Is spiritual progress worth it?

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Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby logank9 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:04 pm

I always get caught up on whether spiritual progression is worth it. You put in effort to it to gain higher happiness. In ordinary life you do just the same, just with material things you work towards. And oftentimes spiritually, you have to put in a lot more effort to gain that which is higher happiness than what ordinary people find. Is it really worth it or any more worth it than living as an ordinary person? Thoughts anyone? I'm lost today
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:09 pm

I think it is worth it. :smile:
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby logank9 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:26 pm

I just want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is. Because it just doesn't make sense to me why everyone wouldn't follow it. If it is the end all be all to highest happiness why isn't everyone spiritually improving themselves all the time?
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:31 pm

logank9 wrote:I just want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is. Because it just doesn't make sense to me why everyone wouldn't follow it. If it is the end all be all to highest happiness why isn't everyone spiritually improving themselves all the time?



Some people are not spiritual.
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http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:34 pm

if i only want the happiness of this life i wouldnt be interested into spiritual practice, but since spiritual practice is for happiness in the afterlife forwards there is defenitely benefit dedicating ones life to it. i guess you need to think that what is important to you, and try to think broader terms than only this life's possible happiness that you can get from ''things''.

also i would say that spiritual development will bring happiness in this life too since its an inner process compared to ''normal'' outer process of getting more happiness out of outer things. you will get eternal happiness and love and end to suffering as compared to material pursuits you will only find temporary happiness and spend the rest of your life trying to fulfill your desires. as to spiritual development its totally the opposite, you learn to let go of desires and all that causes suffering and thus be more happy by simply being open and loving. not desirous and confused.

spiritual practice isnt really that much requiring effort. depends on how serious you are, but simply normal things like reading good spiritual books, or meditation doesnt seem to require that much effort. it might take some effort to deconstruct the aversion towards meditation and just being and observing your mind. but when you start doing it you'll notice that you rather sit in meditation than go to a nightclub or whatever you do to satisfy your everyday lust and need for excitement and pleasure.

i dont know what you want to hear, i cant say that this is how it is cause i dont know, this is just something from my experience. i am not advanced practitioner but life without any higher goals than this life's happiness is just rather sad and meaningless suffering to accomplish nothing, at least nothing permanent that goes on from this life to next.

you see so many people who are so engaged in material pursuits but they aren't any happier, actually they suffer from more mind poisons and problems. it is so narrow minded and like putting oneself in a prison.

anyway, some observations and feelings...

so, why do you have to choose, if you want both than put some time and effort into both of your goals. that way it could be very meaningful and fulfilling.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:37 pm

but then again, if your motivation is very selfish and you do not have or are not developing compassion and loving kindness for all, its not really that fulfilling at all.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby TaTa » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:49 pm

logank9 wrote:I always get caught up on whether spiritual progression is worth it. You put in effort to it to gain higher happiness. In ordinary life you do just the same, just with material things you work towards. And oftentimes spiritually, you have to put in a lot more effort to gain that which is higher happiness than what ordinary people find. Is it really worth it or any more worth it than living as an ordinary person? Thoughts anyone? I'm lost today


I think its worth it.
I have only 2 years experience in dharma but whenever y stop practicing for 1 or 2 days i think " how the hell could i possibly stand having a mind like the one i did before" so i guess its worth it.
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby duckfiasco » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:26 pm

I used to think I was just a cold person who couldn't love others. The Three Jewels taught me how with metta and practices like tonglen.
I used to be depressed and ready to die to escape it. The Three Jewels taught me how to be kind towards myself and cultivate mindfulness to see the thoughts weren't as authoritative as I had believed.
I used to avoid even making eye contact with strangers. The Three Jewels showed me how to see everyone as my mothers in need of compassion, even if they're outwardly cold to me.
I used to be so restless and forgetful that I would be surprised to suddenly notice the whole day had gone by. The Three Jewels showed me the richness and depth found in the ordinary things of here and now.

I could go on.
For me the answer is "absolutely".

Search for a thread called something like "can the dharma make life worth living". It seems to be in a similar vein.
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby Luke » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:31 pm

logank9 wrote:I always get caught up on whether spiritual progression is worth it. You put in effort to it to gain higher happiness. In ordinary life you do just the same, just with material things you work towards. And oftentimes spiritually, you have to put in a lot more effort to gain that which is higher happiness than what ordinary people find. Is it really worth it or any more worth it than living as an ordinary person? Thoughts anyone? I'm lost today

It's not always an either/or choice. I know a man with five kids who has a very deep spiritual practice! Just the way he can manage everything in his life successfully while being very dedicated to Buddhism is like a great siddhi! I certainly couldn't be like him, but very spiritually-talented people are out there.

I think it's often a matter of innate talent (the result of past karma). The more spiritually-talented people tend to want to pursue spirituality more because they progress more quicly and get more out of it, just like playing an instrument is a lot more fun for a very talented person.

But I have less talent, so I want less involvement. But everybody can benefit from some type of daily Buddhist practice, such as meditation.
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:26 am

KonchokZoepa wrote:if i only want the happiness of this life i wouldnt be interested into spiritual practice, but since spiritual practice is for happiness in the afterlife forwards there is defenitely benefit dedicating ones life to it. i guess you need to think that what is important to you, and try to think broader terms than only this life's possible happiness that you can get from ''things''.

also i would say that spiritual development will bring happiness in this life too since its an inner process compared to ''normal'' outer process of getting more happiness out of outer things. you will get eternal happiness and love and end to suffering as compared to material pursuits you will only find temporary happiness and spend the rest of your life trying to fulfill your desires. as to spiritual development its totally the opposite, you learn to let go of desires and all that causes suffering and thus be more happy by simply being open and loving. not desirous and confused.

spiritual practice isnt really that much requiring effort. depends on how serious you are, but simply normal things like reading good spiritual books, or meditation doesnt seem to require that much effort. it might take some effort to deconstruct the aversion towards meditation and just being and observing your mind. but when you start doing it you'll notice that you rather sit in meditation than go to a nightclub or whatever you do to satisfy your everyday lust and need for excitement and pleasure.

i dont know what you want to hear, i cant say that this is how it is cause i dont know, this is just something from my experience. i am not advanced practitioner but life without any higher goals than this life's happiness is just rather sad and meaningless suffering to accomplish nothing, at least nothing permanent that goes on from this life to next.

you see so many people who are so engaged in material pursuits but they aren't any happier, actually they suffer from more mind poisons and problems. it is so narrow minded and like putting oneself in a prison.

anyway, some observations and feelings...

so, why do you have to choose, if you want both than put some time and effort into both of your goals. that way it could be very meaningful and fulfilling.

:good:
It reminded me of the Apannaka Sutra, which I was going to recommend to the OP anyway: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html

:namaste:
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:44 am

Personally, I don't think that spiritual progress can be assessed, only its effects, and they can be quite subtle.
May all beings be happy
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby montana » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:24 am

I think spiritual work actually takes a lot less.

You can spend all your time doing worldly work and it never ends, you never get to a point where you can completely stop working, you never get to a point where you're completely satisfied with worldly work.

With spiritual work there is an end to the work. There is complete satisfaction when you're done. And it doesn't have to be redone.

We're comparing a task that takes infinite of work and doesn't produce any lasting results with something that requires finite effort and produces permanent results. Spiritual work is much easier.
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:52 am

I don't think that spiritual progress and being an ordinary person are opposed at all, if anything it's the opposite. That includes monastics too, I don't think being a monastic is an attempt to be an extraordinary person exactly. I'm not saying you should have samsaric values, only that a model of spiritual vs. non-spiritual can create tension that block you. You create an expectation doesn't get fulfilled, and your practice becomes a constant reminder of the dissatisfactory nature of conditioned existence.

Trungpa RInpoche's quote "eventually we must give up trying to be someone special" to me exemplifies an authentic view of what is a spiritual path.

To answer the question though, if I DID view my daily life as something removed from the spiritual path, I would not likely find the spiritual path to be worth it. Especially in Buddhist terms, spending alot of time "trying" to be spiritual is not the best approach for everyone, I think..if you don't feel spiritual then stop trying to be spiritual, just be whatever, and observe it.

It is worth it once it starts feeling worth it, it should also just make you happy in a mundane sense..as well as sometimes being, well, fun.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby tatpurusa » Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:28 pm

logank9 wrote:I always get caught up on whether spiritual progression is worth it. You put in effort to it to gain higher happiness. In ordinary life you do just the same, just with material things you work towards. And oftentimes spiritually, you have to put in a lot more effort to gain that which is higher happiness than what ordinary people find. Is it really worth it or any more worth it than living as an ordinary person? Thoughts anyone? I'm lost today


This is the wrong question, because asking this way you assume that:
1. There are at least two kinds of happiness: "higher" and "ordinary" as you say.
2. That these two kinds of happiness can be attained by two different attitudes, namely spiritual effort aiming at a spiritual "gain" and ordinary, everyday effort aimed at gaining material and emotional advantages.

So let's examine the case for "ordinary happiness" and the methods for obtaining them. Is it realistic or possible at all?

If you work hard in order to gain something you desire, be it material wealth, a beautiful wife or family, being loved, having power and social recognition etc. you manifest the basic idea, that the obtainement of these things is indispensable in order to feel happy. Consequently you are not happy now. You turn those things into a prerequisite for your happiness, into a condition your happiness depends on. In other words you forbid yourself to feel happy as long as you have not achieved those things.
With this, you postpone your happiness into an uncertain future, depending on some preestablished conditions.

The future as much as the past, are just ideas. If you think of your past life, you'll see that your memories quite often do not match what it was like at the time when it was "present". Reality is always experienced within, through and by the present moment.
So the future is not reality. Your future, planned happiness is not happiness.

So, if there exists such a thing like "ordinary happines" different or identical to "higher spiritual happiness" it must exist in the present, otherwise it is non-existent.
This means, that happiness cannot have a condition, prerequisite, or cause. On the other hand, unhappiness has an explicite cause, namely those very conditions you put as a prerequisite in order to allow yourself to feel happy. If those conditions are not met in the present moment (i.e. reality), you decide that you are "unhappy". The very conditions of your happiness are the cause of your unhappiness.

If you let go of the concepts of those prerequisits to your happiness, the cause for unhappiness vanishes. If the cause of unhappiness vanishes, in our dualistic minds its opposite manifests: happiness.
Happiness is nothing to be attained, nothing to long for, nothing to postpone. We don't need any reason in order to be happy, because happiness is our fundamental nature. But we do need very specific reasons in order to be unhappy. If you are capable of experiencing your fundamental happiness NOW, you will be capable experiencing it in all your present moments.

Happiness is our true nature. It is the experience of unaltered reality, of "what is" in the present moment. It is the experience of emptiness, being empty of concepts, of wrong views, of attachment, aversion and desire. Letting go of suffering.

No effort needed at all. The effort is letting go of illusions, judgement, fabricated causes for "happiness". Doing less, not more.

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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby SunRay » Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:30 pm

I got the impression from your writing that you feel that you haven't achieved the kind of progress that you have desired. I got the sense that maybe it would be best to take it easy for awhile. Just to try and keep the 5 precepts or 4, if you really like to have a drink every now and then. ..Chill. :namaste:
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby muni » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:34 pm

:namaste: I read Einstein today and share this:

"A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self."
Last edited by muni on Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby mandala » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:34 pm

logank9 wrote:If it is the end all be all to highest happiness why isn't everyone spiritually improving themselves all the time?


because it's HARD WORK! Most of us on the planet gravitate towards chasing happiness in ways that actually cause us suffering... and don't even realise we're suffering... doh..
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:01 pm

its only hard work if you dont really want to do it.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby dharmagoat » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:14 pm

logank9 wrote:If it is the end all be all to highest happiness why isn't everyone spiritually improving themselves all the time?

Because it requires continuous effort
Because it requires us to change our habits
Because it is stressful
Because we feel obliged to do other things
Because sitting is uncomfortable
Because our friends aren't doing it
Because we don't believe in rebirth
Because it is boring
Because our legs go to sleep
Because there are so many other things we could be doing
Because it feels alien to our culture
Because we feel weird doing it
Because we don't have a teacher
Because the room is too hot
Because the room is too cold
Because the cat wants to sit on our lap
Because it causes frustration
Because we believe enlightenment won't happen in this lifetime
Because it makes us sleepy
Because we feel we aren't doing it right
Because our girlfriend/boyfriend wants us to spend time with them
Because we believe we are already enlightened
Because our back hurts
Because we did it yesterday
Because we have run out of incense
Because it is bedtime
Because we are feeling hungry
Because we aren't good at it
Because it is what hippies do
Because we don't have the proper gear
Because the internet is much more interesting
Because we prefer to sleep in
Because we don't feel we are worthy
Because emptiness is scary
Because it might make God angry
Because we don't feel we really need to
Because it doesn't feel natural to us
Because we would rather get drunk
Because "Ancient Aliens" is on television
Because we don't believe it will work for us
Because there is a possum on the roof
Because we don't feel we have enough time
Because we feel we can't do it right
Because our teacher is overseas
Because we can do it tomorrow
Because we would rather be on the beach
Because the traffic is too loud
Because the Pope is Catholic
Because we would rather make long lists of excuses not to
May all beings be happy
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Re: Is spiritual progress worth it?

Postby Punya » Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:57 pm

:rolling:

Because we look for happiness in all the wrong places
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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