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Is the only model of progress along the Buddhist path a linear one?

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Topic starter
(@paulapothiergmail-com)
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Joined: 2 months ago

Thanks so much Alex, for your clear explanations, examples, and insights on Rinpoche's Aspiration teachings.

I noticed in the Week 3 and 4 sessions, (as well as most relative Buddhist teachings), progress on the Buddhist path is presented in a linear way. In week 3, you highlighted progression along the four stages on integrating emptiness, and this week you gave a brief outline of the 10 bhumis as well as the five stages of the Bodhisattva path.

I understand that for the sake of clarity and simplicity, there is a time and place for linear presentation. I also understand that these are relative teachings and that they are more about the cup than the tea, but I am looking for a spiral, iterative model that is more reflective of the lived ups & downs and spirals of human experience along the path to realization - does such a thing currently exist in the Buddhist path / teachings?

The predominantly hierarchical, linear presentation of the Buddhist path seems counter-intuitive to my experience (and perhaps to others' experiences?) - particularly in a post-modern context. I can appreciate that it's a tricky thing to tinker with the cup without disturbing the tea, but perhaps there is a way and perhaps now might be the time.

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(@alexlitrisoglio)
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Joined: 7 years ago

Hi Paula, thanks for your question. I very much agree that any description of path needs to account for "the lived ups & downs and spirals of human experience along the path to realization", but I don't feel I understand your concern fully. What about the current model or presentation do you feel doesn't allow for that? (If it helps, please feel free to refer to one of my analogies, e.g. colours of ski runs, or piano grades, or coloured/black belts in martial arts etc)

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Posts: 3
Topic starter
(@paulapothiergmail-com)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago

Thanks for your response, Alex. I greatly appreciate your many vivid analogies and colourful examples that make these teachings and their application 'pop'. 

Unfortunately, I can't provide any further explanation about my question concerning the linearity of the presentation, structure and stages of the Buddhist path. Although I feel like there's something important here, maybe the question is not relevant at this time. Perhaps at the right place, right time, and in the right context, someone with greater vision (perhaps an Indigenous world view) and facility of the English language than I will bring this forward in a more digestible format.

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