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Am I putting the cart before the horse?

edited April 2010 in Sanghas
I have only begun to learn about Buddhism but feel very strongly already that I found what I was missing for so long.

I picked up two books by Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness and True Love. I will be reading them today. So far all I have read is information on the internet. By the way, this forum has really shed alot of light already. You all are amazing!

Now, the cart before the horse... Do you think it's too early to start looking at different groups? I am trying to figure out what group with their traditions would best fit and looking at places to learn within the Chicago area, but it seems each place is different. I think I may just be confusing myself... Should I not worry about it at this point and continue to learn and meditate?

Comments

  • 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
    edited April 2010
    (Took me 20 years to definitely settle for a specific tradition. Even then, I do overlap into other traditions, for some things.....)
  • edited April 2010
    I've just finished Miracle of Mindfulness, I found it extremely useful. I find it so much easier to be mindful during every day tasks now.

    I'm going to do a lot more of my own reading and practise before I decide to join any group, if ever.
  • edited April 2010
    Thanks. I often try to take it in so much at once I run into brain lock. :)
  • ManiMani Veteran
    edited April 2010
    I think that you have to do what you feel you should. For me, when I finally went further than just the reading and contemplation, and sought out a meditation class and teacher, I knew it was time. But that was me. ;)

    Although, as one teacher put it, many times "later" turns into "never".

    I think we can all learn from any of the traditions in terms of dharma, though a particular one may be more appropriate or suitable to one's conditions than another. I would suggest for anyone who is interested in any of the traditions, it is best to start with the basics, of the four noble truths, the four dharma seals, and for those who may lean towards Mahayana, the three principal aspects. All dharma really comes back to these anyways. But I feel that it is usually best to find the practice and method that fit's best for you, and then go with it.

    best wishes

    M
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited April 2010
    What's wrong with putting the cart before the horse, anyway?

    Especially if there are oats in the cart and the horse is free to turn around and take nourishment from it. If you discipline the horse he won't eat all the oats and you'll arrive happily at the market and get your recompense.

    Metta
  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    edited April 2010
    Swanny wrote: »
    I have only begun to learn about Buddhism but feel very strongly already that I found what I was missing for so long.

    I picked up two books by Thich Nhat Hanh, The Miracle of Mindfulness and True Love. I will be reading them today. So far all I have read is information on the internet. By the way, this forum has really shed alot of light already. You all are amazing!

    Now, the cart before the horse... Do you think it's too early to start looking at different groups? I am trying to figure out what group with their traditions would best fit and looking at places to learn within the Chicago area, but it seems each place is different. I think I may just be confusing myself... Should I not worry about it at this point and continue to learn and meditate?

    I am glad you have found a way to approach life that speaks strongly to you!

    As for carts and horses, there are some here who think that the teacher is the "horse", some who think that self-study is the "horse".

    Do what feels right, for there is no right or wrong in this. Trust yourself to know what you need.
  • edited April 2010
    My advice is to know the basic concepts that are part of all of the schools, and only after studying these to figure out which school would best suit you. I mean really know these well. :)

    Here are the "basics":

    The Four Noble Truths
    The Noble Eightfold Path
    The Five Precepts
    Impermanence
    Non-Self or Selflessness
    Dependent Origination (or Arising, or Co-Arising, etc.)
    Karma/Kamma
    Dukkha
    Nirvana/Nibbana
    Rebirth (may be viewed metaphorically)
    Samsara

    I think that's about it, unless I missed something. All Buddhist schools teach of suffering and the way to its cessation, and so cover these teachings; yet, each from their own perspective. Find a school that resonates with your personality and temperament, and go with that. If it doesn't agree with you, go with something else.

    There's also one other option, unless you're going to become a monk: don't choose a school at all. ;) It worked for me, and I'm quite happy. If you choose a school you'll probably spend time debating/arguing with the views of people from other schools simply because they differ from your school's view, which is natural; each school has a sense of "self", which is acted upon by its constituents. If you don't become attached to a particular school, and are open to the teachings of all schools, you can learn without bias and also help others without exuding bias.
  • edited April 2010
    Thanks. I think I'll just cool my jets a bit and focus on those basics and see how things pan out.
  • edited April 2010
    Swanny wrote: »
    Thanks. I think I'll just cool my jets a bit and focus on those basics and see how things pan out.

    Hi Swanny,


    It's definately a good idea to investigate the Buddha's core teachings first.You might find these sites helpful.


    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/index.htm


    http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/


    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/



    When you decide to check out offline groups, investigate those very carefully too. They can vary a lot.


    Kind wishes,


    Dazzle



    .
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