Ask The Buddhist Teenager Guy

What the hell, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Im a teenager, buddhist, i skateboard, and i do all sorts of teenager type things. So ask me questions, i need the attention!

What was it that made you decide to become buddhist? Parents/friends that were/are? Just liked the idea?

How long has you been practicing? Any major changes in your life because of it?

What sect or class of buddhist are you primarily - Zen, Tibetan, etc? And have you transcended all earthly desires and reached enlightenment yet? ;]

My parents are Tibetan buddhists. They were both students of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Up until recently I have not really considered myself Buddhist, but recently I realized that I really was. That sounds strange but its true. Every summer I go on a trip to Colorado and stay at RMSC (Rock Mountain Shambhala Center) for several months. It can be the best or worst time of the year for me. Its a buddhist/shambahla center out in the Rocky Mountains which was founded by Chogyam Trungpa. Its a very interesting place and I would recommend anyone go to check it out.

Hmm, when I am home in Los Angeles I dont really practice very much. I should but the city really changes my attitude. I have had major positive experiances due to being Buddhist. I am a member of the Dorje Kasung. This is form of practice which uses a combination of Buddhist and Military princples to manifest the enlightened mind in everyone involved (including non participents). For example, we do lots of military styled drill (IE marching in formations), this is a very physical and active form of meditation. When I joined the Kasung, I was in a very confused period and it was really a sort of reality check that has helped me along. Anyone interested in the Dorje Kasung should go here

I am of the Tibetan sect of Buddhism and am a member of the Dorje Kasung. No, I havent reached enlightenment yet and Im not sure if I ever will. ;j

rofl, i did the wrong smily and i cant edit posts (it always thinks im not logged in when i try to get and my password wont work for some reason :frowning: )

Some sort of Freudian karmic thing going on here!!! :slight_smile:

Does skateboarding help you as a buddhist? Actually, I’m being kinda serious as I used to skate and clearing your mind certainly helps.

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was certainly and enigmatic figure. Do you find hypocracy in what became his actual lifestyle versus Tibetan buddhism?

Have you had a chance to visit Tibet yet? I’ve been many times and I would strongly encourage you to go.

Actually, ive never thought about that. I think maybe buddhism has helped in skateboarding but Im not really sure about vice versa.

I have heard a lot of people say that and I really feel that thats not true at all. It is true that he was a big womanizer and drank a lot (my dad has tons of storys about those topics involving Rinpoche :wink: ). He was a really crazy/sane kinda of guy. He may have done some egotistic things in his life but thats ok because they didnt effect him the same way as average joe. Remember he was/is a living buddha. Think about all the things he accomplished in his life. He almost singlehandedly brought Buddhism to the west. He turned so many lifes in a positive direction. Some people may think he was a hypocrite but how could he be one if he accomplished so much good?

No I have not been to Tibet. Maybe I will later on in my life but I think I have to much going on to do that now (not to mention I couldnt afford to).

Hey Buddhist Teenager Guy,

1.) So what’s the difference between Zen, Tibetan, and some other types of Buddhism? I think that a common link between the different types of Buddhism is that folks meditate to reach enlightenment and that some types of Buddhism require practicioners to be more ascetic than others, but could you give me a little more clarification on what the differences are?

2.) I’ve heard some folks classify Buddhism as a philosophy moreso than a religion because the focus is on self-enlightenment rather than on worshipping a god. I find Buddhism fascinating because as I understand it–and I could be wrong–it does take the emphasis away from some unseen and intangible god and stresses active participation in the here and now, rational thought, and self-knowledge that can lead folks to be more self-actualized. What I mean by self-actualized is being true to defining oneself in one’s own terms and accepting that self. What are your thoughts on Buddhism being either a religion or a philosophy and on it contributing to the self-actualization of a person, whether or not that person actually reaches self-enlightenment?

They are various Sects of the religion. They are all based on the teachings if Siddartha Gautama. They different sects originated/flourished in different areas of the east. For instance, zen buddhism was most popular in Japan. They are all fundamentally similar but in practice are very different. I dont really want to get into the gory details about the different sects because 1) I dont know a lot about most of them 2) It would take a long time.

Ill answer your other question in a second post later today, im tired now

Interesting response.

I owuld say that Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was influential in bringing Buddhism to the West. However, he was hardly the only rinpoche to do so. I would personally say that the Dalai Lama did a lot more to bring Tibetan Buddhism to the West.

Maybe you’ve got a different take. But I spent a lot of time in Boulder over the past 20 odd years. The Naropa people I knew were really big on getting fucked up (usually on alcohol) and then maintaining as we used to say, or project not being drunk. Chogyam Trungpa was known as the drunk lama among the Tibetans I knew in Taiwan.

Personally, I don’t see excessive alcohol consumption on a very regular basis as anything but a weakness, Rinpoche or no. Likewise with the trading of sexual partners that went on. I don’t think I have to tell you what the result of that habit was on the the Tibetan buddhist communityIn Chogyam Trungpa’s autobiography, I’m paraphrasing from memory, he took vows to not engage in unlawful sex (however you define that), as well as not to consume alcohol. Yet, in his daily life, he broke a lot of those vows. I think it detracted from his message.

I have met about 10 rinpoche’s, although I never met Chogyam Trungpa, and the one’s I met took their vows seriously. So, curious on your take?

Also, would like to hear more about your Dorje Kasung. I warn you that I am a bit skeptical about it. That was another thing that was off putting about Chogyam Trungpa, his 24 hour bodyguards (please correct me if I’m incorrect on this point).

[minor hijack]
I would first like to say i have a very meager knowledge of Buddhism, so this is my rather ignorant interpretation with undoubtably is full of holes, in which i would hope some of the more informed people out there will fill.

From what i’ve interpreted as Buddhism, I always thought the only true Buddhists were the monks (and not even all the monks). This is because what i see as the core belief in Buddhism is freeing yourself from all desires and the physical world so that you will no longer feel pain, and thus reach nirvana or something like that. So if you live a “regular” life (middle-class american life) you probably have a TV, computer, and whatnot, meaning a bunch of stuff that are there to fill your desires, thus distract you from your path to enlightenment.

I’m missing something aren’t I? I hope someone can tell me what it is…
[/minor hijack]

favorite kool aid flavor?

China Guy- I dont really want to get into an argument about Trungpa Rinpoches life. But im still gonna correct a couple things you said.

  1. Trungpa Rinpoche was responsible for the Dalai Lama visiting America. Trungpa Rinpoche is responible for almost the entire movement of western buddhism. The Dalai Lama is a remarkable person and is a responsible for a lot of western Buddhism but he was not the key player in the transfer of buddhism to the west.
  2. The Dorje Kasung is not a 24 hour bodyguard service for Trungpa Rinpoche. There are Kasung duties involving security of special people, but that is much more symbolic then litteral. There are there for the same reason as the fancy living and practice space that is always a part of Buddhist guru’s life. To give a very real and physical representation of sacredness. The same way the pope is showered in riches (I think). And if you think that means that Buddhist gurus live an easy rich guy life, believe me your wrong. Anyways, Dorje Kasung is a type of meditiation practice which very effectively invokes the basic goodness of anyone involved or witnessing it. The practice can be anything from doing military drill to guiding a crowd during a major Buddhist event. They can act as security, but that is only one part of the whole.

Non Native- that is not really true. Your mistaking Buddhism with Enlightenment. You do not have to be Enlightened to get something out of Buddhist practice.

Bad News Baboon- I dont really like Kool Aid but when i due drink it I prefer the tropical mix flavors.

Apologies to Solomon7t, for intruding on his thread.

Due to accumulated differences in interpretation and practice on behalf of the teachers, and introduction of buddhism in various cultural context, the religion (or whatever you might call it) was eventually separated in three vehicles which are themeselves subdivided into sects and schools.

Tibetan buddhism is a school of Vajrayana, or diamond vehicle, and Solomon7t will probalby answer questions about that form of buddhism better than I can.

Zen is a sect of Mayahana, or great vehicle. In a nutshell, the great vehicle teaches that one must seek to be a bodhisattva. A boddhisattva is someone who seeks to free all sentient beings from suffering, as opposed to an arhat, who frees only him/herself.

Zen did not in any way originate in Japan, as a matter of fact it was introduced there by Eisai in the 12th century. Zen grew in China from the teachings of a Sri Lankan teacher known as Bodhidarma, who taught the importance of achieving enlightenment through dhyana, or wisdom gained through meditation. Dhyanna, a sanskrit word became Ch’an-na in Chinese, which then became zen-na in Japanese, and thus we have the zen sect.

The last vehicle is sometimes refered to as Hinayana, small vehicle, or Theravada, teachings of the ancients. Theravada practitioners seek arhatood, that is, saving themselves from samsara, or the neverending cylce of suffering. It may be argued to be the most litteral interpretation of the teachings of Buddha. Although it might seem that Theravada teaches that enlightenment is only for monks and nuns, it does no such thing. Enlightenment is for everyone, though being a monk, or an nun, sure helps. A popular lay form of Theravada is Vipassana.

Back in the old days of Buddha Gautama (and still to this day) there were three ways of being a Buddhist: 1- Become a monk or a nun, 2- Become a hermit, 3- Become a lay follower. Think of it as living the teachings of the Buddha, either, in paralel of, outside of, or within society. Some people see the emergence of the three vehicle as springing from these lifestyles.

Another way to categorize buddhist movements, is by asking the question “How long do I have to practice before I can achieve enlightenment?” Some, such as the Japanese Tendai, and Jodo-shin sects say many lifetimes. Sometimes as much as tens of thousands of years. On the other hand most vajrayana sects, along with zen say “in this body, in this life.”

Because of that, as a zen buddist myself, I have found that despite the very different appearances, zen and tibetan buddhism are really very close.

Well hope this helped a bit.

And now, back to Solomon7t. :slight_smile:

Thanks Jovan, its nice to have someone else comment on this, I feel like Im getting jumped :frowning: .I just wanna say one thing about the 3 vehicles (Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana). Tibetan buddhism (and probely most other sects) encompass all three vehicles. They could be described as different phases of the path of enlightenment. In Tibetan seminary program, the program goes through several phases starting with Hinayana then Mahayana, and lastly vajrayana. At the end of this very detailed course you are give a final transmission on Vajrayana. I dont really know much about it because I haven’t completed a seminary course (I couldnt handle that at my age).

When Buddha started teaching, he used words and concepts that were familiar with people of the time in India. This meant that buddhism “borrowed” the idea of reincarnation from Brahmanism, along with its mythology. Whenever buddhism spread to a new land, it absorbed elements of the cultures and religions it encountered. Chinese Tao, Japanese Shinto, and so on.

However, Tibetans are without any doubt those who have the most actively done so. The founder of the shingon sect (the Japanese branch of Tibetan buddhism), Kobo Daishi, stressed the importance of learning from those we encounter, and that our practice can only grow stronger from the dialog with other religions.

Tibetans went even further by trying to reconcile the difference that had grown in the buddhist world itself. From my limited contact with Tibetan teachers, it seems they have no problem with quoting zen teachers.

However, outside of Tibet, the three vehicles are IMHO separate. As a matter of fact, Hinayana is kind of considered to be pejorative, and hinayana buddhists tend to prefer Teravada.

In my experience, the view that all three vehicles can be practiced by the same person seems to belong exclusively to Tibetan buddhism.

It’s a very interesting point of view, though.

Solomon7t and jovan,

Thank you very much for your answers! Please keep talking to each other, and maybe other folks who know about Buddhism will join in too. I’m listening. :slight_smile: