Learning Buddhism

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:23 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'm from Portugal and here we don't have communities of Buddhism. I really want to learn the buddhism history and the practice of it. I know that it's used meditation to achieve the buddhahood and that in buddhism we have the noble trouths, the six realms, the buddhas, the noble eightfold path, the nirvana, etc...

But what i want to know is what that means, how to start practice the buddhism, how do i meditate??

I would like you to help me, i really love the buddhism and i really want to practice it!!

I will wait for a answer.
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby plwk » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:57 pm

I'm from Portugal and here we don't have communities of Buddhism.
Look here
I really want to learn the buddhism history and the practice of it.
Look for: 1 2 3
I know that it's used meditation to achieve the buddhahood...
Buddhahood takes more than just meditation...
...and that in buddhism we have the noble trouths, the six realms, the buddhas, the noble eightfold path, the nirvana, etc...
Here is a twofold approach: (they are in topical & Q&A format)
Presented from the Theravada perspective: 1 2
Presented from a selection from the Mahayana perspective: 1 2
But what i want to know is what that means, how to start practice the buddhism...
You can start off by reading and understanding first.
how do i meditate??
Start off with: here & here

I am sure there will be others here who can recommend more and better. All the best!
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:35 pm

Hello,

Thank you for helping me so quickly, I will immediately begin my studies of Buddhism and after understanding it i will begin to practice it. If i have more questions i'll post here. Once again thanks for the help.

Respects.
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:10 pm

Hello again,

About the communities in Portugal....do you think i sould go to one?? Will they teach me all the knowledge about buddhism and about meditation and also about the path??

Greatings
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:41 pm

I also have one more question....i was reading the texts that you gave me and i wonder if i by meditation, for example, could achieve peace and wisdom and full truth without knowing the buddhas live, the four noble truhts, etc...
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:00 pm

Hi...again...

I know i am asking a lot of questions...but thats because i do not want to do something wrong or that...i really want to practice buddhism and i want to do it in the right way! So please i am asking you to help me in order to be a better person and to help oders.
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby plwk » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:04 am

About the communities in Portugal....do you think i sould go to one??
Well, it's not for me to tell you what to do or not to do.
You can practice by yourself to some extent in the event of not finding any suitable community but it is very limiting and frustrating at times, especially when things go wrong or when one is in doubt. But otherwise, the reason for joining a group or community should be as what is laid out here
Will they teach me all the knowledge about buddhism and about meditation and also about the path??
In an ideal way, yes. But we don't live in an ideal world. So, you may expect that some places may have challenges like lack of money, experienced teachers, structured courses, human resources and so forth.
Some may only have certain common features like meditation sessions, ritual chanting or social functions but no formal classes or teaching of the Buddha Dharma and various combinations. So, three ways may be looked at this:
a. either you keep searching for a place that can cater for all (in the worst scenario, even outside of Portugal)

b. or be patient enough to explore through with one group and then over time, at least about a year or so, get introduced to and familiarise with senior students, serious practice and qualified teachers:
i. where they can recommend or have annual programmes with other sister centres elsewhere outside of Portugal
ii. or if they are fortunate enough, they have visiting teachers coming in like once a month/year who will stay for say a week or month long to impart teachings and practices.

c. last resort and backup: search for a good and solid online Buddhist community via group discussions and forums

d. Like in any system of belief, there are cults or controversial groups in Buddhism which are not in the mainstream or even within the mainstream, there are abuses going on. After all, human organisations are not free from human failures as none of us are saints yet. So, it helps to keep one's eyes on the Teaching & Discipline per se rather than to judge merely by the conduct of mere humans who have faults just like my own self. I will not name anyone or any group here but will leave that research for your own homework and decision. But it is sufficient to mention here that this is one aspect to keep in mind about in one's journey as a practitioner versus having a naive and unrealistic idealism & assumption about things and people only to be unnecessarily disappointed and discouraged later.

Lastly, when one goes into any center, an open mind, helpful heart and having less expectations will prove helpful in the long term.
That way, you save yourself in some way from the common human disappointment & discouragement and helps with effective interaction with others.
I also have one more question....i was reading the texts that you gave me and i wonder if i by meditation, for example, could achieve peace and wisdom and full truth without knowing the buddhas live, the four noble truhts, etc...
Correct me if I am wrong and if I have interpreted your question correctly, there are two ways to look at this:
a. one may engage with the practice of meditation in a mundane way for mundane results:
i. for various reasons only known to the person, for example:
curiosity, non-commitment, with a certain aim in mind like simple benefits of a peaceful mind and life or a more complicated one like wanting psychic powers.
ii. nothing connected with what the Buddha taught on the practice of meditation as laid out in the Path and Stages
iii. Yes, what you mention on 'peace, wisdom and full truth' have different meanings to different people. Not everyone wants the Buddha's version of those terms but may not mind trying out the methods he taught.

b. one engages in meditation as how a true practitioner should: as part of the Path & Fruit as how it is mapped out by the Buddha, both with mundane and supramundane in mind, with visible results in the here and now plus beyond.
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:09 pm

Hello!

I am from Portugal too. :)

In Portugal we dont have big groups as in other countrys. Buddhism in Portugal is very restricted.

Even so, you can find some help here:
http://www.cet.site.vu/
(Centro de Estudos Tibetanos)


and here
http://www.uniaobudista.pt/
(União Budista Portuguesa)

It depends on where you live. I live in Minho, so as you see there is nothing here. The few things I found only give some workshops or meditation classes, from times to times. Thats not exactly what I was seeking.

There is also other member here from Portugal (Denchen Norbu....I think thats the nickname) perhaps he can give a better help.

I will send you a PM too.

See you!
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Tue Apr 02, 2013 5:57 pm

Hello,

I still have a question that is similar to the one before: Can i practice right meditation (the buddhist meditation, not the mundane one) without knowing that much about buddhism and the teachings of the buddha? Is it bad to do it?

Sorry for all the questions but as i said before i really want to do things right and correct.

Greatings.
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:11 pm

Nosta,

I really liked that first site, they are a school, aren't they? I'm thinking of in the summer going there or another school, and if so is possible to learn the basics in just 3 months?

Greatings.
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby Nosta » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:17 pm

I dont know :(

I gave you sites that someone gave to me lol, so I cant tell a lot about it. :)

About mundane meditation vs right meditation, I think that there is no "mundane" meditation on buddhism. Nevertheless, there is mundane meditation on many things, like people trying to sell comercial and empty books with titles like "Relax yourself" or "Find your innerself" lol (altought you could find similar titles on really good buddhist books).
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby plwk » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:50 pm

Can i practice right meditation (the buddhist meditation, not the mundane one) without knowing that much about buddhism and the teachings of the buddha?
Yes you can but it would be more effective and helpful to know on the Buddha's teachings to complement or back up the meditation practice.
Most beginners are taught in centres to start off with simple breathing meditation, even though they may not understand much on the Buddha's teaching.
As they progress further, then they are encouraged to take up learning and understanding on the Buddha's teaching before going into deeper aspects of meditation.
Some centres may even have a short session on the Buddha's teaching before or after a meditation session. One of the links I gave earlier have a detail explanation on the breathing meditation practice. Meditation practice is one of the 'Three Higher Trainings' (it is also known under other terms like 'Threefold Training') where it is: morality/virtue (sila), concentration (samadhi) & wisdom/discernment (panna/prajna) as one can see here which contains the Noble Eightfold Path. So, now do you understand why there is an emphasis on studying and understanding the Buddha Dharma in order to practice meditation rather than just practicing it without the other two components or the Buddha's teaching? See the quote below...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"And are the three aggregates [of virtue, concentration, & discernment] included under the noble eightfold path, lady, or is the noble eightfold path included under the three aggregates?"
"The three aggregates are not included under the noble eightfold path, friend Visakha, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates.
Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue.
Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration.
Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment."

Is it bad to do it?
There's no bad or good, it goes back to one's motivation, capacity and the end result.
Some people will only start on meditation after they have investigated and understood the Buddha's teaching on a sufficient level to commit themselves to be a Buddhist.

Some people will start meditation practice even without knowing much on the Buddha's teaching, the most common one that they may start off with is the breathing meditation by following direct reading from a scripture or a commentary text. Anything more complicated and they will look for a teacher or a centre for guidance and study more on the Buddha's teaching and become committed to be a Buddhist.

And then there are some people who practice to just try out something new or for a specific aim but with no intention to study and understand the Buddha's teaching nor to commit to the Path.

Many experienced meditators and teachers often advise committed beginners not to practice alone where possible as it is easy for beginners to make many mistakes.
Even the experienced ones can still make some mistakes, hence a good meditation teacher is important.

You don't have to push yourself to meditate. Meditation will automatically happen to you because that is where you are trying to go. Your life is going in that direction see you don't have to make any effort you don't have to make any resolution you don't need to have will power to meditate. You don't have to force yourself to meditate. You don't have to say, I don't have any time; I have to make time. You don't have to say any of those. You will automatically have time because that is what you want to do. If you really want to do something you will have time. You don't have time only when you are not really interested in doing it.
For the rest of this article, read here
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby NewBuddhist.pt » Tue Apr 02, 2013 7:11 pm

HELLO!!

Now i fully understand what this is all about!! Thank you very much for the answer it was really good and i understood the meaning of it!

So now i am going to start with some reading, some simple meditation (the breath meditation) and then i'll seek for some teacher in summer in order to fully understand the buddhism!! I am feeling much better now that i truelly understood my questions and the answers that have been told to me.

One more time thank you for the help and greatings!

P.s - If i have more questions i will post them here!
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Re: Learning Buddhism

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:00 am

NewBuddhist.pt wrote:Hi Everyone,

I'm from Portugal and here we don't have communities of Buddhism. I really want to learn the buddhism history and the practice of it. I know that it's used meditation to achieve the buddhahood and that in buddhism we have the noble trouths, the six realms, the buddhas, the noble eightfold path, the nirvana, etc...

But what i want to know is what that means, how to start practice the buddhism, how do i meditate??

I would like you to help me, i really love the buddhism and i really want to practice it!!

I will wait for a answer.

Of course we have.
There's a little Buddhism in this corner of the world.

So... I'll give you my e-mail (it is in my profile, but alas) marcos.cunha.pt@gmail.com
Now if you allow me, I'll write in Portuguese. If a translation is needed, i'll be happy to provide it.
Há uma comunidade vibrante de budistas em Portugal que pareces desconhecer. Temos cá diversas escolas. Talvez te possa ajudar se me disseres o que procuras.
Tens o meu e-mail indicado acima. Manda-me uma mensagem e dou-te umas sugestões, OK? Por engraçado que possa parecer, n pertenço a nenhuma organização em pt. Mas há-as fidedignas.
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