Advice

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
JKhedrup
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Re: Advice

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:35 am

You are right! I am very surprised, I guess I was looking at the more expensive programs.

Son of Buddha
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Re: Advice

Postby Son of Buddha » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:03 am

Read the suttas and sutras
Then check out all the schools,see what is the differences and the similarities are.talk with many Buddhists,debate on views,learn,and attend different teachers and schools,then after 3 years please post back here again,with what,when where and how you came to your final conclusion.

But then again Im biased to Shentong view so check it out.

Peace and Love

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LastLegend
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Re: Advice

Postby LastLegend » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:57 am

Explore both and see which one suits you.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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ground
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Re: Advice

Postby ground » Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:09 pm


dude
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Re: Advice

Postby dude » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:36 pm

"Read the suttas and sutras
Then check out all the schools,see what is the differences and the similarities are.talk with many Buddhists,debate on views..."

I quite emphatically agree.
The Buddha said : After the passing of the Thus Come one, you should rely on the dharma [the Buddha's teachings] as your instructor.
The sutras are the only real authority.
The Buddha also said : Rely on the dharma and not upon persons.
A teacher is only a conduit, a vessel for the transmission of the Law from master to disciple.
If even my own teacher, whom I trust with my very life, were to suddenly turn around and go against the words of the sutras, I would be in his face and cause a lot of trouble.

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randomseb
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Re: Advice

Postby randomseb » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:26 pm


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Vidyaraja
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Re: Advice

Postby Vidyaraja » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:42 pm

I truly appreciate the input guys. In regards to programs, I am currently poor (broke) and unemployed, so obviously it will be quite a bit before I have the funds necessary to support such an endeavor.

My other major plan in my life besides continuing studying metaphysics and various spiritual traditions in an attempt to find my path was to teach English abroad. Since I also lack a college degree (may earn one in the future if I can pay my own way, I wasn't interested in putting myself in debt and failing to secure employment like so many of my friends with degrees these days) my options for teaching abroad are primarily limited to China and Russia. I've always been fond of traditional Chinese culture, being a fan of Romance of the Three Kingdoms since adolescence, and so I figured China would be a good choice. So my plan was to see, once on the ground, if I could find either a Chan Buddhist or Taoist master/monastery worth dedicating myself to in order to achieve my spiritual goals. The documentary "Amongst White Clouds" was also a bit of inspiration for this choice. Trying to discover the current state of Chan Buddhism on the Mainland was one of my intentions in starting this thread, but I figured I'd keep the discussion a bit more broad by including the other traditions.

Another point worth mentioning is that of the languages, I'd be most interested in learning Chinese, and if not Chinese either Korean or Japanese. I have no qualms with Tibetan, but I figure my use of Tibetan would be strictly limited to Buddhist study, whereas if I ever decided to not become a monk the other East Asian languages, especially Chinese, may be more useful.

So if, for the sake of discussion, we were to exclude Tibetan/Nepalese/Indian Buddhism and focus on the state of Zen (or Shingon) in the three East Asian nations I mentioned, primarily focusing on China, does anyone have any information in this regard?

Thanks again!

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Advice

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:46 pm

Maybe i'm missing something here...

But if you are this interested in Dharma, especially devoting your life or a portion of it exclusively to it's study and practice; maybe the best thing is to go out and actually see how it works for you first? So find a teacher, a Sangha, or both and try it on for size, get as much of a perspective as possible from your current circumstances before even considering all these larger questions.

I don't know anything, but i've read so many warnings from those that are monastics about not jumping into these things, basically you need to know if you can practice Dharma from where you are right as this moment before making any grander decisions about it. Again I don't know squat personally but this has always seemed like very sane advice to me.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Adamantine
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Re: Advice

Postby Adamantine » Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:34 pm

Where in general are you living? Maybe people
could point you towards some local centers where
you could get a taste.
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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Vidyaraja
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Re: Advice

Postby Vidyaraja » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:53 pm


Jinzang
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Re: Advice

Postby Jinzang » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:39 am

"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

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Karma Dorje
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Re: Advice

Postby Karma Dorje » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:01 am

"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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Vidyaraja
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Re: Advice

Postby Vidyaraja » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:00 am

Hello again. I figured I would update the folks here and refine my initial question based on that update in hopes to receive some further insight from those more learned than I. Over the past few days I've contemplated, studied, and meditated heavily on where I should place my efforts. After much deliberation, I decided I should focus my efforts more heavily on Tantra, which has been an interest of mine for some time (both in its Buddhist and Hindus forms.) Though I have to say I feel I am a Buddhist, not a Hindu.

That essentially leaves me two major traditions which I am interested to study further, which I currently am doing. The much more well known (at least in terms of the wealth of information available) Tibetan Buddhism, and Shingon Buddhism. So if I were take my original concerns about the aliveness of these traditions, efficacy, their willingness to accept Westerners, etc. what more could you tell me? Since there is a wealth of information out there about Tibetan Buddhism, I was specifically wondering if anyone could tell me more about Shingon. In particular, whether the secularization of Japan has severely effected the tradition, why it is so obscure/why there is such limited material about it in English, and if anyone could point me to more resources to learn more. I recently purchased Taiko Yamasaki's book on the subject and have been reading through the topics on the forum to give me a start.

Thanks again.

greentara
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Re: Advice

Postby greentara » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:23 am

This is very good advice by Master Hyakujo: "The way to understand the meaning of the following story is that the water represents
Truth or the Dharma. The vase is the vessel that holds that truth, it is the
teaching, it is the tradition.

That truth cannot be told, however. Sure, you can use simple words like "Truth"
or "Reality," or you can fill books with complex philosophical explanations. But
ultimately those are all words and don't truly convey what the Truth is. The
"water" cannot be named. That is why Master Hyakujo gave this challenge to his
disciples.

The lead disciple, clearly a cunning man, sees this as a test of his mental
dexterity. If he cannot name the water-filled vessel, he will say what it is not,
thus suggesting it by negation. But he has only negated one object in a world of
infinite objects. A person can spend a lifetime listing all the things something is
not, and never come to the point where only the unnamed thing remains. The lead
disciple is trapped on the endless road of the intellect.

But the cook, Isan, understood the situation simply and clearly. He tipped the
vase over, emptying the vessel and revealing the water. The truth cannot be told,
it can only be shown.

What's more, the truth cannot be held, it cannot be contained, it can only be
poured out. The vase itself, the spiritual tradition, is empty and only has meaning
as a vessel to transport the truth. By tipping over the vessel, he is suggesting
that we must not worship the tradition itself. Religion, philosophy, spiritual
tradition -- these are not an end to themselves; they should be respected for
their function as a delivery vehicle, but nothing more"

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Vidyaraja
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Re: Advice

Postby Vidyaraja » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:54 am


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Adamantine
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Re: Advice

Postby Adamantine » Sat Feb 02, 2013 5:31 pm

I do believe that the Shingon tradition is still somewhat alive and going, I am just not sure how widespread, easily accessible to westerners, or how pure and true to it's origins it is. I hope there are some actual practitioners of this tradition that can answer in more detail and depth.

On the other hand, being in NJ you are not terribly far from a number of truly authentic and rare Tantric Buddhist masters of the Tibetan lineages. Is it possible for you to travel to NYC for teachings occasionally?
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha

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florin
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Re: Advice

Postby florin » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:10 pm

"Bow down to me for I thirst for an infinite ocean of blood, since the innumerable torrents of floods at kalpa's end that terrify all world systems do not even wet the tip of my tongue"

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Vidyaraja
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Re: Advice

Postby Vidyaraja » Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:55 pm


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Karma Dorje
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Re: Advice

Postby Karma Dorje » Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:10 pm

"Although my view is higher than the sky, My respect for the cause and effect of actions is as fine as grains of flour."
-Padmasambhava

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justsit
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Re: Advice

Postby justsit » Sat Feb 02, 2013 10:05 pm

Try in Shamong, very near you - genuine Dharma, Karma Kagyu tradition.

or in Howell - Gelugpa, very traditional.

You can take NJ Transit (or Megabus!) into NYC for cheap, and most Tibetan teachings there are donation or sliding scale.


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