What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

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Deepankar, modified 3 Years ago.

What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 107 Join Date: 2/22/17 Recent Posts
DISCLAIMER: I'm not suicidal, and I do not plan to take my life. This is an honest question that I've been thinking about.

I am curious about people what people think the 'point' of living is. It just seems like a set of boring cyclical routines and suffering that you repeat uday after day until death finally comes for you with no actual incentive to NOT end your life(besides social stigma and being too much of a pussy to do it.)

Surely the quickest way to end all your suffering is suicide? Why chase after stream-entry, when experience will always, and ultimately, be unsatisfactory?
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 477 Join Date: 8/19/17 Recent Posts
Ever snuggle a child, watch a whale or eat something that is so delicious your knees buckle? 

When I am doing those things, having a point seems moot. 
C P M, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 219 Join Date: 5/23/13 Recent Posts
There are lots of incentives, since this is a meditation forum, here is a meditation incentive: train your mind using meditation technology to (this is from Shinzen Young)

• Reduce physical or emotional suffering.
• Elevate physical or emotional fulfillment.
• Achieve deep self knowledge.
• Make positive changes in objective behavior.
• Develop a spirit of love and service towards others.

If you are able to make even small progress in this manner, the need to ask your question goes away.
Dom Stone, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 115 Join Date: 3/21/17 Recent Posts
Experience is empty of inherent existence, as well as all objects that make up this experience.

By itself, there is nothing unsatisfactory about it, as your true nature cannot be affected by anything. You are pure knowing, empty of form.

The problem lies with the habitual nature of the mind. From birth, we have shrouded our true nature with ideas of permanence and continuity. This is evolutionarily necessary to keep you alive in a world that, ultimately has no colour or pain. It is this constant grasping to shifting concepts that make samsara what it is, a painful karmic process leading on and on. By mediating, we teach the mind to be still, and the unsatisfactoriness lessens. It's impossible to tell whether anybody alive today has truly overcome all dissatisfaction as such knowledge can only be known empirically, however this is the aim, and it is an awesome journey!

In short, it is the mind that finds suffering, you yourself are not your mind, therefore theoretically, if you can disembed from the illusion of self, you can be free from it in this lifetime.
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Incandescent Flower, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 87 Join Date: 10/27/14 Recent Posts
Deepankar:
DISCLAIMER: I'm not suicidal, and I do not plan to take my life. This is an honest question that I've been thinking about.

I am curious about people what people think the 'point' of living is. It just seems like a set of boring cyclical routines and suffering that you repeat uday after day until death finally comes for you with no actual incentive to NOT end your life(besides social stigma and being too much of a pussy to do it.)

Surely the quickest way to end all your suffering is suicide? Why chase after stream-entry, when experience will always, and ultimately, be unsatisfactory?

I don't think we choose what the point of living is, I think it's something we just feel or don't feel. Further, I don't recall ever having made the choice of being born, and there's nothing to suggest that I'll have a choice of what happens to me at death, so at least working within the constraints of my present life I have the benefit of some regularity/routine. This not having a choice is actually wrapped up in what I understand as the "point" of life, personally, and is very much implied in the fundamental thrust of compassion.

As for your last question, to answer simply it's because stream entry is the first taste of non-experience and its resulting freedom.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 123 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
"Empty-handed I entered the world. Barefoot I leave it. My coming, my going--two simple happenings that got entangled." --Kozan Ichigyo


For me the meaning of life is to constantly try to find one: The angels carrying Goethe's Faust's soul to safety pronounce: Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, Den können wir erlösen (Who strives always to the utmost, Him we can save).


Yilun Ong, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 623 Join Date: 8/7/17 Recent Posts
Deepankar:
Why chase after stream-entry, when experience will always, and ultimately, be unsatisfactory?

The purpose is to see suffering so clearly and know it for what it is, that no sane being will hold on to it.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 123 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
But if you have symptoms of depressive disorder only modern psychopharmacology can save you. But if you can overcome your suffering by your will than it is not depressive disorder.
Frater Geur, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 24 Join Date: 9/9/09 Recent Posts
Some thoughts: the assumption in your question is that life has something to do with experience. Does it? Life lives. Regardless of the shittiness of experience, life lives.

Another thought: what is our standpoint upon the unsatisfactoriness of experience? To know that experience is unsatisfactory implies it might be otherwise -- the concept of the Perfect, or the Good. The incentive to live is to realise as fully as possible in life what is perfect and good.

What else were you planning to do today?

Big Love!
Sean, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Post: 1 Join Date: 11/15/17 Recent Posts
S.:
"Surely the quickest way to end all your suffering is suicide? Why chase after stream-entry, when experience will always, and ultimately, be unsatisfactory?"

Reincarnation.


Then what for the modern secular buddhists who don't believe in reincarnation? I don't think there is an answer.
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Deepankar, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 107 Join Date: 2/22/17 Recent Posts
Personally, I believe in reincarnation as well. It's probably one of the reasons I don't off myself in the midst of the useless suffering I go through.

But, I don't see the 'positive utility' as great unless I can feel/be like that 24/7. Maybe I just dislike aspects of impermanence, but if my suffering will never be at 0% forever, then it just seems like I got a raw deal coming into life. And, that's me speaking as a pampered fuccboi in the 1st world who has the ease to pursue a spiritual path, so I assume others in the world are even worse off comparitively.
Jinxed P, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 346 Join Date: 8/29/11 Recent Posts
Well Bill Hamilton did call the ancient buddhists a cosmic suicide cult...

Being that their goal was to stop suffering, which meant stopping existence, and the only way to stop being reborn was to become enlightened.

For the modern secular buddhist..meditate because it makes you happy, and the people who are enlightened claim that their life is pretty awesome. 

Or as Tyrion Lannister once said, "Death is so final. While life, is so full of possibilities."
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Doctor Avocado, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 50 Join Date: 11/2/16 Recent Posts
To reduce the suffering of others, even just a little bit, seems like a worthwhile enough reason to stick around
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Stirling Campbell, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 600 Join Date: 3/13/16 Recent Posts
Certainly elightenment is not going to give you a point/meaning/reason to live. Point/meaning/reason to live is all thinking... all subject/object conceptualization. What this all REALLY is exists outside of, and without subject/object entirely. 

Try this:

Stare at your hand, take a deep breath, then count to 5 silently. 

Was there "meaning" in that 5 seconds? Ideas? Suffering? A "you" separate from your hand and the counting?
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Ward Law, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 123 Join Date: 9/7/15 Recent Posts
Perhaps we have less choice in the matter than we think. If one is at a point in life where suicide seems to be the most rational and auspicious choice, one must still contend with the hard-wired will of the human organism to survive, in all its clever ways. This conflict might not reach a climax until the means and opportunity (e.g., gun, helium, cliff, freezing weather) are at hand and the intellectual decision has been made. The hard-wired survival instinct wins, I presume, more than half the time, giving rise to story lines such as "a sudden change of heart" or an appreciation of how precious each moment of life is. I think it's even harder to go through with such a choice if there are loved ones till present in your life.
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Alesh Vyhnal, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 123 Join Date: 2/14/13 Recent Posts
The surest way to end all the suffering of sentient beings would be a doomsday device:

Nuclear weapons theorists such as
Leo Szilard 
conceived of a doomsday machine, a massive thermonuclear device surrounded by hundreds of tons of cobalt which, when detonated, would create massive amounts of Cobalt-60, rendering most of the Earth too radioactive to support life.

But no one will do it. And this perhaps points to some higher meaning.
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Lars, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 420 Join Date: 7/20/17 Recent Posts
Alesh Vyhnal:
The surest way to end all the suffering of sentient beings would be a doomsday device:


This assumes that there is only life on earth, and ignores reincarnation (if time doesn't really exist you could still be reborn in the past when earth was not yet a radioactive ruin, even if time does exist you could be reborn on the radioactive earth as a tardigrade which could survive the radiation). Also, if the multiverse hypothesis is correct you would only be destroying one of an infinite number of earths, and suffering would continue on all the others.
Fran Ko, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 19 Join Date: 11/9/17 Recent Posts
Deepankar:
DISCLAIMER: I'm not suicidal, and I do not plan to take my life. This is an honest question that I've been thinking about.

I am curious about people what people think the 'point' of living is. It just seems like a set of boring cyclical routines and suffering that you repeat uday after day until death finally comes for you with no actual incentive to NOT end your life(besides social stigma and being too much of a pussy to do it.)

Surely the quickest way to end all your suffering is suicide? Why chase after stream-entry, when experience will always, and ultimately, be unsatisfactory?
Seeing that it is you who assigns value and meaning to things the "point" can be whatever you want it to be. And because there is no self to assign meaning, there is also no ultimate point in life.

After a while though one realizes these philosophical debates and intelectual masturbations are almost always useless and tiring dead-ends, so we remember the Lord Buddha and his parable of the poisoned arrow (commentary by Thitch nhat Hahn):
The Buddha always told his disciples not to waste their time and energy in metaphysical speculation. Whenever he was asked a metaphysical question, he remained silent. Instead, he directed his disciples toward practical efforts. Questioned one day about the problem of the infinity of the world, the Buddha said, "Whether the world is finite or infinite, limited or unlimited, the problem of your liberation remains the same." Another time he said, "Suppose a man is struck by a poisoned arrow and the doctor wishes to take out the arrow immediately. Suppose the man does not want the arrow removed until he knows who shot it, his age, his parents, and why he shot it. What would happen? If he were to wait until all these questions have been answered, the man might die first." Life is so short. It must not be spent in endless metaphysical speculation that does not bring us any closer to the truth.[2]
So, in keeping with the pragmatic spirit of DhO, my advice would be to remove the poisoned arrow first, ask questions later. if questioner still remains, rinse, repeat emoticon

FranKo 
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streamsurfer, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 96 Join Date: 1/19/16 Recent Posts
I had to think about efortless effort and the moveless mover, just moving in life for the pure joy of it. Birds do what their existence determines them, as well as ants, gazelles and other animals, humans are the only to complain about their life emoticon
I can recommend reading Marc Aurel or other stoics on that. You don't need a motivation or reward for your life. You have to do what this human life demands of you, there is no choice. Why do you expect there more to be as there is in lifes simplest form?
Change A., modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 793 Join Date: 5/24/10 Recent Posts
There is no point of living.

But then there is no point of dying either. 
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Nick M Overhauser, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 317 Join Date: 11/5/17 Recent Posts
My A&P experience flooded me with weeks of love and euphoria yet simultaneously spilled the beans that nothing really matters. At the time, that realization was a huge weight off my shoulders. However, after the honeymoon faded and I returned to my old ways, the other side of the coin reared its ugly head. Three months ago I was sitting on the couch every night after work chugging beers, thinking, "whatever, nothing really matters". And in my darkest hours I have thought to myself the only reason I stick around in this world is because of the people who love me. Sobering up and pursuing the Dharma fully in the last couple months has brought that incentive back for my art and the simple joys in life. Experience may be technically unsatisfactory, but we still find joy don't we? And as for suicide, reincarnation or not, I don't think it solves our perdicament in a way that is beyond our human understanding.
Chris André, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 114 Join Date: 6/23/17 Recent Posts
Life happens. It is in the nature of my physical body to want to survive. To that I surrender. People always ask about the meaning of life, or how to create meaning in your life, but I think it is a greater freedom to tune into just pure beingness beyond both meaning and lack of meaning. I just surrender to existence. Existence exists. Somehow I'm part of that. Everything in me as a biological being wants to thrive and succeed, and if not, something is out of balance and I'll try to get back into balance. Suicide doesn't really seem like a choice to me. It is more of a theoretical concept, and for those few who commits suicide, or are suicidal, I think of it as being seriously out of balance and I think no living being would have done so if they had found a way to bring themselves back into balance. So there is no need for any incentive because this is what we got. Life wants to live.
seth tapper, modified 3 Years ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 477 Join Date: 8/19/17 Recent Posts
I think this is a really good answer.  I would add that if you are contemplating suicide, you are by definition mired in a false belief that there is something to kill.  You are thinking in a completely delusional paradigm.  
Tim Farrington, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: What is the incentive to live if experience is unsatisfactory?

Posts: 2470 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
D.:
DISCLAIMER: I'm not suicidal, and I do not plan to take my life. This is an honest question that I've been thinking about.

I am curious about people what people think the 'point' of living is. It just seems like a set of boring cyclical routines and suffering that you repeat uday after day until death finally comes for you with no actual incentive to NOT end your life(besides social stigma and being too much of a pussy to do it.)

Surely the quickest way to end all your suffering is suicide? Why chase after stream-entry, when experience will always, and ultimately, be unsatisfactory?

Given that you're not suicidal (weren't, I realize this is an old post, and that you're back to practice now after a loop without practice, in which apparently you did not kill yourself either), and that you've got the transience and dukha characteristics in very clear sight, I can offer this from my own whirlings through this loop: given that suicide is off the table, for whatever reasons (my main one seems to be that i hate to leave a mess like that for someone else, even a first responder, to have to clean up, but whatever works), then i go to doing nothing except waiting to die, and causing the absolute minimum of further suffering to myself or others meanwhile, and meditation is one of the best ways i've found to being and doing nothing, at every level. If nothing else, it passes the time. This nothing steeped in transience and misery eventually makes the third characteristic, anatta, not-self, very clear too, because the body goes on without me giving a shit or doing anything, as does the breath. The whole shebang does not seem to require a point, to continue. Then at some point, equanimity dawns, and that doesn't need me either. So on the whole, it's an easier and less effortful loop than suicide all around. I would say, definitely stop chasing after stream entry, you're going to hurt yourself, man.

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