Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

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Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

Postby MrBrad » Wed Aug 29, 2012 4:46 pm

I have come to believe there is a big problem with western background values and Buddhism or Christianity for that matter. Specifically, I have come to believe that the single family home in the suburbs (the American dream) is an expression of an exaggerated individualism, materialism and a status pursuing Ego activity.

I think that a less individualistic arrangement such as an apartment complex or even better co-housing community creates many more opportunities for us to express our longing kindness than does a private single family dwelling in the suburbs. Choosing our living arrangements so as to favor our practice is like playing cards after you have stacked the deck in your favor; and I am all for cheating. When I meditate I position my body to be alert; neither in pain nor close to falling asleep. I stack the deck in my favor. Why wouldn’t I stack the deck in my life style choice of housing-type?

What does everyone think of single family homes from a Buddhist perspective? I do not mean to suggest that the suburbs are evil, just a mistake: at least for us.

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Re: Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

Postby dakini_boi » Wed Aug 29, 2012 5:54 pm

i agree. in the us we have created a largely unsatisfying lifestyle based on isolation. people spend more time on online communities than with a sense of integration with those physically close to us, and so many simple human emotional needs go unmet. so much so that many of us don't even know what we're missing. i wish you the sublime fortune of finding the perfect living situation so that all your relative needs/desires are satisfied, and you are able to fully realize complete buddhahood!
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Re: Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:16 pm

I like the co-housing idea too, but it is very difficult to implement. See this thread:
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Re: Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

Postby CrawfordHollow » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:53 pm

I also agree that people go to great lengths to seperate themselves. Our culture not only stresses materialism, but also individualism (is that a word?) Instead of sharing things like cars, computers, ect. we all feel that we need to each own these things ourselves as a mark of our status in society. The same applies with living situations.

This may be a bit off topic, but since we're talking about housing... About a year and a half ago I purchased a three bedroom house in North, Conway, NH. I currently live there by myself. I've rented the extra rooms out to a couple different people, but these situations did not work out for various reasons. I would love to create a household of practitioners. I don't believe that it is impossible to live with non-Buddhists, but conflicts invariably arise. Most of the people that I have lived with were young and have never been exposed to the Dharma, so they did not respect or understand my needs as a practitioner.

So anyway, I have two rooms for rent in North Conway. My vision is to create a household that supports Dharma practice. I fantasize about eventually turning my house into some sort of Dharma center, or at least having weekly practice groups. I know of a couple of lamas who told me that they would possibly teach here if I ever got anything started. Sorry to turn your thread into a personal classified ad. I just wanted to get the word out in case there was anyone in the area or thinking of moving here. Its a nice spot, there's climbing and skiing right out the back door and I am only a couple of hours away from Tsegyalgar and Bristol, VT where there is a Drikung Dzogchen center.
So if anyone is interested in forming a small Dharma household in NH let me know. Ok, sorry for the interuption.

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Re: Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

Postby MrBrad » Wed Aug 29, 2012 9:12 pm

No need to apologize for the "interruption". I asked the question in the first place because I hope that these discussion will lead to action; such as the action you are attempting to take.

I believe that you are correct in your observation that it is hard for people to live together all the way. That is, in the same house. America's exaggerated individualism may be bad news spiritually, but communes are tough to pull off. I do not think a single dwelling community would need to be all Buddhist exactly. But, they would have to be unified in a rejection of modern materialism and probably for religious reasons. I would love to live in a community of mixed faiths where each person took their own respective faith tradition seriously enough to reject materialism, exaggerated individualism and our standard cultural values. Although, an exclusively Buddhist community would totally work too.

The big problem with co-housing is the banks are not too hip on financing these non-standard arrangements. I am tempted to find a few families that can easily afford to buy suburban houses and instead buy a small scale apartment complex together. Just form a RIT or something and then rent the units out to ourselves. Perhaps near the light rail in a big city. Even this idea is problematic though since we Buddhist are pretty few and far between here in the US. Which is partly why I like the idea of searching for Christians and Muslims and neo-pagans and whoever that really reject materialism and want a community of fellowship, love and mutual respect. This broadens the possible list of residents but it is still pretty tough.

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Re: Buddhist Lifestyle / Housing

Postby Seishin » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:32 am

I studied psychology of interiors at uni and I was surprised that there is a lot we do that is subconscious when it comes to our living habits. I think the idea is great but it's certainly not problem (and friction) free. You can see the same sort of thing with monastics living together.
In the UK co-housing is not too difficult. The difficulty comes when someone wants to move out.
Everyone would have to on board 100% otherwise you might get someone who's in love with the idealism but ignores the realism and forgets that other people have their own way of living.

But why wait? Go for it :twothumbsup:

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