Author Topic: Moral Dilemma  (Read 6995 times)

redalert

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #25 on: January 11, 2014, 12:21:49 AM »
No i think the precepts are to be seen more as a guideline than as a general rule. Try not to harm or kill, try your best. But don't take it to the point where you damage your own health or even survival or that of people your looking after like children.

Agreed. The cognitive dissonance here is caused by the fact that most Buddhists consider the dhamma to be 'the way things are'. This sometimes clashes with our modern world views concerning, for instance, killing animals. I no longer consider the dhamma a perennial philosophy. It's an ideology, a way to make sense of this world, but not the natural way things work.

I also asked the senior monk about those who live in cold climates and cannot grow fruits and vegetables for food(Inuit), he said that those people could not practice Dhamma that they would have to relocate to a more favorable location.

Skanzi

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2014, 10:48:34 PM »
May I ask a question?

Why does a mosquito matter anything? What harm could be done if the mosquito was killed?

I mean, with humans i can understand. But nobody really cares if a mosquito dies or not. The thing is, it's dead instantly, so it doesn't feel any pain (I'm not even sure if a mosquito can actually feel pain). And nothing or nobody will be hurt when the mosquito is dead. The other mosquitos are not intelligent enough to care, and there is no 'save the mosquito' foundation who will be sorrowing about the dead of one mosquito.

In the end, as egocentric as it may sound, it all comes down to yourself. How do you feel about it? In the end, the only thing that matters in life are your emotions. And helping other people enhances your own emotions. There's just no way around it that everything you do in life you eventually do for yourself.

Why would you allow yourself to care about the life of a mosquito, why would you give any value to that? What does it give to you if you would spare it's life?

These questions are asked objectively, i'm not trying to make fun or anything about your story. I'd just like to know.
Do you have a conflict? A doubt which you don't know the answer for? Try this:

- Advise yourself like you would advise a friend.  If you can easily advise your friend, why not take the same advice to yourself?

If you're still not sure, just admit you're not sure and just make a choice.

Peace

Pacific Flow

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2014, 11:32:44 PM »
Hi Skanzi,

I agree with much of what you wrote in your post. Let me explain to you real quick why the reflection on this issue can make sense from my perspective.
Egoism or self-centeredness is usually seen as something bad, something to avoid in buddhist teaching. However it can be argued that investing time and effort to overcome ones suffering through meditation and following the eightfold noble path itself can be viewed as an egoistic task.
As you say, after all it's about making me feel better and overcoming my suffering.
I also did wonder about how to make sense of this quasi paradoxon of overcoming the ego by conducting a apparently egoistic mission.
That paradoxon kinda solved itself in my mind during a 10 day service i gave at a Vipassana retreat.
I realized that you have to distinguish between a blind, unknowledgeable egoism and an enlightened egoism. (This is not to say i thought i was enlightened- just a bit more enlightened than before i started practising Vipassana)
The blind egoism makes you do things that you enjoy, but that are actually not good for yourself. Your hurting yourself and your hurting others too.
Once the ego gets somewhat dissolved, you automatically start acting in a way that is actually good for you. In a wholesome, sustainable way. And it happens to be that the actions conducted by that kind of mind actually are good for others too.
In the case of giving dhamma service,  i help myself by strengthening my own practice and by developing more compassion, while at the same time i help others to come out of their misery because without people giving dhamma service they couldn't sit a free retreat like they are now.
It becomes a win-win situation. I realized there is actually no difference in what is good for me and what is good for others. It's just a matter of being able to see naturally what is REALLY good for you. If you reach that stage, you don't harm others anymore by helping yourself. Because you automatically do what is best for everyone else around you too.
Having explained that, it should become clear why i even care about the mosquito. Not for the mosquito itself. The precept not to kill is not there to help the mosquito population grow. It's there to strengthen your own practice. It's just harder to develop a calm mind when you kill creatures. So my consideration about this issue wasn't so much about the mossis, it was about my peace of mind, or karma, or whatever you wanna call it. An egoistic consideration if you will.

Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2014, 06:10:18 AM »
Quote
I mean, with humans i can understand. But nobody really cares if a mosquito dies or not.

Thats such a groundless statement. How do you know?

Quote
Why would you allow yourself to care about the life of a mosquito, why would you give any value to that? What does it give to you if you would spare it's life?

A human takes birth and dies like a mosquito. Whatever he has done or achieved is impermanent and is lost.
Why would I allow myself to care about the life of a human, why would I give any value to that? What does it give to me if I would spare it's life?

The suffering i cause  in others by killing a human is also impermanent. So why should i care. Il kill all humans from today.  :D
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 06:15:22 AM by siddharthgode »

Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2014, 06:20:07 AM »
Quote
I also did wonder about how to make sense of this quasi paradoxon of overcoming the ego by conducting a apparently egoistic mission.

Aim is not to over come ego at all. It is to take away the suffering caused by it. In the process it gets deconstructed. One should understand that its not the aim of us. If it happens then let it.

Pacific Flow

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2014, 12:09:41 AM »
Aim is not to over come ego at all. It is to take away the suffering caused by it. In the process it gets deconstructed. One should understand that its not the aim of us. If it happens then let it.

It certainly is one of the things i am aiming at to overcome the ego. It inevitably causes dukkha. Therefore dissolving the ego leads to less dukkha. Why shouldn't i aim at that?

Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2014, 05:36:41 AM »
Quote
It certainly is one of the things i am aiming at to overcome the ego. It inevitably causes dukkha. Therefore dissolving the ego leads to less dukkha. Why shouldn't i aim at that?

Because if you aim for that you are changing the base of the teaching.

U r shifting your aim from dukkha to ego.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 05:42:18 AM by siddharthgode »

Pacific Flow

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2014, 06:09:37 AM »

Because if you aim for that you are changing the base of the teaching.

U r shifting your aim from dukkha to ego.

Really don't agree on that. Ego causes dukkha. Dissolve the ego to get rid of dukkha. That's how i understand not only the teaching, but also that's how from my experience you can make yourself free from suffering.

Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2014, 06:01:49 AM »
hi guys,

I want describe a strange happening that i came across few days back.
Since this topic was started about mosquitoes i thought i will write it here.

I have a dog, St. Bernard. Since i am from tropical region he cant take the heat so i keep my rooms door to balcony always open so he can go out during night and enjoy cool breeze. Because of this my room is filled with mosquitoes. I couldnt do much about this. I used to just let the sensations of a bite spread across body without resisting it. Over time i got used to it and even used it to increase my equanimity. Now im not really bothered by a bite.

For a month or so when i am with my friends and if the place has mosquitoes, they all complain how much mosquitoes are around and how much they are biting. But the strange thing is they dont bite me anymore when my friends are around me. Even if they do very few bite me.

I wonder why  :D

Pacific Flow

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2014, 06:37:00 AM »
They probably got bored with the taste of your blood and enjoy a new taste once a while. I am sure when your friends are gone they will be happy with your blood again  ;)

Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #35 on: January 16, 2014, 10:12:00 AM »
They probably got bored with the taste of your blood and enjoy a new taste once a while. I am sure when your friends are gone they will be happy with your blood again  ;)

the crazy part is this happens not only at my place but other places aswell.

Matthew

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #36 on: January 26, 2014, 06:03:30 PM »
No i think the precepts are to be seen more as a guideline than as a general rule. Try not to harm or kill, try your best. But don't take it to the point where you damage your own health or even survival or that of people your looking after like children.

Agreed. The cognitive dissonance here is caused by the fact that most Buddhists consider the dhamma to be 'the way things are'. This sometimes clashes with our modern world views concerning, for instance, killing animals. I no longer consider the dhamma a perennial philosophy. It's an ideology, a way to make sense of this world, but not the natural way things work.

The Dhamma is many things. It is the teachings of Gautama Buddha - I suspect there is a perennial philosophy but as I've indicated before I'm unsure anyone is teaching it these days: so yes, there is much ideology and dogma calling itself Dhamma. Dhamma means everything that exists in all existence. Dhamma means truth. ...

Back to the OP ....

Mogo,

Congrats on the new addition to your family :) Dengue fever is a messy old illness. Kill the mossies when needed. Being mindful is the key.

Talked about this at the temple last night, the monks said  .....  it was not the right conditions to practice the dhamma with children.

.....
I also asked the senior monk about those who live in cold climates and cannot grow fruits and vegetables for food(Inuit), he said that those people could not practice Dhamma that they would have to relocate to a more favorable location.


Your monk is very good at decided who can practice Dhamma. It's all BS everyone can practice Dhamma. If you live on the Tibetan plateau it used to be impossible to live without eating Yak meat. Just not enough grows there ... you need something that can make Tundra grass into food humans can process ... that is what Yak does.

They probably got bored with the taste of your blood and enjoy a new taste once a while. I am sure when your friends are gone they will be happy with your blood again  ;)

the crazy part is this happens not only at my place but other places aswell.

This is not unusual ... when I was travelling in Thailand and India with my ex girlfriend she used to smother her body in anti-mosquito lotion, wear pyjamas, wrap in a sheet and sleep under the mosquito net. I used to sleep on the bed next to her naked, no sheet, no lotion. Mosquito's don't bite me, they don't like the taste of me.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2014, 06:09:48 PM by Matthew »
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redalert

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #37 on: January 26, 2014, 07:41:38 PM »
Your monk is very good at decided who can practice Dhamma. It's all BS everyone can practice Dhamma.

What about people with mental illness, schizophrenia, bi-polar conditions?

Can those trapped in poverty practice Dhamma, when their every waking moment is spent searching for the basic essentials to sustain life?

What about the uber rich, to much luxurious conditions, always another distraction to dissipate the pain?

Would these people need not have to find themselves reborn into a better condition to practice the Dhamma?

Perhaps a condition with a delicate balance of pleasure and pain?

Matthew

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #38 on: January 26, 2014, 08:13:12 PM »
Hi Red,

Good to see your words on the page again :)

EVERYONE can practice the Dhamma and follow the path.

- For those with mental illness following the path will give structure, calm and insight. It may provide greater benefits than corporate-promoted lifetime profit-fruiting medications.

- For those trapped in poverty practicing Dhamma may come easier than for any of us, for they are nearer to the noble truths than those encumbered with modern life and all it's dumb complexities.

- For the uber-rich practicing the Dhamma is perhaps more important than for any of us. It may not be easy for them yet it is not beyond their reach.

I have no personal evidence for or against rebirth and do not take any aspect of Dhamma on the basis of blind faith/belief. Therefore the concentration is on following the path in this lifetime.

Warmly,

Matthew
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redalert

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #39 on: January 26, 2014, 09:33:47 PM »
I have no personal evidence for or against rebirth and do not take any aspect of Dhamma on the basis of blind faith/belief. Therefore the concentration is on following the path in this lifetime.
I believe our differences of opinion can be found in exploring "lifetime".

Matthew

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2014, 10:46:58 PM »
...
I believe our differences of opinion can be found in exploring "lifetime".

Red,

Not sure what that reference is to ... ?

Warmly,

Matthew
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redalert

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2014, 11:50:56 PM »
Is life subject to time, or life-forms?

On one level Redalert is just a mass of sub-atomic particles arising and passing away countless times momentarily, on a grosser level there is Redalert who does not want to get hit by the bus. The ultimate truth is this is mere illusion, Redalert is not this stuff, There is no Redalert, just timeless awareness.

Redalert living in a hostile environment spending every waking moment looking to sustain this gross form may not have the opportunity to practice the eight-fold noble path and realize this ultimate truth. Forced to hunt and kill every day, Redalert would not be able to build a foundation of sila. Redalert would have to find himself reborn in conditions where others would support him, allow him to come out of this behaviour of killing, and allow him to cultivate awareness/Vipassana. Even if Redalert was supported and offered the opportunity to develop in Dhamma there is no guarantee that Redalert would be willing to undergo this practice, unless there was this delicate balance of pleasure and pain. Too much pain and Redalert would run, to much pleasure and Redalert doesn't feel the need to practice.

To be reborn in conditions where one begins this practice is very rare.


Matthew

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Re: Moral Dilemma
« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2014, 11:59:29 PM »
Red,

Not in the mood for scrabble. Strange stories you tell.

Warmly,

Matthew
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~