Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby chökyi » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:16 pm

Hello, I'm new here. I've joined this forum because I could use some perspective and help about certain aspects of my Dharma practice.
I'm still struggling to harmonise two things in my life: on the one hand, my master frequently repeats we ought to stop thinking of the "Self" as precious and dear to us. On the other hand, I'm coming from a difficult start in life: two decades of neglect and abuse as a child followed by about 7 years of abuse perpetrated by my ex. Now, I don't see myself as a victim, I do have a sense of dignity which I built upon to become a decent and socially adjusted person in spite of all, and I take responsibility for what happened as well as for the healing process. Still, this is far from saying I'm not dealing with some nasty side effects especially concerning my self-esteem and how I relate to others. Also, being stigmatised and being treated like a contemptible person because I must have deserved what happened to me has certainly taken its toll. As a result I still have a hard time with things that other people take for granted, like considering myself a human being and deserving of friendship or affection.
I've been a Dharma practitioner for a couple of years now, but I still feel there are unresolved issues that are holding me back. I feel confused and overwhelmed because on the one hand I am told (by therapists and the like) in order to heal I need to learn to love and cherish myself and understand that what happened isn't my fault, while, ironically, the Dharma teaches me it is my fault and that I shouldn't cherish the self.
I'm cool with the whole karma thing and the law of cause & effect. It took time, it wasn't easy to accept, but I have made some sense of it. What I am struggling with the "self" issue. Will it really help me to learn to cherish the self? Isn't that in contrast with Dharma?
Is there any advice you could share?
It's a sensitive topic for me, so I would be grateful if you could handle it in a respectful, compassionate way. (I'm planning to discuss this with my master too, but I won't see him for a few months, and your input could be food for thought meanwhile.)
Thanks
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby Mkoll » Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:59 pm

Hi,

Personally, I've found that loving-kindness (mettā) meditation and practice is most helpful in overcoming feelings of ill-will towards myself and others.

The Mettā Sutta is a beautiful exposition of the Buddha's teaching on loving-kindness:

Sn 1.8 wrote:This is to be done by one skilled in aims who wants to break through to the state of peace: Be capable, upright, & straightforward, easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited, content & easy to support, with few duties, living lightly, with peaceful faculties, masterful, modest, & no greed for supporters. Do not do the slightest thing that the wise would later censure. Think: Happy, at rest, may all beings be happy at heart. Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart. Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere, or through anger or irritation wish for another to suffer. As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings. With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without enmity or hate. Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert, one should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding here & now. Not taken with views, but virtuous & consummate in vision, having subdued desire for sensual pleasures, one never again will lie in the womb.

May you be happy!

:heart:
Peace,
James
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby undefineable » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:10 am

Hi chokyi

buddha nature is simply the birthright of every sentient being
- Sogyal Rinpoche { http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Buddha_nature" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" }

Your topic caught my attention because I recall wondering, as a teenager, why being abused in different ways hurts so much. By various means, I saw that this is because psychological boundaries essential to individualised existence are automatically 'set to alarm' when breached in this way, and that pain is the natural result :/ This painful aspect of 'self-cherishing' seems to me, then, to be a fact of samsara, and not something one can switch on and off at a whim.


I don't think there's a contradiction between the traditional Buddhist advice to love and cherish others and the traditional therapists' advice ( :tongue: ) to love and cherish oneself - 'Oneself AND all sentient beings' is, in a sense, implied in both teachings. Normally, beings focus on tossing either others or themselves -sometimes even both- into the metaphorical waste paper basket, in a pattern that Buddhist teachings describe as "Desire for Existence" and "Desire for Non-existence".

I understand the term normally translated from the Tibetan as 'self-cherishing' as referring to the feeling one has that one needs to react to different objects with attachment, aversion or ignorance, depending on the responses naturally triggered by each object - One desires to make satisfiying attachments, avoid pain, and/or ignore confusion. However, to understand 'self-cherishing' properly, you or I would need a tailored explanation from a Buddhist master -or at the very least a generalised (but 'definitive') written explanation by a respected Buddhist teacher- rather than heresay (or heresy for that matter :P ). For starters, the instinct to choose a course of action that prevents one's own destruction is rarely something that anyone would be better off without!


As for your comments on karma, I was involved in a couple of productive discussions on that old chestnut here on Dharmawheel a while back (when I had more time for such things!) - As far as I'm concerned, one major conclusion was that negative karma falls into the category of 'innocent mistake', since all such actions self-evidently occur out of the desire to experience happiness and avoid suffering. This is because avidya -fundamental ignorance- is said to prevent sentient beings from seeing which actions of body, speech and mind would be to their own ultimate benefit to perform, and which would bring harm to themselves if performed. It's also that way because it's not possible, from a Buddhist perspective, for a personality to endure across lifetimes to the point at which a child could be held culpable for actions committed in a previous lifetime that somehow triggered their own circumstances - still less for that child to be held culpable for its *experience of* those circumstances.

In any case, the question of which life experiences were and weren't caused by past actions was never resolved within Buddhism. You can research this online, but it would atleast make sense that mental habits should be rooted in previous karma - If it were otherwise, there'd be no reason for one's own mindstream to attach itself to one set of genetically-based habits rather than another, and it's self-evident that a being with no particular mental patterns would be either completely enlightened or completely confused! _ Beyond this, the idea that a "body of karma" is to blame for everything that happens is basically speculation unless one has seen such a process in action. So, choosing to take up responsibility for one's present mind-state *as informed by whichever actions led to the patterns that formed it* makes sense from Buddhism's point of view. Choosing to 'take responsibility' for something someone else did to you is something most people would do if they were in your shoes, but sounds less reasonable when you look at it from a more detached point of view.
chökyi wrote:being stigmatised and being treated like a contemptible person because I must have deserved what happened to me
I trust this hasn't been your experience in Dharma circles :shock:

All the best for your journey on the Path :namaste:
Last edited by undefineable on Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby Vajrasvapna » Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:33 am

chökyi wrote:Hello, I'm new here. I've joined this forum because I could use some perspective and help about certain aspects of my Dharma practice.

Hi Chökyi, good to meet with you.

chökyi wrote:Also, being stigmatised and being treated like a contemptible person because I must have deserved what happened to me has certainly taken its toll. As a result I still have a hard time with things that other people take for granted, like considering myself a human being and deserving of friendship or affection.

I recommend the following book to help you understand the abuse from the psychological point of view: http://amzn.com/B004FN1S5O

chökyi wrote:I've been a Dharma practitioner for a couple of years now, but I still feel there are unresolved issues that are holding me back. I feel confused and overwhelmed because on the one hand I am told (by therapists and the like) in order to heal I need to learn to love and cherish myself and understand that what happened isn't my fault, while, ironically, the Dharma teaches me it is my fault and that I shouldn't cherish the self.


Trungpa Rinpoche offers the following statement regarding compassion and self:
"Having taken the bodhisattva vow and committed yourself to the bodhisattva path, there's a tremendous sense of excitement. You want to do everything and handle every situation extraordinarily. You feel that you could save people on the spot, that you could help people by sacrificing your next meal or your next nap. But that doesn't seem to be quite enough. In fact, quite possibly, if you do not take care of your own body and energy, your bodhisattva action will become very sloppy and tedious as a result of your being too tired. You have been putting too much energy into working with other people without regard to your own basic health. So the bodhisattva's skillful means does not only go outward; it also involves tremendous concern for one's own body, one's own basic being. There is a sense of responsibility in all directions."http://amzn.com/B00IN9OVEQ

Therefore you should take care of yourself. What must be avoided is the self clinging, remember that our true nature is the Buddha-nature, the union of emptiness and clarity:
"All of the faults of samsāra arise from the deluded mind which apprehends a personal self or a self of phenomena. Since this deluded mind also is adventitious like clouds in the sky, from the beginning neither mixing nor polluting the luminous clarity of the primordial basic nature, these faults are individually distinguished from the basic element and are suitable to be removed. Therefore, the essence of the basic element is empty of these faults; it is untainted. Without depending on the polluting delusion, it is luminous and clear by its own nature; self-existing wisdom permeates the thusness of all phenomena. It is not empty of that which it is inseparable from, the basic element of consummate qualities, because in its essence this is the basic nature from which it is inseparable—like the sun and light rays." Mipam Rinpoche http://amzn.com/B003HGHRHS
chökyi wrote:I'm cool with the whole karma thing and the law of cause & effect. It took time, it wasn't easy to accept, but I have made some sense of it. What I am struggling with the "self" issue. Will it really help me to learn to cherish the self? Isn't that in contrast with Dharma?
Is there any advice you could share?

Some people tend to think that karma is some sort of punishment, but karma arises from ignorance and dualistic clinging. The goal of Buddhism is to transcend cause and effect, however, until we reach realization, we should do good deeds and avoid negative actions.
All beings possess the same empty and luminous nature as Machik Lapdron says:"Furthermore, they don’t understand that all phenomena lack even a hair’s tip of true existence, that they are like a dream or an illusion. Holding on to the truth of confused appearances, they create only unvirtuous karma and experience the consequence, unbearable suffering. Freeing them of this ignorance of ego-fixation, I will show them the timeless wisdom of reflexive awareness and place them on the path of enlightenment.". So, The reason we carried out so many negative actions in our many lives was because of ignorance of our nature and the nature of phenomena.
Moreover, suffering is something positive in the path, without suffering what motivation would we have to practice? As Patrul Rinpoche says: "This suffering has been of tremendous assistance; it will help me to achieve the many wonderful kinds of happiness and bliss which are experienced in the higher realms and in liberation from samsara and which are extremely difficult to find. From now on too, I know that whatever suffering lies in store for me will have the same effect. So however tough, however difficult the suffering may be, it will always bring me the greatest joy and happiness, bitter and yet sweet, like those Indian cakes made of sugar mixed with cardamom and pepper." http://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/dodrupchen-III/transforming-suffering-and-happiness
"It cuts the root of the mind;
It cuts the root of the five poisonous emotions
And the extreme views, which become the causes for meditation;
As well as conduct accompanied by inadequacy, hope, fear,
And pride— because it cuts all of these,
It is defined as Chöd."
Aryadeva

"Firstly with the thought of “I”, they cling to self,
And then with “mine”, they grow attached to things,
Helplessly, they wander like a turning waterwheel."
Candrakīrti

"'A great yogi' simply means being free from attachment and clinging." Guru Padma
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Jun 22, 2014 4:41 am

Be very clear about what is meant by "the self".
We aren't cutting off our own arms here, or surgically extracting a tumor of badness.
Where is there suffering, and how can we respond with compassion and brave wisdom?
Best of luck to you, I hope we'll see you around more. :cheers:
Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby LastLegend » Sun Jun 22, 2014 7:05 am

chökyi wrote:...in order to heal I need to learn to love and cherish myself and understand that what happened isn't my fault, while, ironically, the Dharma teaches me it is my fault and that I shouldn't cherish the self.


Learn not to hold past memories to be so important in relationship to your whole being now, your whole existence. Your past memories do not arise all the time, so when not arised, you are still you present here-did not disappear. Learn to forgive the other person.

Recite a mantra should help. I recommend Avloviasitraka's mantra.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby theanarchist » Sun Jun 22, 2014 9:17 am

chökyi wrote:Hello, I'm new here. I've joined this forum because I could use some perspective and help about certain aspects of my Dharma practice.
I'm still struggling to harmonise two things in my life: on the one hand, my master frequently repeats we ought to stop thinking of the "Self" as precious and dear to us.



Stop. That advice means, that it's not a good to cling to a fixed, solid concept about oneself that is the reason for narcisstic self centeredness, which in term is the driving force behind all karma.

It has absolutely NOTHING to do with a healthy self esteem and conficende in one's own abilities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

I suggest that you get deeper into teachings about what exactly the term "self" in buddhism means. Because it's not a good translation at all. It's the false, deluded notion of a self that one has to eliminate to attain liberation. And this false, deluded notion of a self is not some truely existant entity, but a deeply habituated misunderstanding about one's own nature. Now getting rid of a misunderstanding about oneself that causes all kinds of harm, that sounds more reasonable, doesn't it?
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby chökyi » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:32 am

Thank you all for the insightful answers and food for thought.

Mkoll wrote:Personally, I've found that loving-kindness (mettā) meditation and practice is most helpful in overcoming feelings of ill-will towards myself and others.


Thank you, James. I agree, the Mettā Sutta is a beautiful, inspiring exposition on loving-kindness.

I may add I do not experience feelings of ill-will towards myself or others. For some reason, even when I was a child I could see how my own mother, who appeared crazy and incredibly cruel at times, was going through hell herself, because of her pyschological problems. She was just as cruel to herself as she was to me. My ex - he was messed up on so many levels. It was his answer to having been bullied and, apparently, molested himself.
Although there was a lot of psychological blackmail at play, I also had chances to get away from both, but with both I chose to stay. This is what I take responsibility for - this is what I mean was my choice. (*)

I'm not saying it was the right thing to do, but I thought it was. My mother was as dangerous to herself as she was to me, if not more. As for my ex, he was more dangerous to others than himself. I wanted to help him overcome his cruelty (mostly fueled by his excessive, unhealthy pride) because I couldn't bear the idea of what he was capable of doing, so I tried being compassionate, I tried being understanding and supportive with him, but things degenerated to a point where my life was in danger. At that point I called it quits. In hindsight, I wasn't the right person for the task, and I am not denying staying with him might also have stemmed from the fact that being abused was a familiar pattern I was reiterating.

As for the others, the strangers who abused me, they can't be healthy people themselves. If you're ok you don't do certain things. If you can get pleasure or satisfaction from hurting another being who's crying and feeling helpless and can't even fight you back, what sort of life do you have? I know there's no such a thing as "normal", but if you can do that, you're seriously messed up. And dangerous. I don't hate them, I don't want them to suffer or whatnot - deep inside I just don't want people to harm other people who in turn will harm other people (more often than not, not because of genuine cruelty but rather because they are misguided and messed up), in such a senseless, stupid way...

This is basically what eventually set me on the Dharma path.

It was the Dharma that actually taught me to being compassionate towards myself. That because in my practice I learnt to included myself among the sentient beings I want to treat with compassion. Prior to that I couldn't bear the thought of hurting others, but I did a lot to inflict pain to myself.

I do not hate myself, if I did I would have resolved to get over with this life a long time ago (solving nothing, apparently). But I do have a hard time believing other people can love me - or that I deserve their friendship/affection. Whenever I've opened up about my past to people I considered friends, they projected disgust on me and started distancing themselves from me.

undefineable wrote:
chökyi wrote:being stigmatised and being treated like a contemptible person because I must have deserved what happened to me
I trust this hasn't been your experience in Dharma circles :shock:


It doesn't define my whole experience in Dharma circles, but it does reflect the attitude several people (Buddhist or else) have expressed to me. It's not uncommon on this forum either.


(*)
undefineable wrote: Choosing to 'take responsibility' for something someone else did to you is something most people would do if they were in your shoes, but sounds less reasonable when you look at it from a more detached point of view.

_ _ _

PS There are more points people have raised that I found stimulating and meaningful, some of which I need to ponder on a bit before adding anything. I will get back to them later.
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby chökyi » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:06 am

LastLegend wrote:
chökyi wrote:Learn not to hold past memories to be so important in relationship to your whole being now, your whole existence. Your past memories do not arise all the time, so when not arised, you are still you present here-did not disappear.


Good point. I think I've familiarised myself with this notion over the course of time - I suppose it's what kept me sane. I've noticed how in these past few years being exposed to potential triggers hasn't had a triggering effect on me - unlike what would happen in the past. It's like I can empathise/understand the pain of the people involved (all parties, the abused and the perpetrators), but I do not relive my own past traumas. I stay here and think of solutions to existing problems, as opposed to reliving the past. I think this is a good sign, a healthy thing.

However, when I say the past has an important impact on the present, what I mean is that I lack certain skills or knowledge that is taken for granted to move around in society but which I was not exposed to. I try my best to be mindful and compassionate, but it's not enough. Often, I lack a sufficient understanding of people and the world.

Sometimes, gradually less now but frequently in the past, I simply freeze in front of situations that confuse me - even if they are clear to everybody else. Sometimes they are potentially dangerous situations. Sometimes they are totally innocent but puzzling to me.

These are the two things, if any, that I truly hate: feeling helpless (not having the power to take action) and lacking understanding of what is going on in order to make wiser or at least appropriate decisions to protect others and myself.
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby muni » Mon Jun 23, 2014 3:57 pm

I think so, when we suffer, then there is no clarity and we can harm due to that suffering. We then can land in a circle. To have negative feelings for those who act in for us painful way is not compassion for own being at all, it is providing more suffering. That is not a self which need to be fed.

Therefore we can try to break that circle in order to love ourselves. Buddha said that we cannot harm anyone when we truly love ourselves.
The pain/sadness-suffering can be seen/visualized as a child needing love, not as merely own being. Own being must comfort that child, just like we should do with any suffering being, which is needing our care. In any case, we should never become angry due to that pain (suffering child), but be patient and keep warm heart in which we are included.
There are other methods of course. This one is from the Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.

In nature all is equal and impartial. All deserve loving kindness, joy, compassion in equanimity.

With respect. :namaste:
When there is no Devotion, there is no Compassion.
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby chökyi » Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:31 pm

muni wrote:The pain/sadness-suffering can be seen/visualized as a child needing love, not as merely own being. Own being must comfort that child, just like we should do with any suffering being, which is needing our care.


Interesting. I remember coping with trauma during flashback by kind of stepping out of my body, and watching everything as in the 3rd person. I would see myself but not recognise myself as "me" - it was some person, any person. I couldn't bear to see any person being hurt that way. I learnt to comfort that "person" thinking about what I would have done if it had really been another person instead of me. That's how I learnt compassion.

In fact, this puzzles me. The Dalai lama and other teachers say we learn compassion by loving ourselves first and then applying the same love to others. (Christians say more or less the same, I think). But in my case it feels the other way. I couldn't (still can't) stand the idea of causing harm to others (because I would project pain as I had experienced it on others, I guess) in fact the very reason why I was suicidal for a while was because when I tried to find help to heal from my traumas, the information I found was that abuse survivors often end up becoming sociopaths, and I couldn't bear the idea that I might hurt anyone.

I've always been very hard on myself. I only learned to treat myself with kindness and compassion after I got used to looking at myself as any other person. I'd ask myself: if this was another person, not you, how would you treat them? So I taught myself to be a friend to myself as if it were another person. It must have worked, somehow, because in the end, I neither committed suicide nor became a criminal or sociopath.

Still, there are (or have been) times when I have felt disheartened:
muni wrote:All deserve loving kindness, joy, compassion in equanimity.


I have a lot of love to give. But I also feel a longing for love and affection in life. I feel lonely. I've only started to make some genuine friends in the past year or so. I try my best to be a good friend to them, but I don't want to burden them with my problems, so I don't really know how much I should open up with them. I don't want to be defined by what happened to me in the past because it's past, and yet there are issues I am dealing with now that would be less confusing for them if they knew, I think.

Sometimes I need people to be patient to me. I'm not used to some things that are normal for them. I mean, even stupid things. Sometimes I end up branded as "unfriendly" or "nonsocial" because I don't participate in their heated debates about politics or the like. I can't stand conflict and I feel uncomfortable around people when they get agitated and wound up... and when it is over trivial things too, it doesn't make any sense to me.
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby muni » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:25 pm

if this was another person, not you, how would you treat them?


In that way the identification “I” loses and so also the sadness/pain. This is great and certainly helping for compassion to arise. To be able to practice and to apply it in daily life as good as possible; then even lonely moments can fade in simple contentment.
The Dalai lama and other teachers say we learn compassion by loving ourselves first and then applying the same love to others. (Christians say more or less the same, I think). But in my case it feels the other way.


But then when own being is a bit invisible on the back ground in separation, we can become exhausted, like wanting to give water till the bottle is empty, while there is nothing filling it up again. Then there is no equality of all in ones being. I just hear here about equal harmony or a never exhausted gem.
When there is no Devotion, there is no Compassion.
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby chökyi » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:08 am

undefineable wrote:As for your comments on karma, I was involved in a couple of productive discussions on that old chestnut here on Dharmawheel a while back (when I had more time for such things!) - As far as I'm concerned, one major conclusion was that negative karma falls into the category of 'innocent mistake', since all such actions self-evidently occur out of the desire to experience happiness and avoid suffering. This is because avidya -fundamental ignorance- is said to prevent sentient beings from seeing which actions of body, speech and mind would be to their own ultimate benefit to perform, and which would bring harm to themselves if performed. It's also that way because it's not possible, from a Buddhist perspective, for a personality to endure across lifetimes to the point at which a child could be held culpable for actions committed in a previous lifetime that somehow triggered their own circumstances - still less for that child to be held culpable for its *experience of* those circumstances.

In any case, the question of which life experiences were and weren't caused by past actions was never resolved within Buddhism. You can research this online, but it would atleast make sense that mental habits should be rooted in previous karma - If it were otherwise, there'd be no reason for one's own mindstream to attach itself to one set of genetically-based habits rather than another, and it's self-evident that a being with no particular mental patterns would be either completely enlightened or completely confused! _ Beyond this, the idea that a "body of karma" is to blame for everything that happens is basically speculation unless one has seen such a process in action.


You've raised some interesting points here.

Is there any chance you could direct me to some of those past threads where this was discussed? Or provide some sources (like teachings from masters)?

Thanks
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby undefineable » Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:26 pm

"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby undefineable » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:35 am

"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby Ayu » Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:20 pm

For better understanding of the matter "self & phenomenons" for me the meditation was helpful which is described in the lamrim (Lam Rim Chen Mo). To experience within meditation that there is nothing like a self is very, very different than talking about it.
Important in this topic is also: if there is no my-self, there are also no other-selves. It is the same. There is just a lot of suffering because of the believe in an important self.
Means: it is important to free them all from this suffering by realizing yourself first: „There is no self". Without realizing that you can not help anybody ultimately. This doesn't touch or harm any self-dignity. To the contrary: noone can harm the dignity ever again as soon this realization is achieved.
So it is not that the others are real and important and allowed to abuse you, while you are nothing. ALL phenomenons are somehow nothing (but quite different)....
Phew!!! You see, it's better to meditate that gradually then to discuss it. :alien:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices

*** om vajra krodha hayagrīva hulu hulu hūm phat
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby SeekerNo1000003 » Thu Jun 26, 2014 3:48 am

[quote="chökyi"]
I've been a Dharma practitioner for a couple of years now, but I still feel there are unresolved issues that are holding me back. I feel confused and overwhelmed because on the one hand I am told (by therapists and the like) in order to heal I need to learn to love and cherish myself and understand that what happened isn't my fault, while, ironically, the Dharma teaches me it is my fault and that I shouldn't cherish the self.
I'm cool with the whole karma thing and the law of cause & effect. It took time, it wasn't easy to accept, but I have made some sense of it. What I am struggling with the "self" issue. Will it really help me to learn to cherish the self? Isn't that in contrast with Dharma?


I have very limited understanding, but my impression is that in Dharma practice there is in fact a lot of emphasis on developing compassion towards oneself. One teacher once said this is the basis for developing compassion towards others.
So the question is what does it mean to be compassionate towards oneself? Does it involve cherishing oneself?
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby Soar » Thu Jun 26, 2014 9:27 am

This is not complicated, it may seem contridicatory at first but in practise it works out fine.

For example, if we work with anger, then this means all kinds of anger, angry with others, angry with our selfs etc.. also other peoples anger, it is all the same really, if we learn not to be distracted by anger or to transform anger etc then it applies to all of these.

Also lots of the selves we have (we are not just one self) are negative, based on pain, past hurts, sadness, anger etc so if we let go of self grasping we are letting go of all these things too. And it is not like we need to get rid of these emotions/energies, what we need is to let them loosen up a bit so those energies can flow again and not be fixed into a pattern we identify with as as part of our self.

Also love is a way to let go of the extreme tight self-grapsing we have so again no contridiction, so we develop love for all beings precisely so they can be free of the suffering of self-grapsing. And this frees us from self grasping too.

Then also being assertive is very good for us and also is very important if we want to help others.

etc. etc. !
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:01 pm

I've read some interesting stuff on this.

My conclusion is that the basic emotionally healthy sense of a conventional self is not really contradictory to Dharma practice...it might even be a bit of a prerequisite for it.

"When practicing unconditional acceptance, start with yourself".
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Postby Luke » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:01 pm

Hi Chökyi,

You might find this article interesting. The Buddha sought to reduce people´s stress and suffering, not increase them. Clinging to the concept of no-self and suffering because of it is as bad as clinging to a concept of self and suffering because of it. There don't need to be sharp divisions between the two. Just relax and observe.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... self2.html
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