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What's the difference between obsession and addiction ?

 This is a subject I have not talked about for a long time: how do we manage obsessions and addictions in Buddhism? What are the clever ways to overcome them and free us from them? Buddhism  has very effective methods of teaching us to train the mind and to free  it from "pollution" that obscures it and creates no happiness - neither  for us nor for others.

I  do not just talk about cigarettes or alcohol, but about the way we talk  to those we love, our behavior in our family or work, and even our  usual patterns of thinking. Some  of our obsessive behaviors can cause a lot of suffering to others and  that deserves to find a solution and learn how to manage them to become  someone who is at peace with himself, who lives in joy and who has  little problems - not someone who creates problems for others - to become good to oneself and to others. The end of the road is when we find a way to free ourselves from our obsessions and addictions.

Buddhism is doing well in this area. It  helps put an end to that dead end that is addiction because it  understands the cause-and-effect relationships that govern our minds and  it sees the mind as a process. The image of the dead end shows how we are locked in our behavior; to understand this is to see where our dependencies come from and how to free ourselves from them. One of the great practices of Buddhism is to develop attention (1), that is, to be fully aware of the functioning of the mind. If  we enlighten our mind, we will discover our thought process and how we  react to situations, and we will understand how it works. The simple act of enlightening our mind with attention is a huge help in overcoming our addictions. We  see how the mind works, all its processes: the origin of thoughts, the  emotional responses in which we are trapped again and again, the same  old habits and reactions to the difficulties of life. No  matter how we react - through alcohol, drugs, anger or harsh words to  our loved ones - we see how the whole process is going. To  see things appear, to see that our mind always reacts in the same way  to the same stimuli, allows to divert the course of our usual reactions.  The habits of thought, reaction, speech and action will not lead us to happiness. This wonderful practice of Attention allows us to recognize all these automatic processes and helps us overcome them. It  is as if we were in a room with only one door and our old habits force  us to always go through that door that leads to the same unpleasant  place. With  the practice of attention, we see a second door and even several other  doors: we have other choices, other opportunities to manage  dependencies.

This can be put into practice in the little things of everyday life. As I often say, a good exercise to practice attention is to do the little things in a different way. For  example, when you come to meditate here, sit in different places, do  not come in the same door - there are three doors in this room! [Do not think I'm a hypocrite because I do not have a choice: I have to sit on that chair and go through that door! (Laughter)] When we do things in different ways, we have more energy, we are more alive; and when one gets lost in one's habits, one dies. Gently, the quality of attention disappears. Those who fall into the routine let their mind wither, it can be similar to Alzheimer's disease; that's why I recommend you do not get lost.

You always watch the same old movies, the same TV series. You come every Friday night in the same Buddhist association (laughs). Put a little madness in your life! Think differently ! When I lead a meditation retreat, I always focus on Attention so that participants do things slightly differently. For example, when you practice breathing meditation, you can breathe backwards. This is a method that I find very effective. Do you know what this "upside down" technique is? That means you exhale first and then inhale. When we breathe, we always start with inspiration; then, we try to do differently: we start with the expiration. Logically it's the same thing but, in reality, there is a slight difference: it makes breathing more alive, fresher, more alert.

In the morning, which foot do you get up?  When you brush your teeth, which side do you start on? I  give you a little exercise: every day, change the place where you start  brushing your teeth: up, down, right, left ... A simple thing like  brushing your teeth becomes more stimulating. We are more present, more aware of what is happening. This little exercise helps you to be more attentive to the processes of life. If  you always react in the same way, especially with your loved ones, in a  completely predictable way, the quality of your relationships will get  poorer and eventually wither away - including the relationship you have  with yourself. You become a robot; you are no longer alive.

People always say the same things: "Hello! Have a good day ! I was told a little story that happens in the United States. Someone says to his neighbor, "I wish you a good day" and the other responds, "I have other plans! (Laughs) It is a very beautiful answer! Have other plans, be attentive, be alive.

It is this marvel of Attention - our thoughts, our heart, our life - that gives us more options. There are hundreds of seats to sit and not one; there are hundreds of ways to brush your teeth, not just one. We always have the same reaction to the words of our loved ones or the difficulties of life, but we can find other answers. We discover that there are new buttons to press and that these will trigger new responses. We even have secret buttons. We  are able to innovate by adapting to situations but, if we remain  predictable, others keep us under control and that is precisely what  makes us unhappy. If someone tries to annoy you by saying, "You idiot! And you answer him: "Yes, that's right. I'm stupid, "this unexpected response destabilizes him.

What  I'm trying to make you understand is that there are other possible  answers to the usual nervous response that keeps you enslaved. You are completely under the control of your obsessions and your habits. By  ending your addictions, you discover a great peace, you discover that  by not always responding in the same way to external stimuli, you are  free to answer otherwise.

If,  by being attentive, you become aware of the process that appears - and  in particular the beginning of this process - it is easy to stop it. It's like with the highway: once you're on the highway, you have to travel many miles before you can get out. So do not enter the highway of your dependencies, your obsessions, anger or you will be a prisoner. It  is easier to stop a process at its beginning: for example, it is very  easy to snatch a young shoot but a lot difficult, a few years later, to  tear a tree. The same goes for our habits: we manage them easily if we manage to stop them quickly. I knew a monk who had epileptic seizures after an injury during the Vietnam War. As  he was very attentive, he recognized immediately when a crisis occurred  and it allowed him to easily overcome it - he did not open the door of  the disease but other doors.

Whatever our dependencies: alcohol, drugs, tobacco or harmful behavior, we can see what will happen. The attention recognizes this path that we have already borrowed and tells us: "Stop! We  become aware of the danger of always following our addictive behaviors,  aware of the harm we do to others as well as to ourselves. Keep this in mind!

I like to use the parable of the snake. When  I was a young monk in Thailand, there were many snakes in the jungle  where our monastery was, and one day I walked on one of them. I do not recommend it! (Laughs)  In the morning, I had to cross the jungle to get to the big hall of the  monastery, and one day, what I took for a branch, in the dim light of  dawn, was a snake. When I stepped on it, it moved, and I assure you that I made a big leap backwards. I apologized to him and he left without paying any attention. When I arrived in Thailand, I was warned: there are a hundred species of snakes here; ninety-nine are poisonous, and the one that remains strangles you to death (Laughter). So,  morning and evening, we walked in the jungle, in the dark, knowing that  there were around us hundreds of very dangerous snakes. In case of bite, it would have been very delicate: we did not have the phone and the nearest hospital was too far away. So here is my parable of the snake: because of this permanent danger, we had to be extremely  attentive. It was impossible to return to my hut in the evening, in all recklessness; my attention was focused on the path and the danger. For all these years, I have never been bitten. I was fully aware, alert, very attentive and, if I saw a snake, I jumped over or made a detour when it was possible.

If  you are aware that your addictions are a danger - be it alcohol, anger  or depression - if you pay attention, you can avoid them, "jump over",  and they will not be able to catch you, you dominate. If  you take a glass of alcohol, you drink a second, then a third, a fourth  ... Some people say to me, "It does not matter to drink! I tell them that small fires burn as much as large ones: if you light a match under your finger, it burns. Even a small glass of alcohol makes you less attentive, you are less alert, less focused ... and you drink a second drink! As an old Australian saying goes: "Alcohol makes you mad, makes you angry; alcohol can make you want to kill your wife, but alcohol also makes you miss your shot. (Laughs) I admit that this is not a beautiful Buddhist story but I like to joke a little with you!

Attention can recognize that all this is a danger, to see this insatiable desire to rise ... and stop everything! The  same goes for anger, how can you live with your parents, your children,  your loved ones, constantly being in irritation and in the feeling of  guilt that always follows those moments of anger? By being attentive, you see all these processes of anger and irritation set in place. You do not want these negative states, you want to live in peace and you see the snake of anger in front of you. Here at the monastery there is no anger; we  talk to each other gently, we train ourselves to kindness, to see the  snake (the potential danger) in our actions and our words.

The  simplest is to stay away from the cause of our addictions: do not have  alcohol or cigarettes at home and stay away from what irritates you. Rather than shouting at your husband or wife, go to your room or, better yet, come here to the Buddhist Center! I  remember this man, in Thailand, who asked me if he could stay a few  days at the monastery, not to study Buddhism or to meditate but because  he wanted to take a step back after arguing with his wife. After a few days, he asked for permission to go home and he added, "Now I feel calm and miss my wife. What a wonderful way to act, rather than going to the pub or doing nonsense with his friends! If you are angry or angry, look for a quiet place to get away from the cause of this irritation. Staying away from what triggers the usual patterns of behavior is a very clever way of acting. By far, we have a better understanding of the situation. An old Chinese saying says, "Love the tiger but at a distance". It's not possible to caress a tiger, it's way too dangerous but by far you can like it - you can change your attitude. It's  not always easy to manage a person who is always aggressive or  irritates you daily if you are too close to them, so give yourself some  distance, give yourself more opportunities to see things differently. Love the tiger from a distance. Being too close only causes fear.

Buddhism  uses the parabola of the hand to illustrate this: if you put a hand in  front of your eyes, you do not see anything else, everything else is  obscured simply because it is too close to your eyes. The problem does not come from the hand but from where it is. If I take it away from my eyes, I see my hand, but I see you too, as well as this room; I have a broader view of the situation. Similarly, during a separation, death or illness, we see nothing else and we do not react in the right way. We  are unable to see beyond what is afflicting us, but the world is much  larger than this sorrow alone and others are certainly interested in us.

Love  the tiger from a distance, look at your hand but at the end of your  arm, change your perspective, stay away from the source of the conflict!  If  you put your cancer in the foreground, it becomes a big problem, but if  you move it away, like the hand in your arm, you see that you are not  just cancer, it's just part of your life. And if you die, you may be reborn with a better body, who knows? It's like me, with this aging body - it would be an opportunity to change models! (Laughs) Death is only part of life; there is nothing abnormal to die. When  something is going wrong in your life, there are many other things that are going well. Births, deaths ... it happens all the time.

If  you stay away from the source of your problems, you can act  differently, you have more opportunities, more solutions available to  you. Attention helps you find alternatives, your vision expands. This  man who came to the monastery when he had problems with his wife, gave  himself the opportunity to stay away from his problem, to have a wiser  vision and not to react in the usual way.

Benevolent  love is another way of managing our habitual patterns of behavior  because they are, for the most part, a kind of self-destruction. We drink knowing that it destroys us - why? We remain in pain of the loss of a loved one, we deny ourselves the right to be free, to be happy, to be at peace - why? As a Buddhist and meditator, I see very clearly that people are afraid of happiness. They do not want to be happy or find solutions to their problems, they do not want to free themselves from their addictions. People do not like each other, they think they do not deserve love because of bad action, guilt or mistake of the past. In the depths of their hearts, they say to themselves, "I do not deserve to be happy after all that I have done; I deserve punishment, I am guilty. This feeling of guilt, deep in our subconscious, is the crucible of most of our negative patterns of habits.

To  instil benevolent love in our lives, we must begin by not feeling  guilty, not being unhappy, not having the feeling of self-punishment  caused by our bad habits, not saying to ourselves, "I am an alcoholic so  I am bad, I feel guilty and I drink more. Or else: "I have done bad things, I am not happy, I am angry with myself, I make others unhappy, and that saddens me even more. We lack self-esteem for ourselves, trapped in self-mortification cycles where guilt leads to despair and misery. The lack of inner happiness is one of the greatest problems of humanity.

I am neither proud nor proud, I feel neither better nor worse than others, but I have esteem for myself, I am at peace. Buddhism speaks of three forms of vanity: feeling better than others, equal to others or worse than others. Note that this third option is also considered vanity. But comparing yourself to others does not help. Instead, free yourself from the judgment that is at the root of guilt. Caring love makes things easier to overcome your usual patterns of negative behavior. Give kindness, give love to others but also to yourself!

As I have told you many times, to love is to be able to say: "The door of my heart is open. No  matter what I do, no matter who I am, even if I am an alcoholic or if I  take drugs, even if I have committed terrible acts, the door of my  heart remains open. I can be at peace, I can love myself despite all these acts. This is the beginning of the rehabilitation process. You act at the level of the unconscious on the causes of self-mortification, you fully accept to be as you are and in peace.

This  loving love is metta, the Buddhist love, whose importance is so great  that we speak of it continually in all the teachings. It's also called letting go: you let things be what they are instead of trying to change them. It's acceptance, love. You can not demand perfection from yourself to allow yourself to find peace - you will be dead before! Be  at peace among your imperfections, love others in spite of their  faults, be able to love someone very bad because love is the antidote  for evil, it is the way of healing. How  many stories have I heard about people who, having received love,  kindness, acceptance, have managed to overcome their destructive  behaviors. I  know people who have committed terrible crimes who, after receiving the  love of a brother, a father or a mother, have never committed negative  acts.

It is the power of goodness and love that will help us overcome our obsessions. Act differently, instead of hating yourself for your addictions and bad deeds. Have the courage to say to you: "Despite all my negative behaviors, despite my obsessions, I open the door of my heart". You will be surprised to see how easy it is to overcome your usual patterns through love and forgiveness! There is no reason to self-punish you, the causes are gone. Open the door and the  Way of peace opens to you. We build our own prison, we are the owners of our Karma, no one else locks us up or punishes us, only us. With caring love, metta, you will tame your addictions, your inner tiger. Let go, be at peace with yourself and the root of your ills will disappear.

People are angry after others because they do not like each other, they are not at peace. The great monks and nuns I met never get angry, are never angry, whatever they say, because they are at peace with themselves. With the acceptance of yourself and the love of yourself, you become very tolerant with others, in peace. Destructive behaviors disappear. Observe your dependencies instead of following them mechanically. Repeat  yourself constantly, to fully understand the meaning of these words:  "The door of my heart is open, no matter what I did, no matter who I am,  love flows, unconditional. If you know how to love yourself, you know how to love others. So your negative behaviors will stop.

When we manage to stop an addiction, we begin to feel strong and free. When I was a student, one day I decided to stop drinking alcohol. I felt great energy in myself all weekend because I had taken my life in hand, I had become able to not do what was bad for me. You have the power to decide your life, your happiness. By giving up negative behavior, you have the energy and the method to abandon other addictions. You discover this force as a form of freedom.

You are under the control of your tyrannical obsessions that hurt others and yourself. Why are you drinking? Why are you taking drugs? All this is very expensive. You should drink tea and give us the difference (laughs). Do not drink alcohol, do not use drugs, do not watch these stupid soap operas on TV! Do not do all this and you will find great freedom.

Some people do not come on a Friday night to see a concert or miss a television show - they are not free. If  you overcome your usual patterns of functioning, you are no longer in  an automatic behavior, you have the choice to do or not to do, you are  no longer a victim of your habits, you become an incredibly free person  and no longer predictable. We can call you pig and you answer: "Rrrr Rrrr" (Laughs) You play it! No need to get angry. You live free of harmful things.

Remember these three very simple methods to overcome harmful habits:

1 / the attention gives you the opportunity to make other choices,

2 / benevolent love frees you from guilt,

3 / The parable of the snake helps you to better analyze the difficulties.

Finally you will also be able to free yourself from the most banal habits such as rancor or judgment. We criticize others all the time: "You did not do this, you did not do that! It's a negative behavior that does not make the world happy. How many times have we thanked someone? Do you remember thanking your wife or husband for being a good companion, telling him that you appreciate him. ? Change, become free, become happy and you will make your own praise for all the effort and good you have done. Be in the positive energy of good and love. Leave the prison of your habits and suffering. Serve the community by increasing the happiness of your country. The  king of Bhutan, one of the poorest countries in the world, instead of  trying to increase the GDP of his country as we would in the West, has  launched a program to improve the national happiness and it is the one of the priorities of the government: to create the economy of happiness ... Very few countries have such ambitions!

This is the meaning of life: to increase your happiness, that of others, of your country and of the planet. This is how one frees oneself from one's obsessions. So do not hesitate! Go for it ! (English "Just do it!") ... tonight's speech is sponsored by a great shoe brand "Just do it". (Laughter) 


Obsession and addiction are two different things. Obsession is related to rituals that we follow daily basis. It is most of the time not dangerous to us. Obsession included washing of hand , combing of hair , etc.

addiction is totally different from obsession. When a person is addicted on a thing , he never get satisfaction unless until he doesn't get that. This man ruin us in some cases.


In my own opinion i think that obsession is very similar to addiction because they both work in similar ways,when someone is addicted to something then such person would also be obsessed with that thing which they are addicted to,i believe obsession starts with addiction.


The daily life of society is now increasingly inseparable from social media. According to GFK Asia Digital research, Indonesians spend 5.5 hours in front of their cellphones in a day. This number is mostly dominated by social media. No wonder Facebook has opened an official office in Jakarta. This fact makes many people think that Indonesian people are now experiencing social media addiction. Is that the right term?

According to the clinical director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, Kimberly Young, PsyD, more people are experiencing social media obsession than social media addiction. Both of these terms turned out to have similar meanings but very different conditions. Reporting from Refinery29.com, it's called addiction if the brain looks for certain substances such as dopamine or serotonin. While obsession arises when you are encouraged to monitor social media to reduce cortisol or adrenaline levels in the body.

Social Media Obsession

Unlike the case with obsession. Someone who experiences social media obsession will monitor the virtual world for fear of missing news or news from social media. This fear that arises is the reason you experience social media obsession. If there is news or news that has passed by them, a sense of panic will appear. Obsessing on social media is also a tendency for someone to get FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), so that it can trigger depression.

Even though they have differences, they still have a bad impact. Not only in psychological conditions but also physical health. The eye is the first part that has the risk of staring at the cellphone screen too often. In addition, the cervical bones also often experience disruption due to head which often droops when accessing social media pages.

Keep using social media according to the portions and don't let cyberspace snatch your real life.