Author Topic: getting over samsara and dukkha sometimes is hard or is it depression?  (Read 72 times)

chris chamley

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • maybe vipassana combined with eventual jhana as tool to achieve sotapanna and beyond
Experienced a deep sense of being over my current addictions yesterday ( broke down and cried about it ). Be it the desire for some form of sexual activity, food beyond what is needed or healthy, a beer or three in the evening, company of others to stave off loneliness, being owned by my possessions, thinking that if I change this or that externality, I will be happier. If I reduce my wants and simplify my life to the bare essentials then maybe I will suffer less. But the mind is strongly influenced by habit and while I am over it, I am yet to be able to overcome it. Yes, I am blessed to feel a deep dissatisfaction with life as I know the way to exit my problems.
For a last few years, I decided I did not believe in rebirth / karma, and when things got bad with a few years of depression I considered suicide, sometimes daily.
Decided 8 months ago to hedge my bets that rebirth is real as otherwise I am throwing away the best chance i have of overcoming the dissatisfaction that I bring to my life. Now that samsara is real again, I have only one exit. Just have to log the hours on the meditation cushion and be kind to myself while undergoing the journey. May the combination of a good map (dhamma) and a good torch (jhanna) help me exit this dark forest.

Separate question
Question about what qualifies as realizing sotapanna? As my days are increasingly only focused on this renewed goal of Nibbana as only way to overcome the cycle of rebirth and I cannot be intellectually convinced that an inherent self exists. How does one know if one has entered the stream? I currently feel that it is still just an intellectual knowing even if it is strong and affecting

stillpointdancer

  • stillpointdancer
  • Member
  • Retired teacher, deepening understanding of Dharma
    • Insight meditation
    • Exploring the results of 30 years of meditating
Re: getting over samsara and dukkha sometimes is hard or is it depression?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2019, 11:00:26 AM »

 How does one know if one has entered the stream? I currently feel that it is still just an intellectual knowing even if it is strong and affecting

Try giving Buddhism and meditation up for a while. If you can, and life goes on as before, you haven't entered the stream yet. On a more intellectual level, what if everyone in the world suddenly gave up Buddhism? Would you give it up, as the last person to believe? If so, you haven't entered the stream yet.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

dharma bum

  • Member
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: getting over samsara and dukkha sometimes is hard or is it depression?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 04:48:34 PM »
Quote
On a more intellectual level, what if everyone in the world suddenly gave up Buddhism? Would you give it up, as the last person to believe?

Such a good question.
Mostly ignorant

Middleway

  • Moderator
  • Just be a witness.
    • Vipassana as taught by Mr. Goenka - Switched to Shamatha
Re: getting over samsara and dukkha sometimes is hard or is it depression?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2019, 12:46:47 AM »
Experienced a deep sense of being over my current addictions yesterday ( broke down and cried about it ). Be it the desire for some form of sexual activity, food beyond what is needed or healthy, a beer or three in the evening, company of others to stave off loneliness, being owned by my possessions, thinking that if I change this or that externality, I will be happier. If I reduce my wants and simplify my life to the bare essentials then maybe I will suffer less. But the mind is strongly influenced by habit and while I am over it, I am yet to be able to overcome it. Yes, I am blessed to feel a deep dissatisfaction with life as I know the way to exit my problems.
For a last few years, I decided I did not believe in rebirth / karma, and when things got bad with a few years of depression I considered suicide, sometimes daily.
Decided 8 months ago to hedge my bets that rebirth is real as otherwise I am throwing away the best chance i have of overcoming the dissatisfaction that I bring to my life. Now that samsara is real again, I have only one exit. Just have to log the hours on the meditation cushion and be kind to myself while undergoing the journey. May the combination of a good map (dhamma) and a good torch (jhanna) help me exit this dark forest.

Hi Chris,

Welcome to the forum. You have very precisely described my situation in 2012. I would not change even one word in your description. Taking up meditation, reading and understanding Buddha's teachings, and joining this forum made a huge difference in my life for the better.

Addictions and habits are very tough to beat. Trying to forcibly overcome them will not work as you found out already. The habits have a certain momentum. They will continue as you feed them and the more you feed them, their momentum gets stronger. The habit energy will go underground if you forcibly control it. Sooner or later, it comes back with a vengeance and the momentum becomes even stronger.

The only way to beat them is by watching them intensely without interfering with them. Just watch them in real time as the body-mind go about their habits. This watching allows you to stop feeding to the momentum of the habit energy. Just like a bicycle stops at some point after you stop pedaling, the habit energy gets exhausted and you overcome your habits. This habit energy that is accumulated over time is karma. Karma gets destroyed through awareness (of watching).

Have faith in Buddha's teachings that there is no-self and that all things arise dependently. Our deep dissatisfaction arises dependently on our false view that we have a self. Spend as much time as possible on the cushion and contemplate on Buddha's teachings. Insights will come and wisdom they bring will set you free.

And yes, be kind to yourself. Take care.

Middleway
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

eva hermit

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Elders tradition (Theravada). Practice = the study of the mind.
Re: getting over samsara and dukkha sometimes is hard or is it depression?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 07:54:47 PM »
Hello Chris,

1. About being sotapana, I understand what you mean about having a strong intellectual understanding that body and mind is not self. But I am quite sure that sotapana is something entirely different altogether - it means not just understanding that everything is without self, but seeing it, experiencing it. Here's how I analyse this myself and see what areas I have to work on at the same time:
For example, Happiness arises inside because someone says a meal I cooked was really good. (Even if it's just for a split second and I cut it off inside afterwards, still it arises at the moment.) 

Would it make the same thing if I heard the same thing said about somebody else? Surely not. Because?
              MY cooking is good = I am good.
=> MY cooking = I
=> "I am" my cooking, my cooking is a "self"
So there is a contradiction inside, there is a hypocrite! How come I don’t see self when I look inside, but I have a self with cooking?!

Or I could go in the opposite direction, when something makes me unhappy, and see how I have made a "self" out of something and now it is this self that has gotten hurt.
As it is only the self that gets hurt.

2. When you're really fed up of birth and death, it's good because you have the element of renunciation, you're not looking back over your shoulder at how good normal life was. You can move fast. 
If I may, can I recommend to you this article from my favourite dhamma website? https://believeinwhatyousee.com/2019/07/17/birth-and-death/
It talks about exactly this topic - being fed up, seeing that life has no value, and also having faith in Samsara. There are a couple of other articles too on the same website that are relevant to your question.