How do I stop?

Falling for things like this? It’s like I know in the back of my mind that it’s crazy, and my first reaction is the same as well. Especially when I read his take on the koan which just sounded batshit (especially his first two remarks in the comments section).

Yet when those pass me by this lingering doubt sinks in that there might be some hidden wisdom that I’m not seeing. Especially when he explains it in the comments it makes it sound plausible.

But each time I just think to myself “how much BS or loopy is it going to take for me to say no?” “when am I going to stand up and just say NO?”

I’m getting sick of this, honestly. I’m tired of not being able to read anything without going on some runaway train on it. I want to know how other people do it. How can they read so much and not end up like me, what am I doing wrong?

Instead of being distracted by the fruits of life, RISE UP and claim your sovereignty! So, DON'T eat that strawberry! Climb up that vine before the mice chew through it and kill that fucking tiger!
You ought to consider that perhaps this author doesn't understand the story any better than his readers - and he fills in the missing pieces with his own world view, which has a distinct essence of Trumpian Me First - Fuk no I'm not sorry mentality about it. It's MINE I demand it and will GET IT.

Does that really help you navigate your challenging inner life, in a world where you aren’t in control?

The Buddhist story: A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him.

Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge.

The tiger sniffed at him from above.

Trembling, the man looked down to where,

far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him.

Only the vine sustained him.


Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine.

The man saw a luscious strawberry near him.

Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other.

How sweet it tasted!

What’s it mean?

Don’t know, but you know thinking of the guy who fancies he’s going to climb up that vine and kick that tigers ass - reminds me of the faith blinded who think they can ignore well understand physical reality, because their self-certain personal desires are superior to all else.

Xain, in the comment the author writes:

Posted on Tuesday, 15 January 2019 at 7:08 PM

Visitor wrote: "“What tosh… the story simply says that death is unavoidable and that consciousness of this fact makes life sweet.”

Anandbhatt responds: "Death is unavoidable??? Who would teach THAT, nothing could be further from the truth.

This is no life coach buddy.

Find that puppy or lover.

Though keep in mind this too shall pass, so enjoy the strawberry - because it too shall pass into a rotten mess soon enough.


I think one of the comments was about how it’s not getting distracted by the world, that suffering isn’t real, that none of what we think is real is real.

I mean my alarms went off pretty quick for this, but then I read the comments. Plus combine that with it being a Zen koan and how “it’s open to many interpretations” makes it hard to dismiss him.

The answer to your question in the title is to develop critical thinking skills. Conveniently, is pretty decent. It may seem circular because, how do you know how to evaluate that website? Well, just like these gurus you find say, try it out and see how it works. You’ll find these skills actually lead to less confusion instead of more. You won’t get stuck, or wonder if they are right, you will move on and learn more.

CC is showing you by example, build from the basics of how life works, DNA itself. He’s also joking around a little, because who has time to become a cellular biologist? Well, a bunch of people do. And you can trust them because you can pick a random one and read what they publish, then pick another random one and they’ll say the same thing. If they disagree, they’ll tell you why they disagree, they’ll tell you the limits of our knowledge. They’ll also have data to back up what they say, not just some personal experience from an ayahuasca ceremony.

You have already done this investigation in reverse, you’ve randomly picked meditators and spiritual guides with no credentials and found that they don’t agree. Why is that? Could it be that they are just making up what they are saying? Do they have any data? Or do they actually tell you that they don’t have any evidence for what they are saying?

From what I gather it seems like it’s just based on what they experience through meditation, which to me is more like just making claims based on how a certain process made you feel. Like how if you work out enough then things aren’t as heavy anymore, but just because you can lift X doesn’t mean other people can. Though this is quite different.

I know meditation rewires the brain and that in the lab these “experiences” meditation followers and gurus have can be replicated by stimulating certain areas with magnets. Now I don’t think that Buddha or whoever in the past could have known this so it was likely that they thought their method (which to me seems like a guess at seeing what “true” reality is, I mean if you don’t know what the destination looks like then how will you know if you got there? It seems like people tried a bunch of different things and if they were altered by them then they believed that to be true). It would explain why most of their evidence is ultimately falling back on to mystical experience (similar to LSD and psychedelic users), but as science and psychology can attest to MULTIPLE times personal experience isn’t a reliable method of data or even very good. It’s all we have. I don’t see how meditation makes the world any clearer than what we see now. Granted they say it removes all the constructs and boundaries and concepts that our minds make, but to me it just sounds like it alters your VIEW of things but it doesn’t make said view any clearer. A tiger is a tiger whether I have a concept of it or not and whether I have a word or not for it. It eats meat, lives in certain areas of the planet. None of that changes just because I throw away “constructs” and “concepts”. It isn’t a “direct experience of reality, unmediated”, it’s just you believing that. Reality is mediated by our senses and even those aren’t complete. It just seems like they are making a bunch of claims based on the outcome of a practice.

But the worst part is that they just won’t listen to criticism of their ideas. It’s branded and “mind or egoic or conceptual”, when really it’s just pointing out the holes. Science has shown me that there can be more than one factor influencing and outcome or even something we don’t know. Granted maybe their practice does bring peace of mind, I don’t really doubt that. I just doubt the truth of their alleged “insights” that bring such peace. The claim that you are the universe isn’t really true even by physics standards, at best you are a speck in a sea of infinity. It’s even more telling when they try to “scare” you by saying that if you believe you are just a body and will lose all when you die. The alternative is their viewpoint which is infinity, deathless, saying that death is an illusion, that consciousness doesn’t reside in the brain (which to me is based on old mystic ideas about perception. My guess is that they believed the universe was conscious because stuff happens in our awareness, so in order for things to happen they must be held in awareness, ergo Universe is conscious.) But recent evidence does imply consciousness emerged, that it is part of the brain and based in biology. I would know because under general anesthesia I blinked and the whole thing was over, yet I spent over an hour with 0 awareness of anything. No blackness, no dream, nada. Probably why it felt like a blink.

It just reminds me of a common trait among humans, the desire for immortality or not to die. My guess is that these mystics aren’t different from others in fearing death. Why else call it an illusion? Or believe that you are immortal? It would explain their sense of peace, but I can’t directly prove that. My point is that I don’t truly believe their stuff, but it was hard to get over giving them the benefit of the doubt.

But the main trouble I run into is when they make their conclusions sound reasonable, like in the comments of the link that I posted.

It just “sounds reasonable”. You kill three paragraphs with that? Okay, here ya go. Best advice I ever got: Want to stop smoking? Quit putting cigarettes in your mouth and lighting them.

I understand that part, but it’s a little hard when my daily life is triggered by things I have read in the past. And not all comments about “woo” are as screwy as the link I posted.

“However, this is still something important to consider. Buddhism is very much so a religion, rather than a simple philosophy. There are many great secular purposes that can be derived from buddhism- Psychology for example has recently found a ton of copacetic values within much of buddhist practise, or is arriving at what buddhism has been doing for centuries. Still, buddhism requires a good bit of practise and study, and it is more than a philosophy because it fulfills a spiritual role, soteriology and supernatural concepts aside buddhism is a praxis by which we arrive at abnegation of ego-differentiated self. It is a vehicle for mystic experiences as any long-term buddhist practioner will assure you. The great trouble here is what has been the biggest weakness of buddhism- It is a monastic faith at it’s heart. This means that among the laity a sort of “low” religion has emerged- You do things that make a good buddhist just because that’s what you do. You give food to monks and lamas, you say a few prayers, and that’s that. But these trappings and material clingings all have a purpose as a means of engaging the mind in certain activities. Take the tibetan prayer wheel for instance: On the surface you turn it and that gives you good merit, which means a better birth. But deeper than that, the wheel is a praxis by which you engage in the mental experience of having prayed without the activity of prayer, it is useful for not only illustrating the divide between participation and agency, but as well encourages that ego-death state by means of a tacit participation in compassion practise.

The faith is built entirely around the idea that all that we percieve, and experience is mediated, often greatly, by language and learned or assumed concepts that have become a deep part of out intellectual processes: Cognition and Emotion. The mystic attainment in buddhism is that which allows one to enter a psychological state of consciousness capable of affording participation in an unmediated world. The mediated world, it is argued, leads to cognitive and emotive processes that are not ultimately desireable reactions to the stimuli of the world. The question of these religious trappings in relation to attaining this psychological ego-death is that many of means we might use to reach this unmediated state are forms and methods that are themselves mediators of the world. The low religious, or lay, application of this high religious pursuit becomes the application of those means which are ding-fur-sich: sometimes linguistic means like koan, sometimes cognitive ablations like mantra recitation, sometimes tactile methods of conditioning such as mala. It is generally acknowledge that the most efficient vehicle for attaining this kind of ego-death in any permanence is still that of meditation- the conditioning of the mind to guide it towards conditioning ego-death as a default measure to ensure a finality in the assumption of that mental-psychological state. However those means which function as ding-fur-sich do so and are done with the understanding that their practise and encouragement conditions the end-goal of nonmediated participation. Often buddhism avoids this kind of deep analytical discourse because it is not usually itself one of those means which encourages those conditions, being a linguistic and conceptual construction of dialectic that is reliant upon the assumption of those learned concepts that lead to mediated, rather than unmediated, participation. The dialectic becomes that which reifies mediative-mind.”

Some are well written and (if I’m being honest) use big words so I makes me believe them more.

As a kid I read an old Buddhist-inspired re-telling of the Hansel and Gretel story. At the end, Hansel tells Gretel that they have not sinned in killing the witch, because it was in self-defense. And Gretel responds that the sin is in having so much "self" sticking out all over you, that you might have to kill to defend it.
And they have their own take on common tales which makes me think, though I'm pretty sure this one is negated by bees and ants and some plants that have defenses against being eaten.

You can just read things for pleasure. You can get a spiritual message out of a kid’s cartoon. You wouldn’t have to then adopt the cartoon liturgy and spend the rest of your life going to Comicons. I read the Bible all the time. Don’t believe a word of it.


Wish I could do that so easily.

I’m still stuck on that Broward meditation people and their “picture world” and “you are the universe”. I’m stuck wondering how it could be true rather than asking How do I know it is so.

That link is the one I gave you earlier, then the “Begin Here” menu, then “Critical Thinking: Where to Begin”. Sorry, I can’t actually take your hand and move the mouse with it then click the button for you.

Listen to Lausten.

You come here to give voice to your thoughts and feelings, but also for advice. We listen to your thoughts and feelings, so you should listen to our advice.

The link Lausten provided is good, but if you want to see even more of the mountains of content on the topic of critical thinking, just do an internet search for it.

No one is saying it is easy to change how you think, but if you want to do so, you kinda have to put some effort towards doing so.

It is pretty obvious that you’ve never really put serious thought into any of the posts we’ve made on any thread, so I strongly urge you to go back and reread them, and think about them. It should take a few days, but it might prove to be the most valuable few days of your life.

I’m referring to the problem I have when I encounter stuff like the paragraph I quoted, which I don’t understand. Or what he means by the Abrahamic sense of death:

You should though, think long and hard, and consider why rebirth is so antithetical to an atheist viewpoint- why do most atheists hold an abrahamic conception of life as ceasing upon the cessation of physical activities? There is no soul, so why the insistence that oblivion is the result of that ego-state passing, and what about when that ego-state passes but the physical form persists? What happens to the matter of that body, etc etc."

The above was written in something explaining Buddhism and I’m not sure I get it. Isn’t death technically the end of it all? I mean when the bodily processes cease and brain function drops then how is that not death?

I just don’t know enough to really answer any of this, and my attempts to read and comprehend philosophy have failed spectacularly in the past.

I’ll answer the technical part of this question only, but it changes nothing about the rest of what I said. In the Old Testament, there wasn’t an afterlife, there was Sheol, which was a place some part of you went and just existed but without any feelings or without a sense of being, you didn’t walk around or do anything there. It’s not well understood, so I’m not going to present every interpretation of that. But it was nothing like the Christian view, where “death was defeated” and you go to be with God and you spend your days rejoicing.

The crap about ego-stating passing is just that, crap. There is nothing known about how any sense of you survives your physical body. Ask the question yourself, what happens to the matter of that body? You know the answer. Why would you listen to a guy who is “explaining Buddhism” about what happens when you die? How would he know? What evidence does he have for what he’s saying? You actually do know enough to answer that, and anything you don’t know, you could look up.

That is what I thought as well, that death as we know it is just the cessation of biological processes. I know that some people say that there is proof of reincarnation, but to be honest those experiments were done in countries where that is the culture which can suggest bias. There is also the issue of untended prompting of subjects. But from the data I see, you are a body, consciousness arises as a result of the brain/biology, and there isn’t anything that occurs after death.

But the problem I run into is with anecdotes and personal experience like with this page (which I think I linked before):

The arrows under each one give a detailed description of their experience, and the issue is that I find such accounts so compelling. Especially the one where they said they didn’t need as much as they thought to be happy (their hobby, etc). To me such accounts seem to be proof as to the truth of the claims being asserted. Though part of me thinks that such states or accounts are merely the result of a practice but not proof of it’s claims.

You are putting forth zero effort here.

I am. But as I told you before I don’t know what to make of these personal accounts. From my perspective it makes it look like proof of what they are putting forth. I mean what is the difference between these responses and those from test subjects in psychological experiments? Isn’t this proof of what the teachings say?

I mean I can GRANT what they say about how we people aren’t the image that we hold of them in our heads. They are dynamic, complex, and multifaceted and have many sides to them. So when we reduced them to “they are just X” it’s a gross simplification based on our experience with them. And maybe there is something to be said about how we are not our experiences, that we need not be defined by what has happened to us in the past. Or maybe there is something to be said about how we tend to pass judgment on things around us and assign traits to them that they don’t inherently have. But to me much of what they say sounds like some forms of nihilism, and that can be reached through logic so I don’t see what’s so special about meditation and why I have to pay them for answers. Though there is the counter argument that one does pay similar fees for a therapist so how is this any different?

You sound like someone with a phobia- you can rationalize that there is nothing to fear, but you can’t use your rationalization to stop the fear.

Almost everyone has phobias (I have a social phobia has affected my life tremendously), so I won’t diminish what you’re going through.

You just need to acknowledge your problem so you can deal with it. Trying to rationalize your way through an irrational problem is hopeless.

Pretty sure you need professional help. We can talk 'till we’re blue in the face, but nothing will make a difference until you are mentally able to incorporate advice.