Can I start practising on my own?

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lostitude
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Can I start practising on my own?

Post by lostitude »

Hello,

I am not a buddhist (yet) but I was wondering if this journey could be started on one's own. There is no theravada center near where I live, so is it ok to start practising (not just reading books) alone, without personal guidance? or is it likely I will make mistakes and go down the wrong path, waste my time or worse...?

Thanks!
Thisperson
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Thisperson »

lostitude wrote:Hello,

I am not a buddhist (yet) but I was wondering if this journey could be started on one's own. There is no theravada center near where I live, so is it ok to start practising (not just reading books) alone, without personal guidance? or is it likely I will make mistakes and go down the wrong path, waste my time or worse...?

Thanks!
Welcome,

It's quite alright to practice on your own. If I understand your post you will be using books to gain understanding of the teachings while practicing on your own? There's nothing wrong with that at all. Listening to various dhamma talks (talks which illustrate the Buddha's teaching) on youtube can be very helpful as well.

I found this book Mindfulness in Plain English very helpful in the beginning of my practice. Here's a free version which perhaps will be of some assistance to you as well. If you scroll down on the link you'll see links to the individual chapters of the book.
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html

May your practice flourish
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

Making mistakes is all part of the learning process. After all, one could make a big mistake by choosing the wrong teacher and spend years practising in the wrong way, so it's really not a bad idea to learn self-reliance.

There's an ancient saying, “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Read widely, but be methodical. Practice regularly. Ask questions here whenever you need some pointers.
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Spiny Norman
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Spiny Norman »

lostitude wrote: There is no theravada center near where I live,
One option you could consider is travelling to do a beginners retreat, where you should get some introduction to meditation.

There are lots of resources available on-line, one of my favourites is Ajahn Brahm who has some good meditation talks on YouTube.
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Kare
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Kare »

It seems everybody here understand practice as meditation. And meditation is of course an important aspect of practice. But there are also other aspects. Friendlyness is an important part of practice. And you do not need a teacher in order to practice friendlyness and good friendship. Anyone can start right here and now.
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daverupa
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by daverupa »

Set up daily mindfulness and sense-gate guardedness as you get used to what the precepts mean; that will be a lot to play with.

:heart:

:reading: :meditate: :reading:
  • "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]
lostitude
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by lostitude »

Thanks everyone!
I guess I should first start with some serious reading, because I don't know much about mindfulness as practiced in buddhism (I only know 'corporate' mindfulness as it were, or mindfulness as used in healthcare), and have absolutely no idea what sense-guardedness could consists in, in practical terms.
Is there any reading you'd recommend that describes the Theravadan practices I could set up as a daily routine (in addition to the link already provided by 'thisperson')?

Thank you.
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Kare
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Kare »

Recommended suttas:

For meditation: Satipatthanasutta, MN 10
For your life outside meditation: Sallekhasutta, MN 8

Metta,
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Mettāya,
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daverupa
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by daverupa »

Maybe find your way to reading Joseph Goldstein's Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. It's among the better light-weight introductions.

If you want to move up a weight class, try Bhante Analayo's Satipatthana: The Direct Path to Realization.
  • "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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tiltbillings
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by tiltbillings »

daverupa wrote:Maybe find your way to reading Joseph Goldstein's Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening. It's among the better light-weight introductions.
In terms of actual practice, it is far more than light weight.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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Aloka
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Aloka »

Hello lostitude,

As you mentioned being a Muslim in your introduction, I recommend taking things slowly and reading "Theravada Buddhism in a Nutshell" by Ajahn Amaro to begin with.

https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/therav ... a-nutshell

- and then later, maybe have a look at his little meditaton book for beginners:

"Finding the Missing Peace".

http://www.amaravati.org/dhamma-books/f ... editation/

Hope that helps.

With kind regards,

Aloka :anjali:

.
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samseva
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by samseva »

You can search for monasteries close to you using the following directory (to the right).
http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/

Also, here is a good publication by Bhikkhu Khantipālo.
Lay Buddhist Practice - Bhikkhu Khantipālo
Digity
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by Digity »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Making mistakes is all part of the learning process. After all, one could make a big mistake by choosing the wrong teacher and spend years practising in the wrong way, so it's really not a bad idea to learn self-reliance.
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. A bad teacher can have a damaging effect. So, if you're looking for a teacher then be careful. You need to really examine the teacher and their real intentions. The reality is that most people don't do something unless there's something in it for them. The good teachers are their to teach the dhamma and their intention is to help their students realize it too.

However, the bad teachers have other intentions. They might be trying to teach the Dhamma, but they usually have less noble intentions too such as get an ego boost from being a guru that everyone looks up to. There could be a whole host of other reasons or they may just not understand the Dhamma fully and shouldn't be teaching in the first place. In that case, it's the blind leading the blind. I actually regret going to some of the meditation places I've been too after having some negative experiences. Anyway, just be careful.
dhammarelax
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by dhammarelax »

lostitude wrote:Hello,

I am not a buddhist (yet) but I was wondering if this journey could be started on one's own. There is no theravada center near where I live, so is it ok to start practising (not just reading books) alone, without personal guidance? or is it likely I will make mistakes and go down the wrong path, waste my time or worse...?

Thanks!
I would think of practicing on your own to be an advantage you are free to judge from the results you get what is right for you, I just have one recommendation, if a teacher says that it will take you years on practice to get any results back off and try something else, the Buddha taught a Dhamma "which is visible here and now, immediately effective, ...".

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dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5
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tiltbillings
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Re: Can I start practising on my own?

Post by tiltbillings »

dhammarelax wrote:
lostitude wrote:Hello,

I am not a buddhist (yet) but I was wondering if this journey could be started on one's own. There is no theravada center near where I live, so is it ok to start practising (not just reading books) alone, without personal guidance? or is it likely I will make mistakes and go down the wrong path, waste my time or worse...?

Thanks!
I would think of practicing on your own to be an advantage you are free to judge from the results you get what is right for you, I just have one recommendation, if a teacher says that it will take you years on practice to get any results back off and try something else, the Buddha taught a Dhamma "which is visible here and now, immediately effective, ...".
Of course, that is a matter of opinion, and opinions based upon experience are going to vary, and at times significantly.

lostitude,

Working with a good teacher can be a very good thing for any number of obvious reasons. Working by yourself can be a bit harder, and there is always the danger of leading yourself down the garden path of over-inflated self assessment. Also, keep in mind that teacher who is critical of other teachers, who states that he or she has the really truly true way and the others really do not, is not teacher to be trusted.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723
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