Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

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absolute
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Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by absolute » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:16 pm

I think i'm a buddhist. But when i was a kid, i was a highly religious and superstitious kid with ocd. My problem is about 9 or 10 years ago when i was 14 or 15 years old, i made a counter vow against my ocd rituals. In that time, I didn't know that i had ocd , in fact i didn't even know the concept of ocd since english is not my first language, and because of that i had lack of knowledge on mental disorders, and i happened to know about ocd 4 years ago. At that time as i said before i was a highly religious and spiritual kid who thought all the religions are same and their goals are same etc (you know the new age stuff). Anyway, long story short, i made a counter vow, like if i do some rituals even times, i may become this, and if i do that rituals odd times, some bad unwanted thing may happen to me, to Buddha and two other gods from other religions for stopping silly rituals which demanded that if you don't do this certain times before new year eve, some bad thing happen to you. In other word, in order to cancel the ocd rituals' demand, i made a counter vow, and that was a relief for a short period of time about 2 days, then thoughts and fear started to rise that what if i break that vow, and i realized that i made a great mistake of vowing, and i asked forgiveness from the gods from three religions that remove that vow. But since that time, i have had a constant fear of breaking that vow, and what if bad happen to me as i said in the condition of that vow. Can Buddha forgive? Is it possible to remove vow? Please help me, i just want to live my life without any binding.

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Dan74
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Dan74 » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:26 pm

The Buddha does not hold you to your vow, you do.

So it is you, who has to forgive yourself and deal with the consequences of breaking the vow. You make the knot, you untie it, or get yourself further tangled. Up to you.

_/|\_

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Vasana
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Vasana » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:39 pm

I don't know much about OCD or the nature of the vows you took but if it was just a 'vow' you made of your own accord to counteract any OCD rituals, I see no problem in reversing that vow if you think it isn't sustainable to keep it or you are having other troubles doing so.

Maybe you could consider just making vows or promises for short amounts of times rather than permanently. If it helps you to make promises not to engage in OCD rituals and this improves your life, then you can just say "I'll keep this promise/vow for 1 week or 3 days and then I can renew it a few days after that if I think i can do it" etc. This way, you can still see any positive results for days or weeks at a time, but have less inner pressure on yourself to keep them continuously if you know this is difficult. 'Don't let Perfect become the enemy of good.'

This is often how the 5 precepts are given and kept- some people may take one of the precepts for a set amount of time rather than indefinitely if they know it will prove difficult sticking to them.

Buddhas know our capacity and the kinds of ideas we grasp at and don't hold it against us personally when we slip up so don't worry about their forgiveness- their compassion is unconditional. Just do your best and remember to relax as much as possible.
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
- Dudjom Rinpoche

absolute
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by absolute » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:10 pm

I know this vow is not comparable with ordination vow or any other dharmic vow, but in order to release myself from this silly vow and its condition which i made, do i need to do certain rituals and prayers? Is it possible to remove this vow without karmic debts?

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Vasana
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Vasana » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:16 pm

absolute wrote:I know this vow is not comparable with ordination vow or any other dharmic vow, but in order to release myself from this silly vow and its condition which i made, do i need to do certain rituals and prayers? Is it possible to remove this vow without karmic debts?
If it's not a dharmic vow then you don't need a dharmic ritual or prayer to nullify or 'return it'. Nor do you need to be hard on yourself about it- most people even without OCD have a lot of experience of wanting to change their habits and saying "i'll never do that again" and then they go out and do it...Better to be realistic about it and know that practice, mood, ocd, diligence, meditation and so on, can all go up and down.
"The changing cycle of joy and sorrow, like the changing seasons –
As a time of suffering will surely come around to me,
May I truly practice the sublime teachings."
- Dudjom Rinpoche

topazdreamz
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by topazdreamz » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:11 pm

absolute wrote:I think i'm a buddhist. But when i was a kid, i was a highly religious and superstitious kid with ocd. My problem is about 9 or 10 years ago when i was 14 or 15 years old, i made a counter vow against my ocd rituals. In that time, I didn't know that i had ocd , in fact i didn't even know the concept of ocd since english is not my first language, and because of that i had lack of knowledge on mental disorders, and i happened to know about ocd 4 years ago. At that time as i said before i was a highly religious and spiritual kid who thought all the religions are same and their goals are same etc (you know the new age stuff). Anyway, long story short, i made a counter vow, like if i do some rituals even times, i may become this, and if i do that rituals odd times, some bad unwanted thing may happen to me, to Buddha and two other gods from other religions for stopping silly rituals which demanded that if you don't do this certain times before new year eve, some bad thing happen to you. In other word, in order to cancel the ocd rituals' demand, i made a counter vow, and that was a relief for a short period of time about 2 days, then thoughts and fear started to rise that what if i break that vow, and i realized that i made a great mistake of vowing, and i asked forgiveness from the gods from three religions that remove that vow. But since that time, i have had a constant fear of breaking that vow, and what if bad happen to me as i said in the condition of that vow. Can Buddha forgive? Is it possible to remove vow? Please help me, i just want to live my life without any binding.
It sounds like the "counter vow" you made was also part of the OCD, just like the first "vow." Both "vows" are made up by your OCD. You need to understand that this is how your OCD works. This is not about breaking vows with Buddha, this is just how your mind works. I'm sorry you are going through it, I know it is be very painful. Be kind and gentle with yourself, as much as you can.

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Grigoris
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Grigoris » Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:17 pm

I would recommend you go find a teacher to give you some real vows (since you seem to like vows). Just be careful about who the teacher is.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

topazdreamz
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by topazdreamz » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:10 pm

Grigoris wrote:I would recommend you go find a teacher to give you some real vows (since you seem to like vows). Just be careful about who the teacher is.
I don't think this poster "likes" vows. If the OCD diagnosis is correct, the vows are a compulsion. When you suffer from OCD, compulsions are not fun.

I agree that if absolute wants to go deeper into dharma practice, it would be good to find a teacher - and preferably, one who understands OCD, since that will likely be a theme in absolute's dharma practice for awhile. But I don't think simply taking a "real" vow from a teacher is going to solve the problem that absolute describes, which is that absolute is suffering from OCD.
Last edited by topazdreamz on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Grigoris
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Grigoris » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:33 pm

Their compulsion may as well lead somewhere positive.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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AvaLily
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by AvaLily » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:03 pm

i too have OCD and no its not fun at all i have Religious OCD to do with being someone who was born into the Catholic church before you are able to talk or crawl a vow was put in place that id be a Catholic No matter what then when i was 9/10 i went to my first confession told my sins and i was forgiven then my first Communion then my confirmation vow i also was made to vow things while i was being abused by the priest then i met my husband and i was made to by my mother to get married in the Catholic church or she and my step dad will not come to the wedding so i had vows them as well ( my mum says am making the abuse up ) vows hurt me a lot but i cant get away from them my step dad died and his funeral was at a Catholic church same with my gran
family members are less understanding of my mental health and other problems and the fact i cant work because of my OCD ( i also have OCD where you think your going to harm other people i cant travel anywhere on my own my husband is my full time carer for this and other reasons )


OCD is so hard to deal with for the person with OCD simple things like traveling by bus or being in public or even going somewhere to meet friends

Religous OCD is just as hard you think your doing the wrong things all the time and some people think that they will end up in hell or dammed
I dont know very much about OCD in Buddhism i struggle with my birth religion a lot and am sometimes drawn back towards it but i know its too harmful for me and i must stay away from it

you can only do what you can manage remember that you are loved even if you make a vow and your are loved if you dont make a vow
YOU ARE LOVED NO MATTER WHAT :namaste:

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Jesse
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Jesse » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:46 am

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:33 pm
Their compulsion may as well lead somewhere positive.
I'll have to disagree with you here haha. I've suffered from OCD for around 10-12 years now. OCD can very much be triggered by religious activity, it has been the case for me much of the time. For example as with the OP; he has developed an obsession over his vows, in cases like these; I don't think the solution is to take more vows, but rather to emphasize compassion, especially self-compassion. Also an emphasis on the tool like nature of these techniques. They are from the beginning nothing but tools to help followers of Buddhism reach enlightenment. There is no 'punishment', for breaking a vow. Vow's are nothing more than a self-promise.

You have to remember, we are where we are, spiritually. We can't be anywhere else. It's ok to mess up. It's absolutely fine to fail, and no real Buddhist, Teacher, or Buddha would have anything but compassion, and love for you. Your effort it'self is to be commended.

For me personally, it was a very very long and difficult process, I suffer primarily from what's known as "Pure OCD", Obsessions without Rituals, but that isn't totally accurate. It's actually a fairly recent discovery, but rituals can be entirely mental. Which is the case for me.

It take's the form of what pretty much everyone here knows as monkey mind, except far more powerful. Imagine the worst case monkey mind you can, then imagine that each time a thought arose while in this state, it filled you with mental anguish, pain, stress (physical, and mental). That's pretty much what OCD feels like, but it doesn't go away. You don't really get any relief, day after day, month after month, year after year, no relief. And, If your condition is in an acute phase, it can even follow you into your dreams at night.

I won't say I know how to treat everyone with OCD because that would be stupidly arrogant, however, I do believe that forms of Buddhism that emphasize mindfulness, and with a good enough teacher, even emptiness teachings to some degree, are very helpful for OCD sufferers. Meditation is an absolute must as well. In the same way that we all as Buddhist practitioners move toward understanding how the mind creates the illusion of solidity. How thoughts create reality, and with these realizations, we become less enamored with thoughts, we gain a sort of freedom from them.

This is what is most helpful for OCD in my own experience. If you think of OCD as a very extream case of monkey mind, from which a great deal of delusion, and neurosis originate from, then treating it becomes a little more straightforward. Though it takes ALOT of work, years in my case, and I still suffer from it fairly badly. I would also highly suggest getting treatment from a psychologist, and psychiatrist.

People can call modern medications any name they want, but sometimes they can be very helpful for conditions like these. Without Benzos, I would not be able to make it through the week without breaking down entirely.

There are a number of unconventional drugs I have also found helpful, most of which psychiatrists would not think of first.

MOD NOTE: Out of an abundance of caution, references to specific medications have been removed. The Moderation Team tries to keep a bright line against the recommendation of any medications or drugs that can affect mental health and the Mind in general. We note that Jesse has framed his comments about possibly helpful medications in the context of treatment by mental health professionals. We realize that the sharing of information of this nature, within a responsible treatment framework involving mental health professionals can be helpful, but must make the call against public discussion in the forums.

The reason that anti-anxiety drugs are helpful for OCD is that they reduce the anxiety responses caused by the obsessions, rituals, etc. When you stop the anxiety responses, it slowly stops the obsessions and rituals. You generally obsess because the mind is looking for a solution to this feeling of anxiousness, pain; it's also the direct cause of the ritual. It's an attempt to 'fix', or 'stop' the feelings of anxiety, pain.

Hope this is helpful to someone.
“Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of one's desires, but by the removal of desire” – Epictetus

Bristollad
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Re: Religious ocd, vow problem, and seeking guidance

Post by Bristollad » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:51 pm

If one has taken monastic vows and wishes to give them back, in the Vinaya the procedure is very simple: one has to simply inform a person who understands, that you are now no longer a monastic. From then on, you are not a monastic and can stop following the training of living in those vows without have broken them. There is not a great complex ritual to go through.

For this vow that you took on - I think simply sitiing quietly and deciding, "From now on I will no longer train myself in this way because it is not helping me", could be the equivalent.

:consoling:

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