Relationships With Non-Buddhists

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

Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby waimengwan » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:46 pm

This was practical advice by Rinpoche on having relationships
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO9yjD_j5HI
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby treehuggingoctopus » Sun Aug 05, 2012 1:52 pm

waimengwan wrote:But having said that yes desiring relationships and wanting to be in one does create further samsara for us.


As does the desire not to be in a relationship. Or the desire not to desire relationships.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:12 am

waimengwan wrote: desiring relationships and wanting to be in one does create further samsara for us.


I think, perhaps, "creates further samsara for us" is not quite accurate. The point is well made, but we create samsara for ourselves, and this samsara, this experience of rebirth, is essentially a manifestation of our own attachment.

We can list all of the things that the Buddha advised his followers to abandon according to the vinaya, the monastic tradition. But we can also think of things that he never mentioned. For example, I don't think he said specifically not to climb trees or not to ride horses or whatever. He could have prohibited these activities and many others, but he did not. Why not? Couldn't an individual just as easily become attached to climbing trees or riding horses? Perhaps.

But I think the primary reason for his various prohibitions had to do with how distracting they were, and how much they might keep a person from practicing dharma, and specifically, from watching one's own mind and motivations. When you live as a householder, there are all sorts of worries and responsibilities that you take on. Where will your family live? How will your family be supported? Will your children be safe? What will happen if your spouse dies or becomes seriously ill? These are all important concerns, and as a layperson one can certainly approach these various types of problems mindfully and with compassion, but they are still distractions when compared with a situation where such problems do not arise.

Consider a modern example, say, a medical student, who has committed himself or herself to several years of intense study and practice in order to someday become a doctor. They might forgo all sorts of things that other college students indulge in, and they might postpone getting married until after they graduate, because they are really focused on getting a medical degree and hopefully to be tops in the class. So, it is for very practical reasons that the Buddha advised ways not to become distracted.

But some things, for example, sexual activity, carry a lot of, you might say, "attachment energy" with them. Much more than climbing trees or riding horses. So, the buddha looked at specific things in a very practical way and told his monks, "avoid doing this". But it doesn't mean that every person who isn't a monk or nun will automatically create more conditions for samsara. Sometimes monks and nuns do this too. It really depends on the level of attachment, and how much one clings to the satisfaction or dissatisfaction resulting from events.

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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby waimengwan » Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:11 pm

Is Reification similar to Projection? Wisdom use this terminology.

Thank you PadmaVonSamba well written. Love the monk frothing in his mouth hehe
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:25 am

I think the two words can mean the same thing .
waimengwan wrote:Is Reification similar to Projection? Wisdom use this terminology.

Thank you PadmaVonSamba well written. Love the monk frothing in his mouth hehe
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Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby catmoon » Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:39 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I think the two words can mean the same thing .
waimengwan wrote:Is Reification similar to Projection? Wisdom use this terminology.

Thank you PadmaVonSamba well written. Love the monk frothing in his mouth hehe


Reification is the addition of attributes to an idea that does not intrinsically possess them. A simple example would be the personification of Liberty as a toga wearing female. As a more subtle example, one may infer existence as an inherent characteristic of things.

Projection is the attribution of an idea one person holds onto another. Usually used in the case of incorrect ideas.

Sometimes the same sometimes not.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby waimengwan » Tue Aug 07, 2012 9:33 pm

I need to think more about that.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby Luke » Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:53 pm

tomamundsen wrote:Maybe I should give a little more context. Our arguments often boil down to our different views, due to me being Buddhist and her, well, not being Buddhist. Particularly, I try to eliminate negative emotions and not express them, whereas she embraces them and believes that expressing them helps you work through things. Fundamentally, she believes that we have evolved to have negative emotions and they are useful for our survival. On the other hand, I look at negative emotions as an aberration to my natural state, and something that I ultimately want to get rid of.

I don't know what type of Buddhism you practice, but you might find reading about Tantric Buddhist ideas interesting because they empasize things like the fact that the five emotional poisons really contain the five wisdoms and that the true nature of the mind cannot be defiled by anything.

Unfortunately, I can't recommend any good links on these topics right now, but maybe some of our other members could.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:32 am

tomamundsen wrote:Hi,

Does anyone have advice on being in a (romantic) relationship with a non-Buddhist? I just moved in with my (non-Buddhist) girlfriend, and we have been arguing a lot.

Thanks.


Getting back to the first post,
Being with somebody who cannot possibly share the joy that you experience,
regardless of the details of the situation
...this is really painful.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby tomamundsen » Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:55 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:Hi,

Does anyone have advice on being in a (romantic) relationship with a non-Buddhist? I just moved in with my (non-Buddhist) girlfriend, and we have been arguing a lot.

Thanks.


Getting back to the first post,
Being with somebody who cannot possibly share the joy that you experience,
regardless of the details of the situation
...this is really painful.

Yea. It hurts to be with all sentient beings knowing that they are suffering and haven't had a glimpse of the dharma.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Wed Nov 07, 2012 1:06 am

tomamundsen wrote:Maybe I should give a little more context. Our arguments often boil down to our different views, due to me being Buddhist and her, well, not being Buddhist. Particularly, I try to eliminate negative emotions and not express them, whereas she embraces them and believes that expressing them helps you work through things. Fundamentally, she believes that we have evolved to have negative emotions and they are useful for our survival. On the other hand, I look at negative emotions as an aberration to my natural state, and something that I ultimately want to get rid of.

This is just one example. I should also note: although she isn't Buddhist, she is Chinese and was raised in China for 20some years. So, she knows some things about Buddhism and even has Buddhist family.


Me and my wife(who is a Christian)pretty much worked our differences out over what religion our kids were going to be(on Saturdays they usually sit with me next to my altar and pay homage to Amitabha Buddha,on Sundays they go to church.)This used to be no big deal since I used to be an atheist before my conversion to Buddhism.Although I guess we kind of have different circumstances. :smile:
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:52 pm

My wife is Jewish, so by definition so are my kids..at least culturally. It'll be interesting to see how we work things out as they grow up.

Currently I think the way to approach it is with compassion, meditate on being in the shoes of your partner, 'adopt' their religion and belief system mentally (purely for the sake of a meditation on the subject, not saying stop being a Buddhist or not pretend to agree with them), and go from there. If your partner's religion is a fairly liberal one, it has room to accommodate and appreciate parts of the Dharma, and vice versa. From a Buddhist viewpoint it seems like having a harmonious, healthy, loving, relationship should be a higher priority than trying to convince someone else of "the truth".
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby PorkChop » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:43 pm

My wife's former SGI, so she's used to some of it.
She was never taught what she was doing as part of SGI growing up; that's kind of why she left for Christianity.
She seems to be genuinely interested in what I'm learning about, though we have an agreement not to try to convert each other.
My kid(s) are going to be raised Christian, just because it's easier where we live.
I'll give them Dharma-based advice for how to approach certain situations when appropriate, and if they show any interest in Buddhism when they're older, I'll help them anyway I can.

I think my wife much prefers an aspiring Buddhist-noob to a jaded Catholic/Christian.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby Ayu » Fri Nov 09, 2012 4:04 pm

tomamundsen wrote:Hi,

Does anyone have advice on being in a (romantic) relationship with a non-Buddhist? I just moved in with my (non-Buddhist) girlfriend, and we have been arguing a lot.

Thanks.

Maybe it's more easy when the partner is open minded and oneself doesn't want to proselytize.

I am married with an atheist (mathematician) for long time and we live in good harmony. He appreciates the benefits of the buddhism: I changed and life is better for him since...

Our secret: to live and let live.

But Buddhism is never a topic of conversation for us. That's why I hang around in buddhist forums. :tongue:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:50 pm

Ayu wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:Hi,

Does anyone have advice on being in a (romantic) relationship with a non-Buddhist? I just moved in with my (non-Buddhist) girlfriend, and we have been arguing a lot.

Thanks.

Maybe it's more easy when the partner is open minded and oneself doesn't want to proselytize.

I am married with an atheist (mathematician) for long time and we live in good harmony. He appreciates the benefits of the buddhism: I changed and life is better for him since...

Our secret: to live and let live.

But Buddhism is never a topic of conversation for us. That's why I hang around in buddhist forums. :tongue:


...my situation exactly (except for the math part) !!!
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby Ayu » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:00 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
...my situation exactly (except for the math part) !!!

Hey! Sister! :smile:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Relationships With Non-Buddhists

Postby waimengwan » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:59 pm

Could it be sometimes when people are confronted with something in their past, they want to show they have gone beyond that?

To show she is a good whatever religion she may be, as she has some insecurities about her own religion.

Well if the cool/non temperamental buddhist attitude does not work perhaps you need to try the opposite without really losing your cool actually.
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