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Wed Aug 13, 2014, 11:46 PM

I watched a youtube video of a Buddhist nun and she was talk about getting "bad" people

out of your life. Of course they are not bad, but being around them leads you to confusion and you stop your Darma practice, (well I do) and engage in non-virtuous behavior.

I say this because I feel like I need to divorce my family, (My mother, her boyfriend and my brother)

The boyfriend has never liked me and would make comments like, "I don't know how your mother stands you" He would get mad if my mother gave me food that she had made. Now since my mother had a stroke 4 months ago and cannot speak yet very well she has stopped defending me and even lies, (it seems like lies) by keeping his lies.

When my mother was in the hospital and he said that sentence, "I don't know how your mother stands you" I started to fight back. I said mean things that are against my practice. I would love to go into everything he did and said but that would be non-virtuous although I'm not sure how.

And I started calling my brother after my Mom got home and I he seriously believe to this day that I am a big part of the problem and I just need to learn how to get along with the boyfriend. I actually recorded him and some other people twice and sent the recordings to my brother. I asked him if he listened and he said that he started to but I was just baiting the boyfriend so he turned it off. This was all after the boyfriend said he was going to break up with my mother unless I just leave him and don't come down to their house anymore.
So I feel like I should just not talk to my brother anymore, (or for now I'll say) and obviously the boyfriend, (he says I am the reason he wants to leave my mother anyway) I don't even want to talk to my Mom.

After I made this decision I felt relieved. And I started looking for monasteries where I could go for a short time.

But there is a part of me that feels kind of guilty. I am fairly new to Buddhism so I'm not sure what prayer or mantra or meditation I should say to rid myself of these feelings. I've done plenty of "cherishing others and wishing the happiness" but maybe because I would have contact with them it would fly out the window.

Thank you so much for anyone who can give me some guidence.

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Reply I watched a youtube video of a Buddhist nun and she was talk about getting "bad" people (Original post)
Maraya1969 Aug 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #1
Maraya1969 Aug 2014 #3
NYC_SKP Aug 2014 #5
ZombieHorde Aug 2014 #2
Maraya1969 Aug 2014 #4
ZombieHorde Aug 2014 #6
YankeyMCC Aug 2014 #7
Maraya1969 Aug 2014 #8
liberal_at_heart Aug 2014 #9
Maraya1969 Aug 2014 #10
PorridgeGun Sep 2014 #11
liberal_at_heart Sep 2014 #12
vlyons Sep 2014 #13
Manifestor_of_Light Oct 2014 #14
Expat in Korea Oct 2014 #15

Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 11:49 PM

1. Just off the top of my head, it's YouTube. I wouldn't base any group or person on YouTube.


I most closely identify with Buddhists, and I can't imagine such a statement or declaration coming from a person who follows that path.

Take care, I think you know what is right!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 11:56 PM

3. Thank you.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 12:02 AM

5. Well there, that's that's the best!


In the moment, authentic, positive!

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 11:56 PM

2. You are reading right now.

The past happened, but it is gone. The future will come, but it isn't here yet. Right now you are just reading. Staying in the now is extremely difficult for me, but I find it helpful to try. You are still reading right now. These problems don't matter in this very moment. Take a breath and feel your clothes, your weight, and anything you're touching. If thoughts come, neither dwell on them nor try to banish them. You are reading right now. Notice your senses. Experience the moment you are currently in. Do this as often as you can. You are reading right now.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #2)

Wed Aug 13, 2014, 11:58 PM

4. You are so right. I have been everywhere but the present lately

But that does not mean I cannot make a decision right?

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Response to Maraya1969 (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 14, 2014, 12:07 AM

6. I often make poor decisions when I am upset.

So I try to calm down before I act.

You're in a tough situation, but it doesn't require immediate action. For the next day or two, try mediate on the now. Even if it's just one minute sessions several times each day. Consider the problem when you feel more calm.

There may not be a perfect solution, but there may be a solution that can bring you a little piece of mind.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Fri Aug 15, 2014, 02:31 PM

7. Hi Maraya

Last edited Fri Aug 15, 2014, 03:40 PM - Edit history (1)

First let me say you're very generous and brave for acknowledging that you are struggling with this painful situation and sharing it with us. I've gone through similar times with my family and I'm sure many others reading these posts also know the kind of pain only family can create.

The next thing I would like to say is to encourage you to talk this out, if you haven't already, with your other friends and family members that might be more reliable for you. And your sangha and teacher if you have them.

I don't post very often but read often, but not enough to know if you've already shared this but what kind of Buddhism do you practice? I practice Zen and that is the perspective from which I will try and give you.

I think the important thing is that your are noticing what is coming up for you and that you are doing what you can to meet it. Sometimes a skillful response is simply walking away because that is all you can do. You can only do what and how much you are able to when you meet each moment. The important thing is meeting it.

I mentioned that I've gone through similar things with my family. In particular for several years I keep my mother at a distance, not completely cut off but spent as little time as possible with her, kept my family's interaction with her to a minimum. This was after I told her I was an atheist (this was before beginning practicing Zen, I still don't hold a belief in gods but that's a diversion from the point here) and she told me I was "no longer her son".

Along the way, after starting practice, I was able to open up my life more to her. Small steps and nothing really changed and yet I found my capacity to be with the stress and anger I had without the stress and anger being everything that made up our time together.
And actually things did start to change, a little, she really seemed interested and happy that I started with Zen, she respected my decision to celebrate Humanlight instead of christmas by giving me gifts for that day instead of gifts wrapped in christmas paper, she didn't make a thing of it she just did it.
Then just before she died she actually came to my home, something she hadn't done since I moved after my divorce. And when she first got sick I fell back into the habit of trying to "fix" her or how she was dealing with dying and again as I kept meeting that by the time she came to my home I had given up on that idea that there was anything to fix. And during her stay with me she actually opened up to me, we had a couple of really warm moments, and that maybe doubled how many truly open hearted warm moments I had with her my whole life.

Of course nothing like that may happen for you it is just one example of how things can go if you keep meeting the thing that is disturbing you, examine it, question it and repeat. By meeting the thing, I don't mean you have to keep going to see your mother. My encouragement is to sit zazen, if that is your practice, and just keep examining and questioning what comes up when you do encounter your family or think about them, examine and question what comes up with your decision. Just look and notice, not trying to solve anything. Then as they say just take that step off the 100 foot pole, in other words just meet each moment however you can without knowing if what you say or do will make things better or worse just willing to be there and see what does happen.

I hope that helps. Take care.

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Response to YankeyMCC (Reply #7)

Fri Aug 15, 2014, 05:53 PM

8. Hi Yankey

Last edited Sun Aug 31, 2014, 10:27 PM - Edit history (1)

Your post was very informative and warm. Thanks for that. I have been looking into different types of Buddhism because the one I am in, The Kadampa school is great and I have learned a lot and the people are wonderful. But I have read Geshla's explanation of death and it is worse than a horror movie. So I looked into Tibetan Buddhism and I did not find anything like that so far.

I will try to find a zen place around here or look it up. One of the problems is there is not a lot available where I live. The only one that I know of is the Kadampa.

One thing one of the teachers said to me last night, (and you and others have said it too) is not to make any decisions when you are angry. And then he said to wait until you have a happy heart again to figure out the direction to go.

Yankey: I just realized that I did not say anything about your Mom dying. I'm sorry you lost your Mom but I think the way you two ended things was wonderful.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Sat Aug 30, 2014, 01:06 AM

9. Some very good advice in this thread. Focus on the present moment, wait to come to a decision when

you have calmed your mind. I will share an experience I have been having with my father over the past years. My father is an evangelical Christian and has very traditional views on women and homosexuality. He was never abusive to me as I was growing up but his feelings about women seeped into my subconscious and I never really thought very highly of myself. He has been living with my husband and I for two decades now. We used to get in very heated and angry arguments and I felt a lot of anger and resentment toward him. Still do to some degree, but it is lessening the more I come to forgive him for how his beliefs affected my self esteem, accept him for who he is, faults and all, and acknowledge that he has some good points too. Despite having misguided views on women, he has a big heart and is very generous. Acceptance of the world just as it is can be difficult. Focusing on the present moment and focusing on loving-kindness, and compassion can help at least in my experience it has.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #9)

Sun Aug 31, 2014, 10:32 PM

10. Thank you liberal.

I love how the more you forgave him the more you two got along.

I actually have made up with my brother. My mother is up in NJ and coming back down to FL without her boyfriend. (I do not know any specifics of why. And I don't know if I mentioned she has Brocca's Aphasia from a stroke 5 months ago and has a hard time speaking.

I really am looking forward to spending some time with my Mom without other eyes being on me all the time.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Sat Sep 6, 2014, 01:27 AM

11. A few thoughts on your situation


"I've done plenty of "cherishing others and wishing the happiness" but maybe because I would have contact with them it would fly out the window. "

Stop! You can do yourself some real damage with that sort of nonsense. Seriously, any "practice" that involves attempting to gin up positive feelings for the jerks, sociopaths and vexatious hangers-on that we run into on our path is as far away from real spirituality as self-flagellation.

"I would love to go into everything he did and said but that would be non-virtuous although I'm not sure how."

You're right to be not sure about it because whoever said that was "non-virtuous" is clueless. What is non-virtuous are the emotional projections involving anger, frustration and even hatred that make it impossible to see the real situation and can cause us to act in terribly destructive ways.

Cheap sentimentality and false compassion can do the same.

On the other hand, its highly virtuous (and rather practical too..) to make as thorough and dispassionate an assessment of the situation as you can, and then figure out how you might best extract yourself from it. Han Shan called it the "Sword of Discrimination." Not just mindfulness, but a constant sharp inquisitiveness: What the hell is going on? Why am I feeling this, that or the other.. why do I feel this obligation, that obligation.. what are my real obligations?

A Chan Master once undertook the instruction of a novice monk who was having great difficulty in detaching himself from the persons of his former, secular life. "You cannot serve the Dharma until you sever these bonds," said the Master. "You must destroy these possessive relationships! Kill them! Regard them as if they no longer existed!"

The novice asked, "But my parents? Must I slay them, too?"

And the Master replied, "Who are they to be spared?"

"And you, Master," said the novice, "must I kill you, too?"

And the Master smiled and said, "Don't worry. There is not enough of me left for you to get your hands on."

He wasn't kidding

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Response to PorridgeGun (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 24, 2014, 04:30 AM

12. It is not out of obligation that we feel compassion and loving kindness for others.

It is because we are interconnected to every living being in the universe that we feel compassion and loving kindness for others. Buddha came to this realization sitting under the Bodhi tree.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Thu Sep 25, 2014, 05:28 AM

13. You have to stop name-calling and fighting with these people!

You must stop COMPLETELY defending against their attacks or saying mean things back. If that means you have to walk out of the room, then do so. You be the hero in the family and just tell them that you are not going to get dragged into negative fights with them.

You have aspirations in life, or at least I hope you do. And every single day, working to achieve your aspirations is like pulling a big wagon up a mountain by only a big rope slung over your shoulder. The people in your life are either going to help and support you pulling your wagon, or they are just going to sit in your wagon as extra weight and burden with their feet up. That doesn't mean that you can't be loving and generous with them, but it does mean that you have to walk away, when they are being mean-spirited. If you must say something back, just say, "thank-you for sharing that." Doesn't mean that you agree or disagree, it only means that you heard what they said.

All that negative hatred that they project onto you is not about you! It's negativity that arises in their minds. If their criticism of you is not delivered in a calm, helpful, and loving spirit that actually helps you be a better person, then ignore it. If their criticism is delivered in an angry yell, bad name-calling, or some kind of diminishing put-down, then it's not about you. It's about them dragging your self-esteem into the ditch. God lives within you as you. You are a potential buddha. See the anger and hatred in others as ignorance. Their opinions of you are just that -- OPINIONS. Concepts in their mind.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Sun Oct 19, 2014, 04:39 AM

14. Don't engage with them. Don't argue.

A similar falling out happened with a spouse's relative who sent a hateful email saying that he wishes I was dead.
I have done nothing to him. He said that I and my husband were dead to him, entire family was losers, etc.

So I did not respond. He does not have any clue that I received it because I did not respond or tell anyone who communicates with him. So he is not in control. If someone hates you or says hateful things to you, that is their problem. It is not yours.
It's a construction of their mind and they are making themselves angry. It's not about you. Walk out. Leave. Do not tolerate it.

Disengage, relax, breathe, meditate. Think about other things. Go outside and look at the trees and the sky. You don't have time to waste on negative people. It has taken me years to learn that I have the absolute right to cut off anyone who calls me names or tells me I'm a bad person. I have the right to ruthlessly exclude negative people from my life for my own happiness. You do too.

You don't need to feel guilty. Rise above such negative thoughts that people are expressing towards you. I know it's hard to do.

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Response to Maraya1969 (Original post)

Mon Oct 20, 2014, 06:13 AM

15. Make a nurturing environment for yourself.

Maraya, I don't know if this will be helpful to you or not. If not, maybe someone else will find something in it.

It took years for me to realize that my family was toxic. They bullied me, held me back, ridiculed me for expressing interest in anything outside the "norm" and I was under constant pressure to conform to their values and lifestyle.

When I tried to have a mature, mutually respectful discussion about my perspective on things, my brothers threatened me with violence up to the point of threatening (verbally) my life. After that, I realized that I had done everything in my power to find or make a nurturing situation out of family life. I didn't want to fight, and I didn't think I had any more right to try to force them to change than they had to force me to.

So I didn't engage much with them after that. I just kept my thoughts to myself until I was old enough to go to college in another city. I gradually visited less and less until I eventually stopped going back at all. During that time, they didn't change in any significant way. That was about 25 years ago. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that that was the necessary and correct thing for me to do.

Of course, I'm not encouraging you to leave your family. That should be a last resort. But emotionally disengaging from their negativity is a healthy choice, I think. They seem set in their ways and have as much right to be themselves as you do to be yourself. I found a mental way to experience my family's negativity while nevertheless keeping it at a distance. I gave myself the right and the power to disengage emotionally from them.

Most people in this world are bound up in thought habits that keep them mired in dukkha of their own making. The main message that the Buddha taught is that there is a way to train yourself to have better thought habits and more wholesome responses to stress. If I had one solid recommendation, I would suggest that you spend time thinking (not just in sitting meditation, but in studying books, quiet reflection, etc) on the Four Noble Truths. Life as given is not satisfactory. It's not satisfactory because we always want something to be different. There is a way to escape that trap. If you take the Noble Eightfold Path as a long-term project, you will start seeing results very soon.

My best to you.

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