Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

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BigZen
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Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by BigZen » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:28 pm

Hello Everyone:

This is both a self-introduction and a cry for help (direction/advice). Not to get into too much of the boring details, I will try to be brief.

I am a 58-year Canadian, married to a Japanese woman, and we live in rural Japan, with our two young children, aged 10 and 12. Since we moved back to Japan in 2008 from the Middle East, where I taught English as a Foreign Language, I have been chronically under/unemployed. My wife wants me to consider myself retired. I, on the other hand, have still sought to teach, but the harder I have tried to find work, I more ANGRY, BITTER, and RESENTFUL I have become, and in the process become alienated from other, many of whom I am jealous of for being gainfully employed. I am now becoming so concerned about the impact this is having on my kids. My wife is employed, so we will not end up in the poor house. I need to find a way to channel all this negative energy. I have been meditating on my own for about 20 years, usually 30 minutes a day, and here in my city in Japan, I do it at a local church, in the basement, where it is quiet and I can find an empty room. I want to know how I can now begin a path of Buddhism to help me. Tonglen practice to help me deal with my anger over my employment situation. Stepping up the number of times I meditate or the duration. I am a house dad, so I have my days free. I KNOW I need to change. I cannot continue this way. I have read some books about Buddhism written by authors ranging from P. Kapleau, J. Goldstein, S. Salzberg, P. Chodron...I need help and advice, so any would be appreciated.

Of course I am not thinking I can run off to some monastery, since I am here, for the long-haul, or at least the next 10-15 years until my kids finish school and my wife retires. So I need to find a way to embrace the principles of Buddhism to help me cope and not continue on my road of being one hell of an angry S.O. B.

Big Zen

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well wisher
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by well wisher » Fri Sep 27, 2019 1:42 am

Best of luck to you BigZen; I too know the pains of unemployment firsthand, as I have experienced multiple layoffs in the recent 2 decades, and extreme difficulty in job finding afterwards, despite all my best and diligent efforts. All mainly due to economic recessions, factors out of my control.
Anyways, for my case doing charity volunteer work has helped. That plus helping out my relatives with some side delivery jobs.
Hopefully you can easily find the connections, to do whatever activity that is meaningful to you.

Arguably, all jobs and careers and fame & prestige associated with it are all unreliable illusions, as it usually last no more than several years.
And look at the beggars and poverty monks for example, many are living fine and happily for many years, with little to no possession, without even holding a "prestigious" job. Another great example is the tale of Shakyamuni Buddha, who abdicated his princely position and became a mendicant monk and holy teacher, a truly heroic inspiration. So there is no need to cling to such a concept of jobs & careers!

Japan should have a lot of Buddhist monasteries & dharma centres. It should not be too difficult for you to find one.
Meditations definitely helps keeps the (for myself as well), keeps striving at it, feel free to increase the duration to whatever you are comfortable that fits reasonably within your daily life schedule.
Best wishes, and keep up the diligent efforts to become less angry and bitter :thumbsup:

narhwal90
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:09 am

The best antidote I've found for chronic anger & frustration is volunteering; getting engaged with others in some compassion related activity. Meditation in addition to that helps me keep focus and adds dimension to service to others, but for my part, is not a substitute for it.

Might be isolation from others is a major element of whats eating at you, it certainly was for me.

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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by DNS » Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:39 am

Welcome to DW!



Good posts above; I'd also recommend doing some volunteering work, perhaps at a Buddhist temple there, that way it would keep you busy in what you like to do and allow you to be close to a Dharma place for practice and community interaction.

BigZen
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by BigZen » Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:15 am

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your replies and ideas and thoughts. It is much appreciated. I do agree 100% with you all the connection with others is key to feeling less isolated and doing some kind of volunteer work is important. I live on the smallest of Japan's 4 main island, thus, there are not the opportunities here to connect with other foreigners, hook-up with organizations to volunteer, or ironically even in Buddhist Japan, my area has no local temples with teachers...as you would find in Tokyo or Osaka. Three years ago I tried to start a local chapter of the environmental organization 350.org here as well as a local chapter of Amnesty International, but after months with no interest shown from either the foreign or Japanese community, I gave up. Last November I gave the idea of trying to raise awareness about climate change, but no one cared, so I gave it up...I do worry about my not working and being a house dad has a negative impact on my two young kids, and also about their future (university education). I did find the letter writing I was doing for Amnesty International fulfilling, but it was a solo endeavour, and after half a year, lost the desire.

BigZen

narhwal90
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:59 pm

I found a local catholic church that runs a food pantry and volunteer there. Its a busy place and always needs sweeping and fixing, so I help out with that as well. Not being catholic I don't attend services but getting to know those folks has been a profound lesson in what compassion in action looks like.

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Dan74
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by Dan74 » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:24 pm

BigZen wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:15 am
Hi Everyone,

Thanks for all your replies and ideas and thoughts. It is much appreciated. I do agree 100% with you all the connection with others is key to feeling less isolated and doing some kind of volunteer work is important. I live on the smallest of Japan's 4 main island, thus, there are not the opportunities here to connect with other foreigners, hook-up with organizations to volunteer, or ironically even in Buddhist Japan, my area has no local temples with teachers...as you would find in Tokyo or Osaka. Three years ago I tried to start a local chapter of the environmental organization 350.org here as well as a local chapter of Amnesty International, but after months with no interest shown from either the foreign or Japanese community, I gave up. Last November I gave the idea of trying to raise awareness about climate change, but no one cared, so I gave it up...I do worry about my not working and being a house dad has a negative impact on my two young kids, and also about their future (university education). I did find the letter writing I was doing for Amnesty International fulfilling, but it was a solo endeavour, and after half a year, lost the desire.

BigZen
It can be very tough in a foreign land without a sense of a community purpose or clear status, which, let's face it, is important for most of us, men. I think volunteering is a solid advice. Some kind of a grounding hobby, like gardening or pottery, or even a dog, could also help. And making connections, friendships, perhaps?

But basically while you may want to look into all these suggestions, try to be kind to yourself. Take care of small things, drink a nice cup of tea and allow yourself to really taste it. Go for a wander. Whatever it is you enjoy, do it and be gentle. Constant mindfulness of the breath and a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings have to do specifically with kindness. Perhaps check him out? Like




emaho
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by emaho » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:25 pm

Hi Bigzen,

+1 for volunteering, it gives you back a lot of self esteem. Good luck :thumbsup:
"I struggled with some demons, They were middle class and tame..." L. Cohen

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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by Queequeg » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:25 pm

You're in Shikoku?

You're actually living in one of the most prominent pilgrimage circuits in the world - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shikoku_Pilgrimage

You actually have a wonderful opportunity to connect with Buddha Dharma literally under your feet.

Maybe undertaking that pilgrimage will be a solid step toward addressing your existential angst as well as connecting with the world you've found yourself in. It might be counter intuitive that pilgrimage might help with your isolation because pilgrimage is often a solitary experience, but things tend to happen when traveling.

Have you seen the movie, The Way? It stars Martin Sheen who goes on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route in France and Spain, tracing the steps of his son who died while walking it.

In the least, it will give you something to do and in a visceral way connect you to the land you have found yourself in. It takes three months to walk it, but since you live there, you could break it up into smaller legs and complete it over time. You will definitely connect to Buddha Dharma, and maybe something will occur to you along the path.

Best
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Matt J
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by Matt J » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:11 pm

I think the best way to work with the dharma is by working with others, especially experienced teachers. If there is nothing local, then I would recommend looking into some online offerings. There are many such offerings for many Buddhist paths. In addition, some teachers travel and you may also wish to travel yourself. You may wish to check out some programs before committing.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by Punya » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:53 am

Welcome to Dharmawheel BigZen. :hi:

Online volunteering or online courses about Buddhism (of which there are many) or some other interest seem like a possibility in your circumstances.

An option is the Foundation of Buddhist Thought course, which I did some years ago and can highly recommend. It is an introductory course, but with quite a lot of depth and it runs over about 2 years in semesters. There's no requirement to be from a particular Buddhist tradition or even to be a card carrying Buddhist. You just need to have the sincere wish to know more about the Buddha's teachings. You get to interact with your tutor and fellow students (albeit online) and there are weekly study requirements to keep you engaged. I notice the course is being relaunched early next year. http://www.buddhistthought.org/

One of the main buddhist teachings is about impermanence. If you're not happy with your current circumstances, the good news is that things do change. In my case some years back I longed for a local sangha. Over time this did develop. We started out as a small group where we simply gathered for a short meditation session and a shared lunch. It has now developed into a fully functioning local chapter of my Buddhist teacher's organisation.

Even in your fairly remote situation there is always hope and I wish you well.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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rose
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by rose » Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:52 pm

Welcome to Dharma Wheel. :smile:
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明安 Myoan
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sat Sep 28, 2019 7:24 pm

Hi, BigZen. Welcome to DharmaWheel!

Our lives are quite different, but we might have two points in common: life in social isolation, and being tired of anger.

Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life has been very helpful to me for anger, especially the chapter on the Perfection of Patience (page 45 of the PDF).

Another toolbox is the lojong slogans. If you aren't familiar, they're simply memorable bits of advice that can keep you on track in daily life, such as "Don't expect applause." There are several commentaries out there, too, including a Zen-oriented one by Norman Fischer.

By the Zen in your name, I suppose you're familiar with Dogen's Instructions to the Cook? Kosho Uchiyama's translation "How to Cook Your Life" is a very nice book. Dogen explains the temple cook's daily duties in terms of the Buddha's teachings.

It's also the only place I've read Dogen write about Sanshin, the Three Minds, Magnanimous Mind, Nurturing Mind, and Joyful Mind. Very useful teaching. Nurturing or Parental Mind was especially beneficial to me, as someone inclined towards anger and sadness.

And if you're open to the idea, practices to benefit animals and insects are worth exploring.

Lovely advice in the thread. I need to get out and do some volunteering myself.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen

BigZen
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by BigZen » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:31 am

Hello Everyone:

Again, thank you for the replies, advice, feedback, videos...The 88 Temple Pilgrimage on my island like other journeys for me is not viable with 2 young kids at home. Unfortunately, I have been hitting my head against a wall here in rural Japan re. volunteering, but it is not like back home in Canada, or the USA, or western Europe...The volunteer ideas I have come up with during the past 2 years are: https://www.workaway.info/ and https://www.idealist.org. The first one would allow me to kind of do homestays in Canada and do farm work or whatever, and the 2nd has volunteer opportunities that range from working on an elephant sanctuary in Sri Lanka to teaching English in a monastery in Nepal. Again, both ideas shot sown by my wife.

BZ

narhwal90
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by narhwal90 » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:00 pm

How about walking the roads and picking up litter, with the kids? I assume rural roads in Japan are pretty safe traffic-wise...

HePo
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by HePo » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:43 pm

BigZen wrote:
Fri Sep 27, 2019 9:15 am
Hi Everyone,
...
I live on the smallest of Japan's 4 main island, thus, there are not the opportunities here to connect with other foreigners, hook-up with organizations to volunteer, or ironically even in Buddhist Japan, my area has no local temples with teachers
...
BigZen
I would think Nihama could not be more than a 2 hour drive from where you might live.
Zuioji is a Soto Zen monastery where one could spend up to a week as a visitor.

A bit further away Toshoji (Soto) in Okayama and Shinshoji (Rinzai) in Fukuyama.
If you are interested you can find info on the web

At all of the mentioned temples welcome foreigners.

avatamsaka3
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sun Oct 27, 2019 5:13 am

So, how's it going BigZen?

BigZen
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by BigZen » Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:03 pm

Hello.

Thanks for the message. Well it's been up and down. In addition to my meditation practice I have incorporated 15-minutes of Tonglen Meditation, which seems to be helping me overcome some of the resentment I have.

BZ

avatamsaka3
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by avatamsaka3 » Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:41 pm

Well, we are here wishing you all the best. But I wonder... Have you been able to connect at all with the tradition of Buddhism that is practiced on your island? I could understand if there are certain obstacles, but that would seem like the place to start, no?

BigZen
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Re: Angry and Bitter Unemployed Man-I can't continue this way

Post by BigZen » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:45 am

Hi and sorry for the late reply,

I have in the past 10+ years reached out to various temples, priests...and have never received a reply. This is Japan.

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