Further Help Needed

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Further Help Needed

Postby kaiel » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:37 pm

A while back I posted on Dharma and Dhamma wheel a question regarding annata and rebirth. Again I am a newcommer comming from a Roman Catholic background. I appreciate the answers I received on both forums and after much further study believe I have at least an inkling of understanding on these topics. What I did discover is that on a Theravada forum, there seemed to be more (not everyone) materialist Buddhists, by that I mean people who follow the tenants but leave out or ignore the metaphysical aspects of the religion. I have heard this spoken of as Dharma-Lite. To me personally I do not believe Buddha was simply a self-help guru, so for that reason I will stick to this forum for help.

One of the things I have found a little disheartening is the many debates on the meanings of Buddha's teachings, Buddha Nature, Mindstream, Jhanas, Emptiness etc... I guess I had hoped the Buddha's teachings were less open to debate and interpretation than say the bible. However that being said I guess the best way for me to get some answers is to start meditating myself and see where it takes me, and herein is where I need further help.

I purchased 2 books
Mindfulness in Plain English: Revised and Expanded Edition
Bhante Henepola Gunaratana

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: The Spiritual Classic & International Bestseller
Sogyal Rinpoche

Great reads thus far, before I begin putting these techniques into practice, what type of meditation does a beginner with the following ingrained hindrances.
1. Very overactive imagination, the moment I close my eyes a deluge of images and thoughts hit me
2. I am easily bothered by other people (something I am hoping Buddhism can help with) If someone talks in a theatre, I find myself wishing a meteor will hit them, someone cuts me off on the road, I find myself wishing I had James Bond's car etc....Obviously I am just racking up bad Karma here.

I'm hoping this question doesn't lead to much debate, where does one with a very intellectual but noisy mind start?
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby justsit » Thu Sep 08, 2011 7:50 pm

A good place to start is by looking at that noisy mind...some good basic meditation instruction here.
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby Paul » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:30 pm

Justsit is right to suggest meditation in my opinion.

If you want to learn to meditate, eventually it is going to be good to meet a person who can teach you. BuddhaNet has a great worldwide directory: http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/

Please be sure to check out what kind of group you are going to receive teachings from - there are a few that are considered cultish out there, mainly the NKT or the FWBO.
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All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
With such a confidence, empowered by the regal state of natural mind,
The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Sep 08, 2011 11:37 pm

If you want some good bases to practice shamatha meditation (and some other practices), I believe the following book would be of your liking:

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Immeasurable ... 1559392096

You can also listen to the following podcast that will help you getting started:

http://podcasts.sbinstitute.com/fall2011/

You can start where they are now and try to catch up previous podcasts if you feel a little lost.

Best wishes,

DN
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:48 am

I first heard the term "Dharma -Lite" referring to the approach toward buddhism more of, as you say, a self-help course, a cozy way to feel good about oneself rather than actually cutting through attachment to the self. Because some Theravadan buddhists do not concern themselves with issues of rebirth, and because the concept of the emptiness of phenomea (sunyata) is not generally held by all Theravadans, some people assert that Theravadan Buddhist only scratch the surface, and understand the term "Dharma -Lite" to refer to that school. But I do not think this is correct. Theravadan Buddhism is also quite "deep" and Some Thai monks I know who have meditated in forests with wild elephants, poisonous snakes and tigers literally moving right next to them would probably not consider what they do "lite".

If you go into almost any popular bookstore chain, a Barnes & Noble for example, you will find a lot of books about Buddhism, or about how you can be a happier person through meditation, but very little, if anything, of actual sutras-- the words of the Buddha. "Dharma -Lite" as I understand it refers more to pop-culture buddhism. Of course, it never hurts to be a better person, to be a little nicer and to approach your own life in a more gentle way.

If you can find a dharma center where you can learn basic calm mind meditation (shamatha) instruction, that is a good start.

kaiel wrote:1. Very overactive imagination, the moment I close my eyes a deluge of images and thoughts hit me


That is what happens to everybody. Actually, your barin is always doing this but usually you are not aware of just how busy it is.

What is going on is that as you relax the mind you are becoming more aware of all of that movement.
Most medtation methods focus on watching your breathing. One way to address the flow of thoughts is, as soon as you realize that your mind is distracted, think the word "thinking" and just go back to watching your breath. Don't try to stop thinking. After awhile the busy thoughts will settle down on their own.

kaiel wrote: 2. I am easily bothered by other people (something I am hoping Buddhism can help with) If someone talks in a theatre, I find myself wishing a meteor will hit them, someone cuts me off on the road, I find myself wishing I had James Bond's car etc....Obviously I am just racking up bad Karma here.


I wish i had the Astin Martin DB5, with the ejector seat. And it's funny that you mention that, because I play a CD of James Bond movie music a lot when I drive, especially on the freeway, and I fire my headlight machine guns at a lot of bad drivers.

It may seem as though you are wishing bad thoughts on others. But what if that really happened, if you saw somebody crash and get killed?

Probably what you are really wishing is that the jerk in the other car was not being a jerk, and that the person in the theatre would be more aware and considerate. what you are really wishing is that they would be better people, and that is not such a bad wish. The jerk in the car is suffering. he is in a hurry, he's all agitated and he is passing this on to everybody on the road. From the buddhist point of view, he is doing that because he is experiencing a type of suffering. So, if you are basically a compassionate person, then even though you feel wrath, that wrath is really the wish that the other driver should not be suffering.
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby kaiel » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:38 am

Thanks padma I also have the imaginary headlight machineguns lol, I certainly did not mean theravada is dharma-light, just some of the individuals on that forum certainly were when I asked about rebirth. I have the highest respect for all traditions. So I will look into the suggested methods, should I assume vispassana is too difficult to start with then?

Also you are correct, it is hard to find the actual suttas in a book, have any suggestions, I know some sites that have them but for that kind of reading I prefer the old fashioned way.

Going to make a seperate post on some other questions. I truly do appreciate the feed back.
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:06 pm

It's not that vippasana is difficult it just has to do with how it is presented, and the context in which it is applied.
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Re: Further Help Needed

Postby kirtu » Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:46 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If you go into almost any popular bookstore chain, a Barnes & Noble for example, you will find a lot of books about Buddhism, or about how you can be a happier person through meditation, but very little, if anything, of actual sutras-- the words of the Buddha.


:coffee:* At least in DC and Manhattan one can go into most B&N and until their demise Borders and find real sutras and for many years current TB publications (as well as Zen and Theravadin publications) and before that (80's) in DC one could find authentic sutras in alternative or Asian oriented or some New Age bookstores and in Manhattan back then practically any bookstore (although there was and still is a bookstore near Union Square that should be anyone's first stop looking for sutras or any Buddhist publication as they will definitely have it). From 85-97 or so there were also several "alternative" bookstores in DC where you could definitely find sutras. B&N and Borders basically put all these stores out of business though but it has been amazing to watch Buddhist sutras become more and more available over time just like going to the terma store in a way (I know sutras aren't termas of course but it's this idea that suddenly something valuable and previously undiscovered just practically materializes in front of you).

It's not like this in Chicago, SF or other larger cities?

Anyway you can find authentic sutras in Amazon and of course Snow Lion and Wisdom Pubs.

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