T Nation

Weightlifting and Spirituality


#3

BTW I have a Christian friend who struggles with this (the aesthetics) and he deals with it by going into complete denial about it and telling himself he needs a six pack for good health :wink:


#4

If you weren’t spending the time weightlifting you’d be doing what praying for that 90 minutes instead? Yeah right you’d be on the couch watching TV which I don’t think your deity views any better. Quit overthinking and do what you want to do with your life. It betters you and doesn’t harm anyone else, you shouldn’t worship a god who would find that “sin” (not saying Buddhism does).

If you are going to stop weightlifting because it’s somehow breaking your spiritual bond, you mine as well stop brushing your teeth and showering too.

The point of religion isn’t to control you life it’s to better your life and make you a better person. Making your body “better” and stronger doesn’t break your spiritual bond with your god. If it does, then its not just the weightlifting, its something about your personality that gives you a weak spiritual connection.

Don’t stop lifting cause you read too much scripture and are drawing conclusions because of factors you don’t even understand. I hate to berate someone for religious views (Christian myself), but COME ON


#5

[quote]Digity wrote:
I have a bit of a conundrum. Firstly, I should state that I’m a practicing Buddhist. I’ve also had a desire to be good at weightlifting, but I’ve never accomplished anything significant in that area. I’m currently dedicating myself to practicing weightlifting and I’m going to really push myself this time around. A big part of the reason I practice is to develop mental will and greater confidence. Also, I want to be in good shape when I get older so I’m not some decrepit old dude that can’t wipe his own ass.

Having said all that, I sometimes struggle with the spiritual side of things. As a Buddhist, we’re taught that the body is not something to get too attached to. That’s not saying that we shouldn’t take care of it. However, we’re only suppose to keep the body in shape for the purposes of continuing the practice. That being said, there’s a lot of attachment to the body and a lot of grandiosity around it when it comes to weightlifting. I often feel that this is at odds with Buddhism, because in Buddhism the body is seen as something impermanent, not-self and being attached to it leads to suffering.

I sometimes feel torn between my spiritual life and weightlifting. I’m doing my best to make sure that I lift with the proper intentions. I think lifting for the purpose of developing mental strong will and also with the wish of wanting to stay healthy for old age are positive things. However, I would be lieing to myself if I didn’t think it was also about improving the look of the body, which I don’t think is completely in line with my spiritual life. Not saying I’d quit lifting because of this, but it’s something I think about at times.

I wonder what you guys think. I’m guessing most of you don’t give a shit about this. Although, would like a different perspective on these matters.[/quote]

Just wondering, have you recently become a Buddhist, or have you been wrestling with this conundrum for over half a decade? (I see your join date is 2007, so safe to assume you have been lifting for at least that long).


#6

All religion is ultimately about asking whose pretend friend is tougher.

So as they are all the same you are free to pick one that allows you to lift weights without all that annoying and irrelevant justification nonsense.

Try following Sithrak.


#7

Don’t lift purely for aesthetics, lift for the challenge, lift because lifting is one of the most honest passions you can have in life.

In most other sports you may have a good day and play far above your abilities for a game, hit a hole in one, game winning goal or whatever based on luck. You will never luck out, or have a good day and squat 100 lbs more than your PR on a whim, it will always take hard work.

When you accomplish things that are difficult, or earn that PR you had your eyes set on for months, that builds real confidence… Not that plastic, showoff swag stuff you seem to be worried about.

Sounds like you should dabble in powerlifting.

For me, I enjoy the aesthetics, but there’s nothing like showing up to the gym with the crew and going ape shit on max effort days.


#8

Didnt you post the same question (albeit under a different title) a while back?

I didnt know Buddhists were constantly plagued by self doubt at every step. So much for inner peace, acceptance, tranquility and stability… OT I know now why the Advaita practitioners had no trouble with you guys lol

Point being, stop questioning everything you do and expecting everyone to justify YOUR goals. Just follow your heart and do what YOU want.

Be like Goku (from DBZ) … Im being serious. KNOW whats right/wrong for you and proceed.


#9

No seriously, consider Sithrak.


#10

Buddhists, are on a life long journey to find peace, and knowlage - inner peace, and inner knowlage, it generaly goes hand in hand with yoga, and building your body and mind through yoga. I’v been working at this, and combining the two for years. Weight lifting is an extension of this, and another way of understanding the body, and it’s limits. At a point in the weightlifting journey it’s also about the mind, and how the mind limits the body. Most yoga books, talk about buddhisim, as well as using weights, in some form. I’ll dig around, and find some book titles I’ve read.

One I remember talks about a famous track coach, in the states, that converted his whole team, and then went on to win gold, at the olympics. In the 80s, It’s been years since I read this book. Stuart McRoberts, talks briefly, in Beyond Brawn about using Buddha techniques to slow your breathing and heart, during weight lifting. I believe the two go hand and hand, if the journey is about using the mind to over come more weights, over time. Not so much about using weights to build big ego driven biceps. hope this helps.


#11

Just stay humble man. Never let yourself get arrogant about your looks/strength, and when you find that you are, remind yourself of why you got into it; to learn a new discipline, and exceed in it. Go ahead, try squatting 3x bodyweight raw, and tell me you aren’t a MUCH mentally stronger person by the time you get there.

It does sound to me like powerlifting might be more in line with your beliefs than bodybuilding though.


#12

[quote]MartyMonster wrote:
All religion is ultimately about asking whose pretend friend is tougher.

So as they are all the same you are free to pick one that allows you to lift weights without all that annoying and irrelevant justification nonsense.

Try following Sithrak. [/quote]

This would make more sense if Buddhists actually believed in a God.

To the OP, maybe just use lifting as a form of mindfulness practice and don’t make such a big deal out of it. If you have thoughts of vanity or excessive attachment to your six pack, just acknowledge those thoughts as part of the process and let them go.

I’m not Buddhist, but isn’t this sort of the idea?

Edit: I second Hungry’s suggestion that powerlifting(or O-lifting) might be a better fit with your beliefs. Focus on performance and good nutrition and let the aesthetic improvements to your body take care of themselves.


#13

I can’t stand religions.


#14

Buddhist don’t worship God or anything. There’s also no “sins” in Buddhism. The Buddha just provided guidelines that you should follow if you wish to act skillfully. The precepts are stuff like not killing, not steal, no alcohol, etc. There’s nothing saying “no weight lifting”. That’s more me who is wondering that.

I’m just wondering if doing weights will make me develop any unskillful qualities, like becoming vain or more prone to violence, etc. I think the crux of the matter is that I always want to make sure I’m developing skillful qualities and not feeding the unskillful ones.

That’s a huge part of the teachings and the Buddha says to constantly reflect on this. Whenever you engage in something and you’re developing unskillful states of mind then that goes against the teachings.

Anyway, I’ve even asked other Buddhist this and they say it’s fine to lift weights, just keep your intentions in check. I don’t know why I keep mulling over this. I think that says more about me and how I like to ruminate over stuff.

I guess I need to let this go. But yeah, a big reason I started lifting again was because I was sitting around playing video games. It wasn’t as if I was using my free time skillfully.

I think I’m going to focus on the power lifting approach from now on…rather than the bodybuilding. Having said that, it is nice to have a muscular body. I guess I need to be honest with myself and admit that’s part of it too.

I’m not a fan of religion either. However, I don’t consider Buddhism a religion. The label “Buddhism” and all the stuff that came along with it came after the Buddha’s passing away. I don’t know what the Buddha would think if he was alive today about the classification of his teachings as a religion.

If anything, the Buddha was a true trailblazer and really wanted the people of his time to question their current religious beliefs, etc. The Buddha was all about asking the big questions and not just blindly following, which tends to be the way of many religions.


#15

Well put.

[quote]batman730 wrote:
To the OP, maybe just use lifting as a form of mindfulness practice and don’t make such a big deal out of it. If you have thoughts of vanity or excessive attachment to your six pack, just acknowledge those thoughts as part of the process and let them go.
[/quote]


#16

[quote]Depression Boy wrote:

Be like Goku (from DBZ) … Im being serious. KNOW whats right/wrong for you and proceed.[/quote]

This is the correct advice for most problems posted on here.


#17

just be sure to say 13 hail marys before and after you train, then you can work out and eat all the tofu your silly Buddhist heart desires.

trust me on this~


#18

[quote]Depression Boy wrote:

Be like Goku (from DBZ) … Im being serious. KNOW whats right/wrong for you and proceed.[/quote]

Apparently Goku reads Davey Crocket:

“Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.” — Davey Crocket 1786

Of course, as a reminder, Crocket died a horrible death in the Alamo. Can’t remember, but I think he was shot in the gut.


#19

[quote]BroLac wrote:
I can’t stand religions. [/quote]

Why do you care?


#20

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:

[quote]Depression Boy wrote:

Be like Goku (from DBZ) … Im being serious. KNOW whats right/wrong for you and proceed.[/quote]

Apparently Goku reads Davey Crocket:

“Be sure you’re right. Then go ahead.” — Davey Crocket 1786

Of course, as a reminder, Crocket died a horrible death in the Alamo. Can’t remember, but I think he was shot in the gut.[/quote]

being gut shot is a horribly slow death


#21

[quote]thethirdruffian wrote:
Of course, as a reminder, Crocket died a horrible death in the Alamo. Can’t remember, but I think he was shot in the gut.[/quote]
There are scarcely more glorious dooms than those of the Alamo defenders.


#22

Digity,

You asked:

“I’m just wondering if doing weights will make me develop any unskillful qualities, like becoming vain or more prone to violence, etc. I think the crux of the matter is that I always want to make sure I’m developing skillful qualities and not feeding the unskillful ones.”

Weights will not give you this, vanity or violence would have already existed within you.