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Thread: Greetings from Western Canada

  1. #1

    Greetings from Western Canada

    Hello all,

    I am happy to be a member of this community and look forward to reading, learning, and sharing with all of you.

    I am a 51 year old musician/private music teacher. I am of Irish/Scottish heritage and grew up in a vaguely Christian home.

    Briefly my spiritual journey has been this:
    At 18 I read Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda and it changed my life. I was a highschool drop out and heavy pot smoker also experimenting with other drugs. After reading the book I stopped using drugs, became vegetarian and became a student of SRF.
    I became ill and dropped the practice, but a few years later I returned to studying Hindu scriptures, meditating on Aum, and chanting the maha-mantra without being attached to any particular teacher or organization.

    Eventually I discovered Zen Buddhism and took to that practice.
    I wanted to meet with other Buddhists, but the only Buddhist Temple in my town is Jodo Shinshu (Japanese Pure Land...btw there is no Hindu Temple in my town)
    I joined that temple where for the past 17 or so years I have served as secretary on the board of directors, pianist for services, and occasionally as a lay minister.

    So why am I here?
    Beginning in August of this year I felt that Yoganandaji was calling me back to the practice (though not necessarily to SRF/YSS) and I have been faithfully practicing Kriya Yoga for the past 5 months.
    I love the people at the Buddhist Temple, almost all of whom are in their 80's or 90's (so the future of that temple is not bright unfortunately) and I feel the teaching is very very similar (obviously borrowing a great deal from Hinduism) Certainly Yoganandaji always encouraged people to see the common ground between religions. The Buddhist Temple has come to rely very heavily on me, and I will not let them down, but still I know coming back to the teachings, that in my heart Yoganandaji is my Guru.

    I will discuss more of my recent experiences and discoveries with the teachings of Yogananda in a future post, but for now I just wanted to introduce myself, and then soak up some of the wisdom and inspiration of this forum.

    Aum _/|\_

  2. #2
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    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    Welcome Shutoku ! We shall be happy to see you posting here.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  3. #3
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    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    Vannakkam Shutoku: Welcome to these forums. I hope your time here is fruitful.

    BTW, I'm in western Canada (Edmonton) as well. There are temples in the major cities so if you ever come by this way, I'd be more than happy to take you to 2 or 3 of them. One in the Okanagan, and one in Grande Prairie as well.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Last edited by Eastern Mind; 31 December 2014 at 11:59 AM.

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    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    Namaste,

    Welcome to the forum.

    The word 'shutoku' seems to be Japanese with several meanings. Which one do you associate with?

    Pranam.

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    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    Hari Om!

    A most warm welcome!

    Your introduction is most interesting and am looking forward to learning about you and your experiences. Please do share and contribute as you are able.

    Om

  6. #6

    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by Believer View Post
    Namaste,

    Welcome to the forum.

    The word 'shutoku' seems to be Japanese with several meanings. Which one do you associate with?

    Pranam.
    Shutoku is my Dharma name given to me when I was affirmed into the Buddhist Temples of Canada. I was told it means "great virtue"

    Thank you everyone for the welcome!

  7. #7

    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    So I'm not sure if I should make a new thread, but basically here is the story of my return to Yogananda. If it should be it's own thread and needs to be moved or removed, that is fine.

    I will try to be concise...sadly not generally a strong suit of mine.

    I was not seeking a change in religion. I have been deeply involved at the Jodo Shinshu Temple for a good 17 or more years. I am even something of a lay minister there.
    However as I mentioned the membership at the temple is aging. On the board there are 8 of us. 4 are in their 90's, 3 in their 80's and me at 51.

    In the August board meeting, it was clear the vice president is advancing in dementia and I think the president is starting down that road as well. The fellow who over saw maintenance for many many years is now blind, and crippled with arthritis. The youngest aside from me is the treasurer who on that day announced his resignation (thankfully the Sensei later convinced him to change his mind and stay on)
    I came home from the meeting troubled and saddened. I truly love these people and it is hard seeing their health deteriorate.
    My wife was on the phone when I got home so I went into my music studio to decompress by browsing the internet. I went on a music site and was surprised to see Yogananda's name mentioned. I didn't think too much about it though.

    The next day it occurred again on a different music site (a totally different reference too.) The next day it happened again on a Buddhist site.
    This went on for a total of 14 consecutive days! Music sites, Buddhist sites, facebook, ....even an ice hockey site (I am Canadian after all! )

  8. #8

    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    hmmmm I am typing on an ipad and somehow it submitted the post before I was finished. My posts are still being moderated so I cannot edit them yet.

    So continuing on.

    Halfway through these random encounters with Yogananda online, I did something I hadn't done for a good 30 years...I preyed to Yogananda asking that if he was trying to reach me, he show up at least once more.
    I really didn't think it would happen, but the next day someone had posted on facebook a youtube interview with the former singer of the band Yes, and halfway through the video he looks into the camera and says "Paramahansa Yogananda". I was sort of amazed, but in that moment I got an overwhelming compulsion to search Kriya Yoga in youtube. I did and at the top of the list was a video by a fellow named Ryan Kurczak demonstrating a Kriya Yoga routine.
    Maha mudra (and an alternate technique) Kriya pranayama, Jyoti mudra and a bit of Aum technique.

    I was kind of amazed this information was out there knowing all about SRF's pledge of secrecy, but I tried the techniques as shown and it was incredible!!! I was immersed in an ocean of bliss I had never experienced before!

    I discovered that Mr. Kurzcak was taught by Roy Eugene Davis who was a direct disciple of Yogananda and a former SRF monastic. I purchased several of his books (including one on ebay that I discovered once it arrived is only supposed to go to initiates, but it has the same techniques as I saw in the youtube video anyway) and I find I really resonate with his methods and approach.

    Suddenly information was falling on my lap. Without even searching (except prayers to Yogananda) information would appear. I know this information is supposed to be secret and I had mixed feelings about seeing it, but I kind of feel Yogananda wanted me to see it or it wouldn't have shown up without me trying to find it. I always knew that once I found the path that was right for me I would attain formal initiation and make it all "legit".

    There are some minor differences in the techniques Mr. Davis teaches compared to present day SRF, and compared to a book by Yogananda in 1930, and apparently compared to what other lineages linked not to Yogananda but to Lahiri Mahasaya teach, but I just find Mr. Davis' techniques and philosophy fits best for me. (though I do like Yogananda's early writing to so I go back and forth a bit on that, but more and more I feel Roy Davis is the right fit for me)

    As a brief aside...when I was young, shortly before buying Autobiography of a Yogi, I had a dream in which I approached a meditating Yogi sitting under a tree. I knelt down in front of him and he touched my forehead. At that moment I felt a cool breeze up my spine and a brilliant white light filled my vision. I had the feeling of falling back, and then woke up. Once I saw the painting of Lahiri Mahasaya in AoY I instantly recognized that he was the yogi under the tree in my dream. I don't know what if anything that means, but I find it interesting.

    I don't want to be negative about anyone, but I do know SRF is not a place I want to be, for a number of reasons. I respect those who have found their path in SRF and I think the organization has contributed a great deal of good, it just isn't for me.
    I did join another Yogananda based forum, but really anything not SRF is viewed as evil there, and since I am not SRF, and managed to get a great deal of information without being initiated by SRF I do not feel I wish to continue on that forum.

    So it is my intention when it is possible, to be formally initiated into Kriya by Roy Eugene Davis, or more likely a representative of his Centre for Spiritual Awareness, and in the mean time to continue practicing Kriya and still serving the Buddhist Temple.

    Sorry for the long post and making it two posts. I will try to be less wordy in the future.

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    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    Hari Om!

    How nice that you've posted as you have and thanks for doing so. Lovely to say the least.

    Please remember in all your dealings that when the student is ready, the teacher appears.

    Om

  10. #10

    Re: Greetings from Western Canada

    In that regard it truly has been remarkable.
    I am puzzled by something and ask for answers, and the next day they appear!

    One area that still has me a bit less than decided on a specific lineage of Kriya, Roy Eugene Davis is a very down to earth and practical teacher with very very little emphasis on miraculous things, which I like very much, and I think makes the transition for Buddhism a bit easier.
    However he teaches that one must have a living Guru, and therefore one should not consider a Guru who is no longer in the body, and whom one has never met, to be one's own Guru. In otherwords he does not feel anyone who never met Yoganandaji when he was alive, should consider Yogananda to be his Guru because Yogananda cannot answer questions or directly assist a disciple.

    I understand his logic completely. I think it is quite reasonable.
    However while it may simply be my own interpretation, I feel that it is Yogananda who has in fact guided me through this.
    This is the only area where I have any doubt, and I'm not sure it is that important. No matter who it was, someone or something has most definitely been guiding me towards this path, and I feel humbled and deeply gratefull!

    I am not able to be initiated imediately anyway, and I think I can trust whatever cosmic power which has been guiding me, to also guide me to the right path and Guru. In the meantime I will practice and entrust to God.

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