I've decided I want to look into Shingon. However...

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I've decided I want to look into Shingon. However...

Post by DaftChris » Mon Aug 19, 2013 7:05 pm

...there are no temples or teachers near me.

I believe it successfully mixes Buddhism with elements of Hinduism (primarily some of the deities), while at the same time developing it's own philosophy and practice. All the while retaining many Japanese rites and customs. The problem is, Shingon is considered "Vajrayana" and, unlike the other school in Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism), it is not as widespread or as well known in the west.

I live in the U.S., where the only known temples are on the west coast and up in Vermont. I really want to practice this school of Buddhism and have a couple of questions.

1.) Can one successfully have a teacher when they don't have one near them? If I got a teacher, they would probably be a few states away. Can one have a physically distant teacher and still get the benefits of having one?

2.) Do you believe one needs a temple to fully practice their school? Can one successfully practice their school when they are the only one in their area? There are a couple of Buddhist temples in my area, but neither of them are Shingon. There are also a couple of Hindu temples.

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: I've decided I want to look into Shingon. However...

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:41 pm

This thread may be of interest:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 32&start=0

I recommend that you contact Rev. Eijo on this forum as he is a Shingon priest. Look him up under name eijo.


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Re: I've decided I want to look into Shingon. However...

Post by justsit » Tue Aug 20, 2013 2:01 am

Yes, one can successfully have a teacher they don't live near. Many Rinpoche's live on one coast or the other and have centers across the country, some staffed by monks/nuns, some with lay teachers. Many sangha members see their teacher once or maybe twice a year; one to one face time may be 10 minutes or less, or not at all. One reaps the benefits by making as many contacts as possible, many aspirations, much guru yoga, etc., and attending as many events where the teacher is present as possible. This often entails travel, sometimes quite extensive. You can also watch events live online, and on DVD.

Can you go it alone? Very, very tough. You can get by without a "temple" if you have a support group of some kind. Even if you have some other sangha within an hour or so, you can attend maybe once a month; that may be enough. But all alone? Everyone I know who has tried it has great difficulty. They usually end up attending some kind of local sangha, from the same school if there is one available, from a different school if not, even if just to do meditation together.

My experience has been with Vajrayana, not sure if this translates to Shingon. :shrug:
Overall, I'd say doable but difficult.
Hope that helps.

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