Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:48 pm

So some of what I hope will culminate in small Buddhist communities in the West could be loosely defined as a commune but this term has some conceptual overlays that don't really fit the concept. Our consumer society functions as an immense cargo cult and threatens to totally dehumanize people and turn them into instruments of production and consumption at the mercy of their ignorance.

We can form little communities, either out in the middle of no where or in cities and towns just to live our lives. If people want to use their place as a retreat then that's fine. If not then that's fine. But the places would have to be places where debt is not created (so everything is paid for), where one could establish a little temple, shrine places, and perhaps also create small industry to benefit people and animals outside the community (software development, green tech development, education, veterinary/health clinics, etc.). Also it would be best to generate one's own power as much as possible. So a kind of Buddhist Walden Pond but with as much self-sufficiency as possible (so also not unlike the old Shaker communities).

Some of these could in fact be created right in the middle of cities and towns currently.

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:57 pm

kirtu wrote:There is an online blog of a family that says that they need about 5 acres for their whole family which can't be right. My father's extended family had a horse farm and a small garden that feed numerous people (during the First Great Drepression it feed my father, his Grandmother, a Great Aunt and several other relatives) and I used to help in that garden as a boy. It was much, much less than an acre (1 acre is about a US football field without the endzones - this garden was about 4000 sq ft). With a greenhouse setup it could be cultivated year round.

Kirt


It could be that they're raising animals and/or cash crops. The latter might be necessary to pay taxes and buy other items not normally available through barter. In present times most rural folk would need a car which requires hard cash.

Being self-sufficient is not hard, but the system is setup in such a way that you still need to be tied to the cash economy in many ways. For example you can't pay your taxes in grain like in the old days.

When I was in rural Japan at a self-sufficient temple I had the experience of rice agriculture. That is back breaking labour. However, I was surprised that such a small plot of land could produce hundreds of kilos of rice.

You really don't need a lot of land to produce your own food and be self-sufficient. If you had a few hens and a cow or two they'd take up very little space. The cow would be content eating hay which is leftover from any kind of grain production. New World crops like potatoes are also high calorie low maintenance crops. It doesn't take much to grow potatoes and they're nutritious and filling.

Another good crop is Indian ragi which is a kind of millet. I heard one can grow a crop of it in two months. It is also quite nutritious.

Funny how so many modern people think pre-modern farmers were toiling day and night and suffering from shortage all the time. For a family plot of land it only takes a few hours a day to look after. You'd have more free time living such a lifestyle than working in an office.
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:58 pm

kirtu wrote:So some of what I hope will culminate in small Buddhist communities in the West could be loosely defined as a commune but this term has some conceptual overlays that don't really fit the concept. Our consumer society functions as an immense cargo cult and threatens to totally dehumanize people and turn them into instruments of production and consumption at the mercy of their ignorance.

We can form little communities, either out in the middle of no where or in cities and towns just to live our lives. If people want to use their place as a retreat then that's fine. If not then that's fine. But the places would have to be places where debt is not created (so everything is paid for), where one could establish a little temple, shrine places, and perhaps also create small industry to benefit people and animals outside the community (software development, green tech development, education, veterinary/health clinics, etc.). Also it would be best to generate one's own power as much as possible. So a kind of Buddhist Walden Pond but with as much self-sufficiency as possible (so also not unlike the old Shaker communities).

Some of these could in fact be created right in the middle of cities and towns currently.

Kirt



Internet business coupled with self-sufficient food production would be ideal.

Also if it is a Buddhist temple then you'd also have donations. If you monks and nuns too you'd attract financial support.
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:08 am

Huseng wrote:When I was in rural Japan at a self-sufficient temple I had the experience of rice agriculture. That is back breaking labour. However, I was surprised that such a small plot of land could produce hundreds of kilos of rice.


Really? How much land was needed to produce rice at this temple? Was this the typical image of rice production with flooded fields? If so were they next to a river?

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 24, 2010 1:14 am

I have been told that some people are looking at essentially a Buddhist retirement place.

What people can do is buy a place that may need some work and build it up and then trade up after the 2008 Depression is ended. For example, there is a place < $200,000 in Frederick, MD with 6 bedrooms and 3 baths and a basement. So without seeing it the living room, or the basement or a room could become the shrine room and 5-6 people could buy the house outright. Here's the listing. There are still numerous properties all over the US where this could be done.

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Heruka » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:42 am

why not a yearly summertime gar, we could rent/or for free, use a field, pitch tents and invite teachers to come and give teachings, empowerments, pujas and so forth?

a buddhapalooza of sorts but without the materialism.

we need more of a network of practioners, rather than any organized group.
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Heruka » Fri Dec 24, 2010 4:47 am

we talk of communities and so forth, but how many practioners here even offer to put up over night a fellow buddhist, travelling to an event, a pilgrimage somewhere?
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:37 am

Heruka wrote:why not a yearly summertime gar, we could rent/or for free, use a field, pitch tents and invite teachers to come and give teachings, empowerments, pujas and so forth?

a buddhapalooza of sorts but without the materialism.


To some extent this happens every summer with various different groups.

we need more of a network of practioners, rather than any organized group.


How does this differ from how things are at present?

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Heruka » Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:02 am

kirtu wrote:
we need more of a network of practioners, rather than any organized group.


How does this differ from how things are at present?

Kirt


the difference is..... karma enough to make it happen in a real way. away from the posers and dharma hipsters.

since there is no such thing that we can say...look your wrong, here it is........ lets call it as it is, and say karma not good enough to make it happen.

otherwise we would be doing instead of asking.



sobering.

if we had two great practioners, we would have good karma connection...ie a network........but we dont...
so..........................(fill in blank)
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Huifeng » Fri Dec 24, 2010 11:45 am

Heruka wrote:we talk of communities and so forth, but how many practioners here even offer to put up over night a fellow buddhist, travelling to an event, a pilgrimage somewhere?


The monastery where I'm staying at present has four guests, and five resident monastics.
Two guests are visiting for a couple of weeks from Malaysia, another monastic is here on a stop over from Taiwan, and the fourth is a resident of several months while he volunteers at our other monastery in Kowloon and studies at the Buddhist college on weekends.
The door is always open, and people come and go. The monastery belongs to every living being, the resident monastics are merely looking after the place for them.

But your question is a good point: If we can't have the attitude of communitas towards fellow beings in general, the idea of having some Buddhist utopia or alternative community on a larger scale and long term, is out of the question.

This is why earlier in this thread I said that the hardware is the easy part, the spiritual maturity to provide a place for other beings, be able to share that, is a much more important issue.
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Aemilius » Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:48 am

Huifeng wrote:
Heruka wrote:we talk of communities and so forth, but how many practioners here even offer to put up over night a fellow buddhist, travelling to an event, a pilgrimage somewhere?


The monastery where I'm staying at present has four guests, and five resident monastics.
Two guests are visiting for a couple of weeks from Malaysia, another monastic is here on a stop over from Taiwan, and the fourth is a resident of several months while he volunteers at our other monastery in Kowloon and studies at the Buddhist college on weekends.
The door is always open, and people come and go. The monastery belongs to every living being, the resident monastics are merely looking after the place for them.

But your question is a good point: If we can't have the attitude of communitas towards fellow beings in general, the idea of having some Buddhist utopia or alternative community on a larger scale and long term, is out of the question.

This is why earlier in this thread I said that the hardware is the easy part, the spiritual maturity to provide a place for other beings, be able to share that, is a much more important issue.


Are the monastics in your monastery male and female, or just male ? How about the quests ?
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Thu May 03, 2012 1:31 am

Well I thought I'd revive this thread because I'm looking for an inexpensive parcel of land to put a yurt or tipi on probably before years end. Power would eventually be solar, water would be harvested and trucked in. Some food would definitely be cultivated. Most of the inexpensive land in the US is out west and is in the desert. Looking at more green, high desert right now.

Another alternative is intentional communities but Buddhist intentional communities are uncommon and most of them are centered around working for a particular teacher as the main or sole focus and not really practice or building a viable community.

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Nemo » Thu May 03, 2012 2:07 am

Canada is not ideal. Very expensive when compared to parts of Asia. Terrible weather. I would try the Philippines. Cheap. Mansion sized house is about 35k out in the provinces. It would have adequate land for a food forest and beautiful views of the ocean. It could all be easily run on a very modest pension. The food forest is just for my own entertainment. A small pension that would be almost impossible to live off in Canada is a tidy sum in some parts of Asia. No need for a commune if you are rich.

Cambodia would be even cheaper. You could live like a king. Worth it for the occasional bout of Delhi belly.
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Thu May 03, 2012 2:19 am

Nemo wrote:Mansion sized house is about 35k out in the provinces.


I have < 35k and it appears that I have been permanently locked out of the job market so what I have in the bank now is probably approximately what I have to survive on for many years.

Cambodia would be even cheaper. You could live like a king. Worth it for the occasional bout of Delhi belly.


The Cambodians killed each other off in my personal memory. One of my classmates was killed in the killing fields.

I can't go to Nepal or India as a long term solution because you have to leave the country for the year after 5-6 months because of the new visa restrictions.

The ideal thing in North America, if it is doable, is to create a Buddhist yogic community where people can creatively express themselves and create or collaborate So it's not s on their own projects while maintaining a place that they can do intense retreat if they like. So it's not secular as a focus but people can work as necessary and do retreat when they wish or need to. So not just secular and not just practice but a balance (although if people wanted to do life retreat then that should be possible too).

So in the immediate range, ideally I need to find a place for myself that I can then open up to others. I pitched this back on eSangha and I think here as: let's buy land and start a Dharmic civilization.

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 03, 2012 2:51 am

kirtu wrote:
Nemo wrote:Mansion sized house is about 35k out in the provinces.


I have < 35k and it appears that I have been permanently locked out of the job market so what I have in the bank now is probably approximately what I have to survive on for many years.

Cambodia would be even cheaper. You could live like a king. Worth it for the occasional bout of Delhi belly.


The Cambodians killed each other off in my personal memory. One of my classmates was killed in the killing fields.

I can't go to Nepal or India as a long term solution because you have to leave the country for the year after 5-6 months because of the new visa restrictions.

The ideal thing in North America, if it is doable, is to create a Buddhist yogic community where people can creatively express themselves and create or collaborate So it's not s on their own projects while maintaining a place that they can do intense retreat if they like. So it's not secular as a focus but people can work as necessary and do retreat when they wish or need to. So not just secular and not just practice but a balance (although if people wanted to do life retreat then that should be possible too).

So in the immediate range, ideally I need to find a place for myself that I can then open up to others. I pitched this back on eSangha and I think here as: let's buy land and start a Dharmic civilization.

Kirt



If you put $20,000 into a Thaibank, you can get a permanent resident visa if you are over fifty. You can easily live on your Social Security in Thailand.
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby kirtu » Thu May 03, 2012 2:56 am

Namdrol wrote:If you put $20,000 into a Thaibank, you can get a permanent resident visa if you are over fifty. You can easily live on your Social Security in Thailand.


That's good to know but SS is a ways in the future and I now have < 20,000 anyway. Had I known that after I had to sell my condo then I might have done that.

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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby Malcolm » Thu May 03, 2012 3:01 am

kirtu wrote:
Namdrol wrote:If you put $20,000 into a Thaibank, you can get a permanent resident visa if you are over fifty. You can easily live on your Social Security in Thailand.


That's good to know but SS is a ways in the future and I now have < 20,000 anyway. Had I known that after I had to sell my condo then I might have done that.

Kirt



I only found this out recently.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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Re: Modern Buddhist Utopias & Alternative Communities

Postby deepbluehum » Thu May 03, 2012 4:52 am

I've been eying Sikkim as my own Shangri-la. Anyone with experience there?
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