Listening to gossip

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Listening to gossip

Postby purple planet » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:46 pm

I understand not to gossip about people But what about listening to it ? is it good or bad ?
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby Sam Vara » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:55 pm

My suggestion is that it depends on one's intention. To listen in order to judge the informal politics of a situation or group is OK. But there can be a definite pleasure in hearing other people being disparaged, and this is definitely unwholesome. It's like watching porn rather than actually having sex - the intention is similar. The same applies if we listen to gossip in order to gain a sense of superiority over those who indulge in it.
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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:20 pm

purple planet wrote:I understand not to gossip about people But what about listening to it ? is it good or bad ?


People can't gossip without someone to gossip too. Listening to gossip enables gossip. If you can politely get up and leave without offending anyone or hurting your social standing, do it.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby Ajisai » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:27 pm

I posted some time ago about my troubles about gossiping and since then it got way better. I'm more mindfull of my speech and my relationship with other people already changed a lot (in good).

I had a trouble last time though. I'm a seller in a shop and some day before a regular (and usually very nice) customer started gossiping about an old man (probably a bit crazy) that usually makes a fuss in the streets around the shop. I'm living in Japan and a saying here says "the customer is god". As a seller, I was not allowed to say anything like 'let's talk about something else'. I'm just supposed to be nice and smile. I made only short answers like "Oh really', but she kept coming back to the subject many times. I just wanted her to stop but could not say anything like that. I kind of felt sad about it. and I also felt very bad for listening to her. If anyone has tips for this kind of situation, you're welcome.

Also, how are you dealing with your friends when they start gossiping?
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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby Jhana4 » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:46 pm

How do people define gossip?

Is simply talking about other people "gossip"? Example: "John slipped on the wet rug, his ankle is a cast and he isn't very happy"

Is that gossip has an element of trash talking someone behind their back?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:59 pm

Most people's lives are so uninteresting that whenever I'm in a situation where people are talking about others, I tune out and go to my happy place (These days, usually the Lyric Opera of Chicago). I couldn't care less who's sleeping with whom; who got fired and why; myriad snippets of social politics. None of that holds any interest for me whatsoever. If asked a direct question I tell the truth: "What? Sorry I wasn't listening." Eventually the chattering idiot gets the message. :zzz:

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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby Samma » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:31 am

Well, what purpose does it serve?
Ask if it is skillful or unskillful.

I suppose there is the focus on gossip because it is more active and can cause harm to others, while just listening can't. Still...its a waste of time unless it is for a purpose of understanding the person better or something useful.

One shouldn’t go about
surrounded, revered
by a company:
one gets distracted;
concentration
is hard to gain.
Fellowship with many people
is painful.
Seeing this,
one shouldn’t approve
of a company.
- thag 18
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Re: Listening to gossip

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:18 pm

I've been listening to "How To Win Friends And Influence People" by Dale Carnagie via an audio book. Carnagies biggest lesson so far is that people love to talk about themselves, their own interests and they like to feel important.

If you are trapped in a gossip laden conversation why not try to divert it by asking the gossipers how they are doing, talk to them about some of their interests or start a conversation complimenting them on something they are doing well, even if it is a nice haircut?
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.
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Posts: 1309
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Location: U.S.A., Northeast

Re: Listening to gossip

Postby HumbleThinker » Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:54 pm

purple planet wrote:I understand not to gossip about people But what about listening to it ? is it good or bad ?


What effect does it produce in you? Does it produce a positive state of mind, a negative state of mind, a mixed state of mind, or neither a positive nor negative state of mind? What sorts of acts does it cause you to do? And so on. Also, what could you be listening to alternatively that may be better than listening to gossip?

From my personal experience, listening to gossip, which I assume you mean actively listening as opposed to you simply being in the prescience of gossip but not paying it any mind, tends to lead me to repeat it or join in the gossip. My mind also gets caught up in the gossip in a myriad of way, thereby ruining making my mind unsteady. I may even overreact to listening to gossip when it strikes me hard as something I should not be doing by giving off some rude, self-righteous gesture to show my disgust with others' act of gossip. Thus, for me, listening to gossip would not be skillful, so I would do not do it.
"I know that I know nothing" -Socrates

IOW, take what I say with a grain of salt, for I likely know as little or less than you do.
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