Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

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Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by Duty » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:02 am

Hello all! I'm Duty from Anchorage, Alaska. I've recently had several explosions of personal growth, and the most recent ones have come after investigating different Buddhist practices. I've always approached Buddhism as an investigation into the mind, and have viewed it as an approach to psychology with cultural and religious aspects.

My experiences thus far are extremely complicated, and the very performance of communicating a few of my discoveries seemingly seems contradictory to their nature (more on that later).

The first (semi) Buddhist idea that struck a chord with me was a way of approaching the different realms of the Kamadhatu; a way which runs parallel with my psychological approach. Instead of taking it as a literal separation of worlds, this approach takes it as different ways of suffering. Those minds dwelling mostly in hell realm suffer from hatred and fear, the preta from the inability to fulfill their extreme hunger, ect...states of our own minds to compliment the different realms. The only difference was the human "mind," which was viewed as a place of opportunity: neither too distracting as the heavens, nor too excruciating as the lower realms.

My first realization here was that all these states of mind root directly back to the hell realm: all our suffering is based in some sort of hate or fear. Preta hate their hunger, they hate their bodies for the inability to be sated, and they fear never being sated. The asura hate their status and hate the devas. You get the picture I'm sure.

Later I realized that all the suffering was rooted in every realm all the time. However, the first of these understandings: all suffering being rooted in the hell realm, had a substantial impact on me. Instantly I became aware of all the hatreds I had in everyday life: I hated that smoker for his nasty cigarettes, I hated the bus for being late, etc. I caught myself in a hatred nearly every second. The big understanding was when I asked myself, "Do I have to hate these things?" Of course I didn't, and soon I resolved to displace hatred from my mind.

Like dominos, this automatically led to another realization: the importance of mindfulness. To stop hating all these things that happen to me, which is where my suffering stems from, I had to be continuously aware of these thoughts. So, since then, I've kept a constant conscious vigilance on my hatreds, and replaced them with compassion as soon as they arise.

But soon complication came up. I started to being weary and frustrated with myself, and this vigilance was extremely taxing.

Today I have partially resolved this complication. I made a further leap and realized that I was hating my own hatred. I also experienced a moment that was completely indescribable, and one that I think Buddhists are really talking about. I want to note now that I've done very very very little formal meditation in my life, and this moment was completely spontaneous, and happened just with me pondering all the awesome things that I'm learning from Buddhism.

The moment was when I was wondering about the apparent contradiction that Buddhism claims itself as the "pathless path," and yet you get a bunch of different sects sitting around arguing which tradition is best (that's what it looks like from my perception anyways, I'm truly on the outside looking in). I then had this indescribable moment: I became aware that I saw "myself" as having all these properties, beliefs, paradigms, and the like...and I just stopped doing that. I gave up this perception that I suffered, I gave up the fact that I was at work and hating it, I gave up that I was extremely tired from sleep deprivation. I gave up my identity. I just experienced the world and the moment for a brief time.

As soon as I realized that that was what was going on, it stopped. I tried to regain the sensation, but I knew that trying to do it would in itself be the cause of failing to do it.

So with the events of today, I stand as follows, and I know this is probably wholly different from your traditions. I'm just approaching things as they make sense to me:

1. I'm ok with suffering: I don't hate it. I prefer not to (and preference doesn't mean hated for the opposite), and choose not to to the best of my ability. I still often keep watch for my hatreds, but I don't stress about getting rid of them as they appear. Samsara is just another state of being (and useful at times!).
2. I want to learn how to engage that moment of "lost identity" at will. Not necessarily all the time: just as the need arises. I can almost evoke it by just keeping in mind the amusing nature of identification/ego, but not quite.
3. I feel as if a passionlessness has entered my life. Of course, it's just more ego cropping up, but it's concerning to samsara mind. :p

If you've read all of this, thank you very much. I apologize for the length. I have incredible momentum (all of this has happened to me in the past 5 days) and I feel like keeping it. I'm looking for suggestions and commentary on my experiences. Thank you in advance!

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by Ben » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:16 am

Hi Duty and welcome to Dhamma Wheel!

I used to have experiences like yours many years ago before I began practicing the Buddhadhamma.
What I recommend you do, if you have the time and inclination, is to attend a residential retreat of intensive meditation instruction.
This will be of profound practical benefit for you by giving you instruction in a supervised and supportive environment and give you some depth of practice.
kind regards

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR


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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:51 am

Greetings Duty,

Thanks for the introduction and welcome to Dhamma Wheel.


One meaning of the word "dhamma" is truth. If your experiences are indeed truth, I would recommend researching your ideas closely within the language and contexts used by the Buddha in his Dhamma (which as well as meaning truth, can mean doctrine or teaching).

Then, relating your experiences to his teachings, you will hopefully get clear guidance in a mutually understood language, which will help to further you on the path.

Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by plwk » Wed Mar 03, 2010 9:21 am

:namaste: Duty and welcome to the lair....opps I mean Forum :tongue:
(Looks like Ben and retro have joined the 'tilt pack' huh.... :rolleye: Did I miss a wolf nite out or what? Image)

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by Aloka » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:07 pm


Hi and welcome to Dhamma Wheel, Duty !

Oh, cute doggy pack, guys! I'll remember to bring a bowl of bikkies next time I visit ! :D


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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by bodom » Wed Mar 03, 2010 7:26 pm

Welcome Duty.

To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo

With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5

"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by catmoon » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:18 pm

About vigilance and hatred: Yes this can be taxing, especially if you tackle it all at once and aim for perfection. But I think that whether you ease off or not, in time the vigilance will become a normal habit of mind and far less of an effort. Even with small effort, this can occur in a few months or a year.

I don't want to discourage your noble effort, but I would hate to see you burn out and quit just from exhaustion!

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by Guy » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:22 pm

Hi Duty,

Welcome to the Forum!
But soon complication came up. I started to being weary and frustrated with myself, and this vigilance was extremely taxing.

Today I have partially resolved this complication. I made a further leap and realized that I was hating my own hatred.
Great insight! When cultivating kindness never forget to be kind to yourself - you deserve it as much as the bus driver or the cigarette smoker. Plus you have to live with yourself, you don't have to live with the bus driver or the cigarette smoker, so how much more important it becomes to develop kindness towards yourself.

2. I want to learn how to engage that moment of "lost identity" at will. Not necessarily all the time: just as the need arises. I can almost evoke it by just keeping in mind the amusing nature of identification/ego, but not quite.
I have three words for you: contentment, contentment, contentment! Just learn to be content with whatever you are experiencing. You can never experience "lost identity" as an act of will, since this is identifying with will power. Some themes (which my teacher, Ajahn Brahm, is always talking about) which I have found useful in my own practice: Let go, make peace, be kind, be gentle, be patient, be content!

If you have specific queries about your practice please post them in the "personal experience" or "meditation" forums and I'm sure you will find something useful.

With Metta,

Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by Wind » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:38 am

Hey Duty, you seem to have some insight into the Dhamma. Keep going. You are developing Mindfulness and know of its usefulness, that is great. You also experience "lost of identity" I have experience it once and it was amazing. As the Buddha encourage us to not to claim or hold onto a doctrine of self as me, mine, or myself (the concept of Anatta), we can truly let go of attachments and experience a sense of freedom and everything as it is.

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Re: Introduction + Some Questions (Long)

Post by jcsuperstar » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:03 am

hi duty, theres a couple of us here in anchorage
have you visited any of the temples or groups in town? there's quite a few for such a small place.

สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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