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Letting go, how did you do it?

July 25, 2014 - 12:11pm

Hi R/buddhism.

Ive never been to nor seen this subreddit before. My best friend recently came back from a full summer trip to india where he among other things, met the Dalai Lama and gave me a little keychain trinket of a lotus flower that was blessed by the Dalai Lama himself.

Let me back up. I recently came into depression, as in this past Sunday. Its been happening for a while but I decided to try to set up an appointment to see someone after that. Im shaking while writing this cause my (mental) nerves are killing me. Anyways it was a big thing I had just gotten into my second ever car accident and that was when I realized I was depressed. I wasnt looking and hit her, and afterward while I was waiting for a friend to get me I had realized I was depressed. My first car accident was less than a month ago, and I had just gotten my car from the shop last week. My life has been piling with negativity recently and then my best friend comes back.

He tells me all about Buddhism and the four truths and how we create our own suffering. When he gave me the lotus flower.. ill call it a trinket, when he gave me the trinket I almost cried. He had explained everything and gave it to me. I had never been so speechless at such a tiny gift. I didnt even know what the lotus symbolized and when I looked that up even more so was I just blown away.

So fast forward to today. Ive been reading about the story of Buddha and trying to integrate buddhism into my own life, because my friend said the Geshe (prounounced as I spell it cause I dont know spelling, but the jewish equivalent is a Rabbi he said - im jewish) - the Geshe say that Westerners that like Buddhism should take the principles they like and incorporate them into their own lives.

So I am trying and I think im doing a good job. I just got fired today from a basically dream job that I lucked out on getting. There were things about it that sucked and werent great, but it was awesome. I made mistakes that I could have avoided, was late, called out twice, and got fired for it. Its my fault and I know.

So its wonderful to realize that your problems are your own. All my life ive made excuses and to come to realize there is no excuse, just my own fault... is pretty wonderful. It makes me feel empowered in a sense. But I cant let go. I cant let go of my hate and disdain for some people. Im close to but I dont know how. An hour an a half ago I was so shocked at getting fired I couldnt keep it together and as I write it this I become calmer and calmer. But for my boss, for my ex girlfriends, for a kid from 5th grade just for example. (Im 20)

I have so much anger inside of me and I feel that if I could learn how to release it I would so much more effectively be able to make more positive changes in my life. So r/buddhism, im here merely to ask a question of anyone, whether or not enlightened, how do I forgive them, or just let go of my anger for them? I try but it feels like a vice grip inside of me that wants to hate. I dont want to hate anymore. I dont want anymore excuses. I want to come to terms with my suffering and make a life for myself that I control and am content with.

Sorry this is so long. And if you feel that any of my views are still unsupportive of my end goals please let me know, and if youd like how I can change and better them.

How did you let go of your negativity? What helped you?

submitted by noodrscootr
[link] [13 comments]

Thanissaro Bhikkhu — Exploring the Idea of Breath Energies and Playing with the Breath

July 25, 2014 - 11:51am

The following is a transcription of this dhamma talk

For many of us, in the West, one of the hardest parts of Ajaan Lee's breath meditation instruction is to get our heads around his discussion of 'breath energies' in the body. He also said that the ability to adjust these energies and to make use of them is one of the most important parts of breath meditation.

Without that ability, the breath is just 'in' and 'out,' 'in' and 'out,' 'in' and 'out.' It gets very boring very quickly. Then you're off some place else. So it's good to try to get in touch with exactly what this means.

The fact that you can feel your body from the inside — the technical term is proprioception — is, in the Buddhist analysis, because you have these breath sensations. The energy in the body is the medium between the mind and the other aspects of the body like the solidity, or the liquidity, or the warmth.

For one point, the simple fact that you're aware of the body, that the body's alive is because there's the breath. But also, the breath is the medium through which you can make the body move, through which you are sensitive to pleasure and pain in the body. So you're already there with it. If you have any sense of your body at all, it's because of the breath.

A lot of this ability to adjust the breath has to do with your willingness to consider that it is possible. If you think it's impossible, it's not going to happen. You're going to interpret the sensations of the body in other ways, and won't be able to do much with it. If you allow yourself to think that when you breathe in, there are patterns of movement in the energy through the body, try to be sensitive to them.

There are various ways of conceiving them. Sometimes they talk about the 'breath channels' in the body — down through the spine, another breath channel goes through the front of the body right down the middle. There are 'breath channels' in your head, breath channels down your legs and your arms. Some of these correspond to the nerves, some of them to the blood vessels, and others just to patterns of movement. There's no nerve going down the front of your body, but there is a sense of movement.

You might want to start asking yourself questions: when you breathe in, does the energy seem to go up, does it seem to go down? Some people when they breathe in, pull something up in the head in order to pull the breath in. It probably comes from a time when you had trouble breathing through a stuffed nose, and there was a sense of trying to pull up through the stuffed nose, and you've got used to that idea that when you breathe in, you have to pull it up.

This is a lot of where 'Zen sickness' comes from, that malady that Hakuin complained about. He'd get headaches very easily by sitting and meditating. If there is a sense of pulling up, up, up, when you breathe in, that puts a lot of pressure in your head. So, if you find that that's a problem, think, 'down.' As you breathe in, the energy goes 'down.' But if you push it 'down' too much, then you start feeling depleted.

So try to notice what you can feel, and play with what you can feel. Once you notice the breath energy going one way, ask yourself, 'Could it go the opposite way down the same channel?' See what happens. As you play with what you're sensitive to, then you find that there are other areas that you weren't sensitive to in the beginning, but you get more and more accustomed to thinking in terms of the breath this way. As your mind begins to settle down, it gets more sensitive to what's going on. Then you begin to see connections you didn't expect.

Sometimes, if there's a pain in one part of the body we tend to associate the idea, 'well if there's a pain there, there must be a blockage in the breath there.' So we focus all our attention on the area around the pain. But that's not necessarily the case.

Sometimes a pain in one side of the body is caused by a blockage on another side. A good rule of thumb is: say, if you've got a pain in the lower right side of your back, if you find that focusing on the breath energy there doesn't seem to have much effect on the pain, or it seems to be making it worse, focus on the lower left side or focus on the front. Or maybe something up in your neck is causing pain further down in the body. And vice-versa: if there's a stiffness in your neck, you might want to look at the flow of energy down at the base of the spine.

Ajahn Fuang talked about how he used to get really bad headaches. He began to notice that the headaches were coming from the area down around his kidneys. So he began to think of the breath energy going in the back of the neck, going down the spine, and then out the tailbone. That relieved a lot of the pressure in his head.

Ajaan Lee has a good piece of advice: if you have a pain in one part of the body, think of the breath energy going through the pain. Don't let it stop right at the pain; that builds up the perception that the pain is a wall. That actually aggrivates the problem. If you've got a pain in your knee, you think of the breath energy going through the knee, down through the shin and out through the toes.

Think, also, of breath energy around your body — just like a cocoon of energy around the body. Even before you can directly feel it, just allow yourself to imagine it. Tell yourself, 'If there were a cocoon of energy around the body, does this feel like a good cocoon?' Whatever you can feel.

Think of energy coming into the 'chakras:' around the chest, the neck, the middle of the forehead. How does that feel? Just hold that perception in mind. A lot of this does have to do with perception. If your perceptions say, 'This is impossible,' then they're going to block your ability to perceive these things. If you allow yourself to perceive them as possible, then you will open up all kinds of possibilities.

The more you get to know the body, the more you play. Then you begin to realize that there are some ways to play with the breath energy that are not helpful. When you're trying to force it too much, you can give yourself a headache.

So there is a skill here. It's useful because it allows you to get interested in the present moment, and because it creates a better place for you to stay. It's more comfortable. At the same time, you learn a lot about this process of fabrication.

The in-and-out breathing has an effect on different parts of the body. Your perceptions have an impact on the breath, in addition to an impact on the mind. They talk about the perceptions of the mind being mental fabrications. But they have an impact on the body too. This way you begin to see cause-and-effect, as it goes back and forth. Certain causes in the body have an effect on the mind. Certain causes in the mind have an effect on the body. One of the important facts about insight that is all-too-forgotten is insight into cause-and-effect.

Remember the insight that the Buddha would use when he was trying to express the knowledge that led to his Awakening. It was 'this-that conditionality,' the principle of causality. It wasn't just, 'OK things are impermanent, therefore they're stressful, therefore you should let them go.' You use those three perceptions to notice when things change when they are inconstant what are you doing? Particularly when you're working with the breath, working with the mind, getting it to settle down...what have you done when something changed? When it got more still? Or less still? It's the changes that alert you: 'OK something's going on.' A movement in the mind was actually important. Those changes are not just things tobe something that you get dispassionate about. It's there as a signal, to alert you to the fact that something has changed. You want to see what the intentional element was in that change, because that's what you can do someting about.

As you play with the breath like this, it's not just play. As I said before, it's both play and working. We work with the breath because we're doing something serious here: you're learning important truths about the body and the mind. You're playing because it's fun, and you can use your ingenuity, your imagination, to think about the 'breath in your bones.' Think about some part of the body where you've never really considered the possibility of a breath before. Allow yourself to imagine that the breath is moving there.

If there were no movement of breath at all, the subtle breath in the body, you'd be paralyzed. You wouldn't have any sensation in any part of the body. That's the moving-breath. Then there's the still-breath. There's a passage where Ajaan Lee says, 'Don't expand the moving-breath, expand the the still-breath.' It depends on what stage you are at in concentration: in the beginning you want to expand the moving-breath, but after a while — you've got things moved around things seem to be flowing — you want to bring the mind to a greater level of stillness. This is where you ask yourself, 'Which parts of the body, even when the breath is moving, are still? Which parts of the body seem to be "doing the moving" in other parts of the body?' That's another question you can ask. If you can sense them, just think of the stillness within those parts of the body. Think of that stilness as nourishing them. That stillness can spread.

So when you breathe in and breathe out, instead of a lot of a lot of movement around the body there's just stillness-stillness-stillness throughout the body. The breath is still moving in and out — you know. Ajaan Lee has a good analogy for this: it's like the vapor coming off of an ice-cube. The ice cube is solid. There's some movement of vapor around it. But the movement of the vapor doesn't penetrate the ice-cube. Tapping into that level of breath energy, the still-energy, gets you even more still, gives you a much more solid foundation. Ajaan Lee calls this 'Laung-Neo', which is a hard word to translate because it can mean 'sticky' but it can also mean 'tough, durable, without-any-gaps.' If you stick with that solid sense of breath, think of it connecting everything in the body — all the still parts of the body, connecting with one-another. They strengthen-one another. The in-and-out breath gets more sensitive and more refined, you may not even notice whether it's coming in or out. There's no sense of it coming in or out. It's just stillness-stillness-stillness, both in the body and in the mind.

These are some of the ways in which working with the breath energy has lots of rewards. It really does make a huge difference in how the breath meditation goes.

submitted by Vimutti
[link] [3 comments]

I think I just had a "sign"

July 25, 2014 - 11:44am


I've never really considered myself a spiritual individual, not until the last 2 years here and it was mostly due to curiosity. I've been kinda just reading what ever i stumble up gnosticism, platos theory of the soul /mind, christianity, islam, buddism, etc just filling the mind with information to grab different perspectives on how we humans perceive these things. Anyways here is my story (copy paste from a text i sent to a freind)

Man this strangest thing just happened to me... I was reading wiki about Pythagoreanism and I ended clicking on the link about reincarnation. I was reading about how The Buddhist concept of reincarnation differs from others in that there is no eternal "soul", "spirit" or "self" but only a "stream of consciousness" that links life with life. All day I've been in queue for my work, call after call etc, I had 5 mins of freetime and this is what I happened to stumble on and read. Anyways here is where it gets strange. As im reading the buddist concept of reincarnation, this a call came and the dudes last name was fucking Buddha, (XXXXX) I tell you that over the years I've seen many different names due to the nature of my work, but I've never in my life encountered someone with that same last name, and I just so happened to be reading that?... coincidence? its possible but fuck man thats really really strange.

It's like my brain its trying to rationalize and say "its a coincidence, that name probably more common than you think" But my heart is telling me this is not the case, its telling me this is some sort of sign I'm considering going to some sort of buddist gathering/temple w/e this weekend because of this...

submitted by banthisversion
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"Our entire life – consists ultimately in accepting ourselves as we are” – Jean Anouilh

July 25, 2014 - 10:47am

A good thought as you go through the path and mindfulness...

submitted by tierb47
[link] [3 comments]

I understand it now. I truly do.

July 25, 2014 - 9:18am

I feel like I am neither dying nor being born and we are an eternal collectiveness, no matter what happens in our lives, whether it be death, sickness, health the flow of energy will flow forever.

I am you, you are me.

submitted by 0192840-0
[link] [41 comments]

Bikkhu Bodhi's Interpretation of the 5th Precept

July 25, 2014 - 8:35am

I am posting this as Bikkhu Bodhi, who is an outstanding Pali Scholar, has a very specific interpretation of the 5th precept. Since this comes up regularly, typically in reference to non-alcoholic intoxicants, I decided to post this. This is from his Going to Refuge write up on Access to Insight:

The fifth precept reads: Suramerayamajjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami, "I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented and distilled intoxicants which are the basis for heedlessness." The word meraya means fermented liquors, sura liquors which have been distilled to increase their strength and flavor. The world majja, meaning an intoxicant, can be related to the rest of the passage either as qualified by surameraya or as additional to them. In the former case the whole phrase means fermented and distilled liquors which are intoxicants, in the latter it means fermented and distilled liquors and other intoxicants. If this second reading is adopted the precept would explicitly include intoxicating drugs used non-medicinally, such as the opiates, hemp, and psychedelics. But even on the first reading the precept implicitly proscribes these drugs by way of its guiding purpose, which is to prevent heedlessness caused by the taking of intoxicating substances.

The taking of intoxicants is defined as the volition leading to the bodily act of ingesting distilled or fermented intoxicants.[10] It can be committed only by one's own person (not by command to others) and only occurs through the bodily door. For the precept to be violated four factors are required: (1) the intoxicant; (2) the intention of taking it; (3) the activity of ingesting it; and (4) the actual ingestion of the intoxicant. The motivating factor of the violation is greed coupled with delusion. No gradations of moral weight are given. In taking medicines containing alcohol or intoxicating drugs for medical reasons no breach of the precept is committed. There is also no violation in taking food containing a negligible amount of alcohol added as a flavoring.

This fifth precept differs from the preceding four in that the others directly involve a man's relation to his fellow beings while this precept ostensibly deals solely with a person's relation to himself — to his own body and mind. Thus whereas the first four precepts clearly belong to the moral sphere, a question may arise whether this precept is really ethical in character or merely hygienic. The answer is that it is ethical, for the reason that what a person does to his own body and mind can have a decisive effect on his relations to his fellow men. Taking intoxicants can influence the ways in which a man interacts with others, leading to the violation of all five precepts. Under the influence of intoxicants a man who might otherwise be restrained can lose self-control, become heedless, and engage in killing, stealing, adultery, and lying. Abstinence from intoxicants is prescribed on the grounds that it is essential to the self-protection of the individual and for establishing the well-being of family and society. The precept thus prevents the misfortunes that result from the use of intoxicants: loss of wealth, quarrels and crimes, bodily disease, loss of reputation, shameless conduct, negligence, and madness.

The precept, it must be stressed, does not prohibit merely intoxication but the very use of intoxicating substances. Though occasional indulgences may not be immediately harmful in isolation, the seductive and addictive properties of intoxicants are well known. The strongest safeguard against the lure is to avoid them altogether.

submitted by athanathios
[link] [13 comments]

Buddha: "no evil for for those who don't do it."

July 25, 2014 - 7:31am
If there's no wound on the hand, that hand can hold poison. Poison won't penetrate where there's no wound. There's no evil for those who don't do it. -dhp 124 submitted by numbersev
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What book would be to Buddhism as the bible is to Christianity?

July 25, 2014 - 7:04am

Thank you for your responses they are very helpful

submitted by kayschris
[link] [12 comments]

To all enlightened people, or people who thought they had achieved enlightenment at any point (and maybe even made a post about it), and to everybody interested in that experience.

July 25, 2014 - 7:01am

I'll stand back and observe. I won't judge. I don't care for judgement. I don't care to prove anybody wrong, it's just not a thing for me. I've been trying to improve myself through any means possible, and even though I am walking the path of Taoism, I am not that far away from any other religion, and specially close to Buddhism. I practice meditation 3 times a day, I practice lucid dreaming every night, I keep a journal, and I am an amateur student of psychiatry, neurology, psychology and everything related.

I have been focusing on the idea of enlightenment/awakening (as my post suggests). And I've studied it from a lot of angles. As a practitioner I've had my share of blissful, delicious moments of wisdom where I was one with everything, and from where I understood many things, such as division, unity, all possible etcs, but I haven't had yet that sudden realization that brings out a permanent state.

Now. I know it's very difficult to talk about this, specially if you have had similar experiences: many times they simply can't be put into words, let alone try to communicate anything about them through a screen. But we are here, this is our community, and we will try.

The definition of enlightenment as per tradition seems gets in the way, I believe. We should try to strip it from the different perspectives and get to its essence, into a definition with which all different traditions can agree. Go back to the roots, in a sense.

A main problem of the definition is that, backed by a sound sense of what is and what isn't, a lot of people seem to feel validated with an authority (that arises from what?) to deny the experiences of other people. (Can enlightened people say "shit"? I have seen someone being discredited by this reason, which to me, doesn't seem very solid.). This is a creation of division. I condemn this attitude, as one filled with an erred intention: You should strive for unity. Everybody is my master. Everybody has something to teach me. And I want to learn.

Let this be a prayer for those who want to participate in this discussion: Be inclusive. Strive for unity. If whatever comment you are about to make comes from a place inside you that has even the smallest nanometer of hate, from pride, from trying to teach someone better or placing them in check and defying them, please refrain from doing so.

I agree that it's a very healthy attitude to have, and one that will allow everybody who practices it to improve a lot. But now, I'd very much like to hear from the people who have had a first hand experience, even if to you that might be a mistake, of what we all mean and refer to when we say Enlightenment.

TL;DR: So, to all of those who are, have been, suspect they might have been, or believed they had been enlightened...

How did it feel like? How can you describe it? What was that basic epiphany that you might be able to somehow put into words, that triggered it? Was there anything like that?

Like, in my experience "Division is an illusion" had been around for a very, very long time, but more as a vox populi phrase, as a platitude-commonplace that I couldn't really understand. But there was one day where suddenly I became aware of how that was a very deep actual truth, and I began to see and experience everything differently, and I never was the same person again. So now I can say that, but then people won't really understand what I mean until they go through that change of perspective. But still, the core truth of that experience that profoundly changed me is "Division is an illusion", those are the words...

If you have to say no, I'd still like to listen to an account of what you went/go through.

Thank you very much for your help.

EDIT 1: Thank you very much for all your comments, and for taking time to reply. I've read all your answers, and I'll try to further reflect on each. Group hug n.n

submitted by Martofunes
[link] [34 comments]

Ken McLoud on enlightenment

July 25, 2014 - 3:54am

"It's right in front of us, but we can't see it. It's so simple that we don't believe it. It's so deep that we can't fathom it. It's so wonderful that we can't accept it. Know what is happening in your mind, in your experience, and you will never react. You will, instead, sense and know the direction of the present, and, without doing anything in particular, everything you do will enrich and help others."

submitted by yyiiii
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Does everyone experience only one life? Or is that an illusion?

July 25, 2014 - 2:56am

If I'm just one person in this life and only know the experiences of this one person, then am I not locked out of the experiences of others? Other people might cause "me" to suffer while "I" exist but I don't experience their suffering, and once this life is gone you can't say any new experience is part of "my" experience because I won't be here.

Is there a frame of reference privy to all experiences? Not to say God, but some aggregate of all lives that experiences through each the way we see through each of our (independent) eyes. Or are we all separate forever in all areas of reality?

submitted by boxmore
[link] [7 comments]

Is there a place for confession in buddhism?

July 25, 2014 - 1:53am

During the last two years or so, I've battled with an "age crisis" with coming into adulthood. I have a very clingy personality, which I try to improve with meditation and by taking refugee in the buddha, the dhamma and the sangha. I've replaced heavy intoxication with these three things.

My biggest problem is that I have a lot of guilt, or rather shame. I have this in built-feeling of being a lost case. This is not constructive and I see it myself; it usually tends to lead to more irresponsible behaviour: "I'm a lost case, so I might as well destroy myself properly".

I've started to see or the suffering my actions have caused to others and myself. I've lost the ability to judge other people at all as I see everyone suffering in the samsaric wheel. The problem is, I can't apply this to myself. I can see the good-sides in me, even though they're sometimes hard to find.

I'm not looking for a quick way to feel good about myself. "Self-forgiveness" seems like a very silly concept to me. This concept has a strong attachment to ego, the "self".

However, I believe certain rituals help us to keep us on the path. Is there place for confession in buddhism? I have a feeling that I want to let go of all of this. By telling someone, in a neutral, objective way, I feel like I could commit myself better. Remorse is good, sometimes guilt is good, shame is not.

I don't want a therapist to babble to and throw more fuel to my neurotic behaviour. I feel like a fellow buddhist would understand better and have the right tools for understanding: seeing the things as essentially caused by attachment, not by some distant childhood memory.

submitted by Usandthem4
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Buddha explains how conceit can be utilized on the path.

July 24, 2014 - 5:38pm

"'This body comes into being through conceit. And yet it is by relying on conceit that conceit is to be abandoned.' Thus it was said. And in reference to what was it said? There is the case, sister, where a monk hears, 'The monk named such-and-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known & realized them for himself right in the here & now.' The thought occurs to him, 'The monk named such-&-such, they say, through the ending of the fermentations, has entered & remains in the fermentation-free awareness-release & discernment-release, having directly known & realized them for himself right in the here & now. Then why not me?' Then, at a later time, he abandons conceit, having relied on conceit."

— AN 4.159

submitted by jaxytee
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I'm interested in getting involved in Buddhism...where do I start?

July 24, 2014 - 4:04pm

Pretty much what the title says. I'm a UK redditor and I'm really interested in getting involved in and learning more about Buddhism. Full disclosure, it's for purely selfish reasons - I've had a rough couple of months and I've read about Buddhists experiencing less emotional turmoil on a physiological level.

If your suggestion would be to visit a practitioner in person I'm totally up for that. I will be living in Maidenhead soon, so anywhere there or in London is in reach.

I'm basically a complete newbie to this, and I'm keen for any and all advice.

Thanks for reading.

submitted by Antnorwe
[link] [12 comments]