Nibbida wrote:Or the web board is a teacher in disguise, showing you where hidden faults lie. It's doing you a favor by showing where you need more work. By working through those areas, your practice will strengthen even more and you will reap the benefits.
That sounds similar to a rap an acquaintance of mine had in college. The guy was very intelligent, very well read, very into philosophy of all kinds and very into Buddhism. He also had problems with OCD he was in denial about and he was an attention whore.
He would blather off a barrage of twenty dollar words, off tangent, in class and on a number of Buddhist forums at the time. He instigated many fights and spoiled many discussions. When people complained, he mentioned many good points like yours, but then perverted those points into some sort of psuedo zen lesson about an enlightened master who acts like ass to help people. With the implication of him being the enlightened master/ass, being pleased with himself and chuckling at you.
He lives in my area and he is still pulling that shtick.
He hasn't changed, let alone grown. He has just gotten older.
Good point. My response is along the lines of what Tilt said. Yes, intentionally acting in a way to provoke people and then whipping out a bit of philosophy to create the sense of feeling superior certainly seems like unskillful actions/speech. If that is what he was doing then it is something he will have to deal with. It's his choices and consequences, i.e. kamma & kamma vipaka. So this is not to try to justify or overlook anything on his end.
However, you can't control his choices or anyone else's, only your own. His actions are his kamma, your responses are yours.
In focusing on other peoples' behavior as a cause of your annoyance, we divert attention away from what is within our control to something that is beyond our control. What's within our control is whether or not to respond to others (and how), and whether or not we look more closely at our own reactions, notice our own patterns. You can reify him into a over-simplified caricature of what he actually is and get annoyed at that, or you can look at him with compassion as he's yet another sentient being in the grip of craving, aversion, and misunderstanding, not unlike us (and a few billion other people).
In no way am I criticizing you here, only pointing out choices that you may not be fully aware of or exercising. I'm certainly not above making this mistake myself, and I have countless times in the past. But I cannot find any exception to this. No matter what another person is doing, if I feel hatred, irritation, etc., I am making choices (even if only habitually and unconsciously) that are contributing to it. Directing awareness to this process makes it less unconscious. The Buddha said that even if bandits hacked our limbs from our body, to get angry with them would not be following his instructions. I don't know, but I think I might harbor some resentment in that situation. However, I know that it would be because I haven't yet developed sufficient skill in compassion, mindfulness, etc.
“Since kamma is your own, you are the architect of your life….In addition to teaching self-reliance, knowledge of kamma teaches a sense of individual responsibility."
--Sayadaw U Silananda (Volition: An introduction to the law of kamma
Actually, valuing difficult people as a means to develop one's practice didn't start with Zen. Shantideva articulated it: http://www.shantideva.net/guide_ch6.htm
That chapter is worth a read. I wish you well.