In Love - what to do about it?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Guy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:18 am

Hi Katy,

kayy wrote:Guy - do you mean to say that Stephen Batchelor, Martin Aylward, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield and all the other lay Buddhist teachers, famous or otherwise, who currently are or have previously been in relationships, are not committed to ending suffering in this lifetime?


I can't assume to know the intentions of these people. But it is my understanding that anyone who is serious about Nibbana, who holds it as the highest goal, will at some stage realize that there is only so far one can go on the Path while being in a relationship. Whether or not these lay people are doing a good job as Dhamma teachers is a different question altogether and should be determined on a case by case basis of whether or not what they teach is in line with what the Buddha taught.

Personally I prefer to hear Dhamma talks from those who have been Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis for a long time since they have a lot of experience in practicing the Noble Eightfold Path and therefore (as a general rule) are more likely to have a high level of Sila, Samadhi and Panna, which really shines forth in the way they speak. If you aren't already doing so, go and read the Suttas directly - The Buddha is the best Dhamma Teacher of all!

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:57 am

baratgab wrote:
kayy wrote:If, in order to end suffering and 'rebirth' (that is assuming one believes in rebirth, which I don't), one has to renounce the world, human society, human bonds, reproduction and ultimately the continuation of the species, I'm out!


It is really admirable that you are treasuring what you consider good. I think nobody could argue against this wholesome intention. ;) But on this long path of development many of us came to realize that our understanding of what is "good" is subject to change, as our discernment and our state of mind develops with the practice.

As a personal example, in most of my life I praised intimate relations, and I thought that making a girl happy with intimate love is a great thing to do. But when I actually got some nice meditation experience, and I thought about the same thing with that energetic and happy mind, I had to realize that intimacy is deeply inferior to the experience that I am just having: I have felt repulsed by the thought of sex. It became clear that intimacy feels good purely because we are in a state of deep deprivation, a state of deep hunger, a state of deep discontentment. Just like as the Magandiya Sutta magnificently describes:

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?"

"Yes, master Gotama. Why is that? The fire is painful to the touch, very hot & scorching."

"Now what do you think, Magandiya? Is the fire painful to the touch, very hot & scorching, only now, or was it also that way before?"

"Both now & before is it painful to the touch, very hot & scorching, master Gotama. It's just that when the man was a leper covered with sores and infections, devoured by worms, picking the scabs off the openings of his wounds with his nails, his faculties were impaired, which was why, even though the fire was actually painful to the touch, he had the skewed perception of 'pleasant.'"

"In the same way, Magandiya, sensual pleasures in the past were painful to the touch, very hot & scorching; sensual pleasures in the future will be painful to the touch, very hot & scorching; sensual pleasures at present are painful to the touch, very hot & scorching; but when beings are not free from passion for sensual pleasures — devoured by sensual craving, burning with sensual fever — their faculties are impaired, which is why, even though sensual pleasures are actually painful to the touch, they have the skewed perception of 'pleasant.'

...

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



And then I considered the interest of the partner: Is it really compassionate to treat another being with intimacy, instead of teaching her to experience that much higher satisfaction? I had to realize that there is a moral problem, because with intimacy I would inevitably mislead that other being about the priorities of life, maintaining and feeding her illusions about what is suffering and what is happiness.

As for friendliness, helping and teaching, they are universal merits, but if a relationship consists purely of them, then the relationship itself is entirely superfluous, isn't it? :|

Lastly, to translate this story from the instance to the dynamics: There is only one true desire in every mind, and that is to be satisfied. Beings identify satisfaction with fulfilled concerns, but if satisfaction arises directly due to the dhammic path, concerns fall away. Relationships, society, survival of humankind... it is all the same. What does this mean? It means: buckle your seatbelt Dorothy, because Kansas is going bye-bye. :lol:

Anyway, this was just my honest reflection on the subject. :smile: Apologies for any silliness, and I wish you much happiness, whatever path you go. :anjali:



I guess relationships didn't work out for you, and you are happier and more fulfilled without them. That's great.

But not everyone is the same. We are all different. This is not the case for me, at least not at this point in my life, and I currently have no intention of trying to free myself of the wish to have a relationship.

Best wishes

Katy
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:02 am

Guy wrote:Hi Katy,

kayy wrote:Guy - do you mean to say that Stephen Batchelor, Martin Aylward, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Jack Kornfield and all the other lay Buddhist teachers, famous or otherwise, who currently are or have previously been in relationships, are not committed to ending suffering in this lifetime?


I can't assume to know the intentions of these people. But it is my understanding that anyone who is serious about Nibbana, who holds it as the highest goal, will at some stage realize that there is only so far one can go on the Path while being in a relationship. Whether or not these lay people are doing a good job as Dhamma teachers is a different question altogether and should be determined on a case by case basis of whether or not what they teach is in line with what the Buddha taught.

Personally I prefer to hear Dhamma talks from those who have been Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis for a long time since they have a lot of experience in practicing the Noble Eightfold Path and therefore (as a general rule) are more likely to have a high level of Sila, Samadhi and Panna, which really shines forth in the way they speak. If you aren't already doing so, go and read the Suttas directly - The Buddha is the best Dhamma Teacher of all!

With Metta,

Guy



Guy,

I guess that you realised that you could only go so far on the path whilst being in a relationship. It doesn't mean that this will be the case for everyone! So far, it certainly isn't the case for me, and I have no intention of trying to make it so.

In terms of Dhamma teachers, we're all attracted to different teachers, for all different reasons. The teachers I choose to listen to, I enjoy and trust because I can see / sense that they are in some way more enlightened than me, as shown by their behaviour more than anything else. Anyone can read a sutta, preach compassion and impermanence and tell somebody how to meditate. The lay teachers I choose because I see something wonderful in their behaviour. Also, because I am a lay person and I feel as though lay teachers have a greater understanding of my personal situation than a Bhikku necessarily would.

Good luck and all the best to you,

Katy
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:16 am

Guy wrote:My personal opinion: If someone sees the benefit in sense restraint (not just sexual, but all forms of sensuality) and wants to become a monastic or even a celibate lay person and put a large focus in their life on seclusion, sense restraint, moderation in eating, wakefulness and meditation I would encourage them to do so. If someone thinks that they can live a skilful and wholesome life practicing in the household environment with a partner then I encourage them to do so.


I've just highlighted and underlined the two words that jumped out at me in this statement.
You use 'sees' when you talk about the thing that most conforms with your own opinion and experience, and 'thinks' when you talk about that which does not.
Are you just paying lip service to the household life, or do you actually genuinely mean to say that you would actively and sincerely encourage a householder to pursue a life with a partner, children etc?
Not everyone's experience is the same as yours, and we are not all able, or perhaps more relevantly, are not all willing to become celibate monastics.
As I pointed out in a previous post, there are many wise and enlightened lay Buddhist teachers with partners, families and living in society.


Advances in society, sexual relationships, perpetuation of the species are all worldly goals. I am not saying that these things are bad or unimportant, in fact I can see that these things can be pursued with quite good intentions and have positive outcomes. But they are all limited in their potential for good. Relationships are Anicca (impermanent, unstable, insecure), societies are Anicca, even the human race's existence on Earth is Anicca, even the entire universe is Anicca.


Indeed. I agree! The point is to accept that these things are impermanent, and live with them nonetheless, until the time comes for them to die.
You seem to be arguing that if something is impermanent, it is not worth bothering with. Life is impermanent, as you say. Is life not worth bothering with?

Not really related to the original topic, so please reply to me in PM or on the "Great Rebirth Debate": Is it that you have rejected rebirth as impossible? Or are you open to either possibility ie. you neither accept it nor reject it?


I'm open! Until my own experience tells me otherwise, I remain agnostic on this matter. :thumbsup:

When the Buddha spoke of the Middle Way He was talking about the Path between indulging in sensual pleasures on the one hand and self-torture on the other hand. For some people this means refraining from sexual misconduct (ie. not cheating on their partner, not sleeping with someone who has a partner, etc) but other people want to develop this further and refrain from all sexual activity (even the activity of speech or mind in regard to sexual topics). While it is possible to make advances in a household environment (as is evident in the Suttas) it seems that many monastics have mentioned that from their experience it is much more conducive to the Goal (Nibbana) living as a Bhikkhu or a Bhikkhuni.


Well of course many monastics mention from their experience that it's better to live as a monastic - it's a self-selecting group! I can't imagine it would be very easy to find a monk saying that it's better to live as a lay person. Likewise, I've never met a Christian who says it's better to be a Muslim.


I might leave this discussion be for now as replying has just taken quite a lot of time and I've got a lot of work to do!! Plus discussions like this often leave me feeling a bit empty (not in a good Buddhist way!! :| )

I'll read your replies though!

best wishes Guy,

Katy
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Guy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 11:58 am

Hi Katy,

You are correct, you caught me. The words I chose in that specific paragraph are just "my personal opinion:...". I used the word "see" because that's how I currently see things. I used the word "think" because I personally cannot see how one can realize the state of Nibbana (Arahantship), complete cessation of suffering, in this lifetime and expect to be happily married in the process...maybe I'm missing something? On the other hand I do not completely reject the household life or relationships as having no value what-so-ever. I am currently a householder and I think I am developing spiritual faculties in this life within a household environment but more and more I see the limitations of household life and soon I may ordain.

kayy wrote:As I pointed out in a previous post, there are many wise and enlightened lay Buddhist teachers with partners, families and living in society.


They may have some attainments, but I doubt any of them are Arahants. Can you find any instances in the Suttas of Lay Buddhists who were fully enlightened? Or is this not what you meant? I understand if you don't want to reply and please know that my intention is not to increase any unwanted feelings of emptiness.

To sum up (still only my opinion, of course): Household life = potentially good, but limited. Monastic life = potential for realizing the Ultimate Good (ie. Nibbana). Obviously Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis rely on the generosity of lay supporters so I am not intending to denigrate the role of the lay community in any way and I am very grateful to be part of the fourfold community as a layman.

I do understand that not everyone wants to be a monk or nun and to those who don't I wish them the very best in their pursuits!

May all beings eventually realize Nibbana!

With Metta,

Guy
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby baratgab » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:09 pm

kayy wrote:I guess relationships didn't work out for you, and you are happier and more fulfilled without them. That's great.

But not everyone is the same. We are all different. This is not the case for me, at least not at this point in my life, and I currently have no intention of trying to free myself of the wish to have a relationship.


Of course, do as you see fit. :smile: There is not much point in arguing what should be done by others. Everyone has its inclinations, and it is just natural that we gravitate towards experiences on the six senses that comfort those inclinations; whether they are foods, teachers, doctrines or anything else. The real problem lies in the assumption that there is anything outside of this process: something that can be validly regarded as "I", "me" or "mine".

But I can certainly recommend you Ajahn Brahm, who is a very laid-back monastic teacher: always joking, very rarely criticizing, and emphasizing acceptance, peace and compassion, especially towards ourselves.

Wishing you much happiness, and beautiful relationships :heart:
"Just as in the great ocean there is but one taste — the taste of salt — so in this Doctrine and Discipline there is but one taste — the taste of freedom"
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Lazy_eye » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:10 pm

kayy wrote: not everyone is the same. We are all different. This is not the case for me, at least not at this point in my life, and I currently have no intention of trying to free myself of the wish to have a relationship.


Katy,

I'm a layperson and feel much the same way. But I'm not sure there's really an argument here. Buddhism doesn't teach that relationships (or any worldly pursuit) are "bad" -- it teaches that they don't bring lasting happiness, that pleasures are the cause of future suffering, and that ultimately we must let go of all attachments if we seek liberation from samsara. If you factor in rebirth (I know you're agnostic on this question, as am I) the meaning becomes clearer. Yes, it's nice to be in love, get married and continue the species -- but do you want to repeat that experience again and again, lifetime after lifetime? I should think once or twice is enough :)

According to the Buddha, we have all been in love countless times, enjoyed countless passionate nights, and in short experienced it all.

People who ordain may have a very strong wish to break the samsaric cycle and so they are prepared to devote all their energies to realizing the path in this lifetime. This doesn't mean that everyone has the same vocation -- but it can be helpful to try to get an understanding of why Buddhism emphasizes renunciation and upholds monasticism as an ideal. I also think perhaps we laypeople feel a bit defensive and insulted when told there might be constraints on our progress, but why wouldn't there be? If you put all your energy into spiritual practice than you would be shortchanging your relationship and vice versa. There has to be a compromise.

The other option, I guess, is to argue that the highest spiritual bliss -- some ultimate communion of body and mind, self and other -- can be found in a relationship or in sex. But is that really true in your experience? And can it last?
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:23 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
kayy wrote: not everyone is the same. We are all different. This is not the case for me, at least not at this point in my life, and I currently have no intention of trying to free myself of the wish to have a relationship.


Katy,

I'm a layperson and feel much the same way. But I'm not sure there's really an argument here. Buddhism doesn't teach that relationships (or any worldly pursuit) are "bad" -- it teaches that they don't bring lasting happiness, that pleasures are the cause of future suffering, and that ultimately we must let go of all attachments if we seek liberation from samsara. If you factor in rebirth (I know you're agnostic on this question, as am I) the meaning becomes clearer. Yes, it's nice to be in love, get married and continue the species -- but do you want to repeat that experience again and again, lifetime after lifetime? I should think once or twice is enough :)

According to the Buddha, we have all been in love countless times, enjoyed countless passionate nights, and in short experienced it all.

People who ordain may have a very strong wish to break the samsaric cycle and so they are prepared to devote all their energies to realizing the path in this lifetime. This doesn't mean that everyone has the same vocation -- but it can be helpful to try to get an understanding of why Buddhism emphasizes renunciation and upholds monasticism as an ideal. I also think perhaps we laypeople feel a bit defensive and insulted when told there might be constraints on our progress, but why wouldn't there be? If you are putting all your energy into spiritual practice than you would be shortchanging your relationship and vice versa. There has to be a compromise. The wrong thing to do, IMHO, would be to try to emulate the monastic life while still conducting a relationship -- neglecting one's spouse and kids, etc. Or, alternatively, to ordain but still chase after worldly pleasures.

The other option, I guess, is to argue that the highest spiritual bliss -- some ultimate communion of body and mind, self and other -- can be found in a relationship or in sex. But is that really true in your experience? And can it last?



Hi Lazyeye,

Fancy a drink? (just kidding)

I think spiritual practice has no goal if not to find happiness and peace in the midst of what Buddhists call "the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death", i.e. samsara. I don't think that the ultimate spiritual goal and the profanities of daily life are mutually exclusive, or even separable at all. Good luck trying to get out of that cycle. We're all going to die, whether we try to get round / over / through it or not.

I have found some sorts of spiritual bliss / communion or whatever you want to call it in a relationship / sex, and no it doesn't last. But neither does anything. Is that a reason to jettison it? Or are you looking for something permanent? If so, good luck t'ya ;)

Another reason I'm a little wary of monasticism is because of my "political conscience" if you wanna call it that. I don't really like the idea of me going off to liberate myself and find blissful truth, whilst leaving the rest of the human race to continue working to earn money and have children who will then work, to pay for my food, monasteries, robes and so on. Society is based on this, whether we like it or not. You can't escape society; we're all connected to each other. Some people will argue that the vocation of a monk or nun is ultimately selfless because it means they can liberate themselves then come back to society to help the lay community liberate themselves. This implies that it is therefore possible for a layperson to attain liberation...which is what I was saying in the first place ;)

Best wishes

Katy
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:29 pm

So Kayy in your view the Buddhadhamma is a self help strategy to help us adjust to this life ? A kind of positive thinking ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:34 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:So Kayy in your view the Buddhadhamma is a self help strategy to help us adjust to this life ? A kind of positive thinking ?



LOL... I love the implied scepticism in your post. self-help...

But...

self-help? Certainly.
strategy? Certainly.
Adjust ourselves? Certainly.
To this life? Well, it depends what you think about re-birth, but I'd say yes, without doubt in part at least.
Positive thinking? Yeah.

So - yes.

How about you?
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:38 pm

p.s. i was just making a cup of tea and giggling to myself about the "self-help" thing... :jumping:
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:12 pm

I think we may have to agree to disagree on some pretty basic principles concerning the Buddhadhamma, and that such disagreement would waste both our time.
So may you be well and happy.

:anjali:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:42 pm

Greetings,

Of course, it's actually not-self help. 8-)

I don't think the "self help" angle is necessarily a bad entry door into the Dhamma... everyone's got problems they want to fix don't they? It's just unfortunate that the term has become synonymous with your Dr. Phil and Oprah crowd. In the Dhamma space, you've got people like Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda who have written texts such as "How To Live Without Fear And Worry", "You and Your Problems" and "Who is Responsible For Your Problems?" and I'm sure many people have had their first taste of the Dhamma through such avenues.

Apologies for the slight detour.

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)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:18 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:I think we may have to agree to disagree on some pretty basic principles concerning the Buddhadhamma, and that such disagreement would waste both our time.
So may you be well and happy.

:anjali:



Fair enough. I'd be interested to know on what we're agreeing and disagreeing though!


By agreeing with the self-help thing, I don't mean it in a 'boost your ego' way; I mean it as in finding happiness within yourself. Helping yourself (in the conventional sense of the term 'yourself').

And the positive thinking - perhaps we could modify this to realistic 'thinking', which leads to peace within and is inherently positive, in the broadest sense of the term. I don't mean positive as opposed to negative. I mean positive as in wholesome, truthful, compassionate. What could be more positive?

Strategy - method, technique, path, whatever you want to call it.

This life - of course.

I'm wondering where we disagree.
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby bodom » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:36 am

kayy wrote:And the positive thinking - perhaps we could modify this to realistic 'thinking', which leads to peace within and is inherently positive, in the broadest sense of the term. I don't mean positive as opposed to negative. I mean positive as in wholesome, truthful, compassionate. What could be more positive?


And what is right thought? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill will, on harmlessness: This is called right thought.
(SN 45.8)

You sound like you have the right idea katy.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:36 am

If we didn't have problems we wanted to fix, why would we be interested in Buddhism? If we didn't suffer, why would we want to find a way to suffer less? I mean.... that's obvious, right?!

:shrug:

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of course, it's actually not-self help. 8-)

I don't think the "self help" angle is necessarily a bad entry door into the Dhamma... everyone's got problems they want to fix don't they? It's just unfortunate that the term has become synonymous with your Dr. Phil and Oprah crowd. In the Dhamma space, you've got people like Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda who have written texts such as "How To Live Without Fear And Worry", "You and Your Problems" and "Who is Responsible For Your Problems?" and I'm sure many people have had their first taste of the Dhamma through such avenues.

Apologies for the slight detour.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:46 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of course, it's actually not-self help. 8-)

I don't think the "self help" angle is necessarily a bad entry door into the Dhamma... everyone's got problems they want to fix don't they? It's just unfortunate that the term has become synonymous with your Dr. Phil and Oprah crowd. In the Dhamma space, you've got people like Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda who have written texts such as "How To Live Without Fear And Worry", "You and Your Problems" and "Who is Responsible For Your Problems?" and I'm sure many people have had their first taste of the Dhamma through such avenues.

Apologies for the slight detour.

Metta,
Retro. :)

I think deciding to leave prison is an important step. I think that thinking that this is achieved by painting the prison walls a cheery yellow and declaring that prison is all that exists is another issue altogether.... :namaste:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Wed Feb 03, 2010 11:12 am

Sanghamitta wrote:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Of course, it's actually not-self help. 8-)

I don't think the "self help" angle is necessarily a bad entry door into the Dhamma... everyone's got problems they want to fix don't they? It's just unfortunate that the term has become synonymous with your Dr. Phil and Oprah crowd. In the Dhamma space, you've got people like Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda who have written texts such as "How To Live Without Fear And Worry", "You and Your Problems" and "Who is Responsible For Your Problems?" and I'm sure many people have had their first taste of the Dhamma through such avenues.

Apologies for the slight detour.

Metta,
Retro. :)

I think deciding to leave prison is an important step. I think that thinking that this is achieved by painting the prison walls a cheery yellow and declaring that prison is all that exists is another issue altogether.... :namaste:



I don't quite understand. Are you saying that this is what I'm doing, or what Retro is doing?

If you say it's what I'm doing, you misrepresent me.
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:56 pm

kayy wrote:I think spiritual practice has no goal if not to find happiness and peace in the midst of what Buddhists call "the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death", i.e. samsara. I don't think that the ultimate spiritual goal and the profanities of daily life are mutually exclusive, or even separable at all. Good luck trying to get out of that cycle. We're all going to die, whether we try to get round / over / through it or not.

I have found some sorts of spiritual bliss / communion or whatever you want to call it in a relationship / sex, and no it doesn't last. But neither does anything. Is that a reason to jettison it? Or are you looking for something permanent? If so, good luck t'ya ;)


I think all Buddhists, in some way or another, are seeking relief from dukkha. It's like riding in a cart where the axle hasn't been properly fitted to the wheel, and the cart sort of bumps along, making us sick. Put another way, there's a kind of existential ache we have, an itch to be scratched, and we keep looking around in the world for ways to deal with that ache, and none of them prove satisfactory. Which is why we end up on the spiritual path.

I'd agree with you, though, that spirituality is not separable from the profanities of daily life...this is something the Zen teachers remind us of again and again. Want enlightenment? Scrub a rice bowl...

Another reason I'm a little wary of monasticism is because of my "political conscience" if you wanna call it that. I don't really like the idea of me going off to liberate myself and find blissful truth, whilst leaving the rest of the human race to continue working to earn money and have children who will then work, to pay for my food, monasteries, robes and so on. Society is based on this, whether we like it or not. You can't escape society; we're all connected to each other. Some people will argue that the vocation of a monk or nun is ultimately selfless because it means they can liberate themselves then come back to society to help the lay community liberate themselves. This implies that it is therefore possible for a layperson to attain liberation...which is what I was saying in the first place ;)


Would you say that someone like Thich Nhat Hanh, for instance, is just a parasite feeding off of the hard-working rest of the human race? Or when Stephen Batchelor spent all those years in monastic training (in two traditions!), he was just wasting his time? Why did Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg and all those other respected lay teachers feel the need to travel to remote parts of Asia to study with clerics?

How many $$$s do most of us shell out each month to support cable TV companies, the music and movie industry, the psychiatric profession, the "well being" industry...all these things we look to for temporary relief?

I think it's important to have a strong lay tradition...dhamma is there for people of all capacities. But rather than rejecting the monastic element in Buddhism, I see the monastic and lay communities as equally necessary...they support each other.
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Re: In Love - what to do about it?

Postby kayy » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:10 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
kayy wrote:I think spiritual practice has no goal if not to find happiness and peace in the midst of what Buddhists call "the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death", i.e. samsara. I don't think that the ultimate spiritual goal and the profanities of daily life are mutually exclusive, or even separable at all. Good luck trying to get out of that cycle. We're all going to die, whether we try to get round / over / through it or not.

I have found some sorts of spiritual bliss / communion or whatever you want to call it in a relationship / sex, and no it doesn't last. But neither does anything. Is that a reason to jettison it? Or are you looking for something permanent? If so, good luck t'ya ;)


I think all Buddhists, in some way or another, are seeking relief from dukkha. It's like riding in a cart where the axle hasn't been properly fitted to the wheel, and the cart sort of bumps along, making us sick. Put another way, there's a kind of existential ache we have, an itch to be scratched, and we keep looking around in the world for ways to deal with that ache, and none of them prove satisfactory. Which is why we end up on the spiritual path.

I'd agree with you, though, that spirituality is not separable from the profanities of daily life...this is something the Zen teachers remind us of again and again. Want enlightenment? Scrub a rice bowl...

Another reason I'm a little wary of monasticism is because of my "political conscience" if you wanna call it that. I don't really like the idea of me going off to liberate myself and find blissful truth, whilst leaving the rest of the human race to continue working to earn money and have children who will then work, to pay for my food, monasteries, robes and so on. Society is based on this, whether we like it or not. You can't escape society; we're all connected to each other. Some people will argue that the vocation of a monk or nun is ultimately selfless because it means they can liberate themselves then come back to society to help the lay community liberate themselves. This implies that it is therefore possible for a layperson to attain liberation...which is what I was saying in the first place ;)


Would you say that someone like Thich Nhat Hanh, for instance, is just a parasite feeding off of the hard-working rest of the human race? Or when Stephen Batchelor spent all those years in monastic training (in two traditions!), he was just wasting his time? Why did Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg and all those other respected lay teachers feel the need to travel to remote parts of Asia to study with clerics?

How many $$$s do most of us shell out each month to support cable TV companies, the music and movie industry, the psychiatric profession, the "well being" industry...all these things we look to for temporary relief?

I think it's important to have a strong lay tradition...dhamma is there for people of all capacities. But rather than rejecting the monastic element in Buddhism, I see the monastic and lay communities as equally necessary...they support each other.



Point taken about TNH, Batchelor, Goldstein etc. In order to teach a lay community effectively, though, I would still argue that it is necessary to have real experience as a lay practitioner, so as to gain a real understanding of the things we have to deal with living in society, having jobs, relationships and so on.

Of course it depends on the student. Personally, I feel the need for teachers with experience of a lifestyle similar to mine. Other lay practitioners, as I know, prefer the teachings of some of the monastic community. When it comes down to it it's just a personal feeling caused by our personal karma, that we attempt to justify using 'rational' thought and language.

Best wishes

Katy
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