Fat shaming

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A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha
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Re: Fat shaming

Post by A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha » Wed Jul 22, 2015 6:17 pm

Dear Lostitude,

I am very fond of Sufism, through the readings of Sufi poets (Kabir, Gibran, etc). :namaste:
What popped into my head just a few minutes ago was: Would it be possible for you to find a Buddhist teacher where you live ?
I feel your answers will be answered more completely. It can be an experiment for you. :smile:

:heart:

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 22, 2015 7:10 pm

lostitude wrote:To respond to this and the general idea that I had unrealistic expectations about gurus and teachers. Well I don't think I'm the only one. The only thing that made my question stand out was the specific factor I used (weight), while other people could be wondering about other stuff.
The fact is that popular litterature about buddhism (and I'm not talking about treatises or specialised ressources etc.) present it as a way to become COMPLETELY detached from this world. So obviously as a dietitian one of the most obvious detachments I could think of would be detachment from food. I see food addiction and cravings everyday so I'm so sorry if that's one of the first things that spring to mind... :oops: I don't understand though how this can be so shocking or unacceptable or silly. We each have specific occupations and thus specific interests, and that's why the questions we have about life are not one and the same.
Believing that the goal of Buddhism is to "detach from the world" in such a way, this is very much a pop-idea of Buddhism, and in my personal opinion it is so over simplified that is pretty much incorrect, even with the forms of Buddhism that would normally be associated with the renunciate approach - Theraveda for instance. Trying to simply escape the world really becomes a problematic approach in some ways when you study the Mahayana..though that's fodder for another thread. At any rate, it was explained a number of places IMO adequately that simply being fat doesn't mean attachment to food necessarily anyway, which to me is a relatively obvious thing..ymmv. IIRC There is a story in the Pali Canon about a stream - enterer who is a lapsed allcoholic btw, since we are on the subject. If I can dig it up i'll post the link.

EDIT: Here we go:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .wlsh.html

So when I read that realised gurus 'don't have a body' (read on this forum), can't feel pain (read on this forum), can levitate (read here), can have some kind of rainbow body (whatever that means, I didn't even check because I'm not interested - read on this forum), and then what's next, walking on water like Jesus maybe, however those same people can't control their body fat storage (even though they can hibernate and slow down their metabolism so much that they just look dead to most people except they're not - they are just meditating (read on this forum about the preserved mummy of a monk), allow me to ask this type of questions!!!
I don't blame you for asking the questions, the world of Buddhism is bewildering and byzantine in many ways. If you were asking the question just because you wanted to point out the flaws in the above stuff though, it was not (as you said it was) a very honestly asked question, after all, and seems to have an agenda by your own admission. Ultimately though, only you know the motivation behind your posting, i'm just calling it as I see it, and could be completely wrong.
I'm giving you all those examples to point out the enormous expectations that this kind of discourse creates in the minds of newcomers who don't have a first idea about buddhism. And guess what, I'm one of them!
So then, when you tell me that these gurus are just human people like us and they are not perfect but still, if you see their imperfections then they're yours not theirs, and when my question about these supposedly exceptional beings is interpreted as a question about 'fat people' in general and becomes a case of 'fat shaming' and so on... you should be at least aware of the confusion this can create about what I should expect from a teacher and from practising with him.
Right well, the real answer then is probably for you to go find a teacher.. and yes I know what a cop out answer that sounds like. Seriously, once you develop a relationship with a real teacher and experience some of the transformative potential of Dharma, even in a simple, day to day way, you will realize how silly arguments about fat gurus on an internet forum are. My own personal advice is not to form your ideas on Buddhism based on what you read on this forum, and put more trust in your real life experiences..this forum is a great resource for things like academic questions, sutra study, and sometimes learning from the personal experiences of others.

However, it is not, and cannot ever be a substitute for the experience of studying Dharma with teacher(s) and sangha members, IMO, not even close in fact. Focusing on stuff you read on here when you have no other source of authority on Buddhism is IMO REALLY not a good idea. I would find some real-life people to study with pronto, if I was in your shoes. IMO Kunga is right on the money.

If you want all your questions answered about a teacher, and to have complete confidence in how the whole shebang works by using this forum, you are bound for disappointment IMO..no one can sort all that stuff for you but yourself.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Jesse » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:06 pm

Buddhism isn't about renouncing the world, or even worldly life. That is a method of practice. Buddhism is about figuring out who you really are, and how this 'you' relates to the world. It's about dropping our delusions, habitual suffering and realizing our true nature.

If were concerned with crap like magic, and other peoples bodies were only doing ourselves an injustice. Buddhism provides the means to liberate yourself and other people, who cares if the guy leading you down that path enjoys food a bit too much? Most teachers are not perfectly enlightened buddhas, they have flaws, and they are on the same path we are on. That does not mean they don't have a much higher degree of insight than we do.

Like others have said, if you judge buddhism by what so-and-so says, or what some piece of literature says, you will never understand it's real meaning. Which is kind of a sad thing.
The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.
-Henry David Thoreau

Urgyen Dorje
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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:19 pm

My first root teacher, Khenchen Khenpo Palden Sherab, once reminded us about something very obvious-- if we achieve Buddhahood in this life, we do so in this body. It was a reminder that enlightenment is actually not something over there, or something divorced from who we are. Our very body is a mandala of enlightened energy. If we forget that, then we go on this trip of wanting to cut off parts of our being to attain realization, or to graft parts on. We need to find the Buddha in our own body. Where else could it be found?

It seemed like a fitting thing to bring up here. If we're fat, and manage to attain Buddhahood in this life, we'll do it in a fat body and be a fat Buddha. Even if we don't manage to do it, we'd still be a fat Buddha, we'd just not recognize that fact, as is taught in the Samantabhadra Monlam. If we have a banging hot body, we'll be a Buddha in a banging hot body. No difference.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:15 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:My first root teacher, Khenchen Khenpo Palden Sherab, once reminded us about something very obvious-- if we achieve Buddhahood in this life, we do so in this body. It was a reminder that enlightenment is actually not something over there, or something divorced from who we are. Our very body is a mandala of enlightened energy. If we forget that, then we go on this trip of wanting to cut off parts of our being to attain realization, or to graft parts on. We need to find the Buddha in our own body. Where else could it be found?

It seemed like a fitting thing to bring up here. If we're fat, and manage to attain Buddhahood in this life, we'll do it in a fat body and be a fat Buddha. Even if we don't manage to do it, we'd still be a fat Buddha, we'd just not recognize that fact, as is taught in the Samantabhadra Monlam. If we have a banging hot body, we'll be a Buddha in a banging hot body. No difference.

:good:
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by theanarchist » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:24 pm

Urgyen Dorje wrote:My first root teacher, Khenchen Khenpo Palden Sherab, once reminded us about something very obvious-- if we achieve Buddhahood in this life, we do so in this body. It was a reminder that enlightenment is actually not something over there, or something divorced from who we are. Our very body is a mandala of enlightened energy. .

Indeed. And it's not a problem if that body happens to be overweight. The number of fat cells you have has nothing to do with your ability for spiritual accomplishments and you do not necessarily have to live in a cave eating only nettles to attain enlightenment.


You know, we should start with slim-shaming. There is nothing quite as obnoxious as slim people with a superiority complex.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by BrianG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 4:23 am

theanarchist wrote: You know, we should start with slim-shaming. There is nothing quite as obnoxious as slim people with a superiority complex.
How about nobody shames anybody? My points previously, were aimed at the culture of over-consumption, which is something to be renounced. And obviously, holier-than-thou attitudes, which are contrary to equanimity, are to be renounced also.

Interestingly enough, here in Asia, saying "you're fat", isn't considered offensive at all(some fat people will even have a self-chosen nickname like "fatty"!), whereas in America(where I used to live), it could trigger an emotional crisis in someone. So obviously culture has an extremely strong influence on what's considered "shaming".

From my point of view, if you've taken Bodhisattva precepts, how are you supposed to help sentient beings, if you are too out of shape to go up a flight of stairs without being winded, during an emergency?
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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:04 am

Only people in shape can help others? I mean obviously we should all endeavor to be healthy..but really of your idea of Bodhisattva activity is focused on physical performance, that's flat out ridiculous.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by BrianG » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:04 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Only people in shape can help others? I mean obviously we should all endeavor to be healthy..but really of your idea of Bodhisattva activity is focused on physical performance, that's flat out ridiculous.
Well, there's body, speech, and mind. I think being in good enough shape to go up a flight of stairs without being winded, is an extremely low bar in terms of physical performance.

If someone abuses their body by eating too much, it will have a strong effect on their speech and mind.

When I was younger, my father had a medical emergency, and was unable to walk. He didn't look like he was in too bad of shape, so I tried picking him up so I could drive him to the hospital - I couldn't, and I'm a pretty strong guy, and can fireman's carry most people. He was too fat. So I had to call 911, and it took four paramedics to get him on the gurney.

And this was despite his doctor telling him to lose weight - every single visit for years - because his sleep apnea was causing him heart problems, which he died of.

Being out of shape, and overweight, not only prevents you from helping other people, it also prevents other people from helping you.

Is being in shape some revolutionary Buddhist concept - not at all. The Buddha taught the middle way, neither overindulgence or ascetic denial.

Radical would be demanding mandatory kung-fu for out of shape monks.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 23, 2015 11:48 am

BrianG wrote: From my point of view, if you've taken Bodhisattva precepts, how are you supposed to help sentient beings, if you are too out of shape to go up a flight of stairs without being winded, during an emergency?

Bodhisattvas don't have to work as firemen or emergency doctors.


An enlightened person that is in a wheelchair or elderly would have the same problems.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 23, 2015 12:26 pm

BrianG wrote:

If someone abuses their body by eating too much, it will have a strong effect on their speech and mind.

When I was younger, my father had a medical emergency, and was unable to walk. He didn't look like he was in too bad of shape, so I tried picking him up so I could drive him to the hospital - I couldn't, and I'm a pretty strong guy, and can fireman's carry most people. He was too fat. So I had to call 911, and it took four paramedics to get him on the gurney.


It seems your rants against obesity here has 0% to do with buddhism and 100% to do with your personal sad experience with your father.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by lostitude » Thu Jul 23, 2015 1:28 pm

Thank you all again for your advice, I'm currently looking for a buddhist center in my area.

@Johnny Dangerous, I think you should stop trying to guess other people's intentions because you're doing poorly. You can't read my mind so stop assuming that I have bad intentions or a hidden agenda and what not. It's great to lecture other people about their attitude but it would be just as good to start with one's own, don't you think?
I am NOT a buddhist, I don't have any point to make about buddhism, no claim to spread about it, nothing but questions to ask! Which others have answered in a remarkably factual and non-judgemental way devoid of any accusatory assumptions. Maybe that's an example to follow. Ans thanks for editing your post but sadly I read your latest comments before you toned them down.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Urgyen Dorje » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:08 pm

I'm largely with you, but I do challenge the model of obesity being simply a function of people eating too much.

In the United States at least, obesity is comorbid with poverty, what some people call the obesity-poverty paradox.

A hundred years ago, being rail thin would be comorbid with poverty. My father was 5'10" and weighed 135 when he was drafted into WW2. That's a BMI of 19.5. That's what poverty looked like in the 30's. It was that way because people with and without money had the same food supply. Poor people just couldn't afford it.

Now obesity is comorbid with poverty, because poor people deferentially rely on really crappy food to survive. Primarily refined high fat and high carbohydrate foods, and primarily food from fast food restaurants and convenience stores. Now poverty in much of America is obese.
BrianG wrote:My points previously, were aimed at the culture of over-consumption, which is something to be renounced. And obviously, holier-than-thou attitudes, which are contrary to equanimity, are to be renounced also.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 23, 2015 3:49 pm

I found some interesting info that obesity can also be caused by hormone like substances in plastic when exposed during pregnancy and antibiotics.

I mean, hormones have an influence on the metabolic system and fat storage. They are the reason why women have more body fat than men. And antibiotics are used to help fattening livestock more quickly.

http://authoritynutrition.com/5-chemica ... g-you-fat/

Stress hormones could also play a role. After all, if you give a person cortison, a related substance, they gain weight.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Ayu » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:44 pm

theanarchist wrote:I found some interesting info that obesity can also be caused by hormone like substances in plastic when exposed during pregnancy and antibiotics.

I mean, hormones have an influence on the metabolic system and fat storage. They are the reason why women have more body fat than men. And antibiotics are used to help fattening livestock more quickly.

http://authoritynutrition.com/5-chemica ... g-you-fat/

Stress hormones could also play a role. After all, if you give a person cortison, a related substance, they gain weight.
Yes, somehow it is odd, that this has to be said explicitly:
Not every obesity is the result of overeating.
Not every overeating is due to greed.
If someone achieved body fat for whatever reason, it is very difficult to lose it again. And if he lost it, it is most difficult not to gain it again.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:54 pm

theanarchist wrote:
BrianG wrote: From my point of view, if you've taken Bodhisattva precepts, how are you supposed to help sentient beings, if you are too out of shape to go up a flight of stairs without being winded, during an emergency?

Bodhisattvas don't have to work as firemen or emergency doctors.


An enlightened person that is in a wheelchair or elderly would have the same problems.

This was my point as well. If this is a requirement for enlightened activity, then all the old masters who are now to frail to move around quickly should just stop I guess.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jul 23, 2015 5:55 pm

lostitude wrote:Thank you all again for your advice, I'm currently looking for a buddhist center in my area.

@Johnny Dangerous, I think you should stop trying to guess other people's intentions because you're doing poorly. You can't read my mind so stop assuming that I have bad intentions or a hidden agenda and what not. It's great to lecture other people about their attitude but it would be just as good to start with one's own, don't you think?
I am NOT a buddhist, I don't have any point to make about buddhism, no claim to spread about it, nothing but questions to ask! Which others have answered in a remarkably factual and non-judgemental way devoid of any accusatory assumptions. Maybe that's an example to follow. Ans thanks for editing your post but sadly I read your latest comments before you toned them down.

I was actually quite specific about the fact that I cannot actually guess your intentions, but was just going by how you post. Sorry the pre-edit version upset you, I feel I've been pretty reasonable, even if some of what I said makes you uncomfortable. I've also stated numerous times that I don't think you have any ill intent at all.

Referencing the bolded part above, that is simply a deflection, in your original thread you clearly were referencing Buddhist concepts specifically, and have continued to do so. The entire context of your question was obviously about Buddhism and being overweight, and you have posted numerous times about the notion of a guru, and your issues with it. That of course is great, that's what the forum is for. However, I don't know why i'd be expected to believe that none of your posts contain opinions about your perceptions of Buddhism.

Far as my own attitude, if you have specifics about what i've done wrong, let's have it, you can PM me if you'd like. So far I've just tried to be frank with you and voice my opinion about some of what you've posted. I am not trying to "judge you", just responding to things you've posted..I keep pointing out in almost every post, I can't really know you from an internet forum, and can only go by your words. In that regard, I get the impression you have your own set of baggage with overweight people - possibly from your profession.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by DGA » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:27 pm

Questions are good.

I think the advice to find a teacher one can work with is really the best advice. This is true in Sufism as well as Buddhism, by the way. One thing I admire about Sufis is the attitude of respectful, even ecstatic, devotion they cultivate. That only comes with well-informed practice with others.

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Re: Fat shaming

Post by A Ah Sha Sa Ma Ha » Thu Jul 23, 2015 7:43 pm

God
and I have become
like two giant fat people living
in a tiny
boat.

We
keep bumping into
each other
and laughing
(Shams-ud-din Muhammad Hafiz)


:anjali:

lostitude
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Re: Fat shaming

Post by lostitude » Thu Jul 23, 2015 9:41 pm

@Johnny Dangerous
Then you could have spared your last comment: "If you were asking the question just because you wanted to point out the flaws in the above stuff though, it was not (as you said it was) a very honestly asked question, after all, and seems to have an agenda by your own admission. Ultimately though, only you know the motivation behind your posting, i'm just calling it as I see it, and could be completely wrong."
I can't see the usefulness of writing such things, basically questioning my honesty but not quite, just through hints, wink wink I'm saying it but I'm not saying anything... that's judgement and you keep going at it. I don't need that. It brings no information whatsoever. I may be interested in buddhism but I'm nowhere close to being detached enough not to find this annoyingly hostile.

@Jikan and Kunga
Thanks for the advice. I looked around and it seems that practice centers are closed for summer. Next chance is not until september apparently. In the meantime I'll keep reading.

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