A friend in the dhamma

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A friend in the dhamma

Postby nem » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:28 am

I was wondering, do any of the lay people here have a spouse or companion which shares the same understanding of the dhamma, that you have? If so, where did you encounter this person?

I spent about 2 years engaged to a woman who lives in a country that I spend some time in, but I do not have the ability to permanently relocate there. She was my "dhamma friend" as the Bhudda suggested that we have a good friend in the dhamma, that this is the most important thing. In the end, she decided not to relocate with me and to not practice the dhamma together with me in the relationship that we had planned. She wanted to pursue the long goal to a medical degree in her home country for whatever personal sense of satisfaction, and to leave a life about the dhamma. It was a big learning experience for me, because we had many discussions where I asked her why being a doctor was so important, versus being with me and learning the dhamma together. But in the end, she fell to the idea that being a doctor is such a noble idea, the sense of self, she is going to "be" a doctor very important. I talked dhamma to her until I could speak no more, that there is no you to be anything, except in this understanding of the dhamma with me. But she got lost in the world and its values and goals. She wants to be this professional person, even though I explained the emptiness of this. Volitional action, being reborn. In the process of being frustrated with her goals of the world to be an important doctor, I had to face the reality of my own clinging to her, how that causes suffering,the suffering of aversion during the time that I hated her for leaving love for professional goals, and all of that. So it was a learning experience. I saw some dhamma during that time.

In the end, I lost the trust in the ability of other people to be my dhamma friend, to be the one who understands the teachings and helps.

So, at this point, I am wondering, is it possible to live a lay life with a companion in the dhamma, or is is necessary to just forgo the idea of union with a person who can be a companion in the dhamma. who might increase this understanding through our studies together? Perhaps in the end, it's necessary to take on the monastic lifestyle for lack of a proper dhamma friend and helper outside the sangha of Bhikkhus, in lay life. Has anyone had success in living as a lay person, together in the dhamma with your spouse or similar companion? If so, where did you find this person and do you have any recommendations for others seeking the same? I think this is a common concern for many of us, we want a person that will help us increase and grow in practicing dhamma, but in the end our companions fall to their cravings outside the dhamma. It was funny this week, I was at my local Therevada center and after mediation there was time when a monk asked us for open discussion, and one of the women there commented on her experience of some hinderances during meditation, and how this affects her in daily meditation. I was thinking, wow, cute, and she meditates everyday just like me, wow, there are not many like this!!!!!!! Immediately after the meditation session, she left the center to go home and I felt craving for even her presence, like maybe she is my dhamma friend. But even then, I was thinking, calm yourself of craving for this woman, a dhamma friend. How difficult is this!! Especially after metta meditation!

So, does anyone have that special companion in lay life, and how did your encounter them? The realities of my life, with dependent children from past relations, obligations for income and fatherhood, make it impossible for me to ethically enter into monastic life, so, I am investigating whether it's possible to know a companion in the dhamma in laylife, I would like to hear your perspective.

metta...
Last edited by nem on Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:20 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby alan... » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:05 am

a dhamma friend can be anything from a fellow monk whom one spends every day with training in the dhamma to a friend one sees in lay life once a month at temple events and anything in between.

that being said, naturally you should be able to have a dhamma friend, in fact you could have many! then you won't have this problem again where you only have just one and if they drop off you feel alone.

then there's the rhinoceros sutta, in this the buddha describes the path of one who practices alone as an acceptable option as well. so if you find that being alone is better for you then that may work as well.
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby Justsit » Sat Mar 23, 2013 12:54 pm

Are you looking for a dharma friend, or a partner who practices dharma? (Dharma friend with benefits? :shrug: )
Big difference.
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:52 pm

nem wrote:But in the end, she fell to the idea that being a doctor is such a noble idea, the sense of self, she is going to "be" a doctor very important.


Being a doctor is a noble idea. I don't think it is wise to discourage someone from being a physician. It is a noble profession and can do a lot of good. Someone has to be the doctor. Who would fix you up, if you got in a car accident or other health calamity?

One could work towards being a doctor or practice medicine after graduation and still follow Dhamma.

Has anyone had success in living as a lay person, together in the dhamma with your spouse or similar companion? If so, where did you find this person and do you have any recommendations for others seeking the same?


Yes, at a Dhamma center. There were no online dating sites when I was single, but now there are plenty. I think there are even some devoted to Buddhists looking for a spouse/partner.

It is definitely great to have a spouse/partner who also practices the Buddha-Dhamma, in my opinion. Whenever religion, philosophy conversations arise, there are no arguments and you can practice together and even sit in meditation together. I would never recommend anyone leave a relationship they are currently in to look for a Buddhist, but as long as there is no current partner, it might be good to look for a Buddhist partner (if you are Buddhist). And of course also very important, that your personalities are compatible.
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby yawares » Sat Mar 23, 2013 5:49 pm

Justsit wrote:Are you looking for a dharma friend, or a partner who practices dharma? (Dharma friend with benefits? :shrug: )
Big difference.


Dear Justsit,

I love love your reply...'Dharma friend' OR 'Dharma friend with benefits' ?? ....make me smile :jumping:

Big different indeed !!! :thinking:
yawares :heart:
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby yawares » Sat Mar 23, 2013 6:10 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
nem wrote:But in the end, she fell to the idea that being a doctor is such a noble idea, the sense of self, she is going to "be" a doctor very important.


Being a doctor is a noble idea. I don't think it is wise to discourage someone from being a physician. It is a noble profession and can do a lot of good. Someone has to be the doctor. Who would fix you up, if you got in a car accident or other health calamity?

One could work towards being a doctor or practice medicine after graduation and still follow Dhamma.

-------------
Dear David,

I truly love your reply !....I have a song to go with " Who would fix you up? " :thumbsup:

Handyman : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W1iVyooI-4

yawares :heart:

-----------
Dear Nem,

And I would like to add that if you love someone....You should let her be free to do what she wants...that 's what love is all about!

Wish you find a dharma friend real soon :heart:
yawares
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby equilibrium » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:16 pm

nem wrote:I was wondering, do any of the lay people here have a spouse or companion which shares the same understanding of the dhamma.....

It has been said that ususally only one partner from a couple meets buddhism.....this is usually the norm.....should both parthers both meet buddhism, it is said to be very rare.....and yes, they do exist.

What is important here is "cause and effect".....what we want does not mean we will get, it must be created before so it can bear fruit in this life.....one cannot have an apple if one has not planted the apple seed before, no matter how hard one tries NOW.
Should one had previously created the "cause" then it is a matter of "time".....Patience.....what will be will be.
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:35 pm

Both partners being Buddhist is (obviously) the norm in relevant parts of Asia.

My partner is Thai. She doesn't do a lot of meditation practice (usually only during Sunday Dhamma sessions at the Wat), but is, of course, very encouraging of my practice:
"I'm spending the weekend at the Wat."
"Good"

:tongue:
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby makarasilapin » Sat Mar 23, 2013 10:28 pm

a dhamma friend with benefits LOL!
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby nem » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:31 am

Thanks for the insightful discussion.

And the dhamma friend with benefits bit, is really truly funny. Seriously. Perhaps lacking sensitivity, but funny nonetheless :namaste:
The use of "dhamma friend" is a reference to where the Buddha spoke of the value of having companionship in the dhamma. Yes, it can be with benefits if it turns into a relationship. Your spouse would be your dhamma friend with benefits if he/she assists you in maintaining practice. In this case, the dhamma friend was about 1 step away from being dhamma spouse.

Alan, thanks for the reference to the rhino sutta.

The issue that David Snyder touched on here, the benefits of a layperson having a signficant other who practices with you, this cuts to the core of what I'm thinking about. I've been in past relationships with others that knew nothing of the dhamma, and to them it's a bunch of spacy BS and doubletalk. Scanning the field, I see more of the same type of people, who don't want to hear about the dhamma, want to run if you speak of it. Because at least here in the West, even Theravada teachings seem "new age" and "fruity" to most people, even though it's "old age" and more fundamental than what is popularly accepted. Living with a person who does not understand the dhamma, and only understands pop/material culture like 95% of those out there, makes it almost impossible to maintain practice and makes one think of monastic life. :) A practitioner becomes forced to either throw away diligent dhamma practice or the significant other who doesn't "get it" because of constantly conflicting values. If we value wanting little, most of the world values wanting everything...how to reconcile those differences?..you don't....try to explain to someone why you want to sit for 1 hour, 2 hours and watch your breath, when they want to go to the movies, bar, etc.. They think you re crazy :juggling: Most people don't care about dhamma, they care about sense pleasures and that's it.

In any case, I was a little set back to learn that my "dhamma friend" decided to pursue another path toward self-glorification/career in pediatric medicine. So, now I get to practice non-clinging.. :jumping: What a gift, that has been given to me, for development.

As for the idea of medicine being a noble practice; that's our worldly ideal, it is reported that the Buddha said it was an animal art. Okay perhaps for a layperson, but not noble in the sense of something that people should try to do with their lives.

From Digha Nikaya 2:

"Whereas some contemplatives & brahmans, living off food given in faith, maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such "animal" arts as: ...administering emetics, purges, purges from above, purges from below, head-purges; ear-oil, eye-drops, treatments through the nose, ointments, and counter-ointments; practicing eye-surgery [or: extractive surgery], general surgery, pediatrics; administering root-medicines and binding medicinal herbs — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from "animal" arts such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue."
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby polarbuddha101 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 5:59 am

It is not a part of the bhikkhu's life as laid down by the Buddha to be a doctor because a bhikkhu is supposed to be wholly focused on awakening but it is very wholesome kamma to be a doctor as a layperson and it is a great profession, perhaps the greatest profession, in which to develop the brahma-viharas. Being a physician or working to better peoples' health is just about or is the best profession for any lay follower to have. So if someone is focused on becoming a samana then yes, they should not pursue a career as a physician but if someone wants to be a lay follower then hardly anything could be more noble. So my question is, do want to be a lay follower and get married, or do you want to be a bhikkhu?

(Also, the Buddha had a personal physician)

:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby nem » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:59 am

polarbuddha101 wrote: So my question is, do want to be a lay follower and get married, or do you want to be a bhikkhu?

(Also, the Buddha had a personal physician)

:anjali:


Good question! Honestly, I'd much prefer to be a bhikkhu! I've known the sense pleasures, far far too much, and see the danger in those and just want to quit them. However through a divorce I have 2 young dependent children, have related responsibilities financially via law, and do not see a legal path to becoming a bhikkhu before they are 18. Bhikkhus have child support obligations as well, if I am not mistaken, they can renounce the world but the world does not renounce them or their financial responsibility, income or not, they owe. So, here I am, in lay life trying to make the best of it. Mainly, my life is focused in dhamma study and meditation. I work to get money, see my kids..the rest of the time is spent living as if a bhikkhu, outside the monastic setting. If I ever reach the point of financial freedom to enter monastic life, it would be 10 or more years from now due to child obligations. So, obviously here you see me here contemplating some companion who is like minded in the dhamma, to pass that time or more....Monastic life and child support do not mix well, so I'm seeking some path to stay in lay life and just accept what is for 10 years and beyond, if I can find the appropriate dhamma-minded companion to spend it with.

Someone noted, that usually in a couple, one will be attuned to the dhamma and usually not both. I find it refreshing, sometimes at my local Theravada center, girlfriend/boyfriend couples will come in together for the meditation and dhamma talk..wow, how did 2 on the path end up together like that? I've never met a known-Buddhist in the USA, on the streets, outside the Bhuddist center. Maybe someone needs to start a Buddhist singles site like the Christians have...if I meet one more woman who wants to talk only about career, politics, or shoes and clothes, I'd catch the next flight to Thailand and disappear to Wat whatever. :tongue:
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby pilgrim » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:24 am

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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby yawares » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:09 pm

[quote="nem"]Thanks for the insightful discussion.

And the dhamma friend with benefits bit, is really truly funny. Seriously. Perhaps lacking sensitivity, but funny nonetheless :namaste:
----
In any case, I was a little set back to learn that my "dhamma friend" decided to pursue another path toward self-glorification/career in pediatric medicine. So, now I get to practice non-clinging.. :jumping: What a gift, that has been given to me, for development.

As for the idea of medicine being a noble practice; that's our worldly ideal, it is reported that the Buddha said it was an animal art. Okay perhaps for a layperson, but not noble in the sense of something that people should try to do with their lives.
-----------
Dear Nem,

An animal art!

Please click: http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=12466

I can feel that you're bitter that you have to take care of your children.
You're tired of women who love shopping/being women.
You just want someone to spend her lifetime with you for nothing but being your dhamma-friend/wife and still loves you...Dear Nem..you'll never find that woman......if you want a wife..you should follow Bryan Adams' s advice:

If you really love a woman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2ReqwUFhrI

Please learn your mistakes from the past...you're a me me me person!!...you should think about she she she too!!! It takes 2 to tango!!!

Best wishes,
yawares
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:21 pm

I agree with Polar Buddha and Yawares above, it is about not having monks do physician type work. It is not prohibiting the great value of physician work by lay people. Jivaka was the Buddha's physician as noted in the link by yawares.

yawares wrote:I can feel that you're bitter that you have to take care of your children.
You're tired of women who love shopping/being women.
You just want someone to spend her lifetime with you for nothing but being your dhamma-friend/wife and still loves you...Dear Nem..you'll never find that woman......if you want a wife..you should follow Bryan Adams' s advice:


Hi yawares,

Good points about letting the wife be her own person. The husband and wife must have their own freedom, I agree; but nem is looking for someone who already has the compatible interests he has, not changing someone.

I agree it would be bad to go in with the impression of trying to change someone. But what if you find someone who has the same / compatible interests that you have? I don't think there is anything wrong with that and might make for a good marriage. If you like to go to temple and chant, meditate, offer food dana, etc. it would be good to look for someone who also likes those activities, rather than for example, someone who only wants to go clubbing (and you don't like clubbing).
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby yawares » Thu Mar 28, 2013 6:57 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:I agree with Polar Buddha and Yawares above, it is about not having monks do physician type work. It is not prohibiting the great value of physician work by lay people. Jivaka was the Buddha's physician as noted in the link by yawares.

yawares wrote:I can feel that you're bitter that you have to take care of your children.
You're tired of women who love shopping/being women.
You just want someone to spend her lifetime with you for nothing but being your dhamma-friend/wife and still loves you...Dear Nem..you'll never find that woman......if you want a wife..you should follow Bryan Adams' s advice:


Hi yawares,

Good points about letting the wife be her own person. The husband and wife must have their own freedom, I agree; but nem is looking for someone who already has the compatible interests he has, not changing someone.

I agree it would be bad to go in with the impression of trying to change someone. But what if you find someone who has the same / compatible interests that you have? I don't think there is anything wrong with that and might make for a good marriage. If you like to go to temple and chant, meditate, offer food dana, etc. it would be good to look for someone who also likes those activities, rather than for example, someone who only wants to go clubbing (and you don't like clubbing).

---------------------
Dear David,

Nem wrote:if I meet one more woman who wants to talk only about career, politics, or shoes and clothes, I'd catch the next flight to Thailand and disappear to Wat whatever.

Yawares: Anybody knows women who don't talk about career/shoes/clothes/jewelry/cosmetics/hairdo...girls-talk ???? Even ladyboys do?? If Nem don't like women who act/talk like women.... then Nem will sing this song before flying to Thailand :

Lonely Boy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjbapF533eQ

Dear david....I didn't reply to be mean to Nem...I really try to help him to know about women ...what we like...I know not many women are dangerous like me :tongue: .....BUT I really think Nem must adapt/change himself in order to find a woman who will love him...it's a win win thing !

yawares :anjali:
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:54 pm

yawares wrote:Dear david....I didn't reply to be mean to Nem...I really try to help him to know about women ...what we like...I know not many women are dangerous like me :tongue: .....BUT I really think Nem must adapt/change himself in order to find a woman who will love him...it's a win win thing !


Hi yawares,

It's always good to hear your input, thanks.

yawares wrote:Yawares: Anybody knows women who don't talk about career/shoes/clothes/jewelry/cosmetics/hairdo...girls-talk ????


Okay, now I know why I get along so well with my wife; it is not just the Dhamma, but those are the mundane subjects I like to talk about too; career, clothes, jewelry. :tongue:
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby Justsit » Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:26 pm

yawares wrote:Yawares: Anybody knows women who don't talk about career/shoes/clothes/jewelry/cosmetics/hairdo...girls-talk ????

Well...me, for one. But then again, I've never been accused of being a girly-girl. :tongue:
I'd rather talk about fast cars and motorcycles.

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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby yawares » Fri Mar 29, 2013 12:22 am

Justsit wrote:
yawares wrote:Yawares: Anybody knows women who don't talk about career/shoes/clothes/jewelry/cosmetics/hairdo...girls-talk ????

Well...me, for one. But then again, I've never been accused of being a girly-girl. :tongue:
I'd rather talk about fast cars and motorcycles.

Image

--------------------
Dear Justsit,

Fast cars/motorcycles !!....WOW..you sound more dangerous than me :thinking: ...This is the rock-star that I think might looks like you:

I hate myself for loving you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPkTGm4RtVM

I think she's cute :thinking:
yawares :jumping:
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Re: A friend in the dhamma

Postby yawares » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:17 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
yawares wrote:Dear david....I didn't reply to be mean to Nem...I really try to help him to know about women ...what we like...I know not many women are dangerous like me :tongue: .....BUT I really think Nem must adapt/change himself in order to find a woman who will love him...it's a win win thing !


Hi yawares,

It's always good to hear your input, thanks.

yawares wrote:Yawares: Anybody knows women who don't talk about career/shoes/clothes/jewelry/cosmetics/hairdo...girls-talk ????


Okay, now I know why I get along so well with my wife; it is not just the Dhamma, but those are the mundane subjects I like to talk about too; career, clothes, jewelry. :tongue:

---------------

Dear David,

I'm sure you get along so well with your wife/kids and everybody around you...because you're very generous/with big heart...you host 2 websites that so cool for people that you don't even see/know them personally...so they can learn dhamma and also have fun.
You're always polite/fair to all members...I think most members love/respect you...Have I told you lately that I love you? Well David, I'm telling you now...cross my heart! You have a heart of gold..you're pretty much like my dear friend Dr.Han Tun who has clean/clear mind...know so much about Buddha's dhamma.

Heart Of Gold: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owQOxJeupt8

I'm honored to know a kalayanamitta like you :heart:
yawares/tidathep :heart:
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