Friday, July 01, 2016

Gay Pride At Temple

I love this picture. Three friends of mine at The Buddhist Temple of Chicago on Gay Pride Day. We had a big lunch of light refreshments after service and then I went to the board meeting. I have been on the board at temple for about three years. We have all kinds of things we talk about, how to get more engagement among the participants, ideas for parties and events, making sure we have a safe open and diverse sangha for everyone. Some times we talk about prosaic things like the budget or the cleaning schedule....but often these board meetings can be very interesting.

The reason I am on the board is because I head a group called Upaya. Upaya is sanskrit for "skillful means".

From Wiki...."Upaya-kaushalya is a concept emphasizing that practitioners may use their own specific methods or techniques that fit the situation in order to gain enlightenment. The implication is that even if a technique, view, etc., is not ultimately "true" in the highest sense, it may still be an expedient practice to perform or view to hold; i.e., it may bring the practitioner closer to the true realization in a similar way. The exercise of skill to which it refers, the ability to adapt one's message to the audience, is of enormous importance in the Pali Canon.
The Digital Dictionary of Buddhism notes that rendering the Chinese term fangbian into English as 'skillful' or as 'expedient' is often difficult, because the connotations shift according to the context as (1) the teaching being something to marvel at — the fact that the Buddha can present these difficult truths in everyday language (thus, skillful), yet that  they are teachings of a lower order as compared to the ultimate truth, and are far removed from reflecting reality, and are a kind of 'stopgap' measure (thus, expedient)."

This word is interesting to me because it has a similar meaning and history as the concept of "virtue" originally had for ancient peoples. 

Alistair MacIntyre wrote a book that is still haunting me many years later called AFTER VIRTUE. He defines virtue as something attained through practice....and here is his definition of practice...

"Any coherent and complex form of socially established cooperative human activity through which goods internal to that form of activity are realised in the course of trying to achieve those standards of excellence which are appropriate to, and partially definitive of that form of activity, with the result that human powers to achieve excellence, and human conceptions to the ends and goods involved, are systematically extended" (MacIntyre 1985, 187)

In psychology some of this stuff falls into "deliberate practice hypothesis" here:
http://calnewport.com/blog/2012/03/28/the-satisfying-strain-of-learning-hard-material-a-deliberate-practice-case-study/


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