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    Thread: Buddhism: All My Questions (so far!)

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      Buddhism: All My Questions (so far!)

      Due to lucid dreaming's close ties with a lot of Buddhist ideas, I naturally stumbled across both at roughly the same time around the start of this year, and have been following both paths ever since. I do have a fair few practical questions about Buddhism that I've racked up since I started, and thought I'd blow them all out on you guys to see if you can answer any of them.


      1. This is my main question really: how do I progress? As it stands, I try and meditate as often as I can, for up to 24 minutes, though it's rarely regular. The only 'style' of meditation is the concentrating on the breathing, which I love, but I get the feeling I could be doing a lot more. I've looked into the ideologies of Buddhism a fair bit and agree with them, but I've never tried proper contemplation or anything.

      2. Leading on from the first question, is it necessary for me to find a teacher? If so, at which 'stage' of my progress should I consider this? Also, how do I find one living in South West London?!

      3. As I mentioned in the first, I agree with Buddhist ideas. However, there are some (such as reincarnation, energies, premonition, etc.) which fall under a more 'supernatural' area to me, and, being a man of science, I struggle to get my head round them. A part of me says 'you're a rational guy, how could you consider believing something like this?', while another says 'over 2500 years, Buddhists have gotten so much right in terms of spirituality, maybe this is right too?'. Can one consider themselves a Buddhist without believing in the more supernatural side? Or is there some middle-ground I'm missing?

      4. Is there a way of meditating in public? I've been wondering for a while, while on a train or waiting for an extended period of time for something, whether it was common to meditate in such an environment. Does anyone hear try it? Or does it need to be more tranquil/private?

      5. Weed. From the viewpoint of a Buddhist, does it cloud the mind or open it? Please say the latter!


      That's all I can think of for now, but no doubt answers will open further questioning. Any help you guys can offer would be hugely appreciated!
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    2. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by moSh View Post
      1. This is my main question really: how do I progress? As it stands, I try and meditate as often as I can, for up to 24 minutes, though it's rarely regular. The only 'style' of meditation is the concentrating on the breathing, which I love, but I get the feeling I could be doing a lot more. I've looked into the ideologies of Buddhism a fair bit and agree with them, but I've never tried proper contemplation or anything.
      Find yourself a local Sangha, if possible. Sangha will allow you to maintain a basic meditation routine, and provide a lot of instruction as well as a support group. The reason AA and NA are successful at getting people to quit their addictions is the same reason people are more successful at meditation and mindfulness when they join a Sangha. A support group not only allows you to learn more but you also maintain a network of like-minded people giving you the social pressure to commit to the practice. I would even call Meditation the opposite of Addiction, because it's time you take to stop running and chasing. People regard meditation as one specific thing but it can be applied to every inch of life. I use the word mindfulness regarding practices other than meditation where you remain focused, aware and present but as you practice you'll realize the two words are synonymous.

      Buddhism has three Refuges, which are to say facets you can continue going back to to help you maintain the practice. These are called Sangha, Dharma and Buddha. Sangha refers to your group, Dharma to your lessons and Buddha to your teachers. You will learn to define each of these refuges on your own terms later and there's no reason to get stuck in the definitions I've provided, they are incomplete.

      2. Leading on from the first question, is it necessary for me to find a teacher? If so, at which 'stage' of my progress should I consider this? Also, how do I find one living in South West London?!
      Nothing is necessary, but why not give yourself the best possible foundation you can? It's important to find someone who knows what's they're talking about, so be skeptical but when you find a good teacher remain teachable. If you think you are already good enough at meditation, you are no longer teachable. When you are excited to learn more about the practice, then you are truly teachable. Asking if it's necessary to have a teacher reveals some lack in teachability. Peace is not an obligation, after all.

      As far as difficulty in finding a teacher, I'd say start off by finding a Sangha. I guarantee you there's one around South West London. They are spreading like wildfire.

      3. As I mentioned in the first, I agree with Buddhist ideas. However, there are some (such as reincarnation, energies, premonition, etc.) which fall under a more 'supernatural' area to me, and, being a man of science, I struggle to get my head round them. A part of me says 'you're a rational guy, how could you consider believing something like this?', while another says 'over 2500 years, Buddhists have gotten so much right in terms of spirituality, maybe this is right too?'. Can one consider themselves a Buddhist without believing in the more supernatural side? Or is there some middle-ground I'm missing?
      The Buddha remained silent when he was asked questions about the afterlife and other mystical or metaphysical details. They have nothing to do with the Practice. These ideas predated The Buddha but became conjoined with the religion as it spread, the same way the spread of Christianity to the Americas resulted in Mother Mary taking a more prominent role than God because the Natives worshiped a Supreme Goddess and not a God. The core of Buddhism is an unconditional sense of peace and well-being through surrender and awareness. Language is by nature a lie so everything you are taught is at best, a signpost to truth. Teachings are never "true" in and of themselves. They can only refer to truth. Buddhists which attach themselves to "knowing" the "truth" are inhibiting their Practice. That is why the Buddha taught to believe nothing unless it proves beneficial to you.

      4. Is there a way of meditating in public? I've been wondering for a while, while on a train or waiting for an extended period of time for something, whether it was common to meditate in such an environment. Does anyone hear try it? Or does it need to be more tranquil/private?
      The goal is to spend 100% of your time in a meditative state, which is to say in total surrender and impartial awareness. Practice wherever and whenever possible. The environment outside your head is secondary to the environment inside your head. Distractions from the outside environment can help teach you how to deal with the distractions that come from your mind.

      5. Weed. From the viewpoint of a Buddhist, does it cloud the mind or open it? Please say the latter!
      As I said previously, addiction is the opposite of meditation. But Buddhism instructs the Middle Path. It is taught that Desire Causes Suffering, but this leads one to desire to give up desires, which is naturally a paradox. The Middle Path instructs one to give up as much desire as possible, and if that's not possible, then at least give up the desire to give up more desire than possible. Do whatever frees you from running and chasing. I faced my addiction to cigarettes by facing the impulse without reacting to it, which is basically what meditation is, surrender and impartial awareness.

      There are no real rules, and there are no sins. Buddha isn't going to hate you for smoking some weed. And the weed itself is not the problem, but your attitude regarding weed may be.


      That's all I can think of for now, but no doubt answers will open further questioning. Any help you guys can offer would be hugely appreciated!
      Feel free.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 09-11-2012 at 05:07 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I knew you'd be the one to give the fantastically in-depth and informative answer, OP Thanks!

      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Find yourself a local Sangha, if possible. Sangha will allow you to maintain a basic meditation routine, and provide a lot of instruction as well as a support group.
      A good idea, and one I've partially considered already. There's a society of this sort of description at my uni, however I could never get hold of them when I tried. Perhaps I'll try harder this academic year.

      Nothing is necessary, but why not give yourself the best possible foundation you can? It's important to find someone who knows what's they're talking about, so be skeptical but when you find a good teacher remain teachable. If you think you are already good enough at meditation, you are no longer teachable. When you are excited to learn more about the practice, then you are truly teachable. Asking if it's necessary to have a teacher reveals some lack in teachability. Peace is not an obligation, after all.
      I think what I meant was, am I ready to have a teacher, or would it be wasted on me at this stage? In the same way that it would be pointless giving someone rally driving lessons if they are yet to pass their driving test.

      The Buddha remained silent when he was asked questions about the afterlife and other mystical or metaphysical details. They have nothing to do with the Practice. These ideas predated The Buddha but became conjoined with the religion as it spread, the same way the spread of Christianity to the Americas resulted in Mother Mary taking a more prominent role than God because the Natives worshiped a Supreme Goddess and not a God. The core of Buddhism is an unconditional sense of peace and well-being through surrender and awareness. Language is by nature a lie so everything you are taught is at best, a signpost to truth. Teachings are never "true" in and of themselves. They can only refer to truth. Buddhists which attach themselves to "knowing" the "truth" are inhibiting their Practice. That is why the Buddha taught to believe nothing unless it proves beneficial to you.
      Right... This may take a few more read-throughs before I understand it fully! But helpful nonetheless! Part of the reason I ask is because after I've told some of my friends that I've started looking into Buddhism, the first thing they ask is 'so you're like all into reincarnation and shit then?'.

      So if the Buddhist way is to never truly believe anything unless experienced firsthand, why are things like reincarnation, etc. so closely embedded in the Buddhist culture?

      The goal is to spend 100% of your time in a meditative state, which is to say in total surrender and impartial awareness. Practice wherever and whenever possible. The environment outside your head is secondary to the environment inside your head. Distractions from the outside environment can help teach you how to deal with the distractions that come from your mind.
      I very much like this answer, and will try this as much as possible (or as much as I remember!).

      As I said previously, addiction is the opposite of meditation. But Buddhism instructs the Middle Path.

      There are no real rules, and there are no sins. Buddha isn't going to hate you for smoking some weed. And the weed itself is not the problem, but your attitude regarding weed may be.
      I think you may have misunderstood the question, I'm not addicted in anyway to weed - in fact my understanding is that it's pretty hard to be addicted, particularly in a biological way. I meant more as in, are the consciousness-altering effects of smoking encouraged every so often to broaden the mind, or are they considered inhibitory to the mindfulness process?


      Thanks again for all your answers, I look forward to some more
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    4. #4
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      Original Poster pretty much aced everything, In my opinion. I'll just add my little 2 cents in on a couple things.

      1.) I think you would enjoy reading this: Mindfulness In Plain English It teaches you Vipassana Meditation. While it also focuses on the breath, it only uses the breath as a means of garnering better concentration and quietness. Many forms of meditation focus entirely on a concentration aspect-- you get so absorbed into the concentration that you experience some peace while you are in the trance. Vipassana only uses the breath to gain this quietness, then it turns to quietly, and attentively observing all experiences while you sit.

      2.) I've been reading the story of the Buddha Siddhartha, which seems to emphasize learning via your own practice and observation. Like OP said, anything you learn or are taught may only guide you in a general direction. The Buddhist teachings are a practice, and an experience. You can only describe an experience, but you can't truly know it until it occurs. That isn't to say that books and teachers are not of great help, its better to have a direction than to wander aimlessly.

      3.) OP was also spot on with this. It depends greatly upon the person. If one wishes to believe in a God, the afterlife, or some other metaphysical properties, so be it. It doesn't particularly hurt, in some cases it may help. But the Buddha, in a few quotes that I read, would either breeze by such questions as unimportant, or he would take a moment to simply point out the faulty logic in focusing on these things. We are here, and we are now. Its best we attend to that first and foremost. What better way to prepare for the afterlife than simply focus on living as honestly, productively, and compassionately as you can?

      In short, it doesn't matter, because the teachings are a great way to live in either case: for the believer and the nonbeliever.

      5.) As for the weed, I personally lost most (not quite all) of my desire to smoke week or do any drugs once I began my regular, daily meditation practices. I found that I was smoking weed simply for the basic effect that I now meditate. Calmness, relaxation, etc.

      The Buddha had 5 Precepts that were said to be some of the basic requirements to enlightenment: Refrain from killing other beings, Do not take what is not given, abstain from sexual misconduct, abstain from false speech (lies), and to abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness.

      That is more or less how it is worded from his quotes in the Pali Canon (http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/wordofbuddha.pdf). There are sort of loopholes in a couple, so to speak. It does not say to refrain from sex, for example, but to restrain from sexual misconduct. So, that's up to a degree of interpretation.

      "...drugs causing heedlessness." Heedlessness means "without thought or mindfulness." If you feel, honestly, that pot does not cloud your judgement, and does not inhibit you from maintining your mindfulness and meditative practices, I don't see anything wrong with it. Like OP said though, try to keep that desire in check, as with all desires. Be aware.


      I'm also pretty new to Buddhism, so don't take my words as truth-- which is wise advice in regard to anyone's opinion (but that's just my opinion...Logic loop woooo) . The Buddha is quoted as saying "Put no head above your own," meaning trust only yourself and your experience, but listen to everyone's opinion. Afterall, there is something to be learned in even the worst of examples--that is "what not to do".

      I hope I helped!
      Last edited by Alucinor XIII; 09-11-2012 at 04:05 PM.
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      Sound Manipulator moSh's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Alucinor XIII View Post
      1.) I think you would enjoy reading this: Mindfulness In Plain English It teaches you Vipassana Meditation. While it also focuses on the breath, it only uses the breath as a means of garnering better concentration and quietness. Many forms of meditation focus entirely on a concentration aspect-- you get so absorbed into the concentration that you experience some peace while you are in the trance. Vipassana only uses the breath to gain this quietness, then it turns to quietly, and attentively observing all experiences while you sit.
      Thanks, but I've read that already (well, a lot of it anyway); it's actually what first introduced me to the proper meditation technique. You've basically explained exactly what I do each session, but I was wondering if there was more to it? Is there not a form of contemplative meditation? I just want to know that I'm getting as much out of the experience as I can.

      The Buddhist teachings are a practice, and an experience. You can only describe an experience, but you can't truly know it until it occurs. That isn't to say that books and teachers are not of great help, its better to have a direction than to wander aimlessly.
      That's exactly it, in a sense I'd just like to know what I'm looking for, you know? Reading is definitely helping, and I think getting a teacher would be a good step once I feel I've exhausted that resource.

      But the Buddha, in a few quotes that I read, would either breeze by such questions as unimportant, or he would take a moment to simply point out the faulty logic in focusing on these things. We are here, and we are now. Its best we attend to that first and foremost. What better way to prepare for the afterlife than simply focus on living as honestly, productively, and compassionately as you can?

      In short, it doesn't matter, because the teachings are a great way to live in either case: for the believer and the nonbeliever.
      While I agree, that somewhat contradicts something I read recently about the path to enlightenment. Put simply, it said without belief in reincarnation (and that progress to enlightenment is not carried over) there cannot be sufficient motivation to fully enlighten oneself.

      To become fully enlightened is not really my goal (yet, anyway!), so I suppose this doesn't exactly apply to me, but I assumed from this that to call oneself 100% Buddhist required belief in reincarnation.

      5.) As for the weed, I personally lost most (not quite all) of my desire to smoke week or do any drugs once I began my regular, daily meditation practices. I found that I was smoking weed simply for the basic effect that I now meditate. Calmness, relaxation, etc.

      The Buddha had 5 Precepts that were said to be some of the basic requirements to enlightenment: Refrain from killing other beings, Do not take what is not given, abstain from sexual misconduct, abstain from false speech (lies), and to abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs causing heedlessness.

      That is more or less how it is worded from his quotes in the Pali Canon (http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/wordofbuddha.pdf). There are sort of loopholes in a couple, so to speak. It does not say to refrain from sex, for example, but to restrain from sexual misconduct. So, that's up to a degree of interpretation.

      "...drugs causing heedlessness." Heedlessness means "without thought or mindfulness." If you feel, honestly, that pot does not cloud your judgement, and does not inhibit you from maintining your mindfulness and meditative practices, I don't see anything wrong with it. Like OP said though, try to keep that desire in check, as with all desires. Be aware.
      Very informative, thank you. I think smoking moderation allows you to retain mindfulness, I'll bear that in mind.


      Many thanks for your thorough reply
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      Quote Originally Posted by moSh View Post
      While I agree, that somewhat contradicts something I read recently about the path to enlightenment. Put simply, it said without belief in reincarnation (and that progress to enlightenment is not carried over) there cannot be sufficient motivation to fully enlighten oneself.

      To become fully enlightened is not really my goal (yet, anyway!), so I suppose this doesn't exactly apply to me, but I assumed from this that to call oneself 100% Buddhist required belief in reincarnation.
      Yes, there is a lot of debate about this. I think in order to be a Buddhist, you must simply live by those things which the Buddha directly taught. I believe that, given the time and place, India, from which it arose, it was almost inevitable that Hindu qualities crept it.

      Keep in mind there were a few hundred years or more where the Buddha's teaching were simply maintained via memorization and oral recitations. By the time it was written down, who is to say what may have been added to the Buddha's original beliefs and teachings?

      I'm in the middle of trying to find as much of the Buddhas direct quotes, rather than scriptures which discuss Buddhism, in a hope to see what exactly it was the Buddha taught, and not what Buddhism had become by the time it was written down.


      Oh, and about the meditation, contemplation isn't particularly stressed, from what I've read. It seems counter intuitive, I know, but I think the pure mindfulness, devoid of conscious thought, is meant to in and of itself teach you something. The directness of experience, as well as the illusion of the ego.

      From Mindfulness In Plain English:

      "...Don't ponder: You don't need to figure everything out. Discursive thinking won't free you from the trap. In mediation, the mind is purified naturally by mindfulness, by wordless bare attention. Habitual deliberation is not necessary to eliminate those things that are keeping you in bondage. All that is necessary is a clear, non-conceptual perception of what they are and how they work. That alone is sufficient to dissolve them. Concepts and reasoning just get in the way. Don't think. See."
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      To elaborate on your follow up questions:

      Assuming someone must believe in reincarnation to be Buddhist is like assuming someone must be against gay marriage in order to be Christian. Buddhism emerged in an area where people already believed in reincarnation, and so the belief continued after the Buddha began teaching even though he personally never taught it. There's no reason to get upset if someone doesn't understand Buddhism, though. After all, you're not doing it for them.

      As far as weed goes I did not say you were addicted. But you should be wary. It's not physically addicting, no, but let me ask you a question. How often do you use it to fight boredom? How often do you use things like TV or Internet to fight boredom? These are way in which we resist the present, and Mindfulness is about surrender to the present. Anything used in an act of resistance will inhibit you. Weed, when taken rarely, in my personal opinion can have a positive effect. But it has a slippery slope.

      Now to add to Alucinor's post

      As Buddhism teaches, desire causes suffering. Enlightenment is to be without suffering. Therefore, it is impossible to achieve enlightenment if you desire enlightenment. That is the paradox most fledgling buddhists struggle over. So let me simplify it. Keep in mind my explanation is of something purely experiential. It is my interpretation using my terminology.

      You are already perfect. Inside you of you, there is something that is always, unconditionally okay. You are already enlightened, underneath the fog of mind. The only thing holding you back are the false assumptions you've made about reality. Your Self stands apart from all the assumptions and judgments you make about the world and yourself. Your Self does not need to believe any of them. Your Self can experience Truth while your self (the ego) experiences Belief.
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      Thanks to both of you, these answers have helped hugely, as well as given me a lot to think about. Much of this seems like lessons I may learn myself through regular meditation, so you've also given me something nice to look forward to finding out as well!
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      Ok, here's another one: mantras - am I correct in saying they are repeated words/phrases/syllables which have a way of 'telling' the unconscious something? Or is this just one of their uses? Or am I completely off!

      I've seen various users on DV talk about the mantras they recite, and have since wondered how I could incorporate them. Is it as simple as concentrating fully on a word or phrase, in the same way as you would on your breath?
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      Essentially yes. It's a type of self-hypnosis similar to an affirmation. It's primarily used for transcendental meditation rather than mindfulness. If you know anything about Chaos Magick, things like Mantras and Yantras are used to help cultivate the landscape of the mind, with the belief that "as within, so without." By affecting your unconscious mind, you bypass the critical barrier and change your neural patterns to coincide with your desires.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      As far as weed goes I did not say you were addicted. But you should be wary. It's not physically addicting, no, but let me ask you a question. How often do you use it to fight boredom? How often do you use things like TV or Internet to fight boredom? These are way in which we resist the present, and Mindfulness is about surrender to the present. Anything used in an act of resistance will inhibit you. Weed, when taken rarely, in my personal opinion can have a positive effect. But it has a slippery slope.
      If using the TV or Internet is considered fighting the present, would not reading or... practically ANYTHING you could possibly do be likewise? What exactly are we supposed to be doing with our time if everything is resisting the present?

      I was recently having an issue in meditation where I would sink through most thoughts and find near total mental silence, but find that at the bottom of it all I had some song or portion of a song looping in my head and couldn't seem to silence it. Ultimately I found it just went away when I stopped trying, but when I Googled the issue a lot of what I read was that, basically if you truly wish to seek enlightenment you have to practically abandon music and sensory pleasures of that sort altogether. I'm fascinated with Buddhist philosophy and meditation but stuff like that kinda takes the wind out of my sails. I'm not looking to completely shun everything in this world. Is that actually a requirement?
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      Only resisting the present is resisting the present. The actions are not the problem, but the reason you commit those actions may be. Surrendering to the present does not require you to not be engaged in an activity. It only requires that the activity not be used as a means of resisting the present.

      Eckhart Tolle talks about drugs and television in his book. He says they are used to bring the mind below conscious awareness, as a form of hypnosis to alleviate the self of the burden of living for a moment. I tend to agree with this. He recommends that if you are going to watch TV you should do so deliberately, because of a particular show you're interested in, and you should stay conscious and attentive throughout the program. Also mute the commercials.

      Drugs are the same way, there's ways in which you can use drugs very deliberately and remain attentive to all the insight they have to offer. But that's not the way most people us drugs, just like his description is not the way most people watch TV or use the internet. Running and chasing, it's all just running and chasing.
      Last edited by Original Poster; 09-13-2012 at 07:08 AM.
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      How can you tell the difference? How is watching TV one moment resisting, and the next not? If you have something else that needs to be done, you mean? Stuff like that?
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      It comes down to staying present rather than dulling the mind, and acting deliberately rather than anxiously. Are you facing your fears or avoiding them? Are you facing your Self or avoiding it? Are you in a state of surrender, or are you combating something? You can engage in activities, but they can become obstacles when you engage in them purely because you are afraid of doing nothing. At that moment, you relinquish control, and are no longer acting but reacting. The attitude makes the difference.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    15. #15
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      Yes, like not coming home and just turning on the damn tv. You know what you want to watch, then you give it your full attention. And not just mindless crap like kardashians or jersey shore, or the bachelor or any of ten thousand other shows that suck beyond belief. You find something that makes you think and grabs your attention well after you've stopped watching it.
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      I Dreamed a Dream
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      Sound Manipulator moSh's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      If you know anything about Chaos Magick, things like Mantras and Yantras are used to help cultivate the landscape of the mind, with the belief that "as within, so without."
      I don't know anything about Chaos Magick, in fact I've only ever seen it mentioned in certain threads on this forum. From what I saw, it seemed a bit far-fetched to me, though what you've said here seems more psychological than supernatural.

      Would you mind elaborating on the "as within, so without" bit, I don't quite understand what you mean by that.

      By affecting your unconscious mind, you bypass the critical barrier and change your neural patterns to coincide with your desires.
      I had a feeling this is what mantras might be for, is there a specific way in which you would go about reciting them for them to be efective?
      GOALS - GLORY FOR TEAM INSTINCT
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    17. #17
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      First of all to TheWitheredMan, I thought more about what you said regarding meditating and then not being able to do it right because a song starts replaying in your head. You do not need to control your thoughts in order to meditate effectively. You only need to stop identifying with your thoughts. Allow your thoughts to be the same as the noise outside your mind, that is to say, an experience for your perception. It is the same with any activity you do mindfully. You watch yourself watching the world, watch yourself performing the activity. Give space between your perception and everything you perceive. Detach yourself from your Self, the perception.

      Mosh, "As within, so without," in the context I am using it, means that your outer environment will replicate the condition of your mind. If you can affect the condition of your mind, you can affect the experiences you have.

      One tip a friend of mine gave me regarding self-hypnosis, mantras, affirmations, etc. is to stick to them habitually. For instance, every night as your falling asleep, repeat "Every day in every way, my life is getting better and better." Do this ten times a night, count with your fingers, feel the words and speak the words deliberately each time, rather than automatically. Do this for 30 days. If you fail a night, don't worry about it, just start over. Try to do it for 30 days without stopping and you will have stabilized the condition in your mind. This will create a strong neural pattern in your mind so that you will not only cognitively believe your life is getting better, but unconsciously as well. Repetition is stronger than logic.
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    18. #18
      Czar Salad IndieAnthias's Avatar
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      I like this thread, the questions and answers are helping me as well. I might have some of my own when I can figure out how to word them properly.
      moSh likes this.

    19. #19
      Sound Manipulator moSh's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Mosh, "As within, so without," in the context I am using it, means that your outer environment will replicate the condition of your mind. If you can affect the condition of your mind, you can affect the experiences you have.
      I get it now, thanks. For some reason I was thinking of the 'not having' definition of 'without', so thanks for clearing that up! What you're saying rings true to what I've been finding recently, about how little credit we give to the power of our unconscious, as well as the power we have over it.

      Just a thought, is this principle of 'repetition stronger than logic' the basis of brainwashing, would you say?
      GOALS - GLORY FOR TEAM INSTINCT
      DILD [ ] /// Chain a Lucid Dream [ ] /// Stabilise [ ] /// Ask someone what the time is [ ]
      Turn on a computer and jump into it [ ] /// Fly out the Earth's atmosphere [ ] /// Telekinesis [ ] /// Jump through door [ ]
      Listen to my favourite record [ ] /// Jump down two flights of steps without breaking the old kneecaps [ ] /// Smoke a fatty [ ]

    20. #20
      Sound Manipulator moSh's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Mosh, "As within, so without," in the context I am using it, means that your outer environment will replicate the condition of your mind. If you can affect the condition of your mind, you can affect the experiences you have.
      I get it now, thanks. For some reason I was thinking of the 'not having' definition of 'without', so thanks for clearing that up! What you're saying rings true to what I've been finding recently, about how little credit we give to the power of our unconscious, as well as the power we have over it.

      Just a thought, is this principle of 'repetition stronger than logic' the basis of brainwashing, would you say?
      GOALS - GLORY FOR TEAM INSTINCT
      DILD [ ] /// Chain a Lucid Dream [ ] /// Stabilise [ ] /// Ask someone what the time is [ ]
      Turn on a computer and jump into it [ ] /// Fly out the Earth's atmosphere [ ] /// Telekinesis [ ] /// Jump through door [ ]
      Listen to my favourite record [ ] /// Jump down two flights of steps without breaking the old kneecaps [ ] /// Smoke a fatty [ ]

    21. #21
      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      Certainly but it's also the basis for 90% of the our learning in general. We learn by the examples we surround ourselves with. The more often you reinforce a pattern, the stronger it is. It's not enough to know, one must practice.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    22. #22
      widdershins modality Achievements:
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      I'll mainly weigh in on the reincarnation question--aside from that, I agree that exploring sanghas in your area is a good move. The London area is bound to have a glut of them. If they offer a basic "intro to Buddhism/meditation," go ahead and take it. In-person instruction trumps reading every time, even in the very basics. My university also offered a meditation class in the Philosophy department--you might check to see if there's something similar at your school.

      Back to reincarnation, no, the Buddha did not teach reincarnation and in fact refuted the Hindu (or proto-Hindu) doctrine of reincarnation, but the resulting refinement, rebirth, is central to his teachings. Death is no escape from the dissatisfaction inherent in our existence or from the consequences of our actions, but there's nothing supernatural about rebirth and karma. It's not something you necessarily need to wrap your head around now, but an understanding of rebirth hinges on another teaching, anatman or "no-self," which is itself a corollary of the main feature that set the Buddha's teachings apart from his contemporaries: dependent origination or interdependent co-arising.

      The plainest way of stating dependent origination for us Westerners is probably "everything is connected." More than connected, everything and everyone in the present interpenetrates and overlaps one another, and the world in which we are embedded arises from that interaction. The appearance that we are distinct forms with fixed qualities, "existing unto ourselves," is delusional. The objects of our desire are transient mirages glinting from the surface of a choppy sea and the same applies to ourselves, what we think we are. The chains of cause and effect that meet in each of us extend into every part of the universe and throughout beginningless time and 'we' are each merely a tangle grown particularly dense between birth and death, with new strands catching or breaking free all along the way. The continuities that meet in us did not spring into existence at our conception and will not end with our deaths. In the meantime, we tend to place entirely too much emphasis on the momentary clump, while all that comprises it will continue into the next moment and the next and the next without end, coming together again and again due to the same affinities and history that caused them to meet in you. To understand how you will persist beyond death requires the realization that you don't exist now nearly as much as you think you do.

      From the perspective of ego, talk of past and future lives seems supernatural, but the real fairy tale is ego itself.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    23. #23
      Sound Manipulator moSh's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Taosaur View Post
      Back to reincarnation, no, the Buddha did not teach reincarnation and in fact refuted the Hindu (or proto-Hindu) doctrine of reincarnation, but the resulting refinement, rebirth, is central to his teachings. Death is no escape from the dissatisfaction inherent in our existence or from the consequences of our actions, but there's nothing supernatural about rebirth and karma. It's not something you necessarily need to wrap your head around now, but an understanding of rebirth hinges on another teaching, anatman or "no-self," which is itself a corollary of the main feature that set the Buddha's teachings apart from his contemporaries: dependent origination or interdependent co-arising.

      The plainest way of stating dependent origination for us Westerners is probably "everything is connected." More than connected, everything and everyone in the present interpenetrates and overlaps one another, and the world in which we are embedded arises from that interaction. The appearance that we are distinct forms with fixed qualities, "existing unto ourselves," is delusional. The objects of our desire are transient mirages glinting from the surface of a choppy sea and the same applies to ourselves, what we think we are. The chains of cause and effect that meet in each of us extend into every part of the universe and throughout beginningless time and 'we' are each merely a tangle grown particularly dense between birth and death, with new strands catching or breaking free all along the way. The continuities that meet in us did not spring into existence at our conception and will not end with our deaths. In the meantime, we tend to place entirely too much emphasis on the momentary clump, while all that comprises it will continue into the next moment and the next and the next without end, coming together again and again due to the same affinities and history that caused them to meet in you. To understand how you will persist beyond death requires the realization that you don't exist now nearly as much as you think you do.

      From the perspective of ego, talk of past and future lives seems supernatural, but the real fairy tale is ego itself.
      The majority of this makes sense to me, I think, thanks so much for your input. What I'm still having trouble with, however, is the karmic aspect of rebirth. I'd be happy to just accept that the atoms, molecules, etc. that comprise someone obviously do not disappear, and in that respect one does not really die, assuming the self as we see it is an illusion. However, is there not a degree of 'what you do now carries through to the next 'life'' in some sense? Going back to what I read about your progress towards enlightenment being passed on to your next life, surely this requires some sort of unexplainable processes?
      GOALS - GLORY FOR TEAM INSTINCT
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      Turn on a computer and jump into it [ ] /// Fly out the Earth's atmosphere [ ] /// Telekinesis [ ] /// Jump through door [ ]
      Listen to my favourite record [ ] /// Jump down two flights of steps without breaking the old kneecaps [ ] /// Smoke a fatty [ ]

    24. #24
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      Quote Originally Posted by moSh View Post
      The majority of this makes sense to me, I think, thanks so much for your input. What I'm still having trouble with, however, is the karmic aspect of rebirth. I'd be happy to just accept that the atoms, molecules, etc. that comprise someone obviously do not disappear, and in that respect one does not really die, assuming the self as we see it is an illusion. However, is there not a degree of 'what you do now carries through to the next 'life'' in some sense? Going back to what I read about your progress towards enlightenment being passed on to your next life, surely this requires some sort of unexplainable processes?
      Physical particles are the least of it. Materialism is so embedded in our culture that when we hear "cause and effect" we think only of atoms bouncing around like billiard balls, but most of your consciousness is immaterial in decidedly non-magical ways, and still ruled by (and composed of nothing but) shifting webs of cause and effect. An enormous portion of your consciousness is social, shared out among your loved ones, contacts, readers, students, followers, or what have you. Even images of you very similar in nature (if not in specifics) to the one with which you identify will persist in their consciousness for an unknowable time after your death. In other respects "you" are a component of larger, longer-lived continuities like your culture, family, field of work, hobby, religion or philosophy, and even humanity itself, all sentience, life on earth, life in the universe, all that has form...

      You are not a closed system. You are the resonance of innumerable patterns of varying scale, and any changes introduced to those patterns will propagate downstream. A pattern that emerges 100 years from now may not exactly replicate "you" as you are now, but neither did "you" ten years ago or ten minutes ago. Also unlike reincarnation, rebirth does not necessarily mean exactly one incarnation followed by exactly one more followed by exactly one more. Even in one of the most reincarnation-like institutions in Buddhism, the Dalai Lama and other tulkus of the Himalayas, one guru may be said to create dozens or hundreds of "emanations" in the next generation. When seeking the next incarnation, there are often several candidates of which one is determined to have the greatest part of the former master (generally judged by his surviving students, teachers and colleagues), and then much of what he was is transmitted back to him (or her) by people who were close to the previous incarnation.

      In a sense, you are nothing other or less than the ground nature of all being, perpetually incarnate in the totality of all that exists.
      moSh, DeathCell and Woodstock like this.
      If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficulties and problems. With this strength, your own problems will seem less significant and bothersome to you. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm.Dalai Lama



    25. #25
      Member Woodstock's Avatar
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      Taosaur, that really makes me think of reincarnation in a different way. I've always thought it meant when you die, you're born again. It didn't make sense to me. So you're saying that because we are all connected, we never really die because our consciousness can't die? Am I understanding what you said right? If that's true, we could be born again when we die, but not as a new person, just a different part of the universal consciousness?

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