Author Topic: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion  (Read 632 times)

NewPathForward

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Beginner in Vipassana / The Path
Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« on: May 26, 2020, 05:56:06 PM »
Hello, I hope everybody is having a tremendous day  :)

I have always been a prideful person.  The best way I could describe the way I perceived myself and the world for most of my life would be "An egomaniac with an inferiority complex". 

I feel I can see suffering in others more clearly now, as I have an improved understanding of my own suffering since I started my practice three months ago. Through this, I have been trying to be more compassionate and helpful to my peers.  I have, however, caught myself getting into the mindset of "preaching" to people who have not necessarily asked me for advice in the first place.  When I become aware of this in the moment, it is clear to me that it often stems from ego, pride, and judgement rather than compassion.  I also have the habit of seeing unwholesome actions in others and writing them off, or seeing myself as superior to them, rather than seeing them as somebody who is suffering, just like myself.

I wanted to ask about your experiences regarding this concept.  Have you ever often found your idea of compassion wrapped in pride?  How did you let it go?  What is your experience developing compassion for sentient beings?

Much metta,
Charlie 

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • I take from all Buddhist schools + some yogic schools
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2020, 02:24:47 AM »
Dear Charlie,

I experience what you experience just about every day. This is all very normal and natural in the process.

We don't want to get preachy when showing compassion. Unless the person wants to truly understand Buddhism and how it can improve their lives, it is best to "say less". This helps us to be more authentic and humble while serving others.  When you get deep into Buddhist philosophy, you will see that "talking little" is emphasized. The more enlightened you become, the more you understand why you should shut your trap.

Yes, the more we meditate and grow in wisdom, we can see others' faults much more clearly. Why? Because we are always seeing our own much more clearly. So this can trigger the ego to start criticizing others and looking down on them. You cannot control your thoughts of superiority, but know it's delusional. We're all fundamentally the same, whether we're homeless, rich, violent, peaceful, beautiful, ugly, mean or kind, etc.  Understanding emptiness helps to better understand equanimity of all people.

We also have to remember that we don't befriend people who don't share our dear Buddhist values, nor are we doormats for others to abuse us and mistreat us -- no, no, and no! This doesn't mean that we should not help someone who thinks and acts very differently than us when an occasion might present itself. 

4 things, friend:

1) Be compassionate always, as best as you can. If real abuse/mistreatment starts, you don't go back for more!
2) Learn to talk less when helping/serving others so your ego is not being fed (pride, getting preachy, unknowingly hurt others with words, etc.)
3) Keep a "loving" distance from people who don't share your values
4) Don't over-socialize:  it's not good for you and your practice, and it's not good for others (again, too much talking!!!!).

Much love in the Dharma,
Dhamma
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 02:36:30 AM by Dhamma »
You are already Buddha

gannuman

  • Member
  • I'm a human being. What more is necessary to say?
    • Mostly Theravada, some Hatha Yoga, some Taoism, some Vajrayana, very little Chan
    • Continuos interior remodeling
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2020, 02:37:35 AM »
Hello friend  :)

I almost responded with advice which then I thought was not apropriate because I'm also strugling with similar issues and then I realized my want to respond was some sort of pride :P ::)

I remembered something I heard from Thich Nhat Hanh, it was something like "love is beign mindfuly present". Simple and powerful. Succintly sums up the whole path and practice right :D So maybe you can keep that in mind next time you want to give counsel to people. Sometimes the most compassionate act is being aware and mindful of what is happening. Then, we shouldn't give advice before we are actualy realized in what we are going to say right? So instead of giving advice use that moment to learn so that one day you'll understand with enough profoundity to give advices that actualy go to the heart :)

My experience with regards to pride; I'm constantly finding it. Being mindful of it seems to be enough as well. Reflect often on the uselesness of pride and the goodness of compassion and friendliness, then when you have thoughts of pride you'll know it, know you shouldn't follow it, then let it go and focus on how to do good. With time it did dimish for me, just by patiently following the path.

I remembered another thing I heard, from Ajahn Brahm now. It's the 3 things we must remember:
  1. The most important moment? Right now.
  2. The most important person? The one right in front of you.
  3. What should you do? Care.

So, just being mindful and caring is enough. I think you're doing good, you're understanding where you're going wrong and that in itself is half the goal. The other half is trying and failing until we get it "less wrong".

I hope that my failings and negative tendencies don't impinge too much on you getting something useful from what I've said and may we all learn from our own and each others failings and beacome better people  :)

Just so you know, after I was reviewing this answer a thought of pride came on my head. That was because I cared about the answer I gave, so at least that's good :) let's take it one day at a time ;)
Lord of gods, there are two kinds of happiness ... Two kinds of sadness ... Two kinds of equinimity: That which you should cultivate and that which you should not cultivate.

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • I take from all Buddhist schools + some yogic schools
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2020, 03:33:55 AM »
@ gannuman: What you wrote is beautiful.

You touched my heart. And what you said is so, so, so true.

Let us all see the delusion stemming from our pride and our ego. And may we all know that sometimes not talking is the right to do. Let us be mindful and present.

Peace and enlightenment, dear friend.
You are already Buddha

NewPathForward

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Beginner in Vipassana / The Path
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2020, 03:35:18 PM »

...
1) Be compassionate always, as best as you can. If real abuse/mistreatment starts, you don't go back for more!
2) Learn to talk less when helping/serving others so your ego is not being fed (pride, getting preachy, unknowingly hurt others with words, etc.)
3) Keep a "loving" distance from people who don't share your values
4) Don't over-socialize:  it's not good for you and your practice, and it's not good for others (again, too much talking!!!!).

Much love in the Dharma,
Dhamma

That is very true!  When I'm with friends, I often judge the degree to which I am "in the present moment" by how social I am being.  I noticed something yesterday when I showed up to a coffeehouse that my friends frequent.  I felt a bit uncomfortable, and quite quickly engaged in wrong speech.  Lots of swearing, etc.  I became mindful of it and realized that it was compulsive, and happens more often when I am uncomfortable.  Perhaps the right thing to do would have been to simply be mindful of breath, physical sensations, and listening to others / looking them in the eyes.

I will make an effort to use my two ears and one mouth proportionally!  :D   Lovely post, I take delight in reading your posts because they seem to come from your own experience and have an undercurrent of compassion to self and others in them.   :)  I value what you say a lot.  Thanks for this gold!

Hello friend  :)

...

I remembered something I heard from Thich Nhat Hanh, it was something like "love is beign mindfuly present". Simple and powerful. Succintly sums up the whole path and practice right :D So maybe you can keep that in mind next time you want to give counsel to people. Sometimes the most compassionate act is being aware and mindful of what is happening. Then, we shouldn't give advice before we are actualy realized in what we are going to say right? So instead of giving advice use that moment to learn so that one day you'll understand with enough profoundity to give advices that actualy go to the heart :)

...I remembered another thing I heard, from Ajahn Brahm now. It's the 3 things we must remember:
  1. The most important moment? Right now.
  2. The most important person? The one right in front of you.
  3. What should you do? Care...

...So, just being mindful and caring is enough...

Your post made a tremendous impact on my evening last night.  I was reading the thread, and when I read you and Dhamma's posts, I realized that you were right.  I put down my phone and went and sat with my mother, watching TV and resting near the cat.  It was small, but I tried to simply be mindful of her evening and ask her what was going on in the show, etc.  Just sitting there with her brightened up both our nights visibly.

Then I did the same thing with my father and dog for a short period.  It really was great!  The best thing I could have done wasn't to go and offer a world of unsolicited advice, but to just be with them.  It made everyone's evening better.  No unnecessary preaching, unsolicited advice could have helped as much as being mindfully and simply present. 

Regarding what you said about feeling pride from your post, a thought popped in my head this morning.  As some context, I tutor elementary school children in mathematics.  I've had one student consistently who has a ton of difficulty with focus, very ADHD.  We're talking doing two or three math problems in a whole hour kind of ADHD.  I've been making a lot of effort to make math fun and integrate his spontaneity with the worksheets, and he's vastly improved!  Yesterday he did quite a bit of work, more so than we would ever have expected from him.  I left his mother a text message praising his good attitude and tremendous focus, and I received a text back this morning receiving equal praise and gratitude from her.  She was thanking me dearly, and she has been trying to learn my work schedule to get him with me more often. 

I felt very proud of this.  In my meditation, it kept popping up.  I was trying to discern whether this was pride or just metta for this child, myself, and his mother.  I felt that it was actually a good thing to cultivate, so long as I didn't identify too deeply with it.  Sometimes, for me, compassion for self and others can mask itself as pride, and vice versa.  I don't have any real conclusion to this, I just thought it matched up with what you said regarding feeling pride about your post because you wanted to help.   :D

Much metta to both of you, thank you for dedicating your time and effort toward helping another human being grow,
Charlie
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 03:50:04 PM by NewPathForward »

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • I take from all Buddhist schools + some yogic schools
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2020, 05:49:49 PM »
Dear Charlie,

Right now, I am really caught up with delusion because of anger towards politicians, people's ugly mouths, etc. I am aware that I am - and that is what is important. Same for you - just be aware of your pride, ego, anger, etc.  When you get tight in the chest when you're angry, feel it! Know the sensation, and see how it is connected directly to the thoughts that induce anger.  Every thought affects bodily sensations.

On a personal note: Some local politician wrote something in our local newspaper that made me start yelling and ranting. This person is full of hate, but she is still a person who wants to be happy. Yes, she's delusional, just like I am at times.  I look at her with my understanding of emptiness (she is a sum of endless physical and mental parts, and she doesn't exist inherently in ultimate reality, but neither do I). Karma, too, has impacted her choices and the person she is today, just like me  She will most likely continue to be ignorant and hateful, but I should always wish her metta. She will have, though, consequences for her ugly behavior, as we all will.
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 06:43:25 PM by Dhamma »
You are already Buddha

Thanisaro85

  • Member
  • When thoughts, sensations, feelings arise,know it
    • Reverend father Jaran, Pramote. Theravada
    • Still breathing.
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 03:32:58 AM »


Right now, I am really caught up with delusion because of anger towards politicians, people's ugly mouths, etc. I am aware that I am - and that is what is important. Same for you - just be aware of your pride, ego, anger, etc.  When you get tight in the chest when you're angry, feel it! Know the sensation, and see how it is connected directly to the thoughts that induce anger.  Every thought affects bodily sensations.


I am in the same situation as you, but the thing is I don't know since when I start to pay attention to them. Before age 30 I am still enjoying my beers with colleagues that kind of life. Politicians who? I can't recall and this is unstoppable now, but my understanding is that there are people of my age 40++ around me who doesn't really pay attention to politics. I shouldn't and perhap we practising buddhists shouldn't. I didn't have a stable mind or strong meditation foundation before I start enrolled in an invisible/unnecessary mind turmoil.

I had tried to avoid watching news related to them now as it deeply disturbed my practises. I spend times watching cute and funny animals video instead. And this forum is my 2nd refuge after my altar of buddhas and monks statues,-their kindness and teachings. Thinking of endless recycling in samsara make me live as simply as I could. I am trying to find a way to balance the way of living vs bringing my kids up. They are still young to comprehend my thinking vs the interesting world and I may seems lack of passion( in worldly sense).

Toward communicating, I had seen a lot of you replying with very well expressed messages ,  sometimes I don't know how to join in or reply, so rather holding myself back AMAP to avoid causing misunderstandings.


I really like these points you wrote, is running in me but I can't seems to lay them out like this. Perhap I am really bad in articulating myself..☺

1) Be compassionate always, as best as you can. If real abuse/mistreatment starts, you don't go back for more! 
2) Learn to talk less when helping/serving others so your ego is not being fed (pride, getting preachy, unknowingly hurt others with words, etc.)
3) Keep a "loving" distance from people who don't share your values
4) Don't over-socialize:  it's not good for you and your practice, and it's not good for others (again, too much talking!!!!).
A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta

Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • I take from all Buddhist schools + some yogic schools
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 02:58:07 AM »
@ Thanisaro85

I really appreciated your post, and I humbly accept your compliment and kindness.

Dear friend, your posts have been amazingly helpful and inspiring for me -- I really mean that. I believe that you express yourself beautifully, giving Theravadan advice. You know the teachings quite well for a lay person. I know a little about all schools of Buddhism, but am an expert in none, except I understand Theravada meditation styles quite well (or I think I do, lol).

I think you just gave me a bit wisdom in your last post: I need to start staying away from "all things political".  Why put myself through the terrible emotions and anger when I don't need to? It's not as if I am going to change society by reading and watching politics. Yes, I need to be aware of political situations, but that's as far as I need to go. I just want away from it.

The Buddha said we get highly delusional when we are angry. Boy, isn't that the truth! And the anger only increases samsara.

I really want to do a Buddhist retreat with meditation and silence, but it's not possible right now. There goes my "wanting" LOL.

Peace and enlightenment to you.
You are already Buddha

yonski3

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • vipassana
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2020, 12:59:27 PM »
Dear Charlie,

I experience what you experience just about every day. This is all very normal and natural in the process.

We don't want to get preachy when showing compassion. Unless the person wants to truly understand Buddhism and how it can improve their lives, it is best to "say less". This helps us to be more authentic and humble while serving others.  When you get deep into Buddhist philosophy, you will see that "talking little" is emphasized. The more enlightened you become, the more you understand why you should shut your trap.

Yes, the more we meditate and grow in wisdom, we can see others' faults much more clearly. Why? Because we are always seeing our own much more clearly. So this can trigger the ego to start criticizing others and looking down on them. You cannot control your thoughts of superiority, but know it's delusional. We're all fundamentally the same, whether we're homeless, rich, violent, peaceful, beautiful, ugly, mean or kind, etc.  Understanding emptiness helps to better understand equanimity of all people.

We also have to remember that we don't befriend people who don't share our dear Buddhist values, nor are we doormats for others to abuse us and mistreat us -- no, no, and no! This doesn't mean that we should not help someone who thinks and acts very differently than us when an occasion might present itself. 

4 things, friend:

1) Be compassionate always, as best as you can. If real abuse/mistreatment starts, you don't go back for more!
2) Learn to talk less when helping/serving others so your ego is not being fed (pride, getting preachy, unknowingly hurt others with words, etc.)
3) Keep a "loving" distance from people who don't share your values
4) Don't over-socialize:  it's not good for you and your practice, and it's not good for others (again, too much talking!!!!).

Much love in the Dharma,
Dhamma

Hello dear friend

I enjoyed reading your reply, can you expand a little more about point number 4 - don’t over socialize?


Dhamma

  • Member
  • May we all fulfill our deepest wish for happiness
    • I take from all Buddhist schools + some yogic schools
Re: Looking at people instead of down at them, and compassion
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2020, 05:15:15 PM »
Hello dear friend

I enjoyed reading your reply, can you expand a little more about point number 4 - don’t over socialize?

Thank you so much. I am simply relaying what I learned from Yuttadhammo Bikkhu.

It's okay to socialize with like-minded people (people who share your Buddhist values), especially when we're using talking to benefit each other. But, if we talk to just talk -- even with like-minded people - it can get us into trouble.  Why? Our words are often empty and silly, which can lead to greater suffering for yourself and other people.  Yes, we cause a lot of suffering with our words; and not only that, a lot of talking is a waste of time (futile).

I hope I answered your question satisfactorily.

Much love in the Dharma, dear friend,

Dhamma :)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 05:17:03 PM by Dhamma »
You are already Buddha

 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
14 Replies
4247 Views
Last post November 20, 2010, 10:57:23 AM
by Matthew
30 Replies
11005 Views
Last post January 13, 2011, 08:56:57 AM
by Matthew
11 Replies
4747 Views
Last post January 30, 2011, 02:41:53 AM
by dragoneye
7 Replies
13063 Views
Last post March 30, 2011, 03:38:41 PM
by rideforever
12 Replies
3567 Views
Last post July 14, 2011, 08:49:58 AM
by Matthew
16 Replies
6034 Views
Last post February 12, 2013, 10:18:47 PM
by TCozy119
5 Replies
1730 Views
Last post March 17, 2014, 09:57:30 AM
by Seph