Suffering and Death

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

Suffering and Death

Postby Jesse » Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:00 am

So I've always thought myself pretty well acquainted with suffering, until the past couple weeks. I'm not sure where or what I picked up, but I caught a very nasty virus and infection of my tonsils/throat. I began taking cipro a friend gave me to help speed my recovery, this caused me to develop an infection in my mouth (oral thrush), it's where your healthy bacteria become out of whack and one of them outgrows the others.)

So I couldn't eat, drink, or hardly move for days, it was some of the worst pain I've felt. I was passing between dreams and reality for a while and at least one morning I truly thought I was going to die. I did have some amazing dreams though!

all of that lasted a good 7 days, and just as soon as I thought I was out of the woods, I was forced to withdrawal from a very heavy opiate addiction, cold turkey... I still haven't fully recovered from my other illness, and all I could feel was this enormous black wave of dread and doom washing over me repeatedly, like I was at the brink, there's nothing I can do.. The insane amount of pain I was in obviously made this feeling worse.

There was many times I remember just breaking down and laughing, knowing that most of this suffering is my own fault, how I sabotage myself, also I became fairly firmilar with a well of strength in myself I didn't know was there.

This has been a hell of a couple weeks!
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby muni » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:12 am

I am very sorry to hear about these pains, Jesse.

Relating to this a little bit, I think overwhelmed by suffering, there is identification with the suffering. Then when it decreases, the identification as well decreases and some clarity comes and the words that it is cleaning the effects of karma is in some way comforting.
When it is gone, there is even gratitude and the honest wish to have strength to remain aware for the following karmic waves.
Not sure of course this is the same how it has been experienced by others/you.
Suffering is a very useful teacher (can seem not so at the moment at all) for impermanence and gives an opportunity to open compassion for all suffering. Even such experiences looks to make practice temporary not possible, it is still somehow practice to learn how we are conditioned and a strong finger pointing to genuine practice and not my cleverness.

Also regarding death, we can forget that we do not breath, there is just breathing and so no control whether it continues or stop. Therefore this “brings one with feet back on the ground” for genuine practice.

May you be well and practice be smoothly. May all be well. :namaste:
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby Jesse » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:23 pm

muni wrote:I am very sorry to hear about these pains, Jesse.

Relating to this a little bit, I think overwhelmed by suffering, there is identification with the suffering. Then when it decreases, the identification as well decreases and some clarity comes and the words that it is cleaning the effects of karma is in some way comforting.
When it is gone, there is even gratitude and the honest wish to have strength to remain aware for the following karmic waves.
Not sure of course this is the same how it has been experienced by others/you.
Suffering is a very useful teacher (can seem not so at the moment at all) for impermanence and gives an opportunity to open compassion for all suffering. Even such experiences looks to make practice temporary not possible, it is still somehow practice to learn how we are conditioned and a strong finger pointing to genuine practice and not my cleverness.

Also regarding death, we can forget that we do not breath, there is just breathing and so no control whether it continues or stop. Therefore this “brings one with feet back on the ground” for genuine practice.

May you be well and practice be smoothly. May all be well. :namaste:


I appreciate it. It certainty is a good reminder that our health is never guaranteed. We can be fine today, and dead tomorrow. It makes one appreciate the good things we have. Friendships, love, compassion and our own well-being much more than normal. In the depths of so much pain, we are very alone, and I think that's the main thing that still stands out to me from the whole thing. Very lonely experience.

Suffering is indeed a great teacher, the only thing we have to combat so much suffering is truly our compassion and kindness..
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby LastLegend » Mon Jun 30, 2014 1:52 pm

I suffer too. I try to recite Bodhisattvas as much as possible.
This Bodhisattva's vows are so great. Will help alleviate suffering. All in English.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:43 pm

I'm sorry you had to go through that, Jesse. I hope the worst has passed.

Truly painful experiences really drive the Buddha's teaching of suffering home, in my experience. It makes the teachings visceral. It's easy to become complacent when one is young, healthy and free from pain. But when any of those conditions change, as they inevitably must, we suffer.
Peace,
James
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby Ayu » Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:01 pm

Dear Jesse,

the Good News reads as follows: You burned lots of bad karma in this way!
Please do yourself a great lifesaving favour: consult a doctor or a therapist regarding this opiate addiction. Please do it!!!
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Best wishes, Ayu
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*** om vajra krodha hayagrīva hulu hulu hūm phat**
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby Matt J » Tue Jul 01, 2014 5:03 pm

Jesse wrote: I was forced to withdrawal from a very heavy opiate addiction, cold turkey...


A silver lining! I've seen so many lives destroyed by addiction. As you note, suffering can certainly reveal strength we didn't know we had.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby Jesse » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:14 pm

I appreciate everyone's replies.

Truly painful experiences really drive the Buddha's teaching of suffering home, in my experience. It makes the teachings visceral. It's easy to become complacent when one is young, healthy and free from pain. But when any of those conditions change, as they inevitably must, we suffer.


This is very true. The sheer amount of pain the human body can feel is heartbreaking, and I imagine this extends to all beings.

As for the opiate addiction, it is something I have been fighting for many years now, and I am giving it an honest attempt at getting clean, I am actually seeing a doctor today. Before now I have never had withdrawal to such a painful extent. it truly is like poisoning yourself. I appreciate everyone's concern in the matter. :)

In many ways I feel grateful to have gone through what I did, it was eye opening, among other things. I just kind of hope for a bit of peace and quite for the foreseeable future though. :anjali:
"We know nothing at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. The real nature of things we shall never know." - Albert Einstein
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby muni » Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:07 am

Jesse wrote:In many ways I feel grateful to have gone through what I did, it was eye opening, among other things. I just kind of hope for a bit of peace and quite for the foreseeable future though. :anjali:


This is caughing my attention again. Here I guess whether we believe in karma or not, it is easier to understand when we go through effects or by experience. I think gratitude or gratefulness is somehow opening peace. I wish you good health.

Regarding death, even it is mostly not such a popular thing to talk about, I prefer to remember it, not to push it away. It helps to keep practice genuine.

When death comes, I will be helpless
Because actions bear their inevitable effect,
I must abandon evil deeds
And always devote myself to virtuous actions.
Thinking this every day, I will examine myself.
Nyoshul Lungtok.


I am convinced, that time of death actualized dharma will help.
:namaste:
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby muni » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:25 am

Mkoll wrote:I'm sorry you had to go through that, Jesse. I hope the worst has passed.

Truly painful experiences really drive the Buddha's teaching of suffering home, in my experience. It makes the teachings visceral. It's easy to become complacent when one is young, healthy and free from pain. But when any of those conditions change, as they inevitably must, we suffer.


This is so true. :namaste:
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby smcj » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:47 am

I am of the opinion that addiction should be addressed in a 12 step format. It will have the effect of sensitizing you to spiritual life as well, and will do nothing be benefit your Dharma practice.

Good luck.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Suffering and Death

Postby Mkoll » Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:53 pm

muni wrote:Regarding death, even it is mostly not such a popular thing to talk about, I prefer to remember it, not to push it away. It helps to keep practice genuine.

Indeed.

In the Pali Canon, the Buddha recommends we all reflect on 5 things every day, no matter who we may be.

"There are these five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained. Which five?

"'I am subject to aging, have not gone beyond aging.' This is the first fact that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained.

"'I am subject to illness, have not gone beyond illness.' ...

"'I am subject to death, have not gone beyond death.' ...

"'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear and appealing to me.' ...

"'I am the owner of my actions,[1] heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.' ...

"These are the five facts that one should reflect on often, whether one is a woman or a man, lay or ordained.
Peace,
James
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