Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

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absolute
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Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by absolute » Fri Aug 04, 2017 1:13 pm

I think i'm a buddhist. But when i was a kid, i was a highly religious and superstitious kid with ocd. My problem is about 9 or 10 years ago when i was 14 or 15 years old, i made a counter vow against my ocd rituals. In that time, I didn't know that i had ocd , in fact i didn't even know the concept of ocd since english is not my first language, and because of that i had lack of knowledge on mental disorders, and i happened to know about ocd 4 years ago. At that time as i said before i was a highly religious and spiritual kid who thought all the religions are same and their goals are same etc (you know the new age stuff). Anyway, long story short, i made a counter vow, like if i do some rituals even times, i may become this, and if i do that rituals odd times, some bad unwanted thing may happen to me, to Buddha and two other gods from other religions for stopping silly rituals which demanded that if you don't do this certain times before new year eve, some bad thing happen to you. In other word, in order to cancel the ocd rituals' demand, i made a counter vow, and that was a relief for a short period of time about 2 days, then thoughts and fear started to rise that what if i break that vow, and i realized that i made a great mistake of vowing, and i asked forgiveness from the gods from three religions that remove that vow. But since that time, i have had a constant fear of breaking that vow, and what if bad happen to me as i said in the condition of that vow. Can Buddha forgive? Is it possible to remove vow? Please help me, i just want to live my life without any binding.

JohnK
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Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by JohnK » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:07 pm

absolute wrote:...Can Buddha forgive?
My understanding is that the Buddha is not sitting somewhere judging and/or forgiving. It sounds like this idea of yours is causing you suffering (worrying about breaking your vow), and it sounds very related to your acknowledged tendency toward superstition. None of this is part of the Buddha's teaching as I understand it. Making a vow to yourself as a tool to try to make your actions more wholesome seems like a fine idea (and consistent with the Buddha's teaching). If your discernment shows you that the behavior you vowed to do is not producing the desired results, just don't do it anymore. No need to "forgive" -- you are just learning as you try to make your way through this world with its and your difficulties. The relevant forgiveness, if any, might be you sincerely forgiving yourself for the suffering you have caused yourself over this -- seems like you are quite worthy of your forgiveness -- you were just trying as best you could to lead a more wholesome life -- good for you!
I hope this is helpful in some way.
:anjali:
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

absolute
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by absolute » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:32 pm

JohnK wrote:
absolute wrote:...Can Buddha forgive?
My understanding is that the Buddha is not sitting somewhere judging and/or forgiving. It sounds like this idea of yours is causing you suffering (worrying about breaking your vow), and it sounds very related to your acknowledged tendency toward superstition. None of this is part of the Buddha's teaching as I understand it. Making a vow to yourself as a tool to try to make your actions more wholesome seems like a fine idea (and consistent with the Buddha's teaching). If your discernment shows you that the behavior you vowed to do is not producing the desired results, just don't do it anymore. No need to "forgive" -- you are just learning as you try to make your way through this world with its and your difficulties. The relevant forgiveness, if any, might be you sincerely forgiving yourself for the suffering you have caused yourself over this -- seems like you are quite worthy of your forgiveness -- you were just trying as best you could to lead a more wholesome life -- good for you!
I hope this is helpful in some way.
:anjali:
Thank you JohnK for replay. I'm aware of that the Buddha is not someone who judge like deities of theistic religions, but i think it's safe to say some of buddhism's elements are in the domain of superstition, i mean even Theravada buddhism. I dearly regretted that i made a silly vow, not knowing its consequences, even though the Buddha is no judgemental figure, even in Theravada buddhism, there is chant of affirmation like power of truth chants etc. So if this kind of affirmation of truth chants, some buddhist believe works, why not my silly ocd vow works? I'm fearing that what if my this stupid vow works like chants of affirmation of truth or having karmic consequences that i have to pay. Is there any chant to remove this silly vow or prayer?
Last edited by absolute on Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

binocular
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by binocular » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:41 pm

The basic principle for religious OCD (sometimes also called "scrupulosity") is:

If you have any doubts about whether you have committed a wrongdoing or a sin, then you automatically have not committed any wrongdoing or sin, at least not deliberately. With that, you can stop thinking or worrying about it.

Garrib
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Garrib » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:06 pm

Have you taken refuge and the five precepts? In my opinion, the Buddha offers plenty of help for people with religious scruples. Taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha each day (and making offerings etc...) IS wholesome and beneficial, and I think it might help with your felt need for ritual - hopefully replacing other OCD rituals.

Taking and keeping the 5 precepts - these are not commandments but rules of training. They are important to keep, and they are possible to keep. You can commit yourself to 1) Avoid all killing, 2 ) Avoid all stealing (taking what is not given), 3) Avoid all sexual misconduct (adultery, sexual abuse etc...) 4) Avoid all lying speech, 5) Avoid all intoxicating alcohol and drugs.
Keeping these precepts leads to your own and other's welfare, and they can hopefully replace your other OCD vows.

At some point, you have to let go of attachment to rites and rituals - they cannot, by themselves, lead to the end of suffering. However, there can be a place for rules and rituals in cultivating the Noble EIghtfold Path.

Practice generosity (do some volunteer work, or just be open to help others in daily life), practice ethical conduct (five precepts all the time, and 8 precepts on Uposotha observance days), and then do some meditation, ideally, with a qualified teacher.

In short, my advice is to let go of your other vows, forgive yourself, and take on the five precepts as training rules. Then you're on your way.

Best of luck!!

-Brad

absolute
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Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:31 pm

Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by absolute » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:52 pm

Yes, i take refuge in Triple Gem, for precepts, its safe to say i avoid all intoxicating alcohol, smoking and drugs, stealing, and most of sexual misconduct if not masturbation, but not for killing cause i kill insects such as flies, and mosquitos, and for lying, sometimes i lie.

Garrib
Posts: 337
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Post by Garrib » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:06 pm

absolute wrote:Yes, i take refuge in Triple Gem, for precepts, its safe to say i avoid all intoxicating alcohol, smoking and drugs, stealing, and most of sexual misconduct if not masturbation, but not for killing cause i kill insects such as flies, and mosquitos, and for lying, sometimes i lie.

No need to beat yourself up about any of that (BTW I don't believe masturbation qualifies as sexual misconduct, although I think it is something that can safely be let go of. It just creates more desire, and it never actually satisfies) - just work on cleaning it up, and trust that you will be better off working on keeping those things pure. I guess the point I was trying to make was that we can actually let go of our other vows without remorse - the precepts are the vows you should really try to keep, and not waiver about. When the urge and impulse to engage in compulsive or ritual behavior comes up, try to be mindful of that and do not act on the impulse. Just be aware of the feelings as passing reactions to sense and mental phenomena (which are also impermanent), be aware of the thoughts and images that come up and try not to react or get engrossed in them, they are anicca, dukha, and anatta. No need to take them as being ultimately real or worth acting upon.

I would advise against mish-mashing different religions and traditions (the new age approach) - stick to the Dhamma, investigate the teachings, put them into practice, find reliable teachers and spiritual friends, and be honest with yourself - in time you will see the benefits, and I really believe your symptoms can be lessened gradually. It takes effort, Joyous effort! You got this...

Best,

Brad

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