Sunday, July 08, 2007

Buddhist BiPolar hindrances

I was listening to one of my favourite Buddhist podcasts the other day (Zencast) which talked about the 5 hindrances to meditation (in particular) and life (in general). The teacher, Gil, gave a wonderful analogy of the 5 hindrances, which goes like this:

Enlightenment is seeing things as they really are (especially the "self"). So we can compare this to looking into a pond and it's reflection. When the pond is still and clear we see things perfectly. But the 5 hindrances do the following:

  • DESIRE - like adding a potent dye to the pond

  • ILL-WILL - the water boils and bubbles

  • SLOTH AND TORPOR - letting the pond grow over with algae and weeds

  • RESTLESSNESS - a strong wind blows over the surface causing great ripples

  • DOUBT - the water is thick with mud
These 5 hindrances are one of the fundamentals of Buddhism, and have been passed down over many centuries.

I was thinking about them recently in my depressed state of mind, and would like to add 2 further hindrances to the bipolar sufferer:
  • DEPRESSION - there is a drought. No water left in the pond. The mud of doubt is now solidified, with a few dead fish rotting amongst the cracks.

  • MANIA - there is a flood. Water surges all over the place, no boundaries left. In time there'll be even more mud. A danger zone - if you don't keep your feet planted firmly on the ground you can get swept away and drown.


  1. A long time ago I read somewhere "bend like the willow, don't resist like the oak."

    It's just starting to make some sense.

  2. hey man, there are tons of ponds with algae and weed:z and mother nature leaves 'em alone no prob, it's only stupid people who came in to tell everybody only clear ponds are qoolness to look @.

    so like what else? i thot there was no self, so what up with seeing IT clearly?-)

  3. Anonymous16 July, 2007

    I love your website. I, much like yourself suffer from bipolar. I have been a practicing buddhist for approximately 2 years. It is wonderful that other individuals like myself are out there.

    Congratulations on your hard work and determination.

  4. Wow, dude that was the shiz! I'm a bit manic right now...not sure if it's creativity or just being a young artist or writer and trying to tame the immense flood. Good thing the "bi polar buddhist" is such a great keyword for google. :)

    Thanks for writing.


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