Emotions = suffering?

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Apr 29, 2019 12:52 pm

I think the issue some people have (understandably) is the belief that to be ‘emotionless’ is to be uncaring, indifferent, or cold. Like the proverbial Dr Spock who coolly analyses everything without taking human feelings into account.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Simon E. » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:07 pm

Aye..not helped by earlier translators who would render 'upekkha' as ' indifference' or 'dispassion' in the same way that they translated 'dukkha' as suffering'.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by muni » Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:11 pm

be ‘emotionless’ is to be uncaring, indifferent, or cold.
This looks to be cold nihilism or clinging to emptiness. This is very dangerous! Then even an emotionless murderer would be an accomplished one!

ALL beings are not a separation of "Buddha", not separate of all embracing Compassion.

Buddha Nature would not be all-pervading goodness, have synonym like Primordial Goodness. Bodhichitta would be absent.
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:02 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:09 am
I think there are very strong grounds for saying that Buddhism has always taught that emotion is invariably associated with dukkha. Terms such as 'asava' (outflows) and klesa (afflictive emotions) can both be understood as being associated with emotional states. As I said in one of the earlier responses to this thread, in traditional literature (both Buddhist and other), there is an emphasis on 'overcoming the passions'. 'Passion' is a different word to 'emotion', being a much older term, but again, the idea is quite similar. Conversely, 'the sage' is dispassionate, or unemotional - but not necessarily unfeeling or indifferent, as compassion, awareness of others' suffering, is not considered an emotional reaction.

I would like to find some passages that illustrate this, if anyone can think of any, please let us know!
The entirety of emotion cannot be summarized as asava and klesa. As has been discussed, what we call emotion in the West does not fit neatly into Buddhist doctrine. You are trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. I’m shocked that any self-respecting Tibetan would go this very Hinayana route.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Jerafreyr » Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:34 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:02 pm
The entirety of emotion cannot be summarized as asava and klesa. As has been discussed, what we call emotion in the West does not fit neatly into Buddhist doctrine. You are trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. I’m shocked that any self-respecting Tibetan would go this very Hinayana route.
While I'm not a tibetan, I don't mind being criticized when my shortsightedness gets the upper hand. What sort of emotions would you classify as being free from dukkha?

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Wed May 01, 2019 2:11 am

Jerafreyr wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:34 am
SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:02 pm
The entirety of emotion cannot be summarized as asava and klesa. As has been discussed, what we call emotion in the West does not fit neatly into Buddhist doctrine. You are trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. I’m shocked that any self-respecting Tibetan would go this very Hinayana route.
While I'm not a tibetan, I don't mind being criticized when my shortsightedness gets the upper hand. What sort of emotions would you classify as being free from dukkha?
"may all beings be happy and free" - so, happiness and freedom?

"So in our own consciousness there is hell, and there is also paradise. We are capable of being compassionate, understanding, and joyful. If we pay attention only to the negative things in us, especially the suffering of past hurts, we are wallowing in our sorrows and not getting any positive nourishment. We can practice appropriate attention, watering the wholesome qualities in us by touching the positive things that are always available inside and around us. That is good food for our mind."

"It requires first of all that we come home to ourselves, that we make peace with our suffering, treating it tenderly, and looking deeply at the roots of our pain. It requires that we let go of useless, unnecessary sufferings and take a closer look at our idea of happiness.

Finally, it requires that we nourish happiness daily, with acknowledgement, understanding, and compassion for ourselves and for those around us. We offer these practices to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to the larger community. This is the art of suffering and the art of happiness. With each breath, we ease suffering and generate joy. With each step, the flower of insight blooms."

TNH
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Wed May 01, 2019 2:22 am

contentment:

"Monks, I am content with this practice. I am content at heart with this practice. So arouse even more intense persistence for the attaining of the as-yet-unattained, the reaching of the as-yet-unreached, the realization of the as-yet-unrealized. I will remain right here at Savatthi [for another month] through the 'White Water-lily' Month, the fourth month of the rains."
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed May 01, 2019 4:22 am

For what it’s worth, there’s a Lion’s Roar article by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche on The Four Seals which explains we he says that ‘all emotions are painful’. After the section explaining that, there are two Q&A’s:
Question: Is compassion an emotion?

Answer: People like us have dualistic compassion, whereas the Buddha’s compassion does not involve subject and object. From a buddha’s point of view, compassion could never involve subject and object. This is what is called mahakaruna—great compassion.

Question: I’m having difficulty accepting that all emotions are pain.

Answer: OK, if you want a more philosophical expression, you can drop the word “emotion” and simply say, “All that is dualistic is pain.” But I like using the word “emotion” because it provokes us.
As I suggested, I think DJKR is being a little mischievous or playful here to provoke a reaction - but that he still makes a valid point

The article can be found here
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Vasana » Wed May 01, 2019 7:52 am

Another useful reaching on the different types of compassion.

James Low;

"In the mahayana traditon, wisdom is unpacked through the teachings on emptiness and the first elaboraton of the Heart Sutra and so on. Prajnaparamita literature, including The Diamond Sutra and The Diamond Cutting Sutra, says that the bodhisattva, who wants to help beings, is not a bodhisattva. This may sound a very strange thing to say. A bodhisattva is somebody who works for the liberaton of all beings, but if they want to help beings, they are not a bodhisattva. How come? Because there are no beings to be saved. That is to say – although the buddhist teachings begin with suffering, if you take other people’s suffering too seriously, you will get into big problems.

Three kinds of compassion

How then does this link into migpa mepa, the absence of object? Through compassion. The mahayana tradition describes three kinds of compassion. There is the compassion of aspiration, as in the lines of the prayer,“May I bring all beings to enlightenment.” This is said to be like planning to go on a journey and is compassion which takes sentent beings as its object, semchen la migpai nyinje [སེམས་ཅན་ལ་དམིགས་པའི་8ིང་:ེ་].

The second kind of compassion is actually doing the practice, and is said to be like going on the actual journey. When you do your prayers or your meditation you might visualise all sentient beings around you, or you might radiate out light to them, or you might dedicate the merit. This is compassion which takes dharma practice as its object, cho la migpai nyinje [ཆོས་ལ་དམིགས་པའི་8ིན་:ེ་]

The third form of compassion is the compassion which has no object. And here is the link to the Vajracchedika, The Diamond Cutter Sutra. If you consider that there are beings to be saved, then you are engaged in reification and have turned these into real people with real problems, which have to be removed, so this is very solid. This third kind of compassion is called compassion which does not take an object, migpa mepai nyinje [དམིགས་པ་མེད་པའི་8ིན་:ེ་].

From the very beginning, everything has been impermanent and without inherent self-­nature. There are no beings to be saved – and yet, of course, there are. What is to be saved is the ending of the intoxication with the illusion that there is a problem which has to be solved. There is no problem. Earlier we were thinking about the absence of inherent self-­‐nature in ourselves; it’s not that we are struggling to establish the absence of inherent self-­nature in ourselves because that has always been there. That is a fact. It is hidden from us by our own self-­concept, by the elaborated fantasy of identity which we have constructed with a lot of time and energy and often with money as well. We have created our own obscuration. It is the maintenance of the obscuration which hides the actuality. It’s not that you have to develop something which is not there – you simply have to stop doing the obscuring activity which hides what is there. That’s the fundamental point. If you understand that, then you see that all the dharma practices are about deconstruction. They are about stopping being intoxicated with activities which have to be done.

So who then is going to save all sentient beings? "I am." How am I going to do it? "I don’t know, but I want to do it." Okay. So, first of all we have to work out who is going to save beings. Then, who are the beings to be saved and third, how are they to be saved. So, who is going to save beings is a buddha established in the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya.Dharmakaya means understanding that your mind is emptiness and space inseparable. Sambhogakaya is the natural clarity arising from this understanding of emptiness and space, and nirmanakaya is the moment by moment participative engagement in the illusory field of becoming. That is to say: there is nobody going to do the saving.

Who then are the beings to be saved? They are two arms, two legs, a nose; or they have littke wings,or they are going,
“Wau! wau! wau!” down in the hell realms, we haven’t counted all the people here... These beings – what are they made of? When you look at someone you see their face; they have got holes in various places and some holes go up and some holes go down. We are people with spaces inside us! Then you might think, ‘Oh well, at least there are bones, but then you crack open the bones and see that they have got some space inside. But bones are also full of all this gooey stuff, so then you get a microscope and you look and you see the cells and inside the cells there is some space. There is space, there is space, there is space...

In the beginning there is space, and something moves in space. What? Energy. Energy moves in space and creates everything. Buddhists understood this a long time ago. Energy moving in space. So the beings whom we are going to free are energy moving in space, not recognising that they are energy moving in space because they believe that they are a substantial person with substantial problems that need to be helped. How then do we help them? If you try to help them by helping solve their substantial problem, you confirm the paradigm of ignorance that they are living in.

So the work of the buddha is deconstructive. It is to help liberate people from the illusion that they are trapped in. And how do they do that? There are many different methods. Some of the methods are like a parent to a child; some are like a magician, using illusion to dissolve illusion. There are many different dharma methods, but they have to be precise in relation to the person – the very same person who doesn’t exist. That’s at the heart of it. The buddha doesn’t exist, the person to be saved doesn’t exist, and the methods employed don’t exist. When we say, ‘doesn’t exist’, it doesn’t mean that nothing happens. You could say it’s neither existing nor non-­‐existing. Something occurs, which is a movement through time and space and this is anicca, this is impermanence. The impermanence of the subject, of the object, and of the connection between them."

[/quote]
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Simon E. » Wed May 01, 2019 8:10 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 2:11 am
Jerafreyr wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 2:34 am
SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:02 pm
The entirety of emotion cannot be summarized as asava and klesa. As has been discussed, what we call emotion in the West does not fit neatly into Buddhist doctrine. You are trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. I’m shocked that any self-respecting Tibetan would go this very Hinayana route.
While I'm not a tibetan, I don't mind being criticized when my shortsightedness gets the upper hand. What sort of emotions would you classify as being free from dukkha?
"may all beings be happy and free" - so, happiness and freedom?

"So in our own consciousness there is hell, and there is also paradise. We are capable of being compassionate, understanding, and joyful. If we pay attention only to the negative things in us, especially the suffering of past hurts, we are wallowing in our sorrows and not getting any positive nourishment. We can practice appropriate attention, watering the wholesome qualities in us by touching the positive things that are always available inside and around us. That is good food for our mind."

"It requires first of all that we come home to ourselves, that we make peace with our suffering, treating it tenderly, and looking deeply at the roots of our pain. It requires that we let go of useless, unnecessary sufferings and take a closer look at our idea of happiness.

Finally, it requires that we nourish happiness daily, with acknowledgement, understanding, and compassion for ourselves and for those around us. We offer these practices to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to the larger community. This is the art of suffering and the art of happiness. With each breath, we ease suffering and generate joy. With each step, the flower of insight blooms."

TNH
There is no 'happiness; untainted by dukkha as long as we have afflicted mind states.
And 'freedom' is a meaningless concept without a context.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by muni » Wed May 01, 2019 8:47 am

I’m shocked that any self-respecting Tibetan would go this very Hinayana route.
This can be. At the other hand what is then as well shocking is looking down on whatever, whoever. It is delusion what Guru Rinpoche warned for and therefore as well not self-respecting.
May I be a guard for those without one,
A guide for all who journey on the road,
May I become a boat, a raft or bridge,
For all who wish to cross the water.

Which human beings are “fortunate and connected?” They are the ones who generate love, compassion, and devotion, as well as the commitment to remain steadfast on the path until all beings are liberated. Venerable Khenpo Rinpoches.

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Wed May 01, 2019 3:26 pm

Now I'm delusional, since I'm a Buddhist who still believes in peace & love? You guys crack me up. I'm done with this convo.

:crazy:
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Simon E. » Wed May 01, 2019 7:17 pm

Buddhism isn't about believing anything. It's about seeing things as they are beyond the pairs of opposites, including peace and anxiety, and hate and love.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Punya » Thu May 02, 2019 8:01 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:26 pm
Now I'm delusional, since I'm a Buddhist who still believes in peace & love? You guys crack me up. I'm done with this convo.

:crazy:
You just have to remember that many of us at DW follow a Tibetan Vajrayana tradition, so our perspectives are going to be different from that of traditional Mahayana or Theravada. This doesn't mean we can't learn things from each other or that there aren't commonalities.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Thu May 02, 2019 9:58 pm

£$&^@ wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 7:17 pm
Buddhism isn't about believing anything. It's about seeing things as they are beyond the pairs of opposites, including peace and anxiety, and hate and love.
Then robots win!
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Wayfarer » Thu May 02, 2019 10:33 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:26 pm
Now I'm delusional, since I'm a Buddhist who still believes in peace & love? You guys crack me up. I'm done with this convo.

:crazy:
We've been trying to explain that Buddhism doesn't categorise compassion as 'an emotion'. For some reason that seems to keep going by you. Thinking of 'emotions' as 'moods' or better still 'mood-swings' would be nearer the mark. So, no - not a matter of being unfeeling or uncompassionate, or a robot, but of maintaining equanimity.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Thu May 02, 2019 11:23 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 10:33 pm
SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:26 pm
Now I'm delusional, since I'm a Buddhist who still believes in peace & love? You guys crack me up. I'm done with this convo.

:crazy:
We've been trying to explain that Buddhism doesn't categorise compassion as 'an emotion'. For some reason that seems to keep going by you. Thinking of 'emotions' as 'moods' or better still 'mood-swings' would be nearer the mark. So, no - not a matter of being unfeeling or uncompassionate, or a robot, but of maintaining equanimity.
Okay, the Wayfarer System ---> "emotions = bad emotions"
---> "good emotions = something else"
thanks for clarifying that!
How about more difficult problems such as "Pride" whereas pride in your ganglord is a bad emotion but pride in your Shifu is a good emotion?

or passion? passion for unrighteousness vs. compassion for Right Action?

etc etc.

Suddenly it gets harder to play semantic hop-scotch
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Fri May 03, 2019 12:18 am

1. Your child has been told so many times not to run into the street. And yet he does it again. A car slams on the brake and you hear the tires screech. At first you feel fear, then anger. Then you mindfully channel your anger into serious concern. You are going to have to take steps, because you love your child. Not a good time to approach this with a veneer of loving-kindness and compassion. Front and center you must express disapproval, and you must discipline the child. Now, the child is hurt and feels guilty, but because of these emotions, and the desire to escape them, the child learns to behave properly. It is nuanced.

2. You are in emotional turmoil because your grades are getting worse in a class. Hurt, pain, self-judgement, guilt. You want to do better, and so you approach the teacher after class. You even feel some fear in the process, if the teacher sees how poorly you are doing, watch out! But you want to escape the other feelings and succeed in the class. The teacher shows you which items to focus on, and as a result you are able to complete the requirements! Joy!

3. Your guru wants you to run a marathon and tells you you must win. But you are not the best runner, you can't even keep up with them in practice! You are so angry, and you determine to win this race out of anger!! You do win, in fact, and after that you go find a better guru. Nuanced again?

Emotions of all kinds serve all kinds of purposes, good and bad. I found several Theravada sermons to the effect of emotions = suffering, but nowhere else. An article written with Dalai Lama, but not even there does it go that far. If you don't have any sutra sources, it's not worth discussing as i said before.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 03, 2019 12:21 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 11:23 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 10:33 pm
SunWuKong wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:26 pm
Now I'm delusional, since I'm a Buddhist who still believes in peace & love? You guys crack me up. I'm done with this convo.

:crazy:
We've been trying to explain that Buddhism doesn't categorise compassion as 'an emotion'. For some reason that seems to keep going by you. Thinking of 'emotions' as 'moods' or better still 'mood-swings' would be nearer the mark. So, no - not a matter of being unfeeling or uncompassionate, or a robot, but of maintaining equanimity.
Okay, the Wayfarer System ---> "emotions = bad emotions"
---> "good emotions = something else"
thanks for clarifying that!
How about more difficult problems such as "Pride" whereas pride in your ganglord is a bad emotion but pride in your Shifu is a good emotion?

or passion? passion for unrighteousness vs. compassion for Right Action?

etc etc.

Suddenly it gets harder to play semantic hop-scotch

No, it's commonly explained that compassion is not an emotion as normally explained, I've had like at least 5 Buddhist teachers explain it this way, and you can Google on the subject, it's a common position in what could roughly be called the world of Buddhist psychology. So it's no Wayfarer just making things up - again, Google it if you'd like.

Viewing compassion as an emotion is viewing as a limited happening produced by thoughts, causes and conditions..the Four immeasurables (one of which is compassion) are just that, immeasurable.. you can't add or subtract them, and they aren't transitory "emotions" produced by aversion, ignorance or attachment.

I'm sure there are other angles of explanation, but this is how it's been explained to me.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 03, 2019 12:25 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 12:18 am
1. Your child has been told so many times not to run into the street. And yet he does it again. A car slams on the brake and you hear the tires screech. At first you feel fear, then anger. Then you mindfully channel your anger into serious concern. You are going to have to take steps, because you love your child. Not a good time to approach this with a veneer of loving-kindness and compassion. Front and center you must express disapproval, and you must discipline the child. Now, the child is hurt and feels guilty, but because of these emotions, and the desire to escape them, the child learns to behave properly. It is nuanced.

2. You are in emotional turmoil because your grades are getting worse in a class. Hurt, pain, self-judgement, guilt. You want to do better, and so you approach the teacher after class. You even feel some fear in the process, if the teacher sees how poorly you are doing, watch out! But you want to escape the other feelings and succeed in the class. The teacher shows you which items to focus on, and as a result you are able to complete the requirements! Joy!

3. Your guru wants you to run a marathon and tells you you must win. But you are not the best runner, you can't even keep up with them in practice! You are so angry, and you determine to win this race out of anger!! You do win, in fact, and after that you go find a better guru. Nuanced again?

Emotions of all kinds serve all kinds of purposes, good and bad. I found several Theravada sermons to the effect of emotions = suffering, but nowhere else. An article written with Dalai Lama, but not even there does it go that far. If you don't have any sutra sources, it's not worth discussing as i said before.
Your examples above are of conventional emotional states based on causes and conditions. In Buddhist terms these lead to suffering when clung to, and cannot lead to the states that the Four Immeasurables lead to. In short, more samsara...whether they seem joyous at the time or not.

Look up various Sutra or Sutta that addresses Tanha, grasping, craving, and it will be explained that emotions coming from it can only lead to suffering..the instances you described above have to do with The Eight Worldly Dharmas...here's one easy to find example, but there are innumerable ones, and this is a teaching that pervades both Theravada and Mahayana, despite some modern desires to do away with it, it is integral to Buddhist teachings.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Metta Sutta wrote: His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.
SunWuKong wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 5:02 pm


The entirety of emotion cannot be summarized as asava and klesa. As has been discussed, what we call emotion in the West does not fit neatly into Buddhist doctrine. You are trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. I’m shocked that any self-respecting Tibetan would go this very Hinayana route.
The Tibetan tradition most certainly acknowledges the same model of clinging=suffering as Thervada (so does any traditional Buddhist school, really), though from it's own standpoint goes beyond it.

EVery student of Tibetan Buddhism is quite familiar with the Four Thoughts Which Turn The Mind From Samsara, which are most certainly "Hinayana", in this particular regard, Mahayana and Theravada don't seem to view conventional emotional states differently.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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