Lost faith in enlightenment

Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
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Zachary, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 196 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
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.
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
But why would I practice? That's the point of my post.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 953 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
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.
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Jo Jo, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 47 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
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.
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
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Jo Jo, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 47 Join Date: 9/30/14 Recent Posts
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
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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. 
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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.
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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. 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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 ...
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1664 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
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. 
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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?
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Ben V., modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 342 Join Date: 3/3/15 Recent Posts
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.
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 953 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
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).
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 953 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
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.
Brian, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 93 Join Date: 1/21/19 Recent Posts
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.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 275 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
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?". 
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Nick Lande, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 7 Join Date: 10/8/19 Recent Posts
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. 
Sleeping Buddha Syndrome, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 678 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Stirling Campbell, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 597 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
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.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 953 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
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.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 3864 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
Handsome Monkey King -- with a handle like that how can you be down about anything?  emoticon
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Chris Marti, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 3864 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
HMK, the future of all that is holy rests with you now.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 953 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
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.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 953 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
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.
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BrunoA, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 13 Join Date: 1/16/20 Recent Posts
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.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
If that's true then it's the same thing as enlightenment not existing.
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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.
T, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 275 Join Date: 1/15/19 Recent Posts
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). 
agnostic, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 1520 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
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.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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.
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curious, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 899 Join Date: 7/13/17 Recent Posts
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 
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Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 5310 Join Date: 12/8/18 Recent Posts
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. 
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Ni Nurta, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 622 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
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
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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. 
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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?
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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.
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 2437 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
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
Handsome Monkey King, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Lost faith in enlightenment

Posts: 49 Join Date: 7/31/19 Recent Posts
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.

Breadcrumb