help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

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Wizard in the Forest
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help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Wed Feb 09, 2011 4:43 pm

A friend of mine has great attachment to national pride to the point where his feelings are hurt and he becomes angry when he hears someone say something remotely unpatriotic, and he has asked me if there is any sutta that deals with this kind of attachment and I am not sure if this is too specific of an attachment, because I do not remember any such sutta and nationalism is a relatively new idea. is there any advice you can give me so I can help him, and is there any sutta or commentarial literature that addresses this?
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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Nomade » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:09 pm

A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:15 pm

I can't think of any specific Suttas right now, but there is the Brahma Viharas (AN 3.65 and at numerous other places) where it talks of "boundless compassion" towards others and how metta and the other Brahma Viharas are to be 'sent' to all beings everywhere, regardless of boundaries, i.e. borders.

From Buddhism a to z:

Nationalism (jātimāna) is a strong feeling of emotional attachment towards one’s own country or region. It is natural to like and to favour the environment one was brought up in, the language one’s fellows speak, their customs and their history and to this extent nationalism is an understandable and perhaps even an admirable feeling. The Buddha seems to have had a fond regard for his own land and people, the Sākyans (D.I,91). However, like all forms of attachment, nationalism can easily get out of hand and become the cause of parochialism, prejudice and even hatred towards other national groups. The mature Buddhist knows that all things, especially political entities, are impermanent and that having been born in one country, one could just as easily be reborn in another in the next life, and thus that intense attachment to one’s country is misguided.


http://buddhisma2z.com/content.php?id=281

I especially like the last sentence in the quote above, if one believes in or accepts rebirth, that is.

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Jhana4 » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:17 pm

Nomade wrote:A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...


+ 1

A little cognitive therapy may help too. That friend could benefit by repeating and exploring the thoughts

- I am not my country. My country is only where I was born and where I live

- If my country is good or bad it doesn't mean I am good or bad.

- Looking at the problems my country has is a way of being patriotic. I can't contribute toward making my country better until I know what its shortcomings are.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Nibbida » Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:24 pm

To my thinking, nationalism is just another example of clinging to views ("This is the best country in the world." "Love it or leave it." "Saying anything critical of this country is unpatriotic and intolerable." etc.)

"Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of clinging. What four? Clinging to sensual pleasures, clinging to views, clinging to rules and observances, and clinging to a doctrine of self."

Cula-sihanada Sutta: The Shorter Discourse on the Lion's Roar
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.011.ntbb.html



This isn't a sutta, but a talk by the teacher Christina Feldman about papañca, which fits well with nationalism and a bunch of other -isms:

Papañca, as the Buddha speaks about it and as we experience it, is the source of most of the agitation, restlessness, anxiety, and unease that we experience in our hearts and minds. It’s papañca that often leads us to struggle with ourselves and others. Papañca is certainly very much involved in obsession, rumination, and preoccupation. Outwardly, papañca has a very big role to play in the generation of violence, war, greed, consumerism, and of all of the –isms that beset our world...Papañca leads us to fall into craving and hate, to fear about the future. Papañca has much to do with the loops of guilt that we can play and replay in our minds...
It is important to see that papañca, can be individual, but it can also be collective. Collective papañca is even more toxic than individual papañca. Gossip is the classic example of that. We don’t like someone, we find someone who also doesn’t like the same person and we feel much more reassured reaffirmed in our dislike and our views and the righteousness of it if we can generate the story together. We find the reassurance of views through collective papañca.
Some of you are old enough to remember the days when communism was going to take over the world. We fought the Vietnam War over it. It was a whole collective papañca, wasn’t it? Communists were coming. It was going to be a domino effect. Pretty soon the whole world was going to be overtaken by communists. We went to war. Thousands of people lost their lives, lost their homes. And who’s our favorite trading partner now? It’s like, ―Communism, well that’s actually not a problem anymore.‖ We’re even taking it off the immigration form. You don’t have to declare anymore coming in to America if you’ve ever been a communist. That’s great news. Until this year you had to. But it’s okay now. Think about the papañca that was produced, think about sexism, racism, homophobia, all of the –isms which are really a sharing of collective papañca.


I've attached a transcript of the entire talk, and below is the link for the audio file:
http://www.dharmaseed.org/teacher/44/talk/6748/
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Christina Feldman - Papañca.pdf
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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby phil » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:57 am

It's always been a bit surprising to me that clinging to national pride is one of the subtle defilements rather than gross or medium.

http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=H-r7 ... ka&f=false

You'd think it would be one of the first things to go. I thought it was gone for me until I found myself screaming with lust when Canada beat the U.S (twice) in the Gold Medal hockey finals at Vancouver.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:18 am

Nomade wrote:A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...

This is a good one. It might open his eyes a little.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby plwk » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:24 am

Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Hanzze » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:43 am

actually no sutta, but maybe it helps

THREE DIMENSIONS OF FREEDOM

Freedom is a three-dimensional phenomenon. The first is the physical dimension. You can be
enslaved physically, and for thousands of years man has been sold in the marketplace just like any other commodity. Slaves have existed all over the world. They were not given human rights; they were not really accepted as human beings, they were thought of as subhuman. And people are still being treated as subhuman. In India there are sudras, the untouchables. Much of India is still living in slavery;' there are still parts of the country where these people cannot be educated, cannot move into other professions than those decided by tradition five thousand years ago.
Even to touch them is thought to make you impure; you have to take a bath immediately. Even if you don't touch the person, but only his shadow--then too you have to take a bath.

And all over the world, the woman's body is not considered equal to the man's body. She is
not as free as man is. In China for centuries the husband had the right to kill his wife without
being punished because the wife was his possession. Just as you can destroy your chair or you can burn your house-because it is your chair, it is your house-it was your wife. In Chinese law there was no punishment for the husband if he killed his wife, because she was thought to be soulless. She was just a reproductive mechanism, a factory to produce children.

So there is physical slavery and there is physical freedom-that your body is not enchained,
that it is not categorized as lower than anybody else's, that there is an equality as far as the
body is concerned. But even today this freedom does not exist everywhere. It is becoming less and less so but it has not disappeared completely. Freedom of the body will mean that there is no distinction between black and white, that there is no distinction between man and woman, that there is no distinction of any kind as far as bodies are concerned. Nobody is pure, nobody is impure; all bodies are the same. This is the very basis of freedom.

Then there is the second dimension: psychological freedom. There are very few individuals in the world who are psychologically free . . . because if you are a Mohammedan you are not
psychologically free; if you are a Hindu you are not psychologically free. Our whole way of
bringing up children is to make them slaves, slaves of political ideologies, social ideologies,
religious ideologies. We don't give them a chance to think on their own, to search on their own. We force their minds into a certain mold. We stuff their minds with things-things that even we are not experienced in. Parents teach children that there is a God-and they know nothing of God. They tell their children that there is heaven and there is hell-and they know nothing of heaven and hell.

You are teaching your children things that you don't know yourself. You are just conditioning
their minds because your minds were conditioned by your parents. This way the disease goes on from one generation to another generation.

Psychological freedom will be possible when children are allowed to grow, helped to grow to
more intellect, more intelligence, more consciousness, more alertness. No belief will be given to them. They will not be taught any kind of faith, but they will be given as much incentive as
possible to search for truth. And they will be reminded from the very beginning: "Your own truth, your own finding, is going to liberate you; nothing else can do that for you."
Truth cannot be borrowed. It cannot be studied in books. Nobody can inform you about it. You have to sharpen your intelligence yourself, so that you can look into existence and find it. If a child is left open, receptive, alert, and given the incentive for search, we will have psychological freedom. And with psychological freedom comes tremendous responsibility. You don't have to teach it to him; it comes like the shadow of psychological freedom. And he will be grateful to you. Otherwise every child is angry at his parents because they have ruined him: they destroyed his freedom, they conditioned his mind. Even before he asked any questions, they filled his mind with answers that are all bogus-because they are not based on his own experience. The whole world lives in psychological slavery.

And the third dimension is the ultimate of freedom--which is knowing that you are not the body,knowing that you are not the mind, knowing that you are only pure consciousness. That
knowledge comes through meditation. It separates you from the body, it separates you from the mind, and ultimately only you are there as pure consciousness, as pure awareness. That is
spiritual freedom. These are the three basic dimensions of freedom for the individual.

The collective has no soul, the collective has no mind. The collective has no body even; it is only a name. It is just a word. For the collective, there is no need for freedom. When all the
individuals are free, the collective will be free. But we are very impressed by words, so much so that we forget that words don't have any substance. The collective, the society, the community, the religion, the church--they are all words. There is nothing real behind them.
I am reminded of a small story. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice is coming to the palace of the
queen. When she arrives the queen asks her, "Did you meet a messenger on the way coming
towards me?"
And the little girl says, "Nobody. I met nobody."
And the queen thought "nobody" was somebody, so she asks,
"But then why has Nobody not reached here yet?"
The little girl said, "Madam, nobody is nobody!"
And the queen said, "Don't be stupid! I understand: Nobody must be Nobody, but he should
have arrived before you. It seems Nobody walks slower than you do."
And Alice said, "That is absolutely wrong! Nobody walks faster than me!"
In this way the dialogue continues. Through the whole dialogue, "nobody" becomes
somebody, and it is impossible for Alice to convince the queen that "nobody" is nobody.

The collective, the society-all these are just words. That which really exists is the individual;
otherwise there will be a problem. What is the freedom of a Rotary Club? What is the freedom of the Lions Club? These are just names.

The collective is a very dangerous idea. In the name of the collective the individual, the real, has always been sacrificed. I am absolutely against it. Nations have been sacrificing individuals in the name of the nation--and "nation" is just a word. The lines that you have drawn on the map are not anywhere on the earth. They are just your game. But fighting over those lines that you have drawn on the map, millions of people have died-real people dying for unreal lines. And you make them heroes, national heroes!

This idea of the collective has to be destroyed completely; otherwise in some way or other
we will continue sacrificing the individual. We have sacrificed the individual even in the name of religion, in religious wars. Mohammedan dying in a religious war knows that his paradise is certain. He has been told by the cleric, If you are dying for Islam then your paradise is absolutely certain, with all the pleasures you have ever imagined or dreamt of. And the person you have killed will also reach paradise because he has been Ned by a Mohammedan. It is a privilege for him, so you need not feel guilty that you have lulled a man." Christians have crusades-a jihad, a religious war-and kill thousands of people, burn living human beings. For what? For some collectivity-for Christianity, for Buddhism, for Hinduism, for communism, for fascism, anything will do. Any word representing some collectivity, and the individual can be sacrificed.

There is no reason for the collectivity even to exist: individuals are enough. And if individuals have freedom, are psychologically free, are spiritually free, then naturally the collective will be spiritually free.

The collective consists of individuals, not vice versa. It has been said that the individual is only a part of the collective; that is not true. The individual is not just a part of the collective; the collective is only a symbolic word for individuals meeting together. They are not parts of
anything; they remain independent. They remain organically independent, they don't become
parts of a collective.

If we really want ,a world of freedom, then we have to understand that in the name of the
collectivity so many massacres have happened that now it is time to stop. All collective names should lose the grandeur that they have had in the past. Individuals should be the highest value.
The freedom from something is not true freedom. The freedom to do anything you want to do is also not ,the freedom I am talking about. My vision of freedom is to be yourself.

It is not a question of getting freedom from something. That freedom will not be freedom, because it is still given to you; there is a cause to it. The thing that you were feeling dependent on is still there in your freedom. You are obliged to it. Without it you would not have been free.

The freedom to do anything you want is not freedom either, because wanting, desiring to "do"something, arises out of the mind--and mind is your bondage. The true freedom comes out of choiceless awareness, but when there is choiceless awareness the freedom is neither dependent on things nor dependent on doing something. The freedom that follows choiceless awareness is the freedom just to be yourself. And you are yourself already, you are born with it; hence it is not dependent on anything else.
Nobody can give it to you and nobody can take it from you. A sword can cut your head but it
cannot cut your freedom, your being. It is another way of saying that you are centered, rooted
in your natural, existential self. It has nothing to do with outside.
Freedom from things is dependent on the outside. Freedom to do something is also dependent
on the outside. Freedom to be ultimately pure has not to be dependent on anything outside you.

You are born as freedom. It: is just that you have been conditioned to forget it. Layers upon
layers of conditionings have made you a puppet. The strings are in somebody else's hands. If you are a Christian, you are a puppet. Your strings are in the hand of a God that does not exist, so just to give you the sense that God exists there are prophets, messiahs, representing God. They represent nobody, they are just egoistic people -- and even the ego wants to reduce you to a puppet !
They tell you what to do, they give? they give you Ten Commandments.

They give you your personality-that you are a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, a Mohammedan. They give you your so-called knowledge. And naturally, under the great burden that they start giving you from the very beginning of your childhood-the Himalayan load you are carrying-underneath it, hidden, repressed, is your natural self. If you can get rid of all conditionings, if you can think that you are neither a communist nor a fascist, that you are neither a Christian nor a Mohammedan . . .
You were not born a Christian or Mohammedan; you were born just pure, innocent
consciousness. To be again in that purity, in that innocence, in that consciousness, is what I
mean by freedom.

Freedom is the ultimate experience of life. There is nothing higher than that. And out of freedom many flowers blossom in you. Love is the flowering of your freedom. Compassion, another flowering of your freedom. All that is valuable in life flowers in the innocent, natural state of your being.

So don't connect freedom with independence. Independence is naturally from something,
from somebody. Don't connect freedom with doing things that you want to do, because that is
your mind, not you. Wanting to do something, desiring to do something, you are in the bondage of your wanting and your desiring. With the freedom I am talking about, you simply are--in utter silence, serenity, beauty, bliss.



by Osho (“Freedom - The Courage to Be Yourself”)
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Akuma » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:08 am

A friend of mine has great attachment to national pride to the point where his feelings are hurt and he becomes angry when he hears someone say something remotely unpatriotic, and he has asked me if there is any sutta that deals with this kind of attachment and I am not sure if this is too specific of an attachment, because I do not remember any such sutta and nationalism is a relatively new idea. is there any advice you can give me so I can help him, and is there any sutta or commentarial literature that addresses this?


Seems like he is identifying himself with at least certain aspects of the country in a projective manner then and therefore taking attacks on "his country" as personal. I would rather recommend a psychoanalytical approach if he realizes its a problem already ^^.
If he wants a "buddhist" approach this would probably be the typical simplistic opposite-thingie; reflecting on the drawbacks of the country, the no-self nature of the country; the incapability of a country to satisfy; the uselessness of a flag with fancy colors on it and so on.

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby andre9999 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:55 pm

Ben wrote:
Nomade wrote:A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...

This is a good one. It might open his eyes a little.


Or it could make it worse.

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Ben » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:34 pm

andre9999 wrote:
Ben wrote:
Nomade wrote:A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...

This is a good one. It might open his eyes a little.


Or it could make it worse.


Possibly, but if its in a neutral place, or better somewhere overseas, and if the discussion is respectful, then I think there's every possibility that the young man in question may have a change of view.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:40 pm

The only sutta I know on the matter is:

"In the same way, there are these gross impurities in a monk intent on heightened mind: misconduct in body, speech, & mind. These the monk — aware & able by nature — abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence. When he is rid of them, there remain in him the moderate impurities: thoughts of sensuality, ill will, & harmfulness. These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence. When he is rid of them there remain in him the fine impurities: thoughts of his caste, thoughts of his home district, thoughts related to not wanting to be despised. These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence."
(Dirt-washer sutta)

With metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby alan » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:46 am

Maybe you could give him a good history book.
This one is sure to cure excessive patriotism, among Americans at least: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_People%27s_History_of_the_United_States

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Nibbida » Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:30 pm

Nomade wrote:A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...


From the bodhisatta Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." (from Innocents Abroad)
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby Will » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:19 pm

Tell him not to worry about this specific form of attachment, unless it is the only affliction left in his "attachment" bag - which I doubt. Just suggest he work on "everything is impermanent" and the fact that he has been & will be, reborn in many realms & nations other than his present nation.
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta

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Re: help on overcoming attachment to patriotism?

Postby cooran » Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:34 pm

Nibbida wrote:
Nomade wrote:A steady diet of talking with foreigners may help...


From the bodhisatta Mark Twain: "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness." (from Innocents Abroad)


:twothumbsup: Good One!

with metta
Chris
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