Finding dhamma friends?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Finding dhamma friends?

Postby philosopher » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:40 pm

Hi everyone,

What do you think the best way to go about finding other people interested in the dhamma would be, if one lives in an area relatively far from a Theravadin monastery?

:anjali:
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby Sokehi » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:56 pm

philosopher wrote:Hi everyone,

What do you think the best way to go about finding other people interested in the dhamma would be, if one lives in an area relatively far from a Theravadin monastery?

:anjali:
philosopher


I've struggled with this too for quite some years.

There are many tibetan or zen groups around... but I wanted to practice chanting the way I used to and sometimes their approach didn't really suit my buddhist upbringing in the theravada.

I once started a meditation group, rented a room for that purpose. I thought maybe this would attract some other theravadin meditators. After one year I stopped doing this. The group was running more or less well with two to four people coming every week. But they were all beginners and it really was not what I wanted... to teach meditation and talk a lot about buddhism. I'm not a teacher and I found it uncomfortable.

So I have no good suggestion for you. Maybe here you can start a topic and write down some specifics like the town you are living in... maybe someone here is closer to you as you may think.
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

https://www.youtube.com/user/Repeataarrr
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby philosopher » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:01 pm

Thanks very much for your thoughts, Sokehi. I'm sorry to hear that ultimately your efforts weren't as fruitful as you were hoping for. I think I will start such a thread as you suggested. In the meantime, it's wonderful to have a forum like this.

By the way, your signature sounds very familiar.. is that by any chance a quote from a talk by Ajahn Munindo? I have a vague idea that it might be, perhaps, from "Sitting in the Buddha's Waiting Room"?
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby Sokehi » Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:49 pm

You might be right ;)

But I really don't know anymore... these words are in my head for quite a while ... but I'm listening a lot to talks by the various Ajahns of the Amaravati Sangha and Luang Por Munindo in particular. That certain talk I've definetely listened to... so thank you ;) I'll check it again and if that's the case I'll add the ven. Ajahns name to that quote.

All the best and may your efforts lead you to some fine kalyanamittas :anjali:
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

https://www.youtube.com/user/Repeataarrr
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby philosopher » Sat Feb 02, 2013 7:27 pm

I'm delighted to have come across that familiar phrase, because I find Ajahn Munindo's talks and writings very inspirational.

Thank you and I wish the same to you! :)
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:57 pm

philosopher wrote:Hi everyone,

What do you think the best way to go about finding other people interested in the dhamma would be, if one lives in an area relatively far from a Theravadin monastery?

:anjali:
philosopher


This site might be worth a look:
http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby bongrf » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:21 am

This conversation pulls me in since I too live in an area where a sangha is not readily accessible. The monastery I do annual retreats at is far away and another group I feel affiliated with far enough away that I attend retreats with them only a few times a year. When I began this journey a long while ago I felt this sorely. And I too felt some urgency to form a local sangha. When I consulted with a wise teacher he advised "patience". Over the years in between I develop a distance sangha, many members of which I met on line. And I concentrated on my own practice. In recent years another wise teacher/mentor has been gently urging me that I had been patient enough. So I have begun a sitting group in my home town. I too rent a room and show up weekly to sit. This has attracted about 6 people who attend erratically and never all at once. There are still evenings that I sit alone there. But I continue to work on my own practice. These people are at a different place, as beginners, but I was also in that place at one time, and to have had this opportunity would have been precious to me. Like "philosopher", I was at first uneasy with a role that seemed to be "teaching", but as I just opened to conversation at these meetings,and shared from the heart, I found that I could simply be a resource, as the others are becoming for each other when they share their experiences and the readings they are doing. This group is not what I had first envisioned...but at retreats I travel to I find that. Instead this is a lovely place of offering dhamma and watching how even tentative beginnings on this practice path can begin to give people more clarity and happiness.
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby pilgrim » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:43 pm

I have little to contribute as I have not been in such a position. But putting myself in such a position, I think that attending a group that just meets to sit would not be very attractive to me. I'd be more likely to attend if the group meetings also incorporate some chanting, study some texts, maybe watch some teachings on youtube and share a meal or coffee after that.
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby nem » Fri May 10, 2013 3:40 am

You could start a sutta study group on Meetup.com. Then use the following to study some suttas with people:

http://leighb.com/studygid.htm

http://www.shardarogell.com/rsu_docs/pressingoutpurehoney.pdf


I have a Theravada center near to me, but they focus more on the ritual, as well as feel good and loving kindness aspects, than on the overall dhamma.
In my understanding, the goal of the dhamma is not about feeling good about myself or having less stress, it's about not caring whether I feel good or not. To want to be happy, is attachment to sensual pleasure, and a big hinderance. I know that when I don't feel happy, it's a big problem to my mind and I have not overcome that need.

So maybe a sutta study course, getting benefits from how each other's experiences related to the teachings, is even better than having a center near you where the monks step through ritualistic things like chanting, reciting precepts or meditating on loving kindness.
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby frank k » Tue May 14, 2013 3:03 pm

Since it may be hard to find like minded people living locally, one resource very useful is google hangout (lets 10 people video chat) or skype. Just find some good dhamma friends online and arrange regular online dhamma discussion, group sitting, chanting, etc. I do this with my friends who live out of state every week.
http://www.audtip.org Audio Sutta Recordings
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby Kim OHara » Tue May 14, 2013 10:52 pm

:coffee:
I noticed that a lot of people on this thread haven't filled in the "location" field of their ID. Doing so (even if you just give state or country level) might help you find friends because others can say things like, "Hey, are you anywhere near X? I know there's a good group there."
It helps more generally, too. The problems of a sole practitioner in, say, Timbuktu, will be far different from those of someone in, say, Pisa.

:coffee:
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Re: Finding dhamma friends?

Postby John1122 » Thu May 30, 2013 4:24 pm

You can do what the Buddha did before Buddhists existed which would have been to build knowledge understanding and just talk with people.
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