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Messages - Gibbon

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16
Open Discussion / Re: Tell us about your current contemplations!
« on: October 14, 2020, 10:59:37 PM »
Thank you for sharing this video, Chaz.  That's a really good introduction to meditation, full of sensible advice from a seasoned meditation master.  Too many people jump in, overexert themselves, and then just drop it.  It does not have to be this way.  Meditation does not have to be perfect -- as YM Rinpoche says, just a little bit at a time, but methodically, works well and adds up. 

The Tibetan-style practice allows for relaxed sitting and nobody will be shocked if you wriggle a bit.  I, too, sit on a chair sometimes.  Also, the zafu does not work for many Westerners and maybe a rectangular cushion might be better.

17
Open Discussion / Re: Tell us about your current contemplations!
« on: October 14, 2020, 05:20:52 PM »
All this sounds like a good start.  I wonder why you have a problem with structured meditation -- is it because you were introduced to meditation via Zen?  I tried it once and found it very rigid, which is probably because of its connection with Japanese culture.

18
Danger Zone / Re: Do buddhists talk to much about politics now?
« on: October 12, 2020, 06:50:52 PM »
I think that the current situation is a relatively minor thing and your intuition of it being just an event in the wheel of samsara is right on the money.  Looking back on history, there has always been suffering and probably much more than what we are going through today.  It will continue as long as there exist unawakened minds.

19
Open Discussion / Re: Tell us about your current contemplations!
« on: October 12, 2020, 06:35:21 PM »
The eight verses of Mind Training are not the eight worldly concerns, they can probably serve as an antidote to them:

gain and loss, praise and blame, fame and disgrace, pleasure and pain.

There are many mind training/lojong systems and a lot of literature on them -- I will see if I can post more texts later on.

If meditation is difficult, did you try metta meditation beginning with generating metta for yourself?

20
Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: October 12, 2020, 06:30:18 PM »
Being a subset of Mahayana Buddhism, Vajrayana practice begins with the development of renunciation (in common with the Southern school) and bodhicitta.  It emphasizes a personal relationship with a teacher more than other schools (although they all do to some extent).

I recommend Introduction to Tantra by Lama Yeshe as a good introduction.

Here are three texts outlining the complete Tibetan Buddhist path, beginning with renunciation, bodhicitta, and ending with tantric practices:

Atisha's Lamp
http://www.lamrim.com/atishalamp/LampForThePath.PDF

Tsonkhapa's Three Principal Aspects of the Path
https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/tsongkhapa/three-principal-aspects

Tsonkhapa's Foundation of All Good Qualities
https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/foundation-all-good-qualities

and a commentary on it
https://www.lamayeshe.com/article/commentary-foundation-all-good-qualities



21
Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: October 09, 2020, 09:28:58 PM »
I hear you, Chaz.  I had a bad patch, too, after I moved and my first teacher died.  That lasted for almost ten years, and being on FreeSangha really helped at that time.  Eventually, I connected with a sangha again which has required considerable travel. 

It is always good to go back to the foundations and training in vipassana/Theravadin traditions can be of much benefit.  Then, one can engage in Vajrayana again with more meaning.

I strongly recommend going on with the ngondro, even if there are some lineage issues now.  Ngondro is an extremely long-term investment in improving one's mindstream.  This is accumulation of merit and the more it is done the more it causes the outer teacher to manifest.  If prostrations are physically hard, Vajrasattva is really, really helpful.  Just do a little bit every day.

Now, look who is talking -- here in the Gelug, we are quite laid back when it comes to the ngondro, so I didn't take any of them seriously before.  Having to work extra hard now!

Respectfully,

Gibbon

22
Meditation / Re: Jeffrey the Meditator
« on: October 09, 2020, 09:12:51 PM »
I watched and enjoyed both videos, thank you for sharing, Chaz!  Also reading the posts/articles on his website.  You were lucky to have had such an instructor.

Now, to find out who Ze Frank is...

23
Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: October 07, 2020, 06:34:53 PM »
Yes, definitely food for thought.  But giving people an opportunity to practice is a valuable service.

If I may ask, where do you stand with ngondro?

24
Open Discussion / Re: Tell us about your current contemplations!
« on: October 07, 2020, 06:33:27 PM »
Sorry, I don't even know what othering is.  As to my main practice, it is mind training/lojong.  I use the Eight Verses for Training the Mind which begin

By thinking of all sentient beings
As more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel
For accomplishing the highest aim,
I will always hold them dear.

The complete text is at

https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/geshe-langri-thangpa/eight-verses-training-mind

Getting up in the morning, I read them and then try to apply them throughout the day.  In the evening, I review the job I have done -- usually not very good!  Especially considering that my life does not bring me in close contact with crazy minds such as criminals, even when dealing with ordinary people all kinds of thoughts and attitudes arise.  Guess more work is needed :)

25
Meditation / Re: Thoughts about a practice group
« on: September 16, 2020, 05:05:02 PM »
Just a quick note to share my thoughts.  I do not see an issue with starting a practice group, as long as you do not set yourself up as a teacher.  An example would be a student homework group where people just practice together and help each other.  The ones with more experience help those with less experience.  There may be others in your area needing such an opportunity, so you would be performing a service.   You already do this with helping maintain FreeSangha.

Lineage-related matters can be sorted out later.  If you have a strong drive to practice (and you certainly do), why not go for it?

Another option would be to see if the groups in your old area offer online meditation sessions, the times being what they are.

I'll be back in a couple of weeks and maybe then we can talk more.


26
Bother / Re: Introductions
« on: September 02, 2020, 05:15:38 PM »
Hello, this is Gibbon, born behind the Iron Curtain and now living in the States.  I have been practicing in the Gelugpa tradition (the Ganden lineage transmitted through the great Pabongka Rinpoche) since the mid-90's. 

My first encounter with the Dharma was through meeting a Kagyu lama, Trungram Gyaltrul Rinpoche, in Chicago in 1992.  As soon as I entered the center, the thought arose in my mind: "Tibetan Buddhism is where I belong!"

Freesangha has been a mainstay for me for many years and I am very happy that the forum is back.  Thank you Wonky Badger and Chaz for making it happen.  Looking forward to many more years participating in this great forum.

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