Learning more

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Learning more

Postby bunny » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:03 pm

Hi,

I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction of learning more about Buddhism? Ideally the basics to start with. As I mentioned in my introduction topic I have been medatiting for serveral years. My medatition bracelet broke this morning so I am off now to make a new one. It hasn't changed much since the first one I made. It has 13 knots or beads in it (depending on time constrainst when I make a new one), I put 13 into it because it matches with the 13 moons in the year. Though through reading some things on the internet (which I don't always hold for truth unless from a reputable source) that it has meaning in Buddhism as well?

Sorry for going on a tangent! (I do that sometimes).

Any help would be appreciated.

P.S. Apologies to the mods if there is already a topic similar to this, if there is feel free to point me in the direction and close this topic. If you see fit to close it.
Blessed Be,

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Re: Learning more

Postby underthetree » Fri Aug 24, 2012 3:45 pm

What attracts you to Buddhism? That might determine the direction of your search...

Tangentially, I don't think that 13 has any primary significance, certainly not in terms of what a practitioner might use a mala for, but I might well be wrong.
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Re: Learning more

Postby seeker242 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:02 pm

Good website here :smile: http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/basic-guide.htm

Also, visiting a local center or temple is a great way to become more acquainted with it.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Learning more

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:06 pm

Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

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Re: Learning more

Postby bunny » Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:54 pm

Thank you for your kind replies :)

underthetree: what attracts me to Buddhism? I suffer from violent migraines, have done since early teens, since last year they have become more frequent. My spirit is always running, I was thinking if I managed to calm it down a bit it might help. My instinct says Buddhism can help, I have learned to always trust my instinct even if at the time I do not know why it is leading me down a path.

seeker242 & Huseng: thank you both for the links :)

seeker242: thank you for the suggestion of visiting a local centre or temple. I googled and found one in Belfast. Which is roughly over one an half hours from me. Next time I am in Belfast I will check it out. This is the place that I have found http://www.meditationinbelfast.org/

Edit - Huseng: I've taken a wee look through the site you gave me and a lot of what I've read matches the teachings that I already have been brought up with through the studies of my own beliefs. Though that doesn't surprise me, "as everyone has their own path but all lead to the one destination" to quote one of my early teachers.
Blessed Be,

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Re: Learning more

Postby oushi » Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:57 pm

underthetree: what attracts me to Buddhism? I suffer from violent migraines, have done since early teens, since last year they have become more frequent. My spirit is always running, I was thinking if I managed to calm it down a bit it might help. My instinct says Buddhism can help, I have learned to always trust my instinct even if at the time I do not know why it is leading me down a path.

Follow your instinct, that the best way to learn Buddhism. Details will come with time, just keep your beginners mind.
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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:06 pm

bunny wrote:Hi,

I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction of learning more about Buddhism? Ideally the basics to start with. As I mentioned in my introduction topic I have been medatiting for serveral years. My medatition bracelet broke this morning so I am off now to make a new one. It hasn't changed much since the first one I made. It has 13 knots or beads in it (depending on time constrainst when I make a new one), I put 13 into it because it matches with the 13 moons in the year. Though through reading some things on the internet (which I don't always hold for truth unless from a reputable source) that it has meaning in Buddhism as well?
(...)

The number of beads can be 14, 18, 21, 27, 42, 54, 108 or 1080. I have read that 108 is best. 108 is, amongst others, the number of defilements.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:08 pm

bunny wrote:(...)
underthetree: what attracts me to Buddhism? I suffer from violent migraines, have done since early teens, since last year they have become more frequent. My spirit is always running, I was thinking if I managed to calm it down a bit it might help. My instinct says Buddhism can help, I have learned to always trust my instinct even if at the time I do not know why it is leading me down a path.
(...)

There are many methods in Buddhism that can help you against migraines. :woohoo:
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Learning more

Postby bunny » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:09 pm

oushi: *nods* thank you :)

Kaji: thank you, would it be a good idea to make a beaded string of 108 beads? I looked up defliements and found this resource:
http://www.virtuescience.com/defilements.html and really? About the migraines that is interesting :) What methods?

As a side note, I spoke to my patron god during my afternoon meditation today and he is happy that I have trusted my instincts.
Blessed Be,

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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:48 am

bunny wrote:(...)
Kaji: thank you, would it be a good idea to make a beaded string of 108 beads? I looked up defliements and found this resource:
http://www.virtuescience.com/defilements.html and really? About the migraines that is interesting :) What methods?

As a side note, I spoke to my patron god during my afternoon meditation today and he is happy that I have trusted my instincts.

Yes, I think it's a great idea to make your own beaded string. Whilst not the most authoritative source of information, this Wikipedia I have just found gives some pretty useful information on beaded string (mala): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_prayer_beads

I have learned that in Buddhism a mala is considered a Dharma item, or a holy item if you like, and not just a counting tool. You have to take care of a mala by e.g. not bringing it into the toilet, taking it off whenever you are about to do things that will get your hands dirty and before going to bed, placing it in a clean place (preferably a Buddhist altar) when not using or wearing it, etc.

With treating migraine I will only list a few methods, ones that I'm familiar with. The list goes on and on. What I suggest to you is to pick one that you feel you have most affinity with, and stick with it.

- Reciting the name of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva "Nama Aarya Avaloki'te-swaraaya Bodhisattwaaya".
- Reciting the name of the Medicine Buddha "Namo bhais!ajya-guru-vaid!uurya-prabha-raajaaya tathaagataaya" or his mantra
- Use the mantra "Om! Man!i Padme Huum!" - The vibration in your head when you pronounce "Om!" is particularly good for helping against head-related diseases such as headaches.
- Use the Cundi mantra.
- Various dharani, such as the Great Compassionate Dharani and the Casket Seal Dharani, but they are usually longer and not the easiest to learn and memorise.
(Above I used the exclamation mark "!" to show that the letter before it should be pronounced with a retracted tongue.)

While you use one of the above methods (or another one), you can also do ALL of the below things:
- Refrain from killing all forms of life, including animals even insects. Better still, take the Five Precepts and exercise compassion in everyday life.
- Help other sick people and donate medicine to them.
- Save lives - one way is to buy captured animals that are about to be slaughtered and release them back to their natural habitat. There are Buddhist procedures/rituals to do this.
- Repent your past wrongdoings, including very importantly those you did in your previous lives, regretting your sins and making a commitment to not commit them again.
- With all the above good deeds, including chanting mantra and names of Buddha/Bodhisattva, you will develop good karma. Don't just keep it all to yourself. Share and give the good karma to others - especially your karmic debtors, asking for their forgiveness.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Learning more

Postby bunny » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:18 am

First thank you Kaji for your informative reply :)

If you (or anyone) is interested here is a photo of the meditation bracelet that I made yesterday http://pinterest.com/purplybunny/meditation-aids/ .

Kaji wrote:I have learned that in Buddhism a mala is considered a Dharma item, or a holy item if you like, and not just a counting tool. You have to take care of a mala by e.g. not bringing it into the toilet, taking it off whenever you are about to do things that will get your hands dirty and before going to bed, placing it in a clean place (preferably a Buddhist altar) when not using or wearing it, etc.


This is something I already do with my meditation bracelet, so would that mean that my meditation bracelet is properly referred to as a "wrist mala" in Buddhist terms? Although I do not have a Buddhist altar, I do place the bracelet on my altar.

Thank you Kaji for the the informative list. I will medidate about your list and seek guidance from my patron god. It made me smile when you mentioned the correct pronunciation, for I was already pronouncing them in that manner when I came across your guidance.

Kaji wrote:While you use one of the above methods (or another one), you can also do ALL of the below things:
- Refrain from killing all forms of life, including animals even insects. Better still, take the Five Precepts and exercise compassion in everyday life.
- Help other sick people and donate medicine to them.
- Save lives - one way is to buy captured animals that are about to be slaughtered and release them back to their natural habitat. There are Buddhist procedures/rituals to do this.
- Repent your past wrongdoings, including very importantly those you did in your previous lives, regretting your sins and making a commitment to not commit them again.
- With all the above good deeds, including chanting mantra and names of Buddha/Bodhisattva, you will develop good karma. Don't just keep it all to yourself. Share and give the good karma to others - especially your karmic debtors, asking for their forgiveness.


The first four (apart from the Five Precepts) I already do Kaji, it was (is) part of my teachings as a white witch and pagan. The first one, one of the teachings is that "None will be harmed", although I will admit that sometimes this is difficult, it is best in the long run. As an Empath compassion comes all to easy for me. I will look further into these Five Precepts that you have mentioned.

With regards to the third one I remember a lot of past lifes and as an Empath, not only do I see my past lifes during these sessions, but I also feel what my past life is feeling. That leaves a very strong impression! I will look into chantra and names as you have mentioned.

I believe knowledge and wealth should be shared. Again this is part of my teachings as a white witch and pagan. I believe what goes around comes around and everything has it's cycle and what you put out you will gain back. To clarify by wealth I do not just mean money, I also mean spiritual wealth. I have been a teacher/guide for witches, pagans and those who are seeking to find thier spiritual path on both planes for over 10 years.
Blessed Be,

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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:33 am

My pleasure, Bunny!

According to that Wikipedia page, yes a bracelet with beads would be called a wrist mala. Note that some mala are bigger and longer, worn around the neck.

I am not familiar with your practices as white witch, pagan and Empath. Do they teach people to free themselves and others from the cycle of reincarnation?

I also know of another person who can, like you, communicate with her patron god (a Dharma protector) and in meditation sense what normal humans cannot see, e.g. see and feel past lives, know things about another person without having met or known him/her. Her patron god frequently reminds her to do good deeds, follow Precepts, eat vegan and practise Buddhism with diligence (e.g. recite Buddha's name or mantra).
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Learning more

Postby bunny » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:05 am

Kaji, I have looked into the Five Precepts and it is something that I already do. The last one refraining from intoxicants I haven't had any alcohol since last December and I have been caffeine free for over 2 months now. In Paganism this takes this teaching one step further and we believe that toxins are not good for the mortal body. It took me many years and slowly cutting back to get off the caffeine drug and I do not intend to return to it. Toxins generally mean anything that is manufactured, processed and altered, though it is not limited to this because we also believe that the intent of someone preparing a substance (food or drink) can have effects on others while they consume it.

Kaji wrote:I am not familiar with your practices as white witch, pagan and Empath. Do they teach people to free themselves and others from the cycle of reincarnation?


As a white witch and pagan we are encouraged to acknowledge and learn from our past wrong-doings (in this lifetime and past lifes) so that we are free from them. So, yes I suppose that could be considered as freeing from the cycle of reincarnation (if that is what you meant?).

One of the teachings is that "Whatever you send out, you will get back in return 3-fold". So if I do positive work and live my life by the teachings I will get it returned 3-fold, likewise if I was to do negative. The term "white witch" is someone whose aim is to perform positive work, they use positive energies more than negative (though sometimes using negative energies is necessary). Equally the term "black witch" is someone who mostly uses negative energies in thier work. Though some people see them as "good and evil" but I do not use nor do I use those words in terms of witchcraft or any path.

The Pagan path means that I have days of obersvance in the year. This is known as the Wheel of the Year, it follows the cycle of the seasons. I can tell you more about this if you wish to know about it.

Being an Empath, is not a practice. Empathy is a spiritual gift. Being an Empath means that you have the ability to feel what the person or being is feeling. For example if you, Kaji, cut yourself I would be able to feel your pain along with you and the emotions that you have running through your head. That is a generalisation of course, for something like that to happen I require a deep connection. Although in saying that, I have always been able to feel what spirits feel. I think this is because they are outside the constraints of a mortal body. I was also born a medium, amongst other things.

I am a vegetarian and have been for nearly 4 years. My body choose this for me, I became meat and fish intolerant. I also have got out MSG and a lot of
E nubmers. I don't eat a lot of food that isn't prepared by myself or by my mama. I do not eat cheese when I am out in restaurants, because some cheese contains carrageenan which I am sensitive too. I also do not drink cow's milk but instead take soya milk. Stopping the cow's milk cleared my hayfever.

I have tried to answer you as best as I can Kaji, if you have any further questions or comments please feel free to make them :)
Blessed Be,

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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:31 am

Thanks for your thought-out reply!
bunny wrote:Kaji, I have looked into the Five Precepts and it is something that I already do. The last one refraining from intoxicants I haven't had any alcohol since last December and I have been caffeine free for over 2 months now.

In Buddhism (Mahayana tradition anyway, not sure about Theravada) the taking of the Five Precepts or any other sets of precepts is a specific occasion, requiring a ritual usually performed by a monk or nun. This can be done together with the Taking Refuge ritual.

If done properly, not only will you have made a commitment to follow the Five Precepts for life, this thing called a "Precept Body" would enter into you. Such "Precept Body" is known to bring additional good karma to you and cannot be seen by normal human eyes (but certain beings can see them easily).

Also, for every one of the Five Precepts you have taken, there will be five Dharma protectors that will follow and help you. If you take all Five Precepts, you get 25 Dharma protectors. Combined with the 36 that you get having taken refuge in the Triple Gems, this brings you to a total of 61.

What's the catch? Well, if you break a precept, not only will you bear the bad karma of the action, but also the additional bad karma of breaking a precept. You would have to repent (which you should do anyway).
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:43 am

bunny wrote:As a white witch and pagan we are encouraged to acknowledge and learn from our past wrong-doings (in this lifetime and past lifes) so that we are free from them. So, yes I suppose that could be considered as freeing from the cycle of reincarnation (if that is what you meant?).

One of the teachings is that "Whatever you send out, you will get back in return 3-fold". So if I do positive work and live my life by the teachings I will get it returned 3-fold, likewise if I was to do negative. The term "white witch" is someone whose aim is to perform positive work, they use positive energies more than negative (though sometimes using negative energies is necessary).

If I am understanding you correctly, Buddhism's aim to free all from the cycle of reincarnation (and therefore also suffering) is more than dealing with past wrongdoings.

It is believed in Buddhism that even if you are no longer suffering the bad karma from your past wrongs and you have become a perfectly virtuous being, unless you have successfully applied methods that specifically free you from the reincarnation cycle, at most you will be reborn a deva, a heavenly being, a god. While that is better than being a human and way better than being a animal, a ghost or a being in hell, Buddhism does not see that as the ultimately best goal. After a sufficiently long time, a deva will eventually run out of good karma, start suffering again and fall to lower forms of beings.

Buddhists strive to break away from reincarnation and free ourselves from suffering once and for all. Mahayana Buddhists take up the even bigger goal of helping all beings achieve this.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Learning more

Postby purple rose » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:39 am

bunny wrote:I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction of learning more about Buddhism? Ideally the basics to start with.


The following is the basis for all schools, sects, and lineages of Buddhism:

The Four Noble Truths

"Bhikkhus, it is through not realizing, through not penetrating the Four Noble Truths that this long course of birth and death has been passed through and undergone by me as well as by you. What are these four? They are the noble truth of dukkha; the noble truth of the origin of dukkha; the noble truth of the cessation of dukkha; and the noble truth of the way to the cessation of dukkha. But now, bhikkhus, that these have been realized and penetrated, cut off is the craving for existence, destroyed is that which leads to renewed becoming, and there is no fresh becoming."



followed by:

The Noble Eightfold Path

"And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of dukkha: precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration."



It may be advisable to get to grips with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path before going any further. Most people venture into the world of Dharma with baggage. By starting with the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path it may give the best opportunity of leaving the baggage behind.

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Re: Learning more

Postby bunny » Sat Aug 25, 2012 1:52 pm

Kaji: You are welcome to the thought-out replies. I am more than used to my students asking questions.

If I wanted to make a committment with The Five Precepts that you have mentioned how would I go about doing this? Is their a specific protocol in approaching a monk or nun?

In my current beliefs I am bound with Hecate and my founder god, so to do wrong by them invokes not only their dissapointment but affects me spiritually. It has a knock-on effect in regards to my spiritual gifts and the safety, protection and guidance that they offer.

Break away from reincarnation completly, no more past lives, no more living on the mortal plane? *thinks* aye that makes sense.

I will add though to my previous posts of this morning, that not all witches or pagans are as strict as myself. My students and friends say that I am very strict in regards to the teachings. Also none of them have come across as strict a vegetarian as myself.

Tara: Firstly what an intersesting name :) There is a Hill of Tara in the south of Ireland, it is an ancient area.

Also many thanks for your insightful reply. I will look at the links and follow your guidance.

Edit: Tara, I'm currrently printing off the information that you so kindly provided and will start to read through then over this long weekend.
Blessed Be,

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Re: Learning more

Postby viniketa » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:00 am

bunny wrote:Tara: Firstly what an intersesting name :)


On Tara: http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhis ... uddhas.htm

:smile:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Learning more

Postby bunny » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:56 am

Thank you for your reply and interesting link viniketa.

Tara over here is a popular name because of the ancient site.
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Re: Learning more

Postby Kaji » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:56 am

bunny wrote:If I wanted to make a committment with The Five Precepts that you have mentioned how would I go about doing this? Is their a specific protocol in approaching a monk or nun?

Find a Buddhist temple near your area, get in contact with a monk or nun and arrange a ceremony where you take refuge in the Triple Gems and take up the Five Precepts. Before the ceremony, it is a great idea to learn more from the monk or nun about the Triple Gems and the Five Precepts. I don't know if there is any specific protocol in the temples near your area; I have not seen any difficulty with this in Hong Kong and Western Australia. I would imagine most temples would welcome it. By the way, this service by the temple should be free of charge - however a donation to the temple and the monks/nuns is always welcomed. Note that some monks and nuns do not accept money and you have to instead give offerings such as food (fruits are usually fine).

bunny wrote:Break away from reincarnation completly, no more past lives, no more living on the mortal plane? *thinks* aye that makes sense.

You like the idea? Great, then Buddhism is for you.

And if you're ready and up for it, consider Mahayana Buddhism - where you not only liberate yourself from the cycle of reincarnation; you commit yourself to helping all others to be liberated too.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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