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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Sangha community's LiveJournal:

Friday, January 5th, 2007
5:28 am
hello - I have some questions about specific experiences during meditation and I was wondering if there was anyone I could talk to who has personal experience in this arena and would be able to answer my questions. thank you!
Friday, November 26th, 2004
2:47 am
New to the Sangha (Community)
It's the wee hours of the morning for me now and I am rambling through notes and readings I have encountered this past year, my first year practicing buddism. I practice with a group and we have good connection and discussion with one another. But it feels somewhat narrow that my experience of buddhism is so far shared only with the small group of friends. So in a half dazed frame of mind, with my most recent subject in the forefront of my mind, I have found this group and joined - Hello all!

Here is what has been on my mind tonight and I look forward to hearing anyone's reflection on these things.

Starting with a page I found at http://www.faithnet.org.uk/KS4/Social%20Harmony/buddhismreligions.htm - here is a quote from that page:

"Inclusivism in Buddhism
Inclusivism is the belief that other religions, or philosophies, have POINTS OF TRUTH in them because they reflect aspects of, what is believed to be, the true religion in them. As such, a person can be 'saved' if they are living correctly even if they are aware of the 'true religion'. One of the main reasons why inclusivism 'works' is if one accepts that people are already 'saved' before, and despite, hearing the true message (You will only understand this last sentence if you have read the article Christianity and Other Religions). Although in Buddhism there is no God who saves people there is a teaching in Zen Buddhism which is very similar to the inclusivist view of grace as taught by the Catholic Church."

my ponder on this is:
1 - "a person can be saved if they are living correctly" ????
Or a person can live correctly when they have been "saved"? I think it's more like a person can live correctly when they have been "saved". And what is "Saved" anyway??? Saved from what? Well, I suppose there are tons of things people think they want to be saved from. As for me, I want to be "saved" from eternal separation from my Creator/Source, saved from eternal separation from Love, saved from eternal separation from everything I was made to commune with and in. Can the concept "Saved" correlate to the concept "Enlightened"

2 - What is the "Zen Buddhist teaching that is very similar to the inclusivist view of grace as taught by the (Roman) Catholic Church"? Did I miss something with that article? Or does it just skip telling the reader about that part after holding out that tidbit to get the mind to wondering? By grace I think of unmerited favor - Like when something good happens to you that you did nothing to deserve. So could the idea of grace in Buddhism be illustrated by when a Buddhist person shares their practice with a non-buddhist and that non-buddhist finds something they are seeking in this information and thus begins to practice as well? hmmm.

Okay deep ideas for an early morning after Thanksgiving. Looking forward to hearing from you all some time.


Current Mood: sleepy
Monday, November 15th, 2004
10:27 am
Call for respondents!
I'm writing my term paper for Buddhism on the topic of Buddhist ethics as related to suicide. While I know what the textbook information is, I am looking for the more personal view -- our personal ethic is rarely as cut and dried as scriptural ethic.

I am finishing up my data gathering and am looking for people who are willing to answer a six item questionnaire to be finished on or before this Friday (11/19).

If you would be willing to lend your insight or have any questions, please respond in the comments of this post, or by email to iconnu@gmail.com.

I will need a valid email address for anyone responding to take fill out the questionnaire so that I can send it to you. This is a research paper and not an article, so it is important that I have a consistent format for my references and enough information for my bibliography. Also, comments to this post are screened, and any comments containing contact information will not be unscreened.

Cross-posted just about everywhere as the larger the sample the better.
Friday, June 18th, 2004
2:44 pm
I'm new, both to the community and to buddhism. I've been using it as my mode of spiritual expression for about 4-6 months. I don't 100% ascribe to the cosmology/theology of buddhism, but I like the teachings and practices, and I'm trying to learn more. Most of what I've read talk a lot about the philosophy of buddism (the noble truths, the eightfold path, etc.) but I've had a bit of difficulty finding information about the customs and rituals of practice (forms of meditation, chants and their meanings, statues and their signifigance, etc.) Can anyone either reccommend a source (web preffered... I'm a starving student) or give me the low-down?

also, how does one go about finding the nearest temple? I would like to visit one. I don't think there are any quite near where I live (southern indiana), but I'm in Las Vegas for the summer, and there might be one out here.

finally, I have a question regarding monasticism and the middle way. Perhaps it's only my skewed western perspective, but it seems to me that monks engage in somewhat ascetic behavior. They can't drink, have sex/marry, eat after noon, etc. I understand the principle that these attatchments in life can be distracting, but it still seems to be immoderate, to the denial end of the spectrum. Any thoughts?

And I apologize, but this is getting cross posted in several buddhist forums. It won't be a habit.
Tuesday, January 20th, 2004
11:15 am
I think some of my thoughts on the subject of dukkha (suffering, disappointment, the unsatisfactory nature of life) that I've posted previously were somewhat coloured by depression I was going through last year or thereabouts.

long post but I think worthwhile maybeCollapse )

Anyway, that's my interpretation of it - feel free to criticise as long as it's constructive.

Current Mood: happy
11:07 am
Kama / Karma
Just a quick note - there's much in Buddhism about sutras. Sutras are the written-down sayings of the Buddha and his successors in the dharma, but also the word can mean a writing, a scroll or a book, so to speak. My wife asked me the other day if the Kama Sutra was a Buddhist text. I told her it wasn't - for one thing, no Buddhist text would want to be associated with kama.

Kama is not karma. Karma means action - think of it as the ripples in a pond caused by your acts, bouncing back and forth causing reactions and repercussions that you may not have forseen, with various kinds of dukkha resulting. Kama is one of the causes of dukkha - Kama is lusting after sensual gratification.

So strictly speaking the Kama Sutra is the Book of Lust and from a buddhist point of view is quite an iniquitous concept.

More on dukkha in a moment.

Current Mood: contemplative
Sunday, October 26th, 2003
12:08 pm
A quote apt for LJ
Heard this on TV this morning whilst recovering from hangover, was said by Les Dennis of all people whilst discussing religion. He was saying he follows christian beliefs with some Bhuddism thrown in especially one quote:

"Before saying or doing anything think, is it necessary and is it going to hurt anyone else"

Current Mood: thoughtful
Wednesday, October 15th, 2003
12:22 pm
Tuesday, September 16th, 2003
9:54 am
Monday, September 8th, 2003
12:01 pm
Monk/nun or cleric, priest?
I notice the term most often used for a Buddhist who lives in a temple with other Buddhists, wearing saffron robes, is "monk" or "nun". I myself have used this term. Jiho Sargent, in her excellent book "Asking About Zen" says that there's only one country where there are Buddhist Monks and Nuns - and that's the USA.

There's a difference, you see. A Monk or Nun typically lives to a greater or lesser degree secluded from the world, having devoted their life to God in order to pray and meditate on the scriptures. In Buddhism, there is not the same emphasis on seclusion. The terms "Monk", "Monastic" etc are Western, English ideas that do not apply. The root of the word "Monastic" is greek, and means to live alone, apart. The implications are that to be a monk, you need to live separate from the laity.

Since Buddhist clerics do not separate themselves from the Laity, but instead make daily rounds and make themselves available whenever possible to the general public, in order to do things like performing blessings, giving advice, and so on, their role is closer to that of a priest.

The lines have been somewhat blurred in recent decades since Christian monks and nuns are less secluded than they were, but nevertheless, the distinction holds. Jiho Sargent ought to know - she's a priest in Tokyo's largest Zen Buddhist temple, and has been for many years.
9:28 am
New Books!
Got two new books on Friday - both from the Complete Idiots range. These and the "For Dummies" books have been much maligned within the computer tech / IT industries, often for barely scratching the surface and being overly simplistic. Like, you get "C++ For Dummies" expecting to learn C++ to any iseful level, and end up finding it doesn't go very far beyond "Hello World".

But Anyway.

The books I bought, from Amazon.co.uk, are The Complete Idiot's Guide to Zen Living by Gail Carr and Lisa Lenard, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism by Gary Gach.

I'm about halfway through each, and rather impressed with them both. They're written in a very clear, no-nonsense style, with pertinent Zen/Buddhist stories to illustrate the points made. They go into some depth about Buddhist ethics and how they relate to the precepts, both outline the story of Gautama Siddhartha's enlightenment, although the Zen living one then goes on to describe the Zen patriarchs, while the Buddhism one explains about how Buddhism spread, in depth, explaining the commonalities and differences between Mahayana, Theravada, Pure Land, Zen, Son, and so on. Both books are unsurprisingly US-centric, and have a chapter on Buddhism or Zen in the US, but they don't waste too much of the book space on that. Both are very practical-oriented, with exercises to fill out or do by yourself, and they have little "Monkey Mind" sidebars, to provide warnings of common pitfalls.

So, overall, good books. Easy to understand, very interesting, and a bargain at about a tenner each.

Current Mood: peaceful
Monday, September 1st, 2003
1:47 pm
Interesting post
on Kuro5hin.org at the moment on Buddhism at the moment - you need an account to post a comment on it, but there's some interesting debate going on.

Current Mood: contemplative
Monday, August 4th, 2003
11:50 am
Does anyone know where I can get hold of a ritual for baby-naming/welcoming a new baby suitable for one of the parents to also be a celebrant? I'm after something non-denominational or possibly buddhist in nature, but so far I can find nothing on the web via google or about.com. Any ideas?

Current Mood: frustrated
Tuesday, June 10th, 2003
10:13 pm
I was thinking today about a lot of things, and I had one question pop into my mind over and over again:

What if there really isn't any reincarnation?

I mean, what if we really do just die, and that's it?
Does it mean that I need to actually do everything I've ever wanted to do in this life?
Up until now I've basically said "It's ok that I'm married and can't go out and date or spend days partying somewhere...I'll do it in my next life." Which is odd, I know, but what if..just what if...there is no next life??

It's a scary thought for me. I don't like that idea one bit, not one bit.

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Current Mood: stressed
Friday, June 6th, 2003
11:27 am
Does anyone know where I can get an MS Outlook Calendar holiday update file that contains Buddhist religious holidays? I notice you can get Christian, Muslim and Jewish holidays in your Outlook Calendar, but not Buddhist - which is a bit of a problem as certain festivals tend to move every year, a bit like Easter.
Thursday, June 5th, 2003
9:01 am
Bouncing an idea
There's a meme going round, one of those little survey thingies, which asks the question "What would you like to be reincarnated as?"

Now, I'm not quite sure what the Buddhist stance on reincarnation is - I mean, I know samsara's an endless cycle of suffering so ideally we're aiming not to get reincarnated at all, but having read Jiho Sargent's "Asking about Zen", I found I was left with more questions - like, how exactly does reincarnation work? Sargent-san explains it that our atoms of course are not destroyed and so they get taken up eventually in other living organisms, so in a sense we're physically incorporated into everything - or at least many, many different forms (all of which are as fleeting as our current human state) - so strictly speaking you don't get reincarnated "as a bear", "as a person" or whatever - or more accurately, you get reincarnated as a bear, person, amoeba, rock, saint, piece of a car and millions of other forms *at the same time*.

But how does that explain reincarnation of bodhisattvas (who appear to be complete individuals)like the Dalai Lama? I guess it revolves around the idea of the soul as seperate and immortal, which to me is very much a judeo-christian idea...

Is this where faith is involved? Does Zen believe in the whole bodhisattva thing, or is that part of other Buddhist traditions?
Wednesday, June 4th, 2003
8:32 pm
I have recently finished two university courses dealing with Buddhism and Eastern Religions. The history and culture of the East is so very rich. I am very impressed with the manner in which Buddhism was able to spread from India into China; the core values of Buddhism have remained, though traditions and rituals are flexible and vary from region to region.

Anyway, I am delighted to join a community where I can share my thoughts and feelings about Buddhism, and learn other people's perpectives as well ^__^

Maybe we should toss about some koans for discussion ^_^;;

Current Mood: content
4:05 pm
peace my children
I am so un-zen.. chronic worrywart/ controller... but in theory I would like to be taoist and I sometimes do yoga... anyone have any tips on how to get started with the whole meditation scene and just generally learning to relax and be at peace with the universe? thanks a lot

Current Mood: awake
5:15 pm
I just found this community, and it seems to be just what I was looking for. I'm very interested in Buddhim, and I'd like to learn as much as I can about it. My husband has read books left and right, but I'd rather experience it with people who are dedicated.
3:01 pm
This is Sangha, the community for buddism, zen, and meditation. It's un-moderated, but let's keep it tranquil, okay?

Kick off your sandals by the door, come on in and grab a zabuton. Don't just do something - sit there!
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