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Re: [Buddhism_101] New member

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  • John Pellecchia
    Good evening, Shannon and welcome. You don t mention which tradition (Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajrayana) you are drawn toward. I d suggest that you attend some
    Message 1 of 32 , Feb 26 9:49 PM
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      Good evening, Shannon and welcome.

      You don't mention which tradition (Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajrayana) you are drawn toward. I'd suggest that you attend some different Buddhist temples or mediation groups. This is always the best advice to follow. Yes, there are fundamental beliefs to each of them but there are also differences. Think of it like Abrahamic religions. They each have a basic belief but then there are differences between each. Also realize that every belief system has its cults and the same holds true for Buddhism in the West. My point is that if you attend a group and feel uncomfortable, it is best to trust your instincts and leave. Reading is not *the* best way to learn about Buddhism but we have to be realistic: Buddhist monasteries and temples are not always easy to find in our Western society.

      There is a Files section on the group website that you may want to review. There are also many sites on the Internet that you may find helpful in your search but, again, just as there are many good sites there are also many which are not. Confusing? Yes, but that's the fact of samasara.

      Here are sites that I have visited and found to be of interest. The list is lengthy but I tried to include various traditions. Please don't be intimidated by the length of the list. If you find one site is not of help to you, don't be discouraged but go on to the next. Many of these sites also have links to other reputable sites. You may have to copy-and-paste the URLs since I'm not sure if they automatically become hyperlinks in the group's settings.

      I wish you the very best on your journey and please continue to post should you have any questions.

      John

      http://www.abhayagiri.org/index.php/main/media/#talks
      http://www.abu.nb.ca/courses/grphil/ephil/Buddh.htm#Bu1 (a good intro to Buddhism)
      http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index.html
      http://www.ajahnchah.org/
      http://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
      http://www.basicbuddhism.org/index.cfm?GPID=3 (Pali chanting, guided meditation, etc.)
      https://www.bdkamerica.org/default.aspx?MPID=81(downloadable pdf files of sutras) You can order a free copy of "The Teaching of Buddha" at https://www.bdkamerica.org/default.aspx?MPID=53 )
      http://www.berzinarchives.com
      http://www.bodhicitta.net/index.htm
      http://www.bodhipath.org/teachings/
      http://www.buddhadharma.com/ 
      http://www.buddhanet.net/
      http://www.buddhanet.net/budsas/ebud/ebidx.htm (contains e-books on various topics)
      http://www.buddhaweb.org/
      http://www.buddhistpublishing.com/BN/application/Application.php?
      http://www.chenrezigcenter.com/download.shtml
      http://en.dhammadana.org/index.htm 
      http://www.dharmadrum.org
      http://www.dharmasun.org/ (video and downloadable MP3 selected teachings by Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche)
      http://www.dhammatalks.net
      http://www.dharmanet.org/learning.htm (information on Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan traditions)
      http://www.dzogchen.org/
      http://www.fpmt.org/ 
      http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/
      http://www.gatelessgate.org/index.php (Zen on-line community located in Gainsville and Orlando, FL)
      http://www.justbegood.net/
      http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/resources/books/books.php (book categories in the Kagyu tradition)
      http://www.kagyumonlam.org/English/News/news_main.html
      http://www.khandro.net/
      http://www.lamakathy.net/resources/downloads.html (pdf files of prayers and teachings by Lama Kathy Wesley of the Kagyu school)
      http://www.lotsawahouse.org/ (source of free texts in the Tibetan tradition)
      http://www.nibbana.com/
      http://www.palpung.org/ (free video and audio teachings are available in the Kagyu lineage)
      http://records.photodharma.net/category/notices (Theravada teachings in audio and text formats)
      http://www.rigpa.org/Sogyal_Rinpoche_video.html
      http://www.rinpoche.com/
      http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/index.htm
      http://www.sfzc.org/ (Zen tradition in San Francisco)
      http://www.sourceoflightmonastery.com/index.html (free eBooks on Buddhism)
      http://www.suttareadings.net/audio/index.html (mp3 readings of some suttas)
      http://tergar.org/
      http://www.thebigview.com/buddhism/
      http://www.thebuddhistsociety.org/
      http://www.thefournobletruths.org/

      http://www.thisismyanmar.com/nibbana/#.US2V1ejTEnU  
      http://www.tsemtulku.com
      http://www.urbandharma.org/
      http://www.vipassanadhura.com/index.htm
      http://www.wildmind.org/mantras (information on mantra and mantra meditation)
       
      “Clinging to one’s school and condemning others
      Is the certain way to waste one’s learning.
      Since all dharma teachings are good,
      Those who cling to sectarianism
      Degrade Buddhism and sever
      Themselves from liberation."

      (from Milarepa's "The One Hundred Thousand Songs")


      From: shanstol <shanstol@...>
      To: Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 9:28 PM
      Subject: [Buddhism_101] New member

      Hello, my name is Shannon. I'm not sure where to start. I came to this group to learn as much as I can about Buddhism. I'm a beginner and am very ignorant to a lot and wish to further my knowledge. I recently read a book about using Buddhism to gain a higher self-esteem and after reading the book I have found that I can completely see myself practicing Buddhism. I'm just not sure where to start. What I do know is that I'm wanting to change my perceptions of this life. I've been feeling the need for a major change in my life. I'm in a good relationship and I have two great children, but I feel this emptiness that I can't quite figure out. I find myself depressed and disgusted by the world around me. Anyway, I could on and on. I look forward to getting to know all of you and gaining some insight. If you have info on some books, or websites, please feel free to contact me. I'm open to thoughts, ideas, opinions, whatever. :D



    • ken
      Hi, Shannon, and welcome to our group. As John recommended earlier, it s good to have a teacher to help you along the way. Just looking at the Files and Links
      Message 32 of 32 , Mar 3, 2013
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        Hi, Shannon, and welcome to our group.

        As John recommended earlier, it's good to have a teacher to help you
        along the way. Just looking at the Files and Links section of this
        group's website, it's easy to see that there is a lot to read about
        Buddhism, so much that it's hard to know what to select when. This is
        something a teacher can help with. A good teacher, when you meet with
        him or her in person, can understand your concerns and help you address
        them and help you resolve problems. There's a metaphor I've encountered
        a few times in the readings I've done. In this metaphor we are the
        patient, the teacher is our doctor, and the Dharma (the teachings and
        readings) are the medicine. We all need some kind of medicine, but not
        everyone needs the same medicine. So we need a teacher, the doctor, to
        advise us on which medicine to take, what of the Dharma to read and
        study. All of that makes perfect sense to me.

        Of course too there are different kinds of doctors. While all of them
        might be great doctors, we don't go to a foot doctor for treatment of a
        headache. This is to say, we have to exercise a bit of wisdom when
        choosing a teacher. The Dalai Lama himself-- and most other Buddhists
        of significant achievement-- had a number of different teachers. We
        don't need to stay with the first one we choose. You'll know, you'll
        just feel it, feel a connection, when you find the teacher who's right
        for you for "where you are" at this moment in your life.

        Of course you can still read whatever books or articles or web sites
        which interest you. Unlike modern Western medicine, there is no bad
        dharma, no dharma which will hurt you. Though we might not see it right
        away, dharma is all tied together, all interconnected. Certain parts of
        it, however, might be more relevant to you or more understandable now
        than other parts. So just read things. No one's ever written a book
        just for me and how to solve all my particular problems and how to live
        my life with every page precisely relevant to me. (This is where a
        teacher can be most helpful.) But in the reading I've done, I've
        definitely found a lot which has helped me. Wisdom is one of the rare
        things in this world, ever more of which we can always benefit from.

        Last but by no means least is meditation. Meditation is good for so
        many things. I've read a couple of emails, one of which I believe was
        posted to this list (search in the archives on this website for
        "Benefits of Meditation" or something like that) which described twenty
        or thirty or more ways in which meditation is good for people. And
        reading those emails I thought of even more ways. A friend of mine who
        just in the past few months started studying Buddhism and meditating
        used to have frequent panic attacks. These could be brought on by a
        number of different kinds of situations. Just a few days ago she told
        me that she hardly has any of them anymore. She attributed this to
        meditation. And that feeling of emptiness you spoke of-- I've felt that
        too and quite often and for a long time. Without going into personal
        details, I'll just say that meditation helps with that too.

        We're living in strange times. We're besieged by ads and other social
        pressure telling us how we should look, what we should buy, how to
        increase and maintain and protect what we have. The US spends trillions
        of dollars on all these material things and still it isn't enough. We
        measure our economic progress, not by what we spend our money on, but
        simply-- and much too simply-- by how much we spend. More seems always
        to be better (except, somehow, with all those trillions we spend, we
        can't afford compassion). And in spite of these mountains of material
        goods we make and buy, we're still not happy... often times not even
        content. We're so often advised that there's a pill for this and that,
        a small bit of pricey chemistry, a small bit of even more material,
        which we can buy to solve our problem. Looking out over our society and
        much of the world, we witness such a malaise: so many angry people,
        people thinking they can "fix" some problem by stealing something or by
        insulting or hurting or killing people. Even lives led which are
        harmless and "normal" can at times seem quite pointless and vacuous.

        For those with eyes to see, it's readily apparent that with our
        exaggerated interest in material we've lost touch with the spiritual. To
        vanquish or overcome many of the maladies we see around us and, of
        those, the ones we suffer from, we would do well to investigate this
        long neglected dimension of life. Buddhism with its unbroken tradition
        going back centuries offers us a path to spiritual awareness and
        understanding that is otherwise difficult to find in such richness
        elsewhere in modern society.


        So please feel welcome here and free to ask questions and make
        observations. We're all here to help each other.



        On 02/25/2013 09:28 PM shanstol wrote:
        > Hello, my name is Shannon. I'm not sure where to start. I came to this
        > group to learn as much as I can about Buddhism. I'm a beginner and am
        > very ignorant to a lot and wish to further my knowledge. I recently read
        > a book about using Buddhism to gain a higher self-esteem and after
        > reading the book I have found that I can completely see myself
        > practicing Buddhism. I'm just not sure where to start. What I do know is
        > that I'm wanting to change my perceptions of this life. I've been
        > feeling the need for a major change in my life. I'm in a good
        > relationship and I have two great children, but I feel this emptiness
        > that I can't quite figure out. I find myself depressed and disgusted by
        > the world around me. Anyway, I could on and on. I look forward to
        > getting to know all of you and gaining some insight. If you have info on
        > some books, or websites, please feel free to contact me. I'm open to
        > thoughts, ideas, opinions, whatever. :D
        >
        >
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