Lonely Buddhist

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Amidel
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Lonely Buddhist

Postby Amidel » Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:21 am

I have been looking for a warm and supportive sanga here in the Bay Area.
Before breaking away, I was in the NKT, which may (correctly) be considered a cult.
However, they absolutely nailed it on the supportive and inclusive sanga aspect.

I have checked out Vipassana groups, several Zen, other Vajrayana groups, "non-denominational" Buddhists, and even traditional Pureland Churches.
It seems that "American" dharma, like American culture is cold and alienating. Ruggedly individualistic.
If I show up, great. If I don't show up, great. If I get hit by a car, great.
No one cares.
It seems like there is no *community* feeling. I have actually had several Buddhists that I spoke to about this, suggest I join a Unitarian or Christian church if I'm looking for a supportive sanga.
FFS!
We're Buddhists for (worldly) gods sake!
We should be hitting this one out of the park!
And we are so NOT.

Am I wrong in looking?
Or is there something going on here, that we as a group are missing?

crazy-man
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby crazy-man » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:08 pm

you are not wrong, but the path of the buddhas is to wander alone
One whose mind is enmeshed in sympathy for friends & companions, neglects the true goal. Seeing this danger in intimacy, wander alone like a rhinoceros.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

philji
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby philji » Sat Dec 24, 2016 10:33 pm

Check out Gomde California
https://gomdeusa.org
Northern California. I belong to one of their European centres and there is a great sangha community feel.

shaunc
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby shaunc » Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:02 pm

There's a lot of things that Buddhists in the west could copy from the Christians. Unfortunately a lot of western Buddhists are very anti-christian, to the point that they've thrown the baby out with the bath water.
Christianity in general is also much better at charity.
Buddhists generally speaking are much better at intellectualising the teachings and quoting sources.

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:47 pm

I agree western Buddhists leave a lot to be desired but you might like FPMT in my experience they are good with the community feeling.
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Dec 24, 2016 11:49 pm

Welcome to DW!

Have you checked out any Shambhala groups in your area? They are pretty community-oriented; but you're right, as far as American Dharma goes there is still need for improvement in making the groups more of a community.

Punya
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Punya » Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:13 am

Hello and welcome Amidel. :hi:

I know exactly what you mean. This is a legitimate complaint. I hope you find a more welcoming group amongst those that have been suggested.
If we do not believe in what we cannot see, it does not mean that it does not exist.
~ Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

muni
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby muni » Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:33 am

Amidel wrote: If I get hit by a car, great.
No one cares.


Hello,
At least this danger isn't on a forum.

Spending your time with true spiritual friends will fill you with love for all beings and help you to see how negative attachment and hatred are. Being with such friends, and following their example, will naturally imbue you with their good qualities, just as all the birds flying around a golden mountain are bathed in its golden radiance. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.


I think we can need to be nurtered by wisdoms' compassion in order to be open, compassionate as well. If not we suffer by the careless behaviour around us. There is said that when we find inner peace, then we can bring a change.
Humans are doing what others do, if they are influenced by careless behaviour they will finally see that as normal. But when there is caring friendly behaviour, this can as well be an influencing power.

One simple example: I saw people joyfully saying hello to everyone they were passing and in another place they said nothing, just rushed along each other.

_/\_
‘View like the sky’ means that nothing is held onto in any way whatsoever. You are not stuck anywhere at all. In other words, there is no discrimination as to what to accept and what to reject; no line is drawn separating one thing from another. ‘Conduct as fine as barley flour’ means that there is good and evil, and one needs to differentiate between the two. Give up negative deeds; practice the Dharma. In your behaviour, in your conduct, it is necessary to accept and reject.” Guru Rinpoche

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:24 pm

shaunc wrote:There's a lot of things that Buddhists in the west could copy from the Christians. Unfortunately a lot of western Buddhists are very anti-christian, to the point that they've thrown the baby out with the bath water.
Christianity in general is also much better at charity.
Buddhists generally speaking are much better at intellectualising the teachings and quoting sources.

There are big differences between Buddhism in traditionally Buddhist communities and the Buddhism of Westerners. (I was going to say 'countries', not 'communities' but some migrant communities in the West maintain their traditions.)
Community religions always, AFAIK, have strong social and communal functions. A scattering of converts in the middle of a hostile or (at best) indifferent city aren't going to match them, no matter how hard they try, and they often aren't very interested in trying. Most of them (us) are more focused on sorting out their (our) new beliefs - 'intellectualising', as you say - and many are far more devout than those who have grown up with the religion.

For myself, living in a very lazily Christian/materialist and quite diverse community, my 'faith community' is people of good will of any and all faiths - Christians and atheists and anyone else. If I didn't think that way, I would have no-one to talk to!

:namaste:
Kim

narhwal90
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby narhwal90 » Sun Dec 25, 2016 1:55 pm

I have seen SGI be consistently good at the face-to-face relationships, at the neighborhood level meetings. Which isn't to all all the groups are equally good but I do find a lot of fellowship there.

TharpaChodron
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 25, 2016 2:44 pm

I can sympathize, but the irony is that you live in the Bay Area, where there are probably more Buddhist groups and teachers per capita than the rest of the world, save Nepal or India etc. I would have thought that you had too many choices. I guess it's a bit of perspective for me to consider. I live in the Central Valley, California where there are literally zero Tibetan Buddhist groups that I can join or be a part of. I have started going to Pema Osel Ling in Santa Cruz, which is a lovely 2 hours drive away. So, I'm lucky in the regard that I have an amazing center in driving distance.

I'm hoping to start a little Buddhist reading group, nothing official or fancy in my town one day. Maybe we have to create the things that we miss on our communities, it's in our hands.

That's why I'm here on this forum now. I like having some other likeminded people to talk to. And Sangha is one of the three main components of taking refuge, so, especially for us less experienced practitioners, it's important.

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Ayu
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Ayu » Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:35 pm

Welcome to Dharmawheel, Amidel.

TharpaChodron wrote:...

That's why I'm here on this forum now. I like having some other likeminded people to talk to. And Sangha is one of the three main components of taking refuge, so, especially for us less experienced practitioners, it's important.

Ah, but don't confuse the cosy sangha of gathering people with the jewel "Sangha". The latter consists of saints, lamas, bodhisattvas and precious teachers. Those people who are able to teach us compassion by their mere presence.
The jewel Sangha is not the same as those people we are having tea with in the pause of a session, nor they are those friendly people who forget to say "Hello" to us. :smile:
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

TharpaChodron
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:10 pm

I thought Sangha includes them all, including the bodhisattvas and those we practice with. That's the way I think of it. :namaste:

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:40 pm

TharpaChodron wrote:I thought Sangha includes them all, including the bodhisattvas and those we practice with. That's the way I think of it. :namaste:

It is said that Sangha is the Arya beings only as Ayu said, I'll find a source for you later :namaste:
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

TharpaChodron
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 25, 2016 6:47 pm

That would be great. :smile:

Anyhow, I should introduce myself as I am new, as well. I am in Central California (think of Grapes of Wrath), I practice Nyingma lineage, but I am not a great practitioner or anything, just the usual, run of the mill "bad horse" ??? I hope to have some good discussions and fun here. Greetings!

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Lobsang Chojor » Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:32 pm

Hi Tharpa

Here's Lama Yeshe talking about refuge.

It's nice to meet you, I'm sorry if we got off on the wrong foot I was being rushed by family :P

:namaste:
ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
    Aryasura, Paramitasamasa 6.5

TharpaChodron
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby TharpaChodron » Sun Dec 25, 2016 8:14 pm

No wrong foot...I gotcha. I read the article, thank you. Enjoy the time with family, I'm about to do the same. :namaste:

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Dec 26, 2016 2:56 am

Ayu wrote:Welcome to Dharmawheel, Amidel.

TharpaChodron wrote:...

That's why I'm here on this forum now. I like having some other likeminded people to talk to. And Sangha is one of the three main components of taking refuge, so, especially for us less experienced practitioners, it's important.

Ah, but don't confuse the cosy sangha of gathering people with the jewel "Sangha". The latter consists of saints, lamas, bodhisattvas and precious teachers. Those people who are able to teach us compassion by their mere presence.
The jewel Sangha is not the same as those people we are having tea with in the pause of a session, nor they are those friendly people who forget to say "Hello" to us. :smile:

This is right but on the other hand, that jewel is buried within everyone. It is very, very beneficial to find a nice friendly real-world group of practitioners.
What I want is a view. Hannibal Lecter

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Ayu
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Ayu » Mon Dec 26, 2016 10:45 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:...
This is right but on the other hand, that jewel is buried within everyone. It is very, very beneficial to find a nice friendly real-world group of practitioners.

Sure. No doubt about that helpfulness.
A proper house, nutrious food, medical care, good education are necessities as well. So, one is free enough to practice at all.
But one can't really rely on ordinary people. They change. The individuals and the group are bound to be different after some years. You can't rely on ordinary people.
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Grigoris
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Re: Lonely Buddhist

Postby Grigoris » Mon Dec 26, 2016 11:13 am

Excerpt from the teaching:
The third object of refuge is the Sangha. Sangha consists of those who are endowed with wisdom. They are like the nurses and friends who help us to recuperate from an illness. Sangha is not only those who wear red or yellow robes, but also those friends who influence us beneficially. These spiritual friends energize and inspire us, and are therefore to be clearly distinguished from ordinary friends who hold us back. For example, everyone at this present meditation course comes from a different background and has a different outlook. But we have opened out hearts to each other and shared some profound experiences. We may in fact feel more warmly towards friends we have made here than towards older friends at home. Why is this? Because we sense a spirit of unity: together we have responded to the beauty of Dharma wisdom.

True spiritual friends support one another in their practice and promote each other’s growth in knowledge and awareness. We need support, because we are so easily influenced by our environment and the people around us. Let us suppose that I am a heavy drinker but have decided to take myself in hand and give the habit up. Then a friend says, “What a hot day! Let’s have a drink somewhere.” So I go with him that day, and again the next day, and soon I find myself back in the same old rut.

Moreover, in ordinary friendships we often confuse attachment with affection. For instance, my friend might show his apparent affection for me by suggesting that we go on a drinking bout together. If I decline, he might think me unfriendly and feel rejected, so I give in. This is how friends can bring us down. He didn’t use threats or force, but by displaying the kind of affection that consists only of clinging and attachment, he led me into a situation I would rather have avoided. It is therefore essential that we develop the wisdom-eye that distinguishes true love from mere attachment and can see the difference between what benefits us and what harms us. We should rely entirely on this wisdom, rather than on our ever-fluctuating emotional responses.

I can clearly see the importance of spiritual friends when I visit my students around the world. When they are among friends in the supportive environment of a meditation course, they are happy and enthusiastic. But after they leave and try to practice on their own, their energy slowly subsides, and by the time I see them again they are back in the doldrums. This shows our need for strengthening influences that keep our energy flowing in the right channels. Whatever persons provide this influence—be they Eastern or Western, white or black, male or female—are of the true Sangha.
So the "...saints, lamas, bodhisattvas and precious teachers..." can be included in the Refuge Jewel of Sangha, but they can also be included in the Refuge Jewel of Buddha (as defined out by Lama Yeshe Rinpoche):
Taking refuge in the Buddha involves accepting the guidance of enlightened beings as the only remedy for the confusion and dissatisfaction of our present life.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE


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