Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:04 pm

Greetings,

I'm interested in hearing from any board members who grew up in a Buddhist household or were otherwise exposed to the dharma during childhood. What was it like? How did it impact your upbringing, behavior, outlook on the world? What is it like to be part of a Buddhist family? Do you feel that it contributed to your family's happiness and to a better upbringing?

Has your view of Buddhism changed now that you are an adult? Was there a time (teen years maybe?) when you broke away, and what brought you back? Would you raise your children the same way?

Thanks for any responses,

LE
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby kirtu » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:14 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:or were otherwise exposed to the dharma during childhood.


I wasn't raised Buddhist but was exposed to the Dharma growing up although this was unusual. My parents divorced when I was about 10. Later my mother spoke to me about the Dalai Lama (she isn't Buddhist and doesn't remember this). I was somehow left alone in my Great Aunt's and Great Grandmother's house in Ashville, NC one day and just turned on the TV and saw the great movie "Harp of Burma". To me this is a very profound Buddhist movie. I ended up seeing this movie several times on TV over the next few years. Also I should mention that back in Germany (I was born there and partly raised there too) at US military movies I would often see Buddhist imagery in various movies including on TV. There was also an early Tarzan movie that involved Tarzan protecting a kind of tulku. At least for me exposure to this imagery was significant.

When I was 13 I went to live with my father who was stationed in Hawaii. There was a Buddhist temple right next to my high school in Wahiawa and there were various Buddhist temples around (I never visited those temples though). My father took us to a famous temple on the other side of the island (Oahu) twice: Byodo-In and that was really significant. This is a non-denominational Buddhist temple that is a replica of a Pure Land temple in Japan. I began meditating spontaneously just before that visit or just after it and spontaneously came to a direct realization that all beings were deeply interconnected (of course these and other ideas were also current in Hawaii at the time). I also had a dream of flying over a magical version of Oahu and seeing a gigantic Buddhist statue that I flew around twice. I read the Huston Smith book on the world's religions and realized that Mahayana Buddhism explained the deep interconnectedness that I had experienced although it was tough at first: expressions of Hinduism and Jainism were close.

I spoke with Buddhist kids in high school, most of whom came from a Buddhist elementary school near Wahiawa (there were a couple of these Buddhist elementary schools associated with the Jodo Shin churches in Hawaii) who were very guarded. When I said I was Buddhist they responded that it was impossible because I wasn't Asian. But I also had a substitute teacher who was haole (Hawaiian for foreigner but it is exclusively used for white people) like me and she was a Diamond Sangha Zen Buddhist practitioner down in Honolulu (I knew this because somehow I asked her about meditation to try to get a handle on what had happened to me).

Nonetheless I began to read sutras. I would also walk down to the Wahiawa Botanical Garden on some days after track practice and I found out that it had a Bo tree, the type of tree Shakyamuni attained enlightenment under. Actually there are several of these kinds of trees in Hawaii. However overall life was still difficult for me as there were major family problems and I wasn't popular in school. Still, Hawaii had lots of opportunities to come in contact with some Dharma and Hawaiian values are sort of Buddhist-lite without directly saying so (although some people might say Hawaiian values are modeled on Christian Methodism as well).

The last two years of high school my father was stationed at Fort Meade, MD. In the Laurel high school library there were sutra compilations that I began reading. Most of these were Mahayana sutras and I was just absorbing the imagery, some of it quite fantastic. However I became associated with a fundamentalist Christian youth group and then followed Christianity until I was 26 or so but tried to form a kind of syncretic view of Christianity and Buddhism. After I was 26 I just dropped Christianity although I didn't really tell people that I considered myself a follower of the Buddha and spoke outwardly in conventional Christian terms. I dropped Christianity because of lots of hatred toward people I saw expressed in Christian circles, esp. toward gay people and also because I could not reconcile the direct experience that I had of the deep interrelatedness of all beings with Christian thought. However I did also openly speak about Zen Buddhism and went to a Zen Buddhist sitting group. I was probably viewed by friends as a kind of New Age person at the time. In my late 20's I began telling people that I was Buddhist if they asked. They usually promptly forgot this and some people were taken aback.

But basically outwardly I was pursuing a normal life of a person in their 20's and aside from trying to help people Buddhism had little influence on my behavior although it awakened in me the necessity of dealing with severe anger (I was raised by three rage-aholics) and over time that was transformed.

So basically that's my Buddhist story about growing up in a Buddhist place. Basically the exposure to Buddhist imagery, some people and some Buddhist teaching mostly through reading was very significant for me.

Through my 20's I was often exposed to some Buddhist teaching. In fact I saw a book about the Tendai kaihigyo practice, Stevens "Marathon Monks of Hiei" and would often chant the Japanese version of Amida Buddha mantra as I ran. After my 20's I began to pursue Buddhist practice seriously. So these seeds from back then blossomed. This probably would not have happened for me without living in Hawaii.

If I had children I would raise them directly in a Buddhist environment which would mean taking them to my lama's place but I would also try to create a Buddhist school for them.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Dhondrub » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:41 am

Hi,
my parents were buddhists when they got me. When i was a kid i really loved all about the dharma and especially the Rinpoches and the summer courses we hung out at.
In my teens i tried to rebel against the dharma by becoming a self righteous drug using punk, at wich i failed dramatically.So i surrendered the dharma.
Now being an adult i am somehow relearning all about buddhism that came naturally when i was a child.



best

tashi
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:16 pm

kirtu wrote:When I was 13 I went to live with my father who was stationed in Hawaii. There was a Buddhist temple right next to my high school in Wahiawa and there were various Buddhist temples around (I never visited those temples though). My father took us to a famous temple on the other side of the island (Oahu) twice: Byodo-In and that was really significant. This is a non-denominational Buddhist temple that is a replica of a Pure Land temple in Japan.


Interesting story, Kirtu. Hawaii also figured strongly in my own developing interest in Buddhism, even though I was only there for a week. My hotel room contained not only a Gideon's Bible, but also a Japanese-produced volume titled "The Teachings of Buddha". I was deeply intrigued that in Hawaii, at least, Christianity didn't have a monopoly on hotel bedside reading material.

Really surprised/impressed that your high school library had sutra collections! I live not far from Fort Meade, btw.

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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:25 pm

Dhondrub wrote:Hi,
my parents were buddhists when they got me. When i was a kid i really loved all about the dharma and especially the Rinpoches and the summer courses we hung out at.
In my teens i tried to rebel against the dharma by becoming a self righteous drug using punk, at wich i failed dramatically.So i surrendered the dharma.
Now being an adult i am somehow relearning all about buddhism that came naturally when i was a child.

best

tashi


Hi Tashi,

Where was this? Are your parents still Buddhists? Do you talk about the dharma with them?
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Dhondrub » Sat Mar 12, 2011 8:35 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Dhondrub wrote:Hi,
my parents were buddhists when they got me. When i was a kid i really loved all about the dharma and especially the Rinpoches and the summer courses we hung out at.
In my teens i tried to rebel against the dharma by becoming a self righteous drug using punk, at wich i failed dramatically.So i surrendered the dharma.
Now being an adult i am somehow relearning all about buddhism that came naturally when i was a child.

best

tashi


Hi Tashi,

Where was this? Are your parents still Buddhists? Do you talk about the dharma with them?



We live in germany .my parents are still practicing buddhists. As my wife is also buddhist and we all practice in the same lineage actually our family meeting consist of chatting bout dharma for the main part. we also meet up from time to time and do some practices together.
why are you interested? are you expecting a child?

best

tashi
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:39 pm

Dhondrub wrote:why are you interested? are you expecting a child?


Already have two. :o
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby kirtu » Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:04 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Interesting story, Kirtu. Hawaii also figured strongly in my own developing interest in Buddhism, even though I was only there for a week. My hotel room contained not only a Gideon's Bible, but also a Japanese-produced volume titled "The Teachings of Buddha". I was deeply intrigued that in Hawaii, at least, Christianity didn't have a monopoly on hotel bedside reading material.


WOW! I was only in an Hawaiian hotel for a week when we were leaving Hawaii but I don't think I noticed this. Which hotel was this?

Really surprised/impressed that your high school library had sutra collections! I live not far from Fort Meade, btw.


I don't know if it is still there but I would hope. I basically read and reread a fantastic version of the Mahayana Brahma Net Sutra that also had this conversation between Shakyamuni and one of his disciples in that vast Buddha convocation.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby namoh » Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:13 am

Yep! Second generation Karma Kagyu! Thanks Mom! haha :)
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby LastLegend » Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:24 pm

First generation here straight from Vietnam a country where Theravada and Mahayana live side by side and in fact there is a cross tradition Mahayana-Theravada right now founded by a patriarch 100 years ago.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Yogi » Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:43 am

I am a buddhist by birth and also raised a buddhist in a buddhist country, the values of buddhist morality, the law of cause and effect etc were ingrained from a very early childhood, so, those values will never depart from me and I will also make sure that my kids will also get the same kind of values from me.
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:10 pm

LL, Yogi,

Do you see major differences between how Buddhism is understood and practiced in Western countries, compared to where you were born and raised?

For example, on a discussion forum such as this one, where the majority of members are probably Western-born and did not grow up in a Buddhist family -- does the approach to the dharma seem more or less the same? Or no?

Just wondering...
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby sethx10 » Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:18 pm

hello,

I was raised as a buddhist... as both of my parents were buddhists (Common! in sri lanka).. well yeah i was 'raised' as a buddhist but it didn't make a significant change in my life until i went and start learning more.. (and before that i was going against most of the 5 precepts ALTHOUGH I EXACTLY KNEW WHAT THEY MEANT) So when learning about Lord buddhas life and reading the sutras and reading about dharma and meditation.. It made me feel ashamed for what i've done (for the things even the modern society doesn't take as sins).. and when i came through psychological illnesses (not madness :D ) such as depression .. i found out that the Dharma was the only cure.. so as a brief

1) I started to have feelings of guilt for the sins ive done and I now fear to engage in sins
2) I started being aware of my feelings and actions more closely because i know that this is not the only life we're going to live on if we dont attain nibbana in this lifetime
3)I started believing that we are born as humans in this lifetime because we dont want to be born again

hope this helps in some way
see you soon :-)
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Re: Anyone here raised a Buddhist?

Postby Yogi » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:58 am

Hi Lazy Eye,
Well, I find that the buddhist here know more philosophy than the buddhist back home but when it comes to faith and the basic buddhist principles, there is a lot of difference.
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