Exploring Buddhism in modern age
With a plethora of systems of beliefs in today’s age from traditional religions to secular frameworks, the relevance of Buddhism in dealing with today’s personal and global challenges is worthy of closer inspection. With the rise of mindfulness as an evidence based practice to address a myriad challenges, recognizing and diving deeper into this foundational practice in Buddhism is another step towards healing malaise that we collectively face.
With plenty of traditional resources on the subject manner of Buddhism from amazing books by the masters to the gamut of videos/podcasts, this project is focused on providing anecdotal perspective from ordinary practitioners in the modern world. These ordinary practitioners from all walks of life and social economic backgrounds share their journey not to tout their spiritual achievement but as a glimpse into how beneficial a wholehearted practice has been in their lives.
What is Buddhism
Buddhism has all the traditional chrematistics of a religion but that may be a limited perspective when you consider it’s fundamental approach to the nature of phenomena. Learn how it’s being interpreted my modern practitioners.
From other traditions
With the migration of Buddhism to the West, it is rare of most practitioners to be born into the tradition. Although there are considerable amount of Asian immigrants that have brought their Buddhist practices to the west, for the the sake of scope, the project explores how people from other traditions reconcile their background with Buddhism.
Meditation and Beyond
With the accessibly of mindfulness in many contexts in modern life, what Buddhist meditation offer and how does it contrast to secular mindfulness. As a foundational practice in Buddhism, mindfulness is a step stone to greater insight when applied with the appropriate motivation.
Discovery and Refuge
The gateway into Buddhism in modern times is considerably more diverse than when Buddhism was introduced to the west. Certainly, the intellectual appeal of Buddhism has garnered plenty of arm chair Buddhists but the power of Buddhism comes from practice. To actually take refuge in the 3 jewels of Buddhism, doesn’t mean that it has to be exclusive from other traditions. Still, the deeper one goes the richer the practice becomes.
Establishing A Practice
Ask any one successful in their field of endeavor and without doubt, there is usually some sort of daily practice to reach that level. Spiritual transformation is rarely something that just happens over the over the course of a few years and so developing a system of practices is critical to sustaining the transformation.
Frankly, being a dharma practitioner in the west, can be a lonely experience. Thus, the community of practitioners is a vital in supporting one’s spiritual progress. Even though it is wonderful to have access to virtual communities, it is still significant to invest your time and energy to being part of a local sangha.
Adapting to Modern Times
The strength of Buddhism as a tradition is in it’s ability to adapt to different cultures and types of personalities. Learn how teachers are adapting the teachings to the modern student.
Fruit of Practice
Embarking on a spiritual journey that requires commitment and practice can be a daunting endeavor. Although one shouldn’t be attached to the the fruition of the practice, it’s still help to have some sign posts on what spiritual maturity can look like.
Obstacles to the path
Without doubt, there will be many obstacles to adopting a spiritual tradition in today’s distractible world. From building a daily practice to finding a community of practitioners, learn how others have overcome these challenges.
How does Buddhist philosophy and practices support the global challenges that we are facing ? From political polarization to climate change, understanding the nature of phenomena and having sustainable personal response to these global challenges can make the difference between apathy and healthy engagement.
Practitioners with under 15 years of experience
I was first exposed to dharma when I was in high school/college. It was recommended by my therapist to check out a group call Dharma Punx and thought that meditation would be a good way to help with depression/anxiety. I initially didn’t like it but when I came back from college, I thought I would give it another try.
I walked into Against the Stream Nashville Meditation Center in January 2012, shortly after coming out of rehab for alcohol dependence. It was suggested that meditation could be helpful in further recovery. I remember in one of the first talks Dave Smith mentioned that, sitting was just sitting. Whether you were in traffic, the motor vehicle department or sitting comfortably on your own couch that the experience of sitting was all the same.
I am not sure exactly when I first became aware of the dharma path, but my first brush with it was through reading Thich Nhat Hanh's Beyond the Self a translation of the Sutra on the Middle Way. At the time I had been in recovery for about 10 years and had a sustain spiritual practice of self-reflection and service, but I had never been exposed to the truth of Dependent Origination.
Dick and Bonnie
Joking in 1980 as I introduced myself to the workshop leader of a weeklong seminar entitled “Owning your Religious Past”, I described myself as a Zen-Baptist. It was an attempt at the time to show off my witty nature to the attractive teacher. She and I remain married.