The danger of intolerance

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby cooran » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:29 am

Hello Manapa,

and what if someone says your full of crap, is that rude or just an opinion?


It only matters if you let it matter. I work with people subject to verbal and emotional abuse and I often tell them a "modern" non-religious version of this sutta:
Here - the Buddha experienced verbal abuse and this is how he handled it:
SN 7.2 Akkosa Sutta: Insult

Once the Blessed One was staying at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove near the Squirrels' Feeding Place. Now the brahman Akkosa Bharadvaja heard this: "The brahman Bharadvaja, it seems, has become a monk under the Great Monk Gotama."
Angry and unhappy, he went to where the Blessed One was. Having approached the Blessed One, he abused and criticized the Blessed One in foul and harsh words.
Thus reviled, the Blessed One spoke to the brahman Akkosa Bharadvaja: 'Well, brahman, do friends, confidants, relatives, kinsmen and guests visit you?"
"Yes, Gotama, sometimes friends, confidants, relatives, kinsmen and guests do visit me."
"Well, brahman, do you not offer them snacks or food or tidbits?"
"Yes, Gotama, sometimes I do offer them snacks or food or tidbits."
"But if, brahman, they do not accept it, who gets it?"
"If Gotama, they do not accept it, I get it back."
"Even so, brahman, you are abusing us who do not abuse, you are angry with us who do not get angry, you are quarreling with us who do not quarrel. All this of yours we don't accept. You alone, brahman, get it back; all this, brahman, belongs to you.
"When, brahman, one abuses back when abused, repays anger in kind, and quarrels back when quarreled with, this is called, brahman, associating with each other and exchanging mutually. This association and mutual exchange we do not engage in. Therefore you alone, brahman, get it back; all this, brahman, belongs to you."
............
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html

metta
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:36 am

Chris wrote:Hello Manapa,

and what if someone says your full of crap, is that rude or just an opinion?


It only matters if you let it matter. I work with people subject to verbal and emotional abuse and I often tell them a "modern" non-religious version of this sutta:
Here - the Buddha experienced verbal abuse and this is how he handled it:

metta
Chris


that was sort of my point!

I am wondering what your version of the sutta is though
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby cooran » Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:59 am

Hello Manapa,

Manapa said: I am wondering what your version of the sutta is though

It's different every time, depending on the socio-economic-educational-cultural group to which the client belongs. I may start off with:
"There was this homeless bloke called Sid who was a wandering debater thousands of years ago over in Asia. He used to tour about teaching and discussing, and staying in the local caravan parks. There was no TV or radio then - so the weekend's entertainment was to go out on a Sunday arvo, and listen to the speeches and teachings. Once a really annoying heckler started his abuse calling Sid a xxxx xxxx etc. So Sid listened for a while and then said "Bruce ... if someone arrived at your house when you were having a really swish party, and brought in a stinking tray of cooked cabbage and turnips, what would you do?" Bruce the Insulter said -" well, I wouldn't accept them, I didn't ask the idiot to bring them, why should I even bother with it? They don't belong to me." And Sid said "Well, Bruce, that's exactly what I say to you - your insults and innuendos are all yours to keep - I didn't ask for them - and I'm not interested in taking them on. They don't belong to me."

metta
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:02 am

Chris wrote:Hello Manapa,

Manapa said: I am wondering what your version of the sutta is though

It's different every time, depending on the socio-economic-educational-cultural group to which the client belongs. I may start off with:
"There was this homeless bloke called Sid who was a wandering debater thousands of years ago over in Asia. He used to tour about teaching and discussing, and staying in the local caravan parks. There was no TV or radio then - so the weekend's entertainment was to go out on a Sunday arvo, and listen to the speeches and teachings. Once a really annoying heckler started his abuse calling Sid a xxxx xxxx etc. So Sid listened for a while and then said "Bruce ... if someone arrived at your house when you were having a really swish party, and brought in a stinking tray of cooked cabbage and turnips, what would you do?" Bruce the Insulter said -" well, I wouldn't accept them, I didn't ask the idiot to bring them, why should I even bother with it? They don't belong to me." And Sid said "Well, Bruce, that's exactly what I say to you - your insults and innuendos are all yours to keep - I didn't ask for them - and I'm not interested in taking them on. They don't belong to me."

metta
Chris


the forum is loading really slow but I like it!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:46 pm

Hey Christopher


Thanks for starting this discussion, Jechbi. I've felt a bit frustrated lately with some of the intolerance expressed on this board, in another conversation (The universe is without a refuge, without a Supreme God.)...


If i was intolerant towards other religions then i wouldnt speak or see my parents since they are both Christians. Just because I see flaws in doctrines and voice them (when appropriate) doesnt mean im intolerant. It sounds like your saying "agree with them or otherwise you hate them" which is just silly

showing that the emperor has no clothes is not intolerance

This really is key, imo. Not easy though. Many people seem to take the literal beliefs of other religions as being their "truth" and then knock those views as being false


Literal belief in the Bible is foolish, taking it as symbolic is slightly better but doesnt always work, to take an example

if adam and eve were symbolic then there is no original sin so jesus died on the cross for nothing and so following the faith is pointless since there is no Original Sin to save oneself from




. I tend to look at all spiritual belief systems as symbolic and metaphorical vehicles for deeper truths... If you take this approach then you start to notice many common themes in all the world's religion. It doesnt mean all religions are true, but in many respects they are conveying quite a few similar memes and messages.


But most people dont and lets not forget thats not generally how they were meant to be, the only reason people take Genesis as "symbolic" is because of Science so they had to compromise (mostly, some people still think its a truth). The similar themes found throughout theistic religions is there because of the similar thinking patterns that go into thinking there is a God in the first place. Generally it came from a time when Humans didnt know anything about the way the world worked and death was far more common

Be kind to others, practice forgiveness and generosity, trust that things work out, there is an order to the universe, a deeper transcendent truth that lies within us, life is sacred, killing is wrong, love is the only antidote to hate, self-discipline is helpful, meditation and prayer are helpful, desires often lead to suffering, etc...


doesnt mean there is a God or "universal consciousness", in fact some of these could find support from Evolution

If you don't look at religions that way (as vehicles for a more "spiritual" approach to life) then one will notice the surface differences instead. Differences which do exist, but may not be as important as we think.


There are better ways than invoking a God or Soul or universal mind


metta
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Cittasanto » Wed Jul 15, 2009 4:05 pm

Hi Clive
remember the Lotus Blossoms the Buddha saw after his awakening!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby christopher::: » Wed Jul 15, 2009 9:58 pm

Hi everyone.

Chris, that story was great, thank you so much. I especially like your version!

clw_uk wrote:If i was intolerant towards other religions then i wouldnt speak or see my parents since they are both Christians. Just because I see flaws in doctrines and voice them (when appropriate) doesnt mean im intolerant. It sounds like your saying "agree with them or otherwise you hate them" which is just silly

showing that the emperor has no clothes is not intolerance

This really is key, imo. Not easy though. Many people seem to take the literal beliefs of other religions as being their "truth" and then knock those views as being false


Literal belief in the Bible is foolish, taking it as symbolic is slightly better but doesnt always work, to take an example

if adam and eve were symbolic then there is no original sin so jesus died on the cross for nothing and so following the faith is pointless since there is no Original Sin to save oneself from ...

There are better ways than invoking a God or Soul or universal mind



Hi clw,

"better ways" "showing that the emporer has no clothes".... ?

The story of Adam and Eve can indeed be viewed as a deeper symbolic teaching, concerning the dangers of dualistic thinking. Jesus's ressurection also can be viewed symbolicly...

So, are you having discussions like this with Christians, with your parents?

If so, how do they react to this?
"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: The danger of intolerance

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:11 am

Philo Judaeus (of alexandria) who was a prominent hebrew philosopher warned against many of the things that have now been done with interpreting the bible, such as literal time-line of history, taking it literally instead of as being allegorical and others. the bible at the time of jesus was seen as containing two truths literal truth, and allegoric truth or truth expressed in a way which makes it easier to understand, these are especially aplicable to genesis and story areas of the bible.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jul 16, 2009 6:23 am

Chris wrote:It only matters if you let it matter.

I agree with this, but it's hard sometimes to put into practice, because the "you" who lets it matter can include all kinds of not-self factors that have yet to be extinguished. By the time one realizes that it matters, we're already feeling the pain. Particularly at those moments when we're not as heedful as we'd like to be all the time. At that point it becomes a question of not compounding dukkha with more dukkha. That can be a hard habit to break. fwiw
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:08 am

I read a book called "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins recently, basically it's a critique of monotheistic religions. I found myself agreeing with a lot of his views. Is Richard Dawkins "intolerant" or is he courageous for challenging what for many is the status quo? I'm not sure the answer is a simple one.

Rick
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:18 am

Rick O'Shez wrote: Is Richard Dawkins "intolerant" or is he courageous for challenging what for many is the status quo?

He sounds like a grumpy old b***** to me...

Makes some interesting points, but from various critiques I have read I gather his knowledge of theology is very superficial. He obviously knows nothing about Buddhism either. He only mentions that it's basically harmless because we don't have that nasty God Idea. At one point point he starts talking about not-self (from a physicalist point if view) about the illusion that there is a "little person in the head". I started to get excited that his next statement would be that the Buddha figured this out 2500 years ago, but ... nothing...

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Thu Jul 16, 2009 12:02 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
Rick O'Shez wrote: Is Richard Dawkins "intolerant" or is he courageous for challenging what for many is the status quo?

He sounds like a grumpy old b***** to me...
Makes some interesting points, but from various critiques I have read I gather his knowledge of theology is very superficial.
Mike


I wouldn't say his knowledge of theology is superficial, rather he approaches religion as a rationalist rather than a "person of faith". Clearly he does have an axe to grind, he seems to be very frustrated with how "non-rational" many people are.
Anyway, is he "intolerant" or just grumpy? :thinking:

Rick
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby clw_uk » Thu Jul 16, 2009 4:40 pm

Hey

"better ways" "showing that the emporer has no clothes".... ?


Sometimes the best way is to directly point it out, this works best when you feel the other person will take it well

The story of Adam and Eve can indeed be viewed as a deeper symbolic teaching, concerning the dangers of dualistic thinking. Jesus's ressurection also can be viewed symbolicly...


It can be taken as that but how mant Christians view the ressurection as symbolic, my memory might be faulty here but i think its a Roman Catholic Doctrine, something a RC has to believe in. As i said earlier, if it is symbolic then the "ressurection to eternal life" is symbolic so then Sin is symbolic, God symbolic, Heaven symbolic? To the average Christian the answer is, from my own exp., no and to the majority of the Christian Tradition as its been taught for 2,000 years the answer is no. Otherwise there is no real point in practicing as hard as they do and going to church that much, if at all

In my opinion Theistic Religions are a waste of time, however not eveyone is going to be an Atheist so its better that most of it is taken symbolically rather than literally which is helped by criticisms



So, are you having discussions like this with Christians, with your parents?

If so, how do they react to this?


On occasion, mostly when the topic of religion comes up via news story or something. I havent said its foolish to believe in God since that wouldnt do them any good, although the know im an Atheist and dont believe in it .As i said im not intolerant and try to only speak such criticisms of Religions when i feel it is benefical or when it has to be said

Generally i am more vocal in reguards to literal interpretation since it leads to aggresive behaviour and a weird wish to undo science and pull mankind back not forward (of course talking about "Creationism V Evolution" here) although i think all religions, literal belief and moderate, need some more open criticism in the public sphere



I only offered an opposition here because i thought it would be beneficial and because i thought people here would be ok with hearing it

metta :)
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 16, 2009 10:30 pm

clw_uk wrote:Generally i am more vocal in regards to literal interpretation since it leads to aggressive
behaviour ...

Watch for creating more aggressive behaviour... :thinking:

http://ajahnchah.org/book/Middle_Way_Within1.php
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.

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jul 17, 2009 2:55 pm

The role religion plays probably differs family to family and place to place.

I've only lived in 3 locations- NY state, Northern California Bay Area and now Fukuoka, Japan. I've met many Catholics, Jews, Protestants and Buddhists, some Muslims and HIndus. Most have been very flexible with their beliefs. They tended to have personal views that did not always coincide exactly with the mainstream views of their faith. That's one reason "new age" ideas like reincarnation are so widespread now, imo.

In the 1980s the Power of Myth series with Joseph Campbell was really popular, at least in NY and California. It was shown over and over again on PBS. Most of my friends and family have seen it. His whole point was to examine religious beliefs for deeper symbolism, common metaphors.

I've only bumped into a few people who believed that the teachings in the bible should be accepted as literal truth. So, i find myself more aware of commonalities then differences, usually.

The most striking thing for me has been how having faith in God is very much like going for refuge. People find great strength in their faith. Especially in NY, after 9.11, I felt this was true.
"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: The danger of intolerance

Postby mikenz66 » Fri Jul 17, 2009 9:33 pm

christopher::: wrote:I've only bumped into a few people who believed that the teachings in the bible should be accepted as literal truth.

This is my observation too. I sometimes see people on TV who take it literally, but I don't bump into them...

Same for the Koran...

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Re: The danger of intolerance

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:25 am

I think the fringe or the closer to the fringe of mainstream views in an area the more vocal the subscribers are.

unfortunately the fringe like to look mainstream, and do everything they can to influence the majority.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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