4

Im a hindu and dont know much about buddhism, many people say that buddhism is the art of cultivating the mind which I feel includes methods to control and discipline the mind, I have a poor control of my mind, I cannot concentrate on any work for a good amount of time as my mind keeps wandering away. Im addicted to pornography, I watch porn everyday and masturbate because of which my penus hurts. I want to stop this habbit but cant. I try not to watch porn but my mind keeps driving me to watch porn. These are not the only problems, Im facing lot of problems in my life caused due to lack of control of my mind. I know buddhism suggests meditation for the control of mind. Is that enough or what are the other ways and methods to master the mind according to buddhism.

4

One can master the Mind by gaining experiental knowledge about The Five Hindrances and when to apply the corresponding five remedies to them.

The five remedies, can be found in the The Noble Eightfold Path, p. 63-66, by Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, and are as follows:

  1. Replacing the hindrance with its opposite, e.g. replacing hatred/ill-will with thoughts of loving-kindness.
  2. Contemplating the arisen hindrance as vile and ignoble, since it has entered the mind without permission or any control.
  3. Shifting attention away from the hindrance.
  4. Shifting attention onto the hindrance and thoroughly contemplating it by investigating its causes and conditions for arising together with its characteristics.
  5. Removing the hindrance with force, just as a strong man would pin a weaker man to the ground.

The Buddha says in the quoted sutta below, that if one learns how to use and apply these five remedies then one will no longer be the subject of the mind. One will become it's master;

"... This bhikkhu is then called a master of the courses of thought. He will think what- ever thought he wishes to think and he will not think any thought that he does not wish to think ...".


The Blessed One said this:

"Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is pursuing the higher mind, from time to time he should give attention to five signs. What are the five?

(i) "Here, bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is giving attention to some sign, and owing to that sign there arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should give attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome. When he gives attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome, then arty evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion are abandoned in him and subside. With the aban- doning of them his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. Just as a skilled carpen- ter or his apprentice might knock out, remove, and extract a coarse peg by means of a fine one, so too...when a bhikkhu gives attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome...his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated.

(ii) "If, while he is giving attention to some other sign con- nected with what is wholesome, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should examine the danger in those thoughts thus: 'These thoughts are unwholesome, they are rep- rehensible, they result in suffering. When he examines the danger in those thoughts, then any evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion are aban- doned in him and subside. With the abandoning of them his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. Just as a man or a woman, young, youthful, and fond of ornaments, would be horrified, humiliated, and dis- gusted if the carcass of a snake or a dog or a human being were hung around his or her neck, so too...when a bhikkhu examines the danger in those thoughts.. .his mind becomes stead- ied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated.

(iii) "If, while he is examining the danger in those thoughts, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should try to forget those thoughts and should not give attention to them. When he tries to forget those thoughts and does not give atten- tion to them, then any evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion are abandoned in him and subside. With the abandoning of them his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concen- trated. Just as a man with good eyes who did not want to see forms that had come within range of sight would either shut his eyes or look away, so too...when a bhikkhu tries to forget those thoughts and does not give attention to them...his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated.

(iv) "If, while he is trying to forget those thoughts and is not giving attention to them, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then he should give attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts. When he gives attention to stilling the thought- formation of those thoughts, then any evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion are abandoned in him and subside. With the abandoning of them his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to sin- gleness, and concentrated. Just as a man walking fast might con- sider: 'Why am I walking fast? What if I walk slowly?' and he would walk slowly; then he might consider: 'Why am I walking slowly? What if I stand?' and he would stand; then he might consider: 'Why am I standing? What if I sit?' and he would sit; then he might consider: 'Why am I sitting? What if I lie down?' and he would lie down. By doing so he would substitute for each grosser posture one that was subtler. So too...when a bhikkhu gives attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts...his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated.

(v) "If, while he is giving attention to stilling the thought- formation of those thoughts, there still arise in him evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion, then, with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, he should beat down, constrain, and crush mind with mind. When, with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, he beats down, constrains, and crushes mind with mind, then any evil unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delusion are abandoned in him and subside. With the abandoning of them his mind becomes steadied inter- nally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. }ust as a strong man might seize a weaker man by the head or shoulders and beat him down, constrain him, and crush him, so too...when, with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, a bhikkhu beats down, constrains, and crushes mind with mind.. .his mind becomes steadied inter- nally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated.

"Bhikkhus, when a bhikkhu is giving attention to some sign, and owing to that sign there arise in him evil unwhole- some thoughts connected with desire, with hate, and with delu- sion, then when he gives attention to some other sign connected with what is wholesome, any such evil unwholesome thoughts are abandoned in him and subside, and with the abandoning of them his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. When he examines the danger in those thoughts...When he tries to forget those thoughts and does not give attention to them...When he gives attention to stilling the thought-formation of those thoughts...When, with his teeth clenched and his tongue pressed against the roof of his mouth, he beats down, constrains, and crushes mind with mind, any such evil unwholesome thoughts are abandoned in him...and his mind becomes steadied internally, quieted, brought to singleness, and concentrated. This bhikkhu is then called a master of the courses of thought. He will think what- ever thought he wishes to think and he will not think any thought that he does not wish to think. He has severed craving, flung off the fetters, and with the complete penetration of con- ceit he has made an end of suffering.

-- The Middle Length Discourses in the Majjhima Nikaya, MN: 20, Bodhi Translation

3

Buddhism teaches to see the causes of problems.

Then we can see what can be done to change those causes. Changing causes, we will change the results. Thus problems will be solved.

Buddha Gautama explored the problem of suffering (dissatisfaction, dukkha), found the causes, and found that the causes can be changed, and how to do that.

Basically our problems look like a vicious circle. Feeling dissatisfaction, we try to battle it with developing more positive feelings. But we do that with self-pressure, and as a result we get dissatisfied again.

Think for example of chasing pleasures. We overuse sex, and then the penis hurts. We drink too much alcohol, trying to battle dissatisfaction, but we end up feeling hangover, weak and sick. We gamble, to get excitement, but that leads also to more losses and pains of heart.

So what is the solution?

Instead of fighting the fire of vexations by adding more vexations, we can rather stop and let them pacify.

Our mind gets uncontrolled when it's tense. Because it's tense, it feels uncomfortable. Feeling uncomfortable, the mind wants to switch to something else, more pleasant.

That's why habits of chasing desires get their rule over the mind. If we try to apply more force to control the mind, we probably add even more tension. The mind is already tense, so when we add even more tension, the problem might become even worse.

That's the vicious circle, samsara.

In order to stop it, we should drop chasing desires. We should accept what we feel, and let the tension dissipate.

So we do not really want to control the mind, rather we try to help the mind to relax, and thus to regulate itself more naturally.

We practice the Three Highest trainings:

  1. Wisdom (prajna) - seeing how things happen, mainly by watching causes and effects.
  2. Calmness (shamatha) - letting the mind to relax, to calm down and come to natural contentment, like in childhood, when we felt no dissatisfaction and didn't need chasing desires.
  3. Discipline (shila) - trying to act from the wholeness of the heart, rather than from impulses of bad habits and delusions.

Gradually the mind becomes less and less involved in the circle of samsara. More and more time it remains calm and satisfied, and that is felt as a great relief.

Usually we might think that desires such as sex etc. are pleasant, but in fact those desires are typically mixed with dissatisfaction. There's always some tension, uneasiness - even in pleasant experiences.

Eventually, when you release those tensions and uneasiness, it feels so liberated and satisfied that we don't need those desires anymore. Simple easiness of liberated mind is more pleasant than worldly pleasures, because they were mixed with tension, dukkha.

So that is the way for us, laid out by Buddha. We drop tensions and attempts to force ourselves, to coerce ourselves, to artificially blow desires. Then we realize that our dissatisfaction came exactly from our own forcing and coercing.

We let it go away. So forcing and coercing cease, chasing desires ceases, and finally dissatisfaction ceases. We discover unlimited easiness of life without oppositions. It's so wonderful that we don't need anything for ourselves anymore. Everything is already so perfect!

So we just start to share our happiness and wisdom, like Buddha Gautama did. We don't just dwell in pleasurable samadhi, as some Hindu teachers think. In Buddhism it would be called dwelling in solitary peace - a condition of highly developed concentration, but not the true liberation yet. Solitary peace is still attachment, still a result of the division between self and others. In true awakening, there's no division, and that is called compassion (karuna). Then we feel no tension, no dukkha - in complete easiness and non-attachment, we just have nothing to do, but what is natural to do - gets naturally done. Our body does that - helping others to find the same cessation of samsara, coming to sukkha of liberation, nirvana.

2

Buddhism is a path of self-realisation & self-help. Buddhism teaches the basis of faith in the Buddhist path is the personal experience of suffering & the resultant aspiration or wish to be free from suffering. Buddhism teaches pornography & other extreme sensual pleasures (such as gambling, drugs, alcohol, etc) cause addiction, anxiety & suffering, not only to oneself but to others.

For example, pornography is an entertainment industry manufactured to give the impression the people engaging in pornography are happy & that pornography brings happiness. But, in reality, many pornography actors have drug problems & have even committed suicide due to their work.

In your situation, you are already coming to the self-realisation your life has problems & suffering because of pornography. This self-realisation itself is the way to control your mind; by constantly thinking how pornography is harming & ruining your life.

When the powerful urge to watch pornography arises, you can clench your fists, bow your head, consciously breathe & say to yourself, over & over again: "No, no, this is harmful; this is poison; this is ruining my life". You must endure & endure and wait for the urge to intensify & pass. You must constantly think to yourself: "This urge is impermanent; this urge will pass away; this urge is not me; I am not this urge; I must wait for it to pass away otherwise I will reinforce the urge".

This is how the Buddha himself practised, as described in the Dvedhāvitakka Sutta.

2

In terms of harmless meditation you can do on your own, metta bhavana (cultivating kindness) might help. Here http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/wheel007.html is one good guide (specifically section 11) but you’ll find many other sources on the net.

It’s more about developing maitri/metta than concentration as such but considering what is at the root of masturbation, especially excessive masturbation, it will help you by developing good will towards others and away from yourself. It will also help you concentrate.

There is a concept in Buddhism called the Three Unwholesome Roots or Three Poisons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_poisons

The Three Poisons are:

  • moha - delusion/confusion
  • raga - greed/sensual attachment
  • dvesha - aversion, ill will

These each have their opposites, positive roots that counter them

  • prajna - wisdom/insight
  • dana - generosity
  • maitri (metta in Pali) - kindness, friendliness, good will i.e. what you cultivate in metta bhavana

Read up on these and consider how the negative roots are divisive and involve perceiving a separate self, pulling things from the world into that separate self, and seeing others as threats/competitors in the context of this pulling into the self.

Then consider how the positive roots concern unifying and working towards the good of all, focusing on adding to the pot rather than drawing from it, sharing with others and taking care of others’ needs.

Ask yourself if you had to describe yourself to a woman you fancied, would you prefer to describe yourself as a consumer or a producer, a taker or a giver? Do you want to feed the world or do you want the world to feed you?

In terms of pure concentration, mindfulness of breathing is very effective. Maybe it’s better learned from a teacher but there will also be guides on the internet.

Good luck. When I gave up smoking, I decided to not punish myself if I started again but simply to stop again, no matter how many times it took. And it worked. I haven’t had a single cigarette in 13 years. So don’t beat yourself up if you fail at first. Just keep working on your practise.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.