No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

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No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby withoutcolour » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:20 pm

Hi all,

I would definitely consider myself to be a Theravadin Buddhist... but there are no Theravadin wats in my area (well there is, but it's strictly for local Cambodian/Laotian folks, no English-speakers at all).
There is a local Zen center, which I have been to, but sort of feel uncomfortable there. I think I may start going again to re-try it out.
But my question is: there is a local Shambhala Vajrayana center nearby, and I'm very very hesitant to go. I never really got into Tibetan Buddhism so I'm skeptical and nervous. I'd like to go because I like their mission statement on their website and it looks nice... but I am still a bit wary.
The website said that there's a "suggested donation of $10" which is really turning me off and they're definitely not getting any of my money. The local Zen center is the same way but not that up front about it; their retreats cost money and they have a donation box out front.

Anyway, does anyone have any advice? Perhaps experience with the Shambhala variety of Tibetan Buddhism? Should I just go and try it out?

-wc
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jun 01, 2010 8:40 pm

No harm in going to check it out, I've been to our local Shambhala group and I find it pretty unreligious, but yes $10 is probably pretty steep by Theravadin standardsbut bear in mind they probably don't have any "cultural" supporters.

Are there any Insight meditation sitting groups locally?
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Moggalana » Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:06 pm

As far as I know, they are putting a lot of emphasis on Shamatha and Vipashyana. The differences are probably minor.
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby withoutcolour » Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:57 am

I'm in Rhode Island which is a small state to begin with... and I have no money for gas nor do I have a car that can drive on the highway safely lol, so I'm pretty limited.

I might check it out this week or next week. :) I'll report back.

Here's the link for those interested:
http://www.providence.shambhala.org/
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Goofaholix » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:08 am

This looks dated but might provide you with some contacts;

http://www.dharmanet.org/Dir/Sit/sitri.html
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
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"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:11 am

I have ben sitting with a Tibetan meditation group for a few years, for similar reasons, with no observable ill-effects (I think :rolleye: )
IMO, the differences between schools are less important than the similarities.
Can I suggest you re-think your attitude to the 'suggested donation'? Some groups really do need to raise enough to pay the rent on their meeting place, and refusing to contribute is unfair. Other groups may not need the money so much but do use it for good purposes, e.g. supporting a charity. In any case, if your need for your money is greater than theirs, they ought to be understanding and supportive; if they are not, they are compassion-deficient and that could be a warning to you about getting involved.
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby withoutcolour » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:58 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:I have ben sitting with a Tibetan meditation group for a few years, for similar reasons, with no observable ill-effects (I think :rolleye: )
IMO, the differences between schools are less important than the similarities.
Can I suggest you re-think your attitude to the 'suggested donation'? Some groups really do need to raise enough to pay the rent on their meeting place, and refusing to contribute is unfair. Other groups may not need the money so much but do use it for good purposes, e.g. supporting a charity. In any case, if your need for your money is greater than theirs, they ought to be understanding and supportive; if they are not, they are compassion-deficient and that could be a warning to you about getting involved.
:namaste:
Kim



Thank you for responding.
I'm not trying to be a douchebag about the donation (not that you insinuated that, I just wanted to clarify); I'm not refusing it on principle, I'm refusing because I am crazy poor. I often have to roll change for gas money. If I had the money, dhamma organizations would be one of the first places I would start distributing my wealth.
My point is that I don't want to be refused a sangha because I cannot afford to sit in meditation.
Also, asking for money like that reminds me of the way Christian churches do that with the collection plate and uncomfortable stares, and that totally turns me off.

Anyway. We shall see.

-wc
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Kim OHara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:02 am

withoutcolour wrote:
My point is that I don't want to be refused a sangha because I cannot afford to sit in meditation.

Hi, withoutcolour,
Relax ... we're on the same wavelength. I more-or-less said that any sangha who turns away someone just because they can't afford to pay a certain amount, doesn't really deserve to be called Buddhist. Compassionate response to people and circumstances is central to the dhamma. There is also the prohibition on selling the teachings, which I reckon they would be violating. (Those comments apply to both the Zen centre and the Tibetan temple, BTW.)
Good luck!
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:20 am

if you find a place where you can practice the dhamma, cultivate wholesome mind-states and suffer less then i say go for it, it doesn't matter if its Tibetan or Taoist or universalist Unitarian.
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Dan74 » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:23 am

Personally I am pretty uneasy about charging money for Dhamma/Dharma but as others have said monastics need to pay the bills too.

On the other hand, if you are "dirt poor" as you said, are there any opportunities for you to earn money? I think it is important to do what we can to support ourselves and if possible to support others (relatives, friends, Dhamma centers, etc). Hard work is good practice though if people have a disability or otherwise unable of course that's a different story.
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby withoutcolour » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:59 am

Dan74 wrote:Personally I am pretty uneasy about charging money for Dhamma/Dharma but as others have said monastics need to pay the bills too.

On the other hand, if you are "dirt poor" as you said, are there any opportunities for you to earn money? I think it is important to do what we can to support ourselves and if possible to support others (relatives, friends, Dhamma centers, etc). Hard work is good practice though if people have a disability or otherwise unable of course that's a different story.


I have two jobs currently, one as a gas clerk and the other as a veterinary lab technician. I am also attending summer class and will be interning full-time at a zoo come September (along with my 2 other jobs). Also, I donated $1190 to volunteer for a whole month at an elephant rehabilitation center in Thailand (I leave August 6), which is incidentally located on temple grounds. So, I suppose the short answer is: I'm doing what I can.

In any event... $10 to meditate is still way too much, and like people have said, there shouldn't be a charge for the dhamma. I understand that they need to support the monastics, but by the looks of this place, there aren't any monks that live there...? At least at the Zen temple I've been to, monks definitely live there.

Anyway the issue is not why I won't donate or if people should charge for the dhamma or how much money I have and where I should be distributing it.

:focus: I just want to know people's opinion, if any, of Tibetan temples. Specifically if you've had experience with the Shambhala branch of the Vajrayana.

-wc
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Re: No local wats, attend a Tibetan temple?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Thu Jun 03, 2010 7:33 am

Following the reasoning of the Great Kassapa*, those who are dirt poor should seek every opportunity to cultivate merit. Doesn't have to be money, but give, give, give ...

* Who went on pindapat in the poor districts, on the grounds that those people were poor because they had not cultivated merit in past lives. Contra Sariputta, who went to the rich districts, on the grounds that such people would easily become possessive and lose their merit in future lives without making merit. Of course, apparently the Buddha scolded them both for their leanings either way.

I'm a follower of "double standards" here: ie. those who live in the temple should have the attitude - "We don't need the money, we give Dhamma for free!" Whereas those Dhamma seekers from outside the temple should have the attitude - "Whatever the cost, the Dhamma is worth it!" Unfortunately, we are all too often back to front, those inside want the cash, and those outside are not willing to pay even a cent for it. Nobody wins.
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