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Feelings are just feelings?

Is this what we call being apathetic person (see quote below), having a heart of stone and where everything is just the same color ...?

"Feelings are just feelings, happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering.
Only that. Having arisen, it all ceases. We don’t have happiness and suffering. We
don’t take interest in them. They are just attributes of the mental objects that come up
– just that much. The lokadhamma¯ appear and vanish according to their own logic.
Finally, if we don’t show interest in them, don’t support and give importance to them,
they lose their existence".

Luang Por Liem

lobsterShoshin

Comments

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 13

    @Namada said:

    Is this what we call being apathetic person (see quote below), having a heart of stone and where everything is just the same color ...?

    "Feelings are just feelings, happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering.
    Only that. Having arisen, it all ceases. We don’t have happiness and suffering. We
    don’t take interest in them. They are just attributes of the mental objects that come up
    – just that much. The lokadhamma¯ appear and vanish according to their own logic.
    Finally, if we don’t show interest in them, don’t support and give importance to them,
    they lose their existence".

    Luang Por Liem

    To me, this mindset is understandable but boring and so misses the mark. Like it is trying too hard to be apathetic to the point of being irresponsible even.

    When we conceptualize good we create an equal and opposing bad so it is only natural to be averse to any distinction. Nobody wants the bad so we sacrifice the good. Then we can feel a bit better about turning our back on the suffering of the world.

    Not very useful.

    If and when we see opposition is just conception we can see cooperation is natural and that we have our own view of the whole.

    Then we can smile because it is all good and we are useful.

    lobsterSE25Wall
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    The quote seems advisory. That if you don’t show interest in the feelings, they will lose their existence. I’ve seen similar advice given to practitioners, and in my experience it is correct.

    However I wouldn’t call such a person apathetic or as having “a heart of stone”. I’d wager there still is a certain compassion.

    I do find it interesting that it says “we don’t have... suffering”. That doesn’t seem wholly in accord with the 4NT.

    David
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited January 13

    I remember something similar coming up around the book and movie The Giver. There was a society where all the feeling was washed out and everything was grey.

    I think though the claim in Mahayana Buddhism at least is that when this and that and all the 10,000 things are removed the result isn't a washed out grey void. But rather it lets the bright light of the unborn shine forth.

    Davidlobster
  • "Feelings are just feelings, happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering.
    Only that. Having arisen, it all ceases. We don’t have happiness and suffering. We
    don’t take interest in them. They are just attributes of the mental objects that come up
    – just that much. The lokadhamma¯ appear and vanish according to their own logic.
    Finally, if we don’t show interest in them, don’t support and give importance to them,
    they lose their existence".

    Having your head cut off is just having your head cut off.
    Having no head we don't have anything very much. Having no body or head, we take no interest in them. Que?

    Meanwhile in the real world ... we feel, are happy or sad. Alive. We know we are alive because of existence.

    https://dhammawiki.com/index.php?title=Loka-dhamma

    The conditions or interpretations of experience is not binary but a continuum ...

    The original quote sounds like Nihilism to me. Tsk, tsk, weren't we warned about this by Buddha or is Nihilism just Nihilism ...

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    My thought on this via the Things We Control thread:

    I don't want to speak for Luang Por Liem, but through my familiarity with the Thai Forest tradition of Ajahn Chah, I think he's talking more about claiming happiness as our own/seeking it and claiming suffering as our own/pushing it away than simply ignoring suffering.

    Happiness and suffering arise and cease according to causes and conditions, and we have the tendency to claim ownership of them, grasping the former and saying 'I want this' and pushing away the latter saying 'I don't want this.' But if we condition our awareness, we can see them for what they are, conditionally arising phenomena that we can learn not to grasp as me and mine. They cease to appear to exist for us 'from their own side' as it were.

    In other words, I take him to be talking about our internal practice of non-clinging and non-craving, not being boringly apathetic, turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, or suggesting that we shouldn't develop things like metta, compassion, equanimity, or sympathetic joy.

    lobsternamarupaDhammika
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 13

    @Kerome said:
    The quote seems advisory. That if you don’t show interest in the feelings, they will lose their existence. I’ve seen similar advice given to practitioners, and in my experience it is correct.

    However I wouldn’t call such a person apathetic or as having “a heart of stone”. I’d wager there still is a certain compassion.

    I do find it interesting that it says “we don’t have... suffering”. That doesn’t seem wholly in accord with the 4NT.

    I take it to mean, there is no one to have suffering. Suffering arises due to causes and conditions. Take away those causes, suffering ceases [to be something we have]. Ignorance of things as they are leads to craving. Knowledge and vision of things as they are leads to the cessation of craving. When we see happiness and suffering, pleasure and pain, as they truly are, we no longer crave the existence of one and the annihilation of the other. As he says. we don't have them, feelings are just attributes of the mental objects that come up. Or as Ajahn Chah would say, "Oh, it's like this."

    personlobsterKeromeDhammika
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 13

    @ERose brought up the perfect sutta for this quote, SN 22.55, in the Things You Can Control thread. Especially the line:

    [The uninstructed/unawakened person] assumes feeling to be the self, or the self as possessing feeling, or feeling as in the self, or the self as in feeling

    person
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Is this what we call being apathetic person (see quote below), having a heart of stone and where everything is just the same color ...?

    As usual ...I guess it all depends on how one chooses to interpret the quote...

    An optimist see this is as the best of all possible worlds ( in this case the quote just means letting go of unsatisfactoriness )

    Mental states arise and cease whether they are states of happiness or suffering, agreeable or disagreeable states. We call these lokadhamma (worldly dhammas), attributes that dominate the hearts and minds of beings living in the world. Seeing the lokadhamma simply as elements of Dhamma, we won't make the assumption that 'we' are happy whenever 'we' feel happiness or that 'we' are suffering whenever 'we' feel suffering. There is nothing like 'our' goodness or 'our' badness either. We see these attributes, but they are just aspects of Dhamma. Each one is just one of all the possible states of Dhamma. There is nothing special about it.

    Feelings are just feelings, happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering. Only that. Having arisen, it all ceases. We don't have happiness and suffering, we don't take interest in them. They are just attributes of the mental objects that come up - just that much. The lokadhamma appear and vanish according to their own logic. Finally, if we don't show interest in them, don't support and give importance to them, they lose their existence.

    The fantasies our mind spins, the sankharas, can be seen in a similar way. Sankharas are states of proliferation. They come and disturb us all of the time because by giving importance to them we keep feeding them. So of course they continue to provoke and challenge us. Naturally then, we are constantly subject to feelings going up and down, and states of confusion. We don't have freedom. We are not even a refuge to ourselves for a second, only because we give importance to these states of mind.

    ...A pessimist fears this is true......

    However put into context ( the two paragraphs accompanying the quoted section) it makes sense and is not nihilism...far from it :)

    The first part of the Dharma talk given by Luang Por Liem Thitadhammo ( which contains the quote) can be found here ...Forest Sangha Newsletter

    lobsterJasonpersonDavid
  • ERoseERose Earth, North America, west. Explorer

    This might be interesting, as well. https://suttacentral.net/sn12.23/en/sujato SN 12.23 Vital Conditions Upanisa Sutta ...

    So marvelous, I could not quote only part. :)

    If one prefers (or simply enjoys or benefits from other translations, the above is by Bhante Sujato; here is Bhikkhu Bodhi's translation https://suttacentral.net/sn12.23/en/bodhi

    Note: titles used above arenot meant to suggest any difference in status or dignity, those are simply the titles these Venerables usually apply to their publications AFAIK.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited January 13

    Feelings are feelings. What could be simpler? :)

    The question is what does "if we don't show interest in them" (etc) mean?

    ShoshinDavidlobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Shoshin said:

    Is this what we call being apathetic person (see quote below), having a heart of stone and where everything is just the same color ...?

    As usual ...I guess it all depends on how one chooses to interpret the quote...

    An optimist see this is as the best of all possible worlds ( in this case the quote just means letting go of unsatisfactoriness )

    Mental states arise and cease whether they are states of happiness or suffering, agreeable or disagreeable states. We call these lokadhamma (worldly dhammas), attributes that dominate the hearts and minds of beings living in the world. Seeing the lokadhamma simply as elements of Dhamma, we won't make the assumption that 'we' are happy whenever 'we' feel happiness or that 'we' are suffering whenever 'we' feel suffering. There is nothing like 'our' goodness or 'our' badness either. We see these attributes, but they are just aspects of Dhamma. Each one is just one of all the possible states of Dhamma. There is nothing special about it.

    Feelings are just feelings, happiness is just happiness, suffering is just suffering. Only that. Having arisen, it all ceases. We don't have happiness and suffering, we don't take interest in them. They are just attributes of the mental objects that come up - just that much. The lokadhamma appear and vanish according to their own logic. Finally, if we don't show interest in them, don't support and give importance to them, they lose their existence.

    The fantasies our mind spins, the sankharas, can be seen in a similar way. Sankharas are states of proliferation. They come and disturb us all of the time because by giving importance to them we keep feeding them. So of course they continue to provoke and challenge us. Naturally then, we are constantly subject to feelings going up and down, and states of confusion. We don't have freedom. We are not even a refuge to ourselves for a second, only because we give importance to these states of mind.

    ...A pessimist fears this is true......

    However put into context ( the two paragraphs accompanying the quoted section) it makes sense and is not nihilism...far from it :)

    The first part of the Dharma talk given by Luang Por Liem Thitadhammo ( which contains the quote) can be found here ...Forest Sangha Newsletter

    As I suspected, he makes the point about selflessness explicit in the fuller quote offered by @Shoshin.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran
    edited January 14

    Ah, well it's easy to take it out of context when it's presented out of context.

    As presented, it leaves much out.

    It doesn't make it clear that he's talking about the personal and subjective experience of states of mind and their arisings. It sounds like he's talking about the objectivity of suffering which doesn't go away just because we stop paying attention.

  • 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

    Misinterpretation is commonplace on a forum, when we read the typed words of another member, and fail to understand that the nuances are all missing, because verbal/visual contact is so much better.
    We read and interpret, and assume too much.
    We baulk, bristle and bridle, and take umbrage, when all the other person was trying to do, was communicate a point.

    This is the one thing I can't control, and that makes forum perusal difficult for me, personally.

    Copied from here.

    KeromelobsterERose
  • When the door of the Mind,
    through which appearances are created,
    remains unobstructed,
    unwarped by concepts,
    then there is no solid reality,
    just bright Light.
    And we let everything that appears
    just arrive naturally.
    Such a practice is
    the Meditation of Mahamudra.

    -His Holiness the 16th Karmapa

    lobsterShoshinColinA
  • SE25WallSE25Wall London Explorer

    nowt wrong with feelings. if they are generated by excessive clinging then they can lead to suffering.

    when Millwall win a game i feel such joy and i love being attached to that feeling. but i know it's impermanent so i can let it occur naturally without clinging to it.

  • Feelings are just feelings.

    "There are these three kinds of feeling: a pleasant feeling, a painful feeling, and neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. On the occasion when one feels a pleasant feeling, one does not feel either a painful feeling or a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. One feels only a pleasant feeling on that occasion. On the occasion when one feels a painful feeling, one does not feel either a pleasant feeling or a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. One feels only a painful feeling on that occasion. On the occasion when one feels a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, one does not feel either a pleasant feeling or a painful feeling. One feels only a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling on that occasion.

    "A pleasant feeling is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing.

    "Seeing this, an instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with pleasant feeling, disenchanted with painful feeling, disenchanted with neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. From dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, 'Released.' He discerns, 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.' A monk whose mind is thus released does not take sides with anyone, does not dispute with anyone. He words things by means of what is said in the world but without grasping at it."

    Now at that time Ven. Sariputta was sitting[2] behind the Blessed One, fanning him. The thought occurred to him, "Indeed, it seems that the Blessed One speaks to us of the abandoning of each of these mental qualities through direct knowledge.[3] Indeed, it seems that the One Well-gone speaks to us of the relinquishing of each of these mental qualities through direct knowledge."[4] As Ven. Sariputta was reflecting thus, his mind was released from fermentations through not-clinging. While in LongNails the wanderer there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: "Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.074.than.html

    You don't become cold and indifferent even after becoming awake.

    "What, bhikkhus, is the Nibbana-element with residue left? Here a bhikkhu is an arahant, one whose taints are destroyed, the holy life fulfilled, who has done what had to be done, laid down the burden, attained the goal, destroyed the fetters of being, completely released through final knowledge. However, his five sense faculties remain unimpaired, by which he still experiences what is agreeable and disagreeable and feels pleasure and pain. It is the extinction of attachment, hate, and delusion in him that is called the Nibbana-element with residue left.

    lobsterJeffrey
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited January 16

    @SE25Wall said:
    nowt wrong with feelings. if they are generated by excessive clinging then they can lead to suffering.

    when Millwall win a game i feel such joy and i love being attached to that feeling. but i know it's impermanent so i can let it occur naturally without clinging to it.

    Aha but the fact that these feelings arise when Millwall win, and not when say Liverpool win, does indicate that at a deeper level there is a certain attachment to the local footie team which may well stem from one’s childhood.

    The origins of feelings often are an indicator of what we are still attached to on deeper, emotive levels of our being. Sometimes these things can surprise us by coming back at certain points in our lives, I’ve noticed it with my stepfather who is now 82 and his football team, which he hasn’t supported since he was a lad, but now online he follows the transfer news like a hawk.

    The Buddha said, “nothing whatsoever should be clung to”, so you could say that one should try to let go of such attachments. But there is a difference between a natural letting go and trying to adjust something that has become a deep seated tendency.

  • SE25WallSE25Wall London Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    @SE25Wall said:
    nowt wrong with feelings. if they are generated by excessive clinging then they can lead to suffering.

    when Millwall win a game i feel such joy and i love being attached to that feeling. but i know it's impermanent so i can let it occur naturally without clinging to it.

    Aha but the fact that these feelings arise when Millwall win, and not when say Liverpool win, does indicate that at a deeper level there is a certain attachment to the local footie team which may well stem from one’s childhood.

    The origins of feelings often are an indicator of what we are still attached to on deeper, emotive levels of our being. Sometimes these things can surprise us by coming back at certain points in our lives, I’ve noticed it with my stepfather who is now 82 and his football team, which he hasn’t supported since he was a lad, but now online he follows the transfer news like a hawk.

    The Buddha said, “nothing whatsoever should be clung to”, so you could say that one should try to let go of such attachments. But there is a difference between a natural letting go and trying to adjust something that has become a deep seated tendency.

    great post. but why on earth would i want to let go of love for my team? i think we can let go of everything now and then, remember we can let go of everything, but then sink back into the joy of life with all it's ups and downs. imagine being in an enlightened state 24/7, it would get boring. for me it's all about clinging nad attachment. if my love for millwall started outstripping love for family, etc, then i know the attachment has gone too far.

  • SE25WallSE25Wall London Explorer

    also, with the idea of clinging to nothing, that implies that there is a clinger there clinging - lol. which leads a little onto the doctrine of no self (and all its controversies). how can i truly let go of attachments when it can be rationally argued that there is no real "I" there to let go of these things.

  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited January 17

    @Namada said:

    Is this what we call being apathetic person (see quote below), having a heart of stone and where everything is just the same color ...?

    There is definitely a difference between apathy and practice. Feeling apathetic means showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern. In practice we are not forcing something into being something else.

    The monkey mind wants us to deal with multiple random things at once. We shouldn't do that because it will lead to suffering. I believe having an expanded awareness means to always make decisions from wisdom as opposed to relying on rampant feelings and thoughts.

    lobster
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited January 18

    What is a painfull feeling? Is it not suffering?

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran
    edited January 19

    Actually, that is not what they mean. The approach to feelings is NOT to be one of apathy, but of mindful openness and relaxation ... no matter what those feelings ARE.
    Once you stop being so pushed-around by your feelings, you can relax into them. And the more you open to ALL your feelings, the less you repress your pain and fear.
    When we open to our pain and fear ... we ALSO open to joy and vibrancy.
    This is why all those old Lamas chuckle and laugh so easily.

    lobsterColinANamada
  • Here is an example of @FoibleFull post from Dzogchen ...

    ColinAFoibleFullnamarupa
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