Clarification on tanha>bhava and what to do

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    • #29372

      numbered for clarification

      1. so I have all these bad conditions. They are a part of suffering. Since they are RESULTS, no amount of appeasement from others can truly help me so that is not what this post is about
      2. I have all these ADDICTIONS. My mind involuntarily creates images/thoughts and then strong energetic MOTIONS towards the things i’m addicted to. sex, visual/audio stimulation, mental stimulation like video games, people, money, food, and others.
      3. I have chosen ALL KINDS OF BAD CHOICES due to my addictions. Also my bad choices have been due to negative karmas such as poor intelligence or lack of knowledge or timing etc DUE to my previous negative karmas likely because of my addictions.
      4. I am still addicted, EVEN NOW. In fact, in envisioning a life where i’m NOT addicted and chasing mental pleasures I can’t even fabricate “a point” or an intention to such an existence. Why would I be living? (I “know” the answers intellectually, but this is deeper…i can almost “feel” my ignorance here)

      Here are my assumptions and questions.

      1. If I can somehow get rid of my addictions i’ll have better conditions
      2. Even if I dissolve my addictions and learn to live “in the present moment” taking care of my immediate conditions as I see fit there’s no real guarantee I will doing anything useful since unless I dedicate my life to building merit i’ll still be doing mundane things like assuring my livelihood and the equivalent of “worshipping the eternal flame”?
      3. Sila based on anicca/dukkha/anatta comprehension + the conclusion that giving without expectations, releasing bonds, dissolving tanha etc is at the core of what I need to be doing/meditating on?

      1. Please link me to the relevant suttas or posts you think could benefit me? I am in your grace infinitely…
      2. How can I motivate myself to get rid of my addictions and create better habits based on the 10 right views? In meditation recently, I thought it’d be a good idea to “start small”.
      3. Assuming my worldly conditions are falling apart and I walk the earth as a miser with no resources for the rest of this life, what would be the MOST USEFUL practice even in that condition? i.e even if someone isn’t successful materially, how could they still be successful in the dhamma – just letting go of their feelings about any “thing that happens” altogether(due to anicca nature) or would it be something like “never stop generating merit wherever you can”??

      Whatever is replied I will cherish. Once again I can’t thank Lal and others enough for this beautiful website and community. It is still one of the only sources of information I can trust in this time. Maybe one day I will learn to read pali, but until then all I can do is rely on others more fortunate and try to give in my life in the same capacity.

    • #29374

      Hello lodonyo,

      I understand how you feel (I think) to some extent, since there were (and are) things I wish I’m doing less of. Below is my personal endeavour in working through them; I hope some of them resonate with you.

      First, I concur with you that this site is a treasure; coming to it, reading it, and reflecting on it, changed my mind significantly (I hope). I believe Lal created this site to provide resources for us to reach at least the sotapanna stage, so that was one of the first things I studied.

      To reach the sotapanna stage, the only defilement to be removed is wrong view (micca ditthi), starting with the 10 types of micca ditthi. So, that’s what I did, i.e. studying and reflecting on the 10 types of micca ditthi.

      A little digression here: I can’t tell you how eye-opening just this bit of information was. I used to be told what it took to be a sotapanna, such as: your concentration must be so good that when you sit in meditation, if someone puts your favorite dish to your nose, you won’t smell it; only that kind of concentration can lead to insight. I couldn’t tell you how discouraging that was, since I knew my concentration!

      You asked about the most useful practice to do should you end up a miser. I would start with meditating on the 10 types of micca ditthi to get started on the mundane path, contemplating on why having them lead to serious consequences.

      Specifically, wrong view #4 about kamma / kamma vipaka on covers a number of other ones. I can honestly say that I am fully convinced of this point now, and it makes the mind feel so much lighter. If things do not happen randomly, that they have causes, then there is always hope. You are also making this point of kamma in your post, so you’ve got a good start.

      #6 on the list about para loka and the world of the gandhabba also brought joy to the heart. This was new to me (and I had been studying Buddhism for 30 years prior!). Studying it, seeing how it explains rebirth, was again eye-opening and absolutely convincing, and there was no longer doubt about rebirth, which was another milestone for me.

      I did some deep diving on this point about the nature of the gandhabba (or manomaya kaya) with the hadaya vatthu and pasada rupā and so on. Learning the details of the mind again brings lightness to me.

      As I began to see incremental BENEFITS (however little), I felt motivated to keep going (and doing better with the 5 precepts in the meantime). Now, the benefits of learning dhamma outweighs those of some forms of sensual pleasures for me — the kinds of pleasures I once held dear; and I gained confidence that the others will fade with time.

      That was how my personal journey started with Here’s wishing you will be less burdened.

    • #29375

      You are not alone with this problem of addiction to various bad habits. Modern society is conducive to all these bad habits, including video games, porn movies, etc.

      It is very difficult for many people to see that a simple life focused on contemplation is the best life. I have not even watched a movie for many years and I do not miss that at all. Such activities never even come to my mind. I live in a fairly large city in the US but I am not bothered or “attracted” to any enticements that surround me.

      The root causes of ALL kinds of sufferings are associated with dasa akusala. But there are various levels of them. One needs to start dealing with the strongest ones first.

      Those are the ones that one does with the bodily activities and speech, which I call “the big eight”. These are discussed in “2. The Basics in Meditation“. It is a good idea to reads that section: “Bhāvanā (Meditation)

      It is useless to try to comprehend deeper aspects like Tilakkhana until one’s mind can see that such actions and speech can lead to a high level of stress in the mind. Those actually have origin in abhijja (excess greed) and vyapada (excess anger), and miccha ditthi (10 types of wrong views) in one’s mind.
      – As Cubibobi mentioned, getting rid of wrong views (miccha ditthi) is critical.

      Initially, it will be hard to stay away from old habits. So, it will require determination. Whenever you get the urge to do something “bad” just start reading or listening to Dhamma or engage in one of the activities discussed below.

      It is also necessary to have good eating habits and to engage in an exercise program. Just going for a run/walk will do. Yoga is another activity that you can even do at home. I started yoga more than 10 years ago. I just bought a couple of books and learned. Also, see this old post: “Spark” by John Ratey”
      – Reading books is another way to keep the mind away from video games, etc. See, “Book Reviews
      – Another is to keep the home environment clean. What is needed is not expensive furniture, but a simple, clean environment. If you have seen a Buddhist temple, you get the idea.
      – Yet another is to associate with those who have “good habits.” Even spending time on this forum, you will meet “good friends.”

      Finally, the following posts could be of help:
      Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?
      Craving for Pornography – How to Reduce the Tendency

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