Challenge23 wrote:Now, I told my teacher a very abbreviated version of this and his response was, "Do Vajrasattva instead of prostrations" which I have done. And it has produced precisely 0 change. I still don't know what Enlightenment is, I still don't know what happens when we die, and I still can't trust my inner experiences at all if they aren't vetted by rigorous standards. On the other hand, I have noticed that getting a new significant other, exercising, eating right, staying away from "doomer" media, taking St. John's Wort, and socializing with people has helped with my depression immensely. However, according to how I understand Buddhism that should not be the case at all. Practice should make things better and anything else should make things worse.
I'm not sure what I'm asking for precisely, here. Maybe this is just for me to be able to look at my own thoughts.
Hi there, I will try to respond in more depth when I have more time, but for now in reply to this last paragraph, I will first bring up a joke you may or may not have heard:
A very devout religious Christian was stuck in the midst of a disastrous flood. All his neighbors quickly evacuated, but he said simply, "no, I'll wait, God will save me". Then the flood waters rose, he climbed to the roof of his house, and then a boat came by to rescue him, and again he replied "no, I will wait, God will save me". Finally, the waters overcame his roof and as he was swept away, a helicopter came and dropped him a line to climb, but again he insisted "no, I know God will save me". And so, he died. Then, later in Heaven, God appears before him and he immediately says tersely, let down: "God, why didn't you save me?" And God says to him point blank, "you shmuck, first I sent you a warning, then a boat, then a helicopter!"
Of course, the point being it may be naive to expect 'blessings' of whatever sort to appear in some fantasy preconceived ways, they may appear in mundane form, hidden form, etc. So perhaps these improvements you noticed, even things you attribute to your own decision-making (changing your relationship, being more social, taking St. John's wort) may be from the removal of obscurations accomplished as a result of the practice you've been engaged with.
Also, remember that sometimes things get worse before they get better since we have lifetimes of karmic habits and results we are trying to unravel and purify, and sometimes this does not bring instant happiness but apparently it's opposite. Of course, if you have significant doubts about prior lives this may be a hard pill to swallow. So I'd suggest studying the topic more in depth, regarding documented cases of children around the world remembering their last lives and having memories that were authenticated, etc.