Filial Piety Vs Personal Ambition

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Filial Piety Vs Personal Ambition

Postby dragonwarrior » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:46 pm

Dear friends,
I hope y' all doing well.. If I'm not mistaken, filial piety is not much discussed here, so I need some advices and if possible from parents' perspectives..

In Sigalovada Sutta, it is mentioned:
"In five ways, young householder, a child should minister to his parents as the East:
(i) Having supported me I shall support them,
(ii) I shall do their duties,
(iii) I shall keep the family tradition,
(iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance,
(v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed relatives.


Being a child raised in a Chinese family, I was taught a lot about filial piety based on Confucian philosophy and it has very much influenced my attitude towards my parents. I love my parents, and I love my father even more after my mother's death. So, let me explain my current condition. I recently dropped out of college (which some of you were against it). I gradually learnt that I was in a wrong major, and do not want to spend so much more money for college.
My problem is pretty classic. My father has run his business for over 37 years and would love to retire as soon as possible. Quite understandable since he has worked incredibly hard since his teenage years. But apparently there is none of us (children) has interest/intention to take over the business. My eldest sister is working in another company and the rest of us still depend on my father. This consideration had also lead me to drop out school and help him with his business. After weeks, I could not fool myself, frankly speaking I did not enjoy the job and could not imagine to work there 'forever'. Deep deep in my heart, I finally realized what my passion is and I want to pursue it by attending vocational school, walk my own path and help him with my own way.

So here comes the dilemma. Logically, parents would want everything "best" for their children. If I'm being honest, I know I will let him down but he might support me (and sacrifice his own happiness?). But as I implied, I also want the best for him as well and wish for a win-win solution.

Therefore, my questions would be:
Am I egoistic?
(i) Having supported me I shall support them
(ii) I shall do their duties
>> Is that means, I should stay and help?
Is pursuing one's dreams is a correct action in Buddhism?
For parents: If you're in my father's condition (dull, worn out, desperate to retire), what would you do?

Thank you so much
:anjali:
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