Vajrayana and PTSD

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Sherab Rigdrol
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Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:35 am

As a psychotherapist I've worked a lot with people who struggle with grief and trauma. Grief has always been a fairly easy vehicle for introducing people to the dharma. However trauma is another monster altogether. I'm not a big proponent of so-called trauma therapies such as EMDR or Brainspotting. They can be useful for people who experience active trauma ie flashbacks and body memories. However, for people with accumulated trauma, whose personalities have been formed based on their traumatic experiences, I find treatment lacks. I've wanted to talk to my teacher about the best way to address people who have gone through unimaginable suffering in this lifetime with practices they can do that will heal and transform them. I think it's important for people to be active in their healing process. In fact it is almost impossible for them to transform their suffering if they aren't. A lot of therapists use Dialectical Behavior Therapy, which is basic mindfulness packed into a pointless group of anagrams meant to help people self regulate. Doesn't do much for the somatic aspect though. As I develop my private practice I'd like to be able to suggest definite practices for my clients to engage in while I support and track their progress.

I mention Vajrayana because of the inherent power of these practices to transform affliction. Obviously the specific Inner and Outer Tantras would in no way be suitable for anyone with dehabilitating PTSD. But maybe some Chenrezig, Medicine Buddha, or Green Tara practices? Also, Yantra Yoga seems like a great resource to release trauma from the body. All of these practice of course would be through the guidance of a Lama. I simply would use their practice as a way of resourcing and transforming the psychological wounds.

What do you think?

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Konchog1
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:50 am

Tonglen for other people with PTSD etc
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:02 am

Yes, i use Tonglen all the time! It does wonders for people who are stuck in the victim role.

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Nemo
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Nemo » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:54 pm

I think that was part of my own path. It is a huge endeavor though. It was basically being reparented by a Lama. Using long periods developing Bodhicitta in rather traditional and what would be viewed as highly unconventional ways. Then deliberately using love and accumulated mindfulness as leverage in situations that would cause the PTSD based spazzing out. As one gets better at dealing with the specific triggers they happen more and more often. Character and confidence then overpower ones personal demons.

I know a psychologist who has first hand experience with this. Send me a PM and I'll give you his email.

Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Sat Mar 23, 2013 7:18 pm

Nemo, thank you for sharing. What an amazing experience it must have been to have a Lama serve as an attachment figure for you. I'd love to hear more about your experience via PM if you wouldn't mind.

Any other insights to my original post kind dharma wheel board?

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:01 am

I know one person with PTSD. After trying a lot of different things during a long period of time she was advised to try a lower-body centered physical practice - yoga (hatha). No aerobics and no upper body workouts (although of course the hatha yoga is a great workout). Something that grounded her in the physical and gave her the sense she was literally putting roots down. In that instance it worked for that particular person.

Yudron
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Yudron » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:35 am

I bet a little Green Tara practice might help Buddhists with trauma. She promised to help the Eight Great Fears and the sixteen lesser ones.

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... reat_fears

http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?titl ... sser_fears

Also, Riwo sang cho, or the careful visualization of the protection dome within one's personal sadhana of any deity might foster a sense of safety.

For a certain personality type, perhaps the more angry kind, practice of the wrathful yidam from one's own tradition might be useful--if one one has received empowerment, reading transmission, and teachings. for others it might be too wild, and trigger things.
Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

Motova
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Motova » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:31 am


Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Sun Mar 24, 2013 4:58 pm

Tara seems to be the way to go for yidam practice I guess. As far as physical stuff goes I'm sure for those who could, prostrations are an incredible resource as well.

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Konchog1
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 6:49 pm

Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Sun Mar 24, 2013 7:00 pm

That's very beautiful Konchog1!

Keep these resources coming.

BuddhaSoup
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:26 pm

Sherab, an area of my interest is the research being done by Dr. Richie Davidson at U Wisconsin Madison on meditation and PTSD. http://vimeo.com/42824198

Yudron
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Yudron » Tue Mar 26, 2013 1:44 pm

I've been reflecting on this. I have an elementary school friend who is apparently suffering greatly from PTSD. I don't know her, but she is a devout Christian and is a FB friend. Yesterday, I got a FB post that she is buying chicks to raise for eggs, meat and fertilizer. So, she is making the intention to kill them eventually. I don't know how one can recover from PTSD when one is setting up the causes and conditions for more trauma, from the karmic consequences of killing.

So, I think part of the picture is to be very diligent not to harm sentient beings, but to help sentient beings instead. Specifically, saving the lives of animals destined for slaughter. Releasing appropriate worms from a bait shop, for example, with prayers for them from one's tradition... which could be a simple as OM MANI PADME HUNG.
Author of Buddhist young adult fiction. Vlogger at Wisdom and Compassion: Grandma Yudron's Totally Chill Vlog on Meditation and Tibetan Wisdom Blogger at Very active on Twitter.

Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:55 pm


BuddhaSoup
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:30 pm


Sherab Rigdrol
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Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:07 pm

Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:51 pm


BuddhaSoup
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:05 pm

Thanks! Found this: http://youtu.be/ArVTV4CQduM

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Spirituality
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Spirituality » Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:01 am

There are guru-yoga practices - on the Dalai Lama for instance - that can be done without an empowerment.

Personally though I think it's very tricky to do these things with people who aren't Buddhists.

Perhaps the simple Buddha 'nectar rain' meditations stripped of specifically Buddhist connotation is something to try? Having them visualize a bright white light and having it cleanse them and enter them?

I agree that such a positive meditation may - unlike Tonglen, which reminds them of their negative emotions and patterns - help strengthen the positive patterns and build a basis for happiness. For those capable of the visualisation, that is.

Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Sherab Rigdrol » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:15 am

It's interesting when working with non-Buddhist clients, or at least non-spiritual. I usually try to present the dharma in terms of common sense. Most people respond positively to it, especially tonglen. So many people want to be compassionate. It's almost a roundabout way to get someone to feel compassion for themselves when they can't-- by giving compassion to others. 8-)

Simon E.
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Re: Vajrayana and PTSD

Postby Simon E. » Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:15 am

" My heart's in the Highlands
my heart is not here.
My heart's in the Highlands
chasing the deer."

Robert V.C. Burns.


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