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What is it that you're looking for?

What is it that you're looking for?
5/19/09 1:53 PM
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum


This question goes out to anyone and everyone. It's a broad question, but I invite any answer you would like to give. I would love to hear what you have to say.

What is it that you're looking for on the Dharma Overground and with "spiritual" practice in general? Why are you here?

Here are some questions to spark your thoughts: Are you seeking clarity for something you want to know more about? Are you looking for "face to face" interaction? Are you looking for a way to empower yourself in this aspect of your life? Are you seeking techniques and raw technical expertise? Are you trying to feel good about "something" and think this can help?

Again, what is it that you are looking for? I am seriously thankful for every response that is given for this question, no matter what your response is.


RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/19/09 3:34 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
I won't lie and I won't equivocate - I want to get off the ride, reach the end of the path, get to a point where "done is what needs to be done...."

I just want to reach a place of knowing and put it all to rest.

How's that?

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/19/09 3:56 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Author: Aberino

After reading "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha", particularly the section on what enlightenment is not, I had to consider this question. I had a number of expectations of enlightenment that the book disabused me of, basically along the lines of "if I can just get enlightened everything else in life will fall into place". But like n8sense, the most basic thing I have wanted since I started becoming interested in any kind of spirituality was realization of the truth. I have had glimpses of something beyond, an elusively obvious true nature of reality. Oftentimes I have felt and feel that it is just barely beyond my grasp, right under my nose. In the past, no sooner have I seen some kind of "great, inexpressible truth" that it has vanished in my attempts to grasp it, to understand it intellectually. I want to go "altogether beyond", as the Heart Sutra says.

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/19/09 4:16 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Cool. Thank you both.

I think my goal right now is to better understand & communicate with people so that I can better learn & share in a beneficial way.


RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/19/09 5:21 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
I am ultimately looking for the answer to life, the universe, and everything. It turns out the answer is 42.

I'm actually looking for the ultimate and the pragmatic. The DhO says that awakening is possible and there is a way to get there. Contrary to what some modern teachers think, I believe that the Buddha agrees. That's why I'm here, I think Daniel and the rest of the crew are on to something, but not just another 'thing' or another 'distraction'. Call it blind rationalization, but as I test the words of the Buddha I am finding that reality is opening up and making much more sense.

Formerly, as a fundamentalist Christian, my passionate pursuit was about knowing the fullness of God and what his will for my life was. Now, especially since I'm not convinced of the existence of any deities (in the Abrahamic sense), the call to Awakening pretty much frames up my current passionate pursuit.

I'm here because I think the DhO will help in my progress to wake up.

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/19/09 7:07 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
I recognized quality. That's why I came.

I'm not sure that I'm looking for anything in that philosophical sort of sense. I used to be, but it fizzled.

I see it like this:

I was born and I will die.

Completely free of charge and free of effort, I've been manifested in existence, as a piece of existence that lives, and as a piece of living existence that embodies consciousness.

Since this is the case, I practice.

Since I practice, I want quality methods.

As I am right now, that's pretty much it.

Thanks for opening the question.

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 1:47 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Jamie, Nigel. Thanks.

How about the rest of you?

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 2:28 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
at the moment, im here mostly to see what other people are here for, and see if i can help em get it.

but i originally came cos i wanted to know who was here and how many of them knew their stuff. i stayed because i saw that the majority of contributors are serious practitioners, many of them know their stuff, and some of them are clearly more skilled than me in the various areas in which i want to level up.

also, i knew i liked being on the internet, was gonna be on it anyway, and its at least as skillful to be on the dh.o as to be on, say, 4chan..

your turn, yabaxoule, what about you?

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 3:07 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Author: PaulMarshall

I'm looking for a website/community that will aid in practice and also help break up any dogmatism that stands in the way of actually achieving something other than parroting sectarian views about Buddhism(s).

As for my spiritual aim, it became completely clear after a very productive retreat. I want to overcome the constant solidification of experience/clinging that I *know* from experience is unnecessary and wrongheaded yet returns again and again and again like an unshakable bad mental habit and needlessly causes suffering. What n8sense says - " I want to get off the ride" sums it up perfectly. I don't like rollercoasters.

That's what I'd like.

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 4:44 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
I'll head for a metaphor too: I want to know what the elephant is. I have been feeling around it since I was a child. The other paths that I have explored involved entirely too much attention to sparkly experiences (elephant farts) and ego-feeding (ooh, the elephant must really like you!). Daniel's book was exactly the no-frills approach that I have been hoping to find.

As far as what I am looking for on the DhO: a community made up of some people who have been there (and are willing to provide occasional advice), and some who are looking to get there (it's nice to see that I'm not the only one, instead of just theorizing that there are others out there in the same position).

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 6:33 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Author: SoManyThoughts

I'm obsessed with meditation experiences and techniques, and hungry to learn all I can. Books lay out the techniques, but I don't know any other place where there's such a detailed discussion of how people really apply the teachings in their meditations.

As to why the obsession, on one level I'm just self-absorbed. I've always paid a lot of attention to what's going on inside my head & perceptions. I'm also frustrated with the amount of continued suffering I experience, despite years of study & psychotherapy and desire to improve. I still spend a lot of time with heavy unpleasant mind states. My ego is fragile and easily bruised. Buddhist meditation seems to address this stuff in a way that gives me hope.

Daniel's book was my first exposure to the Theravada tradition and vipassana practice. I find it really appealing to think there's a clear map and a clear set of techniques. On the other hand, I'm also drawn to teachings like Pema Chodron's that are more about being with what is in a new way.

So I guess it's a mish-mash of desire to find a way to be happier, and intellectual curiousity.

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 12:04 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Thank you all for the replies. Tarin-- my goal is the 3rd post on this thread.

Anyone else out there? The more the merrier!

RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/20/09 11:51 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Really, really great question, Trent. Thanks for the open-hearted answers, everyone.

I've been contemplating this one on and off for a long time. You know, contemplating, keeping the question in mind without trying to quickly deduce an answer and be done with it once and for all.

Yesterday someone asked me just this question to my face, and I evaded, so we kind of let it be at the "always searching" stage. Of course, the question then kept nagging at me all evening. So like a good insight meditator, I watched the nagging, the desire for an answer, and so on. Something lit up for a moment, but putting it in words makes it sound a bit tacky:

What I'm looking for is the answer to this very question, "what am I looking for".

I guess it's the same pull expressed in the incomparable Douglas Adams story about the number 42 Jamie alluded to.

Constantly having to sustain a yearning, aspiration, craving even - not for anything specific really, but rather for that very yearning to be stilled on its own accord, instead of it being gratified by moving on to something else.

I got interested in Theravada because, of all the spiritual teachings I've known so far, it's the one which tackles just this one point in the most blunt, matter-of-fact way. I've found Daniel's exposition of these teachings in MCTB to be very congenial to my taste and mode of spirituality. So here at the DhO, I'm looking for (and finding in abundance, I might add!) the companionship of people with a similar, practice-oriented bent on dealing with the question of what we're looking for.


RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/21/09 4:57 AM as a reply to Trent S. H..
Author: suachua

Thankyou for asking this question yabaxoule, I've had to go away and think about it a bit before coming back, [Im sure its given lots of others food for thought too] and I'm still not sure of the best way to put the answer now...I think perhaps there are a lot of them. I will try to put major ones into words but please allow for inaccuracy in finding the right ones...does anyone else find words a sometimes frustrating approximation of what you want to express?

Anyway, one reason at the bottom of why I do any of this is what could be called a compulsion. It has come to the point where if I am doing anything in everyday life there is a niggling, a feeling that everything i am doing is a sort of overlaying, a distraction from or distortion of what I would really like to be doing, which is paying close attention to things. The only time I really feel like I am going somewhere [not the same as feeling satisfied or happy, sometimes even distinctly unpleasant, but ultimately preferable to me] is when I am practicing [not neccessarily formally], or reading/ talking about somethign in a way that serves as a useful stimulus to understanding.

Also, I was sat in a field last summer with good music, good food and great company, a sublime atmosphere and gentle sunshine, thinking, 'blimey, looks like I have everything I ever wanted in life. Somehow, I'm not completely happy.' And I would like to address this.

Yes, I'd like to second that 'the more the merrier', please do everybody reply, even if you dont really know why and its speculation, this is really interesting



RE: What is it that you're looking for?
5/21/09 11:27 PM as a reply to Trent S. H..
For me, it is being able to say, "The nagging toothache of insight disease is gone. Done is what needs to be done." My Big E Moment came back in the mid-90s and I haven't been able to talk about it at all. Now I can.

Also, to the extent that I am able, I want to help others get the same thing as skillfully as possible.