Proselytizing

Thankyou for sharing!

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Thanks for reading it!

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Here is a photo of one of the signs at the Monk Chat tent at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai.

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Last Christmas, my best friend died drinking himself to death.

Towards the end of it, the sheer amount of alcohol he was consuming on such a regular basis caused him to develop severe dementia.

His heart gave out in his sleep due to complications of sleep apnea & heavy alcohol abuse.

I am glad that you were able to stop drinking to medicate and take steps to improve your life. It takes profound strength.

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So sorry about your friend dying from that dreadful disease which takes an interminable amount of time to cause sickness and death. In my opinion, alcohol, the most sanctioned and celebrated drug of our culture is worse in its duration and finale than Aids or cancer…not to dismiss the suffering of those dealing with those diseases.

And thanks very much for your affirmation. May you find release from suffering and be happy.

How?

Outside of faith in rebirth Buddhism has always seemed to me not to offer much comfort.

The canonical teachings seemed to me to be more about seeing reality as it is with the goal of accepting/becoming inured to it.

No sarcasm, no disrespect, I would be interested to know which Buddhist things you found helpful during the rough patch in your life.

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I (too) look forward to response to your questions.

But about this… i find no comfort in faith in rebirth (though i have it); however, i find unspeakable comfort in faith in possible cessation of rebirth… (but that may have been what you wre referring to). Also, too, in encouragement for the cultivation of harmlessness; it seems a proper focus for energy and attention. Thinking about quality of deaths at the moment.

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My short answer is that my Buddhist practice has helped in every way get through my life crisis and, indeed, initiate a new way of living.

The longer answer would take more than a few paragraphs, but in the interest of brevity I will try to sum up the changes Buddhism has brought to my life, keeping in mind that I am new to the practice and that it is not only about overcoming a crisis but also changing my perspective on life fundamentally (at the ripe old age of 55, I should add).

So, to begin, the most important insight I have made, and resisting the temptation to reduce Buddhism to bromides or cliches, is that my unhappiness (suffering, if you will) was caused by attachments to things I took as permanent. When my life crisis hit I spent pretty much all my waking hours regretting the past and worrying about the future. I was doing the exact opposite of what Buddhism teaches. When I discovered Buddhist teaching I came to realize that I was clinging to things that are impermanent. My desires went unfulfilled, so I was disappointed. My aversions were fulfilled and I was unhappy. In a word, I was miserable.

What I have come to accept (not become inured to) is that what matters is not the past, for it no longer exists, and not the future, because it hasn’t happened yet. Do I still express regret about the past and worry about the future? Absolutely!
I am very new to my practice so I am still grappling with old ways. But I regret less often and I worry less. I am cultivating mindfulness and understanding that it is what is happening now that matters. As a friend and teacher said to me, we can be in pain but not suffer. I can experience a painful emotion but not suffer with it because I know it is impermanent.

I am also understanding the concept of not-self and how the things I regret and worry about do not define me. Before starting my practice I saw all my problems as permanent definitions of myself. I am now able to understand them as passing states. Through my meditation practice I am able to allow thoughts to rise and fall and to let negative thoughts go, as if I am releasing them into the wind or turning them like the pages of a book. I still have negative thoughts, but they now last minutes or sometimes hours instead of days.

Of course, my daily meditation practice is essential to improving my approach to life. I take the term “practice” very seriously. During meditation I allow thoughts to arise. I examine them and endeavor to understand their sources so that I can detach from them (but not run away from them). This practice helps me throughout the rest of the day, in my thoughts and actions. Mindfulness is not a cliche for me. I try to exercise it in all aspects of my life.

Specific aspects of meditation also are helping me. Two weeks ago at the weekly meditation workshop I attend the Dhamma talk was about awareness of body, feelings, state of mind, and the content of thoughts. I have become more attuned to how interconnected these things are. My life crisis has caused me to experience rapid and somewhat dangerous weight loss. I understand that the physical hunger I feel is connected to my feelings of hunger for recovery from my crisis. My meditation practice allows me to be mindful of these sorts of states of being.

Finally, I have found support and comfort from my Sangha. I have come to understand that my teachers, friends, and the laypeople who attend the Wat I go to are looking out for me. To be honest, when I showed up unannounced at the Wat just two months ago I was a wreck. The monks and the Wat members reached out to me, a complete stranger, and have welcomed me in. People who I have only met once have reached out to me to guide me as I undertake my practice.

So, keeping in mind that I have the zeal and humility of a new practitioner, my answer is that were it not for discovering Buddhist teachings I would not be as far along in my recovery as I am today.

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Interesting.

I’m agnostic, but hopeful of rebirth.

Interestingly, I shared a long ride to a retreat once with a woman who had some past live memories. Having those memories didn’t make her happier. I found that fascinating, as I believe that if I ever get a sense of conviction about rebirth my expectation is that many of my psychological hobgoblins would be chased away.

Yet my friend was seriously scared of her next rebirth(s) not being good.

Nope :slight_smile:

I find the descriptions of nibanna to be quite disturbing. I’m taking it on faith from the writings that it is a joyous thing :).

I’ve seen that thought elsewhere and never understood why some people focus on it. Thanisarro Bhikkhu, as an example likes to use the word “blameless” before a number of things.

In real life I am a fairly nice guy, and if I can do something to avoid hurting others I do without thinking about it much. Just by my natural disposition I’m not going around much doing harm ( aside from driving my car and generating trash like many other Americans ).

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If the conversation is relevant in some way, I just make an offer and leave it to the individual to choose. Typically I say something like “if you have any interest, I’d be happy to tell you about my experience with Buddhism” or similar. I view it as letting them know / making an offer / or pointing to a resource. It is their imperative to take it up. Unlike proselytizing - where one is forced to hear something even if they don’t want to.

Just as an aside, this is the same approach I use for most things… in western psychological terms it’s called ‘empowerment’, placing the decision in the other persons hands.

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From the Dhammapada:

Nothing about becoming inured to reality (above)?

:slight_smile: I think i understand this; may suffering cease.

May suffering cease.

imo there is nothing to fear in that.

i think the word “blameless” is problematic. (who is to blame or not blame?) intentional harmlessness seems to me at this time maybe the only thing worth one’s attention, energy, etc. Lol may i get better at that, as time goes on, for the benefit of whatever can benefit… until suffering ceases.

edit: :smiley: i have MUCH potential for improvement in harmlessness in this life. “Yay!” seems the best response of which i am currently capable!

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Beautiful!

Some thing interesting.
HHDL proposing a merger between Mahayana and Theravada.
He lay the foundation by accepting Theravadin as the seniors.

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I didn’t quite understand him to be proposing a merger of traditions in this video, but instead took him to suggest that it is important to carry out research, share understanding and texts and have healthy, mutually enriching dialogue between traditions.

It surely is very inspiring to see such humility, it was just as gladdening to see the senior Theravadin monk continuously offer HHDL gestures of reverence throughout his talk.

Thanks so much for sharing this video; it really cheered me up.

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Some would say that this is not a “Buddhist view”, because some would say that a proper Buddhist view of rebirth would prefer that we all die and nothing happens. It would be “nicer”.

Some would say that, not everyone, obviously.

He isn’t actually proposing that.

Part of his usual joke about sectarian relations is that the Southern School is the eldest disciple of the Buddha, to be revered and respected, but the Tibetan School, the youngest school, is of a very sharp mind amongst the Buddha’s schools.

It is a joke, to remove the tension in the room. The non-sectarians can be glad that HHDL said something good about the Southern School and the Tibetan tradition. The sectarians can be glad that HHDL perhaps-implied the younger school has a sharper mind than the respected elders’ school. Everyone is happy and everyone agrees with HHDL.

He is just respecting the śrāvakāḥ in a politically savy way, something all too rare in Mahāyāna sometimes.




On a related note:

Mahāyānikāḥ (Mahayanists), particularly those coming from extensive Abhidharma-based backgrounds, often think that they know X and Y “śrāvaka” position on Z.

Dr. Rupert Gethin engaged HHDL along with an audience of monks in a lecture on Theravāda Abhidhamma. The video can be viewed here: YouTube

If you are so inclined, observe HHDL and his words at 3:50.

Now at approximately 16:06 Dr Gethin is going to say:

In the Pāli tradition, sati, or smṛti, is exclusively kusala, or wholesome.

Look at the long reaction.

I laughed aloud while watching! :joy:

I don’t mean this as mean or negative. Indeed it isn’t even a prideful or conceitful reaction on the part of the Tibetans. It was just how sure they seemed when started out they nothing would surprise them.

Perhaps silly things amuse me.

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Skilfully promoting concord in this all too often divisive world gets a lot more than ‘just’ in my book. :wink:

Besides, with his talk about shared research, it does sound as though he is putting forward an even more substantive suggestion than a show of respect.

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[quote=“Coemgenu, post:36, topic:9420”]

It doesn’t matter to me what it is called. It is who I am right now. I’m a truth seeker first and a Buddhist second.

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Really, quite inspiring, to see kindness, compassion, an asute mind, all together that way, with evident effect… :slight_smile: This occurs at an opportune moment; but, doesn’t it always, isn’t it always?

:slight_smile:

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11 posts were split to a new topic: Metta & Tonglen