Hello wonderful community at /r/buddhism,
I'm feeling a bit stuck and stagnant in my development. I've read books, and developed a decent foundation and understanding. My trouble now is in enacting the practical side of things.
Particularly (I believe) with Right Speech, Thought, and Action, though of course the entirety of the path as well. I highlight those 3 because I deal with a good deal of negativity towards myself and sometimes find myself behaving in a way towards others that is unskillful.
Though I have a history of depression, I wouldn't classify my current state as depressed. But, I feel like bringing up that word illustrates a lot of what I'm struggling with. In addition I deal with body image, social anxiety, etc.
ON TO MY PREDICAMENT... I need teaching, mentoring, something. I live in NYC and there is not a shortage of meditation groups. Actually the sheer volume of options is, in part, a problem.
I feel like I would benefit most from one-on-one instruction, but I don't have the connections or know where to start. Google has only turned up so much. I have reached out to a number of individuals. Some were unable to help at this time and some did not get back to me at all.
My job makes making afternoon or evening classes difficult. Every time I find a class it seems to already be underway or during a time I cannot make. I hope this doesn't come off as a list of excuses. I truly want to make the time and devote myself.
So, where can I go from here? How can I find someone to guide me?
Book after book is nice, but it lacks the practical application and the assessment that a teacher brings, not to mention the tailored development.
Any insight you might have would be greatly appreciated.submitted by TheBridgeburners
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So the people that Buddhists hold in the highest regards as teachers and people worth listening to because of their achievements, insights, attainments etc, the great people of the Buddhist tradition: none of them were atheists or secular Buddhists.
All of them were what would be dismissed as woo-woo religious believers by many atheists like Richard Dawkins, if not for believing in such things, then actually being peddlers of such 'nonsense' like unnatural powers like being able to walk through walls.
I don't know if the secular Buddhists are right or not, but I would like to know if anyone of them has actually seriously gone down the path of awakening to the extent that we should take them as teachers. Because I'd gladly take as a teacher a crazy religious believer who believed in 'bullshit' but who was kind, compassionate, and well on his/her way to becoming a bodhisattva, over a super scientific dude who wasn't. If secular Buddhists are right and all the things like praying isn't important to the Buddhist path, why is it that those primitive, supersititous Buddhist masters of our tradition are the ones who are furthest down the path?
Why is it that we celebrate Shantideva, who flew up into the sky while reciting the Way of the Bodhisattva, and not Sam Harris, who if he's right, should be a much better Buddhist and closer to being awakened than some poor Indian fool who believed in rebirth?
Has anyone actually become a better Buddhist, have they become awakened by becoming super scientific and super rational and super non-religious etc?submitted by paniniconqueso
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Suppose there was an elder.
Who had a large house,
Which was very old,
And so was collapsing.
The halls were high and precarious,
The pillars rotting at their bases,
The beams and ridgepoles aslant,
The foundations and stairways crumbling.
The walls and partitions were cracked and ruined,
The plaster flaking and falling off.
The thatch was falling every which way,
And the rafters and eavepoles were coming loose.
The partitions on all sides were bent and misshapen;
It was filled with all kinds of filth.
There were five hundred people
Dwelling within it. There were kites owls, hawks and vultures,
Crows, magpies, pigeons, and doves,
Black snakes, vipers, and scorpions,
Centipedes and millipedes.
There were geckoes and myriapods,
Wweasels, badgers, and mice--
All sorts of evil creatures,
Running back and forth.
There were places stinking of excrement and urine,
Oozing with filth,
With dung beetles
Clustered upon them.
There were foxes, wolves, and Yeh Kan,
Who nibbled at, trampled on,
And devoured corpses,
Scattering the bones and flesh.
Then packs of dogs
Came running to grab them,
Hungry, weak, and terrified,
Seeking food everywhere,
Fighting and shoving,
Snarling, howling, and barking.
The terrors in that house,
And the sights wee such as these.
Li Mei and Wang Liang
Yakshas and evil ghosts
Were eating human flesh.
There were poisonous creatures of all kinds,
And evil birds and beasts,
Hhatching their young,
Each protecting its own.
Yakshas raced to the spot
Fighting one another to eat them.
Having eaten their fill,
Their evil thoughts grew more inflamed.
The sound of their quarrelling,
Was dreadful to the extreme.
Were squatting on high ground,
Sometimes leaving the ground
Aa foot or two,
As they wandered to and fro
Amusing themselves as they wished,
Grabbing dogs by two legs,
And striking them so they lost their bark,
Twisting their legs around their necks,
Frightening the dogs for their own pleasure.
Further there were ghosts,
Their bodies very tall and large,
Naked, blacked, and thin,
Always dwelling therein,
Emitting loud and evil sounds,
Howling in search of food.
Further there were ghosts
With throats like needles.
Again there were ghosts
With heads like oxen,
Now eating human flesh,
And then devouring dogs.
Their hair was dishevelled
They were harmful, cruel and dangerous,
Oppressed by hunger and thirst,
They ran about shouting and crying out.
There were Yakshas, hungry ghosts,
And all sorts of evil birds and beasts,
Frantic with hunger, facing the four directions,
Peeking out the windows.
Such were the troubles
And terrors beyond measure there.
This old, decaying house
Belonged to a man
Who had gone but a short distance
When, before very long,
The rear rooms of the house
Suddenly caught fire.
All at one, all four sides
Were enveloped by raging flames.
The beams, ridgepoles, rafters, and pillars
Shook and split with the sound of explosion,
Snapped apart and fell,
As the walls and partitions collapses and fell in.
All the ghosts and spirits
While the hawks, vultures, and other birds,
The Kumbhandas, and so forth,
Ran about in a panic,
Unable to get themselves out.
Evil beasts and poisonous insects
Hid away in the holes and crevices,
While the Pishacha ghosts
Also dwelt therein.
Their blessings and virtue scanty,
They were hard pressed by the fire;
They wrought harm on one another,
Drinking blood and eating flesh.
As the packs of Yeh Kan
Were already dead,
Monstrous evil beasts
Raced to devour them,
While billows of stinking smoke
Permeated all four sides.
Centipedes and millipedes,
And various kinds of poisonous snakes,
Burnt by the fire,
Fought to escape their holes.
Grabbed and ate them.
Further, all the hungry ghosts,
The tops of their heads aflame,
Tormented by hunger, thirst, and heat,
Ran about in terror and distress.
So it was in that house:
Terrifying to the extreme,
With dangers and conflagrations--
A host of troubles, not just one.
At that time the owner of the house
Was standing outside the door
When he heard someone say,
"All of your children
Awhile ago, in play,
Went into this house.
Being young and ignorant,
They delight in play and cling to amusement."
Having heard this, the elder
Entered the burning house, in alarm.
Intending to save them
From being burned
He warned his children
Of the host of disasters:
"The evil ghosts, the poisonous insects
And the speading conflagration,
A host of sufferings, in succession
Are continuous, without interruption.
The poisonous snakes and vipers
And all the Yakshas,
And Kumbhanda ghosts,
Yeh Kan, foxes, and dogs,
Hawks, vultures, kites, and owls,
And varieties of centipedes
Are frantic with hunger and thirst,
And terrifying to the extreme.
There are so many sufferings and troubles,
So much increased by this great fire!"
But all the children, without knowledge,
Although they heard their father’s warnings,
Still clung to their amusements
And sported without cease.
At that time, the elder
Further had this thought:
"Being like this, my children
Add to my worry and distress;
Now, in this house, there is not
A single thing in which to take pleasure,
And yet all these children
Are intoxicated by their play.
Not heeding my instructions,
They will be injured in the fire."
Just then he thought
To devise expedients.
He said to the children,
"I have all kinds
Of precious playthings:
Fine carriages, wonderful, bejewelled
Sheep carts, and deer carts,
And great ox carts,
Now, right outside the door.
So come out, all of you,
For I have, just for you,
Had these carts made.
Just as you wish,
You can play with them."
When the children heard him speak
Of carriages such as these,
They immediately raced out in a scramble,
To a clearing where
They were then safe from harm.
The elder, seeing that his children
Had escaped the burning house,
And were standing at the crossroads,
Sat on his lion’s throne
And rejoiced to himself, saying,
"Now, I am happy!
All of these children
Were hard to bring into the world and raise;
Stupid, young, and without knowledge,
They went into this dangerous house,
Swarming with poisonous insects
And fearful Li Mei ghosts,
Ablaze with a great fire,
Raging on all sides.
But all these children
Still clung to their amusements.
I have now rescued them
And save them from disaster.
Therefore, of all people,
I am the happiest!"
Then, all the children,
Knowing their father was sitting at ease,
All went before him
And addressed him saying,
"Please give to us the three jewelled carts
That you promised to us, saying,
‘If you children come out
I will give you three carts
Just like you wanted.’
Now the time has come,
Please give them to us!"
The elder, having great wealth,
And storehouses containing much
Gold, silver, and lapis lazuli,
Mother-of-pearl and carnelian,
Used these precious things
To make several great carts.
They were decorated and adorned,
Surrounded by railings,
Hung with bells on all four sides,
With golden cords strung about them,
And gem-studded nets
Spread above them.
There were golden flowered tassels
Hanging from them everywhere,
And various multi-colored ornaments
Soft silk and cotton
Made up the cushions,
And fine coverings,
Valued in the thousands of millions,
Pure white and sparkling clean
Were spead atop them.
Great white oxen,
Plump, strong, and powerful,
Of fine appearance,
Were yoked to the precious carts.
They were surrounded by many footmen
Who were attending to them.
Such fine carriages as these
Were given equally to all the children.
Then all the children
Danced for joy;
They mounted their jeweled carts
And rode off into the four directions,
Happily amusing themselves
In unobstructed comfort.
I tell you, Shariputra,
I am like this, too,
The honored among many sages,
The father of the worlds.
All living beings
Are my children;
Deeply attached to worldly pleasures,
They have no wise thoughts at all.
In the Three Realms there is no peace;
They are like a burning house.
Filled with many sufferings,
And frightening indeed.
Ever present are the woes
Of birth, old age, sickness, death,
Fires such as these,
Raging without cease.
The Thus Come One has already left
The Three Realms burning house behind.
Quietly I dwell at ease,
In forest and field at peace.
And now it is, that the Three Realms,
Entirely belong to me,
And in them all the living beings
Are children of mine.
But now, this place
Is filled with calamities,
And I am the only one
Able to rescue them.
Although I instruct them,
They do not believe or accept,
Because of their deep attachment and greed
Too all the defiling desires.
Using the expedients,
I speak to them of Three Vehicles,
Causing all living beings
To understand the pain of the Three Realms.
I reveal and extensively proclaim
The path which transcends the world.
All of these children,
If they fix their minds,
Can perfect the Three Clarities
And the Six Spiritual Powers.
Some shall become Conditioned-enlightened Ones,
And others irreversible Bodhisattvas.
I, for living beings,
Speak this parable
Of the One Buddha Vehicle.
If all of you are able
To believe and accept these words,
You shall, in the future,
Realize the Buddha way.submitted by vedehika
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I am seriously considering going on a 1-week retreat this summer, somewhere in June or August. I think it will be a very intense but joyful week for me and I am already looking out for it.
What I am looking for is daily meditation, preferably in nature, maybe combined with physical labor or lectures on Buddhism. I am just a novice, so I do not think I would like to do this retreat with a specific 'school' of Buddhims.
Do you have any recommendations for me? I live in the Netherlands and am a student, so the cost aspect is relevant for me, but I would not mind spending a couple of hundred euros on something as important as this.
Regards, Dylansubmitted by DodoStek
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Just some background. I've been meditating for about three months, I've been following this subreddit for the same amount of time and I am halfway through reading 'The Heart of Buddha's Teachings' by Thich Nhat Hahn. All in all, I feel empowered by Buddhism and especially meditation and I am investigating it further.
The concepts of karma (universal cause-and-effect) and anatta (the absence of self) do not seem to promote the belief in a free will. If we are part of samsara and everything is connected, nothing is detachable from the rest, can there be a center of consciousness where decisions are made? Can we truly affect our path in life?
What does Buddha and Buddhism teach us about this? And how does it affect your perception of reality?submitted by DodoStek
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Just posing a question, and wondering how many others go along with this. I read some things from the Buddha that seem strange. Either far too aggressive or uptight for an enlightened person, or just overall questionable and really far out. Some it also seems very unrealistic. I think that Thich Nhat Hanh does a really good job of making Buddhism friendly and accessible to western people. It just doesn't have the same bite that would otherwise drive people away from the teaching. It's much gentler, which I think is actually much better. Perhaps Thich Nhat Hanh is a modern day Buddha, who can approach things with a fresh perspective that best addresses the world that exists today. Not 4000 years ago.
Thoughts?submitted by JonathanRothe
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I've seen conflicting posts about what to do with certain thoughts deemed negative, like anger, jealous, greed etc.
Some say to let go of them, and others say to look deeper into the root of it and grasp a better understanding of why. Are these both right? Or is one less right than the other?
Personally, I feel as if looking and discerning the reasons why would be more correct, but I do not know enough about Buddhism yet to make that claim.submitted by The_Mantis_
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What am I in terms of Buddhism if my goal of researching Buddhism is not to reach enlightenment but to live a better life?
I have studied Buddhism in school and it was very interesting to me. I revisited that interest and re read "What the Buddha taught" by Walpola Rahula. I am unaware as to why I keep researching/ studying Buddhism and applying it, but I do know it is not to reach enlightenment because that is the main goal. Is this how many people feel? is this looked down upon? I use the knowledge to lead a better life but enlightenment doesn't interest me. Thanks
(If anyone has any book suggestions similar to what the Buddha taught I'd love to know)submitted by E_J_H
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I am a novice.
However, I just had a thought. The media purposely makes people see things in either 'extremes' or 'black and white' - everything is good or bad, anti-abortion or pro-abortion, or whatever.
No wonder people don't often realize that everything is circumstantial.
Right and wrong are just concepts, right?submitted by polkadotgirl
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Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche's writing is clearer:
"Our basic nature is in no way different from that of a buddha. It’s like pure space, which, whether it is obscured by clouds or is a cloudless and clear sky, remains the same in its basic, essential nature. But if you pretend that your nature is already enlightened and don’t progress along the path of removing the obscurations, then your enlightened nature doesn’t become realized. Therefore, we must truly consider what is actual, what the facts are. Do we have obscurations or not? If you see that there still are obscurations, there is no way to avoid having to remove them by gathering the two accumulations.
If our nature wasn’t already enlightened, we couldn’t awaken to it no matter how hard we tried. Buddha nature cannot be fabricated. Our nature is primordially enlightened, but at present our ordinary body, speech and discursive thinking obscures it. The nature of our mind, buddha nature, is like space itself, but it is space obscured by clouds. The whole point of Dharma practice is to remove the clouds and allow the actualization of what already is – the awakened state of mind, the buddha nature. The nature of our mind is primordially pure, primordially enlightened. The way to remove our two obscurations is to train in conditioned virtue and the unconditioned training in original wakefulness – the two accumulations.
We awaken to enlightenment by recognizing and fully realizing the primordially pure essence already present as our nature. That’s how to be an awakened buddha. Even though the enlightened state is actually already present, imagining or forming a thought-construct of enlightenment doesn’t make you enlightened. It’s the same as when you are really hungry and you look at a plate of food and try to imagine what it taste like. Does it work to then imagine, “Mmmmm, I’m eating the food, I’m no longer hungry.” You can think this for a very long time – forever, in fact – but it still doesn’t dispel your hunger. Once you actually put the food in your mouth, it tastes delicious, and your hunger is satiated. It’s the same with experience. Experience only occurs in a direct way, in practical reality, not through a theory about taste. If your meditation practice is merely an exercise in imagining and keeping something in mind, it is only a theory, and not direct experience." "Vajrayana tells us that the nature of mind of all beings is covered by two obscurations. One is called 'the emotional obscuration' — desire, anger, and dullness. The second, the 'cognitive obscuration', is the subtle holding onto subject, object and and interaction, in which awareness strays into dualistic clinging. These two types of obscuration need to be dissolved and purified. This is accomplished by gathering the two accumulations -- the accumulation of merit and the accumulation of wisdom, the training in original wakefulness. By gathering the two accumulations we unfold the two types of supreme knowledge -- the knowledge that perceives whatever possibly exists and the knowledge that perceives the nature as it is."submitted by WhiteLotusSociety
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Redditation is an online meditation group on Google+ using video hangouts. The group has grown to nearly 200 people and this week we have the privilege of having Bikkhu Bhante Sathi host one of our events. We hope you'll join...
Bhante Sathi is a monk (bikkhu) in the Theravada tradition. He was born in Kandy, Sri Lanka and his spiritual interests began in his early teenage years. He was ordained as a novice monk at age 19 and received his training under Wattegama Dhammawasa Maha Thera at Sri Subhodaramaya International Bikkhu Center in Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. He received higher ordination after three years of Bhikku education and practice. In Sri Lanka as a fully ordained monk, he taught meditation and counseled people with many walks of life, using Buddhist teachings (Damma).
In September 1999, Bhante Sathi traveled to the United States from Sri Lanka, to teach and practice at the Great Lakes Buddhist Vihara in Southfield, Michigan. As a resident monk at the Great Lakes Buddhist Vihara he traveled around the United States and Canada teaching meditation, conducting meditation retreats and sharing Dhamma by accepting invitations, received mainly from locals who were interested in meditation.
Bhante Sathi was invited to share his knowledge of Buddhist teachings and in meditation by Minnesota residents in 2003. Bhante Sathi has stayed in Minnesota ever since, traveling frequently between Chanhassen, the Twin Cities area, Northfield, Stillwater and Mankato sharing Dhamma and teaching meditation. He taught extensively, conducted retreats and continues to do so throughout the year in other parts of Minnesota as well.
Bhante Sathi has a particular interest in what is common to all traditions and all schools of Buddhism, particularly regarding the practice of meditation. Since establishing himself in Minnesota, Bhante dreamed of opening a meditation center where people of all traditions could come together and practice Dhamma and meditation. With this long-term goal in mind, he established The Triple Gem of the North, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the practice and teaching of meditation and Dhamma.submitted by Redditation_Online
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