Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

Help required with personal difficulties.
chökyi
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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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Mkoll
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Re: Healing from abuse vs holding "Self" as precious

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

Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

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

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

Last edited by undefineable on Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

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

"People these days use whatever little dharma they know to augment afflictive emotion, and then engender tremendous pride and conceit over it. They teach the Dharma without taming their own minds. But as with a river rock , not even a hair’s tip of benefit penetrates the other people. Even worse, incorrigible people [are attracted] to this dharma that increases conflict. When individuals who could be tamed by the Dharma encounter such incorrigible, their desire for the sacred Dharma is lost. It is not the fault of the Dharma; it is the fault of individuals." Machik Labdron prophecy.

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

Postby Monlam Tharchin » 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:
on hiatus since September, 2017

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

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

NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Bodhidharma [my translation]
―I come to the East to transmit this clear knowing mind without constructing any dharma―

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

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


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

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


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

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


muni
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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:

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

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


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

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


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

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




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Ayu
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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:
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

SeekerNo1000003
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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?

Soar
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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. !
“If you propose to speak always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?”
― Siddhārtha Gautama


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Johnny Dangerous
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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".
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Luke
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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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