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Help with study of the self

eggsavioreggsavior Dagobah Veteran

I've recently just got through a rough patch with myself. The past couple weeks I was very depressed and angry with myself. Now that I'm feeling better I am more determined to have a better practice. But I think the problem is I don't have any goal or topic to focus on and strive toward.

I would like to start meditating on the self. I've looked up the 5 aggregates but it's a lot to digest at once. Does anyone have any advice or recommendations on beginning to study this? Thanks in advance :)

Shoshin

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    <3

    'Better practice'? I feel you perhaps mean more regular and disciplined? :)

    eye consciousness - are the eyes relaxed, open/closed, gently focused
    ear consciousness - how about saying aloud the refuge or some mantra
    nose consciousness - burning incense, creates an association with practice
    tongue consciousness - place the tongue gently on the top palate
    body consciousness - do body scan and relaxation

    ... then sit attentively with whatever: good, bad, angry, depressed, euphoric, indifferent etc

    Hope that helps. B)
    http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/bdoor/archive/nutshell/teach11.htm

    silverfederica
  • eggsavioreggsavior Dagobah Veteran

    @lobster Thank you! I really enjoy the site you linked to, I've bookmarked it

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I quite like how Thich Nhat Hanh teaches things so they are easier to understand. I believe he covers it in his The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching, which was my first Buddhist book and I still check it sometimes. Good stuff.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I'd suggest starting with mindfulness and the 4 noble truths. Mindfulness gives you the insight into the origin of your thoughts and feelings, while the 4 noble truths point you at your suffering and the cessation of it.

    I wouldn't go so far as to go on to the Noble Eightfold path, but instead focus on your own suffering, it's causes and it's cessation with mindfulness. This will allow you to pinpoint your specific issues, the pains you feel and you need to focus on, rather than following the broad-virtue approach of the Path.

    It's mainly a question of intuition. When you sit down to meditate, ask yourself "where do I feel suffering" and "what are the causes of my suffering"? Then if your suffering doesn't resolve itself, ask "what can I do to stop my suffering", and perhaps do a little research into the topics that are revealed, if any.

    lobster
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    I've recently just got through a rough patch with myself. The past couple weeks I was very depressed and angry with myself. Now that I'm feeling better I am more determined to have a better practice. But I think the problem is I don't have any goal or topic to focus on and strive toward.

    Let's start with this question.

    Are you the angry one or the one who notices that there is anger?

  • eggsavioreggsavior Dagobah Veteran

    I initially wanted to pick the latter but I am definitely the former. I can be angry, then step back afterward and figure out all the different reasons I became angry..... but I still become angry in the first place. I never really thought about the distinction, so thanks <3

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    Everyone 'still becomes angry in the first place'. Of course they do, otherwise, there would be no noticing of the Anger.
    The trick is to learn to observe it as it arises, not as a post-occurrence observation.

    Tricky.
    But it can be done.

    With practice.

    (Damn. Something else we've gotta work on! :D )

    pegembara
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited March 7

    @eggsavior said:
    I've recently just got through a rough patch with myself. The past couple weeks I was very depressed and angry with myself. Now that I'm feeling better I am more determined to have a better practice. But I think the problem is I don't have any goal or topic to focus on and strive toward.

    I would like to start meditating on the self. I've looked up the 5 aggregates but it's a lot to digest at once. Does anyone have any advice or recommendations on beginning to study this? Thanks in advance :)

    I see this as analogous to the scientific method, as per the first two factors of enlightenment, ie mindfulness and investigation. In other words looking closely at aspects of experience and trying to see what is actually happening. The aggregates is one model you can use, though personally I prefer to work with the six sense bases, and sometimes the elements.
    I would recommend just investigating experience with an open mind, don't start with views, beliefs and opinions about it.

    lobster
  • DhammikaDhammika Veteran

    @eggsavior You might consider John Haspell's "Truth of Happiness" course for a solid grounding (with readings, talks and guided meditations) on the core Buddhist teachings from the Pali Canon. All you need do is have the book to start:
    https://www.amazon.com/Truth-Happiness-Course-Lasting-Through-ebook/dp/B00NKV2ZZY

  • pegembarapegembara Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    I initially wanted to pick the latter but I am definitely the former. I can be angry, then step back afterward and figure out all the different reasons I became angry..... but I still become angry in the first place. I never really thought about the distinction, so thanks <3

    If you can just avoid getting caught by the emotion, you will begin to notice the latter. Any emotion arise due to causes and conditions. "You" are never fully in control or else no unpleasant states will ever arise.

    The trick is to not identify or take ownership of those emotions.

    When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop.

    Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds.

    This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking – that are re-stimulating the circuitry – that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again

    Jill Bolte Taylor

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Attributed to the Zen teacher Dogen:

    “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.”
    ― Dōgen

    lobsterGui
  • GuiGui Veteran

    There is only everything. You are not apart from everything and you are not part of everything.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @eggsavior said:
    I've recently just got through a rough patch with myself.

    The past couple weeks I was very depressed and angry with myself. Now that I'm feeling better I am more determined to have a better practice. But I think the problem is I don't have any goal or topic to focus on and strive toward.

    Is the "I" in "I've" and the "self" in "myself" two different entities ?

    I would like to start meditating on the self. I've looked up the 5 aggregates but it's a lot to digest at once.

    Well that's your personal "perception" of things ;) ( perception being one of the fluctuating aggregates)

    Does anyone have any advice or recommendations on beginning to study this? Thanks in advance :)

    You could simply start with .....

    I am not my body
    I am not my thoughts
    I am not my mind

    Or

    Am I my body ?
    Am I my thoughts ?
    Am I my mind ?

    You could also check out "This" & "This" very easy to follow, short youtube clips...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @genkaku said:

    “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.”
    ― Dōgen

    This really contains the whole of the Dharma.
    'To study the self is to forget the self.' Taking this statement we find its layers:

    Are we fragmenting and generating duality? Are we finding the self in other - like bodhisattvas? Is forgetting the self a way of remembering the Emptyness? Does 'dependent origination' mean no being, no destination, no enlightenment, no nose, no knows - aye caramba!

    Tee Hee.

    And now back to self or such like ... ;)

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    Attributed to the Zen teacher Dogen:

    “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.”
    ― Dōgen

    Interesting quote. It reminds me of the Bahiya Sutta:

    "When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress."
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.1.10.than.html

    lobster
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