What is the point?

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

What is the point?

Postby Jesse » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:15 am

Lately I have been pondering what the point of practicing is, there was a time when it really brought me joy, and I was actually convinced enlightenment was a real possibility. These days, not so much. Seeing firsthand that attachment, desire, craving etc. lead nowhere but suffering has made it's impact on me.. but I still find practicing lately to be like pulling teeth, and in a way I feel completely lost.

I feel unable to practice meaningfully, and at the same time I know I can't return to life as it was before, seeking happiness through satisfying desires. I wonder if anyone has gone through something like this before? Just where practicing ceases to be a source of joy, and in some ways feels burdensome.

I know the point of practicing isn't to fulfill our own happiness, but It's pretty difficult to force yourself to continue when your miserable, and hell I even realize the narrowness of my thinking. A mind only concerned only with it's own welfare usually isn't a happy one, but how can an unhappy mind care about others?

Oh-well, I'm done bitching.. for now.

:toilet:
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Re: What is the point?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:38 am

but how can an unhappy mind care about others?

You have to commit yourself to at least wishing for the happiness of all beings and their freedom at least in liberation. So the Bodhisattva path. This is the great elixir that transforms everything to gold.

As for practice, there are many levels of practice. Ultimately practice leads us and all beings to Buddhahood. In the meantime it helps us train our minds and hearts in the Bodhisattva path and in accumulating merit and wisdom.

Sooner or later everything that you see around you will fade and your mind will leave this world. Before that happens we can see that happening to others - around 50,000 people will leave this world tonight and every night. We can see physical conditions, the set of life (set as in a set for an opera or play) change with improvements or degradations, but always with changes. Now is the time for us to tame our hearts and minds and help beings whenever we can and however we are able.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: What is the point?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:42 am

How do you practice, ghost01?
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Re: What is the point?

Postby Tilopa » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:16 am

ghost01 wrote:I feel unable to practice meaningfully, and at the same time I know I can't return to life as it was before, seeking happiness through satisfying desires. I wonder if anyone has gone through something like this before? Just where practicing ceases to be a source of joy, and in some ways feels burdensome.


I think everyone goes through something like this at different times. I know I do and it just seems to be part of the path - doubt, fatigue, boredom, and indifference. But there's also the joy, renewed enthusiasm and heightened sense of purpose when a breakthrough is made and progress resumes. It's not for nothing Buddha exhorts us to practice patience and perseverance. Relax and don't have too many expectations - that's what I always tell myself and it seems to help.
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Re: What is the point?

Postby Jesse » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:46 am

You have to commit yourself to at least wishing for the happiness of all beings and their freedom at least in liberation. So the Bodhisattva path. This is the great elixir that transforms everything to gold.

As for practice, there are many levels of practice. Ultimately practice leads us and all beings to Buddhahood. In the meantime it helps us train our minds and hearts in the Bodhisattva path and in accumulating merit and wisdom.

Sooner or later everything that you see around you will fade and your mind will leave this world. Before that happens we can see that happening to others - around 50,000 people will leave this world tonight and every night. We can see physical conditions, the set of life (set as in a set for an opera or play) change with improvements or degradations, but always with changes. Now is the time for us to tame our hearts and minds and help beings whenever we can and however we are able.

Kirt


I suppose the problem is, when I first started I really did wish for freedom/happiness for all, now it feels a bit like a charade. :shrug: Perhaps your right, though.. I will try focusing on others more and see if it helps.

How do you practice, ghost01?


Well, I used to read alot of material & meditate, shamatha, walking meditation, zazen etc.. I try to follow most of the precepts, but mostly I just fail miserably at them. I stopped meditating a while ago, and started trying to apply my concentration to the present while observing my mind, dismissing thoughts etc.. That's mostly it these days. It definitely feels like something is missing though. :shrug:
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Re: What is the point?

Postby Jesse » Sun Jul 22, 2012 3:57 am

I think everyone goes through something like this at different times. I know I do and it just seems to be part of the path - doubt, fatigue, boredom, and indifference. But there's also the joy, renewed enthusiasm and heightened sense of purpose when a breakthrough is made and progress resumes. It's not for nothing Buddha exhorts us to practice patience and perseverance. Relax and don't have too many expectations - that's what I always tell myself and it seems to help.


Thanks, yeah patience is definitely not one of my better qualities. I appreciate your sharing this.

Relax and don't have too many expectations
I'll try. :)
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Re: What is the point?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 22, 2012 7:29 am

Your signature seems to say it all: "Well, I was happy until I stopped to think about it."

I have just come through a phase similar to what you describe, only I had given up practicing completely. I found myself in what amounted to a spiritual vacuum, I abandoned all belief in such things as karma and rebirth, and all my practice-related hopes and aspirations completely dried up. And then, for no particular reason, or perhaps because I had nothing better to do, I started to meditate again. Now I find myself sitting without any goal, without any need to achieve anything. Just to sit on the cushion is enough, yet my mind will usually settle into a clear and open state without any effort. When it doesn't settle, I stay with that. Meditation is no big deal. For the first time I feel no obligation to make it into something it is not. Now meditation fits seamlessly into my daily life, and life itself appears simpler and more effortless.
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Re: What is the point?

Postby seeker242 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 1:12 pm

ghost01 wrote:
I stopped meditating a while ago

It definitely feels like something is missing though. :shrug:


Coincidence? In my personal experience, good, solid, consistent meditation practice = happy. No meditation practice = not so happy. :smile:
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Re: What is the point?

Postby Jesse » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:25 pm

Your signature seems to say it all


Oh, yeah, you don't know the half of it. :lol:

I had given up practicing completely. I found myself in what amounted to a spiritual vacuum, I abandoned all belief in such things as karma and rebirth, and all my practice-related hopes and aspirations completely dried up.


Well this is day three of doing just that. Thanks for sharing this, I'm glad things have gotten better for you. :)

Coincidence? In my personal experience, good, solid, consistent meditation practice = happy. No meditation practice = not so happy


Honestly, meditation lately hasn't made much of a difference either way, well really in some ways it's made thing's worse. Meditation sort of allows you to see all that clinging and grasping that makes you so unhappy, but the thing is you gotta let go once you see it. Don't wanna. :pig:
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Re: What is the point?

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Jul 22, 2012 6:36 pm

ghost01 wrote:Don't wanna. :pig:

Well put.

I hear wot ya sayin.
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Re: What is the point?

Postby kirtu » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:59 pm

ghost01 wrote:
You have to commit yourself to at least wishing for the happiness of all beings and their freedom at least in liberation. So the Bodhisattva path. This is the great elixir that transforms everything to gold.

As for practice, there are many levels of practice. Ultimately practice leads us and all beings to Buddhahood. In the meantime it helps us train our minds and hearts in the Bodhisattva path and in accumulating merit and wisdom.

Sooner or later everything that you see around you will fade and your mind will leave this world. Before that happens we can see that happening to others - around 50,000 people will leave this world tonight and every night. We can see physical conditions, the set of life (set as in a set for an opera or play) change with improvements or degradations, but always with changes. Now is the time for us to tame our hearts and minds and help beings whenever we can and however we are able.


I suppose the problem is, when I first started I really did wish for freedom/happiness for all, now it feels a bit like a charade. :shrug: Perhaps your right, though.. I will try focusing on others more and see if it helps.


Why a charade? In this lifetime it will be very difficult to have a significant impact on the world. However everyone or nearly everyone has saved someone's life at one time or another (including little animals - which are usually what most people save in some form). We can however help other beings. We can also attain some degree of liberation in this lifetime via the practice of the six perfections.

Maybe a pilgrimage would be helpful. Is there a temple or set of temples or religious sites that you could trek to?

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
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Re: What is the point?

Postby Jesse » Sun Jul 22, 2012 11:06 pm

Why a charade?


The simple answer is, :pig: :tantrum: :pig:

Maybe a pilgrimage would be helpful. Is there a temple or set of temples or religious sites that you could trek to?


Oh, no.. I just really need to get over it. :lol:

I appreciate all the input, but I sort of regret posting this at this point. Thanks all.
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Re: What is the point?

Postby viniketa » Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:17 am

ghost01 wrote:... I sort of regret posting this at this point. Thanks all.


Thank you for the posting. This is something that many of us face a some point, so the replies benefit all beings... :smile:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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