irritating people

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Re: irritating people

Postby josephcmabad » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:15 pm

"Not getting involved" or "renounce".


so how do I practice this?
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Re: irritating people

Postby ground » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:29 am

josephcmabad wrote:
"Not getting involved" or "renounce".


so how do I practice this?


Through the 8fold path. The 8fold path naturally has "this" effect.

More specifically: the cultivation of "calm" leads to discerning "non-calm". Discerning "non-calm" is an aspect of mindfulness. If one dose not recognize "turbulence" as it arises one will not be able to renounce "turbulence", i.e. not get involved, but be overwhelmed by it.
How does "calm" arise? Through ethical conduct, concentration and wisdom which summarize the 8fold path.
All parameters that foster concentration do foster mindfulness: Ethical conduct, restraining sense faculties, diet, sleep-awake-balance, seclusion, cultivating conducive states of mind and opposing non-conducive states etc.

Or one may put it that way:
"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? In one of right view, right resolve comes into being. In one of right resolve, right speech comes into being. In one of right speech, right action... In one of right action, right livelihood... In one of right livelihood, right effort... In one of right effort, right mindfulness... In one of right mindfulness, right concentration... In one of right concentration, right knowledge... In one of right knowledge, right release comes into being.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


Kind regards
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Re: irritating people

Postby ground » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:48 am

Now you may say: "Oh so many words, so many aspects. I cannot begin practicing all this at once. How do I start? How do I go about this?"

And here one may say:
You have to make a cut. Decisively, willingly, consciously, intentionally.
What?
You have to take a firm decision: "I want to stop that" and not waver and stay with this decision, i.e. be mindfull of this decision.
How to get this firm decision?
You have to be convinced that "getting involved" is wrong , utterly wrong and does only lead to harm, dukkha. Without this conviction you will be lacking the energy to start and continue practicing what the Buddha taught and you will therefore not experience the benefits of that practice but you will continue being fettered by habits.

What is the basis of this conviction?
The basis is faith. Faith that you can do that, faith that "right view" is the basis and faith that the way taught is the right way to go about it.


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Re: irritating people

Postby Nibbida » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:18 am

There's no such thing as an irritating person. There are only people who you get irritated at. You're making choices (kamma) that lead to your emotional reaction.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him, as the wheel follows the foot of the ox that draws the carriage.


You are somehow interpreting their actions in a way that leads you to get irritated. It's a choice we all make, even though it may happen so quickly and implicitly that we don't realize a choice is being made. The point is to recognize that a choice is being made, and that other alternative choices are available, even if they take some practice to utilize. Otherwise you're blaming them for how choices that you are making, knowingly or inadvertently. It's impossible to stay angry for long without blaming.

Alternative interpretations:
1. All beings want to be happy and free from suffering. Mother Theresa, Siddhartha Gautama, Jack the Ripper, you, the Dalai Lama, me, & your office mates are all identical in this respect. We may not agree with how they are going about it, but that's a separate issue.

2. People act in accordance with their habits, beliefs, etc. All of their actions are an attempt to have happiness and freedom from suffering. Some people employ aggression, kindness, greed, apathy, compassion, patience, mindfulness, equanimity, hostility, etc. Everybody is doing the best they knew how at any given moment.

3. People do what they do due to innumerable causes and conditions. If they knew a better way, they would be doing it. If we knew a better way, we would be doing it. When 100s of dominoes knock over domino #341, we don't just blame that domino. We see that the hundreds of others played an equal role, even if we don't physically see them. Our actions are the same. To blame this person and ignore the countless causes and conditions is delusion.

4. The optimal response to suffering, no matter what the cause, is compassion. If they act in ways you consider selfish, greedy, hostile, etc. then you are looking at suffering, sentient beings. If you are having irritability toward them, you too are a suffering, sentient being. Compassion for them and compassion for you.

5. It is only through challenges like this one that we learn to develop our own skills in applying mindfulness, equanimity, compassion, patience, etc., which bring us closer to awakening. Each instance of irritation is a chance for you to mindfully watch the sensations in your body and/or the flow of thoughts through your mind, and to greet them with as much compassion and equanimity as you can muster. In this sense, they are your Dhamma teachers, allowing you to practice at work, multiple times a day. They're practically stepping stones to awakening, if only you can learn in time to see them as such.

So, at least in principle, you can see that more options exist than what reflexively come to mind in a moment of irritation and stress. That's normal. But having an understanding of these principles now allows you the possibility of exercising other options. It may not be easy and the advances may be gradual, whenever an intentional choice is made (i.e. kamma) to exercise them, a change occurs in you. These changes are cumulative over time, so that they become progressively easier to do.

Much of this is paraphrasing Shantideva, ch. 6:
http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch6.htm

What seems an annoying situation can actually be a precious opportunity, if only we recognize it as such and are armed with certain understanding and strategies. I wish you success in this.

:anjali:
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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Re: irritating people

Postby DS51 » Thu Mar 31, 2011 6:42 pm

Consider him your wisest teacher.
Friends and well liked colleagues won't teach you compassion, but he can make you a saint!
He will make you work on all those good qualities of compassion, patience, wisdom,and equanimity (maybe for the rest of your life), and compel you to think of how you view others.

with Metta
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Re: irritating people

Postby nameless » Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:19 pm

How we see the world is based on our conditioning, most of which is out of our control. So your set of conditioning has caused you to believe that certain behaviors are appropriate and others not, while he has his own conditioning which causes different ideas. I think it's important to keep in mind that it's not that he's gone through a list of possible actions and chosen the course that makes him disliked, but rather in his world created by his conditioning it's a perfectly acceptable, even good course of action. Another thing you could think about is if you happened to be born in his position, it is perfectly likely that you might have become much like him.

Another thing that might be helpful is to observe where the annoyance comes from. To simplify things, let's say someone insults you and you get angry. The obvious thought is that his insults caused you to be angry. But if you look at things in detail, insults are but sound which is but vibrations of air molecules. One can't cause changes in another's emotions by vibrating air; if you didn't hear the insults you wouldn't be angry; if he insulted you in a different language and controlled his tone such that you didn't know you were being insulted, you wouldn't be angry; if your best friend said the same exact insult but you interpreted it to be a joke you wouldn't be angry. So the reasonable conclusion is that your internal processes, which although are still related to the insults, are the main actor in causing the annoyance, and from observing these processes you might learn how they work and how not to work that way. So if your annoyance comes from his arrogance... if you didn't see him there would you be annoyed? If you didn't hear him speak? It's not like his arrogance creates an aura that infects your very soul and creates annoyance.
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Re: irritating people

Postby christopher::: » Mon Apr 04, 2011 2:06 am

I think many of us get irritated by arrogance in others. So then instead of having one problem now we have two - an arrogant person and an annoyed/irritated person. Neither is at peace. I find it helpful to step back and try and view the situation from a distance. If we are trying to practice the dhamma in our lives then such individuals are providing us with an opportunity to put the Buddha's wisdom into practice. It requires setting that (our practice) as the top priority, watching our minds carefully and taking responsibility for our mood states.

One surprising effect is that sometimes (not always) the other person will be effected when we become calmer, less irritated, and they will change as well. Cannot expect that with people we rarely know, but it does happen (in my experience) especially with close relationships (spouse, friends, children, family). As we cultivate a more calm and nonjudgmental mind our suffering decreases and those around us will often benefit from the example we are presenting, of the dhamma in action...

:group:


"Training this mind... actually there's nothing much to this mind. It's simply radiant in and of itself. It's naturally peaceful. Why the mind doesn't feel peaceful right now is because it gets lost in its own moods. There's nothing to mind itself. It simply abides in its natural state, that's all. That sometimes the mind feels peaceful and other times not peaceful is because it has been tricked by these moods. The untrained mind lacks wisdom. It's foolish. Moods come and trick it into feeling pleasure one minute and suffering the next. Happiness then sadness. But the natural state of a person's mind isn't one of happiness or sadness. This experience of happiness and sadness is not the actual mind itself, but just these moods which have tricked it. The mind gets lost, carried away by these moods with no idea what's happening. And as a result, we experience pleasure and pain accordingly, because the mind has not been trained yet. It still isn't very clever. And we go on thinking that it's our mind which is suffering or our mind which is happy, when actually it's just lost in its various moods.

The point is that really this mind of ours is naturally peaceful. It's still and calm like a leaf that is not being blown about by the wind. But if the wind blows then it flutters. It does that because of the wind. And so with the mind it's because of these moods - getting caught up with thoughts. If the mind didn't get lost in these moods it wouldn't flutter about. If it understood the nature of thoughts it would just stay still. This is called the natural state of the mind. And why we have come to practice now is to see the mind in this original state. We think that the mind itself is actually pleasurable or peaceful. But really the mind has not created any real pleasure or pain. These thoughts have come and tricked it and it has got caught up in them. So we really have to come and train our minds in order to grow in wisdom. So that we understand the true nature of thoughts rather than just following them blindly. The mind is naturally peaceful. It's in order to understand just this much that we have come together to do this difficult practice of meditation."


~Ajahn Chah
Training this mind

"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: irritating people

Postby josephcmabad » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:11 am

so should I treat all annoying people with equanimity? how to deal when they violate you? just renounce?
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Re: irritating people

Postby christopher::: » Thu Apr 07, 2011 1:22 am

josephcmabad wrote:so should I treat all annoying people with equanimity? how to deal when they violate you? just renounce?


What do you mean by "violate"? There's a difference between being annoyed and irritated by the ignorance of others and being an actual target of another's attacks. If people are annoying you but not actually attacking you then cultivation of the brahma-viharas can be very effective...

The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity

With outright attacks it can be a bit more complicated. Cultivating the brahmaviharas should also be effective, but can be much more challenging to implement.
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: irritating people

Postby josephcmabad » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:16 am

for example, loud neighbors. it can be directed to the renunciation practice when in the context of noise being irritating.. but how about when it arrives in the basis of "correctness" ( it is regarded as a violation of residential rights when someone is noisy at certain times of the day )? should I just let go of this desire for silence thus resolving inward or should I do something to change the situation because it's "wrong"?
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Re: irritating people

Postby christopher::: » Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:20 am

josephcmabad wrote:for example, loud neighbors. it can be directed to the renunciation practice when in the context of noise being irritating.. but how about when it arrives in the basis of "correctness" ( it is regarded as a violation of residential rights when someone is noisy at certain times of the day )? should I just let go of this desire for silence thus resolving inward or should I do something to change the situation because it's "wrong"?


LOL.. we've had road construction going on in front of our apartment for about 2 months now. They're almost done but this morning we found trucks across the street, they're putting up a frame around the neighbor's house and will be tearing it down, then building an apartment complex. I practiced patience with the noise for 2 months, and now I have at least another 6 months (or longer) of noise to deal with. So... what should I do?

I will take walks, stay away during the day but basically i can't avoid the sounds all the time. I try to meditate when its quiet, but bottom line there is always something that's gonna irritate us.

My own experience has been that cultivating equanimity is often the most helpful thing to do. I cannot change the world, its just impossible. Taking responsibility for our own mood states is a big challenge, sure, but our efforts there stand a much better chance of being effective.

Ajahn Chah again:

"The point is that really this mind of ours is naturally peaceful. It's still and calm like a leaf that is not being blown about by the wind. But if the wind blows then it flutters. It does that because of the wind. And so with the mind it's because of these moods - getting caught up with thoughts. If the mind didn't get lost in these moods it wouldn't flutter about. If it understood the nature of thoughts it would just stay still. This is called the natural state of the mind. And why we have come to practice now is to see the mind in this original state. We think that the mind itself is actually pleasurable or peaceful. But really the mind has not created any real pleasure or pain. These thoughts have come and tricked it and it has got caught up in them. So we really have to come and train our minds in order to grow in wisdom. So that we understand the true nature of thoughts rather than just following them blindly. The mind is naturally peaceful. It's in order to understand just this much that we have come together to do this difficult practice of meditation."


:anjali:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: irritating people

Postby nameless » Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:31 pm

Ajahn Chah yet again:
It's the same with sankhāras. We say they disturb us, like when we sit in meditation and hear a sound. We think, ''Oh, that sound's bothering me.'' If we understand that the sound bothers us then we suffer accordingly. If we investigate a little deeper, we will see that it's we who go out and disturb the sound! The sound is simply sound. If we understand like this then there's nothing more to it, we leave it be. We see that the sound is one thing, we are another. One who understands that the sound comes to disturb him is one who doesn't see himself. He really doesn't! Once you see yourself, then you're at ease. The sound is just sound, why should you go and grab it? You see that actually it was you who went out and disturbed the sound.


I think there is a natural tendency to blame when discomfort happens. So when people make noise, we think, they should know better! What if it's a dog barking instead? We blame the owner for not keeping it quiet. What if it's something else, like a storm? Do we say, "Storm, don't make noise, it's a violation of residential rights"? When there's no one to blame, we naturally don't blame, and we feel better I think. What if the dog doesn't have an owner? Some might blame the dog. Those that understand it's just the dog's nature and refrain from blaming will feel better I think.

That being said, I don't think there's a problem in trying to resolve the issue peacefully if possible.
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Re: irritating people

Postby Digity » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:50 pm

My last job had some really bad apples in it. Ultimately, I quit and got a new job. That might be the best solution. You need to gauge the situation. I don't think Buddhism is about just putting up with other people's crap. If there's something you can do to deal with it then do so. It would have been stupid of me to stay at my old job, which was so terrible, and try to just not be effected by the toxic environment.

The Buddha said associate with good people, not bad ones. That alone might be a reason to quit a job. If it's full of bad apples and people who mistreat others. Why would you want to associate with them?
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Re: irritating people

Postby Nibbida » Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:16 pm

josephcmabad wrote:for example, loud neighbors. it can be directed to the renunciation practice when in the context of noise being irritating.. but how about when it arrives in the basis of "correctness" ( it is regarded as a violation of residential rights when someone is noisy at certain times of the day )? should I just let go of this desire for silence thus resolving inward or should I do something to change the situation because it's "wrong"?


On a practical level, you function like a normal person. You can ask politely, several times if needed, if your neighbors would keep the noise down. If they do, you could reward them with thanks. (I used to walk around really heavy and stay up late. The woman in the apartment below me asked me if I could walk softer, which I could understand. Within a day or two, as a kind gesture she brought me some soup she made. I was very touched.) If all else fails, and the noise exceeds town noise ordinances you can report it to the police. Beyond that, what can a person do? Keep reporting it? Move? You do whatever is logical and appropriate. In the best case scenario, it could be resolved with goodwill and no punitive measures.

What you "renounce" is the clinging to what is beyond one's control. You act appropriately, but don't cling to things going the way you want whenever you want. I want it to be quiet right now but it isn't. Be mindful of the feelings of frustration in the body. Be mindful of the angry, blaming thoughts. If the Buddha was in your house at that moment, how would he respond to the noise and frustration?

It's a fine but critical distinction to differentiate between equanimity and apathy. Equanimity is non-clinging (as much as possible) to what is experienced, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neither. But equanimity can be done whether a person is inactive or active, depending on what's appropriate to the situation.
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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