Author Topic: Brought Friend to Dharma center..  (Read 2193 times)

Offline Pema Dorje

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Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« on: January 05, 2011, 12:47:26 am »
So today I decided that I'd invite a couple friends to my local center, since Tuesdays are considered a "newcomers welcome" practice day. The day was set as Dharmapala Practice and Heart Sutra practice with some meditation thrown in between. After the practice had concluded, one of my friends stated that it reminded him "too much of Church" and he went on about how resiting mantras was too "churchy" to him, later explaining that the sole unison of the sanghas reciting was reminiscent of Catholic Church worship. Has anyone else had this told to them? Encountered this before?


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Offline t

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 12:55:15 am »
Yup not everyone likes to sit in recitations/pujas for various reasons.
Maybe your centre has other activities best suited to their temperaments? Like sitting sessions, discussion groups etc?
Some from my experience need to be mellowed down via the latter before the former can be embraced... 

Offline catmoon

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 01:14:30 am »
 I ran into a similar experience myself. The first time I attended a teaching at the nearest centre, it just felt so... Protestant. I guess it's harder to outrun the cultural background than it looks.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Tsongkhapafan

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 01:38:20 am »
Yeah, in these degenerate times, people seem to have a problem with prayers.  It's probably better that complete beginners attend a teaching first (our centre only recites one short prayer before the teaching at beginners' classes) and then when they are bowled over by the logic and practicality of Buddha's teachings, they might be interested in taking it further.

In general, devotion is a problem for hard headed Westerners.  I deeply respect those who naturally have strong faith through their practice in previous lives and pray to attain the same myself.

Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 04:11:39 am »
After the practice had concluded, one of my friends stated that it reminded him "too much of Church" and he went on about how resiting mantras was too "churchy" to him, later explaining that the sole unison of the sanghas reciting was reminiscent of Catholic Church worship. Has anyone else had this told to them? Encountered this before?

I've heard comments about the similarity of Catholicism and Tibetan Buddhism. 

Spiny

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 04:22:50 am »
Isn't the term "Formalised Religion"?

Catholic, Islamic, Tibetan Buddhist, etc..
If you don't have a personal involvement it could be anything.

Sitting inline and being told what you should believe and how to live your life. Not for me either.

Metta

Offline Jikan

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 07:46:19 am »
Isn't the term "Formalised Religion"?

Catholic, Islamic, Tibetan Buddhist, etc..
If you don't have a personal involvement it could be anything.

Sitting inline and being told what you should believe and how to live your life. Not for me either.

Metta

Does this describe any specific Tibetan Buddhist center you've visited?  (the bolded bit)

It's true that all Buddhist schools without exception ask you to make a commitment to an ethic.  It's said that the great Chinese master Chih-i taught that the most important thing about your meditation is your ethics, your behavior.  But taking precepts voluntarily seems different in form and kind from being under Divine Command not to wear mixed-fiber garments, for instance.
Tendai Buddhism in Washington, DC and northern Virginia\

dctendai.blogspot.com

Offline zerwe

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2011, 07:57:40 am »
I don't have a problem with the ritual aspects of prayer practices. However, I would say that the parallels between Mahayana/Vajrayana and other world faiths is striking. They are so similar, and I am sure there is scholarship to support this, that one might suspect that there has been an intermingling between many faiths that have resulted in these striking similarities. I certainly see parallels to Christian practices (especially Catholicism), Islam, and naturally the Vedic traditions are a given.
Shaun :namaste:

GoGet

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2011, 12:19:25 pm »
So today I decided that I'd invite a couple friends to my local center, since Tuesdays are considered a "newcomers welcome" practice day. The day was set as Dharmapala Practice and Heart Sutra practice with some meditation thrown in between. After the practice had concluded, one of my friends stated that it reminded him "too much of Church" and he went on about how resiting mantras was too "churchy" to him, later explaining that the sole unison of the sanghas reciting was reminiscent of Catholic Church worship. Has anyone else had this told to them? Encountered this before?

Your friend's concern is legitimate enough and I'm sure it happens all the time.  You friend doesn't like ritual, plain and simple.  Nothing wrong with that.  It could be that Buddhism as practiced doesn't really appeal to him and that's ok too.

Are attending chants a mandatory part of your center's practice or can people sit out those parts?

Offline Pema Dorje

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2011, 10:37:34 pm »
So today I decided that I'd invite a couple friends to my local center, since Tuesdays are considered a "newcomers welcome" practice day. The day was set as Dharmapala Practice and Heart Sutra practice with some meditation thrown in between. After the practice had concluded, one of my friends stated that it reminded him "too much of Church" and he went on about how resiting mantras was too "churchy" to him, later explaining that the sole unison of the sanghas reciting was reminiscent of Catholic Church worship. Has anyone else had this told to them? Encountered this before?

Your friend's concern is legitimate enough and I'm sure it happens all the time.  You friend doesn't like ritual, plain and simple.  Nothing wrong with that.  It could be that Buddhism as practiced doesn't really appeal to him and that's ok too.

Are attending chants a mandatory part of your center's practice or can people sit out those parts?


Actually they explained that you dont have to say anything and can just sit or meditate.
-Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.-
Gautama Buddha

Offline santamonicacj

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2011, 02:58:32 am »
Actually they explained that you dont have to say anything and can just sit or meditate.
Bring 'em to a Zen Center.
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Monkey Mind

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2011, 03:20:07 pm »
The OP could easily describe me four years ago. I was a big believer that being Buddhist was strictly about meditation and certain lifestyle choices. Even though I considered myself to be Buddhist, I would have avoided any group that focused on "religious" behaviors like chanting, bowing to a statue, burning incense, etc. I sought out other Buddhists who looked and acted "normal".

I was thinking about that this morning, after I completed an hour of meditation and started my chanting. I had to come to the realization that chanting etc. was not meant to be some religious rite or ritual, but it is a tool that helps me refocus my mind around the living aspects of my practice.

Offline catmoon

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2011, 05:24:29 pm »
Actually they explained that you dont have to say anything and can just sit or meditate.
Bring 'em to a Zen Center.

Excellent idea. Zen can be very attractive to those who are looking for a simple practice. I think all minimalists pass through Zen at some time or another. Who knows, your friend might settle in and become a Zen master one day!
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Ngawang Drolma

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2011, 07:03:09 pm »
How interesting!  I really loved the organized feel to it and the lecture piece of it at a Mahayana center at my first exposure.  But I suppose that's not for everyone.

Best,
Laura

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Offline Spiny Norman

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Re: Brought Friend to Dharma center..
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2011, 04:11:43 am »
I had to come to the realization that chanting etc. was not meant to be some religious rite or ritual, but it is a tool that helps me refocus my mind around the living aspects of my practice.

I agree, but my experience has been that these distinctions are not always explained at beginner classes. 

Spiny

 


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