A Logical Sacrifice?

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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:49 am

Sorry, Ferox - it went right over my head.
:embarassed:
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Thaibebop » Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:36 am

tsk tsk changing my point lol.. I was trying to stick with the whole three conceits thing... " i am better" is a conceit, " I am worse" is a conceit" , " I am equal to" is a conceit.... no judgment of any kind on yourself or others, just a being among beings and developing equanimity. Thank you for the compliment either way though :)

[The Blessed One said:]

"Equal I am, or better, of less degree":
All such idle fancies lead to strife,
Who's unmoved by all these three conceits
Such vain distinctions leaves unmade.[17][/quote]
This something I think many tend to forget. It seems we always strive not to think better of ourselves, but never look for the pitfall of looking down on ourselves. I admit that such a thing is hard for me. I have never given myself value, at least not the same value as most people around me have given themselves. I have always found that to be too ego driven a thing to do, that is assign value to myself.

Buddhism has not really cleared that up for me either. I feel it best to be egoless, and loving yourself seems ego driven and while I can see how not loving yourself, or hating yourself, is ego centered, it is not ego driven. So, a egoless mind alludes me as I can't love myself but feel that loving myself and just not liking myself are different animals of the same family, so why is an egoless nature so difficult to achieve. Wouldn't not liking yourself make it easier to become egoless?
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Kim OHara » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:04 am

Thaibebop wrote:
Ferox wrote:[The Blessed One said:]

"Equal I am, or better, of less degree":
All such idle fancies lead to strife,
Who's unmoved by all these three conceits
Such vain distinctions leaves unmade.[17]

This something I think many tend to forget. It seems we always strive not to think better of ourselves, but never look for the pitfall of looking down on ourselves. I admit that such a thing is hard for me. I have never given myself value, at least not the same value as most people around me have given themselves. I have always found that to be too ego driven a thing to do, that is assign value to myself.

Buddhism has not really cleared that up for me either. I feel it best to be egoless, and loving yourself seems ego driven and while I can see how not loving yourself, or hating yourself, is ego centered, it is not ego driven. So, a egoless mind alludes me as I can't love myself but feel that loving myself and just not liking myself are different animals of the same family, so why is an egoless nature so difficult to achieve. Wouldn't not liking yourself make it easier to become egoless?

Maybe one approach to it is the Brahmaviharas: compassion, loving kindness, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
"Love" as such is not used, and I'm not absolutely sure why not but I think it may be because it is (1) so broad and (2) so often selfish. So let's set it aside.
The Brahmaviharas are all relatively 'cool' emotions - not like, say, ecstasy or despair - so it may be easier to apply them to friends, learn to apply them to enemies, and remember to apply them to oneself without losing one's spiritual balance. They are all other-centred, too, which may make it easier for us to see ourselves just as we see others - which I think is a good way of reducing ego without the negativity of having to dislike or distrust ourselves.
How's that sounding so far?

:namaste:
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:13 am

I was taught that before one is truly ready to let go of the self ("egoless mind") one's got to develop a healthy functioning and well-adjusted self.

It seems that a lot of people have difficulty with the notion that cultivation proceeds in stages. Before worrying about jhanas and anatta, it's important to cultivate the fundamentals of sila, live responsibly, honestly, work hard, develop generosity and patience with yourself and others.

Otherwise we sort of have it backwards - start with egoless self and then the Dhamma becomes god-knows-what - escapism, a protective shell against all those unwanted things from the "outside",etc etc

Sorry about the rant, Thai, this may not even be relevant, but take it in the "if the shoe fits" spirit. You know I am a one-small-step-at-a-time sort of a guy, rather than plunging into egolessness, etc
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby appicchato » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:29 am

Hi Thaibebop,

I am neither a husband, nor a father, but what comes to my mind is that you (if I were asked) pack up the family and book it to Thailand...family, being what it is here, would most definitely make your wife happier...no question...and you having a sheepskin would make finding work no problem, none...it could all work out great for you (and the family)...

Teaching English here isn't the greatest of occupations, but hey, your status with the family (extended as well) would soar (and there's always the possibility of other opportunities presenting themselves)...not to mention that all your bummer thoughts are just specultive discursive thought, and all the other negative, un-beneficial meanderings of our monkey minds...you've been around since E-Sangha days...put some of what you've learned to use friend...

Again, if I were asked, I'd say give it a shot...it could work out great...and Thailand is dyno...I could go on about all the advantages of you being married into (what you call) a well-to-do family...and the result could be the absolute opposite end of the spectrum of the thought of topping yourself...

Just some stuff off the top of my head, for whatever it's worth...I've been here over thirty years and will only leave kicking and screaming...and the American Mid-west?...please...

Hoping it gets better for you soon...
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby puppha » Wed Jun 06, 2012 1:07 pm

Dear Thaibebop,

I know this thread is old now, I would just like to add my little bit on top of all the good advice that other people gave here.

Please remember that if you can feed your family and teach your kids good moral values, you are in the upper half of the Daddies on this Earth.

You might have to lower your expectations. Do not let anyone tell you what it is to be a good father or a good husband (even your wife). If you feel depressed because you don't feel you're a good father or husband, this is probably because your expectations are too high and you're asking too much of yourself.

One thing I learned from Buddhism is that I can only do my best. My wife is never (well, almost never) satisfied with what I do for her or for the family because I could have done more or better or whatever... In the past I used to get upset about that, now I just take it as some agitation from a human being immersed in craving. If she manages to tell some good pieces of advice, I take them, and the bulk of her rants go directly into my mental flush.
In the same way, all parents in our western societies are bound to get some reproaches from our children. One day or another, they will come after us saying "you should have done this for me and not that" etc. (I know what I am talking about, I did just that to my own parents!) You can only do your best.

I don't know what's your situation now, but my advice would be first and foremost to get some fresh air. See people, get help from some charities, go and talk to some monks. Most people will not be able to help, but some will, and it will help you to take some distance from your present situation. The most important is to keep an open mind and to avoid staying trapped in your own thoughts. If you have negative thoughts running in your head, remember that these thoughts do not define who you are. Buddhism is about understanding that we can choose how we react to such thoughts (or any other feeling).
Personally, I would also try to do a lot of meditation (loving-kindness and vipassana meditations). That really helps to take some distances with immediate problems.

In the West, we tend to see negatively some aspects of Buddhism which deal with ourselves first (like starting with ourselves in the loving-kindness meditation, spending time in meditation/at the temple/reading suttas or books instead of doing some housework, etc.) The fact is that it is very difficult to make other people happy if we are not happy ourselves, or to do good to other people if we can't do good to ourselves, or to avoid doing bad to other people if we can't avoid doing bad to ourselves, etc. This Judeo-Christian legacy of feeling guilty whenever we do something for ourselves or taking some time for ourselves is a major source of problems in our western societies. Take care of yourself first! The rest will follow.

Also, just a last thought. My wife comes from Africa, and don't think I would be too far off the mark if I say that some cultural aspects are similar with your own in-laws. In particular: extended families with truck-loads of aunts, uncles and cousins, and a tendency for all these people to live close from each other and to see each other often. This is a very fertile ground for all sorts of problems to crop up. I don't think that living with your family in law in Thailand will be an easy ride, as those good people tend to intervene in your marriage (for its own good, of course). This would be especially true if your wife is still close to them.

From practical point of view, you also need to have healthy finances, I can provide you with some general ideas if you wish.

I wish you well and I hope you will find peace of mind. :heart:
:hug:

With Metta
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:05 am

puppha wrote:Dear Thaibebop,

I know this thread is old now, I would just like to add my little bit on top of all the good advice that other people gave here.

Please remember that if you can feed your family and teach your kids good moral values, you are in the upper half of the Daddies on this Earth.

You might have to lower your expectations. Do not let anyone tell you what it is to be a good father or a good husband (even your wife). If you feel depressed because you don't feel you're a good father or husband, this is probably because your expectations are too high and you're asking too much of yourself.

One thing I learned from Buddhism is that I can only do my best. My wife is never (well, almost never) satisfied with what I do for her or for the family because I could have done more or better or whatever... In the past I used to get upset about that, now I just take it as some agitation from a human being immersed in craving. If she manages to tell some good pieces of advice, I take them, and the bulk of her rants go directly into my mental flush.
In the same way, all parents in our western societies are bound to get some reproaches from our children. One day or another, they will come after us saying "you should have done this for me and not that" etc. (I know what I am talking about, I did just that to my own parents!) You can only do your best.

I don't know what's your situation now, but my advice would be first and foremost to get some fresh air. See people, get help from some charities, go and talk to some monks. Most people will not be able to help, but some will, and it will help you to take some distance from your present situation. The most important is to keep an open mind and to avoid staying trapped in your own thoughts. If you have negative thoughts running in your head, remember that these thoughts do not define who you are. Buddhism is about understanding that we can choose how we react to such thoughts (or any other feeling).
Personally, I would also try to do a lot of meditation (loving-kindness and vipassana meditations). That really helps to take some distances with immediate problems.

In the West, we tend to see negatively some aspects of Buddhism which deal with ourselves first (like starting with ourselves in the loving-kindness meditation, spending time in meditation/at the temple/reading suttas or books instead of doing some housework, etc.) The fact is that it is very difficult to make other people happy if we are not happy ourselves, or to do good to other people if we can't do good to ourselves, or to avoid doing bad to other people if we can't avoid doing bad to ourselves, etc. This Judeo-Christian legacy of feeling guilty whenever we do something for ourselves or taking some time for ourselves is a major source of problems in our western societies. Take care of yourself first! The rest will follow.

Also, just a last thought. My wife comes from Africa, and don't think I would be too far off the mark if I say that some cultural aspects are similar with your own in-laws. In particular: extended families with truck-loads of aunts, uncles and cousins, and a tendency for all these people to live close from each other and to see each other often. This is a very fertile ground for all sorts of problems to crop up. I don't think that living with your family in law in Thailand will be an easy ride, as those good people tend to intervene in your marriage (for its own good, of course). This would be especially true if your wife is still close to them.

From practical point of view, you also need to have healthy finances, I can provide you with some general ideas if you wish.

I wish you well and I hope you will find peace of mind. :heart:
:hug:

With Metta

Thank you. I appreciate all the advice I get from this forum. There has always been intelligent and logical people here to get advice from. Anything you think would be helpful knowing, please do not hesitate to share. I have a lot to learn. :namaste:
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:13 am

appicchato wrote:Hi Thaibebop,

I am neither a husband, nor a father, but what comes to my mind is that you (if I were asked) pack up the family and book it to Thailand...family, being what it is here, would most definitely make your wife happier...no question...and you having a sheepskin would make finding work no problem, none...it could all work out great for you (and the family)...

Teaching English here isn't the greatest of occupations, but hey, your status with the family (extended as well) would soar (and there's always the possibility of other opportunities presenting themselves)...not to mention that all your bummer thoughts are just specultive discursive thought, and all the other negative, un-beneficial meanderings of our monkey minds...you've been around since E-Sangha days...put some of what you've learned to use friend...

Again, if I were asked, I'd say give it a shot...it could work out great...and Thailand is dyno...I could go on about all the advantages of you being married into (what you call) a well-to-do family...and the result could be the absolute opposite end of the spectrum of the thought of topping yourself...

Just some stuff off the top of my head, for whatever it's worth...I've been here over thirty years and will only leave kicking and screaming...and the American Mid-west?...please...

Hoping it gets better for you soon...

I am so sorry I missed your post. I would love to talk to someone who lives in Thailand about life there. My wife now has her green card and is waiting to get citizenship here, but that is just so we can all come and go as we please. She'll get that in three years. She really wants to get home, at least for a few years. I admit to that a lot of my blues disappear whenever I start looking at Thailand. I sometimes use google maps to follow roads and see Bangkok that way. All the temples and shrines!! There is so much to see and do, this helps get my head back on straight.

So, in three we might be living there permanently for awhile. We are planning to take a trip back next year. My in-laws want to pay for our tickets. They have never seen our youngest and have not seen our oldest in five years. They are their only grandchildren. I really believe it would be good for my children to see another culture besides America, even if they come back to America, fine, but choose it because you want to not because you have to.

Thanks again for your post and anything about Thailand you want to share, please do. :namaste:
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:18 am

Dan74 wrote:I was taught that before one is truly ready to let go of the self ("egoless mind") one's got to develop a healthy functioning and well-adjusted self.

It seems that a lot of people have difficulty with the notion that cultivation proceeds in stages. Before worrying about jhanas and anatta, it's important to cultivate the fundamentals of sila, live responsibly, honestly, work hard, develop generosity and patience with yourself and others.

Otherwise we sort of have it backwards - start with egoless self and then the Dhamma becomes god-knows-what - escapism, a protective shell against all those unwanted things from the "outside",etc etc

Sorry about the rant, Thai, this may not even be relevant, but take it in the "if the shoe fits" spirit. You know I am a one-small-step-at-a-time sort of a guy, rather than plunging into egolessness, etc

I see what you are saying and I think I am the same. I try to do too much at once and always bury myself. I have, since first posting this, been trying to change one thing that makes me healthier. Change what I am eating, try to meditate of at least five minutes, just little things to make me feel better, take a walk, something. I'll work on the big stuff later, but I agree, right now just the little things. :namaste:
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Re: A Logical Sacrifice?

Postby Thaibebop » Thu Jun 07, 2012 3:22 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Thaibebop wrote:
Ferox wrote:[The Blessed One said:]

"Equal I am, or better, of less degree":
All such idle fancies lead to strife,
Who's unmoved by all these three conceits
Such vain distinctions leaves unmade.[17]

This something I think many tend to forget. It seems we always strive not to think better of ourselves, but never look for the pitfall of looking down on ourselves. I admit that such a thing is hard for me. I have never given myself value, at least not the same value as most people around me have given themselves. I have always found that to be too ego driven a thing to do, that is assign value to myself.

Buddhism has not really cleared that up for me either. I feel it best to be egoless, and loving yourself seems ego driven and while I can see how not loving yourself, or hating yourself, is ego centered, it is not ego driven. So, a egoless mind alludes me as I can't love myself but feel that loving myself and just not liking myself are different animals of the same family, so why is an egoless nature so difficult to achieve. Wouldn't not liking yourself make it easier to become egoless?

Maybe one approach to it is the Brahmaviharas: compassion, loving kindness, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
"Love" as such is not used, and I'm not absolutely sure why not but I think it may be because it is (1) so broad and (2) so often selfish. So let's set it aside.
The Brahmaviharas are all relatively 'cool' emotions - not like, say, ecstasy or despair - so it may be easier to apply them to friends, learn to apply them to enemies, and remember to apply them to oneself without losing one's spiritual balance. They are all other-centred, too, which may make it easier for us to see ourselves just as we see others - which I think is a good way of reducing ego without the negativity of having to dislike or distrust ourselves.
How's that sounding so far?

:namaste:
Kim

I think I have been doing this at work. Each person I help I try to think about them, their suffering and what happened to them that day. When they are rude and nasty I wonder what happened to make them so and feel empathy. I feel better at the end of day for having not gotten angry and thus stressing myself out even more. When the debt collectors call, I kind of do the same thing, they are just working a job. I don't feel like this is big step but it works for now. I just need to calm my mind otherwise I will not handle these issues with any wisdom at all. Thank you for this post. :namaste:
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