Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 1:59 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Chris M 4/7/22 1:46 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 1:57 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Chris M 4/7/22 2:05 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 2:11 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Chris M 4/7/22 2:17 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? George S 4/7/22 2:46 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 4:05 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? George S 4/7/22 8:41 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 10:37 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Sigma Tropic 4/7/22 6:25 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 10:39 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Sigma Tropic 4/8/22 7:30 AM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Adi Vader 4/7/22 10:39 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/7/22 10:47 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 7:18 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/10/22 7:23 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 10:00 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 5/25/22 9:04 AM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Chris M 5/25/22 2:45 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Ni Nurta 4/7/22 11:45 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 6:31 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 6:48 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/10/22 6:55 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 7:22 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? Jared N 4/10/22 7:25 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 7:55 PM
RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life? terry 4/10/22 9:54 PM
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 1:59 PM
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Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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(I'm still really new to meditation overall)  But I glimpsed the 3C's through body-scan meditation and began to integrate that knowledge of nonself, impermanence, and emptiness (painfully) into my sense of identity (I don't think I entered the DN), but I'm curious if I should continue on the path? Will it make me a better person? Will I be able to have more love and give more to others? 

I guess I'm scared that continuation of practice will be a path of suffering, even though right now, I seem to be peaceful in my daily life-- I would average 7 or 8 daily where 1 is extreme suffering, and 10 would be pure bliss. Of course, I still suffer, but largely, I am satisfied and at peace in my day-to-day life.  Why change it?
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 1:46 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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So, are you saying that's the next step for you? Not sure... can you provide us with more information about your practice history?
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 1:57 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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(My practice history: Breath and body scan meditation for about 2 years, inconsistently and in doses of 10-20 minutes, occasionally up to an hour).  January, I committed to an hour of meditation a day (primarily body scanning/noting/with occasional focus on the breath if it was in my attention--I don't know what this practice is called). It led to insights that completely destabilized me, brought up past trauma, and I was hospitalized for a week. Since then, I've stopped sitting. I've settled down, become more comfortable, and back to "my" daily life. I feel more at ease with life after realizing these things, but I'm also very much still caught up in my ego, but it's been maybe "taken down a notch."  (For reference, I'm also seeing a psychiatrist, on meds (SSRI), and a therapist regularly, which has also been helping me.)

But to clarify my post: I'm definitely not claiming to be close to Ahrant-hood emoticon What I'm trying to ask is:

If I'm content with my life, why continue sitting practice at all? Are there benefits to it that would lead to a "better" life, where I could love and serve more?
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 2:05 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Contentment, happiness, satisfaction - these are all emotions and feelings. They're impermanent, unsatisfactory, and not-self. Is that where you want to stop and hang your hat? If I were you I would continue to practice and at the same time continue the other measures that are helping you. There are many more insights available to you down the path which can help you even more.
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 2:11 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Sorry, my brain can't quite understand what you're getting at, but it sounds like continuing down the path will bring insight that will "help me more?" I'm hearing "to continue" is better than "to not continue," and I'm just trying to understand why? Or am I misunderstanding entirely?
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Chris M, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 2:17 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Jared, what I'm telling you is that you should continue because the farther along the path you go the more self-awareness and coping skills you can attain. Your meditation practice is a great compliment to your therapy sessions and medication. So keep going! Also, the way you feel now is not going to last forever since life has ways of throwing us nasty curveballs. Enhancing your coping skills and self-awareness with more practice will very likely help you a lot down the road when you might not feel as comfortable as you do today.
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 2:46 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 2:34 PM

RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Jared N
I guess I'm scared that continuation of practice will be a path of suffering, even though right now, I seem to be peaceful in my daily life-- I would average 7 or 8 daily where 1 is extreme suffering, and 10 would be pure bliss. Of course, I still suffer, but largely, I am satisfied and at peace in my day-to-day life.  Why change it?

You're not going to add any new suffering through practice, you're just going to become more aware of the suffering that is already there (and not being fully seen ...)
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 4:05 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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George S:
Jared N I guess I'm scared that continuation of practice will be a path of suffering, even though right now, I seem to be peaceful in my daily life-- I would average 7 or 8 daily where 1 is extreme suffering, and 10 would be pure bliss. Of course, I still suffer, but largely, I am satisfied and at peace in my day-to-day life.  Why change it?
You're not going to add any new suffering through practice, you're just going to become more aware of the suffering that is already there (and not being fully seen ...)
<br /><br />Do you mean that even while "happy," I'm suffering but I don't realize how it's coloring my perception of things?
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Sigma Tropic, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 6:25 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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 Will it make me a better person? Will I be able to have more love and give more to others? 
Meditation can make you more aware and that has some benefits and some drawbacks. 

I guess I'm scared that continuation of practice will be a path of suffering, even though right now, I seem to be peaceful in my daily life-- I would average 7 or 8 daily where 1 is extreme suffering, and 10 would be pure bliss. Of course, I still suffer, but largely, I am satisfied and at peace in my day-to-day life.  Why change it?
Up to you
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 10:39 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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This is the part I don't understand. If I'm not me (non-self), is it up to me? or is it up to the person I'm observing?

​​​​​​​Also, what are the drawbacks you're talking about? That seems like important stuff to consider...
George S, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 8:41 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 8:41 PM

RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Yes, you seem relatively happy by comparison with the traumatic past you allude to, but there is still some suffering due to ego clinging and existential questions. That’s a pretty good place to be in the process of stabilizing trauma recovery, but over time the remaining sources of dissatisfaction will probably become more noticeable and naturally move your practice forward.
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 10:37 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Thanks! That was exactly what I was curious about.  I appreciate your response!!
Adi Vader, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 10:39 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Arhatship improves the 'experience' of living our lives.

In life we struggle to make a living and support our dependents, we struggle to build and maintain rich personal relationships, we struggle to gain and retain power in professional and other social contexts.

This struggle invloves hard work and it involves internal cognitive friction leading to negative affect. For the Arhat the nature of this struggle changes. The hardwork remains, the cognitive friction and negative affect emerging from the cognitive friction is eliminated.

Our lives continues as it was - always dynamic. The experience of our lives becomes very very pleasant and joyful.

People come to the Dharma and spends thousands of hours on practice because they recognize atleast in some rudimentary way that this possible and worth having.
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 10:47 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Thanks, I really appreciate your thorough answer.  Part of my "self" loves that struggle and is terrified of letting it go. How do I keep the willingness to go through the hard times to get there? When I feel out of control, my ability to think sensibly goes out the window, and I default to very negative patterns?

​​​​​​​For example, this metaphor seems trite but it's been the clearest one in my head: I have an old trusty teddy that I love. It's been with me through good and hard times, but when I saw the 3Cs I realized I had to let go of my teddy. And I'm still clinging and clinging to it because I love the hell out of my old teddy and I'm really sad to see it go. I'm terrified of losing that sense of control that I was used to having. I'm scared of turning into an emotionless robot, or being in so much pain that I resort to something drastic. So I know logically going down the path would be good, but I'm so scared of the journey because I fucking love my old teddy so much and I'm not ready to let him fall into the abyss because then what do I have
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Ni Nurta, modified 2 Months ago at 4/7/22 11:45 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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To avoid dark night, excessive cycling and other experiences which do not seem to give people any real insight what you can do is not cling to every thing that happens during/outside meditation. Like you know, person experiences some new way mind can express itself and people are like 'this is it!' and just go at it like there was no tomorrow. There is always tomorrow and in such case it gets pretty broken and anything that became a remote possibility (though during A&P it all seems like some permanent shift already happened - which is simply never the case). If however you are like "cool, I can kinda do this thing but let's just see how it will develop" and at most start doing some tests, checking how it can be used, go in and out, try to actually figure out how to do it etc. without obsessing about it. If done like that then dukkha nanas and this whole cycling nonsense doesn't happen. In about the same overall time you would waste collecting traumatic dukkha nana experiences preventing you from ever be comfortable to have all these 'this is it!' experiences you will learn to be able to have them any time you want for as long as you want.

I mean if you just had enlightenment-like experience/realization then why not taking a break? Not cling to what was before either, just chill off, let things go slowly at their own pace wherever they feel comfortable at any given time. No point it rushing things. Of course by no rushing things I do not mean no practice. Just learn to practice different things and learn to recognize when any more doing something is overdoing it and practice something else for a change until you are ready to get back to practicing this something.

BTW. This is an answer to your question.
The other one, from the thread title: you can guess the answer already ^^
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Sigma Tropic, modified 2 Months ago at 4/8/22 7:30 AM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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This is the part I don't understand. If I'm not me (non-self), is it up to me? or is it up to the person I'm observing?
​​​​​​​Also, what are the drawbacks you're talking about? That seems like important stuff to consider...
Everything "you" do is a result of a process of "you" relating to the world- if you go to the kitchen and make a sandwich there is some cues telling you to do that and your brain is a problem solving machine it finds problems and solves them- thats good for survival. But there are some problems that we needlessly exaggerate and problems we create for ourselves  in ways that cause suffering. This is extra mind stuff that often isn't helpful.

In terms of your decisions it's probably best to continue to assume you have free will and act accordingly. If you make a decision to do something your brain has decided it's the best course of action based on it's intution, intention, past experience, etc. The key is then to pay attention to the results and learn to be more intentional and aware in everything you do. If there's results you're getting are unfavorable, you have the chance to stop making yourself suffer. 
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 6:31 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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integrating non-self into your sense of identity could be difficult...

just sayin...
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 6:48 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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if all things are non-self, what is self?
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 6:55 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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I think this just clicked for me. There's no me to let go of the teddy. The suffering is only in the illusion of the independant self
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 7:18 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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"a broom is drearily sweeping
up the broken pieces of yesterday's life"


you are clinging to an idealized past symbolized by your childhood toy...

the pain of separation is already present, you are just denying it...

let it go (already gone)

stop clinging and be free...

easy to say but saying doesn't do it...


now, the lover thinks being free is highly overrated...the last thing a lover wants is to be free...a lover will suffer any pain to be with the beloved...all the lover wants to do is cling...

you might say the way of love is a road with the ditch of clinging on one side and the ditch of non-clinging on the other...

it is love which decides what is worth clinging to...trust in love, take the pain and the joy equally...

it may not be arhathood but it may be the best anyone can do...
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 7:22 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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the illusion is that the teddy is anything but cloth stuffing and stitches...
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 7:23 PM
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I'm not sure I understand the road metaphor. Some things are worth clinging to, or let go of it all?
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Jared N, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 7:25 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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I see. Thanks Terry for your words.
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 7:55 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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from 
The Unfettered Mind – Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master,
takhuan soho


Because of the skandha of consciousness, we discriminate between good and evil, right and wrong, and ugly and beautiful, thoughts arise concerning acceptance and rejection, and, just as these thoughts arise, the carnal body is born. This is like the sun or moon being reflected in puddles of water. The Buddha explained that "the manifestation of form in response to the material world is like the moon in the midst of the water."
Form, feeling, conception, volition, consciousness - then from consciousness back to form - if these are condensed over and over again, the linkage of the Five Skandhas according to the flow of the Twelve Links in the Chain of Existence, having received this body, begins with a single thought of our consciousness.

Consciousness is, therefore, desire. This desire, this consciousness, gives rise to this body of the Five Skandhas. As the entire body is something hardened by desire, when a single hair is pulled from the head, thoughts of desire will arise. When you are touched by the tip of a finger, thoughts of desire arise. Even when you are touched by the tip of a toenail, thoughts of desire arise. The entire body is solidified by desire.

From the Golden Light Sutra. “The Absolute Body of the Buddha is like Emptiness. The manifestation of form in response to the material world is like the moon in the midst of the water.”

The Twelve Links in the Chain of Existence: ignorance, action, consciousness, name and form, the six sense organs, contact, sensation, desire, attachment, existence, birth, old age and death. Starting with ignorance, each causes the next in the chain, so if ignorance is eliminated, old age and death will not occur. This is also referred to as the Chain of Causation.

 Within this body solidified by desire is concealed the absolutely desireless and upright core of the mind. This mind is not in the body of the Five Skandhas, has no color or form, and is not desire. It is unwaveringly correct, it is absolutely straight. When this mind is used as a plumbline, anything done at all will be right-mindedness. This absolutely straight thing is the substance of right-mindedness.

Right-mindedness is a name added temporarily when it manifests itself in external affairs. It is also called human-heartedness. Benevolence is its function. When we indicate its substance, we say "human-heartedness"; benevolence is a designation we give it temporarily. Human-heartedness, right-mindedness, propriety, wisdom-the substance is the same, but the names are different.

These things should be understood as the core of the mind. It is for this reason that the Way of Confucius is said to be that of sincerity and sympathy. Sincerity is the same as "the core of the mind." Sympathy is the same as "like mind" or "oneness." If the core of the mind and like-mindedness are achieved, not one in ten thousand affairs will ever turn out poorly.

Even though one may say such things if a man has not been enlightened, you may explain for a hundred days and he may listen for a hundred days, but he is little likely to gain the Way.

If we speak thusly and there be those who deny what we say, it would be best to look at the innermost thoughts and actions of the people who lecture and listen to the Confucian Classics. It is no different with those who lecture and those who listen to the Buddhist scriptures. This is not just a criticism of Confucianism. A person may be as eloquent as a rushing stream, but if his mind has not been enlightened and if he has not seen into his own true nature, he will not be someone to be relied upon. We should be able to discern this quickly from a person's behavior.

A certain person expressed his doubts, saying, "If even the acts of seeing and hearing are desire, if even the raising of a single thought is desire, how will we be able to attain rightmindedness? The concentration of a single thought is like a rock or tree. Being like a rock or tree, one is not likely to act with right-mindedness for his master's sake. If one does not actuate a strong sense of willpower, it will be difficult to accomplish."

I said, "This is a justifiable doubt. With no thoughts in the mind, one will run neither to the right nor to the left, will climb neither up nor down, but will go only straight ahead. When a single thought just barely arises, one will run to the right or left, climb up or down, and finally arrive at the place of his desire. This is why it is called desire.

"The virtue of the unwaveringly correct is hidden. If this desire is not put into action, one is not likely to achieve either good or evil. Even if you have a mind to rescue a man who has fallen into an abyss, if you have no hands, you will not be able to do so. Again, if a man has a mind to push someone into an abyss, if he has no hands, he will not be able to do so. In this way, whether it be success or failure, as soon as there are hands that bring about success or failure, the nature of things is departed from.

"One borrows the strength of desire while either succeeding or failing, and when he considers the unwaveringly correct and straight mind to be his plumbline and acts according to it, success and failure are still matters of that strength.

 "But if one does not stray from this plumbline, it is not called desire. It is called right- mindedness. Right-mindedness is none other than virtue.
​​​​​​​
"Consider the core of the mind to be a wagon, with willpower to be carried about in it. Push it to a place where there can be failure, and there will be failure. Push it to a place where there can be success, and there will be success. But whether there is success or failure, if one entrusts himself to the straightness of this wagon of the core of the mind, he will attain right-mindedness in either case. Severing oneself from desire and being like a rock or tree, nothing will ever be achieved. Not departing from desire, but realizing a desireless right-mindedness - this is the Way."
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 9:54 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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from buddhist scriptures by edward conze


The Legend Of The Buddha Shakyamuni

We now come to the life of the 'historical Buddha', who is distinguished from other Buddhas as 'Shakya-muni', the 'Sage from the tribe of the Shakyas'. His biography, or legend, is an important constituent of Buddhist beliefs. It is curious that the canonical writings nowhere recount his life from birth to death. The first, and in many ways the finest, full-length biography is the work of the first century Indian poet Ashvaghosha. It is called the Buddhacarita, or 'The Acts of the Buddha'.

The first 13 cantos alone are preserved in Sanskrit; for the remaining 75 we must rely on the Tibetan translation, which I have consulted in Weller's edition, and the Narthang Tanjur of the India Office 'Library. The best English translation, which has superseded all the others, is that of E. H. Johnston (1936), though the second half is hidden away in a Danish periodical, the Acta Orientalia (xv, I937). The book's lengthy digressions are in keeping with Sanskrit poetical conventions. Canto v, for instance, describes in great detail the spectacle of the women sleeping in the palace, and Canto XII gives a valuable outline of the Samkhya system. I have condensed the whole into a manageable size, but have nearly always kept scrupulously to the author's words, though his way of expressing himself must strike our taste occasionally as rather artificial. The value of Ashvaghosha's account lies in its freedom from sectarian bias. Scholars still dispute which school he actually belonged to. I have concentrated on those scenes of the sacred drama which have impressed themselves most forcibly and extensively on the imagination of the Buddhist community. and which the art of Asia has over and over again depicted in stone, on silk and on canvas. To decide which of these events are credible or 'historical' was none of my functions, and would have been an unwarranted interference with the tradition.




5. Withdrawal from the women

From then onwards the prince withdrew from contact with the women in the palace, and in answer to the reproaches of Udayin, the king's counsellor, he explained his new attitude in the following words: 'It is not that I despise the objects of sense, and I know full well that they make up what we call the "world". But when I consider the impermanence of everything in this world, then I can find no delight in it. Yes, if this triad of old age, illness, and death did not exist, then all this loveliness would surely give me great pleasure. If only this beauty of women were imperishable, then my mind would certainly indulge in the passions, though, of course, they have their faults. But since even women attach no more value to their bodies after old age has drunk them up, to delight in them would clearly be a sign of delusion. If people, doomed to undergo old age, illness, and death, are carefree in their enjoyment with others who are in the same position, they behave like birds and beasts. And when you say that our holy books tell us of gods, sages, and heroes who, though high-minded, were addicted to sensuous passions, then that by itself should give rise to agitation, since they also are now extinct. Successful high-mindedness seems to me incompatible with both extinction and attachment to sensory concerns, and appears to require that one is in full control of oneself. This being so, you will not prevail upon me to devote myself to ignoble sense pleasures, for I am afflicted by ill and it is my lot to become old and to die. How strong and powerful must be your own mind, that in the fleeting pleasures of the senses you find substance! You cling to sense-objects among the most frightful dangers, even while you cannot help seeing all creation on the way to death. By contrast I become frightened and greatly alarmed when I reflect on the dangers of old age, death, and disease. I find neither peace nor contentment, and enjoyment is quite out of the question, for the world looks to me as if ablaze with an all-consuming fire. If a man has once grasped that death is quite inevitable, and if nevertheless greed arises in his heart, then he must surely have an iron will not to weep in this great danger, but to enjoy it.' 
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terry, modified 2 Months ago at 4/10/22 10:00 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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to be human (dasein) is to care...

be careful what you care about...
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Jared N, modified 1 Month ago at 5/25/22 9:04 AM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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Hey Terry! Thanks for the response. I'm not sure I understand your answer. I've been thinking about it and the best I can come up with is this:

Caring about contentment, pleasure, and satisfaction is all inherently empty, unsatisfactory, impermanent, and not me--therefore, a weak place to hang my hat.

As for what I should care about--maybe the elimination of suffering for the good of myself and everyone around me?

Is this what you mean? Or am I missing something?
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Chris M, modified 1 Month ago at 5/25/22 2:45 PM
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RE: Does Ahrant-hood Improve Life?

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terry's comment was perfectly positioned to get you to think about your situation, Jared. Maybe that was the point and the meaning.

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