Frequently-asked Questions about DIRECTORY OF DHARMA PRACTICE CENTERS CENTERS.FAQ Rev 4 16

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Frequently-asked Questions about DIRECTORY OF DHARMA PRACTICE CENTERS -------------------------------------------------------------------- CENTERS.FAQ Rev 4 16 Oct 1995 -------------------------------------------------------------------- //sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati// The gift of Dhamma excels all other gifts One of DharmaNet's ongoing projects is an effort to maintain an up-to-date list of resources to aid students of all schools of Buddhism in pursuing their practice of the Dharma. These resources include state-by-state listings of Dharma Centers and Sitting/Practice Groups within the USA. This FAQ is meant to help you find your way around this database. The listings are by no means exhaustive, and we need YOU to help us keep them accurate and up-to-date. With your help, this resource can become a truly valuable tool that can be of real benefit to many thousands of practitioners today and in the years to come. If you come across any gaps, oversights, or errors -- either in the database itself or in this FAQ file -- please let me know! -- John Bullitt Access to Insight BBS, PO Box 107, Pepperell, MA 01463 USA P.S. The latest edition of this FAQ file is available: * via download or DharmaNet/Fidonet F'REQ under the name CENTERS.FAQ * Via Internet e-mail: send a message to "centers@metta.ci.net" * Via WorldWideWeb: http://world.std.com/~metta/index.html -------------------------------------------------------------------- What resources do you offer? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We offer the following basic on-line resources: * state-by-state listings of Dharma centers * state-by-state listings of meditation practice groups * schedules of retreats and courses at a limited number of USA Dharma Centers * a (very limited!) country-by-country list of Dharma centers around the world This directory is, for now, very USA-centric, geographically oriented mainly towards English-speaking westerners. Our international list of centers is hopelessly inadequate for anyone wanting to make a serious search (just think of all the thousands of Buddhist temples and monasteries in and around Kandy, Kathmandu, or Kyoto, for example). But this is what we have, and it's a place to start. Hey! I can't find any information about anything in my area. What gives? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This is YOUR directory. It's maintained entirely by volunteers, and maintaining it is much too big a job for any one person to handle. We need YOUR help in identifying the gaps in the listings and, more important, in helping us fill those gaps. Perhaps YOU can keep US informed about what Dharma resources there are in your community. Once your information has been added to the database, others will benefit. In other words, "Ask not what your Dharma directory can do for you..." What is a "Dharma center"? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For the purposes of these electronic resources, a "Dharma center" is an institution of some sort established primarily to offer instruction in Buddhist practice. For example, a Zen center, a Sri Lankan forest monastery, and an urban lay Buddhist meditation center are all counted as "Dharma centers." Not counted as "Dharma centers" are such things as: an adult-ed school that occasionally offers classes in yoga and meditation; a study group that hosts scholarly lectures on Buddhism; a gathering place (church, temple, ashram, etc.) that primarily offers non-Buddhist forms of meditation; and so on. We draw the line this way not in order to exclude anyone, but simply to keep this resource clearly-focused to best serve those interested in pursuing Buddhist meditation. What is a "Sitting/Practice Group"? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ By "sitting/practice group" we mean a group of people interested in meeting to practice meditation together, or to discuss aspects of Buddhist practice together. It may be an infrequent gathering at someone's home, or a regular daily morning meditation program offered at a community Zen center. The emphasis here is on //practice//. How are the USA listings organized? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The USA Dharma center and practice group listings are grouped state-by-state. Dharma centers are listed in files with names like "CTRXX.TXT", where the XX represents the two-letter postal abbreviation for that state. For example, the listings for California are in the file "CTRCA.TXT", while those for Florida are in the file "CTRFL.TXT". Sitting groups are arranged, in files with names like "SITXX.TXT". For example, sitting groups in Massachusetts are listed in the file "SITMA.TXT", while those for Nebraska are in "SITNE.TXT". There are files for each of the 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, DC. Not all files contain listings yet, though. If you're not sure of the postal code for a state, see the file "CTRS_USA.LST". How are the Dharma center schedules organized? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We have summary schedules for about two-dozen Dharma centers. Schedules for individual centers are kept in individual files with names like "SKEDXXXX.TXT", where the XXXX stands for a 1-4 letter code for that center. For example, the schedule for the Insight Meditation Society (code "IMS") is in the file "SKEDIMS.TXT", while the schedule for the Bhavana Society (code "BHAV") is in the file "SKEDBHAV.TXT". To see the current list of centers for which we have schedules (and their code names) see the file "SCHEDULE.LST". How are the international listings organized? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ We have preliminary listings for some twenty-odd countries, in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa. International listings are grouped by country, in files with names like "CTR_XX.TXT", where the XX represents the two-letter ISO country code abbreviation for that country. For example, the listings for Canada are in the file "CTR_CA.TXT", while those for Switzerland are in the file "CTR_CH.TXT". To see the current list of countries, or to find the country code for one of the listed countries, see the file "CTRWORLD.LST". OK. So now I know which files I want. How do I get them? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ | NOTE: The master copies of these files are kept at Access to | | Insight BBS and its associated page on the World Wide Web | | (http:/world.std.com/~metta/index.html). These are always | | the most up-to-date versions available on the Internet. | +-------------------------------------------------------------------+ 1. By direct download: Call Access to Insight BBS (BBS Phone: 508-433-5847) and download the files. 2. Via network F'REQ (file request): DharmaNet 96:903/1 FidoNet 1:322/750 3. Via Internet e-mail: To use a specific example, let's say you'd like to get the list of Dharma centers in Hawaii. Send an e-mail message to "ftpmail@metta.ci.net" with the words "get CTRHI.TXT" in the message body. Leave the subject of the message blank (or put a space in it). You'll receive a copy of the file via return e-mail. 4. Via the WorldWideWeb: Point your Web browser to the Universal Resource Locator (URL): http://world.std.com/~metta/index.html I'd like a complete set of these files. How do I get that? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Complete sets of these listings are available in compressed (.ZIP) file format from the same sources as the individual text (.TXT) files. The files are: SITGROUP.ZIP USA practice/sitting groups CTRS_USA.ZIP USA Dharma centers CTRWORLD.ZIP Worldwide Dharma centers SCHEDULE.ZIP Selected schedules from USA Dharma centers If you order the above files via our Internet "ftpmail" address, there are several additional processing steps you'll need to do before you can read the archived text files (namely: UUdecoding and un-Zipping). For help with these steps, send a message to "ftphelp@metta.ci.net" I can't find anything listed in my area. What now? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ * Check the listings for neighboring states. * Look at //both// the Dharma Center //and// Sitting/Practice Group listings for leads. * Ask around. Try contacting a Dharma center or sitting group in a neighboring region, and see if they have any suggestions. Are there any universities in your area that might have informal student meditation gatherings? They may be able to help. * Let us know that you are looking for a sitting group or Dharma center in your region, and we'll add you to the list of people seeking meditation groups. * Establish a regular sitting meditation practice at home, and consider starting a practice group of your own, opening your doors to other meditators in your community. Let us know the date and times of your scheduled gatherings, and we'll advertise them here in the directory. Whom do I contact for more information? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Send updates, corrections, questions, complaints, etc., to the current keeper of these lists (John Bullitt ). When submitting new information, you can use an existing resource listing as a guide (template), to help you provide us with all the essential information. You don't need to know //all// the details, but the more complete you can be, the better. [end]

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