Introductions

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Greetings.

My name is Gary Gach (rhymes with Bach or clock) and I'm posting the first message in this forum, introducing myself and the set-up.

Who knows where this will go?

Please jump in and post a message introducing yourself a little.

For example, I'm a Buddhist and an author (very happily) and I'm setting up this forum in celebration of my new book about Buddhism.

What if all the readers of my book who're online could meet each other? And chat amongst themselves ... myself included.

Well, that's one thought.

To learn more about the set-up, click on About in the menu line, above, which will take you to samples. To start a thread (a topic), ask a question. To add to an existing thread, answer.

If you like, you can add html to your messages. For xample, if you want to visit my home page.i.n.t.e.r.b.e.i.n.g., it might tell you a little more about me. (Or maybe too much!)

But enough about me: tell us a little about you. Whatever you feel is important ...



gassho


-- Gary Gach (gary@word.to), August 24, 2001

Answers

Welcome, Graham. You're the first poster, after me. ("Not one, not two.")

And thanks! It's always important for a writer to know he or she has a reader. Especially a happy one!!

Even 'tho we're interconnected, writing is a very solitary act, and so feedback can be primal.

I like your contraste between a practicing and a stumbling buddha.

What will you be studying at Naropa?

I only know of the Poetics Dept. (Anne Waldman, Andrew Schelling, Keith Abbott, etc.). I keep thinking to apply to teach at the Summer Program, but have invariably listened to reasons why not instead.

((If you hear of anyone teaching a basic Buddhism class there, could you please pass their name along? Please. ((My publisher would like to see if they'd consider using my book as recommended reading if not curricula)).)) Further thanks!

I see you've posted elsewhere here in Bodhi...and I'll reply thereto as well.

Keep us posted.

g a s s h o



-- gary gach (gary@word.to), March 21, 2002.


Welcome to Bodhi!

I like your sense of being a beginner after 20 years! I know a gal who went to the beginner's session at Zen center for years and years. Do you think people who read the Ignoramusí Guide donít know this website exists?

(Iíve wondered if this cybersangha has remained relatively quiet thus far because maybe people have read the Guide and become enlightened and have nothing to say! [smile].)

I wonder if anyone else whoís posted already is still here? Iíve had problems with my ISP, and so canít remain online for more than a minute or two.

For whatever reasons, Iím way behind in building the website, alas.

I wouldnít count on the publisher advertising the website prominently on the cover, Ďcos itís already mentioned about 3 times in the next, and also maybe Ďcos it's my own endeavor, not theirs.

You work for publishers? I'm curious, being in the racket, myself. Any Dharma there?

Iím happy to hear youíre here!!



-- ggg (gary@word.to), June 09, 2002.


Hi, Amy!
Good hearing from you
Well, to answer your questions first with a question, what is Pennsylvania like? Let the rest of us do a little armchair travelling with you while you paint us a picture, give us a little tour.

That's optional, of course. But I'm curious.

Actually, as to sangha, I guess I've done a poor job of pointing out that there are listings online of local sanghas, and will have to figure out how to do that better -- maybe from the home page, as well as from the links to the chapter on Sangha. Meanwhile --

-- to find sanghas practicing in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh, for instance, visit IAmHome.org. That will take you to addresses of almost a dozen in your state ... Laughing Rivers, Lilac Breeze, Open Hearth, Pebble Hill, Willow Branch, Old Path ...

Other websites llisting sanghas include Buddhanet.net, which lists over another dozen for Pennsylvania, zen, vajrayana, theravada, multidenominational, etc.

On another level, though, the question of sangha begins with where you are. (That's a basic Buddhist approach: start with where you're standing. Or sitting.) What are your borders? Boundaries?

Where does Amy stop and the world ("out there," somewhere) begin? (supposedly).

So, what I'm suggesting here is that sangha is present at all times, as all living beings, with whom we have kinship constantly, in the present moment, in the grace of Presence.

To take your question apart just a tad more, if I may, I too might look at you odd if you insisted to me about your path ... unless I really knew you as well you do (which no one does).

To put that another way, I find it really really interesting that Buddhists don't proseyltize. No walking around downtown with sandwich boards preaching the Word. No calling people up or knocking on doors. No telethons.

Gandhi called the power of peace satyagraha, truth-force. Like life-force -- something that becomes evident in practice, or through feeling from someone else who practices, through their presence.

This is a real interesting topic to me, and I could go on and on, but I already have, recently, in some writing I'll publish later on. But I throw it out to consider: how are you persuaded? How do you persuade others, and how are you yourself persuaded?

Anyway -- back to the central question on the plate, sangha:
be free where you are. The blue sky is part of my sangha. Yours too.


Sounds too like you've been practicing martial arts from before I was born!
Like you've been practicing since birth.
Maybe you might be able to suggest a few good websites for me to link to, with Buddhist orientation, when I get to mapping that part of the book's resources online here. And maybe even contribute a few words of your own about the practice of martial arts as a door to Dharma.

We've had two days of summer in a row here in San Francisco. A real coup! And today might even make three!!

Thank you for writing, Amy!

Keep well. And let us hear from you (here! here!)


g a s s h o

- gary

-- gary (gary@word.to), July 02, 2002.


Welcome, Andy!

And thank you!

Where are you?


(if you could find my book wherever you are maybe we can find some sangha or practice circumstance nearby there; who knows.)


meanwhile i greet you & i wish you fair life-weather in this new year




-- gary (gary@word.to), January 04, 2003.


Hello, my name is Graham Moran. I recently purchased Mr. Gach's book. I have been reading the book for a little over 3 weeks now. In that time I have definitely become a practicing Buddhist rather than a Buddha stumbling through life. Even my friends have noticed a change in how I function with the world. I am living in Colorado at this time and because of this book I am planning on attending the Naropa Institute in Boulder, CO. I will continue to read the book and more than likely reread the book enough times for it to fall apart in my hands. If anyone would care to chat please let me know. gassho Mr. Gach and all others in this wonderful world of ours.

-- Graham M Moran (ColoIceClmbr@aol.com), March 21, 2002.


gassho not one, not two, none. I am applying to Naropa in hopes of studying there. I am doing my best to stick with the philosophy of buddhism at this time. When I say I am a stumbling buddha and a practicing buddha is that I am still a non buddha in many ways. Changing my habits in terms of drink and some foods but I am allowing my self to continue in the proper path. I will always look forward to talking to you here or directly through e-mail. As to your book being used in a basic buddhism course I am not sure due to the fact of not being a student at Naropa yet. But even if I am not a student at Naropa I will always suggest your book to any instructors. I was also thinking of maybe doing some teaching of my own using your book.

-- Graham M Moran (ColoIceClmbr@aol.com), March 22, 2002.

This is a posting that is also posted in the Pilgrimmages section of this site. I had the most amazing experience of my entire life this evening. The Heart Shrine Relic Tour came through my community today. It was the most uplifting and amazing experience of my entire life. The relics are on a world tour before the are enshrined at a project in India called the Maitreya Project. If you wish to learn more go to www.Maitreyaproject.org. Not one, not two. gassho

-- Graham M Moran (ColoIceClmbr@aol.com), May 20, 2002.

Hi Gary (et al)

I've just begun reading the Idiot's guide, and think it is an excellent overview of buddhism. I've been a zen buddhist for about 20 years, so I don't know if I still would qualify as a beginner, but one thing I have learned is whenever I start feeling like I know enough about the basics of buddhism and my spiritual practice, it usually is a good time for me to go back and reintroduce myself to the "basics". That tends to be the best way for me to break away from any notions I might be clinging to, so that is how I decided to look at your book, and as I mentioned I think it really is nicely written and quite comprehensive. And I think this web-sangha is a great idea too, I didn't see the URL mentioned in the book, that's too bad! It may be why there have been so few visitors here. Maybe you could have the publisher put a sticker on the front cover when they reprint, or tag it onto the back cover copy (I work in publishing, by the way :) I will visit from time to time, hopefully more people will wander this way too. Best wishes, and pay attention, it's about to happen :)

Tony

-- Tony VenGraitis (tony@pixelsandwich.com), June 08, 2002.


Hi again

I went through the book again and this time I did find the website mentioned. I think the typeface of the URL should be set in boldface. or perhaps added somewhere in the intro material in one of the side boxes so it is easily noticed. This can probably be done as a reprint correction. This website can be a valuable feature for people who read the book and wish to participate in a discussion of the topics. Since you yourself participate in the forum, it would be an excellent promotional feature (speaking to the author is a major plus for instructional books). Mention this to your editor, is he/she aware you have this site up and running? They may be able to offer some help developing the site so it can have a more polished look (altho simplicity has its charm).

I work in technical publishing, so I'm not sure if there is much dharma in my job, but it is a peaceful enviroment and I do enjoy working here, so that must count for something :)

Thanks for your welcoming words, I'm glad to be here.

Enjoy the day Tony

-- Tony VenGraitis (tony@pixelsandwich.com), June 10, 2002.


Hello. I began reading your book 3-4 months ago after trying to read some collected works of the Dalai Lama. I have studied the martial arts for all but six years of my life (off and on and off again...) but always was facinated by the Buddhist practice. I live in Pennsylvania where there is little or no access to a sangha. For now, I'm on my own. As a matter of fact, you would chuckle at the looks I get when I explain that this path of study is right for me! Eventually, though, they realize that how I am learning to see the world may have some relevance. Technically, I finished your book 2 months ago but keep referring to it as I read other texts. As a matter of fact, I understand that you follow Thich Nhat Hanh so I recently bout his book, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching." After reading yours, his is expanding on what I learned from you. Thank you for writing your book. Reading these books has shown me what is possible if I work at it. May I always have this beginner's mind!

-- Amy (hadley88us@yahoo.com), July 01, 2002.


Hi Amy

Here is a neat site for the lone practitioner

http://www.geocities.com/nozendo/

Some good advice for someone with limited access to a sangha.

Thich Nhat Hahn is a great author, I'd recommend "Miracle of Mindfulness" or "Being Peace".

Peace, Tony

-- Tony VenGraitis (tony@pixelsandwich.com), July 02, 2002.


Thank you for the links. I will look at those. Perhaps I wasn't clear (I know....ha ha) about what I ment when I said that people look at me wierd. Usually when conversations turn to religon or spirituality, they almost always ask what church do I attend. When I explain that I have been reading and enjoy these books, that's when they say, "Oh." Like you had said, no one runs around yelling "Hey! Guess what!" This area is predominatley roman catholic because of the ethnic roots here. Most folks here are retirement age or better as well. It's tough to explain. The state is beautiful, though. I have lived here all of my life. For the most part, my area is rolling hills and state gamelands. Fall around here just can't be described. I am guessing that you've not been here to ask for the armchair tour? As far as the martial arts, I began taking classes when I was young and have been at one school or another off and on since then. As with this, I am always aware of just how much I don't know. You can study the "basics" for years and realize that your technique or discipline needs improvement. Back to the beginner's mind, yes? By the way, I apologize for any spelling errors....never did do well with it or typing in school!

-- Amy (hadley88us@yahoo.com), July 02, 2002.

I have been reading your book for a little while now, and it has made me notice things I never would have realized by just mindlessly wandering through life. I am disappointed because there are very few sanghas, zendos, or Buddhist temples around where I live, so I have to do this by myself(and hope I'm doing it right!). But I must say that your book has kind of pushed me off into the world of Buddhism and given me a place to start. I would just like to thank you for letting me find the real me.

-- Andy (creepingpassenger@yahoo.com), January 04, 2003.

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