Syndicate content
A reddit for all kinds of Buddhist teachingsBuddhism
Updated: 2 hours 9 min ago

Does the 'why' behind my conditioning matter?

January 24, 2016 - 4:59pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I am going through a difficult time. I am positive about this journey and know I will be better with the work I am doing. </p> <p>I have... a need to be perfect a need for approval from others a need for control - over things in situations I can&#39;t control like people&#39;s reactions, emotions, and more. </p> <p>I am currently hung up on the idea of &#39;why&#39;? What happened to me that made me this way? How can I undo this in me? How can I prevent this in my children?</p> <p>I have an overwhelming feeling that I cannot get beyond this problem without knowing the why. </p> <p>Thoughts?</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Is it selfish to live in solitary retreat?

January 24, 2016 - 2:27pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I was having a discussion with a family member the other day about a monk who had been in solitary retreat for a long time. They began to ask questions along the lines of &quot;do you think it could be mental illness?&quot;, &quot;do you think maybe many of these people just can&#39;t function in everyday society and so this is how they cope?&quot;. </p> <p>I was able to provide what I think we&#39;re adequate answers to these questions although this last one got me...</p> <p>Is it selfish to live in solitary isolation in retreat? Relinquishing the everyday worries most people have and disregarding your ability to be out making a physical difference to those who are in need of help.</p> <p>What do you think? </p> <p>Please provide <em>why</em> you think what you think. </p> <p>Thanks. </p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Some Thoughts on Karma and Rebirth

January 24, 2016 - 9:45am
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>Greetings everyone,</p> <p>I wrote this for my mother when she asked me for an explanation of Karma. I&#39;m not sure how well put-together this is because I&#39;ve never written about a concept other than the Four Noble Truths. This was meant to be a basic introduction to my interpretation of Karma and Rebirth. I would like to ask for any feedback or criticism. I&#39;m still trying to accumulate all that I can :)</p> <p>My thoughts follow below:</p> <p>First we need to talk about the nature of things that happen, let&#39;s call them events. I think the common &#39;western&#39; view of the origin of an event is chance. We hear &#39;chance&#39; and think in terms of probability all the time. For example, a person gets in a car accident and they want to know, &#39;Why did this happen to me?&#39;, then a statistic like &#39;1 in 100 people get in car accidents&#39; is told to someone who gets in a car accident –– &#39;It could have happened to anyone, you were just unlucky&#39;. The common modern view of western society tries to explain the origin of events by using probability. There is no order, there is only randomness. </p> <p>This view clearly works, the question is to what extent it works and how satisfactory it explains real phenomena. For a lot of things a probabilistic approach is okay –– statistics tells us that if you can take a large enough, random enough sample, then you can probably (according to the percentage of the thing in question) find the thing you&#39;re looking for. The only problem with this view, I think, is that it is relatively unsatisfactory to people. </p> <p>I think humans have an intrinsic desire to have a sense of &#39;meaning&#39; in their life. I also think that when the events that happen in their lives are reduced to simply probabilities, a certain piece of meaning disappears from them. Someone&#39;s life being a result of purpose changes into being a result of uncontrollable chance. To me that leaves something missing.</p> <p>A different view of the origin of events is that of the east. Eastern philosophers proposed a law... the Law of Causality, which states: In order for something to happen, there must be a cause. Now, there is no more randomness, no more probability, no more luck (no more bad luck either) –– there is always a cause for every effect. </p> <p>Humans are a unique animal. Our consciousness allows us to make intentional decisions. We have the ability to understand what we are doing and why we are doing it and what the potential consequences are. That&#39;s unique –– many living things cannot do that. </p> <p>We (humans) have the ability to think of something and then realize (make real) that mental creation. Where humans are now, all of our achievements, the structure of our civilizations, the existence of our ideologies and beliefs –– everything that we are experiencing at this exact moment in time is a result of every human who has ever lived. </p> <p>Every human who is born tries to do something. They think, in their mind, of something they want to realize (make real) and then they set out to do it. However, they are not the only human in this world. When a Person A sets out to do something, he will inevitably interact with a Person B. We can expand this to add all the people who have ever lived. Everyone who has ever lived has interacted with someone in some way, shape, or form.</p> <p>These interactions have been vital to the story of human existence on Earth. Humans evolved and then humans did things! That&#39;s the oversimplification but truth of our story. </p> <p>From the start of human existence up until this moment in time, there has always been a motive or intention for every action that everyone has ever done –– whether it be a conscious or unconscious motive is not important.</p> <p>If it weren&#39;t for the collective past actions of everyone who has ever lived, we would not be experiencing this moment exactly as we are right now. Therefore, the reality we are living in, the reality we are experiencing, is a result. </p> <p>If something is a result, and we believe in the Law of Causality, then we know there must be a cause. The cause of our present moment, of course, is the past actions of everyone that has ever happened (and every-thing, as well –– but that&#39;s going a layer deeper so we can hold off on this for now).</p> <p>This should put our present moment in a more clear perspective. We are not here and experiencing this moment by chance, we are experience moment because of the intentional decisions made by other people who lived and acted before us. There is now a clear relationship between the past and the present –– we are bound to this exact present moment by not only our actions, but also by the actions of everybody –– it is an interconnected relationship of cause and effect.</p> <p>All of the above is nice –– it&#39;s quite obvious that things happen. But on to the next question, where do good and bad things enter this picture? What is good? What is bad? That&#39;s a huge topic to discuss, but for now lets define good and bad in terms of suffering (dukkha). This word, suffering, or, dukkha (from Pali), refers to all sorts of pain, physical and mental, slight discomfort, major discomfort, existential displeasure –– everything that is not pleasing, big and small, subtle and obvious. </p> <p>All humans experience suffering. As babies we&#39;re screaming and crying as we move out of the womb, afraid and uncomfortable. I&#39;m sure you would agree that everyone suffers in some way, shape, or form. All humans also share another trait, all humans instinctively try to minimize their suffering. Of course! Everyone has the &#39;fight or flight&#39; mode, we&#39;re naturally programmed with survival instincts –– stay away from pain, duh! </p> <p>All humans share the traits that they suffer and that they all wish to avoid suffering. All humans also share in the ability to act (preform actions) with intention. Given these two, we can deduce that humans have the ability to act in a way that either creates suffering, reduces suffering, or neither creates nor reduces suffering in other humans. </p> <p>We will use overly simple definitions of good and bad here, but the message of this email will stay the same. For now, we&#39;ll define an action to be good if an action is done with the intention to reduce suffering, and we&#39;ll define an action to be bad if an action with the intention to create suffering.</p> <p>Now let&#39;s look back at human history and our place here in the present moment. We&#39;re now living in the result of the collective past actions of both ourselves and every human, AND every past action was done with intent and that intent was either good or bad (or neutral... but neutral doesn&#39;t matter). </p> <p>Humans, however, are more than just a physical slab of meat and bones. Humans have a mental force. If you recall the movie What the Bleep... they showed an experiment where a person looked at bottles of water and thought different thoughts. The water was then examined under a microscope and depending on what thought was directed toward the water, the pattern and appearance of the water changed. Our thoughts are more than just words floating around inside our skulls. They have a certain power and they have a certain influence on the external world.</p> <p>Consciousness seeks peace, it seeks harmony and balance. That is its natural state. Now, our intentional actions, powered by our mental force, have the ability to affect this natural state –– in a positive or a negative way. When our mental forces disrupt (this implies a negative intentional action) this natural state, nature works to return the disturbed harmony. This is karma in action. </p> <p>Karma means that for every intentional action there is an equal and opposite reaction –– it sounds like Isaac Newton, I know. If something is disturbed, nature will restore its balance. This is the law. </p> <p>It is important to look at the intentions behind an action –– if an action is done to benefit only one&#39;s self, it is not good karma. Good karma is an action that is done selflessly, to the benefit of humanity. </p> <p>You give the universe good, and in return, good happens. You give the universe bad, and in return, bad happens. We are always responsible for what we put in, and therefore, what we receive is always a result of that.</p> <p>&#39;But I&#39;ve been living good and I&#39;ve been giving good selflessly, from the heart, and bad things are happening in my life, why!?&#39; –– That&#39;s a good question, and it has an answer.</p> <p>This answer depends on something called the Doctrine of Rebirth. Be careful not to confuse rebirth with reincarnation –– they are two similar but very different things. Reincarnation supposes the existence of an eternal soul that exists independently of the body. Once the body dies, the soul continues to exist, and then the soul enters a new body form and continues. </p> <p>Rebirth is different. Rebirth does not require the existence of a soul. Imagine a row of candles, one by one, so many candles that you cannot see the beginning nor the end. Imagine that there is only one candle lit, the candle directly in front of you. Every candle to the left is unlit. Every candle to the right has already been lit, and is already extinguished. The candlestick and the wick, the wax, those represent your physical body in this lifetime. The fire represents your link with energy, your link with animation, your link with consciousness. It was the heat of the previous candle that caused the present candle to combust. We look at the wick and we see what looks like a flame... upon further examination, however, we see that every second, every moment, the &#39;flame&#39; is changing. Every moment a &#39;flame&#39; comes into existence, shines, and goes out of existence –– however –– the flame creates heat, and this heat causes a combustion on the wick, and this combustion produces another &#39;flame&#39; that comes into existence. This happens so fast and so seamlessly that we think of it as a continuous process, where it really is just a distinct series of unique flames that appear to be one thing. Now keep looking at the candle in front of you. As time passes, the candle burns and burns and eventually you know that the flame will die for good and the candlestick will be no more –– quick, grab the candle and use that fire to light the wick on the fresh candle to the left. This is rebirth. There is a new body, and there is a new &#39;flame&#39; –– but the new flame is from the source of the old flame. The cause of rebirth, in this case, is your hand moving the old candle to the new and transferring the flame. In order to end the cycle of rebirth, we have to stop the hand from transferring flames from candle to candle. We can do this by achieving enlightenment. </p> <p>It has been said that the point of being a human is to master our consciousness, to achieve enlightenment, to become the best we can possibly be and live in harmony with ourselves and nature. When we achieve enlightenment, we no longer continue the cycle of rebirth. The last flame extinguishes and no further candles are lit. </p> <p>Achieving enlightenment is, however, a lot easier said than done. We are hairless apes living on a ball of molten rock orbiting a giant nuclear reactor traveling hundreds of kilometers per second –– our brains our powerful, of course, but we know nothing. </p> <p>Throughout the cycle of our rebirths we have to learn how to navigate this world, and humans have been doing that since the dawn of our species&#39; existence. By doing this, we see what we think leads to successful practice, and we see what doesn&#39;t. Through a countless cycle of rebirths, indescribably huge webs of cause and effect have been created. </p> <p>The results of the karmic seeds that have been sewn by your present self, your past selves, and everyone else ripen in the present moment and we experience their effects. </p> <p>Remember, the point of us being here is to achieve enlightenment, to master being a human. One of the requirements for this is to cease the production of bad karmic effects. In order to do this, we must be reborn and progress. During our rebirths, we must also face the consequences of our past bad karma. </p> <p>When a &#39;bad&#39; event happens in your life, it is wise to look for a way to improve yourself, to become a better human. Try to find the cause of why this &#39;bad&#39; thing happened. Meditate on it, find what you are lacking. Suffering is created within the mind, and it is within the mind where suffering is ended. Find out why you are causing yourself suffering through someone else&#39;s action and resolve to learn about yourself and develop yourself towards the goal of enlightenment.</p> <p>Thank you reading :)</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Sam Harris in convo w/Joseph Goldstein

January 24, 2016 - 9:31am

Buddhism &amp; Islam

January 24, 2016 - 9:20am
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I&#39;m interested to know from anyone who has read the Qur&#39;an or has some knowledge of the teachings of Islam, your views on the common ground that can be found between the two religions. Although they seem very different on certain levels, do you find any of the central tenets of Buddhism within the Qur&#39;an or Hadith? And do you find any of the central tenets of Islam within Buddhist teachings?</p> <p>I ask as a Buddhist interested in Interfaith dialogue. I am asking the same question on the <a href="/r/Islam">r/Islam</a> subreddit.</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

How do we advocate for a detachment to ideas about suffering and pleasure in one breath and then advocate for anything in the material world in another?

January 24, 2016 - 9:17am
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I&#39;m sure there&#39;s a simple answer to this but when someone comes to you, having been abused or in some hurtful position and says &quot;I want this to stop,&quot; how is it that Buddhists can advocate for any action that seeks to diminish suffering that isn&#39;t the path?</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Question regarding Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's &quot;reincarnation lineage&quot;

January 24, 2016 - 7:06am
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>Hi <a href="/r/buddhism">r/buddhism</a>,</p> <p>I am a casual reader of Tsem Rinpoche&#39;s <a href="http://tsemrinpoche.com">blog</a> and I find the teachings to be very engaging and presently in a way that is suitable for everyone, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. I like the fact that he shares many practices that doesn&#39;t require initiations that allows me to practice myself (I&#39;m very much a recluse haha). I am also aware of his stance on the dharma protector Dorje Shugden issue, but personally it doesn&#39;t bother me that much. </p> <p>Recently I came across the Facebook page of Kechara (Buddhist organization of Tsem Rinpoche based in Malaysia) and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/kecharahouse/photos/a.376562728719.156354.313513903719/10153326674033720/?type=3&amp;theater">this particular post</a> caught my eye, because it essentially claimed that Tsem Rinpoche is the 25th incarnation of a line of great Buddhist masters, among other:</p> <ul> <li>Magadha Sangmo, who lived during Buddha Shakyamuni’s time</li> <li>Virupa</li> <li>Thonmi Sambhota</li> <li>King Trisong Detsen, the second Dharma King of Tibet</li> <li>Naropa, one of the 84 Mahasiddhas of India</li> <li>Lotsawa Loden Sherab </li> <li>Shakya Shri Bhadra</li> <li>Tsarchen Losel Gyatso, founder of the Tsarpa sub-sect of the Sakya tradition</li> <li>Khedrub Khyungpo Neljorpa</li> </ul> <p>(Name not in order of reincarnation and not complete)</p> <p>Now I am not in any way want to attack Tsem Rinpoche, but it seems to me that claiming past Buddhist masters as your past reincarnations without any proof other that from the oracle himself sounds bull* to me. Even the oldest tulku lineage, Karmapa has only 17 reincarnations. Furthermore, upon digging further more, it seems that <a href="http://www.dorjeshugden.com/introduction/incarnation-lineage/the-lineage/">Tsem Rinpoche actually shares some of the reincarnations with Dorje Shugden itself!</a> I hope this does not implies Tsem Rinpoche to be Dorje Shugden <em>himself</em>.</p> <p>I like the teachings and what Kechara organization have done (<a href="http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2015/09/28/shelter-finally-up-and-running/">e.g. Kechara Soup Kitchen that feeds the homeless</a>), but at this point of time I regarded lesser of Tsem Rinpoche as a Buddhist teacher due to his questionable claims. </p> <p>What is you guys opinion about this? </p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

How can I have self compassion for boredom?

January 24, 2016 - 12:38am
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>This is an unusual question I realize, but I think I forgot how to want to have fun ..</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Conflicted trying to help non-Buddhist friends, what strategy to take?

January 23, 2016 - 11:32pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I have a friend who is much better off than I am in most ways, but he tends to have many problems in life. Often when we get together, he tells me about these problems.</p> <p>I&#39;m often conflicted on how to respond. </p> <p>For example, he works in HR and makes a good salary but he&#39;s resented and antagonized at by his colleagues for the nature of his work. Part of me wants to just support him and have his back, and validate his view that his colleagues are unreasonable and mean-spirited. Another part of me wants to gently point out that work is often being separated from what they like, and that they suffer from it, and that their reactions come from aversion to suffering, not from inherent mean-spiritedness, and that if he&#39;s kind to them despite their resentment things might work out. Needless to say, he didn&#39;t like this idea at all. He would have responded better to validation. </p> <p>Another example, his brother had a child and he sees the happiness fatherhood appears to bring him. Seeing this, he looks at his own life as a single guy and sees the he doesn&#39;t experience this happiness. So a part of me wants to encourage him like a good friend, and say that he should continue going on dates, and trying to improve his physical appearance, to continue practicing PUA charm to attract women, etc. Another side of me sees the suffering that this kind of craving is bringing him, and wants to make him question the self-view in these things. But again, he seemed to become upset when I started suggesting that these desires might be partly coming from conditioning, and expectations from other people (his parents), and so on. </p> <p>Anyway, having tried out Buddhist philosophy on my friend I can tell he&#39;s not receptive. I think he values the support I used to provide and now he feels like I&#39;m less &quot;on his side&quot; if that makes sense. But I feel continuing to provide the loyalty he has expected, knowing that it might reinforce his conviction in suffering type things, would be the wrong thing to do. I could indirectly be a condition to his suffering by approving and encouraging wrong-view. </p> <p>Well so much for that long story. My question is: am I out of my role here? I&#39;m his friend, not his spiritual guide. Maybe I&#39;m causing more harm than good with this behavior? Any thoughts?</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

What are Buddhist opinions on those who rape, murder, hurt, torture, etc?

January 23, 2016 - 11:31pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I&#39;m very new to Buddhism and I&#39;ve found that it is what makes me feel most comfortable regarding my spirituality. I&#39;ve always been a person who believed in the power of patience, kindness, love, and acceptance between all beings. Recently I came back to a past negative relationship to help the person who I once felt terribly about. Upon helping them, I noticed that I was much more patient and understanding of their true intentions. They are a person who is suffering mentally and can sometimes revolve around drama and blame their suffering on others. But I still feel that they are valid.</p> <p>I tried to explain this to my boyfriend, but he insists that she is just like any other terrible person. That she deserves to suffer and is in no way valid because she hurts others. He told me, &quot;You wouldn&#39;t think that a murderer or rapist was valid, would you?&quot;</p> <p>I&#39;m not sure what I&#39;m supposed to think about those people. I know that a lot of what they do is mostly a cause of how the grew up, where they came from, what kind of mental issues they were born with. Should I still feel patience and care for them? Even if they do terrible things? I&#39;m so lost and confused.</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

A Simple Technique to Let-Go of Unwanted Thoughts and Related Emotions like Anger, Hate, Fear etc. [Not related to Buddhism] [x-post r/Meditation]

January 23, 2016 - 10:16pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>Before couple months, I wrote a post called <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/Meditation/comments/3tfcs1/a_simple_technique_to_letgo_of_unwanted_thoughts/">A Simple Technique to Let-Go of Unwanted Thoughts and Related Emotions like Anger, Hate, Fear etc.</a> in <a href="/r/Meditation">r/Meditation</a> which explained about negative emotions, the issue with suppressing/repressing negative emotions and a simple technique to deal with negative thoughts &amp; emotions in a right way.</p> <p>Hope this helps someone in need. Thanks.</p> <p>Good Luck!</p> <p>PS: I contacted the mods before posting this &amp; it was said that I can post it by specifying in the title that its not directly related to Buddhism. Thanks.</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Favorite or most impacting suttra that you've read?

January 23, 2016 - 9:49pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I&#39;d love to hear what your favorite suttra from the Pali Canon is, or one that&#39;s had a great impact on your practice. Trying to put together a list of suttra to read in my spare time. Thanks! </p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Two Poisonous Emotions

January 23, 2016 - 9:11pm

Not sure how to phrase this question, but what is Buddhism's belief on the merits of other religions and their connections to Buddhism?

January 23, 2016 - 7:59pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I was wondering if perhaps spiritual teachers such as Jesus, Muhammad, etc., could be considered as Bodhisattvas, and their teachings actually leading their followers to rebirth in their pure land, similar to that of Amitabha. </p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by

Which is your favorite Buddhist story and why?

January 23, 2016 - 6:29pm
<!-- SC_OFF --><div class="md"><p>I like the one where one strict master visits a another master and sees him eating and drinking wine at night, so the strict one says he doesn&#39;t drink intoxicants and eat after a certain time, and the other master says &quot;that&#39;s not even human&quot;, &quot;then what am I?!&quot; the strict one replied? &quot;A Buddha&quot; replied the master.&lt;/br&gt;&lt;/br&gt;</p> <p>I like this one cause the moral is there&#39;s many ways to achieve enlightenment, and sometimes rules, and books, and sangas, and things meant to help can get in the way.</p> </div><!-- SC_ON --> submitted by