Western world and buddhist life

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Western world and buddhist life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 7:18 pm

How can you live both lives?

im 21 year old soon 22, i have no education and it would take many years to get a proper education and then off to work long days.

How do people who want to dedicate theyre life to buddhism and peaceful life go on about going into this messed up world to get a piece of paper that is worth of nothing except many hundreds of hours and years of hard work that will never pay off in terms of causes of happiness?

I am struggling with this, i feel like going on a pilgrimage, go to long meditation retreats and ngondro retreats at least for the next spring and next year. but at the same time i start to feel like i am running away from my responsibilities and i will after that come back to square one with no foundation in this world, as a total wanderer and have to start working with a foundation, again one and half years older than before. it is really important to get the practice done but on the contrary it will cause immense suffering when landing back to the normal day to day life after the one and half years of hard spiritual work.

i find it hard to live in the cities because in the past i have experienced great mental issues, such as very very intense anxiety living in the city. and this is what i have to go back to i guess if i want to go to school and get an education and a foundation in our modern society. :jedi:

Is it worth it? do you feel that for some of us the life of a westerner is just not meant for us. i am basically at square one. havent started building a life in the western world. and i dont want to. but i feel like its my responsibility..

should i strive to become a monk and forget this western world for like 5-10 years and think about it again then or what ?

it seems to me that in my situation it is impossible to live two lives, i cant see the way. its like choose hell or heaven. stay as wanderer which is in a sense quite easy and enjoyable or build a house on a sea which is not very comfortable place to build a foundation for a house.

some thoughts. all thoughts from you what this brings up in your mind are greatly appreciated. any thoughts, answers, anything please comment....

thanks :anjali:
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Nighthawk » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:04 pm

Or you can continue living the worldy life and take up the simple practice of nembutsu. No need to abandon the Dharma.
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 8:17 pm

yeah i practice the nembutsu every day to greater or lesser degree.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby philji » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:25 pm

Have you thought of living in a Dharma Centre and offering skills voluntarily... Then you get time and support for Dharma practice and also skills and experience to put on a. CV to show potential employers in future.....
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:27 pm

i dont have any special skills to offer, only things i can do is clean and make some food.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:59 pm

When I was your age I lived on couches and just tried to experience life in all it's ugliness, beauty, and weirdness, i'm glad I did it only for the experience of not doing what was expected of me. I just wanted to experience something instead of constantly trying to setup my future.There are consequences though, i'm now nearing 40, and have no real job prospects after a few years of not working, no college education...luckily for me I married someone who ended up being the opposite, otherwise i'd be in dire straits. But still, if you fight against the predominant values of your culture, there are rewards and drawbacks....One of the great things about Vajrayana teachings is that they are applicable even to people like me..I think that is what attracted me, I am a weirdo, most certainly 'western" person..even if I lean more towards the counter-culture side of things. Worldly concerns don't disappear because you adopt a different lifestyle..sometimes they get intensified. I guess it depends on what you consider a "worldly life", everyone lives a worldly life..just in different setups. Financial security is the reason most people just do what they are "supposed to", and I don't blame them..living a life with no financial security is really hard, whether it's as a renunciate, or just someone who "drops out".


If you don't feel the drive to pursue a life based on the usual values, IME you simply won't be able to and the question will end up answering itself..I dunno.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby lobster » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:15 pm

KonchokZoepa wrote:i dont have any special skills to offer, only things i can do is clean and make some food.


Volunteer. Teach yourself what you want to know or feel is valuable. Clean better and make better food. I notice you can use a computer, speak English. You are probably able bodied. Not everyone is, they need cleaners and being fed.

Your special skill is wanting to serve the dharma :bow:
That is a rare skill. You will do fine. :woohoo:
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby oldbob » Fri Nov 15, 2013 10:46 pm

lobster wrote:
KonchokZoepa wrote:i dont have any special skills to offer, only things i can do is clean and make some food.


Volunteer. Teach yourself what you want to know or feel is valuable. Clean better and make better food. I notice you can use a computer, speak English. You are probably able bodied. Not everyone is, they need cleaners and being fed.

Your special skill is wanting to serve the dharma :bow:
That is a rare skill. You will do fine. :woohoo:


yup and:

No one says you HAVE to do anything.

Maybe whatever you do is ok.

If you want to go to college which could allow you to be MORE helpful to people --- check out:

http://evergreen.edu/admissions/

http://goddard.edu/

http://antiochcollege.org/

http://www.tesc.edu/

You write well. If you feel to, write to these colleges, tell them about yourself and see what they say. Don't worry about the money - lots of scholarships can be found.

ob
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:00 pm

before starting to read and look into the links. my level of education at the moment is the normal finnish school level that is mandatory for all citizens. that is in total 9 grades, although not directly comparable to high school system, according to wikipedia i dont have the last one or two years of high school finished. In the Finnish education system i would have to do a two year school program which maybe likened to the last two years of high school but is especially made to prepare you for university.

Do you think this two year prep school needs to be completed before being able to apply to any of those links you provided?
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:05 pm

At that stage in my life, I had rebelled against my appointed path, which was to go into either medicine or law. I wanted to be a musician, and enlightened, like Carlos Santana (or so I thought at the time). The practical consequence was, I drove a taxi for ten years and did a lot of menial work. I still managed to study Buddhism along with a lot of related subjects. I got initiated into formal meditation practice, although not initially in a Buddhist context. I got married late, around aged 30, and then really had to work to discover some kind of meaningful and rewarding livelihood which came about fortuitously. I had gone back to University to finish off my degree (comparative religion) and got a job in a Uni computer store, which turned out to be a gateway into a career in the IT industry. This eventually led me to a career as a technical writer which has been very good, all things considered. I'm still studying and have a daily meditation practice.

My sangha is a group of about a dozen who meet bi-monthly, and they are mostly young professionals of various kinds (architects, lawyers, psychologists.)

So my advice would be: don't try and flee the responsibilities of working out an occupation and pursuing it. I think those who really are able to live happily as renunciates are very special people who possess exceptional qualities. I think for most of us, our life will be worked out in society and in company, and we have to face that fact and work through it. But one of the keys is, not to try and think it all out in advance. Things can appear impossible when you sit back and try and envision how it is all going to work. We don't know how it is going to work, but I'm sure it will work, if you face up to it and work at it one step at a time. If you can adopt a regular meditation practice, contemplate the teachings, and meanwhile pursue a meaningful occupation, then you are a 'householder yogi' which I think it a really good place to be. There is a reason why 'right means of livelihood' is part of the eightfold path.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:07 pm

very :good: thanks
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby futerko » Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:59 am

jeeprs wrote:I wanted to be a musician, and enlightened, like Carlos Santana (or so I thought at the time).


A noble ambition, like this guy...



My story is almost the exact opposite (except for the enlightened guitar hero, which in my case was Hendrix).
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Nov 16, 2013 3:19 am

More like

Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:02 am

Education is largely a commercial enterprise nowadays aimed at securing increasingly high tuition fees while producing workers suited to commercial interests. This is why universities will often speak of who will hire you with what degree. The point of course is to 'get a good job', which really means you get a degree with the intent of boot licking a HR agent in order to then get a position which hopefully maximizes your consumption capacities. As a middle-class wage earner with access to much consumer goods and housing loans, you then gain appreciation from society and feel like you have 'made it'.

The baby boomer generation got to enjoy that lifestyle without too many obstacles compared to later generations.

For better or worse, with increasing energy costs and globalization, the rat race is getting that much more severe. First world economies are 'mature' which means they don't manufacture much stuff any longer because poor peasants in the third world will do it for a lot cheaper, and the lack of trade tariffs means it is only logical for manufacturing to go overseas. That leaves some amount of production, retail and service, though that has its limits. The economies of the western world are stagnating for various reasons. The older career and education model assumed there would be a need for increasing numbers of well-educated professionals, but this is clearly not the case any longer. Even if you are tradesperson, your business might fluctuate. Canada's economy as an exception is roaring, but that's largely due to tar sands and other resource extraction, all of which is morally reprehensible and moreover finite.

Younger generations don't have the foundation their parents did. The retirement age is increasing, pensions are getting slashed and various social securities are being pruned. This is the result of economies running out of steam. It won't get better. It will only get worse.

http://ourfiniteworld.com/2013/11/15/wh ... tion-cost/


If you want to live as a renunciate, then you need to live a simple lifestyle. Have no more possessions than what fits into a backpack or two. This is how I operate, even before I put on the robes. It enables you to move freely and not worry about possessions. If you have furniture, appliances and excess clothes, then you have to worry about them and it makes mobility difficult. Mobility enables you to move to greener pastures wherever necessary. If you live with a bare minimum budget, then finances are less of a concern. You can save more money which can be used through hard times. Frugality is essential to survival.

Also get a valuable skill you can take anywhere with you. If you can be a general handyman, capable of doing basic electrical work and other such tasks, then you'll find it easy to secure a basic income. You could also provide something to monasteries if need be that is much needed. You could get room and board in return (I know one place where this is in fact the case).
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:14 am

futerko wrote:
jeeprs wrote:I wanted to be a musician, and enlightened, like Carlos Santana (or so I thought at the time).


A noble ambition, like this guy...



My story is almost the exact opposite (except for the enlightened guitar hero, which in my case was Hendrix).


The Door of Kukundu is not for you, you are young and wild.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby LastLegend » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:25 am

I see there are a lot of Buddhist vagabonds. No offense intended.

:rolling:
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:26 am

A king once asked the Buddha the same question, saying that he wanted to be Enlightened but couldn't leave his kingdom. The Buddha told him to practice Bodhicitta, rejoicing in the merit of others, and dedicating all his merit to Enlightenment. By doing those three he would attain Enlightenment.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Kim O'Hara » Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:35 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:... I am struggling with this, i feel like going on a pilgrimage, go to long meditation retreats and ngondro retreats at least for the next spring and next year. but at the same time i start to feel like i am running away from my responsibilities and i will after that come back to square one with no foundation in this world, as a total wanderer and have to start working with a foundation, again one and half years older than before. ...
Is it worth it? do you feel that for some of us the life of a westerner is just not meant for us. i am basically at square one. havent started building a life in the western world. and i dont want to. but i feel like its my responsibility..

should i strive to become a monk and forget this western world for like 5-10 years and think about it again then or what ?

it seems to me that in my situation it is impossible to live two lives, i cant see the way. its like choose hell or heaven. stay as wanderer which is in a sense quite easy and enjoyable or build a house on a sea which is not very comfortable place to build a foundation for a house.

some thoughts. all thoughts from you what this brings up in your mind are greatly appreciated. any thoughts, answers, anything please comment....

thanks :anjali:

Starting again from the OP, with a different way of thinking about it:
It looks like you may be confusing the "life of a westerner" with a "worldly life".
In Buddhist countries, most Buddhists are lay people in exactly the way that most Christians are lay people in the West. Some of them are good Buddhists, just as some westerners are good Christians, while others are purely nominal Buddhists - again like Christians. Similarly with ordained people in the two religions - and the same goes for Islam and Judaism, for that matter.
So your choice is not so much between Buddhism and the West as between a religious life and a lay life.
It may still be a difficult choice, of course, and achieving either ambition make take some sustained effort ... good luck!

:namaste:
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby Nighthawk » Sun Nov 17, 2013 1:39 am

LastLegend wrote:I see there are a lot of Buddhist vagabonds. No offense intended.

:rolling:

:broke:
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Re: Western world and buddhist life

Postby undefineable » Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:12 am

One word: Contribution :thinking:
Nonetheless: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwPg8gJq_Kw
:popcorn:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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