Please help me understand tilakkhana with examples from my life


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    • #16325

      “I’ll thank you to be brief, sera.”[1]

      With that in mind, I will once again practice my ‘roadrunner'[2] (reference to the ) of brevity (the soul of wit[3]) and Spartan laconism[4], for I am prone to loghorrea while trying so hard (and getting so far[5]), dragging miles just to end up at a wall [6], .

      Wait, seems as if I’m once again like Star Trek: Voyager: in the rare times I don’t take off in the wrong direction I almost always fall flat on my face right before the finish line anyway; how’s that for tilakkhana?

      Anyway, a bunch of hours of distractions happened between the above and this so I’ll just get this over with:

      1) Spent most of my life obese, most of those years morbidly so: 8-28 years thereabouts.
      2) Many ponderings of what to do to stop being depressed and such, like ‘escaping’ social crippledom and such.
      3) Find readings, after a while decide I will not be fat anymore and indeed will get a beach bod and with that be on the way to happiness.
      4) Half a decade later, down to healthy weight, but for many many reasons still look and feel unhealthy.
      5) Feel all of it was a waste, all that effort and self-denial and I’m still flabby, still cannot go shirtless-without-shame. Still painfully addicted to binge-eating and stress-munching; for many many reasons related and not, food is still #1 in my life, the only thing I really have to look forward to, the only real reason I have to lift my head off the pillow each morning.
      6) How do I take these experiences and use them to help comprehend anicca, dukha, anatta?

      I was about to make a vlog of this, a series of which I’d been considering starting for a little while, even got in “costume” and everything, then I suddenly said screw it after remembering the dozens and dozens of videos and other online projects I’ve done and only really got 10-100 views or even less despite many many hours sunk. So why bother.

      The below is just me being silly so you needn’t read. I’ve been very emotional lately.

      [0] Hopefully I’ve made my writing less of a pain for the reader by footnoting references. Just an attempts at being “witty” & “stylish” I suppose because wasting time breaking the fourth precept in writing is fun. And makes me feel better — which I need now due to a month-or-so-long battle with a major depression, again, this time brought about by the following snowball-/domino-effect combo: insomnia[0a],

      [0a1] Plus when I try to sleep I’m oversensitive to temperature and humidity not being “just right” while living under this region’s schizophrenic weather patterns.
      [0a2] And I’ve an overactive night bladder — which has been a problem for closing in on a year now, but has recently gotten badly out of control — oh look, another subtle Morrowind reference!
      [0a3] I’m not even in my mid-30’s and I’m dealing with so many ‘old man’ problems, front-and-center being arthritis in my lower spine from decades of morbid obesity made much worse by several lifting mishaps, along with related physical ailments like an occasionally bum right rotator cuff also thanks to a lifting injury — which, with other things like persistent insomnia, bipolar, laziness, poor time management, low energy, overworked & overstressed in a career wherein I fit very badly for many reasons, junk-food-addiction & habit of stress- & boredom-binging, computer-/Internet-/video-game-addiction, etc., also means I’m too nervous and “what’s the point?” to do heavy weightlifting for strong & sexy muscle growth. This is the other side of the diet-&-exercise coin that I’ve sorely neglected mostly due to the aforementioned. Bodybuilding is the one and only thing I actually tried to pursue (not just wistfully dream about) as a stepping stone along an imagined path out of depression, dragging miles just to end up at one wall after the next[6]; hello, anicca, my old friend![7]

      [1] One of the dark elves in Mournhold, I think, from the video game The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, namely the Tribunal expansion pack.

      [2] Wile. E. Coyote cartoon. Though the coyote may never catch the roadrunner, whatever it represents, it’s apparently a holy grail forever worth chasing.

      [3] Shakespear. Wait, is someone out there who didn’t get this reference?

      [4] Spartan laconism. It’s cool. Wish I could be cool like that, and not just be annoying and confusing when I try.

      [5] …surely I needn’t embarrass the both of us by pointing out one of the two-dozen or so songs that has been replayed on probably most every radio station in the majority-English-language-world and beyond at least a half-gross times a day for the past decade or four.

      [6] Scaling Lies by FINAL SIGN. So many of this band’s lyrics speak to ME, bro!

      [7] Again, surely there’s nobody out there who hasn’t heard the whole “hello darkness my old friend” skit? It’s about as overplayed as Iron Man by Black Sabbath.

    • #16326

      Copied this to my “Bardo Workout” blog, just because.

    • #16328

      Furthermore, the whole “look good naked” goal has lead to much sorrow and lamentation. I began a few weeks of intermittent fasting following a ~4 month -750 calorie deficit to the point where I was always sore despite prescription painkillers, Biofreeze, and creatine. I got so low-energy and weak I could no longer Then after I decided I was done with the “extreme dieting” as my doctor called it, the past few nights I ate like a monster to the point of throwing up; I fear I am developing a binge-and-purge habit. I feel so guilty despite being so satisfied while eating junk food, or even just high-calorie homemade bread or something. I just can’t be satisfied with 3-5 lb of broccoli and 1/2 lb chicken breast; I am so tired of sinking so much of my life into cooking and cleaning up after cooking when that’s roughly what I do for 40 hours a week. I am so burnt out, I am tired of counting calories and macros, I want to just not care about diet anymore and eat whatever, but I am scared of getting obese again, I am in L and XL shirts for the first time in my adult life, after half a decade I still cannot hack it at balancing time and money and health and convenience. I hate being trapped by my intense craving for food.

    • #16330

      @Eric: I am not sure how I (or anyone here) can help you. You have dismissed my prior suggestions. I am not a psychologist anyway, so you don’t need to take my advice.

      From your previous posts, I can see that you have a sharp mind; you just need to direct it in the right direction. Here is another set of suggestions for the last time:

      1. Before comprehending Tilakkkhana, one needs to setup the background. I say this all the time to everyone, so it is not just you. In your case it is even more important, since you need to get out of the “mental trap” that you are in.
      2. I hope you will try very hard to stick to a diet and NOT get back to obesity. One does not need to count calories, but needs to eat reasonably healthy food.

      3. You have said that you let the sink overflow with dirty dishes. That is a bad habit. Try to make a resolution to get rid such bad habits (which includes over eating). Try to keep the house or the apartment clean and well-lighted. Darkness can darken the mind too.

      4. Get into an exercise program. You can start by taking walks out in the Sun. Sunlight is necessary for good health too.

      5. Stop playing video games, and cut down on TV. Don’t associate with those who drink, take drugs, and in general “bad company”. Start reading books if you have any liking for reading. Read posts at this website (in sections that like). Just try to occupy time with useful things.

      6. Most of all, stop having “self-pity” and keep thinking about depressing thoughts.

      7. When you get the temptation to violate any of the above, think about the bad consequences of getting back to those bad habits. The Buddha said that best way to avoid bad actions is to pause and think about their bad consequences; the Pali word is adeenava if you want to look up at the website.

      Anyway, these are just suggestions.

      These things take time to show results. Don’t expect results in a few days. If you like, try the above for 6 months and see whether any of them helps. You can turn your life around, but only if you can take the initiative and stick to the plan.

    • #16335

      Thank you, I definitely need to try your suggestions, though:

      “You have dismissed my prior suggestions.”

      I did? Sorry if I gave that impression; took me a while to get my Internet back, and that was part of a tumultuous past week. Time for me to get off the computer and get me to cleaning, thanks again. _b

    • #16369

      Hi Eric,

      I am not a professional psychologist, but I hope my suggestions can help.

      Before comprehending Tilakkhana, you need to set up the proper background, as Lal has said.

      It is a good idea to stay away from doing dasa akusala. Furthermore, you may need to ponder more deeply about why you are doing some of the things you do. Do you have any deep-seated anger, guilt or feelings of worthlessness directed towards yourself?

      If you have any unresolved issues from the past, you may need to keep a journal in which to record down your thoughts. When and under what conditions do you feel most depressed? Look out for recurring patterns in order to forewarn you of any potential relapse.

      You can contemplate on metta, karuna and mudita too.

      In the case of metta contemplation, you may start off by genuinely wishing that you will be happy. Sincerely feel happiness well up in you. Maybe you can recall back to a time in the past when you were genuinely and deeply happy, if that helps. Cultivate good thoughts of loving-kindness, generosity, wise faith in the Dhamma, and so on.

      In the case of karuna, you may sincerely wish that you were free of suffering and its causes. Imagine your sadness ebb away from you, leaving your body in a dark cloud, or whichever imagery works well for you. But at first, it may be a good idea not to dwell too long on negative feelings. Remember the Buddha said to suppress any defiled thoughts not yet risen and to stop any defiled thoughts already risen.

      As for mudita, whenever you perform a kusala kamma, such as helping others or giving to the needy, take a moment to rejoice in the merits gained. Think of any possible, beneficial reverberating effects of your good deeds.

      Do not rush this. The process will take some time. May you be well and happy!

    • #16370

      The metta, karuna and mudita contemplations ultimately have all sentient beings as their targets. However, I believe that it is beneficial to start off with the self as the initial target. This is to ensure that there is some depth and a proper foundation to the contemplations.

      For we cannot really wish beneficial things to others without first wishing the same things to ourselves.

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