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Alan

Adaptation or alteration to the West?

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Hello,

I'm sometime wondering how much we should really follow tradition, in the sense of the cultural inputs.

Like, what is important or not in the clothing of the Buddhists lays and monks?

Is it important to wear specific clothes for meditation for example?

Shall we speak Tibetan language?

Regards, Alan

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An answer from Lama Shenphen Rinpoche:

 

Along centuries of traditions, clothes have changed and adapted to places, weather conditions, prices as regarding to some colors, etc. Yet, they often kept a certain meaning.

 

Surely, it is not important to dress as a Tibetan to practice Buddhism, even though Buddhism from Tibetan tradition.

Yet, we might take in consideration the necessary ease of the body to take some positions which help the meditation. In some type of practices (dealing with subtle energies) the position becomes even very important!

Many trousers for example do block the blood circulation, and consequently the energy circulation. When energies are blocked, the meditation can't go correctly. And even some rather heavy disturbances can occur, named "lung" in Tibetan. Such disturbances can make one completely crazy, or generate more subtle mental imbalances.

Thus, the importance of a qualified guidance in such practices, and clothes adapted to the position required.

 

Usual lay clothes in the West might fit with simple and usual meditation, but are inappropriate for advanced practice.

 

No need to dress as a Tibetan to practice Buddhism of Tibetan inspiration. As well as no need to dress as Westerner to 'practice' Western life!

We shall also remember that the Buddha said the maroon, blue, and yellow color are the colors the most appropriate for spiritual practices. And when they will be not used anymore, Dharma will end.

 

It seems a common mistakes nowadays to believe that for Westerners to accept Buddha-Dharma, it has to fit with the Western cultural habits! Like if you wish to teach prisoners you have to wear jail clothes! Or like if you wish to teach sinners you have to sin yourself! Or also like if you wish to teach lay people, you should be lay yourself. These two last sounds often as lousy excuses.

 

I would tend to believe at the contrary that seriously engaged Dharma practitioners have to be an example, in all the aspects of their behaviors. And there is no shame to wear different cloths, or to behave in a Compassionate way (often taken as a weakness in the West). As well as there is no shame to perform correct prostration (a good way to work on our ego, and display a correct example of humility and respect.. whith which many Westerners have problem!).

 

By adapting too much, one might lose the whole point of the practice, the basic important principles of ethics, up to engaging in erroneous direction taken them as true Dharma! The only guaranty to the true Dharma is the tradition coming directly from the Buddha.

Buddhas, in their Omniscience, have always foresee what the future will be, were the Dharma will go. When you know the Sacred Texts, such as the Vinaya (Rule and Conducts) you can see where the Buddhas have let the door open to adaptation, and where it has to remain exactly as taught initially.

 

 

Thank you.

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Tashi Delek.

 

Yet, we might take in consideration the necessary ease of the body to take some positions which help the meditation.

 

I would like to ask what should one do, if a tension of the body arises during the meditation despite of wearing appropriate clothes.

 

Best regards,

Simona

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Tashi Delek.

 

Well, may be my question was not clear enough. :) It is that during the meditation one can become aware of some tensions, which are hiding in some areas of the body for a longer time, but one is not aware of them in the daily life full of jumping here and there, with the mind always busy about the further plans, etc., and of course one does not even notice such tensions or might simply get used to them. But, when the mind became silent, also some blockages became more obvious as they wouldn`t,

if not meditating.

So, when one find hidden tensions (personally, I think it is better to find them before they turn into a serious disease), how to remove them? Is it enough just to listen the body, i. e. become aware of them and accept them? When reading about the meditation, usually there is about thoughts, how to let them go and so on, but I guess that during the meditation there is a great opportunity to heal the body and correspondingly different negative states of mind, which leads to the great misunderstanding of oneself, the others and a world, as well.

 

Best regards, :wink:

Simona

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Guest Ani.Chödrön

Tashi delek,

 

But, when the mind became silent, also some blockages became more obvious as they wouldn`t, if not meditating.

 

In short term different turbulences become obvious, through time they disappear. The aim of meditation is pacification of mind and consequently deeper concentration.

 

how to remove them?

 

It depends if you are following Sutrayana or Tantrayana; and on your mind, your effort and advices of your Teacher. You can combine different ways: pacifying the mind (relaxing, accepting, letting go), developing Bodhicitta (for example by tonglen) and meditation on Emptiness (analysing existence of the tensions); you can stretch your legs, make more short meditations rather one long one etc.

But first you have to be aware of the tensions, also in everyday life, relaxing your body and mind until they stay relaxed. Through everyday practice our body and mind should become more and more calm and supple. After all, our basic nature is clear and all knowing, undisturbed by any inconvenience, completely healed. o:)

 

All the very best,

chödrön

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Tashi Delek, ven. Ani Chödrön. :hello:

 

Through everyday practice our body and mind should become more and more calm and supple.

 

Thank you very much for the answer. In the mean while I have also found out some explanations on this topic. As I understand one is existing on the two levels, bodily and mental at the same time. These two can confirm or disaffirm one another. At the certain point, when this gap is too deep, one screen out a great deal of the data, which would otherwise be available to the senses. Therefore ignorance, disturbing emotions, diseases, etc. Yet, it should to go in the opposite direction. Complete harmony is achived by the complete surrender.

 

Best regards,

Simona l-)

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