Lately, I have experienced a great breakthrough in my meditation. Being able to keep equanimous in front of deep sankharas I couldn't deal with before. My heart and mind are filled with happiness and joy, and I'm constantly deepening my practice. Although, I found that I have completely lost interest in my previous world. I was on the path of writing a dissertation towards doctoral studies, in philosophy, and now I can barely open a book without thinking - what nonsense this all is, philosophers, thinkers, full of ego and ignorance. How can I follow them? I ask myself, will my past life and interests come back to me or it is a true change of heart. I have considered now a way to contribute and give others the gift of dhamma. But dhamma should be given free. And I have a family to take care of. I wanted to share and ask for useful thoughts and other experiences like mine.

:) Thank you

6 Answers 6


You have a family to take care of & livelihood is a factor of the Buddhist 8 fold path. You must earn a living.

If you have an intellectual talent for philosophy & have spent time & money in nearing completion of major studies, I would suggest you consider forcing yourself to complete your studies because your qualification can be used for livelihood. For example, once you complete your PHD, you can do some studies in Buddhism &/or psychology and thus branch out into that more practical & benevolent field (rather than work in pure Western philosophy). Formal qualifications can be very useful things.

For example, when I was young (23 years old) & first discovered meditation, I practised for a whole year, full time, and felt very free. I did not understand Buddhism well & left the meditation monastery to study psychology at university so I could learn to help people. I found the studies not practical at all; so I completed the 1st year of study, left university & returned to the meditation monastery. Some years later, after I discovered certain Buddhist teachings which are for helping ordinary people & returned to Western society, I regretted not completing the psychology degree. What you can do with a qualification is often more relevant than what you must study to obtain the qualification.

I don't wish to burst your 'enlightenment bubble' but it appears you are 'attached' to this 'enlightenment'. While I am being humorous here, often ideals must be abandoned or modified for more practical considerations.

I would suggest for you to consider (weigh up) how you could use the PHD in a more practical way.

While you are correct in stating Buddha-Dhamma should be given freely, I personally do not believe it is a crime to earn a living from Dhamma. Many universities have Buddhist studies; the lecturers/professors must have proper secular qualifications (rather than just be monks); therefore individuals, such as yourself, must fulfill these roles.

There are ex-Theravada monks who are now paid university professors, who still are part of the Theravada Buddhist community; including liaising with monks. They are never criticized.

  • 1
    Thank you friend for answering patiently and wisely. I do understand that old paths shouldn't be abandoned hastily. I will make efforts to connect between the worlds and hope they will grow together. Many thanks! Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:24

A few disconnected points:

  • "I wonder how to keep my previous life" might be your ignoring impermanence (your previous life was a combination of factors including your naivety which no longer apply), and ignoring dukkha, not to mention anatta.

  • Academic study can be used as training for the so-called 'real world' e.g. I studied Maths at school ... I decided I wouldn't spend a life-time doing Maths after I graduated, so I looked for other work and was hired as a software developer ... but the discipline of academic study may be useful in itself (e.g. studying Maths trained my brain to grasp symbolic logic which is useful for software development), and helps to persuade an employer that you're disciplined and motivated enough to learn whatever (more specialized) body-of-knowledge they need you to learn.

  • You say you have family, something like this answer suggests to me that you should have a conversation with your "partner" to discuss what you plan to do together, to help each other and/or help others.

  • You say, "I can barely open a book without thinking - what nonsense this all is, philosophers, thinkers, full of ego and ignorance". That doesn't sound to me like equanimity on your part, or even good will. If you wanted to teach or help people, would you need to learn to listen to their ego and ignorance? I haven't actually read any philosophy, hardly, except Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which I like and recommend. Some people don't like it but surprisingly many have. If you haven't read it already you might find it a new insight into how philosophy can be practiced (it's about Western philosophers rather than Eastern).


Just my 2 cents. If you think that you once had a goal and now you have changed, you're just shifting goals probably for good karma. But either way you are being selfish. You cannot escape that. You are being selfish saying that now I wish to do this instead of that because this gives me larger satisfaction.

Notice the aversion you are having when commenting on those scientists or philosophers. They are just having thoughts like you do.

The point I am trying to make is, either way you're just thinking. You're just having opinions. Opinions are subject to change. The idea is to bring the mental vacillations down to a minimum.

Could you try to simply be involved in an activity, in this case, your studies? Without judging? You are now thinking of doing something else because your mind says whatever you are doing is nonsense. Next thing your mind will say this is nonsense too, try something else.

In this way, you're just being dragged willy nilly by your mind. It's all a vacillation. I would suggest you just be aware of it and simply involve yourself in an activity. And let it pass.

If you look at one of my previous questions, I said I keep having this feeling of being enlightened. Now that's what I call a vacillation. I am just deluded into thinking something by the mind. Like I am this greater self, and I am better than all of you. That's the huge ego my friend. Ego can expand itself. I bet you're having the same idea too going deeper and deeper into your "meditation" as you say. Like you are this larger than life thingy. And you and your thinking is better than all the nonsense those scientists and philosophers of western thought spew. See what I mean?


@Dhammadhatu has given you some valuable advice, and I do hope that you will heed this advice. I sense that he is speaking from his heart. I have read that “Heart thinking is focused on reality and therefore unlikely to go too wrong.” To read that full write-up go to Moving from head to heart It further says…

“When Carl Jung, the great psychoanalyst, went to Taos Peublo in New Mexico in 1925, he met the chief of the native people, Ochwiay Biano. Biano told Jung that according to his people, the Whites were 'mad'-uneasy, restless, always wanting something.

Jung asked him why he thought they were mad, and the chief replied that it was because they thought with their heads, a sure sign of mental illness among his tribe. Jung asked him how he thought and he pointed to his heart. The response plunged Jung into a deep introspection that enabled him to see his race from outside himself and realise how much of the race's character was within him.”

Now to tell you a bit about myself… as a Sri Lankan Buddhist, the ‘Buddhism’ that I experienced within the Sri Lankan community in Sri Lanka and Canada until 2006, was a religion that is more to do with rites, rituals, icon worship, collection / transference of merits etc., similar to what happens in the sacred places of other religions.

As I did not know the true Dhamma contained in the Sutta Pitaka, which is more of a clinical evaluation of our existence, a way of life, a philosophy than a religion, I turned to other sources. For many years I took to reading other books - both relevant and irrelevant material that are rich in intellectual content - such as “Zen and the art of motor cycle maintenance”. I took to such authors as Hermann Hesse, Erich Fromm, Ayn Rand, J. Krishnamurti and Deepak Chopra. But none of these could compare to what I learnt within the last ten years about the Buddha Dhamma contained in the Sutta Pitaka.

I am not the only one. There were many others who got this invaluable opportunity of learning the true Dhamma without any adulterations or distortions that are widespread in most of today’s preaching and in the written material found in book stores and libraries. This spiritual development in us that took place within the last ten years is the start of a beautiful journey that is continuing to unfold. Now that a full 10 years has come to pass, the time is ripe for us, as a group, to be Kalyāna-mitta (noble friends) to many others who haven’t had this good fortune of knowing the Dhamma. The awareness in us - that we are Saddhānusāri and Dhammānusāri - is enough reason to start helping others too to realize this unshakable confidence in the Three Jewels. Being a ‘Kalyana-mitta’ (noble friend) to others is the one way that we could show our gratitude for what we have gained. Why I told you of this, is that I feel you too have had a turning point in your life. But going forward you have to be a bit cautious.

It is because I’ve seen quite a few families breaking up because they ignored the advice given to them to tread this path carefully. It is because we live in very unfortunate times. The outside forces (both within and without, both of this world of our friends and loved ones, and of the other unseen world (that are far more powerful than that of the known world) are too strong for us to overcome by ourselves. That is why the Buddha said that it depends 100% on our association of Kalyana Mittas. So for example if your mind says one thing and for instance a noble friend says another, you’ll have to do weigh very carefully what the noble friend advices you before going forth.

  • Thank you very much for taking the time, commenting and meditating on the first comment. Your words and experience are very valuable to me. I will keep it all in mind and try to keep my eyes on past and present life. May Dhamma grow strong for us all:) Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 15:30

Maybe you can practice to be equanimous while writing about the philosophy. Philosophy can be a deep sankhara.

  • Ho. Very deep indeed:) Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 10:04

I would like to talk about the last part of your question. It is very noble of you to share the gift of Dhamma with everyone and it is true that Dhamma is invaluable. Since you have a family to take care of, I suggest you carry on with your profession for at least one year and side by side open a YouTube channel and/or a website where you could share your knowledge for free. Check the waters for a year to see if you earn sufficient Ad revenues. Also you could open a Patreon account where your grateful subscribers could donate for your living. And if that works out, you could even make everything Ad free. As I said test the waters for at least a year.

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    Thanks so much. That's a wonderful idea! I did think about an idea like that a little bit. But I was still trying to realize of how to structure it. I am a writer in my profession (English is not my mother tongue, but hopefully readable enough) and wanted to try to describe the processes I'm going through. This place should, and hopefully can be, for a good benefit of others. But I have doubts about putting my name in the front. I don't want it to be about me, but about an experience. It is a joyful thought. I will update:) Thank you, friend. Much happiness and peace! Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 10:47

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