background/upbringing, how important? - Dhamma Wheel

background/upbringing, how important?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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background/upbringing, how important?

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Jan 21, 2009 4:23 am

i was thinking about just what we bring with us from our lives into the practice of the dhamma.

i come from a working class background, heavily influenced by anarchist philosophy (i had an ongoing corespondece for years with noam chomsky) and years spent in punk bands.

i first came to buddhismt through zen under a japanese priest who had been a marxist

i carry with me certain assumptions(?), i dont think things should be writen in "intelectual" speak. but rather in common language that the "everyman" can grasp. this comes from my anarchist background

i'm a meditator, not a scholar, this i think comes from my working class background...

am i seeing patterns where they really dont exist or do you think who we were pre buddhism plays an important role in who we become as buddhists?

whats your story?
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby genkaku » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:34 pm

Where others grew up with a zealous religion they subsequently found unsatisfying, I grew up in surrounded by zealous intellectualism ... you know, the religion that doesn't like to admit its religiosity. It was as unsatisfactory in its way as fundamentalism can be in its ... limited.

But I also grew us with a healthy dollop of conscience. My mother was briefly a member of the communist party when that was popular. She quit after sensing its limitations, but the house included a respect for unions and the greedy aspects of management.

Anyway ... I think taking background into account in Buddhism is important. Failure to investigate that background, whatever it is, would leave Buddhism as some limp-wristed religion, which, in my opinion, would be extremely unfortunate. Buddhism as a practice means whole-life Buddhism ... the whole shooting match ... the good, the bad and the ugly. It's not just some smarmy belief system.

OK ... just my bias.
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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jan 21, 2009 3:46 pm

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby Individual » Thu Jan 22, 2009 3:57 am

The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby pink_trike » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:16 am

I grew up in an unwholesome family environment full of greed, alcohol, rage, violence, and falseness (well-hidden though - we met fairly high community standards). I wouldn't trade this experience for it set me at a very early age on the path toward wholesomeness.
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: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:49 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby Element » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:36 am

Working class, rugby player, surfer, sportsman, rock guitar music lover, Catholic Church each Sunday until thirteen and Catholic school from thirteen to seventeen.

Never once believed in God or Jesus, even as a child. Never ever believed anything I could not experience for myself. Never followed the crowd.

Fortunately, Buddhadasa was the first Buddhism I ever heard. Fluke.

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby bodom » Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:15 pm

Sex, drugs and rock and roll. Here i am.

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:38 pm

Had fairly good childhood, some not so good bits but that true for most people. The bad bits did effect me later on in my attitude to life, made me lean towards a hedonistic/nihilistic lifestyle, enjoy everything as much as you can, music, drink anything because thats all there is and will be. That was before I read those Four Noble Truths though and since that moment everything has changed. Wouldnt change how i used to be though, its thanks to my previous hedonistic and nihilistic philosophy/lifestyle that i think i have such a good grasp of dukkha. All those years of endulgence never brought me any real happiness and peace like what i have now thanks to Lord Buddha and the Dhamma.

Little bit of background there lol

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:27 am

Raised Jewish, now a JuBu, lived in Israel for a couple of years, visited the Temple Mount and Wailing Wall almost daily, now my favorite spot is the Maha Bodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, visited it in year 2006, can't wait to go back. Is background important? Apparently so, at least for me.

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Re: background/upbringing, how important?

Postby Dhammakid » Thu Jan 29, 2009 2:22 am

Black Christianity is all that needs to be said. If anyone has any experience with gospel fundamentalism, you know what I'm talking about.

Deep in church until 18. President of church's teen youth group. Gave sermons, woke up in the middle of the night to pray and worship God.

Then I got to college and everything changed. I became increasingly radical, anarchist, atheist and feminist. Thought about not voting for a while. Started to cool down a bit and discovered meditation and the Dhamma. Ever since then, lots of my ideas have been put into their proper focus.

But my Christian upbringing was full of great stuff - lots of moral training, fellowship with good people (albeit a bit deluded in many areas), and my own specific Christian practice was grounded on love, compassion and selflessness. These I took as basic Christianity, and I never saw why so many other Christians didn't realize it.

Family life was good but a bit unstable. Divorced parents fought a bit but then ended up cool with each other. Stepdad didn't understand us until a bit later, and now we're cool. But racial discrimination and constant relocations really shook me, as did being basically poor. But it also taught me resilience and sacrifice for the family, which served me well.

The good and the bad - amazing how they work together. I'm very happy to be a Buddhist now. Must have done something right in previous lives.

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