Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Thread: How to Decide?

  1. #1
    Forums Member dhammachick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    101
    Namaste all,

    I have a question that is genuinely perplexing me of late. I have been a serious student of Buddhism now for about six months. I say serious because even though I have been "around" Buddhism since I was 17, it was only about six months ago that I got really serious about it and took refuge and committed to a daily practise.

    However, I have yet to decide or settle on a particular school of Buddism. I first came to Buddhism via HH The Dalai Lama's writings so Tibetan Buddhism was my first discovery. However, I love practises from Zen, Vajrayana and also Theravada.

    Do I need to commit to one school? I'm assuming yes to be the answer. If so, how do I know which one to choose? I'd prefer to have some logic behind my decision, rather than toss a coin

    Thanks and in metta,
    Raven

  2. #2
    Forums Member
    Location
    United States of America
    Posts
    261
    It isn't a matter of selecting which school so much as it is a matter of choosing which texts. Over time I chose to eliminate more and more texts due to their lack of historical authenticity, and once familiar with the Nikayas I could see for myself the flavor of the Dhamma. On this note, read the earliest strata of texts you can and study them often alongside your meditation practice - build a strong foundation, instead of buying drapes while the cement is still wet.

  3. #3
    Forums Member dhammachick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    101
    Quote Originally Posted by Sobeh
    It isn't a matter of selecting which school so much as it is a matter of choosing which texts. Over time I chose to eliminate more and more texts due to their lack of historical authenticity, and once familiar with the Nikayas I could see for myself the flavor of the Dhamma. On this note, read the earliest strata of texts you can and study them often alongside your meditation practice - build a strong foundation, instead of buying drapes while the cement is still wet.
    Thanks Sobeh. That was most helpful :)

    In metta,
    Raven

  4. #4
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
    Location
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    Posts
    4,690
    Hi dhammachick,

    I practice Soto Zen and have found it to fit well with my temper... We support our practice in zazen and the Four Noble Truths as the core teaching. The rest is left to your own effort and commitment with what the historical Buddha taught.

    Nothing really exotic or special...



    PS: Also I have found Theravada tradition really encouraging and well focused into the here and now way of practice and in this way very similar to Zen.

  5. #5
    I decided long ago to restrict my exploration of schools. I started with Theravada, because I thought it was the school that consisted mostly of ideas, with little in the way of ritual and other trappings, which have never been of interest to me. Now, I have discarded a fair amount of Theravada also, boiling it down, so to speak, to what I consider the core Dhamma: 4NT, N8P, DO, and other essentials.

  6. #6
    Forums Member dhammachick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    101
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowmelt
    I decided long ago to restrict my exploration of schools. I started with Theravada, because I thought it was the school that consisted mostly of ideas, with little in the way of ritual and other trappings, which have never been of interest to me. Now, I have discarded a fair amount of Theravada also, boiling it down, so to speak, to what I consider the core Dhamma: 4NT, N8P, DO, and other essentials.
    See THIS resonates strongly with me. I focus on the 4NT, N8P and really working on cultivating compassion and altruism as well as mindfulness. I guess I will continue along my path and make sure it is in accordance to Dhamma.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaarine Alejandra
    Hi dhammachick,

    I practice Soto Zen and have found it to fit well with my temper... We support our practice in zazen and the Four Noble Truths as the core teaching. The rest is left to your own effort and commitment with what the historical Buddha taught.
    Thank you Kaarine, that sounds like a good path to follow too

    In metta,
    Raven

  7. #7
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
    Location
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    Posts
    4,690
    Quote Originally Posted by dhammachick
    Thank you Kaarine, that sounds like a good path to follow too
    You are wellcome Raven,

  8. #8
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    United States of America
    Posts
    183
    Hi Dhammachick. I think personal contact is really helpful. You could get affiliated with whatever centers you may have around you and get a feel for different traditions. Unless you pretty much know specifically what you want, just be as open as possible, give it some time... let each tradition touch you, take shape in your mind. Eventually it will probably be beneficial to generally focus your energy on one path, but there is no rush. If you honestly interact with whatever traditions you're interested in, then the decision will become clear on it's own. :)

  9. #9
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
    Location
    Under the Bodhi Tree
    Posts
    4,690
    Quote Originally Posted by KoolAid900
    give it some time... let each tradition touch you, take shape in your mind.
    Yeah, a very good advice from KoolAid!


  10. #10
    Forums Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    United States of America
    Posts
    183
    Here is a story about how one individual chose his tradition.

    When I was in college, I started to explore various books on Buddhism. After a while, I took some Buddhist classes and got really into them. Then I started reading a lot of Zen Buddhist books. I got really into them and was doing meditation 3X daily... after getting really into a particular style of Zen I bought a plane ticket from FL to NY just go to the center, make a real connection, and learn to really practice. I was soooo disappointed when I got there!

    I ended up liking the place as we did a fair amount of meditation and it generally felt positive. However, the current teacher's insight and experience were so much more narrow than I had expected. He clearly had stability in samadhi and calmness surrounding him, despite this his personal development was considerably less than I was unconsciously looking for. I had the opportunity to meet the teacher's books I had read while there. He was getting old and had been pretty incapacitated by Parkinson's. Despite the money I spent and energy I expended to get there, I didn't even interact with him. While I was sure he had some spiritual awareness, it was so clearly not what I was looking for.

    I was drawn to Zen because I was sure it was possible to experience enlightenment in this life and that one did not need to believe in complicated cultural superstitions like karma and rebirth. I had previously been exposed to Tibetan Buddhism as a teenager, but did not pursue it as a young adult because so much of it was totally incompatible with my worldview.It seemed to be rooted in all kinds of superstition and ritual. Teachers espoused obscure specific things that seemed totally irrelevant to Buddhism and spiritual growth as I understood it.

    Years later I attended some teachings in the Tibetan tradition, which was still very confusing. However, I was continually drawn back towards it because the teachers embodied so completely what I aspired to. It was the only tradition I found that had the right heart, room for all of my diverse experiences, and completely supported my value about human potential. I was confronted face-to-face with the fact that all my values were extremely powerfully embodied within a tradition that seemed crazy, whereas the one that seemed in such agreement with my worldview, fell way short. This was a profound teaching to me. Even though I clearly knew where I wanted to go, and what was possible, I had to totally re-examine all my beliefs that led me away from the path that I clearly knew was out there. This is still extremely challenging for me, but I don't regret it for a minute. Before I decided to try to expand my view, I didn't even think it was possibly for me to grow in many of the ways I have.


    I share this deeply personal story as a heartfelt gift for you out of honor for your already completely perfect nature... and with deep appreciation for your sincere interest that will cause the unfolding of your unique path. May your journey be profound and completely fulfill everyone of your wishes.


    PS I am not in anyway putting Zen down. I have a lot of respect for Zen and it has helped me a lot. My experience was about what I needed to learn, not Tibetan vs. Zen. For all I know Zen is 10x more direct than Tibetan Buddhism.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Mon, 3:38 PM Mon, 5:38 PM Mon, 11:38 PM Tue, 5:08 AM Tue, 7:38 AM Tue, 10:38 AM