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I've seen some posts (questions and answers) talking about how feeling bad... is bad. Basically that you shouldn't feel bad because of... whatever reason. It varies.

My question is... how does that affect Buddhist teens? You know, the ones controlled by their emotions. Or the ones that are depressed. Will it not act like a Circle of Depresseion, where the person becomes more depressed by thinking that they are a bad Buddhist by being depressed?

Like, you feel sad > you're not supposed to feel sad. You're supposed to be above that > you feel sadder because you are sad and you're not supposed to.

How does newly converted buddhists face that? How does any buddhist face that?

Note that this question talks about laymen, and not munks.

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Hmmm that's an interesting take. It's not that feeling bad is bad. That would indeed lead to the vicious circle you describe. It's more like feeling bad is lame. It's like you're starving when your fridge is full. Or you're itching but don't know how to take shower. Or you have cockroaches in the kitchen but don't realize that keeping it clean could solve that. That's the idea.

Per Buddhism, feeling bad is not something we should feel helpless against. Despite life always giving us trouble or even completely failing us in many ways, there are ways to feel good regardless of all that. These Buddhist techniques for feeling good are not fooling oneself, not wearing pink glasses - in fact they are more real than what we're used to call "real".

Having said that, in my experience of having a teenage son (who is now 19) they can sense B.S. from nine miles away, so unless one has really mastered it in one's own life, giving them some fairy-tale explanations is not going to work. But if you have walked the path yourself and know what you're talking about, you can totally help a teenager achieve stability and agency in their own life.

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I've seen some posts (questions and answers) talking about how feeling bad... is bad. Basically that you shouldn't feel bad because of... whatever reason. It varies.

Buddhism does not generally say people "shouldn't" feel bad. Instead, Buddhism generally points out the causes of feeling bad.

My question is... how does that affect Buddhist teens? You know, the ones controlled by their emotions. Or the ones that are depressed.

Teens may be controlled by emotions & feel depressed due to many possible reasons, such as:

  1. Abusive or unloving home environment;

  2. Bullying at school;

  3. Caught up in social & materialistic expectations of the corporate media world, where they start to compare themselves to those corporate images.

  4. Sexual hurt & rejection.

However, I doubt a teen like this can be called a "Buddhist teen".

Will it not act like a Circle of Depresseion, where the person becomes more depressed by thinking that they are a bad Buddhist by being depressed?

This idea is irrelevant, based on the answers above. If a Buddhist practitioner has a feeling of depression; they examine or investigate the causes of that feeling (rather than say they "should not" feel depressed).

Like, you feel sad you're not supposed to feel sad. You're supposed to be above that you feel sadder because you are sad and you're not supposed to.

This idea is irrelevant, based on the answers above.

How does newly converted buddhists face that? How does any buddhist face that?

Buddhism in the West is sometimes like the mass market corporate media, in trying to recruit as many people as possible, even though Buddhism may be unsuitable for those people.

As a minimum, a Buddhist should practise the five precepts, which includes not engaging in unwholesome sexual behaviours motivated by lust. In Buddhism, sexual activity is guided by compassion for the long-term welfare & well-being of oneself & others rather than motivated by mere lust or social expectations. A practicing Buddhist should not really be a slave to the sexual or sensual realm, which is generally the realm of teenage angst. The Buddhist way of life does not follow the ways of the ordinary corporate media world.

Note that this question talks about laymen, and not munks

Buddhist lay people are not expected to have sex before marriage. The Pali scriptures (DN 31) say parents are to arrange the marriage of their children. Therefore, the modern teenage angst is not really related to the Buddhist outlook but generally only to teenagers who think being a Buddhist is trendy & socially cool; like being Richard Gere, Courtney Love or Angelina Jolie.

What if a teenager is not a Buddhist only because it is trendy and socially cool, but because they truly wish to convert to Buddhism? Should they wait until they are older and more emotionally stable to convert?

Buddhism is for the overcoming of suffering, including depression. It does not matter what your age is. However, to gain benefits from Buddhism, you must be willing to abandon the common thinking of the world & clearly discern what is right & wrong. Bad parents are wrong; bullies are wrong; the corporate media is wrong; sexual carelessness is wrong; because these things bring suffering. If a teenager or any person knows what is right, i.e., truly healthy, they can be free from depression. If they must live with bad parents, they can visit a (proper trustworthy) Buddhist centre & ask for advice, support & friendship.

In summary, depression has causes. Buddhism teaches if you wish to be happy, you should train yourself to remove the causes of suffering. You must learn what love truly is, learn to love yourself & learn not be the slave of the expectations of others.

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  • What if a teenager is not a Buddhist only because it is trendy and socially cool, but because they truly wish to convert to Buddhism? Should they wait until they are older and more emotionally stable to convert? – Lou P.F Jan 16 '18 at 21:49
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Wisdom, here especially what is called "emotional-wisdom" is not a matter of age and is always up to ones persons previous and current deeds. As the Buddha told, some might have an easy way, some a hard.

It's totally not a matter of age in regard od dealing with feeling, and the younger one is learning skills, the better, for an old is hard to bend.

There have always been kids who even gained Arahat shipp and that even old are foolish till their death is a common usuall. So better than to worry about the young would be worry about ones emotional problems in regard of young and uproot the cause of emotional problems with if by one self, wouldn't it?

As soon being able to chase off cows, one is already prepared to even live the holly life in its full, from outwardly aspects.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]

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Denying feelings makes them resist, because they need to be processed before they can be released. Denying them is like impulsively swimming against a strong current, and eventually becoming exhausted by it. The more you fight it, the more it controls you.

But the moment you acknowledge them and consciously attempt to understand their causes, is like the relief that comes with the sudden realization that if you relax and trust the current, it will take you safely to shore.

There are some problems about which the causes are difficult to accept intellectually, and your mind just wants to forget. Again and again, your heart asks, why? And each time your mind answers: Oh, yes, of course I know the answer. I just don't like it. Let me forget. Must you keep reminding me?

You persistently remind yourself of the causes, so that you can process it some more. Some things are difficult to accept because they're really unacceptable. They require remediation, in order to allow peace.

You might get tired of processing them, but there's a reason for doing so: you're a human being. It's like doing the laundry: a necessary chore. Whether you enjoy or despise doing it, is up to you. It's your choice.

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