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ALago1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:33 AM
Original message
Any Buddhists Here?
Recently, I have been looking to develop a spiritual side to my being and have been researching various religions that would best suit this quest.

I've come to the conclusion based on readings I've done on the internet that Buddhism would be the spiritual path that best fits me.

So, if anyone on DU can help me out, I'm looking for the quintessential texts on the religion, and perhaps some personal favorites I can read to get me started.

I'd also love to hear your personal stories about Buddhism in general and how, if at all, it has enhanced your life.

Thanks!
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AngryAmish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:34 AM
Response to Original message
1. No
Can't help you
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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:43 AM
Response to Original message
2. Me either -
Agnostic here - all religions are pretty much the same to me, just speculation about an after life that may, or may not, exist.
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:51 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. You would be surprised at the exacting logic and scientific aproach of
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 02:36 AM by indigobusiness
Buddhism.

Can't make judgements about what you don't know.
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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #4
8. That is because
it's unknowable to mortal folks.
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. Unknowable to those who don't look.
Didn't Christ say "seek and ye shall find"?

I'm going to believe that. Believe what you wish.
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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:08 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. I've yet to see
any demonstrable evidence that Christ ever existed. But I'll say no more, I'm an agnostic, not a hard core atheist. Who seem to me to be almost as dogmatic and annoying as hard core religioners. Have a nice day.
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:31 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Good luck..and I agree
beware of dogma wherever you find it. Especially in matters of spirit.

Nothing more sad the sanctimonious lost.
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:45 AM
Response to Reply #2
13. One last thing
My take on religion is not that it is about the herafter but about realizing an untapped potential here and now.

The fully realized human, as Gurdjieff would say.
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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. Now that
is something that I can relate to, because the here and now could well be all we have. Let's do what we can to treat people right, and with respect and dignity. The "hereafter" is something I'll hazard my chances on. Whatever happens, happens.
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:49 AM
Response to Original message
3. I lived 2 yrs at a Tibetan Buddhist Retreat Center
Studied with Tibetan Lamas...but I am independent ism-wise.

You seem sincere and would find doors open for you if you did something similar.

Uma Thurmond's father is a terrific scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and is a good way to ease into it. Read his books and they will point you in the right direction.

I sense you are about to unfold, spiritually.
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ALago1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. Many thanks
I'll look into what you've mentioned. Thanks a lot!
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. Good luck
You will find bliss.
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Droopy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:53 AM
Response to Original message
6. I'm not much help
But your post brings up memories of when I was interested in Eastern philosophy. I read a few books and attempted meditation but I never got too far with it. One book I read that I found particularly helpful was by Ram Das called "Be Here Now." He was more of a student of Hiduism than Buddhism, but there are a lot of themes in the two that run parallel.

If I had to choose a religion to adhere to I think it would be Buddhism. Many of the ideas in Buddhism are closer to my thinking than are other religions.
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ALago1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:59 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. Great
Thanks for the suggestion!
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flamingyouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:02 AM
Response to Reply #9
24. Another Ram Dass suggestion
His classic "Journey of Awakening: A Meditator's Guidebook." Enjoy! :hi:
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Elidor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:54 AM
Response to Original message
14. Proud member of the Southern Buddhist Convention here
Born-again Buddhist. The Buddha walks among us disguised as Elvis the Christ.
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The Traveler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 03:16 AM
Response to Original message
15. The important thing
Is to have a path and walk it honestly. Buddhism is a great path, rich in knowledge sufficient to support many traditions. I myself am theologically confused ... I am either pagan or Christian mystic, depending upon what moves me at the moment. I find both these points of view useful, because though neither can capture the Truth both can move me towards it. I have come to believe the human mind cannot apprehend Truth ... we are too limited ... but we can grow closer to and understanding of it.

Ranier Rilke once observed that the most important questions have no answers, and that eventually one must learn to love the questions anyway.

Happy trails ...
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 03:42 AM
Response to Reply #15
17. I'm with you to a point, and basically feel the same way
but transcendant wisdom is the ultimately destination of all spiritual paths.

It is the promise of every wisdom tradition.

Capturing truth is not the same thing. I don't know what that means.
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libhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #15
28. Or, to
paraphrase Mark Twain - "The efforts of many scholars have gone far to shed much darkness upon this subject, and it is likely that, should they continue, we shall soon know nothing at all about it".
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lumpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #28
48. Gertrude Stein
from A World Without Answers: says Willie "I just tell you and though I don't sound like it,I've got plenty of sense. There ain't any answer. There ain't gonna' be any answer. There has never been any answer. That's the answer".
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Beearewhyain Donating Member (291 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 03:23 AM
Response to Original message
16. An atheist here, but I love the elegance of the Anatta concept
Most commonly know as the "no self" but I think that may be to simplistic. One site which addresses the concept can be found here.

Whatever spiritual path you choose, know that it is among the highest pursuits of human beings regardless of what others may tell you; even other atheist.

Best of luck finding your answers.
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indigobusiness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 03:45 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. yes it is the key....
to get beyond the notion of the individual and understand the inter-connectedness of all things.
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bookfreak Donating Member (193 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
19. I'm not a Buddhist but...
I actually began studying it just a week ago. I've read:

Buddhism for Dummies
The Accidental Buddhist (Dinty W. Moore)
Buddhism for Beginners (Thubten Chodron)
I'm also in the process of reading "The Heart of the Buddha's Path" by The Dalai Lama

Being an atheist (ex-Christian) I'm leery of "religion" in the strict sense, but Buddhism strikes me as less of a religion and more of a philosophy. there's not a lot of dogma (that I've seen thus far). I especially like that you don't have this directive that Budddhism is the "one true path" and that you "must follow it" and blah blah blah.

One quote I especially like from the Buddha is "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense". You just don't get that from Christianity...there you are told that the Bible is law, God's word is in stone, and who are you to question it?

Anyway, I don't know yet if Buddhism is a path I am going to follow. I understand though that one does not actually have to become a Buddhist to apply it's precepts, in part or in whole, to one's life. So, at this point I will continue to learn and will decide in the future.

Good luck in your journey... :-)
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jdonaldball Donating Member (684 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:20 AM
Response to Original message
20. The Buddha says I am not really here
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Sparrow Donating Member (81 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:24 AM
Response to Original message
21. ex buddhist
I realized its just another dumb religion after 5 years of practice.
Its has some good stuff, but like the other ones, you have to dig thru mountains of garbage to find it.
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johnnie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:39 AM
Response to Original message
22. Awakening the Buddha within...
...by Lama Surya Das is a very good book. The author is a westerner who studied Buddhism and now is one of the leading spiritual teachers in the west.
I would stick to books written by westerners to start because many of them write so as to explain things that we can understand a little easier.
Buddhism is not really a religion as it is a way of life. I am not a full fledge Buddhist by no means, but I have studied much of the eastern traditions and philosophies for many years. The cool thing about Buddhism is that it doesn't matter what your religion or beliefs are, you can use the techniques and philosophy to lead a much happier and fuller life.
I have to say that I personally have a fairly happy life and I don't feel the frustrations and anxiety that I once did. It seems to me that most of the people in the world are becoming more and more depressed with life, and I don't know why people want to live that way.
I hope that you find what you are searching for, and I think that even if you don't choose to continue on the Buddhist path, some of the philosophies that you will pick up from reading some books will help you in any event.
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Snow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #22
27. Yeah, books by westerners make a better introduction....
my wife really likes the dalai lama's writings, but she's korean, has relatives who are buddhist nuns & monks - so she can understand him readily. We've had a number of friends reading the dalai lama who found him - ummmm - this is difficult to express - incomprehensible almost without the reader realizing it.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:45 AM
Response to Original message
23. I'm the daughter of a buddhist.
My mother became a buddhist about 15 years ago. I watched it bring balance and wholeness into her life. May you find the same on your path!
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m-jean03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
25. I would definitely recommend Thich Nhat Hahn...


Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, is a wise person and great writer; he has written the books "Peace Is Every Step," "The Miracle of Mindfulness," " Being Peace," and "Living Buddha, Living Christ." (Among many others.)

Hahn has also gained repute for conducting healing workshops for war veterans of all nationalities.

Buddhism is a beautiful spirituality... I think it can mesh with other religions too, for example a liberally interpreted Christianity.

Also, meditation and mindfulness practice have without a doubt made me a more centered, confident and happy person.

Good luck!
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sangh0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. Thich Nhat Hanh and the Dalai Lama are good recommendations
If you PM me, I'll dig up a list of book titles and PM you back
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #25
32. a great start
just finished reading "The Miracle of Mindfulness" ...

just remarkable ...
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #25
35. Most definately Hanh. Miracle of Mindfulness is a powerful little book.
He writes like a poet. Great stuff.
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Nlighten1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. I keep that book in my car.
I love it.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
30. Question: Any Buddhists here? Answer: Any Buddhists anywhere?
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 06:08 PM by HuckleB
"I climbed 13 years to see the mountain top
and now that I'm there I wanna jump off
I can't find my soul all I see is trees
This ain't nothing like the books I read

... 10th street, 11th street, I'm back home
To the city streets where I belong

... Well that nature trip it ain't for me
You see my friend he's confused
And he's all mixed up
So I sent him to the mountain top"

-Kevn Kinney

"Even when I do things for the sake of others
No sense of amazement or conceit arises.
It is just like feeding myself;
I hope for nothing in return."

-Shantideva

Best to you in your search.
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Authors: Stephen Batchelor and Kate Wheeler are great places to start...
Edited on Mon Jul-19-04 06:17 PM by HuckleB
especially for the westerner. I think going to them first, can make time spent with more traditional authors more valuable. Perhaps.

But then I'm also rather fond of Alain de Botton's "How Proust Can Change Your Life," so what do I know?

We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness, which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world."
-Marcel Proust
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TopesJunkie Donating Member (979 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:27 PM
Response to Reply #31
38. Batchelor rocks, no doubt -
His books are the only "self-help" books worth a dang. Well, that and the de Botton book about Proust, oh, and David Burns' "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy."

Hmm. Perhaps I'm getting off track from the topic of this thread.

Or am I?
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Steve Beatty Donating Member (13 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
33. Buddhism may have saved my life
I have been actively practicing for about 12 years.

I think it may have saved my life as my love for this religion and my quest for enlightenment have helped to turn me away from drugs and alcohol and aim me towards the light.



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nini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:40 PM
Response to Reply #33
43. Welcome to DU
:hi:
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RoadRunner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:15 PM
Response to Original message
34. Serious question: How can a Buddhist be "here?"
What I mean is, the fundamental insight of Buddhism is that the self is an illusion. To say a Buddhist is here or there or wherever seems to imply the existence of the self, which does not compute. Even if one says "I am a Buddhist," that person cannot be believed since Buddhists do not believe in the concept of "I." If there is no "I", how can "I" be here? :shrug:

Now to seriously answer your post: Buddhism is a life-saving spiritual tradition that will open your eyes forever about the nature of reality on this earth. It is highly recommended. But "I" can't recommend it, since "I" don't exist.
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TopesJunkie Donating Member (979 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #34
39. Where is the illusion?
It might just be here!
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bookfreak Donating Member (193 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 04:58 AM
Response to Reply #34
45. The self does exist
Just not the independent/inherent self. It is the dependent self that exists. Of course, being a novice in Buddhism I cannot explain this concept fully, but I do know enough to say that Buddhism does not say that no self exists, but only that no *inherent* self exists.
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bookfreak Donating Member (193 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 06:21 AM
Response to Reply #45
47. Someone who can explain it far better than I
You may find this link helpful

http://www.nonduality.com/berkow2.htm

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onebigbadwulf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
36. I'm a buddhist christian atheist
Thanks!
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HuckleB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:41 PM
Response to Reply #36
44. Thanks for confusing us all with your little statement.
If you had phrased in the form of a question, one might think it a koan.
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Briarius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
40. I've been looking at it too
Buddhism seems daunting to try and approach, so thanks for the suggested readings everyone. Right now I'd say I'm a Taoist. I'm so sick of dogma and having someone talking down to me as if they know everything.
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TopesJunkie Donating Member (979 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:24 PM
Response to Original message
41. Booooo! Dis! Booooo! Dis!
:)
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Hell Hath No Fury Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 11:20 PM
Response to Original message
42. I lean towards Buddhist philosophy...
I got interested in Buddhism around 15 years ago, and did a lot of reading and studying. I ended up going in the direction of the philosophy as opposed to the religion -- I fear 12+ years of Catholic school has made me allergic to any "religion".

I have spent most of my time now examing the Shambala tradition as taught by Rinpoche Chogyam Trungpa. It is not religious, more a secular way of living in the world, and I find that it helps me have a greater understanding of myself and how to interact with the world.

You can find out more about it here:

http://www.shambhala.org/
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chenGOD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 05:31 AM
Response to Original message
46. Just make sure you understand that Buddhism has 2 sides.
A philosophy and a religion. They are actually intertwined, but westerners seem to have seperated the two. I used to think that Buddhism was all about the meditation and enrichment of the mind through serious questioning, and conveniently ignored the fact that there are millions of Buddhists all over the world who go to temples every day and pray to the Buddha or a bohddisatva. They follow rituals just like Christians/Moslems/Hindus etc etc These rituals are a part of the religion just as much as the philosophy is.

Having said that, I wish you the best in your quest for spiritual growth.

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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
49. There's nothing wrong with being an atheist Buddhist. Seriously!
When the Buddha was asked if God existed, or if there was an afterlife his stock answer was, basically, "I don't know. And does it really matter?"

Buddhism is about making the most of THIS life. In its pure form it has no opinions about gods, goddesses, or any hypothetical afterlife.

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