Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

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SarathW
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Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by SarathW »

Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?
Is it mental or bodily pain?
Does Buddhism have a term for depression?
Can we exercise mindfulness towards it?
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by Spiny Norman »

SarathW wrote:Does Buddhism have a term for depression?
I looked up "depression" in my Pali Text Society dictionary and it says: noun omadanna; adhopatana, neuter visada; kheda, masculine
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Ben
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by Ben »

Hi Sarath,
It is complex, compounded phenomena composed of dhammas from all five aggregates including vedana.
The phenomenology of depression can be observed yet requires skill and experience as it affects one's sanna (perception).
Yes, mindfulness can be employed to observe depression. My recommendation is to observe one aspect of its phenomenology so as to reduce the risk of identifying and rolling in negative papanca, such as engaging in kayanupassana (anapana sati) or vedananupassana.
Kind regards,
Ben
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Cittasanto
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by Cittasanto »

[quote="SarathW"]Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?
I feeling is not understood in the texts the same way we use it today, so I would call it a state of mind (citta)

Is it mental or bodily pain?
it is mental pain, but can have physical manifestations.

Does Buddhism have a term for depression?
the pali is Visaada according to the PTS dictionary. I checked other possible terms mentioned above, and this seems to be the best candidate.

Can we exercise mindfulness towards it?
Yes. particularly the methods found in the satipatthana sections of Citta and Dhamma.
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SarathW
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by SarathW »

The following is a link for the great video about Bipolar Disorder.
We all should know about this as there are so many people around us suffering from it.
Next time if you meet someone ask yourself "Has he/she got bipolar disorder"
This knowledge will help not only the sufferer but you as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HByl6pC ... Spdg&index


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyiZfzbgaW4
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Mkoll
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by Mkoll »

SarathW wrote:Next time if you meet someone ask yourself "Has he/she got bipolar disorder"
I don't think you should make that a habit. :tongue:
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Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
SarathW
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by SarathW »

:oops:
May be I was bit exhilarated. :)
I think we should be mindful about the health of people around us.
There are many people suffer from some ailment or sickness.
Once we know that, we can be more compassionate towards them.
:)
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culaavuso
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by culaavuso »

SarathW wrote: I think we should be mindful about the health of people around us.
There are many people suffer from some ailment or sickness.
Once we know that, we can be more compassionate towards them.
Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression
What Bipolar Disorder Really Feels Like
SarathW
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by SarathW »

This is Buddha's remedy for bipolar disorder:

24.The worldling is on a see-saw experiencing the alternation of pleasant and unpleasant feelings. (See above Note 17). He rarely finds himself balanced in the neutral position of 'neither pleasant-nor-unpleasant' feeling. As the arahant-nun, Dhammadinaa explains in the Cuula Vedalla Sutta (M. I. 303.) the pleasant and the unpleasant feelings are mutual counterparts. It is the neither-pleasant-not-unpleasant feeling that provides a way out of this polarization, since its counterpart is ignorance, which in turn has as its counterpart, knowledge. The counterpart of knowledge is release and that of release is Nibbaana


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#fn-26
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lonewolf
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by lonewolf »

It is rather a state of mind, and to my mind depression, and being bipolar are two different things. In depression the way I understand it there is a constant down, there is no flipping between high, and low, it is a constant low. Losing one's loved one, especially when one is hopelessly attached to the departed loved one will trigger depression.

I don't see how depression is a feeling in a Buddhist understanding of the word, but then again I've been wrong before.
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by DhammaOS »

lonewolf wrote:It is rather a state of mind, and to my mind depression, and being bipolar are two different things. In depression the way I understand it there is a constant down, there is no flipping between high, and low, it is a constant low. Losing one's loved one, especially when one is hopelessly attached to the departed loved one will trigger depression.

I don't see how depression is a feeling in a Buddhist understanding of the word, but then again I've been wrong before.
For the most part depression is indeed a constant low (I suffer from clinical depression) unfortunately some cases of depression have a physiological cause, and how that arises has not been fully identified. Also, all cases of depression can manifest somewhat differently depending on the person and outlook. This is all anecdotal, and from what I have gathered over the years trying to understand, but here is a good source for further information http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/d ... ndex.shtml

Obviously I don't think the Buddha would have referred to Depression on its own since that is more of a modern medical term, but sadness, grief, etc all seem to be addressed in various suttas (I can't remember which off the top of my head). I would say mindfulness can definitely be exercised, even before I became a Buddhist I would look for how my depression arose, even though physiological in nature. It helped me understand it a bit better and try to combat the symptoms (along with my medication), and helped me explain to others around me what was going on so they would also be mindful of it.

These are my thoughts on the matter.
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lonewolf
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by lonewolf »

DhammaOS wrote:For the most part depression is indeed a constant low (I suffer from clinical depression) unfortunately some cases of depression have a physiological cause, and how that arises has not been fully identified. Also, all cases of depression can manifest somewhat differently depending on the person and outlook. This is all anecdotal, and from what I have gathered over the years trying to understand, but here is a good source for further information http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/d ... ndex.shtml

Obviously I don't think the Buddha would have referred to Depression on its own since that is more of a modern medical term, but sadness, grief, etc all seem to be addressed in various suttas (I can't remember which off the top of my head). I would say mindfulness can definitely be exercised, even before I became a Buddhist I would look for how my depression arose, even though physiological in nature. It helped me understand it a bit better and try to combat the symptoms (along with my medication), and helped me explain to others around me what was going on so they would also be mindful of it.

These are my thoughts on the matter.
Hi DhammaOS,

In my case it was triggered by a life's event. I have pretty neutral mental disposition, I don't get too excited, or sad, and that's my natural state of mind. I wasn't even aware my mind could do what it did. When the event happened, my mind just dipped. There were physical side effects, for the first week I could not sleep, or eat at all, I lost a bunch of weight, and I was skinny to begin with. And it went down hill from there. I've never had any prior mental health issues. When the first shock wave passed I found myself in a deep hole, and a constant low was what I was experiencing. I resolved not to use any meds, but use the situation to learn a bit, as in what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Though meditating in that state of mind is not easy, or fun. Gradually, it passed, though it took a considerable amount of time. Haven't experienced anything like it ever since. Now I am again my neutral self, but now I know I can't assume I know what my mind is capable of.

Of course, as an event triggered low, it may differ from other forms as in chemically, biologically triggered low. I can't really have an educated opinion about the other forms, as I have not experienced them.

I can honestly say I have learned a lot about my own mind due to this experience. The good thing is that in the deep low a lot of illusions crumble, and the power of the ego goes way down. The thing is to realize the blessings in disguise, which isn't easy under the circumstances. Then again maybe I got it all wrong, as in all conclusions will be wrong if the premise is false, no matter how sterling is the logic leading up to them.

The main lesson I have learned is that equanimity, and mindfulness are the mental skills with the most value, and benefit.

Regards
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DhammaOS
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Re: Is depression a feeling (Vedana)?

Post by DhammaOS »

lonewolf wrote:...
Learning from your depression can be valuable, and in your case since it arose from an external life experience rather than an internal chemical/biological issue, mindfulness and equanimity would in my opinion definitely be of great use. The danger arises when you have delusions from the depression that create all new illusions that replace the shattered ones (this happens in my case since I get a nasty increase in paranoia during severe episodes, fortunately with my meds that doesn't come up as much). That said, even with my physiologically sourced Depression, I would sometimes have moments of insight, and indeed I had contact with the idea of the First Noble Truth before I even knew what that truth was (this may well have lead me to take refuge in the triple gem) so indeed it is probably possible to apply mindfulness in these instances as well, especially when you have a down day despite proper medication and treatment. This is all from my limited experience as a Dhamma practitioner, however, hopefully my experiences from another angle help others to work things out, and understand depression as a whole.
"There are, O monks, these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of wisdom. Of these four lights, the light of wisdom is supreme."-AN 4:143

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