The Buddha on Hope

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

The Buddha on Hope

Postby Dhammakid » Fri Sep 17, 2010 11:31 pm

Hello Sangha,
Long time no talk. Hope all is well.

I'm wondering if the Buddha has any teachings or quotes on the topic of hope. Is hope necessary for Buddhist practice? In what way?

I ask because recently I find myself without much hope for a lot of things. This mostly has to do with my depression which has been treated a few times, but I also find myself being uncharacteristically hopeless about society in general. Before this summer, I spent the last four years working in various social justice/equal rights campaigns on campus and was a very idealistic and hopeful person. I had faith in people, in society, that we would eventually find a better way to manage ourselves and the environment. But recently I don't really have that type of faith anymore.

Any feedback is appreciated.

:anjali:
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Re: The Buddha on Hope

Postby bodom » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:21 am

I hope you find this short essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu as helpful and as hopeful as I do in your tough time.

All About Change by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Insight into change teaches us to embrace our experiences without clinging to them — to get the most out of them in the present moment by fully appreciating their intensity, in full knowledge that we will soon have to let them go to embrace whatever comes next.

Insight into change teaches us hope. Because change is built into the nature of things, nothing is inherently fixed, not even our own identity. No matter how bad the situation, anything is possible. We can do whatever we want to do, create whatever world we want to live in, and become whatever we want to be.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... hange.html

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: The Buddha on Hope

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:40 am

Hi Dhammakid

Watch the documentary "The Dhamma Brothers". It certainly reminds me that people, who ever they are, have the potential for good.

Metta
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: The Buddha on Hope

Postby dhammapal » Sat Sep 18, 2010 3:30 am

bodom wrote:I hope you find this short essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu as helpful and as hopeful as I do in your tough time.

All About Change by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
Insight into change teaches us to embrace our experiences without clinging to them — to get the most out of them in the present moment by fully appreciating their intensity, in full knowledge that we will soon have to let them go to embrace whatever comes next.

Insight into change teaches us hope. Because change is built into the nature of things, nothing is inherently fixed, not even our own identity. No matter how bad the situation, anything is possible. We can do whatever we want to do, create whatever world we want to live in, and become whatever we want to be.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... hange.html

:anjali:

Thanissaro there was quoting two of the contexts commonly attributed to the Buddha at present. Here is his response:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:If experiences are so fleeting and changeable, are they worth the effort needed to produce them? How can we find genuine hope in the prospect of positive change if we can't fully rest in the results when they arrive? Aren't we just setting ourselves up for disappointment?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... hange.html

Here is Thanissaro elsewhere on hope:
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:In the five reflections, the reflection on karma is the one that gives hope. You realize that you're in charge of your actions. You're not simply a victim of fate or of the stars or of some other being acting through you. You're the one who's making the choices. That's what gives you hope.
<big snip>
Even though we may be suffering in our lives, there's a way out through our own actions. We don't have to sit around waiting for somebody else to come and save us. We're not victims of fate. We can make the choices, we can order our priorities so that we can reshape our lives in a positive direction through our thoughts, words, and deeds.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ml#sublime

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: The Buddha on Hope

Postby Dhammakid » Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:38 pm

Bodom and dhammapal: Thanks so much for the wonderful quotes by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. I will read the essay in its entirety when I get the chance, but the quotes you two posted have helped tremendously. For some reason I never thought about the idea of impermanence and karma as providing hope, but it makes so much sense. I actually just mentioned this idea to a friend who's having the same problem. Thanks again.

Modus: Ah, yes. I've seen that documentary. I actually used to own it. It's one of my favorites and it indeed gives me a bit of hope just thinking about it.

:anjali:
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