Been lookin fer enlightenment in all the wrong places...
October 5, 2006 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Everything I've read about Buddhism tells me that it's the religion to fill in the holes I feel with my current faith. Unfortunately everything I've read is thousands of years old and while it leaves me with many helpful tips on how I should/could go about the general living-of-life, it leaves me with no clue as to how to go about finding a good temple, organization or place where I can learn meditation technique from a live person in the here-and-now, which is Chicago, Illinois. I was hoping y'all could fill me in.

There are many specific schools of Buddhism, I'm not sure which one works best for me, which is why I need to talk to more folks in person.
posted by elr to Religion & Philosophy (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My friend Matt who lives in Chicago is a total buddhist master. I'm gonna email him. Hit me back if I don't post on this thread again.
posted by rbs at 10:58 AM on October 5, 2006

Don't know. But I noticed that the "radio" section of iTunes has a couple of Buddhist channels ( & I can't vouch for it one way or the other, but you might want to check it out.
posted by RavinDave at 10:59 AM on October 5, 2006

IMNAB, but some of my best friends are... And I've hung out at the Shambhala Center (which, I almost forgot to add, is in Roger's Park, Chicago) a couple times. They seem like pretty cool cats, and they have some meditation sessions for people who are brand new to the whole buddhism thing.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:02 AM on October 5, 2006

This place might be able to help, the Chicago Zen Center. In SF, we have the San Francisco Zen Center, which has been quite an active force in SF life for many, many years. The one here gives weekly beginners meditation classes, several sittings meditations per day, and they also offer one-on-one discussion. Not sure if the Chicago center is similar, but they might at least be able to give you some suggestions/recommendations if the Zen center isn't for you.

A lot of people love Tich Nhat Hahn's books (and retreats). I've never read them, but a friend of mine found his life pretty radically transformed (in a positive way) after delving into his books, attending a few retreats, and seriously trying to incorporate what he'd learned into his daily life.
posted by treepour at 11:05 AM on October 5, 2006

I would recommend calling or dropping by the SGI-USA Culture Center in Chicago. Lots of practitioners there who would be happy to answer any questions you have.
posted by aws at 12:58 PM on October 5, 2006

I used to sit with the Society for Compassionate Wisdom in Ann Arbor. I liked them very much — they seemed like a relaxed, non-competitive, friendly bunch of people. Their parent temple is in Chicago, and I heard good things about them.

Honestly, though, your best bet is probably just to visit lots of places and see how they feel. Anyone who tells you they've got the market cornered on salvation is trying to sell you something.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:02 PM on October 5, 2006

It's kinda hard to find a group of people who have an eastern spiritual bent and who practice together, who aren't all kinda nutty. I'd do some more reading, maybe try to pick up a yoga practice, and keep your mind open, but be aware there's far more utter rubbish out there than there are people truly interested in a pure spiritual pursuit.

Good luck!
posted by Mr. Gunn at 1:42 PM on October 5, 2006

What Mr. Gunn said.
posted by phrontist at 4:58 PM on October 5, 2006

What aws said. I have been practicing Nichiren Buddhism for almost 4 years and find a lot of value in it.
posted by whatevrnvrmind at 6:00 PM on October 5, 2006

Are you familiar with the Buddhanet website?

You should be able to find a reasonably comprehensive listing of Buddhist organisations in your area there, and apart from that, it's just a hell of a useful site anyway.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:59 PM on October 5, 2006

Illinois directory, from the above site.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:02 PM on October 5, 2006

buddhism without beliefs
posted by Afroblanco at 12:38 AM on October 6, 2006

wrong question, there, afroblanco.

but yeh, batchelor is good if one is after a nice, secular approach. *alone with others* is also excellent.

thich nhat hanh, likewise, presents a very down-to-earth approach, free of esoterica. /derail
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:04 AM on October 6, 2006

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