Author Topic: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water  (Read 6132 times)

DS Star

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Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« on: July 01, 2012, 10:55:57 PM »
While doing my daily water offerings to Buddha, I have this tiny realization.

When we want to share Dharma with other people, we have to follow the way how we pour the water into the bowl...

When pouring water, we must be careful not to spill it; we must know from which angle we can pour and to which point of the bowl we should aim; we must also study the shape of the bowl and to control the speed of pouring as it can cause the water to spill out; we must also take note not to pour too much or too little.

Similarly, when sharing Dharma, we must be extremely careful and alert, must know which angle to approach and the speed of how we share, be humble, must 'study' the person's basic understanding on the subject matter... Lastly, we also must know how much we can share for that particular moments to avoid scaring off the person.

Agreed?

Jessie Fong

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 11:59:37 PM »
The way you fill up your water offering bowls is your style of doing and completing a specified action.  Another person may do it differently, but still achieve the same result - the bowls are filled up in the end.

IN sharing here, I believe you are talking as "giving", the gift of Dharma, your own experiences encountered and how with Dharma you have been able to take it all in your stride in this roller-coaster world of expectations from other people.

I would say that sharing Dharma with other people is also like sharing in other instances : simple daily actions of sharing food, for example, if you feel you have too much food served to you, you would want to ask your friends to help themselves to the extra serving.  However, you do not push the food to them, rather ask them if they wold like to help you finish.  There is also a skilful way to share.

We must be aware in of our speech and action in every situation in trying to get our message across and this happens daily.

Carpenter

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2012, 02:21:59 AM »
I kind of agree with what you say here, but using water offering to describe the skillfulness of Dharma teaching, it seems like something missing, because the shape of the bowl is fixed, how you pour the water is limited, but human is so, so much more different, everyone and everybody are just so different that even Buddha has to create 84,000 method of Teachings.

Like the story of Kisagotami, she has a son that died suddenly, she didn’t know what to do, so she went on to call for help, trying to revive her son, and she just couldn’t let go, so Buddha used a very skillful way to make her  realize, the story below:

She went to Prince Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's Monastery, where the Buddha was staying. She arrived in the middle of a discourse being given by the Buddha to a large congregation. Totally despairing and in tears, with the corpse of the child in her arms, she begged the Buddha, "Master, give me medicine for my son." The Awakened One interrupted his teaching and replied kindly that he knew of a medicine. Hopefully she inquired what that could be.

"Mustard seeds," the Enlightened One replied, astounding everyone present.

Joyfully, Kisagotami inquired where she should go to obtain them and what kind to get. The Buddha replied that she need only bring a very small quantity from any house where no one had died. She trusted the Blessed One's words and went to the town. At the first house, she asked whether any mustard seeds were available. "Certainly," was the reply. "Could I have a few seeds?" she inquired. "Of course," she was told, and some seeds were brought to her. But then she asked the second question, which she had not deemed quite as important: whether anyone had died in this house. "But of course," the people told her. And so it went everywhere. In one house someone; had died recently, in another house some time ago. She could not find any house where no one had died. The dead ones are more numerous than the living ones, she was told.

Towards evening she finally realized that not only she was stricken by the death of a loved one, but this was the common human fate. What no words had been able to convey to her, her own experience going from door to door made clear to her. She understood the law of existence, the being fettered to the always re-occurring deaths. In this way, the Buddha was able to heal her obsession and bring her to an acceptance of reality. Kisagotami no longer refused to believe that her child was dead, but understood that death is the destiny of all beings.

biggyboy

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 05:03:14 AM »
Your description of water offering presents an interesting analogy to the sharing of dharma.
However there is a limitation as to how much water a bowl can contain, whereas the human brain can contain infinite amount of teachings if one is receptive and accepting.

In sharing dharma successfully, I believe that one must have the following prerequisite:

1.   Knowledge
2.   Experience/Practice
3.   Humility- one must never express ones believe as superior to others.
4.   Attitude - no personal agendas
5.   Representative - represent dharma well
6.   Dedication - a total committed dedication to teach
7.   Perseverance - not giving up
8.   Patience
9.   Sensitive to ones feelings - unconditional love and care for others
10. Genuine interest in the listener as well in sharing.
11. Skillful in communication- To be able to explain clearly.
12. Sense of humour - at appropriate times to convey message across.




ratanasutra

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 05:53:06 AM »
I will say that the sillful method of sharing Dharma with other by observing their response, actions, expression, interaction are very importance otherwise we just went on and on with what we want them to know, but the another person gain nothing, as we always excited to share what we know with other and we try to give the most of what we know but it doesn't work in that way.

Apart from the skillful way of sharing and knowledgeable I think most of people are looking from the person who sharing Dharma  is the sincerity and how that person have put it into the practice/action, otherwise it just a kind of lecture.

 

bambi

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 07:10:48 AM »
I totally agree with you DS Star. We do need skillful methods and humility in approaching such a delicate matter.

Back when I was 'new', I'd always go around talking and talking about Dharma to people who have no idea what I was talking about. There were times that I got yelled at for always talking about Dharma. I was so excited and I wanted to share the wonderful teachings with everyone I came in contact with. But I was wrong!  :-[

I am 'smarter' now for I only talk about Dharma to those who share the same interest. To non Dharma people, I will use alternate ways to convey it.  8)

Jessie Fong

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 08:50:24 AM »
I totally agree with you DS Star. We do need skillful methods and humility in approaching such a delicate matter.

Back when I was 'new', I'd always go around talking and talking about Dharma to people who have no idea what I was talking about. There were times that I got yelled at for always talking about Dharma. I was so excited and I wanted to share the wonderful teachings with everyone I came in contact with. But I was wrong!  :-[

I am 'smarter' now for I only talk about Dharma to those who share the same interest. To non Dharma people, I will use alternate ways to convey it.  8)



You just could not wait to spread your enthusiasm, right?
I guess you found the wrong type of audience.

In this instance, we have the speaker (you) and the target audience (everyone else around you).
Here you are, just jumping up and down trying to spread whatever you have learned and there you have people who were not willing to listen.  Kind of frustrating, isn't it?

Did you feel lost that you were going against a concrete wall?  How did you bounce back?


Tammy

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2012, 09:11:41 AM »
Absolutely !! this is exactly why Buddha had 84,000 teachings - why so many? To cater for different levels of spirituality (or the lack of it). It is not possible to teach 'Theory of Black Hole' to a 3-year old and if we force it through, the result would have been either the teacher himself or the student go crazy!

This is also why there is Lamrim (Graded path to enlightenment) - from elementary to the highest teaching. The foundation of dharma teachings should be very firm before we are ready to accept and understand the meaning of, for example, emptiness.

That's why the initial practice of water offerings, prostrations, light offerings are so important before a person is being initiated to tantric practices. Because without clearing our obstacles of our body, speech and mind, tantric practices will not bring any benefit to us.
Down with the BAN!!!

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2015, 03:12:53 PM »
I agree with DS Star that while sharing the Dharma is a skilful means and using the analogy of pouring water is good illustration in the sense that it is the awareness of what the listener finds comprehensible is the most important essence of sharing the Dharma.

Most lay people share the Dharma by expounding their knowledge and forgetting that the person to whom you are sharing may not have the capacity to grasp the essence of the Dharma.

However when the motivation to share the Dharma is to benefit the person, I believe that one way or the other the method will be correct.

Good results start from good motivation.

MoMo

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2015, 02:57:32 PM »
I like what you had said “Good results start from good motivation.” Dundrop S. Before we can impart any Dharma to others, we must first be a good listener gauging the audience mental deposition and put their needs before our own ego thinking that we’re a great teacher and make out the Dharma that we are not familiar with but and only heard about or read somewhere. If it was with a large audience like it was in a class or certain set topic, we must make it in a way that they strike at the heart of individual listener. Always had dialog and analogy to keep the class fresh and easily followed. Never, never turns it into single person talking, text bookish and you will soon find your students start dozing off cos they could have read the text themselves!!  :'(
This is speaking from a student point of view.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2015, 05:27:44 PM »
The thing to remember, MoMo when sharing the Dharma is the simple fact that we are sharing.  Until we sit a a throne, there should be no ego as lay people.  By the way in order for no misunderstanding all the great teaching Lamas who sit on thrones, do not have ego.

In any form or order the Dharma only benefits others when all ego are erased.  Tough job isn't it.  But let us continue to practise and share the Dharma.  The greatest gift is the gift of the Dharma. 

Pema8

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2015, 01:59:51 AM »
I like the way you described the way of the water. To be aware and not overflow, just the perfect amount. But for me this is different when sharing with someone dharma. And not so easy to see where to stop and what to share.
Humans have brains so maybe they will remember what you have shared in times of need. Also they might share with someone else what they have learnt.
Even animals will remember your kindness.
So the motivation is very important. So to me it is to set the correct motivation which is most important. And being skilful  ;)

pinecone

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2015, 02:55:36 PM »
Thank you DS star for the beautiful analogy which relates to the methods and ways of sharing the dharma. When sharing Dharma with others, I will based my  sharing on my very own experience of the practice rather than about  theoretical topics and we may also realize that many of us share similar difficulties and aspirations. Thus,  we have to be mindful,  truthful and allow the listener a ‘cooling off’ period to contemplate instead of shoving the dharma down to someone’s throat!

cookie

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2015, 04:11:12 PM »
One of the reasons that in Tibetan traditions we offer water because water is plentiful and free and hence it should be painless to give them away. The idea is that all of our offerings should be given as freely as we would give water. Similarly with sharing Dharma, we should give or share Dharma freely, unconditionally and with pure motivation to benefit the other party; not for selfish reasons. For the sharing to be effective we have to be very skillful. Most importantly the motivation must be pure. With this selfless approach in mind we will not get hurt when others react negatively towards us. Also it is important not to "preach" as that will push people away from Buddhism. It helps to pray for perfect conditions to set it for Dharma seed to manifest in a person's mind.

eyesoftara

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Re: Skillful means in sharing Dharma - the way of water
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2015, 09:51:21 AM »
Agreed. Like skillful medic we must be aware of the conditions of the patient. Check the alertness, pulse and complains of the patient before administering treatment and medicine. Best too to bring them to the doctor. But if the patient do not think they are sick, how can there agree to see the doctor or take the medicine?

So, there need to be a period of getting to know each other to develop trust. Giving gift is also a good idea and is one of the things that is said in the Lamrim how a Guru attract students. Be there for them for we know there are surely occasions when the ears are willing to listen to the Dharma and the mind is willing to practice. Else, we can still plants seeds of the Dharma.