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Dharma Practice...Where When & Why ?

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran

Dharma practice for me is a 24/7/365 thing, in other words I make a conscious effort to be present, on and off the cushion...by monitoring my thoughts words and deeds, throughout the day everyday with no time off ...I read Dharma books and watch the occasional Dharma Talk on youtube...When I find I'm becoming lost in what I feel to be disturbing thoughts, I gently make the effort to bring my focus back to the present moment...The more I practice the quicker I find it is to notice the mental attachments occurring.

Once a week I attend a local Buddhist group to discuss the Dharma and meditate, it's good to be there amongst like-minded people, but it is just part & parcel of my daily practice, ie, it's not the Be all and End all of the practice ...The only difference on this particular day is that I meditate three instead of two times that day...

I also attend a Dharma talk once a month when a Tibetan Lama/teacher comes to the island...

I feel blessed to have the good fortune to attend both, however my daily Dharma practice would not be diminished in any way, if I was not attending ...

When I sit each morning and afternoon/evening, I sit before the statues of the Buddha (I have been gifted with quite a number of them) and recite a dedication ie. in the form of a wish for all sentient beings to be happy and free from suffering...I guess this could be seen as a ritual of sorts, but it just gets the mind more focused for time spent on (and off) the cushion....

So....

What do you consider to be your Dharma practice ?
Do you try to monitor your thoughts words & deeds as you go about your daily routine?
Do you meditate on a regular bases ?
Do you attend a Dharma group on a regular bases ?

I'm well 'aware' that it's Different stroke for different folks when it comes to what they consider Dharma practice to be...and it's a case of Whatever floats ones raft and prevents them from completely drowning in the somewhat turbulent ocean of Samsara...

FosdicklobsterupekkaCarlitanamarupaTara1978Swaroop

Comments

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Shoshin - I really appreciate your first paragraph: "Dharma practice for me is a 24/7/365 thing, in other words I make a conscious effort to be present, on and off the cushion...by monitoring my thoughts words and deeds, throughout the day everyday with no time off ...I read Dharma books and watch the occasional Dharma Talk on youtube...When I find I'm becoming lost in what I feel to be disturbing thoughts, I gently make the effort to bring my focus back to the present moment...The more I practice the quicker I find it is to notice the mental attachments occurring."

    ...because it spurs me on to work towards your 24/7/365. Since becoming a casual (?) Buddhist, I've come to believe I would've fallen apart psychically if I hadn't stumbled on it. In the last couple of days, I've come to realize that the study has made me aware that discipline ISN'T a dirty word, heh. It's kind of hard to explain how much and what the study (dharma practice?) has come to mean to me, but it's B.I.G.

    lobsterShoshinRuddyDuck9Swaroop
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @silver said:

    ...because it spurs me on to work towards your 24/7/365. Since becoming a casual (?) Buddhist, I've come to believe I would've fallen apart psychically if I hadn't stumbled on it. In the last couple of days, I've come to realize that the study has made me aware that discipline ISN'T a dirty word, heh. It's kind of hard to explain how much and what the study (dharma practice?) has come to mean to me, but it's B.I.G.

    @silver That's good news....After a while it will become a force of habit...a case of have mind(with body awareness) will travel ...After all There is no time(nor place) like the present...It's always lurking in the background waiting to pounce on the unexpected....ie, to spring one from ones self-incarceration, ones mind trap....

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    As a side-note (neat thread, @Shoshin) I would be very interested to see who contributes to this post: I have of late "approved" several (read about 15!) new applicants requesting membership of this forum, all professing their wish to join to increase/improve their Dhamma practice....
    Let's see how many 'newbies' we get. It would be nice to welcome them....

    For my own personal part, I do think environment and company do contribute to my own Effort, which by comparison, fails miserably.
    I have no local group or temple, and hitherto, lack of transport has meant travelling any great distance (and not-so-great) means relying on a poor, scant, erratic and expensive public transport service...
    Added to which, working in the retail industry as I do - your weekends are not your own.
    And often, events at temples or Buddhist centres, are held at weekends.

    (It's odd, isn't it, that in a time when you can pretty much live 24/7 shopping and working, some organisations still see 'Saturday and Sunday' as THE days to do stuff.... what would be so weird about, say, Tuesday and Wednesday...?!)

    ShoshinRuddyDuck9David
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Look forward to our new recruits and any inspiration they might offer ... <3 I may be a hopeless case of Buddhist wannabe ... anyways ...

    What do you consider to be your Dharma practice?

    As practice makes perfect, what should we consider?

    Do you try to monitor your thoughts words & deeds as you go about your daily routine?

    Monitor? Is that like censorship? Dualism? Schizoid mind splitting? o:)

    Do you meditate on a regular base?

    Oops, knew I was not perfect :3 Every morning - at the moment with Siri who ensures I do a set time

    OM MANI iPADME HUM

    Do you attend a Dharma group on a regular bases?

    They would only ban me for realising they are only pretending to be enlightened o:)

    ShoshinRuddyDuck9
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @lobster your last answer( be it in jest or not) sparked some interest...

    They would only ban me for realising they are only pretending to be enlightened o:)

    Some people refrain from attending a Dharma group, believing that if they did, then they are displaying 'attachment' of sorts ....Which is an interesting ( perhaps slightly misguided) way/excuse for not attending such a group.....
    :)

  • CarlitaCarlita Bastian please! Save us! United States Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    I'm well 'aware' that it's Different stroke for different folks when it comes to what they consider Dharma practice to be...and it's a case of Whatever floats ones raft and prevents them from completely drowning in the somewhat turbulent ocean of Samsara...

    Nice question.

    Well. There is only three monasteries near me-Theravada, Zen, and Zen Veitnamese; but, I can't get to them without a car. The one in the mountains is about three hours, the one hugging me next state is two. I can get to the other but I speak no Vietnamese; so, I don't know if it's appropriate to just show up at the monk's door since it is also his private home. Need some advice about that. That's the only place I can get to locally.

    The group I practice with are SGI but I'm not totally in sync with them. My practice I basically try to chant every morning and evening. I wanted to go back into my Zazen practice because when I did so years ago, it helped me a lot. I was more clear-minded and less attached to material things.

    I have Gongyo (Audio recitation of the Dharma) on my phone so when I'm out, I can chant morning and evening and whenever I need to. Most my day is pretty much centering myself, checking my mind, and studying more. I watched the YouTube Dharma talks as well.

    I would like to have a foundation-a good Sangha and actually speak with teachers who have practiced and have more knowledge in it than I do. I study a lot, so most of my meditation comes from reading the Dharma, reflecting, and applying it to everyday life and situations.

    My 24/7/365 is full application of the Dharma and reflection at it's bare bones. Then Zazen, if I have an area on the run to do so without distraction. I don't chant Gongyo as much but I find it well meaning since The Buddha in the Lotus says to read, recite, and spread the Dharma so that's basically what we do in a nut shell.

    I don't think I do anything else in my day that doesn't have to do with practicing the Dharma. Most times I don't think about it until I come home and spend time reading a passage or two. Nichiren does a good job summarizing a lot of the Lotus but the Pali is more to the point and it addresses almost every situation and morals that I can think of in the analogy that I have.

    My main focus is to practice and take Bodhisattva vows. The Zen monastery is the only Mahayana sect here; so, ...

    That's my practice.

    ShoshinRuddyDuck9Bunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ^^. Regularly attending a formal group is something I don't currently do. In the future who knows ... Being misguided is only possible if we have no discernment. If we have no capacity for discernment then vacuous or wise words go in through one ear and out our mouths without any engagement ... Anyway that is my excuse, even though I don't need one :)

    Shoshin
  • Tara1978Tara1978 UK Veteran

    Around an hour of sitting meditation late morning each day, a mission to constantly be more mindful of my thoughts and speech, regular reading/study as part of a course with FPMT/Geshe Tashi Tsering, and the NB sangha =)

    ShoshinlobsterRuddyDuck9
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    The group I attend, people come and go on a regular bases, some disappear for months on end. The group can at times be a disappointment for some, ie, not living up to their expectations of what a Buddhist group should be like...

    We read and discuss Dharma text, or at times we might discuss events that are happening around the world or a situation that a member has experienced, all from a Buddhist perspective.... after which we meditate, normally for around 20 minutes...then it's tea time, a cup of tea and whatever members have brought along to eat...

    'Attachment' in the Buddhist sense, can be a slippery things to get a grip on ( pun intended)...and some (especially those just starting out ) might take it to the extreme..For example they might have been reading up on attachment, and then stop attending Dharma talks or Buddhist discussion groups for 'fear' of becoming too attached :) ...

    No doubt not all so called Dharma/discussion groups are worth the cushions they sit upon...For example groups are made up of 'other' human beings, and we all tend to bring our faults and flaws and moods along to the meetings...Perhaps personalities clash, frustrations arise, debates become somewhat heated...

    Fortunately with the group I attend, any disputes over how one should practice are resolved quickly and efficiently ...We as a gang group, isolate the trouble maker and beat the crap out of em...using a keisaku of course :wink: :lol:

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 2016

    @federica said:
    As a side-note (neat thread, @Shoshin) I would be very interested to see who contributes to this post: I have of late "approved" several (read about 15!) new applicants requesting membership of this forum, all professing their wish to join to increase/improve their Dhamma practice....
    Let's see how many 'newbies' we get. It would be nice to welcome them....

    Welcome noobies. <3

    Please don't brainwash us with your 'beginner mind' antics or other approved ideas. I am perfectly happy with my ignorant Dukkha. Thank you! :3

    ... meanwhile I suddenly realise I do have a sangha - The rhinoceros ... who all seemed to have dispersed ... O.o
    http://opcoa.st/0njxq-97cc4

    Around an hour of sitting meditation late morning each day, a mission to constantly be more mindful of my thoughts and speech, regular reading/study as part of a course with FPMT/Geshe Tashi Tsering, and the NB sangha =)

    Good start to the day. Bravo. Being attentive and moral/ethical/precept keeping is a worthy example.

  • IchLiebteIchLiebte US Veteran

    Not enough. I'm having a hard time letting go of selfishness. I'm trying to shut down the mean/angry/negative thoughts when they come. I'm doing DBT in therapy. Oh, gosh, I'm just so hateful. I have no excuse. I turn off my empathy so easily. I'm trying to feel more compassion and it's hard. Though, I was reading about how you can start the moment you wake up and I'll try to do that.

    ShoshinlobsterRuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Outstanding @IchLiebte <3

    You don't need excuses. We all start from where we are. Starting from wake up sounds like a plan. =)

    I will be dedicating my morning practice to your success. DBT sounds excellent (part of cognitive therapy).

    In the Sufi tradition great effort is put into finding the things we DO LOVE however small or trivial and increasing that engagement and base. Increase in Love ... as they say ...

    ShoshinIchLiebteRuddyDuck9
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    There are many little things one can do to start ones Dharma practice ball rolling....

    One simple technique is to make a point of mentally wishing the people you meet or see "May you be happy" start by saying it to yourself, then say it (mentally) to the first 5 people you meet...Gradually increase the amount....One can start this anytime anyplace and in any situation, after all it's 'just a thought' ...

    It's not a big thing but it can snowball into something big, especially when one starts to explore the contents of this simple sentence and what it might mean if someone was wishing the same thing for you...

    Amazing things can happen when one puts ones mind to it :)

    Metta

    upekkaRuddyDuck9
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran
    edited July 2016

    All I do these days is observe change and movement.

    "Perpetual change" is also one my favourite songs:

    Shoshinupekka
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @IchLiebte. I have heard it takes a tough man to be tender. It is a great joy to hear you struggling to be as wonderful as you are. It takes more than a little courage to face selfishness.

    lobsterRuddyDuck9
  • I have a few years of formal practice as a monastic that I am thankful for, but was unable to fulfill thanks to worldly desires. The experience has helped tremendously in my life, and I have been a lay practitioner ever since. Maybe things might change in the future who knows. I am not expecting much out of life. I feel I have plenty to work with already. Now that I think about it, I have suffered a great deal from expecting too much.

    lobsterShoshinKeromeRuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 2016

    @namarupa said:
    Now that I think about it, I have suffered a great deal from expecting too much.

    :)
    We are only human ... and in my case barely that. In fact being humane/human and coming to terms with our lesser and higher ideals is often very liberating. More so than playing the part of the perfect sangha member. One of the reasons I presently don't attend a centre is because of the role/game play ...

    However it is so important to be inspired by others example/practice when we begin. So worthwhile to put in the meritorius effort that so many sangha and commited practitioners do. B)

    Wordly desires? Pah! Other worldly desires can be just as much in need of a 'Buddha killing' to use the zen vernacular. =)

    Live long and prosper as the Vulcans advise ... <3

    namarupaKerome
  • IchLiebteIchLiebte US Veteran

    @lobster Thank you; that means so much to me! I think I'm doing pretty well for today. I sat for a while after waking up and it was very beneficial.
    @grackle Aw, you're very kind. I have no words!! :blush:

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @IchLiebte said:
    @lobster Thank you; that means so much to me! I think I'm doing pretty well for today. I sat for a while after waking up and it was very beneficial.
    @grackle Aw, you're very kind. I have no words!! :blush:

    Tee Hee!
    Good news.
    I am glad you sat. It is beneficial. Eh ma ho (Tibetan: 'how wonderful')

    Intense emotion can be used constructively. Hate and anger are merely 'the good stuff', convoluted and knotted. We are on a path. Not easy. Day at a time BUT we are on it.

    We haz plan! (@federica is on to me) :3

    Are stream entrants 'Buddha baptised'? Just askin' o:)

    IchLiebte
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited July 2016

    @lobster said:

    @namarupa said:
    Now that I think about it, I have suffered a great deal from expecting too much.

    :)
    We are only human ... and in my case barely that. In fact being humane/human and coming to terms with our lesser and higher ideals is often very liberating. More so than playing the part of the perfect sangha member. One of the reasons I presently don't attend a centre is because of the role/game play ...

    However it is so important to be inspired by others example/practice when we begin. So worthwhile to put in the meritorius effort that so many sangha and commited practitioners do. B)

    Wordly desires? Pah! Other worldly desires can be just as much in need of a 'Buddha killing' to use the zen vernacular. =)

    Live long and prosper as the Vulcans advise ... <3

    Thank you for those wise words @lobster. So much wisdom in a nutshell, or crustacean in this case :awesome:

    RuddyDuck9
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    Every where, all the time, because I need the practice...

  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    i think I learn most from my failures. I am always amazed at folks who are able to think on dhamma all day with a some semblance of consistency. I find I forget myself all the time... and when I do, then I need to remind myself again, hey, you! take a breath and do this the middle way. Forge peace, forge love, forge patience gotta always remind myself of the 8fp! I wouldn't consider that a consistent successful practice, though. I meditate every day, usually first thing in the morning, but often midafternoon after I give appropriate amounts of attention to the pups and spouse, and food, :grin: I find I am able to practice good mindfulness when I'm doing a repetitive chore (laundry) or familiar craft (knitting).

    namarupalobstersilver
  • Well said @RuddyDuck9 - the dervish path followed by us heretics and unconventional Dharmaists, call the path, 'The Path of Remembrance'. 'Forge/fake it, till you make it', is a New Age dictum. B)

    A tip that might be useful that I used for a while. Look for symbolic reminders eg:

    • Anything that is a container = reminder 'emptiness of existence'
    • Eyes = Awakening
    • Round = Dharma Wheel
    • Tree = Buddha
    • Person = Potential Bodhisattva
    • Dark/Shade = Ignorance/Emptiness
    • Robe colour = Sangha
      Numbers are reminders, walking, chores = Zen/meditation.
      The more we remind and associate, the more we return to mindfulness ...
    RuddyDuck9raiw
  • @Shoshin said:> Some people refrain from attending a Dharma group, believing that if they did, then they are displaying 'attachment' of sorts ....Which is an interesting ( perhaps slightly misguided) way/excuse for not attending such a group.....
    :)

    I think some people are just reluctant to have their ideas challenged face-to-face.

    Shoshinsilver
  • possibilitiespossibilities PNW, WA State Veteran

    IMO Dharma practice has nothing to do with reading scriptures, sitting and contemplating, emptying minds... I consider those things to be a preparation for the practice - and they can be done on the fly, not at desiganted times of the day.

    The daily practice is reflected in how well you have absorbed the teachings of the Buddha, and is an intrinsic part of one's behavior towards other sentient beings and nature itself in any given situation. This is what matters and what creates practical results.

    JMHO

    Shoshinlobsterdhammachickraiw
  • ^^. @possibilities you are right. :)
    We have to allow for different degrees and amounts of potential, preparation and effort.

    The ignorant amongst us [lobster raises claw] which also has degrees, must be allowed for. As you say dharma is practical, pragmatic - it works. If anyone knows better kindly tell us. So we don't need a 'better' path or practice, we just need to engage with wisdom and the Middle Way. Am I preaching to the converted? [OK off forlornly to the back of the class again] ...

  • You shall have a gold star. :p

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited August 2016

    I gets gold star? Yipee. Simple things for simple minds ... o:)

    I am a great believer in formal practice/formal commitment/daily ritual reinforcement. It really grounds, empowers the beginning, middle and ultimately enlightened practitioner.

    Discipline, the first yoking to the dharma wheel is hard when dealing with monkey mind or fish for brains :3

    Eventually it becomes easier, part of the reason we make it harder ... :dizzy:

    Here is my page on meditation suitable for those with or without gold stars ... [I haz gold star :p]
    http://cundi.weebly.com/meditation.html

    Shoshin
  • If not now, when?
    If not here, where?

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    If not now, when?
    If not here, where?

    Nowhere ????

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @lobster said:

    Are stream entrants 'Buddha baptised'? Just askin' o:)

    Yeah about that, I have this thing about water getting into my ears............. :tongue:

    federicapossibilitieslobster
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