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Thread: Dealing with kleshas

  1. #1

    Dealing with kleshas

    I was wondering about the best way to deal with greed and craving, especially when it comes to craving for comfort. It's fairly easy to see where and why we are stuck at something but much more difficult to see how we are stuck. How this process of craving (or whatever else) is unfolding. It's not only because it happens so quickly and is so habitual, that it's challenging to notice, but it also requires willingness to truly know that particular affliction, willingness to be uncomfortable.
    Truly knowing an affliction is perhaps the best way to remove the root of delusion, but it is a very difficult practice at times.

    Buddhism offers variety of antidotes for kleshas : for stinginess we use generosity, for anger loving kindness, etc.

    What would be the best antidote for greed and craving for comfort ?

    One of the aspects of zazen for me is that once everything is dropped, and the phenomenas are left undisturbed there's a deep sense of contentement.

    This spills to daily life and like so with just breathing there's often contentment.



    I was wondering if it is acceptable to use it as an antidote to satisfy the craving for comfort? Or would it be bypassing the root of delusion and just shifting attachment to something else?


    Sorry for running over 3 sentences.
    Gassho
    Sat

  2. #2
    Hi Inshin,

    I am less psychological, and much simpler in approach, than many modern Buddhists these days. I do not need to find or identify the root cause of cravings, nor do I believe that all cravings are a problem.

    Cravings are much more viewed as the enemy in South Asian, Theravadan, Buddhist traditions than in Japanese Zen. We tend to emphasize balance and moderation in cravings, rather than the abandonment of all cravings.

    What is wrong with a bit of comfort, especially if one is a lay practitioner? If the craving is excessive, then it is a problem. What kind of comfort do you mean, and why is it a problem?

    Even monks in a monastery are not supposed to be uncomfortable. On the other hand, at those times when life makes us uncomfortable (e.g., when we are sick in the hospital or life just does not go as we would wish), our practice is to accept that too with deep equanimity and acceptance.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    Sorry to run long too.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    Hi Inshin

    I think that you point straight to the heart of Shikantaza and Zen in that just sitting drops away all of our usual craving and aversion and touches a place where everythng is just as it is.

    To me, this is less of an antidote, and more seeing beyond our usual habitual patterns of behaviour, beyond the like and dislike, want and not want, while also not denying that these are part of life.

    When greed arises for me, I usually find this is in response to something difficult happening or another situation in which there is a feeling of lack or 'not enough'. Touching into that place where everything is complete and whole just as it is, that we find in Shikantaza, allows me to see that there is no lack (although I am not saying this works all of the time which is why my Tesco order often contains more chocolate than it might!).

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  4. #4
    Each morning, I walk my dog. As I pass my neighbors homes, I may see a new car in their driveway and feel "Gee. I wish I had a car like that. Why do they get that and I don't? I WANT a new car too!" I can feel the greed and craving arising in me. Greed is one of the Three Poisons and the antidote is Generosity and contentment. I can think how happy for my neighbor that they get a new car. Good for them! I can remember that the new, shiny car has no real intrinsic identity, but is just a pile of metal and plastic, and will soon be dented and rusted. Is it REALLY something worth craving? Finally, I can remember that I already have everything I need to be completely happy.

    Gassho

    Dick

    sat/lah

  5. #5
    I recall that the currently assigned readings for the precept to not take that which is not given (or not steal) discusses this (I think that it was the TNH lecture). Taking more than is needed is, in my mind, against this precept. But I want to avoid the "No! Bad!" approach to self-discipline, which doesn't work anyway.

    For me, the desire or craving for things is relieved by the idea of having enough (take a look at oryoki practice). What I have is enough. Of course, if there is a genuine need for something (clothing for warmth), I may not have enough, in which case I need to address that differently. I can usually tell that I have enough if I drill down a little, as the desire I express is usually different from what I actually desire. For example, "I need a new phone" may actually be "I need to play with the new iPhone" or "I need to impress so-and-so by having the new iPhone."

    The desire or craving to feed myself to death is also helped by this idea of enough, but is harder to manage because there is more to it than simple desire. It is next-level. I crave those things that my biology and my emotions think they have a need for. Winter is coming, so let's fatten Nengei up. I do need to eat, so this desire is not bad. In fact, every craving and desire has some root need causing it, and our vows require us to be miserable or have increased suffering. My cravings tend to push me way past what is enough, though. I remind myself: enough. I try to turn my cravings to those things that are nourishing (rather than addiction- or flavor-feeding). I remind myself that sometimes there is more involved than human need, such as foods that were created to increase desire for them. Again, I have enough. What am I really craving (salt, oil, and sugar; relief from boredom or mental pain; a mother's warm embrace)?

    Please excuse my inability to express these ideas with brevity.

    Gassho,
    然芸 Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Inshin View Post
    the phenomenas are left undisturbed there's a deep sense of contentement.

    This spills to daily life and like so with just breathing there's often contentment.
    I think you answered your own question

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Inshin,

    I am less psychological, and much simpler in approach, than many modern Buddhists these days. I do not need to find or identify the root cause of cravings, nor do I believe that all cravings are a problem.

    Cravings are much more viewed as the enemy in South Asian, Theravadan, Buddhist traditions than in Japanese Zen. We tend to emphasize balance and moderation in cravings, rather than the abandonment of all cravings.

    What is wrong with a bit of comfort, especially if one is a lay practitioner? If the craving is excessive, then it is a problem. What kind of comfort do you mean, and why is it a problem?

    Even monks in a monastery are not supposed to be uncomfortable. On the other hand, at those times when life makes us uncomfortable (e.g., when we are sick in the hospital or life just does not go as we would wish), our practice is to accept that too with deep equanimity and acceptance.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    Sorry to run long too.
    Coming from Theravada background, this tradition still appeals to my need of control and knowledge. Their mind analysis, guidance on practice are almost like a cooking recipe, so precise and easy to follow. Zen on the other hand... with its poetry, cutting cats into half and complete assault on logic, oh my! That's a piece of cake difficult to bake!

    Gassho
    Sat

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Inshin View Post
    Coming from Theravada background, this tradition still appeals to my need of control and knowledge. Their mind analysis, guidance on practice are almost like a cooking recipe, so precise and easy to follow. Zen on the other hand... with its poetry, cutting cats into half and complete assault on logic, oh my! That's a piece of cake difficult to bake!

    Gassho
    Sat
    It is a very different way of baking. In some traditions of Buddhism, south as Theravada, one finds that control of thoughts and emotions is key, because thoughts and emotions are the enemy, thus we must have a kind of control of the mind and weed out all the bad guys, like sending in the hunters to shoot all the tigers!

    In Zen, however, one "controls" by just letting be, without tangling or stirring up. Then, thoughts and emotions are like a tiger in the jungle: No threat to you and me so long as we don't charge into the jungle, poke it with a stick or try to climb on its back to ride it. Let it be, it will leave you be.

    In this way, no cat is ever killed. In fact, you are the tiger, the tiger just you in stripes.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-23-2021 at 11:27 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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