hello from the UK

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laymedowntosleep17
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hello from the UK

Post by laymedowntosleep17 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:43 pm

Hello everyone.

I am a 38 year old woman from the UK. I am interested in finding some support and guidance in studying different schools or pathways within Buddhism and having a better understanding of what the difference is between major traditions. I think this is all very complex and some help navigating would be useful.

Is this the right place to ask some preliminary questions? I don't have a teacher and I am not sure how to go about finding one. There are only Kadampa centres in my city and the next large town nearby, which I would prefer to avoid. There's a Soto Zen group nearish to me, and I guess I'd like to understand a little more about self and other power before turning up to that.

I should say that I am a mother of four children and also work full time so I am not looking for an extremely demanding (in terms of time) practice or a residential commitment. I would like to find community, and a socially engaged, environmentally aware and egalitarian community feels like a good fit for me. I am in recovery and active in my local recovery group network. Because of this, 'other power' traditions seem to fit really well with 12 step notions of 'higher power' and surrender, which I have found personally useful. It was in fact my experiences around addiction, craving, suffering and impermanence that led me to wonder if Buddhist practice and community might be a good fit for me.

I think, due to my background as a child in a very high-demand, cultish religion with spiritually abusive tendencies, I am naturally quite suspicious and fearful around complex iconography or detailed cosmic mythologies. No offence to those who are nourished by this - and perhaps it is something I might end up growing out of. Simplicity attracts me. At the same time, though I've read and studied some secular, Westernised and scientific-minded Buddhist writers and find them compelling, they seem to lack an acknowledgement of the beyond, the mystical, the numinous. I have explored Pure Land a little but there's no regular group anywhere near me, and finding others feels very important to me right now.

Thank you

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Virgo
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Re: hello from the UK

Post by Virgo » Fri Feb 14, 2020 10:37 pm

Welcome. :anjali:

Virgo

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DNS
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Re: hello from the UK

Post by DNS » Sat Feb 15, 2020 12:42 am

Welcome to DW!


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Manjushri
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Re: hello from the UK

Post by Manjushri » Sat Feb 15, 2020 11:15 am

Welcome and hopefully you'll find what you're look for in this forum, or at least you'll find people that will help you get on the right path for you.

If simplicity is a key aspect for you, perhaps you should give a thoughtful and lengthy look at the Zen school of Buddhism.

Best wishes!

laymedowntosleep17
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:17 pm

Re: hello from the UK

Post by laymedowntosleep17 » Sat Feb 15, 2020 2:01 pm

thank you everyone.

I am looking at Zen - reading here and elsewhere and a few books too.

I guess what's a sticking point for me - in terms of my current understanding (which I admit might be naive and ill-informed - it's why I am here!) is the emphasis on training and striving - the self-power of the practice.

My own experience in dealing with my addiction is that all my attempts to get control of the clinging, deluded, greedy aspects of my nature made them worse. I was using ego to deal with ego. Only in utterly surrendering and handing over to a (pretty unformed and undeveloped sense of) a higher power was I able to start to live differently. I don't believe I've cured myself, or that my own efforts have got me anywhere. I'm not sure I believe either in a personal god who is answering prayers and protecting me. I think surrendering to 'the way things really are' - including the deficiencies in my own nature (bombu, is what the Pure Land Buddhists call it, I believe).

What attracts me to looking at Zen further is the sense that I have that zazen isn't perhaps about training, or doing, or striving, but is about what happens naturally when all the striving and training and self-effort is allowed to fail utterly or come to a rest. That there's a practice that might look like it is about doing but is actually about learning to stop doing, and let whatever it is that isn't us, but is in us and beyond us, take over. When I have tried meditative practices, I don't get the sense that I am DOING something that will bring me closer to perfecting my nature, but that I am allowing all the things I generally do that get between me and the way things really are in the world and in me (which aren't separate things after all) to come forward. But then when I read I come across these ideas of training and discipline and control and striving and they seem so alien to my experience and to my understanding - such as it is.

Does that sound like Zen practice might be a good fit for me?

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Ayu
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Re: hello from the UK

Post by Ayu » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:18 pm

Welcome to Dharma Wheel. :namaste:

I believe, if you pose your questions in our Zen subforum, more Zen people are likely to read and answer them.
viewforum.php?f=69
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

Simon E.
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Re: hello from the UK

Post by Simon E. » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:19 pm

It’s both a cliche and a fact that your family life can furnish every need and opportunity to practice Dharma.
We don’t need hidden caves on mountain tops! :smile: We do need some time for ourselves on a regular basis.
It’s good to test teachers and groups before committing.
:namaste:
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

laymedowntosleep17
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Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:17 pm

Re: hello from the UK

Post by laymedowntosleep17 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:47 pm

thank you everyone.

And yes - I know what you mean about testing teachers and groups. I think I'm actually quite skeptical and prefer to find things out for myself. I want to read and research and do some thoughtful thinking, but I am also looking for a practice by which I can experience what is spoken about.

While I am here: where is the best place on this forum to ask questions about The Heart Sutra?

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