moving beyond hope and fear

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Nov 22, 2013 7:53 pm

Just to add to smcj's excellent post, I've found doing something worthwhile for the benefit of others removes any concerns about hopes, fears, or motivation.
Practice can be really hard sometimes, and ugly stuff has definitely come up during meditation for me.
From the standpoint of hoping for betterment or fear of discomfort, boredom, our own defilements, this is the wrong path to be on.
But if you remember how rare and precious living beings are in the scope of the universe, and especially how dire and broad their suffering, and how uncertain your own time remaining is, how can you do anything but joyfully throw yourself into practice?
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Fri Nov 22, 2013 8:00 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:How can it be done?

I mean really, the very basis of our existence is expecting something, wanting something to conform to our expectations...how can one avoid doing this with Dharma? Should we even try to avoid it? How can our minds move beyond expectations of wanting our practice to conform to our samsaric expectations?

You are totally right about expectations being the source of hope and fear. Now it would be wise to ask about the cause of expectations. Where do they come from?
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby undefineable » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:03 am

duckfiasco wrote:From the standpoint of hoping for betterment or fear of discomfort, boredom, our own defilements, this is the wrong path to be on.
So practicing dharma with the motivation of an ordinary person is 'wrong'and harmful? :rolleye:

If dharma practice were reserved for those able to treat it purely as "art for art's sake" and/or a way of investing in others, it would be impossible for anyone to either approach or establish themselves on the Path. Also, 'hope of betterment' could mean hope for oneself, hope for other sentient beings, hope for dharma practice as an end in itself (however much it might be necessary to see it in this way after a while), or even hope for dharma practice as an 'ultimate good' with no bearing on the lives or minds of sentient beings. You didn't make that clear :? .
duckfiasco wrote: But if you remember how rare and precious living beings are in the scope of the universe, and especially how dire and broad their suffering, and how uncertain your own time remaining is, how can you do anything but joyfully throw yourself into practice?
For most beings -including a great many humans- the existence and suffering of others outside their immediate cirlces is of little or no concern. If any of them consider such things for some reason, abandoning themselves to the inward observation of their own physical and mental processes is unlikely to be their first response :lol: ;)
oushi wrote:You are totally right about expectations being the source of hope and fear. Now it would be wise to ask about the cause of expectations. Where do they come from?
This could be interesting :popcorn: As emotions come to be treated objectively rather than just subjectively, new patterns seem likely to appear and to develop in both repetition and scope to the point at which old patterns disintegrate :sage: .
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby smcj » Sat Nov 23, 2013 12:27 am

Now it would be wise to ask about the cause of expectations. Where do they come from?

From not being aware enough of our own mortality, specifically that we could be dead before sunrise tomorrow...
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:44 am

Hi, undefinable! I have trouble getting what I mean across sometimes, especially in writing! :toilet:

If dharma practice were reserved for those able to treat it purely as "art for art's sake" and/or a way of investing in others, it would be impossible for anyone to either approach or establish themselves on the Path.

The dharma isn't reserved for special people :)
I came to it from a place of deep depression and selfishness. I just wanted to feel better! Because of the depth of the Buddha's message and some excellent books, I finally found something for someone like me, too.

My point is that there comes a time when I guess the initial good karma of meeting the teachings and starting down the path peters out.
Then you're left with the ugly fact that you don't want to meditate, that saving all beings sounds like an awful lot of work, that letting go of attachment sounds good but then you realize you'd been ignoring your own anger or lust for years. And that being angry or greedy sometimes feels a lot better than you want to admit!

During those times, interest in one's own feelings or somehow improving your lot just won't cut the mustard. That's where hope and fear can be devastating to a practice.

So for me, I've found it helpful to instead view this instead as work I'm doing for others.
Even just conventionally, any goodness brought by the dharma may be felt by my partner, my friends, parents, people I see every day.
"if this can help me respond with love when I want to be pissed off at my partner, what a gift for him."
There's the cosmological level of the bodhisattva vow, as well.
But the moment I sit down to meditate to clear my mind or achieve access concentration or anything at all, the whole thing becomes incredibly frustrating. It's instant burden, just add three words "I want to..."

So for me personally, it's only by letting any benefits or hopes pass through my fingers like sand that then no disappointment or frustration or "don't wanna do this" can stick, either.

For most beings -including a great many humans- the existence and suffering of others outside their immediate cirlces is of little or no concern. If any of them consider such things for some reason, abandoning themselves to the inward observation of their own physical and mental processes is unlikely to be their first response

It's to their own detriment, as you well know.
Thankfully, the depth of the Dharma is such that there is this step of first getting out of your own head and suffering to see really how much things like metta and any kind of introspection can be of benefit to everyone, including oneself.
I had to find that gap between my depressive thoughts and the "me" I thought they came from before I could even give half a crap about others, let alone their problems.
But you have to start where you are. The trick is in communicating this skillfully to others, which I sorely wish I were able to do.
I know several people in my life who suffer like I did, and who need this medicine.

I hope that makes what I meant a little clearer :)
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:59 am

smcj wrote:
Now it would be wise to ask about the cause of expectations. Where do they come from?

From not being aware enough of our own mortality, specifically that we could be dead before sunrise tomorrow...

To escape mortality people invented all different ideas like reincarnation, heaven and hell etc. Nevertheless, awareness of mortality may be a good device to decrease expectations.
The question about the cause of expectations remains open.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby futerko » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:03 am

oushi wrote:
smcj wrote:
Now it would be wise to ask about the cause of expectations. Where do they come from?

From not being aware enough of our own mortality, specifically that we could be dead before sunrise tomorrow...

To escape mortality people invented all different ideas like reincarnation, heaven and hell etc. Nevertheless, awareness of mortality may be a good device to decrease expectations.
The question about the cause of expectations remains open.


I would speculate that hopes and fears are the cause of expectations, and expectations are the cause of hopes and fears - it is perfectly circular.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:20 am

futerko wrote:I would speculate that hopes and fears are the cause of expectations, and expectations are the cause of hopes and fears - it is perfectly circular.

Idea/thought is the cause of them all. Knowledge is the source of idea/thought, and meaning is the source of knowledge. As the last one comes experience. Try removing one of those four and the circle will be broken. This is a spiral-like structure creating higher and higher levels.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby flowerbudh » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:14 am

I'd say practicing mindful awareness and meditation is the best way. Remember the truth... :)
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - The Buddha
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby smcj » Mon Dec 02, 2013 5:37 am

flowerbudh wrote:I'd say practicing mindful awareness and meditation is the best way. Remember the truth... :)

Love your posts. :twothumbsup: Don't let us obfuscate the Dharma for you. :namaste:

To escape mortality people invented all different ideas like reincarnation, heaven and hell, etc.

I suppose you include Sakyamuni among those types of people. :buddha2:
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:11 am

smcj wrote:
To escape mortality people invented all different ideas like reincarnation, heaven and hell, etc.

I suppose you include Sakyamuni among those types of people. :buddha2:

I would say he invented nirvana to escape mortality.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby smcj » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:49 pm

oushi wrote:
smcj wrote:
To escape mortality people invented all different ideas like reincarnation, heaven and hell, etc.

I suppose you include Sakyamuni among those types of people. :buddha2:

I would say he invented nirvana to escape mortality.

Maybe 'invented' isn't the right verb, but basically that's right imho.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:53 pm

smcj wrote:Maybe 'invented' isn't the right verb, but basically that's right imho.

So, how does he differ from the rest?
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby smcj » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:16 pm

oushi wrote:
smcj wrote:Maybe 'invented' isn't the right verb, but basically that's right imho.

So, how does he differ from the rest?

To say that Sakyamuni 'invented' nirvana would imply that he somehow created it. He did not create it anymore than Columbus 'created' America.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:24 pm

smcj wrote:
oushi wrote:
smcj wrote:Maybe 'invented' isn't the right verb, but basically that's right imho.

So, how does he differ from the rest?

To say that Sakyamuni 'invented' nirvana would imply that he somehow created it. He did not create it anymore than Columbus 'created' America.

What is said he discovered is beyond words. The idea lying behind "nirvana" is invented, not discovered. All we can talk about are ideas, hypothetical cures for mortality. You may believe that nirvana is something more then other beliefs, but its nothing but a belief. Belief that there is a cure for mortality.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby smcj » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:43 pm

You may believe that nirvana is something more then other beliefs, but its nothing but a belief. Belief that there is a cure for mortality.

And you base your dismissal of nirvana as nothing more than a belief on--what?
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby invisiblediamond » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:46 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:How can it be done?


You recognize emotions are inwardly like space and apply that when hope and fear arises.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby oushi » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:50 pm

smcj wrote:
You may believe that nirvana is something more then other beliefs, but its nothing but a belief. Belief that there is a cure for mortality.

And you base your dismissal of nirvana as nothing more than a belief on--what?

Because ideas do not materialize themselves. You are free to prove me wrong. On what basis would you claim nirvana to be something more then a belief?
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby invisiblediamond » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:05 pm

oushi wrote:
smcj wrote:
oushi wrote:So, how does he differ from the rest?

To say that Sakyamuni 'invented' nirvana would imply that he somehow created it. He did not create it anymore than Columbus 'created' America.

What is said he discovered is beyond words. The idea lying behind "nirvana" is invented, not discovered. All we can talk about are ideas, hypothetical cures for mortality. You may believe that nirvana is something more then other beliefs, but its nothing but a belief. Belief that there is a cure for mortality.


It a reclassification of norms after careful reasoning. What dies was born. Birth and death are interdependent. Then so is birth and the unborn. If there is this unborn aspect, then there is this deathless aspect, because what isn't born won't die. Immortality was a very big goal for world spiritual enterprise back then. All masters were touting their method. Buddha reclassified that to reflect only the unborn, not the born but never dies. Nirvana is "immortality" redefined.

A human being is a species. A species in part is classified by its activities, I.e., pursuing food and shelter in such and such a way, procreating in such a such a way, etc. Darwin wrote about starlings on different islands. One built its nest in a tree. The other in the ground. Otherwise these can procreate. It's as if they have different cultures so that was the basis of differentiation, not mating potential. If one's activity ceases then that species mark is lost. If one meditates on the unborn mind as life activities, then one leaves not just the class of humans, but all sentient beings into a new class, the Buddhas, etc. Buddha was very matter of fact. There's no blind faith part to dharma. There's no other religion with this notion of unborn, beyond existence and nonexistence. So you see? Nirvana is not something you believe in, but can't experience first hand. It can begin with careful analysis.
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Re: moving beyond hope and fear

Postby smcj » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:11 pm

oushi wrote:On what basis would you claim nirvana to be something more then a belief?

Because my personal beliefs, the way I see things, has been repeatedly proven to me to be wrong (i.e. I have been shown my ignorance), and the Dharma has been proven right (i.e. I have been confidence in enlightened awareness). This allows me to dismiss my own perspectives and opinions as ignorant limitations, and allows me to Take Refuge.

Nirvana isn't even on my horizon, but the Path has been proven (to me) to be valid. I have confidence in the part of the Path I can see, the beginning. I take on faith what lies at the end of the Path. YMMV.
Last edited by smcj on Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:23 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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