My suffering level hasn't really changed.

A Dietrich Ringle, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 4:42 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 4:42 PM

My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Anybody else encounter this.

Basically I have done insight practices hardcore for almost 3 years now. Been in constant retreat mode. I have had all kinds of insights, but I have pretty much forgotten all of them.

I am trying to get back to a place that doesn't exist I suppose.
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 4:52 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 4:52 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Basically if I was suffering worse at one point, I don't remember it. Nothing feels different. Yeah man.
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Richard Zen, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 6:50 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 6:50 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 1656 Join Date: 5/18/10 Recent Posts
What's your mindfulness in daily life practice look like?
Adam , modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 6:57 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 6:57 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 613 Join Date: 3/20/12 Recent Posts
Nothing feels different because you are looking at things through the perspective that wants to achieve something. I don't think that freedom is being able to look at your life and say "oh yes now I am enlightened and things have changed and I am happy." I think enlightenment is just the state of mind that doesn't even ask the question whether or not you are happy enough/whether or not you are enlightened.

I've had the same sentiment you are having many times and I probably will have it again. The last few dark night type times I have gone through though, the thought that "my practice isn't working and nothing has changed this whole time" was very destabilized. Not because I countered it with evidence to the contrary, but because I realized that it was that very thought that was the problem, and in that moment there was no other problem. Life turns out to be totally ok outside of the belief that it isn't.

I don't think I am "past" that problem, I think anyone fully past that problem is past every problem... so I guess this is just a fellow travelers tentative conclusions.
T DC, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 7:39 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 7:39 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 468 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
The fact is that you need to gain attainment in order to reduce suffering. We suffer as a result of our dualistic confusion, and the only way to overcome this is to have permanent and lasting insight into the empty nature of experience.

The hard truth is that simply meditating for a long time will not help your suffering in any meaningful way. In order to overcome suffering, one must overcome the basis of this suffering, which is dualistic confusion (i.e. misapprehension of phenomena as solid, lasting, and satisfactory). The only way to do this is to achieve genuine insight into the nature of reality (attainment).
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 8:41 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 8:41 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
T DC:
The fact is that you need to gain attainment in order to reduce suffering. We suffer as a result of our dualistic confusion, and the only way to overcome this is to have permanent and lasting insight into the empty nature of experience.

The hard truth is that simply meditating for a long time will not help your suffering in any meaningful way. In order to overcome suffering, one must overcome the basis of this suffering, which is dualistic confusion (i.e. misapprehension of phenomena as solid, lasting, and satisfactory). The only way to do this is to achieve genuine insight into the nature of reality (attainment).

OTOH I did gain attainment (stream entry & further paths), yet after some time I had the same impression that ADR here has now. Actually in some ways it was worse, though maybe some of that was due to life conditions and not the meditation per se. In any case it was part of the reason I stopped going down that path. Clearly others have come away more satisfied than I.
green tea, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 10:36 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 10:34 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 14 Join Date: 12/29/13 Recent Posts
I've had a profound reduction in personal suffering since I started meditating.

Mahasi Noting didn't do much for me. I got paths, but it didn't really help much. I'm not sure why. It was sort of like I got really good at seeing that things weren't me, but then why did they still hurt so much?

My practice really took off when I started doing a lot of Shikantaza/Choiceless Awareness/Do Nothing practice. I just kept letting go of as many things as I could. Judgements, desires, thoughts, and anything else where I was contributing in some way to the bare experience of reality. I also started focusing on the feelings in my body to keep me grounded. If there was anger, hurt, or fear, I would notice them and let them go as much as possible.

Since then, my life has become increasingly blissful, joyful, compassionate, authentic, timeless. All sorts of good stuff. There are still bad times, but those are a lot better than they were before.
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Sweet Nothing, modified 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 11:35 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/11/14 11:35 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 164 Join Date: 4/21/13 Recent Posts
Compared to where I was 3 years ago, I would say life has altered significantly for the better even though I have not "landed" a single path.

There is more: Kindness, Compassion, Contentment, Understanding, Equanimity, Happiness

There is less : Greed, Anger, Animosity, Ill Will, Jealousy/Envy, Lust, etc

Things I find difficult to relate to : Undying ambition for power/wealth, general accepted cultural norms, etc

Things I find easier to relate to : People from all walks of life, nature, all the different teachings, why
things happen in certain ways or why people do what they do and so on.

Things I am indifferent towards : Music, most forms of Entertainment, Intoxicants, Food and temperature to some extent.

I am not blissed out or anything like that. I'm just more content with what I am. I'm not evaluating myself with the attention I get from the society or a life partner. I dont feel the pressing need for intimacy or the need to prove my self somehow to someone.

Now, to some individuals all of this may not indicate any change in suffering. To me it does. I have been practicing body scanning on and off without mixing anything else. Been reading and listening to Thanissaro and others in my free time. Also trying to do what I can to fulfill my parents expectations from me.

The loss in sensual entertainment does not bother me anymore because all of that enjoyment or satisfaction is fleeting. None of it remains in the present. On the other hand, satisfaction derived from cultivation of wholesome qualities remains and lightens the mind.

With metta,

SN
Christian Calamus, modified 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 11:00 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 10:56 AM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 88 Join Date: 10/23/10 Recent Posts
I've had the same problem: Progress in terms of "technical" meditation with noting, but little results off the cushion.

I think this is due to a problem with pragmatic dharma: There is a strong emphasis on technical goals and skills, which is wonderful, but there is also a severe lack of ideas about how exactly one should/might express the insights one has had in "daily life".

This problem is absent for people who practice meditation in the framework of religious/monastic buddhism, where values and moral ideas are in place to support and express what was understood in meditation, but its very real for people who live outside of such frameworks.

So I think there are three four options:
1. adopting some kind of religious framework and use meditation to experience religious teachings for oneself
2. bulding ones own framework (morality, values, purpose of life, etc.) and using meditation to flesh that out
3. relaxing expectations and practicing meditation as some sort of far-out "hobby"
[edited to add: 4. looking for something more valuable/useful/enjoyable than meditation to spend ones time with]

All of these are hard to do as soon as one has bought into the idea that technical accomplishment in meditation alone will somehow “reduce suffering”. I'm currently experimenting with a combination of 2, 3 and a little 4.

Best wishes
Christian
A Dietrich Ringle, modified 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 10:58 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 10:58 AM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 882 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
I think they should call this the mirror room, because everybody seems to have a different reason for posting on here.
Brother Pussycat, modified 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 2:35 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 2:35 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 77 Join Date: 12/21/11 Recent Posts
So you're still suffering, eh? That's awesome. Go and celebrate this fact by doing something you enjoy. Rinse and repeat.

I'm being completely serious about this, btw.
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Beoman Claudiu Dragon Emu Fire Golem, modified 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 2:44 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 2:44 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 2227 Join Date: 10/27/10 Recent Posts
Brother Pussycat:
So you're still suffering, eh? That's awesome. Go and celebrate this fact by doing something you enjoy. Rinse and repeat.

I'm being completely serious about this, btw.

Why should one celebrate that one is suffering? I am asking in earnest.
T DC, modified 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 6:31 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/12/14 6:14 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 468 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Christian B:
I've had the same problem: Progress in terms of "technical" meditation with noting, but little results off the cushion.

I think this is due to a problem with pragmatic dharma: There is a strong emphasis on technical goals and skills, which is wonderful, but there is also a severe lack of ideas about how exactly one should/might express the insights one has had in "daily life".

This problem is absent for people who practice meditation in the framework of religious/monastic buddhism, where values and moral ideas are in place to support and express what was understood in meditation, but its very real for people who live outside of such frameworks.

So I think there are three four options:
1. adopting some kind of religious framework and use meditation to experience religious teachings for oneself
2. bulding ones own framework (morality, values, purpose of life, etc.) and using meditation to flesh that out
3. relaxing expectations and practicing meditation as some sort of far-out "hobby"
[edited to add: 4. looking for something more valuable/useful/enjoyable than meditation to spend ones time with]

All of these are hard to do as soon as one has bought into the idea that technical accomplishment in meditation alone will somehow “reduce suffering”. I'm currently experimenting with a combination of 2, 3 and a little 4.

Best wishes
Christian


I don't think this is so much an issue of expressing insight in daily life as having insight in the first place. Your options suggest that there is no real meaning to be found in insight, and satisfaction may only be found by improving material life standings. Material standings in this sense refer to everything from the car we drive to the thoughts we think, 'if only they were better I would be happy'. This is actually the exact attitude we are seeking to correct in meditation. We are seeking to understand that the material substance of our life is not and cannot be the cause of lasting happiness.

Several people here have suggested that gaining insight has not reduced their suffering, and thus they have been disillusioned with the path of insight. IMO getting stream entry or even to 3rd path will not greatly reduce your suffering. The reason is that while these may be insight attainments, they are extremely minor and do not genuinely produce an understanding of emptiness.

In order to truly experience a reduction in suffering, one must truly reduce the cause of suffering! 4th path is the first substantial insight into the true nature of phenomena, and even after this one has so far to go! To give up on the path of insight before reaching 4th path is analogous to a hiker becoming disillusioned that a certain path really could lead to the mountain top before they had made it out of the foothills, and even glimpsed the mountain!

In Buddhism there is a saying: 'First a cup is just a cup. Then the cup is not just a cup. Finally the cup is a cup again'. There is also the saying: 'Better not to begin, but if begun better to finish'. These are to say that at some point in practice one reaches a critical point at which ones understanding of the world is irrevocably altered. Following this the only real solution is to gain full enlightenment. I believe that in terms of insight this critical point is 4th path as we call it here, or the first glimpse of emptiness (form is empty), or as I called it above 'glimpsing the mountain', or as those of Zen might call it, 'seeing the ox for the first time'.
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Sweet Nothing, modified 8 Years ago at 2/13/14 2:08 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/13/14 2:03 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 164 Join Date: 4/21/13 Recent Posts
My apologies for the hijack.

So this is all, huh ?

This is what there is, and what is, is empty in itself. It is how we perceive "this" that creates layers upon layers of delusion.
The heart sutra seems to be the most precise text I have come across in this regard.

Emptiness is no different from form and form is no different from emptiness.
However, we continue to search within forms because the simplicity of it never occurs, it is tucked beneath the
conditioned mind.

I wonder where, following the new age/ancient fusion enlightenment teachings such as that of Ekhart Tolle
bring us, according to the Theravada 4 path criteria.

Personally having followed them before being introduced to the Dharma, I can vouch played their part in bringing me
here.

But it's a profound mystery for me and I admit I know very, very little if anything at all.

As far as suffering is concerned, I feel that with right views we may detach from the cause of suffering and
thereby eliminate suffering. The cause of suffering could still exist, but the link between the cause and the actual suffering
would be severed leading to a state of being where there is no suffering to the extent that there is no clinging to the source.
Banned For waht?, modified 8 Years ago at 2/14/14 4:54 AM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/14/14 4:54 AM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 500 Join Date: 7/14/13 Recent Posts
Emptiness at one point means this for example:
There is fly and a human, both can annoy me at the same strenght. There is no difference then between fly and a human.

If i kill an human then it itself does not produce karma but in the environment where it is done will. For example i end up in jail or killed. But if i kill a fly nothing happens seemingly, but what if flygod will seek revenge now.

Escape from suffering is only the knowing that your mind is pure. Only what is manifested has karma. Not everyone will forgive bad deeds.
T DC, modified 8 Years ago at 2/14/14 6:00 PM
Created 8 Years ago at 2/14/14 6:00 PM

RE: My suffering level hasn't really changed.

Posts: 468 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
Sweet Nothing:
My apologies for the hijack.


Why don't you just go start a new thread on emptiness? That would be interesting, and not a hijack.

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