Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Zhen Li
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Zhen Li »

As far as I know, there's very little in the way of Christian writings before the Enlightenment on masturbation. The topic first became popular in the context of scientific theories about venereal or other diseases. Needless to say, many of these are incorrect. Though, the fact that there is pseudoscience about masturbation doesn't mean that there isn't some genuine science with regards to it. It's still a fairly taboo topic, but studies on addiction to it and its effects are probably most represented today through the study of pornography addiction.

The other thing to take into account, is not that Christianity forces westerners to be guilty or be self-repressive, but that western society places an immense value on privacy, which isn't the same in many Asian societies. The idea of speaking about masturbation as being inappropriate really won't strike one as odd when one also takes into account that in Buddhist societies one's family is also likely to be present or liable to enter a room in which one is solitary at any time. This is also why daytime is considered inappropriate for sex. One doesn't have privacy by nature, in such societies, so one waits until it comes along due to everyone no longer being out and active but at home, perhaps going to sleep. This is not to say that it is sexual misconduct simply due to social or contextual reasons, in the end this comes down to whether it is really wholesome or not, which it isn't.
Last edited by Zhen Li on Thu Jul 09, 2015 11:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MiphamFan
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by MiphamFan »

theanarchist wrote:
Malcolm wrote:and terrible at really looking in mirrors.

It isn't pleasant if you hate yourself or think of yourself very lowly.
Westerners who have strong Abrahamic influence.
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist »

Zhen Li wrote:but that western society places an immense value on privacy, which isn't the same in many Asian societies..

This is a very recent development, whereas the western guilt and low self esteem culture is old.
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

My analysis of the problem is precisely the reverses of yours:
Well, at least we agree that there is a problem!
Most Tibetans cannot grok that we are obsessed with finding something greater or outside ourselves.
He we do disagree. Given our widespread rejection anything “supernatural”, our tendency to reduce Dharma down to psychology, and our egalitarianism I think you've got a definite misread on that one.
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.
Here we are in agreement again. This is why I posted the HHK quote on p.20 of this thread.
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.
Agreed.
***************************************************
Ok, so the score is 3 agreements and 1 disagreement. Pretty good if you ask me!
***************************************************

Anyway, I think theanarchist had a good point about how for us hearing the kind of teaching where the entire problem is internal can make us worse. I credit the problem to our PCSD (Post Christian Stress Disorder). I'm open to hearing how we should go about fixing it.
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 »

smcj wrote:Anyway, I think theanarchist had a good point about how for us hearing the kind of teaching where the entire problem is internal can make us worse. I credit the problem to our PCSD (Post Christian Stress Disorder). I'm open to hearing how we should go about fixing it.
Isn't all this problem just the usual issue of getting the order of the views mixed up? There isn't just one. And you can't move to the next until you've exhausted the last. I like pcsd though.

Ps: what I meant to say though was at a certain point using warrior/military images becomes appropriate. But the trick is to know how far along your crazy cake is baked.

Likewise gentleness comes from vastness, for sure. But that's hardly going to work if you're still making a mess and frightening the horses, as it were. We do need to start by eating our vegetables and keeping our hands to ourselves. Not that sexy, but there it is.
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist »

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Likewise gentleness comes from vastness, for sure. But that's hardly going to work if you're still making a mess and frightening the horses, as it were. We do need to start by eating our vegetables and keeping our hands to ourselves. .

No, we need to start by being less judgemental with ourselves. Because otherwise you will never get this "I am inherhitantly defective, as I am I am not good enough" attitude out of your brain that drives the western brand of crazy (within dharma groups and elsewhere).

And masturbating is absolutely secondary before this is fixed.
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

theanarchist wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Likewise gentleness comes from vastness, for sure. But that's hardly going to work if you're still making a mess and frightening the horses, as it were. We do need to start by eating our vegetables and keeping our hands to ourselves. .
No, we need to start by being less judgemental with ourselves. Because otherwise you will never get this "I am inherhitantly defective, as I am I am not good enough" attitude out of your brain that drives the western brand of crazy (within dharma groups and elsewhere).
I agree that being judgmental with ourselves, as well as with others, and being broken to the extent that one has a "I am not good enough" attitude is a widespread problem.
And masturbating is absolutely secondary before this is fixed.
I agree.
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 »

theanarchist wrote:No, we need to start by being less judgemental with ourselves.
I don't ... think I'm really questioning your idea any more, because you seem very experienced and sincere.

I'm just trying to fit this idea into what little I know of the different vehicles and practices.

Do you have a resource you can share which expresses or summarizes this idea?

EDIT: Apologies if you already did this, it's a long thread ... I guess we're pretty OT now.

EDIT 2:
theanarchist wrote:"I am inherhitantly defective, as I am I am not good enough" attitude ... within dharma groups ...
And I guess I am still having resistance to your emphasis ... My experience with meat space sanghas has been on quite the opposite end of the spectrum.
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by theanarchist »

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Do you have a resource you can share which expresses or summarizes this idea?

Judgemental thoughts to oneself and others are of course deluded conceptual thinking. As far as buddhadharma goes shamata teachings emphasise on NOT judging what rises in the mind before letting it go. Why? Because if you become judgemental it won't calm down but instead grow.


In dharma terms I think this discouraged "I am not a good enough person" sort of negative opinion about oneself is cathegorized one form of laziness. I have heard that in a teaching some time ago, but can't tell exactly who the teacher was. It was probably the Geshe that used to teach of our local FPMT center, because these things are not taught as in depth systematically by the Nyingma teachers I otherwise hear as none of them is a khenpo. Maybe someone here knows where to find the traditional definitions of the different types of laziness?


And in terms of western psychology being overly judgemental with oneself is seen as pathological and along with other causes the reason for all kinds of mental illnesses.
Last edited by theanarchist on Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:45 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 »

theanarchist wrote:Judgemental thoughts to oneself and others are of course deluded conceptual thinking.
Um ... sure - formations are one of the heaps. I get it. Anyway, your view makes sense.
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Re: The harms of Masturbation and Porn

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Ah, we are going all judgemental again?
I think theanarchist's highlighting of the issue of being judgmental is right on the money for our western pathology. I see a parallel with 12 step spirituality here, where addiction is portrayed to be a disease, thus removing any judgement or criticism. I don't actually believe that addiction is a disease, unless you define it as a spiritual disease (dis/not + ease). But in any case the salient truth here is that in order to turn the situation around there has to be no judgement or criticism involved. And that goes for beginning the Dharma path or recovery from addiction.
Last edited by Schrödinger’s Yidam on Fri Jul 10, 2015 5:52 pm, edited 1 time 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)
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Re: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Zhen Li wrote:
smcj wrote:Struggling with our faults has been the failed way Christianity has tried to handle them, and is a huge cause for our PCSD (Post-Christian Stress Disorder). So I am agreeing here with theanarchist that we should use self-will with problems like porn. We cannot win the battle of internal conflict. We need Refuge from that scenario.
As far as I know, Christianity doesn't provide a way to handle bad habits. There is no practical instruction in such things in Christian doctrine, other than faith and forgiveness.
Exactly. Thus the pathologies of guilt, inner conflict and shame.
Blaming our habits on Christianity, which doesn't have anything to do with them, is completely useless. Ignorance and the processes of dependent origination through beginningless existences, long before Christianity arrived on the scene, is at fault.
In the most basic Lam Rim teachings the analogies used for listening to Dharma the wrong way are the 3 faults of a pot. The first pot is upside down, and nothing goes in. The second is a pot with a hole in it, where everything leaks out. The third fault is of the dirty pot, where the pure teachings get mixed with the dirt left over in the pot.

I think there is an excellent case to be made that the problem of Dharma coming to the West can be characterized as the fault of the third 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)
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Zhen Li
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Re: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Zhen Li »

From experience, I have found that there are less difficulties for people who practice Dharma with a Buddhist family, and from a culture accepting of Buddhism, than those who do not. As far as views go, I wouldn't say that western culture is unique in bringing incorrect views to Dharma (if this is what you mean), since I have met people who really mixed up what is understood by devas in Buddhism because of both Hindu preconceptions and Taoist preconceptions, however, it certainly is an element that has to be dealt with in the process of acclimatising oneself to Buddhist thought and practice.
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Re: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by theanarchist »

smcj wrote: In the most basic Lam Rim teachings the analogies used for listening to Dharma the wrong way are the 3 faults of a pot. The first pot is upside down, and nothing goes in. The second is a pot with a hole in it, where everything leaks out. The third fault is of the dirty pot, where the pure teachings get mixed with the dirt left over in the pot.

I think there is an excellent case to be made that the problem of Dharma coming to the West can be characterized as the fault of the third pot.


I can only agree with that. Destructive habits of handling what we perceive as negative in our minds and mixing that up with buddha dharma can definitely be counted as dirty pot problem.
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Re: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

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
I've heard that HHDL is also puzzled by the whole low self-esteem scenario. I can't source it, but I've heard it.

Ok, so then why would that be the case? How is it that they can't imagine or relate to such a thing?

My guess/answer is that their belief system has a base line support in it that prevents them from that specific type of problem. And with that same positive paradigm they are more efficacious in their Dharma practice as well, without the chronic inner conflict and self doubt many of us have. And what would that paradigm/belief system entail? Faith. The kind that we have categorically rejected because of our experience with the collapse of credibility in Christianity. We insist that Buddhism is "non-theistic" and therefore faith is a non-issue. But as ChNN has said, "We have lots of gods. We just don't have one main one." (Sorry, can't source it. Probably it was here at DW.) The kind of faith the Tibetans have keep them from sinking into the kind of malaise that is prevalent here in the West. We should try to figure out how and why they have it. If we can do just that we will have solved many problems.
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: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi »

I didn't think there was such a consensus that one of the biggest integration problems for Buddha dharma was the decline of Christianity. lol.
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Re: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:I didn't think there was such a consensus that one of the biggest integration problems for Buddha dharma was the decline of Christianity. lol.
There isn't. I am yielding to my own troll impulses.
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: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi »

smcj wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:I didn't think there was such a consensus that one of the biggest integration problems for Buddha dharma was the decline of Christianity. lol.
There isn't. I am yielding to my own troll impulses.
Ah. I suspected but was not sure. Well anyway that is not allowed for nice bodhisattvas, that is my gig.
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Re: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

Lama Ganga, who HHK 16 sent to his California centers to teach us meditation, told me that from the time he was in the cradle his parents told him that the 3 Jewels would never forsake him. He had that kind of faith. We do not, and refuse to even consider it. It is a taboo subject for us, and it is an impediment.

When the Chinese attacked his monastery he had been on retreat for 11 years. Nobody at the monastery had bothered to tell him that there were problems with the Chinese. The first that he knew of a problem was when he heard the explosions, gunfire, and people screaming. He broke down the door to his retreat hut and took off for the hills with the thought "the 3 Jewels will protect me." No preparations for a long journey, no idea what was going on, he just ran for it.

Now of course the Chinese did invade Tibet, and bad things happened. But that gives you an idea of the kind of perspective the the lama HHK 16 sent to teach us meditation had. It is a completely different way to look at both Dharma and the world. And yes, the fact that we don't have it is not only an impediment to our practice, but to our fundamental sanity as well.
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: Dharma & Dealing With Guilt & Low Self-Esteem

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi »

:shock:

You've been a practitioner for many years. Decades.

That teaching must have been ... 30-35 years ago?

How can you possibly remember that story at all?

Much, much respect to you.

_/\_
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