Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

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DGA
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Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by DGA » Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:46 pm

This is a question that come up for me in reading a different thread at DW. The poster mentioned or implied (can't remember now and I'm too lazy to track it down) that Dharma practice has been a struggle for him or her to the extent that a book could be written on the subject.

I really can't relate to this at all. For most of the past fifteen plus years, Dharma practice has been a source of joy for me. It's been fun. When I practice, I'm happy and life is enjoyable. When I'm hung up in a cycle of afflictive behavior and neglecting Dharma practice moment-to-moment, then I struggle. Dharma practice is just easier and less messy, so I feel there are strong incentives to stick with it in an everyday way.

There have been times when I have struggled with some practices. Examples: At first, accumulating prostrations was challenging, but after 5,000 or so I found some joy in it, and then a lot of joy. The same can be said for any of the (meager and infrequent) austerities I've participated in. A bucket of cold water at 3am for purification? sounds unpleasant but as it turns out, that can be the best moment of your day if you let it.

Am I missing something important here? Where's the struggle? Would I be more appropriately miserable if I just knuckled down and did more formal seated practice, say?

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Mon Oct 29, 2018 5:13 pm

My defilements are the struggle. The Dharma exposes them, and that can be very humbling. It's sometimes easy to get mixed up when the defilement in question is pride or sloth.

But I strongly agree with you.
The process has been akin to taking sometimes bitter medicine to overcome the greater suffering of the disease.
The Dharma has given me the means to finally be of some use to the world. And that's a pure joy, to want to repay the kindness of sentient beings. I didn't have even that much before.

Begrudging the Dharma, or struggling greatly, I think shows some guidance or broader study is needed.

I've been fighting an illness for coming on three weeks now. But I'm happy, because of the Dharma.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:04 am

As I said in another thread, I haven't had much luck with seated meditation. In a nutshell, it makes me hypersensitive (quick to anger) and gives me headaches. When it's between 5 and 15 minutes, it's not too bad. My first year, I worked up to 45 minutes and did a few sessions of up to an hour and a half, then those adverse affects started manifesting. These days anything over 15 minutes is probably going to cause me problems. That being said, I'm in the process of starting over - with different instructions from different sources.

Ethics are a struggle and I haven't always done well. Reading my first Buddhist books, I felt compelled to give up all attachments, even though I had no intentions of becoming a monk. That stressed me out and didn't work out so well. On the flip side, there have been times when I was too lax in that area and haven't been well-behaved. Finding a maintainable "normal" has been a struggle.

I've had the problem where the stuff I want to practice; the stuff I feel drawn to, isn't really taught near me. I take what support I can from local and online sources, but often it still leaves me feeling lost. When I feel lost, I tend to lose motivation. When that happens I often try to make changes. The last 12 to 18 months has been one of the least-motivated periods I've had since encountering Buddhism. Starting over with meditation means some of the local resources are a bit more useful for me and my interest level has definitely benefited.

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Motova » Tue Oct 30, 2018 2:56 am

The fact is, practicing Dharma is easier if one is happy. How does one ultimately become happy? Cultivating merit and wisdom. How does one relatively become happy? Cultivating wealth, health, and relationships. The fact is, it takes a while for someone to understand either one regardless whether they practice Dharma or not because people struggle with metacognition. Why? Because they lack merit.
To become a rain man one must master the ten virtues and sciences.

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Motova » Tue Oct 30, 2018 3:15 am

DGA wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:46 pm
This is a question that come up for me in reading a different thread at DW. The poster mentioned or implied (can't remember now and I'm too lazy to track it down) that Dharma practice has been a struggle for him or her to the extent that a book could be written on the subject.

I really can't relate to this at all. For most of the past fifteen plus years, Dharma practice has been a source of joy for me. It's been fun. When I practice, I'm happy and life is enjoyable. When I'm hung up in a cycle of afflictive behavior and neglecting Dharma practice moment-to-moment, then I struggle. Dharma practice is just easier and less messy, so I feel there are strong incentives to stick with it in an everyday way.

There have been times when I have struggled with some practices. Examples: At first, accumulating prostrations was challenging, but after 5,000 or so I found some joy in it, and then a lot of joy. The same can be said for any of the (meager and infrequent) austerities I've participated in. A bucket of cold water at 3am for purification? sounds unpleasant but as it turns out, that can be the best moment of your day if you let it.

Am I missing something important here? Where's the struggle? Would I be more appropriately miserable if I just knuckled down and did more formal seated practice, say?


http://www.rigpawiki.org/index.php?title=Four_thoughts
To become a rain man one must master the ten virtues and sciences.

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by ford_truckin » Tue Oct 30, 2018 4:59 am

Its always been a constant struggle but theres no other religion I feel a connection towards. I am permanently stuck with zero confidence in the hopes of making progress.

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:23 am

Shantideva's Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, Ch. VII the Perfection of Zeal wrote: 16. The absence of apathy, the array of abilities such as prudence, self-control, equality between oneself and others, and exchange of oneself for others
17. Should be practiced without the discouragement of thinking, "How could I possibly attain Awakening?" For the truth-speaking Tathagata proclaimed this truth:
18. "Even those who were gadflies, mosquitoes, bees, and worms attained supreme Awakening, which is difficult to attain, through the power of their effort."
19. Human by birth and capable of knowing what is beneficial and what is not, why could I not attain Awakening as long as I do not forsake the guidance of the Omniscient One?
The whole chapter on the perfection of zeal is worth reading. Very encouraging.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Oct 30, 2018 5:41 am

I find the ‘canker of sensuality’ a constant struggle. Especially in a world where everyone around you is likely to say ‘what’t the problem?’ :shrug:
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Ignorant_Fool » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:45 am

Consistent Dharma practice is a big struggle for me.

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Ayu
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Ayu » Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:16 am

For me it depends on 'which practice'. As you (DGA) mentioned prostrations - they where quite a struggle for me. I never reached the point of joy, but I learned immense important attitudes by doing prostrations nevertheless.

Right now I suffer from knee problems and as a result I struggle each day for starting to sit. So, before practice I struggle, but after it I'm very glad I did it.

A best friend some decades ago told me: "As long as I perform Dharma practice regularily, life is endurable. Without practice it is a mess." I can't forget this thoughtful statement - and all those years my life shows to me: it's true.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:54 am

By Dharma practice I guess you mean formal practice.

One can engage in practicing the Paramita without a formal practice.

For me the formal practice can be difficult. Work and training wear me out and I just want to goof-off. But the clock ticks away and the formal practice needs to be done. Sometimes I find myself finishing really late, mainly because instead of practicing I have been goofing off.

So yeah, sometimes it is a struggle, but it is a struggle which provides an ultimate benefit, so...
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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kirtu
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by kirtu » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:53 am

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 9:54 am
By Dharma practice I guess you mean formal practice.

One can engage in practicing the Paramita without a formal practice.

For me the formal practice can be difficult. Work ..... wear[s] me out and I just want to goof-off.

So yeah, sometimes it is a struggle, but it is a struggle which provides an ultimate benefit, so...
Lack of time for formal practice.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by MiphamFan » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:10 am

It is a struggle to find time/energy to sit down and do the practice sometimes but I invariably feel better after doing so.

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:33 am

kirtu wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:53 am
Lack of time for formal practice.

Kirt
I think it has more to do with bad time management, rather than a lack of time.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by weitsicht » Tue Oct 30, 2018 12:37 pm

A deep trust for the Dharma became an almost all-pervading driving force.

My practise as informal as it is became an integration into all ways of my living and being ("Dharma practice moment-to-moment" as you DGA call it). Some situations work better than others, but coping with that is part of the game.

Everyone chooses for oneself the rules to which one abides. I choose informality.
If I am struggling I just need to remind myself that it's me who chose it, and it's gone.

@DGA, not that I made experiences as you describe but what I read is that you have fortunate karmic propensities. I rejoice. :bow: Nothing wrong at all.
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Könchok Thrinley » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:22 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:33 am
kirtu wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:53 am
Lack of time for formal practice.

Kirt
I think it has more to do with bad time management, rather than a lack of time.
One of my dearest vajra brothers and also my qigong teacher once told us at the class that the reason why we are not doing qigong more is not a lack of time. No, we have time. What have not done is making qigong our no.1 priority and that is why we rather watch TV than do qigong.
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

Formerly known as Miroku.

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by boda » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:17 pm

DGA wrote:
Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:46 pm
Would I be more appropriately miserable if I just knuckled down and did more formal seated practice, say?
In my experience, increasing sitting time tends to increase the benefit, at least it did going from 20 minutes to 40. I'm sure there's a point of negative return though, but I'm in no danger of reaching it.

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kirtu
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by kirtu » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:45 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:33 am
kirtu wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:53 am
Lack of time for formal practice.

Kirt
I think it has more to do with bad time management, rather than a lack of time.
It has to do with some poor time management but the main factor is poverty which then saps all time resources just to stay alive.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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kirtu
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by kirtu » Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:47 pm

Miroku wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:22 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:33 am
kirtu wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:53 am
Lack of time for formal practice.

Kirt
I think it has more to do with bad time management, rather than a lack of time.
One of my dearest vajra brothers and also my qigong teacher once told us at the class that the reason why we are not doing qigong more is not a lack of time. No, we have time. What have not done is making qigong our no.1 priority and that is why we rather watch TV than do qigong.

The situation is quite different for people in poverty.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:29 am

Daily life practices are vital for that reason. Being a householder frankly sucks in a lot of ways. Mantras have been a lifeline.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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