Friday, September 12, 2008

Danger of Dhamma Intellectual Knowledge- and not learning from the heart

There are Dhamma speakers out there who teaches Dhamma but do not like meditation. If one do not meditate, then the Dhamma arising from one's heart is from logical deduction. Basically, these people just go about with intellectual debates of the Tipitaka- you can find that in articles, forums and international debates. I am not saying all, but there are some. There is grave kammic consequence especially when one teaches someone meditation but in fact, oneself is not accomplished in meditation- the so called teacher leads the student to darkness and hinders the progress by wrongly intepretrating the pupil's meditation experience.

Thai forest tradition emphasize a lot on development of the heart and sometimes, the meditation method taught cannot be found in books. But the method taught had helped the student to progress in meditation. Language of the heart, as taught by Luangta is very true- that is why I can relate well to the teachings and over time, I've come to know others who can relate to the teachings as well. However, I have been looked down by some of my more 'knowledgeble' friends because I am not familiar and cannot easily quote suttas or Abhidhamma. I used to learn Dhamma in an intellectual way but found my mainstay in learning the Dhamma with my heart.

Dhamma learned intellectually is tainted as the teachings does not go to the heart and the knowledge is based on logic. With no practical, ie meditation, retreat in forests, etc, this knowledge does not get embedded in the heart. And we do not completely trust or have genuine faith if our heart does not believe in the teachings (even though our brain does). The person can be the best Dhamma presenter, speaker or writer- but if the Dhamma is not understood instinctively in the heart, it is no use. No use at all.

So, should the person's world fall apart (8 worldly conditions are real), when unexpected tragedy or suffering arise, the intellectual person becomes ill equipped to deal with the onslaught of emotions and arising of dukkha. The suffering becomes so great but the person was not able to apply the intellectual knowledge to overcome the emotions. Due to this, the person started to lose faith in the Lord Buddha's teaching- thinking that the Dhamma had failed him, when in fact, it was he who had failed the Dhamma in the first place by not being true to the practice.

With 'timely' intervention of missionaries from other religions coming in to further discredit Buddhism, the person, who previously was a Buddhist, converts to the other religion. Some of these former Buddhist also become the person actively attacking Buddhism.

What the person had failed to understand is that they had started to study only the theoritical aspects of Buddhism in order to write or speak in public. It is to satisfy their ego's desires to show off the knowledge especially in debates and forums. When they only know a bit, they want to be known and famous.

Whereas, many Thais are different- in their simplicity, they're more emotionally intelligent, humble and have stronger faith in the Buddha's teachings. They believe in kamma, dana, sila, chanting and helping people. When they have the time, they go to temples to observe the 8 precepts. Even though the practice is also sadly fading, I've known a few Thai women who go to temple to observe 8 precepts for 7, 9 days or 3 months (vassa) and dedicate the merits to their parents or children.

Some foreigners (I am not saying all, but I've known of some) stay in temple for the novelty of it so that they can go back to whenever they came from and boast to their friends that they've done a meditation retreat in Thailand, India or whereever. They do not feel the benefits of following precepts, of learning meditation or doing dana. Perhaps it is also unfortunate that due to language barriers or unfavourable kamma, they did not manage to meet a good teacher to guide them, so half the time, they also do not know what they are doing.

It is important, if we are true Dhamma speakers, to constantly make aspirations so that may we be able to find a true Dhamma teacher who is able to guide and teach us effectively. Constantly pray and reaffirm the aspiration, and always try to do good, help others, and observe at least the 5 precepts. Then one day, the path will unfold- because we are sincere and we want to practice- the Dhamma will not let us down.

1 comment:

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