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Surrending your Dukkha or Validating it

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  • Surrending your Dukkha or Validating it


    I was wondering can you help to answer a question I have.

    It's basically about when to know whether to change or learn to put up with/ sticking with and improving a situation.

    I have trouble recognising when I need to change something since practicing Buddhism, a sort of self-doubt

    Because if I don't like I situation I might just say that it is my Dukkha and I should learn to make the situation better. For instance my flat mate really bugs me from time to time, but when I put the effort in I can do things like cook or be generous and eventually it will get better and she becomes way nicer to be around. However I recently got some space from the house and stayed with a Buddhist community and I could see clearly that I hadn't been listening to my Dukkha or myself for instance and really just the environment of living with my flat mate really doesn't suit me, and I think I need to change.

    Also I’m in a job which is not suitable to me either. I’m underutilised here, it plays to my weaknesses, the staff are not hugely helpful or friendly, there is little reward and I really don’t enjoy it on the whole. So after a few month of complaining about it, which was painful, I decided to give that up and do my best to make something from it. This worked quite well initially and I have tried to keep this going, but really it just doesn’t suit me and I really would be better off in something else.

    Also I’m in a relationship which has so many great points to it. I live with my partner and have done for 7 years, she owns the house and I live rent free, she is supportive, and she is really loyal to me, she is also really encouraging and she is a really good person. But I feel that I am more living her life and find it difficult to develop my own. For instance, we live in her country, she own the house we live in, our flat mate is her best friend from childhood, we see her family and not mine as mine are in different country, are friends are her friends, also she likes to accumulate things and like things minimal so there are lots of things in our house which I have little control over etc etc.

    So the thing is, the things that I am complaining about in our relationship aren’t that bad when I am not expecting anything else, in fact it’s a lovely life we have when I surrender to it, and don’t look for it to be any other way

    But when I went to the Buddhist community, I felt way more like myself than I had done in years. Everything in this community looked like the way I would decorate it. The people had an interest in what I was saying (my partner doesn’t resonate with the dharma). It was no struggle being a Buddhist, and I felt interesting. People lived excatly the lifestyle that I want to live, it was great!!! I felt like I was being myself, it was so refreshing.

    I could see that for the past few years with my partner I had been letting go of my preferences in order to tolerate the way we live, which worked and it could be great, however I really was living life that isn’t quite me.

    So when I was in the community I could really see the way I would like to live and the kinds of things I like. And when I went home I decided to see if I could start to develop and introduce some of these ways of living. When I came back I just couldn’t stand being with my flat mate and my partner. I just felt like the where totally different and how there was no space for speaking about the things that I was interested in. Also I started to see how much clutter there was in the house, and I felt powerless to it, it drove me mad. I would start to get really angry with what kinds of things we were doing in the evening ie watching poor quality tv etc. Also there were quite a few conversations about Buddhism, my girlfriend and flat mate were asking me to explain, why being a monk without kids wasn’t selfish or even lacking ambition, which I got really fed up by.

    The whole time I was dreaming of the community that I was living in. and considering drastic changes, however I wasn’t willing to take courage and act upon it. It seemed too big a risk for me

    I couldn’t stop seeing all the faults in the way we lived. I felt so unbuddhist. I was irritable all the time and moody

    Any way the short and tall of it is, that the only way I could put up with it, is to completely let go of the Buddhist community way of living and the way I would like to live, and I started to enjoy my life again. The letting go of it was quite a lovely sensation

    But I find this all really confusing because if I let go of what I want, in my relationship or my job or my house, I won’t change anything but I will probably be happier then, holding onto the way I would like to live and going through the discomfort of being in a situation that you don’t want to be in.

    Should we listen to our Dukkha and validate it or should we let go of our wants or even values at times…. I find this very hard to see through

    So how does one make changes, without first causing yourself so much pain with being with what you don’t want. If you see what I mean?

  • #2
    Hi dear Jamie,

    It sounds like you are relatively new to Buddhism. The dhamma can have a huge impact on people straight away, but I would say be careful of not changing your life too much in the beginning. Allow your practice of Buddhism to evolve a bit more and you will probably find it more easy to fit into your life. It'll start to expand and become more stable. Then, when you feel it is more stable and you know what is what, it may be a good time to decide on some changes in your life. Just take it easy. Be kind and caring to your situation, to your spouse and flatmate. Knowing that no situation is perfect and that no person will be perfect either, whether they are Buddhist or not. The best thing we can do is to be gentle to them and to ourselves.

    Hope this helps. I don't have too much time right now to type much more, I'm sorry.

    With kindness,



    • #3
      Dear Jamie,

      I can relate to a lot of what you've said. What I find is there is a middle way within the middle way. We cannot expect to live as a monastic whilest lving in a worldly way. I haven't the courage quite yet either to take the leap from the lay life, but it gets closer and closer all the time. I have seen that worldly dukkha will build and build and we'll seek the refuge of a future free of this. That future will eventually be full of monastic dukkha. Catching the feelings of loss, anger, confusion, etc. has been key for me. Once caught I usually have a little laugh at myself for getting caught up in it yet again. It is a continuous struggle and will not stop completely without full realization of the path. Perhpas it gets better sometimes, but from my understanding, none of this compares to the suffering found just before nibbana. Cultivate the jhanas good sir. Cultivate the jhanas. I don't intend to step in Venerable Sunyo's toes here. So please, feel free of course to digest what I've said and acceot ir reject any or all of it. This is just my view and my experence, defilements and all. Be well one and all.



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