What's the point of living?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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BlueLotus
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What's the point of living?

Post by BlueLotus » Tue Mar 10, 2015 9:14 am

I mean, really. I feel very depressed. Are we sure rebirth happens? I'm just so confused sometimes.

SarathW
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by SarathW » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:48 am

Depression is a common illness.
There are many member in this forum who can help you with their experience.
I came out of depression by practicing Metta meditation.
Extend Metta to yourself and others.
The following post may some help.

:group:

Is depression a feeling?
http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=21543&hilit" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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daverupa
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by daverupa » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:53 am

BlueLotus wrote:I feel very depressed. Are we sure rebirth happens?
How are these related?

Because, just on the front end, to be unsure rebirth happens is to be unsure that heaven happens and unsure nothing happens. The way out of that place is a Wager, a decision to work for an improvement that doesn't actually hinge on post-death knowledge to be helpful in the here and now.
I'm just so confused sometimes.
Yes, it takes time with good attention & good friends.

:heart:
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Aloka
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by Aloka » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:52 am

BlueLotus wrote: I mean, really. I feel very depressed. Are we sure rebirth happens? I'm just so confused sometimes.

Hi BlueLotus,

This transcript of a talk by Ajahn Sumedho " Attending to the Here and Now" might be helpful.

Here's an excerpt:

The only thing that’s certain about the future—the death of the body—is something we try to ignore. Just thinking about the word death stops the mind, doesn’t it? It does for me. It’s not particularly polite or politically correct to speak of death in casual conversation. What is death? What will happen when I die? Not knowing upsets us. But it is unknown, isn’t it? We don’t know what will happen when the body dies.

We have various theories—like reincarnation or being rewarded by a better rebirth or being punished by a worse birth. Some people speculate that once you’ve attained human birth, you may still be reborn as a lower creature. And then there’s the school that says no, once you’ve taken birth in the human form, then you cannot be reborn as a lower creature. Or the belief in oblivion—once you’re dead, you’re dead. That’s it. Nothing left. Finito. The truth of the matter is that nobody really knows. So we often just ignore it or suppress it.

But this is all happening in the now. We’re thinking of the concept of death in the present. The way the word death affects consciousness is like this. This is knowing not knowing in the now. It’s not trying to prove any theory. It’s knowing: the breath is like this; the body like this; the moods and mental states are like this. This is developing the path. Saying “like this” is just a way of reminding oneself to see this moment as it is rather than to be caught in some idea that we’ve got to do something or find something or control something or get rid of something.

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books3/Ajahn ... nd_Now.htm
Kind regards,

Aloka

Feathers
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by Feathers » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:25 pm

There's a thread in my signature with some resources.

And if you are feeling this way over an extended period of time I would strongly urge you to go to a doctor.

I don't think whether or not rebirth happens has to be tied to whether it's worth living. Plenty of people find lots of reasons to live, without believing in any sort of afterlife.

Sometimes, I have found it helpful to sit and be aware of all the dark feelings. Other times, you just gotta ride out the low times any way possible - if you can distract yourself, go out with friends, watch a film, anything to get you out of your head, that might be a good idea.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dhammawheel thread on tools for managing depression

chownah
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by chownah » Tue Mar 10, 2015 12:27 pm

The point of living is that life holds the possibiility of boundless joy. Those who disagree simply have not been able to access it.
chownah

dhammarelax
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by dhammarelax » Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:41 pm

BlueLotus wrote:I mean, really. I feel very depressed. Are we sure rebirth happens? I'm just so confused sometimes.
Maybe this can help:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OME89CJFcyI" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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Thisperson
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by Thisperson » Tue Mar 10, 2015 5:35 pm

BlueLotus wrote:I mean, really. I feel very depressed. Are we sure rebirth happens? I'm just so confused sometimes.
There is nothing wrong with depression unless it's taken personally. Try to view painful mental experiences just as they are, without trying to get rid of them. When you take on these painful mental states as being your own and identify with them, then you feel the need for them to go away and are burdened with problems. See if you can take a step back and view painful mental sensations just as they are. This doesn't mean that there's no need to practice metta or the rest of the brahmaviharas, as these are helpful as well... It means that one needn't run away from depression or try to make it go away. Just look at it (with mindfulness, not thought) as it is. Can you just mindfully be with these feelings and really see what they entail?

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Mkoll
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by Mkoll » Tue Mar 10, 2015 6:39 pm

In your own words, straight up: why do you feel depressed?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

randall
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by randall » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:50 pm

good question!
what is the point?

...if rebirths through samsara are a thing do you really wanna go through this again?
..if somebody offers you medicine to help you get well what do you do?

I wish you the best, though serious depression doesn't go away too easily, find some good friends(both here and in person) you can be around, and practice the dhamma if you see the benefits in doing such(which I'm sure you do!).

:hug:

paul
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by paul » Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:40 pm

Depression, which is a phenomenon of western society, comes about through lack of development of contentment, being satisfied with what one has materially and finding pleasure in mental training and detachment. The monk has somewhat of a monopoly on this, as it is usually applied to him, but it is a very important quality for western laypeople and illustrates how different Buddhist qualities must be emphasized in certain cultures.
Regarding the value of life, remember this human sphere presents the best opportunity of all to develop the practice of dhamma, even better than the heavenly spheres, because of its admixture of pleasure and suffering.
-extract from "Teacher of the Devas":
"Although humans appear to be rather low on the scale, many intelligent deities long for rebirth on the human plane. Why? Because the best opportunity to practice the Dhamma and attain liberation is right here on earth. On the lower four planes, little progress can be made as suffering is gross and unrelenting and the opportunity to perform deeds of merit is rarely gained. The very bliss of the higher planes beclouds the universal characteristics of all phenomena: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and the lack of any lasting, controlling self. And without fully comprehending these principles, there is no motivation to develop the detachment from the world that is essential to liberation."
Last edited by paul on Wed Mar 11, 2015 5:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

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ihrjordan
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by ihrjordan » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:23 am

I had feelings of despair come and go for a while not to long ago then I watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg8Op9pTTTs" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; It really resonated with me because he doesn't tell you "Yes everything will be fine, there's nothing to be sad about. Rainbows and butterflies blah blah..." He tells you the reality of the situation while at the same time making it uplifting in a weird way, hope it hopes you as it helped me. :smile:

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ihrjordan
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by ihrjordan » Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:25 am

"You know the Buddha was pretty bummed out before he went forth...there's justification for our depression, we just need to channel the energy in the right way" :anjali:

flit07
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by flit07 » Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:33 pm

When your time is up, it's up. Bye bye. :toast:
There is no point to question that.

No one knows about rebirth, really. To know it, you must die and come back to life knowing that you were dead before that. That's not going to happen, though some would say otherwise.

Those who know rebirth probably didn't bother about it. Coz they know they can't do anything to it.

But what we can do, is to a build a meaningful life. A happy life, a peaceful life, talk to someone and share happiness, share joy. That's a point of life.

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BlueLotus
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by BlueLotus » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:29 am

daverupa wrote:
How are these related?
Sorry. This might sound really negative but at that time I was suicidal and I was thinking why not end it now. If there is no "after," and if you are not enjoying "the now", give me a good reason to go on?

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Dhammanando
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:49 am

BlueLotus wrote:If there is no "after," and if you are not enjoying "the now", give me a good reason to go on?
Empathy for those who would be made miserable by your absence.

SarathW
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by SarathW » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:58 am

BlueLotus wrote:
daverupa wrote:
How are these related?
Sorry. This might sound really negative but at that time I was suicidal and I was thinking why not end it now. If there is no "after," and if you are not enjoying "the now", give me a good reason to go on?
Think about the amount of people you can help with your experience.
There are many people in the same boat.
You attain enlightenment not only for you but for the wellbeing of others as well.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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daverupa
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by daverupa » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:23 am

BlueLotus wrote:Sorry. This might sound really negative
:heart:
but at that time I was suicidal and I was thinking why not end it now.
Because it might not do what you think it will. Additionally - as Bhante mentions - other effects from that will hurt folk. So the weight of the choice is simply unpleasant all around. Better to stay in a realm where there's at least a modicum of influence one can rely on, and that realm is right here & now.
If there is no "after," and if you are not enjoying "the now", give me a good reason to go on?
I know you are talking about heavy depression, but this is basically setting up an idea that one should either be a hedonist or, if that's not possible, kill oneself.

So in your case, what does "not enjoying the now" mean? Is it malaise? Is it a long, deep sort of ache or pain? Overall, there are still some mental phenomena to get your hands on, I think. Why not look around for one more day? It's possible to find a solution that will last, one that you can observe being in place...

Some mindfulness and supporting friends would be a perfect pair at this time.
  • "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.

- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

SarathW
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by SarathW » Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:29 am

One day, I was travelling in a bus. A man said the following.
"Why we kill a man who is destined to die!"
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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clw_uk
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Re: What's the point of living?

Post by clw_uk » Mon Mar 16, 2015 11:00 am

BlueLotus wrote:I mean, really. I feel very depressed. Are we sure rebirth happens? I'm just so confused sometimes.

Don't be depressed friend, see wonder in life :)


Your so lucky to be alive, enjoy it :hug:
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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