Existential Issues

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Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:13 pm

Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:16 pm

ChangYuan wrote:Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


This seems to happen with a lot of people in the west. At least in older generations raised in Christianity. They might have take up Buddhism for many years, but revert back to Christianity for various reasons.

I think part of it has to do with the cultural support and normalcy that comes with one's original religion. A lot of Buddhist communities are geared towards one ethnic demographic and as an outsider you'll have a hell of a time fitting in unlike in a local church.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:31 pm

Huseng wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


This seems to happen with a lot of people in the west. At least in older generations raised in Christianity. They might have take up Buddhism for many years, but revert back to Christianity for various reasons.

I think part of it has to do with the cultural support and normalcy that comes with one's original religion. A lot of Buddhist communities are geared towards one ethnic demographic and as an outsider you'll have a hell of a time fitting in unlike in a local church.


That's a pretty accurate assessment. And even though I live in NYC, I still am having a hard time finding a Buddhist community that isn't a pain to get to as well. But every time I feel drawn back to my brainwashed childhood roots, luckily something happens to snap me back to the reality of why I never believed those things in the first place.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 15, 2011 5:39 pm

ChangYuan wrote:
Huseng wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


This seems to happen with a lot of people in the west. At least in older generations raised in Christianity. They might have take up Buddhism for many years, but revert back to Christianity for various reasons.

I think part of it has to do with the cultural support and normalcy that comes with one's original religion. A lot of Buddhist communities are geared towards one ethnic demographic and as an outsider you'll have a hell of a time fitting in unlike in a local church.


That's a pretty accurate assessment. And even though I live in NYC, I still am having a hard time finding a Buddhist community that isn't a pain to get to as well. But every time I feel drawn back to my brainwashed childhood roots, luckily something happens to snap me back to the reality of why I never believed those things in the first place.


Tibetan groups tend to be made up of locals, but judging from your username I suspect you're interested in Chinese Buddhism.

That's a tough nut to crack into unfortunately. Most Chinese temples are setup by and for Chinese people, not anyone else. They won't chase you away, but you're not really going to fit in if you're not Chinese.

Hopefully someone from your area of the world can advise you on where you might find a good community.

If you haven't checked them out already, both Dharma Drum Mountain and Foguangshan have temples in New York. They're both really really Chinese, but on the other hand they're actively trying to branch out into other cultures. You might have some luck with them.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:48 pm

I actually took refuge at Dharma Drum here in NYC. Sadly, it is a real pain to get there for me, so I am not able to make it there often. And the only group that is close, is an SGI group, of which I have heard many horror stories of SGI.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:09 pm

If you're talking about the SGI center on E 43rd, then... also relatively close to you might be:

http://www.meetup.com/Kundrolling-NY-Dzogchen-Community

http://rk-ny.org

just over the bridge in Brooklyn

http://jonang.org/about-2/brooklyn-ny


this is just working from memory. I'm certain that there are many others if we do a systematic search for you. Unless I'm mistaken on your location.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:17 pm

Jikan wrote:If you're talking about the SGI center on E 43rd, then... also relatively close to you might be:

http://www.meetup.com/Kundrolling-NY-Dzogchen-Community

http://rk-ny.org

just over the bridge in Brooklyn

http://jonang.org/about-2/brooklyn-ny


this is just working from memory. I'm certain that there are many others if we do a systematic search for you. Unless I'm mistaken on your location.


Actually, I am in Forest Hills in Queens.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:27 pm

Oh, OK. I found one nugget that might be of use; Dharma Drum evidently has an affiliate in Queens.

"Queens Contact: Amy Yoo
Tel:(H) (718) 461-0385"

I'll snoop around a bit later today.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:57 pm

Jikan wrote:Oh, OK. I found one nugget that might be of use; Dharma Drum evidently has an affiliate in Queens.

"Queens Contact: Amy Yoo
Tel:(H) (718) 461-0385"

I'll snoop around a bit later today.


Yeah, that is the place where I took refuge. Sadly they are a good distance away.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Jikan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:16 pm

How do you feel about Flushing? some leads there...

Maybe a better question: how far is a "good distance" for you? I'm asking because different people have different capacities for travel, different resources... many of us have in the past or still do travel extensively for teachings & fellowship.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Quiet Heart » Thu Jun 16, 2011 11:13 pm

:smile:
Relax, it's a normal thing, it happens all the time.
You were raised in a paticular culture and an assumed religious faith.
No one probably ever asked you whether you accepted that religion, you were just fed it from birth with your mother's milk (as it were).
Then at some point you went out into the world on your own. You made your own judgements including one on what you felt was your religion.
But you still had that cultural "baggage" you were given from birth. Later on, you began to doubt about your choice and when you began to doubt, you came back to your old pre-conditioning...your cultural baggage...womdering if that was the "real" answer.
The only answer, if there is an answer, is in your own heart and mimd. Only YOU can know what you think is best for you.
For that reason, you will have to make the choice of what you want as your religion or beliefs YOURSELF.
I was raised as a (Protestant) United Church of Christ follower...the pastor of my church lived in house not far from the Church I attended every Sunday as a child. My family just assumed that was what I would "be".
When I decided to go my own way, ending up as a Buddhist, they were dumbfounded...they just couldn't believe it.
Their doubts about my choice were passed on to me...are you SURE, they asked me?
Because they questioned my choice I began to doubt my own choice. In my enviroment Buddhisim was "wierd"...why couldn't I just be a "normal" Protestant Christian...like "everybody" in that town did.
It took me years to shed that "cultural bagggage" that I had grown up with from my childhood.
All I can tell you is to make YOUR decision based on what YOU feel is right in your heart and mind.
It isn't easy, but you have no other real choice. You must do what you yourself feel is right for you.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
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The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:50 am

ChangYuan wrote:
Jikan wrote:Oh, OK. I found one nugget that might be of use; Dharma Drum evidently has an affiliate in Queens.

"Queens Contact: Amy Yoo
Tel:(H) (718) 461-0385"

I'll snoop around a bit later today.


Yeah, that is the place where I took refuge. Sadly they are a good distance away.


I'm not trying to be a smart-aleck, but just hope to put things in perspective: you say the Dharma Drum center is "a good distance away," but they are in Queens and you are in Queens. For me, my main teachers are in upstate NY, and I am in Southern Oregon. Surely it can't be THAT hard to make it across Queens if you want to learn the Dharma and connect with your Buddhist community?
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:49 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:
Jikan wrote:Oh, OK. I found one nugget that might be of use; Dharma Drum evidently has an affiliate in Queens.

"Queens Contact: Amy Yoo
Tel:(H) (718) 461-0385"

I'll snoop around a bit later today.


Yeah, that is the place where I took refuge. Sadly they are a good distance away.


I'm not trying to be a smart-aleck, but just hope to put things in perspective: you say the Dharma Drum center is "a good distance away," but they are in Queens and you are in Queens. For me, my main teachers are in upstate NY, and I am in Southern Oregon. Surely it can't be THAT hard to make it across Queens if you want to learn the Dharma and connect with your Buddhist community?


Right, I understand that some people go through that kind of thing as well. But, having twin 14 yr olds with autism, routine is very important, and time is a rather precious commodity. Granted its only an hours travel to get there, those 2 hours of travel are hard to lose.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:18 am

ChangYuan wrote:Right, I understand that some people go through that kind of thing as well. But, having twin 14 yr olds with autism, routine is very important, and time is a rather precious commodity. Granted its only an hours travel to get there, those 2 hours of travel are hard to lose.


Ahhh, gotcha. Well, in that case, with such formidable responsibilities and challenges, I have to commend you for having such drive to learn and practice the Dharma and to participate in your Buddhist community. My hat's off to you and I hope you're able to connect with a center and community that is within a more doable distance and that you click well with.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Nosta » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:20 pm

I think i suffered a little with that problem when i was younger (15-18 years maybe), but in my mind the touble was not that big enough because i would try to "give hands" with buddhism and chatolic church. Then, as my knowledge of buddhism grew, i would let more and more my old religion.

Sometimes i feel that it would be much more easy to have a God who simply would save us after we die. It's much more better to imagine that after dying i will be side by side with all deceased family and friends.

With buddhism, one must face what really happens: if a friend of yours dies, he/she will rebirth again somewhere but you may never see them again: one may reborn on a paradise and others on other paradise or planet, or hell, etc...possibilitys are so big that one can be sure that finding someone is almost impossible. For such reasons i believe that buddhism is a religion for people with courage.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Aemilius » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:11 pm

ChangYuan wrote:Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


I feel like reverting back to true atheism. You see what I mean?
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby meiji1 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:12 pm

Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


I have no regrets whatsoever about leaving Catholicism at a young age, not being confirmed, etc. It was a very happy and positive thing from as early as I can remember up to about when I was 12 years old. I remember thinking then that the moral tenets of Catholicism were all well and fine, but I was incredulous that anyone could seriously believe in the need for a savior. If God is all-powerful and loves us, why doesn't he just redeem everyone unconditionally, whether they accept Jesus or not? The core tenets of Christianity make absolutely no sense to me.

After that I got to junior high and had some really unpleasant encounters with the Catholic zealots in the faculty.. up to that point, all the teachers I had had were very easygoing, happy people. I lapsed into atheism for about 12+ years before hesitantly becoming Buddhist.

But then I'm completely focused on whatever's appropriate for me. You sound like you're trying to please someone else. It helps to view the religion of your youth as a silly or bad thing, I think...
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Paul » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:20 pm

meiji1 wrote:The core tenets of Christianity make absolutely no sense to me.


Same here. I still have a very strong attraction to Catholicism for some reason. I've never been Catholic - never even been in a Catholic Church or spoken to a priest.

I just think it's some old karma from many lifetimes ago. If this is the case, then how much stronger influence must a person's previous religion have over them? :shrug:
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All that you take pleasure in will strengthen the awakened state.
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The training now is simply this: lets your six senses be at ease and free." - Princess Parani
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby meiji1 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:30 pm

Hayagriva wrote:If this is the case, then how much stronger influence must a person's previous religion have over them?


I think a lot of that is cultural and not just karmic (of course, the culture you're born into also has to do with karma.. but we all know that :P). A lot of people I know whose parents were immigrants would certainly think twice before rejecting their parents' religion or leaving it for another one. For those of us raised under standard individualistic western values though, especially with younger people (I'm 28), few of us would so much as think twice..
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:36 pm

Aemilius wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


I feel like reverting back to true atheism. You see what I mean?


What I mean is that in my youth, at school on history lessons and on my own, I was introduced to european filosophers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Bertrand Russel, Thomas Moore, Niezsche, Hegel, and so on... and the Buddha was introduced as one who belonged to this same line of atheist and rationalistic thinkers and philosophers, this was normal in 1960's and 1970's. Although people were aware that buddhism exists as a religion, it didn't hinder you from seeing His message in this manner and in this light.
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