Compact Dhamma

  • This topic has 8 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 6 months ago by Lal.
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    • #43561
      lal54
      Participant

      The following post is by Dosakkhayo:

      Since the last post on “Approach to Dhamma,” I have tried to devise how to make the format of delivering Dhamma more compact. In the process, I met some internal issues about the Pure Dhamma website. I’m not criticizing anyone but pointing out the structural weakness.

      The main issues.
      1. It is difficult for beginners to intuitively grasp what is important by looking at this site.
      Therefore, They get lost in countless posts.
      It can cause tired reading and hard to remember the contents.
      Too many uses of Pali words are also making them harder too.

      2. The Internet site discussion board influences the selection of the Pure Dhamma post’s topic.
      It can lead to Pure Dhamma becoming controversial and wasting time dealing with essential topics in over-local and complicated matters.

      Why do these things happen?
      The website is in the process of continuing to develop.
      The website’s design makes it difficult to grasp the importance of the post at a glance.
      Lal has few sources to gain a good question.
      Also, we should consider the nature of internet posts too.

      How can we solve this?
      First, we need to ask a question more actively. It gives lal a good question that is appropriate for writing quality posts that we need to read.
      Second, to activate the question step, we need to change the direction of posts. Current posts are giving us an explanation of Pali verses. But I think there is a better format for delivering Dhamma. I will cover it in detail below.

    • #43562
      lal54
      Participant

      The following post is by Dosakkhayo:

      Let me show you this youtube video.

      The essence of calculus

      Although this video is about calculus, I’m not showing you this to study calculus. Instead, I would like to show you how to teach advanced knowledge.
      At 0:53, it said: “My goal is for you to come away feeling like they could have invented calculus yourself.”
      I believe we should teach Dhamma just that way. Extract the core idea of a given concept, show them how the core ideas connect, and only give them detailed information once it gets needed.
      We might find a solution to too many Pali word problems here, “extracting the core idea of a given concept”.
      For example, I can teach the importance of removing ditthasava.
      Imagine you are in a maze and blindfolded.
      You can move but can’t see. In this state, you can walk but will be bumped against a wall.
      Now the blindfold is removed. It’s easier than before, but the wall is still too high to seek a way to go out.
      What if you have a bird’s-eye view of the maze?

      Maze solving with dead-end filling algorithm

      Then the only way left is to exit. Like this video.
      But if you don’t get a bird’s-eye view of the maze, you must meet a dead-end alley.

      I have explained so far without Pali, but we got the point about the inside logic of the importance of vipassana meditation and the meaning of getting Buddha’s worldview.

    • #43565
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Dosakkhayo wrote: 

      “2. The Internet site discussion board influences the selection of the Pure Dhamma post’s topic.
      It can lead to Pure Dhamma becoming controversial and wasting time dealing with essential topics in over-local and complicated matters.”

      Are you referring to the forum on puredhamma.net or some other forum?

      • I don’t decide to write posts based solely on discussions at forums. But sometimes, I do when I see the need to clarify an issue.

      Dosakkhayo’s second post with the two videos:

      I am not sure what you are suggesting. Should I be making YouTube videos?

      • May be you should make an example post/video of the type you suggest.
    • #43566
      dosakkhayo
      Participant

      Dosakkhayo wrote: 

      “2. The Internet site discussion board influences the selection of the Pure Dhamma post’s topic.
      It can lead to Pure Dhamma becoming controversial and wasting time dealing with essential topics in over-local and complicated matters.”

      Are you referring to the forum on puredhamma.net or some other forum?

      • I don’t decide to write posts based solely on discussions at forums. But sometimes, I do when I see the need to clarify an issue.

      Dosakkhayo’s second post with the two videos:

      I am not sure what you are suggesting. Should I be making YouTube videos?

      • May be you should make an example post/video of the type you suggest.

      <br />
      <sup>I couldn’t get my message across because I stopped due to a site issue while posting. But I will organize it and reply to you tomorrow.</sup>

    • #43567
      lal54
      Participant

      OK. Please see “Formatting a Post

    • #43737
      dosakkhayo
      Participant

      I’m sorry that it took me a while to get back to you. Sometimes, I’m so absorbed in something that I miss something important. I had a lot of thoughts about how to deliver Dhamma to others. For the last two months, I’ve arranged the teaching of Pure Dhamma in compact order. This work is almost finished, so only the small things remain. I’m making a seven-minute video that introduces this. In fact, when I started this thread, I was going to write it in writing, not video. But the moment you told me ‘if I should make a video,’ I thought I should. I didn’t mean to treat Ariya carelessly, but I wanted to do it more perfectly. Please excuse my tardiness. I will send you a link to the video as soon as I can.

    • #43739
      Lal
      Keymaster

      No problem. Please take the time to make sure it is to your satisfaction.

      Thank you for your efforts and much merit to you and your family!

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #47007
      dosakkhayo
      Participant

      I’ve read all the recent posts. Those deal with deeper analysis. I think this kind of approach is quite effective. Also, people who already have a certain level of understanding will get it and make a lot of progress. I could feel that Ven. Lal wrote it very thoughtfully. I appreciate Lal’s efforts in delivering Dhamma. At this point, I just realized it might be too late to introduce what I have done. With the wisdom of hindsight, it was so important for me to proceed with others instead of trying to do everything on my own because there was a limit to the amount of work I could bear. If only I had known that earlier. From now on, I will share my work progress more often.

      What has been done so far

      I want to tell everyone in the forum how I’ve been so far. Since last year, I’ve been working hard on constructing a Compact Dhamma. In early March of this year, I thought that I finally completed it. However, whenever I thought I was on the verge of last completion to show it to everyone, I found out that the system I created was not a simple form for people to understand, even though Compact Dhamma’s purpose was to provide straightforward explanations for beginners.

      Foolishly, every time I met the same matter, I considered it caused by the fact that I had not organized/systemized enough of my explanation yet. So, I cope with it by starting everything from scratch and creating new explanations again and again. I kept setting up a new axiom and proving or demonstrating everything one by one, even basic ones. For this work, I had to study many different areas like advanced mathematics, philosophy of mind, etc, to get some valuable ideas. Sadly, now I have an entirely logical and meticulous system, but no one can understand it because it is too hard.

      Though I was able to get a deeper understanding of Dhamma, I couldn’t make any tangible outcomes. Not long ago, I looked back on all my efforts to find out some clues. I remember me at the beginning of this work. At that time, I was interested in two things: (i) using visuals to get across the message and (ii) giving a thorough systemic explanation to get a general survey of it.

      I planned a graphic novel and video explaining Dhamma. Shortly, it fell through because I found I was surprisingly bad at drawing. I couldn’t draw even a stick figure. Video making was more difficult. To make a video of fine quality, I had to spend two years just learning the technique. After all, I chose to give up.

      Soon, I moved on to another thing. I was starting to formulate a system of Dhamma in Korean so that Korean people could think about it in their native language. This task was not easy either because I always had in mind to share it with everyone in the Forum when it was completed. But translation into English was very difficult for me. I use just one word to say a given concept in Korean. But in English, a lot of sentences are needed. Because there is no concept like 원리 in English. There were a lot of cases like that. I realized that it’s tremendous what Ven. Lal has done, as I was doing it.

      So, I decided to set up a system in Korean first and think about how to express it in English later. Then, I became trapped in a spiral of restarting, as I wrote above. That is the main reason why I couldn’t ask questions often in the forum. Thankfully, formulating work has made a lot of progress. I’ll talk about it in detail later.

      Literacy and Dhamma

      Those trials and errors discouraged me greatly, but they also allowed me to ask many good questions: How can I help people walk the Noble path? Where should I start explaining? How can I explain advanced topics easily? What is a perfect teaching sequence of Dhamma? What is most important in Buddha Dhamma? And now, I can see all the questions converge on one subject: “How to paraphrase Dhamma.”

      I was doing it all the time, but I didn’t know exactly what it was. What I was about to do was paraphrase Dhamma so that more people could access it easily. So, I hope we can have some deep discussions about how to teach Dhamma together because it is not only a matter of Dhamma but also a matter of teaching. I think what we’ve been overlooking is that literacy is much more important than we thought in learning and teaching Dhamma.

      Literacy is more than the ability to read and write texts. It includes the ability to find what are meaningful questions about a particular topic, to distinguish them from not, to put together information and sum up the meaning, and to conclude by oneself. The attainment of the Sotapanna stage means one can do what I just said without anyone’s help.

      Let me explain it with an example. Let’s say John here. He wants to travel to Japan, but he doesn’t know any Japanese. John is not a learning-like person, so he figured out other ways to travel rather than learn Japanese. He decided to buy a very large and expensive book. On one page of the book, English sentences that he wants to speak are written. Japanese sentences corresponding to them are written on the other page. Thanks to the book, John will have a good trip to Japan. But no one will think that John has a lingual knowledge of Japanese, even himself! He could not speak Japanese, not even a word, without the book. If he prepares for the Japanese test, he should study Japanese until he doesn’t need the book to talk in Japanese.

      It’s easy for us to see that it is the right purpose to learn something. I saw people apply it to other subjects well, but for some reason, especially when learning Dhamma, they often could not apply it in the same way. Many people who believe that they are trying to live with Dhamma, are doing things that have nothing to do with Dhamma. They just learn how to get used to reading and writing with Pali words, and how to put Pali words into Korean sentences instead of easy words in everyday life. And the more they become good at it, the more they believe they have a better understanding of Buddha Dhamma than before. They follow words, not meaning. They said, ‘We need to live by dhammavinaya’ accustomedly, but only read Tipitaka without understanding, just like in John’s case.

      I’m not saying it to blame anyone else. And I don’t believe these people do it because they don’t want to follow Buddha’s teachings either. I’m just describing what really happens to face up to the problem and come up with a solution. I DO believe if we don’t take appropriate measures to the problem of literacy seriously, Dhamma will be distorted again much sooner than we expect.

      Any person who learned Dhamma properly should be able to think and choose on their own in their life and ultimately become an Arahant. If someone is learning in a way that doesn’t meet any of it, he/she is making an effort that has nothing to do with Dhamma. We should keep it in mind whether you are learning or teaching. And I don’t think Ven. Lal didn’t point it out. In fact, he has consistently emphasized it.

      Surprisingly, we already know a very simple answer to why the whole problem repeatedly arises: Because it is HARD to get critical thinking skills. It is hard to grasp Dhamma concepts truly. In samsara, not knowing something is more natural than knowing something. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything here.

      Core Problem and Solution

      Let’s come back to the problem that we’re facing now. I was completely mistaken about it before. I thought people had difficulty reading the Pure Dhamma Website because there were too many Pali words in the posts. However, it has nothing to do with using Pali words in posts. The core problem is highly related to the fact that critical thinking skill is not easy to cultivate.

      In my opinion, people make wrong efforts because they find it challenging to figure two things out: (a) the meaning of a given Dhamma concept trying to convey, and (b) the meaning of what one understands Dhamma concepts. These things strengthen each other again and again. So I think we(or I) need to start with the most basic level (like what is a worldview, and what is the meaning of learning a worldview) so people don’t get lost in a flood of concepts.

      Of course, it is a very laborious task. But I believe we can make it because I’ve already made it.

      It’s too late (4:30 AM), so I need to go to sleep and later back. I think I can post the rest tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. 

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #47010
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Thank you for taking the time to write your thoughts.

      • It is not easy to explain concepts using any language. It becomes a bit harder with Tipitaka Pali since it is not just about the language, but also about entirely new concepts.
      • I have been working on the next post for many days now. Since I am trying to convey the deep concepts in the Mulapariyaya Sutta, I find it extremely challenging, even though I have written several posts trying to provide the necessary background.
      • So, what you say is true. But you will get better at it. Take the time, and don’t get stressed!
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