RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

Posts: 41 Join Date: 4/26/21 Recent Posts
I remember reading in a yoga book that there was this girl that did not have to eat. I am wondering if anybody else is able to do this, and if so: whether they could show me their methods.

Thanks in advance.
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Josef C, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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I dont believe that  is remotely possible. Even the Buddha needed sustenance. Its a normal physiological need and its fine to eat emoticon Most of the people who have claimed to do so  ala "breatharians" ate but just didnt tell other people. 
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Richard Zen, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Josef C
I dont believe that  is remotely possible. Even the Buddha needed sustenance. Its a normal physiological need and its fine to eat emoticon Most of the people who have claimed to do so  ala "breatharians" ate but just didnt tell other people. 
emoticon LOL! Classic!

The best way to get around a faith that people can do this is to find as many audio recordings of these masters and their dharma talks, and invariably you'll hear their stomach growl, or bowel sounds, which is an obvious tell that they have food cravings, and is also a method of detecting if people are alive. They may eat less as a response, which means their stomach will growl more! They may ignore it for long periods of time, but there's a point where people, especially seeing the experiences of low carb diet people, they inevitably get the shakes and become ravenous.

What ketosis is, is the stomach eating itself to get nutrition from the body. This means that even if one ignores the hunger, like in a hunger strike, the feeding will happen on its own regardless of intention. 

At best, one can emotionally feed, especially when one is bored, with meditation. Eating for entertainment is different from eating out of true hunger. The difficulty of course is that emotional feeding on the breath only happens when there's a lot of pleasure. When pleasure is present, there's emotional feeding. Unfortunately, people don't always get into ecstatic states with each meditation sitting. There's lots of failure.

The best way is to eat healthy, which will ironically help the meditation, and to look at drawbacks of eating food that makes you feel bad. Visualizing the consequences and the possible feelings one gets with eating too much, etc., can moderate oneself. The pleasure of avoiding. If one has a good diet, then the problem is solved. One should focus their practice on things that are unnecessary in life and they'll have less unnecessary pain, which is all we can ask for living in this body.
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Richard Zen, modified 29 Days ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Josef C
I dont believe that  is remotely possible. Even the Buddha needed sustenance. Its a normal physiological need and its fine to eat emoticon Most of the people who have claimed to do so  ala "breatharians" ate but just didnt tell other people. 
emoticon LOL! Classic!

The best way to get around a faith that people can do this is to find as many audio recordings of these masters and their dharma talks, and invariably you'll hear their stomach growl, or bowel sounds, which is an obvious tell that they have food cravings, and is also a method of detecting if people are alive. They may eat less as a response, which means their stomach will growl more! They may ignore it for long periods of time, but there's a point where people, especially seeing the experiences of low carb diet people, they inevitably get the shakes and become ravenous.

What ketosis is, is the stomach eating itself to get nutrition from the body. This means that even if one ignores the hunger, like in a hunger strike, the feeding will happen on its own regardless of intention. 

At best, one can emotionally feed, especially when one is bored, with meditation. Eating for entertainment is different from eating out of true hunger. The difficulty of course is that emotional feeding on the breath only happens when there's a lot of pleasure. When pleasure is present, there's emotional feeding. Unfortunately, people don't always get into ecstatic states with each meditation sitting. There's lots of failure.

The best way is to eat healthy, which will ironically help the meditation, and to look at drawbacks of eating food that makes you feel bad. Visualizing the consequences and the possible feelings one gets with eating too much, etc., can moderate oneself. The pleasure of avoiding. If one has a good diet, then the problem is solved. One should focus their practice on things that are unnecessary in life and they'll have less unnecessary pain, which is all we can ask for living in this body.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Ronit Meduri
I remember reading in a yoga book that there was this girl that did not have to eat. I am wondering if anybody else is able to do this, and if so: whether they could show me their methods.

Thanks in advance.

If I was going to try it, I would imagine prana ("energy") coming into my body through the crown of my head and the palms of my hands. This is based on my what I've read on the subject and my experiences with spiritual healing.

I would monitor my weight and I would start eating if I became underweight. I would also start eating if I noticed symptoms of malnutrition such as limbs falling asleep due to iron deficiency.

I don't know if this is reliable but it seems related:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corentin_Louis_Kervran
Corentin Louis Kervran
...
Kervran proposed that nuclear transmutation occurs in living organisms, which he called "biological transmutation".[3] He made this claim after doing an experiment with chickens where they were generating calcium in their egg shells while there was no calcium in their food or soil. He had no known scientific explanation for it.


His publications are on-line here:
http://www.kervran-info.de/werke_en.html

A discussion in English can be found here:
http://www.cheniere.org/books/aids/ch5.htm

He thought there was convincing evidence that chickens could convert potassium to calcium by adding a proton.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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The first link in your response was pretty interesting, although it did not seem to list any methods that one can use to become a breatherian. I have just started doing Tai Chi recently though, so maybe I should try to master that before I try to stop eating. Should I really be concerned about how much I weigh? I have been extremely underweight (around 100 lbs as an 18 yr old male) my whole life, and I never feel like I am unhealthy. The malnutrition thing does seem to be something to worry about though.
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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What would the reason be though?

I have myself in periods of my life been interested in fasting and optimizing the body's energy intake. But looking back it was just an experimental phase, teaching me something about hunger, food, pain and the body/mind in all of that. Right now I feel that food is a perfectly fine source of energy and I don't see the point in trying the impossible and converting from another source...like air/sun. (What's wrong with food btw?) I don't think it's very realistic either, although the energy is of course there.

I'm thinking that if you want to try this impossible thing you better have a good reason. For one thing, you'll fail with AT LEAST 99.9999999% chance, but of course that shouldn't stop you. If it's what you want, go for it. I guess...

It does seem a little bit concerning thought, that you've been so extremely underweight your whole life. So let me address a likely painful truth: Could it be that you're having health/body image issues and you are looking for a way to validate it? You know, if you never ate anything you could just say "Yeah, it's because I'm getting used to living off air - and therefore I'm an awesome explorer of human physical limits, and NOT a guy with serious health issues"....

If anything like that is the case, then you should know that there are other ways around it. You CAN get out of unhealthy body/health issues. I used to have a binge eating/purging isseus myself. For years! But after I started working constructively with it, it basically went away in a few months. Today, years later, I NEVER have these issues anymore so that's very nice.

So what do you say, brother? Time for some health instead?
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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I do not have body image issues. When I say I have been skinny my whole life, I do mean my WHOLE life. Even as a baby I was really skinny. My mom asked my doctor at one point if it was a problem, and they said that it was not precisely for the reason I listed above. I actually look terrible from a societal perspective, I am really lazy about cutting my hair, and thus it ends up looking really crazy. I am okay with that, and in a sense view it as sort of a good thing, so this certainly is not a problem with my body image. I do not vomit my food out or anything, I just do not end up eating that much. There are two reasons I want to transcend my need to eat. Firstly, I do not like eating, it feel like a chore I am forced to do every day. Now this might be because my mom does not make food that appeals to my taste buds, as there are some foods I have liked eating in the past, but even those foods start to get boring if I eat them too much. The only foods I like to eat are sugary foods, but those are obviously pretty bad for one's health. The only food group that I can think of that are both sweet and healthy are fruits, but I can not only eat fruits. Secondly, I always feel a little physically worse after eating, even if I am eating something completely healthy.
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Another thought - also in line with the middle way - is that of course tai chi and other energetic practices have their place. Working with these isn't bad. But working with them exclusively, expecting to live solely off of this partial aspect of reality, would be very...not middle way-like. And surely it would cause a disproportionate and imbalanced life.

Myself, I used to think that I could rely on meditation and insight gained to be my only "purpose" in life and that this could provide all I needed to live a good one.
But to refer to the Buddha, as was done above, the middle way involves tending to all areas of life. Some of these involve food, others don't have a thing to do with food/body.

Just some thoughts. Best of all to you emoticon
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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If one can transcend the need for food though, what would be the practical purpose of not doing so?
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Well, the default answer is that you can't transcend the need for food.

But if you could, that would mean you would optimize the pathway from energy going from the Sun to your body/mind. Instead of the energy going into plants/animals first, it goes directly to you without the middle man. So if you succeed as the first man in the history you'll have a very "green" argument on your side. So is your argument green energy and sustainability, or do you just fantasize of being able to do this?

What is the reason why you wanna do this?
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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I listed my reasons for why in a reply to your first post. To some extent there is that moral argument. I am currently reading a book called I is a Strange Loop. In it, the author talks about soul fragments, about how we view certain beings as having differently sized souls. So for example, this is how I would compare soul sizes:

Enlightened Person > Me (Self-diagnosed Stream Enterer) > Average Person > Dog > Other mammals > Insects > Plants > Bacteria > Objects. So as you can see, plants would still have souls and therefore we should try to limit how much of them we eat. Now prana would also have a soul size, but I might make the argument that prana is soul, to absorb prana is not to kill it, it is to use it how it is intended to be used.

So although it is not a primary reason for why I want to do this, because honestly I am pretty selfish, it is certainly a good one from my perspective.
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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 Sorry! I did not see that you replied earlier. We must have been writing a post at the same time.

Oh I think I'm getting in way over my head here, when it comes to ethics of devouring souls, health of someone I've never met and whatnot. It's a big one.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my feelings about this thing with not eating food. I think it's not possible. So trying to do it would mean a lot of effort and a lot of misery for as long as it takes to either die or figure out that you've failed and then try to sort it all out from there.

If anything, I would like to brain storm some other possible courses of action for dealing with the issues here, which are: Dislike food, feels bad when eating. Correct?

Those are pretty typical symptoms, you know. Of course I don't know you or what you have tried and what you consider healthy foods. But in my own personal experience, I've spent quite some serious time experimenting with feeling good with food for the last 6 years, only to conclude that I don't know shit. But have stumbled into some pretty good habits along the way (through many TERRIBLE mistakes which I thought were healthy habits).

I had another thought: You may, being exceptionally skinny and what not, have some sort of tendency to be really sensitive to food. What do I know? Anything's possible I guess.
But that had me thinking of this guy, Ray Maor, who does not really eat. He drinks juice and he's totally into this whole breatharian thing I think. He even attended a TV show where he was filmed 24/7 in a house, not eating OR drinking for 8 days, thus pushing the limits of what is known to be possible.
I don't know, but he may have some tips concerning living on less food and optimizing the body's use of very little. That would work in your favour, I suppose? 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Yeah that would, my desire is not a binary after all, if I could live on juice or on eating food once a month or something that would be pretty cool. If you could elaborate on those habits you mentioned that might be helpful. I do not think it is impossible to transcend the need for food, on A&Ps I have needed less sleep, if you extrapolate that you can assume that one can go off no sleep, and if someone can survive on 0 sleep, why not 0 food? You are right though that it would probably be extremely difficult to do, so for now I might focus on other things until I get enlightened or something. Thanks for mentioning Ray Maor though, he sounds interesting.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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Specifically, I would like to know if fasting worked out for you. I know you said that you stopped doing it, but was that because you lost motivation or because it was unhealthy?
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

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Well, if you mean to elaborate on my own lessons about habits, I guess these points are my main principles:
- Eating less frequently. I do "intermittent fasting". Eating when not hungry for real is imo the WORST food-habit that most people have.
- I eat both enough meat/animal products per day to get 120+ grams of protein, as well as a variety of plants - balance.
- I go by feel every day. Sometimes I just look at fruit and get grossed out, sometimes my mouth starts watering. So it changes. Same goes for red meat. And for the intermittent fasting. Sometimes I'm not hungry until 3pm, but some times I just really want something before 9am.

Yeah man, I think a less extreme approach would be a good idea emoticon
If you're sensitive to food it would make sense to perhaps start with eating once/twice a day, which can be perfectly healthy, and sticking to foods that are easy for you to digest. It could be anything. Some people live exclusively off of red meat, others live exclusively off of juice. I think the body can adapt to almost anything - except the lack of sustenence. Energy is required, although the amount can vary.

Why are you bringing enlightenment into this also? I think right livelihood would be same-same whether you suffer or not, wouldn't it? (chop water, carry wood). You'd still have the same requirements for food/energy.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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How do you know when you are really hungry? For example, right now I feel hungry but I still feel really good. So am I fake hungry or real hungry according to you?
I already eat twice a day naturally, but maybe I'll go down to once a day.
​​​​​​​I think there might be a little bit of a misunderstanding here, I never was going to stop eating now. I just wanted to learn a method that will allow me to eventually stop eating.
I mentioned enlightenment because I think it will be a lot easier to transcend the need to eat once I am enlightened. I'm doing the same thing with magic, putting it off until I get enlightened and thus supposedly get really good at doing magic. I did not mean to insinuate that I won't change my eating habits in general before enlightenment, just that I won't try to stop eating. Hope that clears things up.
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

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 Oh, about fasting.

I think fasting is a cleansing thing - and sometimes needed, not always.
I think eating 100% vegan is comparable to half-way fasting too. So cleansing, not ideal for building up a strong body/brain/mind...

Fasting is not suitable imo to live an active, sustainable lifestyle.
It's like, you clean your house really well once a year, and if you just do your weekly maintaince from then on, it doesn't really get too dirty for a long, long time.
​​​​​​​
 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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I see, thanks for the info. Do you have any recourses for how to fast effectively? Preferably something short, as I already have a lot of things on my plate.
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

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Hmm, it's an interesting thing to learn.
But difficult too! It takes a lot of trial and error to hack your system. In the end I believe simplicity shines through, as with many beatiful things.

Good luck!
And please don't be discouraged from asking advice in here - I asure you, I don't highjack the thread most of times :p
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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Lol, you have been very helpful so don't worry about it.
Do you think that just eating when  I start to feel weak would be a good idea?
​​​​​​​Don't be discouraged from answering posts here - I assure you, not everyone asks so many questions (;
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

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Going by feel for when true hunger is there, is usually a lot before I start feeling weak. I never want to feel weak.

If I'm feeling "fake" hungry I may think of food and the pleasure that I get from it, but I will feel that it's kind of wrong. Like a discomfort in my gut when I think of ingesting it, on top of the pleasant sensations of taste and dopamine or whatever running through the brain. I've noticed that I can distinguish the two.

When I'm hungry "for real" tho, I'll think of food and feel a rightness in my gut - some times with or without the pleasure/craving for it, or at least with this standing more in the background of the feeling of "yes this is what I need to be replenished".

I don't know if that makes any sense to anyone but me. Oh well...

Thanks for the chat, Ronit! 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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It makes sense, you basically just do it based off your intuition, right?

Thanks for being so helpful, and withstanding my questions.

No pressure to respond to this if you do not want to.
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Griffin, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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I remember Prahlad Jani, he used to be a media sensation some years ago. Allegedly, medical experiments were conducted that concluded he was able to live without food or water. Saint or a fraud? Who knows...
Stickman3, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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"I remember Prahlad Jani, he used to be a media sensation some years ago. Allegedly, medical experiments were conducted that concluded he was able to live without food or water. Saint or a fraud? Who knows... "

Me, I know, it's fraudulent nonsense.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2010/may/18/prahlad-jani-india-sunshine

You might say - "what about Wim Hof - that was a yoga miracle that turned out to be true!"

 - well OK,  but Hof's yogic powers have been tested and replicated in solid studies, not ones with big holes in them.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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I went through a period of underfeeding myself when I was a teenager. I was seeking enlightenment at the time and it was connected in my mind. I lost a lot of weight and people were concerned, but that just confirmed me in my belief I must be on to something. The constant hunger and volatile energetic effects gave me "spiritual" experiences. It was around the time my parents were divorcing. My father was very controlling with food. Food is the ultimate control issue.
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Pepe, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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"Food is the ultimate control issue".

So true. Why don't you get a part-time job and with the extra money feel a little freer from your parents?

"I just wanted to learn a method that will allow me to eventually stop eating".

Forgive me for being straigth-forward, but aiming to stop eating is a stupid idea, a death wish. Keep your BMI above 18.5. Tai Chi / Qigong will make you feel better, but won't replace food (I can't believe I have to actually write this). TJQ/QG was co-opted by the chinese government in the 50-60's as a way to alleviate the terrible famine they were going through: 36 million people dead due to starvation. 

​​​​​​​Good luck.
 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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A little harsh, don't you think? Ask a normal person whether enlightenment is possible, they will laugh at you. Ask a normal person whether it is possible to get an A&P without drugs, they will laugh at you. Ask a normal person whether Magick exists, they will laugh at you. Ask Pepe whether one can stop eating without dying, he will laugh at you. Get it?
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Steph, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Starving oneself isn't spiritual. That's just an eating disorder. All kinds of people have eating disorders, even if they don't think they actively have body image issues. Like someone said above - all kinds of stuff happens around food as a way to exert some sense of control in your life. It really has very little to do with the way the body looks at its core.... so you could still have an eating disorder without body image issues. 

The reason people probably get what feel like spiritual experiences when they starve themselves is because the body can't handle the starvation and is tripping out. Many people who are anorexic report feeling high, and enjoying it. I don't know the exact science behind it because I'm not a doctor... but it's a physiological response and not anything spiritual nor something to be celebrated. 

edited to add: Human beings need food to survive. Thinking that you can sidestep your biological needs as a human being is denial and aversion, which you can examine in your practice. I know you said you find eating inconvienent, but reading your posts it seems like the issue is something other than that. What would you gain in your life by not eating, other than some perceived temporary relief from having to partake in a biological necessity... or a few minutes back in your day? Really, what do you think you would gain in your life?
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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The problem I have with your post is that it seems to assume that you, who knows me only through some pixels on a screen, know me better than myself, who is me. You wrote that post with concern and with love, but you should understand that that is really insulting.
​​​​​​​You say that I have an eating disorder and that I am just denying it. Alright, you are projecting an eating disorder onto me, and if you deny that, that is just denial and you should study that during your insight practice. See the problem? I honestly did not expect to get so much judgement from a Buddhist community and am honestly pretty disappointed, but I guess that's just life.
Emil Jensen, modified 1 Month ago.

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In all fairness, Ronit, I don't see this as judgement at all. Perhaps it's just a fresh, although a bit rough for you, perspective.

Remember, IN OUR EYES you are directly saying that you want to stop eating food for good, even though that isn't physically possible, all because you don't like eating food....but you don't have an eating disorder?

Boi, you literally have a condition that prevents you from doing something utterly necessary for your survival and ability to thrive on any level. And you say that it's not a disorder...? Whaaaa? 

You won't at least admit that it kinda (totally) sounds like it?

The reason for these harsh pillets of reality, is not to insult you. No, far from that. Personally, I would love to see you get really healthy, loving food, loving the strength and vitality that the right kind of sustenence will give you. That would be great!
In which case it would be pretty weird to just pad you on the back and tell you to go live in a cave and never eat again. 
But then again, it's totally up to you. Perhaps our telling you that it isn't possible is exactly what will push you to do it, even thirstier to prove that it is...Who knows. I hope everything goes well with this.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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As people who are interested in Buddhism we should be extremely skeptical of what things "seem like". I of course knew that people could misinterpret what I said as me having an eating disorder, I just expected people to be more open-minded. I am really healthy IMO, and I love my life currently (I am in an A&P stage though), I do not think I have a disorder. Logically, I would be happy if I did, because it would mean that I have such a great life despite having a disorder, and my life could get a lot better purely by realizing that. That would be pretty cool. But it is, from my perspective, false. You are right though that people telling me I can't do things gives me a lot of motivation to prove them wrong, so maybe this "judgement" is a good thing.
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Steph, modified 1 Month ago.

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Ronit, I need to clarify. I apologize if my directness came off as insulting. I'm not projecting that you have an eating disorder. What I was trying to get across and failed at, was to say that starving yourself would be an eating disorder. If you're not currently deliberately starving yourself, then maybe you don't have an eating disorder (though they present in many ways, not just starving). Then again, I'm not a clinician or healthcare professional so I don't know your relationship with eating.

What I wanted to get across was that if you were to deliberately begin starving yourself, that it would be disordered eating. To purposely restrict yourself the nutrients and food your body requires, if you have access to food but simply choose to not eat... that would be disordered eating. You deserve to nurture your body and be healthy so I don't want to see someone risking developing an eating disorder if they decided to stop eating.

As far as eating goes, you mentioned there are some foods you like but you don't really like the stuff your mom cooks. What foods do you like? Are there particular cuisines and flavors you enjoy? If so, how about searching for some recipes and cooking them? It could be fun to try out some new recipes and cook with your mom even. 

Again, apologies for the way it came off. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say better now. Let me know if you have other questions or thoughts.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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It is fine, like I said it seemed like you wrote the post out of concern, and that is a very commendable thing even if I do not agree with the end result. Like I said in that earlier post, if I eat a food too much it just becomes boring. I also want to clarify, once again, that I will not stop eating. I know that if I do that now I would (probably) die. I won't do anything that feels wrong or makes me feel physically terrible. So although I am grateful for your concern, I think logically it is unfounded.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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For convenience (laziness?) I tend to cook my family the same 2-3 dishes for a while and then switch it up when the howls of complaint get too loud lol.

Without knowing you better I wouldn't necessarily say you have an eating disorder. But clearly your relationship with food plays an important part in your life. I think you could break it into two parts. What role does controlling your food intake in this way play for you? And is there a more preferable substitute behavior if you become dissatisfied with the effects of minimal food consumption?

By the way, you are in great company here! Many of the great mystics sought enlightenment through mortification of the flesh. The Buddha tried starving himself until he realized that it wasn't the way to awakening, started eating enough and then became enlightened :-)

MN 36 (Maha-Saccaka Sutta: The Longer Discourse to Saccaka)

"I thought: 'Suppose I were to take only a little food at a time, only a handful at a time of bean soup, lentil soup, vetch soup, or pea soup.' So I took only a little food at a time, only a handful at a time of bean soup, lentil soup, vetch soup, or pea soup. My body became extremely emaciated. Simply from my eating so little, my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems... My backside became like a camel's hoof... My spine stood out like a string of beads... My ribs jutted out like the jutting rafters of an old, run-down barn... The gleam of my eyes appeared to be sunk deep in my eye sockets like the gleam of water deep in a well... My scalp shriveled & withered like a green bitter gourd, shriveled & withered in the heat & the wind... The skin of my belly became so stuck to my spine that when I thought of touching my belly, I grabbed hold of my spine as well; and when I thought of touching my spine, I grabbed hold of the skin of my belly as well... If I urinated or defecated, I fell over on my face right there... Simply from my eating so little, if I tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands, the hair — rotted at its roots — fell from my body as I rubbed, simply from eating so little.

"People on seeing me would say, 'Gotama the contemplative is black.' Other people would say, 'Gotama the contemplative isn't black, he's brown.' Others would say, 'Gotama the contemplative is neither black nor brown, he's golden-skinned.' So much had the clear, bright color of my skin deteriorated, simply from eating so little.

"I thought: 'Whatever brahmans or contemplatives in the past have felt painful, racking, piercing feelings due to their striving, this is the utmost. None have been greater than this. Whatever brahmans or contemplatives in the future will feel painful, racking, piercing feelings due to their striving, this is the utmost. None will be greater than this. Whatever brahmans or contemplatives in the present are feeling painful, racking, piercing feelings due to their striving, this is the utmost. None is greater than this. But with this racking practice of austerities I haven't attained any superior human state, any distinction in knowledge or vision worthy of the noble ones. Could there be another path to Awakening?'

"I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.' I thought: 'So why am I afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities?' I thought: 'I am no longer afraid of that pleasure that has nothing to do with sensuality, nothing to do with unskillful mental qualities, but that pleasure is not easy to achieve with a body so extremely emaciated. Suppose I were to take some solid food: some rice & porridge.' So I took some solid food: some rice & porridge. Now five monks had been attending on me, thinking, 'If Gotama, our contemplative, achieves some higher state, he will tell us.' But when they saw me taking some solid food — some rice & porridge — they were disgusted and left me, thinking, 'Gotama the contemplative is living luxuriously. He has abandoned his exertion and is backsliding into abundance.'

"So when I had taken solid food and regained strength, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the fading of rapture I remained equanimous, mindful, & alert, and sensed pleasure with the body. I entered & remained in the third jhana, of which the noble ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain. With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — I entered & remained in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of recollecting my past lives. I recollected my manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two...five, ten...fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand, many eons of cosmic contraction, many eons of cosmic expansion, many eons of cosmic contraction & expansion: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure & pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus I remembered my manifold past lives in their modes & details.

"This was the first knowledge I attained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away & reappearance of beings. I saw — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, & mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech & mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.' Thus — by means of the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human — I saw beings passing away & re-appearing, and I discerned how they are inferior & superior, beautiful & ugly, fortunate & unfortunate in accordance with their kamma.

"This was the second knowledge I attained in the second watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations. I discerned, as it was actually present, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress... These are fermentations... This is the origination of fermentations... This is the cessation of fermentations... This is the way leading to the cessation of fermentations.' My heart, thus knowing, thus seeing, was released from the fermentation of sensuality, released from the fermentation of becoming, released from the fermentation of ignorance. With release, there was the knowledge, 'Released.' I discerned that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'

​​​​​​​"This was the third knowledge I attained in the third watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed; knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed; light arose — as happens in one who is heedful, ardent, & resolute. But the pleasant feeling that arose in this way did not invade my mind or remain.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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I replied to this and then for some reason the page refreshed and I lost my reply. I don't really want to remember what exactly I wrote, so here is a basic summary instead. 1. It just feels right to control my food intake in this way. 2. I would just go back to eating.

What book did you get the quote from? It sounds interesting.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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From the Pali suttas, the original Buddhist texts.

I've no doubt it feels right to you. The question is, what underlying need does it serve?
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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A need to feel free? I do not like doing things that I feel forced into doing, and eating definitely falls into that category. Ironically, I am a determinist, but still, emotionally it does not feel good to feel pressured into doing something. Thanks for telling me your source material.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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I understand. Several other semi-voluntary essential bodily functions fall into that category, such as hydrating, breathing, sleeping, urinating, defecating, swallowing, blinking, maintaining functional body temperature etc . Any idea what it might be specifically about eating that makes you feel pressured?
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Most of those are automatic and thus not really something I care about. Defecating, urinating, and sleeping are all things that make me feel good and satisfied, eating food does not.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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 I understand that, I just don't think that necessarily means you need to stop eating. I don't find going to the dentist particularly pleasurable, but I don't intend to stop doing it. But it's your decision and I can see you have a lot of mental strength.

In any case, Enlightenment is unrelated to transcending (or indulging) the body, that's a distraction. 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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 I don't need anything, there's a reason I put want in the thread title rather than need(: I won't stop eating, not now at least, I will probably just start some fasting routine. Thanks for the compliment. I know this want is the ego, all wants are after all, but I just don't see this one as that harmful to myself or others.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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That's interesting. Enlightenment is about accepting our uncomfortable human needs and the limited time we have in this fragile human body. The ego is another thing that needs to be accepted rather than transcended. I'm seeing something about the possibility of harming yourself or others here. 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Well, there seems to be a paradox there. My ego wants to transcend itself, at least it appears to want that, so wouldn't part of accepting it, be allowing it to do what it wants as long as it isn't hurting others? I can see a possibility to harm others because I could harm myself, but I feel like it's still within my purview to make those kind of choices if I want to. At least as long as no one depends on me. Like, should assisted suicide be illegal? I would say that it would be evil to say yes, as your constricting someone's freedom in a way that does not necessarily make society a better place.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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It does seem to be a paradox. The ego represents our instinct for self-preservation (deciding when to eat, deciding to look before crossing the road), and yet sometimes self-harm or suicide seems to make the most sense. If you look at animals in life-threatening situations, they have three responses: fight (if it looks possible to resist the threat), flight (if resistance seems impossible and escape looks possible) or freeze (if the threat is overwhelming and there is no possibility of fight or flight, a predator will often ignore a dead or sick-looking prey). What seems to have happened to us humans, as we adapted to the needs of more complex social groupings, is that the freeze response became magnified. We couldn’t fight or run away as much as our instincts demanded, so we learned to repress those responses (fight becomes passive aggression, flight becomes anxiety) and developed more complex strategies for freezing - shutting down, dissociation, shame/guilt (assumption of responsibility), helplessness, depression ("playing dead"). The repressed emotions still need to be released though, so they tend to end up unconsciously driving behavior which will facilitate their expression, usually in the form of harming oneself or others. At its extreme this can lead to suicide, which is also a distorted form of self-preservation ('it's better for me to die than keep living like this'). Many of us here have been through this process in one form or another. It is 100% your choice. Personally I found it interesting to learn how the process works, and also how society manages to cover it up in such a way that individuals unfortunately often do end up making such drastic choices (which do harm others, which is often the intention ...)

[Edited a few times for clarity.]
 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Yeah, the ego seems to only care about survival. Makes you wonder why people's egos seem to want enlightenment when it is a path towards self-destruction. Maybe the ego can actually see it's survivabilty go up if one gets enlightened? Suicide, for example, actually might be good from an evolutionary perspective, if one feels like they are a drain on the group's resources, they begin to feel a strong drive to kill themselves.  Now I am not saying that the ego does this calculation correctly, especially in a society where I think everyone can have enough resources, but is is an interesting theory nonetheless. I'm surprised that you seem to think people kill themselves to harm others. While the only time I was somewhat suicidal was when I wanted to really hurt my parents, I don't think I was anywhere close to actually carrying out the activity. I think truly suicidal people are quite numb, and think that their problems are mostly their fault, something inherently wrong with their very nature.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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Ronit Meduri
I'm surprised that you seem to think people kill themselves to harm others. While the only time I was somewhat suicidal was when I wanted to really hurt my parents, I don't think I was anywhere close to actually carrying out the activity. I think truly suicidal people are quite numb, and think that their problems are mostly their fault, something inherently wrong with their very nature.

I'm surprised that you don't think people can kill themselves to harm others!

The numbing is an attempt to protect oneself from powerful repressed emotions (anger, shame, sadness) which have been judged as unacceptable. However the actual act of killing oneself is pretty violent, so there needs to be some strong anger, energy and resolve to actually go through with it.

I'm interested in your view that enlightenment is a path towards self-destruction ...
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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In a sense, isn't dispelling the illusion of the self the goal of enlightenment? It is in a sense a way to destroy yourself, or perhaps you prefer to think of it as finding your true self, but these two things are one and the same (as isn't your true self nothingness?).

​​​​​​​Some time after that period of wanting to hurt my parents, I remember a moment where I was hyperventilating and thought that I was going to die. I was extremely afraid of dying at that point, despite being somewhat depressed. This is what I mean, I only thought that I wanted to die, but when push came to shove I did not, and trust me - I had a lot of anger at that point.  In order to commit the act of suicide I think you have to be numb, when planning for it you may be angry, but when the time comes you have to be numb, anger won't get you to do it. If you have ever watched Thirteen Reasons Why (I would not reccomend it), the girl plans for her suicide to hurt those who have hurt her, but what ultimately makes her go through with it - is numbness. 
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Siavash ', modified 1 Month ago.

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 Numbness, or hopelessness?

I think hopeless is the main thing. That you can't see the possibility of anything good or satisfying. When you have anger, not always, but often you have some hope that there is a possibility, and the energy of anger is directed in some way to reach that possibility. But when you lose all the hope, and the current reality is painful enough, well, then it can get ugly.
 
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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I think both are true simultaneously. You are numb because you feel as if there is nothing good in the world for you, and that nothing matters.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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Ronit Meduri
In a sense, isn't dispelling the illusion of the self the goal of enlightenment? It is in a sense a way to destroy yourself, or perhaps you prefer to think of it as finding your true self, but these two things are one and the same (as isn't your true self nothingness?).

I would say it's seeing the self for what it is - a temporary, changeable collection of physical and mental attributes and behaviors designed to ensure survival (in its broadest sense of the word). People tend to have the idea that the self is some kind of permanent stable identity, and that idea causes great dissatisfaction with life (including the idea that it needs to be destroyed!) So yes dispelling that illusion is part of enlightenment. But there is another important part which is bringing into awareness those parts of your "self" which are repressed, ignored and projected. The second part is much harder than the first, which is why there is so much spiritual bypassing around. In my experience the "true self" was/is those parts of my experience which were repressed/ignored. I don't mean to suggest that they are permanent and stable, but to the extent they are repressed/ignored then they end up unconsciously driving behaviors which are dramatic, distressing and hard to understand. I can see why people call the process of bringing that stuff into awareness "finding yourself" - because it's so deeply cathartic and feels like coming home in a way - although once it's out in the open then there is not nearly so much identification and reactive behavior. At that point it's just more transient ultimately empty sensations - "nothingness" if you like - part of the impersonal energy play of the universe (which can be exceedingly blissful at times, although you can't hold onto that).

It's good that you recognize the link between anger, wanting to hurt yourself and wanting to hurt your parents. There's a short book I always recommend which is an excellent introduction to this topic - The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller.
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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I mostly agree. I am not sure if you are saying what you logically think is true, or what you emotionally feel is true. Emotionally, I feel like I am this light, blissful sensation in the middle of my chest. Logically, I think this is probably false. Now I am speaking from a logical perspective here, not through insight, but I think it will be helpful nonetheless. I don't think the nothingness is transient, because I think the nothingness contains all the change that could ever be within it. I think that nothingness, a permanent nothingness, is who you are, and all other sensations (including the sensation of nothingness!) are just more illusions of self.

Can you elaborate more on what the book is about?
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

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Also, can you tell me when one should try to deconstruct jhanic states and when one should let them be? If you do not feel qualified to answer this question, can you try to point me to someone or something that can? I am in my second A&P and thus am getting quite a lot of jhanic states, so this question is pretty important for me right now. I will probably be happy even if I deconstruct them, but it just feels so counter-intuitive.

Let me know if we should move this conversation somewhere else, as we are straying pretty far away from the original topic.
George S, modified 1 Month ago.

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The short answer is that you can stay in them for as long as you like until dukkha (dissatisfaction) shows up. Jhanic states are very healing, especially if you have unresolved issues, but eventually they get "sticky" (boring, too sweet, unsatisfactory). Either that or you find you can't get into them like you used to. In either case, when that happens you need to do some insight/deconstruction and figure out what's causing the dukkha, or what lies beyond the jhanas. MCTB has a lot of good stuff on the relationship between jhana and insight, eg here:

 https://www.mctb.org/mctb2/table-of-contents/part-iii-the-samatha-jhanas/27-the-concentration-states-shamatha-jhanas/
Ronit Meduri, modified 1 Month ago.

RE: Want Help Transcending the Need to Eat

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Thanks, I won't deconstruct them until I experience dukkha within them - then.
Stickman3, modified 1 Month ago.

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"I discerned, as it was actually present, that 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress"

I think stress is a better word to use than suffering, having a more psychological connotation and less liable to be confused with physical suffering.

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