Author Topic: What is the measure of spiritual progress?  (Read 17571 times)

WoselTenzin

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2011, 02:02:22 PM »

If a person cease feeling attached to worldly materiality (e.g. thinks corporate politics is the worst thing to do), does this mean this person is making some progress spiritually?

One measure of having progressed spiritually is when one's selfishness decreases and one's concern for others increases.  As a result, one's action would become more and more beneficial to others and one self. 

For eg in this case, a person begin to realize that corporate politics that hurt others and create schism is bad when in the past he thinks that it is part of a survival necessity.  As a result, he is willing to put his survival in corporate politics at stake because he does not want to be involved in actions that hurt others for the benefit of himself.

This is a sign of spiritual progress because concern for others more than self has increased.


pgdharma

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2011, 02:37:13 PM »
Thank you all for sharing, all the points raised make perfect sense to me, and they are very good points for reflection on whether we are progressing at the right direction, spiritually.

Just to add:
If a person cease feeling attached to worldly materiality (e.g. thinks corporate politics is the worst thing to do), does this mean this person is making some progress spiritually?
Yes this is the sign of spiritual  progress. When a person realized  that corporate politics is the worst thing to do, he will  be more mindful of his actions and will not do things that will harm or hurt others but will instead try to find a better solution and action that will be of benefit to others.

In my opinion, just to have that  realization is a  first step towards spiritual progress.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #17 on: December 04, 2011, 02:59:00 PM »
Besides positive feed back from people around you, the best judge of whether you have progressed in your spiritual path is yourself.

It had not been easy for me, there are days I feel kind and compassionate and truly practising bodhichitta and there are days I feel like screaming at the next person.  During those days of wanting to scream at someone else, and being able to stop myself and to realize Buddha's teaching of emptiness, is when I realized I may have progressed. That is the reason why Buddhism is a Practice.  With time, we will progress and results are often very visible.

When you meet great practitioners, you can actually see for they glow and they care and the patience they have is inspiring. And I must add these practitioners may be people you meet for the first time.

I am very inspired by Buddha's teaching that there is a buddha in each and every one of us, and so just do not judge too much but keep on being aware of your thoughts, speech and actions and we will progress.

hope rainbow

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2011, 01:32:35 PM »
How can we tell whether a person has progressed spiritually?

In a nutshell:    Is he getting happier?

negra orquida

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2012, 12:03:19 AM »
I think Klein summed it up pretty much:

1) Are we less attached? --> to pursuits which before spirituality, we thought was ok and gave us happiness e.g. shopping sprees, gossiping, drinking, looking for relationships, clubbing, over eating, being right...

2) Do we have less negative emotions? --> better able to control our reaction towards unpleasant/pleasant situations e.g. someone blames us for something we didn't do, we don't defend with anger, we immediately watch our mind and turn it into a situation to practice equanimity.  Maybe we even go out to look for difficult people so we can practice dharma!

3) Are we benefitting others more regardless of how we are inconvenienced? --> we think more about how to help others and don't grumble about having to drive an extra 10km, wait another 15 minutes, or sleeping 2 hours less to do something beneficial for someone else directly or indirectly.

4) Are we kinder? --> not just to "nice" humans, but also to nasty people and other beings such as animals, insects and spirits (if we can see them).

yontenjamyang

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2012, 09:21:44 AM »
All the points made by KG, PC, BU and NO are very good measures of ones spiritual progress.

Just like to add that spiritual progress can be measured also in the 6 perfections. For beginners, the first 4 perfections ie generosity, moral discipline, patience and effort, and for more advance practitioners, mental states of tranquil abiding and superior seeing.

The ultimate measure to all the above is how many people/beings and how much are they benefiting from you directly or indirectly, now and/or future.

Also, compare a lay person who benefit many and a monk who spend his life meditating. Who has higher spiritual progress? I think very difficult to measure. Each has his own path.

vajratruth

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2012, 05:36:54 PM »
This is indeed a very good question. There are no "industrial standards and measure" for spiritual progress and I believe that as Dharma becomes more and more a natural part of our lives, we develop a more acute awareness of this state of samsara we are in and how insignificant our worldly life is. As a guide of our spiritual progress the following may be good guidelines:

(i) Are we spending less time on ourselves, our problems and hang-ups, depressions, anger, desire and so on, and instead are we spending more time and mind space on looking out for the well being of others?

(ii) Are our minds lighter i.e we are not taking mundane things so seriously. This is as opposed to not caring, on the contrary, it is understanding the nature of samsara?

(iii) For those of us who are fortunate enough to have a Guru, are we volunteering more and carrying out the instructions of the Guru without complaints?

(iv) Are we developing more empathy and are we better at recognizing the suffering of others?

(v) Are we becoming less rigid in the way we think and perceive people and the world?

 

dorjedakini

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2012, 11:33:33 PM »
The ultimate measure to all the above is how many people/beings and how much are they benefiting from you directly or indirectly, now and/or future.

I agree with you yontenjamyang. We can check ourselves whether or not we are still angersome, or we can let go faster...etc. Besides all the points mentioned above, I think that how to measure our spiritual progress is how many people we have nurtured them into spiritual practice. In order to let people to believe in what you have been practicing, we need to transform and practice.

After many years if we are unable to convince our family members, friends, partner that what we are practicing is correct or bring them into Dharma, then it is a very clear sign that we did not transform enough.

Vajraprotector

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #23 on: July 13, 2012, 01:54:20 PM »
I recently read an article by Pema Chodron and thought it is relevant to this topic.

Traditional teachings tell us that one sign of progress in our practice is that our kleshas diminish. Kleshas are the strong conflicting emotions that spin off and heighten when we get caught by aversion and attraction.

Another sign of progress is that we can begin to acknowledge what is happening, that we realise we are acknowledging more, and that our acknowledgment is compassionate—not judgmental, parental or authoritarian. For example, when we wish to be kind, we become more aware of our selfishness. When we want to be generous, our stinginess comes into focus. Acknowledging what is, with honesty and compassion; continually training in letting thoughts go and in softening when we are hardening—these are steps on the path of awakening. That's how kleshas begin to diminish. It is how we develop trust in the basic openness and kindness of our being.

Having acknowledged what is happening, we may find that we can do something different from what we usually do. On the other hand, we may discover or be in a state where "I see what I do, but I can't stop it." It is not practical to expect a person to totally abandon our negative emotions and able to react positively or do the opposite immediately. However, according to Pema Chodron, at this stage, “to acknowledge that we are doing all these things is in itself an enormous step”.

Tammy

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Re: What is the measure of spiritual progress?
« Reply #24 on: July 14, 2012, 06:21:52 AM »
There is no one but ourselves to 'measure' our own spiritual progress. Spirituality is not how long we pray each day, not which yidam we have, how many people we introduced to the Buddhist centre we belonged and how much money and effort we have contributed to he spread of dharma. These are all 'external' elements.

Truly spirituality is when we start to care more for other people then ourselves, putting other people's welfare before us, have become more patient over time, remember what we pray and apply Buddhda's teaching of generosity, humanity and compassion in our day-to-day life, we know we have gain some level of spirituality.

Measurement of spiritual progress is how 'natural' these good qualities have become part of you and the more at ease when you are doing it, the more 'attained' you will be...
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