*
*
Home
Help
Search
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Apr 24, 2014, 09:40:23 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search: Advanced search
657250 Posts in 9253 Topics by 3396 Members Latest Member: - vlozan86 Most online today: 80 - most online ever: 494 (Jul 01, 2007, 02:59:53 PM)
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6
Print
Author Topic: Yoga, meditation, and related philosophical and spiritual study  (Read 4687 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« on: Sep 03, 2011, 10:27:49 AM »

It seems like we have enough people who do asana, pranayama, and meditation practice, as well as others who are interested in related philosophy and religion/spirituality, to move some of this stuff out of the fitness thread. 'Cause for me, it's not even primarily about physical fitness--although it doesn't hurt--and I imagine some of y'all are the same way.

So I'm trying out this thread to see if anyone else wants to talk about any aspect of yoga or the traditions related to/that intersect with it. Recommend books, discuss aspects of asana practice or particular asanas you're having trouble with, tease out those slippery philosophical questions, talk about a particularly interesting mediation you did, etc., etc.

My question to start it off: has anyone visited/does anyone regularly visit a specifically Buddhist temple/meditation center in NYC, which one, and what was your experience with it?
Logged
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #1 on: Sep 03, 2011, 10:48:56 AM »

I regularly visit Dharma Punx (bad name) in NYC. It's Tuesdays and Thursdays in the East Village and Mondays in Greenpoint. The tradition is Thai Forest Buddhism, led by Josh Korda. Starting next week, I'm gonna be one of several teachers who will rotate leading Thursdays. My experience with it is, you know, pretty good—I probably couldn't sum it up in a single response because it's become a pretty fundamental part of my spiritual practice, and it's very ongoing. But I'm happy to talk about it further.

I also went to the Fire Lotus Temple, in Brooklyn, once for Sunday services. The abbot there is definitely a pretty wise and charismatic guy and if you're interested in Zen I'd strongly recommend it. I don't practice Zen, personally.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #2 on: Sep 03, 2011, 11:01:34 AM »

Oh, cool, thanks for the recommendations. I'm actually really interested in the Theravaden tradition, although my knowledge of it is pretty shallow at this point. I may just drop by on Thursday, as that is typically one of my two days off from asana practice. You gonna give a dharma talk?

Edit: I love the potential of the dharma talk in general. Some of my yoga teachers do it, some don't--actually, only one reliably does, and sometimes it's vague and wandering and sometimes it's personal and very applicable and sometimes it's awesome and sometimes it doesn't quite hit home, and I just appreciate the effort that goes into it on both sides.
« Last Edit: Sep 03, 2011, 11:06:58 AM by Em » Logged
jess
Registered user

Posts: 3571


« Reply #3 on: Sep 03, 2011, 11:32:27 AM »

I know a lot about secular, psychological aspects of this stuff—mindfulness (some of which comes right out Theravaden traditions) and mindfulness-based therapies, since that's what I research and practice. It's become a huge part of my life, but I'm not a spiritual person, so I wouldn't say it functions for me in that domain at all. It has changed me deeply though, in how I think, feel, relate to others, assign meaning, etc. It sounds like you really want that spiritual aspect, so I don't have much to offer for that, but if you are ever at all interested in a more psychological aspect of it and/or mental health-specific one, let me know, since I have a lot of info and resources for that, including some awesome and super readable books with exercises.
Logged
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #4 on: Sep 03, 2011, 11:41:45 AM »

Yeah, I've done DBT, which has a big mindfulness component (briefly)--I pretty conclusively don't have BPD but at times have manifested BPD-like behaviors--at the recommendation of my psychiatrist, and it was an unmitigated disaster. Did not work for me AT ALL, and curiously, the mindfulness exercises were among the biggest failures (I mean, I failed at them, not that they failed me, although I guess it could have been both). I was in a really strict, structured program though, in a way that sort of felt against-my-will-ish, and I was definitely rebelling against that.

Still, during my most recent session I kind of half-teased my doctor: "You know, I started doing yoga for my shoulder and it's changed my life. Yet I have this much bigger problem and you thought of DBT before you thought of ... yoga?" He laughed.

That being said, yes, the spiritual aspect of mindfulness is important to me, but I'd love to hear your recommendations for books on the psychological/mental health bent, out of curiosity if nothing else!
« Last Edit: Sep 03, 2011, 11:44:17 AM by Em » Logged
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #5 on: Sep 03, 2011, 12:44:54 PM »

Em, yeah, I'm gonna give a short talk. But on Thursdays it's more of a group session, so basically I'm gonna do 5-10 minutes to set the topic and then we're gonna go around and share on the topic. Half hour meditation then the discussion.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #6 on: Sep 03, 2011, 01:03:41 PM »

That sounds cool, and I'm always up for something new, so I may very well show up, meditate, and listen to what people have to say at least!
Logged
Thermofusion
Registered user

Posts: 10000


« Reply #7 on: Sep 03, 2011, 01:17:20 PM »

There's a Buddhist monastery about ten miles from my house, and I've grown steadily more curious about it since moving down here. It's on a little winding rural road that weaves through the woods, in about the last place you'd expect to find such a thing. I should probably give in and visit. I'm pretty sure my fervent non-religiousness has created a bit of a spiritual vacuum inside me, anyway.

Here's a little multimedia thing about the monastery: http://www.adamsartistry.com/interactive/wat/load.html
Logged

triple paisley minimum
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #8 on: Sep 03, 2011, 03:20:31 PM »

Thermo, it so happens that that monastery is in the same tradition that I practice in, Thai Forest Buddhism. I don't know any of those monks myself but at the very least i can 100% rep for their school of Buddhism.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #9 on: Sep 03, 2011, 03:30:09 PM »

cf, what do you like about that school of Buddhism as opposed to another? I know that's a big question--assume I know the basic differences between the major schools.

Edit: Or don't, and explain it any way you want. Not even trying to be presumptuous.
« Last Edit: Sep 03, 2011, 03:33:56 PM by Em » Logged
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #10 on: Sep 03, 2011, 03:57:28 PM »

Well, it's easiest to contrast against so-called Northern schools, along with the rest of the Theravadin tradition. It has a very rigorously pragmatic, concrete focus—the practice is focused much more on what we call discernment, or wisdom, basically the ability to determine what behaviors and qualities and thoughts etc. will lead to long-term peace of mind, and what will lead to more suffering. So the practice is this constant, rigorous loop of awareness and mindfulness, where everything you take part in is fair game for examination and evaluation.

This in contrast to the majority of the other popular traditions in the West, eg Zen, which tend to abstract questions of so-called letting go and emptiness to a slightly higher, less accessible level. The Northern approaches tend to say, it's not as important that you do or not do any particular thing, but that you do this thing in a spirit of bare awareness, acceptance, non-attachment. So they tend to spend more time thinking about metaphysics and non-duality. Which I find to be very appealing, aesthetically, but not as effective or useful as an everyday tool, and more susceptible to what they call spiritual bypass: the use of spiritual principles to justify fundamentally unskillful or even unethical behavior.

In terms of the Thai Forest Tradition specifically? Things become a little more subtle there, of course. But one characteristic that I tend to find very appealing is that they take that Southern mentality that I just outlined, which has the potential to be a very hardline, puritanical doctrine, and approach it with a spirit of real gentleness and elegance. My limited experience with Sri Lankan Theravada is that it tends to be much more moralizing and normative than the Forest tradition. But what made the Forest monks so remarkable was that they were really the ones who reintroduced a rigorous, deep meditation/retreat practice to Thai Buddhism, so Thai Forest Buddhism always starts from the cushion. In this way I think it establishes a really good balance among the three fields of Buddhist practice—concentration, wisdom, and conduct. In general the tone of the Ajahns' dharma talks is open and gentle but also quite intellectual and rigorous.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
jess
Registered user

Posts: 3571


« Reply #11 on: Sep 03, 2011, 05:01:39 PM »

Yeah, I've done DBT, which has a big mindfulness component (briefly)--I pretty conclusively don't have BPD but at times have manifested BPD-like behaviors--at the recommendation of my psychiatrist, and it was an unmitigated disaster. Did not work for me AT ALL, and curiously, the mindfulness exercises were among the biggest failures (I mean, I failed at them, not that they failed me, although I guess it could have been both). I was in a really strict, structured program though, in a way that sort of felt against-my-will-ish, and I was definitely rebelling against that.

Still, during my most recent session I kind of half-teased my doctor: "You know, I started doing yoga for my shoulder and it's changed my life. Yet I have this much bigger problem and you thought of DBT before you thought of ... yoga?" He laughed.

That being said, yes, the spiritual aspect of mindfulness is important to me, but I'd love to hear your recommendations for books on the psychological/mental health bent, out of curiosity if nothing else!

I cannot say enough good things about this book, and it's pretty different than DBT (for one, you can do it outside of therapy if you want, although I use it with clients often enough too, since the additional guidance can be useful): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_10?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mindful+way+through+anxiety&sprefix=mindful+wa

Everyone I've given it to has loved it so far, and I think it makes mindfulness a lot clearer and easier to understand and apply to your life than many other texts. It also comes with a link to a website with a bunch of recorded exercises. I really got something out of reading it and working on with clients—even though I've been doing these for a long time, I feel like my own mental wellbeing took another big leap forward. May or may not be your thing, but could be worth checking out. Not too expensive either.
Logged
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #12 on: Sep 03, 2011, 11:09:36 PM »

Thanks, cf, for the thoughtful post--very interesting to read people's perspectives on their practices as I kind of, sort of, maybe inch my way toward figuring out where I ought to be.

And thanks, Jess, for the book recommendation--looks interesting and I'll have to check it out!
Logged
milly balgeary
Registered user

Posts: 11512


« Reply #13 on: Sep 03, 2011, 11:17:30 PM »

Em have you considered denise austin.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RINnk9IMUCo
i've got hot body yoga by her. she's a practitioner of female blood magic. her willingness to activate the evolutionary sensors in her pelvis offer her the ability to "stop thoughts". she is part of the forest wizardry group of female blood magicians operatin out of war torn africa.
Logged

Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #14 on: Sep 05, 2011, 09:47:35 AM »

Had a sub for class last night, and while we usually do either a vinyasa flow or an astanga sequence in that class--and in all classes I take--I did classical hatha yoga for the first time. I am feeling it today, even though I didn't do any new poses. I mean, I sort of did, because by the nature of it I was doing the poses differently, but still. I think I will switch to taking this guy's class more regularly; this morning my meditation had a slightly different feel to it than usual and I'm interested to see if if the two are related.
Logged
Thermofusion
Registered user

Posts: 10000


« Reply #15 on: Sep 06, 2011, 01:55:04 PM »

Thermo, it so happens that that monastery is in the same tradition that I practice in, Thai Forest Buddhism. I don't know any of those monks myself but at the very least i can 100% rep for their school of Buddhism.

I think I've psyched myself into checking out their Sunday AM service this weekend. Not sure what to take donations-wise.
Logged

triple paisley minimum
jebreject
Registered user

Posts: 27071


« Reply #16 on: Sep 06, 2011, 02:19:37 PM »

Tomorrow evening I'm finally going to check out this local place, the Mindfulness Practice Center, which is in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk who sort of combines teachings from various schools. This is maybe not the ideal sangha, but everything else around here is very much Tibeten and Zen, and, like Zach, that stuff appeals to me on an aesthetic level but not in terms of my daily practice. Thich Nhat Hanh also focuses heavily on social issues, so that's appealing, and regardless of whether I'd rather be practicing somewhere that's in the Thai Forest tradition or more like Dharma Punx, I think it's important to be involved with a community of Buddhists, and I'm looking forward to that. My practice so far has been solitary meditation (though sometimes M joins me), listening to Josh Korda's recorded Dharma talks (which are generally very, very good) and emailing back and forth with Coldforge. All of which are great, and I've had some really good conversations with CF and he's been a good teacher. But the sangha is an important part of any Buddhist practice, so hopefully this goes well!
Logged

I'm not racist, I've got lots of black Facebook friends.
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #17 on: Sep 06, 2011, 02:23:56 PM »

Jeb, that's awesome! Let me know how it goes.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #18 on: Sep 06, 2011, 02:30:01 PM »

That sounds like a great move, Jeb. Like you (perhaps), I recognize that I have been too solitary in my burgeoning little practice, which has so far consisted of solitary meditation, a substantial amount of reading edit: well, not THAT substantial), and listening to dharma talks by various people from various schools. Oh, and also, trying to figure out how my yoga practice and Buddhism fit together conceptually, although I'm working that one out pretty well.

On a mostly unrelated note, I realized this morning that my dogs, who share a relatively small space with me and are such little attention fiends that they can be counted on to be all over me any time I'm sitting still, have never once disturbed me during meditation. Maybe you have to know my dogs--one of them in particular--to be amazed by that, but it's totally weird and totally awesome.
« Last Edit: Sep 06, 2011, 02:34:26 PM by Em » Logged
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #19 on: Sep 06, 2011, 09:02:17 PM »

I actually ended up giving my first dharma talk tonight. We had a guest teacher who never showed, and since I already had been thinking about a talk for Thursday, I volunteered to give it after a silent meditation. It went pretty well. It was totally off the cuff, but people seemed to react well.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #20 on: Sep 06, 2011, 09:02:54 PM »

I actually ended up giving my first dharma talk tonight. We had a guest teacher who never showed, and since I already had been thinking about a talk for Thursday, I volunteered to give it after a silent meditation. It went pretty well. It was totally off the cuff, but people seemed to react well.
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
Em
Registered user

Posts: 1007


« Reply #21 on: Sep 06, 2011, 09:41:58 PM »

Glad it went well! Nice work!
Logged
peacocks
Registered user

Posts: 4615


« Reply #22 on: Sep 07, 2011, 02:01:47 PM »

Buddhism is a weird and emotional subject for me. I was raised Buddhist, but it seems like the sort I practice is really westernized and weird. Certainly evangelical, which I have always hated. Incredibly organized with leaders and meetings and planning meetings and meetings that plan planning meetings and conference calls. My mom has been a leader for as long as I can remember and she is always on the phone encouraging people or planning something. The community, or sangha, is very important to me. Lately I just can't get into it though. I have a hard time doing the personal practice regularly too, which is chanting excerpts from the Lotus Sutra. It always used to soothe me.

I found a book last weekend about the teachings of the Lotus Sutra which wasn't linked to the organization I was raised in and was really pleased to find that the main teachings I've been raised to practice definitely accord with the lotus sutra. I mean, yes. That is common knowledge, but we aren't really encouraged to read the actual sutras. We are encouraged to read lectures about letters written by a a monk who studied the sutras in the 13th century. This has always seemed kind of far removed. How important is that? I've been feeling totally lost.

ps. every time I talk about this I think people are going to think I'm in a cult.
« Last Edit: Sep 07, 2011, 02:06:10 PM by peacocks » Logged

dick-check your priviledge
coldforge
Registered user

Posts: 11924


« Reply #23 on: Sep 07, 2011, 02:27:01 PM »

What tradition were you a part of?
Logged

è l'era del terzo mondo.
peacocks
Registered user

Posts: 4615


« Reply #24 on: Sep 07, 2011, 02:39:55 PM »

nichiren, soka gakkai international. I'm still a part of it. The community at least. I mean, how can I not be?
Logged

dick-check your priviledge
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6
Print
LPTJ | Last Plane Forums | Departure Lounge | Topic: Yoga, meditation, and related philosophical and spiritual study
Jump to:  

Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Board layout based on the Oxygen design by Bloc