Walking Away

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
Balintawak
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Walking Away

Postby Balintawak » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:29 pm

I was just wondering what you all thought.

I have a wonderful family with 3 kids and a wonderful spouse. But inside I am struggling with the idea of leaving them to return back to India on a spiritual journey that I feel I desperately need. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but it is like I want to live 2 very different lives. I want to head to India for teachings and to mediate. But on the other I want my family too and don't want to loose them. I am so confused as to what I want to do. Is it "wrong" to leave my family for a while to go there if I feel it will make me better? I am so lost.

Any thoughts would be great. And please don't blast me for me thinking about leaving my family.
Nick

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Knotty Veneer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:42 pm

Balintawak wrote:I was just wondering what you all thought.

I have a wonderful family with 3 kids and a wonderful spouse. But inside I am struggling with the idea of leaving them to return back to India on a spiritual journey that I feel I desperately need. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but it is like I want to live 2 very different lives. I want to head to India for teachings and to mediate. But on the other I want my family too and don't want to loose them. I am so confused as to what I want to do. Is it "wrong" to leave my family for a while to go there if I feel it will make me better? I am so lost.

Any thoughts would be great. And please don't blast me for me thinking about leaving my family.


You asked my opinion - here it is:

You are going through a rough period but if your children are young then they need you. They should be your first priority. You could blight their lives by leaving. You need to work with your situations as it is - instead of following some fantasy in India. The grass is never really greener. If you cannot work with this, you are unlikely to do learn how in India. Maybe when they are older you can do something like this. You might be better for now seeking out a teacher in a Buddhist group where you are or seeking the advice of a therapist. Leaving your spouse and children to go on spiritual adventure may well be something you come to reget in later life.
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:48 pm

Balintawak wrote:I was just wondering what you all thought.

I have a wonderful family with 3 kids and a wonderful spouse. But inside I am struggling with the idea of leaving them to return back to India on a spiritual journey that I feel I desperately need. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but it is like I want to live 2 very different lives. I want to head to India for teachings and to mediate. But on the other I want my family too and don't want to loose them. I am so confused as to what I want to do. Is it "wrong" to leave my family for a while to go there if I feel it will make me better? I am so lost.

Any thoughts would be great. And please don't blast me for me thinking about leaving my family.


Don't want to sound to rough, because i've had similar feelings for sure, but here's how it seems to me:

I think that if you are embarking on a spiritual quest for your own needs, it is not really a spiritual quest..at least from a Mahayana Buddhism perspective. At the very least it's a questionable motivation.

It'd be better to make your spiritual quest and your family the same thing. Compassion is naturally felt for one's family due to nature, that's a good starting point for Compassion that transcends one's family, preferences etc. If we can't find the "spiritual" in the mundane aspects of life, it seems unlikely to me we will find it anywhere.
May the ocean of lands be purified, the ocean of beings liberated, the ocean of Dharma realized,
and the ocean of wisdom fully attained. -The Aspiration of Samantabhadra

Arnoud
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Arnoud » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:53 pm

If your children and wife are financially secure, then why won't you go for a few months? I know quite a few people who do this. Some even get physically sick if they don't go. Now, if your absence would leave them struggling to survive that would be different.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Walking Away

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:12 am

Once there was a monk in the U.S. who went to his abbot everyday asking to go to Asia so that he could meditate with some great masters. The abbot told him to meditate in his kuti. The monk was persistent and kept asking permission to be able to go to Asia. Finally one day the abbot gave him permission and so the young monk went off to Asia. The young monk returned back to his monastery in the U.S. after 6 months. The abbot said, "what have you learned?" The monk replied, "that I didn't have to go to Asia at all, I could have worked on my Path right here". The abbot responded, "I knew that, but you had to find that out yourself".

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Ayu
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Ayu » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:06 am

Sometimes i think about renouncing everything also. But as a female housekeeper, family-person, it is not at all possible to leave my husband and my children. This family without the mother would collapse.

So i found out, that renouncing is an internal affair and must not inevitably been seen as something external.

To retract from worldly affairs means for me not to engage in "being something", not to grasp, do my sadhana and studying right here, and train the 6 Paramitas here in this practical life.
In some years my children will be adult - i will see what i'll do then.
"We're fascinated by the words–but where we meet is in the silence behind them."
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche


By this constructive act, may we quickly actualize ourselves as Guru-Buddhas
and thereafter lead to that state all wandering beings, not neglecting even one.

:meditate:

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Karma Dorje
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Karma Dorje » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:18 am

Balintawak wrote:I was just wondering what you all thought.

I have a wonderful family with 3 kids and a wonderful spouse. But inside I am struggling with the idea of leaving them to return back to India on a spiritual journey that I feel I desperately need. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but it is like I want to live 2 very different lives. I want to head to India for teachings and to mediate. But on the other I want my family too and don't want to loose them. I am so confused as to what I want to do. Is it "wrong" to leave my family for a while to go there if I feel it will make me better? I am so lost.

Any thoughts would be great. And please don't blast me for me thinking about leaving my family.


It's an unreal dichotomy, I think. Talk to your spouse: explain what you are feeling, what you need and why. You have a responsibility to the kids. There is no question you need to support them, but there are probably many ways that you can do that. Moreover, maybe this is something you can do *as a family*. India is not the hardship it used to be to travel to with family. If not, maybe it's something you can work out together with your family so that you can do what you need for a time.

In general though, don't make yourself miserable! Be happy and work towards your goal openly! This should be something that brings you joy, not anguish.
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that"
—Bill Shankly

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spot dawa
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Re: Walking Away

Postby spot dawa » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:53 am

Gotauma himself is not "beyond reproach" as a deadbeat dad. He left his wife and newborn son in the cradle to seek out the Dharma. Of course, he did leave them well-taken care of, in a palace, so there's that.

As far as your children and spouse are concerned, which choice would you want them to make in the same situation? That is worth consideration.

If you cannot fulfill a calling because of emotional attachment to your family, that is a strong fetter which you might investigate cutting through. If you decide however that despite your "desperate needs" your family will suffer in your absence, and so tend to their needs before your own, that is a good start to a journey to be picked up later.

I think if you were my Dad, though, I would want you to renounce if that is what you need to do.

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lobster
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Re: Walking Away

Postby lobster » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:37 am

You are lost in delusion. You don't know what the spiritual quest is, so people are kindly telling you.
The 84 mahasiddhas stayed in their situation and used it as the basis of practice.
http://www.keithdowman.net/essays/siddhas.htm

You require a spiritual journey? So go inward not to some place. Be a parent. Become a spiritual person. Same journey. :buddha1:

May you find peace :meditate:

muni
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Re: Walking Away

Postby muni » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:37 am

Wherever I let this body go, my untamed mind is there as well.

Renounciation, maybe prayer for connection with a genuine spiritual friend.

All the best. :namaste:

Arnoud
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Arnoud » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:13 am

BTW, there are many Buddhist centers in Miami if you decide to stay. You can get teachings and just make an agreement with your wife that you want to do so many months of retreat each year.

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kirtu
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Re: Walking Away

Postby kirtu » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:17 am

muni wrote:Wherever I let this body go, my untamed mind is there as well.

Renounciation, maybe prayer for connection with a genuine spiritual friend.



Your family is your practice (said by a Zen master to a Zen student with a family when the student wanted to leave for the monastery).

The only exception to this would be if you were totally financially secure and your children were adults and your wife agreed.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Indrajala
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:20 am

If your family requires your financial support, you need to stay and provide it.

If they do not require it, a month or two away won't hurt, but make sure your spouse approves of your plans otherwise it would probably be heartbreaking.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |
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Astus
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Astus » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:35 pm

"And what is the stress of separation from the loved? There is the case where desirable, pleasing, attractive sights, sounds, aromas, flavors, or tactile sensations do not occur to one; or one has no connection, no contact, no relationship, no interaction with those who wish one well, who wish for one's benefit, who wish for one's comfort, who wish one security from the yoke, nor with one's mother, father, brother, sister, friends, companions, or relatives. This is called the stress of separation from the loved.

And what is the stress of not getting what is wanted? In beings subject to birth, the wish arises, 'O, may we not be subject to birth, and may birth not come to us.' But this is not to be achieved by wanting. This is the stress of not getting what is wanted. In beings subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, the wish arises, 'O, may we not be subject to aging... illness... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair, and may aging... illness... death... sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair not come to us.' But this is not to be achieved by wanting. This is the stress of not getting what is wanted."
(MN 141)


What is the way to become free from stress, from suffering, from being unsatisfied? There are just so many answers to that in Buddhism. The short one is to see how it is only you creating the trouble, it is a mind made experience and it originates from believing that it is real and not just some concept. And there are longer ways, as other's have already suggested.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

DGA
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Re: Walking Away

Postby DGA » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:38 pm

spot dawa wrote:Gotauma himself is not "beyond reproach" as a deadbeat dad. He left his wife and newborn son in the cradle to seek out the Dharma. Of course, he did leave them well-taken care of, in a palace, so there's that.


viewtopic.php?f=77&t=12646
DGA's PhD dissertation, a history of "mindfulness," is available here:

https://www.academia.edu/25482900/WHAT_ ... _OF_STRESS

cucatto
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Re: Walking Away

Postby cucatto » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:48 pm

You should look for a qualified teacher to talk about this subject.
You may consider what others say. But for an apropriate answer for you, look for this qualified teacher.

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mandala
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Re: Walking Away

Postby mandala » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:01 pm

Balintawak wrote:I was just wondering what you all thought.

I have a wonderful family with 3 kids and a wonderful spouse. But inside I am struggling with the idea of leaving them to return back to India on a spiritual journey that I feel I desperately need. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but it is like I want to live 2 very different lives. I want to head to India for teachings and to mediate. But on the other I want my family too and don't want to loose them. I am so confused as to what I want to do. Is it "wrong" to leave my family for a while to go there if I feel it will make me better? I am so lost.

Any thoughts would be great. And please don't blast me for me thinking about leaving my family.


I'm wondering why your spiritual journey needs to be in India? That is, why can't you meditate at home or get teachings nearby?

Only you know your true motivations for this longing.. whether it's the old 'grass is greener' thing, or you feel trapped by family life, or want some excitement on your own, or to be closer to your teacher - or whatever - but that fact remains that you've committed to a partner and kids, so why not incorporate your spiritual life into that existing commitment?

You don't sound like you're thinking of a short holiday by "walking away" - how does your partner feel about it?

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jonaz108
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Re: Walking Away

Postby jonaz108 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:51 pm

cucatto wrote:You should look for a qualified teacher to talk about this subject.
You may consider what others say. But for an apropriate answer for you, look for this qualified teacher.


# approved #
Since I live in Portugal, I can only answer to posts between 9:00 and 20:00 (0º UTC).

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windsweptliberty
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Re: Walking Away

Postby windsweptliberty » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:28 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote: It'd be better to make your spiritual quest and your family the same thing. Compassion is naturally felt for one's family due to nature, that's a good starting point for Compassion that transcends one's family, preferences etc. If we can't find the "spiritual" in the mundane aspects of life, it seems unlikely to me we will find it anywhere.
I agree with Johnny Dangerous and would like to add that a great spiritual journey can start with ones own family and right where you are. It is beautiful that you seek a profound spiritual journey for the betterment of you and others so fortunately for you, and all, the Buddha journeyed out for us, such that our greatest journey is the journey inside rather than out.

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Walking Away

Postby Knotty Veneer » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:46 pm

windsweptliberty wrote: I agree with Johnny Dangerous and would like to add that a great spiritual journey can start with ones own family and right where you are. It is beautiful that you seek a profound spiritual journey for the betterment of you and others so fortunately for you, and all, the Buddha journeyed out for us, such that our greatest journey is the journey inside rather than out.


I think you are right. I also think the original poster knows the right answer to this question but perhaps doesn't want to accept it and so posted here in the hope someone could provide a get out of jail free card.
Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it - Mark Twain.


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