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PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:38 pm 
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Just started checking out this site this week and am impressed by the discussions I see.

Background
Raised Catholic. Bit of a monist when it comes to God, not big on the Bible, or on Jesus (aside from maybe as a symbol of Compassion), or on the teachings of the Church.
Started learning about Buddhism in 94, but didn't really pick up a book on it until college around 2000.
Put it aside at the time, because I misunderstood it as encouraging one to become a nihilistic robot (no self, no attachments).

For the last year, I've been hearing a lot of talks by guys like Robert Thurman, Alan Watts, and Joseph Campbell, and have decided to give it another look.
In July/August, a friend let me know he studies at a Vietnamese Tian Tai, PureLand, Zen Temple here in town.
Decided to go check it out and my interest has really taken off.

I love the philosophy, the psychology, and the cosmology.
With the help of Bhante Rahula's "What the Buddha Taught", I'm starting to wrap my head around the concepts of dependent origination and Anatta.
I find the Dhammapada (Shambhala pocket classic) to be beautiful poetry, I keep a copy on me to read whenever I have time.
I started a daily meditation practice routine that I'm sticking to.

This isn't all without issue though.
Some things still aren't coming easy.
In fact, I'm wondering if certain things are non-starters...
First, I work in a job that could be argued that is not "right livelihood"...
Second, I have very protective instincts, I know that if it comes down to my son or wife (or anybody really) and some sort of dangerous animal; let's just say I'm not going to let the animal do it's thing...
Third, the only time I've ever tried to be a vegetarian lasted for about a month and I was SICK the entire time.

Am I at an impasse with the Dharma?
What are my options here?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:52 am 
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Hi, and welcome to the board.

I'll try to answer some of your questions here as best I can in a general way. If you'd like more specifics, go ahead and start a topic or two and you're sure to get a discussion going.

*You're not at an impasse at all. You're just getting started.

*You're probably doing the vegetarian thing wrong if you were sick. That's OK, though, because most Buddhists aren't vegetarian anyway if you look at it globally. And it's not for everyone. Don't worry about it.

*There's no reason not to protect yourself and your family from, say, a rabid cougar on the attack. That's fine. Just don't provoke conflict, and when you can, seek a resolution that is most beneficial to all involved. Buddhism emphasizes renouncing violence, but it is not pacifism.

*About your job: need more specifics to be helpful on that one. Might be a good topic for discussion on its own.

*What to do next? Well, keep learning, and keep the aspiration to keep learning. Set your intention that you wish to keep learning and reflect on that daily. The best thing you could do is find a teacher and a group to practice with; the other issues will dissolve once you get in a routine of structured, guided practice under the direction of someone who knows what he or she is doing. (Think of taking a motorcycle safety class: you want someone who knows the road and the machine to teach and test you, it's not something you can learn only from books. This is a bit like that.)

If you ask around this board, you can find people who can help you find a good situation in your area in which to learn. Enjoy your travels!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:46 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:39 am
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Location: USA
:good:

Welcome!

:namaste:

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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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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:36 am 
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Jikan (time, how apropos :twothumbsup: )
Thanks for getting back to me and I appreciate the advice.

Work, well, I don't want to go too much into it. Long story short, I work on a military base and do computer stuff.
I may be changing jobs here in a little bit, so that might be a non-issue.

As far as vegetarianism goes - I remember it was a lot of Indian restaurants, Thai restaurants, Amy's frozen dinners, Naked juice smoothies (with vitamins), a good number of salads, and whatever I could find.
I'm not a very good cook. :D
Currently, I get my meals from a local chef. He gets veggies from local farmers markets. The eggs & meats he gets are usually free range. Everything's organic. I'd like to think that if I can't go all the way (yet), then at least it's not MacDonald's or worse.

I'm kind of shopping around the various buddhist groups in town.
Aside from the Vietnamese place, I also went to the Thai/Lao Theravadan temple that my coach used to bring me to. Went there early in the morning expecting a service, but nobody was there except a monk, who was pretty helpful (he even gave me 2 little pamphlet books); but I don't think he was very used to people who don't speak Thai or Lao.
Friday and Saturday, Ven. Geshe Thubten Soepa is coming to visit a local, student-lead Lam Rim group. I have plans to attend and I'm pretty excited about it. Thinking about even doing the FPMT online coursework.
Also in this town are a Diamond Way center pretty close to my house, a Shambhala center down town, a Soto Zen center down town, another Theravadan Temple on the west side, and a couple Japanese Nichiren-based places (SGI-USA, and Rissho Kosei Kai).
I'm trying to check out as many as I can, to make sure I find the instructor & sangha that fit me the best.
Kinda hard though as a lot of the groups like to meet on weeknights.

Ideally, I'd like to take refuge, if it's possible for a guy me.
If not, I think I like it enough to continue my practice, continue doing research, and do what I can do.

I understand I have a lot to learn.
Sometimes I feel pretty flooded with info. :) I think that's what attracts me about the organized structure of the FPMT online Lam Rim training.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi viniketa! Thanks for the welcome. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:04 am 
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:hi:

Welcome to Dharma Wheel!

:buddha1:

This might be of interest:
http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot.com/

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:39 am 
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OMG he's from San Antonio.

Okay Porkchop, there's a rule you need to know about. Nobody is allowed to post here unless they first make an offering to the moderators.


Salsa is the preferred offering. :stirthepot: Chili will do. :tongue:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:44 pm 
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David N Snyder
Thanks for the link!
I found this one pretty interesting too: http://www.beyondthenet.net/thedway/soldier.htm

catmoon wrote:
OMG he's from San Antonio.
Okay Porkchop, there's a rule you need to know about. Nobody is allowed to post here unless they first make an offering to the moderators.
Salsa is the preferred offering. :stirthepot: Chili will do. :tongue:


Catmoon, while I can't deliver salsa in person, here's a link to what has been my favorite salsa for around 14 years. I especially like their Roasted Red & Chipotle Salsas. The Roasted Green Salsa is very good as well. The website does have a store....


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
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:twothumbsup:

The FPMT course sounds like a good fit for you! Go for it. Buddhism does seem complex at first glance, but once you start learning in a structured way you can see how the pieces fit together, and from there, you can see the big picture and how it translates into practice. So it's good to take a structured course if you're a beginner.

Rissho Kosei-Kai has a good program. They're not represented in big numbers here at DW, which is unfortunate.

Part of figuring out where you can learn comfortably is the "fit" factor. Does this temple feel at home to me? Are these people I would like to be around anyway? It takes time and effort to find your home. Sounds like you're on the right path though by giving everyone around a shot.

Enjoy!

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Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
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Jikan

Thanks. :) Looking forward to Ven Geshe Thubten Soepa tonight.
As I found out last night (re: Pure Land), just when I think I've got something figured out, it kicks me in the butt and I start all over again.
It seems nothing is ever going to be "off the table."
Probably even going to give vegetarianism another shot.....eventually.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:51 am 
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Quote:
Work, well, I don't want to go too much into it. Long story short, I work on a military base and do computer stuff.
I may be changing jobs here in a little bit, so that might be a non-issue.

:hi:
It is not where you start. It is your potential to be a Buddha that is important.
How wonderful that you are making so much effort. Inspirational. :thanks:

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 6:52 am 
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Location: Ohio
Namaste, welcome! :namaste:


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 7:35 am 
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Welcome Porkchop :)


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