Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby dagon » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:49 pm

arijitmitter wrote:
Dan74 wrote:I think disconcerting things and injustices are agitating so long as we do nothing about them.


Agreed but what can an individual do about drug trade, apathy of the wealthy, alcoholism, terrorism.

My question is very specific - if a person is agitated by " negative " news ( terrorism, manipulated stock markets, corrupt politicians, murderers going scot free and like ) should he retreat into a cocoon and practice Dhamma from inside it ?

There is at least prima facie some evidence that yes it has to be so - or else monks why do monks live in a monastery. If I become annoyed that I can do nothing to change the world am I better off ignoring it in order to survive ? If I am agitated how can I be a Dhamma follower ?


Do they go "scot free" - karma is the only thing that we will take with us on death.

The negative news is part of the proof of the the 4 noble Truths. You can disrepair of the news or used it in your development. When you understand the causes of suffering then you can see the truth that the Buddha of how we can escape from the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death. Trying to isolate yourself from suffering by seeking happiness or trying to hid from suffering because of aversion is some of what keeps us in the cycle. We need to see through events to see the rise and fall of phoneme just as the breath rises and falls in meditation.

The shift that i have just finished i was working with a manager who i have heard described by every negative term in the English language and which on a mundane level is justified. In 18 months she has only had 2 nice things to say about me and then denied say them afterwards - she is the same with every one but reserves a special hatred for me. She is one of the best things that has happened in my attempts to develop. Once i realized that she was suffering and the causes of her suffering i developed compassion for her. What i did realize it was not her that was making me suffer but myself through aversion to her and what she was saying. I got myself moved by the regional manager so i was working in the very area that she spends most of time. I owe her so much because of what she has given me. I would tell her this but don't because i know that it would only add to her suffering.

You are concerning yourself with those who have made money in questionable ways. I was looking after one of these types of people up to a couple of months ago. He was physical sick and aged - but what was causing him to suffer the most was that he had lost control of the money and his kids were too busy spending the money to come and see him. Those things that we crave and strive for in life are often the source of our greatest suffering as we die.

I will spare you the suffering of having to read my English by continuing - but engaging with the world of suffering has given me so much more than living in a cacoon could have.

metta
paul
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Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby chownah » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:04 pm

arijitmitter wrote:
SDC wrote:Did you read the whole thing?

SDC wrote:This help can be done all day every day through all of your social interactions. That is "the world" that you can help - the world that you move through every day. This way you are not ignoring anything. You are handling everything in proximity.


Yes I read. But my dilemma is there are so many I cannot help. Those whom I can help I do. But injustice anywhere agitates me ( as I said I empathize a lot ).

To ask question of a specific instance - If I cannot help a child in Syria then should I just distance myself from the Syrian conflict. If watching old women trundle from Syria to Lebanon is causing me agitation will you suggest I turn off the news and concentrate on my meditation ?

To ask the specific question in the largest imaginable scale - since there are so many I cannot help should I therefore turn off news and live in a self sufficient cocoon and follow the path of Dhamma ?

Perhaps you should evaluate the positive and negative effects of watching the news. The negative effect is it uses up your time and agitates you. The positive effect is........? I can't see much of a positive effect. It does keep you abreast of world affairs....but on the other hand it uses up your time and you don't do anything to help the people you are concerned about. Can you see a positive effect of your news watching?

Also, forget the safe cocoon idea......there is no such thing. Try it if you want and I'm sure you will see.
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Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby beeblebrox » Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:16 pm

arijitmitter wrote:Yes I read. But my dilemma is there are so many I cannot help. Those whom I can help I do. But injustice anywhere agitates me ( as I said I empathize a lot ).


Hi Arijitmitter,

That seems maybe a bit self-centered... why not keep in mind that there are also people who are able to do these kind of help (and do so) where we're unable to? There are also many people who are willing to act as a support (or as an extension) for us.

Also, we even can help these kind of people.

About the issue of the monastics keeping themselves to a monastery... keep in mind that the community is four-fold: monks, nuns, and lay friends of both genders.

The monks and nuns are responsible for carrying the Buddha's teachings. The lay friends can look to them for support (i.e., as one of their refuges), and I think they could apply this however they like with their lives, including whatever the world happens to be around them. (Especially if they can do this without turning it into a problem.)

:anjali:
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Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby FatDaddy » Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:10 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:The short answer I came up with is: meditate diligently. Eventualy you'll get tired of frequently thinking about politics. It's an aversion generator and, yes, an agitation to the heart/mind. I also think that many rules of conduct, beyond the five precepts, that some buddhists follow, eventualy come naturaly _ by seeing the disadvantage of some behaviours. It is not so much following a rule, but about feeling happy.

Life should be lived to be happy and, if you're able, make others happy. There's an interesting discourse by the Buddha to help us sort this out in our heads. It basicaly says that there are 4 types of person:

4- The ones who neither work for their own benefit nor for others'
3- The ones who work just for others
2- The ones who work just for themselves
1- The ones who work for themselves and others

The Buddha says that type 1 is superior to 2 which is superior to 3 which is superior to 4.

Now the interesting part is that the Buddha considered that type 2 is superior to type 3, something that contradicts our christian upbringing that we take as correct _ even if we're not christians. Granted that the Buddha was talking of the spiritual work, but it's a change in perspective. At least for me it was.


:goodpost: Maybe this is why there is no such thing as a Buddhist martyr.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:43 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:That sounds like good advice to me. If any improvement is to be brought about in the world it must be done by changing individuals.

Look what you can do to improve your own behaviour. If you can become enlightened, then you can have far more influence to help others. Even if you cannot, at least you will improve your own life a great deal.

A Discourse on the Sallekha Sutta


:anjali:

O Venerable One.
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Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Nov 22, 2013 4:50 am

kc2dpt wrote:
arijitmitter wrote:Does following the Dhamma mean that I should ignore / tune out some parts of the news so as not to get agitated.

I think so, yes. What is meditation if not tuning out some parts of the world? We sit in silence so we can notice the noise we make in our own heads. Then we silence that noise as well. This is the way to insight and peace. However, if you tune out the world merely so it doesn't upset you, so you can go on with your own pursuit of pleasures unbothered by other people's problems, this is not helpful to you nor anyone else.

In other words, if I switch off the distressing news channel and instead switch to the funny entertainment channel then this is not practicing the Buddha's teachings. It is simply substituting what is undesirable for what is desirable. If I switch off bot the distressing news channel AND the funny entertaining channel and instead focus on stilling the mind then this is practicing the Buddha's teachings.

That said, it is sometimes useful to "step back into the world" to see how you are doing. If you encounter desirable or undesirable things and still feel agitation then you know you still have more work to do.

Am I harming my progress by distracting myself with other people's pain ? After all Buddhist monks live in a cocoon.

If seeing other people's pain is distracting you then yes you are harming your progress. If seeing other people's pain inspires you to practice harder then you are helping your progress. Conversely, if you are hiding from other people's pain to avoid feeling like you need to practice then you are harming your progress.

To put it another way, I think seeing other people's pain should motivate us to want to help. The Buddha teaches us the best way to help others is to first still one's own mind. A popular analogy is to first get yourself out of the quicksand before you then try to help others get out of that quicksand. Or as they say on airplanes, "Please secure your own oxygen mask before helping those next to you."

I hope this is helpful. :)


An excellent and inspiring post , so very complete and thorough .

thanks ,

sanjay
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Re: Does Buddhism mean living in a cocoon

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Nov 22, 2013 5:08 am

dagon wrote:
arijitmitter wrote:
Dan74 wrote:I think disconcerting things and injustices are agitating so long as we do nothing about them.


Agreed but what can an individual do about drug trade, apathy of the wealthy, alcoholism, terrorism.

My question is very specific - if a person is agitated by " negative " news ( terrorism, manipulated stock markets, corrupt politicians, murderers going scot free and like ) should he retreat into a cocoon and practice Dhamma from inside it ?

There is at least prima facie some evidence that yes it has to be so - or else monks why do monks live in a monastery. If I become annoyed that I can do nothing to change the world am I better off ignoring it in order to survive ? If I am agitated how can I be a Dhamma follower ?


Do they go "scot free" - karma is the only thing that we will take with us on death.

The negative news is part of the proof of the the 4 noble Truths. You can disrepair of the news or used it in your development. When you understand the causes of suffering then you can see the truth that the Buddha of how we can escape from the cycle of birth, sickness, old age and death. Trying to isolate yourself from suffering by seeking happiness or trying to hid from suffering because of aversion is some of what keeps us in the cycle. We need to see through events to see the rise and fall of phoneme just as the breath rises and falls in meditation.

The shift that i have just finished i was working with a manager who i have heard described by every negative term in the English language and which on a mundane level is justified. In 18 months she has only had 2 nice things to say about me and then denied say them afterwards - she is the same with every one but reserves a special hatred for me. She is one of the best things that has happened in my attempts to develop. Once i realized that she was suffering and the causes of her suffering i developed compassion for her. What i did realize it was not her that was making me suffer but myself through aversion to her and what she was saying. I got myself moved by the regional manager so i was working in the very area that she spends most of time. I owe her so much because of what she has given me. I would tell her this but don't because i know that it would only add to her suffering.

You are concerning yourself with those who have made money in questionable ways. I was looking after one of these types of people up to a couple of months ago. He was physical sick and aged - but what was causing him to suffer the most was that he had lost control of the money and his kids were too busy spending the money to come and see him. Those things that we crave and strive for in life are often the source of our greatest suffering as we die.

I will spare you the suffering of having to read my English by continuing - but engaging with the world of suffering has given me so much more than living in a cacoon could have.

metta
paul


Admire your courage Paul.

Its real wisdom when having to deal with people who seem to have an instinctive antipathy , so also , when one seemingly has the vice versa . As we go deeper inside , this "seeming " gets shattered , and its all but an illusion that we have in our hearts .

Also , sometimes when we find ourselves with petulance towards a person or a situation , it shows a defilement that the person/situation carries along, is actually deeply suppressed, lying latent in our hearts . Its always best to introspect and wash it away .

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