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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Paramemetic posted:

Okay, that is enough of my selfish post. I hope it is of some benefit to someone.
I found it very beneficial so thank you for sharing. I understand, I think, what you are talking about. My own job was technical support for distance education at a large university... which was brisk enough to keep me employed but has, ah, changed considerably in its intensity. I am working from home, but I have had a great many calls to the effect of, "How do I teach my course online? Help: I'm scared."

It has been exhausting and difficult and stressful, even when I 'count my blessings', but I appreciate the perspective you brought. I think I have done, for the most part, OK: I have even been asked by some people, "Are you a robot??"

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Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 6 days!


You're a good guy, Paramemetic. Just do what you can, it's all we ever can.

Also, that Jack Kornfeld guy is super online, and has a buddhist podcast - there's even a Corona meditation up! https://jackkornfield.com/compassio...of-coronavirus/

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



So despite my ambition I regret that I have not yet collated my thoughts on the Ksitigarbha sutra beyond chanting the extensive mantra when I have found the time, Given All.

I thought, though obscurely, about the prospect of making beneficial merit and how positive actions, small as they may seem, can ripple out, when I saw this video about the numbers behind "why you ought to stay at home and not go around being a vector, if you possibly can." https://twitter.com/aljwhite/status/1241859943017349126

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



https://dharmarelief.org/

Do these folks look legitimate?

Cuervo Jonestown
Jun 20, 2007


If those sponsors are accurate it seems legit to me.

Though I couldn't tell you if this would be the best use of any donations you're planning on giving. I don't know what the most effective charities in this situation are.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

They have an explicit plan and they make that plan clear and the plan seems actionable. If the sponsors are legit then it would seem legit. You can check with some of those sponsors (Shambhala, Lion's Roar, etc.) easily enough.

As for what's most effective, it's really really hard to say. There's a lot that needs to be done, and I would say that if the plan you're seeing matches what you think you want to help with, go for it.

I would rather see concrete plans for the exact goals a charity wants to accomplish than vague "we support doctors by providing PPE" promises that don't list specifics.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Indeed, you run into the problem of charitable giving in general - I have heard the Red Cross skims a lot off the top of anything you give. And of course, knock wood, this situation we have now will be largely gone in a year - yet in a lot of ways, it has not yet actually happened. We don't have a lot of recent precedent.

KiteAuraan
Aug 5, 2014

JER GEDDA FERDA RADDA ARA!




Odd question for right now, given the situation, but are there any Arizona Buddhist Goons who have experience with any Sangha on the west side of Phoenix? My practice is general Mahayana with strong ChŠn and Madhyamika influence for an idea of where I am at.

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






KiteAuraan posted:

Odd question for right now, given the situation, but are there any Arizona Buddhist Goons who have experience with any Sangha on the west side of Phoenix? My practice is general Mahayana with strong ChŠn and Madhyamika influence for an idea of where I am at.

No experience with this one, and the location may be inconvenient, but if Soto is of interest thereís an affiliate of San Francisco Zen Center in Paradise Valley. The link below seems to have their correct phone number but note the web link is wrong:
https://branchingstreams.sfzc.org/a...-of-affiliates/

Also if Soto is of interest, Iíd suggest you check out the Soto Zen FB group page: thereís a stickied post with online sanghas; SFZCs link for online is there (itís also at their website), among many others. Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, an excellent center in Chicago, is not in the thread but does have an online offering, details of which are at their site.

XBenedict
May 23, 2006

YOUR LIPS SAY 0, BUT YOUR EYES SAY 1.



Nessus posted:

https://dharmarelief.org/

Do these folks look legitimate?

FWIW, this organization doesnít show up in either Guidestar or Charity Navigator. Of course, that could just be because quarantine.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

I don't know Arizona geography so I have no idea where Prescott Valley is but the Garchen Buddhist Institute is there. It's primarily a retreat center but I believe they likely have regular services as well? Tibetan Buddhist, on the liberal side of orthodoxy (Garchen R. will do online empowerments, for example, the efficacy of which is debated) but Garchen R. is a very traditional teacher within the Drikung Kagyu lineage. He tends to teaching from the Yangzab cycle of Dzogchen rather than the more traditionally Kagyu Mahamudra, but he's a very well respected lineage master and responsible for a huge number of centers.

So, I don't know where it is relative to Phoenix, but there's that.

Keret
Aug 26, 2012






Soiled Meat

Nude Hoxha Cameo posted:

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, an excellent center in Chicago, is not in the thread but does have an online offering, details of which are at their site.

This is excellently timed, as I wanted to drop in and mention something we are working on at ADZG! A few of us have started a committee that is going through our archive of podcasts and working with Taigen to share a few each week while the pandemic is going on. I thought I would crowdsource this a little bit and include the remote Sangha as well — if anyone here has listened to our podcasts and has any from the archive that they really liked or that spoke to them, please suggest them to me and we can add them to our ongoing list. Feel free to PM me or post, whichever works best.

Thank you for your ongoing practice, Dharma friends!

KiteAuraan
Aug 5, 2014

JER GEDDA FERDA RADDA ARA!




Paramemetic posted:

I don't know Arizona geography so I have no idea where Prescott Valley is but the Garchen Buddhist Institute is there. It's primarily a retreat center but I believe they likely have regular services as well? Tibetan Buddhist, on the liberal side of orthodoxy (Garchen R. will do online empowerments, for example, the efficacy of which is debated) but Garchen R. is a very traditional teacher within the Drikung Kagyu lineage. He tends to teaching from the Yangzab cycle of Dzogchen rather than the more traditionally Kagyu Mahamudra, but he's a very well respected lineage master and responsible for a huge number of centers.

So, I don't know where it is relative to Phoenix, but there's that.

Prescott Valley is about an hour and 15 minutes away from where I live by car if the traffic is good. Paradise Valley is closer but still takes 40 minutes because it is all city driving. I think most Vajrayāna here in Phoenix proper is Kadampa. Or at least they advertise the most.

The closest temples to me all seem to be Thai Theraveda, Thiền or Jōdo Shinshu. Leaning toward the Jōdo Shinshu for now because they have gone digital for the time being.


Nude Hoxha Cameo posted:

No experience with this one, and the location may be inconvenient, but if Soto is of interest there’s an affiliate of San Francisco Zen Center in Paradise Valley. The link below seems to have their correct phone number but note the web link is wrong:
https://branchingstreams.sfzc.org/a...-of-affiliates/

Also if Soto is of interest, I’d suggest you check out the Soto Zen FB group page: there’s a stickied post with online sanghas; SFZCs link for online is there (it’s also at their website), among many others. Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, an excellent center in Chicago, is not in the thread but does have an online offering, details of which are at their site.

Thanks. I didn't know we had Sōto here. My only Sangha experience was with a Sōto temple in Hawaii that I practiced at while visiting my sister for New Year's a year back. If I lived there I would have kept attending because it just clicked so much with where my personal practice had ended up just from reading Bodhidharma.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Keret posted:

This is excellently timed, as I wanted to drop in and mention something we are working on at ADZG! A few of us have started a committee that is going through our archive of podcasts and working with Taigen to share a few each week while the pandemic is going on. I thought I would crowdsource this a little bit and include the remote Sangha as well — if anyone here has listened to our podcasts and has any from the archive that they really liked or that spoke to them, please suggest them to me and we can add them to our ongoing list. Feel free to PM me or post, whichever works best.

Thank you for your ongoing practice, Dharma friends!
Oh wow, this stuff looks amazing. I will definitely be in touch about my favorites. I had been half-assedly searching for some kind of online Dharma talks/service situation due to the current blend of "confinement," "the suffering outside," and "the opportunities to try and build a practice habit."

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Keret posted:

This is excellently timed, as I wanted to drop in and mention something we are working on at ADZG! A few of us have started a committee that is going through our archive of podcasts and working with Taigen to share a few each week while the pandemic is going on. I thought I would crowdsource this a little bit and include the remote Sangha as well — if anyone here has listened to our podcasts and has any from the archive that they really liked or that spoke to them, please suggest them to me and we can add them to our ongoing list. Feel free to PM me or post, whichever works best.

Thank you for your ongoing practice, Dharma friends!

I want back through the old episodes on Castro the other day but the challenge for me is that all of the episodes are great. Taigen is such a remarkable Dogem scholar and teacher.

Separately, and for whatever itís worth, Iíll mention that Iíve been shooting myself with the second arrow a hell of a lot lately. These are tough times and I hope all of you are safe and well.

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006



Hey thread, hope everyone is getting along okay.

Iíve been doing a lot more meditating lately, but one of my biggest problems is still my absolutely wretched hips and knees. Iím really tall and long limbed, and I have terrible flexibility in my lower half. I can barely sit cross legged for more than a few minutes without pain. I bought a zafu and a zabuton, and those have helped enough that I can basically sit for 20 minutes pain free if I have a wall to lean on.

Lately Iíve been doing yoga in the morning, mostly with a focus of improving my flexibility to improve my sitting posture. My eventual goal is to be able to sit lotus style. Let me once again stress how inflexible I am. I cannot even begin to get one foot on its opposite hip before things start straining, painfully.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a YouTube video or guide I could start doing daily to improve my flexibility for the specific purpose of better sitting posture?

Rodney The Yam II
Mar 3, 2007
this time with feeling

Please please let go of your desire to sit in lotus soon. It might take years of dedicated yoga to reach that posture safely and it's not a necessary condition for a good sit. Believe me I've damaged my already weak knees trying to rush lotus, and that was with regular and intense practice (YMMV some bodies get it more easily).

But it's OK! With the zafu or a meditation stool or yoga blocks you can still find other ways to sit, even if you have to change positions every so often. For example, I'll sit cross legged on a zafu with my knees on the floor, like a loose half lotus, until my leg starts to fall asleep. Then, I switch to kneeling with my butt on a yoga block. The more I do it the more I zone in on the micro adjustments necessary for me to sit longer comfortably.

If you keep up your physical practice along with sitting, and listen to your body, you will find what you're looking for bit by bit.

Also if u want more of a breakdown of the mechanics of lotus and knee safety I can elaborate on what I know

Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004









Shredded Hen

I am interested in a post about lotus and knee health. I can get in lotus but it's a bit of a stretch on my ankles and not super comfortable. I don't do it much because I don't want to hurt myself, but I'd love to have actual facts!

Rodney The Yam II
Mar 3, 2007
this time with feeling

I'm happy to share what I know, I've received a lot of instruction and adjustment over the years, and wished I'd been safer about it sooner. I'll type it out next chance I get.

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Lotus is NOT about knee flexibility and if you have any strain at all there just wait. Lots of other postures are fine.

What lotus is about is rotational flexibility and flexibility in the inner thigh. The seated postures in the ashtanga primary series are great for this IF you take it slow and only do what you comfortably can. It can take a hell of a long time and thatís ok.

Donít force it.

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006



For the record when I talk about my goal being lotus position, Iím talking like ďit would be good if in 5 years I can sit comfortably on the lotus positionĒ. I get that itís not requisite for anything, I just want to start moving toward it gradually.

Rodney The Yam II
Mar 3, 2007
this time with feeling

Noted, Yorkshire Pudding. I'm glad to know you're not rushing it!

I wrote up an effortpost with what I knowóand I'm happy to be corrected or challenged if anyone here knows differently.

The Road To Lotus

As Nude Hoxha Cameo just said, lotus pose is not about knee flexibility, but about opening and rotating the hips. As I mentioned, I've struggled to reach lotus comfortably and have developed a chronic knee (and possibly ankle) injury in the process. I hope that anything I've learned about how to approach lotus will be useful to others so that they can enjoy a pain-free journey toward this fantastic pose.

To be perfectly transparent, I can't do lotus. I've achieved it in the past, for a time. I don't know if I'll ever get to where I desire, but I do my best to focus on my present practice and what it affords.

My Background

I've been studying and practising Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga since 2013. I've had the good fortune to have had an excellent teacher from the outset. He's extremely dedicated to the practice and to his students, and even though he lives across the country now he finds ways to be present and to guide me in my individual journey. So, big shout out to Patrick!

Ashtanga is a notoriously intense style that has a couple of dark sides, one being a culture of pushing the body to the point of injury. Thankfully that has changed over the years, and in my experience safety is now a key concern. I'm saying this in case there are people ITT who know enough about ashtanga to rightfully have doubts about an ashtangi sharing safety information. And, note that I am not a yoga teacher. I have on occasion given private lessons to friends but keep in mind that everything I'm saying here only really applies to experiences with my own body and my individual study.

In any case, I did injure myself twice over time, both times from trying to push myself toward lotus. The ashtanga seated series has many hip opening and rotation postures but I would caution you to be extremely careful with them because they are surprisingly dangerous (this is where I got my worst injury). I've been taught that they're better understood as "check-ins" to measure your progress rather than as main flexibility engines.

Flexibility and Safety

It's worth keeping in mind that, practically speaking, joints are not flexible. It is muscles that lengthen and allow you to express the range of motion of your joints. If your muscles are not long enough, your joints will take up the strain. And with time and/or force that means soft tissue damage that is potentially with you for life.


Lotus, so Hot Right Now

Why does everybody want to lotus so bad anyways? Not just because it looks great, or that all our ancient role models do it. Lotus pose is so fantastic because when it is properly done, your body is locked into a seated posture. That means you are not expending energy just holding your foundation together. It's being held together by folding your skeletal system into a shape that doesn't collapse when you let go of muscular tension. Understandably, this is very useful for long meditation practice.

That being said you can still find ways to sit with little to no muscle activation in your foundation, using bolsters, blocks, and/or a stool (or a chair for that matter). Lotus is great, but it's not the only way. So while you're working on it, just keep in mind that the goal is to have a solid foundation that minimizes muscle activation.

Ideal Lotus Anatomy, a Visualization

There are essentially 2 movements that fold the body into lotus pose. Outward rotation of the leg, and outward rotation of the hip.

Visualize the following:

This is a somewhat absurd anatomical visualization to illustrate lotus mechanics. You can use a bent drinking straw or something as a model leg if you prefer a tactile representation.
  • Imagine sitting upright with legs straight in front, knees and feet pointing up (Dandasana).
  • Feel both of your legs rotating all the way outwards: they're still straight in front of you, but your knees and feet are pointing out to the sides. All the way out, so they're parallel to the floor. Imagine them going even farther, so that they point out and down a bit. Each entire leg has rotated so that now the crooks of the knees are facing inwards and upwards and the feet are touching the floor on either side.
  • Now, imagine what would happen if you could fully bend your knees in this arrangement. With the kneecaps pointed out and down: bending the knees causes the lower legs to swing up and over to land on your inner thighs. In this somewhat absurd arrangement your feet would be touching each other in front of your navel.
  • To lock the anatomy into lotus, it's now a simple matter of crossing the feet, placing each ankle on the opposite hip. There is no strain on the knees because the entire leg is rotated outward. There is no strain on the ankle joint because the ankle (not the foot) is resting on the hip. In this ideal exercise, note that the ankle joint has not moved. It's just the same as it was when you were sitting with straight legs, with the toes pointing in the same direction as the knees.

Hopefully this provides some insight into how lotus works in an ideal sense. The last point about the knee and ankle provides probably the best way to measure your knee and ankle safety while you work toward the ideal.

Safe Lotus Anatomy

The #1 way to ensure that you are safe in your lotus explorations is to know how a safe knee and ankle feels and looks. It's really simple, thankfully. Try this for yourself:
  • Sit on the floor, and bend one knee bringing a leg all the way up to your chest. Your foot is flat on the ground and your heel is right up against your butt.
  • Use your hands to really make sure that the knee is all the way bent. Think of this whole assembly as one solid unit. The foot is facing straight out along the line of the leg.
  • Now flex your whole ankle to pull your foot upward. The ankle is strong, the legs are strong, everything is aligned and strong. This whole assembly is your safety check. NOTE: The ankle doesn't always need to be flexed like this but if you can't center the ankle while getting into lotus, it probably means your foot is resting on your leg/hip which is pulling your ankle out of alignment because your hip isn't flexible enough to lift your ankle that high*.
  • Hug your leg to your chest and enjoy this solidity!

When you are doing any kind of lotus-related posture, the lower and upper legs should always be aligned like this. If the lower leg starts swinging out of alignment with the upper leg, your knee is rotating laterally and you will probably hurt yourself. Similarly, if the ankle is getting pulled off to the side (like if you are cranking it up your leg to get closer to your hip) you will probably hurt yourself*.

Again, because it bears repeating (and applies to all yoga practice): if your muscles can't get you into a pose, your joints will try to take up the strain, and strained joints will cause lasting damage

* there is some leeway in the ankle, but be careful!

Easy Poses That I Like

I have 2 favourite poses for working on lotus flexibility, both very safe and accessible. The first is good old triangle pose (Trikonasana), in which you can find and hold a rotational stretch in the leading leg by gentle exploration of hip position in the pose. The second is bound ankle pose (Baddha Konasana), which you can do with a partner or with weights, perhaps while watching TV or reading a book!

I can't in good faith go into any more detail on this part because there are so many poses that can contribute to reaching lotus, and I can't presume to know what will work for you. I can offer some suggestions for reading material that has given me insights and that I continue to refer to for my practice. I'd also be happy to know peoples' favourite lotus-related stretches/poses and lotus alternatives for sitting!

Resources

The Art of Vinyasa by Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor
Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends by Ray Long
Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy by Gregor Maehle

Nude Hoxha Cameo
Sep 29, 2007






Rodney The Yam II posted:

Resources

The Art of Vinyasa by Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor
Anatomy for Hip Openers and Forward Bends by Ray Long
Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy by Gregor Maehle

I used to practice with Melanie Fawer years ago. Sheís amazing, and her shala was very old school: Mysore every morning, complete with the traditional adjustments. I only wish there were as good a shala near where Iím living now; the closest these days is just a tad too far to make it practical to go.

Anyway, Iíd throw in David Swensonís Primary Series video and also The Practice Manual. They should still be on Amazon, but also both can be found here: https://www.ashtanga.net/

He goes through the primary series with dazzling ease, but also constantly reminds students to take it easy, and at least in the book, but I think also in the video, offers a number of modifications so that anyone can do the postures.

* * *

Back to lotus, while baddha padmasana has been part of my mostly daily practice until very recently, I personally prefer to use a version of half lotus for long sits. I call it half assed lotus, and itís a sort of weird cross between the Burmese position and half lotus. I just mention it because it comes down to preference and practice and thereís not really just one grail pose, even if a person can get into them all. (Though I will say that back when I was doing a lot of pranayamas / kriyas / yoga meditation, I did find lotus preferable.)

Nude Hoxha Cameo fucked around with this message at 18:55 on Apr 7, 2020

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006



Thanks for the excellent write up, Rodney! Iíll check out those resources.

for the near future I think Iíll stick with some basic yoga and just focus on getting some basic flexibility down. Iíve got plenty of time to work towards more advanced stuff.

neaden
Nov 4, 2012


Hello thread, some questions from someone who is generally curious about religions. I've realized recently that Buddhism is the major world religion that I don't really know anyone who practices. I think I have a decent conception of the overall theology of the religion, and this thread has helped with that, but I don't know much about how it is put into practice around the world. Do you know of any good resources to learn about that.
The sort of things I'm wondering about are like how often people in different places go to temple, interact with different clergy, pray/meditate at different times during the day/week, restrictions on clergy like how it some countries they can get married and in others they don't, how strict rules against intoxicants are in different cultures etc. I hope that makes sense.

Rodney The Yam II
Mar 3, 2007
this time with feeling

Nude Hoxha Cameo posted:

I used to practice with Melanie Fawer years ago. Sheís amazing, and her shala was very old school: Mysore every morning, complete with the traditional adjustments. I only wish there were as good a shala near where Iím living now; the closest these days is just a tad too far to make it practical to go.

Anyway, Iíd throw in David Swensonís Primary Series video and also The Practice Manual. [...] He goes through the primary series with dazzling ease, but also constantly reminds students to take it easy, and at least in the book, but I think also in the video, offers a number of modifications so that anyone can do the postures.

I definitely miss the routine and rigour of having daily Mysore with attentive adjustment. There are a couple of good options in my city for Ashtanga but I've never quite found the same level of satisfaction since my teacher moved away. Over time I've started to enjoy going to the gym and simply practicing among gym people, which for some strange reason I've found to be more enjoyable than practicing with other yogis. It's really helped with my personal practice, and made it so much easier to practice at home. I guess I find myself being less struck by Yoga Guilt.

And yeah can't forget Swenson! For modifications/accessibility I like The Art of Vinyasa because Freeman and Taylor wrote it recently, and so they're writing and demonstrating yoga from a elder's perspective. Sometimes to stay safe and considerate of my body I have to remind myself to "practice like an old person", and this book hits that note for me

quote:

half assed lotus

I love this term

Yorkshire Pudding posted:

for the near future I think Iíll stick with some basic yoga and just focus on getting some basic flexibility down. Iíve got plenty of time to work towards more advanced stuff.

You've got your whole lives ahead of you!

Buried alive
Jun 8, 2009


Hey Guys. I've been perusing Buddhism for a while and I've recently gotten more into it, in my own ways, what with needing a way to deal with climate change providing motivation and the pandemic providing opportunity and all.

One of those ways was to join a Kik group, just to chat and get my feet wet. Some of the people there seem to be SUPER into the idea of other religions being wrong, that certain aspects of other Hindu religions involves consorting with demons, passionately rejecting metaphysical arguements about God, and one of the guys there (who is from Sri Lanka) seems to have quite the hate-boner for anything Hindu in general. Apparently there was a lot of conflict and supression of Buddhism by Indian (or maybe British Colonialist) forces in Sri Lanka in recent history, so it's understandable, but drat. I've also seen a lack of nuance towards other topics in some of the discussions. For example, trying to point out that just because someone thinks X should be legal, that is not the same as saying someone should therefore go out and do X.

.. Some of that is me venting I think, but I'm going to leave it there for discussion and commentary (or not) anyways. My concern is that I've definitely got an appealing vision of Buddhism (and Buddhists) in general mostly engaging in calm inquisitiveness towards such issues. While others (including mods) do intercede to try and calm things down, the fact that these flare ups exist is causing me to bounce off super hard. I guess I'm trying to suss out exactly why. I can feel myself wanting to discuss some of these issues, but a kik chatroom just feels like a poor format to do it in. Especially one where people are getting all up in arms about issues to begin with. Some of it might be miscommunications caused by whatever ESL or cross-cultural issues could be present. Some of it might be me clinging too tightly to my aforementioned appealing vision. Some of it might be the fact that my view of the world in general is doubtless influenced by growing up as a straight white dude in a (supposedly, anyway) 1st world industrialized nation that was a colonizer rather than a colonizee. In the spirit of trying to turn these experiences into a lesson.. I don't know. Wtf do I do next? Just spend some time brooding meditating on why it bothers me so?

P.S. There is a zen place near me that I've been meaning to check out for a while. Maybe I'll finally do that in a month or so when it's deemed safe to do things outside again.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Buried alive posted:

One of those ways was to join a Kik group, just to chat and get my feet wet. Some of the people there seem to be SUPER into the idea of other religions being wrong, that certain aspects of other Hindu religions involves consorting with demons, passionately rejecting metaphysical arguements about God, and one of the guys there (who is from Sri Lanka) seems to have quite the hate-boner for anything Hindu in general. Apparently there was a lot of conflict and supression of Buddhism by Indian (or maybe British Colonialist) forces in Sri Lanka in recent history, so it's understandable, but drat. I've also seen a lack of nuance towards other topics in some of the discussions. For example, trying to point out that just because someone thinks X should be legal, that is not the same as saying someone should therefore go out and do X.

.. Some of that is me venting I think, but I'm going to leave it there for discussion and commentary (or not) anyways. My concern is that I've definitely got an appealing vision of Buddhism (and Buddhists) in general mostly engaging in calm inquisitiveness towards such issues. While others (including mods) do intercede to try and calm things down, the fact that these flare ups exist is causing me to bounce off super hard. I guess I'm trying to suss out exactly why. I can feel myself wanting to discuss some of these issues, but a kik chatroom just feels like a poor format to do it in. Especially one where people are getting all up in arms about issues to begin with. Some of it might be miscommunications caused by whatever ESL or cross-cultural issues could be present. Some of it might be me clinging too tightly to my aforementioned appealing vision. Some of it might be the fact that my view of the world in general is doubtless influenced by growing up as a straight white dude in a (supposedly, anyway) 1st world industrialized nation that was a colonizer rather than a colonizee. In the spirit of trying to turn these experiences into a lesson.. I don't know. Wtf do I do next? Just spend some time brooding meditating on why it bothers me so?

P.S. There is a zen place near me that I've been meaning to check out for a while. Maybe I'll finally do that in a month or so when it's deemed safe to do things outside again.
I think an important thing to remember is that Buddhists aren't fundamentally different from other people - I think that you may have had an image that taking refuge made you immune to the various negative sentiments and rhetorical models you are describing. What you're describing sounds like it's something of a Sri Lankan space as much as it is a formal Buddhist space.

I hope it doesn't discourage you from the dharma! I think it is good for people; it's just that people are where they are, and the difference is not necessarily titanic on an individual level.

Emergency Exit
Mar 11, 2009


Paramemetic posted:

Also, because it often comes up, there is a general consensus across all schools that some people should not meditate. This has become a problem since the West has embraced mindfulness as the magic bullet to solve the problem of everyone being miserable under capitalism. People with very bad anxiety and depression should generally not meditate. Meditation involves engaging with your mind very directly, and people with anxiety and depression can often end up reinforcing those depression thoughts or anxiety thoughts rather than ameliorating them. Some people can meditate mindfully and recognize that their depression or anxiety has no basis and that those thoughts are just transient things, but usually only people who have good karma for meditation (we'd say from past lives of practice, but who cares about that) can meditate away a depression. Most people end up just seeing the depression thoughts and habituating them more strongly because they get very distracted by the self-loathing and can't quite get to the root of the thought, or hell, some will even get worse ("I can't believe I can't see the nature of my mind! I'm so loving stupid and useless).

So don't meditate if you have a depression unless you have a good teacher who can tell you when to stop. For Tibetan Buddhists if there is major discouragement like that we generally recommend doing purification practices and focusing on ritual-y stuff rather than doing a lot of meditation if you are prone to those kinds of things; focusing on concrete stuff and not spending so much time "in one's head."

This is interesting and surprising to me because I have ptsd from a traumatic childhood, severe depression, anxiety and adhd, but have found such profound relief and relaxation in mindfulness and meditation (through cbt) that it's actually led me to exploring and wanting to learn more about Buddhism now after years of practice of some of these concepts. Honestly it's not an exaggeration to say that these concepts in therapy were, for me, literally life saving.

I started off with guided meditation so it kind of kept me from wandering too far into my mind like you're describing, but anyway, I really felt this inner peace and resonance through meditation and concepts like mindfulness and compassion in helping me interrupt my thought distortions and become more aware of myself. I do take medication also, though, to be fair. But even with medication, I find these things helpful in my daily life.

I had looked up a couple of temples nearby my house but I wasn't able to visit before the shelter in place began.

Someone recommended The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh, and I read the first chapter. I'm loving it so far but if anyone could recommend really basic, beginner level resources I'd greatly appreciate it. Coming into the thread I knew the noble truths, eightfold path and five precepts, and some vague stuff like mindfulness, breathing, meditation, and compassion so I could use help being pointed in the right direction.

I did read through this thread and I'll go back through the older ones too when I get the chance!

Tias
May 25, 2008
Probation
Can't post for 6 days!


My sponsor got me a kneeling chair, it's awesome. I won't go into lotus as I don't see a reason.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Buried alive posted:

Hey Guys. I've been perusing Buddhism for a while and I've recently gotten more into it, in my own ways, what with needing a way to deal with climate change providing motivation and the pandemic providing opportunity and all.

One of those ways was to join a Kik group, just to chat and get my feet wet. Some of the people there seem to be SUPER into the idea of other religions being wrong, that certain aspects of other Hindu religions involves consorting with demons, passionately rejecting metaphysical arguements about God, and one of the guys there (who is from Sri Lanka) seems to have quite the hate-boner for anything Hindu in general. Apparently there was a lot of conflict and supression of Buddhism by Indian (or maybe British Colonialist) forces in Sri Lanka in recent history, so it's understandable, but drat. I've also seen a lack of nuance towards other topics in some of the discussions. For example, trying to point out that just because someone thinks X should be legal, that is not the same as saying someone should therefore go out and do X.

.. Some of that is me venting I think, but I'm going to leave it there for discussion and commentary (or not) anyways. My concern is that I've definitely got an appealing vision of Buddhism (and Buddhists) in general mostly engaging in calm inquisitiveness towards such issues. While others (including mods) do intercede to try and calm things down, the fact that these flare ups exist is causing me to bounce off super hard. I guess I'm trying to suss out exactly why. I can feel myself wanting to discuss some of these issues, but a kik chatroom just feels like a poor format to do it in. Especially one where people are getting all up in arms about issues to begin with. Some of it might be miscommunications caused by whatever ESL or cross-cultural issues could be present. Some of it might be me clinging too tightly to my aforementioned appealing vision. Some of it might be the fact that my view of the world in general is doubtless influenced by growing up as a straight white dude in a (supposedly, anyway) 1st world industrialized nation that was a colonizer rather than a colonizee. In the spirit of trying to turn these experiences into a lesson.. I don't know. Wtf do I do next? Just spend some time brooding meditating on why it bothers me so?

P.S. There is a zen place near me that I've been meaning to check out for a while. Maybe I'll finally do that in a month or so when it's deemed safe to do things outside again.

What Nessus said is more or less on the money. Remember that Buddhists are people. All Buddhists are bad Buddhists or else they'd be Buddhas. The monks will be given to sectarianism. Buddhism specifically rejects some of the core conceits of Hinduism and while those differences are reconcilable with some apologetics, the vast majority of practitioners are not going to be doing advanced metaphysics - they're going to be practicing what they're told to practice by their parents and maintaining their religious traditions as best as they know how. In the West in particular we have great access to education and to learning about these kinds of things, and there's no zealot like a convert. So, we'll often study a lot of doctrine with a lot more acuity than lay followers who are just following the religion of their parents and may not be giving it much more thought than "this is what we do in our religion." A Catholic example would be the difference between someone who was raised Catholic but didn't go to a Catholic school, say, and someone who converted and went through RCIA. The convert will likely have a lot more nuance in his or her understanding of canon simply because they've thought critically about it by way of learning about it.

We're not imperializing or colonizing those spaces when we learn about them, but we have to avoid a kind of arrogance that sometimes happens where we judge people for not having that nuance or for having different understandings of doctrines. The religion is being approached on a different level and in a different way. Westerners love to say Buddhism is a philosophy, not a religion, but then we have consternation when people practice it as a religion.

Emergency Exit posted:

This is interesting and surprising to me because I have ptsd from a traumatic childhood, severe depression, anxiety and adhd, but have found such profound relief and relaxation in mindfulness and meditation (through cbt) that it's actually led me to exploring and wanting to learn more about Buddhism now after years of practice of some of these concepts. Honestly it's not an exaggeration to say that these concepts in therapy were, for me, literally life saving.

It certainly is very beneficial for a lot of people, but it really comes down to, well, a person's karma. Some people will touch to that meditation practice and they can use it to unknot their problems. They can see that depression is a transient state that will eventually end and so is just something to move past. They'll see past traumatic experiences as gone and no longer real, and so they can unravel those things. They'll gain insight into the mind and the things that arise in it and so learn to control the mind's tendency to jump from one thing to another, which can help with ADHD. Other people see that depression and cannot separate it from themselves, and through meditation they identify with it. They revisit the traumatic experience when they rest their mind, and so they cannot unravel it. They recognize the thoughts arising but can't let them go and so become agitated. It just depends on the person individually. There is research being done somewhere as to why that is, because it's something that Western psychology is noticing now that we've taken a lot of Buddhist meditation technique and applied it clinically, but I don't know where that kind of research is or what kinds of findings are being made.





For my own part, I ended up getting a provisional EMT certificate back from the state and I found out I can renew my full one if I can get a 24 hour refresher done before June 30. The whole experience has been a bit wild for me, I think I'm going to pick up where I left off before I went to UVA to study Tibetan and become a critical care paramedic. We'll see how it goes, but I'm trying hard not to grasp too much on it or obsess over getting the "provisional" knocked off my EMT certification. The strictly Buddhist approach of letting things be well enough didn't seem to work out this time. Too much grasping after wanting to be in the thick of things, so I've just put myself in the thick again.

I'm writing this now exactly because I've been up for just under 24 hours - I'm working a pair of night shifts and wanted to go in fresh so I'm sleeping in an hour or so. If anything I've written is incoherent or babbly or seems poorly thought through, well, I've been up for 21 hours.

Yorkshire Pudding
Nov 24, 2006



Qurantine Book Report: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

I just finished this book after picking it up more than a year ago and bouncing off it the first time. While the sections that actually talked about practical advice for dying and helping people who are dying were quite good, the rest of it was a side of Buddhism I very much disliked.

Sogyal Rinpoche is a good writer, and it is obvious that he is learned, but if this is Tibetan Buddhism/Vajrayana I am very much not into it. Having just come off of The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings, which was great, this book felt like the Buddhist equivalent of a "Book of Witchcraft Spells". I've always practiced my Buddhism in what is I guess a very 'Western' style, in that I don't get too much into the cosmology or any that. So maybe that's why it's so jarring to see a renowned master spend pages talking about how your body will turn into a rainbow when you die if you practice enough, and how if you stick a needle in a recently deceased person then you might actually suck their "spirit" through the hole and then they can't depart through the top of the head and achieve enlightenment.

I'm also very, very wary of religion in general, and what initially drew me to Buddhism in my teens was the whole "if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" philosophy. So to see such a huge focus on "Ah you must have a Master from a verified lineage and this Master is even more important than the Buddha" is pretty discomforting. I understand the importance of having a teacher and a Sangha, but this style really feels more cultish with it's secret esoteric practices. Especially when you hear those practices just written down, it feels like that South Park episode where you learn that Scientologists believe that Xenu dropped souls out of a 747 into volcanos and that why people get sad.

I was actually looking forward to reading Walking an Uncommon Path, but I waited 5 weeks for it to be delivered before being told "sorry we must have forgot to deliver it", so that won't happen soon.

I've also had huge trouble meditating recently also, maybe because of everything that's going on. It's been about 10 days since I've had a session that I felt was good, and I can barely sit down for more than 5 minutes without thinking "Okay this isn't working I should quit".

Sorry for the overly negative post. Hope everyone else is doing okay out there.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Yorkshire Pudding posted:

Qurantine Book Report: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.

I just finished this book after picking it up more than a year ago and bouncing off it the first time. While the sections that actually talked about practical advice for dying and helping people who are dying were quite good, the rest of it was a side of Buddhism I very much disliked.

Sogyal Rinpoche is a good writer, and it is obvious that he is learned, but if this is Tibetan Buddhism/Vajrayana I am very much not into it. Having just come off of The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings, which was great, this book felt like the Buddhist equivalent of a "Book of Witchcraft Spells". I've always practiced my Buddhism in what is I guess a very 'Western' style, in that I don't get too much into the cosmology or any that. So maybe that's why it's so jarring to see a renowned master spend pages talking about how your body will turn into a rainbow when you die if you practice enough, and how if you stick a needle in a recently deceased person then you might actually suck their "spirit" through the hole and then they can't depart through the top of the head and achieve enlightenment.

I'm also very, very wary of religion in general, and what initially drew me to Buddhism in my teens was the whole "if you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" philosophy. So to see such a huge focus on "Ah you must have a Master from a verified lineage and this Master is even more important than the Buddha" is pretty discomforting. I understand the importance of having a teacher and a Sangha, but this style really feels more cultish with it's secret esoteric practices. Especially when you hear those practices just written down, it feels like that South Park episode where you learn that Scientologists believe that Xenu dropped souls out of a 747 into volcanos and that why people get sad.

I was actually looking forward to reading Walking an Uncommon Path, but I waited 5 weeks for it to be delivered before being told "sorry we must have forgot to deliver it", so that won't happen soon.

I've also had huge trouble meditating recently also, maybe because of everything that's going on. It's been about 10 days since I've had a session that I felt was good, and I can barely sit down for more than 5 minutes without thinking "Okay this isn't working I should quit".

Sorry for the overly negative post. Hope everyone else is doing okay out there.

Nothing wrong with this.

So, I haven't read the Book on Living and Dying. I'm a phowa practitioner so I have specific things I try to do to make sure my consciousness pops out the top of my head when my number is punched and that book may touch on phowa as those are the instructions people are given, but I don't know. I know Sogyal R has had some controversies but can't speak to that either.

Back in the day, Tibetan Buddhism was called "Lamaism." There are some tough bits there. Tibetan Buddhism struggles with an internal conflict: its practice origins are tantric but it also has a lot of monasticism. The tantric practice depends on a teacher. You can read about the Buddha's teachings but often we have blind spots. For example, my Lama has told me that I have "great wisdom, but poor endurance." He's not wrong! And that criticism helps me. Because he knows me very well, he can say things like "Para is like a Tibetan yak- very faithful and diligent, but to have to lead him by the nose. Otherwise he will just eat grass." Fair! And that's what the Lama should do. The Lama has to know us to help us become a suitable vessel for the transmission of wisdom through both instruction and the esoteric blessings of the lineage.

If the Lama is like a snow covered mountain, then devotion is like the sunlight, and through that devotion the blessings of the lineage and Lama can come down to us.

The Lama isn't higher than the Buddha but they should be seen like a Buddha for a few reasons. One is that the Buddha is long gone, but the Lama is here to drop sick burns on us until we improve ourselves. Another reason is that if we visualize the Lama as a Buddha then the teachings and blessings come to us as if from the Buddha. If we do not visualize the Lama so, then we only receive the blessings from some dude. When we can purify the image of the Lama in our minds, we are purifying our minds. After all, the Lama is just like any other arising phenomena in our minds, empty and without inherent existence.

So any Tibetan Buddhist text will have that emphasis on the Lama. It only becomes tricky because who is the Lama? The head of a lineage? Everyone wants some big name Lama. Everyone wants to be the student of some Rinpoche. Within the monastic institution, one lama is usually your monastic preceptor. You can have many lamas. Usually the "root lama" refers to whoever introduces you to the nature of your mind, but not really just anyone who does the formulaic pointing out instructions. It's the person who does it and it takes. This is the Lama. And before you show that level of devotion, it's said you should test the Lama how a merchant tests a gold coin.

The magic stuff is all there of course. I'm practicing Loma Gyonma for protection from infectious disease for myself and my friends and all sentient beings, for example. I mean poo poo, I do Tibetan astrology. But it's importantly meant to benefit people with little realization like myself. Buddhas don't need astrology because they can perfectly see cause and effect. Astrology is for normal people who need help deciding things or predicting dangers. The magical techniques in the tantra are a form of spiritual alchemy. On one level it's psychological, on another level there's a kind of spiritual anatomy with the winds and so on. All of this is just consciousness stuff. They are tools meant to help us discover the nature of our minds and then from there they aren't strictly necessary, because if we're stable in knowing the nature of mind we are pretty close to liberation.

In any case, that's all just by way of explanation because I don't know if Sogyal R is clear about that. Sometimes Tibetans don't explain underlying reasons and just say devotion is most important and it is disturbing to westerners who want more meat than that. But it's comforting for Tibetans to know they can just rely on the Lama and not worry. One of the first phrases I learned in Tibetan was "if one does not have a stable place to rest the mind, they cannot have any peace." The Lama is that stable place to rest the mind.

Anyhow, it's okay to not be taken in with all that. But also maybe don't be scared off of it all. It's not so bad as all that but the layers aren't always discussed. If you'd like, I can send you a PDF of a book by my Lama that goes deep into the philosophy of a 7 verse text called the 7 Supplications of Tara by my lineage master. Just hit me up via PM. It might help to see that it's not all just vague esoteric twaddle. But maybe just the Tibetan tradition isn't your cup of tea. That's okay, the Buddha taught 84000 heaps of Dharma. If one doesn't work, try another!

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


I saw a post online recently, and couldn't come up with a good response: why do English speaking Buddhists (generally) chant in the language of their tradition instead of English? Isn't it important to understand what you're chanting, not just in a "someone told me it means X" way, but through your own language?

Achmed Jones
Oct 16, 2004









Shredded Hen

The same reason Thai (and other) Buddhists chant the straight-up Pali: that's just what they do

Some chant in their own language, some don't. Do whatever you/your sangha wants, it's not going to make a huge difference. I really think most explanation here is going to be more ex post facto justification than principled decision given, you know, what the Buddha said. But as long as you know what it means I'm pretty sure it's fine

I say "gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha" not "I recognize the awakened, the completely awakened, the totally awakened. Amen." It just feels better 🤷‍♀️

Yiggy
Sep 12, 2004

"Imagination is not enough. You have to have knowledge too, and an experience of the oddity of life."


Hiro Protagonist posted:

I saw a post online recently, and couldn't come up with a good response: why do English speaking Buddhists (generally) chant in the language of their tradition instead of English? Isn't it important to understand what you're chanting, not just in a "someone told me it means X" way, but through your own language?

Because traditionally the praxis is not about reciting and reaffirming a confessed belief or doctrine, per se. It is generally a merit making exercise whereby reciting and spreading buddhavacana one accumulates merit for a better rebirth. The understanding is secondary to the creation of merit. For instance, in the Thai forest tradition it is not uncommon to see monastics remember and recite large stretches of sutras in the Pali even though the reciters donít understand a lick of it.

Itís a sort of ceremonial technology for insuring a better birth, rather than any sort of reaffirmation of ones knowledge. In practice this makes it different from, say, a catechism.

Yiggy fucked around with this message at 02:36 on Apr 17, 2020

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.

Paramemetic, how did you come about finding your Guru? Not in a wholly spiritual sense, like a conversion story, but more like, did you start showing up at the temple and eventually you crossed paths and you asked him, are most people at your temple disciples of the same Guru so you just joined, etc? Would you say your experience is common for Western converts? Hopefully my question isnít too personal, Iím interested in the mechanics of finding the Vajrayana Guru for Westerners.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Thirteen Orphans posted:

Paramemetic, how did you come about finding your Guru? Not in a wholly spiritual sense, like a conversion story, but more like, did you start showing up at the temple and eventually you crossed paths and you asked him, are most people at your temple disciples of the same Guru so you just joined, etc? Would you say your experience is common for Western converts? Hopefully my question isnít too personal, Iím interested in the mechanics of finding the Vajrayana Guru for Westerners.

Not too personal at all.

I was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism and took a fancy in it but there was nothing around for a long way, so I just read and learned what I could. Then I moved to a place that had a Tibetan Buddhist center. I asked to take refuge from the spiritual director there, who apparently normally only does so in formal group ceremonies, but who gave me refuge right there, in private. After some weeks, I talked to him about lineages and so on, saying I didn't feel a particularly strong connection to this lineage, but we agreed it was best to practice here.

Over time, that developed more and more, with him coming to know me better and trust me and me coming to rely more on the lineage and recognize that he's the guy.

Funnily enough, the lineage I did feel a connection do is the Drukpa lineage. I only much later found out that my Lama was originally a Drukpa, but joined the Drikung order when he left Tibet.

So in a way it all came back around.

Anyhow, the point is that it wasn't an instantaneous "oh, it's this guy" thing. I didn't seek out a high Lama or some particular special Rinpoche out of any intense spontaneous feeling of devotion. I grew into familiarity with him and he became my Lama over time. Similarly, he spent a long time evaluating me - I was his attendant for many years and still would be but it is much harder with having a kid now and so on. So I spent a lot of time with him, and it was then, in those private moments, not really when he was sitting on the throne giving formal teachings, that I learned the most.

He gave me the pointing out instruction slowly over time, in an informal way, which is, amusingly, the more traditional way to do it. The formal ways of doing those things came much later as things developed into a monastic tradition.

But anyhow, it wasn't a thing where I met him and went "ah, this is him, the master." I would say the master-disciple or teacher-student or whatever relationship is a relationship like any other, and sometimes it's a flash of inspiration and instant and passionate and all that, and sometimes it just develops over time as you get to know a person more. So "trying the Lama like a merchant tests gold" is about being very thorough in getting to know a Lama and in them getting to know you.

Regarding most people at my temple... not really? Most of them are students of the center's founder who had left the current spiritual director in charge before I came, or they consider themselves students of higher-ups in the lineage. My teacher now has a following all over the world, but he has told me glibly he considers me his only actual student at our center. Again, that doesn't mean others don't learn from him, of course, but there's an element to that student-teacher relationship that is more complex than just "the guy who tells me what practices to do" or "the guy who teaches me philosophy."

Edit: I don't think the experience is terribly common for Western converts because of either shyness or an unwillingness to surrender personal pride and deliberately subordinate oneself. I think most Westerners tend to study a lot and really get into the philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism, tantra and so on, but then struggle at the part that is "I should make sure the Lama's firewood pile is full all winter" or "it's not right that the Lama should carry his own bag" or so on. That element of the relationship doesn't really have a cultural equivalent in the West that I can think of, so I think people have a hard time with it.

Tibetan culture is a face culture, so for example you wouldn't normally suggest something to the Lama. It would be strange for an inferior to say "you should do this thing." So instead in Tibetan if you're speaking to a social superior (like the Lama) you might make suggestions like "I'm not sure, but this might work" or even "I might not have understood, but I think you said we should...?" and things like this, where credit for a good idea is given to the superior who makes the decision. Westerners don't work well like this, we really like credit for our good ideas and want everyone to know about it. So I always treated this as an opportunity for practicing letting go of that status stuff. But because I can navigate that cultural stuff I think it did help make the thing work for me more. I've seen a lot of Western students butt heads with their Lamas over things like that when really it's much better to just go "okay, sure."

Paramemetic fucked around with this message at 03:32 on Apr 17, 2020

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



Hi Buddhism thread, I've been busy obsessing over coronavirus and hanging out with my insane bundle of energy semi-new dog, but good to see this thread chugging along as always. I hope everyone is staying healthy. I spent like 7 weeks with some horrible lung cold that matches all the covid symptoms and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Hiro Protagonist posted:

I saw a post online recently, and couldn't come up with a good response: why do English speaking Buddhists (generally) chant in the language of their tradition instead of English? Isn't it important to understand what you're chanting, not just in a "someone told me it means X" way, but through your own language?

Chanting in both languages has been more common than one or the other in my experience. Though that's certainly not definitive. Also as far as chanting is concerned, in some contexts the actual syllables are considered more important than the meaning. Plus it's just a nice way to not instantly anglicize everything in a tradition. Also, at least in practice places (and this should be true pretty much regardless of tradition) there's often a sense that someone from the same tradition should be able to show up at any practice place (including past or present) and recognize the core practice

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BIG FLUFFY DOG
Feb 16, 2011

On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog.

Buried alive posted:

Hey Guys. I've been perusing Buddhism for a while and I've recently gotten more into it, in my own ways, what with needing a way to deal with climate change providing motivation and the pandemic providing opportunity and all.

One of those ways was to join a Kik group, just to chat and get my feet wet. Some of the people there seem to be SUPER into the idea of other religions being wrong, that certain aspects of other Hindu religions involves consorting with demons, passionately rejecting metaphysical arguements about God, and one of the guys there (who is from Sri Lanka) seems to have quite the hate-boner for anything Hindu in general. Apparently there was a lot of conflict and supression of Buddhism by Indian (or maybe British Colonialist) forces in Sri Lanka in recent history, so it's understandable, but drat. I've also seen a lack of nuance towards other topics in some of the discussions. For example, trying to point out that just because someone thinks X should be legal, that is not the same as saying someone should therefore go out and do X.

.. Some of that is me venting I think, but I'm going to leave it there for discussion and commentary (or not) anyways. My concern is that I've definitely got an appealing vision of Buddhism (and Buddhists) in general mostly engaging in calm inquisitiveness towards such issues. While others (including mods) do intercede to try and calm things down, the fact that these flare ups exist is causing me to bounce off super hard. I guess I'm trying to suss out exactly why. I can feel myself wanting to discuss some of these issues, but a kik chatroom just feels like a poor format to do it in. Especially one where people are getting all up in arms about issues to begin with. Some of it might be miscommunications caused by whatever ESL or cross-cultural issues could be present. Some of it might be me clinging too tightly to my aforementioned appealing vision. Some of it might be the fact that my view of the world in general is doubtless influenced by growing up as a straight white dude in a (supposedly, anyway) 1st world industrialized nation that was a colonizer rather than a colonizee. In the spirit of trying to turn these experiences into a lesson.. I don't know. Wtf do I do next? Just spend some time brooding meditating on why it bothers me so?

P.S. There is a zen place near me that I've been meaning to check out for a while. Maybe I'll finally do that in a month or so when it's deemed safe to do things outside again.

Either find a different Kik group, try to make friends at a temple in your area once quarantine ends, or just ask actual monks your questions. You're second-guessing yourself here because you think maybe you're just being an ignorant privileged white dude and while its good to have that caution or self-awareness in this case your instincts are right. Sri Lanka had a 30 year civil war betqeen the Sinhalese ethnic group which is mainly buddhist and the Tamil minority which is mainly hindu. It ended 10 years ago but there was a lot of death, a lot of destruction, and a lot of human rights violations and theres still a lot of bad feelings and tension as a result of that war.

Long story short, in Sri Lanka saying you're buddhist is almost the same as saying you're sinhalese and saying you're hindu is almost the same as saying you're tamil. Thats why that one dude is so anti-hindu in particular and when you're having discussions on buddhism with these guys you're really having discussions on the civil war which ravaged their country.

BIG FLUFFY DOG fucked around with this message at 06:14 on Apr 29, 2020

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