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Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 3/31/20 11:54 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Zachary 3/31/20 12:26 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/4/20 12:22 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jim Smith 4/4/20 2:11 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jo Jo 4/4/20 6:53 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/5/20 12:09 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jo Jo 4/15/20 3:59 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/5/20 6:12 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 12:08 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/12/20 8:51 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 1:18 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/12/20 2:50 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 4:01 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/12/20 6:11 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Papa Che Dusko 4/5/20 10:12 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/11/20 11:35 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Ben V. 3/31/20 2:10 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/4/20 12:36 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jim Smith 4/4/20 6:14 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/5/20 12:02 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jim Smith 4/5/20 1:06 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Brian 4/4/20 5:31 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment T 4/4/20 6:05 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/4/20 6:13 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Nick Lande 3/31/20 3:10 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment A. DIetrich Ringle 3/31/20 4:34 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Stirling Campbell 3/31/20 6:22 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jim Smith 4/1/20 6:10 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/1/20 6:25 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/5/20 9:04 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/5/20 9:06 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/1/20 7:14 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jim Smith 4/1/20 10:49 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Jim Smith 4/2/20 12:54 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment BrunoA 4/2/20 7:55 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/4/20 6:56 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/5/20 12:03 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/5/20 5:34 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment T 4/5/20 5:07 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/5/20 5:38 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/5/20 6:03 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Not two, not one 4/6/20 2:27 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/7/20 4:51 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Ni Nurta 4/6/20 3:52 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/7/20 3:37 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/11/20 7:38 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/11/20 11:56 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 3:35 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/14/20 12:24 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/11/20 11:54 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/11/20 11:55 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 1:45 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 2:42 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment T 4/12/20 6:10 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 11:52 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment T 4/12/20 8:11 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 7:27 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 8:05 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 8:28 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 1:16 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 2:42 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 8:20 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 8:46 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 8:57 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 9:02 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 9:04 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 9:25 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 9:40 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 9:55 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 10:11 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Papa Che Dusko 4/12/20 10:39 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 10:58 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 11:04 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Papa Che Dusko 4/12/20 11:54 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 11:56 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment T 4/12/20 7:58 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 9:46 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 10:10 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 10:33 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 10:58 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 11:01 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 10:37 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 10:44 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment agnostic 4/12/20 10:37 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 11:59 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 12:01 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 12:19 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 12:24 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 4/12/20 12:30 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 1:42 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 1:59 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/12/20 3:58 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/12/20 5:07 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/13/20 2:13 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/12/20 10:02 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/12/20 1:00 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Papa Che Dusko 4/12/20 1:26 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment spatial 4/12/20 8:07 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/13/20 3:16 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment nintheye 4/13/20 6:52 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Mathew Poskus 4/14/20 11:21 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/15/20 2:49 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Emily 4/16/20 2:22 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/16/20 2:27 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/26/20 5:39 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 4/27/20 1:33 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 4/27/20 1:56 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 5/8/20 5:55 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 5/10/20 6:12 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 6/22/20 1:18 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 6/22/20 2:35 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Ni Nurta 6/22/20 3:43 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 6/22/20 6:21 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Ni Nurta 6/22/20 9:27 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Handsome Monkey King 6/22/20 7:06 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 7/14/20 7:43 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 6/22/20 8:40 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Ni Nurta 7/14/20 8:12 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 7/14/20 8:31 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Ni Nurta 7/14/20 8:51 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment terry 6/22/20 9:02 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 7/17/20 8:25 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Chris Marti 7/17/20 12:26 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Olivier 7/17/20 3:22 PM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Tim Farrington 7/20/20 9:51 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment fabrice tom 7/21/20 10:50 AM
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment Matthew R Judd 7/22/20 5:16 AM
Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
3/31/20 11:54 AM
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
3/31/20 12:26 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Continue to be aware of your doubts, uncertainty, hopelessness and despair regarding enlightenment, practice, life, etc. You don't need to do much at this point but do your best to continue with consistent daily practice, very lightly noticing how all of these crappy thoughts, sensations and emotions keep arising and passing away, are not "you" and are kind of irritating. 

This difficult stuff provides a lot of "grist for the mill" and opportunity for progress and growth in practice.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
3/31/20 2:10 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
I do have some of those feelings sometimes. In the Satipatthana sutta these are called un-worldly unpleasant feelings, which refer to feeling disappointed at one's lack of progress. Now of course, the sutta instructs to observe those feelings rise and fall.

One thing I find lovely about the practice, especially once equanimity begins to include all or most phenomena (therefore including the phenomena of "I don't believe in enlightenment anymore") is that it teaches you that whenever you observe anything with dispassion/non-identification, you discover a space of peace here and now. Whether enlightenment is real or not, you can ceretanly discover this truth here and now. Just this makes it clear that this practice is going in the direction of release from unnecessary inner tension.

Ehipassiko the Buddha said, to be experienced in the here and now.

From what you are writing, we could strongly suspect that a strong identification has occured with the doubts. What happens when there is identification with it? How does you body react to this identification? What does it do to the mind in the here and now when you strongly identify with doubt? 

And if you observe the doubts without identification, what then? What's the effect in your body and mind?

Concerning a part of your third question (why would anyone want awakening) it may be even more helpful that you ask yourself that question. Why would you want awakening? What has been your motivation? What had been pushing you in the first place to strive for it? Could it be part of what's causing the dukkha? It's inevitable that the egoic mind gets involved in that motivation. The problem is when this is not seen.

For me, at this point, the reason why I want to be awakened is because I want to have the increasing ability to see thoughts as thoughts, feelings as feelings, transient, not-self. It's very liberating. 

One thing that have been motivating for me along the way is occasionally reading contemporary accounts of awakening. But maybe that's just me and won't work for another.

Best wishes on your journey.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
3/31/20 3:10 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
I occasiaonally have some of those doubts myself for I'm far from being enlightened yet and I often think that my mind is too dull to get really concentrated or to penetrate the illusions it creates. But you know what? Who cares! At such moment I just tell myself that I shouldn't worry too much about the final goals of my practise as long as I know that I'm at least trying to add some extra bit of mindfulness, loving-kindness and other good qualities that buddhism is all about into my life. 

I really liked how Ben V. put it: you can always come back to the now, at least to some degree, and enjoy just being as you are: walking, breathing, thinking stuff, even doubting yourself. Maybe I'll never reach enlightenment or even jhanas, but I'll do my best to cultivate some positive mental factors if we are to use the buddhist terminology. 

I also have just realized another thing: sometimes when I doubt my practice, I also notice that I doubt buddhism per se, that all the techniques and especially theory described in numerous sutras, Abhidhamma matrices, commentaries and poems can really lead ANYONE to an enlighteed state of mind  in a somewhat short time. But I've never doubted most of the ideals of those sources or denied the importance of positive mental states. So sometimes when I feel some doubt about my practice I would say to myself that hey, you're trying to develop something positive here. It doesn't matter much if the techniques you're using come from Theravada, or Vajrayana, or Hinduism or Daniels Ingram's books. I remember Jack Kornfield once said in his book something like "it doesn't matter which path you go, as long as this is a path with heart".

So maybe it would be beneficial for you to stay focused on those parts of your practice that really make you feel like you're doing something good to help yourself and others. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
3/31/20 4:34 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Enjoy what you can, when you can, with whom you can? I would add that you let you be you. A hard thing to do when you have so many people who have gone before, and presumably will come after.

Are you up for an April Fool's Day joke? Try to dig in and find something funny.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
3/31/20 6:22 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
What you say here:
1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.


...is a thought process I came across many times. In the tradition I have done most of my practicing in, Dzogchen, we are commonly encourage not to think in terms of progress or grasping at any end result. This served me well. The equation for me in any moment where I carried doubt about my pursuit was:

"Does this practice improve my life TODAY?".

"Am I less reactive and kinder... less worried... more calm... generally happier?"


When your practice is solid, I urge you to answer these questions for yourself. Further, I would drop the need to have any faith except where it is EARNED. If you find questions like these earn your trust that something is happening, concentrate on that when doubt arises.

Your hope (or grasping) to a belief in enlightenment, especially when you don't know precisely what that is, is an impediment. All grasping is an impediment. 

The irony about wanting to give up your meditation is that, when you sit in meditation, as Robert Thurman once said, you are "actualizing enlightenment". When the mind is quiet and spacious, in Rigpa/Shikantaza/Open Awareness, you ARE enlightened... it is only the insight that is missing. This is true in all moments... in all experiencing.

“Here it is--right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it.” - Huang Po


I hope some of this is helpful.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/1/20 6:10 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.


Did you ever hear that some people get enlightenment gradually instead of suddenly, and sometimes it is so gradual that they don't even know they have become enlightened?

Shenzen Young and others have said that it happens.
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/15808951#_19_message_15808951

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18666987#_19_message_18666987

To me this means that enlightenment is not like a series of steps - it is like a ramp where any level is possible.

It is like equinimity - some people have little equinimity, some people have more, some people have a lot. And you can increase your level of equinimity gradually by meditating regularly.  If people can beome enlightened so gradually they don't notice it, then enlightenment must be like that too. Everybody has some level of enlightenment. Some people have little enlightenment, some people have more, and some people have a lot. And you can increase your level of enlightenment by meditating regularly .

So my advice is to try a kind of meditation that will reduce your suffering today (not sometime in the future maybe) and over the long term can increase your level of enligthenment (compassion, good will, equinimity, and unselfishness).

Stop worrying about that first step to get enlightenment. You are right it is a load of crap. It was invented to keep the monks organized. It is of no use the the average person. 

Everybody including you already has some level of enlightenment. If you want, you can increase  your level of enlightenment as much as you want by practicing meditaiton and mindfluness.  Watch the activity in your mind and study the origination and cessation of dukkha.

Don't waste time expecting the earth to shake and the heavens to open and Buddha to jump down and shake your hand and congradulate you for becoming awakened. It doesn't necessarily happen like that. It sells books and retreats and makes money and gains followers for them, but it is not much help to us.

Metta.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/1/20 6:25 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King -- with a handle like that how can you be down about anything?  emoticon

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/1/20 7:14 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.
If you can actually pull off the move of letting go of any practice oriented toward enlightenment, however conceived . . .  then good for you, and vaya con dios, and all best wishes. It seems sad that the handsome monkeys are going to be without a king, but that's transience and dukha for you. I think a huge number of us on DhO have felt exactly the same way, and often, and recurrently, and even at times relentlessly and sort of unbearably (3rd vipassana jhana, Knowledge of Dukha, anyone?). I actually feel this way almost all the time, that the very notion enlightenment in any form I've been able to conveive of it makes more suffering than it could possibly be worth. I have found that the first noble truth still holds, though: samsara is dukha. And I'm fucked. Fucked if I do nothing, and fucked if I do something, and clueless about what to do and why, in any way that seems meaningful. One of John of the Cross's criteria for the genuineness of a dark night, as opposed to what they then called "bad humors," melancholia, what we would think of as depression, was whether the person wanted to do anything else. If so, they should by all means get the hell out of dark night city and go do it. In a real dark night, you feel like God has put you in hell's fire and there is no vision whatever of a way out, without union with God, i.e., loosely translated here, enlightenment. But union with God, enlightenment, is just meaningless noise and empty bullshit, at that/this point. Unfortunately, in a real dark night, you can't think of anything else to do anyway. I don't even think, in your context, that it would mean that you were "just depressed." But this is a perfect moment to see if there actually is something you would rather do with your time, if you let go of this enlightenment shit. I suspect that you are fucked, though, if only because you asked for someone else who's felt this way to see if there were some words of wisdom to be offered. i don't have those words, because i'm as fucked as you are, and more so, all dressed up in the wrong costume, and nowhere else to go. Maybe someone else will be able to offer you actual wisdom (i will monitor this thread closely, lol). God bless you, my friend (lol again: for what any blessing is worth, in the absence of meaningful enlightenment.) But seriously, God bless you.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/1/20 10:49 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

You say you don't understand why you would want enlightenment.

Can you at least say what you thought it would do for you?

Did you think you would have a mystical experience and would see the world in a different way that would change everything? Did you think you would experience non-duality? 

Did you want enlightenment as an achievement to please your ego?

Did you think life was too difficult and you wanted to end suffering?

I don't mean for you to reply with an answer to these questions - you are the only one who needs to know the answers.

In my opinion, if you want to increase  your equanimity (reduce suffering), compassion, good will and decrease your ego, you can accomplish that by a regular meditation practice. The experience of many people would support that.

If that is what you want, you can get it from meditation and mindfulness.

Didn't you notice any of that going on over the last 6-7 years? If not, you might want to try a different style of meditation.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/2/20 12:54 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
If your goal is enlightenment and you are expecting the BIG CHANGE to herald your awakening, then you wonder, "What do I have to do to get it? Go on a retreat? Read a book?

If you learn that people can get enlightened without knowing it, that you can be enlightened without experiencing the BIG CHANGE, then it makes sense that everyone already has some level of enlightenment and the purpose of practice is to gradually increase your level of enlightenment. You are not waiting for the BIG CHANGE, when you experience unplesant emotions (dukkha) you do not think you need to go on a retreat or buy a book. Instead you watch your own mind during sitting meditation and during daily life. When you experience unpleasant emotions you wonder, Why am I not more compassionate? Why do I not have more good will? Why do I not have more equanimity? Why is my ego so troublesome? You examine the origination of dukkha. You observe the emotions in your mind and body and observe when they go away. You observe the cessation of dukkha.

When you are waiting for the BIG CHANGE, that is the focus of your obsession. It is distracting you from practicing correctly. And the BIG CHANGE is not what most people think. After the BIG CHANGE you still have emotions, what is different is that "they don't stick in your mind" or "you don't overreact" or "it is the aggregates that have the emotions". This is just what it is like for people who have a regular meditation practice for many years without a BIG CHANGE. You still have unpleasant emotions after the BIG CHANGE and you still have to practice if you want to experience the end of suffering. If you have the BIG CHANGE or not, you still have to keep practicing and observe the origination and cessation of dukkha.

When you understand the BIG CHANGE is not the only way to enlightenment, that it is not necessary, but is promulgated because it sells books and retreats and gains followers, then you can practice correctly: Just watch your mind and observe the origination and cessation of dukkha and you will gradually increase your level of enlightenment, your compassion, equanimity, and good will will increase and your ego will become less troublesome.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/2/20 7:55 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

I can add you several stuff, maybe some things more useful than others...

First... 

I had a shitty dark night and 'rolled up my mat' for a few years, distancing myself from spiritual stuff. It was very nice and I needed it... so if you feel you need a rest, sometimes there's no better antidote. The mind gets overwhelmed of spiritual concepts that do more harm than cure. Eventually I recognized I continued to have this natural inclination and curiosity and I retook my investigations, but with other scope and less turmoil.

Second...

Yes, hope and enlightenment should be seen for what they are.

Hope = Thoughts + Ill will

You are experiencing thoughts about getting your life fixed by another thought of enlightenment (notice the opportunities to investigate 3C here)... and there is a time in which it has to be seen as it is.

The hope/expectatoins for enlightenment have to go, sooner or later. This is the fuel of the seekers, and IMHO insight requires you at some point to recognize that the seeker is a thought process: it's no-self, impermanent and unsatisfactory.

Notice how enlightenment has become the new carrot... We don't want to suffer unnecesarily, that's why learn about enlightenment... but the idea of enlightenment is VERY-VERY GOOD for getting you in 'craving' & 'ill will'.

So... it's not useful anymore... drop enlightenment. It's not needed. It's just bullshit. May sound counterintuitive, but the motivation for the abstract idea of enlightenment was just a boat, and at some point the boat has to be left, even if it's painful because you loved it and you felt safe in it.

What remains as truth when even enlightenment is seen as an empty thought?

As a sidenote...

There's an interesting book that speaks about 'dropping hope' by Pema Chodron, called 'When things fall apart'. It's not exactly about your context / mind state, but the subject of dropping hope is always useful. I recommend it)

Take care and do what you feel best, it's just ok.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 12:22 AM as a reply to Zachary.
But why would I practice? That's the point of my post.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 12:36 AM as a reply to Ben V..
I was practicing up to this point becaue I thought that practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering. Now I doubt that that shift will ever happen. Teachers like Ken Wilber explicitly say that practicing doesn't improve your life, and most Buddhist teachers throughout history have tought a conception of enlightenment that only makes sense if you believe in rebirth. 

I'll probably do a week long retreat when COVID is over to see if anything happens and then if nothing does I'll only practice shamata for short periods to manage stress.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 2:11 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
But why would I practice? That's the point of my post.

The reason for practicing depends on the person.

I practice because the way I meditate reduces suffering right away, starting with the first meditation session. It helps releive stress and helps me let go of unpleasant emotions. It makes me feel tranquil and it elevates my mood. When I practice I am happier and I worry less.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 6:14 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I was practicing up to this point becaue I thought that practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering. Now I doubt that that shift will ever happen. Teachers like Ken Wilber explicitly say that practicing doesn't improve your life, and most Buddhist teachers throughout history have tought a conception of enlightenment that only makes sense if you believe in rebirth. 


As I mentioned above some teachers like Shinzen Young (and others) say you can become enlightened without a noticeable shift.

Anyone who says practicing doesn't improve your life is not speaking for all forms or practice (see my previous post).

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 5:31 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
They say it's better to dig one 100' well than ten 10' wells, but if you've been diligent with one method for that long and it's not delivering relief, please try a different method. I've put considerable time into two distinct methods, and one worked much better for me for whatever unknowable reasons: Ven. Vimalaramsi's "6R" method (as taught in the book The Path to Nibbana). I have extremely strong wholesome ecstatic experiences when I sit every day, and physically feel different when I go out for the day. Joy always seems extremely close. I practically just have to remind myself to look for it, and it starts flowing. I'm having new experiences every day.

Whatever you do, please keep practicing or at least experimenting, and don't worry about enlightenment. Supposedly it's somewhere way down a road, but for now we just need to keep moving in the right direction.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 6:05 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
I don't have anything here. I really don't know anything, either. I will just offer that after meditating for quite a while...

My life is exactly the same as it was before I started practicing, but I view it dramatically different, which actually changes the life somewhat for those around me. I don't know about this phenomenological shift, exactly...but my mind processes a lot of suffering very differently than it used to. The suffering then isn't necessarily suffering in the same way. Calling it that is a bit of a misnomer. Unpleasant things still occur regularly, just as before. Pleasant and in the middle things happen most often. Viewing them differently makes for less suffering.  

I'm not sure one needs to go so far as to "see behind the curtain" entirely to get that much. I certainly don't see behind the curtain. 

Oh - and - as others have said. When I can feel any stress or anxiety building up, sitting in meditation even 15 minutes reduces the physical results pretty dramatically. 

So that's my contribution to "why sit?". 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/4/20 6:13 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I was practicing up to this point becaue I thought that practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering. Now I doubt that that shift will ever happen. Teachers like Ken Wilber explicitly say that practicing doesn't improve your life, and most Buddhist teachers throughout history have tought a conception of enlightenment that only makes sense if you believe in rebirth. 

I'll probably do a week long retreat when COVID is over to see if anything happens and then if nothing does I'll only practice shamata for short periods to manage stress.

That seems clear as a bell, and sounds like a way forward to me, despite the tragedy of the kingless monkeys. In the spirit of steering with the skid, I would even say you might want to do a few things that seemed clearly self-indulgent and off the table while enlightenment was in play. Ding-dong, the King is in a hot tub with a margarita, or whatever. Namaste, amigo.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/4/20 6:53 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
But why would I practice? That's the point of my post.
And why not practice?
If you do not know what to do you can just as well practice.

And stop wanting.
Now is the right time to do this.
Why? Because now, you fully SEE your wanting. When you see it, you can stop it. Or at least, you can stop identifying with it.

Just sit.
And then see what happens in each moment.
If the wanting comes back, just sit with it.
Let the wanting act itself out, while you sit. It will come, it will go. Your sitting will be the mirror in which you can see your wanting.

30 min each day, why not. Doesn´t hurt.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/4/20 6:56 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:

maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.


Enlightenment is giving up this hope and leading a normal life.

Zen Koan

Before enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 12:02 AM as a reply to Jim Smith.
I think any form of enlightenment that doesn't result in a noticeable shift probably shouldn't be called enlightenment and definitely isn't worth putting decades of work into attaining.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 12:03 AM as a reply to agnostic.
If that's true then it's the same thing as enlightenment not existing.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 12:09 AM as a reply to Jo Jo.
It does hurt though. Because that's time I could be spending doing other things.

Why would I observe the wanting? It's going to be there either way. Not identifying with it usually just means identifying with something else, so why not just let myself identify with it? And what would be the point of not identifying with it anyway? It's going to be there regardless of if I identify with it. At least if I identify with it, I can do something to try and change it.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 1:06 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I think any form of enlightenment that doesn't result in a noticeable shift probably shouldn't be called enlightenment and definitely isn't worth putting decades of work into attaining.

Some people have an insight all at once and are astonished.

Others have the same insight but realize it little by little over time so when they get the full idea it doesn't astonish them.

Some people see a sunset and are overwhelmed, all they want to do is to write poetry and sing songs about sunsets and tell everyone they can how beautiful sunsets are. 

Other people see a sunset and think, "That's nice" and they are not overwhelmed. 

But they are seeing the same thing.


Whether it's worth it or not is an individual choice. 

Personally, I would not practice a form of meditation that might give me enlightenment some day in the future unless it also provided some benefit for me today in the meantime.

I started meditating to help me feel better after a meditation session, less stressed, more serene, long before I ever heard about enlightenment.

My attitude toward enlightenment now is that it's something that is incidental to meditation. If I advised someone to meditate, it would be to help them feel better after a meditation session. I believe everyone already has some level of enlightenment and that level will increase gradually if they meditate regularly - but passing some arbitrary threshold is not really something anyone needs to be worried about.

Passing an arbitrary threshold (stream-entry) only has utility if the stages of enlightenment are like a series of steps - you don't have any benefit until you step up on the first step. But if enlightnment is not like steps but is like a ramp where any level is possible then you can get a lot of benefit even if you have not passed that arbitrary threshold because as you approach it your level of enlightenment increases gradually and continuously.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 5:34 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
If that's true then it's the same thing as enlightenment not existing.

Now you’re getting somewhere!

In my opinion, what you want is what you think enlightenment would be like (the fulfillment of your hopes of 6-7 years on the path) not enlightenment itself (the end of who you think you are - as you seem to sense, there is no reason why you would want this). Sorry to be a bummer my friend.

Real enlightenment doesn’t sell, hence teachers and evangelists peddle fake versions. They are competing for your attention with contradictory claims.

I’m not an authority on anything so please don’t accept my claims at face value. Do your own research before investing. Follow the money!

Zen Master Sogaku Harada, quoted in Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau

For forty years I've been selling water
By the bank of a river.
Ho, ho!
My labors have been wholly without merit.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 5:07 AM as a reply to agnostic.
Perceptual shifts and ways of thinking are absolutely real and obtainable through practice. 

Call it whatever you want. Calling it enlightenment and saying life will change is absolutely a recipe for disaster. So is saying that nothing can be changed for a person struggling to come to some peaceful place. Saying it doesn't exist doesn't make it possible for them to suddenly redirect to less suffering simply because someone points out it is fabricated (like everything is, mind you). 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 5:38 AM as a reply to T.
T:
Saying it doesn't exist doesn't make it possible for them to suddenly redirect to less suffering simply because someone points out it is fabricated

It seems to me that Handsome Monkey King is suffering due to his hope of enlightenment, therefore dropping his hope should reduce suffering.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 6:03 AM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
T:
Saying it doesn't exist doesn't make it possible for them to suddenly redirect to less suffering simply because someone points out it is fabricated

It seems to me that Handsome Monkey King is suffering due to his hope of enlightenment, therefore dropping his hope should reduce suffering.

I think the Textual Arising Formerly Known As Agnostic is right on here. Handsome Monkey King is really done with this enlightenment shit, and is looking at his life in that light. It's as serious as it gets, in a body, it's like hitting "Disgust" in the Dark Night Jhanas of the Knowledge of Suffering without seeing any possible pay-off in quality of life as a result of staying on the path. Chopping his wood and carrying his water without "Desire for Liberation" or any other disguise of "enlightenment" being an issue is his next step. I'm grateful to you, Your Highness, speaking for many of the other now-king-less monkeys, honestly, for sharing this as you go.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 6:12 AM as a reply to Jo Jo.
Jo Jo:
Handsome Monkey King:
But why would I practice? That's the point of my post.
And why not practice?
If you do not know what to do you can just as well practice.

And stop wanting.
Now is the right time to do this.
Why? Because now, you fully SEE your wanting. When you see it, you can stop it. Or at least, you can stop identifying with it.

Just sit.
And then see what happens in each moment.
If the wanting comes back, just sit with it.
Let the wanting act itself out, while you sit. It will come, it will go. Your sitting will be the mirror in which you can see your wanting.

30 min each day, why not. Doesn´t hurt.
As best I can make out, HMK is still sitting, and intends to keep doing so, for his own good clear reasons, to an extent that serves purposes he can actually relate to in real time. He's just stopped "practicing." It's game day, right now; he has done the math on the learning curve that is purported to lead to Fruition, however conceived, and has figured out that realistically speaking, it's going to take lifetimes, if not eons. I've done the same math, and found similar results, plus or minus a kalpa or two. Once you do that math, all the freedom of the abyss of emptiness opens for you. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 9:04 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Handsome Monkey King -- with a handle like that how can you be down about anything?  emoticon


HMK, Chris told me he wants to see you fat and happy. I told him I think you need alcohol, ungodly, unenlightened amounts of alcohol, and a spot on the beach somewhere. We settled on a Foster's Banana, as baby step one of a new approach to non-practice, though you may have to go to Australia to get it, and sit on a beach there to drink it. Anything you could say to help in this dispute would be welcomed, as I'm afraid he and I may get into a fight at the poker table about it all, and nobody wants that.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 9:06 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
HMK, the future of all that is holy rests with you now.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/5/20 10:12 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
But why would I practice? That's the point of my post.

Dunno why YOU should practice but I practice as Im very much pissed off with all these arisings and passings within my conscious self. I've tried shrinks, excercise, hobby, drugs, alcohol, sex, to be in love, traveling, socialising, etc ... nothing would take away that suffering I've so deeply felt for very long. 
Once I've discovered that in a mindful moment there was only THIS-ness not refering to a Self I knew there was nothing else I could do but be mindful of that which IS and that was THIS ... moment to moment.

Will this practice lead to some fab state of mind?
Will I be reborn in some fab realm?
Will I be happy?
Will I be an enlightened master?

Dunno. What then do I know? Let me see, maybe "Touch the Earth" as Buddha say. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/6/20 2:27 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Hello Handsome, 

Liberation exists, and is worthwhile. If you would like to get out of your current funk, try the following practice. It won't take long.

1. Meditate. Visualise a seated buddha, about 20cm tall, hovering just above your head. The buddha is a deep vivid royal blue, and from its base flow lines of healing and purifying lines light, into the crown of your head. The lines are honey gold and crystal white light, and they flow through your body, headling and purifying you.   

2. Visualise the buddha dropping through the crown of your head, into your body, and expanding to exactly match the outlines of your body.  You are merged with the Buddha  Visualise yourself as vivid royal blue, inside and out, with lines of gold and white plusing and flexing through your body.

3. Collect up all the gold and white from everywhere in your body, and push it outwards through your heart, and out into the world, giving compassion and love for all beings, including yourself, those close to you, those far, those who help you, those who harm you.  Notice all the feelings that have been created.

4. Later, go for a walk, ideally in a forest or a cityscape with some beauty to it. Recollect those feelings, and push them out into all the things you see.

Much love.  Let me know if you try it, and if so how you get on.

Malcolm 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/6/20 3:52 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Enlightenment is true
You must be very dedicated to it.
Not even give your life to it but even essence of your soul. Let yourself be completely destroyed.


Most people do not have big enough balls for it... or whatever woomen need for enlightenment in case of females =P

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/7/20 3:37 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Enlightenment is true
You must be very dedicated to it.
Not even give your life to it but even essence of your soul. Let yourself be completely destroyed.


Most people do not have big enough balls for it... or whatever woomen need for enlightenment in case of females =P

I don't think it is a question of balls or the size of them here. HMK has had the balls to go balls-to-the-wall for years, working toward enlightenment. And now he has had the balls, big brass balls, the size of a fucking bull's, to see "enlightment" dissolve. That is perfect practice, and a fruit of perfect practice. By the book, Dissolution is the entry to the nanas of the dark night, The Knowledge of Suffering. But what HMK is saying, as I understand it, is that with the dissolution of enlightment, he can't find the motivation to keep practicing balls-to-the-wall, and he has the balls to be considering whether there are better ways to spend his mortal time and energy. He has been very dedicated, and the essence of his soul has been on the line, and has been given, and this collapse of his notions of enlightment is a complete destruction of exactly the sort that you advocate. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/7/20 4:51 AM as a reply to Not two, not one.
curious:
Hello Handsome, 

Liberation exists, and is worthwhile. If you would like to get out of your current funk, try the following practice. It won't take long.

1. Meditate. Visualise a seated buddha, about 20cm tall, hovering just above your head. The buddha is a deep vivid royal blue, and from its base flow lines of healing and purifying lines light, into the crown of your head. The lines are honey gold and crystal white light, and they flow through your body, headling and purifying you.   

2. Visualise the buddha dropping through the crown of your head, into your body, and expanding to exactly match the outlines of your body.  You are merged with the Buddha  Visualise yourself as vivid royal blue, inside and out, with lines of gold and white plusing and flexing through your body.

3. Collect up all the gold and white from everywhere in your body, and push it outwards through your heart, and out into the world, giving compassion and love for all beings, including yourself, those close to you, those far, those who help you, those who harm you.  Notice all the feelings that have been created.

4. Later, go for a walk, ideally in a forest or a cityscape with some beauty to it. Recollect those feelings, and push them out into all the things you see.

Much love.  Let me know if you try it, and if so how you get on.

Malcolm 

I do a similar practice, among other things, with the addition of chanting seed syllables, refuge prayers and mantras. I would never have imagined myself enjoying something like that as much as I do. It opens up blockages. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/11/20 7:38 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

I am inclined here, forgive me, to keep throwing half-cooked spaghetti attempts at wisdom against the wall to see if anything sticks for you. I have dealt with despair, and I have been thinking that you are not dealing with that. Is that true, that despair is not the issue for you here?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/11/20 11:35 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:

Dunno why YOU should practice but I practice as Im very much pissed off with all these arisings and passings within my conscious self. I've tried shrinks, excercise, hobby, drugs, alcohol, sex, to be in love, traveling, socialising, etc ... nothing would take away that suffering I've so deeply felt for very long. 


And what makes you think that practice will take away that suffering?

Papa Che Dusko:

Once I've discovered that in a mindful moment there was only THIS-ness not refering to a Self I knew there was nothing else I could do but be mindful of that which IS and that was THIS ... moment to moment.


Why is there nothing else you can do? Why does recognizing that "in a mindful moment there is only THIS-ness" (which could also be worded as "the act of being mindful suppresses everything other than THIS-ness") mean that you have to be mindful?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/11/20 11:54 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Thank you for all your responses. I am trying to get to everyone's post but the UI design is not the best on this site so it's hard to tell which posts are new. I'll probably miss some.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/11/20 11:55 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/11/20 11:56 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

I am inclined here, forgive me, to keep throwing half-cooked spaghetti attempts at wisdom against the wall to see if anything sticks for you. I have dealt with despair, and I have been thinking that you are not dealing with that. Is that true, that despair is not the issue for you here?


I guess I have despaired. But it comes and goes and distracting myself with "normal" life things like career goals, friends etc, seems to work better than meditation.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 12:08 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Actually I did stop sitting for the most part. I sit maybe 15 minutes every 2 or three days now. I used to sit for an hour or more a day.

And I've been replacing that time with other pursuits. So it's not like I "gave up the chase" if that's what you're getting at. I just went back to chasing money and career success instead of enlightenment.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 1:45 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 2:42 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
emoticon

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 3:35 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
Tim Farrington:

I am inclined here, forgive me, to keep throwing half-cooked spaghetti attempts at wisdom against the wall to see if anything sticks for you. I have dealt with despair, and I have been thinking that you are not dealing with that. Is that true, that despair is not the issue for you here?


I guess I have despaired. But it comes and goes and distracting myself with "normal" life things like career goals, friends etc, seems to work better than meditation.

Okay, thank you. It sort of frees me up, a little here, and seems closer to the substance of any piece of half-cooked psghetti (a typo so funny i'm leaving it in) that could possibly stick to your wall right now. 

We hear a lot more these days about "meditated-related difficulties"--- strong techniques setting off all sorts of gnarly psychological and even psychiatric side effects. But one meditation-related difficulty that I think is largely unnoticed is perfectly normal, psychologically stable people, having applied the three characteristics, or the work of the path that goes through dissolution and on into the dark night nanas, in whatever vocabulary, finding that they don't see what good it can possibly do, all things deeply considered, and experiencing despair. I mean, the Buddha set out for nirvana after seeing a sick man, an aging man, and a dead man, and then a monk, which seemed to him to point a way out. But the Buddha aged, sickened, and died. What is that nirvana, then, even in the terms he originally framed the dukha? The whole thing looks like a bait-and-switch. It's even worse with Jesus, pragmatic dharma speaking: pick up your cross and follow me, love love love all the way up the hill to die young and horribly. No obvious fruit in this lifetime there. And J's last words on the cross were "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" , which might at least make a person wonder whether Jesus might have felt like the whole thing was a bust himself, at the end.

I put these two marquee cases starkly and harshly simply to frame this issue: does "spiritual practice", with all the well known dissolutions, sacrifices, etc., the time spent Doing Spiritual Shit, the dark nights, do, uh, shit? In this lifetime. Jesus said "By their fruits, ye shall know them." Does his brief career as an arguably miraculously gifted healer constitute his fruits? Do we really have to defer "fruits" beyond the frame of this lifetime? I mean, if that stone at Jesus' tomb really got rolled away by angels after three days, if we could buy that, it would change the question. But who can buy that, really? And even if we buy it, Jesus got his ass to heaven anyway, pdq, and left the fucking world to deal with the bloody mess that we now call Christianity. (I speak as a Catholic, of sorts.)

And you see despair in yourself, and i am a friend to despair, and a brother to jackals, and a companion to owls (Job 30:29, I take Job as a prime case study in faithful despair). I don't have a dog in the enlightenment hunt, enlightenment is actually against my religion, as a sectarian Jew. But I know despair. You are basically together, but I have known suicidal despair as well. And it is in light of that that i do feel like i can say something to you about your main question in this thread: why practice meditation or prayer? For me, it is because i have found, by going around and around, spiraling up and down through despair at its worst, that meditation alone--- it think it is precisely at the deepest point of the dark night, at absolute pure laser beam desire for deliverance from the hopeless agony that is despair that i have found, not good, but something quite beyond good that is simply . . . relief. It's like dying, but even cheaper, with no messy clean-up left behind for our loved one's. A lot of the time is probably doesn't even amount to what we might call EQ. John of the Cross says:

In this nakedness the spirit finds
its quietude and rest.
For in desiring nothing,
nothing raises it up
and nothing weighs it down,
because it is in the heart of its humility.
When it desires something
in this very desire it is wearied.

You're not going to make much money selling that, or thrill the crowds of spiritual seekers. For me, the benefit is obvious: i don't kill myself, and i get through another day. You're dealing with your own degree of despair, but I believe the parallel holds: the experience of that nakedness of no desire, that paradoxical embrace of the truth despairing of anything desirable, in heaven (for you) and on earth (in extreme cases like me), can, in fact and in practice, be reliably experienced here on this earth, and it does not take anything more than what've you've had for years, a decent meditation practice and letting for of desire for anything else, out of despair, EQ, stream entry, enlightenment, whatever, gate, gate, gone the fuck gate. It happens like the lifting of a weight, and the weightless heart of humility is impervious to despair, though despair will come again in life, and around we go, and then we die. So that's why i practice, and why i'm flinging this strand of spaghetti again your wall.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 6:10 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Because the ones we are most aware of, chattering away all day and night, are often unkind and in conflict with whatever is happening. It doesn't mean stop thinking. There's still thinking to be done. Just shut up the voice over time. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 7:27 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 8:05 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.

9th, the only problem i see here is shit like that.

(edit) And that's my problem. I actually think HMK is immune to precisely that kind of shit right now, which is one of the strengths of this thread, and part of what makes it so interesting to me.

(second edit) if you reply to this, i would ask that you keep the entire chain together via reply-with-quote, to keep the reeking shit pile in perspective, so that when the jikijitsu shows up to figure out whether to throw me out of the dojo, at least i can't be quoted out of context.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
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4/12/20 8:28 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
HMK, and Tim, thinking is very much maligned in some people's minds.

In my experience it's not thinking, per se, that is the main problem. It's certain kinds of thoughts. It's very likely a literal impossibility to stop thinking altogether. I once met this person, sat next to him at a nice group lunch - his name was Gary Weber. Gary claimed to have no thoughts. None. Well, that day he asked me to order food for him because he couldn't read the menu very well in the dim lighting Then we talked about his work with IBM and a bunch of other things we had in common. He was obviously full of thoughts. Not recursive thoughts that caused him the kind of pain we all want to minimize here, but of certain kinds of thoughts.

My journey through hell and back started many years ago because I had horrible anxiety and depressing thoughts. Those thoughts have not disappeared entirely. They just get recognized for what they are. And therein lies the key to the Magic Kingdom.

Don't set yourself up with short term goals so lofty that you can't achieve them within a reasonable time frame. That's what leads to the kind of malaise you find yourself in, HMK.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 8:20 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
9th, the only problem i see here is shit like that.

(edit) And that's my problem. I actually think HMK is immune to precisely that kind of shit right now, which is one of the strengths of this thread, and part of what makes it so interesting to me.
Shit like what? He obviously has a particular picture of liberation in his mind, isn't getting to that picture, is frustrated at not getting to that picture. That's why he started this thread. Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way. But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future. Hey, and seeds need shit to blossom... 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 8:46 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Tim Farrington:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
9th, the only problem i see here is shit like that.

(edit) And that's my problem. I actually think HMK is immune to precisely that kind of shit right now, which is one of the strengths of this thread, and part of what makes it so interesting to me.
Shit like what? He obviously has a particular picture of liberation in his mind, isn't getting to that picture, is frustrated at not getting to that picture. That's why he started this thread. Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way. But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future. Hey, and seeds need shit to blossom... 

Shit like: 

HMK: why would I want that?
9th: Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.


Shit like:

Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.


Shit like: 

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way.



He is learning the hard way, your heartless motherfucker. I can tear you a new asshole freely here, because i am only tearing my Self a new asshole anyway. Go fuck your Self.

But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future.


Yes, and by their fruits ye shall know them. If i thought your fucking crap could actually harm HMK in any way, I might actually be really pissed off. Fortunately, i think he sees right through your crap. But his pain is real--- his "frustration," in your bullshit idiom. This is a fucking battleground, yes, a dharma battleground, and you are fucking up this front-line medical tent for wounded comrades with your mind-fuck bullshit. Let the people who actually give a real shit work here where is real work to be done, you insufferable prick.

seeds need shit to blossom... 


and i am indeed grateful to you for supplying it in such abundance. emoticon That's my fucking smiley face. I say again, get out of this tent and go fuck your Self.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 8:51 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
Actually I did stop sitting for the most part. I sit maybe 15 minutes every 2 or three days now. I used to sit for an hour or more a day.

And I've been replacing that time with other pursuits. So it's not like I "gave up the chase" if that's what you're getting at. I just went back to chasing money and career success instead of enlightenment.

Hi Handsome,

In my heretical opinion that's a BIG insight you got right there. Chasing money or chasing enlightenment - they're both coming from the same place. You're almost there!

Best wishes
agnostic

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 8:57 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington, I myself taught nintheye how to report posts for TOS violations snd technical issues, and just yesterday. If he reports your comments as being such I'd have to do something about it. Just to be sure we're all working from the same set of rules:


From the DhO Posting Guidelines:

To help keep the place more inviting of participation by those who can benefit from helpful friends supporting friends in their practices and sharing the intimate and deep adventures that these explorations can produce, the following ground rules have been adopted:

  • No name-calling or ad hominem attacks
  • No on-and-on repetitious, angry rants that marshal no supporting evidence, target an interlocutor, and have the effect of intimidating the interlocutor.
  • No threats of violence, even if metaphorical or aimed at no one in particular
  • No taunting, mocking, or intimidation of an individual or a group on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, disability (including mental illness), sexual orientation, religious preference, or spiritual practice
  • No speech acts that would be actionable under US criminal or civil tort law 
  • Don't post copyrighted material that you don't have the right or permission to post or distribute except snippets allowed under fair use.

It's the name-calling I'm worried about.

Thanks,

Chris Marti
DhO Moderator

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 9:02 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Tim Farrington, I myself taught nintheye how to report posts for TOS violations snd technical issues, and just yesterday. If he reports your comments as being such I'd have to do something about it. Just to be sure we're all working from the same set of rules:


From the DhO Posting Guidelines:

To help keep the place more inviting of participation by those who can benefit from helpful friends supporting friends in their practices and sharing the intimate and deep adventures that these explorations can produce, the following ground rules have been adopted:

  • No name-calling or ad hominem attacks
  • No on-and-on repetitious, angry rants that marshal no supporting evidence, target an interlocutor, and have the effect of intimidating the interlocutor.
  • No threats of violence, even if metaphorical or aimed at no one in particular
  • No taunting, mocking, or intimidation of an individual or a group on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, disability (including mental illness), sexual orientation, religious preference, or spiritual practice
  • No speech acts that would be actionable under US criminal or civil tort law 
  • Don't post copyrighted material that you don't have the right or permission to post or distribute except snippets allowed under fair use.

It's the name-calling I'm worried about.

Thanks,

Chris Marti
DhO Moderator
Thank you, jikijitsu-san. I am sorry to have caused you concern. I will do my utmost to abide by the rules of the forum in the future. I will say that I believe that there is no one named nintheye, so i am screaming at a non-existent person, and that i have made no ad hominem attacks, except on my Self, as i understand it.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 9:04 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Thank you, sir.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 9:25 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
nintheye:
Tim Farrington:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
9th, the only problem i see here is shit like that.

(edit) And that's my problem. I actually think HMK is immune to precisely that kind of shit right now, which is one of the strengths of this thread, and part of what makes it so interesting to me.
Shit like what? He obviously has a particular picture of liberation in his mind, isn't getting to that picture, is frustrated at not getting to that picture. That's why he started this thread. Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way. But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future. Hey, and seeds need shit to blossom... 

Shit like: 

HMK: why would I want that?
9th: Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.


Shit like:

Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.


Shit like: 

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way.



He is learning the hard way, your heartless motherfucker. I can tear you a new asshole freely here, because i am only tearing my Self a new asshole anyway. Go fuck your Self.

But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future.


Yes, and by their fruits ye shall know them. If i thought your fucking crap could actually harm HMK in any way, I might actually be really pissed off. Fortunately, i think he sees right through your crap. But his pain is real--- his "frustration," in your bullshit idiom. This is a fucking battleground, yes, a dharma battleground, and you are fucking up this front-line medical tent for wounded comrades with your mind-fuck bullshit. Let the people who actually give a real shit work here where is real work to be done, you insufferable prick.

seeds need shit to blossom... 


and i am indeed grateful to you for supplying it in such abundance. emoticon That's my fucking smiley face. I say again, get out of this tent and go fuck your Self.
emoticon I'm amused, and am taking your comments, I think, in the spirit in which they were intended. And if there were substance in these arguments, I might respond to it.

But I feel you're more interested in the (admittedly entertaining for us DhO readers) aestheticization of "the seeker's struggle," the transformation of sentiment into a stylistic literary production, than in what it takes to actually succeed in that struggle.

"Oh what a beautiful boat this is that will carry me across the waters of samsara, and what lovely waves, and what a hero's journey. Let me put these oars down and write aaallll about it..."  emoticon

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 9:40 AM as a reply to nintheye.
And if there were substance in these arguments, I might respond to it.

I do think there's substance to his argument. You, yourself, have said that the first steps along the path are based on a mistaken perception of permanence and self. Those suppositions last quite some time. It's a situation practitioners find themselves in for quite some time as they go along. Years and years, for some. But what you've said to HMK is, I think, anathema to that. You said, "Just ignore your thoughts!" Which, in my humble opinion ignores the situation that HMK finds himself in. It's sort of like being an athletic coach and yelling at your intramural high school team, "Just win an Olympic Gold medal!" And, in my humble opinion, telling someone like HMK to just "Ignore your thoughts!" is asking the near impossible. See my earlier post from this morning:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/19762950#_19_message_20029052

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 9:46 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Tim Farrington:
nintheye:
Tim Farrington:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
9th, the only problem i see here is shit like that.

(edit) And that's my problem. I actually think HMK is immune to precisely that kind of shit right now, which is one of the strengths of this thread, and part of what makes it so interesting to me.
Shit like what? He obviously has a particular picture of liberation in his mind, isn't getting to that picture, is frustrated at not getting to that picture. That's why he started this thread. Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way. But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future. Hey, and seeds need shit to blossom... 

Shit like: 

HMK: why would I want that?
9th: Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.


Shit like:

Someone needs to tell him that his picture is wrong, so I did.


Shit like: 

Of course, he may not listen, he probably won't listen. He'll have to learn the hard way.



He is learning the hard way, your heartless motherfucker. I can tear you a new asshole freely here, because i am only tearing my Self a new asshole anyway. Go fuck your Self.

But a seed will have been planted that may take root at some point in the future.


Yes, and by their fruits ye shall know them. If i thought your fucking crap could actually harm HMK in any way, I might actually be really pissed off. Fortunately, i think he sees right through your crap. But his pain is real--- his "frustration," in your bullshit idiom. This is a fucking battleground, yes, a dharma battleground, and you are fucking up this front-line medical tent for wounded comrades with your mind-fuck bullshit. Let the people who actually give a real shit work here where is real work to be done, you insufferable prick.

seeds need shit to blossom... 


and i am indeed grateful to you for supplying it in such abundance. emoticon That's my fucking smiley face. I say again, get out of this tent and go fuck your Self.
emoticon I'm amused, and am taking your comments, I think, in the spirit in which they were intended. And if there were substance in these arguments, I might respond to it.

But I feel you're more interested in the (admittedly entertaining for us DhO readers) aestheticization of "the seeker's struggle," the transformation of sentiment into a stylistic literary production, than in what it takes to actually succeed in that struggle.

"Oh what a beautiful boat this is that will carry me across the waters of samsara, and what lovely waves, and what a hero's journey. Let me put these oars down and write aaallll about it..."  emoticon

You had me at the smiley face, 9th. emoticon

I'm amused, and am taking your comments, I think, in the spirit in which they were intended.

Thank God, I was counting on you.

And if there were substance in these arguments, I might respond to it.

Agreed, 100%. Thank God for their insubstantiality.

But I feel you're more interested in the (admittedly entertaining for us DhO readers) aestheticization of "the seeker's struggle," the transformation of sentiment into a stylistic literary production, 

well, ummm, busted.

than in what it takes to actually succeed in that struggle.


I humbly beg to differ, my wise and sage and thank God possessed of a fire-tested sense of humor friend. We are all here because we want to succeed in that struggle, and i am interested in that even beyond my theatrical delights and literary hijinks. Where you and i find our mild difference in nuance is in how to enact and embody certain moments of perceived com-passion, of suffering-with. I obviously can't tell you that if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, because you demonstrably handle the heat with real style and general grace. But i can say don't fuck with me if i feel like i'm dealing with a burned friend, or i'll turn the fucking heat up as high as i can on your sage ass until they throw me out of this fucking kitchen.

Did you notice that i feature you in an ad hominem attack on the bar joke thread, by the way?


RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 9:55 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
And if there were substance in these arguments, I might respond to it.

I do think there's substance to his argument. You, yourself, have said that the first steps along the path are based on a mistaken perception of permanence and self. Those suppositions last quite some time. It's a situation practitioners find themselves in for quite some time as they go along. Years and years, for some. But what you've said to HMK is, I think, anathema to that. You said, "Just ignore your thoughts!" Which, in my humble opinion ignores the situation that HMK finds himself in. It's sort of like being an athletic coach and yelling at your intramural high school team, "Just win an Olympic Gold medal!" And, in my humble opinion, telling someone like HMK to just "Ignore your thoughts!" is asking the near impossible. See my earlier post from this morning:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/19762950#_19_message_20029052
Well, certainly there may be other psychological, motivational issues going on -- and I think that's part of the spiritual search, to iron those out.

But from "the spiritual standpoint per se," ignoring thoughts is the means and the end, essentially. And it's a practice. One doesn't instantly do it. But just as one might say "Run!" -- it doesn't mean that you are instantly able to run a marathon. It certainly doesn't mean winning the Olympic Gold. But it's an instruction to practice.

See, HMK said he'd been pursuing enlightenment for 6-7 years, didn't have proof that it was real, didn't think it could be achieved, etc. All things that suggested a complicated picture of what enlightenment is supposed to be. These were misconceptions, and instead of giving a long argument in response, I simplified it and said "Yes, it can be achieved. It can be done. It's as simple as this."

Now if he came back and said, "I tried ignoring thoughts, but I find it near impossible. Do you have any tips?" Then I'd come back and say: "Well, what thoughts are interfering? Are there themes? It could be you need to work out your emotional baggage. Try therapy. Or it could be that you need a better intellectual framework for the search. Educate yourself." Or whatever.

Now, as far as not all thoughts being a problem, and only certain kinds of thoughts being a problem, that's in a way true. Ignoring thoughts isn't actually stopping thoughts per se, exactly. It may produce that effect in the long run... but it's really about changing the relevant relationship to thought. After all, "ignore thought" is itself a thought. On the other hand, ignoring thoughts makes it so that whether thoughts occur or not, they aren't noticed as such. If they are noticed as such, that notice isn't noticed as such. And so on... And if a tree falls in the forest...?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:02 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.


Your Highness, the proof is in the pudding. You must be a mahasiddha to stir up a pot like this. Fuck your practice, just sit back now and watch the rest of us throw the fruits at each other!

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:10 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

than in what it takes to actually succeed in that struggle.


I humbly beg to differ, my wise and sage and thank God possessed of a fire-tested sense of humor friend. We are all here because we want to succeed in that struggle, and i am interested in that even beyond my theatrical delights and literary hijinks. Where you and i find our mild difference in nuance is in how to enact and embody certain moments of perceived com-passion, of suffering-with. I obviously can't tell you that if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, because you demonstrably handle the heat with real style and general grace. But i can say don't fuck with me if i feel like i'm dealing with a burned friend, or i'll turn the fucking heat up as high as i can on your sage ass until they throw me out of this fucking kitchen.
While empathy can be soothing (and necessary sometimes), the reality is that truth is what was called for here -- that's the real compassion. When someone comes to the Buddha complaining that a family member has died, does the Buddha empathize? Not particularly. He says, "Go bring me a mustard seed from a house which death hasn't visited." You can imagine how that went.

When Arjuna complains to Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita that a civil war is going to slaughter his entire family, what does Krishna say? "Man, life sucks?" Nope. He says, "What a wimp you are. The truth is that the wise mourn neither the living nor the dead."

In other words, they stated the simple truth in response.

That's because the truth is the real lifeline... it seems harsh, but that's only from one side of the gateless gate. If the truth was false it would be harsh. If it's true it's the sweetest nectar.
Did you notice that i feature you in an ad hominem attack on the bar joke thread, by the way?
Ha, I did now!

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:11 AM as a reply to nintheye.
But just as one might say "Run!" -- it doesn't mean that you are instantly able to run a marathon. It certainly doesn't mean winning the Olympic Gold. But it's an instruction to practice.

I'm trying to be sensitive to the notion that context matters. Instructions to practice generally need to be sensitive to the "place" in which the other person finds themselves.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:33 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Tim Farrington:

than in what it takes to actually succeed in that struggle.


I humbly beg to differ, my wise and sage and thank God possessed of a fire-tested sense of humor friend. We are all here because we want to succeed in that struggle, and i am interested in that even beyond my theatrical delights and literary hijinks. Where you and i find our mild difference in nuance is in how to enact and embody certain moments of perceived com-passion, of suffering-with. I obviously can't tell you that if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen, because you demonstrably handle the heat with real style and general grace. But i can say don't fuck with me if i feel like i'm dealing with a burned friend, or i'll turn the fucking heat up as high as i can on your sage ass until they throw me out of this fucking kitchen.
While empathy can be soothing (and necessary sometimes), the reality is that truth is what was called for here -- that's the real compassion. 

9th, props for perfect timing on letting go of the whole shebang thread. You've lifted a load off Chris's shoulders.

When someone comes to the Buddha complaining that a family member has died, does the Buddha empathize? Not particularly. He says, "Go bring me a mustard seed from a house which death hasn't visited." You can imagine how that went.


Actually, i've tried:

There is a story told in the extra-canonical writings of the Buddhist Pali
literature, about a woman named Kisogotami, a young mother whose son had died,
who, maddened by grief, carried her dead child along with her on her hip as she
went from door to door in her village begging for some medicine that might cure
him. She was eventually sent to the Buddha, by some well-meaning soul, and she
begged the Awakened One for the medicine she had been begging for from
everyone. The Buddha told her he could make the medicine for her son, but to
make it, he needed a single mustard seed from a household whose grief was less
than hers. And so, with her dead son still resting on her hip, she set out to
fetch the precious seed, certain that it would not be long before she found a
home less devastated by loss than she was herself. At many houses, the depth of
the family’s grief and suffering was so immediately obvious that she did not
even ask for a mustard seed, but simply gave them her heartfelt blessing and
the compassion that comes with mutual grief, and went on, still hauling her
poor dead child. Other households invited her in, and offered hospitality,
kindness, generosity, and she would always be sure she had found the place at
last. But always, when she explained what the mustard seed was for, the story
of the grief that household lived with would be told, and the woman never heard
a story less painful than her own. As her search went on, indeed, she could
almost begin to believe she had gotten off relatively lightly, with her
shattered heart, though that did not ease her grief in the least. If anything,
the deepening realization, door by door, story by story, of the shared vastness
of the world’s raw grief became more and more unbearable.

At last, of course, the story tells us that she went back to the Buddha, with her dead son, stinking now, still on her hip, and told him that she had not been able to get that mustard seed. The tale, as told in a text called the Therigatha Atthakatha, or "Commentaries to the Verses of the Elder Nuns," concludes with Kisogotami telling the Buddha with a sigh, I have resolved the matter of the mustard seed. I understand now. And then, as the Commentary tells it, “She rejoiced and threw the body out in a field and sang this verse:  This is no law for village or town,No law for any single family.Through all the world of devas and menThis law holds good: All is Impermanent. The Therigatha Atthakatha goes on to tell how Kisagotami returned from the field to be ordained by the Buddha into the order of nuns. It is said that she practiced diligently, and in time she realized enlightenment and became an arhat, and the poems of her Realization are treasured to this day.The horror of this woman tossing her son’s dead body away into a field and moving on to arhathood is not unique to the eastern traditions. The gnostic vein in western thought is recurrently prepared to see everything of this world as either illusion or an actively deceitful evil, which must be seen through completely to be escaped. But even Jesus, doing the will of his Father, the God of love, told a man who wanted to follow him, but wanted to go to his father’s funeral first, “Let the dead bury the dead.” If he had told me that, before the funerals of any number of loved ones in my life, I would have told him to go fuck himself. If our grief is meaningless, then so is our salvation.There is a variation on the Kisogotami story--- lost somewhere deep amid the haggadot of the Jerusalem Talmud, I believe--- that says that she never wrote any of that heartless bullshit poetry, nor did she throw her son’s body out into a field like a piece of trash with the rest of the impermanent and illusory things that whirl through samsara. She carried her boy at last to a funeral pyre and lit the holy blaze herself, and then walked on through the world of devas and men, going nowhere, seeking only a pyre of her own. It is said that she eventually made her way to the dung heap next to Job, where she sat down beside him, bowed her head to him once in helpless compassion, and received his nod in return, and never said another word. She came to my door with her dead son on her hip,and asked me for a mustard seedunsalted by the sea of grief,but only liars would have you believethey have such seeds to give.I thought the one who’d sent her cruel.(real probems with formatting this, despite my best efforts, translation from an old word processing program, i think, but you get the jist.)


RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:37 AM as a reply to nintheye.

When Arjuna complains to Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita that a civil war is going to slaughter his entire family, what does Krishna say? "Man, life sucks?" Nope. He says, "What a wimp you are. The truth is that the wise mourn neither the living nor the dead."


I would have told Krishna, "As far as wimpiness, mea kalpa. But I am not wise enough, clearly, for i mourn both the living and the dead. Now get out of my face, I have cousins to kill here."

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:37 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:

But I feel you're more interested in the (admittedly entertaining for us DhO readers) aestheticization of "the seeker's struggle," the transformation of sentiment into a stylistic literary production, than in what it takes to actually succeed in that struggle.

We all have an axe to grind.

9th, I'm having a hard time shaking the feeling that you're just here fishing for customers.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:39 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Chris Marti:
And if there were substance in these arguments, I might respond to it.

I do think there's substance to his argument. You, yourself, have said that the first steps along the path are based on a mistaken perception of permanence and self. Those suppositions last quite some time. It's a situation practitioners find themselves in for quite some time as they go along. Years and years, for some. But what you've said to HMK is, I think, anathema to that. You said, "Just ignore your thoughts!" Which, in my humble opinion ignores the situation that HMK finds himself in. It's sort of like being an athletic coach and yelling at your intramural high school team, "Just win an Olympic Gold medal!" And, in my humble opinion, telling someone like HMK to just "Ignore your thoughts!" is asking the near impossible. See my earlier post from this morning:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/view_message/19762950#_19_message_20029052
Well, certainly there may be other psychological, motivational issues going on -- and I think that's part of the spiritual search, to iron those out.

But from "the spiritual standpoint per se," ignoring thoughts is the means and the end, essentially. And it's a practice. One doesn't instantly do it. But just as one might say "Run!" -- it doesn't mean that you are instantly able to run a marathon. It certainly doesn't mean winning the Olympic Gold. But it's an instruction to practice.

See, HMK said he'd been pursuing enlightenment for 6-7 years, didn't have proof that it was real, didn't think it could be achieved, etc. All things that suggested a complicated picture of what enlightenment is supposed to be. These were misconceptions, and instead of giving a long argument in response, I simplified it and said "Yes, it can be achieved. It can be done. It's as simple as this."

Now if he came back and said, "I tried ignoring thoughts, but I find it near impossible. Do you have any tips?" Then I'd come back and say: "Well, what thoughts are interfering? Are there themes? It could be you need to work out your emotional baggage. Try therapy. Or it could be that you need a better intellectual framework for the search. Educate yourself." Or whatever.

Now, as far as not all thoughts being a problem, and only certain kinds of thoughts being a problem, that's in a way true. Ignoring thoughts isn't actually stopping thoughts per se, exactly. It may produce that effect in the long run... but it's really about changing the relevant relationship to thought. After all, "ignore thought" is itself a thought. On the other hand, ignoring thoughts makes it so that whether thoughts occur or not, they aren't noticed as such. If they are noticed as such, that notice isn't noticed as such. And so on... And if a tree falls in the forest...?

Ignore thoughts. Really? emoticon Why the fuck would I want to do that? To be awake is to see ALL object in this-ness. Whats wrong with thoughts/thinking/pondering/discerening? Jeez man where do you come from? Soon you will tell me I should also get rid of my Ego emoticon Get out of here before Kyosaku lends on you hard! 

Thinking is as harmless as itching or farting. Happening on its own thanks to cause and effect, impermanent and refers back to no one in moment of profound mindfulness of thinking. Hence Practice is Awakening, Awakening is Practice.

Have you EVER practiced Noting or Satipatthana? Obviously not.

Now stop mindfucking folks who are trying to gather initial energy to fire up their practice-relalisation. Otherwise I just might unleash Tim's Wrath on you!

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:44 AM as a reply to nintheye.

That's because the truth is the real lifeline... it seems harsh, but that's only from one side of the gateless gate. If the truth was false it would be harsh. If it's true it's the sweetest nectar.

As always, 9th One, we are on precisely the same page. The dark night is the cruelest of suffering toward the truth, and that flame burns hot and harsh, until it turns into a gentle caress, as of a lover's, at least according to John of the Cross, whom i basically would follow into hell, and have. John X is sort of like you, now that I think about it: he kept saying that the other side of the gateless gate was where the sweetest of true nectar would be found. My nectar tends to boil away before i can get it to my lips. I'm just glad for the intermediate stage, short of caresses and nectar, when you're able to say to the Living Flame of Love, "Now that you are not oppressive. . ."

(edit) So glad you found your way to the joke!

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:58 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.

Now stop mindfucking folks who are trying to gather initial energy to fire up their practice-relalisation. Otherwise I just might unleash Tim's Wrath on you!


In all humility, Papa Che, it's not my wrath, it's the wrath of God.
emoticon
Also, Chris has already given me a yellow card on this thread. One more of those and I'll be suspended for the next game or something, and will have to watch it on tv in a hotel room with a supermodel or something. 

That said, Thy will, not mine, be done, wrath-wise, as in all things.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 10:58 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

When someone comes to the Buddha complaining that a family member has died, does the Buddha empathize? Not particularly. He says, "Go bring me a mustard seed from a house which death hasn't visited." You can imagine how that went.


Actually, i've tried:

There is a story told in the extra-canonical writings of the Buddhist Pali
literature, about a woman named Kisogotami, a young mother whose son had died,
who, maddened by grief, carried her dead child along with her on her hip as she
went from door to door in her village begging for some medicine that might cure
him. She was eventually sent to the Buddha, by some well-meaning soul, and she
begged the Awakened One for the medicine she had been begging for from
everyone. The Buddha told her he could make the medicine for her son, but to
make it, he needed a single mustard seed from a household whose grief was less
than hers. And so, with her dead son still resting on her hip, she set out to
fetch the precious seed, certain that it would not be long before she found a
home less devastated by loss than she was herself. At many houses, the depth of
the family’s grief and suffering was so immediately obvious that she did not
even ask for a mustard seed, but simply gave them her heartfelt blessing and
the compassion that comes with mutual grief, and went on, still hauling her
poor dead child. Other households invited her in, and offered hospitality,
kindness, generosity, and she would always be sure she had found the place at
last. But always, when she explained what the mustard seed was for, the story
of the grief that household lived with would be told, and the woman never heard
a story less painful than her own. As her search went on, indeed, she could
almost begin to believe she had gotten off relatively lightly, with her
shattered heart, though that did not ease her grief in the least. If anything,
the deepening realization, door by door, story by story, of the shared vastness
of the world’s raw grief became more and more unbearable.

At last, of course, the story tells us that she went back to the Buddha, with her dead son, stinking now, still on her hip, and told him that she had not been able to get that mustard seed. The tale, as told in a text called the Therigatha Atthakatha, or "Commentaries to the Verses of the Elder Nuns," concludes with Kisogotami telling the Buddha with a sigh, I have resolved the matter of the mustard seed. I understand now. And then, as the Commentary tells it, “She rejoiced and threw the body out in a field and sang this verse:  This is no law for village or town,No law for any single family.Through all the world of devas and menThis law holds good: All is Impermanent. The Therigatha Atthakatha goes on to tell how Kisagotami returned from the field to be ordained by the Buddha into the order of nuns. It is said that she practiced diligently, and in time she realized enlightenment and became an arhat, and the poems of her Realization are treasured to this day.The horror of this woman tossing her son’s dead body away into a field and moving on to arhathood is not unique to the eastern traditions. The gnostic vein in western thought is recurrently prepared to see everything of this world as either illusion or an actively deceitful evil, which must be seen through completely to be escaped. But even Jesus, doing the will of his Father, the God of love, told a man who wanted to follow him, but wanted to go to his father’s funeral first, “Let the dead bury the dead.” If he had told me that, before the funerals of any number of loved ones in my life, I would have told him to go fuck himself. If our grief is meaningless, then so is our salvation.There is a variation on the Kisogotami story--- lost somewhere deep amid the haggadot of the Jerusalem Talmud, I believe--- that says that she never wrote any of that heartless bullshit poetry, nor did she throw her son’s body out into a field like a piece of trash with the rest of the impermanent and illusory things that whirl through samsara. She carried her boy at last to a funeral pyre and lit the holy blaze herself, and then walked on through the world of devas and men, going nowhere, seeking only a pyre of her own. It is said that she eventually made her way to the dung heap next to Job, where she sat down beside him, bowed her head to him once in helpless compassion, and received his nod in return, and never said another word. She came to my door with her dead son on her hip,and asked me for a mustard seedunsalted by the sea of grief,but only liars would have you believethey have such seeds to give.I thought the one who’d sent her cruel.(real probems with formatting this, despite my best efforts, translation from an old word processing program, i think, but you get the jist.)

Lovely. This struck me:

"If our grief is meaningless, then so is our salvation."

Yes, it is. It's something better than meaningful, something infinitely deeper and yet more immediate. Meaning is a prison.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 11:04 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
nintheye:
Well, certainly there may be other psychological, motivational issues going on -- and I think that's part of the spiritual search, to iron those out.

But from "the spiritual standpoint per se," ignoring thoughts is the means and the end, essentially. And it's a practice. One doesn't instantly do it. But just as one might say "Run!" -- it doesn't mean that you are instantly able to run a marathon. It certainly doesn't mean winning the Olympic Gold. But it's an instruction to practice.

See, HMK said he'd been pursuing enlightenment for 6-7 years, didn't have proof that it was real, didn't think it could be achieved, etc. All things that suggested a complicated picture of what enlightenment is supposed to be. These were misconceptions, and instead of giving a long argument in response, I simplified it and said "Yes, it can be achieved. It can be done. It's as simple as this."

Now if he came back and said, "I tried ignoring thoughts, but I find it near impossible. Do you have any tips?" Then I'd come back and say: "Well, what thoughts are interfering? Are there themes? It could be you need to work out your emotional baggage. Try therapy. Or it could be that you need a better intellectual framework for the search. Educate yourself." Or whatever.

Now, as far as not all thoughts being a problem, and only certain kinds of thoughts being a problem, that's in a way true. Ignoring thoughts isn't actually stopping thoughts per se, exactly. It may produce that effect in the long run... but it's really about changing the relevant relationship to thought. After all, "ignore thought" is itself a thought. On the other hand, ignoring thoughts makes it so that whether thoughts occur or not, they aren't noticed as such. If they are noticed as such, that notice isn't noticed as such. And so on... And if a tree falls in the forest...?
Ignore thoughts. Really? emoticon Why the fuck would I want to do that? To be awake is to see ALL object in this-ness. Whats wrong with thoughts/thinking/pondering/discerening? Jeez man where do you come from? Soon you will tell me I should also get rid of my Ego emoticon Get out of here before Kyosaku lends on you hard!

Thinking is as harmless as itching or farting. Happening on its own thanks to cause and effect, impermanent and refers back to no one in moment of profound mindfulness of thinking. Hence Practice is Awakening, Awakening is Practice.


Nope. What you consider being awake with mindfulness is just another form of sleep. Thinking is harmless, but paying attention to thinking is not. Thinking cannot 'refer back to no one'... if there is thinking, there's a thinker. If you want to go beyond both thoughts and thinker, start practicing ignoring thought.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 11:01 AM as a reply to nintheye.

Lovely. This struck me:

"If our grief is meaningless, then so is our salvation."

Yes, it is. It's something better than meaningful, something infinitely deeper and yet more immediate. Meaning is a prison.


Exactly. I love you, 9th, no one gets me like you. I'm serving a multi-life sentence in the prison of meaning. It's how i was able to hack the Prisoners' Dilemma.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 11:52 AM as a reply to T.
T:
Because the ones we are most aware of, chattering away all day and night, are often unkind and in conflict with whatever is happening. It doesn't mean stop thinking. There's still thinking to be done. Just shut up the voice over time. 

You've contradicted yourself twice. Are thoughts a problem or not? And is the goal to stop them or not?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 11:54 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Papa Che Dusko:
nintheye:
Well, certainly there may be other psychological, motivational issues going on -- and I think that's part of the spiritual search, to iron those out.

But from "the spiritual standpoint per se," ignoring thoughts is the means and the end, essentially. And it's a practice. One doesn't instantly do it. But just as one might say "Run!" -- it doesn't mean that you are instantly able to run a marathon. It certainly doesn't mean winning the Olympic Gold. But it's an instruction to practice.

See, HMK said he'd been pursuing enlightenment for 6-7 years, didn't have proof that it was real, didn't think it could be achieved, etc. All things that suggested a complicated picture of what enlightenment is supposed to be. These were misconceptions, and instead of giving a long argument in response, I simplified it and said "Yes, it can be achieved. It can be done. It's as simple as this."

Now if he came back and said, "I tried ignoring thoughts, but I find it near impossible. Do you have any tips?" Then I'd come back and say: "Well, what thoughts are interfering? Are there themes? It could be you need to work out your emotional baggage. Try therapy. Or it could be that you need a better intellectual framework for the search. Educate yourself." Or whatever.

Now, as far as not all thoughts being a problem, and only certain kinds of thoughts being a problem, that's in a way true. Ignoring thoughts isn't actually stopping thoughts per se, exactly. It may produce that effect in the long run... but it's really about changing the relevant relationship to thought. After all, "ignore thought" is itself a thought. On the other hand, ignoring thoughts makes it so that whether thoughts occur or not, they aren't noticed as such. If they are noticed as such, that notice isn't noticed as such. And so on... And if a tree falls in the forest...?
Ignore thoughts. Really? emoticon Why the fuck would I want to do that? To be awake is to see ALL object in this-ness. Whats wrong with thoughts/thinking/pondering/discerening? Jeez man where do you come from? Soon you will tell me I should also get rid of my Ego emoticon Get out of here before Kyosaku lends on you hard!

Thinking is as harmless as itching or farting. Happening on its own thanks to cause and effect, impermanent and refers back to no one in moment of profound mindfulness of thinking. Hence Practice is Awakening, Awakening is Practice.


Nope. What you consider being awake with mindfulness is just another form of sleep. Thinking is harmless, but paying attention to thinking is not. Thinking cannot 'refer back to no one'... if there is thinking, there's a thinker. If you want to go beyond both thoughts and thinker, start practicing ignoring thought.

Ok. I will Map 9th here. Everyone ready;

Be open to a possibility here. Please. I have a feeling that you have experienced some strong stuff in the Mind & Body stage. Likely Mind falling off the wagon with all its thinking and there was just this Aware Thisness within the body. Calm, non-thinking, just being. Feels sweet as nectar. 

Somehow you managed to solidify in this stage and believe this is It.  This is Awakening, this is Enlightement. The thoughts are gone hence the ego too. 

Would you be open to the possibility that you are stuck in the Mind and Body stage?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 11:56 AM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Papa Che Dusko:
nintheye:
Papa Che Dusko:
nintheye:
Well, certainly there may be other psychological, motivational issues going on -- and I think that's part of the spiritual search, to iron those out.

But from "the spiritual standpoint per se," ignoring thoughts is the means and the end, essentially. And it's a practice. One doesn't instantly do it. But just as one might say "Run!" -- it doesn't mean that you are instantly able to run a marathon. It certainly doesn't mean winning the Olympic Gold. But it's an instruction to practice.

See, HMK said he'd been pursuing enlightenment for 6-7 years, didn't have proof that it was real, didn't think it could be achieved, etc. All things that suggested a complicated picture of what enlightenment is supposed to be. These were misconceptions, and instead of giving a long argument in response, I simplified it and said "Yes, it can be achieved. It can be done. It's as simple as this."

Now if he came back and said, "I tried ignoring thoughts, but I find it near impossible. Do you have any tips?" Then I'd come back and say: "Well, what thoughts are interfering? Are there themes? It could be you need to work out your emotional baggage. Try therapy. Or it could be that you need a better intellectual framework for the search. Educate yourself." Or whatever.

Now, as far as not all thoughts being a problem, and only certain kinds of thoughts being a problem, that's in a way true. Ignoring thoughts isn't actually stopping thoughts per se, exactly. It may produce that effect in the long run... but it's really about changing the relevant relationship to thought. After all, "ignore thought" is itself a thought. On the other hand, ignoring thoughts makes it so that whether thoughts occur or not, they aren't noticed as such. If they are noticed as such, that notice isn't noticed as such. And so on... And if a tree falls in the forest...?
Ignore thoughts. Really? emoticon Why the fuck would I want to do that? To be awake is to see ALL object in this-ness. Whats wrong with thoughts/thinking/pondering/discerening? Jeez man where do you come from? Soon you will tell me I should also get rid of my Ego emoticon Get out of here before Kyosaku lends on you hard!

Thinking is as harmless as itching or farting. Happening on its own thanks to cause and effect, impermanent and refers back to no one in moment of profound mindfulness of thinking. Hence Practice is Awakening, Awakening is Practice.


Nope. What you consider being awake with mindfulness is just another form of sleep. Thinking is harmless, but paying attention to thinking is not. Thinking cannot 'refer back to no one'... if there is thinking, there's a thinker. If you want to go beyond both thoughts and thinker, start practicing ignoring thought.

Ok. I will Map 9th here. Everyone ready;

Be open to a possibility here. Please. I have a feeling that you have experienced some strong stuff in the Mind & Body stage. Likely Mind falling off the wagon with all its thinking and there was just this Aware Thisness within the body. Calm, non-thinking, just being. Feels sweet as nectar. 
Nope. It is neither calm, nor non-thinking, nor being, nor sweet.
Somehow you managed to solidify in this stage and believe this is It.  This is Awakening, this is Enlightement. The thoughts are gone hence the ego too. 
Also no.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 11:59 AM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
I could try and break this down, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. Let me ask you this - what is my pre-conceived notion of liberation that I'm clinging to?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 12:01 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
I could try and break this down, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. Let me ask you this - what is my pre-conceived notion of liberation that I'm clinging to?
That "practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering."

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 12:19 PM as a reply to nintheye.
For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.

Nintheye, I think he's prequalifying you. Validating your assumptions about him and whether or not you're willing to explain yourself to him on his terms. I commend him and his instincts on the process. I would do the same.

EDIT: You did make a rather important assumption about his frame of mind. I think it's more than fair that he asks you about it. But now you've done more harm to your potential relationship by accusing him of lacking in humility and presuming his legitimate question hides a hindrance.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 12:24 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.

Nintheye, I think he's prequalifying you. Validating your assumptions about him and whether or not you're willing to explain yourself to him on his terms. I commend him and his instincts on the process. I would do the same.

EDIT: You did make a rather important assumption about his frame of mind. I think it's more than fair that he asks you about it. But now you've done more harm to your potential relationship by accusing him of lacking in humility and presuming his legitimate question hides a hindrance.
I wasn't just referring to his interaction with me. I see the issue in most of his responses on this thread.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 12:30 PM as a reply to nintheye.
I just went back and read the thread all over again. I think you're reading more into responses than is there, and it could be more apt to ask questions rather than make assumptions. But that would be my way. Yours is different, clearly. As we sometimes say on the 'Net:

YMMV

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 1:00 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Can I ask you, what kinds of words would help? I don't know whether I would be able to provide them, but I see a lot of assumptions in this thread and I know firsthand how that can feel. Therefore I want to ask you instead. 

When it comes to proving that awakening exists, I don't know how that would be done. I can only say that based on my experiences so far I believe in it. Not as something that would make a person enlightened, but as something that sheds new light on the existence and gives perspectives and takes away some fundamental misunderstandings and turns everything upside down while at the same time just being as it is.  Believing is not the right word. It has become impossible for me not to believe in it. I wrote almost a whole essay about in in Agnostic's log recently. It is not for me to say what you should do or what you should believe. 

I can't speak for how reliable any technique is. I can only say that there are techniques that do work. Which ones would work best for you is an empirical question. I would go with one that you actually like, and then maybe gradually move out of your comfort zone in a way that is still enjoyable - that is, if you choose to do this.

The awakening process so far has made me much more comfortable in my own skin (which is paradoxical, because thinking of it as my skin has sort of a comical ring to it now, and yet not). Also, I find the process in itself fascinating. That helps. I'm curious. And life used to suck in many ways, and somehow now it doesn't. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 1:16 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
HMK, and Tim, thinking is very much maligned in some people's minds.

In my experience it's not thinking, per se, that is the main problem. It's certain kinds of thoughts. It's very likely a literal impossibility to stop thinking altogether. I once met this person, sat next to him at a nice group lunch - his name was Gary Weber. Gary claimed to have no thoughts. None. Well, that day he asked me to order food for him because he couldn't read the menu very well in the dim lighting Then we talked about his work with IBM and a bunch of other things we had in common. He was obviously full of thoughts. Not recursive thoughts that caused him the kind of pain we all want to minimize here, but of certain kinds of thoughts.

My journey through hell and back started many years ago because I had horrible anxiety and depressing thoughts. Those thoughts have not disappeared entirely. They just get recognized for what they are. And therein lies the key to the Magic Kingdom.

Don't set yourself up with short term goals so lofty that you can't achieve them within a reasonable time frame. That's what leads to the kind of malaise you find yourself in, HMK.


But as far as I can tell, there are no "short term goals" to be had. You either recognize enlightenment or you don't. It's funny you mention Gary Weber because he himself said in an interview that it took him 20 years of meditating 2 hours a day to have his realization and that there was no intermediate benefit in the meantime. He just went from zero to enlightment one day, no small steps or realistic goals to be acheived in a reasonable time frame.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 1:18 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Handsome Monkey King:
Actually I did stop sitting for the most part. I sit maybe 15 minutes every 2 or three days now. I used to sit for an hour or more a day.

And I've been replacing that time with other pursuits. So it's not like I "gave up the chase" if that's what you're getting at. I just went back to chasing money and career success instead of enlightenment.

Hi Handsome,

In my heretical opinion that's a BIG insight you got right there. Chasing money or chasing enlightenment - they're both coming from the same place. You're almost there!

Best wishes
agnostic

That insight seems pretty trivial, it's in basically every buddhism 101 book. Not sure where it gets me.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 1:26 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Can I ask you, what kinds of words would help? I don't know whether I would be able to provide them, but I see a lot of assumptions in this thread and I know firsthand how that can feel. Therefore I want to ask you instead. 

When it comes to proving that awakening exists, I don't know how that would be done. I can only say that based on my experiences so far I believe in it. Not as something that would make a person enlightened, but as something that sheds new light on the existence and gives perspectives and takes away some fundamental misunderstandings and turns everything upside down while at the same time just being as it is.  Believing is not the right word. It has become impossible for me not to believe in it. I wrote almost a whole essay about in in Agnostic's log recently. It is not for me to say what you should do or what you should believe. 

I can't speak for how reliable any technique is. I can only say that there are techniques that do work. Which ones would work best for you is an empirical question. I would go with one that you actually like, and then maybe gradually move out of your comfort zone in a way that is still enjoyable - that is, if you choose to do this.

The awakening process so far has made me much more comfortable in my own skin (which is paradoxical, because thinking of it as my skin has sort of a comical ring to it now, and yet not). Also, I find the process in itself fascinating. That helps. I'm curious. And life used to suck in many ways, and somehow now it doesn't. 

I must quote this for a re-read emoticon love that part "Also, I find the process in itself fascinating. That helps. I'm curious. And life used to suck in many ways, and somehow now it doesn't."
I would add that even the "sucks at times" to be rather interesting, again a curious thing. Life in awakeness is life with novelties. Its as seeing things for the very first time. Good stuff! emoticon 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 1:42 PM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Ignore all your thoughts -- including these doubts -- just ignore them all (no need to stop them, just ignore them), at every waking moment (not just in sitting meditation). Ignore them all, and never stop the ignoring. That's enlightenment. If you want it, it's yours. Do you want it?

No, why would anyone want that?
Because it's liberation from suffering, and absolute truth. You have a pre-conceived notion of liberation that you want to cling to, that's the problem.
I could try and break this down, but I'm not sure it would be worth it. Let me ask you this - what is my pre-conceived notion of liberation that I'm clinging to?
That "practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering."

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.

I wouldn't say I'm clinging to that. I brought up that notion because someone asked me why I've been practicing this whole time. I'm open to hearing other notions of what liberation is if you have them.

nintheye:

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.


And what is this spiritual barrier blocking me from?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 1:59 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
That "practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering."

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.
I wouldn't say I'm clinging to that. I brought up that notion because someone asked me why I've been practicing this whole time. I'm open to hearing other notions of what liberation is if you have them.
I gave it to you already. I said ignoring thought -- all thought -- was liberation, here and now. It is the liberation spoken of by the sages. But when I suggested that, you said you didn't want it. Which suggests you were clinging to the notion of liberation to which I said you were clinging...

nintheye:

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.


And what is this spiritual barrier blocking me from?
From really taking in what's being pointed to, as just happened.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 2:50 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
agnostic:
Handsome Monkey King:
Actually I did stop sitting for the most part. I sit maybe 15 minutes every 2 or three days now. I used to sit for an hour or more a day.

And I've been replacing that time with other pursuits. So it's not like I "gave up the chase" if that's what you're getting at. I just went back to chasing money and career success instead of enlightenment.

Hi Handsome,

In my heretical opinion that's a BIG insight you got right there. Chasing money or chasing enlightenment - they're both coming from the same place. You're almost there!

Best wishes
agnostic

That insight seems pretty trivial, it's in basically every buddhism 101 book. Not sure where it gets me.

Yes it is trivial – see how your mind discounts it and goes looking for something more interesting?

Agreed it doesn’t get you anywhere – that is precisely the point!

You seem to recognize that chasing success and chasing enlightenment are part of the same seeking pattern – the idea that there is a you over here and a place over there which you need to get to in order to find happiness.

Enlightenment is simply the end of the illusion that there is a you who needs to get somewhere to find happiness.

Personally I think it’s great that you were able to come on here in front of everyone and be open about what you were expecting from enlightenment. A lot of seekers would never admit that, they are ashamed by the nakedness of their enlightenment ambition so they cover it up with various practice-related diversions. You are striking at the very heart of the seeker’s dilemma here.

In one of your first posts 8 months ago you mentioned getting frustrated and discouraged by the goalless aspect of non-dual/direct approaches. That’s good, that’s the point!

On some level I think you know what the endgame is and maybe you are even aware that you are avoiding it by soliciting advice about what you should do ;-)

Happiness is available right here right now if you are open to the idea that there is no one here to enjoy it.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 2:42 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
But as far as I can tell, there are no "short term goals" to be had. You either recognize enlightenment or you don't. It's funny you mention Gary Weber because he himself said in an interview that it took him 20 years of meditating 2 hours a day to have his realization and that there was no intermediate benefit in the meantime. He just went from zero to enlightment one day, no small steps or realistic goals to be acheived in a reasonable time frame.

Yeah, people certainly do say that. Then when you meet them in person and talk to them in greater detail they'll admit otherwise in one way or another. It's hard to make sense of the process when so many people are making a mystery out of it. I don't know if this is intentional or unintentional, but if you really talk to them it becomes clear that they were doing practices that had effects on them over time, not just in that one "poof" moment. And I'm not saying that it's impossible to have awakening just happen out of the blue. I am saying that it's very, very rare. I do believe that the last step is like that, but that there are many, many steps in between the start and that Big Zing!

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 3:58 PM as a reply to nintheye.
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
That "practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering."

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.
I wouldn't say I'm clinging to that. I brought up that notion because someone asked me why I've been practicing this whole time. I'm open to hearing other notions of what liberation is if you have them.
I gave it to you already. I said ignoring thought -- all thought -- was liberation, here and now. It is the liberation spoken of by the sages. But when I suggested that, you said you didn't want it. Which suggests you were clinging to the notion of liberation to which I said you were clinging...

nintheye:

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.


And what is this spiritual barrier blocking me from?
From really taking in what's being pointed to, as just happened.

When I said I didn't want to ignore all my thoughts, I didn't mean there was some other notion of liberation that I think is real instead. If that's what liberation is, that's fine, I just don't want it. Well...I already have that ability, I just see no reason to pay attention to it.

I feel like you have some cliche archetype of the "seeker that doesn't get it" that you're projecting onto me and are reading that into my comments, which is why you're thinking I have some "other notion of enlightenment" that needs to be abandoned. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 4:01 PM as a reply to agnostic.
agnostic:
Handsome Monkey King:
agnostic:
Handsome Monkey King:
Actually I did stop sitting for the most part. I sit maybe 15 minutes every 2 or three days now. I used to sit for an hour or more a day.

And I've been replacing that time with other pursuits. So it's not like I "gave up the chase" if that's what you're getting at. I just went back to chasing money and career success instead of enlightenment.

Hi Handsome,

In my heretical opinion that's a BIG insight you got right there. Chasing money or chasing enlightenment - they're both coming from the same place. You're almost there!

Best wishes
agnostic

That insight seems pretty trivial, it's in basically every buddhism 101 book. Not sure where it gets me.

Yes it is trivial – see how your mind discounts it and goes looking for something more interesting?

Agreed it doesn’t get you anywhere – that is precisely the point!

You seem to recognize that chasing success and chasing enlightenment are part of the same seeking pattern – the idea that there is a you over here and a place over there which you need to get to in order to find happiness.

Enlightenment is simply the end of the illusion that there is a you who needs to get somewhere to find happiness.

Personally I think it’s great that you were able to come on here in front of everyone and be open about what you were expecting from enlightenment. A lot of seekers would never admit that, they are ashamed by the nakedness of their enlightenment ambition so they cover it up with various practice-related diversions. You are striking at the very heart of the seeker’s dilemma here.

In one of your first posts 8 months ago you mentioned getting frustrated and discouraged by the goalless aspect of non-dual/direct approaches. That’s good, that’s the point!

On some level I think you know what the endgame is and maybe you are even aware that you are avoiding it by soliciting advice about what you should do ;-)

Happiness is available right here right now if you are open to the idea that there is no one here to enjoy it.

I'm open to the idea that that there is no one here. Don't see any happiness though, just a computer screen and hands typing on it. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 5:07 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
Handsome Monkey King:
nintheye:
That "practicing would eventually lead to a phenomenological shift that would drastically reduce my suffering."

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.
I wouldn't say I'm clinging to that. I brought up that notion because someone asked me why I've been practicing this whole time. I'm open to hearing other notions of what liberation is if you have them.
I gave it to you already. I said ignoring thought -- all thought -- was liberation, here and now. It is the liberation spoken of by the sages. But when I suggested that, you said you didn't want it. Which suggests you were clinging to the notion of liberation to which I said you were clinging...

nintheye:

For someone asking for help, you're also lacking in humility. Might be another spiritual barrier for you, seriously.


And what is this spiritual barrier blocking me from?
From really taking in what's being pointed to, as just happened.

When I said I didn't want to ignore all my thoughts, I didn't mean there was some other notion of liberation that I think is real instead. If that's what liberation is, that's fine, I just don't want it. Well...I already have that ability, I just see no reason to pay attention to it.

I feel like you have some cliche archetype of the "seeker that doesn't get it" that you're projecting onto me and are reading that into my comments, which is why you're thinking I have some "other notion of enlightenment" that needs to be abandoned. 
Ignoring thoughts isn't some random ability. It's what would enable you to stop believing that you are what you think you are, and instead simply be what you actually are.

It's absolute truth and the end of suffering, as I said before. 

You're not excited by that, clearly -- not excited enough to ask questions, certainly.

Maybe that's your answer then. I guess you're just not interested in enlightenment right now and that's that...

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 6:11 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:

I'm open to the idea that that there is no one here. Don't see any happiness though, just a computer screen and hands typing on it. 

Ok I overplayed my hand there with that cheap happiness word. I made it sound like something you need to go looking for.

The happiness of enlightenment is not 24-7 rainbows and unicorns. It's the happiness of not needing to go looking for rainbows or unicorns.

It's right in front of your face but you can't see it because you are looking for it. It's as ordinary as seeing a computer screen and hands typing.

Enlightenment is always freely available and it's not at all exciting or interesting, despite what people who are trying to sell it may tell you ...

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 7:58 PM as a reply to Papa Che Dusko.
Thinking is as harmless as itching or farting. Happening on its own thanks to cause and effect, impermanent and refers back to no one in moment of profound mindfulness of thinking. Hence Practice is Awakening, Awakening is Practice.

In actual experience for many ordinary people, this is absolutely untrue. I'm not saying you're incorrect, mind you. I'm saying that, particularly in the west, thoughts are all there is for many. The complete and utter inability to see the difference between thought and who they are. Thoughts are very dangerous for many people before they suffer long enough to really jar it apart. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 8:11 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
You've contradicted yourself twice. Are thoughts a problem or not? And is the goal to stop them or not?

I'm usually good for three or four, but I don't follow. Point out the contradictions and I'll give it a shot. 

EDIT: Sorry! I missed responding to the two questions because I wasn't sure what you meant in the beginning. 

- No, in actual fact thoughts are not a problem any more than sunshine, clouds, rain, a bird chirping, a tingling in the foot, so on and on are a problem. That's the reality, if you can gain that perspective. 
- By and large, YES, thoughts are a huge problem for many, many people because they're unable to gain that circumstpect awareness that thoughts are not who they are. So - they add to the suffer-fest by sort of believing themselves to actually be the thoughts that ricochet around the head. 

- No, I don't believe the goal is to stop having them. However, not having them for some period of time (happened to me for like 25 minutes) was sufficient for two things. 1.) To see that I'm clearly not thought content as I still exist without them 2.) They can't be all that important, so they just come and go, for the most part. I still get wound up in them sometimes, of course. I'm not enlightened. Life does feel less hefty most of the time, however. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/12/20 8:07 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:

3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. 

Honestly, it sounds like you're almost there.

Where you are right now, anyway, is a really shitty place to be.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/13/20 2:13 AM as a reply to nintheye.

9th:
Maybe that's your answer then. I guess you're just not interested in enlightenment right now and that's that...



Now that sounds like truth and the end of suffering here, for everyone involved. That's what HMK has been saying all along. That's what you, 9th, have been saying all along.

Agreed, 100%. You;re both right.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/13/20 3:16 AM as a reply to spatial.
spatial:
Handsome Monkey King:

3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. 

Honestly, it sounds like you're almost there.

Where you are right now, anyway, is a really shitty place to be.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/13/20 6:52 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
You might also consider therapy (I'd recommend psychoanalysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy -- not just any random therapy). I could be wrong, but I get a bit of a sense of depression from your posts. At least it might help you process your sense of loss from changed life goals. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/14/20 12:24 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
Handsome Monkey King:
Tim Farrington:

I am inclined here, forgive me, to keep throwing half-cooked spaghetti attempts at wisdom against the wall to see if anything sticks for you. I have dealt with despair, and I have been thinking that you are not dealing with that. Is that true, that despair is not the issue for you here?


I guess I have despaired. But it comes and goes and distracting myself with "normal" life things like career goals, friends etc, seems to work better than meditation.

Okay, thank you. It sort of frees me up, a little here, and seems closer to the substance of any piece of half-cooked psghetti (a typo so funny i'm leaving it in) that could possibly stick to your wall right now. 

HMK, one more bit of half-cooked pasta, with the usual grain of salt. I don't think the nature or even necessarily the attainability of enlightenment in a single lifetime by a given person is really the bottom line. You keep talking about career and money like you really think that's going to do it for someone like you, but i often hear that thing in your tone that says you actually think that stuff is as empty as enlightenment, basically, it's just easier to be a meaningless husk with money than without it, which i will freely grant, as i am a penniless meaningless husk.

I think the issue is as simple as faith. That deepest visceral turn of your heart, and mind, and soul, and body, toward . . . that without which life really would be a meaningless husk. The fruit of the dark night is not enlightenment, or even union with God, it is dark faith, the capacity to take a single step, "in darkness, and secure." Human beings really do not live by bread alone. None of us would have come within a thousand miles of the crazy shit we've done out of hunger for that which is not bread, if that were not so. Say what you will about any particular variety of "that which is not bread, but is necessary to a full human's nutrition," throw out every alternative diet offered, and you're still left with the reality of the hunger. It is only satisfied by something as obscure and puny as a mustard seed, according to some, but that's one more fad diet too. But i think that in the long run--- and maybe you really do just need to let the whole shit pile go toward manure for a while right now--- but in the long run, that despair is going to eat your ass alive until you address it properly. I speak as one with his ass more or less gnawed off along the way; i sit lopsided, in three traditions. I'm not saying come to Jesus, or anything. But the issue is faith versus despair, as i see it.

I hope you're at least enjoying all these fireworks shows on your behalf!

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/14/20 11:21 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Hahahahhahaaaa

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/15/20 2:49 AM as a reply to Mathew Poskus.
Mathew Poskus:
Hahahahhahaaaa

Hi Matthew Poskus. Death is easy, the wise man said, but comedy is tough. I am a student of laughter, and a devotee of the Lord of Comedy.

If your laughter is that of the angels, a compassionate belly laugh like like Laughing Buddha Ho Ti's, then i bow at your lotus feet and thank you for your gift to the Handsome Monkey King.

If your laughter is at the melee surrounding HMK's honest soliciting of words of wisdom, many of us here are laughing with you, and welcome to the party.

If you are laughing at anything in particular, I would love to know what it is, if you would be willing to share the joke.

If you are laughing AT anyone or anything on this thread out of any superiority whatsoever, I would invite you to take it outside with me, to the Bar of Last Resort, at
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/18423271
where i would be happy to buy you a drink and determine to the best of my admittedly less than perfect judgment whether i think you need to have a new asshole torn for yourself.

namaste,
Tim Farrington (and not i, but Budai in me)


RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/15/20 3:59 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
It does hurt though. Because that's time I could be spending doing other things.

Why would I observe the wanting? It's going to be there either way. Not identifying with it usually just means identifying with something else, so why not just let myself identify with it? And what would be the point of not identifying with it anyway? It's going to be there regardless of if I identify with it. At least if I identify with it, I can do something to try and change it.
oh if it hurts, dont do it. do other things. Can be very helpful.

Only your last sentence "if I identify with it, I can do something to try and change it" is plain wrong.
You can do something to try and change it only when you see clearly that your wanting is not you, when you see it coming whenever it turns up, and when you are no longer dragged around by it, like a dead mouse by the cat

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/16/20 2:22 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
personally i'm not so much an advocate formal meditation at least too much of it especially for certain individuals who might be predisposed to certain things.

Too many people use deep meditation to cocoon themselves and it isn't so great for major issues as people cover over them.

When what they need is things that will help them with their inner issues.


I reccomend things like walking meditation or active meditation that involves things like drawing or doing other creative activities awarely and even things like techniques from cbt that allow you to reform your thoughts. As well as that there are

It is unhelpful to focus too much on the goal on enlightenment. That is a sort of end gaining, especially the time frame thing. You will get it if you will or won't. Yeah faith as in trust in practices is important just not blind hope.
You should look around for something better though if what you have now is not giving postive benefits in the right direction. I hope you find something beneficial.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/16/20 2:27 AM as a reply to Emily.
Emily:
personally i'm not so much an advocate formal meditation at least too much of it especially for certain individuals who might be predisposed to certain things.

Too many people use deep meditation to cocoon themselves and it isn't so great for major issues as people cover over them.

When what they need is things that will help them with their inner issues.


I reccomend things like walking meditation or active meditation that involves things like drawing or doing other creative activities awarely and even things like techniques from cbt that allow you to reform your thoughts. As well as that there are

It is unhelpful to focus too much on the goal on enlightenment. That is a sort of end gaining, especially the time frame thing. You will get it if you will or won't. Yeah faith as in trust in practices is important just not blind hope.
You should look around for something better though if what you have now is not giving postive benefits in the right direction. I hope you find something beneficial.

Hello, Emily! Welcome to the Dharma Overground (DhO, in the local jargon). I love it that you were drawn to this thread first. I think your input here is spot on, and that Handsome Monkey King is sort of kind of maybe sorta pretty much in line with what you're saying himself, so your support is priceless. Or maybe i'm dead wrong. I love it when he pipes up here and says his firm no thanks to advice that doesn't fit right now for him. 

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/26/20 5:39 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Hello, hello, Handsome Monkey King, this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, broadcasting in the clear. Do you copy? over . . .


Monkey King, Monkey King Actual, click your mike twice if you copy. over.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/27/20 1:33 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:
Hello, hello, Handsome Monkey King, this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, broadcasting in the clear. Do you copy? over . . .


Monkey King, Monkey King Actual, click your mike twice if you copy. over.


Hi, I don't understand what this means.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
4/27/20 1:56 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
Tim Farrington:
Hello, hello, Handsome Monkey King, this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, broadcasting in the clear. Do you copy? over . . .


Monkey King, Monkey King Actual, click your mike twice if you copy. over.


Hi, I don't understand what this means.
It's a parody shtick based on military radio procedure. I was acting like you are way out in the jungle on a long reconnaissance mission, and I was trying to raise you on the radio to learn your situation and see if we could get you some support, or even an evacuation.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
5/8/20 5:55 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.
Hey Handsome, 

Okay, you win. By sticking to your guns, you have converted me.

This enlightenment fifty eons down the line shit is so over. I used to have as my meditation program: “As much as I can stand.”

note: I believe this was also the Buddha’s last working standard for how much to meditate, according the the sutras, when he sat down under the Bodhi tree. Scholars, back me up here? Citations, please? 

Under your secular influence, O Noble HMK, i have crossed over to meditating “Until I think of something better to do.” My mediations lately have clocked in as low as 3 seconds, under this protocol. 

Fuck enlightenment, i'm gping to get laid, and drunk. I'm going to party like it's Kali Yuga. I'm going to hand out with The Artist Formely Known As Prince in the pruple rain, wearing my nifty new raspberry beret.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rblt2EtFfC4&list=PL8cFaF2b783Kzo-dK7pLYUflGUKjWwctt

Thank you, Monkey Rinpoche. You have set me free.

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
5/10/20 6:12 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

Apparently a lot of people have felt this way over the last 2500 years:

https://accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.02.0.than.html

"Lord, there are these common craftsmen: elephant-trainers, horse-trainers, charioteers, archers, standard bearers, camp marshals, supply corps officers, high royal officers, commandos, military heroes, armor-clad warriors, leather-clad warriors, domestic slaves, confectioners, barbers, bath attendants, cooks, garland-makers, laundrymen, weavers, basket-makers, potters, calculators, accountants, and any other common craftsmen of a similar sort. They live off the fruits of their crafts, visible in the here and now. They give pleasure and refreshment to themselves, to their parents, wives, and children, to their friends and colleagues. They put in place an excellent presentation of offerings to brahmans and contemplatives, leading to heaven, resulting in happiness, conducive to a heavenly rebirth. Is it possible, lord, to point out a similar fruit of the contemplative life, visible in the here and now?"

"Do you remember, great king, ever having asked this question of other brahmans and contemplatives?"

"Yes, I do."

"If it isn't troublesome for you, how did they answer?"

"No, it's not troublesome for me wherever the Blessed One — or someone like the Blessed One — is sitting."

"Then speak, great king . . .



love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 1:18 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Okay, you guys win. I'm meditating again. I tried to quit, but you pulled me back in. If I become englightened, I will blame you for it.

I had equinimity, but the equinimity is gone now. Now I'm just lonely and bored and am craving a lot for food, lust, etc.

I'm definitely going to switch approaches because zen wasn't working. I can't see my zen teacher anyway because of the virus. I want to try something more pragmatic dharma-y. I'll probably post a separate thread with questions about this.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 2:35 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
Okay, you guys win. I'm meditating again. I tried to quit, but [url=]you pulled me back in. If I become englightened, I will blame you for it.

I had equinimity, but the equinimity is gone now. Now I'm just lonely and bored and am craving a lot for food, lust, etc.

I'm definitely going to switch approaches because zen wasn't working. I can't see my zen teacher anyway because of the virus. I want to try something more pragmatic dharma-y. I'll probably post a separate thread with questions about this.

oh man, you are soooo fucked.

shit man, you were almost out. i was rooting for you, taking notes on your route, technique, the fine points of escaping this fucking shit.

and now look at you. It's like when they brpke Cool Hand Luke. The entire prison population is demoralized by this. The chain gang work is no fun anymore.

fuck you, you devilishly Handsome Monkey King.

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 3:43 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Don't you know that you cannot "escape this fucking shit" and the only way is to finish it and get enlightened?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 6:21 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Don't you know that you cannot "escape this fucking shit" and the only way is to finish it and get enlightened?

I am fully aware that is the theory, yes. In my school, the fucking shit is unfortunately escapable only through physical death.

In this context, the "fucking shit" was the practice of meditation and the path of the Dharma: some time ago, HMK had asked for people to tell him why he should continue with this "fucking shit," his toilsome and apparently fruitless spiritual practices. He was indeed intending to "escape" into "normal" life. If you had told HIM, at that point, that there is no escape except through finsihing the fucking shit of practice and getting enlightened, i would have thought you a cruel and presumptuous fundamentalist buddhist with a tone deaf ear to human beings actual lives. In this context, believing as i do that HMK is over his hump and sufficiently disillusioned to proceed with the fucking shit, then by all means help him finish it asap and get enightened, as per the itinerary.

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 9:27 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Being on spiritual path does not mean one need to abandon normal life and put all effort in to meditation practices.
Quite the opposite, the dedication I was talking about in my response to HMK (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19762950#_19_message_19900935) and giving life and soul to it is not about giving up on normal life or whatever life one want to have but giving up life one does not want to have.

If doing few hours of vipassana meditation a day is not how one want to spend his/her entire life then this maybe is not the best way of attaining self realization...

Actually there is actually very little formal mediation required for self realization and best practice one can have is practice of just living best life imaginable. If current moment is not satisfactory then analyze why and change something in how life is lived, change something in how thoughts are conjured, change anything until there is no need for change anything because reality is sweet enough that neither it need improving nor there is fear it can be possibly lost.

One of the self deceptions that people cast upon themselves is the idea that you can do some set of some ridiculous unrelated to anything practices and something will change and there will be no more suffering, everything will be perfect.

Why is that?
It is because enlightenment is something that is constructed. It is accumulated knowledge about how not to suffer and instead live the best life and this knowledge is then used to change any possible suffering into bliss. If all one does is expect this big blip bloop bleep moment and ignore reality of what actually goes in to it then at the very best this will end up in delusion and all the pragmatic enlightenment models where it apparently attaining enlightenment changes something about something but not really anythign that was an issue before and needed changing and at worst it will end up with depression and regret of wasted time, possibly life.

Anyone unhappy in this moment should see what they are unhappy about and do something about it. Any way is good as long as it works and if nothing works then finding what works is the practice. If something is known to work then finding something else which works is also practice. Do that improving of experience until reality seems perfect. Do it each time reality does not seem perfect. That is pretty much it. After few years of such practice any time reality is not perfect it will take less time correcting it than act of consciously noticing it take.

Is there need to abandon life? Practice is more significant when it is done when living because it then directly allow you to find what the issues are and how to deal with them. All formal meditation and other such stuff is merely supplement, like lifting weights strenghten your muscles so you can lift and carry heavier things in the same way formal meditation strenghten certain aspects of mind allowing for easier analysis and manipulation inside own mind. In itself formal meditation does not make you happy.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 7:06 PM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Being on spiritual path does not mean one need to abandon normal life and put all effort in to meditation practices.
Quite the opposite, the dedication I was talking about in my response to HMK (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19762950#_19_message_19900935) and giving life and soul to it is not about giving up on normal life or whatever life one want to have but giving up life one does not want to have.

If doing few hours of vipassana meditation a day is not how one want to spend his/her entire life then this maybe is not the best way of attaining self realization...

Actually there is actually very little formal mediation required for self realization and best practice one can have is practice of just living best life imaginable. If current moment is not satisfactory then analyze why and change something in how life is lived, change something in how thoughts are conjured, change anything until there is no need for change anything because reality is sweet enough that neither it need improving nor there is fear it can be possibly lost.

One of the self deceptions that people cast upon themselves is the idea that you can do some set of some ridiculous unrelated to anything practices and something will change and there will be no more suffering, everything will be perfect.

Why is that?
It is because enlightenment is something that is constructed. It is accumulated knowledge about how not to suffer and instead live the best life and this knowledge is then used to change any possible suffering into bliss. If all one does is expect this big blip bloop bleep moment and ignore reality of what actually goes in to it then at the very best this will end up in delusion and all the pragmatic enlightenment models where it apparently attaining enlightenment changes something about something but not really anythign that was an issue before and needed changing and at worst it will end up with depression and regret of wasted time, possibly life.

Anyone unhappy in this moment should see what they are unhappy about and do something about it. Any way is good as long as it works and if nothing works then finding what works is the practice. If something is known to work then finding something else which works is also practice. Do that improving of experience until reality seems perfect. Do it each time reality does not seem perfect. That is pretty much it. After few years of such practice any time reality is not perfect it will take less time correcting it than act of consciously noticing it take.

Is there need to abandon life? Practice is more significant when it is done when living because it then directly allow you to find what the issues are and how to deal with them. All formal meditation and other such stuff is merely supplement, like lifting weights strenghten your muscles so you can lift and carry heavier things in the same way formal meditation strenghten certain aspects of mind allowing for easier analysis and manipulation inside own mind. In itself formal meditation does not make you happy.

This just sounds like you're turning awakening into an orientalized version of eudiamonia.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 8:40 PM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Being on spiritual path does not mean one need to abandon normal life and put all effort in to meditation practices.
Quite the opposite, the dedication I was talking about in my response to HMK (https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/19762950#_19_message_19900935) and giving life and soul to it is not about giving up on normal life or whatever life one want to have but giving up life one does not want to have.

If doing few hours of vipassana meditation a day is not how one want to spend his/her entire life then this maybe is not the best way of attaining self realization...

Actually there is actually very little formal mediation required for self realization and best practice one can have is practice of just living best life imaginable. If current moment is not satisfactory then analyze why and change something in how life is lived, change something in how thoughts are conjured, change anything until there is no need for change anything because reality is sweet enough that neither it need improving nor there is fear it can be possibly lost.

One of the self deceptions that people cast upon themselves is the idea that you can do some set of some ridiculous unrelated to anything practices and something will change and there will be no more suffering, everything will be perfect.

Why is that?
It is because enlightenment is something that is constructed. It is accumulated knowledge about how not to suffer and instead live the best life and this knowledge is then used to change any possible suffering into bliss. If all one does is expect this big blip bloop bleep moment and ignore reality of what actually goes in to it then at the very best this will end up in delusion and all the pragmatic enlightenment models where it apparently attaining enlightenment changes something about something but not really anythign that was an issue before and needed changing and at worst it will end up with depression and regret of wasted time, possibly life.

Anyone unhappy in this moment should see what they are unhappy about and do something about it. Any way is good as long as it works and if nothing works then finding what works is the practice. If something is known to work then finding something else which works is also practice. Do that improving of experience until reality seems perfect. Do it each time reality does not seem perfect. That is pretty much it. After few years of such practice any time reality is not perfect it will take less time correcting it than act of consciously noticing it take.

Is there need to abandon life? Practice is more significant when it is done when living because it then directly allow you to find what the issues are and how to deal with them. All formal meditation and other such stuff is merely supplement, like lifting weights strenghten your muscles so you can lift and carry heavier things in the same way formal meditation strenghten certain aspects of mind allowing for easier analysis and manipulation inside own mind. In itself formal meditation does not make you happy.

Again, i am very glad that you only crashed this party after our Handsome Monkey King found his way through the patch of woods he had come upon way back ab initio on this post. Had you blundered in then like a boring bull in a china shop, he might well have taken your tedious bullshit as  one more example of why the whole idea of spiritual practice was empty and a waste of the already dubious and double-edged gift of life.

You have no compunction in coming in here like we called for you on 911, and pronouncing shit from on high without knowing what the fuck the actual situation is, who you are talking to, or even why we are talking. This is ugly. I think it arrogant. It is presumptuous, quiy literally, because you presume your value on this conversation, and proceed to prove it valueless. I thank God you are too late to do any real harm.

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
6/22/20 9:02 PM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.


some words of wisdom...


from thich nhat hanh's plum village version of the diamond sutra...


The Buddha said to Subhuti, “In a place where there is something that can be distinguished by signs, in that place there is deception. If you can see the signless nature of signs, you can see the Tathagata.”

The Venerable Subhuti said to the Buddha, “In times to come, will there be people who, when they hear these teachings, have real faith and confidence in them?”

The Buddha replied, “Do not speak that way, Subhuti. Five hundred years after the Tathagata has passed away, there will still be people who appreciate the joy and happiness that come from observing the precepts. When such people hear these words, they will have faith and confidence that this is the truth. Know that such people have sown seeds not only during the lifetime of one Buddha, or even two, three, four, or five Buddhas, but have, in fact, planted wholesome seeds during the lifetimes of tens of thousands of Buddhas. Anyone who, for even a moment, gives rise to a pure and clear confidence upon hearing these words of the Tathagata, the Tathagata sees and knows that person, and he or she will attain immeasurable happiness because of this understanding. Why?

“Because that person is not caught in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, or a life span. He or she is not caught in the idea of a dharma or the idea of a non-dharma. He or she is not caught in the notion that this is a sign and that is not a sign. Why? If you are caught in the idea of a dharma, you are also caught in the ideas of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span. If you are caught in the idea that there is no dharma, you are still caught in the ideas of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span. That is why we should not get caught in dharmas or in the idea that dharmas do not exist. This is the hidden meaning when the Tathagata says, ‘Bhikshus, you should know that all of the teachings I give to you are a raft.’ All teachings must be abandoned, not to mention non-teachings.

The Buddha asked Subhuti, “In ancient times when the Tathagata practiced under the guidance of the Buddha Dipankara, did the Tathagata attain anything?”

Subhuti answered, “No, World-Honored One. In ancient times when the Tathagata practiced under the guidance of the Buddha Dipankara, he did not attain anything.”

“What do you think, Subhuti? Does a bodhisattva create a serene and beautiful Buddha field?”

“No, World-Honored One. Why? To create a serene and beautiful Buddha field is not in fact to create a serene and beautiful Buddha field. That is why it is called creating a serene and beautiful Buddha field.”

The Buddha said, “So, Subhuti, all the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas should give rise to a pure and clear intention in this spirit. When they give rise to this intention, they should not rely on forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects, or objects of mind. They should give rise to an intention with their minds not dwelling anywhere.”

“So, Subhuti, when a bodhisattva gives rise to the unequaled mind of awakening, he has to give up all ideas. He cannot rely on forms when he gives rise to that mind, nor on sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects, or objects of mind. He can only give rise to the mind that is not caught in anything.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/14/20 7:43 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
emoticon

hey Handsome, you regal simian, what's up lately?

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/14/20 8:12 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Tim Farrington:

Again, i am very glad that you only crashed this party after our Handsome Monkey King found his way through the patch of woods he had come upon way back ab initio on this post. Had you blundered in then like a boring bull in a china shop, he might well have taken your tedious bullshit as  one more example of why the whole idea of spiritual practice was empty and a waste of the already dubious and double-edged gift of life.

You have no compunction in coming in here like we called for you on 911, and pronouncing shit from on high without knowing what the fuck the actual situation is, who you are talking to, or even why we are talking. This is ugly. I think it arrogant. It is presumptuous, quiy literally, because you presume your value on this conversation, and proceed to prove it valueless. I thank God you are too late to do any real harm.

love, tim
I missed this response.

Why the hostility?
First and foremost people need to chill out with their practice. Just relax and let things take time to improve while noticing what happens. It takes time for all things to fall in to place.

The topics of type "I lost faith in enlightenment" are usually due to someone thinking that meditating for god only knows how many hours a day will yield enlightenment in few weeks/months. It doesn't work that way. It takes years of actually living and practicing in your own life. Formal meditation is just a form mind excercise. If applied unskillfully it can do more harm than good.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/14/20 8:31 AM as a reply to Ni Nurta.
Ni Nurta:
Tim Farrington:

Again, i am very glad that you only crashed this party after our Handsome Monkey King found his way through the patch of woods he had come upon way back ab initio on this post. Had you blundered in then like a boring bull in a china shop, he might well have taken your tedious bullshit as  one more example of why the whole idea of spiritual practice was empty and a waste of the already dubious and double-edged gift of life.

You have no compunction in coming in here like we called for you on 911, and pronouncing shit from on high without knowing what the fuck the actual situation is, who you are talking to, or even why we are talking. This is ugly. I think it arrogant. It is presumptuous, quiy literally, because you presume your value on this conversation, and proceed to prove it valueless. I thank God you are too late to do any real harm.

love, tim
I missed this response.

Why the hostility?
First and foremost people need to chill out with their practice. Just relax and let things take time to improve while noticing what happens. It takes time for all things to fall in to place.

The topics of type "I lost faith in enlightenment" are usually due to someone thinking that meditating for god only knows how many hours a day will yield enlightenment in few weeks/months. It doesn't work that way. It takes years of actually living and practicing in your own life. Formal meditation is just a form mind excercise. If applied unskillfully it can do more harm than good.

hey Ni Nurta,

Please forgive my hostility, it was inappropriate and wrong-headed.

Also, no harm, no foul!

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/14/20 8:51 AM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
We re good
Metta your way emoticon

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/17/20 8:25 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.
Hey Handsome, what's new?

love, tim

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/17/20 12:26 PM as a reply to Tim Farrington.
Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

What always kept me going was curiosity. I had no idea if the enlightenment stuff I read about was real or even possible, or just more religion BS. But I kept at my practice and as I did there was enough revelation to make me curious, not about enlightenment per se, but about what might happen next, what new realization would occur, what more I could glean about myself, my mind, and how I was connected to the rest of the world.

Curiosity, dig it?

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/17/20 3:22 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I dig it too !!!!!!!

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/20/20 9:51 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.

What always kept me going was curiosity. I had no idea if the enlightenment stuff I read about was real or even possible, or just more religion BS. But I kept at my practice and as I did there was enough revelation to make me curious, not about enlightenment per se, but about what might happen next, what new realization would occur, what more I could glean about myself, my mind, and how I was connected to the rest of the world.

Curiosity, dig it?

Like Olivier, I'm here with my shovel, duuuude.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/21/20 10:50 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.

Actually I did stop sitting for the most part. I sit maybe 15 minutes every 2 or three days now. I used to sit for an hour or more a day.

And I've been replacing that time with other pursuits. So it's not like I "gave up the chase" if that's what you're getting at. I just went back to chasing money and career success instead of enlightenment.


Wonderfull, good idea !

go ahead, earn money, success in your career, whatever,  it doesn't matter as long as it gives you a purpose, a direction, enlightenment can wait , enlightenment doesn't matter, enlightenment is just a dream, one day you will dream again about it.

Stop staring at this unreachable top of the mountain of Enlightenment, it doesn't really exist anyway, it's magic ;-)
However, what matters is to walk the way, meditation is a wonderful tool for exploration, use it as it is, not to reach enlightenment , enjoy it, anything is on the way ,there is no goal to reach, there is just a path, if it can help, think that meditation will help you in your career or to earn money ( and it will), at the end of the day that makes no difference...
see what i mean ;-)

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment
Answer
7/22/20 5:16 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Handsome Monkey King:
I've pretty much stopped meditating the past few weeks. It's kind of hit me that

1) I have very little proof that enlightenment is real
2) Even if enlightenment is real, I have even less proof that meditation techniques can reliably produce enlightenment at the dosage levels which a layman can be expected to put in and within a reasonable timeframe.
3) Even if enlightenment is real and can be reliably produced by meditation, I don't understand what enlightenment is or why I would want it. Various teachers and meditation evangelists seem to be making contradictory claims around this.

I don't know what to do at this point. The hope of enlightenment was a huge part of my psyche for the past 6-7 years. It was part of the basis of how I viewed and interacted with the world. I think it led to some spiritual bypassing, so maybe it's a good thing for me to give up on this hope and lead a normal life.

Maybe someone else who's felt this way can give me some words of wisdom.
I do not know how this conversation has progressed; I have ignored all of the comments and am responding solely to the OP.

1) You need to experience the proof yourself. There is no external evidence nor proof.
2) You do NOT gain Nibbana through meditation, you gain Nibbana through the Noble Eightfold Path. Only 3/8 of this Path involves Meditation, and at the same time, every step of the Path requires every other step. 
3) Nibbana is the permanent and complete cessation of Dukkha. Permanent meaning that it is never-ending. Complete meaning that it does not lack anything (it overcomes Dukkha entirely) - it is total and absolute. Dukkha is dissatisfaction, suffering, unhappiness - everything and anything that is unwanted. 

These are my words of wisdom. Explore the Theravada Pali Canon. I'm sorry, I don't care what tradition you're from, the Pali Canon is where every single tradition sprang from. If you ever have doubts or confusion, ALWAYS return to the Pali Canon and the words of Buddha. Nibbana is very real, the Path is clearly laid out and has been followed by many, and your doubts are absolutely warranted! Doubt is one of the hindrances as well as one of the fetters. Doubt will not go away until you have attained Stream Entry. Be diligent with your practice - as Buddha says, be ardent and alert. Do not think that Meditation is all of the Path and do not think that Meditation is only done on the cushion. Watch your breath. Watch as many inhales and exhales as you possibly can. Endeavor not to miss a single breath, whether driving your car, doing your work, or watching TV - your focus should be on your breathing. Always have your body in mind - reflect on your body while you're breathing. Always have your mind in mind - reflect on your mind while you're breathing. Between breath, body, and mind you will learn so much about yourself and about the world as you experience it. 

I recommend finding a good book on the Noble Eightfold Path. Bhikkhu Bodhi's book is quite succinct. There is nothing more to Buddha's teachings than the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path - this is literally all that you need. Everything else is supplementary. I use more than a single resource to assist me, but ultimately it always comes down to the Noble Eightfold Path. 

Good luck,
with love,
Matt emoticon