4

There’s one issue that seems to be very divisive in my conversations. And I realize that it is because of me and my own aversion & anxiety.

I have done drugs. But one drug that always bothered me since I was young was cocaine. My father abandoned my mother when I was young and was very much involved with it as an abuser and a seller. For this reason I was always sure to not use it. I’ve been around it a few times & each time I get extremely uncomfortable. Not only that, but when somebody close to me talks about it in a nonchalant way, it tends to make me so uncomfortable that I can’t help but get defensive & agitated. I feel very hypocritical because I have done other drugs like acid and mushrooms and feel no aversion to that. And I feel like I am being very judgemental in my reactionary ways when it is discussed.

Is there any Buddhist guidance when it comes to how to deal with our aversions & judgements?

I’m mostly sober now & plan to stay that way, but just because I’m on my own path, I feel that I shouldn’t judge others on theirs.

0
+500

It's unpleasant to you and so you get upset. There is a path to abandoning of aversion but it entails abandoning lust and ignorance as well.

The path is just this eightfold noble path and the development is of the seven factors of awakening, five faculties, five bases of strength, four exertions of effort and the four establishments of mindfulness.

Here are relevant texts;

"Rahula, develop the meditation in tune with earth. For when you are developing the meditation in tune with earth, agreeable & disagreeable sensory impressions that have arisen will not stay in charge of your mind. Just as when people throw what is clean or unclean on the earth — feces, urine, saliva, pus, or blood — the earth is not horrified, humiliated, or disgusted by it; in the same way, when you are developing the meditation in tune with earth, agreeable & disagreeable sensory impressions that have arisen will not stay in charge of your mind. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.062.than.html

You can develop meditation in tune with water by pondering and coming to agreement with the statement that a person consists of 6 elements; earth property, water property, wind property, fire property, space property and that which is callef mind, consciousness or intellect which is illuninous but defiled by taints of delusion.

This will be a basis for developing perception of equanimity by seeing others as yourself [6 elements described in mn62] and in tune with earth, water, wind, fire & space.

This is the optimal way to think.

Due to an attachment to the doctrine of self and lack of development of optimal thinking, there is the arising of thoughts connected with greed, aversion & delusion verbalized thus;

There being 'I am because of this (or: by means of this),' there comes to be 'I am here because of this,' there comes to be 'I am like this because of this' ... 'I am otherwise because of this' ... 'I am bad because of this' ... 'I am good because of this' ... 'I might be because of this' ... 'I might be here because of this' ... 'I might be like this because of this' ... 'I might be otherwise because of this' ... 'May I be because of this' ... 'May I be here because of this' ... 'May I be like this because of this' ... 'May I be otherwise because of this' ... 'I will be because of this' ... 'I will be here because of this' ... 'I will be like this because of this' ... 'I will be otherwise because of this.' These are the 18 craving-verbalizations dependent on what is external. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.199.than.html

Aversion is craving based and is ultimately dependent on the notion of "I am" which depends on the doctrine of self and comes to be because there is an inclination to think in terms of that doctrine. Here aversion comes into play and is verbalized thinking 'i am bad because of this [unpleasant condition]', there comes to be craving verbalized as 'may i be otherwise'. This is basically due to the meeting with what is disagreeable and a longing for the cessation of that.

This ties into removal of distracting thoughts based on greed, anger & aversion;

"Whatever a monk keeps pursuing with his thinking & pondering, that becomes the inclination of his awareness. [...] https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html

Here is how to handle these states;

Nine bases of quarrelling, thus: — quarrelling is stirred up at the thought: ‘he has done me an injury,’ or ‘he is doing me an injury,’ or ‘he will do me an injury,’ or ‘he has done, is doing, will do an injury to one I love,’ or ‘he has bestowed a benefit, is bestowing, will bestow a benefit on one I dislike.’

Nine suppressions of quarrelling, thus: — quarrelling is suppressed by the thought: ‘He has done, is doing, will do me an injury, or ‘he has done, is doing, will do an injury to one I love’, or ‘he has bestowed, is bestowing, will bestow a benefit on one I dislike’, true, but what gain would there be to either of us if I quarrelled about it?’ https://suttacentral.net/dn33/en/tw-caf_rhysdavids

Analogically to this one can think; 'This person is saying unpleasant things, but what use is there in getting angry about it?'

Herr is another example from the commentary to Satipatthana Sutta;

Thus one should consider: "Being angry with another person, what can you do to him? Can you destroy his virtue and his other good qualities? Have you not come to your present state by your own actions, and will also go hence according to your own actions? Anger towards another is just as if someone wishing to hit another person takes hold of glowing coals, or a heated iron-rod, or of excrement. And, in the same way, if the other person is angry with you, what can he do to you? Can he destroy your virtue and your other good qualities? He too has come to his present state by his own actions and will go hence according to his own actions. Like an unaccepted gift or like a handful of dirt thrown against the wind, his anger will fall back on his own head."

Basically one should be mindful of thoughts as they arise, persist & cease. When noticing thoughts that are connected to delusion as in verbalizations of thoughts associated with 'the doctrine of self' such as described above one investigates them and makes an effort to abandon them as described above or here;

When evil unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate, and delusion arise in a bhikkhu through reflection on an adventitious object, he should, (in order to get rid of that), reflect on a different object which is connected with skill. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

[...]

If the evil unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu, who in order to get rid of an adventitious object reflects on a different object which is connected with skill, he should ponder on the disadvantages of unskillful thoughts thus: Truly these thoughts of mine are unskillful, blameworthy, and productive of misery. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

[...]

If evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu who ponders on their disadvantageousness, he should in regard to them, endeavor to be without attention and reflection. Then the evil unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

[...]

If evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu in spite of his endeavor to be without attention and reflection as regards evil, unskillful thoughts, he should reflect on the removal of the (thought) source of those unskillful thoughts. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

[...]

If evil, unskillful thoughts continue to arise in a bhikkhu in spite of his reflection on the removal of a source of unskillful thoughts, he should with clenched teeth and the tongue pressing on the palate, restrain, subdue and beat down the (evil) mind by the (good) mind. Then the evil, unskillful thoughts connected with desire, hate and delusion are eliminated; they disappear. By their elimination, the mind stands firm, settles down, becomes unified and concentrated, just within (his subject of meditation).

[...] https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.020.soma.html

It is also good to reflect on anger as being harmful to oneself and others, something like this;

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with harmfulness arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with harmfulness has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does ...Whenever thinking imbued with harmfulness had arisen, I simply abandoned it, dispelled it, wiped it out of existence.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html

To abandon aversion completely on needs to remove the five lower fetters;

And what, Ānanda, is the path and the practice for giving up the five lower fetters? It’s when a mendicant—due to the seclusion from attachments, the giving up of unskillful qualities, and the complete settling of physical discomfort—quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, enters and remains in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected. They contemplate the phenomena there—included in form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness—as impermanent, as suffering, as diseased, as an abscess, as a dart, as misery, as an affliction, as alien, as falling apart, as empty, as not-self. They turn their mind away from those things, and apply it to the deathless element: ‘This is peaceful;... https://suttacentral.net/mn64/en/sujato

There are, monks, three unskilled ways of thought: thoughts of lust, thoughts of ill-will, thoughts of hurting. And these three unskilled states disappear utterly in him whose heart is well established in the four foundations of mindfulness, or who practices concentration on the signless.[4] https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn22/sn22.080.wlsh.html

I've mostly talked about mindfulness of the ideation here and directing for the attainment of the first jhana from where due to mind's development the mind will leap to the destruction of taints [deathless].

This is just a short outline of how to overcome anger, a full exposition on it would be way too long for an answer.

| improve this answer | |
3

But one drug that always bothered me since I was young was cocaine.

I used to feel that way about alcohol. :-)

Not only that, but when somebody close to me talks about it in a nonchalant way, ...

Yes unfortunately it can be massively insidious. IMO it's a bit like smoking cigarettes but more so -- addictive, people who try it like it, and IMO their liking its (transient) effect affects their judgement and will-power, self-control -- and physically people can do it a lot, repetitively, and for a very long time, without its killing them immediately.

... it tends to make me so uncomfortable that I can’t help but get defensive & agitated.

I think I'd call that "a defence mechanism" according to pop psychology.

Buddhism might judge this kind of thing, according to whether it's "skilful", whether it's "beneficial".

There's plenty of advice in Buddhism for lay people, about not getting involved with bad friends and bad habits, wasting money and time and health, and everything -- see for example Sigalovada Sutta (DN 31), which I think of as the sutta about the "six directions".

Your friends' nonchalance might imply they're comfortable with their actions (and possibly that they're "in denial" about their own anxieties and/or the disadvantages of their own drug habits). Normally your innate human sympathy might suggest that therefore (because they are nonchalant) you ought to be happy/comfortable too, but in this case I reckon it's wise that you shouldn't, and wise not to agree with them, even if (or even, because) that anxiety you feel isn't pleasant ... and isn't neutral.

I mention "neutral" because there's Buddhist doctrine that feelings can be categorised as pleasant (and associated with craving), unpleasant (associated with aversion), and neutral (associated with ignorance). I think it warns that unenlightened people aren't good with neutral feelings, don't recognise them, don't know what to do with them -- and instead only crave what's pleasant and flee from what's unpleasant.

I feel very hypocritical

I'm not sure that's "hypocritical" -- I think that hypocritical would be blaming others while thinking that you can do no wrong -- for example, "It's fine for me to abuse the drug, but it's wrong of you" would be hypocritical IMO.

And I feel like I am being very judgemental in my reactionary ways when it is discussed.

I guess that being judgemental is a bit contrary to the ethos of the drug culture (which might also want you to share drugs)

Someone who's judgemental isn't popular (and in general doing and saying whatever makes you unpopular might arouse anxiety too).

And I suspect that people who are (still) into drugs suffer from a relatively poor sense of judgement. Conversely I think that Buddhism (especially as described in the early texts) is about not suffering, and as a result of making good judgements (e.g. having "right view" and so on).

I also suspect that taking drugs will impair judgement, in various ways and for several reasons. Some drug users see that as a reason for taking drugs -- to "escape reality" or to have "an altered view" of it.

Is there any Buddhist guidance when it comes to how to deal with our aversions & judgements?

Yes, doctrine about the Brahmaviharas might be helpful:

These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings (sattesu samma patipatti). They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact.

I summarise them to myself as,

  • I hope you're alright, "may you be well"
  • I don't want to hurt you
  • I'm happy when you're doing well (or doing good)
  • and equanimity

IMO nothing there requires you to be happy about the fact that people are abusing drugs, but the attitudes might be a good alternative to enmity/hatred/aversion (the Dhammapada too, says, "hatred is never appeased by hatred, only by loving-kindness").

Another thing you should consider is whether these people are good friends. I think that Buddhism is keen to recommend that you spend time with, learn from, associate with good friends -- and avoid bad friends (see e.g. DN 31 again, Kalyāṇa-mittatā, the Rhinoceros sutta etc.).

I might say that in my own experience, if you're going to keep bad friends, then it's especially important (at least for your own well-being if not for theirs as well) for you to also find and get good advice from, counsel, from "good friends" -- people who are virtuous, sensible, self-controlled, knowledgeable, perhaps professional.

You might even (among other places) learn something from Nar-Anon -- learning from other people's experience -- or perhaps (from a more explicitly Buddhist context) https://5th-precept.org/ (though unlike -Anon I've haven't experienced that .org).

Another thing that Buddhism recommends is "seeing things as they truly are". I don't know a lot of doctrine about that. I guess that includes the doctrine of Dependent Origination, i.e. seeing how senses (sense-impressions, sense-contact, sense-consciousness) give rise to perceptions and feelings and cravings and so on and so on and so on. I guess it might also include accurately assess the advantages and disadvantages of, you know, different courses of action, different intentions, different reactions and decisions. And I think it means viewing things without craving and aversion, so it's a bit of a circular definition. :-) But I think it doesn't mean trying to see things with altered senses (acid and mushrooms) -- more to do with having a wise and non-grasping attitude towards reality (see also "suchness").

Finally (or firstly) I'd mention the four noble truths of Buddhism -- especially the second and third, i.e. that suffering is associated with craving, and, the cessation of suffering with the cessation of craving. My stereotype says that addicts get attached to drugs. That it was also because of the poisons that they turned to drugs in the first place (so now they have two problems, i.e. their original problem and now the drugs). That craving (for the drug) and therefore suffering ceases when they take the drug (which is why they take it) -- but only temporarily (that effect of taking-a-drug is impermanent, as well as being long-lasting in other ways, hence the temptation to take it again). So I'd recommend (and you probably agree) that what's better (than taking drugs to stop the craving) is to avoid the condition in which that craving arises, i.e. by not taking/becoming/remaining addicted in the first place.

One more thing, which might be a bit subtle but I think ties into to the doctrine of the Brahmaviharas. This answer associates "conceit" with "comparisons". And I think this is an opportunity for making comparisons (e.g. "being addicted is inferior to not being an addict" and "I am not an addict and they are"). Still, that answer says, a characteristic of semi- or relatively-enlightened people is that they make "true" (accurate) comparisons. However see also what Wikipedia says about conceit (Māna):

It is defined as an inflated mind that makes whatever is suitable, such as wealth or learning, to be the foundation of pride. It creates the basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering.

Perhaps that's part of what you mean by not wanting to be "hypocritical" -- i.e. it's not wanting to be "disrespecting others" and so on. Conceit is also said to be a basis for (counter-productive and hurtful) sectarian arguments.

There’s one issue that seems to be very divisive in my conversations.

Perhaps it's normal to have preferences.

I'd personally prefer not to hear stories about people getting injured, or being cruel to each other, or horror movies, though I couldn't honestly say that it never happens. And in theory there are more or less tactful (adult, graceful) ways to listen -- ask if you can help -- or say you'd prefer not to, change the subject...

There's a whole bit of the Buddhist "noble eightfold path" -- i.e. Right Speech.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, articulate & reasoned response. I will be referencing & researching this reply for a while. I stumbled on this thread 4 months ago & found it to be such a great resource. With this response, I feel like I have found the closest thing to a sangha in my life. I have been studying & practicing Buddhism for 11 years. Words cannot express my gratitude. Thank you again. – Grateful Practicioner Jul 13 at 21:32
  • Thank you for saying so, friend, you're welcome, and I hope I'm not misleading you. I think that Buddhist doctrine distinguishes kinds of desire -- chanda versus tanha -- a desire can be wholesome or skilful, e.g. a desire for liberation, or possibly for sukha, though see also SN 51.15. – ChrisW Jul 15 at 10:13
  • Similarly, IMO, doctrine suggests that not all forms of aversion are wrong, in fact monks for example should develop nibbida. But I think that there are stages to liberation, and/or even though something's good you shouldn't too much of a good thing (see also the "middle way", avoiding extremes) -- and perhaps that's connected with some seemingly-paradoxical Mahayana doctrine like "nibbana is samsara". But more to the point, even though desire for liberation (and thus some aversion to bondage) might be wholesome ... – ChrisW Jul 15 at 10:23
  • ... there's also apparently Mahayana doctrine about not having too much aversion, the wrong kind of aversion, or some undesirable side-effects of aversion -- see e.g. Aversion and Mahayana. I think it's for a reason like this that e.g. Andrei's answer suggests that it's a prejudice to work on, while I was trying to assure you that some of kind aversion (or possibly detachment, or remaining uninvolved) might be wholesome and sensible. – ChrisW Jul 15 at 10:34
1

That's your prejudice and as any prejudice it has deeply emotional roots. The right way to deal with it would be to work on it in meditation, by focusing on the emotion it triggers in you and going through the entire chain of secondary associations, until you see the root.

The root will be some very basic formula, once you clearly see it you can undo it.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you so much for your response. I will be sure to meditate on this soon. – Grateful Practicioner Jul 13 at 21:33
1

How to deal with our aversions and judgements?

First of all, it's brave and wholesome that you have seen how these things are caused by your own aversion and disliking. That's really the first step towards changing them, to see and acknowledge that there is a knot to untie.

It's really not the internal/external phenomena that are the main issue, it's our own reactions towards them and our habits, inclinations and patterns of behaviour. Mindfulness meditation will help will that.

Secondly and very important, don't be too hard on yourself.

I have benefitted from watching this video by Ven. Yuttadhammo on Strong Attachments.

Have you ever considered doing a meditation course, either in person or online? You might benefit from having direct contact to a teacher that can guide you.

Best of luck on your path🙏🏾

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Thank you for the lovely response. I have been meditating for 11 years, and I have made it a daily habit for three years. I have bipolar disorder and was in a deep depression after a terrible manic episode when I started daily. Mindfulness Meditation saved my life. I read books about meditation and Eastern philosophy daily too. I’m always open to new information. Eventually I want to be a certified meditation teacher so I can help others too. I already teach people what I know who are open to learning. I will definitely watch that video you sent me and am very appreciative of your guidance. – Grateful Practicioner Jul 15 at 9:21
  • Thank you and welcome. You seem experienced in meditation. That's good. – Lanka Jul 15 at 11:26
-1

My answer sound complicated. I just try to give the way I use.

There's a self who effected by drug.

There are lots of yourself's happiness, will be loosen by drug, eternalism.

There are lots of yourself's displeasure, which you don't want it, will arise by drug, annihilationism.

While you are worrying of self you forget 6 advantages, then you act with bias about drug.

To turn you back to 6 advantages, you need to practice 8 fold path.

The 8 fold path is leading by right view.

I already wrote about wrong view above, then this is the right view, the tiny right view base exactly.

Life has 3 elements, wholesome, unwholesome, and neither wholesome nor unwholesome.

Wholesome should arise.

Unwholesome should stop.

Neither wholesome nor unwholesome should arise or switch with wholesome. Neither wholesome nor unwholesome which arise or switching with unwholesome should stop.

There’s one issue that seems to be very divisive in my conversations.

wholesome, unwholesome, and neither wholesome nor unwholesome.

And I realize that it is because of me and my own aversion & anxiety.

wholesome, unwholesome, and neither wholesome nor unwholesome.

aversion & anxiety

aversion = unwholesome

anxiety = some wholesome, some unwholesome. they are switching speedy.

Some switching mind and mind factors and their body are neither wholesome nor unwholesome.

I have done drugs. But one drug that always bothered me since I was young was cocaine. My father abandoned my mother when I was young and was very much involved with it as an abuser and a seller. For this reason I was always sure to not use it.

Those were nither wholesome nor unwholesome which arise or switching with unwholesome,so denying is OK.

I’ve been around it a few times & each time I get extremely uncomfortable.

This moment, you are thinking of yourself only, not 3 elements and entire 6 advantages in the past the future and present.

Not only that, but when somebody close to me talks about it in a nonchalant way, it tends to make me so uncomfortable that I can’t help but get defensive & agitated.

If you are thinking of 3 elements and entire 6 advantages in the past the future and present, you will be happy to Karuna to a person in your mind, while you are realizing of disadvantage of addicting-mind of that person.

The key to get right view is you must judge the element as it is, but you metta to every person. By this way, you will take care of both elements (reality) and person (unreality). This is called Right Thinking (especially, Abyapada-Samma-Sankappa).

I feel very hypocritical because I have done other drugs like acid and mushrooms and feel no aversion to that. And I feel like I am being very judgemental in my reactionary ways when it is discussed.

Judge this paragraph by the way I wrote above.

The issue is not judgement. The issue is " how to judge right and proper to get the 6 advantages".


What are 6 advantages:

  1. own advantage.
  2. other's advantage.
  3. social advantage.
  4. now advantage, present.
  5. then advantage, future; both this and next life.
  6. Nibbana.

These 6 advantages can mix more than 6. However, we think of at lease 6 every moment to manage 3 elements to be proper.

| improve this answer | |
-2

You have to know why you're averse. If we can meet and talk, I'll explore with you. But since this is mostly one-way, let me make a guess: You are concern about them.

Why is it you react this way only when it's about cocaine, and not acid and mushrooms? For that, perhaps you can see for yourself that you were not involved with these in the same way as you did with coke. I can only guess that your had a harder time when you were doing coke.

As for being judgemental, you said, "I feel like I am being very judgemental in my reactionary ways when it is discussed." It seems to be you're just guessing that you're being judgemental. In this case, you're judging yourself.

| improve this answer | |
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW Jul 21 at 10:27

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.