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Curious about your practices

vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

Specifically, do you attend an actual Buddhist temple frequently, occasionally, or pretty much not at all?

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I am 250 miles from my teacher and he spends 6 months a year in Asia/Tibet, so rarely. However, we have a local sangha that we formed that is led by a local man but guided by our teacher. I interact with senior students frequently and my teacher via phone or email fairly often. I would love to go in person more often, it just isn't doable to drive 500 miles round trip for 90 mins of teaching and meditation on a regular basis. I usually go once during the 6 months he is here, and he comes up here for a weekend retreat in the fall. He is gone May - October and doesn't resume teaching in the US until November.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Interesting, Karasti.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I love to see you interacting with the Thai monks near you. I have never (in my short time "knowing" you) seen you talk about so many interactions and I think it is wonderful! <3

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    It has been very interesting. I give them 2 English lessons a week, and I interweave me teaching them English and having them explain things about Buddhism that I've never quite understood (from more technical aspects to tattoos). Then on Sunday the beginning of the Rains Retreat was festive and full of learning experiences, and it really helps that the young monk, in particular, sort of adopts the couple of us who are not Thai and makes sure we are totally involved in all aspects of the activities. I've learned more in the last 5 weeks than all the years before.

    silverkarastiKannon
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited July 11

    I'm going back to the sangha in August after a few year's absence. I'm looking forward to it. I need it. If I don't go, I'll end up just walking away and giving up altogether.

    Kannon
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @dhammachick said:
    I'm going back to the sangha in August after a few year's absence. I'm looking forward to it. I need it. If I don't go, I'll end up just walking away and giving up altogether.

    I can understand your feeling. I had not stepped in a Buddhist temple for 7 years...since I moved back here from Thailand. My experiences in the Thai Buddhist temple in Virginia were...well, hard to explain. I felt almost like I was intruding, which, ironically, I never felt in Thailand. Here in Colorado Springs, however, I was welcomed with open arms...literally as well as figuratively.

    Kannon
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I visit occasionally... there is a Tibetan Buddhist centre including a temple not far from here, where I do my course. So I go there sometimes. But the community of people who look after the centre are not that accessible, I've not gotten to know them in the year that I've studied there. There also aren't many monastics, though they often get visitors.

  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited July 11

    If we can call all the members here in newbuddhist for a sangha, then thats the only sangha Iam visiting.

    NB dont have a temple jet as far as I know? Maybe we could build one in minecraft

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 11

    Occasionally (I guess around once a year) I might visit Auckland to attend a Dharma talk which might be held at one of the local Buddhist centres, or a school/community hall...

    On the island every Monday evening a group of us meet to discuss the Dharma, (the group's been meeting for a round 15 years) ...Also for around 8 months of the year a Lama visits the island once a month to give Dharma talks...

    However my daily practice consists of meditation (where I sit twice a day every day), and practice the Dharma throughout the day, everyday....(It's not as if Dharma practice is switched on and off...it's ongoing..with or without temple/Lama visits )

    No rest for the wicked...I guess :winky: ...

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited July 11

    This is the closest Theravada temple to where I live. It's over 2 hours away.
    There are other centres closer, but they're not....my 'cup of tea'....
    I reluctantly confine myself to books and learning via videos and podcasts.... and of course, from you guys here.
    I meditate, but not adequately.

  • TravellerTraveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    I've visited the Sri Lankan Vihara a couple of times and been to the local Triratna centre a few times.

    I meditate two to three hours a day in thirty to forty five minute sessions, mostly mindfulness of the breath and metta. My breath practice is a little different though I don't try to develop a concentrated state I use the breath as an anchor and try to relax into awareness.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    If I don't go, I'll end up just walking away and giving up altogether.

    @dhammachick -- Wanna bet? Is that before or after you walk away from sneezing? :)

    karasti
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    I attend teachings one night a week at a Tibetan temple and then just recently I started going to a western Theravada center for some group meditation practice.

    Meditation isn't really an important part of the Tibetan Gelug sect, they focus more on study, chanting and ceremonial practices, meditation is mostly reserved for multi year retreats. So I've been meditating on my own over the years and participating in a group setting has been really great.

    I feel like living where I live I have an embarrassment of riches for Buddhist choices, there are quite a few other options here as well.

    @Traveller said:
    My breath practice is a little different though I don't try to develop a concentrated state I use the breath as an anchor and try to relax into awareness.

    This reminds me of my practice, my concentration is poor and don't ever slip into absorptions but I feel like I have good awareness and occasionally get a feeling of clarity in my mind.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    When my local sangha meets on Sundays, we spend 30 mins meditating together, and 40 mins or so discussing (we usually go over). It's really nice to meditate with a group. Sometimes we go weeks without meeting and I miss it. Our sangha leader co-runs an adventure travel business and he is often gone 4-6 weeks at a time. He also runs a charity in Vietnam and goes there to do projects as well. We've tried meeting elsewhere when he is gone, and it just doesn't work very well. He's very good at leading the group and we're kind of lost without him. Hopefully he never dies ;)

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I do online study with the Awakened Heart Sangha in Wales (and I am in USA). I have done a longer course with several work books and a contact person I can talk to. Some times I write the Lama if I think my question is important or to keep touch. I have transcribed dharma talks from audio to written to help the sangha. I have done other shorter group courses like one this year. I have watched a lot of dharma talks nowadays now that they are easily on youtube. Access to some other written material like about meditation practice in the method from this sangha which is called 'formless meditation'. For my own practice it consists of meditation daily and reading or watching videos.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @karasti said:
    When my local sangha meets on Sundays, we spend 30 mins meditating together, and 40 mins or so discussing (we usually go over). It's really nice to meditate with a group. Sometimes we go weeks without meeting and I miss it. Our sangha leader co-runs an adventure travel business and he is often gone 4-6 weeks at a time. He also runs a charity in Vietnam and goes there to do projects as well. We've tried meeting elsewhere when he is gone, and it just doesn't work very well. He's very good at leading the group and we're kind of lost without him. Hopefully he never dies ;)

    Interesting. I've started going to the evening chanting once a week, and although it's in Pali, they have a booklet for me that allows me to follow along (silently) in English, but at least it allows me to understand the meaning. After the chanting there's about 20 minutes of silent meditation. And after that it's sort of a time to sit around and chat and ask the monks questions one may have about various Buddhist topics...and sometimes just socializing.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Sometimes we follow a book (recommended by our teacher), watch a movie or video, discuss topics people have questions about. After the election, it took us 3 weeks of venting about that to move on, LOL. So we discuss social stuff as well.

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    If I don't go, I'll end up just walking away and giving up altogether.

    @dhammachick -- Wanna bet? Is that before or after you walk away from sneezing? :)

    I'm seriously at a point where I wonder if it's worth any spiritual path or practise.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    At the risk of sounding like a Devil's advocate - is it the practice that isn't worth it - or the practitioner's effort found lacking?

    For my part, whenever I've had the feeling of just giving up and not giving a toss, giving it some serious thoughts always brings me back to a point where I find there's nothing wrong at all, outside of myself. My disquiet, frustration and lack of connection is within me.....

    Travellerlobsterkarasti
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I guess in the long run, one would need to decide whether the Dharma is 'just' a practice, or a way of life...

    For me personally it started off as just a practice then gradually evolved into a way of life/living life :) (But then I'm weird that way ... so I've been told :winky: ) )

    Gui
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    At the risk of sounding like a Devil's advocate - is it the practice that isn't worth it - or the practitioner's effort found lacking?

    For my part, whenever I've had the feeling of just giving up and not giving a toss, giving it some serious thoughts always brings me back to a point where I find there's nothing wrong at all, outside of myself. My disquiet, frustration and lack of connection is within me.....

    Oh yeah, I accept it's my issue.. It's not so much my effort, more like my bullshit detector going off the charts when dealing with "Buddhists" online and IRL.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Curious about your practices

    I like to wear claws and be kind to the afflicted, especially myself. o:)

    dhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I keep my practice pretty private in order to not have toxic people infect it. While I think there is something to working with challenging people I also think there is something to that phrase in the Dhammapada about not associating with fools. My reaction is on me, of course, but I do work to not surround myself with fools, Buddhists or otherwise. Online, I can keep a distance. Our local sangha is small and thankfully we get along well. We've had a few hiccups, but they haven't resulted in me doubting the benefit I can observe in myself.

    The way my practice works waxes and wanes. Sometimes I am very intense in my introspection and seated meditation. Other times, not so much. But when I start doubting, for any reason, I pretty much always arrive at an answer of "Yep, my own practice is still working for me" and that is where I leave it. Other people's problems with Buddhism or their ignorance isn't my problem. I do better at not allowing it to be, anyways.

    But I have found I have little tolerance for most Buddhist places online. This place has its hiccups, too, but I can step away for a time and then return. My spiritual life has always been very private, even from my family. I don't talk to them in-depth about any of it, not even my husband. For me, keeping it private is just a way of holding it dear to my heart and protecting the intimate bond I have worked hard to create between my body mind and spirit (whatever you want to call it). I am a firm believer that not everything needs to be talked about, and it's ok to keep things to yourself. Especially if you find you don't have the words to satisfactorily explain an experience others might not understand.

    dhammachick
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Sitting meditation and or ritual practice aside (due to the fact some do and some don't)... Can one's Dharma practice be separated from daily life ? Eg one's thoughts words and deeds when interacting with other sentient beings, be they family, friends, work/school colleagues, strangers, animals etc etc....

    It's interesting how we perceive our Dharma practice , from what I gather for some, practice just means performing rituals and or meditation at certain times, (sometimes daily or every now and again) and for others it's the whole life package, one is on the Dharma clock 24/7/365....(well one tries to be) ...

    From what I gather to be a "practising" Buddhist does not involve wearing a sandwich board or a T shirt proclaiming one to be as such....It's just how one "conducts" themself....It should be nothing special

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I don't separate it. All of life is practice. I just happen to use Buddhist principles as my guide. When I say "my practice" it encompasses everything from seated meditation to dharma studies to Sangha time to interacting with my children, doing household chores and driving. But it is all practice because I am constantly reevaluating and shifting things around. All day, every day, based on my understanding of the principles I choose to live by. To me it's just my life. But the lives of so many other people are done on autopilot that I find a need to specify it is a practice to NOT live on autopilot.

    ShoshinpersonKerome
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 12

    True @karasti .... I see being on autopilot as operating solely through "conditioned" awareness/states (habitual patterns=comfort zone)...oblivious of awareness's unconditioned state....

    ....and Dukkha can be a real sticking point at times .... ie, a stick in the spokes....(Pun intended)

    Ehipassiko ... Like you, I too am "experientially" checking and correcting motives each and every day ... :)

    I should add that I find my self in the fortunate position to be able to have a meditation practice every day, which helps to maintain a level of mindfulness as I go about the day's duties (duty in this case being the Dharma )...(I'm fully aware that this is not the case for all members-some have a lot going on in their lives, what with children, family, work, school and so forth )

    However, even when not having the time to meditate daily, one can still practice mindfulness ie, be mindful of one's thoughts words and deeds, anytime, anywhere... it's not as if one needs "special" conditions to monitor one's thoughts and behaviour...

    But I guess developing a calm mind through meditation, can go along way in smoothing the way, as one goes about their daily lives....

    lobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Sitting meditation and or ritual practice aside (due to the fact some do and some don't)... Can one's Dharma practice be separated from daily life ? Eg one's thoughts words and deeds when interacting with other sentient beings, be they family, friends, work/school colleagues, strangers, animals etc etc....

    It's interesting how we perceive our Dharma practice , from what I gather for some, practice just means performing rituals and or meditation at certain times, (sometimes daily or every now and again) and for others it's the whole life package, one is on the Dharma clock 24/7/365....(well one tries to be) ...

    From what I gather to be a "practising" Buddhist does not involve wearing a sandwich board or a T shirt proclaiming one to be as such....It's just how one "conducts" themself....It should be nothing special

    One of the best posts I've read in a very long time, and something I came face to face with about 2 weeks ago. And I am paying for it now. It caused me to focus so much more on mindfulness in my interactions with others.

    Shoshinlobster
  • techietechie India Veteran

    The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

    I think that about sums up my practice. Mindfulness, compassion, self-control - all these seem far away when 'normal life' seems too hard to handle.

    lobstermarcitkoFosdick
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    You and me both @techie.

    However dukkha is easier to handle with practice ...

    One time I gave a talk in a Hong Kong school to a group of children. One child asked, "Can you bend spoons with your mind?" Another asked, "Has God ever talked to you?" They were very disappointed when I said, "No." I went on to explain that for me a real true miracle is becoming a kind human being. If you have psychic powers but lack a kind heart, the powers are of no use. In fact, they could even be disadvantageous: people may get very upset if they find all their spoons have been bent!
    http://thubtenchodron.org/2013/09/everyday-dharma/

    Shoshinperson
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @techie

    At times in one's so-called "normal life" one finds the mind in a calm state, this is the best time to 'practice'.....

    Many moons ago a Dharma teacher once said, even though practice should be done under any conditions... however the best time to practice is when one is in a "good" mood,(a somewhat stable mind) after a while the periods of the good moods will lengthen and the not so good moods ( unstable mind) will become shorter...
    One is gradually developing a state of equilibrium which remains under any circumstances ....

    He went on to say that many people fail to grasp "Anicca" and will stop practising when they are feeling 'good' ...thinking all is well, therefore there's no need to practice... Then the proverbial happens ....

    "Impermanent are all component things,
    They arise and cease, that is their nature:
    They come into being and pass away,
    Release from them is bliss supreme."

    Hozanperson
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @karasti said:
    All of life is practice. I just happen to use Buddhist principles as my guide. When I say "my practice" it encompasses everything

    This I would agree with. As a single male living alone I have fewer challenging situations, and sometimes I have a week which is almost a hermitage in my cave flat, which affords me a lot of time for introspection and applying Buddhist principle internally. But I still sometimes am surprised when I step outside and I encounter my own reactions to things, it can be a wake-up call that I've not internalised some things completely.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited July 12

    I keep my practice pretty private in order to not have toxic people infect it.

    @karasti -- Funny ... there was a time when I kept my practice pretty private in order not to infect others, toxic or otherwise. These days, my grip has relaxed a bit and talking about practice is sort of like talking about a nifty double play at last night's baseball game. As Suzuki Roshi said when asked if practice were important, "It's important, but it's not THAT important."

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @genkaku I don't hide it. But I don't advertise it. Last week at our 4th parade, a group of locals threw beer cans at an elderly Native lady (who walks about town with a cane) who was walking in the parade. There are a lot of those kinds of people around here, and while I'm not afraid of them, I have no interest in being hassled by them, either, out of a need to advertise my beliefs (about anything, Buddhism or otherwise). With family and friends, when it comes up I am honest. But I am also honest about realizing that no matter how much I might explain, they are not going to understand (based on many years of knowing and living with them) and it just becomes frustration for me because I feel like I am not explaining adequately and therefore giving them the wrong idea of Buddhism. Then not only do they think I am a little nuts (because they are mostly Catholic and comparing the 2 belief sets get a bit nuts) but they think all Buddhists are nuts. Basically, I watch for opportunities with those who I know are open to listening and sharing but I don't care to debate with those who are just waiting to pounce on anything that isn't their experience.

    dhammachick
  • GuiGui Veteran

    For me:
    Don't make practice.
    Just sit.
    Don't make anything.
    Just live.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 14

    @vinlyn said:
    Specifically, do you attend an actual Buddhist temple frequently, occasionally, or pretty much not at all?

    My local Theravadin temple has been invaded by tennis players ...
    http://londonist.com/2016/01/the-best-of-wimbledon-in-photos
    http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/wimbledon-2015-novak-djokovic-and-the-buddhist-temple-minutes-from-centre-court-that-helps-him-10366257.html

    Even the Wombles are in hiding ...
    May return after all the celebrities have died down and the roof fixed ...

    Maybe I'll just find a quiet spot to sit in for now ...

    karastiShoshin
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    karastiShoshinlobster
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    karastiShoshinlobster
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