Burning Passions

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Burning Passions

Postby Mothra » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:54 am

I've spent so many years following lust, anger and wrong views. Even when I read the Dhamma, still I can't sleep, still I focus on pain and discomfort, feel lust, fear and irritation all day. When in the midst of physical pain, discomfort, worry and stress, how does one still concentrate on the Dhamma? How do you cement it in your mind if it is not taking root just by reading? I feel a very deep hopelessness. Just as I've failed at almost everything in my life, I fear I will fail to follow the Buddha's teaching, and continue to reap suffering brought on by wrong views, thoughts, actions etc.
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby pink_trike » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:02 am

Mothra wrote:I've spent so many years following lust, anger and wrong views. Even when I read the Dhamma, still I can't sleep, still I focus on pain and discomfort, feel lust, fear and irritation all day. When in the midst of physical pain, discomfort, worry and stress, how does one still concentrate on the Dhamma? How do you cement it in your mind if it is not taking root just by reading? I feel a very deep hopelessness. Just as I've failed at almost everything in my life, I fear I will fail to follow the Buddha's teaching, and continue to reap suffering brought on by wrong views, thoughts, actions etc.


Hi Mothra,

Reading about the Dhamma is useful, but in my experience it is sitting practice that "cements" what we learn while reading...that is, we begin to experience the Dhamma rather than just read and think about it. It is sort of like the difference between reading about gardening and actually planting a garden. The garden grows and bears fruit. The same with sitting practice.
Last edited by pink_trike on Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

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---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby Ben » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:08 am

Hi Mothra

Everyone who has ever adopted Buddhism has been where you are at.
Don't worry. What you are discovering is that you cannot change the nature of the mind just be reading books alone.
You need to engage with the practice which includes sila (morality/five precepts), samadhi (concentration/calm), and panna (insight/wisdom). At this point in time you may wish to investigate the many schools within Theravada and find one that is to your liking/sensibilities, then find out whether that particular tradition offers residential meditation retreats in your area. A residential retreat will give you a strong foundation from which to develop a practice in daily life.
http://www.Buddhanet.net has an international directory of meditation centres, monasteries and temples. its not exhaustive and it may not be up to date but it will give you a starting point.
metta

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Re: Burning Passions

Postby Dan74 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:41 am

Some recommend a chanting practice to stabilise the mind.

More in line with Theravada perhaps is bringing your attention to the breath. Thich Nhat Hanh teaches this practice beautifully. Here's one talk:
http://www.buddhist.monashclubs.org/resources/thich_nhat_hanh_-_the_art_of_mindful_living.mp3

and if you'd like to order some CDs of his, there are some here:
http://www.learnoutloud.com/Resources/Authors-and-Narrators/Thich-Nhat-Hanh/801

and here:

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Mindful-Living-Bring-Compassion/dp/1564557987

This is a practice I've been doing for quite a few years now. Starting by bringing attention to my breathing, aware of the sensation on the nostrils, or the movement of the breath, and simultaneously you'd become aware of how you are feeling, physically and emotionally. Do this more and more often throughout the day. A few seconds here and there. Eventually breath awareness stays with you as a subtle anchor all the time. So that the mind is no so easily swayed by all that comes and goes.

Sure meditation is extremely important, as are the fundamental practices or ethics. But stabilizing the mind is what I found necessary before the other bit started falling into place.

It varies though...

GOOD LUCK!!!!

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Re: Burning Passions

Postby zavk » Tue Nov 24, 2009 5:46 am

Hi Mothra,

We have all experienced the same. So don't be too hard on yourself.

It is said that with the fruition of practice, one no longer experiences such things as anger, lust, etc. But until then we need to learn how to relate to those thoughts/emotions in a healthier, more skillful manner. To let go of those unwholesome tendencies, we need to first understand their nature. To understand their nature we need to take time to investigate them; we need to take time to cultivate wholesome tendencies to counteract them; we need to cultivate compassion towards ourselves.

Beating yourself up about such recurring thoughts/emotions is counter-productive. This is not to say that you should simply give them free rein. It is, however, important to not give them more strength by adding feelings of frustration, depression, etc, when they arise. There are steps you can take to cultivate wholesome tendencies, investigate those unwholesome tendencies, to understand their nature, and to slowly let go of them.

Everyone above has made some excellent suggestions about how you can go about doing this.

Take care.
With metta,
zavk
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby Mothra » Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:39 pm

Thank you for the replies. Meditation is still completely alien to me. I've tried it on my own at various times and only felt frustrated. I'm sure working with a teacher would help, but the only Theravada I've found near me is a Vispassana retreat that costs almost $500. I might email them and ask if there are cheaper sessions or groups that meet. In the mean time would skipping to the Meditation section of "In The Buddha's Words" be a good starting point? I always feel guilty skipping ahead in a book. I have a book by Thich Naht Hanh and his style feels off putting to me, so I'm hesitant to begin with him.
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby altar » Tue Nov 24, 2009 6:35 pm

There are some good meditation instructions on youtube. Search Ajahn Jayasaro meditation; and vsubhuti meditation.
Also some western monasteries have dhamma talks on their webpages you may want to listen to. They are not always meditation talks but reflective talks.
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby Mothra » Tue Nov 24, 2009 10:32 pm

altar wrote:There are some good meditation instructions on youtube. Search Ajahn Jayasaro meditation; and vsubhuti meditation.
Also some western monasteries have dhamma talks on their webpages you may want to listen to. They are not always meditation talks but reflective talks.
Zack


Thanks for those, I listened to a bunch of Jayasaro's ones this morning and tried the Counting Breaths. Helped me to calm down some and reevaluate what is contributing to my stress. Metta and insight meditation still feel a bit advanced for me.
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby nowheat » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:25 am

Mothra wrote:Thank you for the replies. Meditation is still completely alien to me. I've tried it on my own at various times and only felt frustrated. I'm sure working with a teacher would help, but the only Theravada I've found near me is a Vispassana retreat that costs almost $500. I might email them and ask if there are cheaper sessions or groups that meet. In the mean time would skipping to the Meditation section of "In The Buddha's Words" be a good starting point? I always feel guilty skipping ahead in a book. I have a book by Thich Naht Hanh and his style feels off putting to me, so I'm hesitant to begin with him.

As with the others, I recommend from my own experience, meditation. And (shame on me for recommending a book) have you read Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart"? She suggests turning towards what is bothering you, rather than turning away from it, and that has worked very well for me. This doesn't mean following your lusts and urges, but it does mean sitting with them honestly. When they arise in meditation, instead of getting frustrated with them or angry at yourself, welcome the feelings as an old friend but one you've never taken the time to sit and visit with; pay attention to what thoughts arise, what feelings go with it. I've found her technique has given me the best insights, as well as a boost in strength to deal with the issues that come up.

As for online courses, I have taken and gotten benefit from a free course you can find here:

http://www.audiodharma.org/onlinecourses.html

offered on occasion. If you can manage to sign up for one and get a teacher assigned to you (rather than just auditing) you might find it very helpful.

:namaste:
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby Mothra » Wed Nov 25, 2009 5:21 pm

Thanks for the recommendations. That audiodharma site looks great I may even sign up for the online course.
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Re: Burning Passions

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:06 pm

Greetings Mothra,

Perhaps this might be of use...

SN 35.28: Adittapariyaya Sutta (aka "The Fire Sermon ")
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn35/sn35.028.nymo.html

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)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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