Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

uncertainty and intolerance

Toggle
uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 9:28 AM
This is sincere and I am asking for some light to be shone on this discomforting recurrence in this mind. Despite lengthy examination, I find the mind filling with doubt and negative criticism when I see an image of a Buddhist teacher who is, by accepted standards, obese. The negative criticism takes the track of wondering how deep this teacher's insight can be if they cannot control their intake of food and drink. Just to make a point, there are almost no organic causes of obesity not also associated with other genetic disorders that would allow for being a Buddhist teacher.

I feel inadequate in compassion and wisdom when I notice these feelings and thoughts arising. This is not about those teachers who might fall into this category but desiring a different way of processing the information of obvious obesity and claiming a level of insight that authenticates said teachers presentation of Dhamma.

As an example of this contradiction, I sat a 30 day retreat under U Pandita about a year and a half before he died. He was obese at that time. His insight seemed not only authentic but brilliant. There wasn't a talk in which there was anything less than Dhamma--to my defiled ears, at least. Yet, his obesity was discomforting.

Please share skillful means for resolving or at least working with this judgemental and unskilful recurrence. Metta

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 10:07 AM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Sounds like a prejudice that hinders you in many aspects of your life, not just in the dharma. Have you examined why? The best way to figure these things out, or learn to accept them as mind foo and move on, is to go right at them and not try to find a way around them. 

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
1/10/17 7:43 AM as a reply to Steve Katona.
   

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 2:44 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
I sense that there might be several different intentions here:

1) You hope to be free of what seems like a compulsion to judge or doubt an obese teacher's wisdom.
2) You hope someone can explain how being obese in no way diminishes a teacher's wisdom.
3) You want someone to validate your judgment so that you can avoid following imperfect teachers.

Of course, I can't read your mind. But these intentions are all OK. Maybe if numbers 2 and 3 can be satisfied, 1 will be easier. This raises the broader (and legitimate) question of how a teacher's health, character, and lifestyle reflect on his realization.

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 3:23 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Hi Steve!

I don't know if this relates, but I never told the story before so here it is: emoticon

I knew a bad-ass Aikido guy.  He gained weight over the years.  He was then a fat bad-ass, though he couldn't catch me if I had a head start.  End of story....?

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 4:54 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
What arises in this mind is absolutely a prejudice (a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience). I recognize it every time. I label it. I feel diminished by its tenacity and ubiquity. I don't even feel responsible for its arising. The mind brings this up and there's all kinds of explanations for why. That's a rabbit hole I don't want to go down. What I haven't been doing--I believe this insight is the result of reading your feedback--is for this mind to continue after the recognition of the bare prejudice with a little bit of: 'oh, you again. I see you, Mara. I know you for what you are. Go away.'

The larger question (not answered that I can see by any responses so far) is the bare fact of obesity (in the words of Orson Welles, 'Gluttony is not a private vice.') which documents consistent, repetitious overeating past the point of need, past the point of ending hunger, nothing less than a lack of control of sensual desire over and over and probably every day. I do not mean this harshly. I do not mean this judgmentally. Just the fact of said choices.

I partake of this food with mindful reflection, not for amusement, nor for intoxication, nor out of gluttony, nor to become attractive, but only for the continuation and nourishment of this body, for keeping it unharmed, for helping the spiritual life, reflecting: "I shall destroy old feelings of hunger and not produce new feelings of overeating. Thus there will be living at ease and freedom from physical discomfort.

Thanks for the feedback.



RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 4:55 PM as a reply to Matt.
Hi Matt,

I have missed you a hundred times and wished I knew where you were and how your practice is going. If you so desire--srtraveler@gmail.com.

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 4:59 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Here is a link to the story of the Buddha and King Pasenadi of the Kosalas. 

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 5:02 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
At my best that is exactly what I do. At less than my best I believe I am judgemental and feel superior in some way. I have lost--at last count--over two million battles with sensual excess.

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 5:54 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
A couple of points that may be sort of wishy-washy, but worth considering,

What if the teacher has completely let go of the desire to remain thin and healthy? If a teacher is enlightened, and they are no longer bound by karma, does it matter so much if they are gluttonous? I realise your point is that the gluttony in itself calls into question the enlightenment, but is it truly liberation if you're not free to eat whatever the hell you want?

In many Buddhist cultures it is very meritous to donate food to a monk. If you are a respected teacher, there's probably a daily queue of people who are trying to be free of their suffering by having you eat their food. In that position, who are you to say no to them and deny their chance at enlightenment?

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/20/16 6:14 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Steve Katona:
The negative criticism takes the track of wondering how deep this teacher's insight can be if they cannot control their intake of food and drink. Just to make a point, there are almost no organic causes of obesity not also associated with other genetic disorders that would allow for being a Buddhist teacher.


In my opinion, your judgments are valid. There are many famous meditation monks that are bloated; close to obese. I personally do not doubt their meditation experiences however I do agree they are not following the teachings in terms of eating food. 

Refer to: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.063.nypo.html about the consumption of food. 

I have lived for relatively long periods in monastaries, eating once per day. Here, one develops the tendency to eat a lot in one sitting, until one is full (despite the Buddha teaching somewhere one should not eat until feeling full). 

Many of these famous meditation monks are not going on alms round or doing physical work. Food is delivered to them. Their lives are devoted to meditation, teaching, scholarly & thus sedentary activities. 

Therefore, they should be reducing their intake and the size of their meal/s. 

I am not as sedentary as these monks but I am getting older and last year I visited my old acupunturist when holidaying, who told me I was overweight, there is pressure on my heart & should lose 15 kgs. 

I was shocked and replied: "I eat the same I always have eaten" (plus I eat two healthy meals per day & rarely eat sugar). He replied to me: "Whatever you eat, cut it in half".

So I halved my food intake, avoided cheese & even the occassional ice-cream (banned!!). I lost 10kg in 6 months and feel sufficiently nourished.

emoticon 

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/22/16 10:10 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Look at the research on long-term weight loss. Only a tiny percentage of people manage to lose a large amount of life and keep it off for any significant period of time. It's very easy to lose weight in the short term, it really is as simple as calories in vs calories out. However, it seems like people's metabolism then starts to slow down. The amount of people who keep their weight off is >10%, it might even be closer to 1%. I wouldn't bet on those odds. Just look at all of the biggest loser contestants once the show ceases. 

There's researchers of Yale who keep track of a group of people who have manager to successfully keep weight off, in order to try and study the factors that enable them to do it. Almost all of them have made keeping the weight off a part of their life, they weigh themselves frequently and all of them exercise rigerously, most of them every day. 

Of course, all of this is outside of contemplative practice. However, physiology is physiology. If people have dedicated their lives to contemplation, mediation, teaching etc., it's much hard to have the stuctured and discipline health routine required to keep that weight off.

And, of course, there are genetic contributors to obesity -- though clearly that isn't the whole picture. 

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/23/16 3:25 AM as a reply to Warrior Monk.
Warrior Monk:
Look at the research on long-term weight loss. Only a tiny percentage of people manage to lose a large amount of life and keep it off for any significant period of time. It's very easy to lose weight in the short term, it really is as simple as calories in vs calories out. However, it seems like people's metabolism then starts to slow down. The amount of people who keep their weight off is >10%, it might even be closer to 1%. I wouldn't bet on those odds. Just look at all of the biggest loser contestants once the show ceases.
That's just a bunch of ridiculous, dangerous misinformation.
Go hang out on reddit.com/r/fatlogic
That might help.

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/23/16 4:03 AM as a reply to Warrior Monk.
Warrior Monk:
Look at the research on long-term weight loss. Only a tiny percentage of people manage to lose a large amount of life and keep it off for any significant period of time. 

This is a reasonable point however, at least in my post, I was referring to people, including myself, that are now 50 years old and never previously had a weight problem. 

As you said in your post, metabolism starts to slow down. 

When these monks lived in Thailand, doing alms round, lots of walking meditation & a few hours labour each day, they were thin or normal.

But they returned to the West, became famous teachers & essentially live a life of luxury, attended upon, hand & foot. 

Their obesity is simply from over-eating and a lack of exercise. 

.........

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/23/16 3:48 PM as a reply to Nicky.
Nicky:


But they returned to the West, became famous teachers & essentially live a life of luxury, attended upon, hand & foot. 

Their obesity is simply from over-eating and a lack of exercise. 

.........
This is an assumption, not a fact.  Third world countries have different diets, much less processed foods, fewer chemicals, etc.  Animals are raised in more natural ways with more of their natural nutrients and less likely to lead to nutrient imbalances in humans.  Head to tail eating of animals means that nutrients not present in the muscle meat are still consumed.  Vegations is grown with organic fertilizer and the soils are less depleted of nutrients.  But on the flip side, the western diet is the result of decades of careful work on the part of the food industry to bypass any and all natural satiation mechanisms in any way possible that won't get them sued (and some that probably would if the full extent was known).  Even the meat is dipped in chemicals but they don't have to list any ingredient that is part of the 'process' of food preparation, so those chemicals are not on your ingredient list.  There is plenty of research to show that this food paradigm impacts certain genetic groups much more intensely than others.  Their methods override natural brain stimulation and insulin response mechanisms and inhibits normal utilization of fat stores.  Europeans have the most resistance to the problem, recently tribal groups (native Americans for example) have the least as their genetics have not had as much time to alter throught the generations.  Please do not use these genetic differences in tolerance to crap diets as an excuse to judge others.  In a healthy balanced individual, a person naturally stops eating when a certain amount of caloric intake is reached and the brain is not required to try to override their set point through force of will by feeling all day every day for the rest of their lives in order to keep weight down.  If you have not experienced this problem does not give you the right to pass judgement on others who do.  Food industries make a lot of money off this problem so they and the large segments of govt they control are motivated to not give out much information or ways to to solve these problems.  You really need to study for months and years on this problem to understand it enough to get a grip on it.  PLease do not pass judgement on others due to the surface level govt pablum that you have been fed on tv by the food industries. 

 What if your body was unbalanced such that although there was fat on your butt, your body was not easily able to utilize this fat as a fuel, so you would feel weak and tired if you did not eat often?  Think how it would feel if you felt hungry all day long every day for the rest of your life even though you were already overweight and then got to hear people snicker at you too?  They are hungry because their body's ability to use stored fat is impaired, a normal body will easily switch to using stored fat when food has not been recently eaten but in this country you have people who need to eat every 3 hours or they get weak right away.  Developing research into metabolic shows that lipoedema is not at all uncommon, but so many people prefer to feel superior to others and pass judgement on others than to truthfully research it.  There are special fat ward hospitals for super obese people where the try to force them to lose weight with restricted diet, but they still feed western foods.  What happens is even locked into a hospital, many of these people die before losing enough weight to get out of the hospital.  Very few ever get back down to normal proportions, even when forced to eat 'right' and exercise.  Because their body's are severely imbalanced in the first place, they are the extreme examples of what so many others also suffer with but to a lesser extent.  But people would are locked into finger wagging at others and even at themselves instead of following the science.  Over thousands of generations, each genetic group adapted to their natural food sources so they would stay naturally healthy eating those food sources, but now for various and many reasons, many are eating diets that are completely alien to their genetic development, many are eating foods that should barely even be counted as food.  "Moderation" is not the right word to use when the foods  themselves are designed to override all natural body checks and balances for moderation.  Here take this crack cocaine, we will give it to you for cheap but if you ever consume more than a moderate amount, then it proves that you are a lazy pig.  Yeah, that's gonna work only for those who have a natural immunity to the drug in question.  Plus the food industry is constantly working to refine the 'crack' to be more potent..

Before you all feel comfortable passing judgement on others about the metabolic issues, I suggest you spend a few years researching, food industry flavoring and chemical tactics, lipoedema, nutrition imbalances, ancestral carbohydrate consumption, and other issues.  Most govt programs are run by the industry they are supposed to watch dog so you can't just blindly accept the pablum you are offered on TV.  If everyone were to eat normal healthy amounts of healthy food starting now, huge portions of the food industry, which also  happen to be the portions with the largest profit margins, would immediately collapse and the economy would take a hit.  The status quo does not want that.  Don't buy into the propaganda please. 

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/23/16 4:33 PM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Steve Katona:
What arises in this mind is absolutely a prejudice (a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience). I recognize it every time. I label it. I feel diminished by its tenacity and ubiquity. I don't even feel responsible for its arising. The mind brings this up and there's all kinds of explanations for why. That's a rabbit hole I don't want to go down. What I haven't been doing--I believe this insight is the result of reading your feedback--is for this mind to continue after the recognition of the bare prejudice with a little bit of: 'oh, you again. I see you, Mara. I know you for what you are. Go away.'

The larger question (not answered that I can see by any responses so far) is the bare fact of obesity (in the words of Orson Welles, 'Gluttony is not a private vice.') which documents consistent, repetitious overeating past the point of need, past the point of ending hunger, nothing less than a lack of control of sensual desire over and over and probably every day. I do not mean this harshly. I do not mean this judgmentally. Just the fact of said choices.

I partake of this food with mindful reflection, not for amusement, nor for intoxication, nor out of gluttony, nor to become attractive, but only for the continuation and nourishment of this body, for keeping it unharmed, for helping the spiritual life, reflecting: "I shall destroy old feelings of hunger and not produce new feelings of overeating. Thus there will be living at ease and freedom from physical discomfort.

Thanks for the feedback.



I get it now. Human beings need not apply. It's perfect that we must be. Heaven forbid should any of us not be able to adhere completely to the strict rules ensconced in 3,000 year old texts  emoticon

What I would call the larger question is addressed in your first paragraph, Steve. What you call the larger question, in your succeeding two paragraphs, is prejudice and a desire for the universe to adhere to the rules of the small mind.

Just sayin'

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/23/16 4:47 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva Nie:
Before you all feel comfortable passing judgement on others about the metabolic issues, I suggest you spend a few years researching, food industry flavoring and chemical tactics, lipoedema, nutrition imbalances, ancestral carbohydrate consumption, and other issues.  Most govt programs are run by the industry they are supposed to watch dog so you can't just blindly accept the pablum you are offered on TV.  If everyone were to eat normal healthy amounts of healthy food starting now, huge portions of the food industry, which also  happen to be the portions with the largest profit margins, would immediately collapse and the economy would take a hit.  The status quo does not want that.  Don't buy into the propaganda please. 
Your views are bordering on conspiracy theories. Tons of people desperately want to lose weight. If the simple answer was "eat healthy amounts of healthy food starting now" (which basically it is), then people would make millions of dollars with that sort of advice.
But that doesn't happen. Why not? Because it's not that easy. Even if you only eat "healthy food", you can still eat more than you need and thus not lose weight. Of course, strict counting would work, but people are incapable of counting correctly, and generally prefer to believe things such as the set-point theory, lol.

Those things you mention really don't have that much influence.
If most of what you eat is pizza and cake, then yes.
But for simple vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, rice, pasta, these things are irrelevant, and this is what constitutes the majority of most people's diet.
(Although sometimes one hears horror stories about kids in the US who have never seen actual fresh vegetables. I guess your cards are stacked against you if you live in a weird sort-of-2nd-world country like that.)

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/23/16 10:10 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd the broter:

Your views are bordering on conspiracy theories. Tons of people desperately want to lose weight. If the simple answer was "eat healthy amounts of healthy food starting now" (which basically it is), then people would make millions of dollars with that sort of advice.
But that doesn't happen. Why not? Because it's not that easy. Even if you only eat "healthy food", you can still eat more than you need and thus not lose weight. Of course, strict counting would work, but people are incapable of counting correctly, and generally prefer to believe things such as the set-point theory, lol.

Those things you mention really don't have that much influence.
If most of what you eat is pizza and cake, then yes.
But for simple vegetables, fruits, meat, dairy, rice, pasta, these things are irrelevant, and this is what constitutes the majority of most people's diet.
(Although sometimes one hears horror stories about kids in the US who have never seen actual fresh vegetables. I guess your cards are stacked against you if you live in a weird sort-of-2nd-world country like that.)
First of all, you have to know what healthy food is and rice and pasta are not it, they are loaded with calories and have almost zero nutrition other than the vitamins that are sprayed on due to govt laws.  Read labels before eating, those are just empty calories.  Ideally you would only eat food with higher nutrition value.  And no ketchup, no ranch dressing, no processed stuff , all that super tasty perfected formulated flavor is not going to be part of the diet.  Just REAL food.  But you wouldn't know because you have never tried because 99% of people do not want to give up their ketchup and ice cream and pasta.  That's why it doesn't work for most people, they refuse to even consider it. 

But our ancestral diet never included those things and those things are formulated very very carefully to keep you addicted.  DOn't believe me?  Give it all up for just one week and see what happens, then come back here and tell me if I was wrong or right.  But  you won't because you are addicted.  ;-P  You probably can't even really taste the natural foods that well without al the processed food on top, processed food takes over the taste buds and ordinary food pales in comparison.   It can take a while for the taste buds/brain feedback system to reorient and start tasting the delicate flavors of real food again.  

THe fact you think this is conspiracy theory tells me you have not researched it much if at all.  There have been many whistleblowers on the food industry tactics and really it's just the way businesses make money.  It's been some time now that flavor development involves hooking tasters up to an MRI to look for the exact desired neurological response patterns.  Natural foods can't compete with what they techs can create using modern methods.  From a machiavellian perspective, it's almost expected.  Read some articles on it, there are plenty from former food industry workers, it's basic science, but with millions of dollars at stake, here's one of many: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/food-cravings-engineered-by-industry-1.1395225 

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/24/16 4:07 AM as a reply to Steve Katona.
Hello Steve,

I hope you don't mind a Western psychological answer instead of a dharma one.

I think that your problem is not one of lacking compassion. It seems to me that you are suffering from cognitive dissonance, that is, holding two contradictory beliefs at the same time:

1) A person with a certain degree of "enlightenment" cannot suffer from an addiction, specifically, a food addiction and be obese. 

2) Teacher X is obese and has that certain degree of "enlightenment".

You will have to let go of at least one of those two beliefs. Either you are overestimating the teacher, or you are overestimating enlightenment. Have a hard look at both things:

1) Do you have a strong belief that enlightenment will bring about behavioural perfection? Is this from direct experience, or from excessive belief in stuff you have read?

What does your practice tell you about your own behavioural shortcomings? What is your "degree of enlightenment", and how has your behaviour improved over time with practice? This brings us to point 2.

2) Is the teacher really *that* "enlightened"? If your own practice tells you that, at your point in spiritual and psychological development, that kind of addiction would be impossible, then perhaps there is some aspect in the human development in which you should be the teacher, and the teacher should be the student. This brings us back to option 1 of course. 

(Have you reached MCTB Stream Entry?)

Hope this helps, 

n

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/24/16 6:18 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva Nie:
... judgement ...

The monks are fat. They have been famous for years and they are getting fatter, turning into 'no-neck-monsters' due to a lack of discipline. 

emoticon

RE: uncertainty and intolerance
Answer
12/29/16 7:30 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva Nie:

First of all, you have to know what healthy food is and rice and pasta are not it, they are loaded with calories and have almost zero nutrition other than the vitamins that are sprayed on due to govt laws.  Read labels before eating, those are just empty calories.  Ideally you would only eat food with higher nutrition value.
Rice and pasta have been around for some hundred or thousand years. Did half of asia become obese because rice is 'just empty calories'? No. What does that mean for your theory?

  And no ketchup, no ranch dressing, no processed stuff , all that super tasty perfected formulated flavor is not going to be part of the diet.  Just REAL food.  But you wouldn't know because you have never tried because 99% of people do not want to give up their ketchup and ice cream and pasta.  That's why it doesn't work for most people, they refuse to even consider it.
But our ancestral diet never included those things and those things are formulated very very carefully to keep you addicted.  DOn't believe me?  Give it all up for just one week and see what happens, then come back here and tell me if I was wrong or right.  But  you won't because you are addicted.  ;-P  You probably can't even really taste the natural foods that well without al the processed food on top, processed food takes over the taste buds and ordinary food pales in comparison.   It can take a while for the taste buds/brain feedback system to reorient and start tasting the delicate flavors of real food again. 

I agree that if you are not willing to go off most processed foods, then you may get a real problem.
(This is possibly the problem for the monks; they don't get to choose the food they eat.)
I remember that some years ago I spent an afternoon eating different types of weed. They basically didn't have any taste at all, but the longer I did it, the more I would taste the differences and appreciate their different characters. At the end of the day, I tried just a mouthful of 'regular food', and the influx of taste was so much that I felt like I was hit by a train u_U

THe fact you think this is conspiracy theory tells me you have not researched it much if at all.  There have been many whistleblowers on the food industry tactics and really it's just the way businesses make money.  It's been some time now that flavor development involves hooking tasters up to an MRI to look for the exact desired neurological response patterns.  Natural foods can't compete with what they techs can create using modern methods.  From a machiavellian perspective, it's almost expected.  Read some articles on it, there are plenty from former food industry workers, it's basic science, but with millions of dollars at stake, here's one of many: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/food-cravings-engineered-by-industry-1.1395225 
Nice article. Makes one wonder if we ever get this problem solved, lol.