Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Looking into an online Buddhism class

JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

I have been reading several books about Buddhism and have several more lined up. But I'm wanting guidance and interaction as I feel I am all over the place. I interacted, via email, a couple of times with a guy named Tashi Mannox and he suggested that I go to gradualpath.com and look into taking their course.
The one course costs $600 and I'm tempted to try it, but that's a lot of money if it turns out to not be what I need or what I'm looking for. I'm of a couple of different mindsets when it comes to paying for religious training or instruction. I understand that teachers need to make a living too but at the same time feel that guidance in these matters should not have a price tag attached to them.
Does anyone on here know anything about this website and if it is worth the cost? Or maybe you know of a better alternative?
As always, thank you all for your help!

Comments

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited June 7

    https://www.sugarplumsangha.org/

    This one is nice. It is in the Plum Village tradition of Zen.

    One of the courses is free and the others are cheap. Plus, there are on line meditation Zooms where you can pay what you can through dana (donation) or not.

    JohnCobb
  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @David said:
    https://www.sugarplumsangha.org/

    This one is nice. It is in the Plum Village tradition of Zen.

    This is so crazy lol! I actually used to live in Redwood Valley which is just minutes north of Ukiah where the Sugar Plum Sangha is! I'll definitely be looking into this! Thank you!

    David
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited June 7

    They may even still have a cabin for rent.

    JohnCobb
  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @David that is so tempting lol. My son and I were actually talking about California today and how much we both miss it. We've been gone from northern California for about 4 years now and it's been the only place that ever felt like home. Mendocino county, where Sugar Plum Sangha is located, is such a beautiful area and the people there are wonderful. I have a couple things holding me in Arkansas for now, but have thought about leaving this place when I'm able, and have been thinking about looking for a place with a Sangha that I could be a part of. It kind of sucks being in a place with nothing like that.

  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    I had a look at gradualpath.com, it seems pretty good, though not cheap. It is nicer not to pay for things, obviously. I once did a year long course at a Tibetan temple for a 15 euro suggested dana to cover the costs of paper copying and ring binders. But that was in person and not online. Good online courses do tend to cost.

    It’s a good plan to do some courses. As with directions of Buddhism you can’t really go wrong with what course you choose to do, most do have a few useful things to teach if you are open to it. But it would be best to do some shorter, tasting courses so that you can find out if the kind of Buddhism really suits you.

    You will get the most out of a course where you really agree with the principles it teaches. I always got on well with Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition, and also with the Thai Forest Tradition. There is a monastery in California which might be able to help:

    https://www.abhayagiri.org/

    JohnCobb
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    You'll find all the online courses they do in the Thai Forest tradition are free too. They just ask for a donation. Whatever you can afford. They are normally well supported by lay people.

    However, I understand with Tibetan Buddhism that they need to charge fees. They simply don't have the lay support.

    JohnCobb
  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @David and @Kerome, I have spent the night reading up on the Plum Village Tradition and feel deep within me that I may have found my home on the Buddhist Path. I had not seriously considered this Tradition until reading your answers this evening. I bow to all members of this Sangha for their insight and guidance, and especially to you two for bringing this Tradition more to my attention. There is a monastery a few hours from me in northwest Mississippi that I have contacted requesting information on attending a weekend retreat and receiving the Five Mindfulness Trainings.
    If I may ask, and perhaps this is a dumb question, if so, please forgive my ignorance, but is receiving the Five Mindfulness Trainings the same as taking refuge?
    Thank you all again so much!

    BunkslobsterKeromeDavid
  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran
    edited June 7

    No, taking refuge is a separate thing, which you can do at home. The five mindfulness trainings are Plum Village’s version of the five precepts — no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying and no intoxicants. The mindfulness trainings expand and update this for the Plum Village tradition.

    JohnCobb
  • コチシカコチシカ Veteran
    edited June 7

    @Bunks Where do you find these online courses (Thai Forest Tradition)? I know I should Google but perhaps you can refine my search -and save me some time too!-

    Thanks.

    PD - @JohnCobb good luck with your learning! You know, I started off by watching all the YouTube videos of Ajahn Sona and Ajahn Punnadhammo, then I found Ajahn Jayasaro. They belong to the Thai Forest Tradition. The first two particularly have adapted quite well the school's cut of Buddhism to Western audiences. Check them out!

    JohnCobb
  • BeardoBeardo London New

    Hi John,

    I am new on here (I only joined yesterday), but I have spent 5-10 years reading Buddhist books, I have attended a few courses and I'm still trying to decide what to do in terms of following any one tradition. My personal problem is that I find the link between karma (stored merit) and its impact on any subsequent life/rebirth after you physically die difficult to believe.

    I have read several Thich Nhat Hanh books. His books Peace is Every Step, The Miracle of Mindfulness, Gone to the other shore, The Art of Happiness all seem to fit well with me and they have really helped me see things clearly. I have not seen much, if anything, about building up karma for favourable future rebirths after death in the Plum Village teachings, but that teaching may well be there. I'd be interested to know.

    I am also very involved loosely with a local Sangha in London which seems to follow Plum Village teachings. We have certainly read out the Plum Village version of the precepts when I have been able to go to the meet ups.

    It would be good to know more about the course. I may have a look.

    Steve

    JohnCobbDavid
  • BeardoBeardo London New

    There are also courses on here. These seem to be more down the 'Secular Buddhism' path with Stephen Batchelor etc...

    https://sangha.live/deep-dharma/

  • 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

    Hi, @Beardo/John. As a wonderful and much-missed member used to say, "Welcome, I hope you find something useful here."

    DavidJohnCobb
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Or maybe you know of a better alternative?

    When 'my' Buddhist cult is up and running we will pay students for the privilege of teaching them. O.o

    For now I am no help :(:3

    JohnCobbBunks
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited June 7

    @JohnCobb said:
    @David and @Kerome, I have spent the night reading up on the Plum Village Tradition and feel deep within me that I may have found my home on the Buddhist Path. I had not seriously considered this Tradition until reading your answers this evening. I bow to all members of this Sangha for their insight and guidance, and especially to you two for bringing this Tradition more to my attention. There is a monastery a few hours from me in northwest Mississippi that I have contacted requesting information on attending a weekend retreat and receiving the Five Mindfulness Trainings.
    If I may ask, and perhaps this is a dumb question, if so, please forgive my ignorance, but is receiving the Five Mindfulness Trainings the same as taking refuge?
    Thank you all again so much!

    To me it is. I don't think there is a specific ceremony for taking refuge but there is a specific chant if that helps.

    I take refuge in the Buddha,
    the one who shows me the way in this life.
    I take refuge in the Dharma,
    the way of understanding and of love.
    I take refuge in the Sangha,
    the community that lives in harmony and awareness.
    [bell]

    Dwelling in the refuge of Buddha,
    I clearly see the path of light and beauty in the world.
    Dwelling in the refuge of Dharma,
    I learn to open many doors on the path of transformation.
    Dwelling in the refuge of Sangha,
    shining light that supports me, keeping my practice free of obstruction.
    [bell]

    Taking refuge in the Buddha in myself,
    I aspire to help all people recognize their own awakened nature,
    realizing the Mind of Love.
    Taking refuge in the Dharma in myself,
    I aspire to help all people fully master the ways of practice
    and walk together on the path of liberation.
    Taking refuge in the Sangha in myself,
    I aspire to help all people build Fourfold Communities,
    to embrace all beings and support their transformation.
    [bell, bell]

    2 years into working with the Five Mindfulness Trainings you can move onto the Fourteen Mindfulness Trainings. From there you may aspire to become ordained into the Order of Interbeing.

    I've been studying Buddhism for years and I just decided last year to actually join a physical Sangha. I just recieved the 5 Mindfulness Trainings 2 months ago.

    I would recommend getting the latest edition of Thays book Interbeing (2020 version).

    Oh, there is even a Plum Village app.

    JohnCobb
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran

    Or maybe you know of a better alternative?

    I'm reminded of Lao Tzu

    When the student is 'ready' the master will appear

    When the student is 'truly' ready... The master will Disappear

    This it would seem applies particularly to spiritual quests...

    JohnCobbDavid
  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @David that is such a beautiful version of the Refuge Vow. I heard back from the Magnolia Monastery and they have an online 5 Trainings happening next month. I ordered the book you recommended and a couple of others by TNH. As always thank you for your guidance, you and everyone else. I bow to you all ❤️

    David
  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    @David what is meant in the Refuge Vow by Fourfold Communities?

    David
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited June 8

    @JohnCobb said:
    @David what is meant in the Refuge Vow by Fourfold Communities?

    Thay tries to be as inclusive as possible and makes it obvious. It means a community of monastic and laypeople but stressing equality between the sexes in the community as well as the monastic order. The Fourfold community includes monks, nuns, laywomen and laymen.

    JohnCobb
  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited June 8

    Hey John, Magnolia Grove (est TNH) is only about 3.5 he drive from you in Batesville, MS. I use to visit there almost every Sunday. Don’t go during a retreat ( it’s packed like a theme park)...maybe plan a weekend stay there any other time. Not sure of the new COVID schedule. Here’s the site

    https://magnoliagrovemonastery.org/

    I would be happy to meet up with you there :)

    ETA....ok, looks like they are doing mindfulness days again . Thurs and Sunday. Just gotta register beforehand as opposed to before when we would just show up.

    Ok, duh! Sorry, just saw you said above that you knew about it, haha.

    JohnCobbDavid
  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    @Beardo said:
    I have not seen much, if anything, about building up karma for favourable future rebirths after death in the Plum Village teachings, but that teaching may well be there. I'd be interested to know.

    Thay’s teaching is not so focused on death and rebirth, he is more interested in mindfulness, happiness and this life. I’ve not yet seen him discuss rebirth and merit anywhere.

    JohnCobb
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @Beardo said:
    I have not seen much, if anything, about building up karma for favourable future rebirths after death in the Plum Village teachings, but that teaching may well be there. I'd be interested to know.

    Thay’s teaching is not so focused on death and rebirth, he is more interested in mindfulness, happiness and this life. I’ve not yet seen him discuss rebirth and merit anywhere.

    Yes, we talk more of no-birth and no-death and give any merit we may gain away.

  • JohnCobbJohnCobb Hot Springs Arkansas Explorer

    I would like to think that we have too much on our hands dealing with this life to worry about the next one. Live this one the right way and the next one will come when it will and take care of itself. Just my opinion.

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    That’s exactly right @johncobb, it’s very easy to start assuming things about the next life, but in the end that part of the teaching cannot be tested, and so is best left without too much attention. If you live this life well, then whatever happens next will flow naturally from it. As you say.

    Thay’s focus on peace and meditation and happiness for yourself and through mindfulness of others is a good path.

    JohnCobb
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @David said:

    @JohnCobb said:
    @David what is meant in the Refuge Vow by Fourfold Communities?

    Thay tries to be as inclusive as possible and makes it obvious. It means a community of monastic and laypeople but stressing equality between the sexes in the community as well as the monastic order. The Fourfold community includes monks, nuns, laywomen and laymen.

    The Fourfold community is called out in basically all traditions. Plum village aren’t unique in that sense.

    JohnCobbDavidShoshin1
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Bunks said:

    @David said:

    @JohnCobb said:
    @David what is meant in the Refuge Vow by Fourfold Communities?

    Thay tries to be as inclusive as possible and makes it obvious. It means a community of monastic and laypeople but stressing equality between the sexes in the community as well as the monastic order. The Fourfold community includes monks, nuns, laywomen and laymen.

    The Fourfold community is called out in basically all traditions. Plum village aren’t unique in that sense.

    Good to know.

  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    I’ve not posted here for some time, but check in now and again and spotted this thread.
    Before spending extortionate amounts of money on an online course I suggest you look at one of the following:

    The FPMT Discovering Buddhism course which you get free access to for a monthly donation of about $10. If you like the course you can get access to their follow on courses by paying or by increasing your monthly donation. The first course is about 12 months study and gives direct access to the elders via their online forum. Run by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zope Rinpoche.
    https://fpmt.org/education/programs/discovering-buddhism/

    The Library of Wisdom and Compassion book series by Thubten Chodron and HH Dalai Lama, with many many supporting video talks and podcasts given by Thubten Chodron and fellow nuns at Sravasti Abbey.

    Both highly recommended and very practical rather than being theoretical and academic.

    BunkslobsterVastmindJohnCobb
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    You could take a look at this site about a Tibetan Meditation group with a fully-qualified Tibetan Lama as their resident teacher.

    They are about to shut down for the summer, but there are likely beginner lessons starting up in the Fall, which are very inexpensive and held over Zoom (such as $80 Camadian for once-a-week 2-hour classes for 7 weeks). If you have inquiries, direct them to the Center:

    At this time, there is little that would be useful for you. Not until general programming (Tue. Wed or Thurs night courses) start in the Fall. Please understand that the pace is slow, and it can take YEARS to learn to understand the content .. if this is not your style, you may not find it worthwhile for you. Also understand that the teacher, having been trained in the Dalai Lama's monastery and being a Tibetan ... teaches as HE was taught,,. and this is rather "foreign" to the way we Westerners think and learn. More than that, there is alot of chanting IN Tibetan (although with Zoom, the content is onscreen for you).

    The Center is non-profit but has to support the teacher, has to pay the mortgage and utilities and insurance. Huge expenses. Some offerings are only open to those for those who have paid an annual membership. If one truly does not have money, fees can be waived ... but it considered negative karma to received benefit from anyone and NOT pay it back in some form.
    https://www.gsl-ab.ca/

    JohnCobb
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Bunks said:

    @David said:

    @JohnCobb said:
    @David what is meant in the Refuge Vow by Fourfold Communities?

    Thay tries to be as inclusive as possible and makes it obvious. It means a community of monastic and laypeople but stressing equality between the sexes in the community as well as the monastic order. The Fourfold community includes monks, nuns, laywomen and laymen.

    The Fourfold community is called out in basically all traditions. Plum village aren’t unique in that sense.

    I hope that didn't sound like I was saying other schools aren't inclusive. If so, I apologize for being unclear. I just never heard that specific term before outside of that tradition.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @David said:

    @Bunks said:

    @David said:

    @JohnCobb said:
    @David what is meant in the Refuge Vow by Fourfold Communities?

    Thay tries to be as inclusive as possible and makes it obvious. It means a community of monastic and laypeople but stressing equality between the sexes in the community as well as the monastic order. The Fourfold community includes monks, nuns, laywomen and laymen.

    The Fourfold community is called out in basically all traditions. Plum village aren’t unique in that sense.

    I hope that didn't sound like I was saying other schools aren't inclusive. If so, I apologize for being unclear. I just never heard that specific term before outside of that tradition.

    That's fine! No need to apologise. I just wanted to make sure it was understood that almost all traditions recognise the equality of the sexes.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited June 11

    In the cult we are starting in another thread, no one is allowed to be superior. So much so that everyone is equally absent …
    https://newbuddhist.com/discussion/26882/tips-on-creating-a-cult

    … and now for a musical interlude …
    https://www.georgeharrison.com/om-is-where-the-heart-is/

    JohnCobb
  • KeromeKerome Lovingness is the way The Continent Veteran

    Did you make a choice in the end @johncobb ?

Sign In or Register to comment.