It's a crazy, crazy world...

Paul Marshall, modified 11 Years ago.

It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/29/10 Recent Posts
Hi all.

I was wondering if something that I've been experiencing on-and off has been a more universal experience amongst other Buddhist practitioners and it seems that the DO is the place to ask.

The more I practice insight practices (mainly from the Tibetan tradition) the more I see what can be considered normal behaviour, ideologies and societies as being not that different from mental illnesses or neuroses. Is it possible to think of samsaric existence as not just suffering, but also being inherently nuts?

Something that my main teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche often teaches (and which I've not really come across elsewhere in much detail) is the notion that there is a subtle body in addition to the body and mind and that this is very easily scrambled. In his experience many, many people's emotional bodies are damaged in some way by a rlung/wind disorder that effectively drag them around emotionally to the point of illness.

Does this concord with anyone else's experience? Is there a connection between the dark night and the feeling that "the world's gone mad"?

Edit: I've just remembered something interesting and relevant - a fairly senior practitioner I know used to be a psychotherapist but gave it up since he stopped believing that people could be made emotionally well again; only a little patched up rather than fully repaired.
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Believing that everything and everyone is fucked up is a very common thought/feeling during the Dark Night, though it can arise any time that someone takes a serious look at how people work. Especially if looking with an eye towards the problems of people and societies. You could find similar outlooks in some forms of absurdism or other postmodern or poststructuralist thought.

That said, there are probably just as many sensible ways of looking at the world that don't involve thinking everything is fucked up. Views as just views, rather than necessarily being the truth of how things are, you know?

I'm not sure why your psychotherapist friend thought that "patching people up" wasn't a useful endeavor. If everyone has so many problems, why not try the best that one can to help them? Forgive me for making such a rash assumption, but it seems to me like that decision was based on something like burnout, being a dark-night yogi, or no longer knowing how to enjoy his job. From my understanding, the dukkha can get really bad around third path, or while working on the fourth path but not having gotten arahatship yet. It would be understandable for even a very advanced practitioner to take on such a pessimistic view.

I couldn't imagine any other reason for a psychotherapist to believe that people can't really be made significantly better in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. I, for one, was near-suicidal for about a year back in high school but I've come a long long long way since then, to the point where my experience is vastly dominated by pleasant and neutral sensation rather than unpleasant. So I would respectfully disagree with the conclusion/excuse that your friend had, assuming I wasn't in something like Reobservation with its unending dukkha. If I were in Reobservation, I'd probably be jumping the gun to agree with him... That's how views are, I guess.
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
J Adam G:
From my understanding, the dukkha can get really bad around third path, or while working on the fourth path but not having gotten arahatship yet.


Really?! It gets worst?!! I thought I had gone through the worst part after stream entry. I have a hard time keeping any sort of connection to the society as it is... F*ck emoticon
Dan K, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/15/10 Recent Posts
Bruno Loff:
J Adam G:
From my understanding, the dukkha can get really bad around third path, or while working on the fourth path but not having gotten arahatship yet.


Really?! It gets worst?!! I thought I had gone through the worst part after stream entry. I have a hard time keeping any sort of connection to the society as it is... F*ck emoticon


Imagine what it would feel like to have your soul dragged through the depths of hell. Don't worry though - if you're like me, you will start to take a little bit of masochistic pleasure in the whole thing. "TAKE THAT, FIXED PROCESS OF IDENTIFICATION. DIE ALREADY, WON'T YOU?"

Although there is considerable mental anguish, increasing equanimity more than makes up for it.
Paul Marshall, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/29/10 Recent Posts
J Adam G:
Believing that everything and everyone is fucked up is a very common thought/feeling during the Dark Night, though it can arise any time that someone takes a serious look at how people work. Especially if looking with an eye towards the problems of people and societies. You could find similar outlooks in some forms of absurdism or other postmodern or poststructuralist thought.

That said, there are probably just as many sensible ways of looking at the world that don't involve thinking everything is fucked up. Views as just views, rather than necessarily being the truth of how things are, you know?


I think I may be in a position that means that I'm becoming very aware of my own conditioned psychology and therefore able to see similar things in others (and also hypersensitive to it).

It's an experience that has completely killed any interest in politics, but I can see how it might lead someone to do the opposite and become some kind of utopian socialist or something similar.

I'm not sure why your psychotherapist friend thought that "patching people up" wasn't a useful endeavor. If everyone has so many problems, why not try the best that one can to help them? Forgive me for making such a rash assumption, but it seems to me like that decision was based on something like burnout, being a dark-night yogi, or no longer knowing how to enjoy his job. From my understanding, the dukkha can get really bad around third path, or while working on the fourth path but not having gotten arahatship yet. It would be understandable for even a very advanced practitioner to take on such a pessimistic view.

I couldn't imagine any other reason for a psychotherapist to believe that people can't really be made significantly better in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. I, for one, was near-suicidal for about a year back in high school but I've come a long long long way since then, to the point where my experience is vastly dominated by pleasant and neutral sensation rather than unpleasant. So I would respectfully disagree with the conclusion/excuse that your friend had, assuming I wasn't in something like Reobservation with its unending dukkha. If I were in Reobservation, I'd probably be jumping the gun to agree with him... That's how views are, I guess.


This is just conjecture, but I think the time he decided this he had been starting to practice mahamudra (maybe a year or so into it). It might well have been a consequence of some realisation from that. As far as I know he moved from being a part time therapist to being a nurse - a deliberate decision about where he would be the most use. If I remember correctly, he was of the opinion that only practice could help others in any permanent manner.

This kind of reminds me of the tale about Avalokiteshvara becoming despondent about helping others, causing him to contemplate breaking his vow to help others and resulting in his head exploding. Maybe this experience is what the myth is pointing to.
C C C, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 946 Join Date: 3/9/10 Recent Posts
Paul, I think I know what you're experiencing. While I have no attainments to back up what I'm saying (I won't be blaming anything on Dark Night), I am very skilled at seeing through people and reading thoughts, even at a distance, and I can do some inter-personal powers-like things on occassion. I see all the way through people, what they say and what they do, right to the end. Almost always what I see is self-centered, small minded, unaware and geared towards protecting the precious ego. Even most of the people who post on here have those same motivations, and just in case you think I'm above it all, no, I'm probably one of the worst offenders. However I am very aware of my underlying motivations. It makes life interesting on one level, but moreso I find myself thinking: how goddamn pathetic we are!!

If that was the end of the story, it wouldn't be too good. But for me, the answer lies in self-love, which begins with self-acceptance and that's what I practice (different from metta practice because that seems too 'other' focussed for me). Acceptance of every aspect of my small 's' self or what my ego thinks is the real me (particularly my feelings about myself and my achievements, looks, status, lifestyle etc.). In other words, I believe it's better to drop back a level from 6th chakra (concentration) and 7th chakra (insight) practice, which I see as being too advanced for anyone who hasn't achieved a basic level of self-acceptance (4th chakra). Doing things in the proper order. Most of the people who post in here have low self esteem - it's obvious. Go to any spiritual gathering, and you will find a very odd bunch of social missfits; and what is a social missfit? It's a person who has abandoned self-acceptance in favour of "higher goals". Off the top of my head I can think of one in here who has good self esteem and that's florian.
Dan K, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 33 Join Date: 5/15/10 Recent Posts
It's a helpful insight that things don't really make sense, and that there is a touch of insanity to everything. That's not necessarily because things are actually that way, or at least not in the way you think. What I'm trying to say is... don't burn any bridges.
Paul Marshall, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 3 Join Date: 5/29/10 Recent Posts
Dan K:
It's a helpful insight that things don't really make sense, and that there is a touch of insanity to everything. That's not necessarily because things are actually that way, or at least not in the way you think. What I'm trying to say is... don't burn any bridges.


"Things are not as they appear, nor are they otherwise."

I'm fortunate to have never been a dharma evangelist nor to have gone off the deep end trying to get away from experiencing the three marks. I've also found that seeming paradoxes about experience that crop up in meditation can be almost physically nauseating when they are occurring but eventually resolve themselves when you give up trying to find out what the correct viewpoint is.
J Adam G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: It's a crazy, crazy world...

Posts: 286 Join Date: 9/15/09 Recent Posts
Heheh, ain't that the truth. Reobservation can be physically sickening if you don't surrender EVERYTHING when it seizes you. Resisting the 3C of existence is like trying to resist or figure out a bad trip on psychedelics -- always makes it worse! If you've seen them, and can't un-see them, then the best that can be done is to accept and love and mindfully observe your way through the process of insight. At least, that's in my brief, still-not-a-stream-enterer experience of the stages up to Low Equanimity. Maybe a different response is needed once you actually get to the Equanimity, for all I know.

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