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Sorry but I will talk about attainments and mention some stuff that are sometimes considered hard to get to, you are free to not read. I will probably abandon this account after this post.

Well... I'm post stream-entry, I don't really have doubts about that.

I have 2 "addictions", that is 2 things that even if I decide not to do them, I end up doing them eventually. For example, sometimes, if I decide to only eat once a day and lower my weight then I can actually do it for weeks or even months, but eventually I end up going back to my old habits and gaining weight. Sometimes I decide to stop them and I can't, that's also true. Both "addictions" are quite mild and don't have any significant consequences.

I know general Buddhist instructions for dealing with them. Specially from Yuttadhammo videos online.

Other than that, my conduct is quite clean. Both my actions and words seem clean to me. My thoughts are almost all about Buddhism or actual meditation. I would say that they are either wholesome or they show a little restlessness, with only occasional thoughts that are worse than that.

But it's also true that I'm mostly okay with all of this. I don't really suffer the desire of the "addictions". I rarely notice it, and when I do notice, it doesn't feel disgusting. It doesn't feel mine, it doesn't feel like it is a bad thing that needs improvement. Same with thoughts, I don't have any reasons to consider them worse or better than other kinds of thoughts.

This is a conflict I have. Between being confident in considering the "addictions" and thoughts as not-mine, perfect, without any need to judge me for them, and on the other hand considering this not cool and trying to reduce them.

So, how to view "addictions" (or bad habits) correctly?

Also, I don't really know how to practice right now. I'm inclined for practices during the day (instead of sitting on the cushion only meditating).

I don't think jhana will help. I can get to deep jhana in seconds, I don't really see much room for improvement. Sorry if that comment bothers anyone, I wouldn't even mind not being able to practice jhana.

So, how do you recommend me to practice based on my situation?

Thanks for reading, sorry if any of it bothered you or gave you expectations of how things should be.

  • Question seems just fine, and perhaps the question could also be about the actual process: consuming food for the useful practical purpose of sustenance; re The Middle Way; it could be natural and physically beneficial to attempt to have some adjustment in nutritional regimen depending on what may be available & specific situation; so, maybe also consider enquiry & question in that context, and if could include specific information regarding that, that could be helpful for reply to question of eating in the context of nonattachment. OM – M H Aug 31 at 5:36
  • As a non-buddhist who is influenced by buddhism, I notice your propensity to apologise. Is this perhaps one of your addictions? Do you consider the power of your words to be so great that others will be negatively affected by them? Are you worried that others will judge you for them? – chasly - supports Monica Aug 31 at 10:22
  • @chasly-reinstateMonica For context, the OP's saying, "I'm post stream-entry", is literally a claim to being semi- (or at least a quarter) "enlightened". I've read that that kind of claim happens a lot on some internet sites -- and might be disparaged (perhaps because it might be and might occasion pride and self-delusion, attempting to "argue from authority", etc.). It's also sometimes considered taboo/wrong to describe "enlightened" states of mind, on the understanding that others (other students) shouldn't form preconceptions/expectations from hearing (hearsay) about that. – ChrisW Aug 31 at 10:39
  • @ChrisW - Thank you, that is useful context. I'm wondering who the apology is for however. It seems to be directed at the knowledgeable people on this site - not towards the students who may be misdirected. For them, a simple warning would suffice. P.S. My questions in the previous comment were genuine questions - they weren't rhetorical. Only the OP knows the true answers to them. – chasly - supports Monica Aug 31 at 10:54
  • @chasly-reinstateMonica fyi I assumed the "apology" was meant for people (students of Buddhism) on this site, i.e., "I know I'm not supposed to be making claims of attainment, but forgive me, I do so here because I think it's important to this question." – ChrisW Aug 31 at 11:15
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If you're post stream-entry you should understand that "I" is not a thing, therefore your eating habits or weight problems are not your decision, they are part of your overall life style, your environment, and the patterns of your life. If you really want to change them, change your situation drastically, move to another place etc. Either that or make a firm decision to stop worrying. The worst you can do is to keep perpetuating the inner conflict without fixing either by changing or by letting be.

What you need to meditate on, is why exactly this still bothers you. Why do you even think this is important? I'm guessing you still have some notion of "better" bothering you. If that's the case, that's what you need to focus your meditation on, the concept of "better". Why do you still crave "better", you want to be perfect or what?

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Good householder,

first of all mudita with his gains and second: sadhu for telling "faults" and seek for advise.

Kāmacchanda (sensual desire), at least, can only be overcome be a replacement "drug" and this is given with Jhana. As for the kind of paths that means completing Sila-perfection and gain of Samadhi. To reach the state active effort in denourishing has to be maintained: giving thought toward it no intention, and with nourishment toward regined food. The final abounding arises only when the next fruit after path is reached, but first one needs to but into the path.

That the path arises right view needs to be straighten (listen to talk on the suffering behind sensual pleasure, doing satipatthana). Only when there is Dukkha (clear seen), Saddha arised, pāmojja, pītī...path, liberation, knowledge of liberation. Right view is also the case of right resolve of which one is to turn away from sensuality. Right resolve is the cause of real/right Sila and keeping not eating outwardly is a matter of Sila.

Active giving into is sometimes hard and therefore the near association with admirable friends is required, providing with one of the three governing principles, which hold bad thought to go after in chess.

May good householder seek and find good association and nourish deep relation to it, to the Sangha of the Buddha.

The next step requires more renouncing the world and more leaving home, otherwise, ever touched by thieves, one will not be able to overcome a drug addiction. Withdraw from old associations and circumstances is the first needed, avoid touch and of course the best support is adoption of Tudonga practice where ever possible. More and more just taking of what is given and wander on to avoid attachments to certain food, relations providing such. The keeping of Uposatha-Silas is minimum requirement to possible gain next path, fruit, possible turn to Non-Returner (usually minimum Anagarika, Homeless, non-trader,non-trade-means-holder)

Eating, over all, isn't done for lose or increase weight, health, beauty.. but simply to cross the river, remembering "The flesh of the Son".

[Note that this isn't given for nourishing stacks, exchange, other worldbinding trades but to get disenchanted of it and gain release from this wheel]

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If those "addictions" are very mild and do not have any significant consequences, then just let it go when you transgress your rules, but try to stick to them the next time. They should not cause you remorse and mental anguish.

After all, if you're post stream-entry, then you're free of the fetter of attachment or clinging to mere rules and ritual (silabbata-paramasa), in the way mentioned in Andrei's answer. Being a stickler to following minor rules to the letter, is an expression of this fetter, in my opinion.

Your question also appear to hint at perfectionism - but this I think is part of the higher fetter of conceit (māna). Having desire for good food sometimes is also part of the fetter of sensual desire (kāmacchanda). Both of these fetters are beyond the level of stream entry.

Apart from Ven. Yuttadhammo's videos on addiction, you can also watch Ven. Ajahn Brahm's YouTube videos "you're good enough" and "am I good enough?".

On the other hand, if you're trying to eliminate all ten fetters, then changing your environment to the monastic training and its rules, is a possible solution. The monastic training was designed for that purpose.

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You seem very much agitated by your failure to control your “bad” habits. For example you wish to control how much you eat but you fail after months of austerity.... Austerity is not the solution and neither is gluttony. You should eat as much as you can to keep yourself healthy and strong. Any weakness will not help you meditate. If you over eat then also you will not be able to meditate.

Do not let your achievements get into your head. Do not develop the conceit of I did this , I did that. If your are not a member of any Sangha I will recommend you to stay on this forum because association with good people will keep you alert and aware of Dhamma.

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+500

Let me start by observing that you seem to be caught up on measurement: on critically assessing where, what, and who you are. That much is evident from some of the twists and turns of your question: your statement that you'll likely abandon this account, your unwillingness to talk about your second addiction, the various pushes and pulls of self-image I can see threaded through your writing. Buddhism often uses the metaphor of 'walking the path', which is a fine metaphor in its way, but it's a metaphor that lends itself to the illusion of measurement. I often hear practitioners say things like "I've passed this mark" or "I've strayed from the path," but that can be an unhealthy mindset. I prefer the metaphor of sailing across an ocean to that of walking a path, and I recommend you reflect on it. On the ocean there are no landmarks, and no real sense or meaning in asking how far one has come or how far one has to go. There's just the ocean, and the ongoing effort to keep the ship (more or less) upright and the prow pointed (more or less) in the right direction. Progress on the sea is measured by mastery of the winds and the waves, not by external achievements.

I mean, Ok... So, you're a stream-enterer; you've mastered jhana. That's all good, but 'good' is all it is. All that means is that you've learned about the rudder and the boom, and you have the tools to get and keep the ship going (more or less) in the right direction, instead of leaving it to the mercy of the currents to carry you as they will (which is what most people do). But the fact you don't think jhana will help means you haven't really grasped the art of sailing the sea yet.

If you can drop into deep jhana in seconds, excellent. The next time you find yourself drawn into addiction, drop into jhana. Addiction is just a conflict-bound mental state: you reflexively want to do something that you intellectually don't want to do. When you drop into jhana it attenuates both the reflex and the intellect, and thus removes the conflict. After the addictive moment has passed, you can choose (or more likely just know) what's right to do, whatever that might be. On an off day you might find yourself stopping every few minutes to drop into jhana, just as if you're sailing into a storm and have to focus to keep the ship stable. That's fine. Each time you drop into jhana you're teaching the mind that neither the reflex nor the intellect is intrinsically right, and you're letting some deeper sense sort things out between them. Over time that deeper sense will start to take over, even if you don't drop into jhana. Then you're bringing the fruits of practice into life.

If you want smooth sailing you'll have to go into a monastic setting. Monasteries are designed to shield monks from most of the winds and waves of human life, so that they can progress that much more rapidly. If you don't want to put your life into the practice, though, you have to find some way to draw the practice into your life. Sitting in meditation is good, but there's only so far meditation will take you if you hold it as something special, separate from your daily activities.

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So I see two issues: your question: “So, how to view "addictions" (or bad habits) correctly?” and your revelation: “I don't really know how to practice right now.”

To answer your question, it is not a matter of knowing how to view addictions, it is a matter of attaining the direct meditative experience of “not self,” which you have already. Since this is the case, it is no longer necessary to ask how one should view addictions, but since you do, you are obviously doubting the direct meditative experience of “not self.” This may only be a “nagging doubt” that comes and goes, but however present it is, when you notice this doubt you must look into the causes for it: what notion do you hold that calls into question the accomplishment of that direct meditative experience?

Since you are past stream-entry, normally you would be confident in the path, so something is once again creating a doubt undermining your progress, or lacking a teacher, you haven’t determined the path forward yet.

Jnana, Wisdom Mind, is free from all conceptual contrivance, and thus one cannot identify it in the way one can identify a tree. Instead, the luminous, self aware, non-conceptual mind that is the Wisdom Mind is realized by the supreme wisdom (prajna) and there is no seeing and seen aspect (i.e. no “consciousness”), and thus, no realizing and realized aspect to the realization. This is called the Transcendence of Supreme Wisdom (Prajnaparamita). When you say: “I can get to deep jhana in seconds” I suspect that a “leading” may have inserted itself in your mind, and you may not, in fact, have yet directly attained Jnana. This is not a criticism of you or your practice, but only a pointing out of a potential “gotcha” that is keeping you stuck in place. As you indicated yourself, such a “leading” has been experienced by you and your friends already. My sincere suggestion here is to use doubt to attempt to undermine that self-assured attainment that you have, looking into the subtle structure of what happens when you attain “Jnana” and see if in fact there is a “realizing and realized” structure in play, no matter how subtle. I also suggest that the “nagging doubt” about the direct meditative experience of “not self” that I mentioned in my reply to your question above may be—ultimately—behind this inability to move forward.

The latter point in the last paragraph is the only reason—that I can imagine—for why you would prefer the mindfulness practices off-cushion, that you mentioned in reply to my request for clarification, to your main insight meditation practice. Having attained Jnana there is great “motivation” to continue on the path. And it changes everything ☺️

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Addiction = attachment to suffering.

Refrain from that thought and from that search for pleasure => less suffering.

Thinking it will make you feel good is an illusion. It might. A bit. But wanting to feel good never ends. Pleasure is momentary, inner peace lasts longer. If necessary, You might even inflate your pride (Ego) to help you kill your inner monsters... Be proud to be a better person than you were 2minutes ago... The future is now and what you do now matters.

Hang in there. Good luck :)

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