Author Topic: Addiction  (Read 2359 times)

Offline nirvanaseeker30

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« on: December 18, 2013, 11:14:58 am »
Before converting to Buddhism, I  struggled with an addiction for adult entertainment. Specifically gay porn. It ruled my life. It was all I thought about. Now having studied the teachings of Buddha I realized that even though adult sites do bring people pleasure (of one type or another) the pleasure they feel is like anything else in life. Imperminent and not lasting. For me it has been a daily struggle. Sometimes I can still hear the demon Mara whispering in my ear to go back onto those sites but most of the time, I can ignore the temptation. Like anything else in life I'm a work in progress and meditation and the act of compassion and loving kindness have helped me alot.  :anjali:

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Addiction
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2013, 11:35:12 am »
Hi, NS.

We all struggle with one type of addiction or another.  In my case it was certain foods, mostly candy.  When I was in the military I remember emptying out a candy machine of all of its chocolate bars.  Over the years I joined various twelve step groups to meet with people who had my same addiction.  Over-eaters Anonymous was one of the most beneficial in this regard.  The process and association helped enormously.  The biggest benefit was finding that I was not alone, and that I could talk about it and others with my same problem could relate and understand exactly what I was discussing.

Another addiction I had to deal with was cigarettes.  I took the same approach, and went to a group called Smoke Enders, which was run by The American Lung Association.  I have not had a cigarette since 1984, April 17th at Five O'clock.  I cannot say the same for sweets. :-P

An axiom which helps me a great deal in this regard is:  "Progress!  Not Perfection!"  Give yourself credit for every day you make progress, and stop beating yourself up when you slip.  Find someone who has a similar problem and wants to control it and turn to eachother for support.

Thar's all I got! :hug:

_/\_Ron :wink1:
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 Dharmakara

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Re: Addiction
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2013, 12:24:57 pm »
Hi NS.

There are several addictions at play, things you have to deal with everyday and, as sad as it is to say, things that you will probably end up struggling with for the rest of your life, until such time as you stop emphasizing and internalizing a self-identity that you describe as "gay".

For example, how far along the path do you think a straight male would get if he continued to emphasize his "hetrosexual" identity, internalizing sexual identity and so forth?

Looking for love in too many faces
Looking for love in all the wrong places

Offline dhammaseeker51

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Re: Addiction
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 07:27:17 am »
For sure it's not the easiest of paths to follow.
No criticism intended, but it's much easier for Christians and others who can sin and then ask for forgiveness. Except that that is not the way to progress, according to our beliefs.

with Metta

Offline Danzabarr

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Re: Addiction
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 06:18:33 pm »
disclaimer - i duno if this site is strictly for orthodox buddhist advice (sounds mad) so anyway leme know.

hello nirvana seeker

it's often heard that being aware of an addiction is the first step to beating it. but obviously it is just a step, with no necessary result. awareness of an addiction does, however, require that you are aware of the regressive, imprisoning and illusory nature of addiction (whether you enjoy the addiction or not). and this can either be a relief, or a melancholy thought in itself.

what is the difference between 'innocent' obsession and harmful addiction? what's wrong with doing something repeatedly to satisfy desire? here are my thoughts

there need not be any objective or real harm caused, intrinsic to any or each individual action as it takes place. where addiction is concerned, the harm develops out of the accumulation of devotion or dependence for something that is unworthy or unhelpful. the effects are in the ongoing relationship between the information/substance and your thoughts. a material world view would attribute you with tangible 'traits' and respective behaviours that apparently 'account for' your mysterious attraction to certain objects, which also 'possess traits' like sexuality and taboo and escape, when all (including your own identity) are abstract concepts, illusions of the mind, all ultimately subject to every energy and change that takes place in the universe at all times.

if you try to force yourself to believe that sexy men are not desirable then you may become internally conflicted, or worse in denial and become compulsive, which is like experiential flat-line. the aim should not be to desensitise yourself or shut down your mind. instead picture the relationship between your mind and its desires. ask yourself how does the relationship work? what are the demands and outcomes? when did it start? with hindsight, how has your mind reacted to those desires, and with what has it begun to associate them? in this way there is the potential to build a wider perspective which isolates the relationship between mind and desire, instead of focusing on abstract concepts such as - pleasure, struggle, me, everyone else, etc, which only describe things in relative contrast to other things (like temperature).

practical advice tho- be aware of your thoughts each moment, and if at some point in the day you realise you want to watch porn, think about watching porn, then think about how you'll wish you weren't feeding an uncontrollable addiction, then decide if you still want to watch porn. i wouldn't advise you discipline yourself over it.

Offline Danzabarr

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Re: Addiction
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2013, 08:09:27 pm »
this quote is copied from!/?topicseen and was originally posted by Ron the Elder. I think a lot of it applies here.


Sex is a powerful force in us all. In itself it is neither "good" nor "bad." But it can certainly create problems. And modern Western man is particularly prone to such problems, partly because of the sheer hectic pace and pressure of modern life, which exaggerates all our troubles, and more specifically because of his background. A puritanical Church tradition (one extreme) has now been vigorously challenged by a secular spirit of permissiveness (the other extreme). For many people it is not at all easy to find the middle way between these two extremes.

There is nothing "sinful" about sex. If we make mistakes, we should recognize them and try to avoid repeating them, but we should not develop guilt-complexes about them. Sexual lapses are not uniquely wicked, and in fact all but the grosser forms of sexual misconduct are probably on the whole less harmful socially than a lot of other things many people do. But it should be borne in mind that sex does usually involve at least one other person, and potentially the next generation. In this respect it is strictly incumbent on us at all times to act responsibly which means compassionately. Otherwise, the physical and emotional consequences for somebody may be very serious.

The ideal of sex only within monogamous marriage should be just as valid for Buddhists as for Christians. It should, at least, not be lightly departed from.

The way of mindfulness has been recommended above. Admittedly, not everybody is prepared to practice intensive mindfulness, whatever benefits may be urged for it. But even a moderate degree of habitual mindfulness can produce surprising results. If we learn, with detachment, to watch our desires at play, it is often quite astonishing how they seem to "drop away," almost of their own accord. To take as an example a related problem: many people, when they first come to Buddhism, are worried about the Fifth Precept, which deals with intoxication. "Can't I have a drink occasionally?" they ask, often rather anxiously. The answer is, of course: "It's up to you." But in this case, too, having tried a little mindfulness, they are frequently surprised to find that they want a drink less and less. As a matter of fact, the same principle applies here too. Having discovered the principle, applied it and found that it works, we can decide for ourselves how far we wish to take it. It will take us as far as we are prepared to go.

Some readers may wonder that there has been no mention of the word "love" in the foregoing. To have discussed this question would have led too far. So I will merely quote the following two phrases from a newspaper advice-column:

"I am in love" means "I want me to be happy"; "I love" means "I want to make you happy."

Buddhists might reflect, and even meditate, on these two statements — at various levels.

Golden Rule: Never let Passion override Compassion


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