Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: Encouragement

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 08, 2014 3:32 pm

Does Hakuin Roshi then go on to do us the favor of defining "Great Doubt"?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
Posts: 10553
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Encouragement

Postby Monlam Tharchin » Sun Jun 08, 2014 5:04 pm

Sherab, we're saying the same thing in different ways.
This is a hot topic here these days so I'll be direct.

If we feel doubt and think, "this practice is all wrong, I need this new one, those better beliefs," this is not bringing doubt to the path.
If we feel doubt about our own abilities and think, "this wide world out there seems more true, I want to become one with it," this is not bringing doubt to the path.
If we feel small and ineffective and think, "this is how I really am, a pile of crap!" this is not bringing doubt to the path.

What is bringing doubt and discouragement to the path?
Opening the hand of thought, letting them land in our palms, and taking a good look at them.
If we close our fist by following our desire to be free from pain, we can no longer see our experience.
Bravely seeing our own experience, we compassionately understand the plight of beings who identify 100% with every thought.
Bravely seeing our own ineffectiveness to construe goals and achieve them, we compassionately understand the plight of beings who rejoice in success and despair in failure.

Our discouragement, our doubt, is so painful because we cannot find the peace and satisfaction we seek in these things.
They are so variable (anicca), come and go as they please (anatta), and bring only pain the moment we try to have things our way (dukka).
Our discouragement and doubt are not virtues, but indicators.
If we've spent our whole lives being an intellectual, being a go-getter, having success, then this is a hard pill to swallow.

Finally, my first post was not hyperbole. I have an unusually bad memory. I can't remember dharma talks, books, quotes, and have never come close to any meditative state.
That said, I still read, listen, meditate, recite the nembutsu, and practice.
That's because the whole point of the darn thing is to do this for the good of others.

To be very direct for people mired in discouragement:
Stop relying on doubt for every little thing.
Stop relying on success to motivate you.
Stop relying on a calm mind to meditate.
Stop relying on enlightenment to be a decent human being.
Muster all the gumption you have and enter every single dharma gate you find, no matter what the sign above it says.
formerly duckfiasco, now using my dharma name
Namu Amida Butsu
User avatar
Monlam Tharchin
Posts: 676
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Encouragement

Postby Adi » Sun Jun 08, 2014 7:05 pm

For what it's worth, I find duckfiasco's writings here to be clear, beautiful and quite encouraging. There are countless practitioners of the past (Han Shan's Cold Mountain Poems just came to mind) who express the exasperation one can feel about the world while knowing the only way they can see and feel that exasperation, that weariness, is by seeing it from the view on the path. As was written "Discouragement is a powerful gate to renunciation." Oh heck yes! When you feel totally exhausted with something, let it exhaust. Let it go. That incredible weariness with samsara & all its things is a powerful gift if you have the motivation, refuge and other good things to change what you've been doing for inconceivable lifetimes and make a new habit, a Dharma habit.

I think that exhaustion & discouragement is actually crucial, because if one is content with the way things are, why bother changing them?

Thanks again duckfiasco for your your writings here. I find them most helpful.


I want to make it clear that when I talked about a poetic conceit earlier I was using it in the reader's or scholar's way strictly to refer to an artistic effect or device, or style. I did not mean any other definition of that word. :)
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:45 pm

Re: Encouragement

Postby Monlam Tharchin » Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:42 am

Thanks for sharing, Adi :cheers: Discouragement is very slippery and easy to mistake for something else. We sometimes need all the help we can get not to miss it, so I very much appreciate what you wrote.

Another relevant quote I just read:
Ezra Bayda, 'The Authentic Life' wrote:The third major obstacle we encounter on the spiritual path is our deep-seated desire to feel a particular way, whether it's calm or clear or spacious or simply free of anxiety. This obstacle is so universal and so deeply entrenched that we are guaranteed to get stuck in it again and again. In fact, whenever we feel frustrated in any way, if we simply ask, "How is it supposed to be?" we'll see that our discomfort is based, at least in part, on the entitled belief that we should feel different, namely better.

Probably all of us share in the illusion that if we practice long enough and hard enough, we'll get what we want -- enlightenment, good health, a satisfying relationship, or whatever else we're seeking. The hope is that in getting the reward, we will then feel the way we want to feel, and be happy.

We can tell that we're still harboring this illusion if we believe that not feeling good or experiencing distress means that something is wrong -- or even that something is wrong with us. This persistent belief drives us to do whatever we can to alleviate our discomfort. We think if we just practice harder, we're sure to feel better. We should never underestimate the extent to which we equate feeling better with being awake. But a key point about spiritual practice is that we don't have to feel any particular way.
formerly duckfiasco, now using my dharma name
Namu Amida Butsu
User avatar
Monlam Tharchin
Posts: 676
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Encouragement

Postby oushi » Mon Jun 09, 2014 8:20 am

I would say, that there is no hope for doubtless ignorant.
Say what you think about me here.
User avatar
Posts: 1596
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 6:18 am


Return to Personal Experience

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests