My path with the Dharma

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

My path with the Dharma

Postby Sonrisa » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:11 am

Hey everyone!

I just thought I would share my personal experience with all of you here especially after reading this article.

[PART 1]

Like many Western Buddhists, I am on of them. I do not label myself "Buddhist" but rather, I am someone who is trying to improve my daily conduct in everyday life, just like everyone else.

When I came into the Dharma, I first had conflicts with my previous faith, Roman Catholicism. I still missed it because it is a very big part of my culture. A friend who is a Dharma practitioner and one friend who is a Hindu have helped me a lot and have been so supportive of me that I cannot thank them enough. Buddhism felt so foreign to me. I then learned to reconcile my path with my Catholic heritage. I have learned to make peace with my Catholic heritage (that at one time also despised).

Buddhism no longer feels foreign to me. I feel that Dharma in my heart, I feel it as if it were a part of my heart.

The thing that I love about the Buddha Dharma is that it teaches us to be respectful of other paths and to venerate things that are good. I learned that we are all sentient beings who want to be happy and liberated from suffering. Keeping this in mind, I realized that I am not that different from other people. I have contemplated Orthodox Christianity for a bit but I was disappointed with the amount of sectarianism. I still respect their path for the same reasons I told about.

Regardless of our spiritual paths, there is something to be attained and realized. I feel that the teachings of the Lord Buddha are indeed very universal. It appeals to me because no one is left out. Buddhist ideals are for everyone, regardless if Buddhist or not.
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: My path with the Dharma

Postby Sonrisa » Fri Aug 06, 2010 2:21 am

PART 2

My coming into the Mahayana path

When I first began to study Buddhism, the Pure land path appealed to me a lot. I have had A LOT of doubts but I was able to reconcile them through the support of my friends and by sincerely paying attention to the teachings of the great masters.

My friends often told me that it is our affinities that we end up where we are at. It is our affinities that we have the opportunity to practice the Buddha Dharma and the Mahayana path as well. I feel that the Mahayana fits into the type of person that I am. I am inspired by the compassion and vows of Avalokiteshvara and Ksitigarbha Bodhisattvas.

Nowadays, I take a new look at the world around me and see it a certain way that I was never able to view it before. The teachings of impermanence, compassion, and the Mahayana sutras make sense to me.

I am thankful for being born into a Catholic family because it gave me the opportunity in this life to practice being a kind person. My family has always taught me that kindness and one's heart are the most important things in this world and that we should try and help people as much as we can. In my belief, my Catholic upbringing was the setting up for the Mahayana path. The veneration of the saints is not too different from the veneration of the Bodhisattvas.

I now feel happy that I have found my home.

:namaste:
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: My path with the Dharma

Postby Bodhi » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:00 am

thank you for sharing your story, I am sure it is very inspirational to many people. Continue practicing and be mindful of the Buddha :]

May the Buddhas bless you on your cultivation

Amituofo

:anjali:

Peace in Chan
Wherever you are, that is where the mind should be. Always be mindful, and be your own master. This is true freedom. - Grand Master Wei Chueh
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Re: My path with the Dharma

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:03 pm

Yes very nice.

I personally find that the traditional catholic practices in the past very resemble many of the Buddhist practices. Though ultimately considered they differ significantly at the conventional level in which most practice them they are virtually identical.

The catholics though they do not have prostrations and such do ceremony and such like stations of the cross which historically involved very much kneeling sitting up standing and kneeling again. A rosary is not a whole lot different than a mala. And devotion to mother mary may not be a whole lot different than devotion to Tara. Acts of contrition not a whole lot different from the basic vajrasattava recitations.

Catholics to my view if they went through many of the practices found in traditional catholicism(though probably rarely practiced today) would have found themselves perfoming many many of the preliminary practices of tantra and other vehickes.

And when I hear of devotees going hundreds of miles prostrating in Tibet I am reminded of Penitenties of New Mexico( a catholic subset) dragging human sized crosses up miles and miles of wilderness trail to remote mountain peaks in the interest of the spiritual.
And at attending a catholic funeral recently I was interested in the priestly ritual of use of smoke and its relationship to the death ceremony they perform.

catholicism seems to have lost most of that recently except for subsets such as the Penitenties; but years ago I would guess one could as well be catholic as Tibetan Buddhist if they considered things at the conventional spiritual level. They being about equal as to preliminaries. Of course catholics never advance beyond prelimanaries. But how many ameicans do anyway?
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: My path with the Dharma

Postby Sonrisa » Wed Aug 11, 2010 4:00 am

Bodhi, thank you for your kind thoughts :smile:

ronnewmexico, maybe that is why my transition from Catholicism to Buddhism was a bit smooth. I never knew that Catholic practices resembled various Buddhist practices. Though I was very aware of the Rosary and Mala connection.

From what I read, Orthodox Christianity practices prostrations. I see that they too seem like Dharma practices from a conventional level. I do agree that modern Catholicism has changed a lot (and I am upset by that) because I like my practice to be solemn, thoughtful, and reflective. My Catholic traditions definitely helped me to (and to some extent, still) live my faith such as the stations of the cross, offerings of candles and flowers to saints, processions. At one time, I was considering Orthodox Christianity, but many of them unfortunately seemed a bit too Anti-Catholic (and for some reason, Anti-Islamic). This is one of the reason why I chose not to pursue it (though I respect its traditions). I am happy that I have stayed with Buddhism because it helps me to remain connected with others and to not think of myself as "separate" from others. It helped me to view things with an eye of equanimity and that regardless of one's spiritual path, one can still benefit and realize something.
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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Re: My path with the Dharma

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:53 pm

His Holiness the Dali Lama always encourages one to stay with the religion of their birth.

My personal opinion is that we tend to birth where our spiritual tendencies are most closely aligned. So for most in theist countries that is in theism. There are exceptions but for most it seems to be like putting the proverbial round block into the square hole.

Perhaps some combination taking a bit from theism and a bit from Buddhism may be not to bad a thing at all if one finds overt reasons such as you describe that make adherance to the faith one was born in impossible.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: My path with the Dharma

Postby Sonrisa » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:27 am

ronnewmexico wrote:Perhaps some combination taking a bit from theism and a bit from Buddhism may be not to bad a thing at all if one finds overt reasons such as you describe that make adherance to the faith one was born in impossible.


I dont syncreticize or attempt to mix them both together. Rather, I found a way to reconcile :D
Namo Amitabha
Namo Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva
Namo Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva

May I continue to practice loving-kindness and compassion for sentient beings. May my friends and loved ones be free from suffering. May those who have hurt me also be free from suffering.

Hatred is like throwing cow dung at someone else. You get dirty first before throwing it to someone else.
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