Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Dave The Seeker » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:09 pm

There's been some good advice here.

I wouldn't suggest giving up your practice. Buddhism is working on ourselves to be able to help others. The changes that happen to us are the things that others see more than we do. At least for the most part.
There's no point pushing your belief onto others nor them to do to you. Can you see where I'm coming from?

Being a good son, husband and father are, for the most part, things you've made the decision to do.
Follow through with these decisions with compassion and love.
Be the loving husband and father as well as the person your children want to be like.
Your path will help you to become better at doing these things. Keep working on yourself and things will get much better. :namaste:

Hope your search for a job ends soon.
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Queequeg » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:27 pm

I heard the Buddha said:
The household life is close and dusty, the homeless life is free as air. It is not easy, living the household life, to live the fully-perfected holy life, purified and polished like a conch shell.


You know the Buddha's son was named Rahula which is translated as "fetter"?

I love this passage. I've thought often about renouncing the world and going forth. But not this life for me. I have a wife, a kid on the way, siblings, parents, all of whom depend on me to varying degrees, and I'm just not ready to abandon them - even as they sometimes suck the life out of me. :tongue:

I'm not suggesting by any means you abandon your "household life", but I thought the quote illustrates that what you are facing is nothing new. People inclined to the holy life have been facing these obstacles since before Buddha set out from his father's palace. How does one reconcile the holy life with the requirements of our social webs? There are extensive examples on how to continue the Buddhist path as a "householder", even when one's family opposes it. You are not the first to be faced with these issues and you won't be the last.

I hope you don't give up your Buddhist practice completely. Sounds like you are facing a number of issues that, although quite significant, seem acute, if limited to what you describe, and should work out as long as you keep at them. It sounds like you are surrounded by people who love you and are concerned about you. There are worse problems. I would bet that they will continue to love you even as you work out your issues, even if how you end up working them out is not how they might want you to work them out.

If I may suggest a course of action - take what you have learned from your Buddhist study and practice and apply it now - it seems you already are doing this. Take this as an opportunity to test truth of the Buddhadharma you've learned, as well as an opportunity to deepen your understanding of Buddhadharma - don't forget that living your life according to Buddhadharma, even if you are not obviously putting it to practice, is still practice. Patience, forebearance, equanimity, kindness, compassion, etc. all these things can be practiced in the midst of your situation without having to announce or even acknowledge to yourself that you are practicing Buddhadharma. Look at this as an opportunity to face your karma, understand it, own it, and overcome it. It sounds like this situation is bringing your own reflection into relief. Keep with it. Don't shy away from it. This is something people spend years sitting on the mat to see.

Don't wast this opportunity! Turn this obstacle into an opportunity to develop your wisdom!
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby greentara » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:14 am

I can understand where you're coming from, and i do sympathize. I'm quite sure counseling is not the answer to your strong need to practice. Lets face it in a family situation one always needs to compromise. On the other hand if the yearning and ripeness are really there, one will not care 'or give a fig' about the consequences.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby lobster » Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:24 am

Very interesting and to many people relevant thread. :smile:

Becoming a skillful human being and Buddhist takes time.
Can we, indeed should we accelerate the progress of others?

I am fortunate in not having to practice in secret.
If I was in more restrictive circumstances my inclination would be to change the nature of my practice. So for example, I would find a Church such as the Unitarians or Quakers and practice meditation in that setting. I would become ostensibly more Christian.

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/08/christian-buddhism/
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Andrew108 » Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:54 pm

I practice without anyone knowing that I practice. I prefer it that way. Also I don't think of practice as separating me from other people. Quite the reverse.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:24 pm

Kaji wrote:
Perhaps I do not yet have the wisdom to share Dharma with everyone.


Hi Kaji,

Generally in Buddhism, one only shares the teachings of the Dharma with others when others request this of one. We don't really push the Dharma on others; despite what we may think, if we force it on them, they won't somehow "get it" later when they "stop fighting it and consider it" or whatever. We'll just alienate them and turn them off to the Dharma.

Also, there is an immeasurable difference between intellectual conviction and direct realization. Take for example the existence of past and future lives, karma, the 6 realms, enlightened beings... We may have contemplated these things very rigorously and thoroughly and determined that they are the only plausible explanation for how reality functions; but even though they may be objectively factual and true, until we have purified obscurations and opened up our wisdom to the degree that we have directly perceived these truths--not just strongly believed in them--all we have is a head full of ideas. Granted, they are ideas that will shape our choices and drive us in the right direction along the Dharmic path, but they give us no cause to feel in any way superior or more advanced than others. Any time we find ourselves feeling that way, we can take that as a reminder that we haven't really developed our wisdom a much as we're fooling ourselves to believe--if we had, there wouldn't be this pumped up notion of self because we'd thoroughly realize the emptiness of self lol.

Anyway, don't beat yourself up over this. I went through a phase like this and it has taken a lot of conscientious work over time to refine away a good deal of these tendencies. I think many people have had, or are having, this same experience you are. It's pretty normal and to be expected if you think about it: we come into the Dharma with a strong ego that tries to bend everything to its own service, and this ego will try to do the same thing with the Dharma teachings it's acquired haha. But since you are making strong and clear aspirations to overcome these faults and others you've mentioned, you will undoubtedly succeed as long as you keep vigilant. But relax and don't overdo the self-deprecation or guilt, ok?

--Brian


P.S.: I would consider sitting your family down and talking to them and explaining to them that it's not that Buddhism is at fault, but just like any human being could become rapt by something new one is passionate about, you too had this experience with Buddhism and were maybe a bit heavy-handed and full of yourself, or whatever. Maybe explain that since the Dharma made so much sense to you and brought you such contentment, you just wanted to share that with others and didn't consider that they might not feel the same about it or have the interest in it that you do. Something along the lines of "sorry, I went a bit overboard, being a beginner at this. But it's not Buddhism's fault and doesn't mean I should or will stop practicing Buddhism. I will just take this all as a learning experience and try to be more level-headed, as well as attentive and present with you all. Because I love you and you are very important to me. And, actually, cultivating love and presence toward others is much more what Buddhism promotes than the behavior you've seen recently." Something like that, you feel me?
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Yudron » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:11 am

Kaji wrote:
Kunga Lhadzom wrote:If they really loved you,
they would let you be yourself & accept you as you are.
Real love is selfless.
Immature love is selfish .

I had a conversation with my wife last night. I myself came to the conclusion that I being myself is a problem. I being myself am not a very likeable or useful person. It is difficult for most people to accept me for who I really am. All who love me suffers from my true self. This is a huge problem. I have tried being myself, to the detriment of them and myself. I see the only way now is to not be myself but who I ought to be, not just in their eyes but also according to Dharma.


"Being myself is a problem." Wow! You have very low self-esteem.

You are using Buddhism as another baseball bat to beat yourself up with.

I really feel you could benefit from good psychotherapy. It can help a lot to have someone objective listen to you and give you a reality check in person. This is not exactly the role of Buddhist clergy.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby greentara » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:22 pm

You do beat yourself up, it's quite unnecessary and serves no purpose! Please try to be aware and stop it. As for " really feel you could benefit from good psychotherapy" Why would anyone go to a psychotherapist where you pay someone to be your pretend friend! if you don't pay your bill the prentend friend will no longer be able to see you! I'd rather talk to a buddhist monk, teacher, or old friend any day of the week.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Yudron » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:46 am

greentara wrote:You do beat yourself up, it's quite unnecessary and serves no purpose! Please try to be aware and stop it. As for " really feel you could benefit from good psychotherapy" Why would anyone go to a psychotherapist where you pay someone to be your pretend friend! if you don't pay your bill the prentend friend will no longer be able to see you! I'd rather talk to a buddhist monk, teacher, or old friend any day of the week.


Well, talking to a friend, teacher, or clergy member is great. Therapy is a completely different process that requires education and experience. A therapist work is not contained to being a pretend friend. My experience is that occasional short term therapy by an excellent therapist--generally not a cheap intern at the local graduate school--has tremendous value that way exceeds the money spent on it. In my area we have a lot of Buddhist therapists, which is great.

For example, if someone has the mental habit of thinking that hey have no value, they will form relationships, including friendships, that may reinforce that habit in any number of ways. Going to a friend, therefore, may just reinforce one's negative feeling about oneself... or whatever other trip the other party is on.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:24 am

There are a great many more psychotherapeutic approaches out there than the "lay back on the black leather couch while the therapist is silent and asks 'so how did that make you feel? Mm hmm. Go on.'"

Since a lot of our problems stems from deeply habitual patterns of perceiving and thinking about things--such as always telling ourselves "I can't do this or that," "things are too hard," "I always do it wrong," "I can't overcome such and such habit," "life is hopeless an miserable" or you name it--therapists who are skilled in guiding one in cognitive restructuring, i.e training oneself out of these negative patterns and into positive, constructive ones are very useful and helpful.

I am a person who has dealt with A LOT of deep depression and low self-esteem throughout my life, and so I have A LOT of experience with the moment to moment self-conversation that habitually casts a negative light on everything. It's crazy when you realize how much this is just a habitual lens you put on that casts this dreadful light on everything and how if you could just learn to stop conceiving of the world, yourself, and experiences so negatively, they really aren't inherently how you've been perceiving them.

Sure, bad things happen that give one a more concrete cause to be depressed and feel beaten down. But for people with chronic depression and low self-esteem, it's all about feeling this way even when nothing concrete in one's life is happening to cause it. Getting out of this type of habitually negative, self-defeating self-talk is difficult. But having the help of someone trained in guiding you out of it is very, very helpful. At the very least one has to try to accomplish this on one's own if one is not willing/able to see a professional.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby greentara » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:10 pm

Why put someone who has read books at uni for several years on a pedestal? Where does insight, compassion and lack of greed play a part in reasoning? Maybe we're all impressed by education and degrees, which are now a dime a dozen. Actually the limitation is our brains and the infinite abilities of divine knowledge and insight.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby lobster » Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:19 am

I see the only way now is to not be myself but who I ought to be, not just in their eyes but also according to Dharma.


Perhaps.
Perhaps not.

Even the Buddha (well known Buddhist) did not fulfill his householder duties. Tsk tsk - bad son, husband and father.

Ah well dharma happens. :shrug:

However you can learn from the Shakyamuni Buddha's mistakes and live as both a householder and aspire to the status of a Mahasiddha
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasiddha

Are you up for a challenge? :namaste:

You will (a well known fact) eventually have to deal with the karma of avoiding or indulging or increasing both in the ways of the world and the ways of dharma (thus have I experienced).

If practice makes perfect. What will you practice? Perfection can be a bit of a flaw . . .
In the words of the Buddha:
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

I am going to call on your future self (as a Buddha) to guide your path :bow:
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Kaji » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:04 am

There are so many informative and helpful posts. Thank you to you all! I want to respond to these posts, but right now I have to focus my time and energy into handling other stuff, like looking for a job. Let me come back later.
:namaste:
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:25 am

:namaste:
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Yudron » Thu Sep 20, 2012 11:36 pm

Kaji wrote:There are so many informative and helpful posts. Thank you to you all! I want to respond to these posts, but right now I have to focus my time and energy into handling other stuff, like looking for a job. Let me come back later.
:namaste:


Kaji, I really wish you well. Being a householder and also having a deep connection with the Dharma that you want to pursue does pose serious difficulties for everyone. It will sort itself out over the years. You are a good person to care both about your family in this life, and the long term multi-lifetime process of becoming a Buddha to benefit sentient beings vastly.

You'll figure it out.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Kaji » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:57 pm

Andrew108 wrote:I practice without anyone knowing that I practice. I prefer it that way. Also I don't think of practice as separating me from other people. Quite the reverse.

Yes, and that is my weakness. I thought I was exercising compassion by trying to spread Buddhism to others and drawing them closer to the Pure Land or enlightenment and therefore my path. But I was actually driving people away without knowing it. Gotta be more skillful!
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Kaji » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:02 pm

Yudron wrote:"Being myself is a problem." Wow! You have very low self-esteem.

You are using Buddhism as another baseball bat to beat yourself up with.

I really feel you could benefit from good psychotherapy. It can help a lot to have someone objective listen to you and give you a reality check in person. This is not exactly the role of Buddhist clergy.

I don't think I have low self-esteem. The realisation that my natural personality is a cause of many of my problems in life is simply that - realisation of a fact. Only by accepting that and doing something about it would I stand a chance to have a good relationship with my family and other people around me. I think Buddhism serves as a good tool to help me achieve that.

I actually think I often have an inflated ego. I desire to show off my knowledge and imply superiority to others, which may come across as condescending. I need to work on this.
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Kaji » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:09 pm

lobster wrote:However you can learn from the Shakyamuni Buddha's mistakes and live as both a householder and aspire to the status of a Mahasiddha
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasiddha

Are you up for a challenge? :namaste:

You will (a well known fact) eventually have to deal with the karma of avoiding or indulging or increasing both in the ways of the world and the ways of dharma (thus have I experienced).

If practice makes perfect. What will you practice? Perfection can be a bit of a flaw . . .
In the words of the Buddha:
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

I am going to call on your future self (as a Buddha) to guide your path :bow:

The concept of a Mahasiddha is a new one to me. Is this part of Buddhist practice? How essential or helpful is it?

What I have always had in mind is to walk the path of a bodhisattva as a householder, until such time when it is appropriate and compassionate for me to become a monk.

I like the idea of calling my future self to guide my path. I currently try to contemplate Buddha Amitabha (nienfo) whenever I can and remember to. I do intend to become a Buddha. The karmic obstacle I am facing now shall strengthen me.
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby lobster » Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:34 pm

The concept of a Mahasiddha is a new one to me. Is this part of Buddhist practice? How essential or helpful is it?


Ones understanding of the mahasiddha changes over time .. .
The mahasiddhas are Buddhist maniacs who come from all walks of life. There are men and women, kings and beggars, young and old, monks and laymen, alcoholics, prostitutes, dalets and prototype daleks and even householders . . . even a banker could become a mahasiddha . . . there is hope for all of us . . . :twothumbsup:

http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/vajradhara-and-84-mahasiddhas.html

As well as representing inner mind states, they had pretty wild parties . . .
So for example turning people to stone is inspiring them to meditate . . .

No doubt they would tear me to pieces and feed my shell to the hungry ghost realm . . . :stirthepot:

Here is a story about one of them . . .
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/teachers/lineage_masters/how_gampopa_reached_spiritual_attainments.html

. . . how useful is all this . . . :shrug:

I will quote a fellow practitioner
This Tantra is crazy stuff . . . but it works


. . . normal service is now resumed . . .
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Re: Obstacles! Help or advice appreciated.

Postby Kaji » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:37 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Kaji wrote:
Perhaps I do not yet have the wisdom to share Dharma with everyone.


Hi Kaji,

Generally in Buddhism, one only shares the teachings of the Dharma with others when others request this of one. We don't really push the Dharma on others; despite what we may think, if we force it on them, they won't somehow "get it" later when they "stop fighting it and consider it" or whatever. We'll just alienate them and turn them off to the Dharma.

Also, there is an immeasurable difference between intellectual conviction and direct realization. Take for example the existence of past and future lives, karma, the 6 realms, enlightened beings... We may have contemplated these things very rigorously and thoroughly and determined that they are the only plausible explanation for how reality functions; but even though they may be objectively factual and true, until we have purified obscurations and opened up our wisdom to the degree that we have directly perceived these truths--not just strongly believed in them--all we have is a head full of ideas. Granted, they are ideas that will shape our choices and drive us in the right direction along the Dharmic path, but they give us no cause to feel in any way superior or more advanced than others. Any time we find ourselves feeling that way, we can take that as a reminder that we haven't really developed our wisdom a much as we're fooling ourselves to believe--if we had, there wouldn't be this pumped up notion of self because we'd thoroughly realize the emptiness of self lol.

Anyway, don't beat yourself up over this. I went through a phase like this and it has taken a lot of conscientious work over time to refine away a good deal of these tendencies. I think many people have had, or are having, this same experience you are. It's pretty normal and to be expected if you think about it: we come into the Dharma with a strong ego that tries to bend everything to its own service, and this ego will try to do the same thing with the Dharma teachings it's acquired haha. But since you are making strong and clear aspirations to overcome these faults and others you've mentioned, you will undoubtedly succeed as long as you keep vigilant. But relax and don't overdo the self-deprecation or guilt, ok?

--Brian


P.S.: I would consider sitting your family down and talking to them and explaining to them that it's not that Buddhism is at fault, but just like any human being could become rapt by something new one is passionate about, you too had this experience with Buddhism and were maybe a bit heavy-handed and full of yourself, or whatever. Maybe explain that since the Dharma made so much sense to you and brought you such contentment, you just wanted to share that with others and didn't consider that they might not feel the same about it or have the interest in it that you do. Something along the lines of "sorry, I went a bit overboard, being a beginner at this. But it's not Buddhism's fault and doesn't mean I should or will stop practicing Buddhism. I will just take this all as a learning experience and try to be more level-headed, as well as attentive and present with you all. Because I love you and you are very important to me. And, actually, cultivating love and presence toward others is much more what Buddhism promotes than the behavior you've seen recently." Something like that, you feel me?

I have read this post a couple of times. I think this is really good advice. Thank you, Brian!
Namas triya-dhvikānāṃ sarva tathāgatānām!
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