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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 10:13 pm 
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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.


The idea is to eventually understand that we are nothing but attachments and aversions. You as the psychosomatic individual you are, are a collection of attachments, 'I like this', 'I don't like that', 'this is good', 'that is bad' etc., the Dharma is suggesting that you inquire into the nature of "I", or "me", what are you, who are you. Not who are you in the everyday conventional sense, but what is it that constitutes 'you'? Is there anything behind the habits? Or is there just habits, if you say there is something more than habits, where is it? The illusion of an individual entity arises out of attachment and aversion, if you can resolve attachment and aversion, which is to say resolve the illusion of 'selfhood', then that is liberation.

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?


The suffering is more so the reactionary, or emotional torment that arises in relation to events and experience. Physical pain isn't exactly what is being referenced in the case of 'suffering'. Suffering is the throes of mental and emotional torment, negative mind states etc. In the most basic sense, we do suffer out of resistance to life, we resist 'what is' and when that occurs we suffer mentally or emotionally. That doesn't mean to throw out resistance altogether, conventional resistance is a useful tool in life. But be aware of that process, what is going on, what is occurring. On the coarse level, don't allow yourself to be a slave to spontaneous subconscious reactions, be mindful of the implications of your reactions, how it makes you feel when you reject something, and if you didn't would you still feel the same way?

On a more subtle level, yes suffering is indeed also addressing physicality, but those realizations only come through increased realization. As Dudjom Lingpa discusses here:

"Still, you might protest that it is unreasonable to hold that the body and the rest of the world have never existed as anything other than mere sensory appearances, since those who understand the empty nature of their bodies still feel pain when touched by fire or water or when struck by arrows, spears, clubs and so forth. The answer to this is the fact that as long as you have not arrived at the state of basic space [space being a metaphor for awakened wisdom] in which phenomena resolve within their true nature, dualistic appearances do not subside, and as long as they have not subsided, beneficial and harmful appearances occur without interruption. In actuality though, even the fires of hell do not burn."

CMP wrote:
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 more so a matter of being aware of what is going on presently. Not being caught up in thought, thinking about the past, regretting, resentment, longing etc., not thinking about the future, what might come to be, what will happen if such and such does or doesn't occur etc (essentially addressing fear). The idea is to see that the past and the future are merely presently arising thoughts, you cannot access the past nor the future, you are only here now. So dwelling in thought, is essentially dreaming more or less, being distracted in possibilities, potentialities etc.

This individual [Atmananda] wasn't a Buddhist, but his insight is essentially the same as that which we would find in questioning 'time' through being present:

"Time is believed to be composed of the past, present and future. Of these three, the past is past only in reference to the present and the present is present only in relation to the past, future is future only in reference to the present. So all three being interdependent, even for their very existence, it has to be admitted by sheer force of logic that none of them are real. Therefore, time is not.

Experience is the only criterion by which the reality of anything can be decided. Of the three categories of time, past and future are not experienced by any, except when they appear in the present. Then it can be considered only as present. Even this present - when minutely examined - reduces itself into a moment which slips into the past before you begin to perceive it, just like a geometrical point. It is nobody's experience. It is only a compromise between past and future as a meeting point. Thus the present itself being only imaginary, past and future are equally so. Therefore, time is not."


So your present wakefulness is always in this immediacy, everything happens 'right now'... wherever you are or whatever you do, it is always 'right now'. Time, comes into being when thoughts (which seem to be recalling a previous happening) arise in this present moment and this thought (called memory) is then said to be commenting on 'the past'. However, all that is occurring, is an image arising 'right now' which seems to be representing another time. Likewise, thoughts which seem to be projecting events which have not yet come to pass, arise in this present moment and this thought (called an aspiration, hope or fear) is then said to be about 'the future'. However, all that is occurring, is an image arising 'right now' which seems to be representing another time. Lastly, this present moment, is only the present moment in relation to the past and future, the past and future only being presently arising thoughts are never experienced as actual 'times' so therefore the present cannot be the present and time is seen as empty.

If you delve deeply into being present, it can be apperceived that every "moment" is the first moment that has ever been. However a 'first moment' would imply second and third, it's not the first, or the last, nor anywhere in between. It's an utterly timeless immediacy (And even 'the immediate' only exists in reference to the non-immediate, and is therefore negated as anything inherent).

CMP wrote:
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?


It takes time to gain experience from meditation, however experience isn't exactly the point. Here are some good meditation instructions from Dudjom Rinpoche...

Instruction on Meditation By Dudjom Rinpoche:

Since everything originates in the mind, this being the root cause of all experience, whether “good” or “bad”, it is first of all necessary to work with your own mind, not to let it stray and lose yourself in its wandering. Cut the unnecessary build-up of complexity and fabrications which invite confusion in the mind. Nip the problem in the bud, so to speak.

Allow yourself to relax and feel some spaciousness, letting mind be to settle naturally. Your body should be still, speech silent, and breathing as it is, freely flowing. Here, there is a sense of letting go, unfolding, letting be.

What does this state of relaxation feel like? You should be like someone after a really hard day’s work, exhausted and peacefully satisfied, mind contented to rest. Something settles at gut level, and feeling it resting in your gut you begin to experience a lightness. It is as if you’re melting.

The mind is so unpredictable – there’s no limit to the fantastic and subtle creation which arise, its moods, and where it will lead you. But you might also experience a muddy, semi-conscious drifting state, like having a hood over your head – a kind of dreamy dullness.

This is a manner of stillness, namely stagnation, a blurred, mindless blindness. And how do you get out of this state? Alert yourself, straighten your back, breathe the stale air out of your lungs, and direct your awareness into clear space in order to bring about freshness. If you remain in this stagnant state you will not evolve, so when this setback arises clear it again and again. It is important to develop watchfulness, to stay sensitively alert.

So, the lucid awareness of meditation is the recognition of both stillness and change, and the quiet clarity of peacefully remaining in our basic intelligence. Practice this, for only by actually doing it does one experience the fruition or begin to change.

View in Action

During meditation one’s mind, being evenly settled in its own natural way, is like still water, unruffled by ripple or breeze, and as any thought or change arises in that stillness it forms, like a wave in the ocean, and disappears back into it again. Left naturally, it dissolves; naturally.

Whatever turbulence of mind erupts- if you let it be – it will of its own course play itself out, liberate itself; and thus the view arrived at through meditation is that whatever appears is none other than the self display or projection of the mind.

In continuing the perspective of this view into the activities and events of everyday life, the grasp of dualistic perception of the world as solid, fixed and tangible reality (which is the root cause of our problems) begins to loosen and dissolves. Mind is like the wind. It comes and goes; and through increasing certainty in this view one begins to appreciate the humor of the situation.

Things start to feel somewhat unreal, and the attachment and importance which one signifies to events begin to seem ridiculous, or at any rate lighthearted.

Thus one develops the ability to dissolve perception by continuing the flowing awareness of meditation into everyday life, seeing everything as the self-manifest play of the mind. And immediately after sitting meditation, the continuation of this awareness is helped by doing what

you have to do calmly and quietly, with simplicity and without agitation. So in a sense everything is like a dream, illusory, but even so humorously one goes on doing things. If you are walking, for instance, without unnecessary solemnity or self-consciousness, but lightheartedly walk towards the open space of suchness, truth. When you eat, be the stronghold of truth, what is. As you eat, feed the negativities and illusions into the belly of emptiness, dissolving them into space; and when you are pissing consider all your obscurations and blockages are being cleansed and washed away.

So far I have told you the essence of the practice in a nutshell, but you must realize that as long as we continue to see the world in a dualistic way, until we are really free of attachment and negativity, and have dissolved all our outer perceptions into the purity of the empty nature of mind, we are still stuck in the relative world of “good” and “bad”, “positive” and “negative”actions, and we must respect these laws and be mindful and responsible for our actions.

Post Meditation

After formal sitting meditation, in everyday activities continue this light spacious awareness throughout and gradually awareness will be strengthened and inner confidence will grow.

Rise calmly from meditation; don’t immediately jump up or rush about, but whatever your activity, preserve a light sense of dignity and poise and do what you have to do with ease and relaxation of mind and body. Keep your awareness lightly centered and don’t allow your attention to be distracted. Maintain this find thread of mindfulness and awareness, just flow.

Whether walking, sitting, eating or going to sleep, have a sense of ease and presence of mind. With respect to other people, be honest, gentle and straightforward; generally be pleasant in your manner, and avoid getting carried away with talk and gossip. Whatever you do, in fact, do it according to the Dharma which is the way of quieting the mind and subjugating negativities.


CMP wrote:
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.


'The white space in your head where there's no desire' is not the point, nor is it even anything which is an aspect of these teachings. We aren't trying to create detached robots in the dharma, but happy people! Early in my path, I too spent some time with Eckhart Tolle and Mooji, however I didn't interpret their teachings in the way you seem to be. If their teachings aren't resonating with you, then perhaps some other teachers would be better.

Suicide is never, ever, ever the answer. It is a permanent solution to a temporary hardship. My younger brother suffered from debilitating suicidal depression some years ago, and he made it through and is doing wonderful now. While he was sick, he could not see beyond that fog of depression, he had to be hospitalized on numerous occasions because we feared that he would harm himself. So while I do not know your own experience, I have some semblance of an idea of what you are going through, from an objective perspective of course. These teachings are helpful, and they are wonderful, they have improved my life vastly and though I personally haven't struggled with depression, I have been able to sever negative and afflictive emotions through meditation and inquiry, and I am very content with life. The same is available to you, there is no difference between you or I, or you and anyone else. When we strip away our life circumstances and life situations, we are all sentient beings which function in the same way, so application of these teachings, and meditation for you can bring results if you want them to. It may take some time of course, and there must be the desire to be earnest and apply yourself, but it can pay off if you allow it to. I know you don't know me, and I am not a teacher, but if you ever need someone to talk to you can send me a message anytime. Please hang in there, and please try and get some help!


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 11:03 pm 
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CMP wrote:
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.


'Thinking too much' is not the issue, thinking, assessing, reasoning etc., are all wonderful tools which help us to navigate our experiences and should not be rejected. When the dharma suggests that you 'still the mind' (which isn't even a necessary requirement), the reason for doing so is because a lot of the time, the tool we call 'thought', can begin to overwhelm our experience and get out of control. The philosophy isn't to reject the intellect, not at all, honestly if you inquire into the rejection of the intellect, it is only the intellect rejecting itself, so that is not the point. If you have a strong preference for logic and reasoning, then there is no reason to create an aversion to that. Again, that point is to inquire into your experience. Stopping thoughts is not the point of meditation, half of meditation is to discover that we are not our thoughts, and then the other half is to discover that we (as "I") are nothing but a thought, whereby we can discover that the cognizant capacity which is functioning in every instance of our experience, is precisely what we mistake to be an objective universe (more or less).

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.


Half of attempting to stop thought, is discovering that it is impossible. The 'entity' which wants to stop thought, is thought itself. So it is 'a futility married to an illusion' as Alan Watts put it. The point of meditation is to discover your authentic nature, and attachment obfuscates that discovery. Recognition of our nature requires skillful means, because if it is 'the self' that is in the way, how can the self get rid of the self? Part of meditation is inquiry into these things, analysis of oneself and our experience, because it is not what we take it to be.

CMP wrote:
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.


By all means handle your relative circumstances, ignoring our life circumstances and what is happening in our daily lives doesn't solve anything and accomplishes nothing. It's not that you shouldn't care, but that you (if you apply the teachings) will find that your life is easier, your own experience will be easier to deal with. It won't magically resolve your relative issues, but how you relate to those issues will be drastically improved. So it's not that you shouldn't care and that suffering is a choice, but that how you relate to your experience is something which is manageable and subject to improvement/change for the better.

CMP wrote:
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.


The philosophy doesn't blame the victim for anything, but is a way to empower yourself. Truly it isn't a philosophy at all, because it's not a collection of intellectual notions one adopts and hangs onto like other dogmatic traditions or religions. The point is to apply the teachings to your direct experience, and actually improve your experience. Not in the sense of an opiate, like everything is ok because Jesus loves me, that doesn't solve anything apart from making someone feel better about things on a small scale. The point of Buddhism is to experientially change your life, actually discover a decrease in suffering, on the large scale even become liberated. This 'philosophy' puts you behind the drivers seat, and says you yourself can improve your experience. The Buddha left teachings for you to follow for experiential application, not dogma for you to believe. It may take some time for the teachings to be actualized, I know for myself it took some time. In the beginning I did have doubt, but I remained earnest and was fortunate to have some realizations which showed that the dharma is real, and that liberation is real.

CMP wrote:
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?


No one (nor the Dharma) is saying that you suffered because you were too attached to not being raped. Not at all. There's no reason to feel guilt for your suffering. The dharma will only ask that you inquire into your experience. The past cannot be changed, but you have the power to change today, for a better tomorrow. The point isn't to become insensitive or detached via suppression or rejection, all that will do is bury those patterns which reify suffering in your present experience. The dharma may however ask that you evaluate your experience, look at yourself, discover what patterns, habitual tendencies etc., cause these events of the past to plague your current experience. Not in the sense that it's anything you're doing, or anything you should feel guilty of, that isn't the point, nor is it helpful. This is part of the message that 'being present' is attempting to help with, if we can be present, we can notice how residual traces of the past may creep up on us through certain proclivities and habits in thinking, behavior etc. No one is saying you are at fault, nor is anyone suggesting you deny the trauma you suffered, but to inquire into how that trauma is replaying, resurfacing, thriving in your condition, so that you can eventually be free of that stigma. You are not at fault in any way and should not feel guilty, these things are what Buddhism calls karmic propensities, traces etc., which act out subconsciously and plague your experience. There's nothing you are doing that you should feel guilty for, but Buddhism can help to bring these subconscious tendencies to the surface so that they are no longer playing out behind the scenes. So don't feel responsible for these things, but look at the dharma as a possibility, to now bring an end to the processes which are creating this vicious loop you are caught in.

May you find peace and happiness.
For the benefit and liberation of all sentient beings.


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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 11:36 pm 
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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.


This is really inaccurate, life is suffering because of clinging and attachment, with meditation practice and a real understanding of what causes attachment, you can reduce suffering, and at some point eliminate it. Trust me I understand where your coming from, life can be painful, and in most cases it is. However when you stop clinging to how bad life is, it's really not so bad.

For example, when your mind is focused on how shitty the world is, you will feel awful. The entire point of meditation is to learn to refocus your mind, to stop clinging to thoughts, emotions, and ideas that harm you. Yes, if you are in physical pain thing's can seem bad, but what about when you feel fine? Will you continue being miserable because pain is inevitable?

So, right now I feel fine, why can't I just relax and be happy with things as they are right now? rather than being upset or angry over the past, or about something in the future. That's all being in the present moment means.

_________________
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:27 am 
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CMP wrote:
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?



You're asking some tough minded questions, and I don't blame you for not being satisfied with theoretical answers. We can talk about them later, but I want to set them aside for now.
I have a good deal of respect for your powers of reasoning.
I also see a lof of myself in you, both in your philosophic objections and the suffering you're facing.
You're suffering. Too much, it sounds like. Practice and study are not enough to end suffering. You also have to take action and take control of your life, to the best of your ability.
I understand that you're really bummed, but I hope you're not serious about wanting to kill yourself. I know you only said you felt like it, but it's the blog's policy and mine to take any mention of it seriously.
I'm taking a personal interest in you. If you will agree to call someone any time you have serious thoughts of suicide, I'll teach you all I can.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:51 am 
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Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?
While over 450 members of Dharma wheel composed some of their best works ever written on CMP's thread, he remained in the hundred acre wood reading The Power of Now and becoming ever more depressed about why he could not understand this great Buddhist Master Eckhart Tolle.

How poor is our merit that we can't hook him in even a bit?


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:26 am 
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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.

Now I understand. You are truly in hell. I have some idea what you're going through. I've worked with a lot of people who are suffering, and some of them have had that happen to them. All I'm going to say is I understand.
You don't need philosophy, you need compassion and a listening ear. I'm listening.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:07 am 
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If your inclination is philosophy, try looking into Madhyamaka, the Middle Way. Its the king of all philosophies in my opinion.

Suffering is not your fault. Nor is it mine. Its just a fact of existence, and this is why Buddha chose this as his first teaching, the Four Noble Truths. I have to contend with it as you do, as we all do.

However, it is our burden to bear because we have no other choice. If suffering originated from anywhere else besides within us, then how do we explain why we suffer when we are alone by ourselves late at night, dwelling on things that have hurt us? If someone has hurt us in the past and we feel pain for it now, by what logic or reasoning can we really say "they are hurting me now" when in reality that person might even be dead, if not hundreds or thousands of miles away. If suffering cannot be eliminated by addressing it where it stands, which is within our own minds, then how can we ever hope to be free from it? Furthermore if you say suffering originates from what happens to us, or what others do to us, then how can we explain why people react differently to the same events that cause suffering? Since similar events cause different people different amounts and kinds of suffering, we can see that suffering has no external, objective existence. Rather it is an internal process, subjective, arising from within us, and the intensity of that experience depends entirely on our own perceptions and beliefs about suffering when it arises. We did not ask for it, but there it is.

So we are caught in a dillema. We suffer, and it might not be our own fault, but it is definitely happening to us. Its manifesting in us, in our own minds, and we only have two choices. Address it and seek to learn how to cut it off at its root, or ignore it and let it proliferate and take over our lives. We can try to apply external remedies, but these are only temporary bandages because the pain isn't coming from outside, its coming from within.

The teaching on karma where its said that whatever happens to us is a result of our own karma is not meant to place blame on us. It is meant to inspire us to take responsibility for our own suffering in the sense that its our own because it is a part of our own mind, and therefore inseparable from our own true nature, from what we are. Literally nobody else can do this for us, if they could there are many beings who would. What would be detrimental would be to tell you that you can cure your suffering by doing anything other than addressing your own mind, such a view is folly. Even Therapy is specifically designed to address whats happening in your mind, the drugs they administer merely try to calm the minds agitation on a physiological level by moderating different chemicals, but in itself without therapy drugs will not end suffering because without them the suffering returns, if it ever even goes away.

All I can say to conclude is that if you are honest about your pursuit to end suffering, the Dharma is the most effective. It has been so effective for me that I can say without any hesitation that I would if I could take on all of your negative experiences into myself, as though they were my own, freeing you completely. Since I cannot do that for you, its my hope that you will learn to do it for yourself and experience the freedom, clarity and joy that you innately possess but just haven't yet realized.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:01 pm 
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dude wrote:
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.

No, that is BS. None of us will volunteer, because we all know that we will suffer. While it is impossible to be certain, I think we can agree with a fairly high degree of certainty that none of us here is fully enlightened. So every one of us suffers when one of our attachments is activated. A fully enlightened being would not suffer himself, but might still refuse your experiment out of concern for the suffering it would cause to others.
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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??
There is no notion of "too" attached in Buddhism. The idea of "too much" attachment, implying an excess over some unspecified ideal, is a non-Buddhist addition to politicize the discussion along the lines of "blaming the victim".

There is simply attachment. Maybe yours is more than mone; maybe not. There is no way to tell, and it doesn't matter anyway. You have attachments and so do I. And we both suffer as a result of them. That is all.

Om manni padme hum
Keith


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 2:39 pm 
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Nilasarasvati wrote:
While over 450 members of Dharma wheel composed some of their best works ever written on CMP's thread, he remained in the hundred acre wood reading The Power of Now and becoming ever more depressed about why he could not understand this great Buddhist Master Eckhart Tolle.

How poor is our merit that we can't hook him in even a bit?


People believe what they want to believe. Sometimes reasoning isn't the best approach. Sometimes it is.

I think dude's on the right track in this respect: when someone's suffering, the best thing is to be there and listen.

I can say that if listening to people like Tolle can make someone suicidal, then maybe listening to people like Tolle isn't the wisest thing to do.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 4:34 pm 
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Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?
I have a lot of choice words about Eckhart Tolle, but until now I never heard of anybody getting really harmfully misguided by him. I mean...he's not really responsible but still. You dilute and rehash the teachings until they are barely recognizable and repackage them as if you invented them, had no teacher and there's no tradition behind them...


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:14 pm 
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Nilasarasvati wrote:
I have a lot of choice words about Eckhart Tolle, but until now I never heard of anybody getting really harmfully misguided by him. I mean...he's not really responsible but still.

I have no dog in this fight ... but, to offer a different perspective:
Quote:
You dilute and rehash the teachings until they are barely recognizable

Dilution and rehashing (in more contemporary terms) might be an effective way of reaching more people.

Quote:
and repackage them as if you invented them,

I don't think Tolle claims he invented any of this. His readers/listeners might well create that story out of their need to deify authority.

Quote:
and there's no tradition behind them...

Tradition is not important to everyone. In fact, a convincing argument could be made that tradition would only get in the way of Tolle's very simple message: Be present.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:15 pm 
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Good point Nilasarasvati. I should have chosen my words differently when I said:

Jikan wrote:
I can say that if listening to people like Tolle can make someone suicidal, then maybe listening to people like Tolle isn't the wisest thing to do.


Better way to put it: If you find that listening to Tolle*, for instance, can lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings, then it's better to leave Tolle (or whomever it is) aside for a while.

*or Black Sabbath. Or Patsy Cline. Or whatever it is that gets you down.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:20 pm 
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rachmiel wrote:
Nilasarasvati wrote:
I have a lot of choice words about Eckhart Tolle, but until now I never heard of anybody getting really harmfully misguided by him. I mean...he's not really responsible but still.

I have no dog in this fight ... but, to offer a different perspective:
Quote:
You dilute and rehash the teachings until they are barely recognizable

Dilution and rehashing (in more contemporary terms) might be an effective way of reaching more people.

Quote:
and repackage them as if you invented them,

I don't think Tolle claims he invented any of this. His readers/listeners might well create that story out of their need to deify authority.

Quote:
and there's no tradition behind them...

Tradition is not important to everyone. In fact, a convincing argument could be made that tradition would only get in the way of Tolle's very simple message: Be present.


Tolle may be reaching people, but reaching them with what? It's debatable if he's helping or not in the way he's promoting his product line. What does the "simple message" of being present leave out?

It's true that he's repackaging some aspects of an ancient tradition, and marketing them with his own brand on it. This means, in effect, that he is profiting on the intellectual labor of many generations of practitioners, back to and inclusive of Shakyamuni Buddha, which he has no right to claim. I think this is theft.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:35 pm 
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CMP wrote:
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.

...

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


To be blunt, the problem you're having is you are NOT "thinking too much". You're not thinking - you want someone to just answer all your questions, and you confuse your questions and cynicism for logic and reason. You've skimmed the surface of Buddhism and are confusing your initial impressions with understanding. Philosophers spend years and decades studying and learning different philosophies and what they mean. They develop an understanding of philosophical thoughts, whether they agree with them or totally reject them. They learn the context for different thoughts. Then they spend years to formulate and express their own thoughts. You've spent a couple of months on an entire philosophy and have decided because it doesn't make sense to you, that it doesn't make sense at all.

You need to spend time to understand the different ideas within Buddhism. They do make sense. As people here have already pointed out, the understanding that comes from Buddhism is fundamentally different than what you've come up with. In simple terms, you've come to wrong conclusions. People here are showing you the correct interpretations. What you are describing isn't Buddhism.

Once you understand Buddhism for what it is, you may still decide it's not for you. That's okay. There are some well known Western scholars that have left Buddhism. Here's a thread discussing Paul Williams, a well know Buddhist scholar who returned to Catholicism http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=11675. But reject Buddhism for what Buddhism actually is, don't reject something that isn't Buddhism but call it Buddhism. Here's a simple metaphor - let's say you don't like green apples. That's okay, but if you say you don't like green apples because you don't believe in eating meat, then that's illogical.

When we are trying to learn things, we need to be open to the people who are trying to share and give insight. You are stuck right now on this idea that you already know what Buddhism is and you already "know" that it doesn't make sense. That is not a reflection of a person who has a strong preference for logic and reason.

I wish you the best on your journey.

:namaste:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 5:50 pm 
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Jikan wrote:
Tolle may be reaching people, but reaching them with what? It's debatable if he's helping or not in the way he's promoting his product line. What does the "simple message" of being present leave out?

Tolle doesn't help everyone, fer sure. Buddhism also doesn't help everyone. But they both help some. Right?

Quote:
It's true that he's repackaging some aspects of an ancient tradition, and marketing them with his own brand on it. This means, in effect, that he is profiting on the intellectual labor of many generations of practitioners, back to and inclusive of Shakyamuni Buddha, which he has no right to claim. I think this is theft.

You make it sound like someone owns the dharma and has royalty rights. Truth is truth; who cares where it comes from?

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:22 pm 
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When Buddhism says life is suffering,
it refers to a state of constant dissatisfaction, restlessness, the opposite of perfect peace of mind.
You noticed this yourself when meditating.
That's the point of meditation, to gradually calm the mind.
Naturally, this is hard at first.
Why is that?

When Buddhism talks about non-attachment
it doesn't mean you can't love, or enjoy life's wonders.
It simply means that becoming attached to things which do not last
cannot bring lasting peace of mind.
I love my big German Shepherd dog
and I will be miserable on his last day with me.

Buddhism teaches how to be happy without depending on happiness
and how to be sad without dwelling in sadness.

When Buddhism talks about desire
it doesn't say to stop wanting things.
Go out and enjoy life. Play with your dog.
But consider, do you love your dog because of who your dog is
or are you attached to some fixed idea of your dog,
that only comes from your own imagination?

When Buddhism says suffering is a product of the mind
it means that outside of the mind,
where does one's suffering exist?
You cannot change all of the conditions of the painful world which you describe
but you can change your experience from one of anger or confusion, or victimization
to one of compassion and clarity
and actually benefit not only yourself, but countless beings.

Believe it or not,
Suffering begins and ends in the mind.
You cannot control what others do to you
but you can control your own mind.
This does not mean that you can be happy being raped or having a nail in your skull.
But who is the one holding onto it now?
All beings suffer.
But you don't have to carry that pain with you your whole life.
Strangely enough,
one's own suffering is reduced
the moment one wishes for others to be free from suffering.

When Buddhism talks about living in the moment
it means not to dwell on the past or get lost pondering what may or may not happen.
Everything on the whole planet, is only happening right now, at this very second,
Constantly.
Nothing is happening in the past or in the future.
except in your own thoughts.
So, focusing on right now is of great benefit.
Which is a greater waste of time...
freeing the mind in the present moment
or constantly weighing it down with baggage from the past?

Don't expect anything from meditating.
Instead, expect nothing, if you sit long enough.
HOW NICE! You deserve a little vacation.
Every second of our lives we are chasing after things,
or trying to escape from things,
and always expecting things.
Even when we sleep, when we dream, the mind is busy.
That is what Buddhism means by "suffering".
Meditation gradually lets your mind relax.
Like pond water that has been stirred up, full of mud, you can't drink it. You can't wash with it.
But if you wait and let the mud settle, the water returns to its original clear state.
then it becomes usable again.
That's the mind in meditation.

If Mooji and Eckhart Tolle make you think of suicide,
stop listening to them. They are not Buddhist teachers.
Buddhism is not about suicide.
Properly understood, suicide is not the logical conclusion.
Suicide shuts everything down.
Buddhism opens everything up
....sometimes more than you want!

Two months is a good start.
Twenty-five years, maybe better.
Consider all of these doubts a good sign
that you are being truly honest with yourself
and keep meditating.
.
.
.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:53 pm 
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PadmaVonSamba wrote:
When Buddhism says life is suffering,
it refers to a state of constant dissatisfaction, restlessness, the opposite of perfect peace of mind.
You noticed this yourself when meditating.
That's the point of meditation, to gradually calm the mind.
Naturally, this is hard at first.
Why is that?

When Buddhism talks about non-attachment
it doesn't mean you can't love, or enjoy life's wonders.
It simply means that becoming attached to things which do not last
cannot bring lasting peace of mind.
I love my big German Shepherd dog
and I will be miserable on his last day with me.

Buddhism teaches how to be happy without depending on happiness
and how to be sad without dwelling in sadness.

When Buddhism talks about desire
it doesn't say to stop wanting things.
Go out and enjoy life. Play with your dog.
But consider, do you love your dog because of who your dog is
or are you attached to some fixed idea of your dog,
that only comes from your own imagination?

When Buddhism says suffering is a product of the mind
it means that outside of the mind,
where does one's suffering exist?
You cannot change all of the conditions of the painful world which you describe
but you can change your experience from one of anger or confusion, or victimization
to one of compassion and clarity
and actually benefit not only yourself, but countless beings.

Believe it or not,
Suffering begins and ends in the mind.
You cannot control what others do to you
but you can control your own mind.
This does not mean that you can be happy being raped or having a nail in your skull.
But who is the one holding onto it now?
All beings suffer.
But you don't have to carry that pain with you your whole life.
Strangely enough,
one's own suffering is reduced
the moment one wishes for others to be free from suffering.

When Buddhism talks about living in the moment
it means not to dwell on the past or get lost pondering what may or may not happen.
Everything on the whole planet, is only happening right now, at this very second,
Constantly.
Nothing is happening in the past or in the future.
except in your own thoughts.
So, focusing on right now is of great benefit.
Which is a greater waste of time...
freeing the mind in the present moment
or constantly weighing it down with baggage from the past?

Don't expect anything from meditating.
Instead, expect nothing, if you sit long enough.
HOW NICE! You deserve a little vacation.
Every second of our lives we are chasing after things,
or trying to escape from things,
and always expecting things.
Even when we sleep, when we dream, the mind is busy.
That is what Buddhism means by "suffering".
Meditation gradually lets your mind relax.
Like pond water that has been stirred up, full of mud, you can't drink it. You can't wash with it.
But if you wait and let the mud settle, the water returns to its original clear state.
then it becomes usable again.
That's the mind in meditation.

If Mooji and Eckhart Tolle make you think of suicide,
stop listening to them. They are not Buddhist teachers.
Buddhism is not about suicide.
Properly understood, suicide is not the logical conclusion.
Suicide shuts everything down.
Buddhism opens everything up
....sometimes more than you want!

Two months is a good start.
Twenty-five years, maybe better.
Consider all of these doubts a good sign
that you are being truly honest with yourself
and keep meditating.
.
.
.


:good:


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:21 pm 
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Location: Trāyastriṃśa. Just kidding. What a cool sanksrit word, huh?
Well I rejoice in any positive consequences that have come about because of Eckhart Tolle's teachings. I'm sure they've selfhelped tons and tons of people, many of whom I've talked to.

This is getting reminiscient of the whole intellectual-property rights vs. the spirit of giving freely of the Dharma thread.

Jikan wrote:
Tolle may be reaching people, but reaching them with what? It's debatable if he's helping or not in the way he's promoting his product line. What does the "simple message" of being present leave out?

It's true that he's repackaging some aspects of an ancient tradition, and marketing them with his own brand on it. This means, in effect, that he is profiting on the intellectual labor of many generations of practitioners, back to and inclusive of Shakyamuni Buddha, which he has no right to claim. I think this is theft.


rachmiel wrote:
You make it sound like someone owns the dharma and has royalty rights. Truth is truth; who cares where it comes from?


I agree Truth (with a capital T) belongs to absolutely everybody. Saying anything different would be like arguing Buddha Shakyamuni has a ® stamped all Sugatagarbhas. However, I think people misunderstand when Jikan argues that Eckhart Tolle's use of the teachings is "theft".

Because even though Patrul Rinpoche says:
The Dharma is nobody's property: it belongs to whomever has the most endeavor. WMPT pp. 13 ....there are some other thoughts I have:

Making the teachings more "palatable" but in the process becoming a multimillionare pop psych tycoon who has none of the structure or support of a discipline, lineage, or especially a Guru (or even a Bodhisattva! Or any kind of guide!) he can deflect his pride back to seems less and less and less like Dharma. So I think we can not only call it theft (because of it's selective/buffet table approach to the four seals and other indispensable aspects of the path) and even if we do still recognize some of it as Dharmic, perhaps mixed in with the general ideas or approaches of many other paths (Hindu, Sufi, etc) we can guess that it might severely mislead or harm some people if it does not have the correct intention (which admittedly, we can't judge).

Patrul Rinpoche also says:
"When Dharma is not practised according to Dharma, Dharma itself can lower rebirth." WMPT pp 236


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:56 pm 
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Nilasarasvati wrote:
Well I rejoice in any positive consequences that have come about because of Eckhart Tolle's teachings. I'm sure they've selfhelped tons and tons of people, many of whom I've talked to.

This is getting reminiscient of the whole intellectual-property rights vs. the spirit of giving freely of the Dharma thread.

Jikan wrote:
Tolle may be reaching people, but reaching them with what? It's debatable if he's helping or not in the way he's promoting his product line. What does the "simple message" of being present leave out?

It's true that he's repackaging some aspects of an ancient tradition, and marketing them with his own brand on it. This means, in effect, that he is profiting on the intellectual labor of many generations of practitioners, back to and inclusive of Shakyamuni Buddha, which he has no right to claim. I think this is theft.


rachmiel wrote:
You make it sound like someone owns the dharma and has royalty rights. Truth is truth; who cares where it comes from?


I agree Truth (with a capital T) belongs to absolutely everybody. Saying anything different would be like arguing Buddha Shakyamuni has a ® stamped all Sugatagarbhas. However, I think people misunderstand when Jikan argues that Eckhart Tolle's use of the teachings is "theft".

Because even though Patrul Rinpoche says:
The Dharma is nobody's property: it belongs to whomever has the most endeavor. WMPT pp. 13 ....there are some other thoughts I have:

Making the teachings more "palatable" but in the process becoming a multimillionare pop psych tycoon who has none of the structure or support of a discipline, lineage, or especially a Guru (or even a Bodhisattva! Or any kind of guide!) he can deflect his pride back to seems less and less and less like Dharma. So I think we can not only call it theft (because of it's selective/buffet table approach to the four seals and other indispensable aspects of the path) and even if we do still recognize some of it as Dharmic, perhaps mixed in with the general ideas or approaches of many other paths (Hindu, Sufi, etc) we can guess that it might severely mislead or harm some people if it does not have the correct intention (which admittedly, we can't judge).

Patrul Rinpoche also says:
"When Dharma is not practised according to Dharma, Dharma itself can lower rebirth." WMPT pp 236


Thank you for this posting. You've explained it more clearly and elegantly than I could have.

A bit more on this: I wouldn't describe Tolle's actions as theft if he wasn't profiting by them. If he were distributing his books and other items for free or accepting only donations and working a day job like the rest of us, then I would have no gripe with him. I think he's selling something he has no right to sell, and that is part of the problem with Tolle's presentation.

This is why I posed the question of what is left out of Tolle's adaptation of the Dharma. I'll answer that rhetorical question, because evidently it wasn't obvious to everyone: the precepts, for starters. Refuge. Bodhicitta. &c. Meditation or "being present" is an ambivalent technique, really: its application is informed by whatever frame is put around it. This is why, in Buddhism, you take refuge first, you cultivate bodhicitta, and then you apply the method with the intention to realize the heart of the teachings (which is the Heart of the Buddha). This is what separates Buddhists from, say, kamakaze pilots practicing zazen on their way to die for the Emperor (see B. Victoria's book, Zen at War), or the corporate scene of practicing mindfulness to extract more assets from the world and from labor.

And that is why I have reservations about Tolle.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:55 pm 
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It's true that no one owns Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism, or any of the other philosophies that Tolle pulls from.

But it seems like he sort of presents them as "agreeing" with his own insights..rather than coming out and saying his insights are derived largely from those philosophies..definitely a presentation that might raise some question for people.

Saying that one is influenced by Buddhism, and then saying "the Buddha's teachings agree with my philosophy" are way different.

So for me, what Tolle teaches seems fine, but the context it's taught in makes you wonder...

Seems like when you are part of a tradition, whatever your flaws, you acknowledge that whatever bit of realization you might have eeked out comes largely from that tradition. Talking like these traditions just sort of parallel insights you've discovered on your own seems like it adds a whole different tone to things, if it's true that fine. If it's not though, boy those are some big shoes to fill.

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Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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