This past weekend, a realtor held an open house at my neighbor's condominium. To advertise, she attached two red balloons to her realtor sign in the walkway in front of our building. When the open house was finished, she removed the balloons from the sign, and either accidentally let them go, or purposefully released them. Now they're stuck in the tree outside my third story balcony in perfect view from every window in my home.
I like to leave my window shades open, so I can take advantage of the great natural light they provide. It's one of the major reasons I selected this place to live. There is a forest across the way, and the sun sets behind it. The sunsets are glorious, and I have a great view of them from the large glass sliding doors that cover the entire wall of my living room. Now, I have a view of two entangled red balloons, right in the middle of it all.
My first thoughts were, Great! Now I'm going to have to watch these damn balloons slowly rot away, looking like crap, probably for years until they're ever completely gone. Yet, I do not want that kind of thinking to take hold. It could make for a long-lasting bitterness that ruins my view for as long as they're there.
Here are some things I've learned so far from these two red balloons. Is there anything else I could learn?
Nothing is perfect. Desiring perfection leads to dukkha.
Some problems can be solved, and some have no obvious solution. (I e-mailed the realtor, partially to vent my frustration, partially to see if they could remove them. It doesn't seem like it's possible within reasonable expectations.)
Be nice to people when you ask if they can correct their mistakes. (My e-mail was pretty polite, and the realtor responded politely, with a nice apology and promise to try to remove them. She could have been nasty even despite my politeness, but either way, it still felt better to be polite. I learned as much from her polite response, as I did from my polite request.)
No matter how much I don't want to be disturbed by their presence, my initial reaction was one of displeasure. I want that feeling to go away, but it still pops up every time I catch a glimpse of the balloons. I'm learning to go easy on myself, while I walk the path toward acceptance.
Red balloons can look pretty photographed amid bare branches.
I have looked at the same view for several years. It changes with the seasons. The balloons are another reminder to look at things as they are in the present moment. They're like a chime or gong rung during meditation.
Everything changes. One balloon has already popped, the other is a bit deflated. Soon they will both be dangling from their tangled red ribbons. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe they will leave before my expectations. Maybe I will miss them when they're gone.
Edit: spellingsubmitted by JustMeRC
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So this has been blowing up on the Internet since yesterday:
And I think it's pretty interesting how so many people are freaking out about it. And I think that sheds a bit of light into emptiness vs. how we normally view reality.
The common view is that the photo exists in the real world, and therefore has to have inherent qualities, like color. The photo has to be a particular color, the dress in the photo has true particular colors, etc. So when half of people see the photo and see a blue/black dress and another half of people see the photo and see a white/gold dress - something breaks in how we normally view the world. They need to find the dress to know what color it really is, that there has to be some existing inherent quality there because the real world is real.
Emptiness is in direct conflict with this worldview, and the photo presents that really clearly. The dress (and photo) do not have any inherent color -- it's entirely up to how we perceive the dress/photo. That lets it appear to some of us as white/gold and to others as blue/black. It's entirely up to our perception, and that's uncomfortable to many people. But that's what emptiness is all about.submitted by Vystril
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Yesterday, I read an article that – for lack of a better term – triggered my anxiety about terror attacks. Boarding the subway uptown, I brought a copy of Ajahn Sumedho's The Way It Is. On the way back, I read the chapter on Kamma and Rebirth, and how every moment there is a birth – how we get bored of watching the television and then we go to eat something, and then we get bored of that and then we go for a run, and so it goes.
I had, and continue to have, an awareness of what seems like short term memory. As in, I am looking at something – there is a sort of subtle "urge" or "pulse" where the awareness that was there immediately before ceases to be and a new awareness takes it place. Then after about six seconds, that awareness gets drawn into the next pulse. Each one is distinct from the other. Of course, it's very hard to explain, as it's very subtle and it's a new experience.
But this is a very curious insight that appears to tie into the stream of dependent origination as birth or becoming or something else. Have others experienced this before?submitted by Pathos315
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There are so many forms that Buddhism takes on. Some have become cults of personality where they chant dear great master and sing praises for 15 minutes before latching onto every word the "Enlightened One" speaks. So many Buddhists have simply become followers of cults of personality.
Where can I go to find the authentic teachings that are not funded by branches that have degraded into institutionalized religion.
All too often there is a hidden agenda behind a website so where does one go to find the unbiased teachings. I am just starting to seriously study Buddhism so a source that is easy to understand would be ideal.
Thank yousubmitted by HasToBeMoreThanThis
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Let me preface this by saying I don't know a whole lot about buddhism.
I am an agnostic. Spirituality, to me, comes from within your subconscious mind - if you think about what you're going to accomplish and visualize that goal, your brain will work on it harder and it will happen. For example, if you tried to swish a basketball from the 3 point line quickly, you'll probably miss. But if you visualize how the ball will travel into the net as you throw it and take your time and concentrate, there's a much better chance that it will happen.
Like I said, I am an agnostic but I like to take the good parts of every religion and incorporate them into my own life. But yesterday was just too good to be true.
Every single thing seemed to fall right into place, each puzzle piece perfectly oriented and positioned in the puzzle. There were too many to count, but I remember one in specific - when I got on the bus, my friend I just made gave me 3 bucks because I needed to borrow it to get to the next city up.
Then I found $3 in my back pocket that I knew I had at some point but lost track of. I tried to give it to the guy who loaned me the money but he said to just keep it.
Oh, and there was a big sign in red on a street only 2 turns away from mine called LYLE NAILS. Which is interesting because I just got a manicure/pedicure at a place in Boulder.
Also, I had never seen my name on a sign ANYWHERE.
Also, it was relevant to me because earlier in my life my band wouldn't let me paint my nails on stage, which fucking sucked but I'm past it now.
I have bipolar, so I had to stop myself from getting paranoid, but I'm pretty good at noticing that now, so it worked out and I'm gonna go check out the nail place today.
What is this? Where does it come from? And why did I have so many on the same day? My answer would be a scientific approach to manifestation - your subconscious helping your conscious mind by remembering important information and what not. I've been feeling happy, confident, excited, motivated, ambitious, slightly risk-taking, adventurous , and everything else that comes with genuine happiness. Is this just what life is like when you're happy? I don't think so, because I've been happy for about 2 months and this is the first day that REALLY stood out to me.
But I wanna know the view of people on here. Please someone tell me what's going on!submitted by SpecialSauceSal
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If samsara has no beginning, how has everything not already happened including all of us becoming enlightened? Given the infinite monkey theorem and no beginning to the universe, every being should have reached nirvana. Also has there always been an imbalance in karma? Because if no one deserved anything karmically, how could anything have happened to anyone?submitted by SenorPsychonaut
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A little bit of back story for me; i have been studying and following Buddhism for the last ~4 years and have been dating my girlfriend for about the same time (~3.5 years) and for the first two years of our relationship she would read books on Darma/meditation/etc. and she would meditate with me. Recently for about the last 6 months she has started to get into seeking answers that are not addressed in Buddhism such as a creator and the creation of life and the universe and all of that. She now regularly attends a Jahova's Witness bible study (she doesnt believe in Jahova's Witness-ism but enjoys their take on the bible). But ever since she started attending these bible studies she has made me feel so terrible about my beliefs, she belittles Buddhism to make it sound like its just a pointless philosophy, then after she makes me feel bad about not necessarily believing in a creator (I don't rule it out but i don't necessarily believe in one) she attempts to make me feel like my life will be potentially incomplete if I don't seek out the answers of a creator. The reason i decided to finally post this is because I just got off of the phone with her and had an intense talk about this exact stuff and just felt down on myself and just thought i really needed advice from like minded people as to what i should do/say/think/etc. I love her dearly and we have really no other problems besides this, we actually get along and live in harmony quite well besides this whole calamity of an ordeal. Please lend me your guys input and advice. Thank you, Om mani pedme humsubmitted by randomeyeopen
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The back-story here is long, so let me reduce it as simply as possible: my current girlfriend has/had an emotional dependence on one of my close friends. This manifested the following things: (A) though they were past casual sex partners before I came into the picture, they did have sex again after I had made it clear to her that I would be uncomfortable with her hooking up with my friend again, and my friend did already know I was essentially infatuated with her and had sex with her anyway, (B) she confided in him a lot of private details well into our relationship, including hinting she wanted him in a bedroom threesome scenario, (C) I found this out during a period when she locked me out emotionally and was messaging him a lot online -- I pulled a subset of their conversations and learned A/B.
This hurt deeply. All parties agree at this point that it was disrespectful to me, it was predictable it was going to hurt me, and my own girlfriend has just recently come to admit she knows she has a dependence on my friend that becomes unhealthy at times (it's hard to explain, but it is a third-party confirmed need for validation from him).
I made up with him shortly after, but the weaker insecure parts of myself mounted against me, armed with the very real reality that my girlfriend is dependent on my friend, and the "analytical perspective" that unhealthy conversations (or drunken activity?) could happen again. The worst part in accepting the weakness of others is to know it can happen again and their weakness can hurt me -- this is one of several blocking points for me.
I regressed and withdrew. I no longer spoke with my friend, and left our mutual friend circle. They did not like this, and my girlfriend was a part of it, so manifested pressure on me to resolve it. I did. I lashed out (via email!) at my friend, detailing his prior moral misgivings (he's facilitated cheating in the past), and in the most hurtful way possible, explained he and my girlfriend were weak and I have no desire to re-initiate friendship, but would remain amicable in social situations.
That's kinda where I am still at. Less pain/hurt, but people pry on me to re-initiate friendship and I embody the aggressive, quick-thinking, overly-analytical guy that sees nothing to gain in friendship with him. I become something of a narcissist, seeing the weakness in others and putting myself above them when they seek the higher ground of "just get over it" (granted, in their own reasonably positive ways). I am well-armed in that I am a pretty good guy -- I had even asked my friend before every hooking up with his casual sex partner (my now-girlfriend) if it was ok with him. I have a wonderful mountain to defend from.
Naturally, this is more complex than I make it out to be -- it may be colored by some innate resentment toward him (he's a good looking guy and can embed deep emotional hooks in women -- the kind of guy competitive males love to hate). We've presumably been "best friends", which I seem to not waiver on when describing my past relationship with him. I have over-idealized women in the past and been hurt by an irrational perspective on them and my own nice guy delusions. I am still finding my place in this world, and have the usual spotty childhood/teenagehood.
The thing is this: I have compartmentalized the problem to the degree that it does not needlessly hurt anymore. I stick to my contract that I will not make it uncomfortable for anyone in social circumstances, though it is an elephant in the room. I move to intercept the darker sides of me that try to respond when I am pressured by anyone to any degree to re-initiate the friendship. My best strategy is to defer with a "oh, yes, I see and accept your perspective" I'm-ok-you're-ok kind of vibe.
But, I can move no further. I do not want my friend in actual physical proximity to my girlfriend. I could almost hang out with him 1 on 1, but to think about mixing them together activates pain, followed by an aggressive form of myself that has impenetrable rationalizations to keep him away. To know her weakness (and his own passive acceptance of her weakness and facilitating it in the past) is to guard her from the thing that I suspect would be her undoing (him). He's genetically superior to me (insecurity), has the deep emotional hooks established that she's only just now undoing (more insecurity), and needs the sexual validation of women (passive, but perceived motive to do it again). The cold-hearted warrior in my head says he's best left in my past -- and in doing so, I protect the part of me that hurts the most at the thought of what happened.
The thought game of letting them together again as friends extends another interesting direction: if it happened again, I am really afraid of what it'd do to my psyche. It is part fear of it happening again (i.e. fundamental distrust), and part not wanting to be the naive boy-like figure I was before (I blame myself partly for not seeing this was going to happen, and not being quicker to embody the part of me that is willing to call people out on things that bother me -- i.e. her dependence on him).
I can comprehend the strategies laid out to forgive, but as I continue to receive social pressure to forgive, I cannot really do it. I cannot tell if the sometimes seemingly wise voice in me that wants to keep these two people apart is driven by the depths of unhealthy insecurity, or of real, sound advice.
It seems to reduce to this: as I learn to control my emotional being and choose to embody certain versions of myself that seem healthier, is it so wrong to compartmentalize my ex-friend away, knowing that in time the pain may fade? To put him in a holding pattern with no real decision as to the fate of our past relationship? To choose not to confront that part of me that's almost child-like and is the one that feels the deep betrayal / hurt / pain?
I can willingly embody the part of me that sees the grand perspective and how little this matters, but I cannot hold on to this. The other parts of me have excellent analytical skills to rationalize away this feel-good facade. The wise warrior tells me to protect myself from the potential for more pain, and to live the relatively happy life where I am in love with her. The happy life where I don't have to see my old friend. To see him and my girlfriend joking together or reminiscing about old times. To pick a reality that brings less pain and positively appease those who seek to draw me out of it with soothing words, but avoid coming back into contact with our mutual friend I've cast out.
I feel intuitively I will come to a place where it does not hurt anymore. It will sink on that the reality of the world is that we do hurt each other, and sometimes it's going to manifest as sex between two people, or sexual conversations between them (sort of how the insecure social-development-lagged nerd I once was found insecurity in the idea that women could lust after <insert pop star who isn't you here>, or the even more deluded reality where you can't cope with the ex-boyfriends your girlfriend had, trapped in the insecurity of wondering if you satisfy her well enough -- things I am semi-familiar with). I just don't know if it is wrong of me not to take up the old sword and shield of personal development and rebuild our friendship as my friends/girlfriend suggest I should. I feel like I don't owe that to anyone, including myself. I do not know if I am wrong.
Sorry, clearly super confusing for me, but hopefully this is coherent. Thanks for any perspectives.submitted by hardtoletgoanger485
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So GF breaks up with me, says some very hurtful things. We were both at fault I won't try to act like it was all her, probably 50/50. Breaks my heart, but says she still wants to be friends. What would be the best way to approach this using a Buddhist perspective?
Put my own thoughts aside and appease her with friendship? Cut her out and wish her the best and move on? Other option...?
I try to be the best person I can be, so the thought of cutting her out, while at the moment sounds great, doesn't feel right. But giving her what she wants (friendship) when it's not what I want (relationship back) just seems like it would lead to more heartbreak. Any thoughts, comments, questions are all greatly appreciated. Thanks!submitted by Eco_System
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TL;DR: 13 and want to go to a Buddhist temple. Have hardcore Christian parents that don't know. Unsure of what to do.
Hello, I am currently 13 and have always been very interested in Buddhism. I remember when I was little, whenever I saw pictures of Buddha I would point to them and say "daddy I want to be in that religion". He would always so NO, we believe in God, and any talk of other religions would end immediately. On the topic of parents: My parents take me to an orthodox church every Saturday and Sunday averaging about 3 hours per week. They have no idea I don't believe in God and that I am interested in Buddhism, and I do not plan on telling them. So here's the dilemma; I am interested in going to a Theravada Buddhist temple near my house, however I am very nervous. I have been researching Buddhism thoroughly for about a week now and I really want to see what it's really like. They have a website and it says they have monks and nuns frequently visit there to do meditation sessions and such. My concerns are: a) It's Viatnamese so they won't understand me b) People might tell me to go away because they think I am a trouble maker c) I'm shy when it comes to new people so I would have a hard time explaining why I'm there d) They will tell me to go away because I do not have my parents with me
So what should I do? Should I just wait until I am older? Should I take my chances and go? Or should I do something else entirely? Any and all feedback is appreciated.
EDIT: Thank you SOO much everyone for the feedback. I will consider every bit of it and try to put it into use.submitted by Cogito_Infinitum
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I've been Buddhist for a while now and I really enjoy meditation. I have gone on a couple of walking meditations which were fantastic and really suited me but are very time consuming. I try to meditate every morning before school but I just fall asleep when my alarm goes off. Side note not related to meditation really but having issues with smoking also which I think gets in the way of my practice.submitted by TheOvercastMan
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I realize some people don't take it seriously enough, but it seems to weigh too heavily on me. Especially because I have a lot of repressed pain. What are some tips to put it into perspective, so that I can enjoy it more? Would hate (oh noes aversion, you get my point now? :P) to maintain a bad relationship with my practice.submitted by CrazyStupidNSmart
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