How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

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Anagarika
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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby Anagarika » Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:48 pm

Leafy:

One approach that might be helpful to you is to listen to some Dhamma talks by Ajahn Brahm; he can be found on youtube, for example:

http://www.youtube.com/user/BuddhistSoc ... IMWm5JnNrE

People experiencing PTSD symptoms, or that have anxiety as part of their personality, can benefit from audio learning. Of course, reading the Suttas is a wonderful way to understand the core teachings of the Buddha, but I feel that when anxieties and fears linger, a good listen to a solid Dhamma talk can be helpful, too. A lot of people don't have a Bhante/Ajahn in their area to listen to, but we can find some excellent teachings here at Dhamma Wheel, as well as on youtube.

With Metta.

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Fede
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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby Fede » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:18 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

There's some interesting enough general advice and recommendation (which I'm allowing, since it may be of benefit to the OP) but please remember this is the Discovering Theravada forum, so where possible, please try to make reference to Theravada teachings.

...how do Buddhists handle being constantly aware that this could happen to any of us at any time, and yet *not* be constantly terrified?

Thank you for your assistance.

:focus:

Metta,
Retro. :)

As one of the main culprits, I apologise.
Leafy, particular lesson which has always been of profound significance to me, was the one in the following link. I believe it was instrumental in teaching me much about dying. I'm certain it sustained me, as I sat by my father as he died.

I hope it helps....

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/noncanon ... 1-ao0.html
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/

rowyourboat
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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:32 pm

The specific way to deal with fear is to face it, not deny it or run away from it. In your case it might be to think of that fear- recreate it in your mind- and just stay with it- see what happens. Often nothing will- the problem is only the fear- not a specific problem in the outside world. When you keep on repeatedly doing this you will see that each time it becomes a little bit less intense. You will become less fearful of your fear, and begin to feel more and more in control.

The Buddha when he was in training used to go to cemeteries and spend the night overcome his fear:

"The thought occurred to me: 'What if — on recognized, designated nights such as the eighth, fourteenth, & fifteenth of the lunar fortnight — I were to stay in the sort of places that are awe-inspiring and make your hair stand on end, such as park-shrines, forest-shrines, & tree-shrines? Perhaps I would get to see that fear & terror.' So at a later time — on recognized, designated nights such as the eighth, fourteenth, & fifteenth of the lunar fortnight — I stayed in the sort of places that are awe-inspiring and make your hair stand on end, such as park-shrines, forest-shrines, & tree-shrines. And while I was staying there a wild animal would come, or a bird would make a twig fall, or wind would rustle the fallen leaves. The thought would occur to me: 'Is this that fear & terror coming?' Then the thought occurred to me: 'Why do I just keep waiting for fear? What if I were to subdue fear & terror in whatever state they come?' So when fear & terror came while I was walking back & forth, I would not stand or sit or lie down. I would keep walking back & forth until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came while I was standing, I would not walk or sit or lie down. I would keep standing until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came while I was sitting, I would not lie down or stand up or walk. I would keep sitting until I had subdued that fear & terror. When fear & terror came while I was lying down, I would not sit up or stand or walk. I would keep lying down until I had subdued that fear & terror.


You would notice that the Buddha to be would keep on facing that fear, continuing to do what he was doing without doing anything to alter/distract/run away from that fear. Its tough, but it is the best way to overcome it.

with metta

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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby Nibbida » Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:06 am

Leafy wrote:A few years ago, I saw something horrible and terrifying happen to a member of my family, and as a result became painfully aware that I am not and will never be safe, and that horrible things can happen to anybody at any time. Sort of an unpleasant, throw-you-into-the-deep-end crash course in impermanence...

Since then, I have been almost constantly consumed with fear of horrible things happening. Psychologists try to treat this by convincing you that bad things won't happen to you, which really doesn't help once you've seen first-hand that horrible things can happen to anyone. I have noticed that Buddhism seems to teach the opposite of what psychologists try to do -- psychologists try to rebuild the wall of denial that makes you feel safe, whereas Buddhists seem to work at tearing down the wall and fully accepting impermanence. Since years of therapy have done nothing to help me (I think that wall is too smashed to fix), I am ready to try the other approach. (My doctor knows and is OK with this).

...so how do you face and accept impermanence without ending up completely terrified? It's not death/non-existence that I'm afraid of... it's those other, worse-than-death things that can strike out-of-the-blue and leave someone suffering so much they wish they were dead... how do Buddhists handle being constantly aware that this could happen to any of us at any time, and yet *not* be constantly terrified?


In addition to developing awareness of impermanence, one develops other factors such as equanimity and compassion.
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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rowyourboat
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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:33 pm

...so how do you face and accept impermanence without ending up completely terrified? It's not death/non-existence that I'm afraid of... it's those other, worse-than-death things that can strike out-of-the-blue and leave someone suffering so much they wish they were dead... how do Buddhists handle being constantly aware that this could happen to any of us at any time, and yet *not* be constantly terrified?


Impermanence can be viewed in another way- it means that even those 'wish I was dead' incidents are also impermanent- they dont last. The pain doesnt last- people move on, lives move on. On the other hand it is quite good for fear and anxiety as well. If we constantly watch the present moment 'becoming impermanent', then we know that even future moments will be like this, and that all past moments are truly gone and that there is nothing to cling to- or even to fear. In the bigger picture everything is impermanent so no point worrying about anything! :twothumbsup:

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby Quiet Heart » Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:48 am

:smile:
First, let me apologise for posting here...because I do not practice Theravada.
I hope, however, that my comments will be taken in the spirit I intend them.

My Thai wife has been going through a very stressfull time. Her father, now deceased, had three wives.
His first wife, the one she refered to as her "big mother" died a little over a month ago after a long illness.
Now, her "third mother" is ill, and probably will pass away soon. They were both in their 80's (my wife is 63 years old).
Add that to the flooding we are currently having here in Bangkok...and you can understrand the stress she is under now.
About a week she asked me why was there so much suffering and pain...impermanence... in the world.
I didn't have any real answer...but later while meditating it came to me clearly.

Consider this:

Without suffering, pain, impermanence, and such...why would a sentient being abandon his/her life in this world and start to seek a Buddhist path?
If there was no suffering, there would be no reason to abandom the (illusionary) pleasures of his/her life, would there?
And if they did not start that path, then how would they, in the fullness of time, ever reach release from the cycle of death and re-brth?

When you understand this clearly, you see the "purpose" (I hate to use that term, but I don't know how else to describe it) of suffering and impermanence.
Or you might say: (poetically)
For this purpose, and for this purpose alone, did the Buddha enter into this world;
to spin the Great Wheel of Dharma,
that by this all sentient beings might come to understand that Dharma.
And by that understanding they might gain release from the cycle of birth, suffering, death, znd re-birth.
For that purpose, and that purpose alone.

If you think carefully about that statement...then answer this question?

What is it, this YOU, who you say is afraid of "impermanence"?
:smile:
In Quietness is the beginning of all things.

When I was younger I used to think I knew all the answers. Now I would be happy to feel I could ask just one intelligent question.

chris98e
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Re: How can you not fear impermanence and suffering?

Postby chris98e » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:54 pm

The worst thing you can do is to overcompensate for suffering by trying to get praise for a skill such as being a musician. There's nothing wrong with being a musicaian for the journey. But there is something wrong with it if your trying to get excessive praise from the outside world. To get priase from the outside world for a performance as companionship I guess is ok. But to get praise to make others feel inferior only contributes to the suffering in the world. Sorry if this message has come up more than once. I'm trying to also learn how to take some of people's quotations and not all their posts and to put them into my posts. :smile:


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