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Thread: Your advice for difficult times

  1. #1
    Dear friends,

    Many parts of the world are in great turmoil of one kind or another at the moment, on personal, national and international levels.

    What is your advice for others practising the Dhamma/Dharma in difficult times?



  2. #2
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    Difficult times remind us why we practice and spur us on to practice more.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by philg View Post
    Difficult times remind us why we practice and spur us on to practice more.
    Not necessarily. Very difficult times might cause a diminishing of faith and/or intention to "practice" ....and "practice" can mean different things, depending on ones beliefs and the particular Buddhist tradition which one follows.

  4. #4
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    I understand. I was talking about my own experiences of life and death and betrayal, and how my past practices saw me through different episodes. I never followed any one particular Buddhist tradition as I came to Buddhism through experimenting with different types of meditation, and much later via the FWBO centre which was near me. The only beliefs I have are based on my faith in meditation practices, and the path, to help bring a measure of structure and control to the changes I continue to go through.

    Along the way, however, there were some life-changing Buddhist ideas such as "What if everyone has once been you father or brother or son or daughter or wife or husband at some time in the past?". I don't hold to reincarnation, but the 'What if' part was enough to bring about changes. Another was "What if my enemies were once my friends who agreed, while waiting for a new birth, to be nasty to me to help in my practice?". Again, not to be taken literally, but something to ponder during, say, vipassana meditation. There were plenty of things like these over the years.

    In terms of practice during extreme 'events' in my life I guess I took time out sometimes, but was lucky enough to have a supportive study group at the centre made up of us older guys who had been through a lot and who were comfortable enough with each other to talk about anything, which really helped. Since that broke up I have been a lone practitioner but my past practice seems to have been enough to keep me going through stuff happening now.

  5. #5

    Along the way, however, there were some life-changing Buddhist ideas such as "What if everyone has once been you father or brother or son or daughter or wife or husband at some time in the past?". I don't hold to reincarnation, but the 'What if' part was enough to bring about changes. Another was "What if my enemies were once my friends who agreed, while waiting for a new birth, to be nasty to me to help in my practice?". Again, not to be taken literally, but something to ponder during, say, vipassana meditation. There were plenty of things like these over the years.
    Yes, I was familiar with that kind of dialogue when I used to attend a Buddhist centre regularly - and other students would say "We must have known each other in a past life" ...and so on. However even though I practised diligently according to my teacher's instructions, I never took all that "what if" stuff very seriously, because somehow it all seemed way too speculative.

  6. #6
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    Times are always difficult to those on the dirty end of "the stick" in this Samsaric Universe in which we live. Our main defense is mental equanimity with the main idea that we will always fare better with acceptance as opposed to resistance to the way things actually are.

  7. #7
    I came across this article by Phillip Moffitt who is a teacher at the USA Spirit Rock Meditation Center :


    Self-Soothing during Difficult Times


    We’ve all experienced how unsettling and uncertain life can be. Through the skillful application of mindfulness we can learn to self-soothe whenever life delivers us a blow and soon regain our balance.

    As anyone who has ever studied with me will tell you, I emphasize how to apply mindfulness in daily life. Recently I have been focusing on how to use mindfulness to self-soothe during times of difficulty. We’ve all experienced how unsettling and uncertain life can be and how easily we can be knocked off center at any moment. When we’re not in balance, we can become defined by whatever’s happening and get caught in what I call “reactive mind.” But through the skillful application of mindfulness we can learn to self-soothe whenever life delivers us a blow and soon regain our balance. When we lack the ability to self-soothe, we resort to using less skillful strategies to deal with difficulty such as escaping into fantasy, or overindulging in drugs, alcohol, or food, which usually prolongs our suffering.


    Self-soothing begins with softening into your experience and then applying mindfulness to recognize that “this moment is like this.” From within the spaciousness that this softening creates, you can start to investigate the experience and gain access to insight. Specifically, there are three phases to the self-soothing process:

    Continues at the link:

    http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/ar...ifficult-times


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