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New to Buddhism

Hello to the Community!

I am a newcomer to Buddhism and am currently on a new spiritual journey in my life. I am looking to speak with anyone who would be willing to talk about their experience with Buddhism and how it has affected their lives.

I am currently working one of the AA programs to heal from the addiction I have. I hope to apply Buddhism to my life as a higher power to my program. My sponsor has recommended I speak with some people who feel their lives have changed for the better after turning their life and will over to their higher power.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you are willing to share your experience.

Best Regards,

  • A
lobsterWalkerShoshinhow

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Hello

    I used Buddhism to cure me of sufism (a type of islamic heresy).
    I have been practicing dharma to keep me crazy sane. It doesn't always work but I am noticing that meditation is subtle and effective.

    Are you doing any practice? Chanting, walking meditation, watching bodies decompose ... that sort of thing?

    Hope you find something helpful 🙏🏽💗🦞

    Shoshinhow
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 6

    I had an experience giving up addiction but it wasn't like magic* that happened one day and it was more like gradually decision by decision I pulled out of the gravity of the addiction and when I was released I recognized that I could be pulled back in again so I did not allow that. So that's as far as addiction. Buddhism helped with knowing that I could sit with discomfort whether that discomfort was an addiction or a tempting thought I could get caught up in in my meditation. I also was motivated to become free of addiction to free me from wasting my time, energy, and being ashamed which is very painful.

    But as far as a higher power in all of Buddhism there is the refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and in some Buddhism they believe that worlds interpenetrate with each other so even an ordinary world here could be interpenetrated with enlightened beings. So there is talk of higher power in Buddhism but for some people that is not what they want out of Buddhism and those beliefs aren't what interests them.

    *or if there was any magic it wasn't a one and done type of magic

    ShoshinhowlobsterKerome
  • I found buddhism because I was a hot head and wanted a way to fix myself. I knew about meditation, and looked into it. There was ample evidence of it's effects. I also realized how buddhism and meditation is linked. Not being a big fan of the whole »mindfulness«-circus, I sook out the original buddhist teachings on the subject. Buddhism wasn't completely alien to me, as a few months or years (don't remember precicely how long) earlier, a person mentioned Mahayana Buddhism might be for me. I read about it a little, but failed to grasp it. I was always really sceptical about religion anyway. So when I tried to learn about meditation, I guess there was some kind of familiarity with the idea of buddhism. Realising the truth of The Four Noble Truths, and experiencing how meditation lead to »right mindfulness« regarding my anger, I was sort of intriuged. As I learned more, I saw how the dhamma-vinaya is the true path to liberation - and it merged just fine with my atheism.
    I've since learned that Theravada buddhism is for me. Too many bells and whistles in the younger traditions to my taste. Like most people I know of, I do pick the occasional cherry from other traditions.

    My anger issues went completely away, by the way. And by that time, I had already taken refuge in the Triple Gem. It would take ten more years before I would call myself ato buddhist though. I'm still not sure I'm 100 % there - the label becomes less important the more you practise. But somehow, at this point, I feel like a label is what would propel my practise forward. Then again, who cares, right? Haha..

    Welcome, and feel free to PM any questions you might have.

    Also, accesstoinsight.com (also as free app) might just be the quintessential place for theravada buddhism.

    Shoshinlobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "New" to Buddhism

    Just keep that beginner's mind and all things good & bad will come to pass...Well thus have I heard :)

    BunkshowWalker
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 7

    We will help you to help yourself @NewPath18
    We have alcoholics here. We don't judge. Do your best. You are most welcome here. People have been forgiving me for years ... how wonderful 🙏🏽🌈🦞

    Very good advice from @federica 💗

    how
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    Welcome NewPath18

    I can't think of anyone here who wouldn't be happy to share their own Buddhist explorations & experiences.

    My Buddhist journey started where I found my first steps into it were as simple as the pointing of my foot towards a practice instruction but were as challenging to my own ego as anything I'd ever faced before.

    46 years later, this practice on the road towards suffering's cessation remains both simple and challenging but there is nowhere else I'd prefer to be journeying.

    Always good to welcome a fellow traveler.

    Shoshinlobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Hi, I am both a young Buddhist and an old Buddhist... my parents were followers of the bhagwan, and so when I was young I spent some time in communes, and there was a lot of religious content around. I spent time reciting the triple gem in Pali I remember... but then there was a long period I was just out in the world of jobs and life... and now since a few years I have picked up Buddhism more intensively, reading a lot and doing courses and spending time on the internet.

    It’s done me a lot of good, it has cleared my mind of a lot of worries and anxiety. If you choose the Buddha as a higher power in an AA program, well, it’s an interesting choice. We can discuss that some time. But the Buddha warned against things that make you unaware, and one of the five precepts is against drinking intoxicants.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 8

    Hello to the Community!

    Well?
    Speak!

    Have we driven you back to the sauce/source already? :o

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Hi this (following below) is something a local sangha sent out in their mailing to members and friends of their sangha. A big part of the sangha is a group working on sobriety and overcoming substances. I haven't visited this sangha very often maybe once a year because I prefer the ideas and videos of a long distance sangha that is across the ocean from me.

    Nonetheless in my e-mail my local sangha shared this list of the 12 steps as they have adapted them to Buddhist ideas.

    Buddhist 12 Steps

    (AA Steps Revised)
    1. We admitted we were powerless over our emotions, that our lives had become unmanageable and full of suffering.
    2. We came to believe that mindfulness and non-attachment could ease our suffering.
    3. We made a decision to surrender ourselves to loving kindness and to practice mindfulness in our daily lives.
    4. We made a searching and fearless inventory of our personal karmic history as we began to recognize our delusions.
    5. We admitted our tendencies toward greed, anger, and delusion to ourselves, another human being, and the universe.
    6. We prepared ourselves through practice to release our attachment to these tendencies.
    7. We made peace with our tendencies, giving ourselves to wisdom, patience, and love.
    8. We made a list of all sentient beings we had harmed and became willing to make amends for that harm.
    9. We made direct amends to these beings wherever possible except when to do so would cause suffering to them or others.
    10. We continued to take personal inventory to avoid further suffering and, when we noticed clinging to our tendencies, we promptly admitted it.
    11. We sought through regular practice to develop loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity to ease suffering in the world.
    12. Having awakened from attachment to our addictions and the causes of our suffering, we carry our message to others who suffer and practice this program of recovery in all our affairs.

    lobsterBunksShoshin
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @ Jeffery

    From your experiences what difference do you see between any habituated craving and an addiction?

    I usually think everyone suffers from one addiction or another, with luckier folks just having socially acceptable ones.

    & the modified 12 steps above describe some very good practice fundamentals.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Hi How I haven't practiced with these 12 steps on addiction rather I just received it in the mail. I only see this group very rarely because I prefer the videos and writings of a sangha across the ocean from me.

    For myself I have been in the past addicted to drinking at one time and smoking pipes and I was able to ween off both addictions without a group practice. I think substances like nicotine and alcohol are like other habituated cravings but much stronger hold on the brain. For example you could have a habituated craving to take a hot bath each night and that does affect the dopamine receptors in the brain. But it's not at the same level brain wise of what nicotine or alcohol does.

    lobster
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @how said:
    @ Jeffery

    From your experiences what difference do you see between any habituated craving and an addiction?

    I usually think everyone suffers from one addiction or another, with luckier folks just having socially acceptable ones.

    & the modified 12 steps above describe some very good practice fundamentals.

    I tend to agree with you @how - and my observation over the years (both of myself and others) is that when one addictive / habitual behaviour is dropped another one pops up to take its place.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I usually think everyone suffers from one addiction or another, with luckier folks just having socially acceptable ones.

    Lucky for me. o:)

    Generating positive karma is not luck but sustained intent. So for example those of us with a sustained practice know:

    • how bad monkey mind is
    • no use in polishing turds
    • let it go: soft, hard, mind, emotions, cravings

    As a mahayanist I will never be free (made an oath to the Buddha). However I also know the Bodhisattva will break my bondings. Dharma slavery has its perks ...

    Bunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    The self can be quite addictive....thus have I heard...

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @how said:
    From your experiences what difference do you see between any habituated craving and an addiction?

    I usually think everyone suffers from one addiction or another, with luckier folks just having socially acceptable ones.

    There was a time when I felt the pull of alcohol, as in wanting to have a drink in order to be free from worries and tension. It was not a pleasant sensation, it was as if the alcohol had undermined my ability to say no and make an unbiased choice.

    That’s why I think there is a difference... most cravings you are able to stop after a little, you feel like you want some chocolate, and you have a couple of squares and then you say, that was nice and you put the rest of the packet away.

    Its difficult though not to be conditioned to anything during our lives. Even when you are little you get given sugar in lots of forms. Many people form habits with coffee and tea. But I found it good to give these things up for a while, like doing a month without sugar. You find you start to taste things differently.

    lobster
  • 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

    I am currently fasting. There is a craving, occasionally, to eat something, particularly as my husband is NOT fasting and I'm cooking for him; I am also making other things (baking bread, making sauerkraut) so I'm around food all the time.
    A craving is resistible.
    An addiction is far more difficult to tackle (I agree, @Kerome).

    Bunks
  • Rob_VRob_V North Carolina Explorer

    I am a newcomer to Buddhism and am currently on a new spiritual journey in my life. I am looking to speak with anyone who would be willing to talk about their experience with Buddhism and how it has affected their lives.

    I got into Buddhism through the back door so to speak. Stress had led me to obsession - an obsession so strong that I couldn't function. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, couldn't work. I was out of work for a week. In the back of my mind I thought, incorrectly as most do, that meditation meant to stop thinking. So I got a candle, set it up on a black background, sat cross legged in front of it and stared at that candle for a few minutes. I'll be hornswoggled if it didn't work! Praying had never done anything for me, but this meditation thing was marvelous! Not knowing that meditation predated Buddhism (I thought he'd invented the thing), and already agreeing with the few tenets I knew, I looked into it. That was three years ago. So far, so good

    I am currently working one of the AA programs to heal from the addiction I have. I hope to apply Buddhism to my life as a higher power to my program. My sponsor has recommended I speak with some people who feel their lives have changed for the better after turning their life and will over to their higher power.

    I would never suggest you quit AA, especially if its working for you, but you might also look into a couple of similar Buddhist programs (or start your own chapter). The best known is called Refuge Recovery (https://refugerecovery.org/), the other is Eight Step Recovery (https://www.valeriemason-john.com/eight-step-recovery/)

    I wish you all the best! May you be well, happy, and at peace. And remember; it's toughest at the beginning.

    ShoshinBunks
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