Pragmatic Dharma Groups in Real Life- Pros/Cons?

Liam O'Sullivan, modified 9 Years ago.

Pragmatic Dharma Groups in Real Life- Pros/Cons?

Posts: 213 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
I've read a lot of discussion about people's relationships to the dharma community outside of the Interwebs. There are obviously a lot of different groups that are more or less formal, lay or monastic led, denominational or not, and so on. For your typical 'householder' as opposed to someone who lives in a spiritual community or is a monastic, there are diverse approaches to involvement, from 'shopping around', to attending multiple groups, to being strongly identified with the approach and community of a single one.

An opinion that I've read on both DhO and KFD has been that, while such community groups have much to offer in terms of teaching, support, social enjoyment, opportunities for devotional practice and generosity and more, the poster has not quite found what they were looking for. There have been various reasons for this, including issues of identity, lifestyle, dogma, one's own ego, the mushroom factor, and others.

Discussion on DhO has taught me to give and take what I can when engaging with people in terms of the dharma, rather than to expect to either be the teacher or the student - but I still haven't yet found a real-life sitting group that is openly non-denominational, mutually supportive, goal-oriented, map-conscious and the like. In short, there isn't a pragmatic dharma group in my area, that I'm aware of anyway. Given the lack of activity in this forum compared to the others, I suspect this is the case in most places.

So, I'm interested in opening up the discussion about this. Is there a place/desire/demand for real-life pragmatic dharma groups? Do people find the medium of the internet more conducive to hardcore practice? What are the pros and cons of a real life group that has the ethos of the DhO? Is it better to go to traditional groups? Is keeping discussion to the internet alienating, especially for those in the Dark Night, or does it provide a space for thoughtful discussion, given it's all about one's own effort? Are dharma friends best kept separate from one's 'non-dharma' friends? Would it be good for pragmatic dharma to get on the radar more?

It's quite obvious that I'd be interested in meeting up with pragmatic dharma types IRL, perhaps as part of an informal group, so the responses to this thread will inform what I do about that *grins*

EDIT: extra questions for consideration: how have people found any informal or formal pragmatic dharma style meetups? The Buddhist Geeks conference, for instance?
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Steph S, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pragmatic Dharma Groups in Real Life- Pros/Cons?

Posts: 667 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
hi liam,

where are you located?

one reason for the lack of transfer from online pragmatic dharma groups to in-person groups might be the de-centralized nature of internet groups. my knowledge of online dharma groups is fairly limited to this website, and from what i've seen here, members are located all over the world. perhaps if you came up with a creative way to advertise your interest for such a group in your area, you could start your own group.

i have met a few members of this board in real life, but it wasn't an organized group thing.. more like hanging out... someone i was friends with before joining this site, someone i chatted with on gmail chat, someone who was stopping through my area, and someone i found out to also live in my area. had there been a casual in-person pragmatic dharma group nearby throughout my meditation practice, i would have attended. at that time, though, i wasn't sure how to bring up at the local sitting group, "hey this isn't hardcore enough for me. who else practices in so-and-so style?" a combination of me being insecure about my "beginner" status back then, not knowing others there well enough to feel out who might practice similarly, and not wanting to offend the group leaders lest they perceived me bashing their methods. i've recently found out there is a new pragmatic dharma series at one of the local sitting groups. unsure if i'll go cuz there is a charge and i prefer not to pay for this stuff when i've already done quite well with practice getting free advice from dho friends.
Liam O'Sullivan, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pragmatic Dharma Groups in Real Life- Pros/Cons?

Posts: 213 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
I'm in London, England. Yourself?

Steph S:
one reason... might be the de-centralized nature of internet groups

Very true, though if you live in a big city like me, it's more likely that a few people on the forum will live there too, which is what I'm hoping. It would be good to sling some ideas around in real time with people.

Steph S:
there is a new pragmatic dharma series at one of the local sitting groups... i prefer not to pay for this stuff when i've already done quite well with... dho friends

I don't blame you - that approach appeals to my (armchair) anarchist sensibilities. That makes me think that setting up a formal group isn't the best way to go at first.

Nikolai, hope the move goes well - you jetsetter ;)
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Steph S, modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pragmatic Dharma Groups in Real Life- Pros/Cons?

Posts: 667 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
[quote=Liam O'Sullivan]I'm in London, England. Yourself?

Nice. I'm in Los Angeles in the US.

Very true, though if you live in a big city like me, it's more likely that a few people on the forum will live there too, which is what I'm hoping. It would be good to sling some ideas around in real time with people.


There is a Dharma Playground category for Europe at the link below. Try a London roll call... yeah, there could be a decent amount of members in that general area. Besides regular posters, there are also lots of lurkers on this site that might see it. You could also try some of the other websites too like KFD.

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/category/1156304
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Nikolai ., modified 9 Years ago.

RE: Pragmatic Dharma Groups in Real Life- Pros/Cons?

Posts: 1650 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
I currently live in Santiago, Chile so meeting up with real live bodies is a tad impossible, unless someone is in Chile and wants to meet up for a cup of coffee and a chat. If not, I still make myself a coffee and chat at the same time with kids on skype if anyone wants to.

I will be moving back to the Blue Mountains, Australia come January if anyone wants to meet up for an expresso. PM me. Group meets and sits or whatnot could be organised easy if people are willing.

Nick

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