Hopelessness

Hopelessness

Postby duckfiasco » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:16 pm

Since about Saturday, I've been struggling to accept the efficacy of any Buddhist practice. One of those "time to box up the altar" weeks.

I've tried sitting with the growing pain and dissatisfaction. I almost lost it Monday and lashed out in uncharacteristic ways. One of those times where the most exquisitely nasty things to say come to mind. Not too smart to try sitting with all of that, so I've been doing walking meditation instead.

I sometimes doubt enlightenment is possible for me or anyone else, aside from the most devoted practitioners and teachers. They seem to be onto something. The average person? Not so much. Someone on here posted a list of like 20 complex meditations to master before even thinking about enlightenment. Then they couched it with, "don't worry, it may take several lifetimes." Oh, thank goodness! And if it's not that, at the very least it's settling into a worldview in diametric opposition to the one you grew up with and how everyone else around you lives their lives. Usually, things that contradict everything you know are suspect. But Buddhism seems to enjoy a special exception, it's "beyond doubt and belief," "beyond concepts," and any other number of things that make it intractable to people having a crisis of faith.

That was my main allergy to Zen. I've had troubles with specific defilements before, and the solution given at the local Zen place was just to sit, sit, sit. Sit like a statue, the bird that just crapped on your head is beyond concepts.

It's not even that this is an intellectual doubt full of pointless unanswerable questions. As I deal with an undesirable and prolonged home situation and a crumbling marriage, I see Buddhism as not really helping me in everyday life and not really helping anyone else immediately around me, either.

Since we're on pointless questions, long term? Paradoxically hope for enlightenment but give up hope of anything; let's set a goal to draw you in, then say the goal doesn't matter. What the hell? If this were the case in anything else in life, who would stick around? And short term, this weird emotionless gulf and tangible alienation from people around me, whatever my actual feelings towards them may be. It seems like Buddhism sets an incredibly low and incredibly high bar. Work for all beings, but if you do your best and still feel miserable, oh well! There's this undercurrent that it's always just your fault and not a problem with the conceptless, pure, etc. Buddhist teachings. I'm reminded of some serious questions being posed on another forum, and a Zen practitioner replying, "just look at the plum trees in the orchard" or something. All righty then :shrug:

I do recognize the immense benefit and value of Buddhism for some. Just look at all you wonderful people! :) But you wouldn't give a flu vaccine to a person already suffering from pneumonia.

Pema Chödrön says to use the raw energy of doubt, fear, anger, etc. to reconnect with our soft spot and see the ways we protect ourselves. That sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo (sorry Pema!!) Trungpa Rinpoche says to lighten up. Well, I find the whole situation pretty funny, especially since I'm the umptillionth person to go through this exact same thing. It doesn't change the resistance to almost anything Buddhist. I'm posting here because the wonderful people at DW have given helpful, incisive advice in the past :bow:

If Christianity didn't insist so much on a soul and eternity this, eternity that, I'd be getting on the express train to love city. At least it seems the Christians I know act spontaneously out of love and charity. The kindest people I've met have been at churches, not at Buddhist centers. But if I'm allergic to Zen, I'm even more allergic to an eternal soul.

Is there such a thing as not being cut out for Buddhism?

In closing, help!! :toilet: :broke: :rolleye:
Last edited by duckfiasco on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:52 pm

Ultimately if I am constantly expecting myself to be something, and creating ideas about what I am supposed to feel, a project like that can only end in disaster. These are all just masks we put on to divide and subdivide things, the "you" that thinks you aren't cut to be a Buddhist is just a mask, so is the you that thinks you can be a great Buddhist - they are both nonsense, absolutely unreal, if you pick them up, turn them around and can see..they are just ridiculous, it's like looking at a caricature of a caricature and so are the chain of thoughts that come from them. You can use them for things, but neither one is anything of substance, or contains any Truth with a capital T :smile: . While you can acknowledge them and use them...don't live inside them, and certainly don't make decisions based on them, it's not going to lead anywhere at all.

I know what you are going through - just keep going, who the hell cares what anyone else says or thinks about it, they don't have to live in you head, just keep going because you should - you don't really need any more reasoning than that, keep going because you know you should - make the effort to overcome just because you should.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby lobster » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:24 pm

Is there such a thing as not being cut out for Buddhism?


What would you prefer? I would recommend prostrations.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Ayu » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:47 pm

Dear Duck :smile: ,
In my mind i know such thoughts as phases, like bad weather it is coming and going. But it is more senseful than weather seems to be. For me, doubts are the best way to become aquainted with "the landscape". A straight way is something stupid. There need to be curves and ups and downs due to the visible and not visible terms of your personality.
All the outside comes from the inside. So inside is also the solution or the reason. You can find it, if you stop looking in the wrong direction.

I sometimes doubt enlightenment is possible for me or anyone else, ...

I heard once that it might be possible to write a wish down and it comes true - but it must be written very detailed with date and how it will be. A Friend of mine found her love in this way. 'Funny, i'll try this' i thought. :smile: So i wrote on a paper: "On october 15th 2012 i will attain liberation!" :smile:
Okay, i think my wish was not detailed enough cause it didn't work perfectly :tongue: BUT: it was a very, very good training for my mind to count with the POSSIBILITY of attaining Liberation. My mind made a big step to become wider , just because i was thinking all the time before: 'Will it happen? How can it happen? Ah, i feel something already.' :lol:

What's kind of funny is my weekly lojong slogan is "Abandon all hope of fruition." Okay, done....

:tongue: It's not SO EASY!!! You have to develope joy and drive also to make it. What is life without motivation? One of the Paramitas is called Viriya (also spelled vīriya) pāramī : energy, diligence, vigour, effort. This has to be joyful.
And there is a good reason to be chearful, because it is a wonderful opportunity now to live and be able to practice Dharma. It's said this is as precious and seldom like finding a big jewel on a heap of crushed stones.

And when i moved from a small flat to a good house, i could find out: it matters.
Hope i wasn't too "wise" now - it's just my opinion... :shrug:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby duckfiasco » Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:57 pm

What would I prefer? Something that doesn't feel pointless and without benefit to me or anyone around me. I realize this is entirely an attitude, but I'm working with what I have here :tongue: Given the direction of things on a personal level in my life, something is amiss. Generally if you're trying a remedy to a problem and it proves ineffectual, you try something else, no?

Johnny, thank you for your thoughtful reply. I feel like I should be sending you a Christmas card or fruit basket for the times you've slogged through my novels and offered your help :)

If I am making ideas about what is supposed to be happening, it's not consciously. The natural reaction to suffering is to want out of it. That's where I am now. Maybe my idea is "I'm suffering, my relationships are failing, Buddhism should be doing more than just telling me to get over it." I realize 100% this is samsaric in itself, "pain in here, something better out there" but if Buddhism doesn't offer an accessible way to relieve suffering, it doesn't seem like a very compassionate response given that we're only here because we're silly deluded beings in the first place.

It comes back to the whole Zen issue I have: stinky tangible suffering, here are some lofty ideas that you may or may not be able to apply. Hence my reluctant eye towards Christianity, where people seem to be having some measure of metta and renunciation, without the bizarre existential conundrums Buddhism poses. I realize 90% of the US is self-reported Christian, and not 90% of the country is happy and generous :rolling: But in my immediate personal experience, people at Buddhist centers = nice, talkative, helpful, but somehow aloof on a personal level and societal level, with no outreach programs. Ultimately inaccessible, like Buddhism. People at the UCCs I've been to = holy shit am I your son? Thank you for these cookies even though we just met. Gosh, I'd love to come help volunteer sometime. Which seems more appealing to someone suffering from a lack of connection and feelings of love towards others?

I guess my occasional problem is precisely that: Buddhism feels out of reach, inaccessible calculus to a person struggling with basic arithmetic. The dilemma sometimes feels like "perfect metta this lifetime through Christianity, or possibly meaningless floundering with Buddhism."

Ayu, thank you as well. I'll think on your words and reply when I don't have to dash off to make lunch for my spouse :D :cheers:
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:00 pm

Right now there is some UCC member having the exact same kind of existential crises about their religion. Guaranteed. You could probably even find a forum post of it somewhere ;)

I'm curious, beyond "good works" which UCC can do more of due to being bigger and better organized, how do you think they are a better example of compassionate action?

How is their compassion different from Buddhist compassion, if at all?

What is compassionate action anyway? Is feeding the homeless more important than anti-war marches or animal welfare for example, what is a valid expression of compassion for other beings, and why is UCC better at it?

Is it reasonable to base your feelings about Buddhism itself on your relationship to the Buddhism that you perceive as belonging to other people?

If the compassion feels pointless, that's a starting place, you mention that your relationships are in disrepair...maybe it's time to look at those with different eyes? Just like meditation, start with yourself and those you love, and then move outwards.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Yudron » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:25 pm

I'm hearing a lack of simple pleasure in practice. Nobody's going to persist in something they just don't enjoy. I'm not talking about being giddy with bliss every time you sit on a cushion. I mean just enjoying the process of exploration... seeing what unfolds, even when it might be painful or neutral.

For me, the visualization practices in the Vajrayana increase my enjoyment, and also being comfortable in my seating arrangement and having art around me. Honestly, I admire zen a lot, but I needed something more festive.

I rarely give advice on this forum, but you seem to be requesting it. So here goes: For now, I would suggest you do the practice you really think you would enjoy the most, and be most interested in. Don't try to fit a square peg into a round hole-do the practice that you would really secretly like to do.

I don't believe you when you say you have lost faith in enlightenment. You are talking like someone who had a bad break up and now you say "f*** all that romance stuff, it's bull S***." But, scratch that same person and one can find a profound romantic.

I read recently that getting good at anything takes 10,000 hours of practice. I read this in relation to chess, but it's probably true in many fields. Most of us have something we enjoy, be it career or hobby that we devote that kind of time to over our lives, don't you think? So, yeah, that is about 20 years if you do an hour a day of practice plus a few weekend retreats a year. Maybe you won't have realization at that point, but I guarantee you that you will be a much happier person than you started out, and you will feel very satisfied at your choice.

Then when you die, you can do it professionally, fearlessly, with complete confidence of future lives.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Konchog1 » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:45 pm

duckfiasco wrote:Since we're on pointless questions, long term? Paradoxically hope for enlightenment but give up hope of anything; let's set a goal to draw you in, then say the goal doesn't matter. What the hell? If this were the case in anything else in life, who would stick around? And short term, this weird emotionless gulf and tangible alienation from people around me, whatever my actual feelings towards them may be. It seems like Buddhism sets an incredibly low and incredibly high bar. Work for all beings, but if you do your best and still feel miserable, oh well! There's this undercurrent that it's always just your fault and not a problem with the conceptless, pure, etc. Buddhist teachings.
I hate when people say this, so please bear with me. But, I'm not sure this is Buddhism. What books are you reading? You may wish avoid the pop Buddhism books at the corner bookstore. Check out Access to Insight or Berzin's site instead.

The whole 'goal doesn't matter' thing sounds like Pop Zen or "mindfulness" teachings. Of course we should want Enlightenment. But we shouldn't cling to it. Just as we shouldn't cling to anything. Wanting and clinging are not the same. Similarly, enjoying and clinging are not the same. If you cling to Enlightenment you become sectarian or become depressed if Enlightenment seems out of reach. If you want Enlightenment, you simply work towards it, fixing problems in your practice as they arise.

Being alienated is a sign of some misunderstanding. On your part or theirs. Think of the Dalai Lama. People like him. Therefore, Buddhism by itself shouldn't cause alienation.

How can you help others if you feel like crap? Love yourself first, then everyone else. Otherwise, it's an ego game. We, the suffering martyrs and so forth.

Fault implies blame and shaming. Buddhism teaches people to responsible for themselves. There is no blame or shaming. You are responsible for your glory after all. Any feelings of blame or shaming would come from a Judeo-Christian background and thus another misunderstanding.

But, of course if you wish to explore something other than Buddhism then do so. I wish you the best.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:48 pm

duckfiasco wrote:I guess my occasional problem is precisely that: Buddhism feels out of reach, inaccessible calculus to a person struggling with basic arithmetic.

Yeah, well, Buddhists ain't got no soul, you see. They gotta make it up.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:01 pm

I think when people like Trungpa say to give up hope, they are not talking about having spiritual apathy, but being willing to persist in spite of the demands that are banging around in your crazy monkey head.

Anyway, so much good advice here i'm trying to take some of it to heart too.

So another issue, whatever can be perceived about the relative compassionate actions of Buddhists vs. Christians, which one do you believe carries truth in it? Surely even if one group performs less meritorious actions but holds the truth, you should practice the truth, and simply bring more merit to it, right?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby Ayu » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:27 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:...

So another issue, whatever can be perceived about the relative compassionate actions of Buddhists vs. Christians, which one do you believe carries truth in it? Surely even if one group performs less meritorious actions but holds the truth, you should practice the truth, and simply bring more merit to it, right?

And: what other people do in the outside is not the matter. Why not? It just SEEMS to be so, but how compassionate they really are you cannot meassure by having a look. It's therefore not the problem how THEY are , but what I do with it.
What i see is what i am in some way.
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:02 pm

duckfiasco wrote:Since about Saturday, I've been struggling to accept the efficacy of any Buddhist practice.

I sometimes doubt enlightenment is possible for me or anyone else, aside from the most devoted practitioners and teachers. They seem to be onto something. The average person? Not so much. Someone on here posted a list of like 20 complex meditations to master before even thinking about enlightenment.


Well, enlightenment doesn't actually exist. But degrees of enlightenment exist to the extent that they function in your life. From another perspective enlightenment exists as the culmination of complete purification of all defilements and complete perfection of all positive qualities.

So - is it possible for someone to eliminate some defilement? Let's say some long standing thing that they have expressed in their behavior. Like hatred toward a being? It's pretty tough actually but if you examine yourself closely you will find that you can in fact eliminate that defilement. Then is it possible to perfect positive qualities. Again if you examine yourself closely you will see that it is possible to perfect some positive qualities - like kindness and compassion for example (perfect them in the sense of deepening them and then discovering that you can always deepen them).

This is exactly the point that many westerners give up on as a result of conditioning. They adhere to the view that positive states of mind are transient phenomena because they also experience negative mindstates. Like when my parents told me about Ben Franklin's attempts to perfect himself, something he eventually gave up on and declared impossible. But in fact it is possible.

And beyond that it is possible to actually experience the nature of mind directly. So before this happens, you basically have to rely on others telling you that it can happen. And our primary guide on this matter is Shakyamuni Buddha.

From a Tibetan Buddhist POV all you need to do is to work on perfecting compassion and then everything else will eventually come along as well.


I've had troubles with specific defilements before, and the solution given at the local Zen place was just to sit, sit, sit. Sit like a statue, the bird that just crapped on your head is beyond concepts.


Everyone has problems with defilements. But over time they can be reduced and eliminated.

However even in Zen sitting like a statue is not correct (not if you are actually sitting like a statue). Sitting is the primary practice but it is not the only way to deal with things. Where do these defilements come from? Where do they go? What triggers them?

As I deal with an undesirable and prolonged home situation and a crumbling marriage, I see Buddhism as not really helping me in everyday life and not really helping anyone else immediately around me, either.


There are no securities. This is one of the facts of samsara. Everything always changes and life as experienced may not be what we want. Things are especially difficult now for various reasons. However, what happens when we deliberately decide to practice lovingkindness and compassion? How does that change our reality?

Since we're on pointless questions, long term? Paradoxically hope for enlightenment but give up hope of anything; let's set a goal to draw you in, then say the goal doesn't matter.


If you can be compassionate for one instant then you are behaving as a Buddha for one instant. You may not have the wisdom side or the action side just yet but you have manifested compassion. Then keep doing that each instant. So actually manifesting compassion is wisdom. Manifesting compassion is enlightenment. The reason we don't call it enlightenment is because you can turn away from manifesting compassion. When you can't turn away from manifesting compassion then you are much closer to Buddhahood (and in fact would be a real Bodhisattva). The same is true for all of the perfections (the six perfections of the Northen School: generosity, morality, patience, diligence, meditation/concentration and wisdom or for the ten perfections of the Southern School: generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, dilligence, patience, truthfulness, determination, lovinglkindness and equanimity) or the four so-called immeasurables: lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

And short term, this weird emotionless gulf and tangible alienation from people around me, whatever my actual feelings towards them may be.


Don't be alienated from others.


There's this undercurrent that it's always just your fault ...


Fault and the rest is irrelevant. As it says in the opening chapter of the Dharmapada/Dhammapada "our life is the life of our mind". We are the result of what we have previously thought and done. So we change our future by changing our mind. This can take time in some cases.

But you wouldn't give a flu vaccine to a person already suffering from pneumonia.

But you would take care of them in the way that they needed.

Pema Chödrön says to use the raw energy of doubt, fear, anger, etc. to reconnect with our soft spot and see the ways we protect ourselves. That sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo
(sorry Pema!!)


Okay, but she's talking to a lot of touchy-feely people and you're not there (at least not right now).

But we do use negative emotions and behaviors to try to protect ourselves.

At least it seems the Christians I know act spontaneously out of love and charity. The kindest people I've met have been at churches, not at Buddhist centers.


Yes, Buddhism has attracted a lot of people who seem to like to disengage from others. This is the wrong way to go. But overtime, they realise it and change.

Is there such a thing as not being cut out for Buddhism?

I want to say no but the teachings actually say yes. There are people for whom Buddhism is not the best spiritual medicine.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:10 pm

duckfiasco wrote: But if I'm allergic to Zen, I'm even more allergic to an eternal soul.


Well Robert Thurman was correct when he said that there was actually an eternal soul in Buddhism. It's called the mind. It doesn't carry a personality, etc. but in effect it is the reason that beings migrate from lifetime to lifetime. The debate is over what this really means and different Buddhist schools have said different things but at the end of the day your experience will always be that of an awareness in some realm of existence, unless, according to one school in particular, you attain Arhantship or Buddhahood (and that school also has an interpretation that basically means that the mind still continues in effect eternally). In the "most advanced" interpretation in the Northern School the mind doesn't ultimately exist but it does continue through Buddhahood because each moment of mind creates a new moment of mind. In effect eternal.

Kirt

In closing, help!! :toilet: :broke: :rolleye:[/quote]
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby viniketa » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:02 am

First, let me say that under very different circumstances, I am dealing with similar "hopelessness" issues right now. So, take the following under the caveat that I am not "enlightened"...

duckfiasco wrote:I've tried sitting with the growing pain and dissatisfaction. I almost lost it Monday and lashed out in uncharacteristic ways. One of those times where the most exquisitely nasty things to say come to mind. Not too smart to try sitting with all of that, so I've been doing walking meditation instead.


Good for you! Walking meditation, if you are able, is great. There are several methods, but just honing pure awareness -- encountering "objects' and letting them slide effortlessly from consciousness, until they all become no different from each other or from you -- is as good an exercise for the mind as the walking is for the muscles.

duckfiasco wrote:But Buddhism seems to enjoy a special exception, it's "beyond doubt and belief," "beyond concepts," and any other number of things that make it intractable to people having a crisis of faith.


Well, in fact, the "thus gone" are gone beyond even faith. Faith is the largest portion of the raft to be left behind.

duckfiasco wrote:It's not even that this is an intellectual doubt full of pointless unanswerable questions. As I deal with an undesirable and prolonged home situation and a crumbling marriage, I see Buddhism as not really helping me in everyday life and not really helping anyone else immediately around me, either.


Then drop the "Buddhism" like a rock. Let it fall flat on its face. Keep up with your walking meditation. Intellectual reading, since you've said you enjoy it. Keep precepts you're already keeping and know as "truth". Turn-off the concept of some far-distant enlightenment and strive merely for each day to be no worse than yesterday. In a bad situation, that is sometimes an enormous accomplishment, in itself.

duckfiasco wrote:Pema Chödrön says to use the raw energy of doubt, fear, anger, etc. to reconnect with our soft spot and see the ways we protect ourselves. That sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo (sorry Pema!!)


I imagine an un-enlightened Pema Chödrön to be quite a ball of spit fire with plenty of energy channeled into that doubt, fear, anger, etc. For those of us whose anger is smouldering and draining rather than energizing, that advice doesn't always make sense. Still, in other places she gets closer to us when talking about using the pain (rather than the energy) to bring us in touch with those spots. Linger and cherish those spots at the same time you are realizing how you protect them. Once you realize, there is no commandment not to protect, just to understand the ways you protect and maybe examine them to see if other means of protection might be less damaging to self or others. But if they need protecting, by all means do so.

Just something to think about: You might be using "Buddhism" as a new means of protection for some new tender spots. That would explain the distance you feel opening up. It is, in fact, a closing off. The real "trick" isn't to cut off emotions, but to re-train your reactions to emotions so that they don't drain you of the energy you need to deal with daily life.

May you find happiness and the means to happiness. Short of that, may you increase your peace and be well.

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby greentara » Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:23 am

Dear Duck, Walking meditation is excellent,
Ajahn Chah says "Let go, let go until the mind reaches the peace that is free from advancing"
When I've got problems and the mind starts the endless chatter I'll do self enquiry but faster still is saying to yourself "drop it, let go!"
Try not to think about enlightenment and nirvana(as interesting as the subject is) stay in the present, in the 'now'!

Sure Chrisitianity has its own lure. devotional paths can make the heart melt. But true devotion means getting rid of this entity you call 'my self' that is really hard and laying all credit and debit at the lords feet. "not my will but thine" very few reach that level. From my experence kind people at the church still have a strong core called 'my self' which at the end of the day is another word for selfish. Christianity has an inbuilt need to prosyletize and spread the gospel so if you don't fully agree they'll be quite firm it's 'my way or the highway'!
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby jeeprs » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:49 am

I have had times when I felt just like that. I seem to have gotten through them, but I don't really have advice on how others ought to do the same. Actually one thing that springs to mind, is not to be too attached to Buddhism. For me it is a way to organize my understanding around some perennial topics. But there are points on which I diverge from it. The actual daily practice aspect has been beneficial, but then I started sitting a long while ago, decades, in fact. There were a few periods when it lapsed altogether, once for a whole year. I don't tend to look to it as The Answer. Krishnamurti would say 'the answer is in the question'. That is a wise saying.

'Is enlightenment possible'? I have felt like that, too. But then I realized that enlightenment doesn't pertain to me. Iwill never be 'enlightened'. The thought of that is like me imagining an iconic representation of myself, sorrounded by acolytes.

Anyway there is much beautiful and beneficial advice above.


One other thought that I always found strangely consoling was this one:

My life has been a series of crises, most of which never occurred.


Don't know where I read it, but I often think of it.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby windsweptliberty » Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:51 am

My Dharma friend - I am sorry for your distress. Yet, hopelessness is the fertile ground in which sudden realization can happen. Hope is wanting or the desire of a specific outcome. One of the four noble truths states: Suffering can be ended if you stop wanting ie. stop hopeing for enlightenment. Alls good and you are all. It sounds as though you are on the right path.
Last edited by windsweptliberty on Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby ground » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:03 am

Hope and fear are the sphere of religions ... buddhism, christianity, islam ... no difference. Nothing can be said against religions since they are the manifestation of human dilemma and being human does not go without this dilemma. Religions are based on belief or some call it faith. Religions are based on cultivation of belief and the corresponding focus. It is a matter of the individual what religion matches its inclinations. :sage:
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby greentara » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:22 am

jeeprs, I was really into Krishnamurti years ago. Somewhere along the way I found his teaching and his life were at odds, he didn't live the teaching he was mouthing. He was elitist and he did several things that I found distasteful..... I put away all his books and lost interest. I havn't thought about him in ages so it was interesting seeing a quote of his on the forum.
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Re: Hopelessness

Postby ground » Thu Dec 13, 2012 4:35 am

Now - moved by compassion - I will show you that the Buddha actually did not exclusively teach what is nowadays sold as "buddhism" ... he did teach religion too, but only for hungry ghosts.

But when talking non-religiously he said things like these:

From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. ... Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Here you can see that "Buddha" and "Bodhidharma" are actually neither one nor two. However the hungry ghosts succeeded in miraculously transforming even the words of Bodhidharma into religion. Human dilemma and the dilemma of hungry ghosts are neither one nor two.

But now ... having uttered all these meaningless words ... put all these aside ... how about you? who and/or what are you? :sage:
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