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.

Where to begin?

Hi all,
I'm very new to all of this and I've joined here in hope of learning more about Buddhism. I've been reading a lot about Buddhism lately but I thing I'm stuck with is, where do I start? How do you 'start' on the eightfold path?

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited November 2015

    It is up to you where to start. Maybe sample and experiment and see how what you are doing (eg reading, watching videos, meditating) seems the right place. Are there any Buddhist groups near you to visit?

  • What do you think of this? I like it.

    Without calmness of mind, it is very hard to have a sense of delight. Without this sense of delight, there is no genuine compassion. If we are totally preoccupied with our own experience - how I feel, what my problem is, and so forth - there is no chance at all for us to care about how others feel. There is simply no room for compassion.

    ~ Tsoknyi Rinpoche

    Invincible_summer
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    This division of the parts of the path may be helpful:

    The way I approach it is that meditation falls under the "mental development" part of the path. From the benefits of meditation, you can then engage the world with better refined "ethical conduct." Then "wisdom" eventually falls into place with time and practice.

    It's like a great big feedback loop that begins with using meditation to cultivate an anchor to prevent the mind from leaping directly into unhelpful states.

    But that's just how I see it, and I'm by no means a teacher or expert.

    Kundo
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    The Eightfold Path mostly isn't something you conquer like a to-do list. It is something you are aware of that starts to arise naturally when you learn more about you and your habits and thought patterns, etc. Meditation is (imo) the best way to do so. Don't worry about crossing things off a list and making sure you master them. Mastery comes only at the end of the path. Learn from mistakes and try to do better in the future. Be conscious of your actions and your words, and your thoughts and realize that your mind might feel out of control sometimes but it needs training, just like a puppy.

    Try meditating on the 4 noble truths to start. Do you truly comprehend what it is to suffer? It goes farther and deeper than what we typically label as "suffering." Do you realize that as a human being you suffer, and that there is a way to alleviate that?

    It is the basis of Buddhism, but a very complex teaching.

    Highly recommend The Heart o the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh.

    Be gentle with yourself. It is not a competition but a way to a better life for you and those around you, and really the whole world.

    Be responsible for yourself and accountable to yourself. It's much harder than it sounds.

    lobsterSpoogleWalker
  • @Andyex Perhaps the best start is to ask you a few questions. Is there anything particular in your life that caused you to start reading about Buddhism? What part of Buddhism most attracts you to it? What changes in your life would you like to get out of it? I think that would better let us answer what you would get the most benefit from.

    Like all world religions, Buddhism comes in many different flavors and with different ways to practice it.

    lobsterTosh
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Andyex said:
    Hi all,
    I'm very new to all of this and I've joined here in hope of learning more about Buddhism. I've been reading a lot about Buddhism lately but I thing I'm stuck with is, where do I start? How do you 'start' on the eightfold path?

    I started doing a daily meditation practice as one of the first things. Worked good! Better than sticking your head in a book for 5 years IMO. Of course that doesn't mean you shouldn't read stuff and learn, it just means that you should do meditation.

    rohit
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Something that's become clear to me, about having read and studied and conversed about the Buddha and Buddhism, is that my own past mistakes are a lot easier to look at ... and it's also easier to see other people's goofs - WITHOUT looking down my nose at them - OR myself.

    lobsterkarastiWalkerdantepw
  • @Andyex said:
    Hi all,
    I'm very new to all of this and I've joined here in hope of learning more about Buddhism. I've been reading a lot about Buddhism lately but I thing I'm stuck with is, where do I start? How do you 'start' on the eightfold path?

    @karasti said:

    Meditation is (imo) the best way to do so. Don't worry about crossing things off a list and making sure you master them. Mastery comes only at the end of the path.

    Exactly so. :o

    Start gently but with determination. Can you go on a retreat or attend any meets? Are you disciplined enough to have a shrine and meditate? Can you walk? Walking meditation.
    Can you sit? Sitting meditation.

    Be kind. ... Engage ... You will be fine ...

    ZenshinkarastiKundo
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2015

    @Andyex

    Started courting a zafu at 19 and have been a beginner ever since.

    If you can get the beginning right, the rest of your practice will take care of itself.
    Beginning properly simply requires a commitment to practice within whatever moment you find yourself in now.
    Here, hopefully your beginning is endless, for in truth, both you and each moment are never the same, despite whatever story lines our egos are whispering to the contrary.
    ...............................................................................................................................................

    The Eight-fold path is likened to an eight spoke wheel because it's a teaching of how dependent the wheel actually is (the 4 noble truths) on the support of each and every one of those other spokes.
    While many might suggest that this wheel has a particular Dharmic point to start with.................,
    because the weakest spoke will always determine the functioning limit of the whole wheel, (the functioning limit of your own practice) I'd suggest starting out with whatever spoke seems to be presenting you with the most difficulty.

    Here one simply begins by exploring in this present moment, how ones understanding of the four noble truths, can be applied to that aspect of your life?

    lobsterVastmindkarastiWalker
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I really need to find myself one of @lobster's spectacular zafus, lol.

    lobster
  • Think of each of the 8 paths as spokes on a wheel. Just start the wheel rolling and all will follow the others.

    Davidrohit
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited November 2015

    I'd start with the most difficult task in Buddhism just to get a taste, the five precepts, and also try to develop a daily/weekly/monthly meditation session. Or just randomly meditate whenever you can. I guess Im not setting a good example lol. :)

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    Begin by understanding the teachings of the Buddha.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Andyex said:
    Hi all,
    I'm very new to all of this and I've joined here in hope of learning more about Buddhism. I've been reading a lot about Buddhism lately but I thing I'm stuck with is, where do I start? How do you 'start' on the eightfold path?

    Asking questions and seeking answers to those questions is the start so...you have already started @Andyex ...It's all down hill for the self from 'now' on :)

  • 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

    @bookworm said:
    Begin by understanding the teachings of the Buddha.

    That's a rather pointless bit of advice..... If we all 'understood the teachings of the Buddha' we wouldn't be here at all, would we? :D

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran

    I guess I should've said to try to understand the Buddha's teachings.

  • 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

    @bookworm the OP wondered 'where to start'.
    The thing is, trying to understand the Buddha's teachings is the whole of the path, not the beginning.... It is what we are all trying to do, all the time...

    Where would you suggest the OP starts, in order to try to understand the Buddha's teachings, then?

  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    @karasti said:

    Highly recommend The Heart o the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh.

    +1 Excellent book.

    Believe it or not, I found Buddhism For Dummies very informative as well.

    lobsterInvincible_summer
  • Tony_A_SimienTony_A_Simien Veteran
    edited November 2015

    where do I start?

    By practicing a method that suits you.

    If possible, one that can be incorporated into every activity of your life. One which promotes both calm and insight simultaneously. Anapanasati for example. In this way, your life becomes the practice.

    From this practice will arise understanding. This understanding is living-practice. And in my experience, living-practice is the Ultimate teacher.

    Mindfulness with Breathing: a Manual for Serious Beginners

  • We always have to start with the present moment, how are you right now?

    Ajahn Chah is a great teacher, maybe a good place to start?

    http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/index.php

  • @Walker said:
    Believe it or not, I found Buddhism For Dummies very informative as well.

    I believe it :heart:

    It is not how much we read but how little we need to digest ...
    Be kind. Do good. Meditate.

    The rest is commentary ...

    WalkerShoshinnamarupa
  • @Andyex said:
    where do I start? How do you 'start' on the eightfold path?

    It's a lot like playing a musical instrument.
    First when one sits down, it's a novel mystery - a few sounds may be made that resemble some constituent parts of what may be music, body parts creak under new strains and there is a lack of skill but plenty of enthusiasm.
    Then, one realises that others have also taken the path and that there is a wealth of information to absorb, techniques to develop and critiques to consider - at this stage, one is finding and honing the tools necessary.
    Then, when the tools are thereabouts to the stage necessary to understand the language of experience, one may more freely explore what music may be / mean.
    After this, one is no longer constrained by the achievements or failures of others, be they masters or otherwise - the tools are only important as the means to the music - it is the music, it always was the music, it always shall be the music.
    Start at the beginning - every time, no matter how advanced, one starts at the beginning - if you're starting, start at the beginning - sit down and put your mind to it.
    Best of luck.

    silverlobster
  • I'd suggest the books of Bhante Gunaratana, a leading Therevadan monk in the West (and the East) maybe starting with his classic primer "Mindfulness in Plain English," if you are getting a meditation practice going. He has a good one on the Noble Eightfold Path, too.

  • DaveMcgDaveMcg Shrewsbury,UK New

    I am new to the site and thank you for allowing me to join. I am in the UK and I hope to find a Sangha near by to my home. I realise that each one of us can practise alone, but I would find it helpful if I had the help of a Sangha to help me follow the Middle Path.
    Best wishes to every one on this site.
    Dave

  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran

    By starting actual practice of eightfold path and realizing four noble truth whenever one fails. And ultimately meditation can only make realize what you read in buddhism is true not just a belief.

  • 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

    @DaveMcg said:
    I am new to the site and thank you for allowing me to join. I am in the UK and I hope to find a Sangha near by to my home. I realise that each one of us can practise alone, but I would find it helpful if I had the help of a Sangha to help me follow the Middle Path.
    Best wishes to every one on this site.
    Dave

    Hi Dave, welcome from a fellow Brit. There are a few of us who have infiltrated the site, but I don't think anyone has noticed. Until we write colour, flavour and aluminium, that is....

    Nice to meet you! :)

    Kundo
  • ^^^ try here
    http://www.meditation-in-shrewsbury.co.uk/home

    I used to do their combination of metta and insight meditation. Very accesible, a good intro. :)

Sign In or Register to comment.