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Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Ok. So. This is going to be difficult.

So my entire life I have considered myself worthless. My world view tends to be that I am worthless, the world is poo poo and horrible, and I should just spend each day doing what I can in whatever small way to reduce other people's pain and suffering. You're born, life sucks, people try to take everything from you, then you die. But you should try and help however you can. I can't fix it all, but I can at least minimize it day to day for other people.

I saw my therapist yesterday and she talked about death of the ego, getting rid of my sense of self, focusing on the here and now, applying my forgiveness for others to myself (I hate myself and never allow myself to make ANY mistakes, ever). She recommended a few books and talked about Buddhism. I remembered there was a thread here that seemed good so here I am. My therapist is really good and we've tried a lot of things over the past few years to help with depression and self-worth. She thinks this might help.

I'll try and read some of the books that she mentioned as well as some in the OP, but I tend to bounce off those so I figured I could start by talking to people. That might help ease me into this and get me to a place where I can absorb them.

The biggest problem for me is that acknowledging how lovely existence is just leads to despair not enlightenment. I do what I can to help others, but my life seems pretty pointless and I wish it was over. For every person building sandcastles there are 10,000 people knocking them down.

Any advice?

Travic fucked around with this message at 14:16 on Apr 29, 2020

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Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Big mood on those questions. Talking to people is fine and a good alternative to reading books. The only thing to watch out for is people not knowing what they're talking about - and that goes for books, too.

Generally despair or revulsion at the world is used to push us to renounce from the world and so pursue the path of nonattachment. You don't want to do it just on its own. It has to be a part of that bigger striving towards escaping attachment and aversion.

I'd write more but I have to get moving. But do keep posting and have discussions here, it's very good.

Buried alive
Jun 8, 2009


BIG FLUFFY DOG posted:

Either find a different Kik group, try to make friends at a temple in your area once quarantine ends, or just ask actual monks your questions. You're second-guessing yourself here because you think maybe you're just being an ignorant privileged white dude and while its good to have that caution or self-awareness in this case your instincts are right. Sri Lanka had a 30 year civil war betqeen the Sinhalese ethnic group which is mainly buddhist and the Tamil minority which is mainly hindu. It ended 10 years ago but there was a lot of death, a lot of destruction, and a lot of human rights violations and theres still a lot of bad feelings and tension as a result of that war.

Long story short, in Sri Lanka saying you're buddhist is almost the same as saying you're sinhalese and saying you're hindu is almost the same as saying you're tamil. Thats why that one dude is so anti-hindu in particular and when you're having discussions on buddhism with these guys you're really having discussions on the civil war which ravaged their country.

Yeah, I found a different kik group after the legal vs. advocacy thing came up again and was, in my view anyway, argued poorly on both sides. Particularly when the legal = advocacy side went back to that exact view after it seemed like they got a little nuance from the discussion last time. New kik group has less discussion, but tends to start the day with quotes from Mindfulness in Plain English. That is proving to be way more accessible than opening the day with stuff from the tipitaka and such.

That is good to know about Sri Lanka. I learned a thing today. I'm doubtful that I'm in a place to be dealing with that kind of trauma while coming to grips with my own levels of renunciation and suffering and so on.

Cephas
May 11, 2009

Shape Shift With Me


Travic posted:

Ok. So. This is going to be difficult.

So my entire life I have considered myself worthless. My world view tends to be that I am worthless, the world is poo poo and horrible, and I should just spend each day doing what I can in whatever small way to reduce other people's pain and suffering. You're born, life sucks, people try to take everything from you, then you die. But you should try and help however you can. I can't fix it all, but I can at least minimize it day to day for other people.

I saw my therapist yesterday and she talked about death of the ego, getting rid of my sense of self, focusing on the here and now, applying my forgiveness for others to myself (I hate myself and never allow myself to make ANY mistakes, ever).

I've dealt with similar feelings over the years. In my early 20s I had a sudden and very deep realization about myself. I was listening to a song on the radio while I was driving, and I realized that just as I was beginning to enjoy myself, a voice in my head told me "Stop. You're not allowed to be happy." It was the first time in my life that I had ever caught the voice in my head as it was telling me this--up until then, whenever something would start to make me happy, I'd feel bad and undeserving and not know why.

I realized that the voice telling me this wasn't my own voice, it was my parents'. This started clearing up a lot about my internal world. I also could not forgive myself for making any sort of mistake. What I came to realize was that I was hating myself on behalf of my parents. It led to this really warped worldview: other people are more-or-less normal, so they can make mistakes and recover from it. But I am different. If I am always exceptionally good, then I am better than normal! But if I slip and make a mistake, I am worse than normal; I am trash.

It took me over twenty years to realize that this warped way of thinking was just an inheritance from my parents. And an unwanted inheritance, at that.

I think, when dealing with problems of self-loathing and despair, it's worth thinking about the concepts of non-self and interdependence. No one is any one immutable thing. A flower is not made up of cosmic Flower Matter; at a deep level it consists of air, earth, water, and other non-flower substances.

So if you think of people, they are not immutable things either. Your next door neighbor consists partially of you, just as you consist partially of them. If you can think of one kind person in this world that you admire, that one kind person is a part of you. So hating yourself becomes unfair, not just to yourself (who you might have trouble sympathizing with right now), but unfair also to that kind person who is a part of you.

When I think of the people in my life who have saved me--the teachers who actually cared about me, the friends who went out of their way to help me, the animals I've met that have left an imprint on me--when I think of myself not as a single thing but as a collage of all of them, I can't help but have a bit more sympathy for myself.

In a real way, if you can care for and protect yourself, you are also caring for and protecting all the good that's come your way.

The bodhisattva path is to delay one's enlightenment until all sentient beings can be saved. The trick, of course, is that you yourself are also a sentient being. So if you want to become enlightened, you have to be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

I'm afraid I don't understand. What do you mean others are part of me and I am part of them?

Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



Travic posted:

I'm afraid I don't understand. What do you mean others are part of me and I am part of them?

You are not solely made up of just you. When you are born you get your parents dna, and you also are instructed by them about the world, the reason you can speak is that you heard it from other people. When you go school your teacher gives you lessons and they go into you but they are not you so you are not just "you" you are you and all the other things and people that you have engaged with. Some people and things have more influence than others. Just as you are not you other people are also made of "non-self" things. Just like the flower is made up of dirt and sun, you and everyone else are made up of dirt and sun. We eat food from the soil and the soil is in the food, and then the food is in you. All those things are not you but they also make up who you are.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Travic I would like to welcome you to this thread but I feel that I should give you a caution, that you should continue pursuing these therapies, and that you should be gentle and kind and soft to yourself when and if you get round to trying meditation. It is really worth doing, but in some states and for some people, it can make things worse. But it will not always be so.

Travic posted:

I'm afraid I don't understand. What do you mean others are part of me and I am part of them?
In addition to what Blendy said, there are the various influences people have had on you, and that you have had on people.

I imagine you've met a dog or a cat somewhere along the line, perhaps even kept them as a pet. You petted that doggo or that cat; the animal experienced a positive moment and rubbed its head, no doubt, against your hand. This happened - the animal was pleased, and no doubt so were you. You are now, in a tiny part, part of that animal's life, and it is a part of yours.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Ok so it's sort of a "It takes a village" idea? My existence is what it is because of my collected life experiences with other people? That makes sense. But honest question: why does that mean I should love myself? Not trying to be combative I really want to work through this.

Lots of people have shaped my life, but I can still be worthless. As I said this is going to be difficult for me. I don't think I have a more core and central belief than "I am a waste of space."

This all sounds really selfish now that I'm writing it. Sorry. My therapist said it's kind of like making sure your oxygen mask is on before helping others. And maybe Buddhism and self love is the answer.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

When people are training to develop compassion for all sentient beings, they start with their families, then friends, neighbors, then enemies, and then all sentient beings. Because if you can't cultivate compassion for people you know, how can you cultivate compassion for those you don't know?

How can you cultivate compassion for others if you cannot even consider yourself an object of compassion?

That doesn't mean being selfish, but you're also a suffering being. If you can't see yourself as a suffering being deserving of compassion, how can you see others, whose experiences you don't know, as suffering beings deserving of compassion?

So have compassion for others, but also have compassion for yourself.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Travic posted:

Ok so it's sort of a "It takes a village" idea? My existence is what it is because of my collected life experiences with other people? That makes sense. But honest question: why does that mean I should love myself? Not trying to be combative I really want to work through this.

Lots of people have shaped my life, but I can still be worthless. As I said this is going to be difficult for me. I don't think I have a more core and central belief than "I am a waste of space."

This all sounds really selfish now that I'm writing it. Sorry. My therapist said it's kind of like making sure your oxygen mask is on before helping others. And maybe Buddhism and self love is the answer.
I want to tell you that you are as worthy of love and regard and compassion as any other being, as a sort of top line comment.

Regarding the first remark, everything (in the Buddhist view) is the result of dependent originating, coming out of a complex sea of previous actions, existing, and eventually declining and fading. You are not "just" the presence of other people but there isn't a singular permanent eternal "you" as distinct from "me" or "the cat you petted."

glickeroo
Nov 2, 2004



Travic posted:

Ok. So. This is going to be difficult.

So my entire life I have considered myself worthless. My world view tends to be that I am worthless, the world is poo poo and horrible, and I should just spend each day doing what I can in whatever small way to reduce other people's pain and suffering. You're born, life sucks, people try to take everything from you, then you die. But you should try and help however you can. I can't fix it all, but I can at least minimize it day to day for other people.

I saw my therapist yesterday and she talked about death of the ego, getting rid of my sense of self, focusing on the here and now, applying my forgiveness for others to myself (I hate myself and never allow myself to make ANY mistakes, ever). She recommended a few books and talked about Buddhism. I remembered there was a thread here that seemed good so here I am. My therapist is really good and we've tried a lot of things over the past few years to help with depression and self-worth. She thinks this might help.

I'll try and read some of the books that she mentioned as well as some in the OP, but I tend to bounce off those so I figured I could start by talking to people. That might help ease me into this and get me to a place where I can absorb them.

The biggest problem for me is that acknowledging how lovely existence is just leads to despair not enlightenment. I do what I can to help others, but my life seems pretty pointless and I wish it was over. For every person building sandcastles there are 10,000 people knocking them down.

Any advice?

Thank you for sharing this. I'm sorry that it sounds like you're suffering. Please forgive me for anything I may have ever done that somehow might have affected you. It's wonderful that your therapist is talking about ego death and forgiveness.

There seem to be judgmental words here about yourself and about the world. That is natural, we are taught (to our great detriment) to judge what comes through our senses. Immediately after judgement we are told that there are right ways to act based on that judgement and wrong ways to act. However if we take a step back we can see that the information that comes through our senses is rather limited. We only see, hear, smell, touch and taste what is very close to our body. The information collected through the senses are very limited, only within the scope of bodily travels and the circumstances we find ourselves in. To be sure we are living in a time where certain types of information access is unparalleled, and the effects of this glut of horror has left many of us with minds that trend towards death. This is why Paramemetic posted about non-attachment. To help others you actually don't need to carry around and reinforce judgement about the world or yourself, you only need to be aware of what is happening around you and relaxed.

I also have been caught in the bleak landscape created by thoughts and the mind. The more I focused on it, the worse it got. Sadly I was also taught that the best way to solve my problems or help others was to think about those things. This again is a false assumption. In the middle of laughter, are we thinking? When we smile at someone, did that come from a thought or from somewhere else? Our minds were designed only to see problems to protect the flesh-suit. 99% of people live in their mind fantasies and filter all their perceptions through their minds, making the whole world seem like poo poo and horrible. AGAIN, we are programmed to do this before we can protect ourselves.

You mention that when you read books like that you tend to bounce off them. So did I most of my life. New information gets attached to old information, if the gap between what you know and what you're learning is too wide then the new information will not connect and the books seem like gibberish. It sounds like you believe in your current judgement on the world and yourself, so the first advice would be to allow a crack of doubt. That maybe these stories that you have been told and the voice in your head that talks about the world does not have the complete picture. That your mind might have made a mistake somewhere, because it was working off limited information.

Just to be clear: it is absolutely okay that you are feeling the way you are feeling this very moment as you read these words. It is okay and natural to feel worthless. It is okay and natural to feel like the world is poo poo and horrible. Parts of this world ARE poo poo and horrible. Parts of this world are wonderful and heavenly. It's impossible to find the MIDDLE unless you have all extremes available.

I too have dealt with deep suicidal ideation and wishing my life was over. Most of my life I felt like that. However in the last few years what seems to be the case was my mind was wishing it was dead, and I am not my thoughts. Thoughts are echoes of our senses and largely outside of our control. Life is far better and easier without constant thinking.

Travic posted:

Ok so it's sort of a "It takes a village" idea? My existence is what it is because of my collected life experiences with other people? That makes sense. But honest question: why does that mean I should love myself? Not trying to be combative I really want to work through this.

Lots of people have shaped my life, but I can still be worthless. As I said this is going to be difficult for me. I don't think I have a more core and central belief than "I am a waste of space."

This all sounds really selfish now that I'm writing it. Sorry. My therapist said it's kind of like making sure your oxygen mask is on before helping others. And maybe Buddhism and self love is the answer.


Eh, it's more that the idea that any individual person exists completely by themselves is not reality and we're all interconnected at multiple levels. You breathe out, the tree breathes in, you breathe in what the tree breathes, then the tree breathes in what you breathe out, etc.

You shouldn't do anything. Ever. There is no such thing as should. If you can accept yourself in your worthlessness that's enough. Love may come, if it does then it does take courage and humility to accept that love.

You don't know what you are, sorry. What would you be without beliefs? Did you ever exist without beliefs?

I hope this does not come across too strongly. If you want to talk/text/whatever I'm available. It feels like we've lived similar lives and this body apparently has remained to share what it can.



Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Paramemetic posted:

When people are training to develop compassion for all sentient beings, they start with their families, then friends, neighbors, then enemies, and then all sentient beings. Because if you can't cultivate compassion for people you know, how can you cultivate compassion for those you don't know?

How can you cultivate compassion for others if you cannot even consider yourself an object of compassion?

That doesn't mean being selfish, but you're also a suffering being. If you can't see yourself as a suffering being deserving of compassion, how can you see others, whose experiences you don't know, as suffering beings deserving of compassion?

So have compassion for others, but also have compassion for yourself.



Oh I care deeply about other people's woes. I want to fix everything. I want to fix everyone's problems more than anything else in my life. If someone is suffering I want nothing more than to make it stop for them. A colleague once joked that she had to be careful what she asked me to do because I'd always say yes no matter what. I just don't think I deserve that kind of forgiveness or care. That's what I need help with. That's what I meant by selfish. It feels selfish to say, "Please teach me about Buddism because it might help me."

I just don't know how to care about myself.

So:

Focus on the present here and now and stop overthinking about the past or the future.
Allow for the idea that maybe I'm not as worthless as my brain says I am.
Try and convince myself somehow that I deserve love.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Travic posted:

Oh I care deeply about other people's woes. I want to fix everything. I want to fix everyone's problems more than anything else in my life. If someone is suffering I want nothing more than to make it stop for them. A colleague once joked that she had to be careful what she asked me to do because I'd always say yes no matter what. I just don't think I deserve that kind of forgiveness or care. That's what I need help with. That's what I meant by selfish. It feels selfish to say, "Please teach me about Buddism because it might help me."

I just don't know how to care about myself.

So:

Focus on the present here and now and stop overthinking about the past or the future.
Allow for the idea that maybe I'm not as worthless as my brain says I am.
Try and convince myself somehow that I deserve love.
What I have found to be a useful guide (if you're not in the middle of a deep trough, anyway) is: If you encountered your situation in a similar stranger, how would you react?

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Nessus posted:

What I have found to be a useful guide (if you're not in the middle of a deep trough, anyway) is: If you encountered your situation in a similar stranger, how would you react?

I'd do everything in my power to fix it and make them happy.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Travic posted:

I'd do everything in my power to fix it and make them happy.
So why treat yourself differently?

e: this is a rhetorical question, of course: I understand the answer is (broadly), 'because depression is a persistent disease'

glickeroo
Nov 2, 2004



Travic posted:

I just don't think I deserve that kind of forgiveness or care. That's what I need help with. That's what I meant by selfish. It feels selfish to say, "Please teach me about Buddism because it might help me."

I just don't know how to care about myself.

So:

Focus on the present here and now and stop overthinking about the past or the future.
Allow for the idea that maybe I'm not as worthless as my brain says I am.
Try and convince myself somehow that I deserve love.

How can one be an anchor in troubled waters if you're adrift? How can a broken bottle of glue help mend others?

The least selfish thing one can do is "work" on themselves, which is another way of saying be honest and find out what you are. The Buddha was only able to give what he gave because he was OVERFLOWING with what he is. True help can never come from a place of lack. I'm not saying stop helping, I'm saying that helping others from a limited viewpoint only brings limited results which quickly drift back into what they were. To help in an unlimited way is possible for anyone in a human body, but it requires letting go of all that is limited. Which includes how you think the world should be. Which includes how you think YOU should be.

I cannot recommend trying to convince yourself of anything. Isn't the problem that you're already full of beliefs? Discard all things that can be discarded, and then whatever comes will come. It is true that you are worthy of all the blessings and all the wonders and all the love that is possible, but if you aren't experiencing it then it just becomes salt in the wound, no? It becomes another should. "Oh, I should feel like I am capable of forgiveness of my self."

It seems like you're quite serious about life. It's kinda funny, you're worthless but the world is on your shoulders. Might not seem funny now, but a day will come when you will laugh at how silly so-called existence is.

The world will be the world. No being will ever change this world into heaven or hell, it will remain as it is: a land of contrasts. Because that's the point of this place, to experience the wonderful, to experience the horrors, until you're sick of experiencing. Until you've seen and done it all. Until you say: there has to be something that lasts forever.

Drop the world. It was fine before us, it is what it is now, it will be whatever it will be. If you don't do what you need to do someone else will. It is okay, you can take a rest. It's okay to laugh a little or say "awwwwww" at some cute things.

Thank you again for posting and being vulnerable. I'm really grateful you posted here.

Hiro Protagonist
Oct 25, 2010

Last of the freelance hackers and
Greatest swordfighter in the world


Another thing that may help you, if I can chip in. Others in the thread talked to you about how you are a composite of your experiences with others, and they are a composite of you. All those experiences are diminishing, being added to, or being forgotten. This applies to a lot of things: your perspective changes with time, as does your body. This raises a question: if everything that you're composed of, thoughts, memories, organs, emotions, they're all changing constantly, what are "you"? What is the "you" that you feel is worthless? The Buddhist answer is that it doesn't exist. Every moment everyone is changing so dramatically that it isn't helpful, from a place of self reflection, to consider yourself the same person you were ten or twenty years ago.

There's some disagreement on what this means, as some Buddhists assert that this means the "soul" of a person just isn't found within these traits (called the five aggregates). Most, however, assert that all individuals are nothing more than shifting and occasionally overlapping states.

I don't know if this will help you at all, but for me, I found it profoundly freeing. The person who did that embarrassing thing? They died years ago! I am a completely different person. Yes, there is a "momentum" that carries us forward, which makes sudden and drastic change difficult. But if you aren't satisfied with the person you are right now, know that not only are you capable of changing, but changing into someone else is an inevitably. And you are the person with the most control over that. Don't expect immediate results, but you can change if you decide you need to.

Herstory Begins Now
Aug 5, 2003



In response to some slightly older posts: Just on average, for every place that is minimally sufferable to hang out and chat about buddhisms, you're going to run into half a dozen wildly toxic, weirdly competitive 'im more enlightened than thou,' deeply dysfunctional groups or communities or cliques or whatever that aren't worth wasting your time with. maybe if you have the patience of a whole bunch of saints it's worth participating in and trying to be a generally positive force, but tbh you're probably always better off just finding a community that isn't mired in a ton of dysfunction.

Don't necessarily give up on a community the second they aren't perfect, but also don't think that you can't just move on if there's too much weird baggage with a group.

Online buddhist spaces in particular are extremely a mixed bag.

Buried alive
Jun 8, 2009


^^ That is a cool and good thing to know, or even just to hear. Thank you.

Qu Appelle
Nov 3, 2005

"If a COVID-19 pandemic occurs, public health officials may have additional instructions, such as avoiding close contact with others as much as possible, and staying home if someone in your household is sick." - Official insights from Public Health: Seattle & King County staff



Herstory Begins Now posted:

In response to some slightly older posts: Just on average, for every place that is minimally sufferable to hang out and chat about buddhisms, you're going to run into half a dozen wildly toxic, weirdly competitive 'im more enlightened than thou,' deeply dysfunctional groups or communities or cliques or whatever that aren't worth wasting your time with. maybe if you have the patience of a whole bunch of saints it's worth participating in and trying to be a generally positive force, but tbh you're probably always better off just finding a community that isn't mired in a ton of dysfunction.

Don't necessarily give up on a community the second they aren't perfect, but also don't think that you can't just move on if there's too much weird baggage with a group.

Online buddhist spaces in particular are extremely a mixed bag.

Hey, new thread.

Speaking of online, one silver lining of this pandemic is that there's a lot of sanghas who are livestreaming their services and teachings, which is increasing accessibility to all. I also welcome this opportunity to check out sanghas that are different than mine; last night, I watched the Sunday Morning Service from a Jodo Shinshu temple. While the conditions are not the best, I'm taking this opportunity to learn and explore new aspects of the Dharma.

My sangha, Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, has been livestreaming our Sunday Chenrezi services, with only the monks and lamas in residence. (They have been sequestered inside, while the rest of us members have been prevented from entering; the sangha is closed to the public).

Our YouTube channel is here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SakyaMonastery

Also, they are making the Sunday Morning Chenrezi booklets available to the public, free of charge, so that all can benefit. No special prerequisites, empowerments, or refuge needed. (Tibetan Buddhism is huge on empowerments). I uploaded them to this Google Drive, to share with the thread: https://drive.google.com/drive/fold...ccw?usp=sharing

Last Sunday, we had Chenrezi, as well as recitation the 16 Arhats prayer, and a Mandala offering for the long life of H.E. Asanga Rinpoche.

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.

Qu Appelle posted:

last night, I watched the Sunday Morning Service from a Jodo Shinshu temple.

My sister is Jodo Shinshu so Iíve been to a few Buddhist Churches of America services. The temple is beautiful and their bowl gong (whatís this called?) is exquisite. It really has that special feel of a sacred space.

Qu Appelle
Nov 3, 2005

"If a COVID-19 pandemic occurs, public health officials may have additional instructions, such as avoiding close contact with others as much as possible, and staying home if someone in your household is sick." - Official insights from Public Health: Seattle & King County staff



Thirteen Orphans posted:

My sister is Jodo Shinshu so Iíve been to a few Buddhist Churches of America services. The temple is beautiful and their bowl gong (whatís this called?) is exquisite. It really has that special feel of a sacred space.

This was the service I watched last night; I really enjoyed the format. It wasn't just 'livestream of an empty sangha with one person talking', but they had a question and answer session with Zoom and three priests(?), a story at someone's home, etc. Someday, I'll visit that place in person in Seattle, for an actual Sunday service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS-8LmOVrtk

The first half is in English, and the second is in Japanese.

I have an interest in Jodo Shinshu and other forms of Japanese Buddhism, as when all of this *waves hands* is all over with, I want to do at least part of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage. (Which is a mindfuck in its own right, as the Google Maps symbol for 'Buddhist Temple' in Japan is the same as...what the Nazis used for their hate campaigns. I know that in East Asia and Japan it has a wildly different meaning, but to this Westerner, I'm looking at SO many swastikas a day and it's just....*weird* seeing it out there, in a benign form.)

Qu Appelle fucked around with this message at 21:25 on May 4, 2020

Thirteen Orphans
Dec 2, 2012

The principles expressed in the martial arts make up the backbone of my philosophy.


Beautiful.

I have a question, I know there is sacred literature outlining the previous lives of the Buddha and I know a Buddha, being omniscient, will know all of their past lives. But is recalling oneís previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?

zhar
May 3, 2019



Thirteen Orphans posted:

Beautiful.

I have a question, I know there is sacred literature outlining the previous lives of the Buddha and I know a Buddha, being omniscient, will know all of their past lives. But is recalling oneís previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?

I think this can be developed after attaining one of the jhanas (meaning this way is not specifically "buddhist" as training in samadhi is not unique to buddhism and training to this level is not necessary for the sravakayana afaik).

this dude, the Venerable Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche is the real deal and he can do it:
https://youtu.be/GrWhX1BixBk?t=2216

it's a great film as well

zhar fucked around with this message at 22:16 on May 5, 2020

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Thirteen Orphans posted:

Beautiful.

I have a question, I know there is sacred literature outlining the previous lives of the Buddha and I know a Buddha, being omniscient, will know all of their past lives. But is recalling oneís previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?
I think it's one of those things that can happen but isn't really the point of the affair. If anything it is probably a problem for meditative practice because you could go "Yes, I remember my past lives!" probably incompletely and in a weird way and subject to the self aggrandizement or other interior issues the mind has

"Clearly I have reached the summit. Yes sir, I'm basically Double Maitreya now. Time to do cocaine about it."

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

I've been working on this since I last posted. I'm trying to focus on helping others and feeling compassion for myself, but it feels like I should be doing more. I've ordered some of the recommended books to read. I assume they'll teach me about mediating and non-judgmental acceptance, but they won't get here for a while. What can I do in the meantime? I just feel like I'm missing something.

Blendy
Jun 18, 2007

She thinks I'm a haughty!



Travic posted:

I've been working on this since I last posted. I'm trying to focus on helping others and feeling compassion for myself, but it feels like I should be doing more. I've ordered some of the recommended books to read. I assume they'll teach me about mediating and non-judgmental acceptance, but they won't get here for a while. What can I do in the meantime? I just feel like I'm missing something.


This answer is going to just be about learning basic meditation, and compassion meditation, the stuff below is not specifically Buddhist but all of the resources are tangentially related. This is more just something to work with until you get your books.

Sam Harris has a meditation app with a free trial (or you can email him if you can't afford the subscription cost and he'll unlock it for a year), and Headspace is another that offers a free guided introduction to meditation. I'm pretty sure they're on both iphone and android.

Dr. Kristin Neff's practice is focused on compassion, in particular, self-compassion. You can visit her website which has a lot of information and also guided practices:
https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/

For more Buddhist stuff I would suggest looking up online sanga as they've been mentioned earlier in this thread. Youtube has a lot of dharma talks. If you search Thich Nhat Hanh on youtube you'll find plenty of footage of him talking about Buddhism. Remember there are a lot of different schools so take some time to find which sanga works best for you.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Thanks. I'll look into that when I get home.

I started reading "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" by Daniel Ingram since its available online. I'm afraid I couldn't follow it. One of my biggest problems is that I am an incredibly literal and scientific minded person. Books talk about "The self does not exist." And all I can think of is that I'm a collection of about a trillion cells working together via chemical reactions. 260lb of mostly water. Extremely literal. That particular book talked about the vibrations of the world and I'm not sure what he means. Thermal energy vibrations? Yeah all matter vibrates, but I'm not sure that's what he means. All things are impermanent is another good one. Yeah my atoms have been used and re-used for various things over the eons and they will continue to after I'm gone. Is that what he's getting at? Stuff like that.

How do I break in to thinking differently?

Travic fucked around with this message at 18:03 on May 6, 2020

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Personally I made a lot of progress on the idea of doing more by recognizing that there aren't different classes of practice. The preliminaries and the actual practice are one in the same. Basic meditation is the enlightenment practice. It's not something you do so you can do something else. We're very used to this kind of thinking in the West. We have to take x, y, and z prerequisites and then we can start working on the real thing. Buddhism isn't like that. You do x, y, and z... And that's it. No degree. And no graduation. But eventually you're out.

It's tricky, but it lets you relax into it. That relaxing into it, that letting go of a feeling of progress, that determination without any end point? That's part of the result. Eventually you just realize, "oh, hey, I'm doing this."

... And then you go get your EMT certification back because you're a big dummy and you start working night shifts again lmao. But anyhow that's what has helped me.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Paramemetic posted:

Personally I made a lot of progress on the idea of doing more by recognizing that there aren't different classes of practice. The preliminaries and the actual practice are one in the same. Basic meditation is the enlightenment practice. It's not something you do so you can do something else. We're very used to this kind of thinking in the West. We have to take x, y, and z prerequisites and then we can start working on the real thing. Buddhism isn't like that. You do x, y, and z... And that's it. No degree. And no graduation. But eventually you're out.

It's tricky, but it lets you relax into it. That relaxing into it, that letting go of a feeling of progress, that determination without any end point? That's part of the result. Eventually you just realize, "oh, hey, I'm doing this."

... And then you go get your EMT certification back because you're a big dummy and you start working night shifts again lmao. But anyhow that's what has helped me.

And meditation is emptying your mind of all thought?

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Travic posted:

Thanks. I'll look into that when I get home.

I started reading "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha" by Daniel Ingram since its available online. I'm afraid I couldn't follow it. One of my biggest problems is that I am an incredibly literal and scientific minded person. Books talk about "The self does not exist." And all I can think of is that I'm a collection of about a trillion cells working together via chemical reactions. 260lb of mostly water. Extremely literal. That particular book talked about the vibrations of the world and I'm not sure what he means. Thermal energy vibrations? Yeah all matter vibrates, but I'm not sure that's what he means. Stuff like that.

How do I break in to thinking differently?

Focus on your actual experience. We're trained in a lot of stuff we can't observe. The sun is a giant ball of plasmas and the light we see started 8 minutes ago? Yeah that's true... But is that what we're actually experiencing? Or is that what we've labeled the experience? What is it like to stand in the sun? Is it like being bombarded with radiation? Really?

We're a bunch of cells and water, absolutely. But is that what we experience ourselves to be? Really? Other people are also cells and water... Is that how we interact with them? Why not? Being present in the moment and looking at our experiences with fresh eyes is very useful. Looking at why we experience things how we do, and what we actually experience versus what we're taught we're experiencing, is huge.

You've got to bridge that phenomenal gap. You're describing the scientific material reality... But that's not what you experience. Children don't think of themselves as cells and water, but they experience something like a self. What's up with that?

I've talked to monks who think it's weird the moon doesn't have an atmosphere and who actually asked me how I know stars are like the sun but further away. When you explain red shifting and things they just go "huh, welp" and go on with their days, because that's not how they experience it so it's just kind of noise. There's a sort of primacy of phenomenal experience that Buddhism is keen on that I'm sure is a challenge for some people but again it's liberating. Thought is an electrical impulse rocketing through a network of fatty tubes but we don't know how it becomes consciousness and we can't account for this feeling of experience despite all. So be with this experience of things. Don't worry what it is, pay attention to what it's like.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Travic posted:

And meditation is emptying your mind of all thought?

Nah, it's being with the thoughts as they happen. You can't stop thoughts any more than you can stop waves on the beach, they're just a phenomena that arises, an experience that happens. But you can stop letting them lead you around and recognize that they're just a thing that happens, like an itch or a sound. A bird chirps. A thought happens. For some reason we think the chirp comes from the bird and the thought comes from us. But the experience of the bird chirping doesn't come from the bird, and the experience of the thought happens to us, it doesn't come from us.

Tibetan is a good language for Buddhism. Instead of an active thing, thought is grammatically passive. It's not "I am thinking about buying a new car," but "the thought of buying a new car has arisen." It's just a thing that happens, not something we're doing.

So meditation isn't about achieving a place where no thoughts arise; it's about recognizing that they just happen and not indulging them. Fewer thoughts come when we stop indulging them, though. If you feed pigeons every time you sit down at a bench, over time more and more pigeons come. If you stop someday, it will take a long time, but eventually the pigeons stop coming over.

We've been habitually feeding the pigeons of thought for countless lifetimes. Meditation is recognizing the pigeons don't actually need us. Eventually, the number of pigeons that come will be much less, because they aren't getting what they want - they aren't having attachments and aversions indulged or cravings met. So meditation is just practicing recognizing thoughts as the phenomena they are instead of thinking of them as something that we do and which we have to indulge.

You've got a habit of thinking of things scientifically but you learned to do that over many years of education and now those are the kinds of thoughts that arise. Actually, though, you're just some cells and thoughts happen to those cells. Some you indulge and some you don't. Meditation is recognizing those things until you actually recognize your mind's true nature. But for now it's just watching and observing accurately and not acting on the habit of following your thoughts.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Paramemetic posted:

Focus on your actual experience. We're trained in a lot of stuff we can't observe. The sun is a giant ball of plasmas and the light we see started 8 minutes ago? Yeah that's true... But is that what we're actually experiencing? Or is that what we've labeled the experience? What is it like to stand in the sun? Is it like being bombarded with radiation? Really?

We're a bunch of cells and water, absolutely. But is that what we experience ourselves to be? Really? Other people are also cells and water... Is that how we interact with them? Why not? Being present in the moment and looking at our experiences with fresh eyes is very useful. Looking at why we experience things how we do, and what we actually experience versus what we're taught we're experiencing, is huge.

You've got to bridge that phenomenal gap. You're describing the scientific material reality... But that's not what you experience. Children don't think of themselves as cells and water, but they experience something like a self. What's up with that?

I've talked to monks who think it's weird the moon doesn't have an atmosphere and who actually asked me how I know stars are like the sun but further away. When you explain red shifting and things they just go "huh, welp" and go on with their days, because that's not how they experience it so it's just kind of noise. There's a sort of primacy of phenomenal experience that Buddhism is keen on that I'm sure is a challenge for some people but again it's liberating. Thought is an electrical impulse rocketing through a network of fatty tubes but we don't know how it becomes consciousness and we can't account for this feeling of experience despite all. So be with this experience of things. Don't worry what it is, pay attention to what it's like.

So: My skin is warm, my clothes are soft, my seat is soft, my shoes are tight (on my feet. ), there is a hissing sound (a fan, but I just focus on the sound not what's making it), my foot is tingling, etc. It sounds a lot like undoing the filter the brain is using. Nerves stop conducting information unless its new or something changes. This sounds like undoing that filter and manually asking the nerves for an update.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Paramemetic posted:

Nah, it's being with the thoughts as they happen. You can't stop thoughts any more than you can stop waves on the beach, they're just a phenomena that arises, an experience that happens. But you can stop letting them lead you around and recognize that they're just a thing that happens, like an itch or a sound. A bird chirps. A thought happens. For some reason we think the chirp comes from the bird and the thought comes from us. But the experience of the bird chirping doesn't come from the bird, and the experience of the thought happens to us, it doesn't come from us.

Tibetan is a good language for Buddhism. Instead of an active thing, thought is grammatically passive. It's not "I am thinking about buying a new car," but "the thought of buying a new car has arisen." It's just a thing that happens, not something we're doing.

So meditation isn't about achieving a place where no thoughts arise; it's about recognizing that they just happen and not indulging them. Fewer thoughts come when we stop indulging them, though. If you feed pigeons every time you sit down at a bench, over time more and more pigeons come. If you stop someday, it will take a long time, but eventually the pigeons stop coming over.

We've been habitually feeding the pigeons of thought for countless lifetimes. Meditation is recognizing the pigeons don't actually need us. Eventually, the number of pigeons that come will be much less, because they aren't getting what they want - they aren't having attachments and aversions indulged or cravings met. So meditation is just practicing recognizing thoughts as the phenomena they are instead of thinking of them as something that we do and which we have to indulge.

You've got a habit of thinking of things scientifically but you learned to do that over many years of education and now those are the kinds of thoughts that arise. Actually, though, you're just some cells and thoughts happen to those cells. Some you indulge and some you don't. Meditation is recognizing those things until you actually recognize your mind's true nature. But for now it's just watching and observing accurately and not acting on the habit of following your thoughts.

Interesting. By indulging do you mean like focusing on them. I'm sitting meditating and the thought of how much I hate being alive and how hopeless the world is pops up. Instead of grabbing that thought and dwelling on it ("Holy poo poo things are bad what is the point in trying.") I just let it flow down the river and maybe not even watch it pass?

Big question time. I am a veterinarian so thinking and analyzing is kind of my livelihood. You said you're an EMT so I assume I can still perform at my job?

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Travic posted:

So: My skin is warm, my clothes are soft, my seat is soft, my shoes are tight (on my feet. ), there is a hissing sound (a fan, but I just focus on the sound not what's making it), my foot is tingling, etc.

Hell yeah, this sounds like what it's like to be in a place.

quote:

It sounds a lot like undoing the filter the brain is using. Nerves stop conducting information unless its new or something changes. This sounds like undoing that filter and manually asking the nerves for an update.

Uh oh, this doesn't sound like what is like, this sounds like mental imputation and trying to figure things out. Figuring things out will never let you control them but it will let you indulge a habit of thinking that lets you feel like you have certainty.

What was the moment like where the thoughts pivoted from observing what experiences are arising, to labeling, naming, analyzing, and controlling? From going "oh I am feeling my shoes are tight" to "my nerves are conducting signals!" ? Because one of those you're experiencing, and one you're imputing and analyzing to describe something.

With practice you'll start observing that happening. That practice is meditation. Then with more practice you'll be able to go "oh that's just labeling and analyzing, okay" and let those thoughts pass without getting carried by them. Then they will come less frequently and then ultimately stop.

We're not trying to reexcite suppressed action potentials here, we're just being wholly in the moment.

Travic
May 27, 2007

Getting nowhere fast


Pillbug

Oh it was just, "What did I do to get there and how do I do it again? Listen to all my senses."

Travic fucked around with this message at 19:00 on May 6, 2020

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

Travic posted:

Interesting. By indulging do you mean like focusing on them. I'm sitting meditating and the thought of how much I hate being alive and how hopeless the world is pops up. Instead of grabbing that thought and dwelling on it ("Holy poo poo things are bad what is the point in trying.") I just let it flow down the river and maybe not even watch it pass?

Yeap, that's exactly it. Indulging means going "yeah I'm hungry... Okay so what can I eat...I need to go to the store...I want to buy this this this..." As long as we do that it will never stop. It's entirely possible to go "I'm hungry. But I'm meditating right now and I probably won't starve. Okay." And then you rest your mind again and eat later.

Our normal habit is to grab thoughts and follow them, but we just want to let them be. We don't go try to catch every bird that chirps but we have the habit of trying to follow every thought that arises.

quote:

Big question time. I am a veterinarian so thinking and analyzing is kind of my livelihood. You said you're an EMT so I assume I can still perform at my job?

Yeah, of course! Veterinary medicine is very good livelihood. You reduce the suffering of animals and the people what attach to them. You have to have medical knowledge and understanding of disease processes to do this. For the purposes of diagnosing a dog that got hit by a car, it's very useful to understand that the lack of sensation in the left hindpaw probably indicates there isn't a signal being conducted down the spinal column. You don't have to throw out the material knowledge of the world.

When I feel my heartbeat I don't think about SA node pacemaking overdrive suppressing the automaticity foci of the ventricles. I just feel my heart beat. When I focus on my breathing I'm not worried about cellular respiration or the drive to clear CO2. I'm just being with a process that is happening. There's a time to analyze and a time to not analyze.

You can play with a dog one moment and just enjoy its unbridled enthusiasm for the world and its desire to get ball and earn scratches, and then in the next moment put that aside and use your expertise to determine if the nodules on the dog that the owners brought him in for are benign.

The analysis thoughts aren't inherently good or bad, but we can look at them when they arise. Sometimes they're good, like when you're working. Sometimes they're not so good, like when you're thinking about meditation. In one case they help you treat another sentient being with compassion. In another case they just distract you from being in the moment.

In EMS there's a time for recognizing the early signs of shock, and there's a time for just holding someone's hand and saying "stay with me now we're gonna be at the hospital soon." But you don't ignore the disease process knowledge just because you're doing the human thing at the moment - you just don't chase it obsessively.

Ultimately, it's about not being distracted. If what you're doing needs that physiological knowledge, it's not a distraction. If you're eating a clementine or just being wholly present sitting in the tub, then it is a distraction if you're thinking about I dunno maintaining BGL or vasodilation or something.

glickeroo
Nov 2, 2004



Thirteen Orphans posted:

But is recalling oneís previous lives part of Buddhist practice either as a goal or a side effect of practice?

It seems to be a common side effect. Adyashanti talks about during his reawakening he did clear out several lives of karma and see some of his past lives where he was a teacher. For me itís mostly the moments of death that come up and are recalled/released. Practice side effects depend on what karma you decided to burn off and how much of it is left. Well, itís not YOUR karma, you are the infinite awareness before time, so what you truly are is forever clean/unblemished/un-touchable. Not even that, what you are is indescribable. But the body and mind have their karma, and their karma will be enacted. After awakening it doesnít affect YOU, because you know completely that you are not the body/mind, and there isnít such a thing as agency, so there really isnít anyone left to be affected. It is just unfolding, and it unfolds as it unfolds. The peace of empty fullness.

In my experience Iíll be meditating and suddenly my body starts moving and for example lays curled up on the floor. My jaw opens and it seems like Iím throwing up, and there will be an overwhelming feeling of my death approaching. Tired of my mind telling me Iím going to die, I completely allow death to come into me and kill me. In the moment of death it is like I can see/feel completely what that body/mind was going through. So it was a poor old man on the dirt streets of india dying of starvation. Like itís a different person that enters my body in their death, but instead of them dying and going into another dream they pass into the empty bliss that is the base of Reality. That death-energy returns to stillness, returns to source. Iíve died as animals, Iíve died as people. Sometimes there wonít be a death, but there will be a resonance. Like this body is connected/reunited with the source and equally there is a body sitting on a mountain side that is also connected/reunited so we are together and we are experiencing both perspectives equally.

Past lives? My karma from actions this life? Passing energy happening on this planet in this very instant? A madmanís fantasy?

Who knows?

🙇‍♂️

Qu Appelle
Nov 3, 2005

"If a COVID-19 pandemic occurs, public health officials may have additional instructions, such as avoiding close contact with others as much as possible, and staying home if someone in your household is sick." - Official insights from Public Health: Seattle & King County staff



Weird question.

Is one 'tied' to a sangha? Or to a certain tradition?

I took refuge and joined a sangha that's rooted in Tibetan Buddhism. However, the sangha is really hard for me to get to for the Sunday Chenrezi chanting service. It's easily an hour one way, *if* I make my bus connections - and that's pre-COVID-19. Now? Our public transportation is in shambles, and I don't drive. I can get there for weekday events easily, however.

The closest sangha to my place is the Seattle Betsuin, a Japanese Buddhist Churches of America sangha. They practice Jodo Shinshu, a branch of Pure Land Buddhism, if I'm understanding it correctly. It's really easy for me to get to; it's within walking distance for me. Can I just take in some Sunday morning services there, instead of my 'home' sangha? This may seem ignorant, but I was raised in Christianity, where bouncing in between denominations is something that's not really done. I've been watching their livestreamed Sunday services, so I'm familiar with how they do things, kind of. So, when things open up again, I'd like to check them out in person.

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Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

I still can't believe they cast Spock as me. Spock! Can you imagine?

Of course, he was missing a few things.



Qu Appelle posted:

Weird question.

Is one 'tied' to a sangha? Or to a certain tradition?

I took refuge and joined a sangha that's rooted in Tibetan Buddhism. However, the sangha is really hard for me to get to for the Sunday Chenrezi chanting service. It's easily an hour one way, *if* I make my bus connections - and that's pre-COVID-19. Now? Our public transportation is in shambles, and I don't drive. I can get there for weekday events easily, however.

The closest sangha to my place is the Seattle Betsuin, a Japanese Buddhist Churches of America sangha. They practice Jodo Shinshu, a branch of Pure Land Buddhism, if I'm understanding it correctly. It's really easy for me to get to; it's within walking distance for me. Can I just take in some Sunday morning services there, instead of my 'home' sangha? This may seem ignorant, but I was raised in Christianity, where bouncing in between denominations is something that's not really done. I've been watching their livestreamed Sunday services, so I'm familiar with how they do things, kind of. So, when things open up again, I'd like to check them out in person.
I don't think there's any obstacle outside of some kind of situation where you'd taken on some kind of formal obligation. I'm glad you have so many options, I need to get out there myself if I ever get onto something nearer to a day schedule.

Also you're correct that BCA is the American face of Jodo Shinshu.

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