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New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 12:48 pm
by AMSproductions
Hello one and all! I have recently been reading quite a bit about the Buddha and his teachings, and about Buddhism in general. I'm not sure yet if it's really for me, but I'm hoping this forum can teach me much more. There's so much information online I don't know where to start! I've read about the three gems and the Eightfold Path, and much more but I feel like my grasp is only so-so due to the vast amount of resources. Having no temple or major following near my home doesn't help much. So, if anyone here has any advice of where to start for someone considering this lifestyle, I'd greatly appreciate any help. I don't know if this information helps at all, but I was baptized Catholic at an early age but quickly learned that it was NOT for me. I've spent a lot of time avoiding religion because of what I've seen carried out in the name of "God"; then, as I began to hear and see more about Buddhism I realized there is a wonderful and kind group of people that just want kindness and positivity- not just for themselves, but for all beings. I'm rambling, sorry. any direction you guys can offer will be appreciated!

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 1:57 pm
by reflection
Hi! Welcome to the forum. :clap:

I can agree there is so much information, for a beginner it can be overwhelming. Also, just like in christianity, there are various traditions in Buddhism. Those have a lot in common, but there are some slight differences. You don't have to choose any, many people feel connected with multiple traditions.

Anyway, for me -and many others- the Buddhist path stands or falls with meditation. It is the key to understanding ourselves and others. And with this understanding, kindness and compassion can grow. I would suggest you find a good book and/or possibly a teacher or group to learn meditation. A good free online book can be found here:
http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It also has a nice introduction on what meditation is and isn't.

You can also practice meditation without the rest of the Buddhist path, but I personally would recommend looking into the five precepts also. They are practices (not rules) buddhists try to apply in everyday life. These can really support your practice and your entire life. Read more about them for example here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Precepts" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Also, when a precept says 'abstain from stealing' this also means doing the opposite of stealing, so giving things. Same for the other precepts :)


All of this will get you started, but will also be the basis for the rest of your life. Deeper teachings can always come later, if you feel like it. But without a solid base they aren't really effective.

I hope you can find what you are looking for in Buddhism, and/or in meditation. :thumbsup:


With kindness,
Reflection

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:29 pm
by Mawkish1983
reflection wrote:when a precept says 'abstain from stealing' this also means doing the opposite of stealing, so giving things. Same for the other precepts :)
For clarification, we don't mean 'abstain from giving', we mean 'generously give', and so on for the other precepts (just clearing up the ambiguity)

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2012 10:38 pm
by Cittasanto
Hi and welcome aboard
I am sure you will find your way around and there are some very good threads with advice for reading matterial for begginers to focus your attention :)
Mawkish1983 wrote:
reflection wrote:when a precept says 'abstain from stealing' this also means doing the opposite of stealing, so giving things. Same for the other precepts :)
For clarification, we don't mean 'abstain from giving', we mean 'generously give', and so on for the other precepts (just clearing up the ambiguity)
I didn't read reflection say abstain from giving :tongue:

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 7:48 am
by Ben
Greetings and welcome!

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2012 10:00 am
by Yana
Hi!!no no your not rambling ahaha!it's okay...yeah welcome i'm new too and i found a lot of useful information in this forum ..everyones also been really helpful!so Welcome! :hello:

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:03 am
by LonesomeYogurt
AMSproductions wrote:Hello one and all! I have recently been reading quite a bit about the Buddha and his teachings, and about Buddhism in general. I'm not sure yet if it's really for me, but I'm hoping this forum can teach me much more. There's so much information online I don't know where to start! I've read about the three gems and the Eightfold Path, and much more but I feel like my grasp is only so-so due to the vast amount of resources. Having no temple or major following near my home doesn't help much. So, if anyone here has any advice of where to start for someone considering this lifestyle, I'd greatly appreciate any help. I don't know if this information helps at all, but I was baptized Catholic at an early age but quickly learned that it was NOT for me. I've spent a lot of time avoiding religion because of what I've seen carried out in the name of "God"; then, as I began to hear and see more about Buddhism I realized there is a wonderful and kind group of people that just want kindness and positivity- not just for themselves, but for all beings. I'm rambling, sorry. any direction you guys can offer will be appreciated!
You should read the Dhammapada first and foremost. I'd say it's probably the most beloved Theravada scripture.

http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/damapada.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Otherwise, I can't recommend enough What the Buddha Taught by Bhante Rapola Wahula and The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching by Thich Nhat Hanh. They are perfect introductions to the subject, although be warned that Thich Nhat Hanh's will be far more of a Zen approach than Wahula's traditional Theravada.

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/basic-guide.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; is also a great collection of simple articles to get acquainted with the subject. Really Buddhanet.net in general is an awesome resource.

For meditation, try Mindfulness in Plain English by the Venerable Henepola Gunaratana. Otherwise: http://www.vipassanadhura.com/howto.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I would recommend reading just a bit about Buddhism to understand the basic things, mainly the three marks of existence, the four noble truths, the noble eightfold path, and the five precepts and then plunging straight into meditation. Too many people get bogged down in intellectual stuff and forget that it's all about mindfulness and meditation.

Finally, the greatest single resource is In the Buddha's Words by the Venerable Bhikku Bodhi. The ISBN is 0861714911and if you read the entire thing, you will come out with a knowledge of Buddhism sufficient to maintain a meditation practice for a lifetime.

I also came from a Christian background and I would definitely encourage you to take a look at the teachings of lord Buddha. They lead to peace, joy, and freedom from suffering :)

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 2:08 pm
by bodom
Welcome!

:anjali:

Re: New here, seeking some advice

Posted: Wed Mar 14, 2012 1:38 pm
by Tyler
Welcome AMSproductions

:smile: