username wrote:There are a couple of sayings: everyone has got good ideas but it matters when someone does it & Build it (not the whole thing but a start) and they will come. Last Karmapa & a few other lamas who built stupas there predicted the power places in Colorado mountains will be opened up in future. There are other power places found by divination or a master. Or anywhere that is just appropriate & practical will also do. Thirdly there will be a need for a head master/mistress or preferably more from different denominations to offer a variety of teachings & oversee things as things get carried away sometimes plus supervising progress on the path. Finally if we can not live in such a community (face it: samsara sucks even there so no escapism) which is a good thing IMO if they are founded in future, then one can integrate daily life into mindful contemplation like an adventure as all Buddhists realized teachers teach us.
I definitely think that one or more qualified lineage holding masters would need to be directly involved in the education and training that would take place. I would not advocate a bunch of practitioners running off half-cocked undertaking their own long retreats together and expecting themselves or their kids to come out of something like that without massive trauma.
I take your point about working with the circumstances we have and not thinking of "some place else" as "not samsara." I've had this discussion many times with my wife, who in her defense never experienced the long term focus and group support in practice of a monastic community, but only in short weekend and week long retreats. She sometimes says, "the monastery is samsara, too." I usually agree saying the only place I ever had my shoes stolen was in the monastery. But all the great masters, whether yogis and yoginis or monastics have stressed the importance of the conducive environment for practice. Location Location Location. It's huge. So I think sometimes the integration aspect is sometimes overemphasized in Western Dharma communities, seemingly to the exclusion of the formal practice. Sogyal Rinpoche has said on a number of occasions that you have to have something to integrate
It's a hazy memory now, but I do recall having more free time to practice in my pre-parent years. Now I would never wish my kids away but I would certainly like to spend my daytime hours studying texts or meditating with other parents while the kids are in school rather than filling out job applications or trying not to get laid off again.
Many have careers and kids in school and can't just get up and move to where the group decides. But I still like the idea.
Right! Perhaps if I had been comfortably situated in a career and settled geographically I wouldn't have even thought about it. I think it's been the three years of total or near total unemployment while trying to raise 4 kids that got me thinking about the whole thing. WIth the way things are in the US and around the world right now, it seems the need to focus on study and practice just becomes more and more crucial, rather than making a full time job out of trying to land that next "job." Having kids really threw a stark light on how much better I want for our world's children, and how the opportunities to be more immersed in formal study and practice, especially retreat, should be available not only to singles or adult couples, but families that include children. Obviously when the kiddies are really young it isn't appropriate to leave them with other parents or practitioners for long periods, but over time this becomes feasible in a supportive community more reflective of a "village societies" around the world.
I am not personally of the hippie-commune generation of the 1960s but that would be the general idea. A self-sustaining community focused around families who want more emphasis on Buddhist study and practice than typically afforded by the hectic "engaged" Buddhist lifestyle. Work and commerce would be need to be done but on-site and only at a level to sustain and continue the main mission of the place.
It's comforting to see that others have thought about this, too, and that many of you think it would be a good thing. I tried the link to Marpa House but it was only one very simple page, describing nothing about the program. Is there a large cost to live there, and do they admit families with children? I have seen other long-term Buddhist living communities but they either charge rates comparable to living in a typical city (which requires having a day job and thus is at odds with the idea here) or they cannot allow children.
Also, the dharmatavihara page was down. What is the mission and background of this place?