What is your Goal?

Home Forums Secular Buddhist Practice What is your Goal?

This topic contains 7 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by ScottPen ScottPen 5 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #41741
    Shane Presswood
    Shane Presswood
    Participant

    As I continue to study the four noble truths to develop my baseline understanding I also continue to listen to the Buddhism Guide podcast. Karma Yeshe Rabgye and I have exchanged some notes and will continue to do so.

    Today I listened to the “What is Your Goal?” from Rabgye. Although, I do like his take on finding your own way and using your own experiences as one studies and practices Buddhism, I also conduct research of other articles.

    What are some places (besides those on this site) does everyone else use and what study methods and what practice techniques (aside from meditation) do some of the rest of you utilize?

    Metta
    SNPII

    Gassho,
    Shane

  • #41742

    Doug Greve
    Participant

    I like Non-violent communication (NVC) as a way to practice right speech. It was developed by Marshall Rosenberg in the 70s. He has a book or two on it. NVC is very accessible and works quite well with a buddhist practice. The name is not quite accurate, should be non-blaming or non-shaming communication. The basic idea is that everyone has needs and you need other people to help you meet your needs. But it is very threatening to acknowledge having a need, so one reinterprets one’s need as a flaw in someone else. Blaming/shaming them then becomes a way to get them to help you meet your need without ever acknowledging even having a need (to yourself or to anyone else). The result is a hostile environment; further, people become alienated from their needs — if you don’t really know what you need, it is hard to get your needs met. In the NVC method, an interaction starts with an non-controversial statement of fact (twice this week you did not clean up your dishes), a statement of an emotion connected to a need (I became angry because I need order and cleanliness), and a request for something that enhances life (Would you be willing to clean up your dishes in a timely fashion?). It is not an easy thing to do — it requires a lot of equanimity. But I think it is really helpful even when practiced imperfectly.

  • #41769

    Mark Knickelbine
    Keymaster

    My most valuable continuing education comes from the teachers I work with as part of the UW Health Mindfulness community, who are always learning new techniques and sharing them with us.

    If you haven’t read it yet, Stephen Batchelor’s “Buddhism Without Beliefs” is a great introduction to basic dharma teaching from a secular perspective. Other than that, and reading the suttas themselves, Ted’s podcast and the book reviews we’ve posted on the site should keep you busy a long time!

    As far as practice is concerned, other than the sitting, walking, body scan and metta practices I learned in MBSR, I have been trained in Insight Dialogue, a mindful listening and speaking method; Focusing, a contemplative technique that helps one get in touch with the wisdom of the body; and my favorite movement practices, tai chi and qi gong.

    Mark

    • #41820
      Shane Presswood
      Shane Presswood
      Participant

      Thanks Mark! I did just hear about Bachelor in a recent SBA podcast I listened too!

      Gassho,
      Shane

  • #41953
    ScottPen
    ScottPen
    Participant

    I didn’t listen to the podcast, but I can answer the question: my goal is to reduce my personal suffering and live an ethical life, thereby also reducing the suffering of the beings with whom I interact. The idea, admittedly not a novel one, is that the effect that my actions have on myself and the world is inexorable, and I’d like it to be a positive one. That has to begin with addressing my own suffering.

    I’m finding a lot of perspective with which I can easily relate when I listen to talks given by the teachers in the modern Insight Movement- Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Gil Fronsdal, and Tara Brach to name a few. I’ve also been listening to talks given by teachers at Against the Stream/Dharmapunx, who are students of the previously mentioned folks. My favorites so far have been Vinnie Ferraro, Dave Smith, Mary Stancavage, and Josh Korda.This has allowed me to really comprehend some of the basics of the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path as they relate to our modern western lives.

    In short: Sati and Sila.

    ______________________________
    "May all beings be at ease!" - Siddartha Gautama... probably... maybe... ah, who cares?

  • #41955
    Shane Presswood
    Shane Presswood
    Participant

    My favorites so far have been Vinnie Ferraro, Dave Smith, Mary Stancavage, and Josh Korda.This has allowed me to really comprehend some of the basics of the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path as they relate to our modern western lives.

    Thanks Scott! I haven’t come across those guys yet, but will keep them in mind. Any suggestions on how to narrow in on one or two perspectives? I’m studying like 4 different people and about 3 different meditation practices trying to figure out which is the best for me right now. There is just so much out there one can easily get overwhelmed.

    Gassho,
    Shane

  • #41961
    ScottPen
    ScottPen
    Participant

    My favorites so far have been Vinnie Ferraro, Dave Smith, Mary Stancavage, and Josh Korda.This has allowed me to really comprehend some of the basics of the 4 noble truths and the eightfold path as they relate to our modern western lives.

    Thanks Scott! I haven’t come across those guys yet, but will keep them in mind. Any suggestions on how to narrow in on one or two perspectives? I’m studying like 4 different people and about 3 different meditation practices trying to figure out which is the best for me right now. There is just so much out there one can easily get overwhelmed.

    Hi Shane

    I want to be as helpful as I can. I think that part of that is qualifying my perspective as being very new, quite possibly newer then yours with regards to investigating Buddhism. I’ve only been at this in earnest for about a month. Before I start, I want to recommend that if you want to narrow your focus and don’t know which path to follow first, just “use the force, Luke. Reach out with your feelings.” Just pick one that you like and save the others for later. Try it out, stick with it or move on. But a live-action audition is likely to be the only way to really suss it out. Whatever you choose, give it a real go and focus on it.

    My response will be a little personal story. I think I’ve been itching to share it for a while, so if you read it that’s cool. If you’re not interested, just skim to the bottom for a TL;DR.

    About 12 years ago I looked into Buddhism and was drawn to it, but was turned off by the metaphysical aspects that seemed to permeate everything that I learned. Come to find out, I was learning primarily about Tibetan Buddhism. Being a person who, since the age of 11 has considered anything metaphysical to be B.S., I felt phony when I imagined myself becoming a part of it. I am a bubble-bursting, hole-poking, oppositional skeptic from a family with a proven and documented multi generational line of pragmatic men of the same ilk.

    Now I’m 40 and I haven’t developed into a man that I am proud of. I have a wife and 2 kids and I’m basically an OK dude, but my behavior has caused a lot of pain for the people that love me. Existential Nihilism speaks to me still, but I’m just not the type of self-starter that can run with it towards the ethical and peaceful life that, when I’m evaluating my heart, I truly want.

    My wife has been going on her own spiritual journey, and recommended to me that I revisit Buddhism. It’s not her path, but she remembered me sharing what I liked about it in the past.

    I went on Libby, the app that my public library uses for e-book and audiobook borrowing, and found “Why Buddhism is True” by Robert Wright. I’ve listened to it twice now, and I believe I will remember it as a turning point in my life.

    Then I went to Stitcher. It took some trial and error, but I landed on the Against The Stream podcast. If you would like to hear some totally down-to-earth plain speech regarding ethical behavior, a kind heart, and the way that Buddhism can get a person on the road- I dunno if you’ll dig it but I sure do. They tell personal stories, they curse, they share their failures and successes, but tie it all in to the Dharma. It’s like a support group. They’re part of the modern western Insight school, which is an adaptation of Thai Forest, a Theravadan tradition. Much of the modern western Insight teachers are great, but I have a lot of rough edges and they just don’t seem to know how to speak to that. I believe that most, if not all, of the teachers at Against The Stream are in substance recovery. I’m not, but something about that perspective really resonates with me. Full disclosure: one of the founders (Noah Levine) is currently dealing with an allegation of sexual misconduct. I’m of the mind that this doesn’t effect the message, although I’m taking a break from listening to that particular guy.

    So I’m doing breath-concentration meditation mostly, but have started to give some guided insight meditations a try. I’m not feeling that so much right now, but I’m new at it. I have found, though, that if I have the right seating and a quiet room, I can easily sit for 30-40 minutes (at least)… I concentrate on my breath, notice thoughts, and let them go. If my mind wanders I eventually become aware of it, so I then let it go and get back to my breath. I feel refreshed and … I dunno… capable of functioning(?) after I sit. My family and pets aren’t too stoked about my alone-time, but they enjoy the result.

    Now I’m looking for my Sangha. I live in Baltimore, and the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (Tara Brach’s group) has a meetup that I’ve attended once. It’s still a little hippy-dippy for my preference, but I’m giving it a shot with an open mind and heart. I emailed the leader of Dharmapunx NYC, Josh Korda, and he recommended that I go to a Refuge Recovery meeting that meets near me. Although it’s a substance-recovery group, it’s open to everyone who wants to improve their life with the Dharma. Since I’ve related so much to other teachers associated with these folks (Against the Stream, Dharmapunx, and Refuge Recovery are all intertwined) I’m going to give it a shot. I’m also investigating a few sutta-studying meetups for when I’m feeling up to a more academic approach. Not yet. I’m still working on the heart.

    TL;DR in list form since Sid was a true listophile
    1. Noticed my suffering
    2. Acknowledged that nothing I’ve tried has worked to relieve it
    3. Bumped my head into a book that gave me an “aHa!” moment
    4. Started meditating almost daily on my breath
    5. Listened to teachers until I found some that enhanced my aHa!
    6. Jumped down the rabbit-hole of an overview of their tradition and saved all others for a later date
    7. Looking for a sangha

    Dude, I’m still basically a mess. I have anxiety almost every day, I get caught up in clinging to past experiences (good and bad), and I’m easily overwhelmed by the needs and wants of the people around me. But I’m learning that all of these things are OK, and maybe I’m on a path to letting them go.

    Oh, and I’d really love to smoke an effing joint. Short term, artificial happiness is alluring. Sigh.

    ______________________________
    "May all beings be at ease!" - Siddartha Gautama... probably... maybe... ah, who cares?

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.