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What "right view" or "wise reflection" helped you move towards greater acceptance?

Dear Mitras,

I had a hard time accepting my self as it I was with my imperfections and disabilities due to huge expectations from myself. I do suspect this sanskara could have been imbibed into me unconsciously by my mom who although very loving and caring had a lot of over the top expectations and could not hide her disappointment when I couldn’t meet them.

Even when I came into buddhism, I did have some wrong view that through meditation, these so called “weaknesses” in me will be removed. I will become better, etc. Of course, after a lot of Ajahn Brahm videos, I learnt the importance of accepting myself the way I am. Accept my life and people in it the way they are.

My question here is what “right view” or “wise reflection” helped you move towards greater acceptance? For example, when relating to loving myself, I reflect wisely that

“If even I can’t love myself for who I am, who else can do so for me?”

Another one is that,

“If I stop expecting things to be the way I want, I can let go of the need to control”

Ajahn Brahm’s view :

“Things are out of control because that is the nature of things”

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I am going through a very hard time at the moment as my world is “crashing down” on me. My best friend of 33 years (husband) is suddenly terminally ill, I don’t know how to pay the mortgage etc. and I live at the other side of the world from where my family is.

I tried different suttas and different approaches. Finally I started again to reflect on Dependent Origination SuttaCentral and the Noble eight fold path. There is also a wonderful essay of Ajahn Brahmali.
This helps me to keep focused and to work with all the feelings and emotions I have.

Avijja (Ignorance/Delusion) is the starting point of my misery and this automatically leads to Dukkha (Suffering). Reflecting on all of this again and again, day and night, gives me the “light at the end of the tunnel” to get through this all.

@satishv Great, that you started loving and accepting yourself. I think that’s for most of us a hard one. We are so unnecessary hard on ourselves. Keep on going :pray: :blossom:

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“wise reflection”

The majority of defilements can only be eradicated by determined practice, so it’s wise to establish a balanced approach to when striving is needed and when equanimity is effective. Equanimity has an agenda, it is effective in removal in some instances, but too much of the tranquillity factor of awakening results in an imbalance in the practice. It’s necessary to have ambition for achievement on the path, and this is known as painful feeling not of the flesh (MN 44, MN 137). The strategies and rewards of employing appropriate attention are set out in MN 2.

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I learnt that such situations can be handled by Metta or Mudita meditation where we start by focussing on self-love, self-esteem and self-acceptance then followed by sending/radiating to others.

However, if you can’t love yourself, you may start with someone (human or animal) you love or you care a bit.

As far as I know, please refer to the discourses by masters including Oxford Sayadaw Dr. Dhammasami and Sayadaw U Jotika.

Thanks and regards.

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Thank you, I will have to look into the resources you mentioned. My best wishes for your progress in the path. Sadhu!

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Appreciate the sutra references.

I am yet to start the metta meditation. Thanks for the mention.

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Exactly as @paul1 said, my first line of reflection was about equanimity, especially constant reminder to myself about causality and observing causes and conditions in anything that happens. In the end, that had the same effect on me as reflecting “everyone is heir to their kamma…” etc. (broadly speaking of course)
While it helps to bring in a good deal of objectivity in one’s views and perceptions, for practical daily life, one still has to strike a balance in order to not become inactive (not intervening in anything), passive (this is how I am), or a “door mat” (not responding appropriately no matter what others do to you). That is where the second point of aspiration, energy, and effort comes in.
Also, sometimes knowing the causes and conditions that created the current state is helpful, insightful, and therapeutic, but sometimes insisting on knowing all the important causes and conditions can be an obstacle. Equanimity helps in accepting situations as they are even if one doesn’t know all the details of its formation.

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It has helped me to realize that self-directed negativity (I’m not good enough! I’m hopeless!) is just ill-will.

It’s a misunderstanding to try to live up to the standards of negativity, because it is actually just ill-will. Ill-will is solved by developing goodwill and kindness instead :slight_smile:

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When the practitioner studies with a teacher of jhana, then inevitably the practice leans towards tranquillity.

A balanced practice is recommended:

‘When I exert a [physical, verbal, or mental] fabrication against this cause of stress, then from the fabrication of exertion there is dispassion. When I look on with equanimity at that cause of stress, then from the development of equanimity there is dispassion.’ So he exerts a fabrication against the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the fabrication of exertion, and develops equanimity with regard to the cause of stress where there comes dispassion from the development of equanimity. Thus the stress coming from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the fabrication of exertion is exhausted & the stress resulting from the cause of stress for which there is dispassion through the development of equanimity is exhausted."—MN 101

“Now, monks, on any occasion when the mind is sluggish, that is the wrong time to develop calm as a factor for awakening, concentration as a factor for awakening, equanimity as a factor for awakening. Why is that? The sluggish mind is hard to raise up by those mental qualities. Just as if a man, wanting to make a small fire blaze up, were to place wet grass in it, wet cow dung, & wet sticks; were to give it a spray of water and smother it with dust. Is it possible that he would make the small fire blaze up?”

“No, lord.”
[…]

“Now, on any occasion when the mind is restless, that is the wrong time to develop analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening, persistence as a factor for awakening, rapture as a factor for awakening. Why is that? The restless mind is hard to still with those mental qualities. Just as if a man, wanting to put out a large fire, were to place dry grass in it, dry cow dung, & dry sticks; were to blow on it with his mouth and not smother it with dust. Is it possible that he would put it out?”

“No, lord.”—SN 46.53

Mindfulness is the governing factor and can be applied to both the active and passive factors.

Here the Buddha relates the tranquillity factors to the element water, and the investigation and right effort factors to fire. Excessive reliance on tranquillity suppresses the right effort arm of the path. Tranquillity and insight are the two themes intertwined in the noble eightfold path, and they are separated and elementally related in the seven factors of awakening.

The difference between learner and adept depends upon the degree of awareness of the balance of these active and passive factors. The learner understands the dynamics of the respective groups conceptually, but cannot yet always achieve balance in mental states:

"Furthermore, the monk who is a learner discerns the five faculties: the faculty of conviction… persistence… mindfulness… concentration… discernment. He sees clear through with discernment their destiny, excellence, rewards, & consummation, but he does not touch them with his body. This too is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is a learner, standing at the level of a learner, can discern that ‘I am a learner.’

"And what is the manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that ‘I am an adept’? There is the case where a monk who is an adept discerns the five faculties: the faculty of conviction… persistence… mindfulness… concentration… discernment. He touches with his body and sees clear through with discernment what their destiny, excellence, rewards, & consummation are. This is a manner of reckoning whereby a monk who is an adept, standing at the level of an adept, can discern that ‘I am an adept.’—SN 48.53

Cluster based on meaning: MN 101> SN 46.53> SN 48.53

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Beautiful. This just clicks so hard for me. Sadhu!

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Sending Metta to you Alex

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Thank you very much for your kindness, Cora :tulip:

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Each of the four noble truths has a duty appropriate to it (SN 56.11), and the duty regarding suffering is to comprehend it. The untaught ordinary person is unaware of the situation they are in. Once the eyes are opened then awareness of suffering becomes a regular experience and motivates progress. That is how the path works and why suffering is the first noble truth.

“The Noble Eightfold Path”—Bikkhu Bodhi:

“The search for a spiritual path is born out of suffering. It
does not start with lights and ecstasy, but with the hard tacks
of pain, disappointment, and confusion. However, for suffering
to give birth to a genuine spiritual search, it must amount to
more than something passively received from without. It has to
trigger an inner realization, a perception which pierces through
the facile complacency of our usual encounter with the world
to glimpse the insecurity perpetually gaping underfoot. When
this insight dawns, even if only momentarily, it can precipitate a
profound personal crisis. It overturns accustomed goals and values, mocks our routine preoccupations, leaves old enjoyments
stubbornly unsatisfying.
At first such changes generally are not welcome. We try to
deny our vision and to smother our doubts; we struggle to drive
away the discontent with new pursuits. But the flame of inquiry,
once lit, continues to burn, and if we do not let ourselves be
swept away by superficial readjustments or slouch back into
a patched up version of our natural optimism, eventually the
original glimmering of insight will again flare up, again confront us with our essential plight. It is precisely at that point,
with all escape routes blocked, that we are ready to seek a way
to bring our disquietude to an end. No longer can we continue
to drift complacently through life, driven blindly by our hunger for sense pleasures and by the pressure of prevailing social
norms. A deeper reality beckons us; we have heard the call of
a more stable, more authentic happiness, and until we arrive at
our destination we cannot rest content.”

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There has been so many small and more significant “aha’s” along the way, so it’s not so easy to pick one that made me turn. But maybe finally realising that nothing new will ever happen so one suddenly becomes something other than that which is now, was the most significant.

Bound to be small and ordinary :slightly_smiling_face:

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Even I had this realization. This helped me with letting go of expectations from the spiritual path. There is no “Big Bang” in the path and we change. Also, we may not improve what we “expected” to improve on while some other parts which we didn’t think of improving improves. Kind of cool. To just let go of the results and see what happens. Makes the path interesting.

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I’m happy for you :pray:

It sure changed the way I understood the word “practising”, so now, when somebody asks how’s practise going?, I really don’t know how to respond … :slight_smile:

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Sounds familiar to when they asked what I wish. :sweat_smile:

The replies here help myself. Thanks all. :pray:t4:

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Another point to add is that since we won’t be changing soon, the so called “unwholesome” qualities will also be present for a long time. Hence, we have to learn to not “repel” these mentally and sit with them. Acknowledge that these too are a part of ourselves, and hating these will mean hating ourselves, which will only create one more problem. Patient- understanding endurance with a caring attitude has to be developed when these unwholesome qualities emerge. These moments are the time to actually practice the love and compassion we have for ourselves.

What we are is impossible to change; that’s the point as I see it. And one doesn’t have to sit with anything, see the harm and not touch it. If one hates anything and then try to change it to something opposite, one brings along a bud of that object into the opposite, and that bud will surely grow and develop.

And “practicing love” won’t be a matter of concern, because love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity is our natural state of mind.

Simply living :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:

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Interesting views, agree with this as per my experience: