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Heello, I am not really Buddhist - although I do read sutras and have some general inkling - or anything at all. I like to do drugs, drink, and other discretionary acts, however I am considering taking a breather from these habits in order to take revenge on a community of people I more or less despise. I would prefer to drink, experiment, and be absorbed in my own creation, but it really screws me up physically, and then the people here like to exploit me - they enjoy seeing me miserable and groveling for mercy. My question is should I cultivate my revenge tactic?, since it is the only thing that is keeping me from enjoying myself via my vices? I guess the physical pain is not enough to keep me from stopping. I'm sure you understand...

p.s. Just to be clear, the revenge is not giving the people a reason to be so proud and smug by being drug-free, and the only way I would be drug-free is by keeping up my hateful feelings towards them. I can't imagine doing it any other way.

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Perhaps that could be called an example of "skilful means" -- if what that means is, "whatever works" -- but I don't remember reading Buddhist doctrine that recommends "hatred" as a motive.

There may be some advice to give about your relationship -- but that's not what you asked about in this question.

I'd say that instead of "hatred", what Buddhism might recommend is "nibbida" -- that's sometimes translated "disgust" -- I think it literally or etymologically means, "without finding", i.e. it's how you feel about something after you try it and find it doesn't satisfy, isn't what you're looking for.

It may occasion detachment from the object.

Beware that "I am superior" or "I am inferior" are examples of what Buddhism calls "conceit" -- see this answer -- and Māna on Wikipedia which warns that it

"makes whatever is suitable ... the basis for disrespecting others and for the occurrence of suffering"

and it's canonically a cause of disputes.


Do you mean disgust for my own behavior or disgust towards them?

From the description, you seem to be "acting out" in a long-term relationship which involves intoxication and blaming. I've been there, but it's difficult for me to tell you about your situation rather than mine. Maybe that's why meetings like Al-Anon can be helpful, people talk about their own experience and as you listen you relate to some of it and so gain insight (into your own). In my experience the relationship isn't great, satisfying -- including disliking people and their behaviour, and having reactive behaviour of my own.

It seemed to me inescapable, one reaction after another and an intransigent partner. It took us decades before rediscovering a better way. But it's difficult to give you any advice without (just) "projecting" from my own experience -- so people sometimes find a "counsellor". Buddhist doctrine might offer general advice, like this. I think that disgust or disenchantment, finding things to be impermanent and suffering, ultimately applies towards a lot of "worldly" behaviour.

You're asking me a binary question, either/or: "Are you saying I should feel disgust towards my behaviour, or towards them?" I think that's a dilemma or a false dilemma. Note that the "middle way" of Buddhism means avoiding extremes -- don't try to grasp the stick by one end or the other, don't get caught on the horns of a false dilemma -- a solution might be elsewhere entirely (like in a different direction or dimension), perhaps along the lines of "Mu".

The question implies identity view -- "me", "them" -- which is maybe not the best theory or model for solving or handling the problem. Buddhism talks about "dependent origination" instead. Western sociology too has some theories about codependency.

Something that's maybe not dissatisfying, maybe the one thing or the first thing identified by Buddhist doctrine, is "absence of remorse" which results from "skilful ethics". I believe that's so. Maybe nibbida and the search for what is more permanently satisfying will result in insights like this taste of nibbana.

I don't know how to share that experience though, which I imagine is the subject of this story, with "the moon" symbolizing enlightenment:

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen
Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."

If I'd criticise that story though it would be on this ground -- What is the difference between 'compassion' and 'pity'? -- with "pity" being a conceit.

But ... the Buddhist path is also said to be gradual and begins with ethics (see also "blameless"). I guess that if someone is unethical they may be viewed as being in a hell of their own making.


Hate is a strong word, I might have meant contempt.

Yeah.

You know the Dhammapada starts with,

Hostilities aren't stilled
through hostility,
regardless.
Hostilities are stilled
through non-hostility:
this, an unending truth.

"Contempt" sounds like another form of conceit, i.e. it is a "comparison", e.g. "they are relatively lowly".

So far as I know, instead, Buddhism recommends the four brahma-viharas as appropriate for social relationships.

The Four Sublime States -- Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity by Nyanaponika Thera

Four sublime states of mind have been taught by the Buddha ...

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. They are the great removers of tension, the great peace-makers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. They level social barriers, build harmonious communities, awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism.

The Brahma-viharas are incompatible with a hating state of mind ...

For this kind of reason I'd be reluctant to agree that "hate" could be a recommended solution.

Like I said I think the closest (to "hate") that I know of as a recommended solution in Buddhist doctrine is nibbida -- not hate, possibly not "disgust" even -- but like disappointment, disenchantment, dispassion, turning away from, letting go of -- perhaps by replacing it, keeping something better in mind. Whereas "hate" sounds to me like just more of the same. But if it does get you out, maybe it is skilful (or "expedient") means -- re-reading the Parable of the burning house, maybe "hatred" is the "toy" which you consider attractive and for which you could be willing to leave a burning house.

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  • Do you mean disgust for my own behavior or disgust towards them? Hate is a strong word, I might have meant contempt. Feb 11, 2023 at 5:01
  • I tried to answer your comment by adding to the answer.
    – ChrisW
    Feb 11, 2023 at 8:43
  • I am delighted by this answer! The links to further reading are very much appreciated. Thank you!
    – Juckix
    Feb 15, 2023 at 10:57
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Yes, the Buddha strongly advice to feel strong remorse and know dirt well, develop disgust toward bad habits and do all to abound this dirt from oneself. The greatest enemies are those belittle bad habits and even approve them. So the first step is to avoid any association with that which is already knowns as low, ugly and lazy (to do efforts to restrain).

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As Buddha said:

That being, this comes to be; from the arising of that, this arises; that being absent, this is not; from the cessation of that, this ceases.

The way this works, we define ourselves in relation to the world. We can't help but think either the world is wrong and I am good, or the world is good and I am f***ed up.

In your case, either the clean are jerks that should be hated and you are good, or they are the good ones and you are wrong. Guess which option you are choosing. It's the ego's defense mechanism, how else can it act?

Either way, there's an issue, whichever way you look at it you feel bad, but hating them seems just a liiiitle better. Problem is, the pendulum keeps swinging and it won't get better, it may even spiral out of control.

The only real way out is to stop defending the ego. Then the whole issue of who is right goes away. No more judgment. No broad generalizations about yourself or the others. You work on case by case basis, seeing things honestly as they are.

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Maybe? Hate is bad but so are drugs. Maybe replacing drugs with hate is a worthwhile trade.

When you have some mental space you can contemplate the pros and cons of drugs. I know it sounds weird to say "contemplate the pros" of drugs, but an honest analysis is helpful. It's good to know exactly what you are giving up (feeling high) and what you are gaining (mental clarity, healthier body, more money, more time).

If you can afford it, I would recommend seeing a therapist/counselor. They can help you see things from different angles and not be stuck in your head.

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  • Thanks. I forgot to mention, I like the recovery process - the feeling that is. This makes it more difficult to entice myself to kick the habit. Feb 9, 2023 at 16:20
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Ajahn Chah on craving, and handling it:

When we undertake to train the mind to be at peace with every situation, please understand that in the beginning when a defiled emotion comes up, the mind won't be peaceful. It's going to be distracted and out of control. Why? Because there's craving. We don't want our mind to think. We don't want to experience any distracting moods or emotions. Not wanting is craving, the craving for non-existence. The more we crave not to experience certain things, the more we invite and usher them in. 'I don't want these things, so why do they keep coming to me? I wish it wasn't this way, so why is it this way?' There we go! We crave for things to exist in a particular way, because we don't understand our own mind. It can take an incredibly long time before we realize that playing around with these things is a mistake. Finally, when we consider it clearly we see, 'Oh, these things come because I call them'.

Craving not to experience something, craving to be at peace, craving not to be distracted and agitated: it's all craving. It's all a red-hot chunk of iron. But never mind. Just get on with the practice. Whenever we experience a mood or emotion, examine it in terms of its impermanence, un-satisfactoriness, and selfless qualities, and toss it into one of these three categories. Then reflect and investigate: these defiled emotions are almost always accompanied by excessive thinking. Wherever a mood leads, thinking straggles along behind. Thinking and wisdom are two very different things. Thinking merely reacts to and follows our moods, and they carry on with no end in sight. But if wisdom is operating, it will bring the mind to stillness. The mind stops and doesn't go anywhere. There's simply knowing and acknowledging what's being experienced: when this emotion comes, the mind's like this; when that mood comes, it's like that. We sustain the 'knowing'. Eventually it occurs to us, 'Hey, all this thinking, this aimless mental chatter, this worrying and judging : it's all insubstantial nonsense. It's all impermanent, unsatisfactory and not me or mine'. Toss it into one of these three all-encompassing categories, and quell the uprising. You cut it off at its source. Later when we again sit meditation, it will come up again. Keep a close watch on it. Spy on it.

It's just like raising water buffalos. You've got the farmer, some rice plants, and the water buffalo. Now the water buffalo, it wants to eat those rice plants. Rice plants are what water buffalos like to eat, right? Your mind is a water buffalo. Defiled emotions are like the rice plants. The knowing is the farmer. Dhamma practice is just like this. No different. Compare it for yourself. When tending a water buffalo, what do you do? You release it, allowing it to wander freely, but you keep a close eye on it. If it strays too close to the rice plants, you yell out. When the buffalo hears, it backs away. But don't be inattentive, oblivious to what the buffalo is doing. If you've got a stubborn water buffalo that won't heed your warning, take a stick and give it a stout whack on the backside. Then it won't dare go near the rice plants. But don't get caught taking a siesta. If you lie down and doze off, those rice plants will be history. Dhamma practice is the same: you watch over your mind; the knowing tends the mind.

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Not an answer, just a note for someone in future in 2 languages..

This question clearly depicts the current state scenario.
Doing things which you don't like, and recovery is likable, things which you don't like are still done because that is enjoyable.
Is this meditation journey to revenge against evils or avenge for the bad on good ones??
Or is this to prove something?
Or is this to have infinite happiness?
Or is this because this is what you are, this is what attracts you the most, this is what's best for you naturally?

यह प्रश्न वर्तमान दृश्य को स्पष्ट रूप से दर्शाता है।
जो चीजें आपको पसंद नहीं हैं उन्हें करना, और सुधार भी पसंद है, जो चीजें आपको पसंद नहीं हैं वे अभी भी की जाती हैं क्योंकि यह आनंददायक है|
क्या यह ध्यान यात्रा बुराइयों से बदला लेने या अच्छे लोगों पर की बुराई का बदला लेने के लिए है ??
या यह कुछ साबित करने के लिए है?
या इससे अनंत सुख पाना है?
या ऐसा इसलिए है क्योंकि आप यही हैं, यही आपको सबसे ज्यादा आकर्षित करता है, यही प्राकृतिक रूप से आपके लिए सबसे अच्छा है?

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