jp5040 (jp5040) wrote in buddhistmodern,
jp5040
jp5040
buddhistmodern

Introduction

It was asked in the profile of this community to introduce one's self.

I am Jason.
I am 33.
Bi.
Father of 2 boys.
Canadian from BC in the mountains away from cities.
University Educated in Visual Art and Geography.
Recently divorced. 
Big changes in life (but I characterize it all positively).

My personal path to Buddhism was out of practicality I began using ethics and principles I picked up from various sources on Buddhism.

I had no school of thought or tradition to follow. Just an approach of gleaning the most clear and understandable parts and using them to relearn how to behave since my current or old method wasn't working so well for me. I was tuck in a destructive and toxic marriage and my children were suffering because I lacked the skills to end the cycle. It was getting worse.

I had been using mindful breathing as a stress relief for many years and I decided to renew my interest in Buddhism because this small part was so helpful. I began practicing mindful activities as a way to clarify my thoughts and ask my neutral self the answers to my hardest questions. I extracted myself from the toxic garden and have begun to plant a new positive garden. This re-awakening was entirely brought about by Buddhist ethics. As deference to the path that has served me so well I now call myself Buddhist. As respect for the teachings I have decided to seek a tradition to ground my self. The current focus of my attention is Tibetan Buddhism and the Dali Lama.

I had been considering his compassionate focus for some time, but I was recently directed that way by some helpful people. I appreciate suggestions and even criticism of my approach. I think I need some direction. self motivation is not a problem, but knowing where to point an arrow is as important as drawing the bowstring.  

Significantly I have been trying to understand the emotional aspect of thought and how it its with the Buddhist tradition of non-ego and anattma. I had developed a personal set of ethics around right words and right actions based on right concentration (thought) which I see leading to right emotions (joy bliss peacefulness etc). This leading to the element of good karma. I think my personal path might include emotions as a way of recognizing that emotional states affect my outcomes. I think this is very much like we discuss conquering or deconstructing emotions with right concentration and understanding the Dharma.

I have also been doing Yoga lately. The practice of which is intended to teach my body to meditate. Also to encourage the state of mindfulness through other forms than simply mindful breath (which is a good starting point anyway). I tend to do some Yoga, get peaceful and limber, then sit down for some mindful concentration. I think this works really well for me. As a seeker of this kind of tie and physical space to locate peace in my mind I realize it isn't all necessarily the only way to meditate but I enjoy my "Zen" (I use that in the most respectful way, but western understanding) space. I seek peace in life in general. I have always been a pacifist, but this desire for a harmonious space has caused me to develop a large area of my home devoted to meditation and contemplation. I guess buddhism is a desired or necessary thing for me now. Like one desires to be free form suffering - I desire to be filled with light. 

I was asked by a mother on here how my children respond to meditation (mine) because she found it hard to incorporate mindfulness and daily life. My children find this all entertaining and not the least bit disruptive to them. On the contrary I find they enjoy sitting and meditating with me. They do not find it easy to sit still but I think any time devoted to quiet at 6 and 8 years old is impressive, especially for wild monkey boys. :-)  I also think the practice of encouraging peacefulness and a space devoted to simplicity and harmony in my home is helpful to them to learn about a tidy mind space as well.  I encourage them to come and go if I am practicing or if i am attending to my fish etc. They simply are allowed to be children with the restriction that they pass through that space with respect to the quiet and peaceful nature it has. What I especially find "joyful" is that they will pile on my lap as I sit in mindful relaxation and they take the serenity I have and it becomes part of them. I do not expect to be able to meditate perfectly EVER so I think any time spent in practice is time well spent even if there is disruption. Disruption will happen, suffering over it is hardly necessary!

Further to my children: If asked which place they find easier and happier, this new home or the alternative (with mom) - they are quick to say it is the new way with a quiet and peaceful dad. The boys are shared custody and live with me one week on and one week off. It is hard for them, but considering the way it was before, I am glad they have a week of harmony and a week without so much discord. There are many ways to be a good parent - but i think providing a confident and ethical approach to dealing with frustrations they are learning some skills I wish I had at younger age.

So... This is me - at this point - in all honesty.

glad to take suggestions or questions.
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Hey.

I think that practice really does lead to positive emotions like happiness happening more often. But I think it would be a mistake to expect that you will never feel sadness, pain, or anger again once you've practiced enough. The most enlightened folks I know still feel those things. They just handle them in a wiser way than I usually do. One of the benefits of hanging around with a teacher (which, by the way, is a must if you really want to do Tibetan Buddhism) is that you get to see this stuff in action for real. It ceases to become theoretical; it's happening right there.

There's a story I love about Shaku Soen, who was a great Zen teacher and the first person to teach Zen in the US. Back when he still lived into Japan, supposedly he walked into a house where the family was in mourning, weeping openly over a family member who'd just died. Shaku, wearing his monk's robes, sat down with the family, whom he'd never met, and started weeping with them. After his presence was noticed, a man in the family indignantly scolded Shaku, saying, "Well, I thought you at least would be beyond this!" Shaku replied, "What if this is how I am beyond it?"

If you feel sad, it doesn't mean your practice is failing. I would suggest that you not criticize or try to change that emotion, not hang onto it or push it away; just let it happen. When you feel sadness, just feel sadness. The same is true of joy.
I like this! Thank-you! I feel emotion is part of right thought. Like I describe allowing my children to be involved and not to be an obstacle. The emotions are involved and not an obstacle to right thought or right concentration.

Indeed I am looking for a teacher - there is a Tibetan practitioner nearby - I am already in the process of finding out his name and the ways in which I can access his presence. I have no money for him right now, so I cannot offer that, but I can offer many services and be of use. I do not think anyone expects anything for free in life. Even the monks in Tibet get food in exchange for advice.

I will see.

I think though, that given lack of opportunity one could be forgiven for doing an earnest effort at gaining knowledge on their own. Also that the practical application of ethical and mindful; concepts have already been working through me. It is the fact that I make these changes that inspires me to learn more. It also caused my friends to discuss with me how I have been able to recover from my predicaments so well. I need to be able to offer correct answers. I need more than "I think" I need I "know" because of...

I like Zen ideas but the complete and utter rejection of all things western does not inspire me much. There is some value in our culture. There is inherent interconnected value in all things. The Tibetan way of compassion seems to attract me. We'll see. I am seeking Dharma right now. Not judging it too much. Just seeking.