Author Topic: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?  (Read 6016 times)

BeHereNow

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #25 on: November 18, 2016, 07:59:20 PM »
I am so grateful to all of you, such wonderful insights.  Somehow I am starting to see the light in the confusion:

So be good.

I like this a lot, better than be the change.  Just to be good.  Something to strive for, and it is moment by moment....
"You are the Sky.  Everything else is just the weather." - Pema Chodron

dharma bum

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2016, 10:50:21 PM »
Quote
In regards to the original post, we can all do our best - and no more - at any point in time ... but 'doing' is not so important in the long run, and in terms of Dhamma, as the manner in which the 'doing' is based in your present state of 'being' in the world.

I would think given a choice between 'doing good' and 'not doing good', the buddha would advocate doing good, no?

There are many stories in the buddhist (mahayana?) tradition in which enlightened creatures do good. For instance, a sparrow tries to put out a forest fire out of compassion for all the creatures getting burnt. The notion of self has dissolved so much that the boddhisatva can no longer differentiate between her self and someone else.

Is there some teaching of the Buddha that discourages action/doing?
« Last Edit: November 18, 2016, 11:05:18 PM by dharma bum »
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Middleway

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2016, 02:19:17 AM »
I would think given a choice between 'doing good' and 'not doing good', the buddha would advocate doing good, no?

There are many stories in the buddhist (mahayana?) tradition in which enlightened creatures do good. For instance, a sparrow tries to put out a forest fire out of compassion for all the creatures getting burnt. The notion of self has dissolved so much that the boddhisatva can no longer differentiate between her self and someone else.

Is there some teaching of the Buddha that discourages action/doing?

How do you define/classify "doing good"? Is bringing Jesus Christ to native American Indians is doing good? Is snatching children away from native Indian mothers and boarding them in residential schools in the name of "civilizing" them is doing good? Killing a million people and leaving another million kids orphans in the name of bringing democracy to the middle east is doing good? Giving a fish to a man instead of teaching him how to fish is doing good?

A lot of do-gooders have caused extensive harm to the world over the millenia. Let us not climb on a so-called moral high tree and yell about doing good while satisfying our own do-good righteous ego. First let us figure out how not to cause harm to others which is the real doing good.

If a blind man is trying to cross the road, do you first think of doing good before you help him cross the road? Or you just simply do it and keep going without thinking that you have done a good deed? Where is the need for do good ego to arise? If you can put out the fire, you simply put out the fire to help your neighbor. Do you think twice about doing good before you help put out the fire?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 02:48:53 AM by Middleway »
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

dharma bum

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2016, 04:55:57 AM »
If a fellow monk is sick with dysentery, would you say tending to him is doing good?

I don't know why you associate doing good with good ego arising? I think most people have a natural impulse to help others. Neither Gandhi nor M Teresa spent any time complimenting themselves on their wonderfulness. No one who has an ego about it can sustain work like that through their lives.

The Buddha was enlightened. Why did he not simply sit and meditate? Why did he start teaching folks? Could someone point to a teaching that discourages helping others?

I am not an expert, but the Tibetans have ideas on what makes an action good. Good intention is an important part of it. Because my reading tends to be scattered and I don't keep notes, I am sorry to not be able to cite references or elaborate on this .- I can look and get back.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 04:57:34 AM by dharma bum »
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Middleway

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2016, 12:36:31 PM »
This is the closest I could find. Enjoy!

https://dharmacowgirl.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/righteousness-and-self-righteousness/

Intention of doing good you say is important. Where is this "good intention" arising from? Please contemplate on it.

If a rich man donates land for a Buddhist monastery but insists that monastery should be named after him, is he doing good for himself? His action may help others but what is it doing to his ego? strengthening or weakening?

Buddha cleaned the monk with dysentery because the monk needed help and Buddha was in a position to help. Buddha did not "intend" to help the monk. Buddha did not go to other monks and extolled them to help this monk so that they can gain good merit.
 
Buddha's teachings all are about YOU and not about OTHERS.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Laurent

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2016, 01:42:14 PM »
If a fellow monk is sick with dysentery, would you say tending to him is doing good?

I don't know why you associate doing good with good ego arising? I think most people have a natural impulse to help others. Neither Gandhi nor M Teresa spent any time complimenting themselves on their wonderfulness. No one who has an ego about it can sustain work like that through their lives.

The Buddha was enlightened. Why did he not simply sit and meditate? Why did he start teaching folks? Could someone point to a teaching that discourages helping others?

I am not an expert, but the Tibetans have ideas on what makes an action good. Good intention is an important part of it. Because my reading tends to be scattered and I don't keep notes, I am sorry to not be able to cite references or elaborate on this .- I can look and get back.

As you say, Buddha was enlightened and then he helped other people. How did he? He taught them to enlighten themselves the same way as him. Being enlightened is being perfect in intention, action etc...He could have been a thought leader, saying to people what they have to do, keeping peace secretly for himself, but he doesn't, because of his compassion. When you are healthy and happy, it is natural to want to share it with others. But how can you do it when you are yourself unhappy and agitated?  So if you really want to be helpful to this world, try hard to enlighten yourself, as Buddha taught. In this sense, compassion comes out of wisdom, the opposite is not true. It would be like curing a disease by treating the symptoms. Buddha taught to treat the cause. When there is no more cause, there is no more effects. We just have to eradicate what prevents natural compassion from arising.
The Bodhisattva finally understood that to help the world, he should liberate himself from ignorance.
I love Mahayana. They renounce to their own liberation in order to help other people to find liberation. It is good intentions. But it can lead to a foolish situation where people learn and teach each other to renounce to liberation. And then there are none being enlightened in the world.
To comprehend the sense of Buddha's teaching, you should understand that you can save people from diseases, which is very good, but you can't prevent them from dying though. They will die, whatever you do. It is the sense of Siddattha's  renunciation, his enlightment and his teaching. Buddhas don't treat diseases, but death itself.
You seem to believe that there is a contradiction between self liberation and taking care of people, while this is all the opposite.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 02:32:17 PM by Laurent »

Middleway

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2016, 02:38:22 PM »
I don't know why you associate doing good with good ego arising?

When we try to DO good, there is ego behind it. The more good we try and do, our ego gets stronger. Instead we should BE good. When we are BEING good, there is no ego behind it.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

playground

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2016, 03:56:30 PM »
Buddha was addressing the problem of the suffering of individuals.
His teaching were to reduce or relieve that suffering .... of individuals.

Maybe his is not a solution for macro scale problems like 'Kilary' Clinton,
the Military-Industrial complex and CIA sponsored ISIS in Syria.


Middleway

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2016, 04:03:12 PM »
Individuals make up the societies and nations. Individuals create the problems of the world at large.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

playground

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2016, 04:54:46 PM »
Individuals make up the societies and nations. Individuals create the problems of the world at large.

I don't see any individuals...  acting as individuals... 
causing these macro scale problems.

I believe it is governments, and institutions and corporations...
and 'bodies' representing sectional concerns.
   
Corporations don't "act as" individuals and they don't act like individuals,
they act in the interests of profits maximisation before all else. 
Sure, there are individuals in these corporations, but these people
are not 'acting as' individuals... they are 'acting as' ... profit maximising managers.

Within politics these individuals are 'acting as' ... warmongering republicans, or
democrats (acting as agents of Goldman Sachs). 

Governments, institutions, corporations... are not individuals.
And they don't behave like individuals.





dharma bum

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2016, 05:27:03 PM »
Quote
This is the closest I could find. Enjoy!

https://dharmacowgirl.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/righteousness-and-self-righteousness/

Intention of doing good you say is important. Where is this "good intention" arising from? Please contemplate on it.

If a rich man donates land for a Buddhist monastery but insists that monastery should be named after him, is he doing good for himself? His action may help others but what is it doing to his ego? strengthening or weakening?

Buddha cleaned the monk with dysentery because the monk needed help and Buddha was in a position to help. Buddha did not "intend" to help the monk. Buddha did not go to other monks and extolled them to help this monk so that they can gain good merit.
 
Buddha's teachings all are about YOU and not about OTHERS.

Thanks for the link.

A rich man donating money/land and insisting that it be named after him is not diminishing his ego by this act.
I agree that the Buddha's teachings are about you and not others. I'm saying helping others out of compassion is also about you.

Quote
Intention of doing good you say is important. Where is this "good intention" arising from? Please contemplate on it.

I don't know. I think good intention arises when the mind is calm/clear, but I also know that everybody has the impulse of good intention (which may be clouded by envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc).

I agree that Buddha's teachings are about you and not others. I think helping others is also about you and not others.

Quote
When we try to DO good, there is ego behind it. The more good we try and do, our ego gets stronger. Instead we should BE good. When we are BEING good, there is no ego behind it.

No offence, I think this is just splitting hairs and over-complicating a simple matter. I think being good should not stop you from helping others. I'm not saying you should get up in the morning and check the classifieds to look for opportunities to do good. But the notion that we should not try to do good because others have made a mess of their do-goodery or some others get their ego involved is imo mistaken. I think we should help others because it is the most natural thing to do. I personally don't believe in merit, so I don't believe anybody gets any merit. Helping others is a kind of meditation because you can practise letting go of any arising ego etc.
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dharma bum

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2016, 05:47:15 PM »
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/qanda07.htm

We usually see altruism, concern for others before oneself, as being the opposite of selfishness, concern for oneself before others. Buddhism does not see it as either one or the other but rather as a blending of the two. Genuine self-concern will gradually mature into concern for others as one sees that others are really the same as oneself. This is genuine compassion and it is the most beautiful jewel in the crown of the Buddha's teaching.

--

I found the above on the net upon searching for compassion+wisdom.

This is what I wanted to say, more or less.

I think we need not wait for complete enlightenment before accepting our altruistic nature. With my luck, I'm never going to get there. (I get lost on the way to work).
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 05:48:48 PM by dharma bum »
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Nicky

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2016, 08:13:17 PM »
Buddha was addressing the problem of the suffering of individuals.
His teaching were to reduce or relieve that suffering .... of individuals.

Maybe his is not a solution for macro scale problems like 'Kilary' Clinton,
the Military-Industrial complex and CIA sponsored ISIS in Syria.

This may be true but, as Buddhist individuals, some of us must vote since voting is compulsory where we live. The way we vote is a reflection upon our Buddhist practise & is also an act of karma.

If we vote for someone that eventually does a massive act of evil, we will have remorse  :'(    (unless the mind is enlightened  ;D).


Middleway

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2016, 09:42:18 PM »
Quote
Intention of doing good you say is important. Where is this "good intention" arising from? Please contemplate on it.

I don't know. I think good intention arises when the mind is calm/clear, but I also know that everybody has the impulse of good intention (which may be clouded by envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc).

So, everyone is inherently good but this goodness is covered up by envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc). This envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc. is a result or quality of ego self. When we drop this ego self, then our goodness shines or comes to the fore. From this point on anything we do, will be according to the dhamma and therefore good.

I am not saying doing good is bad. I am saying discerning what is in accordance with dhamma or good is difficult to ascertain with our ego intact.

Donald Trump says he will bring back torture by water boarding terror suspects. He says this necessary for the greater good. His goodness is covered up by his righteous ego.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Laurent

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2016, 09:58:26 PM »
Quote
Intention of doing good you say is important. Where is this "good intention" arising from? Please contemplate on it.

I don't know. I think good intention arises when the mind is calm/clear, but I also know that everybody has the impulse of good intention (which may be clouded by envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc).

So, everyone is inherently good but this goodness is covered up by envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc). This envy/greed/perceived self-interest etc. is a result or quality of ego self. When we drop this ego self, then our goodness shines or comes to the fore. From this point on anything we do, will be according to the dhamma and therefore good.

I am not saying doing good is bad. I am saying discerning what is in accordance with dhamma or good is difficult to ascertain with our ego intact.

Donald Trump says he will bring back torture by water boarding terror suspects. He says this necessary for the greater good. His goodness is covered up by his righteous ego.

Yes he probably has good intentions, convinced of being right.
So, let's purify minds. There is nothing selfish in willing to purify oneself, it is better for everyone including oneself. It is gradual until the end, so we don't have to wait full enlightment to be useful for others.
We can still feel the effects of Buddha's enlightment today, what could he have done better?
« Last Edit: November 19, 2016, 10:08:45 PM by Laurent »

Middleway

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2016, 10:15:48 PM »
I don't see anything he could have done differently or better.
Take everything I say with a grain of salt.

Quardamon

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Re: A troubling world... what would the Buddha do?
« Reply #41 on: November 21, 2016, 12:08:02 PM »
I don't see any individuals...  acting as individuals...  causing these macro scale problems.
    . . .   
Governments, institutions, corporations... are not individuals.
And they don't behave like individuals.

I agree with you, Playground. To address this, I like to start from the concept of identity. The chairman of the chess club identifies with that role. There are occasions, that what he wants as an individual player is in conflict with what he as the chairman wants for the club. A good chairman will choose to do what is good for the club. As a chairman, he also will have some skills that are not needed to be a good member.
Institutions do have a character. Around a hunderd years ago, here in the Netherlands, institutions were founded to build and run public swimming pools and public sport parks. The idea was, to make the working class more healthy and more happy.
Nowadays, we have two small banks that invest in environmentally healthy projects, and in projects in poor countries that will make people there self-reliant.
People that are nice individuals can work in institutions that do awful things. That can even be without the individual being aware of it.

So, just like an individual might have to learn to deal with hidden anger, a member of a social group might have to learn to deal with hidden contempt that all the members of that social group share. I found this an eye-opener:
https://www.deanza.edu/faculty/lewisjulie/White%20Priviledge%20Unpacking%20the%20Invisible%20Knapsack.pdf