Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

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Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by iiRenity » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:16 pm

Hi everyone,

My name is Serenity and I'm twenty-two (going onto twenty-three in a few weeks), living in Arkansas. There's not very many places in my area that teach on Buddhism and I thought I'd join so I could learn more. I hope that's alright. I'm guess what you could consider 'Agnostic'. I don't know what to believe or disbelieve about the afterlife and that is really torturous for me. I was raised in an area where Southern Baptism was the main religion and was taken to the extreme, so much so that it was a very hurtful and negative experience for me. Of course, I understand that not all are like this, but it made me realize my true lack of belief and faith. I've dealt with an overwhelming fear of death since I was 15 and the only time I have ever felt any measure of peace, or control, is when I started reading 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' by Sogyal Rinpoche. I still suffer with the fear, but realize that I feel much more... calm and at ease when I read into Buddhism and Zen teachings. My significant other is a Buddhist, so there's no lack of books in the house. I've wanted a place to learn more, and wish I had a teacher, but that's not likely for the area I live in.

I hope that was an okay introduction.
I really just want to find the inner peace in me that my mother named me for and stop living my life in fear and fog and confusion. Buddhism is the closest to clarity I've ever experienced but I'm at a loss as to where to start.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by cooran » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:23 pm

Hi Serenity,

Welcome! :group: I think you may find our sister forum DharmaWheel fits in with what you have been interested in so far:


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: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by iiRenity » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:28 pm

Thank you, Chris! I very much appreciate it.

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by DNS » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:34 pm

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel!


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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by Ben » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:52 pm

Hi Serenity,
Welcome to Dhammawheel!
At this point, don't worry about the afterlife. It's the present moment which requires our attention.
I look forward to getting to know you and your contributions.
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

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e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com..

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by bodom » Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:50 am

Welcome Serenity!

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 no struggling, no thinking,
the mind, still,
will see cause and effect
vanishing in the Void.
Attached to nothing, letting go:
Know that this is the way
to allay all stress.

- Upasika Kee Nanayan

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by SarathW » Fri Nov 01, 2013 3:06 am

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

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by Anagarika » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:45 pm

Hi Serenity:

You're just like a lot of intelligent people who have questions, and question the attitudes and beliefs of their society. You have the attitude of the scientist, who accepts little on faith, but is looking for evidence and reliable approaches to problems. The Buddha has been considered something akin to a scientist (Buddhism a 'science of mind'), and in fact many men and women of science have been attracted to Buddhism. Of course, intelligent people from all backgrounds have been attracted to the Dhamma's pragmatic and reliable teachings.

Many here on Dhamma Wheel are focused on the early actual teachings (Pali Canon based) of the Buddha. The sister site mentioned is more focused on later developments that arose from the Buddha's teachings, some of which changed substantially the teachings over time, or invented new teachings. If you'd like to get an understanding of the core foundational teachings of the Buddha, this site is a great place to read and explore, and share ideas.

As to the issue of your fear of death and anxieties over what occurs after death, I can advise only that you can take comfort in the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha was clear that his teachings were not to be taken as metaphysical, but practical and applicable to life and the science of the mind. However, part of his key teachings are founded on the interrelationships between our thoughts and actions, how our actions give rise to other actions and events, and how these actions give rise to the quality of our life and eventual rebirth. So much of the Buddha's teachings turn on these cause and effect concepts, and it is indisputable that the Buddha taught of the cycle of rebirth, including teaching of knowledge of his own rebirths before his awakening. So, as I understand it, the Buddha was very interested in teaching the science of mind and life, in this current round of life, but that this is tied very much to the rounds of rebirth that we will experience. Many of us here do have some trust in the idea that after our physical bodies die, we experience a transition of our "not-self" entity into a next life. There are some scientists that have done studies on rebirth, and while the subject is controversial, it is a concept that to many makes enormous sense. So, don't worry about what happens after we leave this skinbag. The Buddha didn't.

For me, this practice is more about science, and a measure of trust in what this great man was teaching, and how these teachings are being rediscovered and validated now 2600 years after his passing. You may note the quality of the men and women who identify as Buddhists, the many physicists and scientists that have found a home in Buddhism. In general, a lot of thoughtful, smart, wise and compassionate people identify with Buddhism.

So, welcome, Serenity. Make a pot of tea and stay a while. Dhamma Wheel is a fountain of information and shared ideas, and it is a site from which you can learn and share a lot. As for a place to start, see if this popular monk is a useful starting point for you, as he is for many: http://youtu.be/e7rFsrdtMM8 Take some time with these teachings of the Buddha, and see how your own practice evolves. I promise you that you will find peace, comfort, and a sense of extreme reliability in what this man Gotama taught 2600 years ago.

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:53 pm

what part of arkansas? if interested in buddhism, i would suggest theravada, since it adheres closely to canonical content http://www.accesstoinsight.org/theravada.html
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: Hi! New to Buddhism (Sorta)

Post by stentoriusmaxim » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:57 am

Hello Serenity. I was in a similar position, now I am totally sure there is in fact a part of us that is non-material.
As far as I know: the body is like a biological robot, with its organs doing different jobs in a very complex way. Within the body is the brain which is the place from which our memories are stored, our emotions and senses are felt etc. The elctro-chemical relay network of the brain is very complicated like a computer program. And like all computer programs it works via a flow chart. Now Programs, algorithms, flow charts are a process, like doors opening and closing to let whatever flows through them be diverted for specific purposes. No one would mistake the pipes and faucet heads of a pluming system for the water that flows through them right? Because no one would be foolish enough to think that road sign was the road right?

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