Phowa with psychological disorder

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cjdevries
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Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by cjdevries »

I have been given instructions to do phowa for myself from a qualified lama. However, I have had a past history of psychosis (3 episodes, each lasting a day long ,of scattered, uncontrollable thoughts). Is it safe for me to pursue phowa practice considering this psychological disorder? Can I still do phowa safely with a serious psychological issue? I don't want to go further unless it is safe.
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Ask: what's needed of you" -Akong Rinpoche
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Grigoris
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by Grigoris »

cjdevries wrote:I have been given instructions to do phowa for myself from a qualified lama. However, I have had a past history of psychosis (3 episodes, each lasting a day long ,of scattered, uncontrollable thoughts). Is it safe for me to pursue phowa practice considering this psychological disorder? Can I still do phowa safely with a serious psychological issue? I don't want to go further unless it is safe.
Did the lama that gave you the instruction know about your condition? Can you contact them and ask them for their advice?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

cjdevries wrote:I have been given instructions to do phowa for myself from a qualified lama. However, I have had a past history of psychosis (3 episodes, each lasting a day long ,of scattered, uncontrollable thoughts). Is it safe for me to pursue phowa practice considering this psychological disorder? Can I still do phowa safely with a serious psychological issue? I don't want to go further unless it is safe.
You should apply it and waith for signs. In this case there is no way to know until you do it.

Maybe discursive thoughts just get chopped, or maybe you grasp on them and get nervous, etc. Who knows...

Mm however, if a practice goes wrong for you then i think you should drop it. There are so many methods, and we can search for one that fits in our lives.

:cheers:
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StrangeGuy
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by StrangeGuy »

Maybe get advice not only from a lama/monk but from a "Buddhist mental health specialist" (PhD Clinical level) as well. Here are some links about that topic:

https://scholar.google.de/scholar?q=Bud ... cQgQMIKzAA

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... laims.html

http://psychoticbuddha.blogspot.de/2012 ... fuges.html

http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gu ... -from.html

http://www.cgjungpage.org/learn/article ... meditators

Wish you all the best.
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TharpaChodron
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by TharpaChodron »

I'd talk to your Lama again and tell them your concerns, as well as a professional. Given your history, hopefully you already have someone that you are working with. A good psychologist or psychiatrist will probably never tell you "you should do it," that's a bit irresponsible. Therapists are only there to help you make an informed decision on your own, not tell you what to do. Unless they are telling you you need to take medication, then take their advice imo.
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ClearblueSky
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by ClearblueSky »

I don't think that phowa would be especially harmful in any way, but as with any practice, if you are dealing with mental illness and the practice seems to be exacerbating it, you need to be wise about whether to continue, ease up, or just try a different practice instead. It's also important to remember that lamas are not psychiatrists, and even very wise ones can give advice that might not be best for you when it comes to this.
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Berry
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by Berry »

My opinion is that you should definately talk about your difficulties with your lama first and if you know of anyone familiar with Buddhism who is also a health professional, maybe speak to them too for another opinion.

You could also investigate if your lama and his students are doing any any group phowa practice sessions together which you could attend.
Leave the polluted water of conceptual thoughts in its natural clarity. Without affirming or denying appearances, leave them as they are. When there is neither acceptance nor rejection, mind is liberated into mahāmudra.

~ Tilopa
Jesse
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by Jesse »

In my personal experience, you shouldn't attempt any Vajrayana techniques if you are very prone to mental illness, at least not unless you are directly being supervised by a very experienced teacher and are in close contact with them.. and definitely not distance learning. EG: If you have a monthly skype call with them, that isn't enough.

I'm not entirely familiar with Phowa, but from what I remember it entails energy manipulation of some sort. Probably not the best idea whilst being sick, or if you are prone to sickness. What I am familiar with is psychosis. It can creep up on you, and you may not know it until you are in a fully blown psychotic state months later. Especially not without input from your peers, and teacher/s.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
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nichiren-123
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by nichiren-123 »

I have schizophrenia (I only had one episode but it was a long one - 8 months) and I have to take medication for the rest of my life to keep my brain in balance.
I also practice meditation and have never had problems crop up from it.
cjdevries
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Re: Phowa with psychological disorder

Post by cjdevries »

thanks for all the replies. plenty of food for thought and a lot of wisdom. thanks again.
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Ask: what's needed of you" -Akong Rinpoche
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