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Curious: Buddhism and Hinduism.

11 posts in this topic

Posted

I am very interested in studying Buddhism and Hinduism.  Coming from a Western background, though, I feel like there is SO much to learn and my curiosity abounds. 

 

Unfortunately, I do not know anyone in my real life who practices or studies either religion.  Does anyone have any suggestions for books or readings?  Or know of any good books on meditation or mindfulness?

 

What are your experiences with Buddhism or Hinduism? 

 

I have read The Bhagavad Gita, The Dhammapada, & the Upanishads but want to keep exploring...

 

Thanks for any thoughts, experiences, or suggestions.

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Posted (edited)

I was raised a Buddhist by my Dad, I still observe some tenets of it. I think that, because Buddhism has developed over time in different countries, the different kinds can be a confusing. A tibetan puja (offering ceremony) can seem pretty esoteric, Japanese and Thai Buddhist culture can vary. Lineages (passing a teaching down through teachers tracing back a heritage) is how a teaching carries some consistency, so a lot of Buddhist infighting and politics is about lineage issues.

 

My recommendation is to perhaps think about the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order or an organisation that recognises that westerners can have different cultural needs when it comes to teaching. The teacher Siddartha, the figurehead in Buddhism (if you could call it that) was reported to have encouraged his followers to be a lamp unto themselves and determine what works for them, not to trust a teacher or guru on reputation alone. The Buddhist communities (Sangha's) I have liked have been inclusive, non elitist and able to relate to different perspectives.

 

I know less about Hinduism never having practiced it. There are some really common misconceptions about it in terms of the nature of it (people assume it is many Gods and Goddesses, not so for many Hindu's) and again, a good community will recognize that and be willing to educate you.

 

Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn and Pema Chodron are my favourite authors for Buddhism. All are accessible to those not having practiced before.

Edited by Titania

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Posted

Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn and Pema Chodron are my favourite authors for Buddhism. All are accessible to those not having practiced before.

Seconding this... and adding Gil Fronsdal and Noah Levine as additional American western buddhist teachers that are highly accessible.

 

Gil and Noah have a lot of audio teachings available at zencast and against the stream (respectively)

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Posted

Thank you, Woo and Titania.  Library lunch-break tomorrow to scope out books!

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Posted

I'm a Buddhist, or at least aspiring to be.  I'm not super comfortable calling myself one yet because my practice is erratic but I deeply desire to get more into it.

 

Anyway, I own "The World's Religions" and had to read it for a class.  It's dated but the general information is good.

 

Other books on Buddhism that I recommend are "Buddhism for Busy People" and anything by Pema Chodron.  It seems like most people really like Thich Nhat Hanh, but I've never really connected with him personally, still, he absolutely does get recommended a lot and tastes always vary!

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Posted

Rowlena, I actually own that book from a course I took at uni!  Thanks.

 

I found a good book by Kabat-Zinn that I started yesterday.  It is called Wherever You Go, There You Are

 

I'll check out something by Pema Chodron next, but they were all out at my local lib.  Thanks, saveyoursanity!

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Posted

I LOVE WHEREVER YOU GO THERE YOU ARE! It is freakin' amazing.

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Posted

Titania, I LOVE, love, love it, too.

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Posted

I studied Buddhism last year for a whole year, and it was pretty fun. I just completed a 36-week course on it through http://www.dharmagiri.org/13.html , the two instructors are from South Africa. You learn quite a bit, is ran by donations (I didn't pay them anything because I'm poor), and they love to talk to you via email. I don't know when the next session starts, but you could always ask :)

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Posted

I have done some reading, and am currently obtaining considerable education and fun from an Indian forum (in English) on spirituality. mainly on Hinduism, but saying that leaves a vast spectrum open.
I'm one of a minority of "outsiders" coming without being raised with Hinduism as part of their natural culture, and that is really showing up some of my assumptions, and some of those common for anyone raised to a Hindu or Buddhist background.
 
My top quotation from Siddhartha Gutama: 
 "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

 

Now that, I can work with....

I've also taken points on board about detachment and living in the moment, though I'd not call myself a Buddhist.

 

Hinduism I'm finding far more of a struggle, because of a couple of core principles which, when I think them through, jar with me badly.

But that could just be me:  I'm still trying to weigh that, allowing for biases in every direction.  Not easy.

 

Chris.

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