Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:46 pm

I think is probably one of the most healthy meditations a human being can do. You are preparing for things that will happen, before those things happen.

There is a near universal folk belief that you tend to get what you focus on?

Buddhism, in the suttas and in ethnic folk beliefs claims that focusing on metta will produce all sorts of good things.

So, according to Buddhism/Buddhists, why wouldn't focusing on death, sickness, aging, loss with The Five Daily Recollections and meditations on death bring more experiences of death,sickness and loss into a person's life?

I'm not trying to be incendiary. I've seen that many people are very uncomfortable with meditations on decay and death. I'm guessing that the folk belief that you get more of what you think about, at least on an unconscious level, is partially responsible.

I'm interested to see what Buddhists/Buddhism would have to say about if metta thoughts can bring good things, why wouldn't contemplating loss bring more loss?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

santa100
Posts: 2673
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby santa100 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 2:28 pm


User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
Posts: 10649
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:14 pm

I think that meditation is not for bringing about loss, but rather for generating a sense of urgency -- samvega toward the practice.
Image




Jhana4
Posts: 1309
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:20 pm
Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:27 pm

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

kc2dpt_deactivated
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:09 pm

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby kc2dpt_deactivated » Thu Sep 26, 2013 5:51 pm


Samma
Posts: 171
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:47 pm

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Samma » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:54 pm


SarathW
Posts: 8014
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby SarathW » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:14 pm

Hi J4
I think Santa and David gave an answer to the way I think as well.
If I need to elaborate I would say:
- Metta , Karuna, Mudita should be balanced by Upekkaha
- Anicca, Dukkha should be balanced by Anatta
:meditate:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

dagon
Posts: 526
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby dagon » Fri Sep 27, 2013 9:59 am


User avatar
seeker242
Posts: 612
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby seeker242 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 12:03 pm


User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 17855
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:40 pm

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:18 am

The purpose of recollecting aging, illness, death, and loss is to learn how to deal with these situations in a healthy way right there and now, so that when they happen you will be mentally prepared. If one is simply fixated on them, looking for loss and sorrow in the world, being pessimistic, then that could indeed be an unwholesome practice. When a person notices this in practice, that is the time to shift the mindset toward a healthy one, to a realistic yet positive attitude that says, "OK, this is how it is. How will I act in this situation?" That is a much healthier response.

Unfortunately, aging, illness, death, loss, and the workings of kamma can be too much to handle if you do not prepare yourself. Running fire drills and CPR do not increase the likelihood of fires and heart attacks. They only increase your ability to deal with them when they actually cross your path.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Sep 28, 2013 5:25 am

Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Still Searching
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:28 pm
Location: United Kingdom
Contact:

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Still Searching » Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:49 pm

Interesting post.

Well, 1 of the reasons I turned to Buddhism is because of my anxiety & paranoia.

Constantly thinking about "When we're going to die?" will distrupt the meditation practice because we'd be thinking too much about suffering.

Worrying about death, brings death.

Stress causes high blood pressure, strokes & many other things. And all of these are life threatening.

Meditation is a relaxation exercise which puts us in a calm sense of mind.

Yes, Buddhism teaches us the truth and we should never ignore danger but the Buddha himself suggested we only focus on the present.
"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ~ Siddhārtha, Gautama Buddha

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:58 pm

Different meditation topics suite different people. If you suffer from anxiety and paranoia, maybe meditation on death is not appropriate for you. I think it is often prescribed for those who are either over-indulgent or lazy. For anxiety, you may want to focus on calming meditations and metta.

If, in the future, you find yourself at peace, then the contemplation of death would be done in a way that is not stressful, not leading to strokes and hypertension. It would be done in a way that would help you understand suffering and therefore let go of suffering. That would be less stressful and lead to a longer life. Some monks live for a very, very long time.

Any advice the Buddha gave to focus only on the present should probably be kept in context. He also advised us to act in a way that would lead to either a pleasant rebirth or total liberation.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Buckwheat
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 12:39 am
Location: California USA

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:04 pm

If the "law of attraction" is something that you, at this time, must cling to... then how about this approach: Don't focus on adversity. Focus on how you will handle hardship in a calm in responsible manner. Focus on yourself maintaining equanimity, compassion, and goodwill in the face of any adversity. Now the thing you will "attract" will not be the hardship, but the responsible handling of the hardship when it comes your way... as it inevitably will in this human lifetime.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

User avatar
Namkha
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:40 pm

Re: Why will meditation not bring more loss and death?

Postby Namkha » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:06 pm

Thank you for asking this question, I've wondered about this, too.

I wonder if the difference is use. We visit the five daily recollections not to wish them for ourselves or anyone, but rather to acknowledge the limitations of our physical form, of samsara. Recognizing them as truth is not the same as giving them power, they are what they are whether we "support" them or not. Realizing the truth of them we develop appreciation for current positive conditions in our lives and a desire grows to take refuge where refuge may be found: in the dhamma.

We are reminded that we can't find refuge in youth, health, wealth, being alive. The Buddha then points out that we can count on kamma and the fruits of our actions. So you could look at the Five as 'givens' that the Buddha believes we need to keep in mind. Nothing devotional there, no intent to bring these things into our lives--just to not be surprised by them or caught up in them.

The Brahmaviharas and the practices connected with them are instead wishes, conditions that we wish for ourselves and for those around us. In my opinion, their function is to calm our minds and open our hearts so that we lessen the hindrances to mindfulness and concentration. I don't think the Buddha ever said make these wishes and you can ignore the Five Daily Recollections!

Whether metta practice results in any changes to the world, I don't know. But it will transform our hearts and that is something worth going for!

--Namkha


Return to “General Theravāda Meditation”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 13 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine