From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Introduce yourself to others at Dhamma Wheel.
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From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by AlwaysBeginning » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:05 pm

I discovered Dhamma Wheel only recently, coincidentally at its 4th birthday, and was pleased to have done so. As a 70-year-old who has considered himself a “Buddhist” of one school or another since the age of 14 when I discovered a book on Zen by Alan Watts, I’ve been pleased to watch the Buddhadhamma grow among us Westerners from a seemingly quirky interest of a handful to a part of mainstream Western culture. My own interest in Buddhism started with more enthusiasm than understanding, despite the works of Watts and D. T. Suzuki, and I was unaware in my early years that there even was a meditative or ethical side to it at first. After a long casual period I became “serious” about the Dhamma in the late 1980s and early 1990s. At that time I learned about Theravada through the writings of Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, and went on to begin reading some of the suttas, a little in the commentarial works, and some Southeast Asian teachers like Buddhadassa and Ajahn Chah. Besides the suttas I love reading anything by Eastern and Western monastics. I became a regular meditator, though I have yet to attend a retreat longer than a weekend. After discovering the importance of the meditation side of the Dhamma I began to wake up to the significance of the Precepts and the action steps of the Eightfold Path, finally gaining some understanding of the central place of ethics in Buddhism. I’ve had my “ups and downs” in my attempt to integrate the Dhamma into my life, including periods where I’ve stopped meditating altogether or have even doubted every aspect of the teachings. I consider myself “Theravada” in the sense of being centered in the teachings of the Pali Canon and the commentators, along with Theravada monastics. I personally can’t accept that “eclecticism” works, either by picking and choosing what we like from other faiths, ignoring or rejecting facets of Dhamma that we might find inconsistent with science (rebirth, for example), or even through creating our own “synthesis” of Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. But that’s just my opinion. I feel very fortunate to have discovered the Dhamma in this lifetime.

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by Ben » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:14 pm

Hi AB,
Welcome to Dhamma Wheel and thank you for your introduction.
From the sounds of things you might be ready for a residential meditation retreat.
Its something that I recommend.
kind regards,

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR


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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by DNS » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:25 pm

AlwaysBeginning wrote:
I was unaware in my early years that there even was a meditative or ethical side to it at first.
:D It appears the Beat Generation of early Buddhists / spiritual thinkers did their best to give that impression.

Great introduction! Welcome to Dhamma Wheel!


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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by cooran » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:00 pm

Welcome to DhammaWheel AlwaysBeginning! Hope to read more from you. :group:

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by mikenz66 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:06 pm

Welcome AlwaysBeginning!



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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by Cittasanto » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:29 pm

Welcome aboard
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by contemplating » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:55 am

I am new to this forum as well. Welcome. :smile:

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:03 am

Welcome to you both.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by bodom » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:03 am


To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by alan... » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:04 am

this guy is boss!

seriously, welcome aboard! thanks for the story! inspiring.

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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: From a 70-Year-Old Beginner

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Mon Dec 31, 2012 9:45 am

Welcome to DW!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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