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What teaching helped you the most?

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Today I was having a discussion with my father about the benefits of spiritual teachings, and I found myself talking about what helped me the most in the four years or so that I have been looking at Buddhism. I thought I’d briefly share here the conclusion that I came to while talking.

For me it was the teachings around the Three Poisons — desire, aversion and ignorance — and how to deal with them during insight meditation. When you turn within you can find in yourself places where you are not relaxed, are not at ease but are instead tense and stressed. Some traditions call these ‘knots’. If you can feel what negative emotion causes that within you, and can bring awareness and insight to that situation, you can dissolve those knots, and return your inner self to a feeling of peace and relaxation.

I’ve been working with this form of insight meditation for a few years now and it has lightened my load, increasing my happiness and inner peace. Sometimes I start from the memories of negative feelings, and I see to what event it leads me, and whether there is still tension and stress there. Then I start examining the roots of the feelings, what aspect of the Poisons or other negative mind states led me there.

So I was wondering, do you have a specific Buddhist teaching or practice that has greatly helped you?

lobsterpersonShoshinyoda_soda

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I feel that is a complete teaching and practice you mention @Kerome

    For me it would be the Mahayana dictum

    Emptiness is form and form is emptiness.

    KeromeShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @lobster said:
    For me it would be the Mahayana dictum

    Emptiness is form and form is emptiness.

    I read the thread, it’s very interesting... I get the feeling I never penetrated very far into the meaning of the saying before, beyond the surface level of equivalence of the two... it seems opaque to me.

    It’s true that one persons favourite teaching may not speak to someone else, but we can all try to help each other by sharing the things that helped us make progress on the path. It seemed like a good thought.

  • ZenSamZenSam ZenJew Explorer

    For me its simple, just meditate.

    Shoshin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    I would say just to do your practice each day even if you don't do like a 'retreat' long duration study session. But do practice each day and don't let the minutes, or hours, or days, or weeks, or months, or seasons, or years completely slip by.

    I remember from the Sandokai (which is also a good Zen short written teaching) the ending lines:

    I respectfully say to those who wish to be enlightened:

    Do not waste your time by night or day.

    personlobstermisecmisc1Shoshin
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    Meditating on impermanence and death probably helped me the most in the beginning because it destroyed a lot of attachment that caused me personal misery. Then meditating on emptiness helped me further obliterate attachment. Finally, meditating on love, compassion, and bodhichitta has helped me feel closer to others than I've ever felt, like we're all one big family.

    lobsterKeromeShoshinVastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 5

    That seems a helpful continuum @JaySon B)

    Love, compassion and heart based unfolding is available in our wider family ...
    https://sufiway.org/teaching/seven-contemplations-on-the-open-path/14-teachings/41-the-art-of-awakening

    Looking for it, the vision cannot be seen: cease your search. It cannot be discovered through meditation, so abandon your trance states and mental images. It cannot be accomplished by anything you do, so give up the attempt to treat the world as magical illusion. It cannot be found by seeking, so abandon all hope of results.
    — Shabkar Lama, 19th Century Tibetan mystic

    My 'personal misery' is centered around anger. Something I still use a variety of methods to gently unload. For example I create hypnosis presentations to address the subconscious. This is one I recently created on the Ipad with keynote but it could be done with powerpoint, libre office etc.

    I like very much @Jeffrey reminder towards full time engagement ...

    JaySon
  • techietechie India Veteran

    "This too shall pass."

    One of the best teachings ever. =)

    lobsterKeromeShoshinKundo
  • 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

    Mindfulness. Nyaponika Thera said: "Two thoughts cannot coexist at the same time: if the clear light of Mindfulness is present, there is no room for mental twilight. "

    Mindfulness. Paying all attention to the right things, and no attention to the wrong things.

    KeromeVastmindKundo
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think we are touching on a few of the real highlights here... death, impermanence, mindfulness, emptiness. I’ve tried meditating on all of them, and they have all helped to a degree.

    The four foundations of mindfulness stands out as a memorable teaching, though it’s a bit long to quote so I will just link to it.

    https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nyanasatta/wheel019.html

    JaySonVastmind
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    @lobster Awesome.

    I struggled with major anxiety and depression between my late teens and twenties. Which is what set me on the Buddhist path in the first place, solely for myself, just to achieve peace of mind in this life. Now I find myself with my eye on enlightenment mostly for others, also knowing that this is how I'll ultimately defeat all afflictions and obscurations in my mental continuum.

    The most surprising thing to me was that I learned, through cultivating love and the strong desire to become enlightened for the sake of others, I'm constantly looking to increase my capacity to take on the suffering of others. So all of my past suffering, although terrifying and hopeless at the time, have ended up being a blessing.

    Maybe because you have a strong capacity to experience anger, you should try taking the anger and hatred of limitless beings through the practice of Tonglen and send them all your happiness. Take the anger of hell beings and even work your way up to demons, for example. Atisha did similar practices (if you look at lojong commentaries written by his predecessors; source: Lojong compiled by The Tibetan Library of Classics).

    When I read how he saw even demons as his kind mothers and generated love toward them, imagining demons standing in front of him and generating love toward them, it was shocking to me at first. But it makes sense if you think about how all beings at one point during limitless past lives were your kind mothers, and they still are your kind mothers--they're just tortured by the enemy of afflictions, blinded by ignorance. Hell, at one point many lives ago we were all in similar state of misery.

    Keromelobster
  • JaySonJaySon Florida Veteran

    Oh yeah, one thing I wanted to add about the much less esoteric practice of meditating on impermanence...

    One of the biggest sources of my depression in my twenties was that my little brother died young. Meditating on impermanence helped me understand death is natural, even at a young age.

    Another source of depression was that I was a great athlete in high school and got injured so I didn't get to play college ball. My attachment to that desire was so strong that it caused me great misery. Meditating on death and impermanence released me from that attachment when I realized how much that goal didn't matter.

    Likewise, I trained to be a novelist for many years and failed at that. The attachment to that goal caused pain and suffering. Death and impermanence meditation released me from that.

    Also, I had a very successful business at one point and reached that goal, and found myself miserable with the results. All the stress and problems and ego problems and competitiveness. Death and impermanence meditation was also the antidote to that because it showed me I was wasting my life seeking worldly gain, and whether I gained or lost, I was still miserable because I was living with the motivation of attachment to the pleasures of this life.

    Death and impermanence meditation destroyed thousands of attachments in my life over the course of maybe six months. That's really when I gained absolute conviction in the Dharma and the Buddha's teachings. They work. All you gotta do is do em. And meditating on death and impermanence will change your whole life.

    Keromelobsteryoda_soda
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    One of my favourites is MN 61, given by the Buddha to his son, Rahula. Simple. Practical. Straightforward. And in my opinion, the heart of the Buddhist path of practice:

    "Whenever you want to do a bodily [verbal, mental] action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily [verbal, mental] action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily [verbal, mental] action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily [verbal, mental] action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily [verbal, mental] action of that sort is fit for you to do.

    "While you are doing a bodily [verbal, mental] action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily [verbal, mental] action I am doing — is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both... you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not... you may continue with it.

    "Having done a bodily [verbal, mental] action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily [verbal, mental] action I have done — did it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Was it an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction... it was a skillful bodily [verbal, mental] action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then you should stay mentally refreshed & joyful, training day & night in skillful mental qualities."

    VastmindKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Death and impermanence meditation destroyed thousands of attachments in my life over the course of maybe six months. That's really when I gained absolute conviction in the Dharma and the Buddha's teachings. They work. All you gotta do is do em. And meditating on death and impermanence will change your whole life.

    I knew we had plan! Buddha dharma works? Who Guessed? Most of us hopefully ...
    Here is us playing with death, demons at Halloween but Tonglen, hell realm picnics and meditating on dead bodies (where available) can be done everyday ...
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/comment/520215#Comment_520215

    Today is a good day to die (Klingon Mantra) - no suicides please, that is nihilism . . .

    JaySon
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    since this is in faith and religion,i'll spread my religious influence.....

    golden rule,it's also in buddhism.

    there is no male or female in christ;likewise there is no male or female in buddha nature....coincidental,maybe not.the spirit of equality.modern advice be fair.

    ahimsa...nonviolence to your fellow person.

    framework of buddhism,refrain from bad,do good,purify the mind.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 6

    @Jason said:
    "was an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future.”

    Confession in Buddhism, who would haf thunk it. I wonder if Rahula was a monk at the time...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What teaching helped you the most?

    I would have to say a combination...The 4NTs & 8FP .....which is ongoing....always a new lesson/s to be learnt ... :)

    lobsterVastmind
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited March 6

    Basics @Shoshin?

    Too advanced for me. Must be refresher time ...

    1. Existence is surfing
    2. eh ...

    eh ... wait ... yep back to the beach for a new board ... <3

    Is the first Nobel Truth, Existence is surfacing?

    Must try harder ... :3

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Shoshin reminder of basics is spot on. Today I was contacted by an online dervish buddy from years ago. A more fluid heart based tradition.
    http://sufi-tavern.com/sufi-stories/the-parcel/

    One way in, one way out ...

    ... meanwhile ... back to the 4NT

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I just wanted to share the reaction of another friend knowledgeable in the dharma from a non-English forum to this question, which I’ve freely translated...

    The practice I follow is that of Chenrezig, which emphasises compassion, loving kindness, empathic joy, and equanimity. What I really like about this practice is that it eventually puts an end to self hatred, self judgment, self accusation.
    I think it happens quite often that people that people practice the dharma with those kinds of things in mind, self hatred, self judgment, self accusation. We think that there is something wrong with ourselves and we are looking for a way to change that about us.
    Wanting to change is then not based on being loving towards ourselves and our wisdom but in fact it arises from self accusation. You want to become someone else because you hate who you are now. But to practice from such a motivation is not good, it is better to first develop more love and compassion towards ourselves and others.
    Such a practice of compassion and loving-kindness et al, teaches you, as it were, to soften that harshness, that accusation, the hardness towards yourself. Which is very necessary.
    We live in a society that is usually very hard. Even with our friends, acquaintances, bosses or even parents. It is often all about performance. Just being there is never enough. You continually have to prove yourself, through work, volunteering, caring or whatever. Love and compassion are often very conditional, even from parents.
    One other thing I love about the practice is that all three of these opinions are not true: “I am inferior to other people”, “I am superior to other people”, “I am equal to other people”. The texts make clear that these are just views, often very powerful, but just a form of imagining.

    I thought it was very clear and inspiring.

    lobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Kerome said:

    @Jason said:
    "was an unskillful bodily [verbal, mental] action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future.”

    Confession in Buddhism, who would haf thunk it. I wonder if Rahula was a monk at the time...

    Yes, probably. Confession is a big part of the Vinaya. There is ceremony every month that entails a general, communal confession. And the penalty for most of the none major rules is confession. Part of the reason is that it promotes honestly. And, as Bhikkhu Ariyesako puts it, "Admitting to one's mistake and agreeing to do better in the future is the way of growth and progress towards the elimination of all carelessness and absentmindedness."

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