Dispassion vs. work life?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby starter » Sat Mar 26, 2011 4:40 pm

Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been trying to take work life and daily life as part of my dhamma practice, to practice mindfulness, clear comprehension, loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, equanimity, generosity, gratitude, contentment, patience ... But as dispassion in the conditioned world develop more and more, I have less and less interest and motivation for daily work which sometimes could really cause problem. How do you handle this? Your kind advice would be very appreciated,

Metta,

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Last edited by starter on Sun Jan 29, 2012 1:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby bodom » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:01 pm

How do you handle this?


I don't have a choice with four hungry mouths at home to feed. Its either work and make a living, or me and my family are on the streets hungry.

If what you are experiencing is true dispassion, and not aversion, then maybe it is time to look into ordaining.

: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: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby Ben » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:49 pm

starter wrote:How do you handle this?


Be careful you are not confusing subtle aversion and laziness as 'dispassion'.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby mlswe » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:36 pm

how does your family situation look like?
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby James the Giant » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:10 am

It seems to me this is a clear example of a householder straying into territory usually encountered by bhikkus.
The householder's path vs the ordained path.
There was a big thread about a similar topic ... I think a similar thing was encountered by Retrofuturist? Ah yes here it is viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6521
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saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby chownah » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:39 am

It is difficult for one person to know what is happening with another person from the little evidence of a post or two....but....maybe it is a good thing that you are losing passion for your work....I suggest just keep on working....if you just do things because of your passion for them then you are just a slave to your passion...it is probably a good thing to learn to function in life without the carrot of passion....I guess....
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Mar 27, 2011 2:13 am

Greetings Starter,

You might find some useful advice in this topic...

Avoiding limbo - inbetween the homeless and the home life
viewtopic.php?f=22&t=6521

If I could give you some advice as someone who has been through this problem and is coming out the other end, it's worth taking the effort to find a job (or even a way to approach or look at your job, in terms of framing) that involves having the opportunity to serve and to see the benefits that come from that service. That will then be Right Livelihood and will be an integrated part of your practice, rather than something that seems (and quite possibly is, otherwise) pointless.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:58 am

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been trying to take my work life and daily life as part of my dhamma practice, to practice mindfulness, clear comprehension, loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, equanimity, generosity, gratitude, contentment, patience ... But as dispassion in the conditioned world develop more and more, I have less and less interest and passion for my work which sometimes could really cause problem. How do you handle this? Your kind advice would be very appreciated,


Seriously, upekkha. Take your experience as what is it: a challenge, an occasion to realize what has to be realized, to leave theorization behind and to apply.
If there is conflict what is the root of that?

IMO the arising of dukkha is an appeal to return to mindfulness.

If you need that money then do your work properly. You get the money for that, right? There is no need at all to passionately do your work but is has to be done properly even when there is dispassion.

And there is retro's advice above ...

kind regards
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby ground » Sun Mar 27, 2011 4:37 am

Ben wrote:
starter wrote:How do you handle this?


Be careful you are not confusing subtle aversion and laziness as 'dispassion'.


I think that is very likely to be involved. However still the appropriate way to deal with aversion and laziness is upekkha and just do what has to be done.

Kind regards
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 27, 2011 5:01 am

TMingyur wrote:
Ben wrote:
starter wrote:How do you handle this?


Be careful you are not confusing subtle aversion and laziness as 'dispassion'.


I think that is very likely to be involved. However still the appropriate way to deal with aversion and laziness is upekkha and just do what has to be done.

Kind regards

I couldn't agree more Tmingyur.
But generating upekkha isn't enough. In my own practice, equanimity goes together with sati. One extends 'objective awareness' ie: equanimity and awarenes to the phenomenology of experience.
In my humble experience subtle aversion and subtle craving is often mistaken as equanimity. And some of these mental states are so subtle that we can only discern that they are craving or aversion once they ceases. Hence, the twinning of sati with upekkha gives our equanimity 'eyes'.

If I were Starter, and I am not, my approach would be merely to observe what was going on during times when the sankharas manifesting and being interpreted as 'dispassion'. And to observe what's going on we need to be focusing our attention on the phenomenology of experience. My own practice provides a very easy and convenient point of entry to observe both body process and the mind (if indirectly) via vedana (sensation). The practice of vedananupassana, I have found, is an incredibly powerful tool to develop both equanimity towards and awareness of incredibly subtle mental and physical phenomena which generates real insight.
kind regards

Ben





So, in the example above where Starter mentioned feelngs of dispassion, the sankhara that manifests and is interpreted as dispassion becomes an object of observation.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby starter » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:52 pm

Hello Teachers/Friends,

Your very kind and insightful comments/advice have been most appreciated. I learned a lot from both this one and Retro's previous thread. I'd like to share with you my new understanding:

“If there is conflict what is the root of that?”
-- The root is the desire to spend my time on learning/understanding Dhamma and “doing” Dhamma practice (sitting/walking meditation, contemplations/reflec tions, communicating with our Dhamma friends …), instead of spending my time on worldly things which are all anicca/dukkha/anatta anyway, and which I have no interest in doing (aversion?). Or in other words, I still didn’t really take the daily activities as part of my Dhamma practice, and even worse – applied the Dhamma of anicca/dukkha/anatta/disenchantment/dispassion/let-go to them unwisely. What should be let-go is my ignorance/delusion and my liking/disliking of the worldly things, not the worldly things themselves!

The Dhamma practice is not only “doing” sitting/walking meditation and etc., but should be ”done” every moment of my conscious life. Everything I do can be used as an opportunity to watch over the mind and remove its liking/greed, disliking/aversion and delusion of “I”/”my”.

I agree that our defilements can be removed/delivered in lay life without ordain (several well-respected monks have advised me to stay as lay practitioner since they don't know a good place for nuns at this moment). But I think a more wisdom/vipasana-based approach would probably suit us better, since it’s difficult for us to spend lots of time on sitting/walking meditation without interference to attain deep jhana. I don’t know how the Buddha’s lay disciples had attained arahantship (I’d be interested in learning that). I only know that Master Huineng was enlightened as a lay practitioner, even without a teacher around him. It appears to me that he had no greed/aversion/conceit left, and he passed away in Samadhi, like the Buddha – knowing well in advance the date of his parinibbana. He had all those supernormal powers, for instance, mind reading, knowing his murders within his life time and even after his life time. His entire body has existed well for about 1300 years in very hot and humid condition without any treatment. Even though he founded another school (Southern Chan/Zen) and was not a Theravadin (it was not possible for him then), his method of practice [http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/huineng/content.html] could still be considered/referenced by us. This is only my personal opinion, and I hope no attacks would be made to him if you don’t agree with me.

Metta to all,

Starter

“I am not trapped by anyone other than myself”.
“The only limbo is the limbo we create with our minds.”
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby Freawaru » Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:44 pm

Hello starter,

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been trying to take my work life and daily life as part of my dhamma practice, to practice mindfulness, clear comprehension, loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, equanimity, generosity, gratitude, contentment, patience ... But as dispassion in the conditioned world develop more and more, I have less and less interest and motivation for my work which sometimes could really cause problem.


Been there, done that. It is actually a beginners problem arising from too much concentration practice and not enough mindfulness practice. For some of us concentration develops much faster than mindfulness and the result is that we suppress the necessary emotional states that usually govern our daily life.

How do you handle this? Your kind advice would be very appreciated,


I countered it by actively letting emotions arise again - sometimes I even needed to will them arising intentionally. For this I had to look deeply into my mind and discern the pattern that suppresses emotions and learn how to control it consciously. It is a bit like learning how to control the gas pedal in a car. Emotions do give our mind and body strength and power and speed. They are not evil. They are just what they are and it is our job to use them appropriately to the situation.
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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby Ben » Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:41 pm

Hello Starter,
starter wrote:I only know that Master Huineng was...


This is not the first time you have referred to Huineng. Given that the Chan/Zen schools are your primary focus, I wonder why you are on a Theravada board seeking advice?
Perhaps you would be better served by seeking advice from fellow mahayanist practitioners at: www.dharmawheel.net
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


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Re: Dispassion vs. work life?

Postby Nibbida » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:30 pm

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been trying to take my work life and daily life as part of my dhamma practice, to practice mindfulness, clear comprehension, loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, equanimity, generosity, gratitude, contentment, patience ... But as dispassion in the conditioned world develop more and more, I have less and less interest and motivation for my work which sometimes could really cause problem. How do you handle this? Your kind advice would be very appreciated,

Metta,

Starter


I had a period of a few months where I experienced this. I didn't feel compulsively driven by fear or stress to get anything done. For one thing, it made me realize how much I had used fear/stress as a motivation in the past. Secondly, I had the same thought "Uh oh, how am I going to get anything done?"

What I immediately thought of was loving-kindness. I may not be motivated to do things in order to avoid fear, but I could do things out of motivation of loving-kindness, compassion, etc. for others. So whatever I was doing, I found some logical connection where it would directly or indirectly benefit others. Worked like a charm. My practice continued seamlessly and there was no need to turn on, tune in, and drop out.
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