Questions about Buddhism?

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Questions about Buddhism?

Postby CMP » Wed May 29, 2013 8:29 pm

I want honest answers from actual buddhists about a few things that have really confused me about this philosophy. I tried Buddhism for about 2 months, and I've gotta say, I came out more depressed and down about life than I did before I knew anything about the philosophy. I was to the point of suicide. It was destroying my life, but I think it's because I had so much trouble grasping key concepts.

I agree wholeheartedly with the concept that life is suffering, and I even agree that suffering comes from desire. But how is it possible to stop desiring things? Even the desire to eradicate desire is a desire itself, and when I found myself unable to get rid of that desire, I suffered more.

Also about attachment....I don't think people really choose to become attached to things. I think it's a natural phenomenon that human beings experience. I have a dog, and I know he's impermanent, but I'm still attached. And I didn't actively CHOOSE to become attached to him, it just sort of happened over time. Humans are evolutionarily inclined to show favor to their own pets, or spouses, or kids, or even possessions. So how do you just "let go" of attachment?? It seems to be somewhat of an impossible task and I feel that even the people who claim they are not attached to something are just lying to themselves.

Also, how is suffering merely a product of the mind? Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd. If I drive a spike through someone's head and they start screaming and crying and SUFFERING because of the pain, does that mean it's their fault because they are too attached...?? How can any rational person say such a thing? Are the starving children in Africa suffering just because they are too attached to eating?

Also the concept of "living in the moment" made no sense to me. I mean, if we really lived in the moment, would we even bother putting clothes on every day? or going to the bathroom when we poop? Because if we lived in the moment, we would just take it one second at a time and not worry about the future and who might ridicule us. And even if they did ridicule us we would just put it in the past. So does anybody REALLY live "in the moment" or is that just a bunch of clap-trap?


I tried meditating, but it honestly didn't do much for me. I didn't gain any great experience from it, in fact, I seemed to have a feeling of wasting my time when I could've been actually fixing problems. Where did I go wrong?

And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.

Thanks for anyone who can answer.
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed May 29, 2013 9:07 pm

In what capacity did you "try Buddhism for a couple months", what did that entail?

What you are describing is Nihilism.

These are really common questions that people generally have about Buddhism [, I don't mean to sound flip, but you need to actually do a bit of reading and study if you want real answers to these questions.

Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd.


It's hard to answer a post full of questions about "how come Buddhists believe X", when they don't actually believe those things.

And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.


Neither one of those guys is Buddhist teacher firstly, it sounds like you need to actually learn about Buddhism before anything else, start with something by Thich Nhat Hanh or HH The Dalai Lama...both answer these sorts of simple questions in multiple books.

The one piece of advice I can give from my own personal experience is that if you view Buddhist emptiness as a separate thing from compassion, or only on an intellectual level then it is possible to become a nihilist and have these sorts of feelings, if you understand that the two are not separate things it's a whole different ballgame. Honestly though, it seems like you are missing a bit of background on the entire philosophy.

gonna try a bit:

I agree wholeheartedly with the concept that life is suffering, and I even agree that suffering comes from desire. But how is it possible to stop desiring things? Even the desire to eradicate desire is a desire itself, and when I found myself unable to get rid of that desire, I suffered more.


It's not about getting rid of it, but about changing your relationship to it, once you are not caught up in it it does not have the same hold.

Also, how is suffering merely a product of the mind? Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd. If I drive a spike through someone's head and they start screaming and crying and SUFFERING because of the pain, does that mean it's their fault because they are too attached...?? How can any rational person say such a thing? Are the starving children in Africa suffering just because they are too attached to eating?


Everything is just a product of the mind, generally in Mahayana the "reason" for the suffering is an incorrect view which sees self and the external world to exist in a way they do not, which casuing the grasping you are talking about...to put it in extreme shorthand.


Also the concept of "living in the moment" made no sense to me. I mean, if we really lived in the moment, would we even bother putting clothes on every day? or going to the bathroom when we poop? Because if we lived in the moment, we would just take it one second at a time and not worry about the future and who might ridicule us. And even if they did ridicule us we would just put it in the past. So does anybody REALLY live "in the moment" or is that just a bunch of clap-trap?



Answer = find a teacher. And no, it takes practice to "live in the moment", and that is the point. If you learn to meditate even a small bit with success you will understand "in the moment" sufficiently.

I tried meditating, but it honestly didn't do much for me. I didn't gain any great experience from it, in fact, I seemed to have a feeling of wasting my time when I could've been actually fixing problems. Where did I go wrong?


What form of meditation was it, and who taught you to do it, was it from a book or online instructions, which ones?

Only other thing I can think of to recommend at the time is this:

http://www.goodquestiongoodanswer.net/

Though it is from a Theraveda perspective, it does a decent job of covering some common misperceptions.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Wed May 29, 2013 9:42 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Son of Buddha » Wed May 29, 2013 9:32 pm

"CMP"]I want honest answers from actual buddhists about a few things that have really confused me about this philosophy. I tried Buddhism for about 2 months, and I've gotta say, I came out more depressed and down about life than I did before I knew anything about the philosophy. I was to the point of suicide. It was destroying my life, but I think it's because I had so much trouble grasping key concepts.


what did you try about Buddhism?was it Meditation?
or was it just trying to grasp certain views?
what made you want to kill yourself?

"CMP"I agree wholeheartedly with the concept that life is suffering, and I even agree that suffering comes from desire. But how is it possible to stop desiring things? Even the desire to eradicate desire is a desire itself, and when I found myself unable to get rid of that desire, I suffered more.


Let go,let it be a gradual process,dont rat race it or you will get the opposite results

"CMP"Also about attachment....I don't think people really choose to become attached to things. I think it's a natural phenomenon that human beings experience. I have a dog, and I know he's impermanent, but I'm still attached. And I didn't actively CHOOSE to become attached to him, it just sort of happened over time. Humans are evolutionarily inclined to show favor to their own pets, or spouses, or kids, or even possessions. So how do you just "let go" of attachment?? It seems to be somewhat of an impossible task and I feel that even the people who claim they are not attached to something are just lying to themselves.


2 different types of love,(Nirvana Sutra chapter 7)"Also, emancipation is lovelessness [desirelessness]. Love is of two kinds. One is hungry [craving] love and the other love of Dharma. True love is not possessed of hungry love. As there is love for all beings, there is the love of Dharma. Such love of Dharma is true emancipation. True emancipation is the Tathagata."

Dont show favor have a compassion that is all equal for all living beings,have compassion for others as they are your own child.
(also most attachment humans feel toward others is based on our own selfishness,for instance why do we cry when we lose our mothers?is it because our mothers are suffering or is it because WE lost something?)


"CMP"Also, how is suffering merely a product of the mind? Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd. If I drive a spike through someone's head and they start screaming and crying and SUFFERING because of the pain, does that mean it's their fault because they are too attached...?? How can any rational person say such a thing? Are the starving children in Africa suffering just because they are too attached to eating?


suffering is a product of the mind(you chose to dwell on the anger,greed,unhappiness,happiness....ect)also remember we must crawl before we walk,you cant poof no suffering over night.
pysical suffer is due to the vessel the mind is in (the wiring)
and no its not their fault(starving children/man with head drilled in)they suffer physical suffering due to living in the 5 transmigations of Samsara.the Buddha gave the path to end the suffering,he didnt create the suffering itself.

"CMP"Also the concept of "living in the moment" made no sense to me. I mean, if we really lived in the moment, would we even bother putting clothes on every day? or going to the bathroom when we poop? Because if we lived in the moment, we would just take it one second at a time and not worry about the future and who might ridicule us. And even if they did ridicule us we would just put it in the past. So does anybody REALLY live "in the moment" or is that just a bunch of clap-trap?


living in the moment is being "aware" or every single thing that goes on in your life,its an aspect of complete concentration in everything you do,this "awareness" carries over into your meditation.(being aware also helps one realise the problems when they arise both metal and physical,being aware helps one see the delusion right as it arises,(i think I dislike such and such person,or a subtle thought of dislike arises,be aware catch it and correct it slowily purify the mind stream)

"CMP"I tried meditating, but it honestly didn't do much for me. I didn't gain any great experience from it, in fact, I seemed to have a feeling of wasting my time when I could've been actually fixing problems. Where did I go wrong?


what type of meditation did you do???
also if you are having problems with depression try Loving kindness meditation try Tonglen meditation to help with compassion and selfishness,of do nein-fo(Buddha rememberance Samadhi meditation)(chant Amituofo)

"CMP"And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.

Thanks for anyone who can answer.

suicide just means rebirth again to do it all over again.

also suicide isnt the logical conclusion.here read the Nirvana Sutra up to chapter 17 after reading it tell me if you have the same conclusion.
http://www.nirvanasutra.net/nirvanasutraa1.htm

peace and love
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Jikan » Wed May 29, 2013 9:45 pm

If you are feeling suicidal, get help.


In the US: 800-273-TALK (8255)

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby KeithBC » Wed May 29, 2013 9:58 pm

CMP wrote:Also, how is suffering merely a product of the mind? Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd. If I drive a spike through someone's head and they start screaming and crying and SUFFERING because of the pain, does that mean it's their fault because they are too attached...?? How can any rational person say such a thing? Are the starving children in Africa suffering just because they are too attached to eating?

Pain is mandatory. Suffering is optional. Pain is a physical signal in the nervous system, and a darned useful one. Suffering is a mental attitude to the pain.
Also the concept of "living in the moment" made no sense to me. I mean, if we really lived in the moment, would we even bother putting clothes on every day? or going to the bathroom when we poop? Because if we lived in the moment, we would just take it one second at a time and not worry about the future and who might ridicule us. And even if they did ridicule us we would just put it in the past. So does anybody REALLY live "in the moment" or is that just a bunch of clap-trap?

"Living in the moment" is a New Age thing, not really Buddhist at all. While we do try to be aware of the present, we also plan for the future. Buddhist ethics are based on anticipating the future.
I tried meditating, but it honestly didn't do much for me. I didn't gain any great experience from it, in fact, I seemed to have a feeling of wasting my time when I could've been actually fixing problems. Where did I go wrong?

I've been meditating for over 30 years and I haven't had any "great experience" from it. On the other hand< I have learned a lot about how my mind works. Where you went wrong was in expecting a great experience. Meditation takes persistence and patience, as well as realistic expectations.
And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.

What would that accomplish?

Nowhere in your post do I see any mention of compassion. Compassion is the main motivation in Buddhism. Compassion is the reason the Buddha taight what he did, and compassion is the foundation of Buddhist morality. You are not an isolated individual. You are a member of a commubnity (however you define it). You not only benefit from those associations, you also have obligations to those community members. Suicide deprives you of the opportunity to help others, and it is by helping others that you make progress yourself. If you don't deal compassionately with others, you create more suffering for yourself.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby wisdom » Wed May 29, 2013 10:15 pm

Suicidal thoughts arise due to attachment to life, not because you are not attached. Its strong attachment to self and life that causes us to want to die. If we were not attached, we would have no desire to go to such extreme measures since whether or not we lived or died would make no difference to us (being without attachment at all), so why would we seek to change anything? Death is not enlightenment, enlightenment is not death.

Aside from seeking therapy, seek a Dharma center to learn meditation at, as I think that will be beneficial for you. If not, this forum has many experienced people who can help you begin a Dharma practice and understand the Buddhas teachings.

Also relax, nobody comprehends all of the Dharma right away, it takes time, practice, patience, and perseverance. Don't be so hard on yourself.
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Konchog1 » Wed May 29, 2013 10:22 pm

"The problem isn't enjoyment, the problem is attachment." -Tilopa

Also about attachment....I don't think people really choose to become attached to things. I think it's a natural phenomenon that human beings experience.
That's the problem.

Humans are evolutionarily inclined to show favor to their own pets, or spouses, or kids, or even possessions. So how do you just "let go" of attachment??
Through reasoning. Attachment doesn't make sense. Once you realize that, letting go is easy. As for a reading list, check out Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara and Tsongkhapa's Lam Rim Chen Mo.

Some samples:

“Since the mind is not physical,
No one can ever destroy it.
It is strongly attached to the body
And so it is harmed by physical suffering.

Contempt, offensive speech,
And unpleasant words
Do not harm the body,
So then why, mind, are you so angry?”
-Bodhicaryavatara chapter 6 verses 52-53

“When my enemies are unhappy,
What am I pleased about?
My wishes alone
Will cause them no harm.”
-Bodhicaryavatara chapter 6 verse 87
“When others praise you and spread your fame, it serves neither of two purposes: for this life it does not bring you long life, health, and the like, and for future lives it does not bring merit and so forth. Therefore, do not get attached to fame and praise, but reproach yourself by thinking, “My displeasure when my praise and fame are ruined is no different from when small children cry upon the collapse of their sand castles, which lack any of the requisites for a dwelling.””
- Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v02 pg. 167 tib pg. 411


And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.
One: rebirth. and two: after you stop clinging, life becomes far more enjoyable.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 29, 2013 10:33 pm

From reading what you wrote there, you need to take care of your current problems first because your mind are occupied with those problems, and Buddhism is not going to fix your problems instantly.

CMP wrote:Also about attachment....I don't think people really choose to become attached to things. I think it's a natural phenomenon that human beings experience. I have a dog, and I know he's impermanent, but I'm still attached. And I didn't actively CHOOSE to become attached to him, it just sort of happened over time. Humans are evolutionarily inclined to show favor to their own pets, or spouses, or kids, or even possessions. So how do you just "let go" of attachment?? It seems to be somewhat of an impossible task and I feel that even the people who claim they are not attached to something are just lying to themselves.


We all have attachments but being aware of our attachments and practice is what its all about.

Also, how is suffering merely a product of the mind? Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd. If I drive a spike through someone's head and they start screaming and crying and SUFFERING because of the pain, does that mean it's their fault because they are too attached...?? How can any rational person say such a thing? Are the starving children in Africa suffering just because they are too attached to eating?


Suffering is mental and physical. Mental suffering is grief for example. Starvation is physical suffering. But all suffering are both mental and physical. But ultimately the root cause of suffering is attachment to the self, that's why there is a physical body and suffering that accompanies it.

Also the concept of "living in the moment" made no sense to me. I mean, if we really lived in the moment, would we even bother putting clothes on every day? or going to the bathroom when we poop? Because if we lived in the moment, we would just take it one second at a time and not worry about the future and who might ridicule us. And even if they did ridicule us we would just put it in the past. So does anybody REALLY live "in the moment" or is that just a bunch of clap-trap?


It's more of a practice. Not many people can achieve that really even people who have been practicing for years.

I tried meditating, but it honestly didn't do much for me. I didn't gain any great experience from it, in fact, I seemed to have a feeling of wasting my time when I could've been actually fixing problems. Where did I go wrong?


You need to deal with your issues first whatever they maybe. For example, if you drink and use drugs you might want to work on that.

And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.

Thanks for anyone who can answer.


According to rebirth and karma, killing yourself will only worsen your conditions in the next life.

Living is a big courage.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby mandala » Thu May 30, 2013 1:38 pm

CMP wrote: It was destroying my life, but I think it's because I had so much trouble grasping key concepts.


I'm sorry to hear you've been so depressed, but I think you're right... it sounds like you've misunderstood some key concepts.

It's not uncommon - particularly if you haven't had the benefit of learning with other students or a teacher at dharma centre, to make sure you have the correct meaning of the foundational teachings. If you don't start with the right foundations, then it's bound to come crashing down and not make sense.

Most of this is about the - Buddhist - meaning of certain words... for example "attachment" in Buddhism is NOT used in the same way we do in normal conversation. It's no problem to love, care for, like, enjoy your pet (or things, or people) - infact, that's a very good thing!

Understanding the real meaning of attachment and what it means to 'let go' of attachment is a pretty indepth subject and can definitely do your head in if you don't have a good grasp on the basics of Buddhism first.
Other key words like desire, suffering, 'living in the moment' - they are all used differently in Buddhism than the context you mention them in.

So... relax... forget about all this stuff that's got you upset & leave it behind ... you're on the wrong track.

Perhaps this may help to clear up the concept of 'suffering' : http://viewonbuddhism.org/4_noble_truths.html

I understand that the apparent focus on suffering can seem depressing... but it's really not, because the - point - is that you can do something about it.. and that's what Buddhist practice is. To fix something, you first need to identify the problem!

I'd strongly recommend that you find a local dharma centre ... sit in on a few intro classes and ask lots of questions... and I think you'll be ok.

:smile:
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Aemilius » Thu May 30, 2013 2:10 pm

CMP wrote:I want honest answers from actual buddhists about a few things that have really confused me about this philosophy. I tried Buddhism for about 2 months, and I've gotta say, I came out more depressed and down about life than I did before I knew anything about the philosophy. I was to the point of suicide. It was destroying my life, but I think it's because I had so much trouble grasping key concepts.

I agree wholeheartedly with the concept that life is suffering, and I even agree that suffering comes from desire. But how is it possible to stop desiring things? Even the desire to eradicate desire is a desire itself, and when I found myself unable to get rid of that desire, I suffered more.

Also about attachment....I don't think people really choose to become attached to things. I think it's a natural phenomenon that human beings experience. I have a dog, and I know he's impermanent, but I'm still attached. And I didn't actively CHOOSE to become attached to him, it just sort of happened over time. Humans are evolutionarily inclined to show favor to their own pets, or spouses, or kids, or even possessions. So how do you just "let go" of attachment?? It seems to be somewhat of an impossible task and I feel that even the people who claim they are not attached to something are just lying to themselves.

Also, how is suffering merely a product of the mind? Buddhists claim you must be in the "wrong mindset" or "too attached" to something if you suffer because of it....but I think that's absurd. If I drive a spike through someone's head and they start screaming and crying and SUFFERING because of the pain, does that mean it's their fault because they are too attached...?? How can any rational person say such a thing? Are the starving children in Africa suffering just because they are too attached to eating?

Also the concept of "living in the moment" made no sense to me. I mean, if we really lived in the moment, would we even bother putting clothes on every day? or going to the bathroom when we poop? Because if we lived in the moment, we would just take it one second at a time and not worry about the future and who might ridicule us. And even if they did ridicule us we would just put it in the past. So does anybody REALLY live "in the moment" or is that just a bunch of clap-trap?


I tried meditating, but it honestly didn't do much for me. I didn't gain any great experience from it, in fact, I seemed to have a feeling of wasting my time when I could've been actually fixing problems. Where did I go wrong?

And lastly...the philosophy itself seems to point to suicide as the logical conclusion. This is what led me to nearly killing myself listening to people like Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. If life is suffering, and we become attached to impermanent things, then why cling to our own life? If I'm going to spend 70 or 80 years basically trying to find the white space in my head where there's no desire, what's the point? Why not just kill myself now and get the long tedious process over with? It only seems logical.

Thanks for anyone who can answer.


Sounds familiar, You are not the only one who has run into the blind alleys, that there are in this system or this area. It is a big mistake to desire enlightenment, -it has been said-, but why else would you start on it anyway? Wanting to attain some new fantastic experience called "enlightenment" is the mistake, -I would say. Giving up such a pursuit was certainly the right choice.
I also like dogs and other animals.
"Killing one self" is not logical because there is the continuity of life and existence, in new forms.

best wishes!
svaha
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Punya » Fri May 31, 2013 12:23 am

Hi CMP

My take is that the teachings of the Buddha are not easily understood and it's like peeling the layers of an onion - over time you gradually understand more.

When I became interested in Buddhism about 10 years ago I read lots of books and with some things I'd think 'Oh, I don't agree with that' but then I'd read a little more and realise it wasn't how I first thought. Eventually I found there was enough that resonated with for me identify as a Buddhist. Looking back I can now see that my intellectual understanding has increased each year. I don't spend time now worrying about what I don't know (which is vast!).

So in relation to this, I'd say there's no need for you to decide one way or another right now whether Buddhism is for you. Take your time to explore it with an open mind.

As for practice, it's pretty hard to do it by yourself and, as others have said, you need a teacher. If you are able, find a local centre where you feel comfortable. If that's not possible for now, then continue as best you can and when the time is right you will find a teacher. In the meantime, you might find Sharon Salzberg's book 'Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness' helpful. It includes short meditations on compassion.

I'd also say that Buddhism is not a quick fix for the problems we are currently facing, including depression, but rather a long term project that will bear fruit over time.

Best wishes
Punya
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby CMP » Fri May 31, 2013 1:07 am

Thanks for these replies, but I'm really not finding these answers satisfactory and many of them don't make sense.

Lots of the answers are seeming to imply that I'm just "thinking too much"....this is where I start believe this philosophy just really isn't for me. Perhaps it's not a good thing, but I have a very strong preference for logic and reason, which comes from the intellect. Any philosophy that tells me to basically just lobotomize myself and turn my brain off seems really dangerous. I shudder to think what kind of world we would live in if people never used their brains and just accepted whatever situation was present. No one would've invented electricity, the wheel, computers, toilets, etc. All of these came about because someone recognized and inconvenience, suffered from it, and rather than sitting on a couch and meditating it away, they decided use their intellect and do something about it.

And that's what I meant when I said that meditation made me feel as if I was wasting time. I relaxed a bit, sure. But if there's some magic button to turn my brain off, I'd love to hear about it. Because you can never completely stop thinking. The point of meditation is supposed to be to "let go" of your attachments to things.

Well let's say I'm behind on bills and about to lose my house. The bank does not "let go", the landlord does not "let go", the insurance company does not "let go".....but if I'm doing this philosophy the right way, then apparently I shouldn't care....I shouldn't suffer because according to Buddhism, suffering is a choice.

And that's where I think this is pure BS. Can ask a question? If suffering is truly a choice, then can I drive a nail through your skull? Will someone volunteer? You might feel pain physically, but you're telling me you won't suffer. What in the hell is the difference? If your squirming and screaming in pain, I believe that qualifies as suffering. This philosophy seems to blame the victim for things. For example, I was raped as a child. You're basically saying that the reason I suffered was because I was too attached to not being raped?? Maybe that's not what's being said here, but I find that to be ludicrous and remarkably illogical and insensitive. After discovering Buddhism, I actually felt a sense of guilt for my own suffering, which in turn made me feel worse.

Anything else to add or is this philosophy just not for me?
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 31, 2013 1:22 am

Perhaps it's not for you then, people have given some good answers, you lack a basic understanding of Buddhist doctrine, and don't seem interested in correcting it. There is not much anyone can do you for if you insist on portraying your own misconceptions as being what Buddhism actually teaches. No one is advocating the things you are talking about, and no form of Buddhism does so. There are so many things that incorrect above it would be a task to even start correcting them, it's basically a big list of common misunderstandings.

If you are really interested the next step is probably to find a sangha and teacher to further explain things, if not...maybe take a step back and look at other paths. Pick up a book as recommended etc.., most users likely don't want to sit here and refute strawman arguments about Buddhism all day, nor explain basic doctrine. It's no offense to you, but this site is not a place to get handed answers about "what Buddhists believe" per se I don't think, and I imagine it will be a small minority of people interested in that kind of activity, being that this is a Buddhist site, most are past the point of wanting to convince others or spend endless debate on "Buddhism VS. X" arguments, or on the validity of Buddhism itself.

Whatever the case, if you are experiencing that kind of severe depression, you need to get real help, it may be that Buddhism provides none for you, if so then look elsewhere, counseling, another religion, whatever, and don't be afraid to ask people for resources on that, going through lin a depressed state is miserable..I remember not wanting to get out of bed or see other people some days during my bouts of it.


Well let's say I'm behind on bills and about to lose my house. The bank does not "let go", the landlord does not "let go", the insurance company does not "let go".....but if I'm doing this philosophy the right way, then apparently I shouldn't care....I shouldn't suffer because according to Buddhism, suffering is a choice.


Those things are not suffering itself, what you experience as a result of attachment to those things is. It's not that you shouldn't care, and let's face it..most of us are not far enough along by any means that we don't suffer, but practice alleviates some of the clinging, and allows one to "walk evenly over the uneven", it is never easy. So technically it is a choice in some sense, but it is a choice that the majority of beings from the beginning of time have made, it's the choice the vast majority of people in society make by valuing the things they do, and not valuing the things they don't etc. Suffering is the default setting of existence, but you can edit your preferences to something else...that's what the Noble Truths teach.

So yes, being a Buddhist to some degree will change your view on what is important, but that does not mean nothing matters by any means. The Buddhists I look up to most are those that actually spend a majority of their time helping others, and who (near as one can tell with another person) experience more genuine contentment with life than most people i've met.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby LastLegend » Fri May 31, 2013 2:05 am

CMP wrote:And that's what I meant when I said that meditation made me feel as if I was wasting time. I relaxed a bit, sure. But if there's some magic button to turn my brain off, I'd love to hear about it. Because you can never completely stop thinking. The point of meditation is supposed to be to "let go" of your attachments to things.

Well let's say I'm behind on bills and about to lose my house. The bank does not "let go", the landlord does not "let go", the insurance company does not "let go".....but if I'm doing this philosophy the right way, then apparently I shouldn't care....I shouldn't suffer because according to Buddhism, suffering is a choice.


1)Dude, if you are losing your house meditation will not get your house back. Those problems are you have to take care on your own.

2)Letting go is a learning/practice. If everyone can just let go, there is no need for meditation and all of that.

And that's where I think this is pure BS. Can ask a question? If suffering is truly a choice, then can I drive a nail through your skull? Will someone volunteer? You might feel pain physically, but you're telling me you won't suffer. What in the hell is the difference? If your squirming and screaming in pain, I believe that qualifies as suffering. This philosophy seems to blame the victim for things. For example, I was raped as a child. You're basically saying that the reason I suffered was because I was too attached to not being raped?? Maybe that's not what's being said here, but I find that to be ludicrous and remarkably illogical and insensitive. After discovering Buddhism, I actually felt a sense of guilt for my own suffering, which in turn made me feel worse.


1) I think your question has been addressed. Suffering is sometimes a choice and sometimes not. A choice is for example, you choose to drink and give yourself health problems. If you are born into a poor family, that's not quite an choice. But it was a result of your past doing/karma. EVERYONE WILL SUFFER UNTIL THEY ARE LIBERATED.

2) I hope you are aware that your are venting your frustration that life problems throw at you.

Anything else to add or is this philosophy just not for me?


If you expect it to solve all your problems instantly then, there is no such philosophy.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

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―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby dakini_boi » Fri May 31, 2013 4:51 am

CMP wrote:Anything else to add or is this philosophy just not for me?


Your questions are very reasonable. I have struggled with similar ideas. Be patient for a bit.

What Buddhist teachings have you received? You know, there are so many ways the dharma can be taught. Some of them appear to present reality in ways that totally contradict others. I had to educate myself on a variety of teachings from different schools of Buddhism to get more complete an idea of what the "message" is. If I had stopped before hearing certain teachings, I would have certainly concluded that Buddhism wasn't for me.

So, what is it that inspired you to try meditation to begin with?
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby lobster » Fri May 31, 2013 6:28 am

CMP wrote:I want honest answers


No you don't.

You want to believe that Buddhism will drive everyone to suicidal Nihilism after two months of practice. That Buddhism is a form of lobotomy and a vent for your issues.
Buddhism allows us to confront our dishonesty. It brought you to the brink of death. Too powerful for immature wimps?

Let me know if you need an honest answer :smile:
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby Seishin » Fri May 31, 2013 10:51 am

CMP,

The concepts of you describe could only have brought you to suicide if you had been suicidal before you looked at them. So I second Jikan's post. GET HELP.

Either that or you're not suicidal at all but rather are trying to disprove Buddhism. This won't work because you've completely misunderstood basic Buddhist concepts.

1) Life isn't suffering, life comes with DUKKHA. Please read and study this concept which is different to the English term "suffering".

2) You don't choose to become attached. Attachments are like habbits, you can make a concious decision to let go of attachments but like a habbit, it's very very difficult to break.

3) Pain is different to Dukkha, "suffering" is a mistranslation of Dukkha. The Buddha felt pain, but didn't have dukkha.

4) Living in the moment means to not worry about the future and not lament over the past. It's like watching a film you've always wanted to watch but you can't stop thinking about the ending or what happened right at the start. Before you know it, the film is over and you've missed it. It doesn't mean you shouldn't plan for the future and it doesn't mean you shouldn't remember the past.

5) "Trying to meditate" for two months is a drop in the ocean. Who's taught you to meditate? If no-one, how do you know you're doing it right? When you meditate you are trying to let your thoughts pass, not grasp hold of them. Imagine a glass of muddy water; if you allow the glass and the water to remain still, over time the dirt will fall to the bottom of the glass and you'll be left with crystal clear water on top. This is what you're trying to do whilst meditating. When you're mind is crystal clear, the above concepts will make complete sense.

6) Don't read Mooji and Eckhart Tolle. Try Thich Nhat Hanh, or The Dalai Lama.

7) Suicide is not the answer. Get some help if you're suicidal.

Gassho,
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby mandala » Fri May 31, 2013 4:12 pm

CMP wrote:Anything else to add or is this philosophy just not for me?


It's not a philosophy - it's hard work,study and critical thinking that needs to be put into practice - and right now, I don't think it's for you.

You don't understand the basics, which is why you've got an entirely wrong and very dangerous view.

It's clear that you're NOT open to honest answers; they don't make sense to you because your starting definitions are absurd.

If you're intelligent as you claim to be, you'd go to a Buddhist Centre and sit on some introduction classes.
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby duckfiasco » Fri May 31, 2013 7:38 pm

Meditation for me has never been about having an experience or becoming superman. Meditation has been a way to see what my mind does, but am totally unaware of 95% of my waking life. That's because I'm usually distracted and running on autopilot. When these habits heap on the suffering, isn't it to your advantage to sit down, undistracted, and see just what's going on upstairs? Then if you see just one way that your mind has been sort of tricking itself into misery, even just once, you will have benefited. For me, one common thing I do is think myself into isolation, feeling cut off from the world, then I wallow in a feeling of loneliness and nihilism. But seeing that it comes and goes, that the feeling was made by a specific kind of thinking, makes me less worried when the feeling comes up again. It, too, will pass. Without meditation, I might keep myself in that dark mental space for a lot longer. In fact before I found Buddhism, I was stuck there for months at a time. I was suicidal nearly every day, but didn't tell anybody. Buddhism for me was what got me out of it. However, if you are currently suicidal, you should seek help immediately. Don't be like the man struck by the arrow who insists on knowing who shot it, why, his age, who his parents were, and all that before thinking to remove it. Once the potential of self-harm has been relieved, you might consider that perhaps things haven't lined up in the books you're reading or the people you've met for a gate into Buddhism to become apparent.

And as someone who is very much fascinated with intellectual theories and philosophies, I can assure you Buddhism will not disappoint... if that's REALLY what you need. Just read anything on codependent arising, the eight consciousnesses, or emptiness. You can tie your brain into beautiful knots just thinking away all day. But if it doesn't address your own suffering, it's not the right teaching for you at the moment. When our suffering is very large or caused by blatant defilements like being angry with others, disillusioned with life, self-loathing, anything like this, we need to work with that first. Buddhism has very practical, direct methods for such things.

The kinds of subtle philosophy you say you want are only beneficial when your suffering has also become subtle. The Buddha said, "One thing and one thing only do I teach: suffering and how to end suffering". So don't try to swallow the elephant whole. It'll make you sick. Use one tiny drop of teachings to help one symptom of your suffering. Then if it proves effective for you, try another simple teaching. This is in fact what the Buddha said we should do, bit by bit, piece by piece, starting where we are, even if that feels like kindergarten. What else are you going to do?? Try advanced calculus then get frustrated when nothing makes sense?

From one skeptic to another, one of the biggest lessons you may need to learn and always grapple with is to see your interior voice of reason that never shuts up as just another thought. We need to learn a new relationship with our skepticism instead of being enslaved to it. Sometimes useful, sometimes not, coming from who knows where going who knows where. Don't ignore your intellect, but if you make that the base of your being, your emotional, intuitive mind and especially the part that cultivates a relational, loving approach to the world will atrophy and you will suffer even more as a whole.

I recommend these books if you want to give things an earnest try again. And please, always feel free to ask questions, no matter what they are. That's how we learn, even if the answer is painful and unwanted, like resetting a broken bone in our arm.

The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching - Thich Nhat Hanh. This covers all the basics with TNH's characteristic warm style. And towards the end are lots of chapters on some heady, complex philosophy if your thinking mind needs a challenge. This might be the best inroad to Buddhism for you, from what I can tell in your posts.
Mindfulness in Plain English - Henepola Gunaratana. A wonderfully gradual introduction into basic mindfulness of the breath. This book changed my life. You can find a free and legal copy online at http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/mindfuln ... nglish.pdf but I prefer a physical copy :)
Being Nobody, Going Nowhere - Ayya Khema. Written by a Jew who fled Nazi Germany and became a Buddhist nun, Ayya Khema has a pithy no-nonsense style that you might appreciate. It's a really great introduction to Buddhism, especially as applied in our daily lives.

I hope that helps. It would be very unfortunate if you came into contact with something as potentially wonderful and helpful as the Dharma then cast it aside because of a misunderstanding. Good luck!
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Re: Questions about Buddhism?

Postby asunthatneversets » Fri May 31, 2013 9:14 pm

CMP wrote:...I even agree that suffering comes from desire. But how is it possible to stop desiring things? Even the desire to eradicate desire is a desire itself...


Very clever of you! That is the point, to realize that. Alan Watts discusses it here:

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