The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:27 pm

mint wrote:I don't believe that instant presence is possible, but it makes for good reading.


Without instant presence, reading would not be possible.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Wed Dec 21, 2011 5:53 pm

Namdrol wrote:
mint wrote:I don't believe that instant presence is possible, but it makes for good reading.


Without instant presence, reading would not be possible.


Well, my reading comprehension is pretty terrible.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:35 am

You started the practice of Dzogchen "yesterday" and you are already making such radical decisions about what is possible and what isn't? Isn't that a bit hasted? :lol:
Relax mint! It's possible alright. Thousands of Dzogchen practitioners vouched for it in the past and in the present. If the recognition of instant presence wasn't possible, Dzogchen would have vanished long, long ago. Without it, there's no Dzogchen, so it would crumble fast. It's not that Dzogchen practice can circumvent this essential step and get away with it, among rituals and wishful thinking. However only a small few can get results as fast as you would like. You need to be more patient.
Sometimes you remind me a pendulum, going constantly from one side to its opposite! ;)
You need to be steadier, friend and learn how to deal better with the frustration that comes from encountering things you can't immediately realize. Does that seem reasonable to you?
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Thu Dec 22, 2011 3:22 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Relax mint!


Though I know I risk sounding like White Lotus, I just have to say it: Mint, this is quite possibly THE most important piece of avice for any newcomer to Dzogchen.

I'm speaking from personal experience. My first eighteen months in the DC were HELL - that is, I made them into consummate hell by worrying about every single detail of every single practice I tried to learn (tried to, bcause I was absolutely convinced I was doing everything the wrong way) AND my inability to devote as much time to practice as it seemed to me necessary AND my being endlessly confused AND my not 'getting it' AND my somehow not being a consummate Buddhist (whatever it was supposed to mean - luckily I no longer remember what my 'point' was) AND not getting along with the Sangha the way I thought I should be AND, all in all, being a really lousy practitioner. Slowly, slowly most of it, or at least a significant part, dissolved away - as your stress and confusion will too, if you just allow them to do so.

I wonder how many of us begin that way. I know quite a few people who did.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Thu Dec 22, 2011 5:08 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:Relax mint!


Though I know I risk sounding like White Lotus, I just have to say it: Mint, this is quite possibly THE most important piece of avice for any newcomer to Dzogchen.

I'm speaking from personal experience. My first eighteen months in the DC were HELL - that is, I made them into consummate hell by worrying about every single detail of every single practice I tried to learn (tried to, bcause I was absolutely convinced I was doing everything the wrong way) AND my inability to devote as much time to practice as it seemed to me necessary AND my being endlessly confused AND my not 'getting it' AND my somehow not being a consummate Buddhist (whatever it was supposed to mean - luckily I no longer remember what my 'point' was) AND not getting along with the Sangha the way I thought I should be AND, all in all, being a really lousy practitioner. Slowly, slowly most of it, or at least a significant part, dissolved away - as your stress and confusion will too, if you just allow them to do so.

I wonder how many of us begin that way. I know quite a few people who did.


After I posted yesterday, I knew that I needed to relax. I was incredibly tense, though, for some reason. Lack of sleep? Poor diet? I posted because I was frustrated as a result of not being to focus for Guruyoga or getting into a calm state.

As I headed downtown on the bus yesterday, while internally cussing Dzogchen, I made myself realize that the frustration was all ego. I wants to be a great practitioner, and that's precisely the problem that has to be erased gently.

So, it's a brand new day. No freakouts is morning. ChNNR wasn't realized in a day.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Paul » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:17 pm

treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:Relax mint!


Though I know I risk sounding like White Lotus, I just have to say it: Mint, this is quite possibly THE most important piece of avice for any newcomer to Dzogchen.


I agree completely. Knowing how to relax totally is massively important.
This nature of mind is spontaneously present.
That spontaneity I was told is the dakini aspect.
Recognizing this should help me
Not to be stuck with fear of being sued.

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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:43 pm

I haven't practiced Guruyoga in a couple of days, I've given up reading my books which I ordered, I haven't meditated in a couple of days either. I've become a worse person as a result. I'm anxious, on edge, impatient, always snapping at my girlfriend. Actually, I was like this before I gave up. The hardest thing has been to find places to get away given that I'm staying with my girlfriend's grandparents for the holidays and there is somebody in every room. There is no privacy. Now, just at the moment when some level of privacy has been achieved, there is a lack of motivation. I've sort of just resigned myself to watching the Beatles Anthology on TV and listening to music, getting snappy when someone interrupts me even though I despise people who cherish TV more than human relationships. What's worse, I find myself missing the piety of Catholicism. I attended Christmas Mass with my girlfriend's family, and I was fine then. I was able to be present and not feel affected. I just observed the play of energy, you know? But today, for no apparent reason other than I passed a gravestone which had "My Jesus, mercy!" written on it, I find myself staring at the Catholic Bibles sitting around the house and just reflecting on the days when I used to really care about that book and dedicate myself to studying it.

As I knew would happen, Dzogchen isn't going to last just like Catholicism didn't last. At least with Catholicism I had a community and friends who could somewhat hold me responsible for remaining Catholic. That is until they all started slipping away a little too easy because of my relationship status, my "heretical" views, and ultimately my own ability to burn bridges. With Dzogchen it's just me, my books and this computer.

The worst thing is that I can't talk to my girlfriend what I'm going through because everything is so esoteric. So, it's an isolated hell.

It's getting late and I have a lot to do before it gets later. Happy new year.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Malcolm » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:59 pm

mint wrote:I haven't practiced Guruyoga in a couple of days,


When you feel like it practice; when you don't; don't.

You better learn to enjoy groundlessness, because it your real state anyway.

:cheers: :cheers: Happy new eon of self-liberation!


N
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Virgo » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:50 am

mint wrote:I haven't practiced Guruyoga in a couple of days, I've given up reading my books which I ordered, I haven't meditated in a couple of days either. I've become a worse person as a result. I'm anxious, on edge, impatient, always snapping at my girlfriend. Actually, I was like this before I gave up. The hardest thing has been to find places to get away given that I'm staying with my girlfriend's grandparents for the holidays and there is somebody in every room. There is no privacy.

Take Namdrols advice. Also if you really want to do Guru Yoga but are pressed for time do the short one-- the real essence one, not the short text.

Alternatively, falling asleep with the simple Guru Yoga is highly recommended by Rinpoche in some of his books. And likewise, waking up with it, and so on. There are many possibilities, depending on ones conditions.

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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby ground » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:28 am

Forget all the advices given. These are just fantasies of others you should not get obsessed with. Being obsessed already with your own fantasies what's the use of putting these of others on top of that?
Let your mind talk and let people talk and just sit.
Now forget this advice of mine too and sit or don't - it does not make a difference.

Kind regards
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:10 am

So, exactly one month ago I ordered the Oral Commentary to the Cycle of Day and Night from Shang Shung and it hasn't arrived yet. I take this as a sign that I should just quit. Even if it came, where am I going to find the time to study? Where am I going to find the time to practice? So, screw this. None of you give a shit about me or my practice anyway
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Josef » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:25 am

mint wrote: I take this as a sign that I should just quit. Even if it came, where am I going to find the time to study? Where am I going to find the time to practice? So, screw this. None of you give a shit about me or my practice anyway


What is wrong with working with what you have?
If people didnt care this thread would be a whole lot shorter.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Virgo » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:43 am

mint wrote:So, exactly one month ago I ordered the Oral Commentary to the Cycle of Day and Night from Shang Shung and it hasn't arrived yet. I take this as a sign that I should just quit. Even if it came, where am I going to find the time to study? Where am I going to find the time to practice? So, screw this. None of you give a shit about me or my practice anyway

Dzogchen is about sitting down, not climbing up a ladder. Don't worry about oral commentaries. When the time comes to study them, they will be there.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby wisdom » Wed Jan 04, 2012 8:49 am

mint wrote:I currently have about 45 minutes in the morning to do some sort of practice. Then it's off the to office, then to the gym in the evenings, then home to make dinner and do any needed chores, then I get a little spare to time to spend with my girlfriend or family before doing it all over again. Weekends provide more opportunity, of course, but I've found the getting the motivation to do any sort of sitting practice on weekends is much more difficult.


This video is good, but especially the second half where he talks about the four moments as well as what it means to use our conditions. It means if we are walking somewhere, we use that as a condition, if we are sitting down, we use that as a condition. Other conditions can arise as well that he doesn't mention. For example, we can practice generosity at work by offering to help people when its appropriate, even if its not our job to help them and we will receive no real benefit from doing so.

http://www.youtube.com/user/DzogchenTV?blend=1&ob=video-mustangbase#p/u/1/wov-6PQI7pw

Our conditions extend beyond the boarders of where we identify our free time, its literally our entire life, waking and sleeping. Those are our conditions. The question is, how do we turn whatever we are doing wherever we are doing it in our lives into some kind of Dharma practice.

Of course we can make more free time for ourselves as well. Take some time for yourself. Take a day in the workweek to be "Mint day" and don't use it to work out or see people. Make it Wednesday, right in the middle between the weekends. Use it to study and practice. Also, in terms of your weekends, look at whatever is causing you to use your time and examine it carefully. Consider whether or not its ultimately beneficial to spend your time on those things and not on study and practice. Even if they are things you really enjoy, ask yourself if they are really enjoyable, or just a way to zone out for awhile. I am not saying that they are, but often "no motivation" translates into "I'm on facebook" or "watching television" or "playing video games" or something of that nature. I know because I've spent thousands of hours of my life playing video games and doing other mundane stuff that was a complete motivation killer for whatever goals I wanted to accomplish!

Try to make one day of your weekend casual, not spent running around, and read, study, meditate, and so forth. Integration, motivation and devotion take time. You can even do this with your girlfriend if she is the type who can sit around and read for a few hours or do other things to occupy her time.

Clearly, your heart is in this or you would not be allowing yourself to become upset over it. Thats more than can be said for a lot of people.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:23 pm

Nangwa wrote:
mint wrote: I take this as a sign that I should just quit. Even if it came, where am I going to find the time to study? Where am I going to find the time to practice? So, screw this. None of you give a shit about me or my practice anyway


What is wrong with working with what you have?
If people didnt care this thread would be a whole lot shorter.


This^

In addition mint, if you can't connect with your practice, don't blame it on the ominous sign of a book not being delivered or the lack of time to practice. More importantly, numerous members have taken the time to help answer your questions in many threads here, so your rant that we don't care about your practice is uncalled for and silly.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:14 pm

wisdom wrote:Our conditions extend beyond the boarders of where we identify our free time, its literally our entire life, waking and sleeping. Those are our conditions. The question is, how do we turn whatever we are doing wherever we are doing it in our lives into some kind of Dharma practice.

Of course we can make more free time for ourselves as well. Take some time for yourself. Take a day in the workweek to be "Mint day" and don't use it to work out or see people. Make it Wednesday, right in the middle between the weekends. Use it to study and practice. Also, in terms of your weekends, look at whatever is causing you to use your time and examine it carefully. Consider whether or not its ultimately beneficial to spend your time on those things and not on study and practice. Even if they are things you really enjoy, ask yourself if they are really enjoyable, or just a way to zone out for awhile. I am not saying that they are, but often "no motivation" translates into "I'm on facebook" or "watching television" or "playing video games" or something of that nature. I know because I've spent thousands of hours of my life playing video games and doing other mundane stuff that was a complete motivation killer for whatever goals I wanted to accomplish!

Try to make one day of your weekend casual, not spent running around, and read, study, meditate, and so forth. Integration, motivation and devotion take time. You can even do this with your girlfriend if she is the type who can sit around and read for a few hours or do other things to occupy her time.


If "our conditions extend beyond the boarders [sic] of where we identify our free time," wouldn't spending time on Facebook, watching TV and playing video games all be elements of "our entire lives" thus being moments to practice Dzogchen since those things give certain people an opportunity to, as you say, zone out and relax?

And, no, I can't "do this" with my girlfriend.

Clearly, your heart is in this or you would not be allowing yourself to become upset over it. Thats more than can be said for a lot of people.


The only reason my heart is into this is because my paycheck has been invested into it in the form of restricted books and DVDs – all of them purchased under the delusion of creating yet another identity and entrapping myself in some exotic philosophy that I don’t have time to understand. I’ve never been good at philosophy or understanding abstractions or navigating very well through gray areas, and that’s all Dzogchen is – and yet, even that characterization of mine is wrong making it all the more apparent that I have no clue what Dzogchen is.

I’m told to relax in order to practice Dzogchen – but thinking about Dzogchen pisses me off, so how can I relax?

Last night I flew in from an extended stay in Chicago and before bed decided to pick up “The Precious Vase” and nearly flung the book across the room so sick and tired was I of reading about “the base, the view, the fruit” and seeing the same tired pictures of Padmasambhava and Garab Dorje who are no more real to me than Jesus or Paul the Apostle – just pure fictional mythology. And then I read that goddamned thread by Lhug-pa where he, yet again, is attempting to dissect Dzogchen like some MIT student taking finals. And then I get laughed at by Dechen Norbu for freaking out – for good reason, though, since the seriousness of any situation is ultimately laughable. That’s the divine comedy.

When I got back from Chicago, though, I found an envelope from the Dzogchen Community of America welcoming me as a new member. I could tear that membership information up and trash it just as easily as I spent $70 on a new membership. I’ve trashed crucifixes, Bibles, and $200 rosaries – what makes anyone think that a DC membership is more valuable than those things?

As I went to sleep, I wondered if I should just e-mail ChNN and ask him whether I should just return to Catholicism rather continue to make an ass of myself getting frustrated over Dzogchen. I figured I could convince myself to believe in something like God again. I mean, I’ve manufactured the belief once and it worked for awhile. And there’s a really nice KJV Bible on sale through Amazon. And reciting the rosary is all dharanis anyway. I did have a dream, though, that ChNN came to visit me and saw my meditation bench in the closet and paid it some respect, but I was completely naked and had to wrap myself in some thin cloth to meet him…but then I woke up. Just a dream, though. A stupid one at that. Another delusion.

Anyway, patience is growing thin with me here. Pretty soon nobody will bother replying to my rants and I'll have all the more reason to move on to B'hai or occultism or somesuch fancy.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby Mr. G » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:48 pm

mint wrote:
The only reason my heart is into this is because my paycheck has been invested into it in the form of restricted books and DVDs – all of them purchased under the delusion of creating yet another identity and entrapping myself in some exotic philosophy that I don’t have time to understand.


So then you say this?:

I figured I could convince myself to believe in something like God again. I mean, I’ve manufactured the belief once and it worked for awhile.

I'll have all the more reason to move on to B'hai or occultism or somesuch fancy.


Ok then.

As I went to sleep, I wondered if I should just e-mail ChNN and ask him whether I should just return to Catholicism


Do this. Then you'll know.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:56 pm

Mr. G wrote:
mint wrote:As I went to sleep, I wondered if I should just e-mail ChNN and ask him whether I should just return to Catholicism


Do this. Then you'll know.


I would - yet not only do I not know how to get in contact with the man but I'm not even sure he'd bother replying to such a silly question.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:34 pm

Mint,
I think you are worrying too much.
But I also think you are being totally honest with yourself,
or at least trying to be,
and that is possibly the best place to start, and to go, and to end.

Everybody is motivated by the same thing...to be free from a troubled mind.
A troubled mind can take a million different forms...worry, fear, anger, and so forth.

Your situation sounds so familiar.
Think about what it is that you want...
what you really want.
What did you want from Catholicism?
What do you want from Buddhism that you would go and spend a bunch of money on books and CD's or DVDs or whatever, to get?
What were you after?

Think about those things
and then ask yourself what it is that you are worried will happen
if you don't find what it is you are after.
I think this is where your worrying comes from.

Take the answer to that, and combine it with being totally honest with yourself
(which seems to be your strongest ability at the moment)

and then come back and tell us what you find.

.
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Re: The Neurotic Zen of Mint

Postby mint » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:30 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Think about those things
and then ask yourself what it is that you are worried will happen
if you don't find what it is you are after.
I think this is where your worrying comes from.

Take the answer to that, and combine it with being totally honest with yourself
(which seems to be your strongest ability at the moment)

and then come back and tell us what you find.


I think I can answer these things with some degree of accuracy now, knowing my situation:

What did you want from Catholicism?


My relationship with Catholicism changed as I changed, which is why it has been so hard to completely let go. Catholicism became part of the matrix of my identity. It never remained static. One moment I embraced it the way a shipwrecked sailor might clutch a piece of driftwood in the dark abyss of the sea, and the next moment it felt cumbersome and burdensome and I despised it.

Through all its phases, the continuous thread running throughout my time as a Catholic was wanting to belong, to know that I'm not alone, to have a community of friends and support. As my views on praxis and dogma changed and became increasingly more leftist and oriented with the radicals, I found myself alone - but entirely alone. I was now part of a new group: the disaffected, lapsed Catholics. Regardless, I no longer felt at home in the Church or in my church.

What do you want from Buddhism that you would go and spend a bunch of money on books and CD's or DVDs or whatever, to get?


As I've said before in other threads, re-exploring Buddhism was a sort of coming home for me. It was the first religion I genuinely got interested in, studied, and cared about. I tried practicing when I was much, much younger...but my practice was definitely flawed, I see now. My love for Buddhism informed my interest in the more mystical, contemplative elements of Christianity. I loved the Desert Fathers and writers like Thomas Merton because their words echoed the truths of Buddhism I had learned before. Through it all, I have always respected Buddhism even if I found it unfortunate that Buddhists were atheists - so I thought.

Coming back to Buddhism was supposed to be all about being honest with myself and what I truly believed all along but was afraid to admit for fear of being ostracized.

All the books and DVDs are an attempt to play catch-up for time wasted and knowledge not gained. I'm stuck with all of this (now) useless knowledge about the intricacies of the Catholic catechism, Christian history, theology, biblical hermeneutics, biblical epigraphy, etc. and know jackshit about Buddhism and especially Dzogchen. What's worse: I've read a few books on the subject now and still know jackshit. I can't explain karma adequately to save my life much less Mahayana or Dzogchen.

And people say, 'Oh, don't worry about knowing the stuff - just live it.' Well, if that's the case, then I really should just go back to half-assedly attending Mass and reciting Hail Marys since the overriding ethic of Catholicism lies not in its obervance of creeds or dogmas but in the cultivation of virtue and charity.

Think about those things
and then ask yourself what it is that you are worried will happen
if you don't find what it is you are after.


I'd like to avoid the following things: being wrong, practicing incorrectly, going to hell.
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