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Seek to understand

edited June 2005 in Buddhism Basics
Hi... I am new here and thankful that I found this site. I seek a better understanding so that I might respond to a very important person in my life. She believes in budhism.
She has given me books to read. I have read, and she says that "I don't get it".
What I read and what she teaches seems to me to be contrary. I have many questions
that go unanswered or the answers don't seem right. She has much suffering. I suffer much. Our relationship suffers and I am stuck. So, I am here to ask questions and to gain an understanding, that I might find a direction within myself. I begin here:

Compassion: A deep feeling to share the suffering of another, together with the
inclination to offer aid, support, or mercy.

Question:

Is it important to extend my thanks and appreciation for the compassion that has been afforded me by my partner. If so, how?

Just the beginning,
Thank you, DaveG

Comments

  • 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
    edited June 2005
    Love unconditionally. Accept her with all her faults; accept that if changes need to be made, she has to perceive them, acknowledge them,WANT to change them and will do so at her own pace, if at all.
    Accept that the world is a far happier place when we love someone for all they can bring us.
    And with all of the above, Look in the mirror, and apply it to yourself, first and foremost. If we cannot do all of the above for ourselves, how can we expect others to do it for us, and how can we love unconditionally, if we cannot first love, forgive, change and/or accept ourselves first?

    The beginning has begun....!
    Welcome, bless you for asking, and have courage, it's a path we all walk! You are not alone, ever!!
  • ZenLunaticZenLunatic Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    First, congratulations on putting forth the effort to understand something that your partner believes in. Many wouldn't go so far as you have.

    Second, it might be helpful to know what books you've read, what your partner has told you, and how the two conflict.

    I'm a little confused as to your question. If you want to thank her for her compassion, give compassion in return! One of the central ideas in buddhism is that all living things are one, and therefore causing harm (physical, emotional, etc..) to another is the same as doing the same harm to yourself. In the west, we are bound to our dichotomous way of thinking; there is me and there is the other. The other is always that which is not ourself. But in buddhism (and quantum mechanics...go watch What the Bleep do we Know?!), this is not the case...there is no other, mainly because there is no me!!

    Welcome to our site. You should invite your partner to join as well, if you feel so inclined!
  • edited June 2005
    Hi DaveG!

    Welcome to the site. I look forward to getting to know you.

    Adiana
  • edited June 2005
    Fedrica, Thank you for your welcome. It would appear that your answer to my question is "no". It is not important to express thanks for compassion. It would seem to me to be impossible to love unconditionally without an expression of thanks. Thanks for your reply.... Dave
  • edited June 2005
    Zenlunatic, And I thank you for your welcome. An effort to understand my partner is a requirement of love, at least to me. If I didn't strive to understand it wouldn't be love.

    Books I've read: I don't have them with me .... one was on Anger, I believe written by Thich Nhat Habh. It began with compassion listening. One I do have here is "Two Suns Rising" by Jonathan Star. That one I just took off the night stand to see if I could get a little understanding. Other books I have read sections only and don't remember the titles.

    So, it appears to me that your answer is contrary to Fedrica's. It is incumbent upon the Buddhist, when shown compassion, to return compassion. Otherwise the Buddhist is not practicing Buddhism.
    So if I claim to be a buddhist I am a fake if I don't respond in kind.... or I'm a very troubled Buddhist.

    Invite my partner..... I'm afraid, afraid that it wouldn't help things.

    Again, Thank you for your welcome. I enjoy being here....... Dave
  • edited June 2005
    Adiana, Thank you, and I look forward to getting to know you.

    "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."

    Yes it is !

    If you want to keep getting what you're getting keep doin what you're doin.

    but

    What if your doin the right thing? Dave
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Hi Dave welcome. I understand what you are going through except it's the opposite with me. My wife is not a Buddhist but I do not need her to be. I married her because I love her and she is the one I am happy with. I don't know all the details of your problems but from what I am getting so far is that she is trying to make you something you are not and you are trying to go along with it. Also if you two are so miserable maybe you are not meant to be together. I heard once that, and this is paraphrasing, "If a couple has to work at a relationship then they are meant to be. If they are meant to be then they will be happy with each other." When I say this I don't mean you leave the toilet seat up and it drives her crazy or she doesn't do the dishes or whatever the arrangement is. I mean when you two are in bed and talking or anytime you are together you are happy with each other and comfortable.



    Stop doing this :banghead: . It will only cause your head to bleed. :bawling:
  • edited June 2005
    Comicallyinsane, Thank you for your welcome and your input.

    I believe that her and I were meant to be together. In fact, I believe that this is my purpose. It's not that she is trying to make me something I'm not or that I'm against learning something new. Thru love I feel a need to respond in kind. I believe that there is a base for her belief. But I also believe that her suffering is great and that Buddhism may now be an excuse to stay put. It appears to me that she has attached her own rules to Buddhism to avoid being reached. If we were not together it would mean her destruction and the destruction of family as well. This little pac-man guy you have beating his head against the wall is what I see. Yes, it appears that I may be beating a dead horse... but, the other side of the coin is that I'm with someone I love ...who... is suffering and is creating more pain for herself by snowballing promblems and I believe she's hiding behind Buddhism. How do you reach a lost Buddhist?
    Thanks...Dave
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    I don't know if there is such a thing as a lost Buddhist. Part of Buddhism is being at peace with yourself. Maybe you two should meditate, maybe take a day and go somewhere peaceful. I find that always works for me. I like ot take my boat to the lake and do some reading, listen to music, munch on some snacks and enjoy the scenery. Actually the little guy is beating his head against the wall. My meaning was that you are doing that trying to figure things out. LOL Just an attempt at humor.
  • edited June 2005
    C/I .... and a good piece of humor it was. Taking time is impossible ... she now spends 60-65 hours a week at work... when she's home she's beat. It's a withdraw thing. I beginning to trust my instinct.. she's hidiing behind Buddhism.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Call me Comic. ;) That's a lot of hours. I used to work like that but now I work around 30 hours a week. I spend my other time remodeling my house and spending time with family. I like to work but my job doesn't offer any kind of satisfaction. My wife and I are working on changing our jobs in life. We are focusing on finding careers that make us happy. She is going into massage therapy and I want to go into Commercial diving and underwater welding. You see I am a water rat and I really prefer to be in the water or on it and the land isn't my favorite thing. The good thing about the town I live in is that there is a lake 8 miles from my house. 20 minutes and I am there. That includes dropping the boat into the water. LOL
  • edited June 2005
    I wish I could do that !!
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran Veteran
    edited June 2005
    You can. It's all about making a decision and acting on it. I used ot live in Las Vegas and I was miserable. I met my wife on line, not looking for anyone by the way, and Idecided to move here after we got to know each other a bit and I worked very hard to gmove here. I gave up a 40,000 dollar a year job offer to move here and have no money. It was the best decision I ever made. People ask me how I could pass up the money but I just tell them she is the one and it's that simple.
  • edited June 2005
    :) Nope.... I can't.... not until I figure this out.
  • edited June 2005
    like the man who was shot by an arrow. "no one can remove this arrow until I know who made the arrow , who made the bow, what is the name of the man who shot it, all the names of his family and there childrens children, how many feathers are in the cock of the arrow what kind of bird were the feathers from?" surely this man will needlessly die for want of answers that are of no significance to saving his life.

    ^gassho^
  • edited June 2005
    OK... I seem to recall somewhere a story about a prince who was shot by an arrow. His doctors were not allowed to touch him without his permission. He could not understand why one of his people would do this to him. He had been a good leader. He wanted to know who had shot him and why. His doctors told him that if they did not remove this arrow he soon would die. He sent his guards out to find this person so that he might understand and would not let the doctors touch him until he had the answers. He died before their return.

    Ok.... but that leaves me nowhere.
  • edited June 2005
    the story is about attachment, slavery to ones own egoic suffering. this is the teaching of the Buddah in a nut shell. the thread and questions you have been asking. who are you asking about? what are you asking about? The Buddhas teachings are for you to look at you. Attachment to the relationship, attachment to what is "wrong with my wife" these are the things preventing you from finding the truth. this is a simple answer which is difficult to apply when you still have an arrow in you. do you see? you are not "nowhere" you are here seeking, were else could you be. wlecome. I hope you do not find my words to dirrect but at times a sharp blade is needed to clear the path :)

    may your life go well

    ^gassho^
  • edited June 2005
    How can you help but be attached? Are not relationships full of commitments?
  • edited June 2005
    DaveG wrote:
    How can you help but be attached? Are not relationships full of commitments?


    Hello dave,
    commitments are promises or agreements that you make an effort to uphold. fine in and of its self. attachments to things are your mind placing conditions and expectations on those commitments. does this make sense to you. people suffer in relationships because they change. we think "this person I marry will always be this or that" and this can not possibly be true. look at a picture of yourself when you were ten years old. is that you? is that the same body, mind etc? no. change is inevitable we "know" this but do we really? when we place these expectations on impermanant things we give our selves the opportunity to create resentment, anger and fear. do you understand the difference between preferance and a judgement "I prefer the taste of chocolate to dirt" " dirt tastes awfull" dirt tasetes like dirt. we compared it to chocolate so now we think its bad. your relationship is unsatisfying compared to how it was or how you expected it to be. this does not mean you have to just sit here and act like its ok but try first to remove your expectations, then you can make a clear assesment. its about the stuff we bring to the table so we have to look at our own minds first. it comes down to the cliche but true you can only live in this very moment. if you find it hard to come back to this moment, whitch is likely when you are in pain over a situation, take tich naht hahns advice. look at your partner and picture/ imagine him/her 300 years from now. welcome back. how did that hug feel? :) I hope this is of some help to you. it takes time and practice but it is worth every step you take. this perfect step is all we have anyway


    ^Gassho^
  • edited June 2005
    dave I must go and tend to my family now I certainly hope this has been of some help to you. feel free to pm or email me with anymore questions ...or dont. either way there are lots of people here and mabey they can turn the dharma wheel for you in a different light.

    may you find peace in this and every step

    ^gassho^
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited June 2005
    This seems a little bit too complicated to figure out on a forum. None of us can know all the circumstances and so our advice might not fit or whatever...I definitely feel some compassion for you both though. It sounds like me when I first "plunged" into Buddhism. I would read a book and then know it all. I would tell other people how they just didn't understand. I felt like I had all this knowledge and that everyone else didn't, or wasn't capable of "my understanding". I don't know if your girlfriend is like how I was but, I think at the time I was suffering from a lot of depression and I used Buddhism to hide behind. I had to take some time away from it and then come back because I don't think it was healthy for me. I was merely obsessing rather than practicing. If she is doing the same thing I was then all you can do is tough it out. Stick with her and be as supportive and understanding as you can. Buddhism is wonderful, but people are also fragile. When really depressed Buddhism (like many other things) can make someone withdrawn and unhappy. Instead of insight, the ideas of impermanence and dukkha can really frustrate you. You feel alone in the world and react negativly to situations. I could be way off, but regardless you should try to be patience with her as well as yourself. Give her a little space, be kind, and be there for her when she needs it. Not too little attention, and not too much. I'm sorry, I wish I had some better advice. I hope everything goes well.
  • edited June 2005
    Being a Buddhist means to see her suffering in a new light - and you will see that you share this on a profound level. That is where the source of compassion lies.

    If you like to read (as I do), the 1st Noble Truth of suffering... meditate on it. Don't let anyone tell you you don't get it.

    That's the only advice I can give. Good luck.

    signed,

    been there (divorce - but it led me to Buddhism...)
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