How sane are you?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Wed Nov 14, 2012 8:31 am

lobster wrote:I am always amazed how the crazier and more deluded we are, the more everyone else is deluded and crazy . . . :shrug:

As far as I know Buddhism leads us to greater mental stability, no matter the starting point. :woohoo:
Most of us are a mix of attributes and also can manifest genuine Buddha Emptiness (of attributes) to a varying degree. :meditate:

So Buddhist involvement and progress should be quite noticeable and self revealing after we gain a little interior discrimination. :yinyang:

For me to answer the question is simple.
Not sane enough. How much is enough . . . oh I don't think you can have too much sanity . . . with sufficient sanity we might even tread the way of the 'crazy wisdom' adepts . . .


Buddhism essentially sets the line of "sanity" at Buddhahood.

If you have a "normal" amount of greed, anger, and delusion, you are considered "sane" from a western psychological perspective.

Buddhism just considers that sortof in between what on one end of the spectrum is total madness, and on the other is Buddhahood.

In between "normal" and Buddhahood, is compassion, then love, then wisdom, followed by finally Buddhahood itself.

I'll post more on this later.

In Gassho,

Sara H
▁▂▃▅▆
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:42 am

The following is a chart showing the cut-off line of
sanity and its attendant higher and lower states:-

5.____Full Enlightenment or Cosmic Buddha
4.____________Wisdom_____________________States resulting from
3.______________Love______________________ unified harmony of
2.___________Compassion__________________body and mind


____So-called normal human state of sanity containing usual amount
1.╭╮╭╮╭╮╭╮╭╮╭╮
______╰╯╰╯╰╯╰╯╰╯╰╯
____of instability, greed, hate, and delusion


-2.___________ Paranoia____________________States resulting from
-3.________Manic-Depression______________dualistic disharmony of
-4._________Schizophrenia_________________body and mind
-5.___Madness incurable in this life-time


___The black wavy line, 1, shows the normal fluctuations
in intensity of the greed, hate and delusion of the average,
so-called sane, human being. -2 shows the sanity line of the
average nation during war-time; 2, 3 and 4, the graphs of
persons who have experienced first, second and third stage
kenshōs respectively (see How to Grow a Lotus Blossom,
chapter on kenshōs), and -2, -3 and -4 their attendant
opposites.
___Deviations from the so-called norm such as homosex-
uality and lesbianism are not mental illnesses but the result
of karma. A being is reborn male or female down the chain
of rebirths and does not stay one or the other. At times
of change, for karmic reasons, one has a tendency to stay
with the former sex mentally, whilst moving physically, and
a homosexual is the result. Once this is understood, com-
passion and love, rather than censure, are the result as is
also the case with the understanding of so-called mental
illness. "

-Rev. P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennet, Rōshi, Page 29-30,
The Book of Life © 1979, Rev. P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennet, Rōshi, and Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy, Shasta Abbey Press


Note: The chart in the quote was re-created using Character Map symbols. Spaces between sections were made using underscores, which are not present in the original chart.
This was due to the limitations of making indentations and large sections of spaces on a forum board. For the purpose of this chart, underscores should be viewed as blank spaces, and the wavy line is actually solidly connected in the original and does not have any gaps in between the top and bottom halves. It should be viewed as a best-attempt re-creation and not a perfectly exact copy. -Thank you.

In Gasshō,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:18 pm

Sara H wrote:Deviations from the so-called norm such as homosex-
uality and lesbianism are not mental illnesses but the result
of karma. A being is reborn male or female down the chain
of rebirths and does not stay one or the other. At times
of change, for karmic reasons, one has a tendency to stay
with the former sex mentally, whilst moving physically, and
a homosexual is the result. Once this is understood, com-
passion and love, rather than censure, are the result as is
also the case with the understanding of so-called mental
illness.
This is latently homophobic whilst trying desperately to be queer friendly. All samsaric existence is the result of karma. All samsaric existence has ignorance as its cause. Homosexuality, heterosexuality, etc... are just labels based in dualistic ignorance: this instead of that. The suffering experienced by sentient beings is the reason we feel compassion, not their sexual (or other) preferences. We feel compasion for all sentient beings because they are all suffering.

Initially Kennet attempts to seperate homsexuality from mental illness but then concludes by putting them in the same "basket" (the "feel compassion for them" basket). And labelling queer sexuality as a "deviation" from a "so-called norm"??? What's with that? Too weird! Why does Kennet even bother linking the two (queer sexuality and mental illness)?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:49 pm

Just to expand on the latently homophobic analysis:

Kennet seems to assume that there is an inherent sex (man or woman) component in the mind stream which gives rise to homosexual behaviour when karma provides the "wrong" body. Kennet assumes that the mindstream of a heterosexual woman is born with male sex organs and thus becomes a male homosexual. Or assumes that the mindstream of a heterosexual man is born with female sexual organs and thus becomes a lesbian. Why not make the opposite (homosexual friendly) assumption? Why not say that inherent homosexuality is "the norm"? Why not say that homosexual males are born with womens sexual organs and thus become (Buddha forbid!) heterosexual women. Or homosexual females are born with mens sexual organs and become (gasp!) heterosexual men.

Ultimately it is quite obvious that the theory is stupid (to say the least) and not supported by scripture. Abhidharma (for example) makes no mention of sexuality past a fleeting reference to the presence of sexual organs as a means of physical differentiation. Nothing more.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:32 am

Regarding Greg's comments.

Actually, I've seen this to be true for me in my own training.

And I'm a card-carrying queer person. And a former board-member of a Gay PRIDE organization

But that's just me personally.

Take it for what you will.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:35 am

There are also lots of openly Gay and Lesbian Monks and Laypeople in the OBC,

And they have done Gay Marriage ceremonies for many years now, so I think any assertion of homophobia is out the window.

Some good friends of mine in Mt. Shasta are a married Lesbian couple that are Sangha members of Shasta Abbey.
They were married there.

But that's just my two cents.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:14 am

I am not doubting Kennets intention, nor am I saying that OBC is not gay friendly, I am saying that the theory and its wording falls flat on its face. Queers can be homophobic, our society programs all of us with homophobia. Queers are not exempt from the influence of society.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby lobster » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:35 pm

:twothumbsup:
Thanks guys. Buddhism has helped many of us loons, gays, homophobes, norms and [insert diagnosis of choice] to better our condition. :woohoo:

It is precisely the movement from wherever we are, to a condition of greater clarity, greater compassion for others struggles and afflictions [being normal is a terrible affliction - what could be worse, look at the poor Buddha, started off as an aristocrat, somehow he manged to overcome]

Thanks for sharing and remember, if the Buddha could do it. So can we we :applause:
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby wisdom » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:50 pm

Gays are identical to straights. There is no real difference. They experience all the things a straight person does in terms of love and relationships, they have all the same hopes and fears. Gay people like to cuddle and watch a movie too. Even a man who dresses as a woman who likes men that have had a sex change to be a woman and yet dress like a man, and one of them is a midget and the other has a balloon fetish and is 20 years the other ones senior. Even then, even that couple experiences what a so called "normal" heterosexual couple experiences. Not to mention at the most basic level they want what all sentient beings want, peace, joy, freedom from suffering.
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 21, 2012 6:49 am

Any issues with mods should be addressed via the reporting procedures. :smile:
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:37 pm

Well actually, the above quote regarding queer people is just Dependent Origination as it is applied to queer people.
And she was quoting it so as people would not assume that when talking about "mental illness" she was including Queer people in that.
A reasonable clarification, considering at the time of this books publication, it was 1978 and discussions of Gay people being "mentally ill" were still quite common.
A clarification that no, Gays are not included in the "mentally ill" category is, and would have been necessary under the circumstances, and given the times.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Alfredo » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:33 pm

To address the original question, my mental health is reasonably good. I have found Buddhism to be helpful in encouraging me to be more patient and forgiving, and less troubled by all the inevitable upheaval in our lives. It is reassuring to belong to a tradition, and have a sense of purpose (though there is more to life than religious practice).

On the other hand, I have heard people speculate that some forms of Buddhist practice (such as intensive meditation) may exascerbate certain forms of mental instability (such as psychosis). This may well be true. Alternatively, perhaps Westerners who are prone to such issues are more likely to gravitate to Buddhism, either because of its psychological emphasis, or because the religion is non-traditional for them (and thus more attractive than Judaism or Christianity).
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:49 pm

Did the Buddha said anything about mental disorders?.. .
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:32 pm

Sara H wrote:Well actually, the above quote regarding queer people is just Dependent Origination as it is applied to queer people.
And she was quoting it so as people would not assume that when talking about "mental illness" she was including Queer people in that.
A reasonable clarification, considering at the time of this books publication, it was 1978 and discussions of Gay people being "mentally ill" were still quite common.
A clarification that no, Gays are not included in the "mentally ill" category is, and would have been necessary under the circumstances, and given the times
Kennets statement defines homosexuality as a karmic anomaly: a right (heterosexual) mind in the wrong body which leads to a deviation in standard sexual behaviour based on an abnormal mental characteristic, thus it is defining homosexuality as a mental illness and is homophobic.

A well intended try by Kennet, given it was written in the 70's, but a failed attempt at a gay friendly explanation explanation nonetheless.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:04 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Kennets statement defines homosexuality as a karmic anomaly: a right (heterosexual) mind in the wrong body which leads to a deviation in standard sexual behaviour based on an abnormal mental characteristic, thus it is defining homosexuality as a mental illness and is homophobic.


Kennets statement defines homosexuality as a karmic anomaly

Uh, no, it says that being gay (or queer for that matter) is karmic consequence. Which it is. This is basic Buddhism that all things are subject to the laws of Karma and Dependent Origination. Being straight is a result of karmic consequence too. "Karma" does not imply "bad karma" or "judgement" or an "anomaly" (Karma is not an anomaly). It just means something is a result of cause and effect, and the laws of causality.

She was saying being gay is actually "normal". That's why she was taking a shot at those who would say otherwise in society by saying that just because something is a deviation from the "so-called" norm, doesn't mean that it is, in actually, "abnormal". Some things that society doesn't accept are actually "normal". That's why she specifically said so in the quote that it was not a mental illness.

From a Buddhist perspective, everything is subject-to and dependent-upon, the laws of cause and effect and causality.

You might not personally believe in the laws of Karma, or Dependent Origination,

But they are, actually, a part of normal Buddhism.

As she was a Soto Zen Master, trained in these things, that is what she taught.

Although perhaps that's not necessarily the path appropriate to you.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 25, 2012 1:34 pm

Sara H wrote:Uh, no, it says that being gay (or queer for that matter) is karmic consequence. Which it is. This is basic Buddhism that all things are subject to the laws of Karma and Dependent Origination. Being straight is a result of karmic consequence too. "Karma" does not imply "bad karma" or "judgement" or an "anomaly" (Karma is not an anomaly). It just means something is a result of cause and effect, and the laws of causality.
So is being "straight". So what?
You might not personally believe in the laws of Karma, or Dependent Origination,

But they are, actually, a part of normal Buddhism.
Kindly refrain from straw man arguments.
As she was a Soto Zen Master, trained in these things, that is what she taught.

Although perhaps that's not necessarily the path appropriate to you.
Who said anything about the path she follows? Again, refrain from straw man arguments and deal with the issue at hand.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:24 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:So is being "straight". So what?

I'm glad you agree with me then, with what I said that being straight is also a part of karmic consequence.
"So what" does it matter?
It matters because you said that her statement "defines homosexuality as a karmic anomaly".

Which is an incorrect interpretation of her statement.

And that your interpretation of the quote as homophobic is dependent upon that incorrect interpretation; "a right (heterosexual) mind in the wrong body which leads to a deviation in standard sexual behaviour based on an abnormal mental characteristic..."

Which lead you to the conclusion that her statement "...is defining homosexuality as a mental illness and is homophobic."

Which was not her stance, is in direct contradiction to her statement, and is also incorrect due to your incorrect interpretation previously mentioned.

You might not personally believe in the laws of Karma, or Dependent Origination,

But they are, actually, a part of normal Buddhism.
Kindly refrain from straw man arguments.

Pointing out that Karma and Dependent Origination is basic Buddhist Doctrine is not a straw man argument, because essentially what your statement implied is that because Buddhism does not exclude sexual orientation as subject to the laws of Karma and Dependent Origination, if you dismiss such concepts as homophobic, then, by extension you are you are either dismissing the Buddhist Doctrine's of the Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination, or her interpretation of how those concepts apply in this case. While in the case of the former, if you believe that the Buddhist Teachings on the Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination are correctly applied, but still view them as homophobic, then you are essentially saying either the Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination as an alternate explanation to the cause of such things is Homophobic, or, that you don't believe in the Buddhist Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination at all. Or, in the case of the latter, if you are dismissing her interpretation of how these Buddhist teachings apply to this case, then you are essentially saying you know more about how these are applied than a Master of Zen, and I would challenge you to present a better argument, since from your perspective, you clearly know better.

As she was a Soto Zen Master, trained in these things, that is what she taught.

Although perhaps that's not necessarily the path appropriate to you.
Who said anything about the path she follows? Again, refrain from straw man arguments and deal with the issue at hand.

Please see the above paragraph.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Indrajala » Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:36 pm

Sara H wrote:Uh, no, it says that being gay (or queer for that matter) is karmic consequence. Which it is. This is basic Buddhism that all things are subject to the laws of Karma and Dependent Origination. Being straight is a result of karmic consequence too. "Karma" does not imply "bad karma" or "judgement" or an "anomaly" (Karma is not an anomaly). It just means something is a result of cause and effect, and the laws of causality.


I would be careful with the labels strait, gay, lesbian, bisexual, etc... simply because human sexuality in our day is largely one of self-identity rather than what people actually experience. In earlier times people were not identifying themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, etc... and sexuality was not rigidly categorized into types.

Some of the extensive studies I've read about indicate that most people in the course of their lives experience various parts of the sexuality spectrum even if they don't actively pursue it for whatever reason. In the absence of rigid category types, a lover is a lover regardless of their gender. There really is no need to press it further than that and start identifying yourself as this or that, as it could very easily change in due time (and it does with a lot of people).

In the Buddhist context, sexual desire is just sexual desire regardless of the object of desire. It is all quite natural, but then the natural order of things is suffering and saṃsāra, and little else. There is no happiness to be found in either heterosexual or homosexual unions as the inferno of inner kleśas continues to burn either way. Neither can be called the purer.

A heterosexual union is just as impure as a homosexual one. It really serves little purpose to ponder whether a self-identifying gay man was a woman in a recent past life or not to explain their desire for other men. Ultimately all sexual unions, as well as emotional attachments, must be severed and abandoned because desire is a mental poison, and in the presence of mental poisons there is no liberation. So long as desire exists, you will suffer.
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:46 pm

Dear Sara,

Let's get something straight, Buddhism does not really give much of a rats backside about sexuality. In all the Buddhist texts there are merely some teachings about correct/wholesome sexual behaviour (which make no mention at all about sexual preferences, excpet for some later East Asian cultural accretions), and a mention of sexual organs as a physical characteristic defining ones sex (ie man or woman).

The reason that it spends no more time on the issue is because sexual identification, regardless of preferences, is not an element of liberation. Quite the contrary, it is just another mode of identification, just another way to further reify the "I" or "me".

Realistically speaking all sexual preference is a mental (read karmic) abberation, that is why the Buddha emphasised monasticism as the most direct route to liberation. Monastics do not engage in sex.

Even karma mudra has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with inflaming desire (the "opposite" of awareness of discernment) and the sublimation of the ensuing sexual bliss (orgasm) into spiritual bliss. ie it has everything to do with mind.

No (real) need to expalin or justify sexuality. A real need to be liberated.

Wouldn't you agree?
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:24 pm

Sara H wrote:Pointing out that Karma and Dependent Origination is basic Buddhist Doctrine is not a straw man argument, because essentially what your statement implied is that because Buddhism does not exclude sexual orientation as subject to the laws of Karma and Dependent Origination...
What absolute nonsense. I implied nothing of the sort. Another straw man.
...if you dismiss such concepts as homophobic, then, by extension you are you are either dismissing the Buddhist Doctrine's of the Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination, or her interpretation of how those concepts apply in this case.
Yes, I do consider Ven. Kennets statement as ill-informed and badly stated.
While in the case of the former, if you believe that the Buddhist Teachings on the Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination are correctly applied, but still view them as homophobic, then you are essentially saying either the Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination as an alternate explanation to the cause of such things is Homophobic, or, that you don't believe in the Buddhist Laws of Karma and Dependent Origination at all.
This is a straw man (yet again).
...if you are dismissing her interpretation of how these Buddhist teachings apply to this case, then you are essentially saying you know more about how these are applied than a Master of Zen, and I would challenge you to present a better argument, since from your perspective, you clearly know better.
I'm sorry, I was unaware that Ven. Kennet is infallible. I have stated my case repeatedly. As of yet you have not proved it mistaken.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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