Finding the proper path

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Finding the proper path

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:59 pm

So, I am sure most have gone through this before, and I am just rehashing an old debate but.....here we go.

So, how did anyone find the proper path in Buddhism for themselves? I know it is a matter of all paths leading to the same place, much of it just has to do with ones preferences regarding practice and such. But how did everyone find their way? Like, I have some things I like and dont like to do, and am trying to find the path that I should be studying and embarking on. Anyone got a checklist :P
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby Madeliaette » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:46 pm

As for me, I had been encouraged to starta Yoga practice by a friend of mine and found it so helpful to my health that i stuck my nose into some of the other things he was invovled in. Buddhism was one of these - and he wrote a blog about a book by HHDL. I went to the library to check it out for myself - the library did not have the book, so i took out another HHDL one. From then onwards, I always seem to have been borrowing Buddhist library books until I have enough money to buy some of my own.

This led me to develop an interest in Tibetan, Thai and Japanese Buddhism - though the Japanese dropped out after a while. A year or so further on I wanted to know EVERYTHING about Buddhism - so decided to poke around online. i joined some groups and started downloading the ACI courses. Another year or two passes and i realize that not only does Buddhism explain some of my mysteroies, but also take a secure path along to the destination I sought without a path. It was like finding a road after trying to roller-skate thru a jungle. Over the past 2-3 years I have realized that some practices come 'too easy' for this to be my first connection - so i have been investigating and exploring until finally, only a month or two ago, I rediscovered my former lineageand have been able to direct my studies towards my former practices.

So, in summary, in my case I gradually rediscovered where i had been before and began to continue what i had already begun.

I suppose that is not much help to you though - unless you also have had previous practice - if i had not, I might have ended up more interested in either Thai or Japanese Buddhism instead of Tibetan Dzogchen!
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:51 pm

Good to hear. More along the lines of what I am saying is the actual practices though. Like, for me, I am big on ritual and chanting. Not so great at the whole sitting for hours of zazen though. So for me, chanting and moving meditations would be best.
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:22 pm

Find a teacher who inspires you. That's more important than finding a particular school. There are many methods to deal with different hindrances inside each school.
Let me give you an example. In the Dzogchen Community we have Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga, the SMS program and so on and so forth. Some practitioners feel more at ease with Vajra Dance, while others with Yantra Yoga and others with sitting meditation. This doesn't mean that one exclusively applies one of these methods, but to each problem, there's a solution. Some practitioners have more affinity with a particular method than others.
I'm sure that if you find a teacher who inspires you, it's likely he will present you more than one method.
But how about investigating what makes you prefer one method above the other? That's usually helpful, IMO. :smile: Rituals and chanting have a goal, they are not objectives in themselves, as you know.
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:38 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Find a teacher who inspires you. That's more important than finding a particular school. There are many methods to deal with different hindrances inside each school.
Let me give you an example. In the Dzogchen Community we have Vajra Dance, Yantra Yoga, the SMS program and so on and so forth. Some practitioners feel more at ease with Vajra Dance, while others with Yantra Yoga and others with sitting meditation. This doesn't mean that one exclusively applies one of these methods, but to each problem, there's a solution. Some practitioners have more affinity with a particular method than others.
I'm sure that if you find a teacher who inspires you, it's likely he will present you more than one method.
But how about investigating what makes you prefer one method above the other? That's usually helpful, IMO. :smile: Rituals and chanting have a goal, they are not objectives in themselves, as you know.


Well, I know for myself, the main goal is to achieve bodhisattva-hood. I wish to do all I can to help others. I have caused much pain in my past, and feel I owe humanity a large debt.
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:41 pm

Anything difficult I engage I engage with best effect if I enjoy it.
If I do not enjoy all aspects of it, I focus on those parts I do but continue with those I don't.

Once started I continue.Starting is then most important to do.

Checklists...you like checklists.
Whatever you choose or end up with make checklists and continue with checklists to evaluate your progress in that.
That is my suggestion.
Checklists are very entertaining and usefull. You like to pay off debts...pay off debts.

I invariably intigrate what i like to do within the framework of what structure I employ.
So I find it entertaining. The structure I employ is probably not as critical as that I integrate what I enjoy within it.
Don't mean to get all woosy toosy....but I feel what path presents is known to aspect of us as our choice prior to its presentation in actual form to us.
So you by that reasoning would already know what path you have chosen. The question is not finding it but uncovering it.

But whatever you uncover add..checklists to it. :smile: And also paying off debts.
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:01 pm

I am sticking to Pure Land until the end.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby dontknowmind » Sat Jul 09, 2011 5:10 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Find a teacher who inspires you. That's more important than finding a particular school.


I understand where Dechen is coming from. However, I found my path in a spiritual leader. I follow the Kwan Um school to the best of my abilities (I'm not formally inducted or near a Sangha at the moment) because I found understanding in Ven. Seung Sahn's teaching. I always sort of figured I would follow Zen for its clean cut simplicity. However, I found it could be convoluted at times and I would get lost in translation. Seung Sahn's answers and teachings were always straight forward and I was able to understand whatever he was discussing. Even though I don't have a teacher, I was able to learn alot from him, and it been a meaningful experience for me.
Ven. Seung Sahn: This stick. This sound. This table. Are they the same or different?
Monk: *thonk*
Ven. Seung Sahn: Correct!
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby Kyosan » Sun Jul 10, 2011 8:42 pm

ChangYuan wrote:Well, I know for myself, the main goal is to achieve bodhisattva-hood. I wish to do all I can to help others. I have caused much pain in my past, and feel I owe humanity a large debt.


It's entirely up to you what path you take. There isn't a rush to make that decision and once you decide on a path, if you later change your mind and decide to follow a different path that is fine. From what you said above, it sounds like you might like this Buddhist organization

Rissho Kosei-kai

They focus on self improvement and reducing suffering of the world. They act as bodhisattvas, of course, to the best of their abilities.

They focus primarily on the Lotus Sutra. So. if you like chanting perhaps you could chant

"Namu Myoho Renge Kyo" (Homage to the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Dharma)
:namaste:
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby emptydreams » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:03 am

For me you know you're on the right path when the teacher or the teaching points out to you directly about your faults and you do feel pain and you do want to change it for the better. It will hurt but you will be a better person and it will be very hard to stomach or swallow. Dharma should be there to reduce our bad qualities and ego, not increase it. I have met so many practitioners who go off tangent and they only choose teachings that make them feel good and avoid teachings that point out their faults. Thats how i gauge anyways.
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jul 11, 2011 2:10 pm

ChangYuan wrote: But how did everyone find their way? I have some things I like and don't like to do, and am trying to find the path that I should be studying and embarking on.


Perhaps where you are right now is already the path that you are looking for, and that you have already embarked!

If you are trying to decide between on type of tradition and another, like "zen, or vajrayana?" then I think that puts them at a distance. It's like ordering from a catalog, hoping that what you choose will fit. I think if you just stay focused on where you are, you will know which direction to take when you reach that point in the road. If you think you are at that point, then maybe think again.

We should consider that one's path also includes everything they were doing even before dharma. It is really hard to find a starting point. That's karma, I guess. Everything constantly leads you to this very moment.

For me, a lama came to town and gave a talk and I am lazy and not too particular, so I just went with that tradition, so that's how I found my way. But before that I had studied a lot of different traditions, and I still do.

What do you feel a connection to?
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Re: Finding the proper path

Postby Kyosan » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:58 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:.....
Perhaps where you are right now is already the path that you are looking for, and that you have already embarked!
.....

Certainly, one doesn't have to belong to a particular school to practice the Buddha way.
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