Buddhism and Loneliness

I’m not really sure how Buddhism helps deal with feelings like this. The responses I get range from:

"The cause are mental fabrications that fabricate loneliness. Stop fabricating mental fabrications that fabricate loneliness. In your case, if you’re using social media to ease loneliness, it’s like postponing the resolution of suffering to a latter date. Instead of focusing on the cause of your loneliness, you’re focusing on social media. You think you need social media to ease loneliness. In reality you most probably don’t need social media … you just need to get rid of loneliness. Once you’ll get rid of loneliness, you’ll probably stop spending time on social media.

What you’re experiencing is normal suffering due to loneliness. Psychologists will tell you it’s normal as long as it does not interfere negatively on your physical or mental health. Most people do something to ease feelings of loneliness (make new friends, read, do sports, watch TV, …). But that’s not curing loneliness. It’s like having a disease and alleviating its symptoms. This is no different than being depressive and drinking alcohol to ease the depression. Off course it’s not dysfunctional as drinking alcohol, but the mechanism is the same: you suffer, and instead of resolving your main problems which are the cause of your suffering, you’re postponing their resolution to a later date."

To this: https://tricycle.org/magazine/at-home-with-yourself/

Or this: https://www.lionsroar.com/six-kinds-of-loneliness/

It’s like it’s either a disease or some aspect of our being. The tricycle one is the only one with a bit of kindness that offers some aid.

To be honest Pema confused me with what she wrote. It sounds like having no judgment is ideal but then in other works she preaches kindness and helping others.

"“To be honest Pema confused me with what she wrote. It sounds like having no judgment is ideal but then in other works she preaches kindness and helping others.”

Been thinking about this for a week. It is my observation that no belief system in and of itself can ‘make you happy’. Perhaps happiness may be found if simple precepts are followed. I’ve always found that incredibly difficult.

It is claimed that The Buddha said “above all, loving kindness” .Implicit is a lack of judgement .

In my society, our welfare system is based on the concept of ‘the deserving poor’. Our unemployment benefit system contains punishments; EG stopping benefits for 6 weeks if a person is ‘voluntary unemployed’. As a decision maker,I was put in the position of having to judge others. HATED IT.

Then ,and now, it is my opinion that there should only be only one criterium for welfare or personal charity; need. That is, one perceives need and responds with loving kindness. That simple notion goes against the very core of people with say a work ethic ;a value we insist everyone else SHOULD have. If they do not, we won’t help them. Of course, they must also be both humble and suitably grateful.

As I said, simple precepts can be incredibly difficult to live by.

Don’t like Buddhism? Fine, try the Abrahamic faiths; “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. Also too hard.

 

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((())))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Mark 12:31

“King James Bible
And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

 

Patrick D: "it is my opinion that there should only be only one criterium for welfare or personal charity; need."
I totally agree. Too many people think that all assistance should be reduced to an absolute minimum "to prevent lazy people from getting it".

Somehow those otherwise good people are willing to not help thousands (millions?) of people who need it in order to prevent a tiny minority from possibly getting more than they deserve. I have no idea how they rationalize their lack of concern for their fellow humans, but they are everywhere and are gaining ground in politics.

Yair. reminds me of what I think is idiotic behaviour towards dictatorships especially; Blockades and cutting of aid. Doesn’t hurt the dictator, only the people.

Imo one of the most egregious and unconscionable blockades was that of the US of Cuba. The cynic in me says it was to punish Castro for nationalising some very big US companies in Cuba. They lost millions.

Well I was more like referring to what the links say. Loneliness seems to be more like a disease to be cured rather than a nature aspect of a social animal.

“Well I was more like referring to what the links say. Loneliness seems to be more like a disease to be cured rather than a nature aspect of a social animal.”

It’s not a disease but a state of mind. Something which can be solved simply, but with much effort; become other centred, rather than self centred.

Of course, I can assure you there are much worse things than loneliness.

Perhaps the feeling itself has evolutionary benefits. A lonely person may have once sought others, because being part of a group improved survival chances.

I know that, it’s just that Buddhism has a habit of making me feel like stuff that is a normal part of life is a curse or blight. Like saying loneliness is a disease, or that living in the world but not forming attachments to the dust of the world is the mark of a true zen student. Calling the stuff that I value and care about dust is wounding personally and kind of condescending.

Like much of Buddhist wisdom it just makes me feel like less of a person or inferior for not following it, or ignorant and stupid.

you are always becoming and always not becoming

@Xain

“Like much of Buddhist wisdom it just makes me feel like less of a person or inferior for not following it, or ignorant and stupid.”

Know the feeling. Computers make me feel stupid and ignorant, but not ‘profound’ Eastern philosophy. A paradox in and of itself is not wisdom. Not understanding does not make one either especially ignorant or stupid.

We are all ignorant, only just not usually about the same things.

Going by your posts, I do not see either a stupid or ignorant person. On the contrary, I see a smart person with an inquisitive mind. Seems to me you perhaps expect too much of yourself.

Most people seem to have buttons which elicit conditioned reflexes. Feelings of inferiority, of being ’ less than’ other people, are much more common than you might think. As I understand, such feelings tend to go pretty deep.

It’s more like just Buddhism in particular, likely because I have this sense that it is “different” from other religions.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lionsroar.com/the-miracle-of-everyday-mindfulness/amp/

Then they mention stuff like right view and right thinking. That right thinking is based on right view, and that right thinking is non dual and doesn’t discriminate. The more that I read about Buddhism the less I understand and more confused I get.

I find the “rights” to be unsophisticated. They are not well explained. What good does it do to say you should think right? It doesn’t tell you anything.

I know, it’s so vague. Yet I have to power (neigh obsessive) compulsion that they are right and must be followed. Like in regards to art and trying to not conceptualize a photo, which I don’t know what they mean by that despite many internet searches. But I just get the notion that by not doing that that I am doing art wrong, and so far it has just left me feeling stunted and confined because my artistic inspiration and ideas aren’t “non-conceptual”. I don’t understand any of it, but I have this overwhelming feeling like they are correct and therefor the only ideas to follow.

Yet I have to power (neigh obsessive) compulsion that they are right and must be followed.
First, that's not a sentence. Second, if it means what I think, then you are saying that you know you are powerless and you are doing something that doesn't make sense to you. This is not normal. It's also a little hard to believe that you really think that. It also leaves me with nothing I can say to you because you are telling me that logic and reason don't apply here. You are saying that even if you could articulate why something doesn't make sense, you might do it anyway because of some compulsion. You should talk to someone close to you about this because it is potentially dangerous to think that way.

It’s kind of like the Zen koans. They make no sense to me, yet I feel like I should follow them because there is this prevailing notion that they hold some kind of hidden wisdom in them. I don’t buy it but Zen is known for being cryptic and the “masters” who practice is seem proof of the results, and what is science without evidence. Like how they claim that one doesn’t have a temper because that isn’t their true nature since they weren’t born with it and their parents didn’t give it to them, but what about how a baby isn’t fully developed? What about how people change over time? I mean compassion and other things are learned and not inherent so are those also not the true nature? But I feel sort of forced into believing them because I am too terrified of living a lie.

It’s just that they do a good job of seeming profound but I somehow doubt that they really offer any insight into reality. I mean science has come far and more ably explains things in less cryptic ways then such religions. Even that feeling of non-duality we learn is due to the rewiring of the brain from meditation.

"It’s kind of like the Zen koans. They make no sense to me, yet I feel like I should follow them because there is this prevailing notion that they hold some kind of hidden wisdom in them. "

A Zen master might not agree… He might or might not say there is no wisdom in Zen.

The most Zen story of the Buddha I’ve heard is this one:

A disciple approached the Buddha, arms open.

The Buddha said “drop it”. The disciple went away.

The disciple approached the Buddha again, arms at his side.

The Buddha said “drop it”. The disciple went away again.

Much later, the disciple began to approach the Buddha yet again.

The Buddha said"drop it". The disciple went ways, enlightened.

How much or little you get from Buddhism has nothing to do with Buddhism, and everything to do with you. Or not.

"Ten thousand monks, ten thousand religions’ (Buddhist saying)

 

Not really. In my case it’s caused nothing but stress and confusion. It only hurt me.

Your comment on it is far from helpful.

Like how they remark on “true nature” in a story the monk said the student didn’t have a temper because it wasn’t his true nature since he wasn’t born with it and his parents didn’t give it to him. How do I react to that? Are all my likes and dislikes false by extension?