If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

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Den
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If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Den » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:36 pm

Hello,
My name is Dennis and this is my first post on Dharma Wheel. Thank you to all who have previously posted and contributed to many of the begginner related posts here. I have been an avid reader of these earlier posts. I thought that I would approach my request for guidance from a slightly different perspective. I am proposing the following scenario in the hope that those of us who are new to Tibetan Buddhism can learn from those who have gone down the Dharma path before us. Drawing upon what you've learned and experienced to date, drawing upon your insight and hindsight, how would you proceed anew in 2012?
Yours appreciatively in the Dharma,
Den

If you were to "Begin all over again today," and commit to a comprehensive and serious study of Tibetan Buddhism today, How would you proceed? Would you, immediately relocate and join a specific community? Seek access to a specific Guru? As a layperson or as a nun or monk? Remember you are a begginner. Would charitable works be important to you or would you focus more on study, meditation/retreats or both? Are there communities/teachers who futures you see as especially bright and relevant in bringing the Dharma to the west and is this important to you? Finally, If for reasons of family or work you were unable to relocate, would you begin with online/homestudy classes from FPMT, Nalandabodhi, your choice, etc?

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:20 pm

The funny thing is that, after nearly 29 years, every day I feel like I am starting all over again.
Maybe not from scratch, maybe not as a beginner, but perhaps with absolutely no certainty about anything.
If I could go back and change anything, knowing what I know now,
yes, I would choose to keep my life as simple and as uncomplicated as possible,
so as to be able to devote more time to meditation, study, and practice.
In terms of advice, that would be it.
But you are always where you are mostly because of the choices that you have made,
and since there is no permanenet self, aren't we always starting over, constantly?
.
.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby lobster » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:10 am


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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:44 am

Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Terma » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:19 am

So far a few good honest responses I think. :twothumbsup:

Many people would like to say "I would have done this, or "would have gone to this place" or "to see this teacher", but we don't understand our own karma so we have little choice but to be blown around by it as we are now. I always try to keep the rule of causes and conditions in mind and just go with the flow, though it is very hard to do most of the time. Just being reminded of that fact is quite helpful I think, as we normally don't keep that mode of thinking. We all have our own little lessons about ourselves that we have to learn on the way in order to move forward.

But this is my own view point because I was sort of thrust very quickly and immediately into Vajrayana through experience and not from an intellectual kind of way. My intellectual side has been trying to catch up ever since! haa haa...

But as for a few suggestions, I would really try to understand the nature of suffering (our dualistic minds) and work hard to be honest and build a great foundation for not only practice, but the motivation to practice. It will go a long way in the future.

:namaste:

Den
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Den » Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:44 am


JKhedrup
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:16 am

In an ideal world, what would I have done?

Definitely would still choose to be a monk. But the evolution of education would go like this:

While in High school as before study the dharma with my teachers but be far more diligent about learning the Lam Rim and meditation. During the summer and weekends instead of wasting time attend as many Lam Rim and Vipassana retreats as possible. Take Asian languages as a language option in school rather than French.

Complete a BA. But instead of the irrelevant one I have now in English and Political Science, do a degree in East Asian studies with either classical Tibetan or Chinese as a language option, and study harder than I did during my years as a uni student (less partying).

Ordain as a monk in Sera but instead of staying on without strong colloquial Tibetan, immediately go to Dharamsala and do either the LRZTP translator's course there, or one of the better Tibetan courses in Nepal.

Then, study informally at Sera while attending as many teachings as possible with HH Dalai Lama and HH Karmapa. During visa runs take Vipassana courses in Burma or Thailand.

In terms of who I translate for now, I could not ask for a better teacher than Geshe Sonam. I only pray I can continue to work for him as interpreter for a very long time. In a perfect world, I would be able to continue translating for him and then do part time formal academic study leading to a Master's degree in Buddhist study and maybe even a PhD. Some might argue that this is a worldly aim for a monk- but with a PhD one can get grant money to translate texts and do research on Buddhism, thereby benefiting more beings.

I would also like to learn another Asian language really well, perhaps Chinese or Viet Namese (at the moment due to visa regs I am stuck studying Dutch!). This would allow me to bring Geshe la's teachings to more people, and also better understand other Buddhist traditions.

As the years pass, continue to serve Geshe la, but as he stated in his later years he would like to do long retreats, help him in the context of acting as retreat attendant. As I age but still have my faculties to a certain extent, I would like to honour HH Karmapa's advise to "eventually" do a one year retreat. And of course, as the end of life draws near, spend as much time as possible in formal meditation practice. (If I have enough merit for sponsors to support me in that).

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby lobster » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:33 am


Terma
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Terma » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:54 am


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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Grigoris » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:35 pm

I would have started Ngondro from day one!
:namaste:
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Den » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:59 am

Thank you all for posting your responses. My apologies for not reengaging this thread earlier, it has been a crazy week here in NY.
JKHedrup I especially want to thank you for helping me to see possiblilities beyond what I was prevoiusly thinking.
Best Wishes to you all.
Den

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Yudron » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:28 am

I am completely happy with my life right now, and I feel -- in my own little way -- I am making the best of my current situation.

I know you are not looking for an "if I had to do it all over" thread, but it is hard not to go that way. I do hope to be born in a Buddhist family next time, in a good healthy flexible body, with ample wealth, and do three year retreat when I am in my teens in stead of my fifties, then continue my practice of the three inner tantras throughout my life, under my current lamas.

As it is, I hope to regain my energy, concentration, and determination to practice--which have been lagging a bit due to changing circumstances in my life. Also, to stay awake and present more often during the day. To really take all of the teachings I have received to heart, and be more humble, joyful, and simple. To be able to help sentient beings, somehow...
Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Admin_PC » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:43 am


Sherlock
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Sherlock » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:53 am

Why would you want to be reborn here as a deluded being instead of making an aspiration to be reborn in a pure realm?

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Admin_PC » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:15 am


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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby tomamundsen » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:25 am

I've only been practicing Vajrayana for about a year now, so I am quite the newcomer. But, if I were to begin all over again today, I would put even more effort into ngondro and never miss a day. I would miss days all the time towards the beginning of my practice. I still miss days occasionally now, but very minimally so in comparison.

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby Sherlock » Sat Nov 10, 2012 6:41 am


jmlee369
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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby jmlee369 » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:22 am

I would think that getting as good a grounding in Lam Rim as possible before approaching anything else would be my strategy. To study the Lam Rim intensively and do some retreat on it would be ideal. If we're talking about other conditions beyond our control, I would have liked to be born in a family with enough wealth to make long term retreats and travel for teachings feasible even at a young age; right now, I feel like I would be able to attend a series of commentaries happening now and a retreat in December if money (and to a lesser degree, time) weren't a limitation. Toward that end, I feel that reciting Samantabhadra's King of Prayers will lay a good foundation for my next life.

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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby JKhedrup » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:47 am


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Re: If you were to "Begin all over again today"...

Postby heart » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:35 pm

"We are all here to help each other go through this thing, whatever it is."
~Kurt Vonnegut

"The principal practice is Guruyoga. But we need to understand that any secondary practice combined with Guruyoga becomes a principal practice." ChNNR (Teachings on Thun and Ganapuja)


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