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chrisparis
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(6/17/02 6:32 am)
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Re: Another way
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Edited by: chrisparis at: 11/22/02 7:38:16 am
gardendiva
Registered User
(6/17/02 7:26 am)
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Re: Another way
Something I just read recently in "Buddhism Plain and Simple" by Steve Hagen:

Quote:
...The Buddha, in fact, did invite people on all occasions to test him. "Don't believe me because you see me as your teacher," he said. "Don't believe me because others do. And don't believe anything because you've read it in a book, either. Don't put your faith in reports, or tradition, or hearsay, or the authority of religious leaders or texts. Don't rely on mere logic, or inference, or appearances, or speculation."
The Buddha repeatedly emphasized the impossibilityof ever arriving at Truth by giving up your own authority and following the lights of others. Such a path will lead only to an opinion - whether it's your own or someone else's.
The Buddha encouraged people to "know for yourselves that certain things are unwholesome and wrong. And when you do, then give them up. And when you know for yourselves that certain things are wholesome and good, then accept them and follow them."
The message is always to examine and see for yoruself. When you see for yourself what is true - and that's really the only way that you can genuinely know anything - then embrace it. Until then, just suspend judgment and criticism.
The point of Buddhism is to just see. That's all.


I find this whole approach so refreshing and motivating, after years of stagnation! And it makes so much SENSE!

chrisparis
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(6/17/02 8:35 am)
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Re: Another way
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Edited by: chrisparis at: 11/22/02 7:38:45 am
gardendiva
Registered User
(6/18/02 1:59 pm)
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Re: Another way
Actually, I found out about the Steve Hagen book, because I read some excerpts in Shambhala Sun magazine. I went out and bought the book, but also bought, "Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America," which I am reading first.

Time and time again, I come across the same ideas, regardless of the teacher, in Buddhist thought. The approach, as I wrote before, just makes so much sense. To find things out for one's self, not because anyone else has said or taught it. To observe without judgment. To BE in the moment and in that very moment realize the EVERYTHING is right there, regardless of whatever one's inner or outer state is.

These teachers too, are not afraid of "changes" as SRF seems to be. They realize that people have to adapt teachings (to some degree) based on the teachers themselves, the students, the overall environment. And it's OKAY! It's something called integrity, as far as I'm concerned, being true to one's self.

A couple things from "Meetings with Remarkable Women"...this is Elizabeth Hamilton, longtime friend and assistant to Charlotte Joko Beck, who's head of the San Diego Zen Center. This is regarding "teachers"...

Quote:
Elizabeth: ...If you look at what's been revealed over the last couple of years about all the people with titles, you can see just how hard practice is. I personally have no interest in making a big deal about "enlightened" people. That's a notion that implies permanence and solidity. The issue is only whether we're awake in THIS moment. And this moment. And this moment . And having been awake in 1975, perhaps so awake you were given a title, doesn't mean you're awake in 1985, or in all situations.

Lenore: Yet we get caught in the notion that there's somebody who knows, who knows better than we do, and who can tell us, or show us the way.

Elizabeth: Yes. so many of us have suspended our discernment in the interest of thinking there was someone out there who could do no wrong or might be doing the most outlandish things, but they were "just to teach us" and there was clearly a purpose behind them. I feel badly that I've actually supported people in being outlandish because I thought there was something I just didn't see. So I've colluded by putting them outside my common sense. It's sad to see how diligently we've deluded ourselves in the name of practice. When practice itself should be the work that clarifies the hurt, the anger, or the confusion - and brings understnading and growth. Many Americans are now nineteen years old spiritually and we're ready to leave home and be on our own.


And here is something very interesting too...

Quote:
The weekend I was in San Diego, during formal talks and later during our informal interviews, Joko said some pointed things about a number of possible distortions in Zen practice. "We think too much about breaking through to the absolute," she told me. "I think that's a very premature consideration for most people. Even if they do it, they don't know what to do with it. And for some people, the shock is too great." Her primary consideration is the kind of mature development that makes this realization possible. When the mind loses interest in its attachments, "then very naturally, what is called samadhi increases. And at some point there may be an 'opening,' but this is not a goal to be sought- it's just a natural occurrence when practice matures; and after it happens, we go right back to working with the basic problem."

And the basic problem we're working with in Zen practice is attachment. Yet our whole life is nothing but attachment. That's the terrain of the ego, and practice, Joko believes, is simply a matter of constantly turning back to our everyday actions and asking, "What's really going on here? How can we look at it? How can we sit with it? Where are we attached?" The line between this kind of endeavor and psychotherapy is not sharp. But there's a major difference that comes with serious sitting, and that is a total shift in our view of who we really are. There's a subtlety and an ability to observe that makes it a "totally different ballgame." And there comes a point when the depth and intensity of the process move beyond most therapy.


When I read things like this I am just blown away by their utter simplity and naturalness. That samadhi will just occur, naturally, by means of constant awareness...how wonderful. And that samadhi in and of itself is not the main point anyway. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to begin to understand this kind of philosophy, after years of struggling, and struggling to overcome my struggling in meditation and in life in general. That my struggles are okay and I can focus on them, feel them, go into them. That even my physical discomforts can become part of my practice and I don't have put a gargantuan effort into "rising above" them!

You know, I can't say that I've "wasted" years in SRF. For years, I wasn't able to seriously "practice" anything, because I had young children. But when the time came again, to renew my interest in spiritual practice, I felt that something was missing from what I understood in the SRF lessons. Indeed, it may have always been missing, but I wasn't aware of it. Now, I feel a pull toward Buddhist thought, in particular Zen, and the only thing I can think is that it's finally time to move on, that my sensibilities have evolved in such a way that I'm understanding myself and what might actually work for me. Funny how life is...

Edited by: gardendiva at: 6/18/02 3:06:55 pm
chrisparis
Registered User
(6/19/02 7:45 am)
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Re: Another way
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Edited by: chrisparis at: 11/22/02 7:39:09 am
gardendiva
Registered User
(6/19/02 8:28 am)
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Re: Another way
Quote:
Of course, if you start to read alot about Zen, you are going to have a certain amount of conflict with the Guru concept. It just doesn't seem to be the same at all.


Yes, you are exactly right! Now that I've read about a few different Zen teachers and their approach, it seems that there may be another way than the "guru/disciple" method. I don't necessarily think one way is better than the other (although I'm feeling more inclined toward Zen), but am understanding what might be better for ME.

When I started with SRF, I was in my early twenties, and had in fact been exposed to the organization for several years before that. I was young and hadn't done very much exploration on my own. Being the follower that I'd always been, I followed along with a loved one who's ideas I respected, but at the same time I felt that the SRF teachings (ostensibly, Yogananda's teachings) seemed right and good and definitely more positive that the traditional Roman Catholic dogma in which I had been raised.

What can I say? I've changed, or at least am changing. I'm not attached to the guru/disciple system and if I find something else that actually moves me along in my spiritual journey, at this point I'm ready to accept it. Do I feel disloyal? I can't say I do...I always had difficulty in looking at the SRF line of gurus on the wall (or in my head) and feeling any true connection to them. I've always been attracted to many aspects of Indian culture (which I feel will remain) and perhaps that is why I so readily accepted the guru/disciple relationship that SRF offered. However, I don't think I ever truly understood what such a relationship entails (being that the guru is no longer in the body, made it that much more difficult). So as far as conflict goes, I really don't feel any, because I was never emotionally or intellectually attached to a guru.

At times I question the validity of my presence on this board!! Over the past couple months of reading and posting here, I've gradually shifted my allegience (although that's a rather strong term, in my case) away from SRF and even Yogananda. I'm seeing things in a way that I hadn't seen before (in myself personally, not so much in the lessons or the organization) or at least had not been consciously aware of. I haven't been "hurt" by SRF (some might argue that everyone is hurt by SRF), although their tactics and what they've done to others have been totally shocking in some instances, and I'm not sure that I want to belong to such a group any more. Perhaps I've always been a "fringe" member, in mind if not in body!

Bottom line, the issue of conflict regarding Zen's approach to teaching and the guru concept in SRF, really doesn't exist for me. Sure there are some twinges of "guilt," but I realize they are just vestiges of my habituated past. There is a feeling I get, sometimes, of floating untethered in vast space...a little scary, but in time it will either pass or I will learn to enjoy the freedom!!

Edited by: gardendiva at: 6/19/02 8:30:41 am
Should Free
Registered User
(6/30/02 11:01 pm)
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Adios
Dear friends
My time to part has come. I feel sad, but I also feel strongly that the purpose for participating here has been fulfilled. I have gain invaluable, liberating ideas from all of you, and often your warm support and love. I want to say good bye to all of you. I may keep visiting from time to time, to check how things are going, but may not participate actively anymore. As Rigiditananda first and then as Should Free I may have contributed with about 100 postings or more. I have offered all the understanding I have of the painful issues connected to SRF. I know it will never be enough because there are things in regard to the issues we have discussed that defy any understanding; but I did my best -- I gave my grain of sand. I want to thanks most especcially those who created and continue supervising this board. Thanks, thanks, thanks for the opportunity to participate. In God's love, I send to each one of you a warm, virtual hug -- your brother, Should free

soulcircle
Registered User
(7/1/02 5:34 am)
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Friend
~~~ stay!!!

chela2020
Registered User
(7/12/02 11:57 am)
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Re: Missing messages and teachers.
SayItIsn'tSo,

No, it doesn't mean that we are still being controlled. It means that I am being controlled by guilt. I felt I went too far in putting down Yogananda. So in a moment of sheer madness, I deleted everything. So when I came back on, I tamed down my messages.

I can understand your not wanting anything to do with religion. When you read one of my postings, you will find that that was my reaction upon leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. This time I knew better because I still have a goal to find God, as strange as that may seem to some on this board, since I have been putting down Yogananda, I still have that goal. I don't concern myself too much with manipulation any more. When I saw what SRF was doing, it was only Yogananda who kept me in line or I would have left as soon as I saw that they were like the Jehovah's Witnesses. As my own husband learned long ago, "You will do what you want to anyway, so why should I bother to tell you what I do?" Well, I do accept opinions still, and I do accept guidance.

I see that you have learned "that's my opinion" very well. LOL.

Edited by: chela2020 at: 7/12/02 9:01:23 pm
gardendiva
Registered User
(7/14/02 6:19 pm)
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Zen
Quote:
I'm just living life. We, in the West, have way too much time on our hands to worry about our spiritual life. I'm only concerned with my immediate reality. I'm so much happier not worrying about where I'm going to end up. Who cares?


Sayitisntso...

This is exactly what Zen teaches!!

Rosemarie7
Registered User
(11/14/02 12:27 pm)
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Is Zen better than Yoga?
Hell Yes!

Try Alan Watts

www.alanwatts.com

1-800-969-2887

Mark Watts, his son is fun to talk to. I've never read any of Alan Watts books because he has so many great audio and videos tapes. He has a fun personality that comes through on the tapes.

A little bit of Alan Watts and you will be able to say "Free at last!"

If you want to keep your Gurus then I don't recommend him.

WhyBelieveInReligion
Registered User
(11/14/02 12:30 pm)
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Re: Is Zen better than Yoga?
Hi RoseMarie,

Please contact me! I want to learn more!

ericbishop@mad.scientist.com

gardendiva
Registered User
(11/14/02 1:20 pm)
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My favorite Zen teacher...
...is Charlotte Joko Beck. Haven't been on this board for a while, and not this thread in particular, so parden my redundancy if that's the way it turns out.

Two books, "Nothing Special" and "Everyday Zen." Very down to earth!

And no, I'm not interested in gurus anymore :)

Rosemarie7
Registered User
(11/14/02 6:28 pm)
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Re: Is ZEN Superior to Yoga?
Alan Watts calls Zen/Buddhism the religion of no religion, works for me!

RELIGION! RELIGION! I DON'T NEED NO STINKIN RELIGION!!!!

Somebody mentioned Shambhala... They publish great books on Buddhism. "Entering the Stream" is a great overview of the varied schools of Buddhism.

Alan Watts has a fun tape on sex and religion, basicly he says they make sex a sin, because if we think we are doing something bad we will enjoy it more. *Grin*

Edited by: Rosemarie7 at: 11/14/02 7:21:59 pm
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