Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

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Gyaltsen Tashi
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Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Gyaltsen Tashi »

Mahayana and/or Vajrayana.

Regards,
Gyaltsen Tashi
Last edited by Gyaltsen Tashi on Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

With active schizophrenia? Clearly no.

While on antipsychotic drugs that successfully suppress the symtpoms? Certainly not vajrayana, I don't think meditation is possible as those meds suppress metnal processes just like some illegal drugs do.


What exactly do you mean by "with schizophrenia"?

(by the way, I had a schizophrenic episode 15 years ago, so first hand experience with the disease as well as the medications)
Last edited by theanarchist on Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gyaltsen Tashi
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Gyaltsen Tashi »

Stable on antipsychotics.
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Ayu
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Ayu »

Metta-meditation should be relieving. And Shamata may be good, but it depends.
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theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

I personally think nothing beyond aspirational stuff and mind training.

Antipsychotic meds are prescription meds but effectively they are tranquilizers that suppress emotions and thought processes, otherwise they couldn't counteract halluzinations and delusional thought formations. And just like you can't effectively meditate on legal and illegal drugs you can't while on those meds. Because it forces the mind into a state of numb sinking and there is nothing you can do to counteract this effect.

Also, very introspective techniques that go along with shutting out the outer world are not good if you have a background in halluzinations because in a state like this you are particularly vulnerable to those risings. And tibetan buddhist meditatons, well, they are perfect fodder for a religious delusion with their deities, visions etc..
narraboth
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by narraboth »

There are more to be defined. what do you mean for 'practice'?

Practice can be also doing refuge, reading and thinking of basic buddhist principle, taking diciplines (not to kill, etc).

If the person 'can' practice, he can. The problem is that if it's in active phase, he or she probably couldn't do any practice.
There are also many different kind of schizo.

Anyway, I agree that the patient should refrain from vajrayana practice until it's very stable. However, most of us have been in Tibetan buddhist centres and in some vajrayana teachings, I am sure many of us have seen people appear to have mental problem in the teaching. I think the main problem is how to help those people, or least keep them from having more trouble from misunderstand the teaching, as you can't really forbid them to come.
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

narraboth wrote: I am sure many of us have seen people appear to have mental problem in the teaching..

I know of a case of a delusional young man who killed himself after attending some Chod teachings.

I know of another sufferer who repeatedly caused stirups at vajrayana events (she was long term participant at that group before her mental illness had escalated to that extent and I personally think that spending so much time with vajrayana in addition to traumatic childhood stuff triggered it to become so bad, I think Tib. buddhism hasn't done her a favour at all) She is now restricted to basic teachings people keep an eye on her when she attends events.
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Fa Dao
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Fa Dao »

Ultimately arent we all suffering from one form of delusion or another? So, to answer the question..yes, a person with schizophrenia can be a practitioner..they just have to find and do practices that would be appropriate. That of course would be just like any other "normal" person..one has to find practices that are within ones capacity...
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Schrödinger’s Yidam
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Schizophrenics are often delusional about government conspiracies or religion. When it is religion it makes Dharma participation problematic. I know someone that frequently has personal contact with both God and the Devil--and they mean it literally, in the flesh. God is a white guy dressed in a Roman tunic on the bus, The Devil is sitting in the park, etc. If someone has religious delusions I don't see how you can bypass them to get them to authentic practice. All that would happen is for them to use the teachings as file for the fire of their own delusions. (Of course that scenario is not restricted to just schizophrenics, hence the ChNN quote in my signature.)
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drodul
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by drodul »

You might want to discuss this issue with the clinician/s you see regularly. Someone who knows you is in a better position to advise you than are internet acquaintances. If there were someone at your local dharma center with both a background in clinical psychology and some familiarity with Buddhist meditation practices (or someone who could refer you to such a person,) that might also be helpful.
emaho
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by emaho »

You will definitely need a therapist/psychiatrist and a very good and accessible meditation teacher. I don't think it is possible to answer this question over the internet, and I don't think it would be wise of you to take personal advice on this on an internet forum. But on a general level here's some information that might be useful for you:

When you meditate you sit motionless and quietly in a (hopefully) quiet environment, keep your eyes focused on a point in front of you. You focus on your breath or whatever object of meditation you have, and thus your actively thinking mind comes to a rest. Surprising as it may be, there is a certain analogy between meditation and sensory deprivation: the absence of stimuli can cause some very vivid hallucinations and without the proper guidance this is dangerous for everybody, and for you especially.

If you like to explore this on a theoretical level you might want to read the Encyclopedia Britannica article on hallucinations:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/top ... lucination

And the American psychologist Lois VanderKooi has written a dissertation on the subject of meditation related psychosis:

http://downthecrookedpath-meditation-gu ... -from.html
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theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

Fa Dao wrote:Ultimately arent we all suffering from one form of delusion or another? So, to answer the question..yes, a person with schizophrenia can be a practitioner..they just have to find and do practices that would be appropriate. That of course would be just like any other "normal" person..one has to find practices that are within ones capacity...

This makes it very clear that you have no idea about schizophrenia.

NO, schizophrenic people with active symptoms can't be practitioners because they lack the ability do discern illusion from something that is true, it's inheritant with the disease that you firmly believe that your delusional ideas are in fact the truth. And at that point dharma practice is totally futile because questioning the truth of those delusional and hallucinatory processes of the mind is the most important aspect of buddhist practice.
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Fa Dao
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Fa Dao »

Actually I have been around a few people who were diagnosed with schizophrenia..and no, I am not claiming to be a psychiatrist etc. However, anarchist, you have actually helped to make my point. All of us, until we begin to realize Wisdom from our practice, "lack the ability do discern illusion from something that is true". That is a big part of what Buddhadharma consists of, isnt it? Thats not to say that a schizophrenic has an even harder time with it than "normal" people. I am not necessarily suggesting that a person with schizophrenia take on a full on practice..as ChNN says we all have to work with our circumstances. But, if slowly, a person could work with the mind to be able to do just that..."questioning the truth of those delusional and hallucinatory processes of the mind", how could that not be helpful? Nothing fancy, maybe for example just some simple shamatha/shine practice to help gain even some measure of control over the disease? Anyways, I wont argue this as no definitive answer can be derived from this type of discourse. The OP asked what people thought and I answered..
"But if you know how to observe yourself, you will discover your real nature, the primordial state, the state of Guruyoga, and then all will become clear because you will have discovered everything"-Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

Fa Dao wrote:Actually I have been around a few people who were diagnosed with schizophrenia..and no, I am not claiming to be a psychiatrist etc. However, anarchist, you have actually helped to make my point. All of us, until we begin to realize Wisdom from our practice, "lack the ability do discern illusion from something that is true". ..

Indeed.

But the non schizophrenic is able to reflect and know this fact. I know that I don't know as some Greek guy some time ago stated..

The actively schizoprhenic person is not able to do that. And then dharma practice is not possible.
Russell
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by Russell »

Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche wrote:
Advice for a student’s 16-year-old son, who is a violent, paranoid schizophrenic, and is a danger to himself and others.

My dear Amanda,
Thank you very much for your kind letter. This is based on your son’s karma. He is getting these experiences because of the karma of having harmed sentient beings in the past, something like that, so he is experiencing this paranoia caused by spirit harms.

It would be good to get a geshe, someone who lives in pure morality and has familiarity with such situations, to do pujas for your son. It depends on how heavy the karma is. Those with less heavy karma can recover. Not everybody recovers, but some do. It would be good to invite Khadro-la or some lamas from India and Nepal to do pujas. Those with bodhicitta and tantric realizations are more powerful in dealing with such problems.

The che-trul puja, Liberating from Harm, Black Magic and So Forth, should be done.

Your son should have a blessing string to wear round his neck.

It also came out very good to have one pill from His Holiness the Dalai Lama to burn again and again every day for a few times. I will check about this pill.

[Rinpoche checked more and said there is a black Manjushri protection that your son needs to wear and also a special pill from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, to wear around his neck. A monk is sewing this now, and then we will see how we can send it safely from India.]

It’s also good to advise your son that what is happening—his thoughts of people harming him—is because of a spirit influencing his mind. They are not his own thoughts. They are not at all true, it’s just to harm him. When this karma ripens, this is what happens. He thinks that some person comes and says bad things, but it didn’t happen. It’s good to analyze; good to check. We don’t have to believe what we hear. Your son is possessed by spirit harm; a spirit has occupied his mind. Believing in what the spirit says is sometimes very strong and can even cause people to commit suicide. The spirit says all kinds of things. In Japan, a spirit once told someone to push another person in front of a train. It is all based on past lives. Everything comes from the mind. This applies to problems but it’s also the same with happiness. All the happiness up to enlightenment comes from the mind.

I will pray, and I will see if I can do some pujas. I will also send you some Hayagriva pills from my retreat. Burn a pill in front of your son so that he inhales the smoke.

I will also ask the monks at Nalanda Monastery in France to do the Four Mandala Offerings to Tara puja for your son, as well as druk-chu-ma puja.

With much love and prayer...
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theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »


Of course someone who has gone through some (mental) difficulties can later help others with similar problems, simply because knowing the condition and how to get out of it first hand is really really helpful if you want to give guidance to other sufferers. For example I know a recovered alcoholic who is now working at a facility that tries to reingetrage homeless people into a normal life and he knows better how to deal with and talk to the alcoholics there than the social workers who had studied it at the university.

When I was having this schizophrenic episode I hallucinated demons. But those experiences were not real, actual demons, they came from my own mind, they were the projected manifestation of my own sub-conscious fears and longings.
dmr82
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by dmr82 »

theanarchist wrote:

Of course someone who has gone through some (mental) difficulties can later help others with similar problems, simply because knowing the condition and how to get out of it first hand is really really helpful if you want to give guidance to other sufferers. For example I know a recovered alcoholic who is now working at a facility that tries to reingetrage homeless people into a normal life and he knows better how to deal with and talk to the alcoholics there than the social workers who had studied it at the university.
That's not what the article was about. It's saying this condition is a blessing that indicates the birth of a shaman.

My personal view of the matter is it's a very dangerous condition but with skillful means could be turned into a swift path to enlightenment as it's a crack in the matrix of samsara. And from crazy wisdom perspective it's the schizophrenic patient treating the doctor giving him the illusion of doing something meaningful. So next time you see a homeless bum dancing on the streets do a prostration and he might bless you with his beer bottle and dispel your illusions. Ha ala ho!
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

dmr82 wrote: My personal view of the matter.....

.....that is backed up neither by first hand experience nor by thorough second hand experience.


Nope, schizophrenia is not some sort of window to the absolute, schizophrenia is samsara on steroids, super-samsara. It doesn't get more samsara then in a schizophrenic episode, it's pure ego clinging, pure hope and fear.
theanarchist
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Re: Can someone with schizophrenia practice?

Post by theanarchist »

dmr82 wrote:And from crazy wisdom perspective!

LOL

You certainly can't tell what the crazy wisdom view on schizophrenia is as you are very likely not a highly realized practitioner.
Last edited by theanarchist on Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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