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Wealth, Society, Food

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Wealth, Society, Food
Answer
7/2/12 1:40 AM
OK, I hope this can be considered DN material.

In The Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, Shabkar's guru tells him that he has to give up these three things (wealth, society, and food), in order to truly live a spiritual life of a bodhisattva.

Can anybody comment on their experiences with relinquishment and renunciation in these areas? Maybe they are not needed for insight practice, but are needed to reach the higher bhumis?

For me, wealth and society seem much easier than food. I mean, sweet food tastes so GOOD!

Specifically, what is your experience with eating on longer retreats? There were several instances during my last retreat in which I overate and felt very miserable/shameful afterwards. It's like the hungry ghosts just swoop in and completely take hold of the body. Maybe I was restraining too much? Do you eat only a specific amount no matter what? Do you eat things you like? Do you notice desire for things you like and not eat them? This was a big issue during this last retreat....

Thanks for all your support.

Be Happy!

RE: Wealth, Society, Food
Answer
7/2/12 9:12 AM as a reply to Be Free Now.
Hi Mitsuaki David Chi,

Mitsuaki David Chi:
OK, I hope this can be considered DN material.

In The Life of Shabkar: The Autobiography of a Tibetan Yogin, Shabkar's guru tells him that he has to give up these three things (wealth, society, and food), in order to truly live a spiritual life of a bodhisattva.

Can anybody comment on their experiences with relinquishment and renunciation in these areas? Maybe they are not needed for insight practice, but are needed to reach the higher bhumis?

For me, wealth and society seem much easier than food. I mean, sweet food tastes so GOOD!

Specifically, what is your experience with eating on longer retreats? There were several instances during my last retreat in which I overate and felt very miserable/shameful afterwards. It's like the hungry ghosts just swoop in and completely take hold of the body. Maybe I was restraining too much? Do you eat only a specific amount no matter what? Do you eat things you like? Do you notice desire for things you like and not eat them? This was a big issue during this last retreat....

Thanks for all your support.

Be Happy!


Bhikkhu Anālayo includes a table (page 200) in his book, Satipaṭṭhāna, the Direct Path to Realization, Windhorse Publications, 2003, outlining hindering factors and means to dissolve them as written in the Papancasudani ("Clarifier of Proliferation"), a commentary to the Majjhima Nikaya: "Moderation in food" is one of the factors that tends to the obstacle of hindering/binding sensual desire and "lessening food intake" is a factor that tends to the hindering sloth (mental aspect) and torpor (physical aspect).

On retreat awhile back I took up "moderation in food" eating 1 - 1.5 meals a day (one full meal and sometimes a salad). It is very beneficial for developing meditative stabilization/proficiency. It also is excellent in regards to knowing experientially the aggregates and causes of suffering (personal and global manifestation).

After one gradually takes up the practice of food moderation, meditative stabilization improves (and the repetition of stable meditation builds meditative proficiency/fluency), and this greatly improving conditions for insight.

One easily may fall back to non-moderation, then gently return to trying (without ill-will or aversion to the "falling off the wagon"), until this moderation practice is also stabilized. It is so obviously healthful and comfortable that after the first few days, one naturally keeps going back to it, but without force, with friendliness and friendly effort and awareness of its benefits.

It is a luxury to chose this kind of practice, too. For a sentient that has known a lot of deprivation, it is very natural that that sentient may be compelled to seek every maximum of indulgence before they consider studying their any craving, and moderating the consumption: like any addiction whatsoever it often takes experiential learning of the stress and suffering that results from exaggerating a pleasure-gratification.

So, it is useful to have not a mind of "deprivation", but to approach this with the mind of friendliness to one's effort, mindfulness of the arising and passing aggregates, patience, curiosity and awareness of the good fortune of even being able to consider this moderation, that one has the conditions of "lessened craving" and "craves less" and is interesting in severing the bond of craving.

Best wishes emoticon

RE: Wealth, Society, Food
Answer
7/2/12 12:54 PM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Dear Katy,

Thank you for reading and responding.

I'm definitely more equanimous now. Everything seems to be ok. I went to the chiropractor today. There's definitely a lot of idealism still in the mind. I'm starting to question the whole self-cherishing thing but it seems that good health leads to more benefit for myself and others.... Any comments on this?

The more I read on the web, the more it seems like eating one meal a day plus maybe a small snack is the way to health and happiness. Giving the digestive system a rest is important I've learned or else the mind isn't clear.

I've definitely fallen off the wagon MANY times over the last few years. It's like the insight is there, but the wisdom isn't.... The addictive, impulsive, impatient, instant gratification mindset takes a while to decondition, right?

Self-deprivation has been an issue. I feel love and compassion will help alleviate some of these sankharas.

Thanks again. You are a wonderful help and sounding board.

RE: Wealth, Society, Food
Answer
7/3/12 11:40 AM as a reply to Be Free Now.
Hello Misuaki David Chi,

I'm definitely more equanimous now. Everything seems to be ok. I went to the chiropractor today. There's definitely a lot of idealism still in the mind. I'm starting to question the whole self-cherishing thing but it seems that good health leads to more benefit for myself and others.... Any comments on this?
I think it's skillful to take care of oneself, e.g., brush/floss, stretch, move about, rest eyes, etc.

I've definitely fallen off the wagon MANY times over the last few years. It's like the insight is there, but the wisdom isn't.... The addictive, impulsive, impatient, instant gratification mindset takes a while to decondition, right?
Well, I think some people may experience a sudden change and some people experience this gradually. You posed a related question in your other thread, and I'll contribute my two cents there.emoticon

RE: Wealth, Society, Food
Answer
7/3/12 11:55 AM as a reply to katy steger,thru11.6.15 with thanks.
Those renunciation things are mainly cultural. The point is that we are not going to find satisfaction from those things but we tend to use them as a distraction from our suffering. We get addicted to things like sweet food because it provide temporary relief from our messy mind and body pain and tension. Pay attention to the tension in your body when you eat. Pay attention to how to taste of the food distract you from them. Pay attention to your fear of being hungry, to that voice in your head that tell you to eat more.

RE: Wealth, Society, Food
Answer
7/3/12 12:39 PM as a reply to Simon T..
Thanks for your responses.

As I recover from jet lag, a lot of things have been settling and unsettling.

Most of the time, I feel drawn to being a hermit / recluse for an extended period of time to see the suffering in craving.

Other times, all I want to do is find a way to serve humanity. But there is this idea that I really have to work on myself first or my service is going to be tinged with self-interest, which would probably not be the best course of action.

And then other times, all I want to do is surrender to a Master. Serve a Master. Completely forget about myself. Whatever he says, I do.

Anyway, one thing is for sure (unless I die), is that I'll spend quite some time at the Forest Refuge wrestling with these inner thoughts and emotions.

Many blessings to all.