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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:30 pm 
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Oh dear, it seems like I need to rethink my whole approach to this issue.

:(

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 6:49 pm 
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yan kong wrote:
If one feels vexed by posers or window shoppers then that is the problem of said vexed practitioner, not the posers nor the window shoppers.


This is so true to my own experience. For the longest time tended to externalize my own irritation with the good people who aspire to Buddhist practice, and do their very best to keep something as special and sacred as a Dharma center going, eg, "why is she such a constipated little shrine fascist?" and such. I learned a great deal about myself and the pervasiveness of my poor conduct & worse intentions when I turned all that around and recognized the same tendencies in myself as I criticized others for (incompetence, fussiness, and all the rest).

Now I can't wait to visit the temple.

***

When it comes to group pujas... might it have something to do with the difficulties and hangups we all have about food? It's easy to think "oh yeah one taste man" but it's much more challenging to do so when it's doritos, pepperoni slices, candy corn, and potato salad mixed together and washed down with Your Stepmom's Favorite Wine from a Box. Integrating other people's intentions in the form of a puja offerings means you have to accept it all as it comes, even if it's not so appetizing to the conceptual mind.

:cheers:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:41 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
This is so true to my own experience. For the longest time tended to externalize my own irritation with the good people who aspire to Buddhist practice, and do their very best to keep something as special and sacred as a Dharma center going, eg, "why is she such a constipated little shrine fascist?" and such. I learned a great deal about myself and the pervasiveness of my poor conduct & worse intentions when I turned all that around and recognized the same tendencies in myself as I criticized others for (incompetence, fussiness, and all the rest).

Now I can't wait to visit the temple.

***





This is a really good point, and something i'm struggling with a bit right now after being (in my view) mistreated a bit by someone, my inclination is form some very definite judgements on his character, and maybe even trash the whole experience due to this negative thing..practice in solitude only again, but i'm not sure that's fair, and would be bad for me..I don't need any more solitude than I already have. I keep trying to imagine similar ways in which i've irritated or hurt others in my time, without even knowing it.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:03 pm 
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I agree that Dharma centers tend to attract a larger than normal percentage of unhappy and difficult people for just the reasons that have been stated already. However, having to deal with people we don't like and who annoy us is an important practice. Atisha is said to have kept the most annoying student He had close to Him so He could better practice patience, compassion, and equanimity. It is also said that practicing as a group multiplies the effects of that practice times the number of people participating. So group practice can be hugely efficient and effective and, IMO, should not be avoided or disparaged. For instance, it's said that a single drubchen can generate the same amount of merit and progress on the path as three years in solitary retreat.

:namaste:

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:48 pm 
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Personally I've received some top notch teachings and met some really nice people at Dharma Centres. Now the odds are that any social gathering will include posers and users. If the proportion is higher at Dharma centres than at the local pub then I would have to admit there is a specific problem manifesting, if not, then I guess I'll just have to chalk it up to samsara.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:50 pm 
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Sherab Dorje wrote:
Personally I've received some top notch teachings and met some really nice people at Dharma Centres. Now the odds are that any social gathering will include posers and users. If the proportion is higher at Dharma centres than at the local pub then I would have to admit there is a specific problem manifesting, if not, then I guess I'll just have to chalk it up to samsara.


:good: After being involved with political activism for a bit, I can honestly there are no personality types that take me by surprise when it comes to organizations and their downfalls, lol.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:05 pm 
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This passage from Marcia Binder Schmidt's preface to "Great Accomplishment: Teachings on the Drubchen Ceremony" seems relevant:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/m8rqgky

So, maybe there's hope for me too!

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:16 pm 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Anders wrote:
If you are the type to dislike people at Dharma centers, chances are you are among the people other people dislike at Dharma centers.
:rolling: Ain't that the truth!

Are you guys implying that people don't like me? :crying:


Wouldn't that make me unlikeable too? :?
can
I tend to go with an adaption of Kennedy's saying "ask not what people can do for you, but what you can do for people."

Sure you meet some oddballs, usually they are odd enough to be endearingly amusing as well. Some gossips and meanies too, like in every walk of life. I find them as forgettable as in every walk of life.

Mostly, I remember the inspiring people though, the ones that have lots to give and offer. You get the profound practitioners, but also the 'less profound' ones that demonstrate qualities that I find hard to master that I look at and observe. Generally, I haven't found it hard to find nice people at the places I've been. Of course, I could have been lucky.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:39 pm 
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OK, you're off the hook Anders. Do you often go to Tibetan Dharma centers? I was under the impression that you were more of a Zen guy.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:41 pm 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
OK, you're off the hook Anders. Do you often go to Tibetan Dharma centers? I was under the impression that you were more of a Zen guy.


Been to a few.

Think I've actually hung out in more Theravada centers than anything, but who is counting?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:11 pm 
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All is perception, i guess, I've never experienced these horrible centers and people others must have.

Most centers i've been too have been populated with kind people who were sincere in their practise.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:56 pm 
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i don't remember the details, but I think someone on esangha said that a lama he knew had told him:
Quote:
Get the teachings and RUN!

Sometimes that seems like pretty good advice to me.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:15 am 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
i don't remember the details, but I think someone on esangha said that a lama he knew had told him:
Quote:
Get the teachings and RUN!

Sometimes that seems like pretty good advice to me.


I remember making that comment, and I will never forget the moment that advice was given to me. The broader context was that a good student sticks around long enough to learn how to practice with confidence, gets all his/her questions answered, and then gets to work at practice. It's advice against creating samsaric situations around the Dharma center.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:09 am 
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Jikan wrote:
I remember making that comment, and I will never forget the moment that advice was given to me. The broader context was that a good student sticks around long enough to learn how to practice with confidence, gets all his/her questions answered, and then gets to work at practice. It's advice against creating samsaric situations around the Dharma center.

Definitely good advice.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 1:57 am 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Dharma Centers

Group Pujas

I see alot of derisive talk on here about these two things, i'm curious as to why..and also, what constitutes a Dharma Center in this derisive context?


Dharma centers can bring dharma politics. That said, I had great experiences at all the dharma centers I visited.

I never saw much value in group pujas. Solitary practice helped me to the extent it disciplined or trained my mind. Chanting prayers in a group did very little to accomplish those ends.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:24 am 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
i don't remember the details, but I think someone on esangha said that a lama he knew had told him:
Quote:
Get the teachings and RUN!

Sometimes that seems like pretty good advice to me.


:smile:

I like this article by Shamar Rinpoche:

No Need for Too Much Tradition

For instance these passages:

Quote:
Another misconception of Westerners is to think that it is important to bring all the Tibetan traditions into the Dharma practice. They think that the system of monasteries in Tibet is somehow related to enlightenment. Nowadays people can travel to Tibet easily. They are often shocked by the reality check when they are there - how different reality is to their own ideas of it.

(...)

Good practitioners were not part of the administration. The good masters and monks mainly practised in isolation. Nearly nobody reached enlightenment in a monastery. Monks were too strictly organized by the administration. Religion and politics were so intermingled in Tibet. The politicians used religion to control the people. The problem was not the enlightened masters, but the administrators.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:41 am 
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ReasonAndRhyme wrote:
I like this article by Shamar Rinpoche:

No Need for Too Much Tradition

For instance these passages:

Quote:
Another misconception of Westerners is to think that it is important to bring all the Tibetan traditions into the Dharma practice. They think that the system of monasteries in Tibet is somehow related to enlightenment. Nowadays people can travel to Tibet easily. They are often shocked by the reality check when they are there - how different reality is to their own ideas of it.

(...)

Good practitioners were not part of the administration. The good masters and monks mainly practised in isolation. Nearly nobody reached enlightenment in a monastery. Monks were too strictly organized by the administration. Religion and politics were so intermingled in Tibet. The politicians used religion to control the people. The problem was not the enlightened masters, but the administrators.

That could be summarised as "Those who can meditate, do. Those who can't, administrate."

:tongue:
Kim


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:10 am 
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Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I think I see where you're going with that, some people seem to shop around much in the way people do for Yoga etc. "hey, i'm gonna do this thing that'll make me feel great"...where the motivation is basically just to find a product to make your life better. I've always imagined that for teachers this is probably the most disheartening thing, though I have no idea.


I'd imagine they find it heartening that a person connect to the Dharma at all. But as I mentioned, in certain ways I think it can make life more challenging for practitioners. Perhaps not too dissimilar from how it's said that near facsimiles of realization are greater obstacles than dissimilar ones.

But if you don't like challenges, you're in the wrong place anyhow :smile:

I am in agreement with those who say that dislike is a reflection of the practitioner and not those who s/he is annoyed with, but I think that's not specific to Dharma centers. Maybe a more ironic example of it though :tongue:

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:07 am 
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It might be a reflection of the practitioner yeah, i've never found anywhere where people aren't crazy, posers, control freaks, what have you. i think that some things, (Dharma being an obvious one) bring people's shit to surface, and sometimes it stinks, in fact..most of the time it stinks. I guess the quote earlier is just saying, don't get caught up in the shit itself, because it will be there almost invariably.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2013 5:07 am 
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I like both things more than I used to, but it can just be weird when you meet new people into spirituality. The best way I have found to deal with it is to simply not talk about it beyond showing up and learning the practices and doing the practices. Do it together in group and that's it. Accept everyone there just how they are, whether they're insecure n00bs with nervous energy or quiet types or if they're over-the-moon with positive energy bursting out everywhere. It can be a trip to try to relate to people in a sangha because its really unlike any other sort of situation you're liable to find yourself in... actually, the first several times I showed up at different sanghas it reminded me of a cult sort of and freaked me out. Several years later at a Dream Yoga class in Tibet House, NYC, I saw this same feeling on another person's face as he asked me, "So, you really believe all this or...?" and he had a really skeptical and freaked out expression on his face like "wtf did I get myself into here?" which just made me uncomfortable because now I felt like I was being scrutinized.

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