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May All Beings be Truly Happy!

Is it possible that one can see that everything they have tried has failed, in a worldly sense, and has brought about suffering for themselves and others: has been completely selfish in motivation, at most times; and the times when help was extended to others, had little effect on alleviation of any suffering. Much contemplation has been gone into very deeply on this subject. I have found that without Right Loving Understanding, one is lost and is subject to confusion and suffering.

So my question is that it seems logical to stop and address ones own suffering, and become free from suffering, so that one can be a beacon of peace and sanity in an insane world: so I am drawn to the monastic life ... but, have been told that this is a path of negative mysticism: that one should be a part of the world, and find time for personal peace while maintaining a householder's responsibilities?

I have failed time and again attempting to achieve this goal. It seems that society and the way in which it functions is deeply corrupted. How does one remain uncorrupted unless one is free from it?

The most important goal at this point is to be free from suffering so one can be liberated and be of service to humanity. Can this be achieved in a corrupted world?

In a future that had a respect for all living things and lived at a humane level of consciousness I could see this being possible.

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In my earthly young days many many many years ago, I experienced "death". It began with recessing, recessing into the tiny light-dot then it shot with an incomparable speed of exiting. This tiny light-dot was the I, fully with the "meeeeeeee...", or maybe "muuuuuu..." (無, nothingness), or "ommmmmmm..." (空, emptiness). It's just pure "I", no attribute, no gender, no age, no race -- no name. Until a sudden thought of "mother!" occurred, I fell back and re-emerged. It was a bedroom with window shut and door closed, I usually loathed with confined space, maybe that subconsciously gave me the idea that there no air to breath, hence dying. Of course the real process of death is very painful for ordinary people, according to Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra (瑜伽師地論)

Ever since this experience I've known that there no real death, what died is the body. This "I" will just be there, permanently, can't be annihilated nor grown, through thick and thin.

No matter how those secular, scholatic or scientific Buddhists arraying theories, theses, proofs, analysis to convince everyone there's no rebirth, life ended after death, it just can never accord. It's like trying to convince a penguin living in the South Pole that his very habitat is Sahara, quoting lengthy Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia describing the landscape of desert and it's climate... just doesn't accord, let alone the penguin doesn't understand English :).

But I hadn't studied Buddhism, at that time.

As I read again Bodhidharma's Bloodline Theory (血脈論, some translated as Bloodstream - incorrect), simply, he said, the Buddha is the Self-nature (自性).

Could the light-dot this "I" be the Self-nature?

He said, without realizing the Self-nature, all those sentient to the "me" are like wooden-dolls1. What if but realized? All the sentient their doings are my doings? But I this Self-nature indeed doing nothing...

春到花香處處秀

山河大地是如來

Comes spring blooming fragrances everywhere --

the flowers

Mountains, rivers, the whole earth is --

the Tathagata

-- Xuyun (1840-1959CE), transl. Mishu

This is the verse written by Xuyun (虛雲) the Great Monk when he enlightened.

Therefore there no corruption of the world, nor the escape from "me" is possible. How could one escape from his own shadow? The world is my shadow, neither corrupted, nor upright. Ultimately there is none a better version of the world, with beings "lived at a humane level of consciousness"; though there are different versions of the world beginning with Gold Kalpa (antiquity) to Iron Kalpa (now) in scripture.

In fact it is the existing of this very world, that the I could be comprehended; by its very corruption, that we know what is good.

Those Devas living in the world of bliss can never comprehend what is suffering; there's no chance for them to help others either, since everyone is in bliss.

Therefore the Dharma is to swirl and roll with the Red Dust, yet unscathed. By dancing with the shadow, the most beautiful artworks are created, whether in poetry, or technology; as everyday life story, or in war.

It is as good as only just words, I can't even give advice to myself :).

From sumeru

to paramāṇu

all are my names --

When the Self

is cultured

none the same

-- Mishu (2016-?CE)


Footnote:

1. 於此光明中運手動足者,如恆河沙,及乎問著,總道不得,猶如木人 (wooden dolls) 相似,總是自己受用,因何不識?-- 《血脈論》

  • Had an experience like that when I was 16. Other experiences over time. Few people have these. – user2341 Dec 19 '17 at 12:57
  • good to know... i'm not alone :'). what did you do after, @nocomprende? – Mishu 米殊 Dec 19 '17 at 13:20
  • At first I felt sadness and despair because I could not "go back there" and I saw nothing like it in earth or other people. Eventually studied meditation, ran a retreat center for 10 years, then had to leave there a few years ago. Had non-self experiences, saw that all we think of is just concepts, produced by mind, like body produces poop, without a plan or director. It is what it is and nothing more. You also see this, I guess. No clear ideas what to do next, keep trying to be of help, I guess – user2341 Dec 19 '17 at 13:35
  • Thank you Mishu for your kind words. I feel a deep loneliness at times while in the midst of other beings no different from me. I am merely trying to uncover what the best most sane use of this breathe is. Do you know of any places that allow earnest individuals to go into these questions and take some space from the busy dream that is Life. Is it possible to in a sense let go of the ME entirely and be completely free of thought while still existing in the world with bodily responsibility? (taking care of one's self...food, clothing, shelter)? – Daniel Dec 19 '17 at 14:15
  • "... feel a deep loneliness at times..." i'm able to relate earnestly to this. that's the time when i could write/paint the best of something - the antidote to me maybe. "... best most sane use of this breathe is..." i was trying to be very business once that left me feeling guilty in some way. my advice would be, do the most that's in accord with your nature, or what you want to achieve even against your nature, for that's why you come here this way. but i don't know of any places... i used to go into the "mountain" at night, under the moon, when i lived on an island... – Mishu 米殊 Dec 19 '17 at 15:01
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First, some words from Rilke:

You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one
you move toward. All your senses
sing him, as you stand at the window.

There are two kinds of monastics - those who flee the world and those whole run toward the monastery because it offers something the householder's life does not. Ask yourself - where does the force of the storm lie? Which choice embodies awe? Which option presents a terror most people would flee? Which way makes you most uncomfortable? Which direction, if taken, threatens to rend you limb from limb? In Zen, the path to enlightenment is likened to climbing a mountain of swords where the skulls of those who have gone before litter the cliff face. That road is going to be different for everyone, but it is up to us to find our own way there so that we can add our own skull to the pile.

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Your idea about "One's Dharma" is Hindu & not Buddhist. Equally, your concerns about helping the world are too far ahead in respect to priorities. A monastic life (which does not necessarily mean official ordination) is the formal opportunity to final personal inner peace & contentment. In Buddhism, developing inner peace is the primary responsibility. Monasticism is the ideal mysticism. If personal liberation is a person's path, this person will find themselves in a monastery. When I was 23 years old, I found & lived my 1st year (as a non-monk) in a monastery, where I meditated around 8 hours per day. This was the most beneficial year of my life. As for the world, it is certainly increasingly corrupted & little can be done to help the world at the current time.

  • How do you deal with claims like: Monks are just sitting around and are not actively doing something and that they are being selfish? Would you respond and refer to personal responsibility (that everyone is responsible for their own happiness) and that they do something for others (caring for themselves which helps indirectly others as well as teaching the dhamma)? – Val Mar 28 '18 at 14:14
  • Yes. Monks are taking personal responsibility for their happiness thus not harming anyone in the pursuit of happiness (unlike many people who harm & exploit to get their pleasures). Plus they help people. If their reputation is high, they can even advise govt officials (although this is unlikely in the current world). Regards – Dhammadhatu Mar 30 '18 at 3:36
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Let's try and break this apart:

Is it possible that one can see that everything they have tried has failed in a worldly sense and has brought about suffering for themselves and others. Has been completely selfish in motivation at most times and the times when help was extended to others had little effect on alleviation of any suffering.

Aren't we all like this, or were at some point?

So my question is that it seems logical to stop and address ones own suffering and become free from suffering so that one can be a beacon of peace and sanity in an insane world.

Agreed. There are two ways we can stop though. One is to flee the world type of stop (including ordainment), the other is what I call "spiritual death stop" or "surrender stop". This second type of stop is when you stay where you are and basically give up all hopes of ever finding a solution to this very problem, and go on living as if you just died. It has an interesting psychological effect, to put it mildly. You should try it if you can.

I am drawn to the monastic life but have been told that this is a path of negative mysticism. That one should be apart of the world and find time for personal peace while maintaining a householders responsibilities? I have failed time and again attempting to achieve this goal.

Well the path "I" have chosen is the householder's path, as I think it is the more difficult and honest of the two. After all, how can I help people, most of whom are lay "householders", if I don't live their life?

It seems that society and the way in which it functions is deeply corrupted. How does one remain uncorrupted unless one is free from it? The most important goal at this point is to be free from suffering so one can be liberated and be of service to humanity. Can this be achieved in a corrupted world? In a future that had a respect for all living things and lived at a humane level of consciousness I could see this being possible.

Well you can certainly remain uncorrupted in the sense of not actively contributing to it, but there is still the question of passive contribution - which IMO cannot be avoided. Hopefully my positive contributions from actively spreading what I learned about Dharma outweighs the passive negative contribution of playing my role in corrupted society.

A more interesting question is, whether one can avoid frustration while living in an "imperfect" world. This is what Buddhism is actually about. The short answer is, if you learn to see things in depth, you will see that nothing, NOTHING, can be characterized single-sidedly. The world is not "good" or "bad", neither are we, things are insanely complicated, literally awesome, and can't be generalized at all. Once you learn to avoid generalizations, the basis for frustration can no longer be found, because the basis existed in generalizations. Then you achieve a state that is not really stable ground, more like endless free-fall, but there is no suffering in it, as long as you can avoid grasping and continue falling.

Once you get used to this "spiritual death" thing and the "free falling" experience, you can find peace in it. It's a weird type of peace for sure, at least from the perspective of what we're used to expect from life in our fantasies, but it is certainly a lot more real than fantasies - and holds up under all circumstances.

In short, my answer is no, don't seek another cop out. Face the world as is, however hard that may be.

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"There is the case, Daniel, where a Tathagata appears in the world, worthy and rightly self-awakened. He teaches the Dhamma admirable in its beginning, admirable in its middle, admirable in its end. He proclaims the holy life both in its particulars and in its essence, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure.

"A householder or householder's son, hearing the Dhamma, gains conviction in the Tathagata and reflects: 'Household life is confining, a dusty path. The life gone forth is like the open air. It is not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell. What if I were to shave off my hair and beard, put on the ochre robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness?'...DN2

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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