December 31, 2009

New Year’s “Virtual Dharma for REAL Practice”


It never fails.  Once this time rolls around, every Buddhist will sit back and state…
I resolve to practice more consistently this year!
I am no different.  My practice swell and ebbs just like the tide.  Sometimes, it goes along perfectly and without difficulty and other times it is like sweeping glass.  I don’t know which I prefer.
So, in an effort to help some of those home-practitioners that don’t have access to a physical sangha or zendo and rely almost completely on home practice to study the Dharma and further their own growth, I though I would use the New Year as an excuse to list some of the online resources out there. There are plenty of others out there but these came to mind….
  1. White Wind Zen Community Long Distance Training Program – The practice of Zen is experiential and instruction is based on your actual experience of doing the practice. As soon as possible after reading the transcript and sitting for a full half hour according to the instructions it contains, please write to the monastery to let us know that you read the “Beginner’s Mind Workshop” transcript, sat and would like to receive further instruction. Please include in your email some detail concerning what you experienced while sitting and write out any questions that came up. Your email will be answered by a practice advisor or a Dharma Teacher in residence at Dainenji and this will be the beginning of an exchange for the purpose of clarifying your understanding of Zen practice so that you can eventually apply as a public student of Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi.
  2. Treeleef Zendo – This zendo is dedicated to students of Zen Buddhism who cannot travel to a zen center or who otherwise wish personal contact with a zen teacher… [a full review of this site is hereA wonderful resource for those that are unable to make it to a zendo or meditation center and just require a bit more “push” to get going.  I love the fact that they schedule sits and have a handy online meditation timer to use as well.
  3. Wild Fox ZenBlog – They have offered full online sesshin and seem willing to do it again in the future, as well as to offer periodic webinars and talks for free.  I did one of their “100 Days” webinars and while I wasn’t the most active participant, it was a great experience with plenty of 1:1 time with a Zen teacher.
  4. 108 Days – Follow along with the posts for 108 days of meditation. No longer an active blog so engagement is limited but a good way to slide into a daily routine by using the daily info provided.
  5. AudioDharma – The Insight Meditation Center (IMC) is a community-based urban meditation center for the practice of Vipassana or Insight meditation. We are a non-residential center in Redwood City, California, dedicated to the study and practice of Buddhist teachings. IMC offers a broad range of practice and community activities. This includes a weekly schedule of meditation sessions, dharma talks (talks on Buddhist teaching and practice), classes, group discussions, yoga practice and a variety of meditation and study retreats. IMC began in 1986 as a gathering of individuals who meet in order to learn, support and deepen their mindfulness practice. It is an informal group, and those interested in mindfulness meditation are heartily welcome to participate whenever they wish. IMC does not require payment for any of our teachings or meetings. The support of our teachers and all our center expenses is done through the voluntary donations of our community. The group is guided by Gil Fronsdal. [Gil may be the closest thing to a bodhisattva that I will ever meet…the man kicks ass]
  6. BuddhaNet – Its got everything you would ever need, I think, for a full home practice. Sans an actual teacher. [Enough info to make your brain go *pop*!]
  7. PodcastsDharmaRealm, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate Dharma Talks, Buddhist Geeks, Rochester Zen Center Teisho, San Fransisco Zen Center Public Lectures, ZenCast [Just a few of my favorites. Plenty more out there from reliable zendos and practice centers. Most have online newsletters too]
  8. Blogs – Plenty but start at digitalZENDO and The Zennist for an example of two polar opposites in a broad array of fantastic blogs out there. [I can’t even start too explain how many are out there but I like these two since they give two very different views of Buddhist and Zen practice]
  9. Free Buddhist Audio offers plenty of free audio resources.
  10. Urdan Dharma is another great recommendation
This list is by no means meant to be extensive and it is skewed towards Zen practice but if you know of any other resources please list them in the comments and I’ll toss them in..
Also feel free to check out my Buddhist Resourcespage for some updated and additional free resources (sutras, podcast, dharma talks, whatever) if you like or for some great book suggestions by myself and several Buddhist bloggers check out my Bits of Paper page.
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