New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:33 am

Please take this as an open invitation guys: you are wanted and needed as fellow Dharma-farers on the path to liberation. I admit that those of us who started Dharma Paths are primarily Theravada practitioners (although I have practiced Seon, Zen and in the Kagyu traditions) but don't hold it against us. We are open to making whatever changes are necessary to accommodate the community such as starting new sections or sub-forums. We really just want to make a place for spiritual friends to support one another. If that's not your thing I understand but if so come and join and help us build a real virtual community.
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anjali
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by anjali » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:55 am

Khalil Bodhi wrote:We really just want to make a place for spiritual friends to support one another.
A worthy goal indeed. :thumbsup:

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by DGA » Wed Aug 12, 2015 12:57 am

It's a great aspiration--and I hope no one holds it against anyone for practicing Theravada Buddhism, which is an excellent path. The best Dharma practice is the one you do, and it's a good thing there are many paths available to people to suit their needs.

I just don't think you'll find many practitioners willing to discuss their practice openly. It's considered gauche at best to talk about experiences in meditation in most traditions, or worse than gauche. For Vajrayana practitioners, there are samaya commitments. It's called "secret mantra" for a reason.

I hope the new site supports practitioners in all the best ways.

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by anjali » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:34 am

DGA wrote:I just don't think you'll find many practitioners willing to discuss their practice openly. It's considered gauche at best to talk about experiences in meditation in most traditions, or worse than gauche. For Vajrayana practitioners, there are samaya commitments. It's called "secret mantra" for a reason.
Yup. At the level of practice, perhaps the most fundamental division is sutrayana vs. vajrayana: those practices not needing initiation vs. those that do. Practices requiring initiation are not going to be discussed in any specificity in a public forum. Everything else is open for discussion and support. Which actually leaves a lot stuff that can be fruitfully discussed. For example, sutra-based deity yogas of Green Tara or Avalokitesvara, tonglin, shamatha/vispshayana, etc.

Obviously, DharmaPaths is an experiment. What I'm looking forward to seeing play out is to what extent this new forum can actually be turned into a pan-buddhist community of friendly practitioner support. In a sense, it's a true "Maha-yana" aspiration. I wish them well.

In the for-what-it's-worth department, there is a modern understanding of what a community of practice means. Back when I was working in knowledgement managment, this was really important. A community of practice (CoP) was contrasted with a community of interest (CoI). Here is the distinction between the two:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Community_of_practice#Communities_of_Practice_versus_Communities_of_Interest wrote: Community of Interest
  • A group of people interested in sharing information and discussing a particular topic that interests them.
  • Members are not necessarily experts or practitioners of the topic around which the CoI has formed.
  • The purpose of the CoI is to provide a place where people who share a common interest can go and exchange information, ask questions, and express their opinions about the topic.
  • Membership in a CoI is not dependent upon expertise - one only needs to be interested in the subject.
Community of Practice
  • A CoP, in contrast, is a group of people who are active practitioners.
  • CoP participation is not appropriate for non-practitioners.
  • The purpose of a CoP, as discussed above, is to provide a way for practitioners to share tips and best practices, ask questions of their colleagues, and provide support for each other.
  • Membership is dependent on expertise - one should have at least some recent experience performing in the role or subject area of the CoP.
Example: Someone who is interested in photography and has some background/training in it finds an online CoP for working photojournalists, who use it to discuss various aspects of their work. Since this community is focused on working photojournalists, it would not be appropriate for an amateur photographer to contribute to the CoP discussions there. Depending on the CoPs structure non-CoP members may have access to reading the discussions and accessing other materials of the community.
I have no sense of whether DharmaPaths is trying to create a pan-buddhist community of practice in this more technical sense, but I'm guessing probably so. Any admins/founders from DharmaPaths care to comment?

Khalil Bodhi
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:48 am

As one of the founders I can state categorically that you've hit the nail on the head. We are also currently debating whether to make the forum completely private to ensurea safe environment and confidentiality. Your thoughts and practice would be extremely welcome.
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:19 am

I've joined Dharmapaths under my real name. My take on it is, it is very much focussed on practice, as distinct from debate. I hope the membership there realises this and leaves the 'discussion and debate' activities of doctrinal points etc to forums such as this one.

As regards 'which school' it is, I think that distinction is somewhat artificial in the current cultural situation as many contributors, like myself, are from non-Buddhist cultures and don't readily identify with the traditional divisions between various schools. I myself find an affinity with East Asian Mahayana schools, but the sangha that I am part of is generally non-sectarian and has members from a lot of different backgrounds which is usually linked to their cultural descent, i.e. those from Singapore and Chinese backgrounds tend towards Mahayana, those from Thai backgrounds have grown up around Theravada. And we have one member who is of Tibetan descent also.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by DNS » Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:32 am

The current structure follows the practice related to the 8 fold path. As far as I know, all Buddhist traditions, all schools honor and value the 8 fold path, but as noted in posts previously, the best way to ensure that all schools are represented is for us to have membership from all the schools and the format and structure could still be tweaked as needed.

9 points unifying Theravada and Mahayana

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:36 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:The current structure follows the practice related to the 8 fold path. As far as I know, all Buddhist traditions, all schools honor and value the 8 fold path, but as noted in posts previously, the best way to ensure that all schools are represented is for us to have membership from all the schools and the format and structure could still be tweaked as needed.

9 points unifying Theravada and Mahayana
I don't think I've met too many Theravadans online who gave those 9 points any weight/value and I haven't met a single Theravadan offline who even knew what those 9 points are.

As I was touching on before, it's not so much that there's no 8 fold path in Mahayana or Vajrayana, but the section headings/definitions are way too narrow to really cover the practices of many of the actual practicing Theravadans I know, let alone most Mahayanis or Vajrayanis, especially when it comes to Buddha Remembrance. When people are trying to standardize/normalize what is considered practice and it doesn't include my practice, I'm sorry but I don't buy that it's ecumenical (ie. "pan-Buddhist") so forgive me for not having much interest in going there to fight an uphill battle.
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:36 pm

PorkChop wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:The current structure follows the practice related to the 8 fold path. As far as I know, all Buddhist traditions, all schools honor and value the 8 fold path, but as noted in posts previously, the best way to ensure that all schools are represented is for us to have membership from all the schools and the format and structure could still be tweaked as needed.

9 points unifying Theravada and Mahayana
I don't think I've met too many Theravadans online who gave those 9 points any weight/value and I haven't met a single Theravadan offline who even knew what those 9 points are.

As I was touching on before, it's not so much that there's no 8 fold path in Mahayana or Vajrayana, but the section headings/definitions are way too narrow to really cover the practices of many of the actual practicing Theravadans I know, let alone most Mahayanis or Vajrayanis, especially when it comes to Buddha Remembrance. When people are trying to standardize/normalize what is considered practice and it doesn't include my practice, I'm sorry but I don't buy that it's ecumenical (ie. "pan-Buddhist") so forgive me for not having much interest in going there to fight an uphill battle.
Sorry that you won't be joining us but the invitation is open and we welcome any suggestions for making it a place that supports the practice of anyone who had taken refuge in the Triple Gem.

Mettaya,

KB
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Malcolm
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:42 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:The current structure follows the practice related to the 8 fold path. As far as I know, all Buddhist traditions, all schools honor and value the 8 fold path, but as noted in posts previously, the best way to ensure that all schools are represented is for us to have membership from all the schools and the format and structure could still be tweaked as needed.

9 points unifying Theravada and Mahayana
The path of Mahāyāna is not the eight-fold path. The path of the Mahāyāna is the path of the six perfections. The path of Vajrayāna in general is not the eightfold path, it is the path of creation and completion stages. The path of the Dzogchen is none of these.
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:45 pm

I've been a vajrayana practitioner for 25 years, and situating my practice in the context of the three higher trainings (ethics, concentration, wisdom) that span the eight fold path, is a standard part of shedra, and a standard part of Tibetan mahayana and vajrayana exegesis. For me personally, if one does't understand this, it's hard to really understand how one is a *Buddhist* if one's main practice, like mine, is some vajrayana sadhana that was discovered in the wall of a cave as a terma. Every aspect of vajrayana practice is easily understandable in the context of the eightfold path-- though with a vajrayana view.

I'll admit, when I first checked out DharmaPaths, I thought perhaps it wasn't appropriate for people like myself-- not because of the categories, but because most people were posting material from the Pali canon. But that's because that what people posted, not because of the categories, which are universal. They're in Mipham's Khenjuk, about as fundamental of a Nyingma shedra text as one can get, and glosses of it like Nyingma Education produced by Tarthang Tulku's Dharma Publishing. I've seen them again and again in my studies and practice.
PorkChop wrote:As I was touching on before, it's not so much that there's no 8 fold path in Mahayana or Vajrayana, but the section headings/definitions are way too narrow to really cover the practices of many of the actual practicing Theravadans I know, let alone most Mahayanis or Vajrayanis, especially when it comes to Buddha Remembrance. When people are trying to standardize/normalize what is considered practice and it doesn't include my practice, I'm sorry but I don't buy that it's ecumenical (ie. "pan-Buddhist") so forgive me for not having much interest in going there to fight an uphill battle.

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:50 pm

Sure. Different paths have different schema, but they can all be understood in the context of the original eight-fold path of the historical Buddha. I have heard great lamas such as Khenchen Khenpo Palden Sherab, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Garchen Rinpoche, and others say this very thing. Every aspect of vajrayana practice can be understood in the context of the three higher trainings, and those can be understood in the context of the eightfold path. In the case of dzogchen all are complete simultaneously and primordially. In the case of kyerim and dzogrim there are definitely aspects of concentration and wisdom, shamatha and vipassana, not to mention samaya-- ethics.
Malcolm wrote:The path of Mahāyāna is not the eight-fold path. The path of the Mahāyāna is the path of the six perfections. The path of Vajrayāna in general is not the eightfold path, it is the path of creation and completion stages. The path of the Dzogchen is none of these.

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:50 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:I've been a vajrayana practitioner for 25 years, and situating my practice in the context of the three higher trainings (ethics, concentration, wisdom) that span the eight fold path, is a standard part of shedra, and a standard part of Tibetan mahayana and vajrayana exegesis. For me personally, if one does't understand this, it's hard to really understand how one is a *Buddhist* if one's main practice, like mine, is some vajrayana sadhana that was discovered in the wall of a cave as a terma. Every aspect of vajrayana practice is easily understandable in the context of the eightfold path-- though with a vajrayana view.

The eight-fold path does not have bodhicitta. It does not contain the practice of the perfections. It does not begin with empowerment. It does not have direct introduction.
Atikosha
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Malcolm
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:53 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:Sure. Different paths have different schema, but they can all be understood in the context of the original eight-fold path of the historical Buddha.
Which Historical Buddha? Sikhin, Vipassi, Kashyapa?

The eightfold path is a Hinayāna path structure. We don't really practice that way in Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna and Dzogchen.
Atikosha
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:56 pm

As I was taught, ultimate bodhicitta relates to the higher training of wisdom, and thus the right view of wisdom and intention, and relative bodhicitta realtes to all parts of the eight fold path as one is practicing them with a different view and a different motivation.

And as I was taught, empowerment and direct introduction relate to the higher training of wisdom.
Malcolm wrote:
Urgyen Dorje wrote:I've been a vajrayana practitioner for 25 years, and situating my practice in the context of the three higher trainings (ethics, concentration, wisdom) that span the eight fold path, is a standard part of shedra, and a standard part of Tibetan mahayana and vajrayana exegesis. For me personally, if one does't understand this, it's hard to really understand how one is a *Buddhist* if one's main practice, like mine, is some vajrayana sadhana that was discovered in the wall of a cave as a terma. Every aspect of vajrayana practice is easily understandable in the context of the eightfold path-- though with a vajrayana view.

The eight-fold path does not have bodhicitta. It does not contain the practice of the perfections. It does not begin with empowerment. It does not have direct introduction.

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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Aug 12, 2015 2:58 pm

Of course the eightfold path has a hinayana path structure. I don't think anybody is denying that. I'm certainly not.

I'm just calling out the idea of the eightfold path being something entirely foreign and inapprorpiate to mahayana and vajrayana practitioners. I think that's rediculous. If one has a mahayana or vajrayana view, then it's clear how it all fits into the eightfold path.
Malcolm wrote:
Urgyen Dorje wrote:Sure. Different paths have different schema, but they can all be understood in the context of the original eight-fold path of the historical Buddha.
Which Historical Buddha? Sikhin, Vipassi, Kashyapa?

The eightfold path is a Hinayāna path structure. We don't really practice that way in Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna and Dzogchen.

Khalil Bodhi
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:00 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Urgyen Dorje wrote:Sure. Different paths have different schema, but they can all be understood in the context of the original eight-fold path of the historical Buddha.
Which Historical Buddha? Sikhin, Vipassi, Kashyapa?

The eightfold path is a Hinayāna path structure. We don't really practice that way in Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna and Dzogchen.
We have a section devoted to the paramis and would be happy to add others as the need and desire for them became apparent. The one requirement is that we asknow all members to have taken refuge and try their best to follow the five precepts. If these ideals and practices are not shared by a prospective member then DP would not be the place for them.
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Urgyen Dorje
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:02 pm

I've registered, but can't post, and can't check my messages now.
Khalil Bodhi wrote:We have a section devoted to the paramis and would be happy to add others as the need and desire for them became apparent. The one requirement is that we asknow all members to have taken refuge and try their best to follow the five precepts. If these ideals and practices are not shared by a prospective member then DP would not be the place for them.

Khalil Bodhi
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:05 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:I've registered, but can't post, and can't check my messages now.
Khalil Bodhi wrote:We have a section devoted to the paramis and would be happy to add others as the need and desire for them became apparent. The one requirement is that we asknow all members to have taken refuge and try their best to follow the five precepts. If these ideals and practices are not shared by a prospective member then DP would not be the place for them.
Let me check on that for you.
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Malcolm
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Re: New forum: Dharma Paths Practice Community

Post by Malcolm » Wed Aug 12, 2015 3:07 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:As I was taught, ultimate bodhicitta relates to the higher training of wisdom, and thus the right view of wisdom and intention, and relative bodhicitta realtes to all parts of the eight fold path as one is practicing them with a different view and a different motivation.

And as I was taught, empowerment and direct introduction relate to the higher training of wisdom.
Please explain to me where bodhicitta, etc., are explained in texts dealing with the eight-fold path.

You are conflating the three trainings, śīla, samadhi and prajñā, with the eight-fold path.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


The knowledge imparted through the guru’s instructions that formerly was unknown (avidyā) is vidyā.


—Treasury of the Supreme Vehicle, Longchenpa.

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