Author Topic: The Twelve Step Buddhist  (Read 7083 times)

Offline WonderlandAlli

  • Vipassana & Simplicity
  • Member
  • Posts: 219
  • I love the smell of turpentine in the morning...
    • View Profile
The Twelve Step Buddhist
« on: March 24, 2010, 11:13:59 pm »
Just want to share that if anyone is in a recovery program (AA, NA, SA, OA, etc) I came across a 12 Step Program book written for Buddhists by Buddhists, to help keep the "higher power" thing relate-able for a Buddhist. I was reading literature and the whole "higher power as you know Him" thing was driving me nuts. Frankly I do find 12 steps rather Judeo Christian. I thought, there has to be a Buddhist book like this. The book I found is called The Twelve Step Buddhist, by Darren Littlejohn. I also found Dharma Punx to read after, written by Noah Levine who went through addiction in a path to becoming a Buddhist teacher in LA for reading after I read 12 Step Buddhist.

Darren also has a website for  his book. http://the12stepbuddhist.com/
« Last Edit: April 30, 2010, 08:46:21 pm by WonderlandAlli, Reason: My doctor diagnosed me as OCD and Bulimic rather than having binge eating disorder. Just changing the note. »
sÄ«la ♥ samādhi  ♥ paññā

♥ Please consider donating to my fundraiser for Out of the Darkness, for suicide awareness and prevention. ♥ 
http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&eventID=1088&participantID=108712

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4533
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2010, 11:19:56 pm »
Thanks for the reference, Alli.

What did you think of the book?

Did reading it and practicing what it referenced help to alleviate your suffering?

Just want to share that if anyone is in a recovery program (AA, NA, SA, OA, etc) I came across a 12 Step Program book written for Buddhists by Buddhists, to help keep the "higher power" thing relate-able for a Buddhist. I was reading literature and the whole "higher power as you know Him" thing was driving me nuts. Frankly I do find 12 steps rather Judeo Christian. I thought, there has to be a Buddhist book like this. The book I found is called The Twelve Step Buddhist, by Darren Littlejohn. I also found Dharma Punx to read after, written by Noah Levine who went through addiction in a path to becoming a Buddhist teacher in LA for reading after I read 12 Step Buddhist.

Darren also has a website for  his book. http://the12stepbuddhist.com/

(Since I tend to be an open book I will admit that I have B.E.D. (binge eating disorder) and attend Over-eaters Anonymous for a support group.)
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline WonderlandAlli

  • Vipassana & Simplicity
  • Member
  • Posts: 219
  • I love the smell of turpentine in the morning...
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2010, 11:21:00 pm »
Time will tell, Ron. Twelve Steps is new for me.
sÄ«la ♥ samādhi  ♥ paññā

♥ Please consider donating to my fundraiser for Out of the Darkness, for suicide awareness and prevention. ♥ 
http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&eventID=1088&participantID=108712

Offline ChangYuan

  • The Inept Buddhist
  • Member
  • Posts: 98
  • Always in the Origin of the Buddha Mind
    • View Profile
    • Inept Buddhist Blog
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2010, 04:45:27 pm »
I've read Dharma Punx, which is phenomenal. I have not read Littlejohn's book yet, as its not at the bookstore nearby, and was lower on my list of books to order online yet.
地藏菩萨灭定业真言
OM BA LA MO LING TO NING SVAHA

Offline WonderlandAlli

  • Vipassana & Simplicity
  • Member
  • Posts: 219
  • I love the smell of turpentine in the morning...
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2010, 09:34:30 pm »
Am reading DharmaPunx as well, its intense.

12 Step Buddhist I expected to be a rewriting of the 12 Steps 12 Traditions from a Buddhist perspective, but its not, its a mix with 12 steps and memoirs. it's not bad, I am still reading it. I just wish i could get 12 steps 12 traditions as an ebook that can go on my e-reader. AA has pdfs of that and the Big Book but its not formatted in a way to put it onto  reader. Its more for internet reading.
sÄ«la ♥ samādhi  ♥ paññā

♥ Please consider donating to my fundraiser for Out of the Darkness, for suicide awareness and prevention. ♥ 
http://afsp.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&eventID=1088&participantID=108712

Offline treederwright

  • Om Mani Padme Hum
  • Member
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
    • Active Bodhichitta - Blog
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2010, 05:43:45 pm »
This is a good read. It covers general Buddhist terms and helps gently guide on the 12 step path. I like Kevin Griffin's Burning Desire too.
Bodhicharyavatara Ch 1 vs 10

For like the supreme substance of the alchemists,It (bodhichitta) takes our impure flesh and makes of it The body of a Buddha, jewel beyond all price. Such is bodhichitta. Let us grasp it firmly

A new blog on living the Bodhicharyavatara ( Way of the Bodhisattva) .

http://activebodhichitta.blogspot.com

Another Forum
www.newbuddhist.com

Offline Tosh

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2011, 12:47:53 pm »
Too many people overcomplicate the 12 Steps.  If you don't believe in God, subtract the 'Magic Man' stuff and just take the mental position of being 'powerless' over alcohol, do the inventory, speak to your sponsor about it, make your amends. 

It's important to learn about the 'powerless over alcohol' aspect, and it's important to do the inventory, and to clean up the past (since most alcoholics/addicts will have a lot of wreckage).

So, that's Steps 1 to 9 covered, and this will have a massive impact on your life.  You'll see the truth of your past, and you'll have made amends where possible.  You can't comfortably practise a 'day at a time' program when you're dragging around the 1990s with you; so this is important.  And the amends have a Buddhist counterpart called 'Giving Victory to our Enemies', which does not mean being a doormat, but creating the causes of happiness for both your 'enemy' and yourself.  It's powerful stuff.

As for Steps 10, 11, and 12; these are a practise, and perfectly compatible with a Buddhist practise.

Step 10 is mindfulness.
Step 11 is prayer and meditation
Step 12 is helping other alcoholics recover (using the special gift of your own experience of drinking/drugging and recover); i.e. practising compassion.

There's no need to overcomplicate things further than this; the above will work.  Dr Bob, A.A.'s co-founder was a huge fan of keeping it simple, and Bill W (the other co-founder) said that the atheist who cannot believe in God should just remove the 'God portions' of the program.

The 12 Steps might not look 'much', they have to be simple because we often come into recovery in a pretty confused state of mind, but these steps are profound, with real depth and weight, and they're very 'Buddhist' too; they're a spiritual path in their own right.  So keep it simple; as humans (and I'm ultra guilty of this) we tend to overcomplicate stuff, thinking the more complex something is, the more we'll benefit.  But that's not always the case, and isn't with the 12 Steps.

Hope that's helped someone.  These 12 Steps really have saved my life.

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2268
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 11:29:15 am »
If you don't believe in God, subtract the 'Magic Man' stuff...
My theory is that "taking Refuge" is akin to having a higher power. And just like 12 step programs there is plenty of latitude in Dharma when it comes to how you see that higher power. The least alarming way for a modern westerner to see it is how the Shravakayana sees the Buddha. He was just a man that fulfilled life's greatest potential and left directions on how we could do the same. No 'Magic Man' stuff...

Quote
and just take the mental position of being 'powerless' over alcohol...
The powerlessness aspect of 12 step traditions has a parallel in Buddhist renunciation (imho). Only when you see the hopelessness of doing things the way you've been doing them will you let go enough to truly embrace another path.

Quote
do the inventory, speak to your sponsor about it, make your amends.
I see this as being akin to confession and purification practices under your teacher. In my tradition there is no 'making amends' directly, but there is remedial action as part of purification. That means doing positive things to offset the negative. Being a meditation oriented tradition it is mostly done in formal sitting practice.

Quote
And the amends have a Buddhist counterpart called 'Giving Victory to our Enemies', which does not mean being a doormat, but creating the causes of happiness for both your 'enemy' and yourself.  It's powerful stuff.
I hadn't heard of that, but it sounds interesting. I'll have to look it up.

Quote
As for Steps 10, 11, and 12; these are a practise, and perfectly compatible with a Buddhist practise.

Step 10 is mindfulness.
Step 11 is prayer and meditation
Step 12 is helping other alcoholics recover (using the special gift of your own experience of drinking/drugging and recover); i.e. practising compassion.
I think a 12 stepper could simple tack on a Buddhist practice in step 11. It seems like it should dovetail quite easily.

I already had an excellent education in Dharma before I became an alcoholic/addict. (And yes, you can correctly conclude from this statement that I am a complete idiot.) So when it came time to turn around I just simply invoked my previous education. In no small part this was possible due to the fact that I saw at 12 step meetings people that seemed to have progressed significantly along the spiritual path, and I thought to myself, "If a bunch of screwed up people like that could do it, well then so can I." Before then Dharma had always seemed too demanding and difficult for someone like me to actually make work. In fact I had, in a sense, run away from Dharma and my teacher because I was too afraid of failure to really try. I ended up "taking refuge" in the idea that if I had tried I could have done it. That way I was never tested and avoided failure--or so I thought. It was stupid and cowardly, and ultimately led to a substance abuse problem and then back to Dharma.

Quote
There's no need to overcomplicate things further than this; the above will work.  Dr Bob, A.A.'s co-founder was a huge fan of keeping it simple, and Bill W (the other co-founder) said that the atheist who cannot believe in God should just remove the 'God portions' of the program.

The 12 Steps might not look like 'much', they have to be simple because we often come into recovery in a pretty confused state of mind, but these steps are profound, with real depth and weight, and they're very 'Buddhist' too; they're a spiritual path in their own right.  So keep it simple; as humans (and I'm ultra guilty of this) we tend to overcomplicate stuff, thinking the more complex something is, the more we'll benefit.  But that's not always the case, and isn't with the 12 Steps.

Hope that's helped someone.  These 12 Steps really have saved my life.
The combination of being able to see Dharma and 12 steps as the same has saved mine too.
:namaste:
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 11:48:58 am by santamonicacj »
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline Tosh

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2011, 07:37:30 am »
I enjoyed reading your post, santamonicacj!

Thanks.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4533
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2011, 10:36:43 am »
Quote
Tosh:  There's no need to overcomplicate things further than this; the above will work.  Dr Bob, A.A.'s co-founder was a huge fan of keeping it simple, and Bill W (the other co-founder) said that the atheist who cannot believe in God should just remove the 'God portions' of the program.

The 12 Steps might not look 'much', they have to be simple because we often come into recovery in a pretty confused state of mind, but these steps are profound, with real depth and weight, and they're very 'Buddhist' too; they're a spiritual path in their own right.  So keep it simple; as humans (and I'm ultra guilty of this) we tend to overcomplicate stuff, thinking the more complex something is, the more we'll benefit.  But that's not always the case, and isn't with the 12 Steps.

One of the chapters I found interesting in The Big Book was the one which tells AA members how to work with new members.  The advice to keep booze in the house to help tide them over I found to be astonishing, because of my experience with my "drug of choice" which was binge foods, which resulted in me seeking the assistance of Over-eaters Anonymous.  If I kept cakes, cookies, pies, candy, or ice cream in the house it was because I had purchased them with the plan of eating them when necessary, which was usually every day.

At one point my food plan included abstaining from alcohol as well as all of my binge foods and they never were purchased or brought into my home.  Otherwise, my hunter-seeker program would automatically keep track of them and then make them disappear.  This never happened with alcohol.  The booze could be kept in my home for decades without ever being touched.  It was this fact that led me to believe that I could never become an alcoholic.  I felt exactly the same way about prescription narcotic drugs until just recently when I experienced another bout of pancreatitis from probably eating fatty foods in too large of quantity, which resulted in my lipase leves doubling.  The amount of pain put me into the emergency room about 03:00 a.m. on a Friday night.  What happens is the pancreas secretes too much digestive juice and begins to dissolve itself resulting in debilitating and intolerable pain.

Short story, pain pills, oxycodone, were issued to me, and because of my stance on narcotics I limited my use of them to one a day, when I was allowed to use up to two when required, max of six per day.  I got away with one per day before bedtime so that I could sleep.  That was a week ago and I still have severe burning back pain from yard work that I have been doing for the last two or three weeks, and I have had to increase the dosage to two per day before going to bed, where ordinarily I would be done with them after a few days and throwing away ninety percent of the prescription.

Now, because of the severe pain I am afraid to get rid of them for fear that I will need them and suffer another intolerable over-nighter.  Meditation seems to help for awhile, but eventually the pain gets so elevated that I relent and take two with some Silk, and gratefully fall asleep.

So, here is what I have learned from this experience:  Sometimes it is not the high or the comfort that one seeks in the case of comfort food, but it is the fear of excruciating pain which keeps one coming back for the next "fix".  Ironically, I can't go to ibuprophen, or other over-the-counter pain killers because it was long term use of these which got me into this fix in the first place with severe stomach pains from the corrosivity.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Hanzze

  • Member
  • Posts: 2077
  • (Johann)
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2011, 07:30:24 pm »


*smile* It's good to have good friends, provider and supplier of real pain killers not the fake one. Join the noble desire to real release and don't get caught again. Once dug the own well till the water surface (Dhamma) there is secure and no way ever to turn.

Good friends are those who help digging and even share water till the own well is complete. *smile* Sometimes you might hate them, because they will take all your beloved habits and drugs away.

Any way, beware of the alternative drug dealer (drugs are always a matter of incredible love)! There are always plenty of opportunities in just observing the pain. Don't take it to serious and don't forget to *smile*

Fear is just a feeling.

« Last Edit: November 12, 2011, 08:06:36 pm by Hanzze »

Offline landis

  • Member
  • Posts: 87
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2011, 07:08:37 pm »
AA was started by born-again Christians. 

The Buddha did not teach the need for a "higher power" to "get sober"; or a Messiah to be our personal savior; or a "spiritual" awakening as the part of The Path.

As with any "system", "schema" etc..., take what's useful and in line with the Dhamma and discard/abandon the rest as irrelevant to understanding dukkha and the cessation of dukkha.
landis <3

Like a rock,
like a planet,
like a f**king atom bomb,
I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the
madness
that I encounter everywhere I turn
I've seen it all before
in books and magazines
like a twitch before dying
like a pornographic sea
there's a flower behind the window
there's an ugly laughing man
like a hummingbird in silence
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
oh yeah, oh yeah, like the blood on my door
wash me clean and I will run
until I reach the shore
I've known it all along
like the bone under my skin
like actors in a photograph
like paper in the wind
there's a hammer by the window
there's a knife on the floor
like turbines in darkness
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
-Bad Religion, Generator

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4533
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2011, 07:49:35 pm »
AA was started by born-again Christians. 


Not true.  Neither Dr. Bob, nor Bill W.  were born again Christians.

Bill W.'s story:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_W.

The Buddha did not teach the need for a "higher power" to "get sober"; or a Messiah to be our personal savior; or a "spiritual" awakening as the part of The Path.

As with any "system", "schema" etc..., take what's useful and in line with the Dhamma and discard/abandon the rest as irrelevant to understanding dukkha and the cessation of dukkha.
landis <3


In AA there is a "time tested trite truism":  Take what you need and leave the rest."....which is in agreement with your latter statement.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Hanzze

  • Member
  • Posts: 2077
  • (Johann)
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2011, 08:06:00 pm »
Not real, it could also easy lead to diffusion of right view. So its a risky way, what does not mean that it could not be helpful sometimes. For somebody using it, it needs a lot of self responsibility and for some who teaches in such a way there is a lot of responsibility to care and for sure well mixed with wrong view and and synthetic compensations. *smile*

Having right view, you would not offer a mass and leave it to self - responsibility. Guiltily feeling will follow even if there are is sometimes success. 

Offline landis

  • Member
  • Posts: 87
    • View Profile
Re: The Twelve Step Buddhist
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 03:43:25 am »
AA was started by born-again Christians. 


Not true.  Neither Dr. Bob, nor Bill W.  were born again Christians.

Bill W.'s story:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_W.

The Buddha did not teach the need for a "higher power" to "get sober"; or a Messiah to be our personal savior; or a "spiritual" awakening as the part of The Path.

As with any "system", "schema" etc..., take what's useful and in line with the Dhamma and discard/abandon the rest as irrelevant to understanding dukkha and the cessation of dukkha.
landis <3


In AA there is a "time tested trite truism":  Take what you need and leave the rest."....which is in agreement with your latter statement.

I love Wikipedia, but my sources are much more reliable.  Current 12 Steppers in-the-know won't advertise it, but most old-timers, if pressed, will corroborate the fact that almost all the original founders were born again Christians.   The history of AA is much more complex than anything you'll find on WikiP, or in official AA literature.  Bob & Bill were only two of several founding members.  These were smart men and women who wanted to reach the masses.  They developed the higher power formula as a compromise with the small minority agnostic element (the chapter "We Agnostics" in The Big Book is a gloss of this event).  Over the years, the born again element eventually became the small minority.  Yet, this was in line with the compromise to
downplay the Jesus As Personal Lord & Savior founders content, for it fulfilled their intention to bring AA to the masses.  It also unfortunately obscured the pervasiveness of the born again Christian founders that insisted to their death-beds that if doing the 12 steps didn't culminate in the 12 stepper accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Lord & Savior, then they didn't do 'em right! 
 <3 :fu: <3
Like a rock,
like a planet,
like a f**king atom bomb,
I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the
madness
that I encounter everywhere I turn
I've seen it all before
in books and magazines
like a twitch before dying
like a pornographic sea
there's a flower behind the window
there's an ugly laughing man
like a hummingbird in silence
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
oh yeah, oh yeah, like the blood on my door
wash me clean and I will run
until I reach the shore
I've known it all along
like the bone under my skin
like actors in a photograph
like paper in the wind
there's a hammer by the window
there's a knife on the floor
like turbines in darkness
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
-Bad Religion, Generator

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal