From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

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From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby AlwaysBeginning » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:05 pm

I discovered Dhamma Wheel only recently, coincidentally at its 4th birthday, and was pleased to have done so. As a 70-year-old who has considered himself a “Buddhist” of one school or another since the age of 14 when I discovered a book on Zen by Alan Watts, I’ve been pleased to watch the Buddhadhamma grow among us Westerners from a seemingly quirky interest of a handful to a part of mainstream Western culture. My own interest in Buddhism started with more enthusiasm than understanding, despite the works of Watts and D. T. Suzuki, and I was unaware in my early years that there even was a meditative or ethical side to it at first. After a long casual period I became “serious” about the Dhamma in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At that time I learned about Theravada through the writings of Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, and went on to begin reading some of the suttas, a little in the commentarial works, and some Southeast Asian teachers like Buddhadassa and Ajahn Chah. Besides the suttas I love reading anything by Eastern and Western monastics. I became a regular meditator, though I have yet to attend a retreat longer than a weekend. After discovering the importance of the meditation side of the Dhamma I began to wake up to the significance of the Precepts and the action steps of the Eightfold Path, finally gaining some understanding of the central place of ethics in Buddhism. I’ve had my “ups and downs” in my attempt to integrate the Dhamma into my life, including periods where I’ve stopped meditating altogether or have even doubted every aspect of the teachings. I consider myself “Theravada” in the sense of being centered in the teachings of the Pali Canon and the commentators, along with Theravada monastics. I personally can’t accept that “eclecticism” works, either by picking and choosing what we like from other faiths, ignoring or rejecting facets of Dhamma that we might find inconsistent with science (rebirth, for example), or even through creating our own “synthesis” of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. But that’s just my opinion. I feel very fortunate to have discovered the Dhamma in this lifetime.

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby Ben » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:14 pm

Hi AB,
Welcome to Dhamma Wheel and thank you for your introduction.
From the sounds of things you might be ready for a residential meditation retreat.
Its something that I recommend.
kind regards,

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR


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David N. Snyder
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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:25 pm

AlwaysBeginning wrote:
I was unaware in my early years that there even was a meditative or ethical side to it at first.

:D It appears the Beat Generation of early Buddhists / spiritual thinkers did their best to give that impression.

Great introduction! Welcome to Dhamma Wheel!


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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby cooran » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:00 pm

Welcome to DhammaWheel AlwaysBeginning! Hope to read more from you. :group:

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:06 pm

Welcome AlwaysBeginning!



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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:29 pm

Welcome aboard
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby contemplating » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:55 am

I am new to this forum as well. Welcome. :smile:

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:03 am

Welcome to you both.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam
Damned if I know.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby bodom » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:03 am


The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby alan... » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:04 am

this guy is boss!

seriously, welcome aboard! thanks for the story! inspiring.

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:45 am

Welcome to DW!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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