Search Within: The Journey of a Thousand Steps Begins with a Single Google - Nalandabodhi International

Search Within: The Journey of a Thousand Steps Begins with a Single Google

When you Google “Buddhism,” you get more than 51.6 MILLION hits. In a world swimming in information but lacking in wisdom, how do you figure out what is authentic, and what leads to lasting happiness?

 

In the 1950s, the era of Jack Kerouac and the Beat poets, free-thinking, free-wheeling seekers began their spiritual journey by throwing a backpack over their shoulder and getting “on the road.” In the 1960s, as the Beatles famously demonstrated, that road often led Eastward, to India and the Himalayas. In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, as more books of a spiritual nature began to appear, inquiries into the meaning of life often began at our local bookstore. Now, even the bookstores are disappearing.

In the 21st century, we are finding that, more often than not, seekers begin their search by sitting at their computer, their inquiries taking the form of a Google search. In visiting Nalandabodhi centers and study groups throughout the world, I frequently have the opportunity to speak with people who are new to NB and to Buddhism in general. When I ask how they connected with NB, the most common answer is increasingly “I found you on the Internet” instead of “my friend told me about it.”

But here’s the challenge. When you Google “Buddhism,” you get 51.6 MILLION hits. How can you make sense of it all? How do you know what is authentic, and what will lead to genuine happiness?

Due to the changing nature of how people connect with dharma in this Information Age, NB’s founder and spiritual director Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche has strongly emphasized the importance of having a vibrant, informative, and inspiring web presence that helps people navigate this ocean of information and as he puts it, “develop a mind that can process it all.”

Inspired by Rinpoche’s example, we are thrilled to present our new Nalandabodhi website!

As a lineage holder trained by the greatest Tibetan masters of the 20th century, Ponlop Rinpoche, dubbed “His Geekiness” by none other than the Buddhist Geeks, is uniquely qualified to help us navigate this new terrain. Rinpoche has given generously of his time, and has been involved at every stage of the site’s development, including the site’s design look and feel. On this site, you can actively engage in an authentic lineage of Buddhist teachings, with people who understand the challenges of creating a meaningful life in the 21st century.

Ponlop Rinpoche is one of the most forward thinking teachers in the Tibetan tradition in terms of his vision of technology and digital dharma. In Rinpoche’s vision, technology can become one of the most effective means of fulfilling the aspiration to bring lasting happiness to the world, by making the teachings of our lineage available to an unprecedented number of people. As Rinpoche often reminds us, the key is our motivation.

This digital offering has truly arisen interdependently. Though it is a continual work-in-progress, the site reflects thousands of volunteer hours, offered with love and a wish to benefit others, by many people.

I would like to personally thank Ceci Miller, NB United States’ director of communications, who has been the project manager for this ambitious undertaking. Without Ceci’s tireless, indefatigable, and joyfully devoted service, this website (as well as the sites of NalandaWest, and all our centers and study groups) simply would not have come to fruition.

Lastly, we offer our boundless gratitude to Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche, who continues to amaze and inspire us with his fearless vision of 21st century Buddhism, and the trust that he places in his students to work with him to make it come alive.

We’re excited to be celebrating the launch of this new website, which will allow Rinpoche’s vision and teachings to be available in every corner of the world. We invite you to join us on this incredible adventure!

Diane Biray Gregorio, PhD
Executive Director
Nalandabodhi United States

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The Paramita of Prajñā — with Mitra Karl Brunnhölzl

Prajñā does not refer to passive knowledge, such as knowing stuff on Wikipedia or knowing how to get from Vancouver to Halifax. Prajñā is the active inquisitiveness of our mind, its basic curiosity of wanting to find out how things really are. If we look at the Buddha’s own career, this is exactly how he started. He did not start with the answers or by following some religion, tradition, or code of behaviour. He started with questions. As Prince Siddhārtha he lived in his sheltered existence in the palace of his parents, who wished to protect him from the bad world (as most parents do). However, eventually he got out with his charioteer and saw things he had never seen before, such as an old person. He asked his charioteer, “What is that?” “This is an old person.” “Does this happen to everyone?” “Yes, even to you.” The same exchange took place when Siddhārtha saw a dying person and a sick person. When he finally saw a meditator under a tree, the charioteer explained, “This guy tries to overcome all the problems that you saw before.” Every time, Siddhārtha realized, “I do not really know what is going on here,” so he tried to find out, which is now known as the Buddhist path.

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