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Re: [Buddhism_101] Re: Hello! New to group

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  • John Pellecchia
    Good evening, Kat ... LOL. That s an interesting image. At least it s not on steroids. ... This is a question that has been going round robin on boards almost
    Message 1 of 32 , Jul 31, 2011
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      Good evening, Kat

      >TM is a kind of Reader's Digest version of basic Hindu meditation techniques.

      LOL. That's an interesting image. At least it's not on steroids.

      >Is Buddhism considered a religion, a philosophy, both, neither?

      This is a question that has been going round robin on boards almost for ever. I think it's a matter of perspective, opinion and tradition. To me it's a religion—interesting that the IRS concurs—but I leave that to others to debate since it ultimately has little bearing on my practice.

      >I'm interested in studying Buddhism, any suggestions for where to begin?  It seems a bit daunting.

      There are tons of texts available but my suggestion is to practice stilling the mind and meditating. Read the teachings (suttas and sutras) of the Buddha. I'd suggest the Dhammapada (pdf file download at http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/dhammapadatxt1.pdf ) and/or the Sutta Nipata (pdf file download at http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/Sutta-nipataBM6.pdf ) since they are concise, easy to read and in my opinion provide the essence of Buddhist thought.

      >…can a Jew be a Buddhist, or would a Jew practice Buddhism?

      Again, a matter of opinion and tradition as you can see from the replies of Ken and Mike. I'm not being evasive but there are differences of opinion in this regard also. There are Christians, Jews, etc., who consider themselves to be both. They maintain that Buddhism in the West is in a state of flux and evolution—which it is.
      An insightful text that touches upon this topic amongst others is "Rebel Buddha: On the Road to Freedom" by Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. Recently this evolution of Buddhism in American culture was a topic amongst some of the leading Buddhist teachers (see http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=6,10263,0,0,1,0 ).

      Others will say when one takes refuge in the Three Jewels they leave other belief systems and are exclusively Buddhist. That a Christian, for example, may practice Buddhist techniques but is not truly Buddhist.  If (when) your qualified teacher finds you, then that would be a question to ask him or her. You should follow your teacher's advice. The tradition (Theravada, Mahayana or Vajrayana), school and teacher—these are your ultimate quests in my opinion. Once you find them the rest will fall into place.

      So, what to do? If there are temples in your area, visit them. Ask questions. Seek advice. If not then read, meditate and look within yourself. Neither way is easy but no one said Buddhism was easy. But don't let that discourage you. It's an interesting ride—enjoy the scenery.

      I'm not sure I've answered your questions or simply added to confusion but I hope this helps.

      John
       
      Conviction is a person's highest wealth.
      Dhamma, when well-practiced, brings bliss.
      Truth is the highest of savors.
      Living with discernment, one's life is called best.

      (Sutta Nipata I,10)
    • sparaig
      ... I should add that TM theory says that not only can the person who practices TM simply for stress-management purposes become enlightened, but that since
      Message 32 of 32 , Aug 20, 2011
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        --- In Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com, "sparaig" <sparaig@...> wrote:
        >
        > TM is merely a technique.


        I should add that TM theory says that not only can the person who practices TM simply for stress-management purposes become enlightened, but that since they aren't caught up in trying to make enlightenment happen, they may become enlightened faster than the person who practices TM with the intent to become enlightened because they have less expectations, and therefore are less likely to try to obtain a goal during their practice.


        L
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