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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Depression from a Tibetan Buddhist Perspective


Transforming Depression
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

When feeling depressed you can think, "I'm exhausting so much of my negative karma to have depression that I've accumulated throughout countless past lives." Rejoice! You should feel great joy about finishing the karma instead of seeing the depression as something bad. As it's said in Guru Puja, living beings and their environments are filled with unbelievable problems and sufferings, coming one after another like rainfall, sufferings that are the results of negative karma. "Please grant me blessings to see my depression as exhausting the results of my negative karmic imprints, and bless me to be able to always transform bad conditions into the path to enlightenment." You can recite mantra while doing this meditation.

For example when you wash a dirty piece of cloth, the water becomes black with dirt. You don't see the black dirt as a negative thing since it means the cloth is getting clean. In the same way, when you practice dharma negative karmas can ripen causing you to get sick because you're purifying so much negative karma by practising dharma. So you should rejoice when you get depressed!

James's Comment: Not everyone is Buddhist (or maybe follows the Tibetan Buddhist path) but I find great comfort in this description of depression. Those of us with mental illness are burning off a lot of negative karma in order to help our overall spirituality and that of the world. I think this is why suicide seems so tempting to those of us with heavy depression. We are burning off so much heavy, negative karma that it can seem unbearable but if we stay strong and get through it with our mindfulness, compassion and spirituality then we can find a much more peaceful existence in our life and in the next for sure. That is my commentary on this Tibetan Buddhist perspective on depression.

-Peace to all beings-

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23 comments:

andi said...

good timing for me, james!

burn, baby, burn! (that's what i will keep telling myself today)

:))))

isaiah said...

Namaste- James. May your heart be lifted by your realization.

"Behind all- is Clear Mind"

"James" said...

andi: I'm glad. Yeah, burn, burn, burn!!!

isaiah: Well said.

Zen Unbound said...

Yes, but if you rejoice in realizing the benefit of your depression, then you stop being depressed -- which you have just realized is benficial.

Thus, it is perhaps better not to think that depression is good for you.

Man, this line of thinking is making me depressed. Sigh. Wowee! I feel great joy! Hey -- wait a minute ...

ash said...

that's a great piece. you just went vegetarian did you not? Well, I say, please pay special mond to your diet. I remember enjoying pea protein, with bannannas and soy milk, later I added brewer's yeast, hulled hemp seeds, and "ultimate green zone". And I spent more time strategiclly on my feet. this blog is a blessing.

Lans said...

A perspective I have never thought about. This is a wonderful teaching! Being in the same boat, I say "BURN BABY BURN"

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Long Island Guide said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
"James" said...

ash: yeah, I eat a lot of soy and tofu for protein. Thanks for the comment!!

lans: we should start a bon fire!!

GOD!!! Does anyone know how to stop these spam posts???

"James" said...

Ahhh I figured out how to stop the spam comments. Go to your settings-comment section and select "yes" for word verification. :)

Namaste.

gratefulbear said...

Thanks for the tip about word verification! Thankfully, I've only had "comment spam" twice on my own blog, but if it becomes more of a problem I'll definitely start word verification.

non-spam blessings--
Darrell

"James" said...

darrell: I'm glad to help. Thank-you for the non-spam blessings. Same to you!

Anonymous said...

The Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy website says that the program teaches “how to sidestep mental habits such as rumination and self-blame.” Although the stated purpose of MBCT is preventing cases of depression, it seems reasonable to assume that, because it teaches people to deal with negative thinking, it will at least serve as a treatment for depression when used in combination with other treatment(s). For example, the University of Kansas program Therapeutic Lifestyle Change, which is described by the researchers as a treatment for depression, includes “anti-ruminative behaviors” as one of its six “elements.”

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LazySusan said...

This was great for me to read as it is the situation in Tibet that often leaves me depressed. Hearing these stories of monks and especially nuns (I fear for what will be done to them) taken into custody for non-violent protest is devastating. My heart goes out to the Tibetan people. There is an amazing documentary about the experience of women throughout the Tibetan exile. It focuses on the period between the Tibetan Women’s Uprising in 1949 and modern times, following Tibetan women of all ages that participated in the various periods of history – women who fled, women who spent half their lives in prison, women who operate a free radio, and three generations of women who stood up against the Chinese occupation. It’s called “A Quiet Revolution”. It’s an amazing story of creation – of how the women of a destroyed country came together to create that country anew outside its borders. That is the best way I have of looking at things in light of the recent increase in violence - and it fits in with the theme of your entry.

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Pain Elimination said...

We must pray for the end of our past karma so that we can start afresh and live well...in happiness and peace.Which is all that matters,this is a beautiful Budhist concept.

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