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I do find the half lotus is a strain, but actually at the moment, it helps me to take my practice seriously. It's an illusion, for sure, but I feel more connected to the "tradition" of meditation.
As you said before, @lobster:
Initially we are playing at being practitioners ..
Nevertheless, I am going to try sitting in a chair at some point. Feeling my feet go numb is never totally pleasant.
Ok, interesting responses. I didn't actually envision the disagreements with my thought:
since the goal is happiness (happiness based on the 4NT), what matters is being happy. I know the way to pursue happiness now: so pursue it.
I still feel it's true for me, right now. Maybe I didn't express it very well. I do agree with what @Kerome said:
It seems to be more about being able to be happy wherever you are, whatever you are doing.
So true! In my comment, I was referring to a feeling of pressure or guilt because of not leading a life that compares to any I read about. But the dharma doesn't exist to make us feel guilty. It exists to help us be happy, put incredibly simply, I know. We're encouraged to test it, aren't we? So if I find the suffering caused by an occasional beer is negligible, there is certainly no need to feel guilty about it. There may not be any need to renounce it, at least not until I find it a hindrance or the source of unhappiness.
Does that make more sense? Believe me, I do susbscribe to the happy-here-and-now approach. It's something I really struggle with. I find I'm always putting off being happy. Isn't that odd? Like: I'll be happy when... I have a better job, live in a better city. Whatever it is. So it's one of the first (if ongoing) lessons that I have learnt (am learning) from Buddhist path.
Hello! This is my first post here. I've been practising mindfulness for about eight months now, thanks to an ongoing tussle with depression/anxiety and a recommendation to try the Headspace guided meditations. I've read several books on Buddhism since then, trying to understand mindfulness in its proper context, and Buddhism itself has really come to describe my view of the world.
One thing that's great about the Buddhist community, in my opinion, is the amount of literature it contains. I'm reading The Life of Milarepa right now. It's helpful to imagine how I might emulate these figures, Milarepa, Tenzin Palmo, and obviously the Buddha himself, but they all took steps in the name of spiritual development that I'm not sure I can take (or want to take?).
Milarepa renounces family, clothes, conversation. To me, this isn't a "middle way", it's extreme. Is this because he's practising Tantra? Trying to obtain enlightenment in one lifetime? Is this extreme path demanded of all of us, or only a select few? And how do you find out if it's for you?
I suppose what puzzles me is partly due to the lack of Buddhist memoirs written from the lay perspective. Our role models all seem to be from the monastic side of the sangha, and their lives, while inspirational, are also very demanding.
How do you reconcile your Buddhism with your not having taken the monastic/solitary route? Is it a case of thinking, "Well, I may not be ready for that step just now, but at some point in the future I could be, or even in some future life."
Basically: How can we read about inspirational figures like Milarepa, without feeling like we have to up sticks and go live in a cave?