Buddhism, mindfulness and wellbeing

Kerome

Kerome

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"Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet."
- Thich Nhat Hanh

Hope he is doing ok, after his stroke late last year. The world would be poorer without him.
 
Kerome

Kerome

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“The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don't wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation

For those interested in Thich Nhat Hanh's condition, he is in a recovery ward in hospital in France, is conscious and can communicate with his nurses through movements of his arm and leg.
 
Kerome

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Buddha was asked, "What have you gained from meditation?"
"Nothing! However,"
Buddha said, "let me tell you what I have lost:
Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age, and death."

- Gautama Buddha
 
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anger and anxiety are useful emotions in certain circumstances.
 
Kerome

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anger and anxiety are useful emotions in certain circumstances.
That is an interesting standpoint. But I would suggest you might be better off with a more aware, more thoughtful response. Anger is often an indication that your ego is being injured in some way, and if your life is threatened, the adrenaline can be useful, but in almost all circumstances it is a poor guide to your actions. It will often cloud your vision and obscure proper judgment of a situation.

Similarly anxiety is a deep seated response to something threatening. It can call your attention to something, but it can also paralyse you into inaction and waste a large amount of your energy on worry, fretting, shivering and other atavistic responses. Like anger, it is a poor guide to your actions, obscuring vision when you most need it to be clear.

Most of us are not the Buddha, we haven't released these emotions for good, and it isn't necessary to do so. As long as you can recognise them and their sources and then let them go on their way, you can live-through your experiences with them with ease and grace.
 
Parayana

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The Buddha said getting angry is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die. Anger and Anxiety are both forms of aversion and bind you to the wheel of birth and death as much as desire does. Even to desire not to desire is still to be caught on the wheel. It becomes a question of training yourself to be at peace with whatever arises at the sense doors. Of course this is easier said than done. IF your into the whole rebirth thing your trying to break the habits of countless lifetimes.
 
Kerome

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It becomes a question of training yourself to be at peace with whatever arises at the sense doors. Of course this is easier said than done. IF your into the whole rebirth thing your trying to break the habits of countless lifetimes.
The whole question of "training oneself" is an interesting one. There are many approaches one might take to do this, and most of them are wrong. To train yourself not to see for example, or just to train yourself to be steady, to suppress whatever impulse arrives from the heart. These are not ways of being aware from within ones emotions, these try to close the door on anger and aversion by force or by deprivation.

It seems to me that there is another path, of exploring the sources of ones anger and anxiety at the deeper level, to become aware of what truly happens within you when these things are called up, and face them with equanimity and clear vision. They usually dissipate when this happens, there is a kind of release. Each encounter with anger or anxiety is an opportunity to see deeper and explore them. Often this happens in increments.

Whether there is an aspect of training to this is hard to say. Perhaps there is a training of yourself to approach things with the clear vision. In a way training is the installing of new habits, which is the opposite of bringing awareness. So it is something to be used with caution, to be over reliant on trained responses means you might be compensating and just have more work to do when you do start bringing more awareness.
 
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Parayana

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Sorry, Kerome I've had a sleepless night and didn't express myself well. Its a question of "training" oneself to rest in the pure subjective awareness of whatever arises. That which is aware of your thoughts and feelings isn't thinking or feeling it is just aware.

Its about having an attitude of Metta (total acceptance) of whatever arises at the sense doors without allowing the egos usual games of I making and my making to get in the way.
 
Kerome

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I didn't express myself well.
Not to worry, I realised afterwards that I maybe should have rephrased some of the post to be more compassionate. So you see I do that as well sometime, and it's a habit I've been trying to break for a while! It's not easy to bring awareness and insight and correctness and Metta to all your writing when you have a long lifetimes "writing from the hip" behind you. It has taught me a lot of respect for Buddhist writers.

The Buddha said getting angry is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.
This was a beautiful quote, very evocative!
 
Parayana

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I thought I'd post this link to a site on metta meditation.

Metta Bhavana: Cultivation of Loviing-kindness.

There have been a few small studies that it can help negate the anhedonia associated with Schizophrenia. Whether anhedonia is a negative symptom of Schizophrenia or a side effect of anti-psychotics is anyones guess.

Just did a thirty minute metta sit that left me feeling very calm and happy so it works on me.
 
Parayana

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Thought I'd post this link to Bhikkhu Yuttadhammo's videos on Mahasi Sayadaw's Vipassana technique. I find it interesting to use when my mind is busy as you focus on whatever sensory impression comes in strongest. Its a series of six videos about an hour long in total but only the first two are really necessary to begin sitting meditation.
 
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chesterking

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Bhikku Yuttadhammo's videos are amazing. This is where I learnt about where I would be able to choose my thoughts with meditation.
 
Kerome

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I love reading zen stories from time to time, and I came across this one today.

Empty Your Cup

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”
 
chesterking

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I love reading zen stories from time to time, and I came across this one today.

Empty Your Cup

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”
Hi Kerome. Could you explain this one to me, I don't understand.
 
Kerome

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Well, as I understand it it's basically about the zen master giving a teaching to the professor who keeps talking. He talks so much, and he shows his mind is over full of things to talk about. His mind is like his cup, whatever the zen master says to him will flow over the brim and be wasted, it won't go in. The zen master is telling him to empty his mind, before he can show him the true meaning of Zen.
 
-Phoenix-

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Hi all, I think I did say I was going to pay a visit to a local buddist centre somewhere in this thread, so here goes. I went last Autumn. They were holding a meditation session early afternoon and I was off work so I thought I'd pay a visit.

Turns out they followed a branch of buddhism called New Kadampa Buddism. I would have preferred Zen but oh well. Can't be that different right?

Anywho, the guy who greeted me gave me the surprised 'what are you doing here?' look but I explained about wanting to learn more about buddism and meditation and he seemed to be okay with me being there. There was a library, a small cafe and lounge and he also pointed me towards a free downloadable book that their leader had written. I think I ended up read most of book 1. Not while I was there of course, in the weeks that followed. But anyway...

After paying a small fee and taking off my shoes, I was guided into the meditation room. And I tell you, it was proper buddhist! They had loads of deity statues at the front of the room and a massive photo of their leader, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Before the teacher made an appearance, one of the buddhists explained that each deity represented something. 'You pray before this deity for good health, and this one for wisdom' and so on. Now this struck me as strange because I always thought that buddhism was not about idol worship but more about following the teachings of the buddha. Hmm...

Then the teacher walked into the room. It was an elderly lady nun, and she was kitted out in the full hardcore buddhist robes. She looked like she was part of some ancient buddhist dynasty or something. Up until that point everyone I saw was wearing normal clothes so I was quite taken aback.

Everyone stood up and started bowing and I felt very awkward, I didn't know whether to start bowing or just remain sitting. I think I decided to stand but not bow. In the words of Riddick: "I bow to no man!" ... or woman. :)

Then there was for me what had to be lowest point - a sing-song. That's right, a sing-song! I couldn't believe it. I can't remember the lyrics, it was about the buddha or enlightenment or their leader or whatever buddists sing about. Or do they? I thought they chanted but I did not have the nerve to question this at the time. Suffice to say that I did not join in. I was starting to feel really out of my depth by this point.

Fortunately the meditation session redeemed the experience. As you'd expect, it was about sitting still and comfortable in silence, focusing on breath, then focusing on thoughts, obeserving them, not reacting to them, that kind of stuff. The teacher offered guidance at regular intervals. Then towards the end we meditated for world peace.

Afterwards it was time for a chat in the small cafe and lounge with a soya milk cup of tea. Turns out they're all vegetarians or vegans, which I guess makes sense for a buddhist. I took up a vegan diet last February so we talked a bit about that. Then it was time for me to go.

So all in all, it was an experience. There are a number of reasons that I didn't go back. This particular branch of buddhism I'm not sure about, parts of it felt a bit cultish. The idol worship didn't seem very buddhist to me. I think perhaps this type of buddhism is somewhat different from the norm? Unfortunately for me it's a long way to travel to the nearest non-kadampa buddhist centre so I have not had a chance to verify this for myself.

Phew, this post has gone on quite long enough so I'll leave it there for now! :)
 
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So all in all, it was an experience. There are a number of reasons that I didn't go back. This particular branch of buddhism I'm not sure about, parts of it felt a bit cultish.
imo it's all like that & cultish, all exoteric religion is. i went to a similar thing at a local Buddhist centre - put me off for life.
 
Unique1

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Thanks for sharing that ..found it amusing :)
I went to a Buddhist centre for the day near to where I lived. It was peaceful and relaxed I had lunch with the Buddhists, that was a very quiet experience, I love experiencing different things. The gardens were lovely and the tranquility was so nice at the time....

Unique1 xx
 
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