Is Buddhism too hard ?

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Bodhidharma
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Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Bodhidharma » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:52 am

My apologies if my question has been raised before. I searched for an existing forum but couldn't find it. So I would appreciate if someone can direct me.

Whilst Christianity is "too easy" - everyone gets off scott-free ( so to speak ) by just accepting Jesus Christ, Buddhism is "too hard" (I'll elaborate further later ). Christianity is "too easy" because there is no responsibility. Buddhism makes more sense in that we need to be responsible for our spirituality. The part that I say Buddhism is "too hard"is the 6th perfection - wisdom or the prajñā pāramitā. Attempting to understanding the Two Truths and Emptiness is not something for the faint-hearted. Given that there are countless sentient beings, isn't it unfortunate that "reality" is beyond them when it is beyond even most of us.

Buddhism maybe just making an observation about Reality ( in other words, don't shoot the messenger ) - it's Reality that is difficult, not Buddhism !! Maybe it is I who is difficult ( am I craving the reality to be simple and being averse when it turns out to be not ).... :smile:

Your thoughts please....

Caodemarte
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:07 am

Interesting definition of Christianity!

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Thomas Amundsen
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Thomas Amundsen » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:25 am

Bodhidharma wrote:Whilst Christianity is "too easy" - everyone gets off scott-free ( so to speak ) by just accepting Jesus Christ, Buddhism is "too hard" (I'll elaborate further later ). Christianity is "too easy" because there is no responsibility.
Not all of Christianity is like that. The Catholics say that "faith without works is dead".

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Dan74
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:36 am

Not all Buddhism is like that either.

There is plenty to sink one's teeth into before Prajna Paramita in those very same Six Perfections. Just cultivating dana and reflecting on dependent origination and verse 1 of the Dhammapada is plenty for most of us, IMO. Then bhavana like some breath awareness as support. Wonderful practice. Life is much harder without it, so no, I don't think Buddhism has to be hard.

_/|\_

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seeker242
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:41 am

Bodhidharma wrote: Given that there are countless sentient beings, isn't it unfortunate that "reality" is beyond them when it is beyond even most of us.
It is, but it's not Buddhism that makes it hard. It's just reality that makes it hard. Although, to set it up as "something very difficult" in your mind is not a very skillful thing to do IMO. This is why all the paramitas are developed simultaneously. For example, a difficult task becomes not so difficult when you have a good deal of patience, perseverance, faith, etc.

:smile:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by steveb1 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:21 am

Well, as always, I can only reply from my own experience in Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism, which is "the easy way".

Shin adherents need only to trust in Amida Buddha and "His" direction of merit to them.

Amida Himself supplies the trust, expressed as "Shinjin" or perfect faith.

All of this is a free gift from the Tathagatha. When we say the Nembutsu with perfect faith, it is not our samsaric or "bombu" nature acting. Rather, it's Amida Himself working in us. He issues the call, and echoes it in us as our response, "Namu Amida Butsu".

Because Shin eschews all self-effort (in the spiritual realm), and relies solely on Amida's Other Power, it contains no self power practices such as meditation, breathing methods, mantras, or visualizations.

So for me, my school of Buddhism is not "too hard" - because Amida's inconceivable working makes it easy.

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Ayu
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Ayu » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:40 am

Also in my school (Tibetan) I cannot detect anything that is harder than life itself. To the contrary the studies are interesting, the practice is helpful, the whole thing makes life bearable for me. I don't know where I would be without the Dharma.
If I just do it and just continue, and I don't expect any easyness or hardship and I just take it as it is, things become surprisingly light sometimes. The core is love and compassion, this is the motor, I think. And continuity is a kind of fuel. So there's nothing hard about that. :smile:
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by plwk » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:54 am

Not all of Christianity is like that. The Catholics say that "faith without works is dead".
No, it wasn't. It was the Elder Apostle James in his Epistle.
Centuries later, the infamous anti Semitic German heretic named Martin Luther coined his sola fide crap, wanted to purge the Epistle and the rest became history as we know it...

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by plwk » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:57 am

Is Buddhism too hard ?
They say there is hard in the easy & easy in the hard.
What is 'easy' and what is 'hard'? Training one's own mind to transcend duhkha or rolling around the triple burning worlds?
Think about it....

Bodhidharma
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Bodhidharma » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:08 am

seeker242 wrote:
Bodhidharma wrote: Given that there are countless sentient beings, isn't it unfortunate that "reality" is beyond them when it is beyond even most of us.
It is, but it's not Buddhism that makes it hard. It's just reality that makes it hard. Although, to set it up as "something very difficult" in your mind is not a very skillful thing to do IMO. This is why all the paramitas are developed simultaneously. For example, a difficult task becomes not so difficult when you have a good deal of patience, perseverance, faith, etc.

:smile:
Good point but to deny something as not hard when it is, isn't very realistic...or similarly to assert something is easy when it is not :thinking:

Bodhidharma
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Bodhidharma » Fri Sep 11, 2015 7:10 am

plwk wrote:
Is Buddhism too hard ?
They say there is hard in the easy & easy in the hard.
What is 'easy' and what is 'hard'? Training one's own mind to transcend duhkha or rolling around the triple burning worlds?
Think about it....
You missed my point...I was referring to the wisdom/ insight part of Buddhism, not the dukkha parts.... :smile:

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by muni » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:06 am

:namaste:
Buddhism is neither hard nor is reality hard but our habits are hard to crumble and let go. So I am missing the point completely, but that is what I want to say.
Our habits to approach everything in same way, even dharma are hard. Nature is simple but our mind is used to complexities, the more the better and there are a lot and increasing the more and the more since the Buddha Shakyamuni who had not so much more than his mind to investigate, he had no internet, no google, no library. It is no cure anymore when we hold on the concepts, which are themselves illusions to make us see our illusion. As once I heard that since we live in and as an illusion ( what thoughts think to be), help in form of the same nature is necessary to realize the illusion. It is all illusion because nature is already, was always and will always be, so to speak by my limitations.

And by thinking we cannot do it we start to become convinced of it and turn in rounds and rounds of desperation, or we are convinced we got it and then are tested and here as well we are ready to start to turn in rounds and rounds of desperation.

Therefore thoughts are not so much to trust at all, they are tools for our habits-karma and mislead us. But we are used to trust them since they present what we are, "we think". Trying to understand by our head can cause us a lot suffering I hear more than once, it is like trying to find the sky by scratching in the earth.
Therefore the Buddha was/showed looking inwardly.

Ayu mentioned Compassion and Love, these are crucial regarding Wisdom, without it isn’t.
Phenomena adorn emptiness, but never corrupt it.

Only if you have developed the love and compassion of relative bodhichitta can absolute bodhichitta – the very essence of the Great Perfection and the Great Seal – ever take birth in your being. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by jorden » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:14 am

plwk wrote:
Not all of Christianity is like that. The Catholics say that "faith without works is dead".
No, it wasn't. It was the Elder Apostle James in his Epistle.
Centuries later, the infamous anti Semitic German heretic named Martin Luther coined his sola fide crap, wanted to purge the Epistle and the rest became history as we know it...
I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition here!

plwk
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by plwk » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:32 am

I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition here!
Hey, neither did I back when I first signed up here years ago, just going with the flow man. Stay a bit longer and you will see... Yeah, the Spanish thingy was bad but I can't afford to ignore what Luther and the Reformation did who were just as bad ass as the ones that preceded them...
You missed my point...I was referring to the wisdom/ insight part of Buddhism, not the dukkha parts....
I did? I always thought that prajna in its many facets was deeply connected with transcending duhkha, no? I must have missed a memo somewhere...

Caodemarte
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:14 pm

No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

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seeker242
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Sep 11, 2015 1:20 pm

Bodhidharma wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
Bodhidharma wrote: Given that there are countless sentient beings, isn't it unfortunate that "reality" is beyond them when it is beyond even most of us.
It is, but it's not Buddhism that makes it hard. It's just reality that makes it hard. Although, to set it up as "something very difficult" in your mind is not a very skillful thing to do IMO. This is why all the paramitas are developed simultaneously. For example, a difficult task becomes not so difficult when you have a good deal of patience, perseverance, faith, etc.

:smile:
Good point but to deny something as not hard when it is, isn't very realistic...or similarly to assert something is easy when it is not :thinking:
I don't think it's a denial. Because there is no assertion of either hard OR easy when you are "in the middle" so to speak. Just because you don't consider it hard, doesn't mean you consider it easy. I like to put the "assertion", as one could call it, in the empty space that's right between "hard" and "easy". I think "hard" and "easy" are both mistakes. It's sad to see people say things to themselves like "Wow, this is so hard, I'll never understand any of the stuff!" Sometimes it's even followed with something like "I'm too stupid for this stuff...". That's sad! Sad because when they believe that, they won't even try to understand it. They won't put fourth the effort to practice because if that is actually believed, the practice would be irrelevant to begin with. They are setting themselves up for failure right from the beginning with that kind of attitude. That attitude is contrary to the cultivation of the paramitas. But, what is equally sad is when someone has the idea that "Wow, this stuff is so easy, I understand it all no problem!" That's equally sad because when someone says that to themselves, that's almost a near guarantee that they are deluding themselves. :lol: Too hard, too easy, I think they are both mistakes!
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by DGA » Fri Sep 11, 2015 2:21 pm

Dharma practice is a lot easier than struggling in samsara without a help.

It's also a lot easier to learn basic Buddhism in the company of others, especially under the guidance of a competent teacher. It's overwhelming, confusing, and not really do-able on your own. Find a capable teacher, study and practice for a while, and then come back to the question of difficulty.

Also, the comparisons to other paths such as Christianity aren't very helpful. if you need water, just dig one hole until you hit water. Two shallow holes doesn't make one well.

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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Astus » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:15 pm

Bodhidharma wrote:The part that I say Buddhism is "too hard"is the 6th perfection - wisdom or the prajñā pāramitā. Attempting to understanding the Two Truths and Emptiness is not something for the faint-hearted. Given that there are countless sentient beings, isn't it unfortunate that "reality" is beyond them when it is beyond even most of us.
I think there can be basically two difficulties.

1. Buddhism has its own terminology and it can take a while to learn what is meant by expressions like emptiness.
2. From an ordinary perspective it can be difficult to face that there is no fixed and permanent element in the world.

The first difficulty can be overcome by studying, and asking teachers.
The second difficulty can be overcome by recognising that there has never been anything that can be relied on, and the misunderstanding about the world only leads to problems.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

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Matt J
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by Matt J » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:26 pm

No, Buddhism isn't too hard. One can be led to that belief by some of the talk on a place like this, but it isn't necessary.

For one, consider the story of Ksudrapanthaka who was unable to recall even a single verse. The Buddha was able to help him.

https://books.google.com/books?id=mKtJc ... ka&f=false

For another Sutta story, there is Bahiya who was taught very little:
"Then, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

If you want something from the Tibetan tradition, consider the instruction of Mipham Rinpoche:
Without having to study, contemplate, or train to any great degree,
Simply by maintaining recognition of the very nature of mind according to the approach of the pith instructions,
Any ordinary village yogi can, without too much difficulty,
Reach the level of a vidyādhara: such is the power of this profound path.
http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-mas ... ipham-lamp
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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passel
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Re: Is Buddhism too hard ?

Post by passel » Fri Sep 11, 2015 6:17 pm

I love this story:

Layman Pang was sitting in his thatched cottage one day.
"Difficult, difficult," he said; "like trying to scatter ten measures of sesame seed all over a tree."
"Easy, easy," Mrs. Pang said; "like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed."
"Neither difficult nor easy," their daughter said; "on the hundred grass tips, the great Masters' meaning."
"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

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