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Thread: A question about practicing Zen.

  1. #1
    Forums Member david002's Avatar
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    A question about practicing Zen.

    Hello forum members.

    I am a Buddhist, but I have not been a practicing Buddhist very long at all.

    I am very intrested in Zen, and I know that Mahayana is the right path for me to practice. I am not drawn to Theravada.

    It would be very difficult for me to get transportation to a sangha where Zen is practiced. The closest one that I found online is not in the city that I live in.

    I will be 26 years old in 6 days, but I still live with my parents, and I do not have the means to drive a car right now.

    So my question is. In order to be a Zen Buddhist, do you have to go through a formal initiation ritual?

    I doubt that my parents would agree to drive me to a nearby city to a Sangha. I consider this forum to be my online Sangha right now.

    I hope someone can answer my question.

    Last edited by david002; 02 Oct 12 at 09:49. Reason: I corrected a mispelled word.

  2. #2
    Hi David,


    Did you look in the Buddhanet worldwide search facility for centres ? I found 2 pages of Mahayana groups in Florida and quite a lot of them were Zen or Thich Nhat Hahn groups.

    http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/search...ayana&offset=0

    Isn't there any kind of public transport where you live ? Alternatively you could phone the nearest Zen group and ask them if there's anyone who lives near to you who could give you a lift there and back. Most people in Buddhist groups who have their own transport are happy to give lifts to others if they have a spare car seat. One of the centres in Florida might also have accommodation, so you could go to stay there for a couple of days occasionally.

    I don't know a lot about Zen because I've never been involved with it myself, but I always thought it couldn't be practised properly without personal instruction from a Zen teacher and participation with a group of people at a centre.



  3. #3
    David,

    have you considered sharing your beliefs with your parents? Nowadays Buddhism is not necessarily considered so exotic or exclusive any more. I was thinking that if your parents knew and approved of your interest you could easily take part in a one week or several week long retreat at the Zen center of your choice sometime instead of taking a more conventional vacation. Until then of course you could continue your studies online, reading and meditating offline.

  4. #4
    Forums Member Trilaksana's Avatar
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    I most closely Identify with Zen practice myself. However, I don't know if I would write off Theravada so soon. Many people here myself included are drawn to the Thai Forest Tradition. Some off my favorite teachers are from the Thai Forest tradition such as Ajahn Sumedho. I mostly focus on Zen teachings because they seem to consistently help me the most but some of the Thai Forest teachers help me just as much. Also if you like Thich Nhat Hanh he kinda seems like a mix between Zen and Thai Forest to me. Though this is just my own perception.

  5. #5
    Forums Member david002's Avatar
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    Hello everyone

    Thank you for responding to my message.

    Aloka, I will look at that link. Thank you for offering that advice to me about cetres for Zen. I have not looked extensively into the options for centres.

    londonerabroad, I have not spoken to my parents that much about my beliefs. My psychiatrist says that I shouldn't talk about religion with my family. He does not know that i'm Buddhist, because he has not seen me recently. I think you for your suggestion londonerabroad. I will think about as to whether or not I should bring up my beliefs with my parents, however they are not very open minded about other religions. They are protestant Chrisians who do not regularly go to a church, and they are pretty liberal when it comes to theology, but are not very comfortable with non Judeo-Christian religions.

    I've only been practicing Buddhism lately for about a week. I have struggled a lot throughout the week with having periods of rejection of Buddhism and then accepting it again. The periods are usually very short and are based on my attachment to my desire for a female significant other.

    I have a recurring dream which seems to manifest almost every night about an unkown girl who said she loves me but is unavailable.

    I am not sure if the anti-depressants//anti-psychotic//non addictive stimulant medicine that I take has to do with the (I take medication for an anxiety disorder and major depression, but I am overall in a decent mood when i'm awake) nightmares, but I am troubled with nightmares almost every time I go to sleep, and I can usually only sleep about 3 hours at a time. I am not looking for anyone to be be my doctor on my online Sangha here. I have undergone painful therapy that has made me mentally functional to where I can live with my anxiety disorder instead of it controlling me almost entirely.

    My symptoms from the disorder which is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder are very very mild now in comparison to how they used to be due to therapy.

    It just helps to talk about it just a little bit. I suppose I wanted to share my observations about myself. I don't want it to come across as blogging. If it is then I am sorry. I do not want to violate the rules. I honestly don't.

    I will say one more thing right now about the dreams. The ones involving no girlfriend around were really bad for a long time, and then in real life I actually had a girlfriend from around I think August 2012 until around September 2012. We had a relatively smooth relationship long distance, but after we broke up for good the nightmares became more frequent again.

    Trilaksana, I will look into the Thai Forest Tradition of Buddhism too. Thank you for the suggestion. I just took a what I think to be reliable test on www.beliefnet.com it was called Belief O Matic or something like that and it said that I scored 100% compatability with Mahayana Buddhism among lower scores of other beliefs. Theravada was not mentioned.

    Thank you everyone again for your time and for reading my post. Please share more with me if you want to.
    Last edited by david002; 02 Oct 12 at 17:56. Reason: fixing errors in my writing

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by David002
    I have a recurring dream which seems to manifest almost every night about an unkown girl who said she loves me but is unavailable.
    Its best not to take dreams too seriously David. It seems like its connected to your own longing to meet a woman.


    Quote Originally Posted by david002

    I am not sure if the anti-depressants//anti-psychotic//non addictive stimulant medicine that I take has to do with the nightmares, but I am troubled with nightmares almost every time I go to sleep, and I can usually only sleep about 3 hours at a time. I am not looking for anyone to be be my doctor on my online Sangha here
    You need to talk to your psychiatrist and your doctor/ heathcare professional about all of this, David, because your levels of medication may need to be changed.

    I think that's quite important.

  7. #7
    Forums Member fletcher's Avatar
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    A question about practicing Zen.

    Hi David
    Its early days for you, don't write anything off just yet be open. It is a good idea to have a teacher especially if you've had a few problems but again it's early days.
    Read a few Zen books, investigate Bodhidharma and Dogen, sit zazen and see how it feels. There's no rush you have the whole of your life.
    Best wishes
    Gary

  8. #8
    Forums Member Trilaksana's Avatar
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    I just took the quiz on Beliefnet.com and got Theravada Buddhism. But a lot of the questions I felt were hard to answer because they didn't have an option that suited me very well.

  9. #9
    Forums Member david002's Avatar
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    Thank you to everyone who responded to my post.

    I appreciate the advice.

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