Friday, April 19, 2013

Addiction, the Buddhist, and Recovery (video)

Anonymous, Seth Auberon, Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly;

There is a famous saying. "That which doesn't kill me, yada yada yada" (nihilist, misunderstander, and non-Buddhist Frederich Nietzsche). It's not true. It's nothing to live by. 
I enjoy a richer motto, one that leads to the depths of depravity and substance abuse: "If enough is not enough, maybe too much will be just right" (John B. Wells).

I'm not an alcoholic. I'm a drunk. Alcoholics go to meetings.
Living by the Buddhist precepts would be a great way to live. But what I've been doing is dying, so the anti-precepts made more sense.

Bad intention crookedly results in wrong intention and the accruing of unwholesome karma. But it makes sense in its own way. It's self-consistent.

Hating or having an aversion to my SELF, my being, my habits gives rise to harm. Wrong view is the root of everything wrong. Really, there's no problem except that we make it so. I've made it so! I've distorted what is and construed it as it is not.

I have to honestly assess my motives, which are to stay out of trouble and excuse my behavior and poor choices at so many turns in my life.

This Way Out
Fortunately, the Buddha doesn't give up on people, not on any people. There was never anyone so bad, so utterly worthless (not Angulimala the serial killer, whom the Buddha saw such potential in that he helped him gain enlightenment -- and as bad as I've been, I was never a serial killer, not Mara Namuci, "Mara the Evil One," not Devadatta, the Buddhist Judas-figure, that the Buddha had no time for them.
Mara was the worst, the supernatural opponent. Ven. Devadatta was a close relative, the brother of Yasodhara (Siddhartha's wife and mother of their son, Rahula, both of whom also became monastics).

Like the Judas of legend, he betrayed his teacher. But Devadatta was far worse than the maligned and misunderstood Judas Iscariot because he himself attempted to kill the Buddha and succeeded in injuring him, an intention and act so heinous that it is classified among the Five Heinous Actions with immediate result (anantarika karma); it is irretrievable and necessarily leads to a tormenting rebirth in an abysmal-and-indeterminate-but-not-eternal hell immediately after this life.

For all that, he was not a hopeless case. "Every saint has a past, every sinner a future."
Leading a wasted life, at least a wasted youth, as in "Papillon" (the old prison movie with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman about Devil's Island) was the worst thing I've done.

Searching, questioning, rebelling: punk rock, like Buddhism, went against the stream
Noah Levine was once in the same addicted boat. Dr. Gabor Mate points out that there are no addictive drugs, but that does not say that there are no addictions or addicts. Trauma in childhood combined with a substance of abuse leads to addiction. That same substance in another person's system isn't the same prison.

Levine got help from Jack Kornfield and turned it around, having spent time in prison. He wrote Dharma Punx and became an inspiration. His next book being written now is all about a Buddhist approach to the 12 Steps of recovery.

He recently taught a series of four classes to help flesh that book out, displacing the weekly Heart of Recovery Tuesday night all-purpose meeting in Hollywood on Melrose. He was also seeking stories. I hope I gave him one. One day at a time? Too long. Sometimes it's one breath at a time.

(Democracy Now!) In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Dr. Gabor Mate

Frieda Kahlo (Heidi/
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about the people you treat.
DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, the hardcore drug addicts I treat, according to all studies in the States as well, are, without exception, people who have had extraordinarily difficult lives. And the commonality is childhood abuse. 
In other words, these people all enter life under extremely adverse circumstances. Not only did they not get what they need for healthy development, they actually got negative circumstances of neglect. 
I don’t have a single female patient in the Downtown Eastside who wasn’t sexually abused, for example, as were many of the men, or abused, neglected, and abandoned serially, over and over again.

And that’s what sets up the brain biology of addiction. In other words, the addiction is related both psychologically, in terms of emotional pain relief, and neurobiological development to early adversity.
AMY GOODMAN: What does the title of your book mean, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts?

DR. GABOR MATÉ: Well, it’s a Buddhist phrase. In Buddhist psychology, there are a number of realms that human beings cycle through, all of us. 
One is the human realm, which is our ordinary selves. The hell realm is that of unbearable rage, fear, you know, these emotions that are difficult to handle. The animal realm is our instincts and our id and our passions. 
Now, the hungry ghost realm, the creatures in it are depicted as people with large empty bellies, small mouths, and scrawny thin necks. They can never get enough satisfaction. They can never fill their bellies. 
What? I'm not dead. I drink to not feel.
They’re always hungry, always empty, always seeking it from the outside. That speaks to a part of us that I have and everybody in our society has, where we want satisfaction from the outside, where we’re empty, where we want to be soothed by something in the short term. 
But we can never feel that or fulfill that insatiety from the outside. The addicts are in that realm all the time. Most of us are in that realm some of the time. And my point really is... More

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