Why is it so hard to practice outside of Buddhist institutions? I've been trying to do this for the last five years. I've been practicing Buddhism for 10 years: 5 years getting into Buddhism, and 5 years getting out.
But I still find it incredibly difficult, even scary, to do this on my own, 'with a little help from my friends', of course.
That need for what Glenn Wallace calls the Big Other--for affirmation, camaraderie--it's still there.
But yet, that's what the Buddha did.
@ShaunBartone I think it comes from a fear of the unknown. Of having no path. Nothing and no one to say, ‘that’s right, good job, you’re headed in the right direction.’ It’s a plunge into the unknown, the path less traveled. Yet that is exactly what the Buddha did. You have to trust yourself implicitly. As Krishnamurti said, it’s a path beyond the known, the guaranteed, the tried and true. It takes tremendous courage.
@ShaunBartone That’s why the Sangha is one of the Three Treasures. People who have been there can tell you which things are a distraction and which are a milestone.
@ShaunBartone It helps to have a group that meets regularly, as a safety net for those days when it's really tempting to slack off. A certain amount of formality can be useful for discipline, but it can be overdone. The sangha that I settled in has freewheeling discussion and laughter during the dharma talks after the service. A lot of folks in American Zen take it TOO seriously, which is itself a form of attachment.
@mithriltabby What group do you practice with?
@mithriltabby Zen is often too serious, I agree, Jesus mentioned something like this too:
"“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" Mt 6
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