Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at end)

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Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at end)

Postby Rainboyo » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:20 pm

Hi all

Allow me to introduce myself - since I was a child, I have been asking myself questions and learning lessons, and working a lot of things out. I was raised a Catholic, but the whole thing never really made much sense to me, and after a LOT of detailed thought on the matter when I was young I realised that I wasn't going to be able to crack this particular nut through analysis - it seemed to ultimately require some leap of faith, and I could see no particular reason to take that leap, so I didn't - although I didn't rule out doing that for something in the future, should it seem appropriate. As I grew older, I started to notice that each of the different bits of progress I made seemed to have something in common - something to do with a feeling of letting go, being in the present moment, compassion, etc.

At some point, I thought that I couldn't be the first person to have come across this, and that there might be some way of addressing these things directly, so I did a little research, decided that it sounded like a meditative practice might be worth exploring, and I ended up finding an excellent T'ai Chi teacher and school, whose approach resonated with me profoundly, and I have practiced this on and off for a few years, although I was always drawn to the spiritual more than the martial aspects of the art, and so I started to find out a little about Taoism.

Over the last year, my 'spiritual progress' (words are awful for this, sorry!) has seemed to accelerate somewhat, and what I now understand to be called mindfulness has become an ever-present feature of my day-to-day life to greater or lesser extents, whether I am alone, with others, sitting still or walking around. The world I walk around in now feels (and, in fact, looks!) quite different to how it felt a year ago, and many seemingly diverse aspects make a lot more sense.

Someone has since introduced me to recordings of Alan Watts, and I resonated very strongly with so much of what was presented, which in turn had a profound effect on me, and my relationship with the world around me. I have since been finding out more and more about existing traditions, philosophies and religions that seem to explicitly deal with the things that have been increasingly arising for me lately.

Some of the things that have by and large resonated with me in various ways:
- Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
- Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron
- The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness by Pema Chodron
- The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama
- Be Here Now by Ram Dass
- I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
- The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
- Alan Watts (many various recordings)
- http://www.shivarudrabalayogi.org/
- A few blogs, including http://lazyyogi.org and http://zenmister.tumblr.com

I have also now begin regularly meditating (generally sitting in a chair, eyes open, observing the breath and non-judgementally observing any thinking or anything else that might arise), and have been going to a local Tibetan Buddhist Centre to meditate in their shrine room, and I have started attending a meditation class they run.

I am starting to feel that, while my path has been pretty freeform for the last year, it would probably be a good thing to give it some structure, so I have been investigating the possibilities inherent in aligning myself with a tradition. Although my local Tibetan Buddhist Centre is very nice, and the people I have met there are also very nice, I am not sure that I have yet met anyone there who has inspired me that this particular tradition is what is going to help me. What I have read about Zen has resonated very strongly with me, but I have also read many wildly differing opinions about what is 'real Zen' or 'real Buddhism' and the effect of Westernisation on these traditions, and I remain unclear about how best to structure my path. I am also wondering about paths outside of Buddhist traditions - one example might be http://www.shivarudrabalayogi.org/

In the meantime, I am simply continuing to meditate and live in presently and compassionately as best I can, and use my own experience as my guide.

So my question is this:
Do any of you have any advice on how I might develop and deepen my spiritual path, given my journey so far?

I would be grateful if you could also say something about how you found whatever path you have, even if it is not one that aligns exactly with specific traditions.


Many thanks for taking the time to read all of this - I really appreciate your help :-)

Mark

PS On a practical note, I live and work in London, so any local knowledge/advice would also be very helpful to me.
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Seishin » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:32 pm

Personally I think a great way to grow and develope would be to attend a retreat. If you're in London you can hook up with the Buddhist Society there that run regular workshops, lectures etc.

Gassho
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Soar » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:54 pm

See if this appeals to you..

http://dzogchencommunityuk.org/

Practioners meet regularly in London, and the main teacher Chogyal Namkhai Norbu gives retreats around the world and via webcast.

:meditate:
Last edited by Soar on Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Snovid » Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:55 pm

"I came across recently on the current information about Mingyur Rinpoche . It's an interesting man , the son of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche . In early June 2011, he left his monastery in Bodhgaya , to start wandering a long period of isolation . He left in the middle of the night without notifying anyone. He did not take money or other property , but the clothes that he wore . Before heading wrote to his friends and students this letter :
http://tergar.org/communities-and-pract ... g-retreat/



I recently met him by chance his friend and disciple , it took a few photos and sent his letter (of 2 January this year )
http://learning.tergar.org/2014/01/17/n ... n-retreat/


Since in our times , it is quite unique for someone with an established position kidnapped on such uncertain and requires courage lifestyle, it looked for him a little info. On the one hand he was lucky that at a very young age have the opportunity to take two three - and -a-half years of detention time, he could get an education , Buddhist , involved in various projects for community practitioners , etc. On the other hand able to see the range of neuroscientists and other pioneers in studying the brain meditators , etc. Podszkolili it in various areas of western science , and even from 2002 began to study it . Underwent a series of neurological tests Waisman Laboratory for very interesting , amazing results. Due to not be recorded for each season results , showing the brain has been called " the happiest man on earth." - Raphael

Image

Simply rests in the consciousness of the mind
charge of their own affairs with a sense of:

  "Super! Look at how many thoughts, sensations and emotions
flows at the moment by my consciousness"

When we follow the mind
we lose contact with what is happening here and now.

One of the easiest techniques szine practice facility
is resting attention on ordinary physical sensations.
Just Concentrate your attention
on a specific area of ​​your body such as the forehead. - Mingyur Rinpoche Yongey
I am from Poland I use google translator I do not know English
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Snovid » Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:08 pm

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu gives retreats around the world and via webcast.


But He dont give lung to Ngondro!
It's very strange
especially since He performed Ngondro twice :shrug:

Master needed preliminary practices
students do not need.

Students are masters ,master is student ?

VeeeeeEEEEeeery strange :meditate:
I am from Poland I use google translator I do not know English
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Soar » Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:08 pm

He has prepared a nine level structured study and practise programme and the base level of this is equivalent to a Ngondro and he gives the lungs for the practises in this and many other preliminary and purification practises too with every retreat.

SANTI MAHA SANGHA TRAINING The Santi Maha Sangha Training is a study and practice course in nine levels that was started by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu in 1993. In the ancient Oddiyana language Santi Maha Sangha means Dzogchen Community. Its goal is to train good Dzogchen practitioners that are able to reach a real personal knowledge based on concrete experience. The SMS Training includes the complete teachings of Garab Dorje and the related instructions to deepen the knowledge of Semde, Longde and Upadesha through study and practice but includes also the essential theory and practice of Sutra and Tantra. Tha Santi Maha Sangha Training is very important to guarantee the continuity of the Dzogchen knowledge and teaching: taking this commitment means pursuing our own benefit and the benefit of all sentient beings.
(from: http://www.dzogchen.it/dzogchen-teachings-santi-maha-sangha/)

So it is not so strange..
:smile:
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:43 pm

Rainboyo wrote:Do any of you have any advice on how I might develop and deepen my spiritual path, given my journey so far?


I would try to follow HHDL, or my primary master, Choegyal Namkhai Norbu.

I would be grateful if you could also say something about how you found whatever path you have, even if it is not one that aligns exactly with specific traditions.

I first encountered A Treasury of Dharma by Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, then I sought out teachers and made connections with good ones. My primary teacher is Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, though I have a number of Gurus, and have taken teachings from all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism, also Bon. There are many great masters out there, but life is short, death rides on the wind.

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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Virgo » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:55 pm

Snovid wrote:
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu gives retreats around the world and via webcast.


But He dont give lung to Ngondro!
It's very strange
especially since He performed Ngondro twice :shrug:

Master needed preliminary practices
students do not need.

Students are masters ,master is student ?

VeeeeeEEEEeeery strange :meditate:

I am not sure he needed it.

He as recognized as a Kagyu tulku and taken to a Sakya monastery as a child for his education.

I assume that is where he did his two ngondros. I don't think he was tasked with doing them by his primary root guru, whom he met later.

Gelugpas still do not do ngondros (they accumulate various practices but there is no set order or time in their training when they do them). Sakyapas only developed one recently, afaik. Also, I have heard that ngondro is a rather late Tibetan innovation (mostly from termas I assume), that was not practiced by Indians and so forth (where Buddha is from). So why would it be so imperative? I am not sure I understand where you are coming from, or why you think this is so crucial? For example, I don't think Sakya Pandita, or Lama Tsongkhapa did ngondro per se.


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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Rainboyo » Sat Feb 01, 2014 10:47 pm

Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate your help.

I have found out a little about Dzogchen and initially it seems a promising match for me, so I have contacted the community to find out more - I think I will have a much clearer idea once I have spoken to a few people, so I can find out for myself what resonates and makes sense to me.

What a funny old process this is turning out to be... both confusing and enlightening, sometimes at the same time! :-)
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Virgo » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:20 am

Rainboyo wrote:I have found out a little about Dzogchen and initially it seems a promising match for me, so I have contacted the community to find out more - I think I will have a much clearer idea once I have spoken to a few people, so I can find out for myself what resonates and makes sense to me.


That's great.
Rainboyo wrote:What a funny old process this is turning out to be... both confusing and enlightening, sometimes at the same time! :-)

I am sure it will be interesting.

:namaste: Virgo
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby theanarchist » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:50 am

Rainboyo wrote:I would be grateful if you could also say something about how you found whatever path you have, even if it is not one that aligns exactly with specific traditions.[/size]

PS On a practical note, I live and work in London, so any local knowledge/advice would also be very helpful to me.



I got stuck with one particular tradition pretty much right away. Felt right for me.

The only important advice I want to give you is to steer clear from the various cultish groups at the fringes of Buddhism when you search for a tradition that suits you. New Kadampa comes to my mind and a few other, more "nutty" England based wannabe lamas.
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby philji » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:19 am

I enjoyed reading your description of your journey and can relate to your quandaries about the path.
If in UK here are some groups you could look into, and as mentioned earlier a retreat( with instruction and support) could be useful.
Amaravati( Forest Sangha....Ajahn Chah tradition)
Chithurst..down in Sussex.
Rigpa in London
Palpung in Wales.
Gomde in Yorkshire( tradition to Tulku Urgyen)
Good luck.
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Alfredo » Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:39 am

A book recommendation: Eric Leigh Schmidt, Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality (2005, rev. 2012)

Some perspective may help. Specifically, the mix of interests you name has been a "thing" for more than a century, and informs much of American spirituality. (I can probably come up with similar books for Britain and Ireland.)
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Re: Finding a spiritual path (sorry, long post! Question at

Postby Sonrisa » Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:49 am

Live one day at a time, one step at a time. Take a deep breath once in a while to remind yourself of the present moment. You can learn and acquire lots of knowledge but none of that will mean a thing unless you have gratitude, sincerity, and kindness. Every moment of your path is a process of transformation from within. At least, this is what I have experienced. There is a reason why we say to look for joy from within because no matter what the outside world is, you will always be able to return to the realized joy within your heart.

You said you come from a Catholic background. I wanted to share that the Buddhadharma has helped me appreciate the Catholic liturgy, its symbolism, etc. In fact, you might already know more than you might think.

If you want some literature, I recommend the Dhammapada. As always, investigate everything. Observe and base on insight, based on what you learned and practiced.

Have fun, be creative, and most of all, be creative :smile:
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Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

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