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 Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?

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Posts : 18
Join date : 2010-03-23
Location : Devon, UK

PostSubject: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:01 am

First topic message reminder :

Hi all!

Haven't posted much for ages - I think because once this forum really got going and people with 30+ years experience of being in the OBC started posting I think there was little I could add to anything. But I'd like to say this is a truly democratic forum with a whole spectrum of views on the OBC and I've thoroughly enjoyed lurking for the past few months.

I thought I'd create this post to see whether anyone who left the OBC but not Buddhism per se has tried other forms of practice (or even other strands of Soto Zen) and chat about how they've got on with this. At a cursory glance, one member practices in the San Francisco Zen Centre tradition, someone else quoted an NKT teacher and I now practice very happily with the Community of Interbeing.

For my two-pence worth, I really recommend Thich Nhat Hanh for people who have been left with the impression that Zen can't be friendly, sympathetic, humane or open-minded. I find him such a kind teacher and I really appreciate the way that he uses many more meditation techniques beyond 'just sitting' (e.g. mindfulness of breathing, guided meditations, meditation on loving-kindness, meditations for helping us heal relationships with our families etc). I truly feel I am making progress now (my wife also vouches for this!). Shikantaza is great, don't get me wrong, but I do feel that for people with alot of personal baggage (especially feelings of low self-worth etc) other approaches are needed to nurture our 'Buddha nature' (or whatever you'd like to term it).

Anyway, hopefully I've gotten the ball rolling. Post away! Smile
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Posts : 418
Join date : 2010-08-16

PostSubject: Re: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:08 am

@ Diana

Another question...
I'm interested in what younger people are drawn to spiritually at this point, as many are reportedly rejecting the institutional models presented to them in our culture. Are there many young people in the Vipassana groups? I would like to think there is great potential among younger people with a meditation based spiritual practice.

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Posts : 418
Join date : 2010-08-16

PostSubject: Re: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Sun Mar 06, 2011 1:24 am

Still waiting to hear back from Diana, but in the interim since the topic has come up of 12 Step groups as a model of spiritual community/practice, I wanted to pass along a marvelous book I am reading The Twelve Steps of Compassionate Living by Karen Armstrong. Connected to it is an international effort to unite humankind around a universal ethos of Compassion. It's called the Charter for Compassion, and was formulated of spiritual leaders across the globe.

Here's the website: http://charterforcompassion.org/site/#

And here is the simple, straightforward charter:

Charter for Compassion

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all
religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat
all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to
work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to
dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there,
and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being,
treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and
It is also necessary in both public and private life
to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act
or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to
impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite
hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common
humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and
that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of
We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to
restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to
the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds
violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are
given accurate and respectful information about other traditions,
religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of
cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with
the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.
We urgently need to make compassion a clear,
luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a
principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break
down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of
our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships
and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and
indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global
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Posts : 17
Join date : 2010-03-23

PostSubject: Re: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Wed May 11, 2011 12:23 am

Hello Nicky, and Olly, good to see you again. My name is John, BTW, DeweyBoy was my cat(a really good one). Ive said this before somewhere else in here but I think it bears telling again. I was raised as an American Irish Catholic. I was the first son and groomed to be a priest from birth. Most of my aunts and uncles were nus and priests.
Holidays at our house looked like the Vatican and we were the only ones in our school who knew that nuns actually went to the bathroom!!!! I entered the Jesuits at 17 and stayed for 2 years. I rose immediately to be Head Novice and I'm sure I would have been sent to Rome for my education. After a while, none of it made any sense and I left for many different reasons, not the least of which was my 19 yearold libido that I wanted to take for a trial run. It was very very very difficult to leave and I deeply grieved for the loss of it. Just like many of you and I can hear what Nicky is saying.
I am going on 63, have a wonderful Career as a Registered Nurse, I am highly compensated. Am legally married to my husband of 35 years, have a beautiful house
in San Francisco and a cabin and land in the Mountains north of here, I want for nothing, but still have a felling of sadness at the loss of a dream. To compound this, I got fired up about Kennett back in the 80's and then woke up and grieve for that loss.
Now I have found Korean Buddhism that offers me the chance to be a House Holder Priest in 3 years
and am very hesitant because of my past experiences. To sum up, as John Kennedy said, "Life is messy."
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Posts : 31
Join date : 2010-12-17

PostSubject: Re: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Fri May 27, 2011 1:09 pm

I just wanted to share that I have a lot of interest in the transmission of the buddhist teaching to the west. I am interested in how these teachings can be made accessible to Westerners by books explaining the teachings free of cultural assumptions and poor translation. If anyone is interested in this topic, perhaps we could start a new thread.

There are a lot of really intelligent, compassionate writers on this forum. I have found many of the posts very thought-provoking. I think that part of the problem may lie around the fact that many of us haven't found or connected to accessible teachings ( teachings that make sense to Westerners) due to inadequate translations of texts, not finding or connecting with accessible teachers, and not having a basic grounding in the fundamentals. Therefore, these problems of not being able to distinguish between false and genuine teachers, teachings, communities arise.

I have been doing my best to practice for over thirty-five years now. Recently I completed a series of teachings by Bruce Newman which have transformed my understanding. I'd like to recommend his excellent book: A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism to those interested in pursuing their understanding of the Tibetan approach to the Buddha's teachings. It is a really thorough roadmap of the path based on Bruce's extensive practice for over thirty years in India and Nepal and as a teacher here in the U.S.

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Posts : 32
Join date : 2011-05-07

PostSubject: Re: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Fri May 27, 2011 2:53 pm

The only practice I've tried is attending Roman Catholic Mass with my 18 yr. old daughter.
A little background here is necessary to understanding where I'm coming from. We didn't raise our 2 children in any religion although they both had Buddhist naming ceremonies when they were infants and from time to time I'd haul the 2 of them to Buddhist pot luck dinners.
Sometimes I would visit for tea during the week and I'd again bring along one or both my children. They have memories of seeing our Buddhist alter, talking to the Priest a little, the pot luck dinners and a couple dinners out at Vegetarian restaurants with our Priory & Priest.
My daughter read a small book about the Buddha`s life which was done in comic book style.
Their father doesn`t identify with any religion. We`ve not pressured our children either way, towards or away from religion.

When our daughter was 12 yrs. old she asked me if she could become Catholic. I told her she could become whatever she likes when she`s 19, legally an adult. I took her a few times to a local Unitarian Church since I thought they were the most tolerant church. After a few visits there, my daughter said she didn`t want to go back. Then she asked me again if she could become Catholic and attend a Catholic High School in our area. I gave her the same answer as before. She cried for 3 days, didn`t go to school and begged me to allow her to become Catholic. I told her she`d have to take Catachism for a yr. if she wanted to do this; we enrolled her for Junior High in a Catholic School. She was over-joyed and she began private classes with a Catholic Nun at our local Parish.

She went regularly to these classes for a yr. I met and talked with the Catholic Nun a few times; I felt trusting of her. My daughter did a big project on a Saint. After completing this, she became Catholic at Easter and both my husband and I attended her first Communion. Over the past 6 yrs. I have accompanied my daughter to Mass numerous times. Every time I went, I enjoyed the service. I find it peaceful with a sense of holiness in the church building. I enjoy Mass and go up to be blessed since I`m not Catholic so I can`t take Communion there.

I don`t agree with many of the Churches political stands for eg. when it comes to Gays, Women, reproduction, and politics in general. Funny thing is my daughter agrees with me on these matters. She no longer goes to a Catholic High School. She belongs to the Gay, Straight Alliance club at her high school. She still considers herself Catholic despite her disagreements with many of her Church`s stands.

I don`t attend Mass very often now. I go if it feels right to go. That`s it for now Folks!
Claire bowing
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Posts : 418
Join date : 2010-08-16

PostSubject: Re: Have you tried a different practice since leaving the OBC?   Fri May 27, 2011 3:19 pm

@ Claire

As a recovering ex- Catholic, in my circle of Catholic friends, and given my closest spiritual mentor was a Cisterican abbot and a Christian Zen Contemplative practitioner, I have found that many of those I know who are Catholic are Catholic on their own terms. They may love the liturgy, and the mystical theology and rich iconography, but find the moral teaching and Canon law abhorrent. It seems to be a viable option for many, and perhaps that may work for your daughter as well.
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