I have thought about, for many years, learning more on the subject of meditation and Buddhism, but for some reason it took me many years until I actually put any effort in to learning it. I am definitely a newbie and have only been attending meditation classes for about a month and I have participated in a half day course on how to meditate and a one day course on emptiness and the way things are. I try to apply what I learn at the centre to my every day life. It is not an easy task. It is some times very difficult to do such a big change in life. Especially when you are in a hurry. I have always had the tendency to wanting to know everything at once.
Our teachers at the centre always tells us that we should not be in a hurry, that we should not try to hard, neither are they trying to turn anybody in to a Buddhist.
I just found this on a Buddhist webpage:
Understanding comes to those who are not in a hurry to understand. Understanding is like a fruit tree; it takes time to become mature. One cannot force it to bear fruits.
In the same text I read this:
Effort in meditation is like effort in learning to ride a bicycle. In the beginning you put too much effort and you fall off. Later on, by doing it repeatedly, you learn to put just enough effort to keep you on the bicycle so you can put more effort to move forward. You learn by doing it.
During the course last Saturday we did a meditation on emptiness, which clearly was too advanced for me, as I have mostly done short breathing meditations and love and kindness meditations, and as I couldn’t get my head around the concept of emptiness. Especially emptiness and the body which very confusing for me. As a result of this I have decided to not force myself to those kinds of meditations before I truly feel comfortable and confident with the more simple meditations I am learning.
After the course last Saturday I was also feeling very doubtful and I had so many questions I needed answers on. There was no opportunity to ask or to discuss with the teacher after the course so I went on Google instead and was sad to find that the New Kadampa Tradition has been accused to be a cult or a sect. But after reading more about it I realised that it is not. It was a conflict with the Dalai Lama who wanted to ban a certain prair that he himself had been practising for over 20 years. The conflict in many ways seemed to be political and that is what I don’t understand with the Tibetan Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. For me Buddhism is not about that at all and should not be mixed with it. During the months I have been going to the centre I have never gotten the feeling that it is a cult. In the classes we are encouraged to think for ourselves.
The fact that people, claiming to be Buddhists, blames the New Kadampa Buddhism for the war in Afghanistan, for the bad cow disease and so forth, for simply using a prayer that the Dalai Lama himself used for over 20 years, but is now banning, is for me outrageous. Buddhism teaches tolerance for all other religions and philosophies and that is what I like about it. I might never get so far as calling myself a Buddhist, but part of the journey I am making is about increasing my tolerance, my patience, to open my mind, and become more peaceful and happy for the benefit of me and others. And that does most certainly not include judging others.