process dispersion and waste ,redirecting them to practical, intelectual and spirituals aims or goals, whatever we choose.


Mental concentration can also open up functions and specific faculties or our minds that we don´t even know exist, which will increase our will power, dedication, positive desires and the necessary inteligence and perseverance  to  persue  whatever is in our mind.

The internal conflits and conflicts with the outer world and  enviroment will have a better opportunity to be resolved, when our mind concentrate and percibe the cause of such conflits,  which by effect will restore harmony and peace within and without.

Meditation is not a sudden process it takes time, a lot of time.  It is a life time process that will finally take us to enjoy it and have  real and positive benefits .  It is a worthwhile effort  to do.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 20, 2008 - 2:25PM #45
innerproject
Posts: 16
I may catch some disagreement for saying this, but summed up, all the varied styles of "Buddhism" are funneled down into the practice of being in the moment of now.

Basically, calming the mind enough to notice and observe the subtleties of both the inner and outer world. By doing this, finding your true nature which has very little to do with your outwardly physical presence.

Developing the ability to maintain equanimity, as to say unconditional and non judgmental mind. 

Through the skillful and non forceful control of the mind, creates more space for truth and thus dissolves untruth.

Sitting and breathing meditations (stillness) are extremely powerful, and there's certainly different types to choose from. My personal favorite is Vipassana, which does not include any mantra's, humming, or religious secular practices.

This is not to say that sitting meditations are the only Buddha on the block.

Again, the emphasis is applying your full awareness in the moment of now, which by the way, is the only reality of existence. In order to do this, the mind has to be still, calm, non-distracting, to move past the mind/body. 

If this can be achieved by for example, walking down the street, then so be it. Walk down the street. Etc.

Again, I practice Vipassana, which is a very still and systematic way of turning your full awareness inward. I can attest to the fact that no religious ceremony or ritual need apply in order to develop success.

That having been said, it's particularly wise to refrain from causing yourself and others more pain and suffering. So following the basic Buddhist's precepts, which are not greatly different than that of Christianity, Islam, or Hinduism, etc., are very much in sync and crucial in living a more joyful and insightful life.

It's important to remember there is no judge or jury here. Awareness is a both a personal and collective experience. Ultimately, everyone has to find this awareness in their own way.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2008 - 2:05PM #46
r1verfront2
Posts: 1
Everyone has given great responces.

To help you answer your own question, think about what the real reason behind meditation is. To examine your own mind, to become aware and watch what happens. Would you ever phrase the question "Can I be Buddhist if I don't watch my mind?" Go back thru all these responces and replace the words "meditate/meditation" with "watching the mind/ observing my thoughts". Is watching your mind boring? Perhaps- but what else is it? What happens when you observe "boring?" What happens next?
It is completely up to you to find your own way of watching your mind. It its completly up to you HOW you meditate. And you can be compassionate and kind without doing any mind watching- but you will never see the "break"- the distance- between "you" and "your actions". You will have a *much* harder time to see a way out of breaking the cycle of your actions- like someone said, to do what even the buddha couldn't do. I don't know what your prior experience in meditation is but it sounds as if the point behind it wasn't explained very clearly or the forms were overly emphasised.

Watch your mind- simple as that. *lol* See what happens. Watch. Listen. Breathe.
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10 years ago  ::  Mar 30, 2008 - 10:26PM #47
MY_Khim
Posts: 25
Sorry to differ; but purifying the mind IS meditating.  And meditating doesn’t equals to “guiding the mind to think what you want it to think”.  I’m neither an expert in meditation nor have I really sit & watch my mind.  But (Buddhist) meditation isn’t being actively aware of what one is doing in the present moment.  Yes if one is actively engage in meditation regularly, the being in the present moment comes naturally. 

Blessings for good health & happiness always / Khim
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9 years ago  ::  Aug 19, 2008 - 2:18AM #48
Wiscidea
Posts: 2,319
I'd like to add my personal experience to this discussion.

It is interesting that I should find this thread right now. I was asking myself the same question for a long time. Can I call myself a Buddhist if I don't meditate? I pictured my entire life becoming a state of meditation or living in the present. So I set out to acquire an understanding of Buddhism. No need to cover the details. Let's just say I've read a lot of books, read translations of a few select Pali scriptures, and, most recently, listened to dozens of dharma talks (great use for an I-Pod).

And a strange thing is happening. Or is it strange? The more I come to understand the Four Noble Truths, The Eightfold Path, and other basic teachings of the Buddha, and incorporate this information into my life, the more I'm drawn toward meditation. I find myself pausing ocassionally and briefly clearing my mind of thoughts... it's virtually spontaneous.

The most recent dharma talk I listened to -- Gil Fronsdal describing The Eightfold Path -- provided an explanation. He teaches from a Theravadan perspective and suggested that newcomers to Buddhism should really start by following the first seven steps as much as possible and only then, with a firm foundation, procede to meditation. At that point, I gather, meditation can reinforce the rest of the path and all eight steps build upon one another.

I found it interesting that I should have this experience just before a dharma teacher provided an explanation.

So... advice from a novice... focus on the steps of The Eightfold Path that you are naturally drawn to and you will eventually find yourself practicing all eight steps without effort, without forcing yourself.

What do others think about this? Is Gil Fronsdal's suggestion unique to Theravadan Buddhism?
"Some people claim that there's a woman to blame. But I know it's my own damn fault."

Jimmy Buffet (Margaritaville)
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9 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2008 - 3:14PM #49
sgi_chris
Posts: 124

So, can I even practice Buddhism as a religion? I like the social aspects of religion; I also like having rituals that express truths which language cannot fully convey, etc. Yet, it seems that meditation is the main activity at Buddhist gatherings. Maybe I am mistaken? But, it seems that meditation is to Buddhists what prayer / praise / worship are to Christians.



First off, to answer your main question, Yes! I do believe that you can attain enlightenment without meditation.

I urge you to remeber that Buddhism is not about dogmas, and rituals. If that is what Buddhism becomes, then it will fade off into the pages of history with all the other ritualistic religions that promised mediocre lofty goals that only the founder and his disciple's achieved.

Think less about Buddhism as a religion, and more like an applied science. The science of life, the science of the mind, the science of you. Contemplate your mindstate, be optimistic. Know that your life is a product of the Law of the buddhas. This Law is the mystic Law that permates you and all the universe. Inside it, all of the other laws and principles of humanity and science fall perfectly in line. It is cause and effect, and the invisible connection of all humanity. This is called conditioned co-arising, Which Shakyamuni, Lord of the Teachings attained under the Bo tree.

Nichiren Daishonin, The Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law states that the three greatest princples are: Faith, Practice, and Study. Without these, there can be no Buddhism.

Faith in knowing that your life has purpose! You are here to accel in what you love the most! Achieve everlasting happiness, and then like all buddhas do, you share that happiness! Practice, this faith in your life. If you can chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo, If not just uttering this word once or twice a day with deep faith can change your life forever. Study the sutras, and study your life according to the Law, your state of mind and how your actions as a 'bodhisattva-buddha' effect others.

This is Buddhism...Buddhism is not an organized religion. It is a study, a practice, and a deep rational faith. Good Luck!

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9 years ago  ::  Aug 26, 2008 - 3:14PM #50
sgi_chris
Posts: 124

So, can I even practice Buddhism as a religion? I like the social aspects of religion; I also like having rituals that express truths which language cannot fully convey, etc. Yet, it seems that meditation is the main activity at Buddhist gatherings. Maybe I am mistaken? But, it seems that meditation is to Buddhists what prayer / praise / worship are to Christians.



First off, to answer your main question, Yes! I do believe that you can attain enlightenment without meditation.

I urge you to remeber that Buddhism is not about dogmas, and rituals. If that is what Buddhism becomes, then it will fade off into the pages of history with all the other ritualistic religions that promised mediocre lofty goals that only the founder and his disciple's achieved.

Think less about Buddhism as a religion, and more like an applied science. The science of life, the science of the mind, the science of you. Contemplate your mindstate, be optimistic. Know that your life is a product of the Law of the buddhas. This Law is the mystic Law that permates you and all the universe. Inside it, all of the other laws and principles of humanity and science fall perfectly in line. It is cause and effect, and the invisible connection of all humanity. This is called conditioned co-arising, Which Shakyamuni, Lord of the Teachings attained under the Bo tree.

Nichiren Daishonin, The Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law states that the three greatest princples are: Faith, Practice, and Study. Without these, there can be no Buddhism.

Faith in knowing that your life has purpose! You are here to accel in what you love the most! Achieve everlasting happiness, and then like all buddhas do, you share that happiness! Practice, this faith in your life. If you can chant nam-myoho-renge-kyo, If not just uttering this word once or twice a day with deep faith can change your life forever. Study the sutras, and study your life according to the Law, your state of mind and how your actions as a 'bodhisattva-buddha' effect others.

This is Buddhism...Buddhism is not an organized religion. It is a study, a practice, and a deep rational faith. Good Luck!

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