Shame

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Shame

Postby alfa » Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:30 am

Namaste, :anjali:

I am what you might call a loser - in practically everything. I am wondering whether the Buddha had any views on the shame that one feels because of that. Why do we feel it, and what must be done, especially when it dominates one's life, actions, and thoughts?

Peace,
Alfa
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Re: Shame

Postby grasshopper » Mon Mar 21, 2011 9:58 am

Here is how I see things. Our personalities, the perception other people have about us, our own perception of our own self, our actual attainments, the degree to which we depend on these things are all very dynamic. You may be a loser now but you may have been great in a previous life and might be in the future. A successful and a well respected man/woman now, may end up being a loser in the next life and sometimes even in this very life itself. Legend has it that Buddha in a prev. life when he was a merchant killed his own brother for money; and also in another life as an advisor to a king committed adultery with the queen. Also there is the famous story of a serial killer who got ordained and became very successful. Is your situation as bad as this? Even if it is, there is always the possibility of change. We all have been losers and we all have been successful - nothing is set in stone.

To feel good about onself - engage in voluntary work. Hospices are great place to start.
To minimise bad things from happening - commit oneself to the 5 precepts and observe them without fail.
To increase the likelihood of good things coming your way - be generous; donate your time, service, money etc.
If you have done bad things to other people - go and ask for forgiveness from them and try to rectify the situation as much as possible.

I wish you all the best!
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Re: Shame

Postby dhammapal » Mon Mar 21, 2011 10:11 am

Hi Alfa, here is what I find one of the most moving passages from the Pali Canon:
the Buddha trans. Thanissaro wrote:"And what is the taking on of a practice that is painful in the present but yields pleasure in the future? There is the case of a person who is normally strongly passionate by nature and frequently experiences pain & grief born of passion; a person who is normally strongly aversive by nature and frequently experiences pain & grief born of aversion; a person who is normally strongly deluded by nature and frequently experiences pain & grief born of delusion. Even though touched with pain & grief, crying with a tearful face, he lives the holy life that is utterly perfect, surpassingly pure. With the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the good bourn, the heavenly world. This is called the taking on of a practice that is painful in the present but yields pleasure in the future.
From: Cula-dhammasamadana Sutta translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

It shouldn't mean beating yourself up if you can't be perfect but I find it inspiring anyway.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Shame

Postby phil » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:35 am

alfa wrote:Namaste, :anjali:

I am what you might call a loser - in practically everything. I am wondering whether the Buddha had any views on the shame that one feels because of that. Why do we feel it, and what must be done, especially when it dominates one's life, actions, and thoughts?

Peace,
Alfa



Hi there, according to Buddhism, if you were born in the human realm with a sensitivity to the Buddha's teaching ( which you demonstrate by being here) it is a very rare status and from what I understand you cannot be called a loser unless your behavipur goes astray and you waste that treasure, and even if that is the case you can sort out your behaviour, that is in your hands. But we have to remember there are powerful accumulated tendencies that will continue to propel us in the wrong direction, don't be too hard on yourself but celebrate the moments when wisdom prevails. And do not drink tiger blood. :jumping:
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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