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wundayatta's avatar

Have you ever visited or lived with a Buddhist religious community?

Asked by wundayatta (58596points) March 24th, 2010

Did you talk to anyone or take lessons there? What classes did you participate in and what practices did you engage in? Was it beautiful?

Describe the place and the experience, and tell us what you learned from it—and I mean the little things as well as the lofty spiritual things. Like learning to clean your bowl with radish and the like.

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12 Answers

meagan's avatar

Theres a Buddhist community living literally five minutes away from me! Right next door to a Christmas tree farm!
I’ve never been. But its such an interesting place. Monks live there! I see them checking their mail every now and again. So odd.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I lived in Japan for 4 years. It has many beautiful Buddhist temples and monasteries. I once participated in a class for zazen meditation. It was quite fulfilling.

We sat on cushions and tired to clear our minds for about an hour. It was very difficult. Perhaps the most impressive part was touring the temple grounds. There were gardens with trees whose limbs had been trained over decades to grow in a certain direction, giving a very pleasing shape overall.

There were temples with rock gardens where a special type of rake was used to make waves in the small pebbles to remind the viewer of the sea.

And there were temples in the mountains where the gardens were wild and pristine.

I have great respect for Buddhism and their ways.

higherground's avatar

I’m not a religious person but my parents are staunch Buddhists .

But once , I followed them to China and we stayed in a Buddhist monastery for 2 weeks .
Every day was just daily meals + meditation . Interesting thing is , although the monastery is located in the city , I’ve never felt so much peace in my heart ever .

I’d definitely go back there again if I have the chance to !

AriPliskin's avatar

I live at the Zen Peacemakers in Montague, MA. We do Socially Engaged Buddhism. I love it.

nebule's avatar

I’m just lurking really
I haven’t been to a Buddhist community – but am intrigued by the answers…great question!

gailcalled's avatar

I spent three nights in a little rented apt. on the third floor of the Zen Buddhist Center in San Fran. At 5:30 each morning, someone rang a loud gong; there was the thunder of hooves down three flights of stairs when the regulars attended prayer meeting. Several rotated on breakfast prep.

It was beautiful, quiet, had an interior courtyard with perfumed flowers and a fountain. Breakfast was self-serve and no one chatted. When I sat down to eat, I noticed that it was a silent meal. I also spent a day at a Jewish retreat at the Zen center’s Marin county branch. That was also wonderful.

There was an enormous vegetable garden and a nice walk to the Pacific ocean. I took off my shoes and waded in fully clothed.

I liked this almost as much as sight-seeing in San. F.

davidbetterman's avatar

I met a guy who was in training to become a Buddhist Monk. We invited him to dinner with us. He was hungrier than any one person I had ever met!

Trillian's avatar

No, but I plan to go to Nepal some day and spin a few prayer wheels.

mammal's avatar

yes in Tibet and India, also back in UK, very inspiring.

lifeflame's avatar

I went to Plum Village in France for two weeks after reading Thich Nhat Hanh (Zen Buddhist master).

The environment was gorgeous (lotus ponds) and the food (vietnamese vegan) was excellent.

I think I was surprised by how revered Thich Nhat Hanh was in there; I had imagined (from his writings) it to be less hierarchical, and less regimented. I also get the sense that the monk community was more playful than the nun community.

The daily routine is quite simple: wake up, meditate, breakfast, discourse, walking meditation, lunch, working meditation, “quiet time”, sitting meditation, evening meal. And then depending on the week of the day there would be different events, ceremonies and gatherings.

gailcalled's avatar

My step-son, after two degrees from Harvard, spent 6 month in Dharamsala, India and studied Buddhism

He said it was a spare, quiet, and calming existence. Someone stole his camera from his room but he was Zen about it.

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