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Practicing without a physical community

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  • Practicing without a physical community

    I live in an area in Canada that does not have a Buddhist community nearby. Is it possible to get what I need from just the teachings on the Internet? Do you have any suggestions on this? I am the only Buddhist at work for instance and I get alot of teasing because I guess they don't really know much about the teachings. I just let that pass, but I am finding it difficult without like minded folks to talk to. And seeing my dilemma, would one of your very wise monks or nuns kindly be my teacher?

    Metta, Sherry

  • #2
    Sherry,

    Many people who are here and have come and gone share your circumstance. Some I've known to live in countries with no Buddhist communities at all. So far as I can tell you can get what you need to practice well right over the internet. Of course us humans love to have contact and socialize, and only you can really tell whether this is enough for you. You may also find, as time goes by, that your desire/ need for a community that you physically interact with may become less and less. Of course if you had the opportunity to meet in such a place with good spiritual friends I don't believe anyone would be against it either. I can only speak for myself when I say that I eventually got to a point where I don't make my practice a part of conversation with people who don't already know unless it comes up somehow. Recently I had some dinner guests and they brought alcohol, not knowing. I told them "no thank you" for the drinks and thanked them for being thoughtful. They asked directly why and I told them that I didn't want my mind and judgement clouded by alcohol, then had to got a bit further when that got some curious glances and explained my connection to Buddhism. I almost make people drag it out of me in other words rather than being free about telling people. I'm not sure how it came to be that your coworkers know, but I know I used to want everyone to know I was a Buddhist because, deep down, I thought it might make me more interesting to them. Anyway.... Would the monks and nuns here be your teacher? That's only for you to say. You are part of this community already, and everyone is happily at your service.

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    • #3
      Is it possible to get what I need from just the teachings on the Internet?
      Yup, that is what Dhammaloka.org.au is all about!

      Welcome to the community. :-)

      Bhante Jhanarato

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      • #4
        Thanks for your insight Jerod. I really connected to what you said. I do want to shout it from the rooftops that I have found this wonderful way to live life. I work at a very stressful job and so I decorated my office with all kinds of lovely sayings from the Buddha to constantly remind me of what is true and what is not. I also have a Buddha on one of my desks that I regularly meditate in front of. I found this practice very grounding at work. I guess I have an attachment to what others think of me, not good. . I have heard that meditation is so much more beneficial if you meditate in a group. Again, that is probably desire getting in my way. Are you saying that your practice is solo without the internet? If so, do you find fulfillment in that? Again, thanks a bunch for your response.

        With Metta, Sherry

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        • #5
          Dear Bhante Jhanarato, Thank you for your response and for the welcome.

          With Metta, Sherry

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          • #6
            Sherry...

            First off, it looks like I jumped into the Ask a Monastic section again before Bhante could reply without realizing it. My apologies for that.

            To answer your question "Are you saying that your practice is solo without the internet? If so, do you find fulfillment in that?"

            I have one friend who is, culturally, a Buddhist. I won't say he practices mindfully, but it is reflected very much so in his kind and considerate nature. For years before knowing him I had been practicing on my own with no other "Buddhists" for company except online. For me, that has been plenty. That's not to say I wouldn't welcome the chance to practice with others, in person. I wish the best for you. Be well.

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            • #7
              I like to be a secret Buddhist I dont discuss anything to do with it to anyone that doesn't have some sort of spiritual awakening.
              This stops a lot of the juvenile teasing, and lets me get on with the good stuff, practice.

              I dont have any Buddhist Communities near me either, and I do think it would help, as I wouldn't keep asking silly questions here so much

              I do find that here you can find some great help, and be directed to the areas of what we are working on very quickly, and also discuss openly these themes.
              This searching is all part of the course though,
              If it were easy, maybe we wouldn't cerish it so much.
              Wish you well in your practice
              M
              xxx

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              • #8
                Hi Jerrod and Bhante Jhanarato. Thank you for you responses. I appreciate them.

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                • #9
                  Hi Sherry,

                  I've not posted in the regular forums until now, when I read your post above. I too struggled for some time to find a community I could be part of. I live in Phoenix, Arizona, and whilst there are some Buddhist communities here, they all seem to focus on Tibetan traditions - there is a New Kadampa Tradition temple not far from my house, and I won't say anything negative about that Sangha other than it was a bit too expensive for me After some searching online, I found Dhammaloka, and I am so grateful I have! I've mainly been reading (a.k.a., 'lurking' ) - when I saw your post, I wanted to at least reach out to you (all of you, in fact) in the spirit of friendship and let you know that you're not alone.

                  I really enjoy the live streaming meditation/Dhamma talk on Friday evenings Perth time (5:00 am my time), and you even get to chat with others who are watching. I found that this is really a global community, with folks from all over - Germany, Australia, US, Canada, Switzerland, Thailand... I really felt a connection! I don't know what time zone you're in, but for me, it's definitely worth waking up a bit early to tune into the Friday night talks.

                  To the others who replied, I just want to say hello and say thank you for the kindness and hope you give to those of us who are physically distant from each other - I appreciate it as well

                  Much Metta to you all,

                  Horace "Chris" Armistead

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                  • #10
                    Hi Horace,

                    Nice to see you here. I'm really glad that this website can be something you find useful and enjoyable. I'm adding a link below to some resources in AZ should you ever feel you would like to meet with a Sangha in your area. I used to live in Glendale for a short time and vacationed often in Sedona at other times (though not for the new-age stuff I will add). So now we're acquainted. Once again, nice to see you here.

                    http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Arizona

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                    • #11
                      Hi Jerrod,

                      Thank you so much! It's an honour to meet you! Thanks especially for the link - I've been searching for a meditation retreat to attend this summer without having to travel too far, and the link helped! One of my co-workers lives in Glendale! I love Sedona, but like you, I can't really 'get' the new-age stuff. After some analysis, many of those paths seemed to me to borrow from Buddhism, so I simply thought, why not go to the source of the teaching? There is a Theravada/Vipassana Sangha in Prescott that I'll check into; they have a weekend retreat coming up in August. Tucson really has a lot of Theravada Sanghas as well, and it's not that far for weekend jaunts, as you know.

                      Yep, we're acquainted now! I've read several of your posts in other sections, and I appreciate your perspective very much. Thanks for the warm welcome and I look forward to more chats with you!

                      Thanks, and metta to you!
                      Horace

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                      • #12
                        Dear Sherry,

                        My friends and I, who are not in Perth, have just had a light-hearted conversation about our 'temple'. We are often asked: "What temple do you regularly visit?" Our answer?

                        "Laptop Temple"

                        We even bow to the laptop after Ajahns finish their talks! This Dhammaloka website really is a wonderful place to provide much of the teachings one will need.

                        Enjoy your temple.

                        Yours in the dhamma,

                        Dheerayupa

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                        • #13
                          I have the same problem! In Mexico buddhism doesn't exist.

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                          • #14
                            Dear Sherry,

                            I live in the Netherlands, and here in the south there are few Theravada buddhists. No temples, no community. No one I know personally, is a Buddhist. At first, I found it to be very difficult because I sort of felt alone. But as Dheerayupa says, this community here has it all. A beautiful and very versatile community from people all over the world, and monastics who teached me more than I could have ever hoped for. To me, the monastics are my teachers and this community is my community of like-minded people. What I can recommend, is to attend the Dhamma talks that take place every friday. They are broadcasted live. And you can really be a part of it by asking questions. To me, every friday afternoon at 2 pm (check the time difference to learn what time it is in your country) is a gift of Dhamma that I happily receive. And indeed, at the end of the talk when Ajahn Brahm or any other of the teachers pays hommage to the Buddha, I bow to the screen!

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