Effects of meditation

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Effects of meditation

Postby Sovietnik » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:25 pm

How much can meditation (I'm talking mostly about vipassana) change one's personality? Can it turn a hateful, easily irritable and lazy/impatient person into someone much more psychologically healthy?
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby culaavuso » Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:43 pm

Sovietnik wrote:How much can meditation (I'm talking mostly about vipassana) change one's personality? Can it turn a hateful, easily irritable and lazy/impatient person into someone much more psychologically healthy?


Yes. Hate, irritation, laziness, and impatience are unpleasant experiences in themselves and lead to unpleasant experiences and are influenced by choices. Greater insight into the process by which choices influence states of mind and pleasantness of experience leads to greater skill in making choices, which reduces the arising of feelings of hate, irritation, laziness, and impatience.

This concept of self harm through ignorance is touched on in MN 75
MN 75: Magandiya Sutta wrote:Magandiya, suppose that there was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, cauterizing his body over a pit of glowing embers. His friends, companions, & relatives would take him to a doctor. The doctor would concoct medicine for him, and thanks to the medicine he would be cured of his leprosy: well & happy, free, master of himself, going wherever he liked. Then suppose two strong men, having grabbed him with their arms, were to drag him to a pit of glowing embers. What do you think? Wouldn't he twist his body this way & that?"


Abandoning these things is also specifically described as one of the first skills developed in meditation practice in DN 2. Hate and irritation are matters of ill will. Laziness is a matter of sloth. Impatience is a matter of restlessness and anxiety.

DN 2: Samaññaphala Sutta wrote:"Endowed with this noble aggregate of virtue, this noble restraint over the sense faculties, this noble mindfulness and alertness, and this noble contentment, he seeks out a secluded dwelling: a forest, the shade of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After his meal, returning from his alms round, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and brings mindfulness to the fore.

"Abandoning covetousness with regard to the world, he dwells with an awareness devoid of covetousness. He cleanses his mind of covetousness. Abandoning ill will and anger, he dwells with an awareness devoid of ill will, sympathetic with the welfare of all living beings. He cleanses his mind of ill will and anger. Abandoning sloth and drowsiness, he dwells with an awareness devoid of sloth and drowsiness, mindful, alert, percipient of light. He cleanses his mind of sloth and drowsiness. Abandoning restlessness and anxiety, he dwells undisturbed, his mind inwardly stilled. He cleanses his mind of restlessness and anxiety. Abandoning uncertainty, he dwells having crossed over uncertainty, with no perplexity with regard to skillful mental qualities. He cleanses his mind of uncertainty.
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby Eightfolder » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:03 am

Sloth and torpor are my friends....sloth and torpor are my teachers....sloth and torpor stay with me...

:juggling: :shrug: :jedi:
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby SarathW » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:23 am

Sovietnik wrote:How much can meditation (I'm talking mostly about vipassana) change one's personality? Can it turn a hateful, easily irritable and lazy/impatient person into someone much more psychologically healthy?


Yes if you follow the instructions correctly.
It won't happen overnight though.
:)
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby Mkoll » Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:39 am

Sovietnik wrote:How much can meditation (I'm talking mostly about vipassana) change one's personality? Can it turn a hateful, easily irritable and lazy/impatient person into someone much more psychologically healthy?


I don't know about meditation by itself. But from my own personal experience, becoming a Buddhist, reading the suttas, and practicing the Noble Eightfold Path even in my own limited way has changed me greatly in a very short time span. I've still got all sorts of psychological issues but instead of those things being the whole of my experience with no escape to be seen, I see now that there is an excellent possibility of escape.

It's like being trapped in dark cave tunnels with no light at all for so long that one has forgotten that light actually exists. And suddenly one sees the faint glimmer of light. There is some good, after all. There is a noble purpose to this life.
Peace,
James
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby Eightfolder » Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:10 pm

well said....well said

:bow:
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby Babadhari » Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:05 pm

Eightfolder wrote:well said....well said

:bow:


+1

meditation without metta and the Dhamma may have made me calmer and more relaxed but only ever served to increase self-centredness and egotism :toilet:
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Effects of meditation

Postby Eightfolder » Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:27 pm

My own journey started in 2006 reading a whole stack of books on Buddhism to understand this widely expansive "religion". After 3 months of learning about the history, philosophy, time and place of the spread and an overview of the major schools, I still knew nothing about meditating. By 2007 I found myself on a cushion in the middle of Goenka's 10 day. It was a drastic contrast to go from the library books about Buddhism to a Vipassana 10 day course. Over the next five years (2008-2013) I really struggled to meditate and read a few more books from Pariyatti (basically Goenka's books) which covered all the important basics of Buddhism. I took a second 10 day in 2012....still hoping and waiting for something to "kick in" so to speak. Then, with the help of an existential crisis in mid 2013, I went in search of truth again. I nearly found myself going back to the idea of God. Fortunately, I remembered that scene in a movie with Cher where she slaps a mesmorized admirer in the face and yells "SNAP OUT OF IT".....and I did. Then I remember The Dhamma....ah yes...The Dhamma!
Now I have read and listened to numerous lectures of Bhikku Bodhi, Ajahn Sumedho, Goenka, and Bhante Vimalaramsi and Ven. Nyanoponika Thera. Suddenly, the entire Dhamma is unfolding! It's all connected and we really do need to understand the context of all of Buddhism. We actually need to practice Sila to have this work. It's the difference between knowing intellectually that snow is cold and going outside to feel the snow in our hands! It's all in the REALIZATION that this whole thing called Buddhism unfolded and continues because of the power of its truth. Dhamma is the law of nature. And to resist the truth only perpetuates the suffering. I can't believe I didnt get this sooner but I feel ever so grateful to get it NOW! NOW is all we have! I feel like a born again Buddhist or something but I hesitate to call myself one because of the religious connotations. Also, I feel the Goenka school/ lineage which has spread a secular form of practice all around the world is very important and must be seen as an historic shift in the history of Dhamma.
At the same time I think its imperative we recognize the history of the development and appreciate this contribution. I liken it to the more pragmatic philosophers and social teachers throughout academic history who left the Ivory tower to join the people. Goenka, U ba Khin, and Sayadaw are the ones who brought this to us. Without them I probably would never have latched onto this great solution for life!

8F :clap:
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