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While meditating today, I realized that I am very very far away from attaining any kind of relief from suffering. In particular, I am referring to suffering from the endless/insatiable human condition of wanting something else/new.

I kind of see how me wanting to feel better about this goes in opposition to the realistic view proposed by Buddishm, in which suffering must be accepted as a inherent part of life. Nevertheless, there is something still not clicking in my head, which makes me feel at constant unease.

I saw this answer, in particular the part

Existence is dukkha is not a decree, it's a diagnosis, and you can smile that it's already been diagnosed, and there is a cure and many people have already gotten cured.

but I can only think that getting "cured" may take decades and is only attainable by monks and people devoted solely to getting cured.

How can I approach this situation? Thanks in advance.

For context, I am new to meditation and Buddhism.

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  • Remember the story of the monk going to the far off mountain. He stops to ask an old woman how long it would take him, but she refuses to answer twice. He .eaves her and shouts over to him "three weeks. I needed to see how fast you walked and how determined ". I think that is a paraphrase from Without and Within. Well worth reading by the way, the online pdf is free.
    – Dan
    Mar 2, 2022 at 21:45

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Congratulations! You have uncovered for yourself the initial hard truths which will enable your movement toward enlightenment and away from this seemingly insurmountable suffering. Most of humanity ‘sleep-walks’ through existence without understanding the real reasons for their underlying dissatisfaction with their lives – the truth about suffering and its source.

Once one has first discovered the Buddha’s teachings and awakes, I think it is natural to be overwhelmed somewhat by the significance of that truth; like opening your eyes from a sleep to the bright sunlight. But do not despair.

While learning of the ubiquitous nature of the suffering which surrounds us and is within us, you have also learned that it is not hopeless and that there is a path out of this cycle. You now understand the true source of the dissatisfaction which led you to learn of the Buddha’s teachings and, with that understanding, you now have the tools to deal with it effectively.

What helped me when I was in your situation was to focus my thoughts and early meditations on the joy, hope and understanding that these teachings and the practices I had begun would be the way out. Despite the enormity of the problem and the time and effort it would take, it did offer a solution and I knew that countless others have been able to follow that path. And not just the Buddha, monks and teachers but lay folks like me were able to do it. So why not me (and you) too? Again, congratulations and best to you in your journey!

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People are coming into this confused about the particulars of their experience. However one can generally notice feelings of apathy, general vexation associated with fear, regret, shame, anxiety, worry, anger, lust, confusion and etc. One may want to get rid of these in near future.

Even tho we may not be able to immediately identify why we feel a certain way and what to call a particular sensation, we may assert that our behavior has not been optimal as to result in that and to implement Buddha's teachings in order to start our training of good behavior.

Good behavior starts in abstaining from behaviors that are a cause for regret & downfall. It is essentially so that our understanding should come to be with a sense of fear & shame of wrongdoing.

In avoiding the bad behaviors we are engaging in skillful development of the intellect and are avoiding bad consequences of the foregone bad behaviors which avoids that trouble and allows us to calm down due to non-regret. We can reflect on our success in that and be gladdened before further stilling & learning through meditative composure and on account of due contemplation.

Our brains rewire all the time as cells are replaced & new networks are formed. We can rewire a lot in say about 7 years such that there are no pathways left by which evil behaviors associated with greed, anger & delusion would exist.

There is a part to Buddhism which is paradoxical, going against norm and it is the reason why it was never enough for every person to just have the Dhamma explained to them. Not to downplay the importance of proper translations but even when Buddha explained it many would not be able or willing to see the point he was making because for a long time they relish opposing views.

There is a point of convergence between those who know and those who do not know in the ability of one to guide another going by faith in one's ability to train.

One must learn a lot a and do as the teacher said as to see the results of that properly undertaken training and it's point. This would require some sort of a full time dedication to development of good behavior in a long-term retreat environment.

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By entering the stream, by gaining right view, good householder, reasonable fear decays and first step to secure is done, having already abond huge amount of suffering and heading toward liberation. Meditation, right Samadhi, will then come by this cause itself, nothing to worry, then. So may good householder study the guide well and ask those having left home for advice.

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"The world is swept away. It’s one of the reasons why we meditate, because someone like the Buddha found that there’s something that doesn’t get swept away, and it can be attained through human effort.

As we were saying today, when he set out in his quest, he had no guarantee that there would be a deathless happiness. But he felt that he wouldn’t be satisfied with anything less. He was motivated by a very strong sense of samvega. You work, work, work to gain pleasures, and then find them taken away. As the Buddha says in a passage devoted to the drawbacks of sensuality, you work really hard and either you don’t gain anything — say you’re a farmer and you plant your crop and it gets wiped out by forces beyond your control — or you do harvest the crop you want and you gain the profit you want and either it gets stolen or hateful heirs take it away. That’s material things.

Then there are relationships. The Buddha compares the happiness that comes from relationships to borrowed goods. If your happiness, your sense of who-you-are depends on someone else, they can take it away at any time. It was seeing this that the Buddha-to-be said there’s got to be something better.

Now, we’re fortunate that he did find that something better. We of course don’t have one hundred percent guarantee that he did until we ourselves have found that within ourselves. But at least there’s someone who offers the hope and sets out a path. He gives us the opportunity of testing the path, of seeing if it works. And fortunately, it doesn’t save all of its rewards for the end. There’s a lot of good to be gained as you practice: finding a sense of well-being inside where the mind can settle down and have a clear sense of solidity, security — a sense of nourishment that doesn’t have to depend on other people, doesn’t have to depend on situations outside being just this way or just that way. In other words, we’re not depending on borrowed goods here. We’re creating goods of our own.

~ Thanissaro Bhikkhu "Don’t Be a Traitor to Yourself" https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Writings/CrossIndexed/Published/Meditations11/140324_Don%27t_Be_a_Traitor_to_Yourself.pdf

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Buddhism is currently subjected to ma$$-market marketing.

Only relatively few people can overcome craving. The scriptures say:

  1. Blind is the world; here only a few possess insight. Only a few, like birds escaping from the net, go to realms of bliss.

Dhammapada

For example, if your mind/body still lusts about sexual things, it is very far from the Path.

Please do not create more suffering by creating an 'ideal' out of Buddhism.

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