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