Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Rui Sousa » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:44 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?
I believe so.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?
No. I am interested in Buddhism because I suffer and I feel Buddhism is the way out of suffering.

If you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

I see all eight elements onf the path as equally relevant.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

Yes, I believe so. But I have never met any monk.

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age
Rui Sousa, Portuguese, male, lay, Licenciate, maried, 34
With Metta
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby clw_uk » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:16 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?

If i had to categorize then i would say yes

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

At first no, the four noble truths etc just made logical sense to me

If you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

No, the precepts are important moral trainings as well

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

I dont define Samsara in that way, i do however like to give to the monks when i can

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age


Craig
Welsh/British
Lay
G.C.S.E, AS and A-levels (also passed a year of university)
Single
21


metta
“Happy is the man who has broken the chains which hurt the mind, and has given up worrying once and for all.” Ovid
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Tex » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:43 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?

Yes.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

No, I was drawn to Buddhism because of the philosophy of it. If anything, it's the opposite of the question above -- I became interested in meditation because of Buddhism.

If you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?


I find it hard to pick a "most relevant" part, but if I had to I would say studying. Without reading and understanding the teachings we wouldn't know why meritorious acts are important or how to meditate.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?


Yes, I believe that giving to monks generates merit, and moreso if the intention is simply to give to monks rather than to give to monks in order to generate merit.

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age

Paul, American, Male, Lay, Bachelor of Arts, Single, 33.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby nomad » Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:53 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?
Yes.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?
Meditation was the reason for my initial research into Buddhism, but it is no longer the primary focus of my studies.

If you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?
Yes, because socially meritorious activities done for the wrong reasons are no benefit to our spiritual life. Changes in the way we think and act must come from within our own hearts and minds before we can transfer those changes into socially meritorious activities.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)? and how this activity is important to you?
Yes, but it is more important to me to show unselfish generosity and to support the monks as teachers of the Dhamma as opposed to giving in hope of receiving merits across Samsara in return.

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age
Wayne, American, Male, Layman, B.A., Single, 27

~nomad

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"I am because we are." -Xhosa Tribal Saying
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Zack » Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:20 pm

1.Are you a Buddhist?

?, I have not taken formal refuge, I endeavor to follow the Buddhas teachings.


2.Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

No, I am interested in meditation because of Buddhism.


3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

I see meditation as integral to the Buddhist practice

4.Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

Yes .
Merit is not why I support the Sangha.

5.Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age

Zack
U.S.
M
Lay
Vocational
M
42
I am of nature to decay, I have not gone beyond decay.
I am of the nature to be diseased, I have not gone beyond disease.
I am of the nature to die, I have not done beyond death.
All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to
my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do,
whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya v.57
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Popo » Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:59 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?

No.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

Mostly. I'm also interested because it's moral positions seem to mirror my own and I find many of the cultural things associated with Buddhism are very aesthetically pleasing. But meditation and insights into my own psychology are the main things that draw me.

If you are a Buddhist ;

Feel free to disregard the answers below.. :)

3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

Though I don't know if I consider what I do Dhamma practice (since my aim isn't Nibbana), I do think my own personal progress in life is best found when I do meditation AND I am virtuous. I think the two help each other.. So, I wouldn't put emphasis exclusively on either.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?


No. I don't believe in rebirth or karma. I do find charity to be an important part of my life (though I've never given to monks).

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age

Esteban
US (currently)
Male
Non-Buddhist
Currently working on a BA
In a relationship. (Can't marry here...)
21
Theoretical approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a theory must be tempered with reality.
-J. Nehru
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Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby GrahamR » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:57 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?
Yes
2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?
Not primarlyIf you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?
Yes, it is meant to accrue merit and creates self improvement.
4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?
Dana is important, but personally I think we should do good for the sake of doing good, not for the sake of merits.
5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age
Graham,British,Male, Lay,B.Ed.,Married,48
With metta :bow:
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby suriyopama » Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:08 am

Greetings Ven. Gavesako.

I a new at this forum, so I will take this as my introduction

1. Are you a Buddhist?
I may say YES, but I've been discovering Buddhism so slowly and progressively that I consider it a process, not a decision that I've taken in a precise moment for one specific reason. I've never had a religion and I don't consider Buddhism as a religion.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?
No. I'm interested in meditation because of Buddhism

3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?
I consider that Mindfulness and insight meditation are the most powerful tools to observe Dhamma (Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration). Meritorious activities are just another important part of the Eightfold Path.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

I have not experimented this for myself, so I can not think about this. Since I arrived to Thailand (2 months ago) I am giving saibat every morning to the monks, but I don't expect anything in return. I do it because I have a high respect for the monks community and i like to support it.

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age
Manuel, Spanish, Male, Lay, BEng, Married, 43

:namaste:
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:05 pm

1. Yes
2. Meditation is important , so is Sila, and study.
3. See above .
4. Yes I do.
5.Valerie, British,female. lay, PHD,FBPA, married, myob.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby imagemarie » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:59 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?

Is there a test? Some days I think so. Some days I think not.
I guess that probably means not.


2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

Not exclusively. I thought there might be some truth in it.. (meditation, and Buddhism)

If you are a Buddhist ;

3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

Today, I think it's all good.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

It's a blessing to give.

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age

Marie. British. F. Lay. Degreed, married, and 50+yrs.
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Bankei » Thu Oct 15, 2009 12:28 pm

1. Are you a Buddhist?

No. but I am a follower of the Buddha.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

no.

If you are a Buddhist ;

3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

no.

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

no, but giving is good. Giving to those in need is better than those that don't need.


5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age

Bankei, Japanese, yes please, lay, Masters, Wife and mistress.
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby shjohnk » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:56 am

1. Are you a Buddhist?
Yes.

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?
No. I think Meditation is an integral part of the Dhamma and extremely beneficial, but it is only one part of the eight-fold path.

If you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?
Meditation is the most helpful for my personal practice as it helps to cultivate the other necessary factors and helps me understand the nature of Non-self, impermanence etc. As one who lives in the world, meritorious social activities help to bring others to the Dhamma through example (though I don't do any at the moment :cry: ) and we should take part in them to cultivate metta and karuna.
4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?
Yes, definitely! However I think any kind of generousity of deed or thought can also cultivate merit. I currently do not give Dana, but this reminds me that I should!

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age
John, Australian, Male, Lay, BA, Married, 34.

Great to have a chance to put these things in writing! :bow:
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:06 am

Now a question for you. How do I know this study is genuine and not just another commercial internet data mining venture?
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:53 pm

gavesako wrote:A Thai friend who is doing an MA in the Study of Religions would like know more about the views and attitudes of Western Buddhists. If you would like to help her, please answer the questions below (it could also be an interesting survey for Dhammawheel users in general).

----------------------
I am interested in Buddhism in the West.
I would like to know how Westerners practice Buddhism and their perspectives.
Thus, if you don't mind , could you please answers questions as follows;

1. Are you a Buddhist?

2. Are you interested in Buddhism because of the meditation?

If you are a Buddhist ;
3. Do you see ‘ meditation’ as most relevant to the Dhamma practice rather than other social meritorious activities? why?

4. Do you think to give material requisites to monks (Dana) can generate merits across Samsara (transferring to next lives)?
and how this activity is important to you?

5. Name (can be a fake name), nationality, sex, status (monastic / lay), education (such as BA etc.) , martial status , age

1. I suppose, yes. But I do not find the label very endearing.
2. Not primarily, no. I am not simply "interested" by Buddhism. I agree with it and try to follow it, because it is the obvious truth.
3. No, there's no right path for everyone because different minds have different sicknesses, which require different medicines. Also, the Noble Eightfold Path is a circle, which can be entered into at any point.
4. William\Alex, American, Single, Lay, High school and some college, Never Married, 25
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby gavesako » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:34 pm

catmoon wrote:Now a question for you. How do I know this study is genuine and not just another commercial internet data mining venture?


Sometimes you need to have faith...
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Nov 02, 2009 9:40 pm

gavesako wrote:
catmoon wrote:Now a question for you. How do I know this study is genuine and not just another commercial internet data mining venture?


Sometimes you need to have faith...


Spoken by a true member of the clergy. :tongue:

I agree, sometimes skepticism can go too far. They are not asking for real names or any government numbers, such as social security, etc.
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby alan » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:40 am

Aren't there better questions?
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:45 am

alan wrote:Aren't there better questions?

Is this your way of saying you have better questions? :smile:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby alan » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:32 am

Yes! And it goes back to a question I posted previously on another thread. Many western Buddhists hold new age/"Spiritual" beliefs which have nothing to do with Dhamma. Why not ask questions about that?
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Re: Attitudes of Western Buddhists: 5 Questions to Answer

Postby alan » Tue Nov 03, 2009 6:52 am

I mean, if someone is really interested in examining western ideas, and is going to write a paper or come up with a thesis, and this person we are talking about is Asian, then there are more important questions to ask.
Such as:
Do you believe in "Karma"?
Do you believe we are all interdependent?
Do you believe in "Buddha Nature?
Do you believe we have "No Self"? If so, what is the goal of you meditation?
How many hours a day to you meditate?
What is your goal?

Just a suggestion.
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