Why Is It So Easy to Fall Back in The Spiritual Life, How Can We Help People Who Are Like Hungry Ghosts and more… (Q&A Session October’20)

Duration 1:23:44

Questions answered during our Q&A session:

3:52 Why do you think it is so easy to fall back in the spiritual life, and do you feel at times the spiritual life is like climbing a greasy pole?

34:15 My question is about hungry ghosts. This is a term I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh, who defines them as people who have very little capacity for receiving nourishment of any kind. In my local sangha we have had a few people expressing sadness about their inability to help loved ones who are seemingly incapable of receiving their care. Would you please consider your wisdom on this topic?

46:46 A very close friend of mine has been suffering from schizophrenia for decades now. The first 20 years she still was her old self, took her medication and apart from a few episodes was not much different then before the disease had started. But the last 3 years she slowly changed, her view on the world became more and more twisted, she turned away from her extremely good-natured husband because she was convinced he was evil. She stopped medication and finally ended up in a closed psychiatry because she suspected a world conspiracy and began threatening other people. Altogether her disease did a lot of harm to her environment and herself. She completely broke off with her parents and step by step all of her friends including me. Her husband still loves her but she refuses any contact. Two weeks ago she fled from the ward and managed to flee to the Canary Islands.
I often wondered how much from a Buddhist view you are a victim of your disease or if the disease is seen as an extreme example of an illusionary view of the world. And I wonder how much or if at all you are responsible for your deeds if you suffer from such a severe disease that completely destroys your perception of the world. I must admit I feel a lot of anger towards her different from her husband who just feels compassion.

1:06:04 What would be your interpretation of the explanation in some suttas (such as MN44 and MN148) which link ignorance (avijja) to neither-pleasant-nor-unpleasant sensations?