Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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rucontent
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Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by rucontent » Sat Mar 10, 2012 10:15 pm

Again this is a commentary more than a question but I suppose I can state my question first:

Have any of you experienced this realization and how do you process it now?

Well for many years i have been discovering the spiritual side of life. And like an onion, it obviously has many layers. They say that self-help is like one of the biggest business's around (books, seminars, etc). For so long, I was feeding into and enjoyed this idea that we just need to do what we love. "Dream big, Ask and Receive, Just do it, believe in yourself."

I started with Deepak Chopra's "Way of the Wizard" moved on to devour Wayne Dyer, Books on self esteem, Osho, Abraham - Hicks, Eckhart Tolle, NLP, you name it. All along moving towards or chasing this idea that I needed to make a career doing what i loved. That it was the only sane option. I was convinced that this was the only way to live. Thus, the suppressed but ever present idea that someday I would be a great producer or writer was what i chased.

So as I am settling into a calmer goal of inner peace and present moment joy that i have glimpsed. I see that those other worldly kind of desires are falling away slowly(not fast enough :)). Ok fine. Yet in moments of reflection I can't help but here for instance the teaching of Abraham-Hicks that constantly refer to "rockets of desire" being signs of what our soul is asking for. I can't help but put into the context of buddhist teachings now, and somehow see them as flawed.

It is very challenging to coalesce all these different past experiences of teachings that you accepted, and to question them. In a moment of awareness listening to the thoughts that arise i wonder if some of those techniques that are offered up by some people as helpful are not causing harm?

It's just weird. I am young on this road. Just sharing. Thanks for listening/reading. :reading:

David2
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Re: Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by David2 » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:38 am

Well, I think the biggest difference between the Dhamma and the self help industry is that the Dhamma does not reinforce your sense of self, but the opposite, it reinforces your sense of anatta, that there is NO self.

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Ben
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Re: Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by Ben » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:39 am

Yes.
I was into the "New Age" many many moons ago.
Thankfully after discovering and practicing Dhamma, one sees things with a little more clarity.
Sabbadanam dhammadanam jinati
sabbarasam dhammaraso jinati
sabbaratim dhammarati jinati
tanhakkhayo sabbadukkham jinati.

The gift of the Dhamma excels all gifts;
the taste of the Dhamma excels all tastes;
delight in the Dhamma excels all delights.
The eradication of Craving overcomes all ills.

- Dhp 354
kind regards,

Ben
“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

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Fede
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Re: Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by Fede » Sun Mar 11, 2012 1:00 pm

rucontent wrote:Again this is a commentary more than a question but I suppose I can state my question first:

Have any of you experienced this realization and how do you process it now?

Well for many years i have been discovering the spiritual side of life. And like an onion, it obviously has many layers. They say that self-help is like one of the biggest business's around (books, seminars, etc).
ok...I'm not sure I can list this sequentially, but i have read the odd self-help book... :roll:


You Can Heal your Life - Louise Hay
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - Deepak chopra
The road Less Travelled - M. Scott-Peck
yesterday I Cried - and
One day my Soul just Opened Up - both by Iyanla vanzant
the Seat of the soul - Gary Zukav
Life Strategies - Dr Phil McGraw
the Secret of the shadow - Debbie Ford

and several - numerous - others, which to be honest,. i completely forget....
all i know was, my book case creaked in protest under the weight....

EDIT:
Oh yeah, i got to Eckhart Tolle too....

I began to read M.Scott-Peck's follow-up - 'Further Along the Road Less Travelled', but this was much later.... and i found it nauseating....
but this was after the next book.....

The book that successfully tipped me over the edge into "Ahaaah! NOW i get it"-ness, was

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche.

I now only have two of the above books, and even that is merely for reference as to some pretty sensible bits of advice, rather than for any form of self-help-support....
They're the raft I abandoned some time ago.
Sure, I have another raft now, but it has fewer frills, lacy bits, whistles and bells..... ;)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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rucontent
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Re: Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by rucontent » Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:39 pm

Yes. Thank you. I am glad to see that the dhamma gives us a less cluttered view/approach. It is much simpler. Although in trying to make sense of it all, this previous exposure to what i thought i was looking for helps me appreciate the path.

thanks y'all.

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Fede
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Re: Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by Fede » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:53 am

Oh yes, I agree.
It was due to all these little 'baby steps' that i eventually found myself in a healthier mind-frame for actually joining the Path..... :)
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Monkey Mind
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Re: Dhamma vs. Self Help Industry

Post by Monkey Mind » Thu Mar 15, 2012 7:09 pm

The best Buddhist teachers teach for free. You can buy a copy of their book at the bookstore, but often there is a free version of the book online, or at their monastery or teaching center, etc. You can attend a Dhamma talk for free, or donations are encouraged. For the price of a dana meal, I get great guidance about the Dhamma from monastics "who have trained well", but I could skip the dana meal and still receive the guidance.

I have met many of the self-help gurus, they are often keynote speakers at therapy or psychology conferences. They are paid top dollar for their speaking, their books are expensive, and of course you have to sign up for the audio class or the workbook or the retreat (in Hawaii). A lot of what they are selling is recycled information from ancient and sacred texts, with a modern polish. And nowhere in their biographies does it mention who their teachers were, where they studied or for how long, etc. There is no quality control to the information they are selling.

I am a counselor by trade. Over the years I have met with many clients who followed the teachings of a self-help guru, investing hundreds of dollars into the merchandise, and incurred some harm to themselves in the process. I say "buyer beware".
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710

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