Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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smcj
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Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:37 pm

[Topic split from "The harms of masturbation and porn"]
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 80#p291939


Recently HHKarmapa (Orgyen Thinley brand) came through California. I went to a number of his public talks, and he said something about "We have to have revulsion for our own mental afflictions."

I am of the perspective that watching porn and then rubbing one out is specifically the exact opposite of "having revulsion for our own mental afflictions". It is, in fact, cultivating them, cherishing them, amplifying one specific mental affliction to the greatest degree we possibly can so we can then take maximum enjoyment out of it. As such, it is imbuing said affliction with our most fundamental creative energy, which is what energizes the cycle of samsara. It is taking our minds and our lives in the exact opposite direction that Dharma is trying to take us. From my education in Dharma this is obvious.

The night before Sakyamuni's liberation, Mara sent his daughters out to try to seduce Sakyamuni. If, on that night, Sakyamuni had decided to watch some hot girl/girl action and then rub one out, this website would not exist today.

Personally I must admit to having had a porn addiction in the past. Fortunately I got over it before the internet came about. I feel sorry for the guys that have an unlimited supply of porn available 24/7. Sadly, the only way I was able to get over it was by getting so old that it stopped being an issue. As such I am a failure as any type of role model in this area. But I can honestly say I'm glad it's over for me. I'm much happier now.
Last edited by Ayu on Fri Jul 10, 2015 8:32 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Reason: Entered note about split
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:43 pm

smcj wrote:Recently HHKarmapa (Orgyen Thinley brand) came through California. I went to a number of his public talks, and he said something about "We have to have revulsion for our own mental afflictions." .

Not a reasonable thing to say in a culture that is to such an extent centered around guilt, repressing emotions and a low self-esteem

This advice is only suitable for people who are psychologically very stable and have a very good self esteem. If the recipient of that teaching doesn't have that it's the recipy for psychiatry.
Last edited by theanarchist on Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

smcj
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 09, 2015 6:50 pm

theanarchist wrote:
smcj wrote:Recently HHKarmapa (Orgyen Thinley brand) came through California. I went to a number of his public talks, and he said something about "We have to have revulsion for our own mental afflictions." .

Not a reasonable thing to say in a culture that is to such an extent centered around guilt and a low self-esteem

This advice is only suitable for people who are psychologically very stable and have a very good self esteem. If the recipient of that teaching doesn't have that it's the recipy for psychiatry.
True. Dharma can be taken the wrong way and make things worse. It does happen. If you try to use force of will exclusively to fight with yourself you're going to lose.

However it can also be taken the right way and make things better. IMO one of the necessary ingredients for a sane approach to Dharma is the understanding that something better than our normal insanity is readily available. Low self-esteem and guilt are mental afflictions also, and just as deserving of our revulsion. "Refuge" is in the teachings of enlightenment, which can be said to be a spiritual sanity beyond our crippled/insane way of samsaric living.
Last edited by smcj on Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:15 pm

smcj wrote:
However it can also be taken the right way and make things better. IMO one of the necessary ingredients for a sane approach to Dharma is the understanding that something better than our normal insanity is readily available. .

But they should be applied with kindness, gentleness, and in realistic doses, ones you can actually manage without overexerting your current abilities.

smcj
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:16 pm

theanarchist wrote:
smcj wrote:
However it can also be taken the right way and make things better. IMO one of the necessary ingredients for a sane approach to Dharma is the understanding that something better than our normal insanity is readily available. .

But they should be applied with kindness, gentleness, and in realistic doses, ones you can actually manage without overexerting your current abilities.
Of course.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:19 pm

theanarchist wrote:
smcj wrote:Recently HHKarmapa (Orgyen Thinley brand) ... said ...
Not a reasonable thing to say ...
Image

Um.

Dude.

I was with you until you jumped the shark.

Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory ...

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:30 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
I was with you until you jumped the shark.

Snatched defeat from the jaws of victory ...

Sorry, but my long term experience with Tibetan lamas, even highly realized ones is, that they don't have much understanding about the typical western psychological makeup. I have personal experience of totally misinterpreting advice given by a high lama because of my cultural background and upbringing.

He later even openly admitted that to me when I talked to him stuffl like tendencies for depression, emotional insecurity and low self esteem is very foreign for him. Saying the same words in one cultural environment can mean something entirely different in another because the cultural background makes you interpret it in a totally different way.

This HAS to be taken into account when understanding dharma teachings. Even the buddha said, don't follow the literal meaning of teachings but the definitive meaning. And if western people with their particular psychological makeup and background hear these sentences, there is a chance that it's going totally wrong without a load of additional information how to understand and apply it correctly.

smcj
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:35 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: I was with you until you jumped the shark.
It's ok, I got what was being said (I think). Most Tibetans don't grok that we are not able to believe in anything greater than ourselves. It's so fundamental to their worldview that they just can't understand our limitation. So they skip that part, and then things go wrong.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:18 pm

theanarchist wrote:Sorry, but my long term experience with Tibetan lamas, even highly realized ones is, that they don't have much understanding about the typical western psychological makeup.
Hm.

Well thankfully we have all those Buddhist traditions which originated in the west to fall back on.

Yes, certainly when I watch TV or walk around town the first thing that strikes me about western culture is its "guilt, repressing emotions and a low self-esteem". Yes, it practically screams those things whenever I encounter it. The one thing that strikes me about living in the west is its complete lack of emotional expression and total absence of ego-inflation.

And yes this must be completely foreign and incomprehensible for Tibetan teachers. Because thankfully Tibetans don't suffer from guilt, repressing emotions and low self-esteem, etc, at all. Because they're, you know, very stable and have very good self esteem. To the extent that their ego-inflation is out of control, frankly. Otherwise who knows we might have to send them western psychiatrists instead of their ineffective so-called lamas to help pull them out of the stone ages, you know?

But it's ok, no hard feelings.

Oh, His Holiness has just informed me (very gracious of him to get in touch what with all the goings on in India and such) that he's offering you a free trip to Akanishtha - all you have to do is post a video of yourself either i) masturbating; ii) buying a delicious bar of chocolate and then digging in, or iii) wearing a piece of clothing that you really like. He told me to tell you that which one you choose is really up to you, since they're, you know, equivalent and everything.

Image
smcj wrote:... we are not able to believe in anything greater than ourselves.
Indeed, lol. _/\_

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:36 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: Well thankfully we have all those Buddhist traditions which originated in the west to fall back on.

Yes, certainly when I watch TV or walk around town the first thing that strikes me about western culture is its "guilt, repressing emotions and a low self-esteem". Yes, it practically screams those things whenever I encounter it. _

Well, most people who are affected by it are VERY busy covering it up in any way that fits their personal style. I'm not saying that ALL people in the west are affected by it, but it's quite common. Or why do you think there are so many psychologists and councellors and an avalanche of mental illness related costs for the health system? And you have to know that those who are getting professional help for it are just the tip of the iceberg of people who are affected in a smaller or greater way.

Do you really think that in old Tibet there was a need for psychotherapy and councelling?

It's really epidemic in our culture, and the cause of it is 1.500 years of Christian indoctrination about original sin, guilt and keeping the populus obedient with religious doctrint and learned helplessnes (only Christ and the clergy can save people, using this destructive view to control and manipulate people). It has seeped deeply into our cultur, so deeply that it has become a culture independent of Christian beliefs, it affects nonbelievers just as badly.
Last edited by theanarchist on Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

smcj
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:36 pm

Sorry, but my long term experience with Tibetan lamas, even highly realized ones is, that they don't have much understanding about the typical western psychological makeup.
One of the earliest lamas to come to the West told me a story. He was giving the traditional teaching that we should love all sentient beings like we love our own mother. Then a young woman raised her hand and said, "But I hate my mother." He was gobsmacked. He couldn't process such a thing. It was there and then that he understood that Dharma was going to have a hard time in the West.
I have personal experience of totally misinterpreting advice given by a high lama because of my cultural background and upbringing.
Me too. In the Lam Rim it is the "fault of the dirty pot".
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:43 pm

smcj wrote:
Sorry, but my long term experience with Tibetan lamas, even highly realized ones is, that they don't have much understanding about the typical western psychological makeup.
One of the earliest lamas to come to the West told me a story. He was giving the traditional teaching that we should love all sentient beings like we love our own mother. Then a young woman raised her hand and said, "But I hate my mother." He was gobsmacked. He couldn't process such a thing. It was there and then that he understood that Dharma was going to have a hard time in the West.
I have personal experience of totally misinterpreting advice given by a high lama because of my cultural background and upbringing.
Me too. In the Lam Rim it is the "fault of the dirty pot".


And some Tibetan doctors seem to have come to the conclusion that all westerners have chronic lung (wind) disease, which is very much connected with mental problems.

Or why are most westerners not suited to do solitary retreat, unlike Tibetans used to be. Most westerners would simply go crazy if you lock them up alone to practice for three years. With Tibetans it seems, it hasn't been such a problem in the past.

smcj
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by smcj » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:52 pm

Yes, Tibetans think we're crazy. My teacher said, "Our minds look like wiggling cans of worms to them, so they throw Dharma at us and hope for the best." Of course there have been attempts, like Trungpa, to bring our craziness up to a level where we can actually start to practice Dharma, but so far those efforts have met with limited success. Other lamas that are embedded with us deal with the craziness one person at a time. I know a lama that makes it known he doesn't want any more students because he is old and can't deal with crazy people anymore.

Seems like a new thread should have been started from a page back or so. Any mod feel like helping out?
Last edited by smcj on Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
1.The problem isn’t ‘ignorance’. The problem is the mind you have right now. (H.H. Karmapa XVII @NYC 2/4/18)
2. I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against lama abuse.
3. Student: Lama, I thought I might die but then I realized that the 3 Jewels would protect me.
Lama: Even If you had died the 3 Jewels would still have protected you. (DW post by Fortyeightvows)

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:56 pm

smcj wrote:
Sorry, but my long term experience with Tibetan lamas, even highly realized ones is, that they don't have much understanding about the typical western psychological makeup.
One of the earliest lamas to come to the West told me a story. He was giving the traditional teaching that we should love all sentient beings like we love our own mother. Then a young woman raised her hand and said, "But I hate my mother." He was gobsmacked. He couldn't process such a thing. It was there and then that he understood that Dharma was going to have a hard time in the West..

Yeah. Don't get me started with that mother stuff. I can't hear it anymore.

I can live with the conclusion that I will be very happy to help her the minute she admits she has a problem and needs help. But I'm not the garbage dump for the neurotic behaviour of neurotic people who want to use me for their games, I don't have the stability and humour for this kind of crap, and I don't care if the neurotic person is a relative or stranger. My father is a decent guy, but he completely failed to protect me from that aggressive, needy ego-monster when I was vulnerable and completely at her mercy.


And when I began to talk to people I know about their relationship with their parents, a greater portion of them has some sort of difficulty with them because of emotional violence and neglect, even people who I thought were really happy and stable. If you ask them and they open up, it very often looks not so bright underneath.
Last edited by theanarchist on Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 8:59 pm

smcj wrote:Yes, Tibetans think we're crazy. My teacher said, "Our minds look like wiggling cans of worms to them, so they throw Dharma at us and hope for the best." .



Yeah, and throw morality, renounciationj and celibacy teaching at that wiggly can of mental worms and you get the matching result.
Last edited by theanarchist on Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Karma Dondrup Tashi
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:07 pm

theanarchist wrote:Well ...
I'm just playin.

Sorry - dharmabating.

HH is still comin for you tho.

Malcolm
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Malcolm » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:54 pm

smcj wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote: I was with you until you jumped the shark.
It's ok, I got what was being said (I think). Most Tibetans don't grok that we are not able to believe in anything greater than ourselves. It's so fundamental to their worldview that they just can't understand our limitation. So they skip that part, and then things go wrong.
Ahem...as Chogyal Namkhai Norbu says:
  • The very meaning of the Tibetan term Dzogchen, "Great Perfection," refers to the true primordial state of every individual and not to any transcendent reality.
My analysis of the problem is precisely the reverses of yours: Most Tibetans cannot grok that we are obsessed with finding something greater or outside ourselves. It is so fundamental to their view, they even call themselves "nang pa", insiders, because they are convinced that the sole cause of all problems in the world come from inside, not from outside. The difficulty they have with westerners is that we are very good and looking through glasses, telescopes, microscopes and so on, and terrible at really looking in mirrors.

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:13 pm

Malcolm wrote: It is so fundamental to their view, they even call themselves "nang pa", insiders, because they are convinced that the sole cause of all problems in the world come from inside, .
Whereas the western culture mistrusts the spiritual competence of humans and what comes from the inside. In Christian culture salvation has to come from the outside (through the grace of Christ, god, saints), humans are fundamentally tainted by original sin.

This concept was used for centuries to control and manipulate people.

A lot of interpretations of the teachings of Christ are psychologically quite destructive and 1500 years of it saturated our culture with this kind of thinking.


From what I observed in myself and others over the years, there is a tendency in some buddhist converts to see the lamas as some sort of surrogate saviour they have to worship. And I have observed buddhist converts turning rule obedience freaks to become "good" buddhists
Last edited by theanarchist on Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

theanarchist
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:14 pm

Malcolm wrote:and terrible at really looking in mirrors.

It isn't pleasant if you hate yourself or think of yourself very lowly.

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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by treehuggingoctopus » Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:08 pm

theanarchist wrote:Whereas the western culture mistrusts the spiritual competence of humans and what comes from the inside. In Christian culture salvation has to come from the outside (through the grace of Christ, god, saints), humans are fundamentally tainted by original sin.

This concept was used for centuries to control and manipulate people.

A lot of interpretations of the teachings of Christ are psychologically quite destructive and 1500 years of it saturated our culture with this kind of thinking.
While I am not exactly sure to what extent institutional Christianity is responsible for this (and still less sure if such concepts have really been used in order to 'control and manipulate', although unthinkable it unfortunately is not*), I agree with you 100% about our (meaning 'Western') self-loathing and existential guilt. Although it does seem quite common among men, in my experience it is women who are really tragically vulnerable here.

*A few years ago I read an interview with a (Christian) 'doctor' whose business was performing FGM on teenage girls. He was absolutely crystal clear about the goal of the nightmare procedure - a moment of perfect shock for me, since I had expected yet another silly story about what God or tradition requires us to do - 'we have to do it', he said, 'in order to prevent girls from deriving pleasure from sex'.
To offer care and affection to sentient beings
In desperate situations who lack protection
Brings just as much merit as the meditation
On emptiness with compassion as its core—
So it has been said by glorious Lord Atisha.

Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche

If you cannot generate an altruistic mind, even extensive retreat will be of not much benefit.
Garchen Triptrul Rinpoche

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