no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

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Stephanie l Bryant, modified 7 Years ago.

no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 14 Join Date: 11/14/13 Recent Posts
Hello, I live in an area, a city, where there is a great deal of Dharma books available, but not alot of practitioners, in fact, there is no one that I can find in my area except to Do Tara Puga once weekly with a retired Rinpoche whom does not speak english or teach, a wonderful man. Other than that I am surrounded by non believers who become wicked and insulting because I believe.They literaaly HATE anyone whom has faith. I dont preach, or even share these insights with my "family" , I study and meditate, that's all. Someone in this group of people i live with will ask me what im doing if Im reading, I tell them what it is, like the Lam Rim Chen Mo, and all hell breaks loose.

Everyone around me is treating me like Im crazy, which Im not, for believing these things, like I am an idiot because I have faith, infact I have been attacked for it, even though Buddhism is peaceful and non invasive. In this part of the west if you belive in any religion you are considerd an idiot, a moron, one in need of hospitalization. The more I understand the Dharma, and then am alos able to verify it scientifically and in historic books. The Dharma has imporved the quality of my life and self esteem like nothing Ive ever known. It has changed me from a horribly afflicted person into a loving human being with wisdom and self esteem, but this reaction I'm recieving is, well I dont know how to deal with it.

Anyone else have a husband, wife, or family like this? What did you do about it?emoticon
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tom moylan, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners (Answer)

Posts: 896 Join Date: 3/7/11 Recent Posts
Hi Stephanie,
I've ecountered lots of various levels of resistance to many things which I consider awakenings (spiritual, political, economic, etc.) My particular tendency is to engage them in probing dialog. Find out why they feel threatened by your curiosity, faith, investigation...If they have a genuinie basis for their concerns (like they think you are crazy) then let them say it straight out. See whether they are coming from a place of fear or of love. Do they have your best interests in mind or are they trying to keep their own paradigms in place?

There is also no need to rub things in anyones face nor is there any requirement on your side to justify what feels right to you.

Compassion is something you are learning in your quest and maybe it might be a good chance to practice on anyone who feels threatened by your quest for freedom.

Sorry if this sounds hyperbolic but trust yourself and be kind.

tom
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Stephanie Bryant, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 14 Join Date: 11/14/13 Recent Posts
emoticonemoticonThank you
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Richard Zen, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners (Answer)

Posts: 1635 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
It's best not to not talk about it in places where there is no purpose for it. The dharma is counter-intuitive to most people and the amygdala is a part of the brain that is addicted to things (including self-referencing) so all you are doing is setting it off. Like the previous poster mentions it's important to understand that people in your family/friends/colleagues have you in a conceptual place in their minds. Even if you're not a meditator but a person trying to better yourself in any way and people can see it, then envy will be set off in their minds. Remember they are self-referencing and comparing their self-image to other people and envy is set off as soon as they notice other people are gaining skills they don't have.

Just try really hard to improve your station in life and see how people react to you. Sometimes you have to go it alone. If you're lucky you can eventually find a community of supportive people that will mentor you and help you. Start increasing more friends who support your views and if you can just move to a more tolerant place when you get the chance.

Aristotle's Rhetoric

To take Envy next: we can see on what grounds, against what persons, and in what states of mind we feel it. Envy is pain at the sight of such good fortune as consists of the good things already mentioned; we feel it towards our equals; not with the idea of getting something for ourselves, but because the other people have it. We shall feel it if we have, or think we have, equals; and by "equals" I mean equals in birth, relationship, age, disposition, distinction, or wealth. We feel envy also if we fall but a little short of having everything; which is why people in high place and prosperity feel it -- they think every one else is taking what belongs to themselves. Also if we are exceptionally distinguished for some particular thing, and especially if that thing is wisdom or good fortune. Ambitious men are more envious than those who are not. So also those who profess wisdom; they are ambitious -- to be thought wise. Indeed, generally, those who aim at a reputation for anything are envious on this particular point. And small-minded men are envious, for everything seems great to them. The good things which excite envy have already been mentioned. [1388a] The deeds or possessions which arouse the love of reputation and honour and the desire for fame, and the various gifts of fortune, are almost all subject to envy; and particularly if we desire the thing ourselves, or think we are entitled to it, or if having it puts us a little above others, or not having it a little below them. It is clear also what kind of people we envy; that was included in what has been said already: we envy those who are near us in time, place, age, or reputation. Hence the line:

Ay, kin can even be jealous of their kin.


And from Daniel Ingram's descriptions of success on the path he found envy even among Buddhists. So even a Sangha isn't a completely safe place. Though it might be better than being around militant atheists.
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Stephanie Bryant, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 14 Join Date: 11/14/13 Recent Posts
Thank you very much, this was very reassuring. Sometimes I feel very alone, and I suppose the need to speak about it is the Ego needing validation. I am of course, very human emoticon ( I hope anyway emoticon just kidding). Very insightful response. I do feel much better thank you
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Sadalsuud Beta Aquarii, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners (Answer)

Posts: 118 Join Date: 7/21/13 Recent Posts
Hi Stephanie

I can really relate to what you're saying. My family (mum and brother) are very anti-religious. My brother in particular becomes very aggressive toward anything he perceives as religious.

So now anytime I do anything which upsets him (e.g. he and my mum were arguing and I apparently "took her side"), all his blame and anger are focused onto the fact that I am now a religious crazy preacher, that I now believe and god (even though I don't even call myself a buddhist, let alone believe in a Christian God!!!) and therefore I'm "mental".

It is a little tiring but hey! not the end of the world. The fact is he is angry at me/himself/the situation and his psyche needs to label it as something he can deal with easier than the actual problem. At the end of the day, it is the increased morality, ethics and certain types of understanding that threaten people, not the religion.

Also I noticed that even my best friend, we talk every day, he is a very open guy, has done psychadelics, bit of a hippy - was pretty uncomfortable when I described reaching 4th path to him, and still occasionally reacts slightly defensively (not on purpose) if I ever talk about it. So am I just very sensitive about it round him.

advice:
* family are family. let go of any idea of what family relations are supposed to look like, and just love them in your own unique way, as best you can emoticon
* be sensitive to your existing friends and support them if you can - but if you've changed a lot, and it just doesn't seem to "work" with some people, just let them go. there is no point in holding a friendship that isn't beneficial to either of you.
* find new more tolerant friends! what kind of city doesn't have any religious people? quakers, new agey types, etc? even creative types like artists or performers are normally more open...?

best wishes, I feel your pain!
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Stephanie Bryant, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 14 Join Date: 11/14/13 Recent Posts
Thank you so so much. It is hard, for me its my fiancee. Thank you for sharing with me, everyone here is really very accepting.
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
Forgive me if I am wrong, but my guess is from the patten and content of Stephanie's posts we won't be hearing from her again. But if she was reading this, I would say when your friends and family show serious concern for your welfare then it is normally because they are worried about you, and often they can see things that you can't - so you should trust them to look out for your best interests.
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Stephanie Bryant, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 14 Join Date: 11/14/13 Recent Posts
Why is this? What is it that you are getting from my posts?
No my family isnt showing concern for my welfare, they think Buddhism is a religion for weak minded easily brainwashed people. They believe, like most people in the North East United States, (New York, etc) that all people are horrible and so they too have to be horrible. that to survive you have to put up a wall, because everyone is out for themselves.They think i'm "crazy" because I am kind and courteous to strangers, that i buy things for homeless people, that i believe in something you cant see with your eyes. I don't find people getting murdered funny, that I don't like to watch people get decapitated and laugh, that I care about animals and the planet. They believe all religious people, are idiots. That compassion is a weakness, kill or be killed only the strongest survive. That there is no room for kindness and compassion unless you yourself are in need of it. These are the kinds of attitudes I grew up with, these are the attitudes of friends and family.

Whats wrong with the content of my post? I thought this was a community of Buddists, who dont judge, so please explain yourself


emoticon
Forgive me if I am wrong, but my guess is from the patten and content of Stephanie's posts we won't be hearing from her again. But if she was reading this, I would say when your friends and family show serious concern for your welfare then it is normally because they are worried about you, and often they can see things that you can't - so you should trust them to look out for your best interests.
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sawfoot _, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 507 Join Date: 3/11/13 Recent Posts
Alas, we are always judging, even buddhists.

You paint a bleak picture of humans in your part of the world, but my assumption, rightly or wrongly, is that your friends and family do care about you, because they are your friends and family, and because of this fact they will often act in a way that they think is in your interests (whether it is or is not is another matter).
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Psi Phi, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 1095 Join Date: 11/22/13 Recent Posts
Dhamma Greetings,

Believe me , you are not alone, though sometimes it feels that way. It seems the "normal" way of thinking nowadays is the way you described, the laughing at killing, non-caring attitudes towards animals and the homeless...

But indeed those attitudes are unwholesome, and one has to have compassion for minds that work that way, for those minds are in a state of constant turmoil, never at ease.

So, stay to your wholesome ways of thinking.

Yes, it is hard to be in this world of anger and greed, and discussing wholesome thoughts with people that will only laugh and criticize does seem to be a waste of time, and seldom comes to a happy end.

Dealing with the same types of issues as you have mentioned, one wants to change the world and make it better and different. But, this too is craving. One can realize that they can really only change their own mind, and in doing so, since that mind is indeed part of the "world", one does change the world.

So if "they" think and judge you a certain way, just remember, those thoughts are "their" thoughts, you do not have to invite those thoughts into your mind. In other words, if one brings you a plate of hatred and greed, just be polite and say "No, thank you." Then the plate of hatred and greed remains theirs.

Peace
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triple think, modified 7 Years ago.

RE: no teachers, no Dharma practitioners

Posts: 362 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Stephanie Bryant:
What did you do about it?emoticon
hi Stephanie
I'm not sure how comfortable or not you may be with this suggestion but I will pass it along and at the least you can bear it in mind if the circumstances provide something promising.

I have also frequently been somewhere within a complete vacuum of local buddhist communion or community or culture, apart from online, which can't be warm and familial in anything like the same ways that human presence and interaction are in real life. (No offense intended or implied, you are all fantastic people!)

Given that, and our common need for human relationships, for many reasons, consider, just consider even, and remain mindful of, other possible suitable kinds of individuals, events, groups and communities that might be able to bring these qualities you feel the lack of and require for your emotional, mental or even physical wellbeing into or more fully and beneficially into your life in any ways.

One important avenue many may overlook is volunteer work. This kind of activity can leave you feeling useful, beneficial, wholesome, positive and joyful and who, honestly, seriously, can make a reasonable case against that!

You may not feel as comfortable around people with other ideas, views, faiths or what have you but any receptive and pleasant, living and present, human interaction is always welcome when you are facing a lot of unpleasant circumstances like this, right?

So, if you can have a look around for other groups that meet or communities that have pleasant or positive activities or gatherings that you can check out, even if the group is really not your thing, you may meet a person or two who can really be a good friend. If the overall atmosphere is really that dark, any light may very easily brighten up your life.

wish you well
nathan

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