Eichi (tentacularone) wrote in anaishikawa,
Eichi
tentacularone
anaishikawa

hello

I'm new, both to the community and to buddhism. I've been using it as my mode of spiritual expression for about 4-6 months. I don't 100% ascribe to the cosmology/theology of buddhism, but I like the teachings and practices, and I'm trying to learn more. Most of what I've read talk a lot about the philosophy of buddism (the noble truths, the eightfold path, etc.) but I've had a bit of difficulty finding information about the customs and rituals of practice (forms of meditation, chants and their meanings, statues and their signifigance, etc.) Can anyone either reccommend a source (web preffered... I'm a starving student) or give me the low-down?

also, how does one go about finding the nearest temple? I would like to visit one. I don't think there are any quite near where I live (southern indiana), but I'm in Las Vegas for the summer, and there might be one out here.

finally, I have a question regarding monasticism and the middle way. Perhaps it's only my skewed western perspective, but it seems to me that monks engage in somewhat ascetic behavior. They can't drink, have sex/marry, eat after noon, etc. I understand the principle that these attatchments in life can be distracting, but it still seems to be immoderate, to the denial end of the spectrum. Any thoughts?

And I apologize, but this is getting cross posted in several buddhist forums. It won't be a habit.
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That clears up a lot.
two excellent books:

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind (very poetically written, and easy to follow)
Loving-Kindness Meditation by Bill Scheffel (whom I studied with this year)

I go to Naropa University in Boulder,CO which isnt too far away from Las Vegas (ok well its a good drive) founded by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg etc... Naropa is an excellent place to pursue contemplative studies...from transpersonal psychology to writing to tai chi. http://www.naropa.edu check it out

I know some very cool breathing exercises if youre interested touch base with me.
I am in the same situation you are. I've been studying Buddhism for maybe a year, with no professional guidance. All of that is about to change. Buddhists are not supposed to drink, smoke, or engage in sexual activities because they are short-term pleasures just like material possessions that distract us from long-term happiness. I reccomend reading The Art of Happiness. I don't incorporate all of the Buddhist teachings into my life although I have the highest respect for them. I consider my self a Buddhist drunkard. I smoke marijuana occasionally and I have a boyfriend. I meditate and practice the teachings of love and peace. I read to avoid ignorance, which is the one greatest cause of suffering. The great thing about Buddhism is that it is NOT a religion. It is a philosophy. It is about the soul. Whatever your beliefs are, Buddhism can incorporate its teachings. It is about morals and values and everyones dream of happiness.
"Buddhists are not supposed to drink, smoke, or engage in sexual activities because..." That is true for some sects, but not all. Many Mahayana Sects allow drinking in moderation and sexual activity in a commited relationship. As well, most sects do not believe in a "soul."

Not to be a nitpicker. Just helping out with your learning.
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You can check out www.wwzc.org which is the website for the White Wind Zen Community. There are several on-line translations of Buddhist texts there.

I would recommend "Before Thinking" by Anzan Hoshin Roshi.

I am a deshi, formal student but I would recommend that you find some one who has received transmission and can tell you their lineage. (Beware of wolves in monks clothing.)

I hope you are successful in finding what you need to know.
yeah I know how you feel man I am in the same situation
I am from Thailand and also a Buddhist. We arr both students. I have some experiences and it would be my pleasure if I could share opinions with you. Hopefully,it could help u some. My MSN is diesomeday@hotmail.com U may add me, if u want.
stick to the bare bones of the 4 truths and the 8 fold path
once you get to chants and rituals and custooms you will find that each culture has corrupted the original

american christianity is full of stuff that has nothing to do with christ

islam is full of middle eastern stuff that has nothing to do with the prophet

zen is full of stuff that is from japanese culture and not buddhism

all that stuff is interesting but i live in japan and the warring sects of buddhism and the way it is practised here would not impress you

go for the pure original idea

good luck
Hi, im really new to Buddhism and do not wish to offend anyone here,i just wanted to agree with what you mentioned. i feel The four noble truths and the 8 fold path offer us all we need. I am also Yoga student and could find the two conflicting in some ways but i really try to create my own form of dare-i-say worship, i try various forms of Meditation, Pranayama, Mantra what-have-you and see for myself what i feel is right. im sure my opinions will change with my understanding of both the Dharma and Yogic Philosophy but as yet, i just try and simplify my beliefs to what really matters, how we act towards others and ourselves.
http://www.buddhanet.net is a fantastic resource.