Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

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dpcalder
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Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by dpcalder »

It appears that most or all monasteries are closed because of COVID so I am having to settle for a householder path, which is very unfortunate. However, I find that addictive tendencies I use to cope with the stress of everyday life, when I try to get rid of these addictive tendencies, withdrawals cause me very serious insomnia and this makes moral purity practically impossible for me to cultivate. I am tired and more prone than ever to indulge in these tendencies in order to make sleep possible and life livable. How do I cope with this?

When I am unable to sleep, should I just meditate all night so the meditation will make me more robust against these addictive tendencies until the withdrawal side effects are gone? Is fatigue resulting from insomnia and sleep deprivation just another sankhara to be dealt with in the customary way of mindfulness and we then push through this sankhara in meditation even though it is hindering us? Can you guys recommend any resources for me on how to deal with this?
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DooDoot
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by DooDoot »

dpcalder wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:29 am addictive tendencies I use to cope with the stress of everyday life, when I try to get rid of these addictive tendencies, withdrawals cause me very serious insomnia...
Hi DP.

It is not clear to me exactly what u are referring to above however any withdrawal will have side-effects. This is why addiction is called 'addiction'. Buddhism recommends to have patient endurance. Dhammapada 184 says patient endurance is the supreme austerity (incinerator of defilements/addictions).

It follows insomnia may be a withdrawal symptom and you have little choice except to endure it until what is causing the insomnia is naturally purged from your body & mind via the practise of abstinence & patient endurance; as well as having the wisdom of understanding the harm of relapse.

Here is a related internet page. It looks useful: How to Ease Withdrawal Insomnia During Recovery. It includes the Buddhist understanding of impermanence, as follows:
The good news is that for most people, withdrawal insomnia is only temporary. It is one of the side effects of cleaning out your body and returning to a substance-free life.
Also, you should try not to feel embarrassed. Buddhists support you with metta. :)
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Jeff_
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by Jeff_ »

dpcalder wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:29 am It appears that most or all monasteries are closed because of COVID so I am having to settle for a householder path, which is very unfortunate. However, I find that addictive tendencies I use to cope with the stress of everyday life, when I try to get rid of these addictive tendencies, withdrawals cause me very serious insomnia and this makes moral purity practically impossible for me to cultivate. I am tired and more prone than ever to indulge in these tendencies in order to make sleep possible and life livable. How do I cope with this?

When I am unable to sleep, should I just meditate all night so the meditation will make me more robust against these addictive tendencies until the withdrawal side effects are gone? Is fatigue resulting from insomnia and sleep deprivation just another sankhara to be dealt with in the customary way of mindfulness and we then push through this sankhara in meditation even though it is hindering us? Can you guys recommend any resources for me on how to deal with this?
I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about but I have an idea. You might want to be clear about which set of precepts you've decided to follow (5 or 8), and what they do or don't entail. Vague ideas about moral purity are not helpful, especially to people who tend to be very self-critical. This article from Ajahn Ṭhānissaro might be of some help
The Buddha’s path consists not only of mindfulness, concentration, and insight practices, but also of virtue, beginning with the five precepts. In fact, the precepts constitute the first step in the path. There’s a modern tendency to dismiss the five precepts as Sunday-school rules bound to old cultural norms that no longer apply to modern society, but this misses the role that the Buddha intended for them: as part of a course of therapy for wounded minds. In particular, they are aimed at curing two ailments that underlie low self-esteem: regret and denial.

When our actions don’t measure up to certain standards of behavior, we either (1) regret the actions or (2) engage in one of two kinds of denial, either (a) denying that our actions did in fact happen or (b) denying that the standards of measurement are really valid. These reactions are like wounds in the mind. Regret is an open wound, tender to the touch, whereas denial is like hardened, twisted scar tissue around a tender spot. When the mind is wounded in these ways, it can’t settle down comfortably in the present, because it finds itself resting on raw, exposed flesh or calcified knots. When it’s forced to stay in the present, it’s there only in a tensed, contorted, and partial way. The insights it gains tend to be contorted and partial as well. Only if the mind is free of wounds and scars can it settle down comfortably and freely in the present and give rise to undistorted discernment.

This is where the five precepts come in: They’re designed to heal these wounds and scars. Healthy self-esteem comes from living up to a set of standards that are practical, clear-cut, humane, and worthy of respect. The five precepts are formulated in such a way that they provide just such a set of standards.

from The Healing Power of the Precepts
Having understood what you are are vowing to abstain from when you take the 5 precepts, you might want to try keeping the 8 precepts once a week, or more if you choose. This way you are building on strengths and coming at the meditation from a position of comfort and non-remorse, rather than one of weakness and worry. When the pandemic eases and you are able to go on longer retreat, you'll find that keeping the eight precepts in a supportive and secluded environment is easier than at home.
SarathW
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by SarathW »

should I just meditate all night so the meditation will make me more robust against these addictive tendencies until the withdrawal side effects are gone?
If the addiction in relation to substance (alcohol and drug etc), it is not possible to meditate in my opinion.
Any other sensual addiction can be suppressed or eliminated by meditation.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
dharmacorps
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by dharmacorps »

OP, your post is pretty vague. Are you having trouble with drugs? More information is needed to help you.
dpcalder
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by dpcalder »

SarathW wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:27 am
should I just meditate all night so the meditation will make me more robust against these addictive tendencies until the withdrawal side effects are gone?
If the addiction in relation to substance (alcohol and drug etc), it is not possible to meditate in my opinion.
Any other sensual addiction can be suppressed or eliminated by meditation.
No, I do not drink or do drugs or anything like that. My addictions are behavioral and do not involve any intoxication of the mind.
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cappuccino
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by cappuccino »

dpcalder wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:29 am How do I cope with this?
Eleven benefits to practicing Metta

You will sleep easily
You will wake easily
You will have pleasant dreams
People will love you
Devas and animals will love you
Devas will protect you
External dangers, such as poisons, weapons, and fire, will not harm you
Your face will be radiant
Your mind will be serene
You will die unconfused
You will be re-born in happy realms

- Anguttara Nikaya 11.16
"All men's souls are immortal, but the souls of the righteous are immortal and divine." -Socrates
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SarathW
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by SarathW »

dpcalder wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:51 pm
SarathW wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:27 am
should I just meditate all night so the meditation will make me more robust against these addictive tendencies until the withdrawal side effects are gone?
If the addiction in relation to substance (alcohol and drug etc), it is not possible to meditate in my opinion.
Any other sensual addiction can be suppressed or eliminated by meditation.
No, I do not drink or do drugs or anything like that. My addictions are behavioral and do not involve any intoxication of the mind.
In that case, you can overcome the problem by practicing Vipassana.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
dharmacorps
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by dharmacorps »

dpcalder wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:51 pm
No, I do not drink or do drugs or anything like that. My addictions are behavioral and do not involve any intoxication of the mind.
This is still very vague-- It could be related to masturbation, self-mutilation, violent anger, theft, obsessive compulsive behavior, or anything really. Whatever it is, I hope you are able to share your struggles with someone you trust to get specific advice. There is no panacea for these matters.
JamesNhatHahn
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by JamesNhatHahn »

A behavior addiction causing Insomnia? Please do explain. I have a lot of experience with drugs, withdrawal and insomnia related to it but I'm trying to understand what behavior youre referring too?? I can't think of one. You say you are embarrassed but there really is nothing to be embarrassed of. This is the anonymous internet.
SteRo
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by SteRo »

dpcalder wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 8:51 pm No, I do not drink or do drugs or anything like that. My addictions are behavioral and do not involve any intoxication of the mind.
Well, in some sense engrained habits are no different from addictions because like addictions they dominate experience. So as SarathW suggested: vipassana.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ . (This is the esoteric essence of the yoga of continuous flow which is no different from the universal flux of materiality. Therefore exoteric natural science provides vital guidelines.) अञ्जलि वागीश्वर
2600htz
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Re: Difficult and embarrassing problems with moral purity

Post by 2600htz »

Hi:

There is proper progression and improper progression.

Its of little use to abstain from killing animals if you still kill humans. Its of little use to focus on the practice of eating one meal a day, if you still maintain a heroin addiction.

You should circle around the big problems, and once you are in domain of that continue with lesser issues.

Of course i would not say there is nothing gained following a bad progression, but it more troublesome and more slow.

Regards.
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