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bradyt112
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Hey There!

Post by bradyt112 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:12 am

Hello all,

My name is Brady and this is my first time visiting this community. I am happy to have stumbled upon this forum and have been browsing some of the threads on here for a while now. I am very pleased with what I see and am grateful to have found it. I have been practicing Buddhism off and on for a couple years now and have just begun getting back into a regular meditation practice over the past week or so. I have bounced between Chan/Zen and the Theravada traditions since going to college and having some time and space to study on my own, but always find myself coming back to Theravada teachings for its pragmatism and clarity, as well as a personal confidence that the Tipitaka is reliable. This is the third or fourth time that I have stopped practicing and begun practicing again.

I will try to make this quick, but personally, there are at least three barriers to practice and belief that I encounter before I temporarily forgo Buddhism (and, as it seems, inevitably return to it) that I have identified:

1) My personal upbringing/beliefs imposed upon me by my parents (Christianity, which I rejected at age 15)
This is pretty self explanatory. My parents are very conservative Christians living in the Bible belt. I feel almost guilty for practicing a faith tradition that is contrary to my parents and they are unaware of my lack of faith in Christianity as well as my affinity for Buddhism. I simply do not discuss it with them. But I know that for some reason my past is a stumbling block for me to maintain a good routine.
2) When life gets good, I stop practicing, listening to dhamma talks, and reading suttas
I know Buddhism is effective in my life and that I feel more balanced and happy when I meditate daily and read some of my favorite teachers like Ajahn Chah or Thanissaro Bhikku. When I have hard times, I feel more drawn to Buddhism because of this fact. But when I have no major complaints about life or crises, I, for whatever reason, have a lapse and stop doing what I know is right for me. Today, though I have no complaints or ongoing crises, I know that I need to practice in preparation for bad times.
3) A perception that scientific empiricism is a superior way to arrive at truth and the Western rejection of the legitimacy of faiths of all kinds
In brief, taking refuge in the Triple Gem, in my view, requires a genuine appraisal of kamma and samsara. In high school, shortly after abandoning Christianity because of moral qualms I have with it, I was drawn to people like Dawkins and Harris. Now, I do not enjoy these people very much, but without a doubt, materialism and annihilationism are two things that have been greatly influential in my thinking. However, I am continuing to be open-minded and am telling myself, "if the Buddha did not find at least some sort of value in kamma and rebirth, he would not have made them part of the dhamma."

I am currently working through these problems I have and taking a good, hard look at them. If anyone has any suggestions or resources for me, I would be very appreciative. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day, wherever you are.
There's no fire like passion,
no loss like anger,
no pain like the aggregates,
no ease other than peace.

-Dhp 202

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DNS
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Re: Hey There!

Post by DNS » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:20 am

Welcome to DW!

Thanks for sharing about your background.

:meditate:

SarathW
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Re: Hey There!

Post by SarathW » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:26 am

:hello:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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retrofuturist
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Re: Hey There!

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:04 am

Greetings Brady,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

mal4mac
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Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:47 pm

Re: Hey There!

Post by mal4mac » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:37 pm

bradyt112 wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:12 am
In high school, shortly after abandoning Christianity because of moral qualms I have with it, I was drawn to people like Dawkins and Harris. Now, I do not enjoy these people very much, but without a doubt, materialism and annihilationism are two things that have been greatly influential in my thinking. However, I am continuing to be open-minded and am telling myself, "if the Buddha did not find at least some sort of value in kamma and rebirth, he would not have made them part of the dhamma."

I am currently working through these problems I have and taking a good, hard look at them. If anyone has any suggestions or resources for me, I would be very appreciative. Thank you for reading and I hope you have a wonderful day, wherever you are.
Sam Harris actually practices meditation quite seriously, and has written a book, "Waking Up: Searching for Spirituality Without Religion". So if even this extreme materialist atheist can practice meditation consistently, can't you? Kabat Zinn and Robert Wright are two other scientific types who have kept up a regular meditation practice for decades. None of these guys believe in karma or rebirth, but see the usefulness of practice and keep it going. So if you find your "inner Dawkins" coming to the fore, don't use him as an excuse to quit practice, maybe read these authors, they might keep you practising. But, certainly, also read some serious Buddhists, and suttas, even if they might seem a bit dogmatic or "out there" at times, to your "inner Dawkins", they have much wisdom to impart. (And, who knows, karma and rebirth might be true...)
- Mal

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