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    From time to time people with mental health issues join the AtR group. So I'll share some of my thoughts on this matter. First of all, these people should not practice alone without guidance. They should not try to do the inquiry and meditations on AtR blog especially without direct guidance of a qualified teacher. This is because these meditations or inquiries can be destabilizing on an already unstable mind if done incorrectly. Depending on conditions, light shamatha or mindfulness practice may be more beneficial than inquiry heavy forms of practices. But is spirituality of no value to these persons? No, in fact it can be quite important, especially guidance and help from a qualified master. Unfortunately I will not be able to offer any help on these matters. Afflicted persons should find an experienced master in their vicinity.
    I hold the same view as Yin Ling's (who is a Western medical doctor) and Acarya Malcolm Smith's (besides being a Dzogchen teacher, is also a trained and qualified Tibetan medicine practitioner) views, mental health issues like schizophrenia are often, or can be, spirit induced disorders. They are not just 'hallucinations' of the brain, these people may be accessing spirits of other realms. By all means, psychiatric help or medications are still necessary. But working with a qualified and experienced dharma teacher is also important.

    This reddit reply by VulcanVisions advices well:

    https://www.reddit.com/.../could_people_with_mental.../
    1 day agor/Buddhism•Posted byu/curemydepression

    Could people with mental health issues become enlightened?

    📷
    Hi, I was wondering whether people with mental health issues such as sociopathy and psychopathy could become enlightened. I think it isnt possible, since to become enlightened the person must experience feelings and suffering to overcome this in the first place. Would like to know your opinions.
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    Tibetan BuddhistVulcanVisions· 1 day ago
    I am Tibetan and Buddhist, I also work in mental health in the West, I will give you my thoughts on this:
    We are born into physical, mortal bodies, which are mechanical in a sense and as a result of samsaric existence, anything can go wrong with these bodies
    From a neurochemical perspective, psychopathy is just one more thing that can go wrong with these bodies. It represents another suffering of samsara, another obstacle on the path to liberation, making awakening more difficult.
    Such things are determined by our karma, carried over from our endless rebirths - whilst beyond our comprehension, there is a reason we are where we are in this moment.
    Having psychopathy or schizophrenia makes the path more difficult, as does any illness such as cancer or diabetes, but it does not make it impossible.
    Several of the clients I work with have various forms of schizophrenia, and several of them are practicing Buddhist - there is nothing to stop them practicing.
    Now, as a religious Buddhist of the Nyingma school, I must say that I do not agree with the Western notions of mental illness. Whereas Western medicine holds that "patients" are ill and that doctors are "above" them in a sense in terms of being "healthy", I do not agree.
    Western philosophy as a whole has an air of superiority, and anything that does not pass its tests - such as firm atheism, scientism, and rationality - are immediately rejected as primitive or stupid.
    Whilst my clients hallucinating emaciated ghosts is interpreted in the medical model as a neurochemical brain imbalance, I personally believe that the client may be experiencing an attack by a preta, which in the Buddhist world can harass and feed from human emotions.
    Either way, the treatment is the same - we accept our situation, learn about dukkha, and practice the dharma.
    I myself had what in the West was called "hallucinations" of spirits, and Western medicine and therapy did nothing to treat this - when I reconnected with my Rinpoche and fully committed to the dharma, daily meditation practice made the "hallucinations" go away. I believe because I began to purify my bad karma.
    Apologies if this was a bit long, but hopefully made sense to you 🙏
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    Yin Ling shared before her encounters in her medical practices with schizophrenia people without Buddhist religious background but described classic Buddhist description of pretas behavior in their visions, such as "a small head and big stomach, and likes to inhale smell from her food", and many other various interesting and resembling descriptions.
    Also related reading, something I shared before, although this is not the Buddhist way of dealing with these issues but it's still an interesting read: https://uplift.love/the-shamanic-view-of-mental-illness/
    The Shamanic View of Mental Illness | UPLIFT
    The Shamanic View of Mental Illness | UPLIFTUPLIFT.LOVEThe Shamanic View of Mental Illness | UPLIFT

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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Yin Ling shared before her encounters in her medical practices with schizophrenia people without Buddhist religious background but described classic Buddhist description of pretas behavior in their visions, such as "a small head and big stomach, and likes to inhale smell from her food", and many other various interesting and resembling descriptions.
    Also related reading, something I shared before, although this is not the Buddhist way of dealing with these issues but it's still an interesting read: https://uplift.love/the-shamanic-view-of-mental-illness/
    The Shamanic View of Mental Illness | UPLIFT
    UPLIFT.LOVE
    The Shamanic View of Mental Illness | UPLIFT
    The Shamanic View of Mental Illness | UPLIFT
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  • Oskar Melkeraaen Aas
    I went through a six realm course few months ago, l think from Bön tradition.
    When one gets insanely fixated on some pattern of behavior, one would call it kind of possession. In few cases this is actually what happens, that a spirit finds you and takes over.
    The ancient greeks would say just having ones conduct overruled by emotionsl patterns is enough to call it a kind of possession, so less heavy in a sense (no actual spirit) yet includes loads more of people on the planet, considering how many of us who are ruled by emotional patterns and habits.
    When l was living in a monastery in Nepal, they would do these kinds of exorsisms, it was pretty heartbreaking to see how people can become, and so l actually belive this to be possible for this to happen.
    Interesting thing l was told, is that christianity probably helped europe clean out a lot of these spirits (like if you read the Bible, Jesus did loads of exorsism), and l think its worse on other continents, as asian countries is only place l have seen this so clearly. (Meaning no offense hwre, just an observatiy).
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Oskar Melkeraaen Aas Yes. Possessions are real. I know of a few people who had these experiences.
    A friend of mine, a very smart lawyer who is now starting his own law firm, and his whole family was Catholic including himself once. One day, he went to his friend's bar, and when he got out and went home, he became possessed at home. His whole family saw it. And it's not just his behaviours, the whole environment changed, like the wind and air around him when he was possessed, papers actually flew around him and his family could see there was a spirit 'entity' that was there, possessing him, and it's not just some sort of psychosis or something.
    Luckily, one of his friends introduced a Tibetan rinpoche, and this rinpoche completely eliminated his problems. And the rinpoche said this spirit actually followed him from outside. That was when he realised it could be from the bar, but he still wasn't sure. In any case, because of this incident, he converted to Buddhism and so did his whole family converted to Buddhism, and has been chanting Tara and Padmasambhava almost everyday since.
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    • Kaio Shimanski
      Soh Wei Yu And how can we read this story on a ultimate view?
      Are demons codependent on the quality of our own mind?
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      • Soh Wei Yu
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        Kaio Shimanski In these cases, they are not just 'internal demons' but mindstreams of sentient beings stuck in the preta realm.
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      • Soh Wei Yu
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        Kaio Shimanski Of course, all beings, yourself and pretas are all empty of self.. but it does not deny conventionally speaking, preta beings, human beings, animals, your pet dog, etc
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      • Christoffer Sørensen
        Kaio Shimanski usually entities attach because of internal issues. Like feeling powerless, then entities can attach due to the emotional weakness.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    He became sure it was the bar because like a year later, when he visited that same bar again, he got possessed again. But this time it wasn't serious I think. He's just sensitive to spirits, like that. Anyway I introduced him to a Tibetan dharma center (his other rinpoche does not speak english and I think is not residing here) when Zurmang Rinpoche visited Singapore earlier this year, and he formally took refuge and so on.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    Forgot to mention: not only him, but his whole family converted from Catholicism to Buddhism due to that incident.
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    • Oskar Melkeraaen Aas
      Soh Wei Yu thats hilarious the full converting 😆 maybe it was a buddhist deity in ninja missonary attack! But whatever works, it would be interesting to see the skills of yoga and dharma be used in todays psychiatric institutions. I think a lot of the medication is just doing the opposite 🙁
      Just yesterday l heard about a nurse at a Norwegian place who got hospilized in the hospitz she had used to work. I think ill will, and few other things finally made her a proper "host" for a spirit to get her.
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  • Yin Ling
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    Oskar Melkeraaen Aas in Asian countries, psychotic behaviours will be known as possession.
    In western countries , they go and see the western doctors. If their behaviours become “threatening to public”, doctors have a right to “section” and admit them to a psychiatry institute, used to be call asylum. unless they are very fit to be integrated to society, they will be under close supervision, not even allow leave from the country, I’m speaking for UK.
    In Asian country we don’t do it so much. It’s very cultural.
    Perhaps why you see a difference in presentation. But I am aware I might be speaking from an echo chamber as well, being exposed to secondary/tertiary mental health and working in general practice. Mental health in uk is @.@ I don’t even know how to describe the magnitude.
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    • Oskar Melkeraaen Aas
      Yin Ling yeah, but l have not met personally people in the west who showed the sort of spirit behavior l saw in Asia. I am sure there are people here though who does are equally possed (like in the message to Soh), certainly..
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    I also know of someone, a friend of a friend (but is someone I have met a few times also and he also related these to me in person), who once owned a kumanthong (a small Thai statue that was spell-bound to a child spirit from aborted foetuses to bring good luck to owners, quite common practice in Thailand and south east asia). His friend who didn't know he got kumanthong got possessed and behaved like a child spirit when that friend visited him at his place. He gave up the kumanthong afterwards, passed it on to someone else.
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  • Soh Wei Yu
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    "clean out a lot of these spirits" But as long as there are dead people, there are spirits. Even if exorcisms are done, they are still around, just maybe not in that house anymore.
    Excerpts:
    Author: krodha
    Date: Sat May 19, 2012 12:56 am
    Title: Haunted Areas and Localized Entities, Ghosts, Energy
    Content:
    I've always had a natural proclivity for sensing presences (seen or unseen) ever since I was young and
    it's always intrigued me. There's been times in the past (prior to my relationship with the dharma)
    when it's really plagued my peace of mind. When I was old enough to live away from home it started
    to become increasingly apparent because it would always be conditional on where I was living at the
    time. The first two places I lived were ok, but the third a house in alameda I could not be there alone
    at night. The fourth place was fine I could be there alone at anytime no problem. The fifth was an
    apartment in southern California which was horrendous, one of the most heavy and evil presences
    I've ever felt, I could not sleep there at night and would have to stay awake until the morning when I
    could finally sleep. The janitor at that apartment even said he hated to go in there to clean and
    would do it as fast possible. The next place back in san francisco was absolutely fine and that was the
    time I discovered the dharma.
    Presently where I live is fine, my sensitivity has increased with meditation and I'll have entities come
    into my room at night but they don't bother me I just know they're there. Same anytime a person
    comes into my room, if I'm sleeping I'll immediately awake.
    I do go running at night probably 4 or 5 nights a week and there is an entity which lives in the creek
    near my place. It's incredibly intense and powerful, seems very territorial. If I run directly on the
    sidewalk next to it, it will essentially blast me with intense energy which arises as profound fear I can
    feel throughout my body. There's been times when I've skipped running for awhile and after
    returning to it the first night back I'll be running and not be paying attention to the creek where upon
    getting too close, with no expectation I will literally be almost knocked off my feet. So it isn't a
    consciously induced manifestation created through an accumulation of fear towards that area. And I
    feel that now that it knows that I know it's there it messes with me even more. Needless to say after
    months of this I just run in the middle of the street when I get to that spot. The same creek connects
    to the road a quarter mile down the road and this thing will manifest again there and engage me.
    Whatever it is it's extremely powerful.
    Now getting to the point, I understand the emptiness of phenomena in relation to my pseudo
    subjective being. I usually am able to rationalize the emptiness of fear except for cases like this creek
    entity. I know that in chod it's said that these perceived negative entities are attached to our own
    continuum due to karmic debts etc... But what I don't understand is how are these projections
    confined to certain perceived areas? Why can't that energy in the creek leave the creek? Why is it so
    hostile? And what can be done to deal with energy/entities of that nature? If as I understand, it's an
    empty projection of mind, why is it localized to this certain area? I know that facing the fear and
    breaking down the projections like in chod is the correct route. Seeing the emptiness of the entity in
    relation to the fear. Emptiness of the fear in relation to deluded perception mistaken as "me". I've
    gotten to the point where integration has corrected most of these erroneous projections except for
    instances of direct hostile engagement like this creek thing. I rationalize that it's only a sensation
    interpreted as "fear" which is utterly empty, but that's easy to do when it's not breathing down my
    neck.
    I'm sure others here must have instances/occurrences like this? Any advice? Suggestions? Personal
    stories?
    Author: krodha
    Date: Sun May 20, 2012 4:12 am
    Title: Re: Haunted Areas and Localized Entities, Ghosts, Energy
    Content:
    There's no secondary effects, just the confrontation itself.
    Author: krodha
    Date: Sun May 20, 2012 5:19 am
    Title: Re: Haunted Areas and Localized Entities, Ghosts, Energy
    Content:
    Right that's what my inquiry was centered around; since it's a projection, why is it confined to that
    projected location? Why is it there sometimes (and very prevalent) and not present at all other times?
    Some nights it's not there at all. Sometimes I expect it and it's there. Sometimes I expect it and it's
    nowhere to be found. Sometimes don't expect it and it's there. There's been a couple times I've been
    able to jack my own energy up to such an extreme level that when it engages me I outshine it. So
    how are these projections able to manifest that way? It does manifest as fear yet the animalistic and
    territorial anger behind it is undeniable. It uses the energy like a bubble to push with. So I'm curious
    since it can't be other than a projection how such behavior is exhibited. It's actually not a problem
    really, it's fully confined to that area, if it was something in my experience all the time and causing
    lots of issues that'd be one thing. But since the projection is only associated with that area it's more
    intriguing than anything.
    I get that it's only fear. It's just the behaviorial and circumstantial characteristics that are interesting.
    Author: krodha
    Date: Sun May 20, 2012 8:35 am
    Title: Re: Haunted Areas and Localized Entities, Ghosts, Energy
    Content:
    I'm well aware of the emptiness of duration and location, emptiness of self and other (beyond the
    pale of intellectual constructs). I get that the expression is being imputed as a sensation which is
    further conceived to be fear and then posited to be "my" fear in an erroneous chain of ignorance, yet
    it doesn't fail to be intriguing. Cutting through is not so much a contrived act of severing
    identification with certain aspects of ignorance (such as duration/location), but involves setting up
    correct view (and abiding in that) so that it sets itself right. Afterall how could I cut through ignorance?
    Author: krodha
    Date: Sun May 20, 2012 4:35 pm
    Title: Re: Haunted Areas and Localized Entities, Ghosts, Energy
    Content:
    That was meant to be rhetorical but yes you're right, the contradictory conundrum being that the
    very I which seeks to cut (through ignorance) is the cornerstone of ignorance itself.
    Author: krodha
    Date: Sun May 20, 2012 5:36 pm
    Title: Re: Haunted Areas and Localized Entities, Ghosts, Energy
    Content:
    Anattā is the catalyst and cause of stream entry (I'm sure you know), which is more of an
    instantaneous occurrence. I'm not sure if stream entry can happen gradually... the gradual aspect
    would seem to be the cultivation of right view. The cultivation allows the seed to grow which may
    lead to the dawning of anattā. Right view involves skillful means though, because again, giving up the
    idea of personality is the idea of personality attempting to give itself up. I suppose the fetters can be
    weakened with right view, but they certainly are instantly obliterated in anattā.
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    • Oskar Melkeraaen Aas
      Soh Wei Yu yeah, is not chöd a way to be buddies with these spirits. That way you might help them, and they do not feel like posseing you
      • Oskar Melkeraaen Aas
        I also think almost all wrathful deities was at one point demons/ghosts etc.. that where converted.
      • Soh Wei Yu
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        Oskar Melkeraaen Aas I once invited all spirits in the area to me and I try to help them. In my own ways.. don't want to discuss how cos I don't want to misguide people lol
        I felt they were helped, but next day I felt some other spirits came to me like for help. I "turned them away" and told them to visit a monastery.
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      • Oskar Melkeraaen Aas
        Soh Wei Yu l have done tmsimilar things also in my own way.
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