Emotions = suffering?

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SunWuKong
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Fri May 03, 2019 5:32 am

To me the sutta is saying that the World will Fail you, that Life is Suffering. I'm not disputing that.

Here are 3 well-recognized Buddhist teachers saying that there are helpful as well as harmful emotions:

https://buddhismnow.com/2011/02/12/libe ... n-sumedho/

https://www.buddhanet.net/imol/retreat/retreat05.htm

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/250b/1 ... 228fd5.pdf

:reading:

If you need more examples I'll be back later. This has become tedious.
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri May 03, 2019 6:08 am

From the second reference:
An emotion is an agitated mind state or disturbance caused by strong feelings about somebody or something. There need be no preference as to whether they are positive or negative as they are related to as just mind states: as ordinary or higher states of mind, that is, just mental events to be noted without seeing them as significant in any way.

Without judging or evaluating them, emotions are monitored throughout the day by labeling or mentally noting them. This helps to develop a more non-reactive awareness toward the emotion, without the tendency to identify with them or play back into the associated story. This practice helps one to relate to emotions more dispassionately while at the same time revealing the transitory nature of mental events.
https://www.buddhanet.net/imol/retreat/retreat05.htm
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 03, 2019 6:47 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:32 am
To me the sutta is saying that the World will Fail you, that Life is Suffering. I'm not disputing that.

Here are 3 well-recognized Buddhist teachers saying that there are helpful as well as harmful emotions:

https://buddhismnow.com/2011/02/12/libe ... n-sumedho/

https://www.buddhanet.net/imol/retreat/retreat05.htm

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/250b/1 ... 228fd5.pdf

:reading:

If you need more examples I'll be back later. This has become tedious.

Those articles don't say anything like that by my reading, they are three articles on the Buddhist view of emotions. No one said there are no helpful emotions in a conventional sense, and I definitely don't think that. You're going to need to be a bit more precise and stop moving the target.

The articles literally talk about some of the exact things I mentioned - that emotions dependent on causes and conditions tend to be painful.
This has become tedious.
The feelings mutual. Again, probably best if we set some more precise goals for the discussion than getting so wide.

Another nice quote from the third link, I bolded the parts that seem to touch on what we are talking about:
The Buddhist View
Buddhism does not distinguish between emotions and other
mental processes.
Instead, it is concerned with understanding
which types of mental activity are truly conducive to one’s own
and others’ well-being, and which ones are harmful, especially
in the long run.
In Buddhism, a clear distinction is made between affective
states that are directly aroused by the experience of pleasurable
stimuli (sensory, as well as aesthetic and intellectual) and
sukha, which arises from the attentional, emotional, and cognitive
balance of the mind.
(For a similar distinction, see
Sheldon, Ryan, Deci, & Kasser, 2004.) The experience of pleasure
is contingent upon specific times, places, and circumstances,
and can easily change into a neutral or unpleasant
feeling. When one disengages from the pleasant stimulus, the
resultant pleasure vanishes, whether or not it is connected to
any afflictive state.

The initial challenge of Buddhist meditative practice is not
merely to suppress, let alone repress, destructive mental states,
but instead to identify how they arise, how they are experienced,
and how they influence oneself and others over the long run.
In addition, one learns to transform and finally free oneself from
all afflictive states. This requires cultivating and refining one’s
ability to introspectively monitor one’s own mental activities,
enabling one to distinguish disruptive from nondisruptive
thoughts and emotions. In Buddhism, rigorous, sustained
training in mindfulness and introspection is conjoined with the
cultivation of attentional stability and vividness.
In contrast to Aristotelian ethics, Buddhism rejects the notion
that all emotions are healthy as long as they are not excessive or
inappropriate to the time and place. Rather, Buddhism maintains
that some mental states are afflictive regardless of their
degree or the context in which they arise.
Here we focus on three
mental processes that are considered to be fundamental toxins
of the mind.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Jerafreyr » Fri May 03, 2019 9:39 am

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:32 am
To me the sutta is saying that the World will Fail you, that Life is Suffering. I'm not disputing that.

Here are 3 well-recognized Buddhist teachers saying that there are helpful as well as harmful emotions:

https://buddhismnow.com/2011/02/12/libe ... n-sumedho/

https://www.buddhanet.net/imol/retreat/retreat05.htm

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/250b/1 ... 228fd5.pdf

:reading:

If you need more examples I'll be back later. This has become tedious.
That first article is about liberating ourselves from emotions; or more accurately our attachment towards the 8 worldly concerns. It does not encourage us to become emotional nor does it say emotions are helpful. Let go of your wrong view it does not assist you.

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by £$&^@ » Fri May 03, 2019 10:11 am

SunWuKong wrote:
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!
The "robotic" response is to continue dualistic stances. That will guarantee that we remain on the Wheel.
Those that are free of Samsara are those who no longer define themselves in terms of pairs of opposites.
My name is Simon John Ellis. Husband of a Buddhist wife. Father of a Buddhist son. And I will have Enlightenment in this life or the next.

( Or the next..or the next....)

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by £$&^@ » Fri May 03, 2019 12:52 pm

That first article is about liberating ourselves from emotions; or more accurately our attachment towards the 8 worldly concerns. It does not encourage us to become emotional nor does it say emotions are helpful. Let go of your wrong view it does not assist you.
:good:
Last edited by Miroku on Fri May 03, 2019 4:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Edited to make clear that £$&^@ didn't like his own post.
My name is Simon John Ellis. Husband of a Buddhist wife. Father of a Buddhist son. And I will have Enlightenment in this life or the next.

( Or the next..or the next....)

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by SunWuKong » Fri May 03, 2019 5:16 pm

"The initial challenge of Buddhist meditative practice is not
merely to suppress, let alone repress, destructive mental states,
but instead to identify how they arise, how they are experienced,
and how they influence oneself and others over the long run."

Actually suppression and avoidance of ALL emotion IS taught in some schools that claim to represent about 40% of all Buddhists, AND this is why I'm arguing the point, and why I am trying to parse out good teaching from bad. I regret having gotten into this conversation because it's apparent to me now - that people who are exposed to good Dharma teaching are not well versed in the misunderstandings and wrong views so prevalent in the general Buddhist populations of the world. That is a view that I'm aware of because I also read general academic texts as well as teaching materials.

Enough said, I'm finished.

:group:
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by £$&^@ » Fri May 03, 2019 5:44 pm

No Vajrayana teacher I have heard, or have knowledge of, encourages suppression or avoidance of emotion.
All of them state unequivocally that even positive emotions will eventually prove to incline to Dukkha.

Why? Because Dukkha as a sign of being does not stand alone.
It always comes with Anicca.
However, the third sign of being, Anatta, points to the exit.
Last edited by £$&^@ on Fri May 03, 2019 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My name is Simon John Ellis. Husband of a Buddhist wife. Father of a Buddhist son. And I will have Enlightenment in this life or the next.

( Or the next..or the next....)

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 03, 2019 5:56 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:16 pm
"The initial challenge of Buddhist meditative practice is not
merely to suppress, let alone repress, destructive mental states,
but instead to identify how they arise, how they are experienced,
and how they influence oneself and others over the long run."

Actually suppression and avoidance of ALL emotion IS taught in some schools that claim to represent about 40% of all Buddhists, AND this is why I'm arguing the point, and why I am trying to parse out good teaching from bad. I regret having gotten into this conversation because it's apparent to me now - that people who are exposed to good Dharma teaching are not well versed in the misunderstandings and wrong views so prevalent in the general Buddhist populations of the world. That is a view that I'm aware of because I also read general academic texts as well as teaching materials.

Enough said, I'm finished.

:group:
Sources please, the schools that advocate suppression of emotions specifically. If you're going to make bold claims like that you should probably qualify them.

And once again, we need to stop moving the target, no one here advocated suppressing emotions, and I'm not sure how you are trying to relate that to the larger question of emotions in Buddhist psychology. If the discussion is frustrating, maybe it's because you are continuing to create your own narrative about the discussion topic...
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 03, 2019 6:14 pm

£$&^@ wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 5:44 pm
No Vajrayana teacher I have heard, or have knowledge of, encourages suppression or avoidance of emotion.
All of them state unequivocally that even positive emotions will eventually prove to incline to Dukkha.

Why? Because Dukkha as a sign of being does not stand alone.
It always comes with Anicca.
However, the third sign of being, Anatta, points to the exit.
This is kind of pan-Buddhist psychology, isn't it? I mean is there a school that would disagree with this?
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by £$&^@ » Fri May 03, 2019 7:10 pm

I am sure it is. Right across the spectrum Johnny. I wasn't implying that the Vajrayana has an exclusive on this.. :smile: It's just the school I know best.
My name is Simon John Ellis. Husband of a Buddhist wife. Father of a Buddhist son. And I will have Enlightenment in this life or the next.

( Or the next..or the next....)

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri May 03, 2019 7:42 pm

£$&^@ wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 7:10 pm
I am sure it is. Right across the spectrum Johnny. I wasn't implying that the Vajrayana has an exclusive on this.. :smile: It's just the school I know best.
For sure. Definitely, I would say that Vajrayana is pretty "emotion positive" in that they are ultimately transformed into the Five Wisdoms...but, samsaric emotion is still what it is.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso

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Mönlam Tharchin
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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Mönlam Tharchin » Fri May 03, 2019 10:14 pm

Just some thoughts on the first post.

If you're happy, you can think, "may all beings have happiness like this; I will help them to have all the causes of happiness." Then you don't rely on maintaining your happiness to benefit others, because you give the goodness away in your mind instead.

If you break your arm, you can think, "bodies break apart and beings suffer like this. I will become a buddha to free beings from this misery." Then you don't rely on your health to benefit others, and instead you have "given your body away to sentient beings" so that inevitable illness and eventual death don't interrupt your determination to save all beings.

If you feel deep sadness, you can think, "samsara is always passing away, and so many beings are sad like this. I feel so sad on behalf of beings. When I'm a buddha, I will bring them joy." Then you don't rely on your optimism to benefit others, but turn even heavy emotional suffering into medicine.

Whether or not anything, including emotions, leads to suffering depends on our motivation, because that determines our thoughts, words, and deeds, which become our karma. And past karma is what makes this life today. Teachings on equanimity, mudita, and so on can be turned into the "near" and "far" poisons with the wrong intent, like someone who likes how meditating on compassion feels, but remains angry or stingy in daily life.

So if you want to become a bodhisattva, a helpful person, a kind person, a buddha, you need the continual motivation to do that, to turn every part of your life into a way to benefit others. Shantideva says even one moment of bodhicitta motivation surpasses a universe full of jewels in terms of value to suffering beings. So that reminds me of where to look when I have suffering, or when I don't know how to help others. It's always this motivation, the first step in everything you'll do.

Emotions = suffering I think means relying on emotions in order to want to benefit others, much like you can't wait until you're rich to try to be generous. I mention the above because even confusion and suffering can be transformed into the path to awakening, thanks to bodhicitta.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-amida-butsu. -- Ippen

If in your heart you hold the thought, "I shall continue to utter the nembutsu," the Buddha will turn his attention to you, and thus you are one among those who are thought about and cherished. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Wayfarer » Sat May 04, 2019 12:24 am

:namaste:

Wonderful post, Monlam. I'm going to print this off and put it in my notes.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sat May 04, 2019 3:00 am

Seconded. Great post dude.
There's no hoarding what has vanished,
No piling up for the future;
Those who have been born are standing
Like a seed upon a needle.

-Guhatthaka-suttaniddeso

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Re: Emotions = suffering?

Post by £$&^@ » Sat May 04, 2019 9:43 am

Thirded. :namaste:
My name is Simon John Ellis. Husband of a Buddhist wife. Father of a Buddhist son. And I will have Enlightenment in this life or the next.

( Or the next..or the next....)

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