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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:09 pm 
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"Donations" is a different structure than the one we have here, with set fees, etc.

But the underlying principle is the same.

I have relatives who have done retreats in Sikkim, and also studied at shedras there, and I can assure you, it's not "free." People may misunderstand this, though, due to the difference in the "marketing models."

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:13 pm 
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Pero wrote:
Yes so you see, it isn't free at all. In general that is just fantasy.


When it's based on donations it is free, because that means everybody gives what he can. If all you can give is a rupee, or maybe even a Paisa, that's OK. And nobody controls if you give anything at all. If you wouldn't even have a Paisa you could visualize a donation. But even an Indian beggar has a Paisa.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:16 pm 
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ReasonAndRhyme wrote:
Pero wrote:
Yes so you see, it isn't free at all. In general that is just fantasy.


When it's based on donations it is free, because that means everybody gives what he can.

No it isn't free. Because someone who donates is basically paying for someone who doesn't, or someone who donates a lot is paying for those who donate little.

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If all you can give is a rupee, or maybe even a Paisa, that's OK. And nobody controls if you give anything at all. If you wouldn't even have a Paisa you could visualize a donation. But even an Indian beggar has a Paisa.

That's fine and all but if nobody donated events wouldn't take place. So you cannot say it is free at all.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:20 pm 
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conebeckham wrote:
I have relatives who have done retreats in Sikkim, and also studied at shedras there, and I can assure you, it's not "free." People may misunderstand this, though, due to the difference in the "marketing models."


There must be different "pricing models" then at different Sikkimese shedras, because my friend who studied there certainly didn't misunderstand what his family paid. :shrug:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Pero wrote:
That's fine and all but if nobody donated events wouldn't take place. So you cannot say it is free at all.


Yes, if your definition of "free" is that nobody gives anything at all and no money whatsoever is involved, then this is so. I use the word "free" in the meaning that there is no fixed fee and poor people can attend the teachings even if all they can give is a symbolic offering.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:27 pm 
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ReasonAndRhyme wrote:
Pero wrote:
That's fine and all but if nobody donated events wouldn't take place. So you cannot say it is free at all.


Yes, if your definition of "free" is that nobody gives anything at all and no money whatsoever is involved, then this is so. I use the word "free" in the meaning that there is no fixed fee and poor people can attend the teachings even if all they can give is a symbolic offering.

Ah. I guess we don't agree on the meaning of "free" then haha. :smile:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:31 pm 
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Pero wrote:
Ah. I guess we don't agree on the meaning of "free" then haha. :smile:


Maybe I'm a bit too "free" in my use of that word :smile:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:44 pm 
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When does integration become self indulgence? If you don't often ask that question it is probably the latter.

If you want to practice you automatically simplify your life. If I were going to be serious about practicing again I would not have internet, cable TV or a cell phone. To me they would be distractions. I wouldn't be depriving myself of these things. I wouldn't want them around. If you want to quit smoking you don't keep a pack in your pocket. If you chose to make your life complicated enjoy it for what it is. All you need to practice is a few teachings, a cushion, a mala, some cookies and incense.

The Buddha promised that by his own merit no monk would ever starve. You do get some support if your practice is sincere. Retreat really is the only way to get close to the deity. Like any skill that takes thousands of hours to master you can't just do an hour here or there and expect to be good at it. There needs to be sacrifices.

If you look at Longchenpa or Jigme Lingpa they were homeless bums for parts of their lives. Longchenpa said he preferred the company of beggars. Jigme Lingpa's asceticism could be seen as punishing. But for him it was not. It was liberation from the bondage of materialism. He had more important things to do. I would say if you don't go on retreat at least a month a year or give 20% of your income to the Dharma you are not a serious practitioner. You are a dabbler. Buddhism is a hobby. You will not accomplish the path with so little effort. Which is fine, but a real waste of a potential Bodhisattva.

I could live a very serious life of practice in my current circumstances. I don't because I am not motivated. I have insufficient Bodhicitta and wisdom. Similar to not going to the gym even though you have a membership. The only thing stopping me is me. I love comfort. Sleeping in a bed, warm water, food that I choose myself, the love of a good woman, a job with the security of a pension, HBO, a nice bottle of wine, etc. etc, etc, The Buddhist trend is in decline not because it is "impossible" or "escapist nonsense". It is because people don't want to make the sacrifices. Life is very comfortable right now and making a living brings a decent amount of luxury,.....


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:54 pm 
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Nemo wrote:
When does integration become self indulgence? If you don't often ask that question it is probably the latter.


Oh come on.

If you really know what integration means, there's no problem of self-indulgence.

What tradition are you following, if I may ask?

Nemo wrote:
If you want to practice you automatically simplify your life. If I were going to be serious about practicing again I would not have internet, cable TV or a cell phone. To me they would be distractions. I wouldn't be depriving myself of these things. I wouldn't want them around. If you want to quit smoking you don't keep a pack in your pocket. If you chose to make your life complicated enjoy it for what it is. All you need to practice is a few teachings, a cushion, a mala, some cookies and incense.

The Buddha promised that by his own merit no monk would ever starve. You do get some support if your practice is sincere. Retreat really is the only way to get close to the deity. Like any skill that takes thousands of hours to master you can't just do an hour here or there and expect to be good at it. There needs to be sacrifices.

If you look at Longchenpa or Jigme Lingpa they were homeless bums for parts of their lives. Longchenpa said he preferred the company of beggars. Jigme Lingpa's asceticism could be seen as punishing. But for him it was not. It was liberation from the bondage of materialism. He had more important things to do. I would say if you don't go on retreat at least a month a year or give 20% of your income to the Dharma you are not a serious practitioner. You are a dabbler. Buddhism is a hobby. You will not accomplish the path with so little effort. Which is fine, but a real waste of a potential Bodhisattva.

I could live a very serious life of practice in my current circumstances. I don't because I am not motivated. I have insufficient Bodhicitta and wisdom. Similar to not going to the gym even though you have a membership. The only thing stopping me is me. I love comfort. Sleeping in a bed, warm water, food that I choose myself, the love of a good woman, a job with the security of a pension, HBO, a nice bottle of wine, etc. etc, etc, The Buddhist trend is in decline not because it is "impossible" or "escapist nonsense". It is because people don't want to make the sacrifices. Life is very comfortable right now and making a living brings a decent amount of luxury,.....


Wow. You're really terribly hard on yourself, Nemo - and, as it usually goes, by extension on others as well. Is it worth it?

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:02 pm 
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I am cursed I suppose. I know my and others potential. I am also familiar with death from my work.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:08 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Serious practice is usually not done by family men or women. Let's be realistic and honest.


Serious practice is not usually done by anybody, including people in long retreats. Let's be realistic and honest.

It has nothing to do with wether one is in retreat, or is a farmer.


And that seems to be the heart of the matter here.

Speaking from my (personal and obviously very limited) experience, one of the greatest obstacles possible to 'serious practice' is when we separate our 'serious practice' from our everyday life. The mundane and boring one, with girlfriends or husbands and ill pets and troublesome children, with stupid chores, stressful jobs, ageing parents, suffering friends and everything else that, as we may so easily start to believe, drags us down into the samsaric mire.

Interestingly, such a separation seems to go against the very basic principle of Vajrayana. Let alone Dzogchen.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:11 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
And that seems to be the heart of the matter here.

Speaking from my (personal and obviously very limited) experience, one of the greatest obstacles possible to 'serious practice' is when we separate our 'serious practice' from our everyday life. The mundane and boring one, with girlfriends or husbands and ill pets and troublesome children, with stupid chores, stressful jobs, ageing parents, suffering friends and everything else that, as we may so easily start to believe, drags us down into the samsaric mire.

Interestingly, such a separation seems to go against the very basic principle of Vajrayana. Let alone Dzogchen.


:good:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:25 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Serious practice is usually not done by family men or women. Let's be realistic and honest.


Serious practice is not usually done by anybody, including people in long retreats. Let's be realistic and honest.

It has nothing to do with wether one is in retreat, or is a farmer.


And that seems to be the heart of the matter here.

Speaking from my (personal and obviously very limited) experience, one of the greatest obstacles possible to 'serious practice' is when we separate our 'serious practice' from our everyday life. The mundane and boring one, with girlfriends or husbands and ill pets and troublesome children, with stupid chores, stressful jobs, ageing parents, suffering friends and everything else that, as we may so easily start to believe, drags us down into the samsaric mire.

Interestingly, such a separation seems to go against the very basic principle of Vajrayana. Let alone Dzogchen.

This sounds all fine and well in theory, but in practice it's really difficult. This I know from a little personal experience as well by looking past masters who achieved realization. Most did lots of retreat. Those things you mention do indeed drag us down into samsaric mire, which is why the advice of many masters was to leave mundane chores, friends, family and country behind. Now, I personally don't believe this needs to be forever. But I do believe doing some personal retreat is incredibly important, if not indispensible. I think I remember even our teacher saying once that at least one or two weeks retreat is indispensible.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:51 pm 
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We all have ways that we can adapt our lifestyle to better accommodate serious practice. In this way we improve our practice without needing to set it apart from our ordinary lives. Also, the better we practice, the more we find opportunities to practice.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:10 am 
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Nemo wrote:
The Buddha promised that by his own merit no monk would ever starve. You do get some support if your practice is sincere.


In my experience this is quite true, especially after you have some connections where they'll lend a sympathetic ear to your request for help. If you know some compassionate people (particularly abbots or at least monks/nuns who can offer assistance) and approach them asking for a place to stay to practice, it isn't that hard to secure what you need for a retreat. In the Buddhist world like the business world connections matter a lot.

However, this entails actual begging. It might sound rather polite and professional in a letter, but in the end you are begging for assistance so you can do a spiritual practice at their expense.


Quote:
I could live a very serious life of practice in my current circumstances.


I don't know if you do, but you could sponsor others to live a serious life of practice.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:32 am 
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I know of a buddhist monk who disrobed late in life. It's a long complicated tale but now he's old and frail and being helped by some old devotees. If he would have stayed on as a monk till the end, his circumstances would be far more favourable as the order whether it be theravada or mahayana take care of their own.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:57 pm 
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Split topic from mother thread.

Please continue discussion of issues related to going on retreat here. :smile:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:24 pm 
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Pero wrote:
treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Malcolm wrote:

Serious practice is not usually done by anybody, including people in long retreats. Let's be realistic and honest.

It has nothing to do with wether one is in retreat, or is a farmer.


And that seems to be the heart of the matter here.

Speaking from my (personal and obviously very limited) experience, one of the greatest obstacles possible to 'serious practice' is when we separate our 'serious practice' from our everyday life. The mundane and boring one, with girlfriends or husbands and ill pets and troublesome children, with stupid chores, stressful jobs, ageing parents, suffering friends and everything else that, as we may so easily start to believe, drags us down into the samsaric mire.

Interestingly, such a separation seems to go against the very basic principle of Vajrayana. Let alone Dzogchen.

This sounds all fine and well in theory, but in practice it's really difficult. This I know from a little personal experience as well by looking past masters who achieved realization. Most did lots of retreat. Those things you mention do indeed drag us down into samsaric mire, which is why the advice of many masters was to leave mundane chores, friends, family and country behind. Now, I personally don't believe this needs to be forever. But I do believe doing some personal retreat is incredibly important, if not indispensible. I think I remember even our teacher saying once that at least one or two weeks retreat is indispensible.


Oh, I'm not going to debate the usefulness of one week or two weeks retreats! Of course they are very useful, or, rather, may be very useful indeed.

I don't think, however, that any of the things I listed above actually drag us down anywhere. It's our old destructive habits which do the nasty job of making sure we stay in samsara, not the 'mundane' world. And the same habits can make it equally difficult for us to seriously practice in a retreat. The same trap.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:18 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Pero wrote:
This sounds all fine and well in theory, but in practice it's really difficult. This I know from a little personal experience as well by looking past masters who achieved realization. Most did lots of retreat. Those things you mention do indeed drag us down into samsaric mire, which is why the advice of many masters was to leave mundane chores, friends, family and country behind. Now, I personally don't believe this needs to be forever. But I do believe doing some personal retreat is incredibly important, if not indispensible. I think I remember even our teacher saying once that at least one or two weeks retreat is indispensible.


Oh, I'm not going to debate the usefulness of one week or two weeks retreats! Of course they are very useful, or, rather, may be very useful indeed.

I don't think, however, that any of the things I listed above actually drag us down anywhere. It's our old destructive habits which do the nasty job of making sure we stay in samsara, not the 'mundane' world.

Exactly. But IMO if you don't go away from these habits for at least a little while then it'll be really hard to overcome them. It's like if you don't know how to swim and you expect that you'll just be able to do it if someone drops you in the middle of the ocean.

Quote:
And the same habits can make it equally difficult for us to seriously practice in a retreat. The same trap.

I don't think so. That's why you go on a retreat. To remove yourself from all or at least most of the things you've developed habitual tendencies for.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Pero wrote:
That's why you go on a retreat.


This is primarily directed to Pero:

In 2002, Chogyal Namkhai Norbu told me personally and privately that by doing six days of retreat on Khandroling you can realize what would take six months in other places. I then related this to other people. It is true.

ChNN has also said many times his students _never_ need to do more than three months of retreat at a time.

M

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