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Book of Eights: Chapter 1

federicafederica seeker of the clear blue skyIts better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

Discussion on First Chapter....

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Comments

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    I haven't gotten to it yet but in the introduction Fronsdale mentions that the name of the chapter is the Kama Sutta. It is the opposite take on pleasure to the Sanskrit Kama Sutra.

    Vastmind
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Just making sure we are on the same page, when discussing sensual desires, it is mostly in reference to the desire part, yes? Seeking to obtain sense pleasures and then the inevitable pain when we lose it or cannot obtain it again? Just confirming it isn't the view that any experience or item itself is the problem, but our quest/desire for it. The intro focused a lot on sexual pleasures and didn't really touch on the rest other than to quote from chapter one about fields, goods, gold, cows, horses, servants, women, relatives and "lots of sensual pleasures."

    I do personally still find it a conflict within myself to need money to live in this world but to stay unattached to it and not want it. It seems almost a natural progression to obtain more once we make more money which leaves me not wanting to deal with money at all. Which of course isn't practical. But to be at peace with potentially not having money, or enough of it, is immensely challenging to me. Of course, we can prioritize things so we don't need as much money as we believe we do to sustain our lives. But what a need is varies so much and that is something I struggle with. Our world is set up so that if we need money, we also have to want it, and then once we have it, it is never enough. We always want more. Epitome of greed, of course.

    I quit my job 8 years ago to stay home with our kids. My husband's income has increased by $20k since then, yet the more he makes the more we seem to struggle and the more worry and stress there is. I hate it. But I don't know how to get out of it. Having people in your life who don't view things the same is definitely the biggest challenge for me. Finding peace in myself with my life while sharing it with a husband and 3 children is probably my biggest challenge. Because our views are often in conflict with each other and I don't know how to participate in our daily family life and remain at peace over those conflicts.

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    Sorry, @karasti and @person, but some people are eager to participate, yet they do not have the book.
    If you agree, please let us wait a bit until everyone is ready to start🐉👍

    Hozan
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    No worries, can do! I shall hold my tongue until we are ready :smile:

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran

    Sn 4.1 PTS: Sn 766-771

    Kama Sutta: Sensual Pleasure
    translated from the Pali by
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu

    If one, longing for sensual pleasure,
    achieves it, yes,
    he's enraptured at heart.
    The mortal gets what he wants.
    But if for that person
    — longing, desiring —
    the pleasures diminish,
    he's shattered,
    as if shot with an arrow.

    Whoever avoids sensual desires
    — as he would, with his foot,
    the head of a snake —
    goes beyond, mindful,
    this attachment in the world.

    A man who is greedy
    for fields, land, gold,
    cattle, horses,
    servants, employees,
    women, relatives,
    many sensual pleasures,
    is overpowered with weakness
    and trampled by trouble,
    for pain invades him
    as water, a cracked boat.

    So one, always mindful,
    should avoid sensual desires.
    Letting them go,
    he'd cross over the flood
    like one who, having bailed out the boat,
    has reached the far shore.

    JeffreyDhammaDragon
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    Sensual desire is a major obstacle and challenge for me. I've been able to get some control of it by purposefully letting it out from time to time so it knows it will get some time later.

    Doing that I really notice the meaning of the second stanza:

    But if this pleasure fades away,
    The person with this desire,
    -Who gives birth to this desire-
    Is pained as if pierced by an arrow.

    And I notice that engaging in sensual pleasures in not so long of a time they don't feel so pleasant anymore, like the saying of it being like honey on a razor. It's nice but the after effects aren't so pleasant.

    Jeffrey
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It seems that biologically, a good part of the reason we have the developed senses we do is to seek out pleasure (which through time has usually meant things that we needed for survival or at least thrived on). It's hard to go against ingrained biology! I'm not sure if I entirely agree with the idea of no longer having any sensual desires at all. To me it seems more important how we view them and attempt to hold and keep them and then pine for them when they are gone that is the problem. To notice beauty is to experience love, and I think attempting to kill off all pleasurable sensations would leave life pretty flat. Right now, I have a hard time with thinking I could note beauty without also seeking it, at least in some sense.

    I found the discussion in the start of this chapter interesting, as it seems we will have to learn to infer which definition of Kama is being referred to through the book. Desire in general, desire for specific sense pleasures, or the pleasures themselves. "When referring to sensual desire, the word has such strong connotations that it could be translated as "lust"'. When thinking about seeking pleasure experiences/items to that degree, it's easier to see why it's such a problem. But there aren't a lot of experiences I crave or seek out so much that I would identify it as lust. I do lust for summer, LOL. But not much else.

    But that's also kind of one of the paradoxes I brought up in the general thread. That we can't know how to sidestep sensual pleasures without experiencing the pain and suffering of losing/not obtaining them in the first place that drives our motivation to experience less suffering.

    Jeffrey
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @person said:
    ... being like honey on a razor ...

    Use a spoon. :p

    Crass indulgence, like a jar of razor honeys is no better than sensual asceticism.

    In other words sensuality has levels of impediment and ultimately irrelevance. It is the import or power over us that mind/body conflicts cut us with. We are not our body, but for a while our body may be us ...

    We are not our food but become our intake.
    We are not what is unheard but what we hear.
    We are the owner but are we owned ...

    I iz :3

    ... and now back to chapter 1 ...

    DhammaDragon
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @lobster said:
    Crass indulgence, like a jar of razor honeys is no better than sensual asceticism.

    Maybe, I see it like we don't notice the razor so much when we have just one piece of cake, but by the third or fourth it becomes more noticeable. Like the dissatisfaction and pain is baked in but we are accustomed enough to it that we only notice the pleasant and not the pain of craving when taken in small bites.

    Vastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 8

    Craving for me is obsessive mind looping with added emotional/physical impact/reinforcement.

    I am well aware of its nature, arising and power. How then to lessen its effect if it is more razor/cut than honey/enjoyment?

    @karasti said:
    I found the discussion in the start of this chapter interesting, as it seems we will have to learn to infer which definition of Kama is being referred to through the book. Desire in general, desire for specific sense pleasures, or the pleasures themselves. "When referring to sensual desire, the word has such strong connotations that it could be translated as "lust"'. When thinking about seeking pleasure experiences/items to that degree, it's easier to see why it's such a problem. But there aren't a lot of experiences I crave or seek out so much that I would identify it as lust. I do lust for summer, LOL. But not much else.

    When summer, the need for attention, the need for stimulation, the perfect dharma book, the must-have-game or [insert craving impediment] arrives, the loop is complete ... until the next arising ...

    We are slaves of our own being ... O.o

    Looking forward to a solution, new game, eternal summer land, honey minus blades etc. B)

    personFosdick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    For me, with regards to summer, it's like the loop never completes. It's funny, because I don't dislike our other seasons. I love them all for many reasons, which is why we live here. But our summers are very short and a buffet for sensual pleasures. Sights, sounds, scents, even tactile. I do try to maintain focus on each day, each moment, and find things to enjoy about them all, from the -40F mornings to the weeks of June rain. But, in the summer as soon as it starts there is a sense of loss of knowing it'll go too fast. It's as if I miss it before it's even arrived. Yet, every year, come autumn, I am perfectly happy to have that experience, and then winter. I wouldn't want endless summer, because I so love the quiet that comes with autumn and then more so in winter. I've been unable to figure out my attachment to summer, because it's not as if I dread autumn or winter arriving. But it has been a cycle since I was a young kid. I've thought perhaps I'd be better off moving to a warmer climate, but I know then I'll just miss the distinct change of seasons, the solitude, the night skies and everything else we have here, so, never happy, so it goes ;) Damn samsara.

    I can say that recognizing now that by the time summer ends, I am ready for it to end, does help. But getting rid of the sense of "Geez, summer just got here and it's going to be done before I know it" has been another story!

    personlobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @karasti said:
    I found the discussion in the start of this chapter interesting, as it seems we will have to learn to infer which definition of Kama is being referred to through the book. Desire in general, desire for specific sense pleasures, or the pleasures themselves. "When referring to sensual desire, the word has such strong connotations that it could be translated as "lust"'. When thinking about seeking pleasure experiences/items to that degree, it's easier to see why it's such a problem. But there aren't a lot of experiences I crave or seek out so much that I would identify it as lust. I do lust for summer, LOL. But not much else.

    I do very much enjoy the "other" Kama sutta, lol, and have different illustrated versions...
    I am not ready to part with lust and desire yet.
    I very much enjoy the good things in life and that includes sex, good food, and wine.
    Yet I would not consider myself attached or slave to any cravings.
    Pleasure does not take my psyche as hostage.
    When the chance presents itself, I enjoy.
    Then I move on with my life and tune in to whatever the present moment brings.

    But though I do understand how cravings and attachments can undermine our best intention to cessation of suffering, I must own I have a hard time when suttas emphasize the negative effects of sex and lust.
    It's repression of our pulsions that I find negative.
    And yet, I bear in mind that the suttas refer to men who voluntarily choose the path of seclusion.

    Lazy_eyeKannon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I can sense the difference it would make to have fewer and fewer distractions in life, though Buddhism (including this teaching) seem to place a lot of emphasis on sex and that is one area that is not a very big part of my life. But of course I have my other "hangups." To be able to focus solely on practice for even a brief period of time, I think, has intense benefits. But for us in householder land, our lives are part of who we are, and brief retreats (for me anyways) don't do a lot to erase that, even temporarily. My kids are never far from my mind when I am on retreats.

    I think enjoying what is offered and then moving on is really about the only way we can manage householder life. It's really hard to live in society and never think ahead about what we "want" for any variety of reasons. My life, anyways, requires a lot of planning because it involves so many people. How often, as adults, do we go against what we want/desire just to do it? Not very often I'd bet. When I want something, I go get it. Yeah, there are things that might come to mind that I want and can't have, like a vacation house, LOL, but overall, if I want something I simply get it. It's rare I deny myself those desires. I don't know if practicing to do so would be helpful or not. Sometimes, I have to resign myself to something I can't have at that moment, but resignation is what it is, not necessarily true acceptance. I do wonder (which just occurred to me) if there is any value in purposely denying ourselves the random little wants and desires we have, whether it's what we feel for for dinner, a new book, sitting in the sun, etc. I don't know that I have ever denied myself those simple pleasures without a reason why I couldn't have it (can't afford it, can't run to town to get it because everyone else is using the cars, etc). Hm.

    person
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I also always manage to get what I want.
    Sometimes even if I can't afford it (thank god for credit cards).
    Coming to think of it, I am pretty attached to my books and to buying books...

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    I think practically speaking for us lay practitioners, managing our cravings so they don't go crazy and start controlling us is a good goal and the way I live my life.

    In general though I don't want to deny any deeper meaning or intention in the teachings that can be accomplished because it is too difficult to attain for myself in my life.

    Having said that the teaching that craving can be abandoned totally is pretty ubiquitous in Buddhism and I haven't seen anything in these teachings in particular that says otherwise.

    lobsterupekka
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @person said:
    Having said that the teaching that craving can be abandoned totally is pretty ubiquitous in Buddhism and I haven't seen anything in these teachings in particular that says otherwise.

    Indeed.
    What is a gal to do?

    In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
    Speech is born out of longing,
    True description from the real taste.
    The one who tastes, knows;
    the one who explains, lies.
    How can you describe the true form of Something
    In whose presence you are blotted out?
    And in whose being you still exist?
    And who lives as a sign for your journey?

    Rabia al-Adawiyya
    http://sufiteachings.com/writings/rabia-basri

    In some ways, we are defined by our craving. Fortunately the ineffable is not so limited ...

    Fosdick
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    At the teachings I attended tonight the question was asked how we should relate to the pleasant things we experience while seeking a mind of renunciation. The answer was to try not to attach strongly to them and to realize that the happiness they bring is fleeting and unreliable.

    My take away is to feel free to enjoy them but looking to them as the source of happiness is like trying to balance a rock on top of a stick.

    karastiupekkaLazy_eye
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @person yes, that is what I have always gotten out of teachings about similar topics as well. They don't bring happiness, because to be without them is suffering. But to think about the number of times, every day, that I think about what I want and simply go out and get it has been interesting, to me. My happiness doesn't rely on those things, if I can't have it I get over it pretty quickly. But in my life it's been rare that I can't have what I want, and I think that's true for a lot of people. Like I said, no in terms of our wildest dreams, but our every day random little wants. Fulfilling them brings that same momentary rush as you get from having some candy, and then you just want more.

    person
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    3 types of suffering: 1 suffering (body/mind) 2 change which involves losing (or fearing) the things that delight us 3 pervasive that comes from confusion

    personlobsterupekka
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @Jeffrey said:
    3 types of suffering: 1 suffering (body/mind) 2 change which involves losing (or fearing) the things that delight us 3 pervasive that comes from confusion

    Good point to bring up, the way number 2 was taught in the same teachings tonight is that it has more to do with the way pleasant things change into unpleasant. So we're out on a hot day and jump in a cool lake and it's very pleasant. After a while though the formerly pleasant feeling of coolness turns into unpleasantness and we want to get out into the heat again. Trying to find happiness this way is a constant struggle for some kind of fleeting equilibrium.

    Jeffreyupekka
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @person said:
    At the teachings I attended tonight the question was asked how we should relate to the pleasant things we experience while seeking a mind of renunciation. The answer was to try not to attach strongly to them and to realize that the happiness they bring is fleeting and unreliable.

    My take away is to feel free to enjoy them but looking to them as the source of happiness is like trying to balance a rock on top of a stick.

    When pleasure happens upon one's path, my feeling is it would be churlish to not partake fully. Think of it as a refreshing drink, a tall glass of cool orange juice in the heat with which one may slake one's thirst. It has a beginning and an end, and when it is done you do not cling, instead you maintain your equanimity and your observing mind.

    Introducing into one's mind the thoughts of happiness being fleeting and unreliable seems like something superfluous — understanding that all things are impermanent already carries this with it. It includes a mind of renunciation and seems to be another aspect of each of the teachings being present in all of the others.

    upekka
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I have read the introduction and chapter 1. It's an interesting problem in how one chooses to deal with desire... letting go of desire completely is problematic I think, because desire is how the body and mind communicate to us things they see as essentials - thirst, hunger, the desire for quiet and rest.

    But giving in to greed nearly always leads to problems of the body and mind, so the teaching has a good point. Giving into the greed for excessive food for example leads to obesity and an early death from heart disease. That doesn't mean one should give up food altogether though, if you can learn to consume it mindfully and in 'just enough' quantities that is fine.

    Perhaps this too is an area where the answer is "the Middle Way". One should be careful to give up greed and excessive desire, but respect the signal it gives as coming from a worthwhile part of you that seeks to satisfy a want that the mind has identified somehow.

    Food for rumination...

    upekka
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I have a hard time finding/seeing the line between simply accepting pleasure that comes along and the desire that brings you to where the pleasure is. I love to enjoy a really good meal, eating mindfully, pleasurably enjoying every sensation and taste. But I have to desire the meal first, which then means I actively seek out that pleasure that comes from dining out or buying and cooking it myself. For me to have the pleasurable eating experience, I have to desire it. I find that to be the same with many every day things. I could actively deny my desires to be intimate (sex but other ways as well) with my husband, but where does that leave him and our marriage?

    upekkaLazy_eye
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    There's no prize for abandoning all the stuff, so I give up and let go of what I can. I have the freedom in my life to be able to eat only rich, tasty food if I want but doing so not only leads to poor health but regularly having them causes my craving for them to grow so when I don't have them I have to suffer through the unpleasantness of that strong craving.

    The experience of heroin is supposedly extremely pleasurable, and the cravings extremely unpleasant. I imagine many of the pleasures we crave are similar but far less intense. With heroin it's easy to compare the pleasure of having it against the not so obvious peace of not having the cravings for it.

    I don't have cookies for lunch everyday not only for health reasons but because doing so would cause me to crave sweets more. Craving is suffering, not craving is peaceful.

    @Kerome said:
    I have found that denying one's desires is rarely a good path to surpassing them. For me what works better is partaking in limited quantities and observing what happens... with enough observation the 'satisfaction' of fulfilling a desire starts to lose its luster, as long as you can avoid getting lost in it. With looking deeply the mind becomes wise to the tricks of desire. Then you can let go without clinging.

    I agree, asceticism and restraint can lead to simply repressing desires rather than abandoning them. I think doing so in the context of mindful observance is critical, that way we let go of things not because it is the correct thing to do but because we see the pain and harm it causes.

    Keromeupekka
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Many people who eat excessively don't do so out of greed, but because their bodies aren't functioning correctly to tell them when to stop eating. Just sayin'. Other people are overweight and even obese and they aren't over eating. They are just eating the wrong things. It's not always about greed, and yes, it irks me when people suggest that is the case.

    It's always been interesting to me what things bring people pleasure with regards to drugs. I've never been a drug user, other than one time I tried one of my ex's adderalls. I liked it too much, never tried another one. When I had knee surgery they stressed taking narcotic pain killers on the schedule they gave. I'd rather have the pain than how I feel taking narcotics. It blows my mind that people enjoy those feelings. I took one. And immediately switched to advil because I cannot stand the slowness and mental haze that results. Even with my 2 csections, I switched to advil after they took me off the iv pain meds. Crazy to me that people specifically seek out narcotics as pleasurable. But our desires run the gamut, I suppose. What would be my ideally pleasurable meal would surely be disgusting to someone else.

    For myself, I just try to make sure I am keeping a healthy balance. But there are things I do and eat etc and I seek them out actively because they make me feel good. Including meditation, yoga, exercise, retreats. They are good for me but it still makes them desires, and I'm not 100% convinced that entirely giving them up is required for advancing on a spiritual path. Giving up attachment to them, yes. But giving them up entirely, I'm not as sure, but that seems to be what this teaching advocates. A spiritual path isn't so important to me that I want to reduce life to "oh, I noted that my body is hungry. So I will eat." I want my food to taste good and not just fulfill a need. Not giving up some of those desires, lol.

    Hozan
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Many people who eat excessively don't do so out of greed, but because their bodies aren't functioning correctly to tell them when to stop eating. Just sayin'. Other people are overweight and even obese and they aren't over eating. They are just eating the wrong things. It's not always about greed, and yes, it irks me when people suggest that is the case.

    I don't know if this was directed towards my comment or just a general observation. I wasn't really talking about over eating or being overweight, just the cravings that often come with eating certain types of foods.

    It's always been interesting to me what things bring people pleasure with regards to drugs. I've never been a drug user, other than one time I tried one of my ex's adderalls. I liked it too much, never tried another one. When I had knee surgery they stressed taking narcotic pain killers on the schedule they gave. I'd rather have the pain than how I feel taking narcotics. It blows my mind that people enjoy those feelings. I took one. And immediately switched to advil because I cannot stand the slowness and mental haze that results. Even with my 2 csections, I switched to advil after they took me off the iv pain meds. Crazy to me that people specifically seek out narcotics as pleasurable. But our desires run the gamut, I suppose. What would be my ideally pleasurable meal would surely be disgusting to someone else.

    I think it's important to acknowledge that not having a craving for those feelings is a type of peacefulness.

    For myself, I just try to make sure I am keeping a healthy balance. But there are things I do and eat etc and I seek them out actively because they make me feel good. Including meditation, yoga, exercise, retreats. They are good for me but it still makes them desires, and I'm not 100% convinced that entirely giving them up is required for advancing on a spiritual path.

    Good point, it could be thought of as long term pleasure vs short term maybe. I've heard HHDL and probably other teachers say that giving up all desires isn't the goal since wanting to be happy and be free of suffering is a desire too. It's about abandoning "afflictive" desires.

    Giving up attachment to them, yes. But giving them up entirely, I'm not as sure, but that seems to be what this teaching advocates. A spiritual path isn't so important to me that I want to reduce life to "oh, I noted that my body is hungry. So I will eat." I want my food to taste good and not just fulfill a need. Not giving up some of those desires, lol.

    At some point the peace and happiness that comes from spiritual practice has to fill the place that the sense pleasures do. Like I said earlier letting go and abandoning craving, hatred and delusion doesn't leave us dry, bland husks. There is peace and bliss at the bottom, it usually takes intensive retreat practice to get a taste and see that such a thing exists and is possible to achieve.

    KeromeVastmindupekkaShoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @person, sorry, no, I was addressing @kerome's comment about obesity being the result of greed. I forgot to tag him.

    That is true, what you said about peace filling the place that pleasures do. I hadnt' thought about it, but when I think back over the past many years, it is obvious that that has happened to a small extent already. You don't seek or miss the pleasures you "abandoned" because you have filled them with someone much more fulfilling.

    Hozanupekka
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I do find the wording interesting. The quatrains past 768 encourage one to avoid sensual desire, craving, greed for sensual pleasures, finally abandoning these things.

    It's not the objects themselves that are listed - fields, goods, gold, cows, horses, servants, women and relatives - that one should abandon, but the desire for them.

    As a lay practitioner having some of these things is unavoidable, but we can work towards extinguishing the desire.

    upekka
  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @person said:

    In general though I don't want to deny any deeper meaning or intention in the teachings that can be accomplished because it is too difficult to attain for myself in my life.

    difficult doesn't mean impossible =)

    @person said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    3 types of suffering: 1 suffering (body/mind) 2 change which involves losing (or fearing) the things that delight us 3 pervasive that comes from confusion

    Trying to find happiness this way is a constant struggle for some kind of fleeting equilibrium.

    this struggle is the Dukka
    once one finds the equilibrium and stick to it without letting it fleet, it is Upekka

    @karasti said:
    . I could actively deny my desires to be intimate (sex but other ways as well) with my husband, but where does that leave him and our marriage?

    what did happen to yasodhara and her marriage?
    don't get me wrong. i am not telling you to renounce your husband =)
    when the time comes that also a possibility

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @upekka That's true, that is a possibility. Unlikely, as we have a family and raising kids is basically a lifetime job, at least for me, I wouldn't want to do it alone and I couldn't/wouldn't renounce my children.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @karasti yes i understand it very well
    it is very hard for a woman with children
    in my case it is double harder because i am old too

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It's not hard for a woman with children; it's hard for a PARENT with children, regardless of gender. Because in the West, the responsibility for the upbringing of children is joint. Both parents are equal in the roles of parenthood.It's not considered to solely be the woman's role.

    karasti
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    yeah, honestly I think it's common here for the man to have more responsibility. My husband is our only wage earner. He certainly wouldn't feel free to renounce his family and responsibilities and run away to monastery. Pretty sure they wouldn't welcome him in those circumstances, either.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @karasti said:
    yeah, honestly I think it's common here for the man to have more responsibility.

    it is common to many places

    My husband is our only wage earner. He certainly wouldn't feel free to renounce his family and responsibilities and run away to monastery.

    It is his kamma (effect of a previous cause or causes)

    Pretty sure they wouldn't welcome him in those circumstances, either.

    irrespective of the states, a single or a parent, he Must get the permission from the family before entering into a monastery
    what is the rules for women, i do not know,

  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited July 13

    'A man who is greedy....is overpowered with weakness
    and trampled by trouble'

    True.

    Isn't there a wide range between greed and none?

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran
    edited July 14

    @upekka said:

    @person said:

    @Jeffrey said:
    3 types of suffering: 1 suffering (body/mind) 2 change which involves losing (or fearing) the things that delight us 3 pervasive that comes from confusion

    Trying to find happiness this way is a constant struggle for some kind of fleeting equilibrium.

    this struggle is the Dukka
    once one finds the equilibrium and stick to it without letting it fleet, it is Upekka

    I take your meaning but I think you've missed my point taking that line out of context.

    What @person originally said:
    Good point to bring up, the way number 2 was taught in the same teachings tonight is that it has more to do with the way pleasant things change into unpleasant. So we're out on a hot day and jump in a cool lake and it's very pleasant. After a while though the formerly pleasant feeling of coolness turns into unpleasantness and we want to get out into the heat again. Trying to find happiness this way is a constant struggle for some kind of fleeting equilibrium.

    The equilibrium I was referring to was trying to keep at the perfect state of satisfaction from sensual pleasures. When you get too hot, cool off. When you get too cool, warm up. When you get too bored, watch a movie. When you've had enough of movies, take a walk. When you get tired, take a rest. When you're rested, do the dishes... On and on.

    I'm not saying it's bad to do, I'm saying it's ultimately unreliable and seeking it and relying on it for our involves us in craving and it's unpleasantness.

    upekkaKannon
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 15

    You will notice the emphasis on practicing/enacting the qualities:
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/comment/513447/#Comment_513447

    Awakening to the needs of our unpolished/ignorant/monkey being, also means enacting as much as the choice is possible, the virtues or qualities of the nibanna'd/nirvana'd ...

    Speaking from experience, I find little value in being:
    ignorant/unwise/trumpish/greedy/hateful/angry/fearful etc
    AND every advantage in being:

    • kind and caring
    • wise if possible
    • generating well being/happiness
    VastmindupekkaDhammika
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    That's a good distinction @Dhammika, it makes me realize that Kama in this chapter is translated as "sensual" desire and not simply desire. I think it's right to say that I desire a "higher", more spiritual form of happiness.

    Vastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited July 16

    Very pertinent @Dhammika

    The idea of a 'clarity resonance' with an underlying or permanent unconditioned state. Ignorance, impediments, cloudings, dukkha, karma are part of our false and temporary nature.

    We are in a sense a 'self created' from and on our focus. We are also free as the True is Real.

    We can differentiate between the qualities of 'clear happiness' and sticky, sense dependent, indulgent, ultimately dukkha dustbin 'happiness'.

    Let's hire the higher! Yeah! :3

    Normal service is now resumed ... =)

    person
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    I too agree that there is no suggestion that sensual pleasures in themselves result in unpeace, only the desire to obtain them.

    I don't think even that the desire is necessarily a bad thing as long as there is an acceptance that the desire may not be fulfilled, so to avoid suffering when it isn't fulfilled. Not to want something in the first place would be the surest way to avoid pain, but not to want (a little more money / a roof over our head / family and friends around us / sexual relations) is not human. The desire to be in a state of not wanting any of those things could also lead to pain when it is not achieved.

    If a desire leads to unskillful methods used to obtain or fulfill the object of desire e.g. spending money you don't have, stealing, deceit, coercion or other illegal or unsatisfactory method, then one has not accepted that it is ok for the desire to be left unfulfilled.

    The final paragraph says to "turn away from sensual desires". In order to turn away, the desire must have arisen and been identified as a desire. The turning is a choice between pursuing the desire or acknowledging it and letting it pass. The text doesn't talk of avoiding desire or sensual pleasure but rather to turn away from it (if, I would add, the fulfilment of the desire would require the use of unskillful methods).

    Kannon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Lee82 I agree, but I do think that @person made a great point that as we practice openly and honestly, we will see the desire for our human, biological-animal related desires start to wane and be replaced with the desires of compassion, generosity and so on. But to try to force those desires away wouldn't be any better than clinging to them. It has to happen as a natural result of practice. I have seen some of that happen in my practice, little bits at a time. That my desire to protect the environment supercedes my desire for a new video games (all plastic) or a new phone or a new computer etc.

    VastmindlobsterLee82Kannon
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran
    edited July 17

    The complicating issue for me is that I don't want to eliminate those desires and attachments altogether. For one thing, I'm in an intimate relationship; I'm also a parent. Maintaining some connection with my human, biological/animal side goes with those roles. Even setting my own desires aside, it wouldn't be compassionate to partner or family to become disassociated from their lives and their needs.

    The Buddha's teachings on abandonment of desire thus pose a challenge for me -- particularly when presented a starkly as they are in these verses. They seem to draw a very sharp distinction between domestic life and the path of the sage. I've looked at this dilemma from various angles over the years. The way I'm seeing it now is something like this: the Buddha and the monastic community (especially as presented in this text) are showing us the possibility of perfect peace, of complete freedom from entanglements. We can take refuge in this possibility and draw inspiration from it even if we ourselves are laypeople with messy, entangled lives.

    My understanding is that the falling away of sensual desires and their replacement by spiritual happiness happens as a result of the jhanas -- that is, jhanic meditation is the key step here. So a decision that a layperson would have to make is whether they are ready to pursue that kind of meditation and experience the resulting states of spiritual bliss...after which they might not want to return.

    Interested to hear how others in a similar situation apply these teachings...

    Shoshinpersonlobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited July 17

    I am a parent and spouse as well. It doesn't mean getting rid of all of the desire, as has been discussed. But the attachment to the desires and especially the outcomes of them. I think it's fair to say there is a sharp distinction between the lay person (especially in today's world) and a sage or monastic. I think that is a lot of the point of choosing that path. We aren't meant to live like monks, nor should we try. But I do believe we can maintain relationships with people without unhealthy attachments to them. Not only can we, but we should, for our good and their growth as their own person on their own path. I don't know a thing about jhanas, couldn't care less about them honestly. I don't meditate to achieve anything. I've never had any mystical experiences while meditating. Nevertheless, things definitely fall away. My understanding and the depth of my relationships has increased greatly. The less I cling, the more free myself and everyone I interact with is. The less I focus on what I want, what I get and specifically what I don't get, the better my life gets. The better spouse I am. The better parent I am.

    Lazy_eyepersonlobster
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    @karasti as wise as your avatar portrays, as always :-)

    karastiKannon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Lee82 :lol: I think I betray the owl ;) It has been a frustrating day for me so I appreciate your kind words :)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @Lazy_eye

    I value the more integrated lay based spirituality found in for example Judaism and Sufism. I live a clustered, rather than cloistered existence.

    I would suggest the purelands and hell realms are our potential but on the whole we are best served by heading for the Purelands. In a sense we continually evoke our commitment/practice/bliss etc ...

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