We had our first meeting of the Real Dharma group for meditation and inquiry in Fairfax, CA on Tuesday and, I’m happy to say, a good time was had by all. A small group of about 10 sincere, smart and fun folks showed up. We sat for about 1/2 hour, I gave a talk for about 1/2 hour, and then we had questions, answers and discussion for about 1/2 hour.
Everyone said the meditation was very deep and that it was great to sit together. One person asked why it seemed so much more powerful to sit together in a group than alone, and if this sense of greater depth together was real. I had to admit I don’t really know why it is so, but that it was tangible and unmistakably real.
In the talk, I tried to give a general sense of the approach I hoped to take to the Dharma. Two things that came out that were notable: I talked about my approach as “Buddhism without baggage;” and that Real Dharma is a “guru free zone.”
Each of these points deserve their own post, so I’ll elaborate more later. But “Buddhism without baggage” means, to me, an approach to the essential truths of Buddhism that emphasizes direct awakening and liberation, and that does not rely too much on dogma, ritual or cultural accretions that Buddhism has accumulated in its long journey through many countries and cultures. And Real Dharma is a “guru free zone” because nobody is viewed as special or superhuman, and there is no need for authoritarianism, obedience or blind faith. Rather, liberation is seen as attainable by ordinary human beings, and each person is encouraged to inquire, question and realize liberation for him or herself.
There were lots of good questions and the feeling was intimate and very real. I think we’re off to a great start.
Our next meeting is Tuesday, June 8, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. See “Events” for the location.
I hope to see some of you at our next Real Dharma meeting.