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Buddhism & CFS

Discussion in 'Spirituality and ME/CFS' started by starryeyes, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Bay Area, California
    I used to get a lot out of Buddhism when my CFS was mild. I could meditate and calm myself easily. Now my symptoms are way worse and the best kind of meditation for me now is the kind that takes me out of my body and away from my awareness of myself; instead of tuning into myself deeper and deeper.

    I was thinking about the Vietnamese Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh. His books used to really work for me when my CFS was mild. Now that my pain and illness symptoms are beyond belief his books no longer work for me.

    One of the things Thich says is that if you are at war with someone else you are really at war with yourself. That made sense to me and I believed it. Well this idea ended up causing me a great deal of stress because as I got worse so did my relationships with most people in my life and I was blaming myself.

    I finally started studying about abusive people and I learned a lot! I learned that when others treat me badly it's all about them especially since I've always treated them well. I've looked for information showing me that Buddhists like Thich understand this concept but I haven't found anything. His book on Anger doesn't work for me anymore for instance.

    I also learned that disabled people are the most abused people according to Abuse experts. We have a right and I think a duty to protect ourselves. You would protect your child from others if needed, right? You are just as valuable.

    I've always known all along that I should just take what works for me from any philosophy or religion but I've had to do some major paradigm shifting in order to be at peace again with the world. I do feel at peace now most of the time at least emotionally and mentally.

    I had to create strong boundaries with others in order to achieve this. Again, I found no help on this from Buddhism.

    I'd like to know what others think about this.

    Tune into your B R E A T H
  2. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes:
    4
    Bay Area, California
    I used to get a lot out of Buddhism when my CFS was mild. I could meditate and calm myself easily. Now my symptoms are way worse and the best kind of meditation for me now is the kind that takes me out of my body and away from my awareness of myself; instead of tuning into myself deeper and deeper.

    I was thinking about the Vietnamese Buddhist, Thich Nhat Hanh. His books used to really work for me when my CFS was mild. Now that my pain and illness symptoms are beyond belief his books no longer work for me.

    One of the things Thich says is that if you are at war with someone else you are really at war with yourself. That made sense to me and I believed it. Well this idea ended up causing me a great deal of stress because as I got worse so did my relationships with most people in my life and I was blaming myself.

    I finally started studying about abusive people and I learned a lot! I learned that when others treat me badly it's all about them especially since I've always treated them well. I've looked for information showing me that Buddhists like Thich understand this concept but I haven't found anything. His book on Anger doesn't work for me anymore for instance.

    I also learned that disabled people are the most abused people according to Abuse experts. We have a right and I think a duty to protect ourselves. You would protect your child from others if needed, right? You are just as valuable.

    I've always known all along that I should just take what works for me from any philosophy or religion but I've had to do some major paradigm shifting in order to be at peace again with the world. I do feel at peace now most of the time at least emotionally and mentally.

    I had to create strong boundaries with others in order to achieve this. Again, I found no help on this from Buddhism.

    I'd like to know what others think about this.

    Tune into your B R E A T H
  3. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    HiYa Teej

    It's late and I'm stupid so I will comment on just this for tonight.

    If you consider what you learned from Thich Nhat Hanh, then when other people treat you badly they are at war with themselves. You cannot possibly be to blame for their war.

    You are not responsible for their behaviour. You cannot change them. They are involved in their own battle for mastery over their thoughts and emotions.

    In fact, blame is judging. Non-judgment is one of the pillars of Buddhism no matter which branch you study. If one is blaming anyone, including oneself, one needs to go back to basics.

    But, no path works for everyone, which is why we have so many paths. I find great comfort and guidance in the Dharma. I have to work with it, I can be a stubborn character when it comes to suffering and attach myself firmly to my misery but, for me, the dharma is the way out of suffering.

    with metta to you, Teej.

    ETA I am a big believer in good boundaries but was not always good at keeping them. I would, too easily, let others transgress while being unable to firmly stop them. Dharma practice has made that quite easy for me because it has taught me that I am not responsible for other people. And, that I should endeavour to be compassionate which helps me inforce my boundaries in a loving way. It has also taught me that I protect others from strife and drama and turmoil with my good boundaries. Before, I would let them in and then fight with them. :eek:

    EagainTA

    Another basic concept is "no self". The idea is not to go deeper and deeper into a non-existent "self". There is no self and, therefore, no deeper into it. These are slippery concepts and I don't think it's necessary to get them to get it

    Perhaps another path would take you to exactly the same place. I don't think it matters how you do it.
  4. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

    Messages:
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    HiYa Teej

    It's late and I'm stupid so I will comment on just this for tonight.

    If you consider what you learned from Thich Nhat Hanh, then when other people treat you badly they are at war with themselves. You cannot possibly be to blame for their war.

    You are not responsible for their behaviour. You cannot change them. They are involved in their own battle for mastery over their thoughts and emotions.

    In fact, blame is judging. Non-judgment is one of the pillars of Buddhism no matter which branch you study. If one is blaming anyone, including oneself, one needs to go back to basics.

    But, no path works for everyone, which is why we have so many paths. I find great comfort and guidance in the Dharma. I have to work with it, I can be a stubborn character when it comes to suffering and attach myself firmly to my misery but, for me, the dharma is the way out of suffering.

    with metta to you, Teej.

    ETA I am a big believer in good boundaries but was not always good at keeping them. I would, too easily, let others transgress while being unable to firmly stop them. Dharma practice has made that quite easy for me because it has taught me that I am not responsible for other people. And, that I should endeavour to be compassionate which helps me inforce my boundaries in a loving way. It has also taught me that I protect others from strife and drama and turmoil with my good boundaries. Before, I would let them in and then fight with them. :eek:

    EagainTA

    Another basic concept is "no self". The idea is not to go deeper and deeper into a non-existent "self". There is no self and, therefore, no deeper into it. These are slippery concepts and I don't think it's necessary to get them to get it

    Perhaps another path would take you to exactly the same place. I don't think it matters how you do it.
  5. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

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    Bay Area, California
    That's brilliant Koan, thank you. I hear what you're saying and I agree. I started making realizations as I was reading your post. It's true, I'm not responsible for how others choose to conduct themselves. I'm actually very good at sticking to Boundaries I set but that guilt factor comes up sometimes. Reading your post helps me realize that I have nothing to feel guilty about.

    Can you post a source you use to learn about Dharma practice?

    Oh and what you said about meditation reminds me.. one of my favorite meditations now is meditating on how I am not my body. This is very liberating when your body is turning against you.
  6. starryeyes

    starryeyes Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,513
    Likes:
    4
    Bay Area, California
    That's brilliant Koan, thank you. I hear what you're saying and I agree. I started making realizations as I was reading your post. It's true, I'm not responsible for how others choose to conduct themselves. I'm actually very good at sticking to Boundaries I set but that guilt factor comes up sometimes. Reading your post helps me realize that I have nothing to feel guilty about.

    Can you post a source you use to learn about Dharma practice?

    Oh and what you said about meditation reminds me.. one of my favorite meditations now is meditating on how I am not my body. This is very liberating when your body is turning against you.
  7. Dr. Yes

    Dr. Yes Shame on You

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    Sorry for the essay...

    It's awesome to see other ME/CFS sufferers discussing applications of Buddhism!

    I was raised by a Hindu mother and a Jain father (Jainism is a religion that predates Buddhism, though has many similarities to it). I did not become attracted to Buddhism until a few years into my illness. Until then, I had found the whole "All life is suffering" approach as too depressing; I guess I hadn't suffered enough! Once I really dug into Buddhist philosophy, I began to understand that teaching as being very similar to Hindu and Jain philosophy, but tilting towards a more aggressively ethical axis as well as the familiar metaphysical one. I continued to find Buddhist teachings (mostly Hinayana and early Mahayana) alternatively exhilirating, comforting, and (still) depressing! But the longer I have been sick (and oddly, the more depressed I have been in general), the more it appeals and makes sense to me.

    I would have written the same response about anger and abusive people that Koan did (but she wrote it better!). I went through the same process, though. Recently I took a good helping of unwarranted abuse from my brother (who has never believed in CFS and has his own issues) and didn't know how to respond... I wanted to curse him out but had no energy, and that exhaustion actually gave me the chance to think about his actions more calmly and objectively, and I realized that he was angry at me or at something else for some other reason and "transferring", as they say; for once I didn't just fume about it and deliberately tried to use a Buddhist approach of non-judging and returning anger with understanding. I wrote him an email explaining ME/CFS in a less adversarial way and thanking him for his help (well, he thinks he has, so why not?) and for caring, but I also explained my position gently and invited him to talk to me about anything that's on his mind on this issue or any other. I worried afterwards that he might blow another fuse, but so far he hasn't mentioned it since, so I don't know what he thought of it, but oddly it seemed to remove all of my anger about the whole incident -- never happened before! Personal gain may not be what Buddha had in mind, but I do think part of the wisdom of the approach is for one's own emotional stability.

    Before I got sick I used to meditate easily and think deeply, but within months of getting sick I could no longer do so due to the cognitive strain. Later it grew worse, and like you said teejkay, I now find it impossible to be self-aware in meditation, or even breathing exercises...The only way I can relax is (sometimes) with guided relaxation that takes you away from yourself. Lately I have been able to (briefly) concentrate on important matters by focusing on a "centered" point that I developed (luckily!) out of necessity in the midst of all the recent upheaval in my life, probably with a little help from a memory of the sensation of calm from those relaxation techniques.

    Anyway, sorry to write so much, but you guys were talking about stuff that is very important to me and that I haven't been able to even explain to anyone else since my father passed away. Thank you both. I've been fascinated by all world religions and philosophy and particularly Eastern ones since I was a kid, and they've had a very formative impact on me. When the cognitive problems from ME/CFS became too strong, I thought I had lost the 'spiritual' side of me entirely, and that was perhaps the most terrible effect of the whole illness. I still struggle with it, finding it hard to think anything but superficial thoughts, and rarely find a connection to what my father would call the "third eye" (well, he called it something else, but I can't spell it!).

    (Actually, the one other person I did explain this sort of stuff to was a former physician of the Dalai Lama's...my father somehow met him and he offered to come to our home and treat me! Unfortunately the Tibetan medicine course didn't help..)

    Koan, I'm assuming you are a Buddhist yourself? As I said, I am just beginning to learn about the teachings of the different sects of Buddhism, so I'd be very interested to hear anything you might want to say on the subject.

    Teejkay, I totally identify with what you said, incl. about having to paradigm-shift just to deal with the illness. It seems facile, doesn't it? Like you're just striving for something that can make sense of your situation and give you the strength to bear it, rather than evaluating the philosophy on its own merits. But in a way I guess that's what everyone does at some point in their lives, whether due to illness or not. I suppose it's what motivated Buddha (when he was a prince) in the first place. Btw, have you ever read Taoist writings? i.e. Tao Te Ching and its interpretations by Lao Tzu's disciples... I sometimes find those helpful....and sometimes sections of the Upanishads or the Gita.

    Or even kids' cartoons..I'll take guidance wherever I can get it these days!;)
  8. Dr. Yes

    Dr. Yes Shame on You

    Messages:
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    Likes:
    22
    Sorry for the essay...

    It's awesome to see other ME/CFS sufferers discussing applications of Buddhism!

    I was raised by a Hindu mother and a Jain father (Jainism is a religion that predates Buddhism, though has many similarities to it). I did not become attracted to Buddhism until a few years into my illness. Until then, I had found the whole "All life is suffering" approach as too depressing; I guess I hadn't suffered enough! Once I really dug into Buddhist philosophy, I began to understand that teaching as being very similar to Hindu and Jain philosophy, but tilting towards a more aggressively ethical axis as well as the familiar metaphysical one. I continued to find Buddhist teachings (mostly Hinayana and early Mahayana) alternatively exhilirating, comforting, and (still) depressing! But the longer I have been sick (and oddly, the more depressed I have been in general), the more it appeals and makes sense to me.

    I would have written the same response about anger and abusive people that Koan did (but she wrote it better!). I went through the same process, though. Recently I took a good helping of unwarranted abuse from my brother (who has never believed in CFS and has his own issues) and didn't know how to respond... I wanted to curse him out but had no energy, and that exhaustion actually gave me the chance to think about his actions more calmly and objectively, and I realized that he was angry at me or at something else for some other reason and "transferring", as they say; for once I didn't just fume about it and deliberately tried to use a Buddhist approach of non-judging and returning anger with understanding. I wrote him an email explaining ME/CFS in a less adversarial way and thanking him for his help (well, he thinks he has, so why not?) and for caring, but I also explained my position gently and invited him to talk to me about anything that's on his mind on this issue or any other. I worried afterwards that he might blow another fuse, but so far he hasn't mentioned it since, so I don't know what he thought of it, but oddly it seemed to remove all of my anger about the whole incident -- never happened before! Personal gain may not be what Buddha had in mind, but I do think part of the wisdom of the approach is for one's own emotional stability.

    Before I got sick I used to meditate easily and think deeply, but within months of getting sick I could no longer do so due to the cognitive strain. Later it grew worse, and like you said teejkay, I now find it impossible to be self-aware in meditation, or even breathing exercises...The only way I can relax is (sometimes) with guided relaxation that takes you away from yourself. Lately I have been able to (briefly) concentrate on important matters by focusing on a "centered" point that I developed (luckily!) out of necessity in the midst of all the recent upheaval in my life, probably with a little help from a memory of the sensation of calm from those relaxation techniques.

    Anyway, sorry to write so much, but you guys were talking about stuff that is very important to me and that I haven't been able to even explain to anyone else since my father passed away. Thank you both. I've been fascinated by all world religions and philosophy and particularly Eastern ones since I was a kid, and they've had a very formative impact on me. When the cognitive problems from ME/CFS became too strong, I thought I had lost the 'spiritual' side of me entirely, and that was perhaps the most terrible effect of the whole illness. I still struggle with it, finding it hard to think anything but superficial thoughts, and rarely find a connection to what my father would call the "third eye" (well, he called it something else, but I can't spell it!).

    (Actually, the one other person I did explain this sort of stuff to was a former physician of the Dalai Lama's...my father somehow met him and he offered to come to our home and treat me! Unfortunately the Tibetan medicine course didn't help..)

    Koan, I'm assuming you are a Buddhist yourself? As I said, I am just beginning to learn about the teachings of the different sects of Buddhism, so I'd be very interested to hear anything you might want to say on the subject.

    Teejkay, I totally identify with what you said, incl. about having to paradigm-shift just to deal with the illness. It seems facile, doesn't it? Like you're just striving for something that can make sense of your situation and give you the strength to bear it, rather than evaluating the philosophy on its own merits. But in a way I guess that's what everyone does at some point in their lives, whether due to illness or not. I suppose it's what motivated Buddha (when he was a prince) in the first place. Btw, have you ever read Taoist writings? i.e. Tao Te Ching and its interpretations by Lao Tzu's disciples... I sometimes find those helpful....and sometimes sections of the Upanishads or the Gita.

    Or even kids' cartoons..I'll take guidance wherever I can get it these days!;)
  9. Dr. Yes

    Dr. Yes Shame on You

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    And on and on...

    One other thing in response to your post, teejkay,

    I've also had to build some degree of boundaries between myself and (mainly) my family, or even within myself, in order to maintain some degree of inner equilibrium, or in order to accomodate helpful paradigms of thought. But for me that's because of the anger at people due to situations created ultimately by the disease (e.g. how they have reacted to it) and especially because of the general turmoil - emotional. physical, cognitive - produced by this disease. I think those boundaries are temporary but, for now, necessary, because there's only so much cognitive energy I can expend trying to "fix" things in a deeper way, or a more satisfying way (or in a way that reflects a freely-investigated philosophy rather than a practical one).

    One of the first Hindu teachings I read after getting sick was by a famous yogi who said that one should neither expect nor even attempt to attain a higher state of wisdom or deeper understanding of self through yogic meditation if (1) the body is not healthy, or (2) for that reason or others, the emotions are in unusual turmoil. He (and others, as this is a basic yogic teaching) said that the first goal for people in those situations would be to seek healing (through Ayurved, in his case) and to use yoga/meditation only to heal and strengthen the body. "The body must first be a strong vessel in order to hold the spiritual energy released by yoga and contemplation", or words close to that. So as frustrating as it is, perhaps it makes very good sense that if we are sick we cannot meditate easily, or at all, and cannot seem to direct our own inner selves without great difficulty, and instead we have to focus on the healing aspects until our inner stamina increases. Don't know if this was interesting or makes no sense at all...it's 8 AM here and I haven't slept all night! Sorry again for all the text, especially if turns out to be brain-fogged garbage..!
  10. Dr. Yes

    Dr. Yes Shame on You

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    And on and on...

    One other thing in response to your post, teejkay,

    I've also had to build some degree of boundaries between myself and (mainly) my family, or even within myself, in order to maintain some degree of inner equilibrium, or in order to accomodate helpful paradigms of thought. But for me that's because of the anger at people due to situations created ultimately by the disease (e.g. how they have reacted to it) and especially because of the general turmoil - emotional. physical, cognitive - produced by this disease. I think those boundaries are temporary but, for now, necessary, because there's only so much cognitive energy I can expend trying to "fix" things in a deeper way, or a more satisfying way (or in a way that reflects a freely-investigated philosophy rather than a practical one).

    One of the first Hindu teachings I read after getting sick was by a famous yogi who said that one should neither expect nor even attempt to attain a higher state of wisdom or deeper understanding of self through yogic meditation if (1) the body is not healthy, or (2) for that reason or others, the emotions are in unusual turmoil. He (and others, as this is a basic yogic teaching) said that the first goal for people in those situations would be to seek healing (through Ayurved, in his case) and to use yoga/meditation only to heal and strengthen the body. "The body must first be a strong vessel in order to hold the spiritual energy released by yoga and contemplation", or words close to that. So as frustrating as it is, perhaps it makes very good sense that if we are sick we cannot meditate easily, or at all, and cannot seem to direct our own inner selves without great difficulty, and instead we have to focus on the healing aspects until our inner stamina increases. Don't know if this was interesting or makes no sense at all...it's 8 AM here and I haven't slept all night! Sorry again for all the text, especially if turns out to be brain-fogged garbage..!
  11. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

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    Olympic Peninsula, Washington
    Yay, I'm very happy to see this thread. I really have enjoyed everyone's contributions but I am too tired to note but a few :).

    Hi Koan, I found this paragraph to be something I really needed to "hear" the moment I read it; would you be so good as to tell me where there is practice or readings about this subject?

    Dr. Yes, I appreciate you sharing your story about your brother--I think I will consider some of my own family interactions from that viewpoint.

    This made me think of Roz Chast! I have her book Theories of Everything and it's one of my prized possessions. She usually has a cartoon in each week's New Yorker. Here's a link to one to give you an idea: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/images/roz_chast_2.jpg

    I think this sounds quite brilliant (definitely not brain-fogged garbage!). There's a meditation program/book I've practiced since before graduating from college, and the "teacher" has a similar notion about not trying to achieve something else and not expecting something else and to be very careful when you find yourself thinking you're now somewhere else. I've been up all night too and it's 5 AM here (so here's to hoping for some good rest for the both of us!).
  12. zoe.a.m.

    zoe.a.m. Senior Member

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    Olympic Peninsula, Washington
    Yay, I'm very happy to see this thread. I really have enjoyed everyone's contributions but I am too tired to note but a few :).

    Hi Koan, I found this paragraph to be something I really needed to "hear" the moment I read it; would you be so good as to tell me where there is practice or readings about this subject?

    Dr. Yes, I appreciate you sharing your story about your brother--I think I will consider some of my own family interactions from that viewpoint.

    This made me think of Roz Chast! I have her book Theories of Everything and it's one of my prized possessions. She usually has a cartoon in each week's New Yorker. Here's a link to one to give you an idea: http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/images/roz_chast_2.jpg

    I think this sounds quite brilliant (definitely not brain-fogged garbage!). There's a meditation program/book I've practiced since before graduating from college, and the "teacher" has a similar notion about not trying to achieve something else and not expecting something else and to be very careful when you find yourself thinking you're now somewhere else. I've been up all night too and it's 5 AM here (so here's to hoping for some good rest for the both of us!).
  13. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

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    Santa Rosa, CA
    too big for words

    Yes, yes, yes to this discussion.

    Thank you Teejkay for starting it. And thank you Koan, Dr. Yes and Zoe a.m. for your contributions. I feel my heart expanding and my spirit settling and my soul soaring in response to these thoughts. It's too big for words right now, so I'll just say yes.
  14. gracenote

    gracenote All shall be well . . .

    Messages:
    1,508
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    Santa Rosa, CA
    too big for words

    Yes, yes, yes to this discussion.

    Thank you Teejkay for starting it. And thank you Koan, Dr. Yes and Zoe a.m. for your contributions. I feel my heart expanding and my spirit settling and my soul soaring in response to these thoughts. It's too big for words right now, so I'll just say yes.
  15. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Yes, here too!

    ~Namaste~
  16. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Yes, here too!

    ~Namaste~
  17. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Zoe, Your Roz Chast (whom I adore) link: "At the Corner of Irate and Insane"...

    too funny! too true! Wonderfully depicted!

    hahahahaha

    merry but still stoopid
  18. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Zoe, Your Roz Chast (whom I adore) link: "At the Corner of Irate and Insane"...

    too funny! too true! Wonderfully depicted!

    hahahahaha

    merry but still stoopid
  19. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Dr Yes and Teej,

    Thank you for this thread! I have a feeling it's going to be extremely helpful!

    I know you know, but the Buddha was motivated to crack suffering because he suffered. He only set out to figure it out because he couldn't cope.

    We don't really have words appropriate to translate what he said about Dukkha so we say, "life is suffering" but that's not exactly what he said. What he said is almost more accurately translated as "shit happens".

    At the Buddha's birth the wise guys in attendance predicted he would either be a great spiritual leader or a great political leader. His dad, a rich and powerful leader of men, did not want his son to become some hippie-dippie spiritual loser so he decided the best way to control the kid's destiny was to keep him inside the palace all the time where he could have anything his heart desired and feel not a moments concern for anyone or anything.

    But, Sidhartha Gautama was a typical young guy (for someone poised on the very precipice of enlightenment which may not really be all that typical of a young guy) and he rebelled and snuck out of the house to go hang out at the mall. As he moved about the world outside the palace Sidhartha saw things that disturbed him greatly.

    He saw someone who was old and, having never seen the effects of age before, he was upset by the infirmity of age. He asked his buddy, Channa, what the deal was and Channa told him that was old age and that everyone got old eventually. Then he saw someone who was very sick and that freaked him out even more. You can imagine how alarmed he was when Channa told him that everyone gets sick. Then, he saw a dead body and that just about did him in.

    Poor Sidhartha was plunged into an existential crisis of epic proportions. And, Sidhartha's poor old dad had actually set him up for his destiny as a holy man by creating a situation where he was completely ill prepared to cope with the realities of life. Sidhartha had no tools to deal with how hard it all was and the suffering was more than he felt he could bear. He simply had to figure out how we could possible deal with the terrible suffering inherent in every single life because, in every single life, shit happened!

    So, he set out to figure out the nature of suffering, its causes and how we could minimize suffering in order to live life awake and in a way which was beneficial to all other sentient beings.

    I find those who have suffered, who have been unable to deal and then learned how, to be the greatest teachers and Lord Buddha traveled that path. The idea that it is possible to go from unable to cope to enlightenment is very appealing, don't you think? I do.

    Well, I done wore myself right out and Buddha hasn't even started all the things he did that didn't work. Why I set off to tell the story of Buddha is beyond me. Do you think my Jewish kids will mind when I tell their kids the story of Buddha at bedtime? It is a ripping yarn, after all.

    I love Gautama Buddha.

    I have no idea what I'm going on about or if I ever had a point but I have been typing far too long to erase. :eek:

    I hope everyone is feeling indulgent today :eek:

    thanks
    :eek:
  20. Koan

    Koan Be the change.

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    Dr Yes and Teej,

    Thank you for this thread! I have a feeling it's going to be extremely helpful!

    I know you know, but the Buddha was motivated to crack suffering because he suffered. He only set out to figure it out because he couldn't cope.

    We don't really have words appropriate to translate what he said about Dukkha so we say, "life is suffering" but that's not exactly what he said. What he said is almost more accurately translated as "shit happens".

    At the Buddha's birth the wise guys in attendance predicted he would either be a great spiritual leader or a great political leader. His dad, a rich and powerful leader of men, did not want his son to become some hippie-dippie spiritual loser so he decided the best way to control the kid's destiny was to keep him inside the palace all the time where he could have anything his heart desired and feel not a moments concern for anyone or anything.

    But, Sidhartha Gautama was a typical young guy (for someone poised on the very precipice of enlightenment which may not really be all that typical of a young guy) and he rebelled and snuck out of the house to go hang out at the mall. As he moved about the world outside the palace Sidhartha saw things that disturbed him greatly.

    He saw someone who was old and, having never seen the effects of age before, he was upset by the infirmity of age. He asked his buddy, Channa, what the deal was and Channa told him that was old age and that everyone got old eventually. Then he saw someone who was very sick and that freaked him out even more. You can imagine how alarmed he was when Channa told him that everyone gets sick. Then, he saw a dead body and that just about did him in.

    Poor Sidhartha was plunged into an existential crisis of epic proportions. And, Sidhartha's poor old dad had actually set him up for his destiny as a holy man by creating a situation where he was completely ill prepared to cope with the realities of life. Sidhartha had no tools to deal with how hard it all was and the suffering was more than he felt he could bear. He simply had to figure out how we could possible deal with the terrible suffering inherent in every single life because, in every single life, shit happened!

    So, he set out to figure out the nature of suffering, its causes and how we could minimize suffering in order to live life awake and in a way which was beneficial to all other sentient beings.

    I find those who have suffered, who have been unable to deal and then learned how, to be the greatest teachers and Lord Buddha traveled that path. The idea that it is possible to go from unable to cope to enlightenment is very appealing, don't you think? I do.

    Well, I done wore myself right out and Buddha hasn't even started all the things he did that didn't work. Why I set off to tell the story of Buddha is beyond me. Do you think my Jewish kids will mind when I tell their kids the story of Buddha at bedtime? It is a ripping yarn, after all.

    I love Gautama Buddha.

    I have no idea what I'm going on about or if I ever had a point but I have been typing far too long to erase. :eek:

    I hope everyone is feeling indulgent today :eek:

    thanks
    :eek:

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