To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/2/13 9:58 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Not Important 1/2/13 10:27 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Ona Kiser 1/3/13 4:18 AM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Richard Zen 1/3/13 8:26 AM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Jigme Sengye 1/3/13 11:15 AM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/3/13 12:48 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Jigme Sengye 1/3/13 11:23 AM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/3/13 12:06 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Jigme Sengye 1/3/13 1:59 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/3/13 2:35 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Jigme Sengye 1/4/13 1:19 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/4/13 11:55 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/6/13 10:27 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/25/13 4:47 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Nikolai . 1/26/13 2:21 AM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Ona Kiser 1/26/13 4:51 AM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/26/13 4:14 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Jon T 1/29/13 12:47 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 1/29/13 4:38 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Cedric . 2/12/13 1:27 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Lara D 2/12/13 2:01 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? Joshua, the solitary 1/4/13 12:33 PM
RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world? James Phillip Turpin 6/25/13 2:23 AM
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 9:58 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 9:58 PM

To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
I am curious about what more advanced practitioners think of secular life. I am trying to make up my mind about such things and would like wise/enlightened insight:


Dear advanced practitioners (with first path and above), I would like to know about your thoughts on secular life. Do you view marriage and children as important and worth while? Also, do you view career/work/making money as important or worth while?
I have a sincere interest in this matter. I am 32 years old. i have not attained any path yet. But, I do find myself wondering if marriage/children, and worldly gain are valuable. I wish that I had the Dharma eye of some one who had already awakened as I am very undecided about these matters and I consider monasticism quite a lot.
But, again this deluded mind of mine really gets in the way of clear and competent insight into and judgement of these matters.

I have a pretty serious girlfriend. She wants to get married and start having kids. I am some what interested in the householder's life and I do love her. But I also have a deep and abiding desire for the path. I am quite torn up about this matter. I am not very far along the path. I am in the three characteristics, I think. I have been practicing mostly Zen for about 7 years. I do retreats occasionally. I am going to the Goenka 10 day retreat in Jesup Georgia from the 30th of Jan to 9th of Feb 2013. I am also looking in the the month long retreats at the Tathagata meditation Center. I am very committed to practice but pulled by secular things as well.

Thanks

Cedric
thumbnail
Not Important, modified 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 10:27 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/2/13 10:27 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 34 Join Date: 12/30/12 Recent Posts
Hi,

Just to be clear I don't consider myself an advanced practitioner or "first path and above". But I thought I would answer your question anyways. I'm just a 19 year old kid, pretty spoiled, but I hope to work in the Computer Science industry in the future. In terms of secular life I believe that... well... one should do his "duty".

Here's what I mean: I believe Awakening of paramount importance in life, and anything that hinders it, it something to be abandoned, we don't want to be too serious when playing this game, but their may be a lot at stake. Suppose you did get the works, a job, and all that. Hell, suppose you became the CEO of some company that you started, if you didn't do anything to eliminate the fundamental dukkha/angst at the core of your being, you STILL wouldn't be sleeping well at night and all your days would be colored by suffering. The point is: Awakening doesn't hold a very important place in our society, and it may even seem as if society hinders this process.

It doesn't, your chains are loose in the cave of Plato, get up, walk around, you're free! Do whatever you need to do to get awakened, that's how important it is. And yes you can still get married and do all that and become Enlightened, but if some of that stops you, my recommendation is to abandon it, remember to keep ground rules during this process (here's what I will and will not do), don't violate your ground rules, they're only there to make your life easier.

This all totally up to you though, take what I say with a grain of salt. Just do what you think you need to do.

:-D
Ona Kiser, modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 4:18 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 4:18 AM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 66 Join Date: 1/18/10 Recent Posts
I don't think that the decision to be a monk is one that comes from experience in meditation or progress of insight, but rather from a desire to be a monk, just as a person who desires to be a musician or doctor or teacher feels that pull in their heart, perhaps even since childhood. Of course, what one desires may change once one enters college or training and realizes what is involved. I wanted to be a veterinarian for years, it was a passion, I interned with vets. Then I went into the pre-vet program and after a year realized I was not that science minded, and would be happier in a humanities program.

So one way to explore your desire to be a monk is to attend retreats, particularly longer ones (a month or so), and through this experience come to understand whether your fantasies of being a monk are the same as the realities of that life.

Many people meditate and wake up in the householder life, so waking up and being a monk don't have to be in the same box. Being a monk is about committing yourself to a traditional religious life, to submitting to the routine and teachings and hierarchy of the order you join, the rigid schedule, the rules, the doctrines, etc. Don't just read and fantasize about it: talk to people who are or have been monks in various traditions and find out what they've valued or struggled with in that profession. You can usually call or email monasteries in your area (Buddhist and Christian are not too hard to find in the US) and ask them sincere questions and they will be happy to reply.
thumbnail
Richard Zen, modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 8:26 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 8:26 AM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
There's nothing wrong with holding down a job and making contributions that way. If you choose a secular life just make sure that the work you choose and the spouse you choose allow for the dharma practice you want. I'm definitely choosing the secular life because I believe it's important to not separate ethics from worldly goals. Being a monk should require massive inspiration.
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 11:15 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 11:12 AM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Cedric. I can honestly say from personal experience that monasticism is completely unnecessary for getting paths. One thing that happened after first path is that I lost the negativity that was keeping my social life back and I started going out a lot more, meeting more people and getting a lot more enjoyment out of the parts of my life that had nothing whatsoever to do with meditation. While it took a while for my practice to adjust to this, I was still able to make progress and was happier in general. As long as you continue to do sufficient amounts of meditation and your meditation technique is correct and effective, having a busy social life and being in a relationship will not interfere with your meditative progress. A case in point is that I went out for drinks for a friend's birthday two nights before getting the second path (I don't consider myself as having the vow to not consume intoxicants).

One thing that not being a monk will help you with is that a loving and supportive partner and a good group of friends can really help you retain a balanced perspective and help offset negativity when you're the more depressing ñanas, such as the dukkha ñanas. Some people let the dukkha ñanas wreck their lives. If you're surrounded by people who care about you, it's easier to see the negative nonsense the ñanas tell you as just being biased information that you can note and will soon be free of on your gradual walk to the next path, which will unburden you from some of your baggage. It's worth it and it's easier to do if your life is stable.

It is easier to do these practices on retreat because you can concentrate on doing nothing but the practice, but keep in mind that a lot of people aren't prepared to handle retreats physically or emotionally. A successful long retreat where you practice for 10 to 16 hours per day is something that happens as part of a consistent practice where you've familiarized yourself with how your body and your mind handle a minimum of an hour or two of meditation per day when off of retreat. The teachers are there to give instructions, but frankly you can't really rely on them for emotional support. If you do a retreat in an Asian monastic setting (even an Asian monastic retreat center in the States like TMC), you'll also be faced with teachers who don't speak English as a first language. They speak it, but some instructions just aren't as easy to understand the way they explain things. It really helps at that point to be sure you've gotten good instructions from a native English speaker before the retreat and to have practiced enough in that way at home that you know that you're doing things right before diving into something like a month-long silent retreat. I've found that it makes a big difference.

One last thing is that monasticism isn't all about retreats. Becoming a monk is like joining the army. You're part of a monastery and you have to do what everyone else in the monastery does, most of which is not meditating, unless you're in a retreat center. Being a monk imposes obligations that are not necessarily conducive to meditative practice. On the other hand, the life you're living right now is something you're already familiar with. It's entirely likely that you'd end up doing better practice and getting more results in your current setting. Whatever setting you're in, the meditative practice will still end up being about concentrating on mental and physical sensations. If you can find 2 hours a day to practice and do it right, you'll eventually get paths. It doesn't matter what the setting is, as long as you can get the hours of quality work done.
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 11:23 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 11:23 AM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Incidentally, just curious, do you feel vibrations when you practice? Are there any sort of energetic sensations, flowing sensations, vibrations in the belly, pleasant pulsing pressure at points on the body that correspond to accupuncture points, like the point between the eyebrows, or any points on the front of back of the top of the head? I ask because you've been practicing a long time and could very well be past the 3C.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 12:06 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 12:05 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
Hey Jigme,
Thanks for asking,
I can feel some vibrations, but I wouldn't say that my practice is vibratory (thinking of how Daniel Describes his practice in MCTB ). When I put my attention on some particular part of the body, some times there is a little tingling and vibration, like i the fingers.
Regarding flowing: I would say yes there is flowing sensations like, when i get a little more concentration and I get a Jhanic feeling, there is a flowing/swirling kasina like object that feels like it arises inside the cosmic mudra that I hold my hands in. I also feel some pleasant swirling/flowing on the long in-breaths that seems to be present in the Hara (center point of the body above the hips) area. Not much on front or back of head, but there is some swirling feelings in the head.

I don't know.

This morning practicing, I did a lot of noting, and just kept trying to bore down into the thoughts and sensations that arose and ask if the self was there. Like i would have feelings of anger and frustration, thoughts of planning, the sensation of mucus flowing down my throat and would ask if that is the self or if it resided there and if there were any refuge to be found there. Needless to say I found nothing but unsatisfactoriness haha!!!!

This maybe off the subject, but, Man am I tired of the self. I want to lay the burden down. I am tired of ego-centric thinking and scheming.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 12:48 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 12:48 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
Yeah, back to the whole monk thing: I can see how it is about being a monk and liking monk-like daily activities and not exactly about the practice etc.
I have spent probably about 2 months of my life in monasteries. I do have mixed feelings. But I also have very mixed feelings about secular life.
I have a loving GF and a successful business. I do view the relationship as meaningful but I feel a pretty high level of disgust with business and many other secular affairs.
On some level, I feel that I am not acting with appropriate appreciation for the fact that I have this human body and can practice the path.
Like, I find it vain and veil to spend my time running after money, even though my most standards i am good at it.
I don't know, again, I just wish I could view/analyze these matters with a clearer, more enlightened mind.
Anyway, such is life.
Thanks for all the discussion and advice guys!
with Metta

Cedric
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 1:59 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 1:52 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
From your description, it's clear that you feel some energetic sensations (vibratory, flowing, etc....). It's highly likely that you're past the A&P and are in the dukka ñanas, in other words the dark night. Keep in mind that the ñanas are polarized lenses. They filter for one thing (in this case the unpleasant aspects of nearly everything) and filter out other more normal perspectives, in this case a lot of the pleasant perspectives on things. When I'm in this state of mind, I'm biased. Having gotten this far, you can definitely achieve the 1st path, given enough practice. You'll feel a lot better once that happens. You'll start feeling noticeably better once you hit Equanimity, but there's a sort of transition period during which you're in Equanimity when sitting and Re-observation when not sitting. Equanimity is not the most satisfactory of states, but it's a lot better than Re-observation.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 2:35 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/3/13 2:35 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
Hey Jigme,
thanks for the feedback. Man, I really appreciate the feedback and support of this community!!! emoticon
Knowing the path/map and having others tell their stories about their treading it and knowing that I have some like minded dharma buddies is making such a big difference in my practice. My vigor for the path is 10 times greater knowing that there is a map and knowing that I can check in with others!
thumbnail
Joshua, the solitary, modified 9 Years ago at 1/4/13 12:33 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/4/13 12:33 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 86 Join Date: 9/28/12 Recent Posts
Out of sheer compassion I must post. If you are half-serious about meditation and what lies at the end of it, don't marry and have children. If it is already the case that you dislike talk of mundane things unrelated to self development, then you are already too far in. There is good reason why all meditators of high achievement never marry after that, at least of their own volition or actual desire. From your post I deduce that my post will seem a big downer for you and while I'm sure you want encouragement in a 'in the world, and yet beyond the world' sense, it is only of pure motive I tell you that you will have a million excuses not to meditate and simultaneously you will become more entrenched in sentimentality.
It has been well known in Vedic texts, that around the a&p level, there is a strong aesthetic desire to have children. Dynasty and all this. However after further progression in understanding, one sees all this as worthless. You see your parents as filthy animals. You see your grandparents as disgusting creatures. You see your own body and its disturbing nature. After a bit of digging in the mind, one sees the disturbing relationship one has to ones parents too.

The desire to have children and marry is based on illusion which, with some more meditation you well yourself see to be the case. I speak from a position where I once fantasised of having a hundred children. After unearthing the reality of it, it just seems a lucky escape now that I don't even have one! My views could change in the future but I highly doubt it.

You say you are torn. But what you are saying is you want it both ways, to understand the truth of all and to enjoy gross pleasure. I am certain, since you have not yet made it to the first hard checkpoint, the a&p, you will not take up meditation again if you settle down now. Perhaps many years from now but you face many many more challenges than now. There are billions in this world procreating, in the grand scheme of things, all children are biologically identical.

I feel like a Christian missionary here but I mean it, the salvation of your soul is at stake! Buddha wouldn't resurrect a mothers dead only child just so she could see this. A chance to leave behind the mundane.

Joshua
Jigme Sengye, modified 9 Years ago at 1/4/13 1:19 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/4/13 1:19 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 188 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
My pleasure. I hope your current practice works out for you.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/4/13 11:55 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/4/13 11:55 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
Hey Josh,
thanks for your advice.
after further review/study of mctb/dho and my self, I am pretty sure that I just got out of a bad DN and may be in EQ.
yeah, I certainly have my reservations regarding the whole marriage/children thing. I very much want to practice. I may find my self shortly in the position where I could support both financially without having to work for a living due to a successful business, but still, I mainly just want to practice. And I just don't know if the clear/unfettered mind would do, as my mind is yet so!
I don't know. At the end of the month I do a 10 day Goenka Retreat in Jesup Georgia and am trying to work out a month long retreat in March at the Tathagata Meditation Center in San Jose.
I'll try to not to make any decisions before that time.
Thanks for all the support here in this community. It has make a big difference in my practice/life.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/6/13 10:27 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/6/13 10:27 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
More specifically about love/marriage/children.

I notice a desire in myself for children and a wife. I find that it largely relates to the following
- Children
--I, likely, am wanting to reproduce my ego self - haha - yeah, the one that is not there yet I still haven't realized as much.
--I am afraid of getting old and not having someone there to take care of me and be with me etc.
--Just simply letting the reproduction option expire unexerised.
--I do think that there is a part of me that wants to give my love to something else - Here we have the whole self/other paradigm And even within the deluded duality paradigm, there are other objects to give my love to apart from my own would be children.
--I do love my GF and think of her highly. I think she'd be a good mom and she does want children.
--I would feel guilty not helping this woman have children as she does want them.

-Marriage
--Largely I am worried about loss of this wonderful woman that I do have now.
--The whole getting old alone

yeah, I would definitely value the 1st-4th pathers' view on the above matters.

Thanks guys
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/25/13 4:47 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/25/13 4:47 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
How is it that you 4th pathers out there don't, upon attainment of 4th path, nearly automatically go off to renounce secular life and ordain? Is not insight into the true nature of things tantamount to total disenchantment with secular life and sensual pleasure? Why would you bother to remain mixed up in mundane things? I do of course understand that an enlightened person's skillfulness in dealing with the world is greater than his unenlightened counter part.
Anyway, to be clear, I ask these questions with goodwill and an open mind. I just am trying to understand how an enlightened mind goes about dealing with the secular world and how strongly they are drawn to renunciation. I realize that this post may be quite guilty of excessive polarity in view relative to how it envisions an enlightened person relative to the unenlightened person.
Anyway, thanks,
Cedric.
thumbnail
Nikolai , modified 9 Years ago at 1/26/13 2:21 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/25/13 11:03 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 1648 Join Date: 1/23/10 Recent Posts
Cedric in Miami, FL.:
How is it that you 4th pathers out there don't, upon attainment of 4th path, nearly automatically go off to renounce secular life and ordain? Is not insight into the true nature of things tantamount to total disenchantment with secular life and sensual pleasure? Why would you bother to remain mixed up in mundane things? I do of course understand that an enlightened person's skillfulness in dealing with the world is greater than his unenlightened counter part.
Anyway, to be clear, I ask these questions with goodwill and an open mind. I just am trying to understand how an enlightened mind goes about dealing with the secular world and how strongly they are drawn to renunciation. I realize that this post may be quite guilty of excessive polarity in view relative to how it envisions an enlightened person relative to the unenlightened person.
Anyway, thanks,
Cedric


I was already in a relationship pre-1st and still so post-mctb 4th. Post 4th progress was fueled by the desire to cease experiencing frstration and being an arsehole in the relationship. Such an objective lead to putting into action practices that lead dropping much of what made 'me' 'me', which is what i would have done anyway within a monastic context if i had taken that route. Experience is now quite 'seamless' and experience appears as just cause and effect, thus finding myself married and currently on a late honeymoon in thailand appears to have occured due to a long chain of cause and effect, effect/cause and effect etc. stretching back to pre-1st, back to even before meditating changed things. The current ongoing experience has little to no urge to question where this chain of cause and effect will lead, as there is only this moment of experience anyways.

If there were no belief that one had to renounce the worldlylife to progress, and no belief that one could not progress as a layman, then these beliefs are not arising to condition what you do and not do in your practice. What one believes, will condition how one progresses. You fabricate your path by such locked in thought loops. Questioning such things and seeing their cessation and the cessation of their lconditioning what i did and didnt do was good practice in my experience.

I chose to use my relationship with my wife as a prime motivator to explore, experiment, pry apart the fabricating tendencies of the mind so that i could discover peace and a better way to be, for my wife and for all those i come in contact with. So far this motivation has yielded good stuff. There is no urge that arises to trigger taking robes or some other similar act. The moment is perfect as it is, regardless of what i am wearing and how much hair is on my head and who i interact with.

Nick
Ona Kiser, modified 9 Years ago at 1/26/13 4:51 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/26/13 4:51 AM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 66 Join Date: 1/18/10 Recent Posts
If anything I feel less like shutting myself up in a monastery. There were times in the past when my meditation practice was very intensive and very "inward" focused, and I felt drawn to spending a lot of time alone. But after 4th the trend has been feeling more inclined to interact with others, participate in my (brick and mortar) community, and enjoy the messiness of real life. I participate in various classes and community organizations and enjoy hanging out with very "ordinary" people and being part of work and church related projects.

I think the monastic desire can come from wanting to get rid of certain kinds of experiences, as if they distract from ones goals. But my experience now is that things don't interfere like that. Like whatever's here, now, is what's here, now, and part of the dance. Meditating (or being awake) isn't dependent on things being quiet or eating a certain food or sitting in a certain position or dressing a certain way.

Being detached from worldly things is different than hating them. You can be a monk and get really attached to your straw bed or patched robe or that bowl of rice you have every day, or hate the monk in the next bunk who snores, or spend all day thinking about how much better you are than those idiots outside who don't live in a monastery. Same shit to practice with, it's just wearing robes.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/26/13 4:14 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/26/13 4:14 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
thank you both for sharing. It is helpful.
Wtih Metta,
Cedric
thumbnail
Jon T, modified 9 Years ago at 1/29/13 12:47 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/29/13 12:47 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 401 Join Date: 12/30/10 Recent Posts
Hi Cedric,

The last two posts (by nik and ona) hit the nail on the head, as you already seem aware. Good luck! don't fabricate beliefs so much. Holiness and the end of suffering aren't real things. Neither is path or Way or technique. When you find yourself unsatisfied then adjust the fabrication that is causing it.

When the day is done and your work is over or when you are briefly distracted from work and want to experience some peace before reengaging then step out and let the senses work. let this human body be itself without all that extra stuff. notice your mood and notice the actual world.

fabricate wisely throughout the day and then practice minimizing all such fabrication when you have the time and inclination.


Having kids and going through with a wedding are interesting decisions. If your life will be easier and more pleasant with your woman and she has an emotional need for kids and wedding then that is something to consider. You may choose to satisfy her emotional attachments so you can continue living with a woman who makes life better. If you have an actual desire for children then that is something worth exploring. If you find your life already satisfying and have no desire to complicate it but she "needs" this then that is interesting. I think i might practice prepping your wife as to what type of father you will be, investigate the emotions which kids will bring and the emotions which cause the desire for kids. I think maybe your anxiety was caused by the uncertainty. maybe you don't want to be a typical father and/or householder and fear that you will become one? Maybe you fear this because you don't know what it is to be free? So I guess it is better to learn freedom first and then make these life decisions. But you can become free afterwards and during. I guess since you don't know what freedom is, you fear that a family will make freedom impossible or more difficult. that is not true. A family or any other life decision only makes your distractions and fabrications different. They don't make them more frequent. It is the habit of the human mind to complicate this moment. You will complicate this moment whether or not you start a family. And whether or not you will choose to simply this moment is unrelated to how many kids you have, or what you do for a living or where you live.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 1/29/13 4:38 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 1/29/13 4:38 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
"I guess since you don't know what freedom is, you fear that a family will make freedom impossible or more difficult. " - this is it.
I want freedom. It does seem reasonable to assume that worldly attachments disfacilitate the realization of liberation. But, I also understand that it is what you make of it.
I am contemplating the matter.
Thank you all.
thumbnail
Cedric , modified 9 Years ago at 2/12/13 1:27 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/12/13 1:27 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 89 Join Date: 12/25/12 Recent Posts
I was just doing some walking meditation and some insight regarding self/no-self personality/impersonality arose. It occurred to me. I am not mine, the I is not mine, I don't own me/I. Phenomena that arise aren't mine and are impersonal. So, consistent with that insight, I ask myself the question: If I am not mine, how much less are a would be wife and or child mine? I don't know maybe that is crazy and maybe there is value and wholesomeness to having wife and child beyond the delusional clinging to them as mine.
Lara D, modified 9 Years ago at 2/12/13 2:01 PM
Created 9 Years ago at 2/12/13 2:01 PM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 54 Join Date: 1/29/13 Recent Posts
Cedric in Miami, FL.:
I was just doing some walking meditation and some insight regarding self/no-self personality/impersonality arose. It occurred to me. I am not mine, the I is not mine, I don't own me/I. Phenomena that arise aren't mine and are impersonal. So, consistent with that insight, I ask myself the question: If I am not mine, how much less are a would be wife and or child mine? I don't know maybe that is crazy and maybe there is value and wholesomeness to having wife and child beyond the delusional clinging to them as mine.

I am no advanced practitioner... far from it! I'm just starting out!

But my opinion is that you should just do what you think is best. If it doesn't harm anyone, then why not start a family?

I daresay the world could use more enlightened parents. Teaching, as is often the case with parent-child relationships, tends to be one of the most fulfilling experiences that this "real" world has to offer. Share your insights with your children so that they can build a better future and so that they too can become enlightened.

Having children and a family will test you in in ways that you would never even have dreamed about and you might come out of it wiser and better for it. They say that the best tests of spiritual progress are not how many visions or how holy or wise you claim to be, but by how you deal with the day-to-day difficulties and how meaningful your interpersonal relationships are. Applying what you've learned in a very "real" world manner is where the challenge is at, in my experience.

In short, try to live the life you feel best exemplifies the person you would like to be. Consider it part of your "morality" training in addition to your insight and wisdom practice. Remember that the Buddha didn't just stop at becoming enlightened himself. He wanted everyone else to experience that, too. If being a monk helps you in that goal, then by all means. If being a layperson helps, then by all means. Size up your particular talents and see where you can do the most good to the world.
thumbnail
James Phillip Turpin, modified 9 Years ago at 6/25/13 2:23 AM
Created 9 Years ago at 6/25/13 2:23 AM

RE: To renounce, or to marry, to have children, and to strive in the world?

Posts: 21 Join Date: 6/16/13 Recent Posts
Cedric,

I feel very similarly to you except that I don't have a girlfriend at the moment, although I did not too long ago. Being above poverty level and having developed a wish for a long life out of both egotistical reasons and so as not to squander this previous human life, I decided to look into longevity research, got involved in an unusually hardcore discussion forum (not unlike this one) on that topic, longecity.org, and *that* lead to a break up with my previous girlfriend, who had a not-so-subconscious death-wish and didn't like me taking stuff that about doubles the lifespan of mice. I tried to start a relationship with one person since then, but she's going to ordain in NKT (and that without having ever done a Vipissana retreat even though she knows there is a center within commuting distance) emoticon . Although being non-sectarian Buddhist with Thelemic leanings, I don't have any reason to commit to celibacy, I've found that relationships can be very unsatisfactory, temporary, and that my personal identity can't be found there upon close examination. I suggest examining your motives and describing them as explicitly as possible. Wish to procreate, desire for mutual cherishing, desire for sensual pleasures, attachment to a particular person (or to the idea of attachment to a particular person), aversion to having your physical continuum end with this body, etc. Use relationships as a subject of insight practice. Then whatever you do, attain enlightenment quickly for the benefit of all (including you and your close karmic circle).

Metta,
James

Breadcrumb