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Garryn
13th February 2006, 12:09
I know its not Japanese, so maybe not directly relevant to the website. However it is relevant to meditation.

I've been meditating on my own for a while. It got to the point where I thought I'd like to look around see what was available locally to expand my practice.

Theres a local meditation group starting this week - Shambhala (Sacred Path of the Warrior). The group is lead by someone Buddhist based but states what he teaches will be applicable whether you're religious or not.

Just wondered if anyone had experience of Shambhala and could help me on whether to go down this path?

kimiwane
15th February 2006, 20:23
Just wondered if anyone had experience of Shambhala and could help me on whether to go down this path?

I think it may be Tibettan Buddhist.

I don't know what kind of meditation they do.

The Tibettans I've met were nice folks.

Can't hurt to stop in and get the feel of the place.

kokumo
15th February 2006, 20:44
Was instituted as a more accessible and secular approach to meditation by the late -- and quite controversial -- Chogyam Trungpa, who was regarded by his followers as a Rinpoche (literally "precious jewel," more loosely "incarnate lama") and lineage holder in the Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism.

Some folks swear by it, others of us prefer our Buddhist teachings straight up.

My personal recommendation is that if you're interested in getting a grounding in basic meditation practice, then starting out with basic meditation practice in the theravada or mahayana traditions is probably a better idea than starting out in a crypto-tantric tradition.

Ultimately, it comes down to a question of the "fit" between you and the teaching situation. Depending on where you are located, I might be able to make some suggestions. Feel free to pm if you like.

kimiwane
15th February 2006, 21:53
Some folks swear by it, others of us prefer our Buddhist teachings straight up.

I know some musicians who were heavily influenced by Tibettan Buddhism a long time ago. Very interesting people. But I've barely looked at it, myself. I have taken the basic zazen approach. But I did know a Tibettan, Geshi Dorjee, by name, and always enjoyed having him around.

I want to advise you, though, be very careful in the days ahead or you may suddenly turn 50.

It happened to me just recently.

Best wishes.

Harlan
16th February 2006, 01:30
If what you are looking for is simply to meditate...there is no need to get heavily into any religion. There are many different meditation circles/groups available. Go on the internet and research 'Insight meditation'.

If you are looking for Buddhism there are many different paths, and the Tibetan paths are not suited to most. I suggest Zen, or Theraveda.

If Tibetan still 'appeals', I suggest that you research it carefully, and consider one of the 4 authentic schools (vs. Shambala). Guru yoga is a problematic practice for most Westerners.

kenkyusha
16th February 2006, 01:37
As indicated above, Shambhala is based on Tibetan Buddhism, but attempts to secularize the practice, removing many of the more esoteric elements from the overall experience.

Considering the time/place of the origin of the curriculum (kind of a 'kick-start them hippies into dressing better' approach) to what was then a pretty mangy group of seekers, hangers-on and the like, it's okay.

Be well,
Jigme

Garryn
16th February 2006, 11:28
Thanks everyone for your comments

At this point my interest is in meditation. Some aspects of Buddhism interest me, but not enough to follow at this point.
My practice has been built from a few books I bought, mostly discarded and kept a simple practice of sitting experiencing the breath
Iíve looked around locally for ways of furthering my understanding and improving my practice. Unfortunately all Iíve found tends to be presented to the beginner with lots of religious terminology and isnít that local.

Iíve now been to the first session. Seems pretty much as Iíd expected. At this stage not much different from what Iím already doing. Although one thing was strange:

At home I sit on my own for 15-30 mins at a time.
At this session I had 1 person sat to my right and about 8 sat to my left and behind. About 10 mins into the meditation I realised I felt under physical pressure from the left hand side. To the extent my spine and neck felt twisted. When I partially opened my eyes I was upright but the pressure remained.
This was uncomfortable to the point where I nearly stood up and moved to the back of the room.
Fortunately we then had a walking meditation (something I hadnít done before) followed by another seated meditation. This time no Ďnegativeí effects.

I feel this was probably due to the presence of the others? I donít know, but it has given me questions. Maybe next time there I'll start getting answers.

Harlan
16th February 2006, 12:06
Did you use your own pillow (from home)? Sitting incorrectly, or old injuries, can manifest themselves this way on a different pillow.

Garryn
16th February 2006, 12:19
It was requested that you bring something to sit on. I was sat in the same way I normally sit at home and on what I normally sit on ....

Maybe my posture wasn't as good as I thought it was...

kimiwane
16th February 2006, 15:03
It was requested that you bring something to sit on. I was sat in the same way I normally sit at home and on what I normally sit on ....

Maybe my posture wasn't as good as I thought it was...

Wherever you go, joining a group or not, I always recommend one book to people: "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind," by Shunryu Suzuki. I just think it's the best book on meditation there is.

Good luck.

Harlan
16th February 2006, 15:11
We have a Shambhala group near me, and I know a member or two and while invited...just don't have that 'pull' towards that line. Just to be clear, I personally don't have anything against Shambhala...and Chogyam Trungpa wrote some incredible stuff.



As indicated above, Shambhala is based on Tibetan Buddhism, but attempts to secularize the practice, removing many of the more esoteric elements from the overall experience.

Considering the time/place of the origin of the curriculum (kind of a 'kick-start them hippies into dressing better' approach) to what was then a pretty mangy group of seekers, hangers-on and the like, it's okay.

Be well,
Jigme

kenkyusha
16th February 2006, 18:03
We have a Shambhala group near me, and I know a member or two and while invited...just don't have that 'pull' towards that line. Just to be clear, I personally don't have anything against Shambhala...and Chogyam Trungpa wrote some incredible stuff.
Trungpa Rinpoche did write some neat stuff... he was also... interesting. Despite the fact that he was my parent's main teacher for a long time (and my preceptor for Refuge Vows) it'd be hard not to look at the whole picture...

Shambhala training is fine for what it is, a secular introduction to meditation w/out the trappings of Rime (Mahamudra and Mahaati transmissions).

Be well,
Jigme

kokumo
16th February 2006, 18:19
Trungpa Rinpoche did write some neat stuff... he was also... interesting. Despite the fact that he was my parent's main teacher for a long time (and my preceptor for Refuge Vows) it'd be hard not to look at the whole picture...

Shambhala training is fine for what it is, a secular introduction to meditation w/out the trappings of Rime (Mahamudra and Mahaati transmissions).

Be well,
Jigme

Agreed. I'm for whatever gets folks to sit on the cushion, so long as they don't check their bovine fecal material monitors at the meditation hall door.

Best,

FL

Harlan
16th February 2006, 18:42
Myyyy goodness...what folk's don't say around here. :)

kokumo
16th February 2006, 19:07
Myyyy goodness...what folk's don't say around here. :)

That's because the board owners have filtering software in place that replaces what people MIGHT say with a string of exclamation points if they DO say it.

I think of it as George and John's encouragement of artful language....

FL

Garryn
16th February 2006, 20:52
kimiwane thanks for the book recommendation. I'll check it out. I'm afraid I may fall victim to something similar to yourself I keep seeing a large 4 and a zero about six months in the future. Still it does look good for a large party in the middle of the summer.

Harlan and Kokumo thanks as well with the advice about other traditions and insight meditation. I'll look through my references again.
I took your advice and I've "googled" for 'insight meditation' in this area with no real joy. Either lots of travelling or they're mid-week lunchtime sessions. I've got "Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation ~Larry Rosenberg" coming through the post right now. It seemed to have good reviews.

Back to the Shambhala:
I had a strange feeling about the setting, which is one of the things that prompted me to post. It is held in an alternative/complementary therapy centre that covers everything from crystals through reiki on past tarot reading and mediumship. The rest of the group is comprised of regulars of these other courses. When the meditation stopped one of them was talking about 'the spirits taking him'. (the instructor basically and politely said he didn't know anything about that, that he didn't know about the other things people were into).

I guess this and the way I've been reading books and discarding that which didn't 'fit' with me means I attend readily prepared with a large pinch of salt and a BS meter.

JasonW
27th February 2006, 22:57
I can recommend from my experience any and all books by Mantak Chia, founder of the Healing Tao System, and to check any Healing Tao groups if they're nearby.

While its old, Taoist internal work, Chia has made it very accessible for the westerner. There's no BS about him. One of his favourite phrases was "You do it, you get it."

cheers,

Jason Wotherspoon
Ipswich Aikido Club Iwama style

Garryn
28th February 2006, 12:11
Ta,
I'll try and check out the books.
Just done a search for the Rotherham/Sheffield area and can't find anything. I'll ask around further.

Thanks again

Jim Wilson
28th February 2006, 23:14
Hi Garry:

The experience you described isn't that unusual for meditators. But I think the question is, do you think there is someone at the center that you could talk to about it and feel comfortable?

Bodily sensations of heaviness, or feelings of bodily distortion, occur for a number of reasons, both physical and psychological. They are part of the flow of energy, and the untangling of the knots of energy that happen in meditation. Since you are a beginner, you need some guidance here. Find a place where you would feel comfortable bringing this kind of thing up.

Sometimes these uncomfortable physical sensations are due to very simple postural stresses and are easy to correct; but they need to be pointed out.

Again, since you are just beginning, you need to experiment with the posture that is most conducive to calming and settling of your mind. You may need a higher cushion, or may need to sit seiza, etc. The floor of the center was probably of a different material than the one you have at home and this would stress the knees differently; so perhaps a thicker zabuton would be needed. Most meditators take a few months to settle into the position that finally clicks.

Regarding Shambhala specifically -- caveat emptor. Do some research about Chogyam Trungpa and his immediate successor. He was very controversial and it is good to know the people who started the organization. Then you can make an informed decision.

I hope your meditaiton practice blossoms and provides you with much opportunity for wisdom.

Best wishes,

Dharmajim

Garryn
3rd March 2006, 18:51
I hope your meditaiton practice blossoms and provides you with much opportunity for wisdom.

I've been meditating for a while now. This has been my own developement from various books due to a lack of local resources. I ususally feel comfortable and I've not noticed anything like this feeling before.

I mentioned it in the next meeting. Not a lot by way of response.

I think maybe it was related to the other people being there, but it was from me not some strange astral thing from them. Maybe with it being a private practice up till then I was aware of them and it was a mildly claustrophobic kinda thing.

I've since had several more private meditations and a couple more with the shambhala group, with no repetition of the experience.

Did a bit of research. 'Shambhala' gets a lot of hits so it was a bit of a 'needla in a haystack' situation. But I did get a small bit of info about the controversy at the end of its founders life and factors which contributed to his death.

I've also read the book "Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior". Found the first 2/3 quite good. Last 1/3 found rather annoying and felt self indulgent, to the degree I tried to speed read as I couldn't be bothered to finish it.

Think I can get a couple of things from within Shambhala, but I don't think theres anything that 'clicks' with me.

Thanks Jim
Guess I'll have to look elsewhere for my wisdom, travel a bit further.