Defilements and the old me

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Defilements and the old me

Post by Awarewolf » Fri May 24, 2013 11:29 pm

Everyone remembers how they used to be before they discovered Buddhism and a more truthful way to live. For some, including me, this past vision of oneself had a certain flare and spark which seems hard to come by in the want-to-be genuine new self. I realized very recently that this image I had of meditation and the "emotional perfection" that would come from it one day were very wrongly understood. I believe since I started reading into Buddhism I've begun to mesh with this ideal and have shut out defilements as if they are bad and shouldn't be there. I commonly have this shameful feeling arise as I hold back from feeling/acting out a defilement of mine and then I end up anxious/lacking confidence.

I'm happy to realize this, and when I now feel and act on defilements, I keep my confidence and a certain spark for life. That said, I don't see this as a problem. I think more of the problem is trying to allow myself to feel the deeper defilements and evils I've held on to and trapped away.
I don't believe that I will get swept away by these feelings in some dark way, of course my goal is to be aware of these defilements. And also, with the wisdom I now have, atleast in the form of information (sutamaya-panna? Is that right? Taking a guess) I believe this will help keep me in check.

I'd really like some feedback on these ideas, I'd love to hear from like-minded people especially but from anyone would be great! I'd also really appreciate links to articles, dhammatalks, etc on how to accept defilements and the benefits of this. Also anything on defilements in general, as in the different types, because this will help me information wise to know what I'm looking for. Thanks

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Re: Defilements and the old me

Post by reflection » Fri May 24, 2013 11:39 pm

Defilements is a nasty word in a way, I think. Also I think self acceptance, metta for oneself is important here. We can be imperfect and still be perfectly happy with ourselves.

I was in a way lucky not to get into Buddhism with the idea of making myself a better person. I mainly was interested in meditation for investigation of mind. But I do see where you are coming from. At times it is not easy to see defilements are not really a part of 'us', are not self.

A nice sutta is this one: ... .than.html

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Re: Defilements and the old me

Post by ground » Sat May 25, 2013 2:56 am

It is not conducive to cultivate "old" habits, neither identifying as "me" or appropriating as "mine" images qua consciousnesses arising as alledged "past" nor images qua consciousnesses arising as alleged "present" because all there is is just images qua consciousnesses arising dependently and stirring "old" self-referencing habits. :sage:

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Re: Defilements and the old me

Post by fivebells » Sat May 25, 2013 4:00 am

Awarewolf, it's very hard to discuss this in the abstract. My thought while reading your post was "If he knows they're defilements, he wouldn't regard them as acceptable." What kind of defilements are you talking about? Do they lead you to act or think ways which lead to bad results? How are the results bad?

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Re: Defilements and the old me

Post by barcsimalsi » Sat May 25, 2013 4:31 am ... el026.html

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Re: Defilements and the old me

Post by nem » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:48 am

If you check out the website of Bhavana Society, Bhante G has given at least this talk on elimination of asavas by restraint. Maybe they have more there in the list. I find it interesting, like others said, Bhante focuses on the idea that defilements or asavas are not-self..they were cooked into "you" since time began...just like eating and breathing. if you are having some kind of guilt or emotional feeling about arising of defilements..why? You cannot accept blame that they are are completely conditioned with those from the start, they are not you..but if you realized that, know that they are there, which you obviously do, then you can take measures to keep those in check but even that, is sort of a defilement. ") "I" am completely uncomfortable with the use of the word "you"..."you" and 'me' do not even exist in the absolute sense. How could we be defiled in the absolute sense? The defilements are dhamma, 'we' are dhamma, the state released from the defilements is also dhamma. I have noticed that in the suttas, the Buddha treated almost everyone with equal respect except Devadatta. Maybe he saw, that the defilements do not have anything to do with the goodness of the being, maybe beings are ignorant and cannot be helped sometimes but the ignorance is not owned by the being..except in the case of He did not seem to like him too much and had very specific things to say about him. ... 9-08-0.mp3

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