Author Topic: Is doubt helpful in our practice?  (Read 9286 times)

negra orquida

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2012, 05:57:40 AM »
Doubt can be both positive and negative, as what most of us have deduced.  It becomes a positive push when we take action to learn up more about the subject matter to clear the doubt.  It turns negative when we don’t do anything and let the doubt take over and prevent us from having an open mind. 

Sometimes we are actually lazy to clear the doubt, or we use the doubt as an excuse to not think further, find out more, so we can remain in our comfort zones.  Hence if we don’t work at clearing doubts in our minds, it creates the cause for us to not receive more wisdom and knowledge, because we choose to stop learning.

This is what my friend told me when he approached another friend for donation to a charity.  The charity organization is very well established and had great facilities.  The friend refused to donate, stating that the organization is rich and just swallowing public funds.  My friend explained that everything the organization has is due to the kindness of sponsors and donors, and everything it had was for the benefit of the public.  The reason why it is so established and “well off” now is because many people have benefited from the organization.  My friend told the guy to check out the organization’s website for more information, or come to the organization to find out himself, but the guy did not budge and did not want to know any further.  Needless to say, he did not donate, and he has closed himself out from benefitting from whatever opportunities the organization had to offer.

When we doubt our teacher’s words, it basically means that we think we know better.  It is like the doctor tells you to eat this medicine to cure this sickness, but we don’t think the medicine will work and we don’t think the doctor is qualified and we think we can heal ourselves.

biggyboy

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2012, 06:20:54 AM »
In the first place, how is the doubt came about?  Out of expectations within his limited understanding and knowledge that are not met?  Felt disappointed.  If this person is properly nurtured, the doubt may turn into something positive or change of attitude and understanding.  This person's faith may even be strengthened should his motivation is to find the "ultimate happiness".  If it is for the samsara happiness then his doubts will grew more.  Hence, it is important to nurture and to support this person within or out of the centre skillfully.  Everyone has different level of understanding. Some learn and understand faster than others.  Hence, the nurturer's knowledge and understanding is important too for he or she is going to nurture this person who has the doubts.

Positive Change

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2012, 07:42:10 AM »
In the first place, how is the doubt came about?  Out of expectations within his limited understanding and knowledge that are not met?  Felt disappointed.  If this person is properly nurtured, the doubt may turn into something positive or change of attitude and understanding.  This person's faith may even be strengthened should his motivation is to find the "ultimate happiness".  If it is for the samsara happiness then his doubts will grew more.  Hence, it is important to nurture and to support this person within or out of the centre skillfully.  Everyone has different level of understanding. Some learn and understand faster than others.  Hence, the nurturer's knowledge and understanding is important too for he or she is going to nurture this person who has the doubts.

It is indeed interesting to note or observe where this doubt comes from. Sometimes doubt can be good as it pushes us to examine and explore beyond our comfort zones to find the truth. That kind of doubt is good in my mind! Doubt that is dangerous is when it stems from an egotisical or delusional view whereby we disbelief because we think we are right. With the latter doubt we actually close up and resist or refuse to explore which is in complete contradiction with how we are to view contemplation.

jessicajameson

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2012, 09:12:33 AM »
I really like everyone's comments, especially Hope Rainbow's and Dondrup. It's true that there are many kinds of doubts, some healthy (if you look to find the answers to remove your doubt) and some unhealthy (where you just remain ignorant).

This is what Buddha Shakyamuni says about doubt:

"There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts, it is a sword that kills.

Neither naked asceticism, matted hair, dirt, fasting, sleeping on the ground, dust and mud, nor prolonged sitting on one's heels can purify a man who is not free of doubts.
"

This is what His Holiness the Dalai Lama says about doubt:

"Although individuals may be highly intelligent, they are sometimes dogged by skepticism and doubts. They are clever, but they tend to be hesitant and skeptical and are never really able to settle down. These people are the least receptive."

Conclusion? Doubts = Bad.

Klein

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2012, 10:03:17 AM »
Doubt can be both positive and negative, as what most of us have deduced.  It becomes a positive push when we take action to learn up more about the subject matter to clear the doubt.  It turns negative when we don’t do anything and let the doubt take over and prevent us from having an open mind. 

Sometimes we are actually lazy to clear the doubt, or we use the doubt as an excuse to not think further, find out more, so we can remain in our comfort zones.  Hence if we don’t work at clearing doubts in our minds, it creates the cause for us to not receive more wisdom and knowledge, because we choose to stop learning.

This is what my friend told me when he approached another friend for donation to a charity.  The charity organization is very well established and had great facilities.  The friend refused to donate, stating that the organization is rich and just swallowing public funds.  My friend explained that everything the organization has is due to the kindness of sponsors and donors, and everything it had was for the benefit of the public.  The reason why it is so established and “well off” now is because many people have benefited from the organization.  My friend told the guy to check out the organization’s website for more information, or come to the organization to find out himself, but the guy did not budge and did not want to know any further.  Needless to say, he did not donate, and he has closed himself out from benefitting from whatever opportunities the organization had to offer.

When we doubt our teacher’s words, it basically means that we think we know better.  It is like the doctor tells you to eat this medicine to cure this sickness, but we don’t think the medicine will work and we don’t think the doctor is qualified and we think we can heal ourselves.

I agree. Doubt is only helpful in our practice if we are sincere in clearing the doubt. If we doubt and not do anything to clear it, then it doesn't serve us ultimately. It becomes an excuse to avoid and stay stagnant. I believe that there is no hard and fast rule for everyone because we have different mindsets. So the only way to measure is to look at our results.

Are we more kind to people and animals around us? Are more people and animals around us better off because we made positive difference in their lives?

With regards to people who do not donate because the charity organisation is well established, it's a common excuse I hear. They don't realise that these charity organisations have become well established because they are organised and effective? So doesn't it make sense to support them so that they can do more? You're right, the excuse given is just a way to NOT donate.

I realised that it takes time to develop an altruistic nature if it's not in their character to be so. My teacher always say that it's important for us to walk the talk. It's more powerful to inspire others as compared to preaching to others.

RedLantern

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2012, 10:05:57 AM »
There are many reasons why a person will begin to have doubts.The traditional way to dispel doubt is to reflect on the dharma( the path and teachings that help us reach enlightenment) Doubt is a hindrance to spiritual progress and is not helpful at all.
A lack of confidence in oneself can also be a source of doubt. When we feel inadequate demotivated,or confused we may fuel an inner sense of doubt- doubting ourselves,our abilities,conscience and so on.To build confidence in ourselves and the people around us,we must identify the source of our doubts,which is the deluded mind that can be purified by collecting merits to support our dharma practice.

Manjushri

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2012, 12:58:50 PM »
As with many other things, doubt can make us go both ways - it could either throw us off or push us to find out more. It depends on what kind of person we are.

If we are in doubt, of course the obvious thing to do is to find out more about the subject matter, to use logic to explain our doubt. Why does the doubt arise? Because of lack of knowledge and understanding thus whatever anyone says that critises or puts something down, it'll make our minds sway. If we knew and had strong facts and understanding of our beliefs, then whatever someone says, you will be able to logically evaluate and debate back to make your stance.

Of course, if we are lazy and don't want to find out more, we accept negative criticisms and the doubt increases. With that, the more negativity we hear, the more misunderstanding we develop, the more it pushes us to just believe what the others say and not find out the truth for ourselves which inherently arises from laziness and a lack of drive.

So doubt in our practice can push us both ways - what we accept and understand is up to us, and how much we really let ourselves to learn more.

hope rainbow

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2012, 07:47:25 AM »
Doubt can be harmful or helpful depend on how we do with it after we feel it.

Doubt can be harmful if the object is the Dharma, or worse our Guru (which would mean that we doubt Buddhahood itself, thus actually the whole Buddhist path).
Doubt can be helpful if the object is anything related to samsaric pursuits.

If we just ignore it and put it down then it can be harmful later as it accumulate until the point that can bring faith down.
But it can be helpful once we have doubt and we find the answer by study, research and contemplate it in logic term.

For as long as the logic, the study, the research and the contemplation is not bias.
Non-bias = anything related to spiritual truth, any Dharma.
Bias = anything disconnected from spiritual truth (thus limited), such as: business methods, fitness instructor, etc...

but that doesn't mean that we always have doubt in everything.. in that case we have to look ourself as we are lack of knowledge therefore everything to us is so doubtful.

Well, I think we should beware of the things we do  not have doubts into.... Or at least the things that we did never bother to doubt and check before we got faith in them.

Dondrup Shugden

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2015, 01:19:23 PM »
"It is important to differentiate between deluded doubts and doubts that are the beginning of wisdom.  Deluded doubt must be abandoned whereas the latter is necessary to gain realization. For example, we have doubts when we first study the Dharma because Dharma contradicts our wrong views and incorrect assumptions and makes us undecided about them. Without such doubts at the outset, we cannot gain conviction in Dharma. These doubts help us develop our wisdom.

Deluded doubts destroy our faith in objects that are virtuous and worthwhile and make us undecided about objects that are trustworthy and beneficial. Deluded doubt is dangerous as it quickly halts our spiritual practice.  It is especially important to avoid deluded doubt when we are practising secret Mantra because success in Tantra practices depends on our having perfectly pure faith."

Doubts are the arising of negative Karma or the search for logical answer.  The above definition of Doubt as contributed by Dondrup is very clear.

I have read that even saintly Mother Teresa had doubts about the existence of God, but that did not obstruct her compassion and care for the underprivileged to die with dignity.  Having said that, doubts in any of our practices either religious or otherwise is to have the tenacity to explore and study more instead of giving in to doubts due to ignorance. Learning creates clarity.

Doubts is definitely a double edged sword which can be good and bad.

ilikeshugden

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2015, 10:00:04 AM »
I believe that critical thinking is very important in any practice because if you blindly follow the first thing that comes to you, you would be easily lead astray. Doubting the holy texts is acceptable as long as you have a good and analysed reason to do so. If I am not mistaken, Buddha said to absorb the knowledge that makes sense to you but that doesn't mean to be selective in your choices of teachings.

Go forth and learn more. If you doubt, then read more to understand and clarify your doubt. Always question so you can always learn.

MoMo

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #25 on: March 03, 2015, 02:26:10 PM »
Doubt is a double edged sword it could lead one astray from the path as well open the door to develop wisdom. All of us had doubt at one point or another in our spiritual path. To temporary suppress these one could start by relying on one's faith on the qualities of the Three Jewels or it representation the Guru. 
As in the Jataka tales:
Whoever had studied will develop faith;
He will be steadfast and will delight in virtue
He will develop wisdom and have no benighted ignorance.
It is right even to sell one fresh to obtain it.

From the above study great text such as the Lamrim is the first step in enhancing one's faith and door to realizing the truth nature of things. By learning, contemplating the instructions and putting them into practice is the key to dispel one’s doubts and turning them it to true wisdom. 

kelly

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Re: Is doubt helpful in our practice?
« Reply #26 on: March 04, 2015, 05:24:30 AM »
Doubt can be good or bad is up to the individual description, some people can react it positively but some people can react it negatively, I guess it all depends on individual karma. I think the best thing we can do when doubt arises especially during our spiritual journey we should seek advice from the seniors or even talk to our spiritual guide to clarify the doubt , anything in life we can give but we do not want to give the Dharma.