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Lifestyle - it takes a village... => Experiences of everyday life => Topic started by: kiranraj on January 05, 2010, 07:07:19 am

Title: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: kiranraj on January 05, 2010, 07:07:19 am
My Way to Dhamma

My name is Kiranraj, a 24 yr old guy living in Bangalore, India. Although India is the Land where Buddhism was born 2500 yrs ago or rather should I say from where Buddha started teaching dhamma? (Since Dhamma is for the Benefit of All Beings and I feel that this ‘ism’ creates a barrier & narrows it down). I was born in a Hindu Family and All I knew of Buddha was through the stories of Angulimala in our school texts.

I Believe when the wheel of Dhamma was turned in india, most of the Indians followed it, Millions of them practiced it in there daily lives of Sila (morality)-Samadhi(Concentration of Mind)-Panya(Experiential Wisdom) (Dhamma)(Mainly Vipassana Meditation) and benefited because of it. But now not many of the 1 Billion+ Indians practice it, although it’s catching up now. Apart from the intellectual understanding it’s the practical application in our daily lives that gives the maximum benefit.

Still lot of contrasts exist in India even today from the wide extremes of Self-torture which the was condemned by Gautama Buddha to superstitious beliefs these exist even today.

So it is fortunate for me, that I came in touch with Dhamma at an early age in life & here’s how it happened I believe I was around 18-19 when I was seeking intellectual answers to Ultimate Questions of Life. What is the Right and what is wrong? I was like a fish out of water looking for answers.

And One Day it so happened that I opened my Study Table’s Drawer and got this book and had no idea as to how it had gone in there, since my mother was a teacher she used to bring books to home and it seems that it was one of those books and had found a way into my drawer and this was the book “The Greatest man who ever lived-The Supreme Buddha” by Ven WeraGoda Sarada Maha Thero published by Singapore Buddhist Meditation centre and I still treasure this book. And I loved this book and was absorbed into it. And I liked Kalama sutta very much.

I am not sure which of these happened first but this had a major impact on my life, my grandfather passed away just the day before, I had sat along with him in front of the house watching by the roadside and I massaging his shoulders and he was explaining to me how he could have died the day before because of pain in heart, Since He had undergone an open heart surgery 10 yrs prior to this but I didn’t take it seriously and walked back to my home without turning back but something was telling me I might not see him again and this maybe because my mother had said she had seen her father die in her dream.

But just the next day he was dead and I don’t know how to express how I felt, and then it’s kind of a ritual in the family that once they are dead a non-vegetarian meal should be provided after these many days of death and when I ate it again I don’t know how to express but was feeling sad for the animals and this was my last non-veg meal and it made me convert into a vegetarian and till now Iam a Vegetarian and will be for the rest of my Life.

Then I started to read more, get more info on Buddhism and the more I read the more I loved it. I usually used to read at accesstoinsight.org or Buddha net and then one guy on the net had put an ad asking if anybody could help with there website incrediblebuddha.com and I immediately sent him an email that I could help and then I used to sit hours in front of my computer trying to convert most of the info available (Tipitaka-The three baskets-45 yrs of teachings of Buddha) in English into e-books and converted most of those and put them on the website.

And sometimes I didn’t like that Buddhism had turned into so many forms like Theravada, Hinyana, Zen, and Mahayana etc… I wanted to follow Buddhism in its purest form just as Buddha had taught it and was amazed to see diff sects in Buddhism too. Although it’s a long time of 2500 yrs of history no wonder people had changed it into what they liked. I had a strong feeling to follow the words of Buddha in its pristine purity again looking for answers and iam glad I did.

Meanwhile I started to look out for meditation retreats and found about dhamma.org from an article on rediff.com and Buddhism community on orkut and also got myself involved in forum chats on e-sangha.com and then did my first 10 day Vipassana Meditation retreat of my Beloved teacher S.N Goenka during August of 2008 and since then taken another 10 day and a three day and numerous one day course including 1 one day course held at Global Pagoda, Mumbai. And I feel blessed to have done so, truly it’s a Blessing!

I hope to walk on the path of Dhamma and make my meditation practice stronger and stronger to reach Nirvana and Help as many beings as possible along the way towards Nirvana.

Metta

May All Beings be Happy :-)

P.S: Share-YoUR Way towards Dhamma :-)
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on January 05, 2010, 07:45:56 am
Thank you for sharing some of the intimate details of your path, Kiranraj.

Death of a loved one, my first wife, was also a significant factor in my decision to abandon The Abrahemic Religions for Buddhism.  Like yourself, I was attracted to the literature of The Tipitaka.  I wasn't taken too much aback by the diversity and number of branches and schools of Buddhism, because I am drawn to diversity of thought and believe that we are much like the three blind men discussed in the old Indian parable, who discovered different parts of the same elephant.  Like these blind men we profit most by listening as our associates share their experiences and also remaining willing to share ours.  By integrating our experiences we gain a better view of the total picture of reality.  The danger of course as Buddha warns is becoming attached to the delusion that our view is the correct and/or only one.  Fact is that there are as many views of reality as there are steradians* from which to gain perspective.

*note:  
Quote
steâ‹…raâ‹…diâ‹…an  /stəˈreɪdiÉ™n/  Show Spelled Pronunciation [stuh-rey-dee-uhn]  â€“noun Geometry. a solid angle at the center of a sphere subtending a section on the surface equal in area to the square of the radius of the sphere. Abbreviation: sr
    


reference:  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/steradian

My daily practice is in accordance with an old zen proverb:

Study,
Meditate,
& Chop Wood.


Thanks for starting this very interesting thread and for your candid sharing.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Wonky Badger on January 06, 2010, 01:46:49 am
Some years back I was browsing through the old books at a local second hand shop. I found a pocket book about Zen and probably just bought it because I associated it with Japan which I have had a slightly unhealthy affection for since young years. The book ended up in my bookshelf for a few years.

Then, during summer 2008 I was very stressed and didn't feel very well, so I decided to try meditation to relieve it. I knew that Zen was about meditation, so picked up the book and started reading. It was "The Way of Zen" by Alan Watts. It made sense to me, so I searched the net for more. I found a series of lectures by Alan Watts in mp3 format, I read what Zen books I could find at the library, I started buying Zen books.

As a hardcore atheist of many years, I had a short spiritual crisis during which I found my way to e-sangha for support.

Before long I started exploring other traditions of Buddhism. When e-sangha collapsed, so did my practice. I tried to find substitutes but didn't find any. What I did find was other's roaming around the net just as rootless as I was. So since e-sangha didn't seem to be coming back, I decided to try to create a new forum. It seems to have worked. :) :buddha:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: kiranraj on January 06, 2010, 08:27:46 pm
 :anjali: Absolutely Wonky, you have done a great Job!

I believe through this you have done a gr8 deal of Good Merit

May this site help people along the path of dhamma, May more and more people find it and strengthen there practice of meditation n may they all be riveted in Sila (morality), Samadhi (concentration of mind) and panya (wisdom) and may it not be attacked by hackers or suffer the fate of esangha or BC

May All beings be Happy

Metta  :)
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Karma Sonam on January 09, 2010, 02:18:56 pm
I never imagined I would become a buddhist, when I was a child I was quite a strong christian!  Looking back though, I think very subtly, my lapsed Catholic mother was pushing me intentionally or not towards it with what I thought were stupid questions at the time (turned out they were koans).  Went to Tahiland and visited Wats etc, felt no connection.  Went to India - Rumtek - and felt like I had come home.  Came back to the UK and was looking for a centre and saw an ad in a magazine for Samye Ling.  Took some teachings there.  Moved to Cornwall and found a buddhist group that was mainly Theravadan.  Couldn't settle, then by chance found a tiny Kagyu group.  Never looked back.
 :)
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on January 09, 2010, 03:56:40 pm
Even though I practice in Nyingma school, I feel a strong draw and calling to Kagyu (not exactly a huge stretch off from Nyingma).  I've been told that TBs can practice two lineages, that would be interesting. That's about as much as I feel comfortable disclosing about that.  :gawrsh:

I have a feeling that if I go on the path I'm going I'll go towards Vajrayana, but I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, if I'm ready for it, or cut out for it, or if there may be a more suited path.  In any case, I don't worry about it too much I trust myself and the process, I'm sure I will go where I need to to wake up more and be a more constructive human being.  I wish they gave degrees in that... and that you could make a living DOING nothing but that.  After many years of practice and study, I could say, I have a PhD in Human Skillfulness with a focus on Interbeing Relations and an emphasis in Grief and Compassion Studies from Samsara University.  Then I'd be cool.

 :headbow:
Ogyen.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Monkey Mind on January 09, 2010, 10:08:13 pm
All right, I have shared most of this in different posts, but here is the consolidated version.

I grew up in what they call "Bible Belt" America. There were more Christian churches in my hometown then there were schools, and if you did the math the churches were disproportionate to the population. (The only explanation that makes sense is that people must have been "double dipping", i.e. going to Pentecostal church on Saturdays and Baptist church on Sundays.) I was a gay teenager, and decidedly anti-Christian. On television I saw a tele-evangelist, who stated that "[sic] Buddha was a homosexual, and Buddhism is a religion of homosexuals." Well that caught my attention, so I marched down to the library and read any books I could find about Buddhism. I visited local "New Age" bookstores, to learn more about Buddhism. When I was 18, I met some "real" Buddhists who informed me that a lot of the New Age stuff was misinformed. When I started university, I majored in Psychology and minored in Buddhist Studies. First of all, I saw a lot of parallels between neurocognitive psychology and the teachings of Buddhism. The other thing, in my Buddhist studies class I had the opportunity to earn "extra credit" if I joined a local Buddhist group and wrote a report about my experiences. There were many Buddhist groups on campus, and to facilitate my decision making process the Buddhist Studies program hosted a Buddhism Fair, and all the local groups had booths and passed out literature. In the classroom, we read a smorgasbord of Buddhist literature, from the Dhammapada to the Lotus Sutra and the teachings of Dogen. Reading the Dhammapada changed my life, whereas I had a difficult time understanding the Mahayana teachings. So I joined the local Theravada Dhamma study and discussion group. The group was pretty informal, but just by coincidence a nun from Burma (was it Myanmar then?) was the teaching assistant for my class, and she sat in the group as an adviser. She was in the States completing her graduate education. She was my first Dhamma teacher.

A couple of years later I moved across country. All of the Theravadan Sanghas I could find were built around immigrants from Laos or Cambodia, and teachings were in the languages native to those people. Through my martial arts affiliations, many of my friends were Zen practitioners, so I attended Dharma talks in Zen communities, and I followed the Theravadan guidance for "Buddhists living in non-Buddhist lands". Many years went by, sometimes my practice was energetic and sometimes it was lax, while I completed school and worked jobs and fell in love, etc.

A couple of years ago I met a friend whose Buddhist practice frightened me. He is a devotee to a rather controversial Japanese group. My friend's practice, which I perceived as weird, inspired a revival of my own practice and I sought out Sangha. In my community there are several dozens of Mahayana groups, and 3 Theravadan groups: a Thai Forest group, a lay practice group of Burmese lineage, and a Goenka retreat center if I was willing to travel. After visiting them all, I opted for the Goenka tradition. I also attend a pan-Buddhist group hosted by a local Soto Zen Sangha. At least some of my college education occurred via on-line programs, so I was also attracted to E-Sangha, which led me to Buddhist-Community.com, which led me here.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: kiranraj on January 11, 2010, 03:51:20 am
 :anjali: Wow...Thank you Dhamma Friends...for sharing your stories

Hope it inspires more people to walk on the path of Dhamma

I would love everyone anywhere in the world to go to a 10 day meditation retreat and its FREE

Find a center near your city www.dhamma.org

Keep posting guys  :dharma:

Metta  :)
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Resident on February 05, 2010, 11:41:46 pm
I was very glad to read about the paths of others. Its great to see how diverse everyone's experience is.

I hope this thread will grow.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: santamonicacj on February 06, 2010, 12:26:54 am
I grew up in a Jewish area and as a child I could not believe that an all powerful benevolent God could have allowed the Holocaust. End of Christianity.

In the late '60s I added psychedelics to adolescence and became really confused. Confusion is painful. That means looking for answers.

Flash forward to my early 20s. My roommate had avoided a psychotic break by becoming a Sufi (New Age version). Sufis honor all traditions and he hosted a Tibetan Lama's talk in our town. I went to the talk out of friendship only. The lama spoke about spontaneity, authenticity and a bunch of stuff that interested me but was not like anything really 'Buddhist'. I decided to join the Buddhist group in town so when that lama came back next time I'd be able to spend some serious time with him. I helped organize other lamas to come to the center and talk but I wasn't interested in what they had to say because they were all traditional. I wanted to see the first guy. But he didn't come back for two years. After a while I met enough other lamas that I got interested in the traditional approach.

Then I decided the path was too difficult. But that's another couple of stories...
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Caz on February 20, 2010, 01:08:39 pm
I here many people talk about authentic Dharma the original Dharma Buddha taught, It is difficult to proscribe this original Dharma, As Dharma is constantly changing to meet the needs of samsaric patients  :buddha:
The Dharma which is good is Dharma which controls the mind and makes it more peaceful and subdued and then helps one progress through the stages of the path.
What i practise, or what i try to practise is kadampa buddhism, It is the path i have been raised in and have a very good karmic connection to.
Buddha gave many teachings to help pacify the mind it is just finding the ones that are proscribed for you.

Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: katersy on February 27, 2010, 04:23:04 am
This is a nice thread indeed. It's good to see that people are part of different traditions and have had totally different introductions to Buddhism.

When I was 18 or 19 I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and was fascinated by it. I'm not really sure how much of it has to do with Buddhism and how much of it has to do with the author's mental breakdown, but it was that book that introduced me to Buddhism!

So I bought a few books, including Buddhism: Plain and Simple by Steve Hagen, Buddhism Without Beliefs by Stephen Batchelor, and The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. The first two books really got me, and I was totally hooked!

Things went downhill for me after this time. I was in my first year at university, very homesick and lonely, and was really searching for answers to life's questions. Unfortunately, this combined with a touch of obsessive compulsive disorder, severe anxiety and a depressive temperament brought me dooowwwwwwn. I read and read, and thought and thought, and obsessed and obsessed, and didn't ever practise any meditation, and I nearly had a mental collapse. Thankfully, though, I recovered from that and stopped reading about Buddhism and put the search for the meaning of life on hold!

Last year, I was living in Poland and met some meditation teachers who are part of the Western Buddhist Order. I became good friends with one of them, and went along to meditation classes. This was great, and this was my real introduction to meditation. I've been meditating pretty regularly since then, and I've had a daily practice for the last few months.

Lately, whether because of more uncertainty about my future, loneliness or I don't know what, I've had a slight re-lapse of that original crisis that occurred in my early days of discovering Buddhism. I've been obsessing about things, constantly contemplating, worrying, analysing, philosophising things to death, etc. However, because I'm older than I was then, and I perhaps also because of my meditation practice, I've dealt with this crisis better than the first time. I've had some pretty grim moments, to be honest, and at one point became suicidal, which really disturbed me.

So - I dunno - it's all mixed up with my emotional / mental issues, and it's challenging, to say the least.

So who knows where this path will lead me. I've got one foot on it at the moment, and am anxiously looking over my shoulder a lot of the time.

I'll keep you informed  :pray:

Lovely to hear your stories.

Katy
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on February 27, 2010, 11:06:05 am
Hi, Katersy.  18 or 19, huh?  Was that last summer? :D

What I do when my mind gets overly busy is just observe.  Don't interfear with things.  Just observe.  Listen to the breath.  Let go.

The mental dissonance comes with attempts to control.  Control is not possible.  The only thing we can truly control is our willingness to let go....and sometimes not even that.

Be at peace.   :anjali:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: katersy on February 27, 2010, 11:32:14 am
Hi, Katersy.  18 or 19, huh?  Was that last summer? :D

What I do when my mind gets overly busy is just observe.  Don't interfear with things.  Just observe.  Listen to the breath.  Let go.

The mental dissonance comes with attempts to control.  Control is not possible.  The only thing we can truly control is our willingness to let go....and sometimes not even that.

Be at peace.   :anjali:

18 or 19 last summer? unfortunately not, ron! i'm 25, if you wanted to know.

thanks for your kind words (the other ones)    :teehee:

katy
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Michael_S on March 02, 2010, 05:08:22 am
My own experience of the Dhamma was propelled by my wife's illness. She had stage 3 breast
cancer and we went through a year together of absolutely difficult treatments that effected her
quite badly. Her suffering, and mine (derived from watching her) led me to the answer to suffering,
which is the eightfold path.

Like others, I became very distraught in the midst of this ongoing crisis and became self-destructive.
How much horror can one witness? How can we see the ones we love in such terror and pain?
My ability to be compassionate towards her (and myself) was greatly increased. At the same time,
my clinging or attachment to the idea that all things last forever was faced and accepted. I now live
in the moment as much as possible and understand that is all we really have.
Metta

Michael
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on March 02, 2010, 06:32:39 am
Hey, Michael.

Looks like we have followed a similar path.  Glad you found your way.

_/\_Ron

My own experience of the Dhamma was propelled by my wife's illness. She had stage 3 breast
cancer and we went through a year together of absolutely difficult treatments that effected her
quite badly. Her suffering, and mine (derived from watching her) led me to the answer to suffering,
which is the eightfold path.

Like others, I became very distraught in the midst of this ongoing crisis and became self-destructive.
How much horror can one witness? How can we see the ones we love in such terror and pain?
My ability to be compassionate towards her (and myself) was greatly increased. At the same time,
my clinging or attachment to the idea that all things last forever was faced and accepted. I now live
in the moment as much as possible and understand that is all we really have.
Metta

Michael
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Michael_S on March 02, 2010, 12:24:07 pm
Glad you understand this, Ron.
We all can find our way, I hope.
I take this as more than an intellectual exercise.
It is very personal, and ultimately the most effective
thing I could have done for both of us.
Metta

Mike S
Title: A long,winding Path
Post by: Quiet Heart on March 06, 2010, 02:59:05 pm
 ;D
I first came to Zen Buddhisim in 1960's attending University. It was more of the anti-authoritarian thing at the time. I was raised in a Christain home, and remember being "re-born into Christ" when I was a child.
In my teenage years I grew dissatisfied with that lifestyle and his well ordained and set answers to everything. Zen was my way out of the everday normal Christian life I was expected to live.
After I left university and went to work my life became dominated by wife/familiy/job and I paid little attention to Zen.
I gradually became dissatisfied with that life. I began studying Taoism, and taoist philosophy. A lot of things I had found puzzeling before began to make since to me through that study of Taoism. I went back to Zen, and with my study of Taoism I began to see parralels between Zen and Taoist philosophy.
I used to have anger management problems, and my study of Zen Buddhisim has taught me to overcome that anger, and learn to be quiet and calm in my life.
I am more attracted to the intellectual side of Zen. I don't "practice" as such. I feel that for a true Zen student, one's life should be not be different from one's "practice" of Zen and Buddhisim. So the concept of a time and place to "practice" Buddhisim apart from everday life is a mistake in my opinion. They should be one and the same.
It has been a long a winding path. It has taken me 64 years to get there, but the journey, no matter how long and winding, was worth it.

 :gawrsh:

Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Michael_S on March 06, 2010, 06:40:54 pm
Well said, quiet heart. My 62 years have also been a journey.
Metta to you and your path.
mike
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Webgoji on March 18, 2010, 01:43:35 pm
I was born and raised Christian.  As I grew older, I broadened my study into the root texts upon which the Christian Bible is derived.  These studies revealed issues that are irrelevant here, but that caused me to become disillusioned with information provided in the Bible.  Then to top it off, when we moved to Wichita, Kansas, we couldn't find a Church, not because of a difference in beliefs (that was it's own set of arguments), but couldn't afford to go to the churches here.  (At $300 a month we just couldn't swing it.)  Along with these issues, I was growing more and more unhappy day by day.  After throwing my hands up and exclaiming that I couldn't afford to pay Jesus to love me, my wife suggested we try Buddhism.

2 years later I'm a senior Foundation Program student at our center and becoming more happy every day.  Man Samsara is a crazy.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: catmoon on March 18, 2010, 05:53:27 pm
    One day I was lying in my favorite sunbeam, when it occurred to me I didn't really know the scratching post was there. All I really knew was there was this perception of a scratching post. So I said to myself "What perfectly idiotic thought" and took a nap. I was awakened by someone tickling me behind the ears, which is what people really should do more. I was just getting into it when the scritching stopped, which was really irritating. I was pondering the general uselessness of humanity when something occurred to me that made my whiskers stand on end. "Maybe", I thought, "The reason the scritching stopped was because people are not just mindless automatons. Maybe in some way they are dimly aware of themselves and decide to do other things".
   I decided to try an experiment. Late at night I hopped up on the bed and whapped the Food Monkey in the head few times. To my amazement she leaped out of bed flailing around and yelling - exactly as if she were a conscious being! Well it could just have been a fluke, so that night I slept under the bed and waited for ankles to appear in the morning. This time I gave the Food Human the works, teeth, claws, everything. And again she reacted almost as if she could feel pain.
   So there I was, confronted by the conundrum. A perfectly useful service device, obviously provided solely for my benefit, was clearly acting as though it had the rudiments of consciousness!

   This had to be investigated. But how? How can one hope to make contact with another being, let alone a Food Monkey? Much as I am averse to socializing, I decided to visit the temple across the back alley and speak to Ming, the old Siamese who lives there. Ming is clearly an advanced being, for I have seen him sit in the temple while hundreds of Food Monkeys bowed and sung chants for him.

  I found him sitting in a brilliant sunbeam before the big Food Monkey statue. The Food Monkeys had left food there  (I guess that's all they know how to do) but nothing a civilised cat would touch. I gave it all a sniff anyhow just to be polite and drank a little water.


to be continued shortly...
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: catmoon on March 18, 2010, 06:26:16 pm
     Ming ignored me politely and so I took a spot in the next sunbeam over and washed a paw. Acknowledging the traditional greeting, he nodded slowly. It was time to ask The Question.

    "Ming", I asked, "Is it possible the Food Monkeys are conscious in some way? Do they actually think?"

    Ming turned his head and nodded again. "Yes. Sometimes they do."

    Well of course I sat there in shock for quite a while, flabbergasted.

    Finally he continued, "Most of the time, they think like, well, monkeys. But sometimes they actually think. And the result of that thinking is the temple you see around you. The monkeys built it."

    Stunned silence again. Monkeys making things! Impossible!

    "You see, they make the buildings all around us, they grow the food we eat, they build the beds we sleep on, they even make the scratching posts we love so much."

    I had to ask. "Have you actually seen them do these things?"

    Ming just nodded again. "Not only that. I have watched them many years. Some among them are sufficiently enlightened that they feel compassion, not just for each other, but for birds and mice, trees and forests, and also you and I. There is one that comes each day and one day she brought the very cushion I sit on, because she knows I am old and my arthritis acts up now and then."

   My mind reeled. If something as ugly, as pointless, as smelly, loud and all-round unpleasant as a Food Monkey could be conscious.. then ... then anything could be conscious!

   "Let me tell you a story", said Ming, "about a Food Monkey that lived long long ago. He was a prince in a far off land called India..."


    And that was the beginning of my path.
   
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Caz on March 18, 2010, 10:21:05 pm
     Ming ignored me politely and so I took a spot in the next sunbeam over and washed a paw. Acknowledging the traditional greeting, he nodded slowly. It was time to ask The Question.

    "Ming", I asked, "Is it possible the Food Monkeys are conscious in some way? Do they actually think?"

    Ming turned his head and nodded again. "Yes. Sometimes they do."

    Well of course I sat there in shock for quite a while, flabbergasted.

    Finally he continued, "Most of the time, they think like, well, monkeys. But sometimes they actually think. And the result of that thinking is the temple you see around you. The monkeys built it."

    Stunned silence again. Monkeys making things! Impossible!

    "You see, they make the buildings all around us, they grow the food we eat, they build the beds we sleep on, they even make the scratching posts we love so much."

    I had to ask. "Have you actually seen them do these things?"

    Ming just nodded again. "Not only that. I have watched them many years. Some among them are sufficiently enlightened that they feel compassion, not just for each other, but for birds and mice, trees and forests, and also you and I. There is one that comes each day and one day she brought the very cushion I sit on, because she knows I am old and my arthritis acts up now and then."

   My mind reeled. If something as ugly, as pointless, as smelly, loud and all-round unpleasant as a Food Monkey could be conscious.. then ... then anything could be conscious!

   "Let me tell you a story", said Ming, "about a Food Monkey that lived long long ago. He was a prince in a far off land called India..."


    And that was the beginning of my path.
   

Nice story !  :teehee:

 :pray:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Boodust on March 28, 2010, 04:24:01 pm
 :namaste:

I loved your story, catmoon. Even my food-puppy liked your story. :clapping:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: kerby on March 29, 2010, 07:46:57 pm
I went to various Christian churches growing up but it just didn't make much sense to me.
Their God had all of these human emotions. Man created God in his own image. This was all I could come up with. When I was about 15 years old I read a book on Buddhism and knew then that is what I believed. It made sense. We have to change from within. I was thinking about practicing Tibetan Buddhism many years ago when a lady I worked with called someone to take me to a meeting. It was then called NSA and they whisked me off to get what they call a Gohonzon [scroll]. It never seemed like what I was looking for and they were very aggresive about getting you to meetings. Somehow I stayed with them for several years in spite of my feelings. I finally decided I was going to practice what I was always drawn to, which is Vajrayana. I started as a Nyingma practicioner [Nyingmapa] and later started practicing in the Gelug tradition because it was just easier for me to get to the Gelug Dharma center. I am very happy with my practice and my life reflects this. I also feel very fortunate that we have this wonderful forum. All the best to all of you.
Take gentle care. :grouphug:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on March 31, 2010, 01:18:06 pm
My own personal story is a bit different, but like you, I became extremely self destructive because how MUCH horror can one witness before one just breaks.  

I was born in a cult, have witnessed probably close to every type atrocity imaginable towards children, women and young men.  Every other childhood friend I had is dead by either drugs, suicide, or unknown causes.  I have been forced to watch the withering minds of small children while grown people annihilated every part of those children that could feel goodness.  One could call it an amputation of the mind.  I was also one of many who were exploited for child labor, as well as trained and used for children's music/art for learning programs.  We were also used to be recruiters for more cult members.  Child labor proved especially useful in the solicitation of goods and funds.  People have a lot more sympathy for you when you are toting 4 gorgeous clean well behaved children whom are just adorable and trained to be such.  Manipulation becomes your second name when you grow up in a weird surreal 1984, but experience it as a child, in a Lord of the Flies kind of hierarchy among the many children.  Mothers were forbidden birth control, so they were spitting out babies every time they were commanded to have sex with whomever.  I like many other of my peers also underwent mental, physical, and sexual torture.  And a handful of us survived from the ongoing nightmare that became our subsequent life.  And I survived.  Or rather, whatever was left of this constructed "self".  I, like many of my childhood peers, experienced many counts of assault, rape, and witnessed firsthand the destruction of my "self."  We who have survived this cult have been compared to concentration camp survivors by sociologists who have studied the aftermath of this destructive movement.  I had the fortune of bonding with my first elementary school teacher who became like a mother to me, and indirectly taught me the dharma without ever using dharma language, but using a real humanitarian base for all her values.  I found the model I wanted to reflect when I met her at 8 years of age.  I'd been exposed to the dharma a fair deal in India and Nepal.  Some of my earliest memories of my interactions are with Buddhists, and every -ist you can name that exists in India (our Indian membership here can relate I'm sure :) ) and a large base of Hindu gods.  

My family is broken, traumatized, it's a story as common as a penny.  Millions of people have this part of the story: suffering, more suffering, tragedy, karma, more suffering, rinse wash repeat.  Incidentally, via the heat of years of intense mental agony (I'm ok, now, btw) I have verified for myself the absence of any real self.  I have lived intimately with the reality of the self being an outfit you slip on that has preferences and opinions, but really that is not the primal mind part.  That's just the superficial portion of mind.  After years of therapy I came to understand that it's just the constructs of conditioning that get crushed, but experiencing-awareness part of perception stays.  I discovered this around the age of 6 after my first time being tortured.  The pain was so much "I" left.  At 13, I left the cult after having lived in countries like India, Nepal, Italy, Germany, etc.  I am half Indian half Italian, but once I left India I lost touch with most of what I'd been exposed to while there.  

I grew up in Italy and then in the US, put myself through college because my family couldn't afford anything.  The state fortunately had grants for people like me, the "underprivileged", those who were in the dregs of society.  So I worked hard, and got through college, then took opportunities into my present career.  Today I'm a strong survivor, happy thriving mother of a beautiful girl and married to a great husband blessed with a good career, health (for the most part).  I could not have asked for more from my lucky stars, and I feel only that all that suffering was worth this depth and love I have for the human heart.   I trust people more because of their weaknesses and uglies.  It is only because of the mud being so mud that the lotus is so lotusy.  I find every part of humanity precious to pay attention and learn from.  I love life more than ever, and yet am the most comfortable with my impermanence than I've ever been.  This does not mean I'm fully comfortable with all aspects of impermanence, just that I've come this far and not gone back.  And will continue.

Many survivors carry a great deal of shame around having been consistently victimized for years.  I have worked hard to get through my shame and since taking refuge have grown proud of standing and wading through the pain that allowed the unfolding of my understanding, while I do not wish it upon any person to ever experience that degree of horror, I also see its value in my own story of survival and the recapturing of my joy of life.  While many of my friends did not survive, I have committed myself to also be the voice for those who can no longer speak by taking on the responsibility to be that compassion that we didn't receive earlier in our lives.  That is the aim, to live every present moment with the most mindfulness possible.  It's not a perfect process, and I drop many balls, but if I had to tell you where the compass pointed all along I'd have to say it was to the dharma.  The more I live it, the more I am the vehicle for kindness to my fellow man.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you.
 :headbow:
Ogyen.
Like others, I became very distraught in the midst of this ongoing crisis and became self-destructive.
How much horror can one witness? How can we see the ones we love in such terror and pain?
My ability to be compassionate towards her (and myself) was greatly increased. At the same time,
my clinging or attachment to the idea that all things last forever was faced and accepted. I now live
in the moment as much as possible and understand that is all we really have.
Metta

Michael
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: TongueTied on April 04, 2010, 11:59:02 am
I was 22 years old, destined for a life of academic mediocrity.  I was as non-spiritual as people can possibly be.  I even held spirituality in conceit.  How can people believe in such silly crap?

One night, during a dream, I accidentally tripped over the "perfect moment".  It was incomparably preferable to anything I knew was possible.  And it made no sense within the realm of what I knew was possible.  I decided that if I had to choose between living a long, reasonably happy life, and experiencing that for just five more minutes and then dying, I would surely choose the latter.

My entire value system was instantly undermined.  Nothing could be worthwhile in comparison to that.  I could no longer see a point in letting my life continue as it was.  Life became confusing.

Somehow I knew that the way to get back there was to stop all perception.  I didn't, nor do I now, quite know what that meant.

My experience reminded me vaguely of something called "nirvana" which I had heard about in middle school.  I began experimenting with meditation.  Unfortunately, I did not take it very seriously.  I got swept back into mundane life, meditating on and off casually, not caring much for technique or discipline.

Eventually I took a serious interest in Buddhism and brought discipline to my meditation practice.  I only wish I had done so earlier.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Spiny Norman on April 07, 2010, 03:27:12 am
Roman Catholic, Atheist, Communist, Anarchist, Humanist, Buddhist.

Do I win a prize? :lmfao:

Spiny
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: dhammaseeker51 on April 07, 2010, 10:59:06 am
OC, what an awful childhood, so much suffering.
Makes mine look like a stroll through the park.

We're glad you made it through, and are getting the rewards you deserve.

with Metta. 
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: catmoon on April 08, 2010, 01:47:00 am
Well using the Spiny format my path would look like

Unitarian, socialist, est training, zen, hedonist, fundamentalist, more zen, gelug Buddhism. The hedonist phase lasted a long time, from my early twenties on to my late thirties.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on April 08, 2010, 11:14:29 am
For those who feel a bit of sadness at reading my story or who find my childhood awful:

Take heart!  For as bad as it was, I can count 20 people I personally know who got it A LOT worse.  I survived.  That's a lot.  They didn't.  One child was sent off to a hard labor camp for "being cool" (major bad juju) when he was 8.  As part of the punishment/torture he was beaten by a grown man's bare fists so bad in the face/head within an inch of his life.   Today he is an adult with severe brain damage which has given him serious learning and speech disability.  He was beaten to a bloody pulp and then not given medical care.  The mother had to literally kidnap the child to get him OUT of the camps.  There are countless stories like these, kids who were rescued, but so brainwashed, they wanted to go back into the cult because god would strike them dead and anything bad that happened to them was god punishing them.  Yeah.... don't feel bad for me.  I'm a tough cookie.  It takes a lot more than torture to take me down...  If anything, make it a reason to practice more, love more, give more.  No matter how rough your life is, there is someone else who has it 10 times worse.  I still have a brilliant alertness, never had my head bashed in beyond belief within an inch of my life.  When I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of others.  It's a good way to get me off my own self-trip.

 :headbow:
Ogyen.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on April 08, 2010, 11:50:53 am
One of the most beneficial bits of advise (I) ever received from groups discussing such circumstances was:  "Don't compare.  Relate!"  No need to minimize or maximize, weigh, measure, sort, or evaluate.  Just relate to what others have to share.  In this way we find how much we truly have in common during this particular portion of our mutual journey.

For those who feel a bit of sadness at reading my story or who find my childhood awful:

Take heart!  For as bad as it was, I can count 20 people I personally know who got it A LOT worse.  I survived.  That's a lot.  They didn't.  One child was sent off to a hard labor camp for "being cool" (major bad juju) when he was 8.  As part of the punishment/torture he was beaten by a grown man's bare fists so bad in the face/head within an inch of his life.   Today he is an adult with severe brain damage which has given him serious learning and speech disability.  He was beaten to a bloody pulp and then not given medical care.  The mother had to literally kidnap the child to get him OUT of the camps.  There are countless stories like these, kids who were rescued, but so brainwashed, they wanted to go back into the cult because god would strike them dead and anything bad that happened to them was god punishing them.  Yeah.... don't feel bad for me.  I'm a tough cookie.  It takes a lot more than torture to take me down...  If anything, make it a reason to practice more, love more, give more.  No matter how rough your life is, there is someone else who has it 10 times worse.  I still have a brilliant alertness, never had my head bashed in beyond belief within an inch of my life.  When I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of others.  It's a good way to get me off my own self-trip.

 :headbow:
Ogyen.

Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on April 08, 2010, 02:17:20 pm
I like that Ron!  Relate!  See how you can make your life a bit happier by understanding how much worse life could be if you were just a little less fortunate!  And if it seems like I was comparing, my apologies as I didn't mean any comparison, I simply wanted to make a point that no matter how bad things get or have gotten or will get, there's always someone suffering even more.  Maybe I'm just weird, that makes me feel so much more motivated to just get over my inner whining and be GOOD to others.  It's easy for me to become extremely selfish, having to survive can make you concerned with doing whatever you have to in order to get through whatever I've gone through.  But when I balance it, instead of being something that completely hinders me (which some days it really does unfortunately), it's a great motivator to make things better, no?

 :headbow:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Spiny Norman on April 09, 2010, 01:47:56 am
Well using the Spiny format my path would look like

Unitarian, socialist, est training, zen, hedonist, fundamentalist, more zen, gelug Buddhism. The hedonist phase lasted a long time, from my early twenties on to my late thirties.

I forgot the hedonism - I mean it was fun but I can't remember it too clearly now :teehee:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: katersy on April 09, 2010, 03:53:39 am
Mother, father, egg, sperm, foetus, English, baby, child, teenager, goth, university student, depressed, nihilist, bored, drunk, hedonist, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, teacher, happy, single, heartbroken, tired, curious, French, Buddhist.... etttcccccc

that was fun!
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Caz on April 09, 2010, 04:36:56 am
Mother, father, egg, sperm, foetus, English, baby, child, teenager, goth, university student, depressed, nihilist, bored, drunk, hedonist, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, lesbian, bisexual, teacher, happy, single, heartbroken, tired, curious, French, Buddhist.... etttcccccc

that was fun!

Gah someone give her a medal !  :teehee:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Ron-the-Elder on April 09, 2010, 05:08:34 am
There is/was a school of psychology (...was once a psych. major until (I) realized that nothing meaningful to me was learned (by me) after B.F. Skinner...) which emphasized our choices of words and logic.  It reminded me of Gestalt, but it was all head stuff, highly analytical, just not as overly focused on talk therapy or sexuality as was/is Freud.  Don't remember the name (sorry)!  The idea was to listen to what you were saying during sessions by recording them and playing them back, kind of like Carl Rogers, only Carl was a tape recorder.  The therapist/analyst could go to sleep really except to guide you when you didn't hear what he/she did.  Comparing was a big "no-no", because you were either doing one-ups-man-ship, or diminishing the other person's experiences (pain, suffering, abuse) because yours was worse, or the reverse, concluding wrongly that yours was less, "So snap out of it!"

Sixteen years ago, during a period of my balls-to-the-wall self-help career (I) wrote the most cathartic poetry that had ever come out of me. Interestingly, my brain was under the influence of pain killers for a rotator cuff surgery.  (I) thought it would be a great idea to share my poetry with all the groups with whom (I) met, which was fine with most groups who knew me well and were of similar backgrounds in our recoveries.  On a Sunday morning, after jogging six miles or so to the meeting the facilitator asked me how (I) was doing and invited me to share/lead the meeting that morning.  Agreeing, (I) saw an opportunity to share one of more violent, revealing, toilet hugging, at god railing, compositions and half way through my angry delivery emptied everyone out of the meeting (twenty folks or so) with the exception of six or seven folks:  Psychologist, Counselor, Psychiatrist, Friend, Friend, Sponsee, Sponsee, past Sponsor.......   The feedback was, during the sharing portion of the meeting,  that the rest of the folks were new in the rooms and hadn't progressed sufficiently to be able to handle the kind of gut-wrenching stuff that was being shared in the poetry that (I) had written and shared with such specific,  honest, vitriolic, but ultimately thoughtless and disrespectful delivery on a pretty Sunday Spring morning.  It was the kind of thing that you shared with advanced groups, or with your sponsor in private.

Given this feedback (I) was devastated, repentant, and penitent, and in true 12 Step Zealot fashion spent the next few weeks making amends to all the meetings where (I) had shared my "expose' - poetry".  (I) revelled in all the attention.  It was win-win!  Folks gave me attention when (I) acted outrageously in the meetings.  Folks gave me attention when (I) made amends for acting outrageously.

A few years later it dawned on me:  "Seems like (I) liked attention!"
"Seems like (I) needed attention, and needed for somebody, anybody, to tell me that what happened to me as a kid was OK."  For some reason what (I) wanted and needed to be released from this compulsion engine that was driving me, leading me to jump from one form of addiction-compulsion to another, what we used to call different pews in the same church, was to know that what happened to me was "not my fault", and  it was OK for me to stop being angry and feeling like crap all the time.

(I) used to carry a diary with me that looked thick like a phone book from a large metropolitan area, which  documented every abuse since my earliest abuse back at three four or five, and every minute torturous detail of my reactions to those abuses right up through young adulthood till age forty, when (I) came unzipped at the psychological seams.  This document was the source for all my pent-up and expressed feelings for which (I) was seeking release and solace.  With the realization of what (I) had been doing, and with the permission of my sponsor, (I) tore it up, and burned the pieces.  Just so with my computer logs, which (I) had been sharing with my sponsor, a patient old geezer much like me now, who used to listen to me share until his eyes rolled back into his head and fell over backwards.  (I) honestly thought (I) killed him with "my stuff" several times.  But instead he died of heart disease a few years later.  (I) still remember the gurgling death rails ceasing which signaled the moment of his death, and was prepared for the same signal as a result when my wife died a few years later.

It's true,  what The Buddha said.  Letting go of that which causes our suffering ends our suffering.  Burning torture-abuse diaries, deleting computer logs documenting our abuses, deciding to listen instead of sharing at meetings, being supportive by listening to others, relating, not comparing makes it clear most importantly to ourselves that we have let go of that which has caused and by virtue of carrying it around in our heads and hearts "is causing" our suffering.

Buddha was right.  When we are ready, let it go.  We really don't need it to prove anything.  Suffering will end as a result.

That has been my experience.  _/\_Ron

I like that Ron!  Relate!  See how you can make your life a bit happier by understanding how much worse life could be if you were just a little less fortunate!  And if it seems like I was comparing, my apologies as I didn't mean any comparison, I simply wanted to make a point that no matter how bad things get or have gotten or will get, there's always someone suffering even more.  Maybe I'm just weird, that makes me feel so much more motivated to just get over my inner whining and be GOOD to others.  It's easy for me to become extremely selfish, having to survive can make you concerned with doing whatever you have to in order to get through whatever I've gone through.  But when I balance it, instead of being something that completely hinders me (which some days it really does unfortunately), it's a great motivator to make things better, no?

 :headbow:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on April 09, 2010, 09:07:49 am
There is/was a school of psychology (...was once a psych. major until (I) realized that nothing meaningful to me was learned (by me) after B.F. Skinner...) which emphasized our choices of words and logic.  It reminded me of Gestalt, but it was all head stuff, highly analytical, just not as overly focused on talk therapy or sexuality as was/is Freud.  Don't remember the name (sorry)!  The idea was to listen to what you were saying during sessions by recording them and playing them back, kind of like Carl Rogers, only Carl was a tape recorder.  The therapist/analyst could go to sleep really except to guide you when you didn't hear what he/she did.  Comparing was a big "no-no", because you were either doing one-ups-man-ship, or diminishing the other person's experiences (pain, suffering, abuse) because yours was worse, or the reverse, concluding wrongly that yours was less, "So snap out of it!"

Sixteen years ago, during a period of my balls-to-the-wall self-help career (I) wrote the most cathartic poetry that had ever come out of me. Interestingly, my brain was under the influence of pain killers for a rotator cuff surgery.  (I) thought it would be a great idea to share my poetry with all the groups with whom (I) met, which was fine with most groups who knew me well and were of similar backgrounds in our recoveries.  On a Sunday morning, after jogging six miles or so to the meeting the facilitator asked me how (I) was doing and invited me to share/lead the meeting that morning.  Agreeing, (I) saw an opportunity to share one of more violent, revealing, toilet hugging, at god railing, compositions and half way through my angry delivery emptied everyone out of the meeting (twenty folks or so) with the exception of six or seven folks:  Psychologist, Counselor, Psychiatrist, Friend, Friend, Sponsee, Sponsee, past Sponsor.......   The feedback was, during the sharing portion of the meeting,  that the rest of the folks were new in the rooms and hadn't progressed sufficiently to be able to handle the kind of gut-wrenching stuff that was being shared in the poetry that (I) had written and shared with such specific,  honest, vitriolic, but ultimately thoughtless and disrespectful delivery on a pretty Sunday Spring morning.  It was the kind of thing that you shared with advanced groups, or with your sponsor in private.

Given this feedback (I) was devastated, repentant, and penitent, and in true 12 Step Zealot fashion spent the next few weeks making amends to all the meetings where (I) had shared my "expose' - poetry".  (I) revelled in all the attention.  It was win-win!  Folks gave me attention when (I) acted outrageously in the meetings.  Folks gave me attention when (I) made amends for acting outrageously.

A few years later it dawned on me:  "Seems like (I) liked attention!"
"Seems like (I) needed attention, and needed for somebody, anybody, to tell me that what happened to me as a kid was OK."  For some reason what (I) wanted and needed to be released from this compulsion engine that was driving me, leading me to jump from one form of addiction-compulsion to another, what we used to call different pews in the same church, was to know that what happened to me was "not my fault", and  it was OK for me to stop being angry and feeling like crap all the time.

(I) used to carry a diary with me that looked thick like a phone book from a large metropolitan area, which  documented every abuse since my earliest abuse back at three four or five, and every minute torturous detail of my reactions to those abuses right up through young adulthood till age forty, when (I) came unzipped at the psychological seams.  This document was the source for all my pent-up and expressed feelings for which (I) was seeking release and solace.  With the realization of what (I) had been doing, and with the permission of my sponsor, (I) tore it up, and burned the pieces.  Just so with my computer logs, which (I) had been sharing with my sponsor, a patient old geezer much like me now, who used to listen to me share until his eyes rolled back into his head and fell over backwards.  (I) honestly thought (I) killed him with "my stuff" several times.  But instead he died of heart disease a few years later.  (I) still remember the gurgling death rails ceasing which signaled the moment of his death, and was prepared for the same signal as a result when my wife died a few years later.

It's true,  what The Buddha said.  Letting go of that which causes our suffering ends our suffering.  Burning torture-abuse diaries, deleting computer logs documenting our abuses, deciding to listen instead of sharing at meetings, being supportive by listening to others, relating, not comparing makes it clear most importantly to ourselves that we have let go of that which has caused and by virtue of carrying it around in our heads and hearts "is causing" our suffering.

Buddha was right.  When we are ready, let it go.  We really don't need it to prove anything.  Suffering will end as a result.

That has been my experience.  _/\_Ron

I like that Ron!  Relate!  See how you can make your life a bit happier by understanding how much worse life could be if you were just a little less fortunate!  And if it seems like I was comparing, my apologies as I didn't mean any comparison, I simply wanted to make a point that no matter how bad things get or have gotten or will get, there's always someone suffering even more.  Maybe I'm just weird, that makes me feel so much more motivated to just get over my inner whining and be GOOD to others.  It's easy for me to become extremely selfish, having to survive can make you concerned with doing whatever you have to in order to get through whatever I've gone through.  But when I balance it, instead of being something that completely hinders me (which some days it really does unfortunately), it's a great motivator to make things better, no?

 :headbow:


Wow, thank you for sharing that Ron!  That gives me such a wider perspective on where you're coming from.  It sounds like you're talking about a bio-feedback kind of therapy...?  

In truth, the method to let go of your pain doesn't ultimately matter so much and the specific form of your own brand of suffering isn't a big deal.   You reach an acceptance and let go when you do and no sooner and how you do this is unique to your set of mental and life conditions.  I learned in my late teenage years that comparison is silly, simply because suffering is suffering and pain hurts all the same.  My suffering isn't even "mine", it's a shared condition.  I guess that's why I say when I think I got it bad, I just do the reverse instead of feeling sorry for myself, I count my blessings, someone is crying a lot more right now.  I don't say this to minimize my own suffering but to keep a balance of importance in my perspective.  When you've suffered a great deal it's easy to get sucked into self-obsession and how much you've been hurt and how much *insert whatever thrashing here*.  Sometimes I feel it's important to know that while it is important to acknowledge and accept and relate to such feelings it's just as important at other times or at the same time to give yourself a good reminder that your issues are a big deal to you but truly they are not a big deal in the face of the whole of human suffering.  This is not to minimize of invalidate how my own suffering hurts, just to know that so many are sitting right where I am, what I am experiencing is in no way unique, in fact it is shared by countless people.   Everything I have felt to every bit of abuse is comparable to everything anyone else might feel to any kind of abuse...  The reactions of hurt and pain are not unique to us, but we make a big deal of OUR OWN suffering.  At least I did in my teen years till I reached a point that hey, sh*t happens.  Deal with it or don't, life's ticking by the same for everyone.  It's gone, it's behind me, it's a fiction of history, something to remind us something happened good or bad... but so what? 

Today is a brand new day so I don't dwell in the past, I don't dream of the future, I just concentrate myself on the present moment.  Perhaps my approach is not gentle enough, I might need to work on it... dunno...
 :headbow:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: TongueTied on April 10, 2010, 10:11:49 pm
I'm not sure if this is relevant whatsoever, but I wanted to say it given the mood of the last few posts.

My friend's little brother died of brain cancer a few weeks ago.  Age 17.  He was a popular, athletic, handsome, charming kid.  The funeral had 700ish people.  Beautiful, moving eulogies.  Saddest damn thing I have ever witnessed.

As the minister was speaking, the thought whimsically occurred to me, "this is not right".  But then I did a double take, and it really resonated:  no, seriously, this is wrong.  Something is broken here.  I had a vision, sort of a visual hallucination, of something continuously building on top of itself, but getting nowhere because it was constantly falling apart and sinking on all sides.  And when something goes really wrong, when a foundation crumbles, when a 17 year friend, brother, sister, daughter or son dies, it just comes crashing down.  And by habit and ignorance, the building still occurs in the same place, under which the floor has collapsed, for a long time.  And it falls, and falls, and falls.  It's a terrible feeling.  Reality loses its meaning.  Why?  What am I building?  Where am I going?  There's no end, no satisfaction.  Always it crumbles.  The harder I try, the more it hurts.  All that energy building and building... wasted.

It was a superficial insight because it didn't get deeper than intellectual reasoning, but it was one of those instances when I realized that the motivations of a Buddhist are so obviously worthy.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: santamonicacj on April 10, 2010, 10:41:07 pm

...And by habit and ignorance, the building still occurs in the same place, under which the floor has collapsed, for a long time.  And it falls, and falls, and falls.  It's a terrible feeling.  Reality loses its meaning.  Why?  What am I building?  Where am I going?  There's no end, no satisfaction.  Always it crumbles.  The harder I try, the more it hurts.  All that energy building and building... wasted.

It was a superficial insight because it didn't get deeper than intellectual reasoning...


No, you saw and understood what is meant by 'samsara' for a moment. That's a big deal.

...but it was one of those instances when I realized that the motivations of a Buddhist are so obviously worthy.

And not just more short sighted and impermanent trivia.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Monkey Mind on April 10, 2010, 11:52:42 pm
When I was 13, my best friend died. It was the first time I had ever been to a funeral, and it was the first time I had ever been inside a Catholic church. My mother was not able to take me to the funeral, so I went by myself. I had no idea what the rules and rituals were, I just watched other people and did what they did. About half-way through the funeral, it occurred to me that the rituals had nothing to do with my friend, that the funeral was in no way honoring a memory of that 14-year old. And the body in the coffin was not my friend. SantaM makes a good point, funerals are an interesting place to examine Dharma.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on April 12, 2010, 01:21:02 am
These are all very powerful moments.  I buried my best friend too, there are some very strange moments during funerals, it's so much more about the living than the dead.  I am in no way implying that honoring our loved ones when passing is a negative thing, simply that funerals bring out a strange side in people.  We are so uncomfortable with the reality of death, the gnashing chaos that life really is and the unpredictability of our "end" that funerals especially bring our people's (what I call) funny behaviors, the nervous, uncomfortable, not at ease squirming people experience when in the presence of death, like a funeral where you're supposed to see all these people...

My sister's best friend died when she was 13 too, her friend was 14, hit by a speeding policeman who had no lights or sirens.  She was crossing the street with her scooter and got hit and died instantly.  Like you Anusaya, when I went, there was her body, and there were all these people I didn't know, but all the while, that was not the friend we knew, just a husk.  I've noticed whenever I've seen bodies that they are so unlike what they were when they breathed.  Ever notice how distorted features look without a mind behind them to operate all the muscles with moods and expressions... I think funerals are for the living because it's so darn hard to cope with final loss (or at least what feels like such when someone dies).

TongueTied, it sounds like you did in fact see for that time the grotesque shape of human idiosyncratic make-believe we agree to call samsara.  This rich convergence of factors that we stand in front of and pick and choose this is real, this is false, yet all the while, nothing's anything we think...  Well, sounds like you pierced the veil for a moment.  I agree with SMCJ, this is a profound moment of touching something ineffably elusive about the grand masquerade of what seems.

I'm not sure if this is relevant whatsoever, but I wanted to say it given the mood of the last few posts.

My friend's little brother died of brain cancer a few weeks ago.  Age 17.  He was a popular, athletic, handsome, charming kid.  The funeral had 700ish people.  Beautiful, moving eulogies.  Saddest damn thing I have ever witnessed.

As the minister was speaking, the thought whimsically occurred to me, "this is not right".  But then I did a double take, and it really resonated:  no, seriously, this is wrong.  Something is broken here.  I had a vision, sort of a visual hallucination, of something continuously building on top of itself, but getting nowhere because it was constantly falling apart and sinking on all sides.  And when something goes really wrong, when a foundation crumbles, when a 17 year friend, brother, sister, daughter or son dies, it just comes crashing down.  And by habit and ignorance, the building still occurs in the same place, under which the floor has collapsed, for a long time.  And it falls, and falls, and falls.  It's a terrible feeling.  Reality loses its meaning.  Why?  What am I building?  Where am I going?  There's no end, no satisfaction.  Always it crumbles.  The harder I try, the more it hurts.  All that energy building and building... wasted.

It was a superficial insight because it didn't get deeper than intellectual reasoning, but it was one of those instances when I realized that the motivations of a Buddhist are so obviously worthy.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Kojip on April 13, 2010, 09:16:44 am
Began as a confused kid on acid, living on the street at 16 (my father died on the street).  I found companionship with newage/occult types. We were very much into the Psychic. At around age 19 I pretty much lost it through a combination of home spun kundalini yoga and a polluted body. I had managed to thoroughly smash the old paradigm of the "really real" that I had been taught by the world standard (default milky toast  Newtonian something-or-other) but had only juvenile fascinations to replace it.  Then, I happened upon a goofy little book on Theosophy by Annie Besant. In it she said something like.." to be separate from all is suffering, to be one with all ultimate joy".  This was a turning point for me, and I delved into Theosophy bigtime, particularly the world view of Alice Bailey.  Eventually it became clear that this stuff was derivative, and I traced its origins back to Brahmanism, which lead to practicing meditation with an Advaita Vedanta teacher.  This type of meditation focused on absorptions and the realization of the unconditioned big "I" or Godhead.   After a while something seemed amiss.   There was a nagging feeling that this Big Cosmic "I" was really just little "i" in spiritual drag.  This insight lead naturally to Buddhism.  In 1990, or there about, I began to practice in Korean Zen, then moved to the Thai Forest Tradition mainly because of the quality of the people in the Thai Forest Sangha.  There was some back and forth before finally becoming clear that the Zen form  was most effective for me.   I still love and respect My Thai Forest friends and have found a happy balance.   Finding the Dharma straightenend out a life that could have gone badly off the rails. I am now almost completely sane.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on April 13, 2010, 11:08:43 am
After a while something seemed amiss.   There was a nagging feeling that this Big Cosmic "I" was really just little "i" in spiritual drag. 

Wow, what a profound insight!  I love this line, btw.  The big cosmic I was just a little i in spiritual drag... brilliant! 

Fascinating path to the dharma!
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: catmoon on June 08, 2010, 08:37:38 pm
Quote

Today is a brand new day so I don't dwell in the past, I don't dream of the future, I just concentrate myself on the present moment.  Perhaps my approach is not gentle enough, I might need to work on it... dunno...
 :headbow:


I think that "gentle" is a concept commonly underused, especially in relation to oneself. If you go over to wildmind and do a few guided meditations (maybe the metta series) you may discover, as I did, just how shockingly un-gentle we can be with ourselves.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Heartbeat on July 31, 2010, 06:28:44 am

I just 'happened' to open and read this thread.

What can I say....but  how moved I am by the depth of the sharing?

I feel deeply privileged to be able to read these posts.

Thank you. With Metta

'True maturation on the spiritual path requires that we discover the depth of our wounds: our grief from the past,
 unfulfilled longing, the sorrow that we have stored up during our lives."

 Jack Kornfield.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: santamonicacj on July 31, 2010, 09:11:42 am
Began as a confused kid on acid...
So did I, which I thought was tough enough.

Quote
...living on the street at 16 (my father died on the street).
Ouch! That's really tough. You certainly get the view that the world is a cold cruel place living like that, especially if you are psychedelic.

Quote
then moved to the Thai Forest Tradition mainly because of the quality of the people in the Thai Forest Sangha.
A word of warning to us all that how we behave effects people that are new to Dharma.

Quote
Finding the Dharma straightenend out a life that could have gone badly off the rails. I am now almost completely sane.
I too am more sane now than before Dharma. I personally think that to be truly sane you have to be enlightened!
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Bodhicandra on September 26, 2010, 08:46:44 am
I've just discovered this thread. Since I also didn't find the introductions area till I'd been posting for several weeks (by which time it seemed too late) I'll tell my story here.

When I was at university back in 1967 I stumbled across Christmas Humphries' "Introduction to Buddhism". When I read that he was a lawyer who had always specialised in prosecution, because he thought:

1) Prosecution lawyers don't have to lie,
2) Bringing someone to justice and punishment is a good thing to do for them - it leads to a swift discharge of their bad Karma,

I thought "Wow, this is different". I didn't subscribe to the details of his argument. but I was hooked on the overall Buddhist path.

Anyway, through 40 years or so of marriage, children and career all I (felt I) had time for was to read about Buddhism. I attended a handful of meetings of various groups - but never found one that 'clicked'.

Back in 1967 / 8 I was involved in student politics - we had the best sit-in of the lot (Birmingham University (UK)). When reading about Tibetan Buddhism  I read that there was an ancient tradition, the Nyingma, and then various 'reformed' schools. Being a good student radical, I felt sure the 'reformed' schools were the ones to pay attention to.

Anyway, over the years I collected all the 'interesting' Buddhist books that I encountered in decent bookshops, such as Watkins in London and Blackwell's in Oxford. I would read them as far as I could understand, then put them to one side for a couple of years before trying them again.

Eventually I came to retire and decided that I really did now have to seek a group so I could get meditation training. But which group / tradition?

I discovered that His Holiness Pinor Rinpoche (a Nyingma teacher) was offering a public Avalokiteshvara transmission at Rigpa in London (with no commitments involved) , so went along, with the expectation of simply receiving a 'blessing' for my search for a suitable group, not for permission to practice anything in particular.

Anyway, I went. A day or two later I decided to re-shelve my Buddhist books and realized that there was a whole set of them which were Nyingma-related. I'd never really paid them much attention before, because they were 'unreformed'. 
This group included three copies of different editions of the same anthology of writings by Longchen Rabjam: at first called "Buddha-mind", then in more recent editions "The practice of Dzogchen". I'd always found this too heavy going to get more than a few pages in, but now I sudenly found it made sense.

I started to read the other Nyingma books whioch my youthful prejudice for 'reform' had caused me to ignore. I came across several references to Padmasambhava and felt I needed to know more about him - I needed a biography. 

Anyway. my wife and I had planned to visit a National Trust ancient manor house the next day. Most National Trust properties have a second-hand bookshop. While going round the house I felt a growing feeling of certainty that there was a Biography of Padmasambhava somewhere in that bookshop (an old potting-shed outside the house). I searched all the books - nothing. There were two old apple boxes filled with second-hand magazines, such as Country Life, Punch and the like. There, almost at the back of the second box, were the quarterly proceedings of the Midland Buddhist Association for about 10 years previous, and within it a three-page biography of Padmasambhava.

OK, I thought, I can take a hint - it's Nyingma for me. The Longchen Rabjam books had by now also convinced me that Dzogchen was what I needed - once I fully realized what it offers it seemed pointless to seek anything else.

So I went on-line to research Dzogchen groups in the UK. I found just two which were centered in the UK, I visited one and felt it was not for me. The second (the Longchen Foundation) had a presentation of their Lion's Roar meditation course starting in just a few days time - I checked the credentials of the Guru's lineage, signed up and have never looked back - this was just 6 weeks or so from that original 'blessing' from HH Pinor Rinpoche.

So that's the start of my path to Dharma.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on September 26, 2010, 10:37:59 am
You are my Vajra brother!  I had a very similar story of NEEDING to find Padmasambhava's biography.  LOL.

Thank you for sharing.  That is a wonderful story!

:headbow:
Ogyen-la
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Ngawang Drolma on September 26, 2010, 11:03:29 am
My way towards the path   :)

I'd like to borrow the words of His Holiness the Dalai Lama here.  When he was asked what Buddhism is he replied, "Common sense."

Best,
Laura
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Thao on September 26, 2010, 12:15:48 pm
This is a really good time to bring up this thread and to read so many posts of how people became Buddhist. I will tell my story:

I was Christened as a Lutheran when I was a baby. I have no idea why since as i was growing up no one went to church. when i was a teenager i began going to different churches in our small town, just to try them out. i have no idea why. a friend talked me into joining the Baptist Church, so I did, and I was baptised, so I know I am saved.   :D I quit when I got married the first time but by then I was an atheist. Then some friends of mine began playing with the Ouija Board, and I thought that they were moving the pointer, so I said that I wanted to do it myself and so kept my eyes opened. The pointer flew out of my hand and turned to face a letter. Pretty soon we were all spooked, so a friend suggested I talk to the woman that was having a Bible study with her. I did, and soon after I became a Jehovah's Witness. I loved my faith and the teachings, but 5 years later they were kicking me out and shunning me. I quit loving my faith. I went through 13 years of depression before learning positive thinking, and during that time i had become an atheist again. But by now I was living in Berkeley, and into psychic reading and new age readings and friends. Then I took a magic mushroom and laid down on the floor and closed my eyes, while my best friend Cathy was off in the other room tripping on her own visions. I still remember her saying that she was an embryo. (I do not recommend mushrooms because I craved them for a long time after that but never touched another.)  In my own visions, I saw a Buddhist monk and a young Buddhist boy, and I knew them to be my family, but I wasn't with them and I didn't know why, and so I began to cry. I wanted to know who they were, but I had no idea how to find out.  I felt it was past life. Later on I learned TM, but I never read their books or attended their meetings. I only went to learn because I had heard that meditation makes one peaceful; i wanted more peace.  But then I didn't practice.

And during this time I bought a little white Thai (I think) Buddhist statue that I loved because he looked so peaceful. I wish I still had it.

Years later I met my second husband and on our first or second date he brought me a book on Buddhism that he got at a temple in S.F. CA when he first got out of Nam.  That impressed me to have a date bring me a book on Buddhism. But still I did nothing about it. But I did read The Dharma Bums and Alan Ginsberg. Years later I joined SGI after moving to Memphis area. The people were good, but I didn't know what they were talking about. Then I read a book by Ramana Maharishi, and he said that you could experience God through meditation.  I quit SGI and began using a mantra, maybe TM for a year. Then I read another book and joined a Hindu group.  I may have lasted 3 years, I don't recall, but I left and joined a different group. Some of their teachings tended towards the advaita, and some reason they felt more real to me. Not sure how long I lasted here, 2 1/2 years or so, but I was not a happy camper again.  

Then a friend of mine wanted to go see Thich Nhat Hanh. So we trapsed on down to San Diego's Convention Center. He walked into the room and peace was within him. I saw a difference in what I had experienced with previous teachers, and he talked about peace.

When I left Hinduism, actually, the same day I left, I went to Deer Park, and he was there. When he walked into the room tears filled my eyes.  But after a few visits some monks came to Deer Park from another Vietnamese monastery. I wondered who they were and then found them in the phone book and asked to have an interview. So I spent the next 3 1/2 years of my life at Dai Dang, and it was the most peaceful years that I had in my religious life in a long time, because I felt that I had been in constant turmoil from the past two religions. Then we moved away and while I could not connect to some of the teachings,  I certainly miss the people and their peacefulness. Still.

By now I was soon developing what I believed within. Mostly it was compassion and helping others when I could, but I sorted things out in my mind. So I had been without a religion, without a sangha for almost 4 years. I was beginning to see that I was not really developing the compassion that I desired, but there were no Buddhist teachers here, and I didn't want one, but I knew if I were still in CA I would be at Dai Dang. But I felt the need to get some of my spirituality back. So I began reading spiritual books again.

Then I came on here and made a post. I have no idea why I posted; I really don't. I mentioned that I couldn't connect to Buddhism and didn't know what I was doing here, and that I believed in the soul and God. Of course I didn't know how I believed in it. Then Yeshe suggested that I email Tashi Nyima, who posts here. I did, and now I finally connect to Buddhism. And I told him what I believed within, and he validated many of my feelings and beliefs. And I feel now that I can learn compassion, but it isn't easy, yet with a teacher it is so much easier.

In metta, Fragrant Herbs
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Caz on September 26, 2010, 01:33:57 pm
Everyone speaks highly of Tashi Nyima he has many good qualities.  :pray:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: humanitas on September 26, 2010, 08:00:49 pm
I am happy for you that you have made a valuable connection.

Indeed, may you flourish in your joy and happiness through the practice of dharma.

:headbow:
Ogyen.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: LastLegend on February 21, 2011, 04:27:41 am
I am Vietnamese and 28 years old. My family members and I have been laymen Buddhists and honoring the 5 precepts for a long time. My parents, sister, and I recently just have got deep with the texts. We have countless texts (e.g., sutras) available in our language and countless CDs and DVDs on Dharma talks. We follow Mahayana and of Pure Land currently but we stay in touch with Theravada. We stay with interpretations that are linked or referenced to basic/core teachings of Buddha.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: thehappysnapper on August 11, 2011, 03:43:20 pm
I'm pretty much a beginner compared to the big majority of you good folk, I only officially decided that I had in fact become truly Buddhist about four months ago, although I have been taking an interest in, reading about and generally studying Buddhism for around three and a half years and slowly but surely, without really realising it, slipping in that direction all that time.
Anyway this link  https://thehappysnappershideout.wordpress.com/buddhism-and-me/ (https://thehappysnappershideout.wordpress.com/buddhism-and-me/)  takes you to a page on my humble little blog which kind of explains "Buddhism and Me" and how I came to take it as my religion.

 :headbow:  Be Well, Be Safe, Be Happy.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Amitabha on August 12, 2011, 12:04:41 am
In his early twenties Ou-i began to practice Zen. He left home and became a monk at the age of twenty-four, guiding his meditation with the Surangama Sutra. He got dramatic results and felt that the meanings of the sutras and of the Zen sayings had all become obvious. But he told no one about this, since he did not think he had attained the ultimate level. Ou-i admits that at this time in his life, like many intellectuals before and since, he felt that Pure Land methods were beneath him, and fit only for the common people.
Ou-i became gravely ill when he was twenty-eight, after his mother had died a lingering death. He found to his dismay that his previous realization did him no good when faced with a life-and-death crisis. From this point on, Ou-i combined Buddha-name recitation with his Zen practice. Such combined practice was a long-established trend in Chinese Buddhism. The premise was that reciting the Buddha-name was the functional equivalent of Zen meditation, providing an easier, and thus for most people more effective way to samadhi. After his mother passed away, Ou-i spent two years in seclusion pursuing the combined practice of Zen and Pure Land.
At thirty-one, Ou-i encountered a famous Zen teacher who showed him how degenerate Zen practice had become in their time. After this Ou-i turned away from Zen forms altogether: though he always acknowledged the genuine realization of the Zen masters, he had decided that Zen methods were too difficult for most people to follow, and that Zen in his time was mostly an intellectual plaything. Ou-i now devoted his energy more and more to Pure Land practice. At the same time, he did research on the vinaya (the monastic codes of discipline), and read widely in the Buddhist scriptures and philosophical treatises. He made a deep study of T'ien-t'ai philosophy, a systematic synthesis of Mahayana Buddhism developed in sixth century China. Ou-i clearly felt no sense of incongruity between Pure Land Buddhism and the Buddhism of the sutras and shastras. His commentary on the Amitabha Sutra often uses T'ien-t'ai categories, and is firmly based on the ontology of Yogacara philosophy. Despite his own preference for Pure Land methods, Master Ou-i had a completely non-sectarian view of the different forms of Buddhism: "The potentials and circumstances of sentient beings all differ, and so all different forms of the Buddhist Teaching have been devised, some open, some closed, using all sorts of terminology. The Teaching is expressed effectively to all sentient beings according to what they are ready to hear." At the age of thirty-nine he had a great revelation and saw that the differences between Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism only existed because all three teachings were just expedient means, adapted to different needs. Another serious illness that struck when he was forty-six prompted Master Ou-i to reconsider his own Buddhist practice, and devote himself completely to Pure Land practice. In his final fifteen years of his life he produced a remarkable volume of scholarship, authoring some seventy-five works in which he explicated not only the major Buddhist sutras and shastras, but also various Confucian classics, and even the Book of Change. His commentary on the Amitabha Sutra was written when he was forty-nine, in the space of nine days.
With metta :namaste:
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: TaylorS on December 24, 2011, 08:05:29 pm
I was always the weird, nerdy kid with kooky ideas and was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (high-functioning Autism) when I was 15. I was raised as a Lutheran, but I rejected religion and belief in God when I was 16 (in 2002). About 4 years ago I developed an intellectual interest in Buddhism via my interest in neuroscience and psychology and from learning about Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction from my psychotherapist, but until 2 years ago it was only an interest.

Then, in 2009 It felt like the world was collapsing around me. A dear friend of mine who has physical handicaps was raped. Then a month later my stepdad died of a mysterious inflammation of the pancreas the cause of which was never discovered. Then that fall my grandmother died. In my grief, anger, and sadness I felt the reality of the Dharma in a way that I didn't before.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Hanzze on December 24, 2011, 11:23:32 pm
If one never meets the heavenly messenger the Dharma door is not open yet. May it that people avoid to get in touch with it, is it actually the greatest bliss. *smile*

   
Quote
deva-dūta ([url]http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/b_f/deva_duuta.htm[/url])

'divine messengers', is a symbolic name for old age, disease and death, since these three things remind man of his future and rouse him to earnest striving. In A. III, 35, it is said:

"Did you, o man, never see in the world a man or a woman eighty, ninety or a hundred years old, frail, crooked as a gable-roof, bent down, resting on crutches, with tottering steps, infirm, youth long since fled, with broken teeth, grey and scanty hair, or baldheaded, wrinkled, with blotched limbs? And did it never occur to you that you also are subject to old age, that you also cannot escape it?

"Did you never see in the world a man or a woman, who being sick, afflicted and grievously ill, and wallowing in their own filth, was lifted up by some people, and put down by others? And did it never occur to you that you also are subject to disease, that you also cannot escape it?

"Did you never see in the world the corpse of a man or a woman, one or two or three days after death, swollen up, blue-black in colour, and full of corruption? And did it never occur to you that you also are subject to death, that you also cannot escape it?" - See M. 130.


It is sayed that they are sent by the deity Yama (http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_names/y/yama.htm)

Quote
When beings die they are led before him to be judged according to their deeds. Birth, old age, illness, punishment for crime and death, are regarded as his messengers, sent among men as a warning to abstain from ill and do good.


*smile*
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: J. McKenna on March 24, 2012, 03:35:22 pm
towards a path is but an other path
 
path suggests journey trip or expedition
 
here is there journey is not needed path is vapor imagined in dream
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: jay on December 22, 2012, 03:48:24 am
I was verbally and physically abused as a child  and by age  fifteen i had anxiety problems, was diagnosed with depression later,became alcoholic,was a smoker,felt lost ,took medication .Then  one day while googling the causes of suffering i found some topic on buddhism and was really fascinated by it ,read a lot both online and offline, realized the  cause of suffering is nothing but human desire to have everything good .Then i learned  to handle   bad things as well as good things.I feel very happy now.Buddhism helped me discover the real me ,when you discover what you are ,who you are etc etc ,it is easy to  repair yourself and feel completely new and confident.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Madelyn on April 27, 2014, 09:21:12 am
My story, condensed as much as possible:
As a child I was extremely isolated, I often went for weeks without encountering a person other than my immediate family.

I developed depression and anxiety in my early teens.

In my mid teens I was kicked out of home, my mother has some fairly serious psychological problems, and simply could not deal with having me around, being miserable all the time.

I moved in with my boyfriend, who was in his mid 20s. At first he was fairly reasonable, but as time went on he became more and me restrictive, to the point of locking me up, making me leave the room when anyone else came to the house and punishing me for attempts to contact the outside world. He was physically and sexually violent. He convinced me, over two years, that I was intrinsically bad, and had to constantly work, in the house, the bedroom and the relationship, to deserve his love and make him trust me.

I escaped and was kept in hospital for a month, in which I gained weight and learned some basic social and maturity skills. I had missed a lot of development, which had taken a lot of catching up.

I got a stimulating job, found an apartment and was lucky enough to meet a really lovely man, we fell in love within weeks. He was caring and understanding, he had experienced his own psychological problems and had lost his brother to suicide when they were teenagers. He had a young son, who we cared for together. The mother was a drug addict, she had joint custody, which was a constant source of stress, as the child often come to us in a sorry state, and often left in a car with a drunk driver. On top of this, the ex-wife was  threatening violence against all three of us. My partner, to whom I had just become engaged, could not deal with the stress. He killed himself.

That was five years ago. In all that time I never felt 'spiritual' I never believed there was such a thing. I've been treated, quite successfully, for PTSD, depression and anxiety. During the treatment process I've been taught about meditation and mindfulness, as methods of controlling symptoms, but also gaining insight and reorganising one's own psychological habits.

I now have a constructive career that truly interests me, a safe home, a truly wonderful marriage and a functional, blame free relationship with my parents and siblings.

I was interested in the origin of the techniques I was taught and found that they were pretty much unaltered buddhist practices. I did some more research and found that the Buddhist philosophy is very similar to the scientific method (on which my career is based), but far more focused on the importance of the individual and on ethical treatment of others. This pretty much fills the gaps, this is what the scientific method lacks as a way of life (rather than purely as a method of deduction). I think Buddhist teachings and meditation may be, to my personal life, what the scientific method is to my lab.


Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Madelyn on April 27, 2014, 09:23:45 am
Oh, and um... I'm a British female in my mid 20s.


Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: nightowl on April 27, 2014, 03:34:37 pm
Hi Madelyn,

Thanks for your sharing. You are so brave and mature!
To repay your sincerity for this forum, here my turn.
I already posted on another thread that I got divorce 6 years before I met my present wife, let me add something more here.
About 30 years ago, when I started practicing mindfulness, one of my spiritual teacher was a venerable monk. He was an Abbot of a little forest temple which was located very far from the cities. I was told that before he was a monk, his wife cheated on him. But when his ex and her new husband got serious ill, my teacher (that time still wasn’t a monk) still went to take care both of them very well!?! His story was very impressed on me. But that time I could only imagine how suffer he had to deal with until that very situation happened to me. Like teacher, like student, really. (Hmm...maybe not quite so about taking care of them. lol)
And no, I didn’t pretend to be cool at all. Never! Even with my long time spiritual practice (30 years) it was still so hard for me to pass that toughest and self-pity period.

There’s a saying in Vajrayana Buddhism (Tantra.) It goes like this:
“if we fell on a ground, we have to use that very ground to help us back on our feet again. Anything else will be only our fancies and never work.”

“Just as water that has entered the ear may be removed by water
And just as a thorn may be removed by a thorn,
so those who know how, remove passion by mean of passion itself.
Just as a washerman removed the grime from a garment by means of grime,
So the wise man renders himself free of impurity by means of impurity itself.”

(from Cittavisuddhiprakarana of Aryadeva)

And yes, I spent 3 years (after divorce) to really understand this without fooling myself otherwise and another 3 years seeking for my true relationship. And lucky that I found one, finally. :-)

Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Madelyn on April 27, 2014, 08:42:45 pm
Thank you for sharing and appreciating. Every story is inspiring.


Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Sean D Bartel on May 17, 2014, 08:46:22 pm
Masami Saionji guided me through some rough angsty teenage patches with her book "The Golden Key to Happiness." Though not Buddhist or spiritual per se, she pointed me toward learning about meditation and respecting the beauty in the mundane.

Around the same time Angela Bassett played Tina Turner in "What's Love Got To Do With It?" I was astonished to see Angela as Tina chanting "Nam myōhō renge kyō" ("the muddier the mud the more lotusy the lotus" in the words of the lovely woman a few posts up) to an alter instead of doing a traditional Christian prayer, and the movie helped me to feel empowered to change my way of thinking about prayer and even about cultural identity.

I dislike labels (and the pigeonholes they adorn) intensely, and I don't think I'll entirely lose who I was as I become who I will be, so I can't do a timeline of what I believed then versus what I believe now because the dust is still settling in my mind. But I've learned to appreciate that it is one gorgeous cloud of dust.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Dharmakara on May 17, 2014, 11:14:35 pm
Hi Sean and welcome to Free Sangha.

In a sense, you are quite correct --- although we do need to move away from the concept of "I", it is true that labels do a disservice. Even when it comes to our understanding of the path, it is not unchanging or stagnant.
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: Sean D Bartel on May 18, 2014, 10:28:31 am
Thanks for the welcome Dharmakara! Lots of neat stuff here. :)
Title: Re: Share YOUR ways towards the Path (Dhamma)
Post by: doubledragon on June 15, 2014, 02:51:03 am
Hi, everyone!

I don't know if the original poster is still hanging around, but since the thread is still open, I thought I could add my two cents.

I make my whole waking day my practice. Mindful awareness in the present moment is my motto. I enjoy life when it smiles, I accept life when affliction strikes and I can't change it.

I continue learning, I practise yoga and do sitting meditation. I keep growing.  :buddha:
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