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Practising ‘alone’ or away / remote from Sangha ?

AlexAlex UK Veteran

I must admit, I’m finding it hard to find a place to land re a specific tradition or physical sangha. And that can be frustrating and confusing, as I feel I need, or would like, some inspiration from a local Buddhist community, that I’ll be able to see and practice with, once this pandemic crisis is over.

Does anyone else experience this ? Sure, I’m likely seeking a perfection that probably doesn’t exist. I just wonder how people fare with solo practice, either by choice, or where they are very remote from other practitioners.

If you do practice solo, are you fusing the best bits of different traditions to form your own hybrid practice, or adhering to one path ?



  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Alex said:
    If you do practice solo, are you fusing the best bits of different traditions to form your own hybrid practice, or adhering to one path ?

    The closest I have been to a traditional sangha was the time I spent at the nearby Tibetan temple. I had a good time following various courses, but when they ended there was nothing to fill the void, the temple did pujas and courses but there wasn’t a regular meditation or discussion group. It wasn’t enough to keep me coming out there. Also I didn’t truly feel at home there, it was too ritualistic and too religious.

    Finding a sangha can be difficult, I know one person who moved house in order to be close to his present sangha. The practical considerations, like how far away groups are and what other costs there are, are definitely something to keep in mind. It’s also a question of finding them... some national Buddhist unions keep online maps on which the locations of institutions and groups are shown. Finding these things out can take time.

    In the end I did resort to a solo practice. I read quite a lot, I spend time on this forum and another, and I have a somewhat irregular meditation practice. I mix bits of Thai Forest Theravada, Thich Nhat Hanh and I have a real liking for Zen which has yet to develop. I enjoy a bit of Tao. I also listen to Osho’s lectures, often an hour a day.

    But I believe that we are all individuals, seekers, and that adherence to a single tradition is good for a while but that it can die or become forced. I think the greatest favour you can do yourself is to learn to listen to your inner self, to recognise when you need something different. To try and find a path to peace and bliss, while guarding your joy, creativity, and spontaneity.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited May 2020

    @Alex said:
    I have Zen, Triratna, and Samatha meditation (derived from Theravada) close by, I’m sort of mixing the 3 at the moment. There is Kagyu also

    I’m not surprised that you are having a hard time settling with that mix. Perhaps I’ve been lucky, but I’ve always had my focus on just one tradition at a time, so even though I mix things there is something that I concentrate on.

    It is a good thing that you have a choice of communities and can try a few things out. I myself would probably try to find a reasonably permissive group that was open to discussing a range of different literatures, but that is just me.

    Maybe those things are just part of the whole thing that I feel that I’m missing, so it’s down to me to remove those attachments, or create that environment for me 🙏

    My advice would be to not be too hasty in trying to remove attachments. If you feel attracted to Buddha statues and incense then that is a good pointer to what you need at the moment. You could create a little altar at home, or you could try meditating in the Kagyu temple, they are likely to have lots of statues.

    If it really is just an attachment to Buddha statues, then who knows? Maybe it will drop away on its own at the right time. But then I also still like the meditative feeling I get from a Buddha statue.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ... and Zen there were Nun ...

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  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    Thanks @lobster maybe see you there !

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well was there in my best zoomies at the right time, a bit early even
    I was told I would be let into the meeting soon. :)

    What was I meant to do? ... sit about waiting ... pah! I can do that on my own. :p

    So I did. o:)

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