Spiritual path or worldly path?

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MatthewAngby
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Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by MatthewAngby » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:03 am

Hello people. So these days I have been thinking to myself if the spiritual path or worldly path is what I want to take.
By spiritual I mean - a person who has gone to Nepal to further do his Buddhist things.
By world I mean - a person who has a work life with little time for the dharma.

So .... I was thinking , if I were to take a spiritual path , I fear I might get bored at one point in time and retrogress in practice. Also, parents..family... all of them - I am afraid that I will not see them again and that they will be sad if they do not see me on their deathbed.

And if I were to take the wordly path.... I would face much difficulty practice the dharma. My job would probably be very busy and hard .. so I would have little time and diligence do I have for the practice of the dharma.

So please help me. I am inclined to spiritual path more. Is there any deities that can help me? Is there any mantras that can fulfulill my wish of going to the spiritual path without obstacles ?

Please give me some advice too. Thanks a lot!
The force is my ally...and a powerful ally it is - Yoda

Marc
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Marc » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:20 am

Hi Matthew,  

The Spiritual and the Mundane do not lie out there, in external circumstances / conditions, but in ourselves.

A monk in Nepal may be pursuing a wordly path, while a lay practitioner in New York City may be on the true Spiritual path.

It all lies on the purity of our motivations, intentions & views.

True, the path of the lay practitioner has its difficulties, but so does the path of the renunciate.

You will have to find your way, and for that, you will have to really look honestly at yourself, your situation, your psychological make up, your capacities...

We can really waste many, many years of our precious existence fantasizing about the dharma: Oh... If only this... If only that... Then I could truly practice the dharma. But these are mere delusory excuses we sedate ourselves with.

The late Tulku Urgyen used to say that one of the great virtue of going on solitary retreat is that by stripping out all the outer mess / agitation we are forced to see our inner mess and stop inventing excuses...
However, Yongdzin (Lopön) Tenzin Namdak also warns that many people fantasize about cave dwelling, and that actually for most people this will be too challenging, and therefore ironically become, an obstacle to their practice...

A truly dedicated lay practitioner can actually achieve more "meditation mileage" than a busy monk, or a lazy yogi.

Start where you are. Do not wait for so called "perfect conditions". Study the Dharma. Develop your practice, your mind & heart capacities, and then you will have a better venture point about the best lifestyle to support your practice & path.

Hoping this helped a bit...

With my very best, heartfelt wishes,  
Cheers
Marc

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Lingpupa
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Lingpupa » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:04 am

Marc has spoken a lot of sense.

On a practical note, it is difficult to just go and live in Nepal. Easy to visit, but your visit is time-limited unless you have special leverage. There are special levers, but you'd have to put a good bit of work into finding and using one that works for you.
All the best
Alex Wilding
Stupa in the Snow blog at http://chagchen.org/

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Vasana
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Vasana » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:12 am

Marc wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:20 am
:good:

It needn't be an 'either-or' decision, Matthew. If you are relatively new to the dharma, this isn't the sort of choice you can expect yourself to make in an informed way so early on.You probably have great romanticized fantasies of what monastic or yogic life would be like but this may be a naive expectation of what the reality might be. You should investigate the relative challenges that both would present and follow Marc's advice for inquiry above before deciding.

In the mean time, don't trick yourself in to thinking you cannot practice any spiritual path while you are still a Layman /Upāsaka with a job and/or family. Many upasaka and lay tantrikas attained realization. Getting the balance between the necessities of worldly life and dharma is crucial but even if you live as an upasaka and get in as much practice as possible this will still yield spiritual benefit. Especially if you are frequently able to use entire weekends or months and dedicate them for practice retreats. If you have the good fortune of not needing to launch a career right away or if you have the liberty to travel or practice for a while, this could also be an option for you. Very few teachers will expect their western students to go and copy Milarepa and practice in a cave and eat nettles all winter.
so I would have little time and diligence do I have for the practice of the dharma.
This is the task that awaits you regardless of which path you choose. Diligence is as much of a skill you train in as any other and we have to intentionally cultivate it in spite of our bad habits.
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

Simon E.
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Simon E. » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:18 pm

Marc wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:20 am
Hi Matthew,  

The Spiritual and the Mundane do not lie out there, in external circumstances / conditions, but in ourselves.

A monk in Nepal may be pursuing a wordly path, while a lay practitioner in New York City may be on the true Spiritual path.

It all lies on the purity of our motivations, intentions & views.

True, the path of the lay practitioner has its difficulties, but so does the path of the renunciate.

You will have to find your way, and for that, you will have to really look honestly at yourself, your situation, your psychological make up, your capacities...

We can really waste many, many years of our precious existence fantasizing about the dharma: Oh... If only this... If only that... Then I could truly practice the dharma. But these are mere delusory excuses we sedate ourselves with.

The late Tulku Urgyen used to say that one of the great virtue of going on solitary retreat is that by stripping out all the outer mess / agitation we are forced to see our inner mess and stop inventing excuses...
However, Yongdzin (Lopön) Tenzin Namdak also warns that many people fantasize about cave dwelling, and that actually for most people this will be too challenging, and therefore ironically become, an obstacle to their practice...

A truly dedicated lay practitioner can actually achieve more "meditation mileage" than a busy monk, or a lazy yogi.

Start where you are. Do not wait for so called "perfect conditions". Study the Dharma. Develop your practice, your mind & heart capacities, and then you will have a better venture point about the best lifestyle to support your practice & path.

Hoping this helped a bit...

With my very best, heartfelt wishes,  
Cheers
Marc
:good: Excellent posting in fact. Nothing to add.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Grigoris
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:22 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:03 am
Hello people. So these days I have been thinking to myself if the spiritual path or worldly path is what I want to take.
By spiritual I mean - a person who has gone to Nepal to further do his Buddhist things.
By world I mean - a person who has a work life with little time for the dharma.
Why do you have to go to Nepal for spiritual practice?
Why do you believe that working/family life means no time for practice?
"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

MatthewAngby
Posts: 313
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by MatthewAngby » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm

Well working with family life means that I have to go for frequent working - 5 days per week plus maybe calls and emails for weekends. This leave me almost tired and drenched of energy - which would affect my spiritual practise by a lot ( from my experience during my major exams from school, which I suffer a lot there .) .

So being in Nepal or anywhere else in the world - that perhaps will help me focus more , for there is no worldly working and concerns. So I thought Nepal was an option.
The force is my ally...and a powerful ally it is - Yoda

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Aryjna
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Aryjna » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:50 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Well working with family life means that I have to go for frequent working - 5 days per week plus maybe calls and emails for weekends. This leave me almost tired and drenched of energy - which would affect my spiritual practise by a lot ( from my experience during my major exams from school, which I suffer a lot there .) .

So being in Nepal or anywhere else in the world - that perhaps will help me focus more , for there is no worldly working and concerns. So I thought Nepal was an option.
Unfortunately things are not that simple unless you are already rich. Or maybe if we were in ancient India or in Tibet a few hundred years ago when you could just abandon everything and still have access to many good teachers.

Norwegian
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Norwegian » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:51 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Well working with family life means that I have to go for frequent working - 5 days per week plus maybe calls and emails for weekends. This leave me almost tired and drenched of energy - which would affect my spiritual practise by a lot ( from my experience during my major exams from school, which I suffer a lot there .) .

So being in Nepal or anywhere else in the world - that perhaps will help me focus more , for there is no worldly working and concerns. So I thought Nepal was an option.
Suppose you go to Nepal. That implies traveling, which of course costs money. Then you need to stay somewhere, usually that also implies paying for stay or rent of some sort. And you will need food and water, which also costs money. Then there's other things such as toothpaste, toilet paper, etc. And so you're in Nepal, and you'll be there for however long it is that you think you need to be for it to be worth it.

How will you pay for all of this? And if you return to where you live now or just leave to enter society in general again, what will you have to fall back upon? Can you then easily get a job having been away from the market for presumably years? Where will you live? How will you pay for food? And so on.

Simon E.
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Simon E. » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:03 pm

There is also the fact that Nepal is not exactly a hotbed of orthodox Buddhadharma.
There are probably a greater number of authentic teachers in the USA or Europe.
Back to fishin' folks... :namaste:

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Fa Dao
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Fa Dao » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:57 pm

MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Well working with family life means that I have to go for frequent working - 5 days per week plus maybe calls and emails for weekends. This leave me almost tired and drenched of energy - which would affect my spiritual practise by a lot ( from my experience during my major exams from school, which I suffer a lot there .) .

So being in Nepal or anywhere else in the world - that perhaps will help me focus more , for there is no worldly working and concerns. So I thought Nepal was an option.
Bro, your life IS your practice...you do whatever you can during the day and just as importantly you do your best to apply what you have developed on your meditation cushion, integrating it into your life. Its all well and good if you can meditate 15 hours a day in a retreat or monastery but if you cant apply it to your 'real" life then its basically worthless...
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

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Grigoris
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:13 pm

Fa Dao wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:57 pm
MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Well working with family life means that I have to go for frequent working - 5 days per week plus maybe calls and emails for weekends. This leave me almost tired and drenched of energy - which would affect my spiritual practise by a lot ( from my experience during my major exams from school, which I suffer a lot there .) .

So being in Nepal or anywhere else in the world - that perhaps will help me focus more , for there is no worldly working and concerns. So I thought Nepal was an option.
Bro, your life IS your practice...you do whatever you can during the day and just as importantly you do your best to apply what you have developed on your meditation cushion, integrating it into your life. Its all well and good if you can meditate 15 hours a day in a retreat or monastery but if you cant apply it to your 'real" life then its basically worthless...
:good:
"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

MatthewAngby
Posts: 313
Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:51 am

Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by MatthewAngby » Thu Jan 04, 2018 3:33 am

Okay. Thanks everyone for the replies!
The force is my ally...and a powerful ally it is - Yoda

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:28 am

There is a line in a Kagyu prayer about realizing the inseparability of samsara and nirvana.
Before I married and we had a baby, I was like a monk. I spent lots of hours in meditation and visualizations and sadhanas.
After the baby, because I work from home, my job was feeding and diapering, all hours of day and night.
Meditating was impossible because I was always listening for the baby.
No more incense or candles. When the baby was a toddler, no bowls of rice or water. Everything went into a box in the closet.
But I still studied a lot, and recited mantras.
That's when the question came to me:
"if you put all that dharma stuff away, what does your practice look like?"
And, I think, that's what a lot of people have replied here, it's all dharma practice.
Prince Siddhartha left his cozy palace and his family to become a buddha.
I think, it's always about leaving your cozy palace, especially sometimes,
when a person's ascetic spiritual trip is their cozy palace, their comfort zone.
For example, for me, just the opposite of Siddhartha. Of course, I'm not an enlightened being,
but my point is, getting married and having a baby and a bunch of worldly concerns all the time,
I think, was best thing for my dharma practice. Or, maybe I just like a challenge. I don't know!

We live in a world full of mythos. Especially, I think, in America, we have all these narratives, these imaginary worlds of the founding fathers,
the awesome rock star, the starving artist, the rugged individual, the buddhist monk or himalayan yogi,
David Carradine as the Kung Fu cowby, etc.
Sometimes I hear this rock song in my head, by the band Bad Company, but the words are changed:
"it's all part...of my buddhist monk fantasy..."
--I'm not saying that your intentions are bullshit, or that finding a good environment for practice is easy. It's not.
But it's also easier to practice when you don't get dysentery or cholera.
It's wherever you are, right now, that's where your dharma practice is.
And the funny thing is, the more you try to move out of your comfort zone, the bigger it gets.

(sorry, now I'm just rambling.)

.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

amanitamusc
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by amanitamusc » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:04 am

Fa Dao wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:57 pm
MatthewAngby wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:25 pm
Well working with family life means that I have to go for frequent working - 5 days per week plus maybe calls and emails for weekends. This leave me almost tired and drenched of energy - which would affect my spiritual practise by a lot ( from my experience during my major exams from school, which I suffer a lot there .) .

So being in Nepal or anywhere else in the world - that perhaps will help me focus more , for there is no worldly working and concerns. So I thought Nepal was an option.
Bro, your life IS your practice...you do whatever you can during the day and just as importantly you do your best to apply what you have developed on your meditation cushion, integrating it into your life. Its all well and good if you can meditate 15 hours a day in a retreat or monastery but if you cant apply it to your 'real" life then its basically worthless...
:thumbsup:

Bristollad
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Re: Spiritual path or worldly path?

Post by Bristollad » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:23 am

Even after giving up family life, whether you are in an exotic location or not, spending all day everyday in retreat meditating is very unlikely to happen; the necessities of life are still present - food, clothing, accomodation etc.

While living as a monastic in theory gives more time for spiritual practice, often your daily schedule becomes just as filled with mundane concerns as family life squeezing out time on the cushion. Just now, instead of being distracted by running children to after school clubs and the latest political satire, you are distracted by the usual cleaning chores plus who should be looking after the shrines, who last used the monastery car and why they didn't put some petrol in it, or whether this or that monastic is spending too much time with this or that layperson, and so on.

Intergrating spiritual practice into daily life is the practice both for lay people and monastics, and can be equally difficult IMHO.

:namaste:

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