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Thread: An Introduction

  1. #1

    An Introduction

    Hello Everyone,

    I live in a small rural college town in Kentucky, US. I am an accounting clerk at a state university.

    I was brought up in a small conservative Evanglical church. In my early teens, I was a born-again fervent Jesus freak (back when Jesus freaks weren't cool). But, I soon after took up reading about other other religions in the world and books on popular science. This made literal interpretation of the Bible soon untenable. The world is simply too large and complex to be defined by the Bible or any other book. In short, I left my teen years as an existential atheist.

    I started reading about Zen in my early 20's with Alan Watt's The Way of Zen and D T Suzuki's Essays in Zen Buddhism which whetted my taste. But it was The Three Pillars on Zen which really brought home that Zen is not reading about it, but doing it. I practiced zazen alone for a few weeks, but the only thing I had to go on for support was Kapleau's book (this was before the internet). I soon got distracted and lost interest.

    Now, I'm forty. I won't say I'm in a mid-life crisis, I hate that term, but my youthful optimism about the world has been taking a beating in the last few years.

    A couple of months ago I signed on Second Life one weekend after reading about it on Salon.com. I found a Skeptical Buddhist Sangha (a group based on Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs) there that holds weekly discussion and meditation meetings. I got into practicing vipassana after reading Mindfulness in Plain English I'm also in contact with a Soto monk and teacher who lives in France. And he has been instructing me in shikantaza. That is what I've been practicing for the last two weeks.

    I know it sounds like the dharma meets "The Sims" or "Warcraft". But, it's the only way I can converse and interact with other Buddhists. Someday, I want to visit Zen Center when I work up the courage, have the money for gas, and have the time.

    Anyway, that's my saga from armchair Buddhist to cyber Buddhist.

    Gassho,

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Welcome Boone (now I see the Kentucky connection!),

    Welcome. And I hope you will sit with me too ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/

    ... I am not virtual (even though this world, by the way, may be something like 'Second Life', and no more real)

    Do Virtual Beings have Buddha Nature? (an updated version of Master Joshu's Koan)

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4
    Hi boone and welcome!

    Maybe there's some strange beings now sat on their computers controlling us, and probably having a good laugh about it, it's a funny thought.

    Best wishes,

    Ten

  5. #5

  6. #6
    Welcome Boone! I wonder if your "virtual sitter" gets a sore lower circuit after a half hour of sitting?

  7. #7
    Welcome Boone!

    Gassho
    Dirk

  8. #8
    Welcome aboard,

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  9. #9

  10. #10
    Hey Boone. Welcome.

    Gassho Will

  11. #11
    Hey Boone,

    Welcome to Treeleaf! Hope you enjoy your stay.

    Gassho,
    Keith

  12. #12
    Welcome Boone. I've read the same books as you, even Mindfulness in Plain English. Some of it was good but I didn't agree with what he said about Zen meditation. Second Life sangha sounds interesting. Maybe we should all be there, A dream within a dream within a dream....

    Gassho,
    John

  13. #13

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Hi Boone,

    Welcome, and thanks for sharing your story with us. I'm not sure if we're all real or virtual, but as long as I can do Zazen it doesn't really matter to me. :wink:

    Gassho
    Ken

  16. #16

    Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome!

    I've just read the "First Encounters of the Zen" thread, and it was wonderful introduction to all of you.

    I look forward to speaking with you all in the future.

    Gassho,

    Boone.

  17. #17
    Hi again Boone. You got me interested in Second Life. I went in there last Sunday and have been looking around it on and off ever since. It's a scary place! I found the Skeptical Buddhist's Sangha and had a walk around the Sky Sangha - beautiful place - I might join one of the meetings on Sunday (if I don't get lost),

    Gassho,
    John

  18. #18
    Hey Boone,


    glad to meet you. I was interested to hear about your various experiances with meditations techniques like Vipassana, mindfulness, and Shikantaza.

    I've practiced a few styles myself and must admit that Skikantaza just works best for me, I think its something that is powerful and beautiful in its simplicity. Personally, once I tried it there was no going back.


    So happy to have you with us.

    take care,

    Greg

  19. #19
    John-

    Second life is bizarre when you first visit it. But after a while you meet people with common interest and find places to meet them.

    My user ID is Boone Enoche in Second Life also (my real name is Tony). So, do a search for me and send me an IM. The Skeptical Buddhist Sangha has two meetings on Sundays. The first one is at 12:00 PM Second Life Time (which is US Pacific Time). I think that would be 8:00 PM in the UK. I'll probably be there this Sunday. The second meeting is at 6:00 PM Second Life Time.

    Gassho,

    Tony (aka Boone Enoche)

  20. #20
    Greg-

    I've been practicing only since early September, so I'm pretty much a newbie at sitting.

    At first, I was interested in the Theravada traditon. I read Mindfulness in Plain English which introduced me to Vipassana and followed it for a few weeks. Then I meet a Soto monk and teacher online and we discussed sitting and he told me about Shikantaza. Since then that is what I've been doing.

    I, too, think Shikantaza fits me better. For me, focusing on the breath and counting breaths is in itself a distraction. I feel more natural not focusing on any object and just sitting. But I'm still getting my sea legs in sitting .

    Gassho,

    Tony

  21. #21
    John-

    My user ID is Boone Enoch, not Boone Enoche.

    I think I should change my user ID in this forum to "Tony in KY". Since I can't spell the one I have now .

  22. #22
    Boone - Thanks, I'll look out for you. I don't use IM. Maybe I'm getting a bit old for all this! My friends think I'm mad - 'what's wrong with real life?' etc. I'm worried that my typing speed is a bit slow but we'll see,

    Gassho,
    John

  23. #23

  24. #24
    Hi Tony, welcome.

    -paige

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