Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chinese culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, Mahayana culture, Sangha Relationships

Mentally ill sufferers cannot find a “cure” in Buddhism

My wife reading in bed. And it wasn't because ...
My wife reading in bed. And it wasn’t because she was trying to get to sleep. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Buddhism (Photo credit: shapour bahrami)
English: Image for mental health stubs, uses t...
English: Image for mental health stubs, uses two psych images – psychiatry (medicine) and psychology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Trazodone (Photo credit: Divine Harvester)
Rethink Mental Illness
Rethink Mental Illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mind training is certainly beneficial but if the person cannot make their own effort outside the temple or retreat place it cannot be beneficial. Too many times in the USA people turn to Buddhist centers or temples for “cures” for their very serious mental health problems and go away devastated when they cannot benefit outside after the retreat or service. 

The truth is that the mental illness must be addressed first, for many that means medicine. The psychiatric world in the United States has in the past met the needs of the mentally ill with therapy and behavioral therapy. But alas, the person’s insurances will only pay for 10 sessions a year or for the lifetime. That along with medicines has proven stability. Because of the insurance company policies it forced a change so that now, psychiatrists only rely on medicine not therapy. 

The second problem is the choice entirely of the mentally unwell. They often stop therapy first not because of insurance but because they want to slip “out of it”. They are addicted to the state of being unwell. They stop progressing deliberately. And because in most cases by our rights for health choices are protected by law parents, spouses, and friends cannot force them to continue the beneficial treatment. This happens in every case I have seen personally. The person makes a deliberate choice to return to the unwell state and refuses to go to therapy or in many cases take medicines. So they slide down into chaos and they love it. It’s true and seems unbelievable. 

I am a twin of a sister who has history of depression (she hid it until we were forced to deal with her breaks from reality in psychotic episodes requiring hospitalizations for month at least 3 to 6 times a year) and repeated suicides (3 big life threatening attempts a year), now she is in a nursing home – she attempted suicide and had a stroke that left her paralyzed on the left side of her body due to overdose of Trazodone.  My twin sister is the one on your left in the coat and white sneakers sshe had been through 3 years of psychotic breaks and repeated hospitalizations at that point the stroke happens later in 2007.

She was a prescription abuser a former nurse who knew exactly how to work the system to her benefit. She would be hospitalized doing really great, then get released and continue therapy for 1 week or 2 weeks and stop and slide downward so fast it was scary. No reasoning, no pleading, no rescuing, no logic to it, just her choice to slide down.

I am a bhikshuni, it took me years to get what was going on with her, because I was her twin and I was easy to fool because I was used to her behavior. I was always copying her in world outlook and caused myself unnecessary grief when I reasoned the same way due to the fact I didn’t know her history. I tell you, something you must not apply as cure like our Buddhist training. It’s for our each and every one of us to use to relieve our suffering and correct our own thinking is gradual process, not a therapy. I had to figure my sister out myself… parents hid her problems from me. I had to unlearn unheathly thinking. It took me quite awhile and now I am very happy to be me without all that learned unhealthy thinking. Because I had my truths: I am happy always, I see the world as positive place, I see others as my support, I see me as worthy, I see my faults and know I can correct them, my goals are changing and support my life satisfaction

I do not suffer from depression or mental illness when my sister started having breaks with reality, I ran to the doctor for evaluation and worry about myself becoming unwell and raising my daughter. I was reassured by the doctor and received counseling to get over my stress, because I had to rescue her many times and was a single mom with a 4 year old newly separated from my husband and hurting from that myself. They said I was handling myself beautifully. I would wait until the house was quiet and cry from the stress (they said I needed that and not to repress it). Almost every night. Until time took care of me. I got over it because I had moved on.


Posted in Buddhist community activities, Buddhist Culture, Buddhist Health and Wellness, Chan - authentic Masters words, Chinese culture, Conflicts in Buddhist Life, Dharma Talks, On the Path

Buddhism and mental Health

Buddhism is not meant for mental health applications. There are simply not enough numbers throughout it’s history of over 2,555 years to warrant any claims that it does.

What gets focused on recently is that fact that benefits of Buddhist practice if one is totally embracing all that they can of Buddhist life and culture can be seen as benefiting those with mental health problems.

Buddhism is for well people.

Suicide by Sangha please stop

Suicide by Sangha please stop

Suicide by Sangha is not to be promoted. It sickens the heart to keep reading about this misguided effort at attracting world response by some within Tibet. It will not attract a Western response no matter if it continues to escalate or stop. Conflicts that involve suicide as politics never caught on in the West and always are viewed as a social weakness. It generates doubt in the minds of the West as the mental state of minds of some in the Tibetan Sangha. It will create doubt about the Triple Jewel and its efficacy in addressing social imbalances and mental health of people in great need of mental health services and proper Sangha guidance.
Recent self-immolation by monks and nuns and over the years has not brought freedom to Tibet as those in the conflict places have wished. It’s has caused one child to kill herself in copying the monks and nuns already dead from suicide. That is grievous Karma. You should not allow this to continue. Monks and nuns are left-home people and are not to serve as political lessons to the populace no matter how noble the cause. It is a parajika to kill and encourage others to kill human beings.
Self-immolation came to Tibetan monks from outside sources; it’s a relatively new phenomenon. The karma attached to the people who introduced that to a society that has a strong aversion to suicide is enormous. It has opened the door to the desperate and later will escalate to the imbalanced in the population as ‘way out’.
You see a child in middle school has followed some of your misguided Sangha members into death by suicide, a painful way to die. We feel for her grieving family. This is dangerous precedent to make for impressionable children who should be focused on gaining life skills, education and just being kids.
Do something! Address the mental health issues right now. Get training in mental health services so the needy members of the Sangha can be treated and then offer training to the public to serve their areas as well. Treasure the Triple Jewel rather than allow it to be destroyed by your own lack of action.
The majority of Sangha in Tibet supports their vows and upholds the Triple Jewel as well as the majority of Tibetans. No doubt it’s a small number of people promoting this practice; please help end the practice of suicide before it creates an escalated response from increased copycat suicides and unnecessary punitive responses by the government.
Out of great compassion we ask you to please get on with it and increase your skills in offering more productive solutions to troubled communities immediately. Namo Amitabha Buddha!