Navigating the path

Embarking on the initial stages of the Buddhist path requires an open mind and an investigative mindset. The non-dogmatic framework and diverse practices may pose a challenge in finding the right starting point. However, it’s crucial to understand that there isn’t a singular ‘right’ approach; the correct path is guided by intuition and what proves effective in individual circumstances. While online exploration provides convenience, the effectiveness of the path relies on a support system grounded in meaningful human connections. The underlying focus at this stage is on building a robust foundation capable of supporting profound transformations in the later stages of the journey.

Discovery

In contemporary times, the entry point into Buddhism has become remarkably diverse compared to its initial introduction to the West. While the intellectual allure of Buddhism has attracted many armchair enthusiasts, the true power of Buddhism lies in its practice. Taking refuge in the three jewels of Buddhism doesn’t necessitate exclusivity from other traditions. However, it’s through deeper exploration that the richness of the practice unfolds.  

Learn about the diversity of discoveries.

Motivation 

As a foundational concept that tackles our innate yet strongly ingrained sense of self, the motivation to practice the dharma for the benefit of all beings is a crucial and skillful approach. This motivation serves as an anchor, guiding the practices aimed at cultivating peace and clarity for a more meaningful life. Without this grounding, there’s a risk that these practices may become misguided, inadvertently perpetuating not only our own suffering but also contributing to challenges in the broader world.

Explore this important foundation.

Refuge

While the idea of taking refuge in the three jewels of Buddhism might be associated with a formal ceremony, in practice, it signifies a continual commitment woven into daily life. Unraveling deeply ingrained habitual patterns, particularly in a culture that often reinforces these patterns, is a gradual process. Taking refuge becomes a daily return to the sanctuary of these teachings, offering a constant anchor amidst the challenges of dismantling old habits and fostering a more mindful and intentional way of living.

Learn about the nature of refuge

Establishing A Practice

In questioning those who have succeeded in their endeavors, a common thread emerges—consistent daily practice is the cornerstone of their achievements. Recognizing that spiritual transformation rarely happens abruptly, the establishment of a systematic set of practices becomes imperative for sustaining profound and enduring change over time. Delve into the challenges and innovative methods individuals employ to build and maintain a consistent practice amidst the demands of modern life.

Learn on the importance and styles of practice

Authentic Lineages

In an era abundant with diverse spiritual traditions, it’s common for individuals to gravitate towards a mix of practices from various sources that resonate with them. This eclectic approach is particularly significant during the exploratory phase of our spiritual journey, allowing us to discern what proves effective for our unique circumstances. However, the true potency of these traditions unfolds when we delve into their history of experimentation, understanding how to holistically integrate practices to maximize their effectiveness. Committing to a specific lineage, guided by teachers well-versed in the intricacies of that path, has the potential to significantly accelerate our development, providing a structured and nuanced framework for growth.

Learn about the value of a proven lineage

The Dharma

It is often remarked that there are 84,000 teachings of the Buddha. The vastness of this teaching corpus doesn’t imply inherent complexity; rather, it speaks to the richness required to effectively address the intricacies of the human mind and experience. To delve deeper into the essence of Buddhism, explore the core teachings and practices that resonate and prove effective in navigating the complexities of today’s world.

Explore the vastness and diversity of teachings.

The Sangha

As a fundamental aspect of the Three Jewels in Buddhism, the sangha assumes an increasingly crucial role in our digitally interconnected world. Embracing an intellectual framework that diverges from the mainstream can sometimes lead to a sense of isolation in the modern era. Amidst myriad small communities, the sangha emerges as a vital force, essential for fortifying one’s spiritual development. In a landscape where the pace of modern life often challenges contemplation and introspection, the sangha serves as a valuable anchor, fostering connection and support in the pursuit of spiritual growth.

Learn about the importance of sangha

Fruit of Practice

Embarking on a spiritual journey that demands dedication and consistent practice can feel like a formidable undertaking. While it’s essential not to be overly attached to the outcomes of the practice, having some guideposts on what spiritual maturity might entail can provide valuable direction.

Learn about some of these milestones

Obstacles to the path

Undoubtedly, embracing a spiritual tradition in today’s distractible world comes with numerous challenges. Overcoming obstacles, ranging from establishing a daily practice to discovering a community of practitioners, becomes an insightful journey when learning from the experiences of others who have navigated similar challenges.

Get the understanding of the personal challenges

Advice

Guidance from practitioners and teachers who have traversed further along the spiritual path stands out as a natural benefit of a real-life sangha. The assortment of advice compiled here mirrors insights from individuals with diverse backgrounds yet shares a commonality in their wealth of experience.

Get advice from real world experience. 

Practitioners with under 15 years of experience 

2023-12-12T15:46:42+00:00

Aaron

I encountered spiritual practice through reading BKS Iyengar’s Light on Yoga when I was 18 and immediately trying a number of the forbidden pranayama techniques that he described in the back of the book, because of course this is what you do when you’re 18.

2023-12-12T21:19:07+00:00

Zselyke

So both of my parents are actually time practitioners, they both met lama for the first time in 1994, if I remember correctly. And I myself met my root lama first in 1996, so only a year after I was born.

2023-12-11T19:33:56+00:00

Josh

I was raised Roman Catholic and my grandfather was a fourth degree Knight of Columbus. So, I was very intrenched with a fixed Idea of what God was and was not. As well as a lot of dogma and beliefs that I wasn’t even sure were real, that the people telling me weren’t eve sure were real either. I always suffered because I was trying to force myself to believe in a God or higher power.

2023-11-26T21:00:33+00:00

Lennell

So I kind of grew up in what was nontraditional, if you will. And so I joke because I see that Won Buddhism as the Jehovah’s Witnesses of Buddhism.

2023-12-11T14:28:09+00:00

Kalpana

And that's when I said, I need a break. It is a flier with one of the reverend's doing a retreat at the one Dharma Center, which is like four hours from here in upstate New York. That is my beginning of real, you know, waking up to ways of really cultivating myself under this long spiel. But now that's by way of introduction.

2023-12-10T02:52:23+00:00

Amber

Tibetan Buddhism resonates so strongly with me firstly, because of karma. It is well known to me from past lives and now I am remembering. So it is very dear to me and has stirred deep emotion from my first exposure. I think it is probably this way with most practitioners, once it grabs a hold of you, it’s like welcoming a dear old friend back into your life after a long absence.