A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

A laundry list of topics

Today came a new light bulb above my mind. One of the most visible differences between Buddhism and the other systems I have encountered. Buddhists do not go around preaching in the streets from what I have seen. I have never had a Buddhist show up at my door, telling me why I should convert. Buddhists quietly practice their beliefs daily, and if someone asks we will answer the best they can, or invite the person to join us on a visit to a Temple or Wat. Perhaps we might extend an invitation to a meditation class. I will state I haven’t been to every Buddhist country, so this is just a comment about my experiences. However upon reflection about the history of Buddhism coming to China, it was not the Buddhists engaging in a crusade or holy war to spread the philosophy to a new land. Rather it was those scholars from China making the trip through many perils to India. There they studied, made notes then returned home to spread the knowledge that lead to others treading the path to enlightenment. As I have mentioned, I attend a mediation class at the International Buddhist Temple in Richmond, part of metropolitan Vancouver. It was not the first Buddhist temple I visited, but it was the one where I felt calm and peace. It was on my first visit I saw the notice about the meditation class in English. I attended my first one the following Saturday and since that first one have made an effort to attend every week. It was a few months after I first started attending the meditation class, which Venerable spoke about how the temple came into being. His goal was to build a temple open to all, and when it was ready to turn it over to a monk, he didn’t have a plan to become a monk himself. Several of the members who have attended for years have become people I proudly acknowledge as friends and as my teachers. I have learnt as much or even more some days just talking over tea after the class, as I have from the class and dharma talk. This is from the sharing of our life’s journeys, discussing issues, and how issues have been dealt with, or could be dealt with. Buddhism has shown that it works in the here and now. Meditation has slowly improved my ability to concentrate and more importantly improved my ability to stay focused on the task at hand. Do I still suffer from monkey mind, yes I do every day, however whether it is reading a book, talking with a friend on the phone, sharing time with a friend over coffee or getting the days chores done, I find my ability to get things done has improved.

A little on Theravada

Theravada Buddhism refers to the oldest school of Buddhism. It is also known as the “Teachings of the Elders”. It has also been referred to as Hinayana, or the smaller wheel. This has mainly been replaced by Theravada. Here Enlightenment for most requires joining the Sangha. It is mainly concentrated in Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, and the Indian sub-continent. Sri Lanka has what some refer to as the oldest continuous Buddhist tradition. Buddhist scriptures were recorded in Pali in Sri Lanka. Thailand has a monastery that was built to allow westerners to become monks. There are branch monasteries or schools around the world now, in countries such as Canada, Australia, Italy, France, Britain, and America. For more information on these western based branch temples: http://www.watpahnanachat.org   with thanks to Tim Ward and his book” What the Buddha Never Taught”. This book was first published in 1990 and gives a westerners view of his time at Wat Pah Nanachat in Thailand. I don’t agree with everything he wrote, but appreciate the openness and honesty of the feelings he expresses.

Found a blog which has a great message

Sorry don’t have time to find how to link to a different blogging site, I will learn for next time though. I found the message at this post is simple, effective and important. I hope it speaks to you in a similar manner.



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