- Dear all,
I thought I should introduce myself. My name is Mark and I'm 22. I've
recently returned to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism after a period of
being involved in Gaudiya Vaisnavism (Bengali Hinduism, of the devotional
school of Caitanya Mahaprabhu)--hence I often also go by the name I was
given in that tradition, Rama Kesava. I left Tibetan Buddhism for wholly
the wrong reasons, but at a point where I was ready to make a real
commitment to practice. So...as a result instead of taking my practice
from the theoretical to the experiential, I became initiated into that
tradition, ordained as a monk, and was until recently serving my spiritual
master in his ashram in Northern California.
Now I am back in Scotland, trying to re-establish a framework of practice
for myself. For my part I am very much attracted to Mahayana, and
furthermore Vajrayana practice. However, I get a bit vague after that. The
nearest large buddhist centre is Kagyu Samye Ling in the Borders, although
there is a small FWBO centre in Edinburgh, and there are some other groups
Nonetheless, I'm finding migrating my practice from the heavily theistic
devotional school of Gaudiya Vaisnavism (in which everything is done for
the pleasure of God) to Tibetan Buddhism to be quite hard. At the moment
I'm studying a lot of texts, but I have a number of questions regarding
"practical" practice. :) Hence I've joined a whole plethora of groups.
Gaudiya Vaisnava practice centers around repetition of God's names (japa
meditation), Deity worship (arcana/puja), and scriptural study, among
other things. Whilst I have yet to take refuge formally of the three
jewels, I'm trying to establish a practical standard for myself.
In Gaudiya Vaisnavism Krsna (or his incarnations) and the guru are the
summum bonum, and a readily accesible shelter. I was trained and ordained
to serve the deity and the arca-vigraha of my gurudeva, but now I am at a
loss on how to approach the visual manifestation of the Buddha (I have a
small Chenrezig murti, but am a little weary to perform the arcana that I
learnt for fear of cross-concocting the two traditions.) Any suggestions?
Also, what is normally recited for japa meditation (om mani padme hum?
Anything else?)? Also (last one now!) what is considered the foremost
scripture. In my former tradition, it was the Bhagavad-gita, with the
Srimad Bhagavatam (Bhagavata Purana), and the Caitanya-caritamrta...
Your friend and servant,
Rama Kesava dasa