a better way to learn

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a better way to learn

Postby no mike » Thu Oct 31, 2013 2:41 pm

This post comes after hitting a wall with meditation. I backed up to see the bigger picture and I realize I am having trouble with other things, such as seeking refuge in the Sangha.

Are there levels of being a monk somewhere between formal full-time residency and lay practitioner?

I am wondering if there are any opportunities in the US as I have seen in Thailand. It was my understanding, one can be accepted as a monk, as one wishes to stay at a temple for a weekend or longer, and return for personal, spiritual development as one can. Something not as formal as staying long-term, and yet not quite the same as booking for a group retreat as a "lay practitioner."

I am not looking for a special place to meditate per say, or a therapeutic mini-vacation from a busy life, I am interested in something where my day-to-day life at home is where my spiritual work and meditation is being practiced with earnest effort, and the time at a center is for feeling a part of a community and the support of the Sangha, with some personalized instruction or spiritual guidance if possible. It is very hard to teach myself everything from books alone. And making reservations for a ten-day or even shorter public meditation event is a challenge, as I am a single parent.

Thank you :)

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Re: a better way to learn

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:18 pm

Hi Mike ,

Being a single parent and progressing in Dhamma can be quite a surmounting task , given the child is in the early years .

There are 1 day and 3 day Goenkajis Vipassana retreats (www.dhamma.org) , but on needs necessarily to first complete a 10 day retreat , to go on for the shorter retreats . Hoping and wishing that sooner or later situations and opportunities does allow you to take off for a 10 day course .

10 days is the barest essential for one to feel ones mind deeply , enabling one to continue on with the process , at home , once the course is over .

Take care.

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Re: a better way to learn

Postby daverupa » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:11 pm

Apart from Buddhist groups (which are Mahayana more often than not, in my experience) you may have luck looking among secular Mindfulness programs for some community.

I tend to avoid both sorts of groups due to the high prevalence of woo-woo, but there can be gold in them thar hills.

Otherwise, this may be useful.

As far as intimations of monastic effort go, give the eight precepts a shot for a fortnight while trying on some chastity. Alongside some mindfulness, it may be very interesting for you to watch how things unfold. Gentle, good-natured curiosity can go a long way here.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby no mike » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:09 am

Sanjay PS wrote:Hi Mike ,

Being a single parent and progressing in Dhamma can be quite a surmounting task , given the child is in the early years .

There are 1 day and 3 day Goenkajis Vipassana retreats (http://www.dhamma.org) , but on needs necessarily to first complete a 10 day retreat , to go on for the shorter retreats . Hoping and wishing that sooner or later situations and opportunities does allow you to take off for a 10 day course .

10 days is the barest essential for one to feel ones mind deeply , enabling one to continue on with the process , at home , once the course is over .

Take care.

sanjay


Thank you, for understanding :)

Yes, too bad, there is a Vipassana center about one and a half hours from here. Maybe when the children are older.

But I will not delay my practice. Yesterday, I realized the significance of those who have committed their life's work to translate, interpret, and publish the Pali Canon in print and online. To help everyone, including this very earthling, to have access and to make self-study possible. And many have also helped everyone to have access to great Dhamma talks. How compassionate <3
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby no mike » Sat Nov 02, 2013 12:20 am

daverupa wrote:Apart from Buddhist groups (which are Mahayana more often than not, in my experience) you may have luck looking among secular Mindfulness programs for some community.

I tend to avoid both sorts of groups due to the high prevalence of woo-woo, but there can be gold in them thar hills.

Otherwise, this may be useful.

As far as intimations of monastic effort go, give the eight precepts a shot for a fortnight while trying on some chastity. Alongside some mindfulness, it may be very interesting for you to watch how things unfold. Gentle, good-natured curiosity can go a long way here.


I can take a day trip to investigate and explore those places, thank you. As for the other groups, I would like to stick with Theravada (haha, I had to look up woo-woo, that is one of my fears).

I like the idea of trying the 8 precepts for two weeks. I need something to kick things up a notch. I am very inspired by this kind of vigor: http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/In_Dead_Night_1.php (A Dhammatalk by Ajahn Chah In the Dead of Night...1)

Thank you

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Re: a better way to learn

Postby Taijitu » Wed Dec 18, 2013 8:41 am

Have you ever tried sitting with a group of friends or even strangers listening peacefully to what they have to say so that you agree with each perspective even if they argue? Only acknowledging their existence out of politeness and only talking when approached for your opinion.

I have found this to be a very rewarding experience.
http://www.dhammawheel.com/chat/
Unfettered at last, a traveling monk,
I pass the old Zen barrier.
Mine is a traceless stream-and-cloud life,
Of these mountains, which shall be my home?
Manan (1591-1654)
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby no mike » Sun Dec 22, 2013 12:46 pm

Taijitu wrote:Have you ever tried sitting with a group of friends or even strangers listening peacefully to what they have to say so that you agree with each perspective even if they argue? Only acknowledging their existence out of politeness and only talking when approached for your opinion.

I have found this to be a very rewarding experience.


In recent times I am trying to improve on this. I discovered if I let a person finish something, I should wait longer, in case they have more to add. I am discovering deeper listening, deeper perspective. I need to practice more on this :)

A problem I have now is that many topics of discussion by others are coarse, unwholesome, and negative. I don't want to encourage mindless banter and gossip.

:candle:
Last edited by no mike on Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:57 pm

no mike wrote:This post comes after hitting a wall with meditation. I backed up to see the bigger picture and I realize I am having trouble with other things, such as seeking refuge in the Sangha.

Are there levels of being a monk somewhere between formal full-time residency and lay practitioner?

I am wondering if there are any opportunities in the US as I have seen in Thailand. It was my understanding, one can be accepted as a monk, as one wishes to stay at a temple for a weekend or longer, and return for personal, spiritual development as one can. Something not as formal as staying long-term, and yet not quite the same as booking for a group retreat as a "lay practitioner."

I am not looking for a special place to meditate per say, or a therapeutic mini-vacation from a busy life, I am interested in something where my day-to-day life at home is where my spiritual work and meditation is being practiced with earnest effort, and the time at a center is for feeling a part of a community and the support of the Sangha, with some personalized instruction or spiritual guidance if possible. It is very hard to teach myself everything from books alone. And making reservations for a ten-day or even shorter public meditation event is a challenge, as I am a single parent.

Thank you :)

:heart:



Try not to kill Little insects and buggs, humans of course or other sentient beeings, dont steal dont abuse someone sexuall, dont abuse someone, dont beat someone up, dont hit someone, try this and you will reach equanimity, and then nirvana. vipassana is your Daily Life and what you do in it.
dont hurt anyone in any sort of way
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby Floor » Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:12 am

Are there levels of being a monk somewhere between formal full-time residency and lay practitioner?


The only thing different from practicing at a Meditation Center and practicing at your house is the strength of the vibration. You can practice just as intensely at your home. I know many lay practitioners who practice stronger than monks. Almost all of my progress was made in this manner.

It is very hard to teach myself everything from books alone


You don’t need any special ideas, or books, or teachers. You only need your meditation technique and it will take yo the entire distance.

1) So the first step is to take a retreat and learn the technique properly. After that you can meditate as much as you want at your home.
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby villkorkarma » Thu Jan 02, 2014 4:57 pm

Thank you Floor this helped me.
dont hurt anyone in any sort of way
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby yogya » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:06 am

I understood, meditation in relation to proper technique. Learning is not place specific - at home or meditation center. Which ever works for you, as long as you are equipped with the right technique, then go for it. :smile:
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby no mike » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:41 pm

villkorkarma wrote:
.... vipassana is your Daily Life and what you do in it.


Thank you.
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby no mike » Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:59 pm

daverupa wrote:
....As far as intimations of monastic effort go, give the eight precepts a shot for a fortnight while trying on some chastity. Alongside some mindfulness, it may be very interesting for you to watch how things unfold. Gentle, good-natured curiosity can go a long way here.


I think the idea behind the extra precepts have helped a lot with practicing right effort and right thinking, and I feel I have improved in these areas.

I am trying to create my own way that goes beyond the five precepts, in the midst of lay-life, that is moral and wholesome and focussed on the path, as much as possible. Understanding, of course, the challenges of the domain. Chastity was no problem, but after 12 PM I find it is necessary to have food for energy (I have work in the evenings, kids with homework, and I like to read the Dhamma at that time if possible).

I think the key is to eliminate comfort foods, junk foods, special treats, etc., and the point is to maintain awareness of desires and personal preferences. Maybe I will try fresh fruit only, or PB&J, or a granola bar, for afternoons/evening work hours. Single-working-parent with fatigue :P
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Re: a better way to learn

Postby culaavuso » Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:10 am

no mike wrote:I think the key is to eliminate comfort foods, junk foods, special treats, etc., and the point is to maintain awareness of desires and personal preferences. Maybe I will try fresh fruit only, or PB&J, or a granola bar, for afternoons/evening work hours. Single-working-parent with fatigue :P


There is a lot of value in observing when and why cravings arise for various foods, which as you note is often out of a desire for comfort or enjoyment rather than actual need for physical nutrition. Depending on the nature of your work later in the day, you might be able to avoid eating after noon by making the meal before noon larger or moving it closer to noon if you're currently ending your meals for the day fairly early. If you really feel the need to eat something, note that from a legalistic perspective the precept is against substantial foods, not all food.

For more of a perspective on what is meant by substantial foods, you might find these links helpful:
http://jwleaf.org/html/eight-precepts.html
http://jwleaf.org/html/substantial-food.html
Jonathan Willis Jarvis wrote:The traditional Theravada distinction between "bhojana" or "substantial" foods which are not allowed out of time and allowable "snacks" is confusing and complicated by modern processed foods. For example, milk is prohibited but cheese was (formerly) allowed at Wat Metta. I remember once hearing Thanissaro Bhikkhu describe how he was served and ate an assortment of cheese snacks on a first class flight when an evening meal could not be accepted.

Apart from the hair-splitting difficulty of determining which snacks are allowable and which are not, the act of snacking on anything at all is problematic. Snacking stirs up cravings for more food which can easily escalate out of control, one bite leading to another. Therefore the safest practice is total abstention from snacking on any kind of solid food. Some beverages are traditionally allowed, for example fruit juice (but without pulp), thin broth, tea, coffee (but without milk), or sugary soft drinks even if loaded with calories.

The sixth precept steers a middle course between the extremes of over indulgence and austerity.


Also, from the perspective of a parent, SN12.63 might be rather meaningful regarding the suggested relationship with food:
SN12.63: Puttamansa Sutta wrote:"And how is physical food to be regarded? Suppose a couple, husband & wife, taking meager provisions, were to travel through a desert. With them would be their only baby son, dear & appealing. Then the meager provisions of the couple going through the desert would be used up & depleted while there was still a stretch of the desert yet to be crossed. The thought would occur to them, 'Our meager provisions are used up & depleted while there is still a stretch of this desert yet to be crossed. What if we were to kill this only baby son of ours, dear & appealing, and make dried meat & jerky. That way — chewing on the flesh of our son — at least the two of us would make it through this desert. Otherwise, all three of us would perish.' So they would kill their only baby son, loved & endearing, and make dried meat & jerky. Chewing on the flesh of their son, they would make it through the desert. While eating the flesh of their only son, they would beat their breasts, [crying,] 'Where have you gone, our only baby son? Where have you gone, our only baby son?' Now what do you think, monks: Would that couple eat that food playfully or for intoxication, or for putting on bulk, or for beautification?"

"No, lord."

"Wouldn't they eat that food simply for the sake of making it through that desert?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, I tell you, is the nutriment of physical food to be regarded.
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