Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Sherab Rigdrol » Wed Oct 31, 2018 2:00 am

It sure is a struggle. In fact it's a living hell. I have a severe rlung disorder, which makes mantra recitation torturous. But all in all dharma practice is like taking medication daily. I know no matter what suffering occurs during my practice that I am generating oceans of merit in order to be able to benefit beings. I also notice that years my practice goes smoother is explicitly linked to whether my capacity element is weak that year.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:39 am

I promised to ‘sit every day’ in 2018. Up until Sept 13th I actually did it - dutifully recorded on Insight Timer - but then I went overseas for three weeks. Learned that it’s challenging to keep up the routine, in the absence of routine! But now long since back and have kept with it. Overall I will have missed some number of days by end-of-year, but the commitment to daily practice is, I feel, beneficial.

Mostly what I struggle with are the kinds of habits and cravings which work against the practice. Overall I have learned a huge amount from just ‘staying with it’, but at the same time there are many samskaras which undermine the practice. What I’m determined to do in the next phase of practice is learn some more recitations. But it’s a struggle. :smile:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Sennin
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Sennin » Wed Oct 31, 2018 11:35 am

I struggle when I get caught up in concepts of expectation. Ever since I was really young I have been impressed by past masters who have done intense practice. When I notice I'm not doing intense practice like the ancient siddhas I get a bit discouraged. ( Cause living off grid doing silent practice 24/7 is so appealing right... :lol: )

Sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself to understand topics of the dharma. I tend to want to know every aspect of whatever practice I'm engaged in, and while it can be beneficial to study intensely I usually am not satisfied because there's always more... always... :rolleye:
It's the minor things that I struggle with.

Although when I notice I'm getting worked up by expectations I usually begin to relax and chill for the most part. I feel the most at ease when I'm not studying or analyzing etc. And just resting in simplicity, which is all that matters anyway.
Namo Guru Bhyaḥ

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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by DGA » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:38 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
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.
Your post is the story of someone who is trying hard and trying to do well.

I think my problem is that I've become fat and satisfied, and therefore lazy. I'm enjoying the ride and not challenging myself enough.

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kirtu
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by kirtu » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:27 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:04 am
Ethics are a struggle and I haven't always done well.
I suppose ethics are a struggle in one form or another for most people. However I personally found that my ethical practice got kind of supercharged through the practice of the Eight Mahayana Precepts, even if I only practice them on duechen days (which of course supercharges practices anyway, but even if I only practice the Eight Mahayana Precepts four times a year).

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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Grigoris
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:58 pm

DGA wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:38 pm
I'm enjoying the ride and not challenging myself enough.
What is wrong with enjoying the ride? Being a whining a-hole won't help things at all ;) .
"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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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:17 pm

We also don't have to accomplish this alone.
Even if we can't yet benefit directly from a teacher or sangha, such as in my case, the buddhas and bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision, as Shantideva says.
They see and hear the lonely practitioner with heavy defilements who calls out, "Compassionate Ones, I want to practice and help all beings, but these circumstances limit and discourage me. My guides and inspiration, please help me!"
What will you do when you're a buddha and hear earnest requests like this?

Honen says we curse our slow feet when in a hurry, but of course we don't when not in a hurry. I think the sense of frustration or limitation is realistic sometimes, because it shows our need to rely on the sources of true refuge, and that we actually do have the aspiration to practice, which is temporarily hindered.

Joy and ease in the Dharma come from merit... and the practices themselves generate oceans of merit :)
We should try to accept at face value teachings such as "one 'om mani peme hung' closes the gates to the three lower realms," and "when you think of Amitabha Buddha, he in turn thinks of you."
We are being helped so much. Only our remaining delusions make this difficult to see.
Amitabha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

Crazywisdom
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Crazywisdom » Wed Oct 31, 2018 6:01 pm

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?
Higher you go bigger the obstacles. This is an idea of one side.

The highest makes obstacles irrelevant if the lineage and devotion is pure. This is another side.

For me there have been challenges, obstacles and fantastic good fortune. Offering cups exploded. House was attacked by a murder of crows. Threatened with murder by siblings. Some presentations are confusing and make your work for it, like figuring out complex mandala configurations. Somehow I never lost interest like I did with everthing else.
I got my Chili Chilaya.

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Sennin
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Sennin » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:26 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:17 pm
We also don't have to accomplish this alone.
Even if we can't yet benefit directly from a teacher or sangha, such as in my case, the buddhas and bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision, as Shantideva says.
They see and hear the lonely practitioner with heavy defilements who calls out, "Compassionate Ones, I want to practice and help all beings, but these circumstances limit and discourage me. My guides and inspiration, please help me!"
What will you do when you're a buddha and hear earnest requests like this?

Honen says we curse our slow feet when in a hurry, but of course we don't when not in a hurry. I think the sense of frustration or limitation is realistic sometimes, because it shows our need to rely on the sources of true refuge, and that we actually do have the aspiration to practice, which is temporarily hindered.

Joy and ease in the Dharma come from merit... and the practices themselves generate oceans of merit :)
We should try to accept at face value teachings such as "one 'om mani peme hung' closes the gates to the three lower realms," and "when you think of Amitabha Buddha, he in turn thinks of you."
We are being helped so much. Only our remaining delusions make this difficult to see.
:good:

This is really good stuff.
Makes me joyful that we've received the ticket to the last station. ;)
Namo Guru Bhyaḥ

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Injrabodi
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Injrabodi » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:13 pm

When tired, sleep. When hungry, eat. How could dharma practice ever be a struggle? Even if you're just referring to formal practice, what is meditation? It's literally just sitting, allowing the mind and breath to come to a rest and from there dhyana unfolds naturally. Dharma is the proper, healthy order that extends from our innermost nature and to operate in accordance with this should feel comfortable and far better than the samsaric habits we've accumulated.

Now I'm just a beginner, but it sounds like if you're struggling then you're doing it wrong. Struggling is an action, trying to force something, rather than allowing it to be simply as it is.

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Grigoris » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:07 am

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 5:17 pm
We also don't have to accomplish this alone.
Even if we can't yet benefit directly from a teacher or sangha, such as in my case, the buddhas and bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision, as Shantideva says.
They see and hear the lonely practitioner with heavy defilements who calls out, "Compassionate Ones, I want to practice and help all beings, but these circumstances limit and discourage me. My guides and inspiration, please help me!"
What will you do when you're a buddha and hear earnest requests like this?

Honen says we curse our slow feet when in a hurry, but of course we don't when not in a hurry. I think the sense of frustration or limitation is realistic sometimes, because it shows our need to rely on the sources of true refuge, and that we actually do have the aspiration to practice, which is temporarily hindered.

Joy and ease in the Dharma come from merit... and the practices themselves generate oceans of merit :)
We should try to accept at face value teachings such as "one 'om mani peme hung' closes the gates to the three lower realms," and "when you think of Amitabha Buddha, he in turn thinks of you."
We are being helped so much. Only our remaining delusions make this difficult to see.
:good: Well said!
"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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Wayfarer
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:41 am

+1 :applause:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

odysseus
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by odysseus » Mon Nov 05, 2018 1:38 pm

It's up to us!

I like to say that Buddhism is easy, we just need knowledge and training. But we might create obstacles for ourselves and society can make it difficult too. So if we have difficulties, it's not Buddhism's fault. But this is no reason to blame ourselves either.

At this time, I also struggle. But I refuse to get bad conscience because I feel I'm not doing well. I think I should relax and see that I have time to overcome hindrances and there is no need to push myself. Like Buddha's simile says "Like a musical instrument, if you pull the strings too soft, they won't make a sound. If you pull the strings too hard, they will break."

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Queequeg
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Queequeg » Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:56 pm

I shower, brush my teeth, prepare offerings and try to sit, chant, reflect, meditate, for at least a little while every morning before the family wakes up. Sometimes, practice is quite pleasing. Sometimes its a chore. Sometimes, its just part of the day. Sometimes I drag my family on pilgrimage. Sometimes my son or daughter sits on my lap and I tell them about cause and effect, the boundlessness of their lives. Sometimes I get to practice with friends.

How can this be anything but the Joy of the Dharma?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

odysseus
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by odysseus » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:28 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:56 pm
How can this be anything but the Joy of the Dharma?
Yup, Buddhism is meant to bring happiness. It's not a competition.

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Grigoris » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:26 pm

odysseus wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:28 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 5:56 pm
How can this be anything but the Joy of the Dharma?
Yup, Buddhism is meant to bring happiness. It's not a competition.
DJKR.jpg
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"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

DGA
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by DGA » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:27 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:58 pm
DGA wrote:
Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:38 pm
I'm enjoying the ride and not challenging myself enough.
What is wrong with enjoying the ride? Being a whining a-hole won't help things at all ;) .
Enjoying the ride is good. I like it a lot.

My criticism of myself (and I'm trying to invite criticism here, since many of you know me pretty well at this point) is that I've become passive when I should take a more active stance.

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Grigoris
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by Grigoris » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:32 pm

DGA wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:27 pm
Enjoying the ride is good. I like it a lot.

My criticism of myself (and I'm trying to invite criticism here, since many of you know me pretty well at this point) is that I've become passive when I should take a more active stance.
Actively enjoying the ride? :smile:
"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

DGA
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by DGA » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:49 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:32 pm
DGA wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:27 pm
Enjoying the ride is good. I like it a lot.

My criticism of myself (and I'm trying to invite criticism here, since many of you know me pretty well at this point) is that I've become passive when I should take a more active stance.
Actively enjoying the ride? :smile:
You make a good point. I shall apply myself diligently.

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weitsicht
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Re: Is Dharma practice a struggle for you?

Post by weitsicht » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:05 am

:thumbsup:

Since I have encountered dharma, the term "struggle" has abandoned my active vocabulary.
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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