Author Topic: The Tao indifferent?  (Read 1941 times)

Offline ZenFred

  • Member
  • Posts: 304
    • View Profile
The Tao indifferent?
« on: November 10, 2014, 07:29:20 pm »
I realize I am beginning in dangerous territory already with first approaching meditation with a question seeking an answer and then putting any stock in visions/experiences resulting thus. But I'm hoping you all can help guide me a little or at least knock sense into me again.

I had an argument with the wife and I was still pretty upset and hurt. Lately, I've noticed that my practice and my marriage seem at odds, in that having attachments and dealing with my own expectations/desires makes it difficult to follow the Dharma. Nothing can snap me back to my own ego as quickly as a nagging wife!

But I also know that I need to have compassion and part of me thinks that just maybe Buddhism is supposed to make me a better husband and father. So I meditate, trying to find calm and a path of how I should act in my marriage.

But I experience Nothing. As I always do in meditations, I experience a deep blackness with thick and vividly textured invisible waves of blackness and I slowly begin to hear a vast melody of tones of silence. I am attempting to describe it poetically, but I experience indescribable-ness and everything just as it is. I reach a place where there is no marriage, no argument, no personal suffering. It is like this divine presence is only concerned with its own divineness and barely notices my own petty issues. Rather it beacons me only unto itself. As my mind falls into despair, (perhaps my ego playing yet another trick on me) I sense a ray of compassion that I have often felt before during meditations and in the past in the church especially. I felt this presence of love and empathy, but completely unconditional. I felt soothed and comforted for my suffering, but in a way this too was indifferent as to the cause of my suffering. It didn't matter if I was suffering because I was trying to be a good husband and got hell for it, or because I was a deadbeat dad and a homeless addict, that same compassion would be there soothing away my suffering.

I realize I am indulging my own likely delusional experiences, but I think they embody what I don't understand in my practice. How do I find detachment from suffering and yet be compassionate? Am I supposed to only be kind in my marriage as I would to any stranger by avoiding inflicting harm or is there something more, some Buddhist family values that I'm missing? Do I just need a good thump on the head?  Please keep me in you mettas, may I be free from suffering.

-Namaste and deep bows, -Fred/Liang
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 07:42:55 pm by ZenFred »

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 09:42:54 pm »
The Buddha on Family
http://www.familybuddhism.com/buddha_on_family.php


“Family” according to Buddhist social philosophy refers to the grouping of people living under the same roof. Typically a family, in this context, will consist of a married couple and their children and sometimes one or more grandparents. These people are tied by the same genetic material. We are all members of a family from the time of our birth till we die.

From this central meaning the concept is extended to include wider relatives, neighbours, friends, neighbours, community, society and ultimately to all humanity and all sentient beings.

Traditionally Buddhists regard the family unit as the core of the community and society and without a solid core made up of moral and ethical values, the community and society will suffer. If, at the family level, there is adherence to the Buddhist beliefs and teachings, then the community and society also adhere to them.


          Those who see worldly life as an obstacle to Dharma see no Dharma in everyday actions;
          they have not yet discovered that there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma.

                                                                                                  – Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253 CE)


The Buddha talked of many ways that family life can lead to happiness and blessings:

         • Respecting and supporting one’s father and mother;

         • Loving one’s spouse and children;

         • Developing generosity and a sense of duty;

         • Selflessly helping relatives and acting blamelessly; and

         • Developing reverence, humility, contentment, gratitude and listening to the Dharma.


Many times it is easier said than done to maintain a sense of gratitude, loving-kindness, compassion, patience and a sense of calm, when we live in a family. We can read and study the Buddha’s teachings and think we ‘get it’, but when the frictions of family living rub on us we find we have not internalised the teachings – we are not as engaged as we would like to be.

Family Buddhism aims to support us all to use this ‘family rub’ to work towards our own enlightenment and the enlightenment of others. The focus is primarily on mindfulness and compassionate communication and on how to integrate compassion and wisdom in our family life.

What more wonderful blessing could we have than to have a human life and be part of a human family? What more wonderful opportunities to practice the Dharma and sow beneficial karmic seeds, could we have?


Offline NoEssentialNature

  • Member
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014, 04:35:12 pm »
I realize I am beginning in dangerous territory already with first approaching meditation with a question seeking an answer and then putting any stock in visions/experiences resulting thus.

But I also know that I need to have compassion and part of me thinks that just maybe Buddhism is supposed to make me a better husband and father. So I meditate, trying to find calm and a path of how I should act in my marriage.

But I experience Nothing. As I always do in meditations, I experience a deep blackness with thick and vividly textured invisible waves of blackness and I slowly begin to hear a vast melody of tones of silence. I am attempting to describe it poetically, but I experience indescribable-ness and everything just as it is. I reach a place where there is no marriage, no argument, no personal suffering. It is like this divine presence is only concerned with its own divineness and barely notices my own petty issues. Rather it beacons me only unto itself. As my mind falls into despair, (perhaps my ego playing yet another trick on me) I sense a ray of compassion that I have often felt before during meditations and in the past in the church especially.

There are a lot of visual descriptions here. But as a favourite story for me puts it, if Manjushri appears in the steam above your soup, hit him with the ladle! Don't attach to visions, don't meditate of practice to get them.

I realize I am indulging my own likely delusional experiences, but I think they embody what I don't understand in my practice. How do I find detachment from suffering and yet be compassionate? Am I supposed to only be kind in my marriage as I would to any stranger by avoiding inflicting harm or is there something more, some Buddhist family values that I'm missing? Do I just need a good thump on the head?  Please keep me in you mettas, may I be free from suffering

Practice should arise out of boddhicitta, great compassion. That is the field to be a compass to, and acting with it is the route to actions which are good, satisfying, nourishing, regardless of any outcome. Things that are good to do simply because they are part of a good way to be.

The Buddha had a family. He had been the partner of his wife for many many lifetimes, since she was a roadside flower seller, who offered a beautiful flower for a dowry. Correct action, fulfilling obligations, bringing joy and support to others, is not clinging and attachment, it is exactly the way towards letting go. Do right, and settle in deep understanding that you are doing right moment by moment in each circumstance, then you can let go, you can arrive at the cushion and do the same.

This practice is about getting out of our own way. First I am you, then you are me. Just be there, serving, but also accepting. That argument is a teaching, honour it, give thanks for it. Cultivate the great question, who am I? Even in an argument, don't close off to that, don't run on assumptions. Be present. Look for the turning word, the turning moment. Hold up a flower, from the roadside dust, and it can be more precious than any dowry, and clearer than any sutra.

Namaste

Offline ZenFred

  • Member
  • Posts: 304
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 06:09:38 am »
NoEssentialNature (and DK too),

  Thanks for your responses.  The family Buddhism site is a nice find and some good articles elsewhere on the site thanks. It was also really helpful to remember that stresses of family life are more of a barometer and strengthening exercise to my practice rather than a threat to it. All of life is zazen :)

  I think I fall into a common trap where even though I know the warnings against putting stock in visions or my current partial understandings and even though I am quick to critique others for doing so, I think that this experience or realization somehow is an exception. I guess because they either appear at the moment to be so profound or because I feel since I have set aside previous delusions this current one must be more truthful. Of course, it isn't and its simply delusion 2.0.

I came across a passage in the Pali Cannon where the sutta says that there is no enlightenment aside from the eight-fold path. (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sacca/sacca4/). This teaching has helped me come off the ledge so to speak and been a source of redirection and self-contemplation.
  The emphasis is on having a practice grounded in compassion and ethical living (to include the family life). Though I think the eightfold path is more than just living ethically but it is the sum of ones whole practice, it contains right view and right understanding which can be gained through study and self-reflection. Right speech, action, and livelihood contain within them the precepts but also living with compassion and attention to the karmic ways we hurt others and ourselves. Right effort, mindfulness, and concentration are part of the meditative life essential to practice and should be applied to every moment and situation. This emphasis on the four noble truths and by extension the eightfold path has helped me keep to it basics (which of course are very profound and not basic at all!). It also helps me put aside and embrace not-knowing of the big cosmological questions, which are just various flavors of delusion anyways.



 

Offline NoEssentialNature

  • Member
  • Posts: 86
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2014, 12:52:25 pm »
  I think I fall into a common trap where even though I know the warnings against putting stock in visions or my current partial understandings and even though I am quick to critique others for doing so, I think that this experience or realization somehow is an exception. I guess because they either appear at the moment to be so profound or because I feel since I have set aside previous delusions this current one must be more truthful. Of course, it isn't and its simply delusion 2.0.

That isn't exactly right either. "Don't attach to visions, don't meditate or practice to get them."
That isn't the same as saying they are all delusion. The Buddha experienced many visions. But when Mara flattered him with various offers, he turned them down. But visiting tushita heaven, he was able to help his mother. The context of the ladle comment was when a monk jumped off a cliff, saying a vision had told him to. What was that monks purpose? To help save all beings?

Visions can happen. They can be profound or empty, insightful or misleading. They are phenomena that like everything can be insightful to the nature of Mind and being. Viewed like that they should not be brushed aside. The help of our unconcious/intuition/magical beings, if harnessed to good and balanced purposes, can be gate to mythic/archetypal action that can reach beyond lifetimes and outside of mundane realms. You may have a gift for that.

But don't get attached. Meditate to save all beings from suffering.

quote author=ZenFred link=topic=6083.msg77602#msg77602 date=1416920978]
It also helps me put aside and embrace not-knowing of the big cosmological questions, which are just various flavors of delusion anyways.
[/quote]

Is a physicist deluded in the same way as an acid-burnout? Keep asking, that is the only way to keep not knowing

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2014, 03:32:44 pm »
Sorry, but I'm going to have to side with ZenFred, where a practitioner should not become attached to visions nor undertake a meditative practice specifically with the goal of having visions --- this is not the purpose of meditation.

Offline StonyPath

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2015, 07:59:07 am »
Nice, concise and very dharmic comment, Dharmakara.

I could add, than in order with attachment, one must not be enticed by the visions nor scared of them. Typically it does not mean there is something wrong with yourself if you do have visions. Keep your sensei informed of any notable changes though. As much as possible, don't choose a solitary path.

Offline mysticmorn

  • Member
  • Posts: 98
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2015, 03:04:51 pm »
I realize I am beginning in dangerous territory already with first approaching meditation with a question seeking an answer and then putting any stock in visions/experiences resulting thus. But I'm hoping you all can help guide me a little or at least knock sense into me again.

I had an argument with the wife and I was still pretty upset and hurt. Lately, I've noticed that my practice and my marriage seem at odds, in that having attachments and dealing with my own expectations/desires makes it difficult to follow the Dharma. Nothing can snap me back to my own ego as quickly as a nagging wife!

But I also know that I need to have compassion and part of me thinks that just maybe Buddhism is supposed to make me a better husband and father. So I meditate, trying to find calm and a path of how I should act in my marriage.
OP, the householder life can be a great source of opportunity to challenge oneself and stimulate growth in the dharma. You have a good basis for work outlined here (bolded). Dealing with your own expectations and desires is what will help you advance in your own dharma practice. Without someone to hold a mirror up to yourself, the occasion wouldn't arise for you to notice that you have expectations and desires (manifestations of ego-grasping) to work on and resolve.  Think: what is the source of these expectations and desires?  From what inside you does your feeling of hurt spring?  These are excellent questions to explore as part of your dharma practice. The householder (family) life is a good crucible in which to forge a being that is unattached to expectations and desires, and one who is dedicated to compassion toward others, and the personal growth of others (one's children). 

Lastly, why does your wife nag you? Are you not doing your share of the chores around the house? Most women don't need to nag their partners, because their partners do their share without being asked. Are you avoiding making a contribution to the household?

and btw, why do you have the Tao in your thread title, while you speak of the Buddhadharma? It's a little misleading as to what the thread is about. Or is there a connection?

Offline Vishvavajra

  • Member
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 06:19:00 pm »
Dear Fred,

In our day-to-day lives our relationships can cause us all sorts of difficulties. Spousal relationships in particular can be very trying, as can parental relationships. Rather than viewing it as an obstacle to practice, instead try regarding it as an opportunity to practice. After all, Buddhadharma was not created to be practiced in isolation from daily life, in some sort of blissful mountaintop away from all that vexes us; it was designed to be practiced in the midst of the things that vex us the most, and to help us to not have our minds be unduly upset by those things.

If you're genuinely having marital trouble, then you will of course want to seek a remedy for that. If, on the other hand, it's just the usual stresses of married life that are getting to you, then it's those moments when you feel attacked, put on the spot, etc., where you should focus your energy and try to get to the bottom of what in your own mind is causing you to feel upset. The same goes for any time we face blame (or praise) and our minds have this habitual reaction. Sitting meditation is merely a kind of controlled exercise to prepare you for the uncontrolled trials of daily life, not the ideal that you should measure life against. The real practice is at the moment when your wife is giving you the business and you feel yourself start to get defensive and tempted to strike back.

Lastly, take care that you're meditating properly. This is where making contact with a qualified teacher is important. It sounds to me as if you're getting lost in abstract, conceptual thoughts and treating them as if they were reality-as-such. What method are you using? Chan meditation strongly favors non-conceptual methods, such as mindfulness of the breath, that ground you in physical sensations and keep you in the present. The more abstract the method, the easier it is to practice, but the shallower the cultivation will be.

In short, your relationship with your wife is not an obstacle but rather the very point of practice. In practicing Buddhadharma you will not cease to be a husband, father, etc., but hopefully you will become a better one. That's because true love and compassion are only possible when we let go of grasping and realize selflessness. "Detachment" is a misleading term: we should strive to be involved with the world and with other people, while taking care not to try to force them into the artificial conceptual framework that our minds try to lay over everything. The most obvious is the self-other dichotomy, but there are plenty of other unspoken assumptions at work that you can discover.

Good luck, and enjoy your practice.

Offline dunmatter

  • Member
  • Posts: 18
    • View Profile
Re: The Tao indifferent?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2015, 09:20:21 pm »
dont worry about it, its just what we hold onto

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal