Dhamma propagation - most effective form?

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby dharmaamrita » Wed May 11, 2011 6:05 am

just set an example. Forget about '-isms'. The Dhamma is universal. Let it be fully effulgent in your thoughts words and deeds. Always speak Dhamma, do Dhamma, think Dhamma. Then your bhava becomes infectiuous when people see the good in it.
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby befriend » Sat Jul 09, 2011 9:22 pm

whats wrong with putting an ad in the paper, i didnt know there was a buddhist group meeting one mile from my house for years, until i stumbled across a website that told me where they met. how are people supposed to know about groups that people could be interested in if no one displays it? if people dont want to go to a buddhist group they dont have to, but whats the harm in letting them know its there?
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:53 am

plwk wrote:Location Matheesha Location :jumping:
(Where people are the most, that's where Dhamma should be made available, in my POV)


That's what seems to happen in practice, in the UK centres and groups tend to be in the cities and large towns. Which is fine unless you live in the country. ;)

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Sun Jul 10, 2011 10:15 pm

Its interesting that there aren't any more online chatting/video conferencing. Recently some of my friends had access to a very good monk and they organised a video conference- it was really good! People could not only see/hear they could ask questions - and it did really feel like we were all there together in cycberspace,listening to this monk- there was a sense of 'group-identity' because we all kind of knew each other even though we weren't physically present (we could see each other, though). This is the site we used:

http://www.webex.co.uk/

I would hope someone attempts using it. It is quite good. :thumbsup:

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Maitri » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:22 am

I've been working with the nuns at our temple to try and attract more people to visit, but attendance has been very low. We are now trying to find some good means to connect with people via local media. It's a catch 22- you want to offer more Dhamma activities, but you need people to attend them!
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:45 am

Maitri wrote:I've been working with the nuns at our temple to try and attract more people to visit, but attendance has been very low. We are now trying to find some good means to connect with people via local media. It's a catch 22- you want to offer more Dhamma activities, but you need people to attend them!


How about running a series of articles in the local media re the dhamma? People might be curious enough to show up. Also dont forget Tea and busicuits!

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:18 am

rowyourboat wrote: Also dont forget Tea and busicuits!



Those are crucial elements of a Dhamma meeting. ;)

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:21 am

Maitri wrote: It's a catch 22- you want to offer more Dhamma activities, but you need people to attend them!


Yes, this is something I've been struggling with for quite a while. What happens here in the UK is that in cities and large towns there will often be a number of different Buddhist traditions effectively "competing" for those with an interest. Short of paying people to turn up I'm not sure what the answer is.... ;)

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Ytrog » Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:43 pm

You must also be able to explain the basics of the Dhamma quite well to spread it.

I usually am a bit hesitant to talk about it myself, so I wouldn't pick me for it. ;)
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:47 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
Maitri wrote: It's a catch 22- you want to offer more Dhamma activities, but you need people to attend them!


Yes, this is something I've been struggling with for quite a while. What happens here in the UK is that in cities and large towns there will often be a number of different Buddhist traditions effectively "competing" for those with an interest. Short of paying people to turn up I'm not sure what the answer is.... ;)

Spiny


Do something different- how about a 'practice support group'. :)

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Maitri » Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:12 pm

We have decided to try and host an intro to Buddhism course for local people. Many times new persons just come to regular meetings without much of an introduction and feel overwhelmed and rather confused. The Bhikkhuni is putting together a 4 week program that will be a very basic intro to meditation practice, the life of the Buddha and the Dhamma.

The competition is an issue. For whatever reason, there is almost 5 Theravada center in the local area and none of them want to consolidate and work together. The monastics all want to run their own center even though takes much more effort to run 5 centers instead of one :rolleye:
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:44 am

palchi wrote:One of the things that draw me into Buddhism (apart from the teachings hitting home of course) was the complete lack of missionary zeal. During my very first meditation course in a Tibetan temple the teacher even refused to answer questions on Buddhism during course time. His response was along the lines of: This is a beginners' meditation course, not a Buddhist course. If you have questions on Buddhism or the temple you are welcome to stay on afterwards and I will respond. Loved it.

The local group I sit with (Tibetan led) follows the same approach - it explicitly teaches meditation, not Buddhism. Sure, there's a shrine up the front and we start with the 'Refuge and Enlightenment' thought, but the Buddhism is incidental to the meditation. If people hang around long enough, they will pick it up as they go along and may study on their own or attend retreats.
It seems to work - the group is gradually growing and people keep attending for longer, on average, than they used to.
But we also advertise the meditation course quite widely - flyers on noticeboards, announcements in community newsletters, etc, and (recently) a simple web site which is all we need for people looking online for a local group.

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby daverupa » Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:05 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:But we also advertise the meditation course quite widely - flyers on noticeboards, announcements in community newsletters, etc, and (recently) a simple web site which is all we need for people looking online for a local group.


This is the sort of "Buddhist evangelism" that seems most appropriate to me so far: it's passive, and focuses on imparting a beneficial tool.
    "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: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:32 pm

daverupa wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:But we also advertise the meditation course quite widely - flyers on noticeboards, announcements in community newsletters, etc, and (recently) a simple web site which is all we need for people looking online for a local group.


This is the sort of "Buddhist evangelism" that seems most appropriate to me so far: it's passive, and focuses on imparting a beneficial tool.


Well, we dont have a 'message' to get across to everyone- nor are we multinational corporations- it will be comparatively subdued in spirit.
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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:40 pm

AN 5.254: MACCHARIYA SUTTA — STINGINESS (1)

"Monks, there are these five forms of stinginess. Which five? Stinginess as to one's monastery [lodgings], stinginess as to one's family [of supporters], stinginess as to one's gains, stinginess as to one's status, and stinginess as to the Dhamma. These are the five forms of stinginess. And the meanest of these five is this: stinginess as to the Dhamma."


Interesting point!

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:31 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:The local group I sit with (Tibetan led) follows the same approach - it explicitly teaches meditation, not Buddhism. Sure, there's a shrine up the front and we start with the 'Refuge and Enlightenment' thought, but the Buddhism is incidental to the meditation. If people hang around long enough, they will pick it up as they go along and may study on their own or attend retreats.
It seems to work - the group is gradually growing and people keep attending for longer, on average, than they used to.


I'm glad it's working out, though I think it's all a bit trial and error really. A Tibetan group I used to be involved in tried this approach ( ie advertising "meditation" rather than "Buddhism" ) but when people turned up they complained because they thought they'd been misled. ;)

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 14, 2011 8:58 pm

In my experience over the past 10 years what I have seen is that whatever type of group you set up -people will come for just that. :) So I don't think there is anything to fear in setting up a Buddhist group. Ultimately it will be people who can see beyond their social conditioning who will be able to approach such a group- which is a good thing.

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jul 14, 2011 9:44 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:I'm glad it's working out, though I think it's all a bit trial and error really. A Tibetan group I used to be involved in tried this approach ( ie advertising "meditation" rather than "Buddhism" ) but when people turned up they complained because they thought they'd been misled. ;)

Spiny

Oh, this group doesn't hide the Buddhist connection - the group name on the flyers is the "... Buddhist Centre" and there's a bit of Sanskrit for decoration. But the focus in classes is entirely (probably too much, IMO) on meditation.

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:54 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Spiny O'Norman wrote:I'm glad it's working out, though I think it's all a bit trial and error really. A Tibetan group I used to be involved in tried this approach ( ie advertising "meditation" rather than "Buddhism" ) but when people turned up they complained because they thought they'd been misled. ;)

Spiny

Oh, this group doesn't hide the Buddhist connection - the group name on the flyers is the "... Buddhist Centre" and there's a bit of Sanskrit for decoration. But the focus in classes is entirely (probably too much, IMO) on meditation.

:namaste:
Kim



Oh, I see. Yes, the meditation / Dhamma balance isn't an easy one to get right, sometimes you can try to please everyone and end up pleasing nobody.
Generally I have the greatest admiration for anyone who leads or supports a Buddhist class / group. I've found that people who haven't had this kind of experience don't always understand the challenges involved.

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Re: Dhamma propagation

Postby Platypus » Sat Jul 16, 2011 1:01 pm

Spiny O'Norman wrote:
plwk wrote:Location Matheesha Location :jumping:
(Where people are the most, that's where Dhamma should be made available, in my POV)


That's what seems to happen in practice, in the UK centres and groups tend to be in the cities and large towns. Which is fine unless you live in the country. ;)

Spiny
Even then its not always easy, York is no small place but I can't for the life of me find a theravada group, Zen groups and Tibetan groups abound however.
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