Hi, Brand. Welcome to DW!
Brand New Ambition wrote:Before I go on, I'll explain that I'm not versed in the different sects or disciplines of Buddhism, and I have no idea which would be the best possible fit for me. That said, many things catch my interest, complete honesty. You mention HH Dalai Lama. I often as "What If?" questions. The other day, I asked myself what HH Dalai Lama would do if someone struck him. No, I don't want to do that; it's just a hypothetical. I guess he came into my mind in the first place because of my interest in Buddhism. I asked myself, then ask someone else. The someone else said he wouldn't do anything you'd expect -- no fisticuffs. He'd likely respond with a disappointed tone, telling his attacker why he shouldn't do that in the future. My memory is foggy concerning what exactly they said. That . . . to even have an image such as that of someone is motivating.
His Holiness is a living embodiment of love & compassion. He might not even scold them, or not in any way that we would recognize. Look into a few of his books, like Ethics for the New Millennium
, and you'll see what I mean, and why he's such a shining example. As a Bodhisattva, he's kind of on a whole other level, but one we can reach thru training our minds.
There are a million reasons why my interest in Buddhism seems like a joke. I'm non-religious, I'm a misanthrope, I think way too much, I'm not smart, I have a short attention span -- I could go on. I have changes I want to make. Life now feels like nothing serious. I go through the motions. Perhaps this is a symptom of living where I do now, as it's a nowhere place with nothing going for it. It seems those without ambition or drive merge with the way things are. I've tried to leave, and did for a while, yet somehow, I find myself back here. This is another conversation though.
This type of humility will serve you well on the path. Keep hold of it, but be careful not to let it turn into being overly critical, lest you become your own worst enemy. Part of working with our situation is acceptance of who we are, and how we are, in this very moment.
I can't think of a time that I had a gripping moment. Nothing to really "wake me up". Experiences come and go too quickly, and in their passing they are no longer significant. I try to give things value, but they end up as worthless experiences of the past. This, for example. I've done this "tell-all-life-story" once before, and I wanted it to make it something that mattered. Now, I don't even visit the site I did this on anymore -- in fact, this is the first time since I went away that I've thought about it. I need something to wake me up, to make me feel like I'm living, as opposed to simply being alive. That sounds awfully dramatic.
Again, this way of seeing things will be an asset to you. Life is a series of moments that are fleeting, and all things are constantly changing, moment to moment. Yet we all too often don't act like this is true. We act like things are solid and stable, and will continue forever, most especially ourselves. This touches on some rather advanced teachings that are best to receive from a qualified teacher. Suffice it to say you're in the ballpark, or on the right track.
This next one I have a bit trouble typing out, as I've denied it for the longest. It seems that Buddhism can do great things for those who put in time and take it seriously -- as I plan to. Things for the mind. I have mondo issues with my mind. I'm sure I have ADD (sans hyperactive component, thankful of that), and on top of that, I have bipolar disorder. I didn't admit this until a while ago and spent the better part of my life when I was able to realise what that meant distancing myself from it. Why? Well, those who have it where I live (mental illness is very common here for some reason), tend to be very negative individuals, and don't seem to take responsibility for the things they do. I know that an illness makes you unlike yourself, but as someone who believes in accountability, I can't play that game. I never asked for these issues -- the last one especially, and I won't let them consume me either. No one can live my life for me. I won't be that sort who, halfway through their life, realises what a poison such a curse is, and realise the immense damage its created in my life. That won't happen. This is a huge something-to-do with the reason I'm looking into Buddhism. When I think about it, it's not too bad compared to others, as I control it better than most, on't feel the need to be negative (or I wouldn't be here), and want to do away with it . . . for good. I care not of whatever perceived benefits there are. And I want to be able to stay on a mental track, not bound all over the place. Finish a thought, and then move on to the next one. Read a page or two of text on the internet without skipping and skimming.
Such personal responsibility is not only refreshing and healthy, but will also help you understand karma. We are the masters of our own destinies, and it's thru our habitual actions that we've engaged in from beginningless time that have
led to where we are in this life.
Regarding mental illness, there are a few things worthy of noting. One is that such things are only stains, but ultimately aren't there. That's not to say that you should stop taking meds or seeking mental health professionals... Far from it. I've made this mistake myself in the past, having depression. No bueno; trust me. What it means is that you are ultimately pure and undefiled; a nice opposite of the concept of "original sin." The trick is to train in seeing ourselves that way.
Phew. We can get positive now! About time, no? I seek knowledge, and find that it does make you powerful. Despite not being the brightest, I find learning and increasing my skillset to be fun. I believe in perfection and always striving to be the best. This is the me that I amaze myself with every day. The me that wants to see all there is to see, do all there is to do, and change the world. I created these guiding principles by which I'm supposed to live my life -- the Three 'A's. Ambition, Adventure, and Adrenaline. I can't deny that I'm a natural leader. I do it without thinking. I just NOW realised that when thinking about a church lock-in at a ranch in the country areas. We played manhunt well into the morning, I organised my team and implemented better ideas that would make us more efficient players. I want to do so much with my life that I could be called the embodiment of Greed! I don't think I'll be able to do it all in one life. Haha. I want to create a legacy that will ensure I "live forever". I simply cannot put into words what I'm about. I-I can't do it, try as I may.
There is definitely a lot to learn on the path of Dharma. If you enjoy learning new tools you can use, that's certainly a positive. Buddhism has tons of different methods for all different types of beings with their various inclinations and capacities. Be careful with the greed and ego, though. Those are said to be two of the main poisons which lead to all suffering. Best to offer those feelings up to be purified or slain. It might be painful, like a detox, but in the end you will certainly benefit.
So there you have it. That's me, and why I'm here. I made the tasteless joke here and there, but I take this very seriously, because I do want to be a better person, and am not wasting your time. I want to be the person I know I can be . . . I should be. I want to fix and evolve me. I owe myself that much.
Welcome to the board. May it serve as an open forum that helps you grow. Wanting to better yourself is a step in the right direction, and unfortunately not enough people get even that far these days. May you reach the ultimate evolution of unsurpassed, perfect, complete and precious Buddhahood for the benefit of all!