Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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binocular
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Re: Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Post by binocular » Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:59 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:36 pm
Are we reading the same passage? I don't see that at all. Much of the article seems to me to be encouraging people to not just mindlessly follow a particular approach, but to figure out what works for them.
That is "figure out what works for them within the framework of goals and values as specified by someone else, some person is some position of power who doesn't care about their underlings".

In these pop mindfulness settings, one is indeed free to figure out "what works for one", but the goals and values that one has to follow are prescribed by someone else.
Just try telling your mindfulness-friendly doctor that your goal is complete cessation of suffering, for example. He or she will do things to make it clear to you that you are not supposed to have this as a goal. Or try telling some mindfulness seminar facilitator that you like the Pali Canon, when asked about your favorite book. Not a good idea.

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aflatun
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Re: Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Post by aflatun » Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:53 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:59 am
Just try telling your mindfulness-friendly doctor that your goal is complete cessation of suffering, for example. He or she will do things to make it clear to you that you are not supposed to have this as a goal.
Are you sure about that? :spy:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16

Justsit
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Re: Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Post by Justsit » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:36 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:53 pm
binocular wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:59 am
Just try telling your mindfulness-friendly doctor that your goal is complete cessation of suffering, for example. He or she will do things to make it clear to you that you are not supposed to have this as a goal.
Are you sure about that? :spy:
Perhaps there was some misunderstanding in the discussion. There is a difference between pain and suffering, they are not interchangeable terms. Pain is an experience we have; suffering is how we relate to the experience. In medical terms, doctors are called upon to treat pain, not suffering per se, so a family doctor would likely not have much to offer about "complete cessation of suffering." They do treat pain, but even then, sometimes pain can be managed but not completely eliminated, as in the case of some chronic illnesses; complete absence of pain may be an unrealistic goal.

Most medical doctors I know would refer questions about "suffering" to a psychologist or spiritual/religious advisor. "Complete cessation of suffering" may be an appropriate goal, just not in the context of the medical profession.

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binocular
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Re: Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Post by binocular » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:15 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:53 pm
binocular wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 11:59 am
Just try telling your mindfulness-friendly doctor that your goal is complete cessation of suffering, for example. He or she will do things to make it clear to you that you are not supposed to have this as a goal.
Are you sure about that? :spy:
Yes.
Justsit wrote:
Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:36 pm
Perhaps there was some misunderstanding in the discussion. There is a difference between pain and suffering, they are not interchangeable terms. Pain is an experience we have; suffering is how we relate to the experience. In medical terms, doctors are called upon to treat pain, not suffering per se, so a family doctor would likely not have much to offer about "complete cessation of suffering." They do treat pain, but even then, sometimes pain can be managed but not completely eliminated, as in the case of some chronic illnesses; complete absence of pain may be an unrealistic goal.

Most medical doctors I know would refer questions about "suffering" to a psychologist or spiritual/religious advisor. "Complete cessation of suffering" may be an appropriate goal, just not in the context of the medical profession.
There was no misunderstanding of this kind.

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binocular
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Re: Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Post by binocular » Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:19 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:36 pm
Are we reading the same passage? I don't see that at all. Much of the article seems to me to be encouraging people to not just mindlessly follow a particular approach, but to figure out what works for them.
What is this "what works"??

This or that works only in regard to a particular goal. In the case of the lady from the OP, what was her goal?

As far as can be inferred from her writing, her goal seemed to be something along the lines of "meditate for the specified amount of time", "persist with this type of meditation and never question why you're doing it". Her goal apparently wasn't to overcome her PTSD or not to suffer.
The things she described as "what works" are consistent with the goals "meditate for the specified amount of time" or "persist with this type of meditation and never question why you're doing it".

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mikenz66
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Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Creating a Practice When Life is Hard

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 7:43 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Apr 09, 2018 6:19 pm
Her goal apparently wasn't to overcome her PTSD or not to suffer.
OK, so technically it is not "overcoming", but "coping". Is that what you are objecting to, that her practice (in common with the practice of most/all here), did not completely eliminate the problem?
I shared how sticking with a mindfulness practice as part of my own trauma healing created space for me to learn how to cope with triggers and chronic stress.
This sounds like a positive outcome, though it falls short of nibbana...

:heart:
MIke

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