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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:02 pm 
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dharmagoat wrote:
Virgo wrote:
Because we all want to be big Rock Stars.

And that's fine, because it's a natural expression of our enlightened qualities.

Buddha was a Rock Star?

A big Rock Star.

Kevin

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:41 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Point well taken.

Ahh, the eternal temptation to drop everything and go shut oneself off and away, far, far away in some hideout that humankind has all but completely forgotten - and there abandon oneself totally and unconditionally to practice and only practice.

A nice escapist dream.

This IMO depends on the person completely. For some it may indeed be escapism but not for everyone. But even for those (of us perhaps hehe) for whom it would be escapism, I still think that whatever the original reason was for them to leave, if they put in the practice they're bound to get some results.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 11:41 pm 
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This IMO depends on the person completely. For some it may indeed be escapism but not for everyone. But even for those (of us perhaps hehe) for whom it would be escapism, I still think that whatever the original reason was for them to leave, if they put in the practice they're bound to get some results.


Depends more on the time and place, time of life. For me right now? Total escapism, total fantasy. I simply can't go off on a retreat of any kind - I can neither afford the time or the money, and I can't leave my family in the lurch. I couldn't justify it to them and actually, I couldn't justify it to myself either. Any results I gained would have to be offset by my lack of compassion towards the people I love and who rely (to a certain extent) on me.

One day, though...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:17 am 
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Nemo wrote:
It's very realistic when you are young and have no ties. Even a crusty bastard like me has taken a few years out of his life for retreat. Admitting that your need for comfort and security is greater than your spiritual aspirations is more honest than saying it is an escapist dream. People love money and worldly life more than Dharma. It sounds like you are trying to comfort yourself by thinking everyone has your low standards.


Most of us are impoverished and live in impoverished countries. Complete dedication to Dharma in terms of just living a closed retreat life has been reserved for people who can embrace real impoverishment or rich people.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:36 am 
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Nemo wrote:
It's very realistic when you are young and have no ties. Even a crusty bastard like me has taken a few years out of his life for retreat. Admitting that your need for comfort and security is greater than your spiritual aspirations is more honest than saying it is an escapist dream. People love money and worldly life more than Dharma. It sounds like you are trying to comfort yourself by thinking everyone has your low standards.


Might I point out that you know nothing whatsoever about my standards?

Let me put it this way: I don't think I've ever met personally and in meatspace even one Western person who "took a few years out of his life for retreat" and came back a noticeably better practitioner - by which I mean, a kinder, more relaxed and more compassionate person. Sure, I may know nothing whatsoever about their actual attainment. But broken up marriages, severed family ties and abandoned kids all speak volumes here. As does the self-aggrandizing hype along the lines of oh-you-know-nothing-you've-learned-nothing-don't even-try-comparing-yourself-to-me-before-you've-been-to-a-real-retreat.

I'm absolutely certain there are numerous exceptions. I'm also fairly sure for many, perhaps for most, of us it's just a dangerous trip.

underthetree wrote:
Quote:
This IMO depends on the person completely. For some it may indeed be escapism but not for everyone. But even for those (of us perhaps hehe) for whom it would be escapism, I still think that whatever the original reason was for them to leave, if they put in the practice they're bound to get some results.


Depends more on the time and place, time of life. For me right now? Total escapism, total fantasy. I simply can't go off on a retreat of any kind - I can neither afford the time or the money, and I can't leave my family in the lurch. I couldn't justify it to them and actually, I couldn't justify it to myself either. Any results I gained would have to be offset by my lack of compassion towards the people I love and who rely (to a certain extent) on me.


I agree wholeheartedly. My situation exactly - and, more generally, the situation I've had in mind all along.

Also, for many people in the West - especially men, if my experience is in any way representative - it's long retreats which are the easy appealing option. And it's everyday responsibilities, silly mundane chores and various previously made commitments that such people find unbearable, not long-term solitude. In such a case, going on a long retreat is little but a regular samsaric escape, I'm afraid.

I'm not castigating anyone - as I said, I do know the urge (and have been warned by my teacher not to follow it). We all have our limitations. It's OK.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:35 am 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
underthetree wrote:
Depends more on the time and place, time of life. For me right now? Total escapism, total fantasy. I simply can't go off on a retreat of any kind - I can neither afford the time or the money, and I can't leave my family in the lurch. I couldn't justify it to them and actually, I couldn't justify it to myself either. Any results I gained would have to be offset by my lack of compassion towards the people I love and who rely (to a certain extent) on me.


I agree wholeheartedly. My situation exactly - and, more generally, the situation I've had in mind all along.

Also, for many people in the West - especially men, if my experience is in any way representative - it's long retreats which are the easy appealing option. And it's everyday responsibilities, silly mundane chores and various previously made commitments that such people find unbearable, not long-term solitude. In such a case, going on a long retreat is little but a regular samsaric escape, I'm afraid.

I'm not castigating anyone - as I said, I do know the urge (and have been warned by my teacher not to follow it). We all have our limitations. It's OK.

Oh, I understand that (pretty much my situation too). I was thinking more like if you don't have to take care of a family personally.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:45 am 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Let me put it this way: I don't think I've ever met personally and in meatspace even one Western person who "took a few years out of his life for retreat" and came back a noticeably better practitioner - by which I mean, a kinder, more relaxed and more compassionate person. Sure, I may know nothing whatsoever about their actual attainment. But broken up marriages, severed family ties and abandoned kids all speak volumes here. As does the self-aggrandizing hype along the lines of oh-you-know-nothing-you've-learned-nothing-don't even-try-comparing-yourself-to-me-before-you've-been-to-a-real-retreat.

This is very true and I appreciate what Dharmagoat wrote about the subject too. A lot of teachers I respect caution against the contrivance of long retreat if in fact one's motivation is to achieve something. I think 'natural retreat' is just where you are right now. In the Dzogchen tantras it cautions against striving to create a non-conceptual state through isolating yourself.
Realization just ain't what it's supposed to be.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:47 am 
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Quote:
Let me put it this way: I don't think I've ever met personally and in meatspace even one Western person who "took a few years out of his life for retreat" and came back a noticeably better practitioner - by which I mean, a kinder, more relaxed and more compassionate person. Sure, I may know nothing whatsoever about their actual attainment. But broken up marriages, severed family ties and abandoned kids all speak volumes here. As does the self-aggrandizing hype along the lines of oh-you-know-nothing-you've-learned-nothing-don't even-try-comparing-yourself-to-me-before-you've-been-to-a-real-retreat.


Sadly this is exactly my experience - I came up against it very recently, in fact, and it made me re-examine my whole commitment to the Dharma. I was treated to a magical display of oh-you-know-nothing-you've-learned-nothing-don't even-try-comparing-yourself-to-me-before-you've-been-to-a-real-retreat - in fact it was more of a "don't presume to even speak to Rinpoche until you've been on several retreats, including to India." My immediate thought was well, if you're paying... But it seems true that, as Octopus says, this is something more common, perhaps, to men. For all the lip-service to the Goddess and the feminine, Buddhism, like the New Age, can be quite startlingly chauvinistic. I find that my distaste for this fact - as a man as well as a practitioner - is one of the main things that keeps me at arms' distance from sangha.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:52 am 
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Andrew108 wrote:
I think 'natural retreat' is just where you are right now.


I do too.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 1:49 pm 
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underthetree wrote:
For all the lip-service to the Goddess and the feminine, Buddhism, like the New Age, can be quite startlingly chauvinistic. I find that my distaste for this fact - as a man as well as a practitioner - is one of the main things that keeps me at arms' distance from sangha.


While the Dharma, in its essence is not patriarchal, Buddhism is a very patriarchal religion.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:05 pm 
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underthetree wrote:
For all the lip-service to the Goddess and the feminine, Buddhism, like the New Age, can be quite startlingly chauvinistic. I find that my distaste for this fact - as a man as well as a practitioner - is one of the main things that keeps me at arms' distance from sangha.


Oh dear underthetree, that's the sad story of my life.

On a lighter note: that India thing, when is it going to stop? I mean, it's not 1967 anymore :) Is that what still remains of the hippie spirit, the very last vestige of flower power? How terribly postmodern these days are.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:21 pm 
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underthetree wrote:
For all the lip-service to the Goddess and the feminine, Buddhism, like the New Age, can be quite startlingly chauvinistic.


That is absolutely true. But believe me, women, too, have their ways of giving you the oh-you-know-nothing-you've-learned-nothing-don't even-try-comparing-yourself-to-me-before-you've-been-to-a-real-retreat. I've experienced that from women just as bad and as often as from men. Maybe even worse. generally speaking men are allowed to act out their aggressions openly, while women are not. Which is why some women (not all) develop ways of being passively aggressive and/or backstabbing. I, personally, find the directly and openly aggressive style easier to deal with.

And because I'm a woman I'm allowed to say that :guns:

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Last edited by ReasonAndRhyme on Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:22 pm 
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treehuggingoctopus wrote:
Also, for many people in the West - especially men, if my experience is in any way representative - it's long retreats which are the easy appealing option. And it's everyday responsibilities, silly mundane chores and various previously made commitments that such people find unbearable, not long-term solitude. In such a case, going on a long retreat is little but a regular samsaric escape, I'm afraid.

I'm not castigating anyone - as I said, I do know the urge (and have been warned by my teacher not to follow it). We all have our limitations. It's OK.


Mundane chores and various previously made commitments are usually just samsaric activities that are not terribly conducive to liberation.

Long-term solitude coupled with meditation is what the Buddha advised people to do. To be far away enough from people that you cannot hear the cry of a cow. This is how you escape from samsara. No need to denigrate it as some kind of failure to cope with life.

Ideally someone who is inclined to practice will devote themselves to it before creating a lot of commitments. That means not having a family or property. Not having a girlfriend helps a lot, too, because you always run the risk of unwanted pregnancies or getting married in the hopes of securing a good life which may or may not happen in the long-term.

I'm 26 now and have decided for the foreseeable future I'm remaining single and celibate. I will not buy property either. I have the freedom and means to travel around. Instead of going home to a wife and kids, I'm free to go to the cafe and read my books. I can save my money and direct it towards future practice or donate it for a good cause (like funding someone's retreat).

Such freedom when I think about it is a lot more satisfying and worthwhile than being in a long-term relationship (which I've had). The more I think about it the more unappealing relationships seem. A complete waste of time. Most married people I know end up ultimately unhappy while the lifelong single globe trotters of advanced years that I've met are cool, happy, groovy and free. They're the old guys you meet in India who have been there two dozen times over the last thirty or forty years and keep coming back to do yoga or something like that.

In any case, my point is that freedom from commitments is half the battle. Just leaving your family and all the nonsense that comes with the home life opens up immeasurable opportunities. You don't even have to become a monk (which arguably in many places likewise robs you of freedom). Most of our mundane woes are our own creation. We just need to drop them. If you're running with a torch and burning your arm, you need only drop it to stop suffering.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:33 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
Such freedom when I think about it is a lot more satisfying and worthwhile than being in a long-term relationship (which I've had)..



Um....no offense, but you are twenty-six, you have not lived long enough enough to be in a real longterm relationship. Younger men such as yourself often make bold declarations about how they are going to be in the future.

Reality is much different, and you have no idea how your karma will ripen.

An open heart beats all this fabricated talk about renunciation, everyday.

M

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:39 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:

Um....no offense, but you are twenty-six, you have not lived long enough enough to be in a real longterm relationship. Younger men such as yourself often make bold declarations about how they are going to be in the future.

Reality is much different, and you have no idea how your karma will ripen.

An open heart beats all this fabricated talk about renunciation, everyday.

M


Well I have the good advice of much more senior men and I can appreciate their testimonies.

Like I said "for the foreseeable future" - I am qualifying my statement as I know things will change. In the future having a life partner might make a lot of sense economically for example, so we'll have to see what happens.

I don't quite understand what your last statement means.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:13 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Huseng wrote:
Such freedom when I think about it is a lot more satisfying and worthwhile than being in a long-term relationship (which I've had)..



Um....no offense, but you are twenty-six, you have not lived long enough enough to be in a real longterm relationship. Younger men such as yourself often make bold declarations about how they are going to be in the future.

Reality is much different, and you have no idea how your karma will ripen.

An open heart beats all this fabricated talk about renunciation, everyday.

M


Heh, but when you're 26, you're 26, so you'll act like 26! :rolling:

I totally agree with the open heart, but normally we're so bloody conditioned to not notice our own hate and fear that such a thing takes quite a lot of work, which hopefully amounts to a lot of failure...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Huseng wrote:

I don't quite understand what your last statement means.


There are a lot of so called "renunciates", monks and nun, out there whose so called "renunication" is just bitterness, disappointment, grudges.

It is much better to have an open heart.

Human beings are meant to be in communities with one another. This is why the Buddha said that friendship is the whole of the so called "spritual life". The idea that we are somehow better off in isolation is a fundamental error that comes about from not understanding who we are. Of course there are some people who can be like Mahākashyapa, but he was by all accounts a pretty crusty character.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
Just leaving your family and all the nonsense that comes with the home life opens up immeasurable opportunities. You don't even have to become a monk (which arguably in many places likewise robs you of freedom). Most of our mundane woes are our own creation. We just need to drop them. If you're running with a torch and burning your arm, you need only drop it to stop suffering.


With the greatest respect, Huseng, may you never have to deal with the consequences when someone you know decides to 'just leave their family.' What 'immeasurable opportunities' could be opened up by an act of such monstrous selfishness?

Yes, the Buddha did it. But a) he was the Buddha, b) he was a prince, and Yasodhara presumably didn't have to get a job stacking shelves at Tesco after he'd left.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:17 pm 
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Huseng wrote:
In the future having a life partner might make a lot of sense economically for example...


Sigh.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 3:20 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:

There are a lot of so called "renunciates", monks and nun, out there whose so called "renunication" is just bitterness, disappointment, grudges.



I won't argue against that.

Quote:
It is much better to have an open heart.

Human beings are meant to be in communities with one another. This is why the Buddha said that friendship is the whole of the so called "spritual life". The idea that we are somehow better off in isolation is a fundamental error that comes about from not understanding who we are. Of course there are some people who can be like Mahākashyapa, but he was by all accounts a pretty crusty character.


Renunciation doesn't mean departing from worthwhile friends (kalyāṇa-mitra), though generally speaking mundane affairs and a lot of social engagements take people away from spiritual cultivation and practice. The Buddha himself was keen on the value of likeminded friends, though he cautioned everyone about mundane attachments and strong social ties and duties. This is what I have in mind at the moment.

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