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Messages - Gibbon

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Open Discussion / Re: Teaching Experience
« on: June 10, 2021, 11:08:53 PM »
Yes, open heart, that's the essence of it all.  Fortunate is he who meets his teacher in this life.  We meet our teacher as the result of ripening of previously created merit.  If there is a strong reaction upon meeting him for the first time, as is the case here, it probably means you studied with him in the past.

After meeting the teacher, we do work in opening the heart even further, such as making offerings constantly and performing service without any expectation of gain for the self.  Such an expectation closes the heart right back again.

"Well realizing that the root of the path,
The foundation for every realization,
Is to properly rely on my kind Guru,
Bless me to do so with great effort and devotion." -- Tsongkhapa

Secular Buddhism / Re: I almost hate to say it, but ........
« on: June 08, 2021, 06:00:40 PM »
In a perverse way I am happy for you, Chaz.  You have been cut off from the physical Sangha yet your determination to practice has not waned.  Keep practicing, good things are coming your way in the future.

Open Discussion / Re: New Kadampa Tradtion Section
« on: May 21, 2021, 05:33:41 PM »
Welcome, and I wish all this could be a thing of the past or, better, never have happened at all.

Danger Zone / Re: east and west
« on: May 21, 2021, 05:32:04 PM »
I personally think that arguing with people on Facebook is pointless.  It reminds me of the old cartoon -- a man unable to go to bed because someone is WRONG on the internet! 

The advantage of Free Sangha is that everyone, at least in theory, is trying to follow the right speech guidelines. -- not because of moderation but because this is an integral part of Dharma practice.  Of course, we fail at this all the time, because we are human, but the thing to do is pick oneself up and try again.   

If traveling to the Far East, my pick would be Taiwan instead of mainland China.  It has preserved more traditional attitudes to culture and religion.  Be forewarned that, if you want to learn enough Chinese for religious practice, it would take a major effort on your part.

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: May 12, 2021, 09:00:45 PM »
Sounds good, keeping my fingers crossed for you!  There must be people in your location who are under-served Dharma-wise.

SC is a nearly Buddhism free-zone.  There are groups and a monastery that serve ethnic Buddhists from SE Asia (not ideal - language barriers).  There's a couple "zen" meetup groups, but those seem to be either off the grid or just coffee meetups.  The nearest Tibetan groups are a NKT sangha in Charlotte and a Gelug sangha down in Columbia.  Nothing in between.  Columbia is too far away for regular contact, and I'm not inclined to got to NKT because of the whole Shugden/HHDL controversy.

So I'm kinda on my own.

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: May 11, 2021, 06:49:30 PM »
That's why there is a diversity of centers and groups.  I agree that trying to run into several directions at once is distracting and confusing.  Better to pick one thing and focus on that.

Chaz, I see your points about in-person being better than online.  But, by my experience, Zoom meditation can work well and it is even possible to give instruction in this way.  It's better if the people attending are not complete strangers and the group is small. 

Thankfully, however, the pandemic is receding and it will be possible to meet in person again soon.

Tea Room / Re: Buddhist numbers
« on: May 05, 2021, 07:45:36 PM »
What are the three universal truths?  I have heard of the Two Truths (conventional and ultimate) and the Four Noble Truths, but not three.

Tea Room / Buddhist numbers
« on: May 04, 2021, 06:01:15 PM »
There are so many things in Buddhism that come in numbered groups -- honestly, I don't know of any other religion or philosophy that comes close.  So how about putting them in this thread, starting with the lowest number?

I will begin with One -- the one Unexcelled, Perfect, and Complete Awakening, Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi.

Are there any more Ones or is it time to move on to Two?  Also, maybe the list should have started out from Zero?

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: April 28, 2021, 08:18:19 PM »
All good points!  It is great that you are at the stage in your practice when you are able to meditate while out in the world performing ordinary activities.  And, of course, setting expectations (such as progress) can be problematic.  Still, even accomplished masters dedicate a lot of time to formal, rigorous, methodical practice which boosts the between-session experiences.

May I also mention that, in my tradition and I am sure in most or even all others, pure meditation is not sufficient.  It needs to be combined with the accumulation of merit by practicing the perfection of generosity etc. and also doing purification practices.  These practices ready the mind for giving up attachment and grasping when they repeatedly arise.

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: April 27, 2021, 02:43:05 AM »
Thanks for telling us about yourself!  The advantage of maturity is that you have seen the pain of existence first hand.  I remember, when I first became interested in the Dharma, I learned all about suffering etc. but couldn't really feel it.  My life was good and the body was young and healthy.  Now some time has passed and suddenly it dawns: oh, everything they talked about regarding pain, suffering, and impermanence is really true!  Better get on with it, then.

One of my cousins was into Gurdjieff.  I don't know much about him, but wasn't he quirky and unpredictable?  Such a style of teaching does not work for every student.  A boring, steady practice is a cornerstone for making some progress, even 10 minutes every day is good for building up the habit.  If you are interested in trying this, I will match it for you.

Tea Room / Re: Freesangha
« on: April 26, 2021, 05:38:10 PM »
People who need this forum will eventually find it :)

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: April 26, 2021, 05:36:38 PM »
Starting an online practice group is not an easy endeavor, particularly if it is composed of perfect strangers.  If the people know each other, it is easier.  My Sangha now meets on Zoom regularly and the quality of practice is high.  It has also allowed us to involve members living in different places and across five time zones so I would say there is more Dharma happening than before.  That said, I really miss seeing everyone in person and look forward to the end of restrictions.

Are you searching for an online practice group that has regular sits?  There are some suggestions listed in this section, such as Jeffrey the Meditator, Gil Fronsdal, and others.  I think it is a good idea to add some more.

If you would like help with your practice, we are here to provide it.  Please tell us more about where your practice is at and we can provide suggestions on how to grow it.  How long have you been practicing?  What books have you read?  What teachings have you heard?  Do you have a regular practice or is it occasional?

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: April 23, 2021, 12:02:48 AM »
Well, now you do!   :)

Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: April 22, 2021, 08:07:12 PM »
Welcome Avisitor, and enjoy being on FreeSangha! 

I don't know a lot of Zen stories, but my favorite is this one below:

The Samurai warrior and the Zen Master.

The warrior was big and strong and had won many battles. The Zen Master was a rather small old man with merry eyes, and was well-known far and wide as being one of the wisest and kindest men in the land.

One day, the Samurai warrior went to the Zen master for instruction. “Please,” the huge man asked, “teach me about heaven and hell.”

The master scowled at the swordsman, then broke into mocking laughter. “Me, teach you about heaven and hell? I wouldn’t waste a moment trying to instruct the brain of an overweight ignoramus like you! How dare you ask me for such a lofty insight?”

Well, upon hearing these words, the Samurai grew furious. No one could insult him like this and get away with it. Enraged, his face flushed and he drew his sword to chop off the teacher’s head. Just as he was about to strike, the master raised his hand and calmly said “That, sir, is hell.”

Upon hearing this, the samurai suddenly realized the profound lesson the master had just taught him – that we make our own hell by indulging in anger and resentment. The warrior was so grateful for this teaching that he dropped his sword and fell to his knees in front of the Master, bowing in humility and gratitude. When he looked up, the old man was smiling.

“And that, sir,” the teacher noted, “is Heaven".

Open Discussion / Re: Obstacles
« on: April 20, 2021, 12:54:47 AM »
No thoughts here beyond enthusiastic agreement.  It's the same old round -- practice, confront clinging, practice some more, it recedes, practice, new stuff arises, practice...   It's not easy to shed the accumulated baggage of limitless past lives.  But the good thing is, it can be done!!!  I have personally met people who have done it!!  With every session, we move closer and closer to that goal, even when it doesn't feel like it. 

I have noticed that when you have a good meditation session, the next one is usually horrible.  That's because more stuff was stirred up and the mind is more sensitive to it now. 

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