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Well I think meditation is sort of like a minimalistic tool for training yourself. So I reckon it's part of the point to figure out how to get yourself "into a habit", etc.

Anyway, I don't think anything substantial can come out of meditation alone. If you use meditation as a "training ground" for learning discipline, etc. then you may argue those understandings are later useful in practical matters. But then, again, why not train yourself while at those practical matters? Granted, the simplicity of the meditative practice might make it easier to deal with things like what somebody else in this thread calls "negative thought patterns", etc. But I think the whole practice of meditation emerged from an interest of making the "world" to gradually "disappear". Somebody in this thread speaks of the "dissolution of the ego", fasting, etc. Meditative practice appears to have been birthed out of a yearning for...... destruction of details, diversity and complexity. But until when? That doesn't sound right to me. On the other hand, some other people equate meditation with going to a park, or riding the bicycle. That's disconnecting from one "world" and connecting to another; I can see the point of that, it's refreshing, relaxing. And I think it's better, because at least it performs a replacement with something mildly interesting and engaging, rather than... an empty wall (?!). Sitting in front of an empty wall just seems morbid to me.

As for the "feel good" factor, when you're meditating (in front of a wall) you are not contributing much to anything, so it sounds like meditation is a surrogate for "getting high"; or at least some form of really cheap entertainment. Surely there are preferable alternatives – like listening to good music, or reading a good book.




Based on the language you're using, I'm guessing you haven't actually meditated much for any length of time.

If you're open to it, I'll bet you'd like Stephen Batchelor's Buddhism Without Beliefs.

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"Buddhism without beliefs" is a bit oxymoronic, no? :) Any doctrine must start with some assumptions (i.e, beliefs). Perhaps the title means "Buddhism without the obviously wacko beliefs". That doesn't mean it excludes the more subtle ones. Plus, the full title includes "a guide to awakening". That last word comes with a lot of bundled metaphysical assumptions.

Edit: It looks like a quick read, and it was a best seller. Thanks, I'll give it a try. I am interested in refreshing my understanding of the current "western buddhism" discourse (your contention that I'm not familiar with the Buddhist doctrine at all was incorrect).

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Actually, I thought your writing was consistent with someone who's familiar with the doctrine, but lacks the direct experience. It's akin to confusing the menu with the meal.

I used to do exactly that (I read books on meditation for years before I finally started sitting in earnest). Somewhere on kuro5hin.org are some similar comments from my 11-years-younger self. :)

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