Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Postby HealthWealthSelf » Wed May 19, 2010 7:27 am

Hello, I'm new to dharmawheel. I registered for the forums because I am trying to meet someone who would be willing to help set me up on my path to exploring Buddhism. Not just in exploring Buddhism but also in its values and in what I can do to be mindful of myself and others. I am unaware of anyone at least vaguely close to me who follows Buddhism or Zen. I do not even know of anyone who practices meditation.

A very important reason for my even reaching this point is that I had quite a number of life changing experiences between now and several years ago. Some of these experiences I now recognize, at least it seems to me to be this way, as spiritual ones. For me now things are fairly difficult and they have been so since high school, but I am still very young, I am only 19. I should be entering my Sophomore year of college this Fall but unfortunately I will have to make up a semester since I left the university which I was attending to come home, gather myself, and rethink my life.

To help you better understand my situation it is worth mentioning that my ways of critical thinking, socializing, analyzing, perceiving, and reacting to the world were all drastically changed by my introduction to existentialism, which were later attenuated by my thinking deeply about the naturalistic perspective.

I guess my journey starts after my reading of Albert Camus' The Stranger because this is when life seemed to get very negative, at least in my perception of it. I tried very hard to fight the negativity and depression, talking to people and reading more, and even though Albert Camus' Myth of Sisyphus contains a very positive take on life and one's freedom and individual self, I still have not managed to break free of my main problem. This problem which I have still yet to completely identify.. I have thought I had countless times but upon waking up the next day to be back in the loop I was once before. Constant introspective does not seem to make things better for me yet I do it ceaselessly and I sometimes feel like I will do nothing but think for the rest of my life. I do really feel that I deal with depression but rather confusion and indecisiveness and possibly anxiety although I am never physically anxious. But I also take into consideration that I have had difficulty with depression and anxiety my entire life; I have been seeing therapists since I was near 7 years old. Initially because of my anxiety and panic attacks, but now because I feel like I need someone to talk to about philosophy and life; so that I have someone to exchange thoughts with so that I am not just stuck with my own. Many things limit me in my every day life even though I am aware of the very many freedoms that I have as living being. I come to realizations very often but still fail to live confidently and with effort. It is somewhat difficult to describe myself at this moment because it is late, and I hope this will be sufficient.

I feel that I am a very deep individual and I am very compassionate although I may not always be able to express this. I would very much appreciate guidance from any experience practitioner regardless of their alleged sect. I have very little familiarity with Buddhism but as of now I will be exploring its values and teachings through books. Starting with Zen because I was given a book by D.T. Suzuki by my dad which in turn had been given to him by a friend. Thank you to anyone offering advice. Wish the best.
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Re: Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Postby Huifeng » Wed May 19, 2010 7:31 am

You may wish to check out this site, and see if you can find someone close to your home.
http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/
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Re: Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Postby Will » Wed May 19, 2010 6:00 pm

Where do you live, roughly speaking?
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Postby Luke » Thu May 20, 2010 2:59 pm

Hi HWS,

Those years around the end of high school and the beginning of college can be tough. I had a tough time as well around that time. Hang in there and remember that life can improve even if things are very difficult now.

I'm not qualified to be anyone's Buddhist teacher, but I'll give you a few of my thoughts (I practice Tibetan Buddhism, so my thoughts are from that perspective).

I think you're probably experiencing these difficulties as a result of negative karma created in past lives, so the way to counteract this is to create good karma. But take heart: the very fact that you are now interested in Buddhism is itself very good.

If you want to stop your constant internal dialogue and create good karma at the same time, you could try reciting the classic and powerful mantra OM MANI PADME HUM. Here's some info about it:
http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/mea ... e-hung.htm

Or if you feel you want to relate to a caring, enlightened, female bodhisattva try Tara's mantra OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA.
http://www.wildmind.org/mantras/figures/greentara

According to my lama, saying these mantras out loud purifies energies in both your mind and body.

I too know what you mean about wanting to help people, but being awkard when you do it. I'm still not very good at helping people, but I'm improving. Part of the reason I like teaching is that I feel I can help people as part of my daily work. My students have forced me to get rid of a lot of my awkwardness and have allowed me access a kinder side of myself.

But I think the important thing is to do something nice for others, even if it's very small. Give a homeless man a dollar, turn a beetle rightside up which is stuck on its back, take out the garbage for an elderly neighbor, help someone with some chores, drop some change in a donation box in a local church, etc. There's always something to do if you look. Spiritual practice isn't always exotic; sometimes simple everyday actions are the best way forward.

And when you feel it's the right time and you feel good about it, you could take refuge with any Buddhist priest in your area. Taking refuge with a Buddhist priest of a certain sect doesn't limit you to only following that sect, and taking refuge is an extremely positive action which you will benefit from in this life and in all your future ones.

I hope you will be able to create many blessings for yourself and others and overcome your difficulties.

:buddha1:
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Re: Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Postby HealthWealthSelf » Thu May 20, 2010 10:12 pm

Thank you all for the replies and thank you Luke for your blessings. I am from northern New Jersey and from what I have gathered the nearest refuge to my home is in upstate New York. I would like to go there but I am not ready to drop what I am currently doing right now; and that is preparing for school in the Fall, seeking a film or studio related job, and working on a documentary I have been imagining for some time.

Because I am very overwhelmed by everything it seems to me extremely difficult to get started in the direction of Buddhism, but I am going to go this weekend to a place close by that holds weekly meditation classes. I hope by doing this I will be at least taking a step towards a Buddhist community and I may meet people there who could help me further. Lastly, I am going to be tackling this very precisely rather than generally because when I ruminate about all the possibilities and paths I get stuck and unable to act. Engaging and doing seem to be better overall than thinking too much or too deeply.

Lately, my thoughts have been eased very slightly by my realizing that I have several friends who have very similar outlooks on the world as I do. And like me the change that occurred in their life was very sudden, without warning.

I have found there to be less answers than there are questions about our individual experiences. Is there anyone else here that would agree with me on this?
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Re: Searching for private teachings in Buddhism with someone

Postby Luke » Thu May 20, 2010 10:24 pm

HealthWealthSelf wrote:Thank you all for the replies and thank you Luke for your blessings. I am from northern New Jersey and from what I have gathered the nearest refuge to my home is in upstate New York. I would like to go there but I am not ready to drop what I am currently doing right now; and that is preparing for school in the Fall, seeking a film or studio related job, and working on a documentary I have been imagining for some time.

By "taking refuge," I just meant the ceremony by which one official becomes a Buddhist. It means symbolically taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The ceremony doesn't take very long, but has a great deal of significance and carries with it some responsibilities.

http://viewonbuddhism.org/refuge.html
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