The Upstate of Community

20160402_134234 (1)Dear friends,

It’s now several years since I started talking to people in person and publishing bits online about alternatives to living in some of the most expensive cities there are. For example, last nearly 25 years of my life were spent in New York City. And if you are familiar with the situation there, well I moved into a rental apartment in the part of Brooklyn called Williamsburg 20 years ago, that particular neighborhood became a kind of symbol for development of. For all sorts of prices for everything going up!

Why do we live in places like NYC? Comfort? Culture? Companionship? Wide availability of jobs? Because we are from near-by?

-Many reasons to many people. However there is another possible reason that may need to be unpacked a bit. Many people are used to the idea of impersonal big city where it is possible to  get lost to be found. It is similar to a dive jump into an ocean where you find a treasure at the bottom. If you stick around and are brave enough you are bound to win that lottery by living in a place like NYC. The whole idea of “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”

To that there is no argument if your plan is to be well dedicated to a job for which you would need for you to be in that city. And if it’s a job that does pay well, you will eventually be able to get into an apartment of your own!

However observing my own life patterns I can say that in a traditional sense of the word I have perfectly wasted soo much time doing things that are not meant to be “productive” in any material sense of the word. Take for example painting pictures, years spent on that. Writing online, at times hours of many evenings went that way, often times to no audience at all, all without any expectation to be read, just stuff to be written. Study of Buddhism with all the prayers and meditations and associated books, oh that’s a good one, – major anti samsara-productive type of thing. Think of books, most of their stories take place in India or Tibet, most people around me can not reliably place these countries on the map. Prayers are for non-conceptual release of suffering beyond anything that people can think of as Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping. Oh and the meditation, that requires to sit down and do nothing. Yes, nothing.

There are some smart people that try to hope, in a last ditch effort kind of thing that if they align everything well in their life and propitiate wealth deities they will also accomplish wealth and comforts in very substantial, material sense of the world, within this life.

I however was never a person that could do many things in same time and achieve good results in any. Sense of focus is a good idea. So, if one knows that working two jobs and going without days off will undermine your health and meditations on things will become difficult because within these years of work, work, work. One too many times it was necessary to not take a “sick day” off.

So, what I am talking about here is something along the lines of the discussion of the community building, the “Choying”, the idea of minimizing bills all in order to be able to get by without stress of needing too much.

General Direction is to identify an affordable area near by to an active Temple and move there, as rural as possible. With the hope of not working too hard on a samsara type of job, but to be able to sit down, collect your wits, think about your life for a moment, possible to recover your emotional and physical health to a point where greater degree of calm is possible.

My ideal location at the moment is Upstate NY.

If job of some degree is important one of the smaller towns in and around Binghamton area. Area called Southern Tier and is just north of Pennsylvanian border.

Where the actual community building is concerned.

The specs on the plan are something like this.

Walking distance to the Temple.

Purchase of land with hopefully existing plumbing: septic and well.

Total size not to big, to minimize the tax bill (with septic and well there is no sewer and water charge). So, in a very optimistic setup no more then 20 acres. If situated near a state land, the trees, wilderness and such will be in abundance, naturally.

For accommodation, mobile homes, single wide. Mobile homes are not known to be classified in same way as cars and when not permanently attached to the foundation pay no real estate tax. It should not prevent anyone from making the interior and exterior just the way they like….

This small write up will be tagged on this forum with “Choying” that was title of previous discussions that I had posted in the past. Welcome to read all these.

http://www.choying.org/tag/choying

The responses so far are very limited but save from one are very positive.

south_fog

Facebook spam made into a repost :)

Social media is likely the most dominant aspect of The Internet today. It started on commercial scale with feedback on ebay and amazon, forums, blogs and groups. Everyone is suddenly an author and can easily publish an opinion!

Sometimes the material is good and worth a repost, please forgive me if it does sound a bit annoying. Especially when other things are in the news and actually all over social networks.

Inserting pictures that I mentioned in the original write up, making it into a repost.

This conversation was started by a remark of some one I am connected to in replay to the post:

Hello 🙂
This fundraiser started in a way a year ago, end of summer 2015.
This current year Summer Retreat will start on July 10.
I would like to offer as much money as I can raise and will post receipt.

So, please donate if it is possible. And, Thank you!

Conversation (well me talking about myself really, even attempting some humor, like do not contribute to the retreat, just give me money)

Comment:

Facebook connection: Is it compulsory to raise money for conducting a retreat? It’s apparently a business?

My endless reply:

Sherab Gyatso Alex Well, things cost money. And I can use some. I hope you don’t mind.

and

Sherab Gyatso Alex And if supporting “my” retreat feels awkward to you. You can just support me. I understand you may want to know a bit more about me.So, if you like, you can write to me, I do not really “chat” on facebook, but a session of questions and answers can be always good.

https://www.gofundme.com/wu3tec48  Also, here is my blog: http://www.choying.org  Totally feel free not to contribute at all. Most people feel that way anyway.

Feeling that my humor from above will be completely lost I wrote a bit more serious here:

Sherab Gyatso Alex There are two ways to look at it from perspective of the money.
Money is the object of veneration and reward and the amount directly indicates the level of any idea. Then there is a facebook meme passed around that I like. It depicts native people from Amazon River region asking us: They have no money, no debt, no crime, no prison, so on so forth then it asks: Why do we think that we are the smart ones?  [inserting the meme / picture in the blog repost]

amazonians

Idea from another meme with the Dalai Lama picture in it comes to mind: Modern people spend all of their health while young to make money, then later in life spend all of the money to restore the health. [inserting the meme / picture in the blog repost]

DalaiLama

In case of many spiritual practitioners, well, some of us are not good at making money (myself for sure). And unfortunately we do not really live in money-less culture.

In situations like retreat of any kind there are associated costs of all sorts. So, anyone with any degree of positive thinking in this regard should feel free to contribute any small amount that they would not regret having given away.

It is obviously completely voluntary and should be done if can be afforded without strain.

From my side I promise full respect to you contribution.

May any connection made through this message or any resultant activity be of benefit.

 

Disclaimer. These pictures are widely circulated originals made by some one assuming sharing and circulation and are thus used without attempt to secure permission. If these meme/pictures were made by you and you object to my usage, please let me know. Image of the Dalai Lama does not constitute any personal connection from me or any understanding. I just like it in the meme/picture format.

Fundraising, asking for donations

Fundraising.

-Main goal here is to give people an idea that to ask for a material donation is perfectly fine. To take the stigma out of the idea.

And to be open, somehow it has spread into spiritual community, to pretend that we are super rich (even if we are not) or pretend that we are just pretending, not really serious, so we are not worth the support, at least here in USA.

After all it is possible that there is some one out there that has more then they think they need. And spiritual practitioners are often by definition are pretty inept in their material careers hehe

Thank you for reading!

Here is updated section on the fundraising as of April 13th 2016

http://www.choying.org/tag/fundraiser/

gofundme fundraiser: retreat

fundraiser_retreat

https://www.gofundme.com/4v7tche8

If any of you considered fundraising before but never actually done too much. Consider your goal, if it is good you will feel good.

Then! There is a total amazing cherry on top, people that you feel great about already will reach out to you after years of no contact and send you a donation.

At this point you will go from good to great. For sure.

Thank you for remembering to actually click on things and add funds to this.

With dedication to the benefit of all.

gofundme: fundraiser

gofund_retreat

https://www.gofundme.com/wu3tec48

In times past, in countries we can not imagine it was perfectly alright to become a person with primary interest in spiritual side of life and to be open to donations of material goods or monetary funds.

It came to the point where requesting donations has stigma attached to it a sense of shame of sorts.

It is my belief that all spiritual practitioners regardless of level of wealth they have should in some way spend some time asking for donations. To step over one’s imagined ego and to offer others an opportunity to give.

Lately it has become the opposite and strength of spiritual practitioners all too often is gaged by the monetary sucess they command, all too often in a cereer that requires very strong focus.

Our very own, historical Buddha has requested donations every day and is most often pictured with a begging bowl.
-We should do likewise, to at least emulate the great Buddha.

To find out about me personally, the level of my focus on spiritual or about things that I like, support, try to follow, feel free to visit my blog on Word Press, or a website that I started to promote idea of spiritual practitioners disconnecting from bee-hive like life of big cities and moving towards more rural areas, add me on facebook, or send me an e-mail.

Samsara – Blog

choying.org

Facebook

May this be all good, always.
With best regards,
-Alex

Fundraising for what?

Once upon a time I was working in a kitchen of a busy restaurant, it was a small, well planned kitchen where lunch and dinner were served from. We would from time to time get people coming through on the job “trail”, as in they get to follow some one for a shift and they would watch what we are doing and we would watch how they are doing. A common practice in the restaurant kitchens that determines if the new candidate fits in or not.

On one such trail we got a big guy who was very friendly and I was talking to him a lot. for one reason or the other he did not get the job. As the restaurant was in the area where I lived I would often see him on the street and we would talk, We would consistently meet up for now almost 10 years every year.

Today when we met up in a vegetable store where he was picking up a fresh squeezed juice and I was getting 2 bags full of vegetables he had a very fancy edition of “Art of War” under his arm. So, I asked him how does he feel about the book and he said that yet again he reviewed it and his idea is that “One can not do peace and war in the same time” meaning for the peace to be of inherently higher value then war.

To that I responded by telling him that at the moment I am working on formulating a basis for the Buddhist community where among other things people could leave high costs of living in places like NYC behind. And actually attempt going past fixation on looking for happiness in the samsara.

It is a well known buddhist foundational truth, “Nirvana is the true peace”. Which does imply very directly that one should reach out beyond samsara, which is no other then habits and fixations on habits, that is if one wants the peace, right where they are. By no means it has to be reaching out externally or into the time like setting of the goal as in “later on” or “in the future”…..

Hopefully this community will get founded, and eventually people come along to join in 🙂

Then there could be no excuse but follow the liberating instructions that are widely available….

Fundraising ideas…

There are many, many different types of understanding on asking for donations, begging, requesting help, so on, so forth. In the format of social media we often come across of something we did not have any interest in. Then, suddenly there is an understanding to address these unforeseen issues. So recently I have read somewhere that some one somewhere made a list of 10 richest christian pastors of the world. With some one at #10 that has about 19 million in the bank and some one in #1 that has about 190 million in the bank. With the top 3 of these located in the Nigeria. Now all and any fundraising I would do, do, will do. Will always be with understanding that no money can be taken with any one beyond the grave, thus if in the first place there are any accumulated, they need to be spent / invested in the projects that they are meant to support. And never to just benefit me personally.

This here, written on : http://www.hungkardorje.org/publish/index.php

“…..About Myself The funds I have are not from my parents. I didn’t get them by deceiving anyone; what I have is only what friends with good intentions have given me. I know that their income has been earned through the sweat of hard work in a fog of worry, each step hard to take and each load heavy to lift. Who would not be attached to what they’ve earned that way? I am deeply moved when I think of the hard physical and mental work that earned them that income. I’m not someone who is free of desire, indifferent to possessions and wealth. I’m like a beggar for alms who is happy to receive anything he’s given. I’m not an avaricious person who can’t bear to use anything he’s accumulated. I’m not a selfish person who uses everything he gets for himself. It’s my responsibility to use whatever I receive for offerings and charity. I’m not saying this to impress people or praise myself; I’m just being honest and telling the truth about myself…..”

-The above is a perfect teacher, writing perfectly easy to understand, good and kind words that are an ideal to strive for when it comes to the fundraising. As I have met deeply inspiring Rinpoche’s father, Lama Sang and saw him put on his shoulders and and carry around his own backpack, I have a glimpse into what it means. So, not for profit should be that, contrary to the popular online opinion, it should not be, or run as a business. It should not be a “Mega Church” but if there is a chance to inspire 30,000 people to practice Buddhism, obviously it is great. And the goal is not to build a massive multiplex cinema to enjoy relative comforts of this fleeting life, rather provide temporary accommodation that is worry free. In in fact find peace that is beyond samsara. As looking for the ultimate truth, the peace that is beyond samsara should be the style of all ongoing “research” not some accumulation that in the ultimate sense is useless. At least that constitutes my wish. table

indiegogo fundraiser, mail

Included is a message sent to the old, still in existence on yahoo group. Thought I would pass it along here as well.

pond2

Dear friends,
I have started to to feel that I have completely drifted away in my thinking from many of you. A year ago, I started circulating the ideas described now on the website. To my surprise very few, but some people had a few responses.

In a nutshell. Most people when it comes to the spirituality have this idea of despair in regards to their own efforts. Thus outer manifestations of thus efforts have to be super grand or none, never modest, or small or steady.

In another words anything short of building a grand temple / monastery for a rockstar status Lama will not do. While it is a perfect idea. It does not have to be the only one available. Many other spiritual traditions demonstrated to all of us (willing to see it as such) that it is possible to have something organized, built, on a modest budget with the foundation not in grand fundraising effort but rather in planning, responsability, sense of purpose and most importantly, participation of others.

Plan to start small, and stay cheap, so that no one is burdened with some huge tax bill, repair bill, some other huge bill.

Purpose is to have less financial burden and more focus on practice of Dharma.

Anyone should be able to participate, monks, nuns, families.

Hindu followers are known to have bought out whole towns and move in around their teachers in say north west of US. In Monroe area followers of many Jewish teachers founded whole towns, by moving in and building housing.

Most Buddhists contribute to construction of grand temples upstate and stay in the city, while temples remain empty.

The idea, move into area of an existing temple Upstate NY, not build one more.
Form a community platform along the lines of trailer park.

Starting step can be to in fact move into an existing trailer park in area of Binghamton.

Website to see more ideas on this:
http://www.choying.org

Indiegogo fundraiser, writeup

pond

Rural,

How often Buddhists of all walks of life hear about timeless, silence, landscape, quiet contemplation, all of the above to be surely found on the great budget in rural areas of the Upstate NY.

Buddhist,

Buddhism is a spiritual system of personal development that can be thought of as something 2,500+ years old, however it would establish it’s understanding in materialistic terms, which is not the goal. After entering into Buddhist study one will find out about expressions like “Buddhas of three times and 10 direction” which sounds like an absolute statement but uses “times and directions”, set, material concepts. With idea of going beyond to set oneself free we can recall: gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha: gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond From the Heart of Wisdom Sutra of the lord Buddha. Thus evaluating Buddhist ideas with tools of already familiar concepts will not help, rather sidetrack. Actual experiences of looking beyond, reaching beyond becomes important. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition started in Tibet in the 8th Century by Buddhist abbot from India Shantarakshita, Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava and by Buddhist King of Tibet Trisong Detsen there were several levels of participation in the spiritual community.

  • Ordained in the tradition coming from India as celibate members of a spiritual community that concentrate on outward and inward upkeep of numerous very literal commitments.
  • Ordained as mantra practitioners (Ngakpas) yogis that concentrate on the inner practice which allowed some to work in the worldly jobs and maintain households.
  • People that due to one reason or the other are not able to enter into meaningful practice of the teachings and from time to time or on a very steady level support any one who declares such as their goal.

All types Monks, Nuns, Yogis, Sponsors coming together make an effort become effortless in an ideal situation, which is far from the reality here in USA as Buddhism is not at all treated as a well known anything but rather as a curiosity.

Community,

As a some one that would answer question such as: “What is your religion?” – Buddhism. I work in a determined way to align  all of my thinking, everyday reactions and contemplations, no matter what activity I may go through that is the goal. To “Go for the refuge to 3 jewels of Buddha, Dharma, Sangha”. The ideal is Buddha, the information on the Buddha and much everything else is the teachings of the Buddha, the Dharma and the spiritual community of people coming together in some way to uphold the Dharma is the Sangha.

While Buddhas are omnipresent, Dharma is ever suitable the community can be always encouraged.

of One

While writing anything on the internet it is easy to misrepresent in a way of making it seem bigger then it is. At the moment I am making this idea available for fundraising and if I were able to raise funds to help me move ahead with, it will be great, however if some one reads the statements and remembers the idea of founding, supporting, joining a community in some way at some point somewhere, this will have got it made as well!

Overview of the project.

I am a householder type with kids and day job. I live in NYC. I am completely out of focus when it comes to making a career in regards to the career. My only true interest over many years is to practice Buddhist teachings.

My goal is to move into rural upstate NY near an existing Buddhist Temple and anchor a community with my skills of almost any kind of construction / maintenance work. As well as many many years of heartfelt interest in Buddhist study and meditation.

Goals:

  • Short Term,

The short term plan is to purchase mobile home in an existing mobile home park in area of greater Binghamton. Thus moving into the area on a very low budget.

Mobile home at $6,000. Move in and lot rent cost $4,000. Lot rent is calculated at $300 a month. Providing unassuming platform for low cost housing, with investment into the longer term. The mobile home can be sold at the move out.

  • Long Term,

Working locally in the area, obtain bank loan and further support through fundraising to purchase land, about 5 acres, where cabins could be built or mobile homes could be parked, with this type of housing tax bill will be minimized. This stage would completely be dependent on participation. The platform for interested people should provide them with very low cost housing near existing temple. Proposed fee breakdown, $3000 as a join-in fee, there after $1 a month as rent, resident will pay their own utilities. As we plan to be near an existing temple, communal building should be minimal.

  • General

Private for each group, housing for Monks, Nuns, Yogis at low cost level in an area conducive to meditation.  Continued fundraising in order to create meditation focused only community, without high cost, but with a degree of stability.