Greetings from Oregon!

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Greetings from Oregon!

Post by TaxiDriver » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:38 pm

I live in Portland, Oregon in the US and I'm quite pleased to have found this forum!

I have considered myself a Buddhist for maybe 25 years, but I had been using it like a fire extinguisher and only turning to belief in times of trouble. Consequently I was miserable until deciding that more full time focus was truly necessary. I must include that I had a profound experience while reading The Four Noble Truths by VA Sumedoh* that removed all doubts and brought a sense of certainty within me I had never experienced before. I felt the deepest sincerity and an overpowering sense of Compassion. Neither good nor bad, I understood something beyond that value attachment and experienced a Peace that I could not have believed existed before.

I have no formal training other than basic meditation techniques my Karate Sensei taught almost 30 years ago. There are many Buddhist facilities in my town; the problem I'm having - other than finding the time to go and maybe convincing my wife to go, too :smile: - is deciding on a school? Theravada or Mahayana? Zen? Pure Land? Vajrayana? Nichiren? Do I need to decide at all? I've greatly enjoyed reading material from every school, though I find myself leaning more and more towards Pure Land and Zen (I think I'm answering my own question, but any input is much appreciated :smile: ).

I am a taxi cab driver and this gives me a lot of time to myself to practice meditation in the car. I have also found that mindfulness while driving 100 to 200 miles a day to be extremely beneficial just from a safety perspective alone! At home I don't mind doing chores and I find myself completing projects skillfully rather than procrastinating then rushing to get them done. My wife likes the 'new me' and I am a much much happier person. I do not regret the years of not fully investing in the Dharma because without this very sharp contrast I might not appreciate this certainty and this bliss nearly as much, nor would I have so many experiences to learn from. This freedom from regret, from guilt, from the nattering inner voice that can't be satisfied - this is real.

Namo Amitabha! :buddha1:

*specifically the part where he describes a sense of dread while looking at a beautiful view of the Himalayas: "I had the feeling of wanting to hold on to everything, that I had to keep alert all the time in order to consume everything with my eyes." I have had this exact experience whenever I'm confronted with a lot of delicious Chinese food! Then he writes: "It was really wearing me out! Now that was dukkha wasn't it?" and with that my mind exploded in an orange light all over the room, and in my memory of this I see a silhouette of the Amitabha Buddha. It wasn't supernatural. I felt like it was akin to the sensation of finding, say, your car keys, except this was Ultimate Truth, and so was exponentially more intense.
Travis: "I don't know. That's about the dumbest thing I ever heard."
Wizard: "It's not Bertrand Russell. But what do you want? I'm a cabbie!"

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Re: Greetings from Oregon!

Post by DNS » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:53 pm

Welcome to Dharma Wheel!


Study them all, practice them all, then decide which school of Buddhism you prefer.

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Re: Greetings from Oregon!

Post by DGA » Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:47 pm

Welcome to DharmaWheel!

I'm a native Portlander; there are others on the board here who can offer some useful guidance on where to go. Generally, the best thing you can do is not worry too much about which school or tradition seems like the right fit up front. It's better to visit the center during times when it's appropriate for new people to come on by. For example, KCC near Emmanuel Hospital has a weekly Avalokiteshvara meditation that I've dropped into myself. Visit several and get a feel for how people treat each other, and how the teachings come through in their conduct. Pay attention also to how the teacher interacts with the students. And find out before you go if you're visiting a cult; there are one or two out there, so "know before you go" as they say.

Bottom line: you're looking for a community where you can learn something that will be more important to you than brain surgery. So it makes sense to take some time and reflect on the big question: is this a place where I can learn? where I will be challenged to grow? where there's a spirit of goodwill and altruism?

Enjoy your practice...

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Re: Greetings from Oregon!

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:20 pm

Hello from Tigard and soon to be Southeast Portland! I've spent most of my life in this part of the world :) I also am attracted to both Pure Land and Zen.

There really is a plethora of places to practice in town. I've had a hard time putting down roots, but here are a few that I've practiced with that made a very positive impression on me:
Tibetan, Kagyu school: Kagyu Changchub Chuling, in Northeast as Jikan said. Very popular (i.e. crowded) but wonderful teachers and environment.
Zen, Soto: Portland Buddhist Priory, off Powell and 17th. It may be just you and the (very friendly) resident nun some weeks. Small and intimate.
Zen, Soto: Heart of Wisdom, by Peninsula Park in Northeast. It's associated with the Oregon Zen Monastery. I've really enjoyed the weekly dharma talks here.
Pureland, Jodo Shinshu: Oregon Buddhist Temple, near Powell and 34th. More of a structured service with singing. It's also the only place I've ever been applauded for being a newcomer :smile:

Of course there are many other places, too! I'm still not sure where I want to practice regularly, but it will likely be one of these :)

Best of luck! Maybe we'll run into each other sometime :cheers:
Last edited by Monlam Tharchin on Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Greetings from Oregon!

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:34 pm

Hello TaxiDriver.

Yes, I'm talking to you!!! :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Greetings from Oregon!

Post by ball-of-string » Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:01 pm

<----- also a Portlander, although today I'm enjoying the holiday out on the Gorge. I suggest visiting some practice communities until you find the one that feels right for you. Intellectual learning only goes so far; if a group of practitioners resonates with you, it might actually be a result of your karma and an all around good fit.

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Re: Greetings from Oregon!

Post by Lindama » Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:53 am

Hello TaxiDriver,
Explore as you wish... just remember that being a taxi driver is akin to Bodhisattva taxi driver.... bring that with you :namaste: I'm sure we all could learn a lot from you.
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

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