The Offering Bowl

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The Offering Bowl

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:15 am

I came across this initiative The Offering Bowl thanks to a link by our member T.Chokyi and thought to myself: "Wow! What a great idea!"

It struck a personal chord, because this year I will not be able to attend the first part of a seven year transmission of "Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning" by one of my main teachers because of a lack of funds (thank you to all invloved for triggering an economic depression here in Greece :thumbsup: ) and will not be able to follow the rest of the 7 year course since I will miss a section; so an initiative like this is magnificent in that it assists the less economically fortunate Dharma students amongst us. This, in light of a number of threads complaining about Dharma being mainly a middle class pursuit and asking what can be done to change that.

I applaud the people at "The Offering Bowl" for their wonderful effort! :applause:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Monsoon » Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:34 am

Try living in the South Island of New Zealand. In my town there is a Tibetan university group (Dhargyey Centre -Gelug), a branch of the Diamond Sangha, and one them New Kampada tradition groups - I think there used to be an SGI as well. That's it. If you have an interest that doesn't fit these then you're stuffed. There are various retreat centres elsewhere in the country but invariably tend to be Tibetan. :shrug: My preference is Pure Land/ Ch'an, and I get the perhaps unwarranted feeling that the local Sotoists will not support this - maybe I should go and find out.

For someone like me I have no teacher, no practice-appropriate sangha, and nowhere to go. Everything I have to do is done in isolation (which is one reason I joined this site, despite feeling so out of my depth). It is excruciatingly hard to find the path without guidance or support. In the far north (Auckland) there is a centre that offers free 10 day vipassana retreats (that sound totally daunting to a beginner like me) but even finding the NZ$200-300 (about US150) to get there and back is problematic for me - as I am currently supporting my partner one a single low-level wage as she goes through University. So some of the other comments about 'buddhism for the middle classes' rang a bit close to home for me. And here's TOB full of people asking for thousands of dollars to travel from countries that have heaps of centres and organisations. The temple that my partner (she's Chinese) and I consider our 'family temple' is Longhua in Shanghai. Lately we have been able to get there twice in more than 5 years, and that was a combined family trip rather than practice-specific.

Oh well, I guess this is the nature of my dukkha. :(


Edit: Greg, I hope you are not serious in implying that the Greek people had no hand in the economic depression?
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:46 am

Is that what I implied or is that the meaning you projected onto my statement?

Stick that koan in your pipe and smoke it! :smile:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Monsoon » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:18 pm

It is how your statement read for me. I have friends in Greece and I hear how hard it is at the moment. I wasn't having a go at you really :oops:

Perhaps this next question should be on another thread but I am unsure which one. Given the paucity of teachers (both in number and variety) in my neck of the woods, what would the denizens of DW suggest I do to place my feet on the right path?

There is one other thing. I am sometimes painfully reticent about putting myself forward. Once I get to know people I really enjoy the contact, but making that first step is an issue. Not scary, just constantly thinking that other people will not relish the intrusion on their time. Crazy, I know right? If I ever bumped into an honest to goodness real buddhist teacher I would no doubt be at a complete loss for words. In fact I was reading about dokusan and I got to imagining myself in this predicament. I realised that I would probably sit there looking at the floor, speechless and embarrassed to be taking up someone's valuable time.

Talking through the keyboard is easy though - and potentially dangerous!

Thanks for any advice, and if an admin feels this needs to be moved please do so.
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby kirtu » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:22 pm

Monsoon wrote: My preference is Pure Land/ Ch'an, and I get the perhaps unwarranted feeling that the local Sotoists will not support this - maybe I should go and find out.


I would check it out as they are likely to be the closest to your practice.

In the far north (Auckland) there is a centre that offers free 10 day vipassana retreats (that sound totally daunting to a beginner like me) but even finding the NZ$200-300 (about US150) to get there and back is problematic for me ...


So The Offering Bowl can possibly help you raise the needed funds for travel for this. Check it out. I think it looks like a wonderful project.

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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Nilasarasvati » Wed Jun 05, 2013 3:10 pm

Monsoon:
Perhaps this next question should be on another thread but I am unsure which one. Given the paucity of teachers (both in number and variety) in my neck of the woods, what would the denizens of DW suggest I do to place my feet on the right path?


I would start a thread with this question, Monsoon. PM me the link and I will have some helpful words for you. I think many of us share your situation, although New Zealand is very, very much more remote (with concern to Dharma teachers).
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Jikan » Wed Jun 05, 2013 9:28 pm

Monsoon: It seems to me you have a choice: you can attempt to raise the funds to travel on your own to get the teachings and get going in practice. (This is a good way to do it.) OR: you can raise the funds to bring a competent teacher to your community with an eye toward building a sangha that many can participate in. This is a very good way to do it IF you know there to be interest in the area sufficient to support such a thing.

I wish you all the best in your practice.
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby seeker242 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:00 am

gregkavarnos wrote:I came across this initiative The Offering Bowl thanks to a link by our member T.Chokyi and thought to myself: "Wow! What a great idea!"

It struck a personal chord, because this year I will not be able to attend the first part of a seven year transmission of "Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning" by one of my main teachers because of a lack of funds (thank you to all invloved for triggering an economic depression here in Greece :thumbsup: ) and will not be able to follow the rest of the 7 year course since I will miss a section; so an initiative like this is magnificent in that it assists the less economically fortunate Dharma students amongst us. This, in light of a number of threads complaining about Dharma being mainly a middle class pursuit and asking what can be done to change that.

I applaud the people at "The Offering Bowl" for their wonderful effort! :applause:


So how come you are not up there yet? You need money for retreat yea? :smile:
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:11 am

seeker242 wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:I came across this initiative The Offering Bowl thanks to a link by our member T.Chokyi and thought to myself: "Wow! What a great idea!"

It struck a personal chord, because this year I will not be able to attend the first part of a seven year transmission of "Mahamudra - The Ocean of True Meaning" by one of my main teachers because of a lack of funds (thank you to all invloved for triggering an economic depression here in Greece :thumbsup: ) and will not be able to follow the rest of the 7 year course since I will miss a section; so an initiative like this is magnificent in that it assists the less economically fortunate Dharma students amongst us. This, in light of a number of threads complaining about Dharma being mainly a middle class pursuit and asking what can be done to change that.

I applaud the people at "The Offering Bowl" for their wonderful effort! :applause:


So how come you are not up there yet? You need money for retreat yea? :smile:


That's what I said, but we are ambushing him with it anyway! Either up there or we can put it on Indiegogo. See thread here:

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=12987
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby plwk » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:32 am

Ven Indrajala, Astus & kirtu, when any of you need it, just ring my bell
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:02 am

Monsoon wrote:Perhaps this next question should be on another thread but I am unsure which one. Given the paucity of teachers (both in number and variety) in my neck of the woods, what would the denizens of DW suggest I do to place my feet on the right path?

Hi, Monsoon,
I'm in pretty much your position on this - living in (monsoonal :smile: ) North Queensland, in one of the bigger cities but no centre (in any tradition) with an ordained teacher and no centres at all in my own preferred tradition (Theravada).
(1) That's why I'm on DW (and the other DW) all the time.
(2) I learned meditation from, and now sit with, a Tibetan group which has a visiting teacher. The main reason for hanging out with them is that they are a really nice bunch of people and encourage each other (and me) in the practice. Without that personal contact, I would probably have given up long ago.
(3) I occasionally visit cities where there are Theravada centres but the visits are organised around other commitments so I haven't yet managed to do a retreat at any of them.
(4) This has been going on for six years so far ... and I'm still on the path, though maybe not progressing as fast as I might be in ideal circumstances, so
(5) don't give up!

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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:08 am

plwk wrote:Ven Indrajala, Astus & kirtu, when any of you need it, just ring my bell


What a kind offer. :smile: Thank you!

I tend to encounter a lot of people, especially younger folks, who have spirit and energy for practice, but lack funds to pursue retreat or long-term studies. I've been able to help out before, but not as much as I would have liked to. On the other hand, I've had some very generous Dharma friends help me out, too, both materially and financially in the past.

In the future if the causes and conditions come together, I would love to have a small temple somewhere and offer space for friends wanting to do their practice or just drop out of mainstream society for a bit. If you grow some of your own food and live out in the countryside where firewood is free, the costs could be low, and having another pair of productive hands would always be desirable. One medium sized temple in Japan that I know of requires just US$10,000/year, but then they grow rice and that's backbreaking work. I imagine potatoes might be easier to grow. :smile:

As time goes on I anticipate the global economy and infrastructure to decline and with that our standards of living. Going back ahead of time to the old model of growing some of your own food and living very simply would make the transition of de-industrialization a lot easier to manage.
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Monsoon » Thu Jun 06, 2013 6:48 am

Thanks Kim for the kind words and encouragement. :smile:

I wouldn't say I was glad to hear that I am not the only one in this position, but it is comforting that there are others who understand the problems. At the moment I am trying to get over my pathological habit of not intruding on others and just going and getting involved with whoever is there. Although I am not particularly drawn to the Tibetan group near me, and the Diamond Sangha sounds a bit hardcore for a beginner (just my impression based on nothing :? ), perhaps it is time to look beyond the ritual/culture part and just get some guidance on the Dharma from some seasoned seekers.

I am just writing something up to start a new topic in the Exploring Buddhism forum (should go online in a day or two) which hopefully might provide a small nexus for people like us.

On the plus side, I am going to be part of a Q & A with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama next week. Really looking forward to that, although the prospect of being within the same room as someone of his stature is kind of daunting all by itself!

Anyway, I will get more active locally after that event. :namaste:
Let peace reign!

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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 8:53 am

Monsoon wrote:Try living in the South Island of New Zealand.
I was born and lived in Wellington until I was 15 years old. I now live on a Greek island. The following map gives you some idea of my situation.

greece.jpg
greece.jpg (101 KiB) Viewed 740 times


The distances are (relatively) short but the (affordable) boat trip takes 13hours for Athens and 15 hours for Thessaloniki. If the weather permits. So, believe me, I understand your situation.
In my town there is a Tibetan university group (Dhargyey Centre -Gelug), a branch of the Diamond Sangha, and one them New Kampada tradition groups - I think there used to be an SGI as well. That's it. If you have an interest that doesn't fit these then you're stuffed.
Oh, what a tragedy!!!! (Is the ironic/sarcastic tone coming through?) :tongue: In my town there is me. There used to be a Gelug retreat centre in the north of the island but it fell apart after, well, we all know after what... I used to bring teachers to my town and "lead" a small group but I got sick of trying to organise Greek people. :tongue: If you ever need to test your Bodhisattva quality of patience come on over for a visit! :smile:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Monsoon » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:49 am

Sorry Greg, I guess it sounds like I have an abundance of potential teachers here. I was under the impression that the NKO and SGI were somewhat cult-like and to be avoided, just leaving the other two. I was under a second impression, being a total noob as I keep pointing out, that groups don't take too kindly to people joining in without committing to their type of practice. That's probably a massive error on my part, but it would have been helpful if someone had told me so - how else am I going to know these things?

I was wondering about your upbringing because some the colloquial English that you use is not what I would expect from somebody speaking their 2nd language (even if they were really fluent in it). Was tempted to ask... thought it might have been too personal.

Spent some time in Rhodos back in the 90s. Really enjoyed it, different times. If I claim a nationality I have to admit I am English. In New Zealand on a whim these last 10 years, don't know how long I will stay, depends on partner's professional opportunities.

Wish you luck in getting the funds for your retreat. It was wrong thinking on my part to both complain and to criticise. My apologies.

I will now go and stand in the naughty corner for a while. :emb:
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby mandala » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:43 am

For a little bit of perspective, just remember 'back in the day' for dharma practitioners when they had to travel on foot for months to get to a dharma teaching!

Well, that's what i do anyway, when I'm lamenting about convenient centres/teachers. In the past I've jumped on planes to attend teachings but that's a luxury out of my reach these days as I'm sure it is for many.

Really, we're so lucky these days to have access to Lamas all around the world and to be able to connect online with other dharma practitioners like here at DW. The Offering Bowl sounds like a great concept - I like the idea of sangha being able to help other sangha to attend teachings.
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 06, 2013 11:48 am

Monsoon wrote:Sorry Greg, I guess it sounds like I have an abundance of potential teachers here. I was under the impression that the NKO and SGI were somewhat cult-like and to be avoided, just leaving the other two. I was under a second impression, being a total noob as I keep pointing out, that groups don't take too kindly to people joining in without committing to their type of practice. That's probably a massive error on my part, but it would have been helpful if someone had told me so - how else am I going to know these things?
Anything more than zero potential teachers is an abundance by my standards! :smile:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:46 pm

Monsoon wrote:Sorry Greg, I guess it sounds like I have an abundance of potential teachers here. I was under the impression that the NKO and SGI were somewhat cult-like and to be avoided, just leaving the other two. I was under a second impression, being a total noob as I keep pointing out, that groups don't take too kindly to people joining in without committing to their type of practice. That's probably a massive error on my part, but it would have been helpful if someone had told me so - how else am I going to know these things?


Sorry to go OT..but, you could always go and actually meet the people in question, and ask them questions.

I get the impression from this and other threads you might be operating under a set of preconceived ideas about how "Buddhists" as a group behave, I think if you went and investigated it in person you'd find that not only is there not one single way they behave, but you might also find they don't fit some of the other notions you have as well. For instance, I can't speak for others, but I have never been to a sangha where teaching was unavailable unless you labelled yourself as Buddhist, took refuge vows etc. Even the more restrictive aspects of Tibetan lineages have sutra teachings available to most anyone who is interested.

Anyway, bottom line...the worst that could happen by checking them out would probably just be a slightly uncomfortable conversation, so it seems like the possible benefits of checking out some places outweigh the risks of simply being uncomfortable for a few minutes. It's usually easy to tell (at least it was for me) whether a place is somewhere I absolutely cannot be, or whether it's worth giving it a shot.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 06, 2013 4:49 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Anyway, bottom line...the worst that could happen by checking them out would be a slightly uncomfortable conversation, so it seems like the possible benefits of checking out some places probably out outweigh the risks of simply being uncomfortable for a few minutes.


Exactly. Being willing to put yourself out there & make yourself vulnerable in this way is part of any kind of learning.
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Re: The Offering Bowl

Postby Jikan » Fri Jun 14, 2013 1:50 pm

I've noticed that many of the petitioners at the Offering Bowl, really the overwhelming majority, are involved in Shambhala International. This begs the question: are so many Shambhalians asking for money to support their practice for a specific reason, and if so, what might that reason be?

Could one reason be that Shambhala's retreats, trainings, seminaries, assemblies, dhatuns, &c are numerous, various, individually priced, and comparatively expensive?

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