The Burden of Seriousness

The world almost insist, i feel, that all must be taken very seriously but it does not help at all is my experience. Especially suffering too. But taking ones own suffering or that of others so seriously does not help.

When the mind becomes serious it is like it looses wisdom, joy, a sparkle of light and an element of friendliness, connection, i feel. I feel seriousness is very close to anger. I think it is how passion expressess itself.

I sometimes see in buddhist books also the advice to take all not to seriously. I feel that is also a great advice.

But the world of involvement, of engagement, of passion, of attachment insist, i feel, that we must be very serious people. So serious that we day in day out are burdened, tired, stressed, on edge , on fire and constant with a heavy load on the heart.

This kind of suffering is so much appreciated in the world, i feel. It almost feels indecent, inappropriate, unfitting, respectless, immoral towards others not to take on this heaviness, this seriousness. I notice such in myself.

I feel that the insight in emptiness can make the heart lighter. The realisation that mind is empty. And a larger perspective on life. But the world of passion, attachment, is strong, alluring, making me feel bad when i do not take on the heaviness of the heart. The world outside me and in me wants me to suffer.


By which one of the five hindrances would you classify extreme seriousness ?

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Spiritual life starts with freedom and joy, When Gotama gave up willfully striving he rediscovered the basic natural freedom and our birthright.

The road to joy goes from joy through joy and lands in joy, a non move in still flowing water

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I would say it can relate to all.

Can you offer me a classification under each of the 5 hindrances please ?

Or, if this question is not clear, I’d say: can you explain in more details what you just said ?

For example, if you have strong sensual pleasure there is this element of seriousness, and certainly when something or someone would obstruct us in sense-gratification.

But doubts can make one also very seriously and very grasping at answers to get some grip on the matter.


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Thank you Green !

And is there for you such thing as a skillful seriousness ?
If so, how do you differentiate between the skillful and the unskillful one ?

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Yes, i had posted this and after that i realised that there are always more sides to things. I also realise that without seriousness one might become cynical, or not even enter the Path, or ridicul all what happens in life.

So, yes, i believe that there is also skillful seriousness.

What about your view on this?

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I learnt the english word “grim” with Ajaan Geoff. I like the way he teaches, that we should be serious but not grim. Here two excerpts:

Buddhism takes a familiar American principle — the pursuit of happiness — and inserts two important qualifiers. The happiness it aims at is true: ultimate, unchanging, and undeceitful. Its pursuit of that happiness is serious, not in a grim sense, but dedicated, disciplined, and willing to make intelligent sacrifices.

• Humor: AN 8:80 (§212) uses humor as a way of making the lazy monk look ridiculous: The very conditions that he uses to excuse his laziness are precisely those that a wise monk reflects on skillfully to induce energy.

• Goodwill: SN 55:7 and Ud 5:1 (§§213–214) use the principle of enlightened self-interest to induce goodwill and compassion: It would be neither right nor wise to base your happiness on the suffering of others. This reflection is then used to encourage right effort in your search for happiness. Enlightened self-interest—and compassion for yourself—are also used in the example in AN 3:40 (§217) where you take the self as your governing principle: In other words, you originally took on the path for the sake of ending your suffering, so you would not be showing compassion to yourself if you abandoned it.

MN 39 (§215) also uses goodwill as a means for motivating right effort: If you reach the noble attainments, the requisites with which others provide you will bring them great reward.


The teachers I admire most are full of laughter and gentle wisdom. They are quick to joy and often use humor and laughter as a teaching method to put at ease uneasy minds. How many times have I gone to my teachers with what seemingly are very serious problems to my mind only for them to gently encourage me to laugh and thereby dissolve the fixation I was investing in order to replace it with perspective; and then encourage me to get to work! That isn’t to say that they are never serious, but certainly they invest their seriousness wisely and not frivolously and encourage me to do the same. :pray:

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It takes a serious mind to reach Enlightenment. I mean you must really make Enlightenment your goal; if not your only goal. Such a task takes a very serious mind. But Transcendental seriousness can be found in lightheartedness and laughter–which is a powerful medicine if combined with the Dhamma, as which the Dhamma itself is the best medicine, in Faith, in Compassion, and in Love.

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