PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
shanyin
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PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by shanyin »

What an interesting man and lecture!



He talks about things being empty of inherent existence including the self and that in Mahayana Buddhism there is a self otherwise we would be Nihilists. I am pleased to be learning more about Buddhism and I haven't watched the whole video but it helps me to keep my mind active through listening gently to the lecture.

Anyone have thoughts about it? :thanks:

I heard alot of talk of things being empty of intrinsic nature, but in this video he uses the word inherent.

He talks of a second self, a traumatized self being created in PTSD sufferers. I think learning about psychology is good for me. Anyone have thoughts on this?
tkp67
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by tkp67 »

I have direct experience with the benefit of mental illness as a cause including PTSD. I think it is best described as a caricature of self. A gross exaggeration. Once one comes to terms with the problem it becomes easier to understand how the mind projects a self.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

The speaker is incorrect in stating that Mahayana Buddhism teaches the existence of a self, even a composite self.
There is the mistaken experience of a self, just as there is the illusion of oneself in a dream.
It is this mistaken experience, one that we habitually cling to as true, which is experienced as the victim of trauma.
Does trauma occur? Certainly.
Do dreams occur? Yes, of course.
Likewise, the experience of a self occurs
But cannot be found to truly exist.
.
.
.
EMPTIFUL.
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Aemilius
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

How can there be "no self", if the karma created by me is experienced solely in my stream of existence, and not in your stream of existence? If my deeds are not "mine", they could travel into your stream of being or into your stream of consciousness and form. Or maybe our deeds and their results can actually be transferred into someone else's stream of existence?
Even in Dhammapada there is a chapter about "Self". Mahayana Mahaparinirvana sutra certainly teaches that there is a self, and explains it with many illustrations.
We don't actually care about "true existence": a car does not "exist truly", but we can travel with it all the same. If it makes no difference in practice, what is the point of it?
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Aemilius wrote: Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:26 pm How can there be "no self", if the karma created by me is experienced solely in my stream of existence, and not in your stream of existence? If my deeds are not "mine", they could travel into your stream of being or into your stream of consciousness and form. Or maybe our deeds and their results can actually be transferred into someone else's stream of existence?
Even in Dhammapada there is a chapter about "Self". Mahayana Mahaparinirvana sutra certainly teaches that there is a self, and explains it with many illustrations.
We don't actually care about "true existence": a car does not "exist truly", but we can travel with it all the same. If it makes no difference in practice, what is the point of it?


Because the karma isn’t created by “you”. “You” is the experience resulting from karma. That’s the whole point. It isn’t experienced by “you”, there isn’t “your” consciousness.
You have it backwards.

“You” isn’t creating consciousness.
Consciousness is creating the illusion of a “you”.

The “stream of existence” isn’t continuous. It’s sequential, each moment creating the cause for a nearly identical moment to arise. The experience and subsequent belief that it is continuous is the illusion that manifests as the experience of self.

Yes, there are individual streams, but they are not “self”. They don’t contain anything that can be identified as “self”. Just as with actual rivers and streams of water, none has any intrinsic reality. They are merely multitudes of constantly shifting events. As the saying goes, you can’t stand in the same river twice.
We do care about “true existence” because that’s the key to liberation from samsara. Once you begin to understand that there is no intrinsically arising “self”, that this experience is simply the result of clinging to sensory appearances, then you can begin to let go attachment to the experience of self, which is the cause of suffering.
All suffering results from attachment to a self. The more you reduce that attachment, the more you reduce the suffering, and the whole point of Buddha’s teaching is the elimination of suffering.

...
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
shanyin
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by shanyin »

A little over my head. I was hoping that my Dharma or Dhamma practice would have led me by now to more peace and understanding of the teaching and Reality and Truth. The best I think I can do is follow four noble truths and eightfold path. For now. Sometimes I associate Mahayana as having a trick to enlightenment like emptiness.
shanyin
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by shanyin »

Maybe I'll focus on the other two marks of existence, impermanence and Dukkha.
shanyin
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by shanyin »

After all, I seem to believe that enlightenment is possible. Is Buddhas teaching the elimination of suffering for all being or enlightenment for all beings?
SteRo
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by SteRo »

shanyin wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:46 am ... The best I think I can do is follow four noble truths and eightfold path.
To learn about the meaning of those might be the best start.
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PeterC
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PeterC »

shanyin wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:46 am A little over my head. I was hoping that my Dharma or Dhamma practice would have led me by now to more peace and understanding of the teaching and Reality and Truth. The best I think I can do is follow four noble truths and eightfold path. For now. Sometimes I associate Mahayana as having a trick to enlightenment like emptiness.
There is no proprietary trick. Reality is as it is, different traditions just have more or less complete explanations of it. Shunyata is something that can be understood intellectually, by reading the many great writers who have discussed it at length; understood as a concept, through studying much more concise texts like the heart sutra; or experienced through meditation. For most people the easiest point of entry is understanding anatman, and many traditions do this by asking the student to examine different aspects of the self and search for the self in them.

Understanding the four noble truths, eightfold path and so forth has been the entry point to the Dharma ever since the Buddha of our age taught it in this world, and is an excellent place to begin.
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kusulu
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by kusulu »

PeterC wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:56 am
shanyin wrote: Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:46 am A little over my head. I was hoping that my Dharma or Dhamma practice would have led me by now to more peace and understanding of the teaching and Reality and Truth. The best I think I can do is follow four noble truths and eightfold path. For now. Sometimes I associate Mahayana as having a trick to enlightenment like emptiness.
There is no proprietary trick. Reality is as it is, different traditions just have more or less complete explanations of it. Shunyata is something that can be understood intellectually, by reading the many great writers who have discussed it at length; understood as a concept, through studying much more concise texts like the heart sutra; or experienced through meditation. For most people the easiest point of entry is understanding anatman, and many traditions do this by asking the student to examine different aspects of the self and search for the self in them.

Understanding the four noble truths, eightfold path and so forth has been the entry point to the Dharma ever since the Buddha of our age taught it in this world, and is an excellent place to begin.
Not a trick, Buddha means Awakened; and awakened to what? Awakened to the letting go of suffering, self, and permanence. Letting go of something does not give us something else to hold on to. It is simply letting go of believing in things we can prove are falsehoods.
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Aemilius
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Tue Mar 24, 2020 2:54 pm
Aemilius wrote: Mon Mar 23, 2020 5:26 pm How can there be "no self", if the karma created by me is experienced solely in my stream of existence, and not in your stream of existence? If my deeds are not "mine", they could travel into your stream of being or into your stream of consciousness and form. Or maybe our deeds and their results can actually be transferred into someone else's stream of existence?
Even in Dhammapada there is a chapter about "Self". Mahayana Mahaparinirvana sutra certainly teaches that there is a self, and explains it with many illustrations.
We don't actually care about "true existence": a car does not "exist truly", but we can travel with it all the same. If it makes no difference in practice, what is the point of it?


Because the karma isn’t created by “you”. “You” is the experience resulting from karma. That’s the whole point. It isn’t experienced by “you”, there isn’t “your” consciousness.
You have it backwards.

“You” isn’t creating consciousness.
Consciousness is creating the illusion of a “you”.

The “stream of existence” isn’t continuous. It’s sequential, each moment creating the cause for a nearly identical moment to arise. The experience and subsequent belief that it is continuous is the illusion that manifests as the experience of self.

Yes, there are individual streams, but they are not “self”. They don’t contain anything that can be identified as “self”. Just as with actual rivers and streams of water, none has any intrinsic reality. They are merely multitudes of constantly shifting events. As the saying goes, you can’t stand in the same river twice.
We do care about “true existence” because that’s the key to liberation from samsara. Once you begin to understand that there is no intrinsically arising “self”, that this experience is simply the result of clinging to sensory appearances, then you can begin to let go attachment to the experience of self, which is the cause of suffering.
All suffering results from attachment to a self. The more you reduce that attachment, the more you reduce the suffering, and the whole point of Buddha’s teaching is the elimination of suffering.
In the definitions of karma there is someone or something that decides to do the act that appears before oneself as a possiblity. This sequence of mental states goes normally very quickly, but there is a fraction of a second when a deed has appeared before oneself or in one's mind, but has not yet been performed or put into action (through body speech or mind). Who or what makes that decision?
Lot of our actions are automatic responses, there isn't much deciding anymore when they have become automatic. Often we are not aware enough to see how that process (of making any kind of light, medium or heavy act) takes place. There isn't a language that could avoid saying that "you are responsible for your deeds" or similar.. In this sentence there is an agent of action, which is normal to our language and thinking.
In your text You say "The more you reduce that attachment the more you reduce the suffering," !!
We have the self or agent in our language and thinking all the time. We think of tomorrow, what we are going to do tomorrow, what we did yesterday, and what we did last year. In our thinking we constantly refer to our selves in the future and the past, as agents and as experiencers. Experiencer or the feeling of an agent or doer exists without clinging also.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Aemilius wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:39 am
In the definitions of karma there is someone or something that decides to do the act that appears before oneself as a possibility. This sequence of mental states goes normally very quickly, but there is a fraction of a second when a deed has appeared before oneself or in one's mind, but has not yet been performed or put into action (through body speech or mind). Who or what makes that decision?
Lot of our actions are automatic responses, there isn't much deciding anymore when they have become automatic. Often we are not aware enough to see how that process (of making any kind of light, medium or heavy act) takes place. There isn't a language that could avoid saying that "you are responsible for your deeds" or similar.. In this sentence there is an agent of action, which is normal to our language and thinking.
In your text You say "The more you reduce that attachment the more you reduce the suffering," !!
We have the self or agent in our language and thinking all the time. We think of tomorrow, what we are going to do tomorrow, what we did yesterday, and what we did last year. In our thinking we constantly refer to our selves in the future and the past, as agents and as experiencers. Experiencer or the feeling of an agent or doer exists without clinging also.
Nobody is disputing the fat that the experience of a self occurs.
Indeed, this is exactly what the Buddha identified as the cause of suffering.
But this "self" is an illusion based on clinging to the five aggregates, etc.
The use of terms such as "me" and "you" is merely a convenience within the context of that illusion.
It's the same as being chased by a tiger in a dream. The experience of the tiger and of "me" being chased is a real experience,
but it's a real experience of something that isn't really happening.

Otherwise, what? Did the Buddha teach, "Yes, there is a self, but no, don't cling to it" ...??? That makes no sense.
.
.
.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
shanyin
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by shanyin »

There is other and the reality of a self is in relation to other no? Isn't that a definition of self?

Wouldn't continuing your logic say that there is no being?
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well wisher
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by well wisher »

shanyin wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:22 pm There is other and the reality of a self is in relation to other no? Isn't that a definition of self?

Wouldn't continuing your logic say that there is no being?
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/self
self
noun
a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality:
The calling and experience of such a "self" is for the sake of convenience only to separate out the factors of others. But we do not live in isolated bubbles, and individual actions do have impact to the larger community and environments, and the results eventually do cascade outwards.

And there is nothing concrete about this "self" while in samsara / suffering-filled existences, particularly considering limited lifespan, and many other involuntary factors that is out of the "self"'s controls. Even the "self" cannot fully control its own dreams and heartbeats, much less excess desires.
The illusion of a "temporary self" is very transient, fleeting and unreliable. Like a wave in the sea that eventually dissipates - where does this "self" end up to?

But saying "no being" at all would be going to the other extreme of nihilism. And Buddhism does recognize karmic responsibilities and resulting rebirths results for the afterlife, which makes it different from Materialistic Nihilism.
It is just for the sake of liberation from the horrible continuous cycles of living in Samsara - the clinging of any form about a "self" or "soul" would not be conductive to such liberation.
So I suppose the closest accurate description of a transient temporary experience that simulates a "self", similar to what PadmaVonSamba have already stated. It is not the same as saying "no being ever existed at all" - which is extremist extrapolation and jumping ahead too far.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatta
The Buddha emphasized both karma and anatta doctrines.
The Buddha criticized the doctrine that posited an unchanging soul as a subject as the basis of rebirth and karmic moral responsibility, which he called "atthikavāda". He also criticized the materialistic doctrine that denied the existence of both soul and rebirth, and thereby denied karmic moral responsibility, which he calls "natthikavāda". Instead, the Buddha asserted that there is no soul, but there is rebirth for which karmic moral responsibility is a must. In the Buddha's framework of karma, right view and right actions are necessary for liberation.
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

shanyin wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:22 pm There is other and the reality of a self is in relation to other no? Isn't that a definition of self?

Wouldn't continuing your logic say that there is no being?
It is precisely the perception (misperception, actually) of self-and-other (as having intrinsic reality) which is the basis of ego-grasping, and thus, suffering.

...
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
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LastLegend
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by LastLegend »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 3:48 am
shanyin wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:22 pm There is other and the reality of a self is in relation to other no? Isn't that a definition of self?

Wouldn't continuing your logic say that there is no being?
It is precisely the perception (misperception, actually) of self-and-other (as having intrinsic reality) which is the basis of ego-grasping, and thus, suffering.

...
That’s karma habit too from eons
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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Aemilius
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by Aemilius »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:31 pm
Aemilius wrote: Thu Apr 02, 2020 9:39 am
In the definitions of karma there is someone or something that decides to do the act that appears before oneself as a possibility. This sequence of mental states goes normally very quickly, but there is a fraction of a second when a deed has appeared before oneself or in one's mind, but has not yet been performed or put into action (through body speech or mind). Who or what makes that decision?
Lot of our actions are automatic responses, there isn't much deciding anymore when they have become automatic. Often we are not aware enough to see how that process (of making any kind of light, medium or heavy act) takes place. There isn't a language that could avoid saying that "you are responsible for your deeds" or similar.. In this sentence there is an agent of action, which is normal to our language and thinking.
In your text You say "The more you reduce that attachment the more you reduce the suffering," !!
We have the self or agent in our language and thinking all the time. We think of tomorrow, what we are going to do tomorrow, what we did yesterday, and what we did last year. In our thinking we constantly refer to our selves in the future and the past, as agents and as experiencers. Experiencer or the feeling of an agent or doer exists without clinging also.
Nobody is disputing the fat that the experience of a self occurs.
Indeed, this is exactly what the Buddha identified as the cause of suffering.
But this "self" is an illusion based on clinging to the five aggregates, etc.
The use of terms such as "me" and "you" is merely a convenience within the context of that illusion.
It's the same as being chased by a tiger in a dream. The experience of the tiger and of "me" being chased is a real experience,
but it's a real experience of something that isn't really happening.

Otherwise, what? Did the Buddha teach, "Yes, there is a self, but no, don't cling to it" ...??? That makes no sense.
If that were true then the Buddha had not conquered suffering, because he went for alms rounds and accepted invitations for lunch at the houses of benefactors, and enjoyed the shelter of houses and monasteries. I.e. he experienced hunger and was satiated after eating. Do hunger and cold, heat or rain disappear because "they are just a dream"? The dream objects may disappear, but the hunger and satisfaction and cold, rain and heat do not disappear.

Dhammapada:

157. If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.

158. One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should one instruct others. Thus the wise man will not be reproached.

159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.

160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

161. The evil a witless man does by himself, born of himself and produced by himself, grinds him as a diamond grinds a hard gem.

162. Just as a single creeper strangles the tree on which it grows, even so, a man who is exceedingly depraved harms himself as only an enemy might wish.

163. Easy to do are things that are bad and harmful to oneself. But exceedingly difficult to do are things that are good and beneficial.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

The teachings in the Dhammapada use conventional terminology in order to instruct on behavior. The term “self” is used precisely because that is what is experienced by most people. While it’s true that you and I experience the sensation of a “self” , there is nothing that arises that can be identified as the “self”.

Sakyamuni Buddha ate food because of the demands of the aggregate human body. Are you saying his “self” ate the food? That his “self” felt full? Where is this self then? In the stomach? Is the stomach the self?

Are you saying that the aggregate human body is the “self”?

Where is this “self” located?
Is it in the body?
Is it outside the body?
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
EMPTIFUL.
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Re: PTSD and Mahayana Buddhism

Post by LastLegend »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Fri Apr 03, 2020 2:16 pm The teachings in the Dhammapada use conventional terminology in order to instruct on behavior. The term “self” is used precisely because that is what is experienced.

Sakyamuni Buddha ate food because of the demands of the aggregate human body.

Are you saying that the aggregate human body is the “self”?

Where is this “self” located?
Is it in the body?
Is it outside the body?
How do you explain individual me versus you? Obviously even you is no self and I is no self, yet you is not me.

:mrgreen:
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
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