does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby lyndon taylor » Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:32 pm

Back to the OP, The point is, worldly success is usually not the product of morality and ethics, in fact often quite the opposite, advanced buddhist practice is in part a product of or involves morality and ethics, so the idea that advanced Buddhist practice should lead to more worldly success is not logical, they don't involve the same courses of action.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
User avatar
lyndon taylor
 
Posts: 877
Joined: Mon May 02, 2011 11:41 pm
Location: Redlands, Southern California, USA

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby culaavuso » Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:34 pm

Regarding the compatibility of being wealthy, successful in business, and still a true follower of the Dhamma it can be useful to consider the example of Anathapindika. He attained stream-entry shortly after meeting the Buddha for the first time, yet continued to be involved in business and remained extremely wealthy. This success in business allowed him to purchase the Jetavana monastery as a gift to the Sangha and also allowed him to support a large population of monks through donation of alms and other requisites.

Good and bad actions are both possible from poor people as well as from wealthy people. It seems what is more useful for anyone, wealthy or poor or in between, is to not worry about applying unhelpful labels to others or judging their way of life but instead to focus on cultivating their own conditions for happiness in a beneficial and harmless way. The former leads to ill will, while the latter leads to release.

Dhp 18 Malavagga (252-253) wrote:It's easy to see
the errors of others,
but hard to see
your own.
You winnow like chaff
the errors of others,
but conceal your own —
like a cheat, an unlucky throw.

If you focus on the errors of others,
constantly finding fault,
your effluents flourish.
You're far from their ending.


Snp 1.8: Karaniya Metta Sutta wrote:As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.


It's also worth noting regarding worldly tasks that practicing the Dhamma when living in a home is harder than when living as a homeless mendicant.

Ud 5.6 wrote:it's not easy living at home to practice the holy life totally perfect, totally pure, like a polished shell.
...
For a long time, lord, I have seen the drawbacks in sensuality, but the household life is confining with many duties, many things to be done.


However, in the Sigalovada Sutta, the Buddha directly praised wise and virtuous householders and said that riches mount up for them.
DN 31: Sigalovada Sutta wrote:The wise and virtuous shine like a blazing fire.
He who acquires his wealth in harmless ways
like to a bee that honey gathers,
riches mount up for him
like ant hill's rapid growth.
culaavuso
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:55 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:I think he's talking about making money at other people's expense, I don't know about Israel but that's almost the only way to make lots of money in America.


Only way? What did Barack Obama do to exploit others? He is a multimillionaire (mostly from book sales). Who did he step on along the way to the top? He was a community organizer and civil servant all his life. People voted for him and bought his books on their own free will. How about the doctors who donate their money and time to help others but are also well-off financially? Some physicians participate in doctors without borders. I knew a dentist who was well-off and dying of cancer. He still donated his time in Mexico to dentists without borders.


You may be right and i may just be a cynical old bastard, but i have been following american politics most of my adult life, to some depth or other, and i have a very hard time believing that one can reach that level of power in this country without being morally and ethically compromised. fwiw, i worked on the first obama campaign, have voted for him twice and would vote for him again if i could, but im under no illusions about what kind of character seeks power or what holding that power might do to one. Whats the saying? "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely." On the planet earth, President of the United States is about as absolute as it gets.
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
User avatar
m0rl0ck
 
Posts: 1031
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:51 am

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:41 pm

Of course he is not perfect. Who is perfect? But he made lots of money, mostly from book sales and is in no way comparable to those who exploited and stepped on people on the way up, in the way of say, a hedge fund manager or ceo of a large multi-national corporation.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8152
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby culaavuso » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:40 pm

Another way the practice can help in worldly tasks is through the development of equanimity, sympathetic joy and an acceptance of what isn't actually known about the world, as opposed to trying to grasp at labels and hasty generalizations that can be contrary to the ability to succeed.

The Dhamma teaches understanding specific people in terms of specific actions, rather than assuming things about a person based on some sort of label or job title they may hold.

AN 5.57: Upajjhatthana Sutta wrote:A disciple of the noble ones considers this: 'I am not the only one who is owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator; who — whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir. To the extent that there are beings — past and future, passing away and re-arising — all beings are the owner of their actions, heir to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and have their actions as their arbitrator. Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.' When he/she often reflects on this, the [factors of the] path take birth. He/she sticks with that path, develops it, cultivates it. As he/she sticks with that path, develops it and cultivates it, the fetters are abandoned, the obsessions destroyed.


It teaches that hasty conclusions about any person without having known them as an individual for a long time are unskillful.

AN 4.192: Thana Sutta wrote:It's through living together that a person's virtue may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

It's through dealing with a person that his purity may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

It's through adversity that a person's endurance may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

It's through discussion that a person's discernment may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.


Making assumptions about people without actually knowing their individual choices as a person leads to prejudicial thoughts and behavior, which ultimately closes possibilities for interacting with that person. Worldly success might involve dealing with someone in a position of power or someone with significant wealth, and assuming negative actions in that person's past without actually having direct knowledge of them does not benefit the ability to interact with them skillfully in the present. Perhaps an interaction with such a person could be a chance to demonstrate the value of the Dhamma while simultaneously improving worldly status if done skillfully.

It's also useful to remember that there's nothing wrong with worldly gain, it is passion that leads to negative results. Passion for or against the worldly dhammas is equally harmful.

AN 8.6: Lokavipatti Sutta wrote:Monks, these eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions.


AN 6.63: Nibbedhika Sutta wrote:The passion for his resolves is a man's sensuality,
not the beautiful sensual pleasures
found in the world.
The passion for his resolves is a man's sensuality.

The beauties remain as they are in the world,
while the wise, in this regard,
subdue their desire.


It's also useful to consider the Buddha's teachings on Mudita, sympathetic joy. It is for the welfare of a practitioner to be happy for the success of others and not make denigrating assumptions about others based on their success.

Mudita by C.F. Knight (Wheel 170) wrote:It is these three fires that give rise to jealousy, envy, covetousness, avarice, and greed. The craving for possessions, the craving for sensual pleasures, the begrudged success of others, the hatred that is begotten by the gains of others, the odious comparison of greater status compared with our humble circumstances, these are the "fires" that burn within us to our undoing.

It is now evident why mudita is such an important characteristic to be cultivated. When we can view the success of others with the same equanimity, and to the same extent, as we would extend metta and karuna — loving-kindness and compassion — to those who suffer grief and distress, sadness and tribulation, sorrow and mourning, then we are beginning to exercise mudita, and are in the process of eradicating greed and craving. Developed still further, we can reach the stage of sharing with others their joy of possession, their financial or social successes, their elevation to positions of civic or national importance, or their receipt of titles and honorifics. In such a manner mudita is counteractive to conceits of all kinds, and its growth and development checks craving's grip.
culaavuso
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:17 pm

:goodpost:
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8152
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby binocular » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:18 pm

culaavuso wrote:It's also useful to consider the Buddha's teachings on Mudita, sympathetic joy. It is for the welfare of a practitioner to be happy for the success of others and not make denigrating assumptions about others based on their success.

Mudita by C.F. Knight (Wheel 170) wrote:It is these three fires that give rise to jealousy, envy, covetousness, avarice, and greed. The craving for possessions, the craving for sensual pleasures, the begrudged success of others, the hatred that is begotten by the gains of others, the odious comparison of greater status compared with our humble circumstances, these are the "fires" that burn within us to our undoing.

It is now evident why mudita is such an important characteristic to be cultivated. When we can view the success of others with the same equanimity, and to the same extent, as we would extend metta and karuna — loving-kindness and compassion — to those who suffer grief and distress, sadness and tribulation, sorrow and mourning, then we are beginning to exercise mudita, and are in the process of eradicating greed and craving.

Developed still further, we can reach the stage of sharing with others their joy of possession, their financial or social successes, their elevation to positions of civic or national importance, or their receipt of titles and honorifics. In such a manner mudita is counteractive to conceits of all kinds, and its growth and development checks craving's grip.


When a junkie has a good trip - should we cultivate sympathetic joy for them? When someone has ammassed a fortune by fraud and looks happy - should we cultivate sympathetic joy for them?
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby culaavuso » Sun Mar 16, 2014 7:36 pm

binocular wrote:When a junkie has a good trip - should we cultivate sympathetic joy for them?


Yes. Along with the other four brahmaviharas:
Good-will - We can guide our own actions in a way that will provide for the long term benefit and happiness of the junky (helping them get into rehab maybe)
Compassion - We can understand and appreciate the pain and suffering the junkie is causing for themselves through their poor choices
Sympathetic joy - We can appreciate whatever happiness the junky finds and be glad that they at least have that glimmer of happiness to experience
Equanimity - The junkie's actions are beyond our control, and they have the choice to do what they will. There's no point suffering over what can't be changed.

binocular wrote:When someone has ammassed a fortune by fraud and looks happy - should we cultivate sympathetic joy for them?


Yes. Along with the other four brahmaviharas:
Good-will - We can guide our own actions in a way that will provide for the long term benefit and happiness of that person as well as any victims known
Compassion - We can understand and appreciate the pain and suffering that motivates the person's behavior and will ultimately be the result of it
Sympathetic joy - We can appreciate whatever happiness the person amassing a fortune finds and be glad that they are able to experience that happiness
Equanimity - The person's actions are beyond our control, and they have the choice to do what they will. There's no point suffering over what can't be changed.

The Four Sublime States by Nyanaponika Thera (Wheel 6) wrote:These four — love, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity — are also known as the boundless states (appamañña), because, in their perfection and their true nature, they should not be narrowed by any limitation as to the range of beings towards whom they are extended. They should be non-exclusive and impartial, not bound by selective preferences or prejudices.


AN 10.208: Brahmavihara Sutta wrote:That disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with appreciation (mudita), likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with appreciation — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He discerns, 'Before, this mind of mine was limited & undeveloped. But now this mind of mine is immeasurable & well developed. And whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there.'
culaavuso
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby purple planet » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:18 pm

binocular wrote:When someone has ammassed a fortune by fraud and looks happy - should we cultivate sympathetic joy for them?



Yes. Along with the other four brahmaviharas:
Good-will - We can guide our own actions in a way that will provide for the long term benefit and happiness of that person as well as any victims known
Compassion - We can understand and appreciate the pain and suffering that motivates the person's behavior and will ultimately be the result of it
Sympathetic joy - We can appreciate whatever happiness the person amassing a fortune finds and be glad that they are able to experience that happiness
Equanimity - The person's actions are beyond our control, and they have the choice to do what they will. There's no point suffering over what can't be changed.



Compassion - We can understand and appreciate the pain and suffering that motivates the person's behavior and will ultimately be the result of it


i would love to be able to appreciate the pain and suffering of everyone but some people i really am not sure how - for instance in binocular example - he probably might have suffering because if fear of being caught - and suffering because he isnt able to get the money in a legal way - maybe he didnt have stuff when he was a kid ect ...

their are youths throwing firecrackers at the houses here - scaring the dogs and the people including my own dog - maybe its to personal so i cant see their suffering so well

this youths are very spoiled i know everybody's has problems in their lifes including the very rich - but this youths are popular rich healthy educated ect -it seems like they do it just for the extra "fun" - to be honest i can think of some examples why they "suffer" but would like to hear others ideas - would be extremely helpful to find ways to have compassion for them the same way i can have towards rapists and killers and theifs - its the people who do the "small stuff" without giving thought to the consequences that make me angry
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
User avatar
purple planet
 
Posts: 653
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:07 am
Location: Israel

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby culaavuso » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:09 pm

purple planet wrote:it seems like they do it just for the extra "fun" - to be honest i can think of some examples why they "suffer"


If they feel a need for more "fun", then that feeling is an unpleasant one. They feel that their life without this extra fun is insufficient and inadequate, and this feeling is strong enough that they feel compelled to act out harmfully. If they were content and at peace with their circumstances, they would not behave in this way. So their suffering can be seen at least in the motivation for their unskillful behavior and perhaps also in the possibility of future remorse. Wishing they would find a way to truly be happy in life is actually a form of wishing they would stop with this behavior because if they were happy and content they wouldn't feel the need to act out in this way.

Feeling ill-will for them merely creates suffering while making it more difficult to find a workable solution. Feeling good-will for them creates the mind states that can possibly find a workable and lasting solution to the problem. Even if a solution is not found, at least in the meantime good-will feels better than ill-will so there is no unnecessary additional suffering created.
culaavuso
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:27 pm

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby purple planet » Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:14 am

Thanks ..... ok :focus:
Please send merit to my dog named Mika who has passed away - thanks in advance
User avatar
purple planet
 
Posts: 653
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:07 am
Location: Israel

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:37 am

From the Thanissaro Bhikkhu quote thread, posted by dhammapal:

Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:All across the board, the ones who excel at their skills — whether as musicians, sportsmen, or craftsmen — are the ones who find that the skill captures their imagination. That's why the effort put into the skill is no big deal for them. They get so absorbed that the effort becomes enjoyable. They like thinking about it, they like figuring out the problems they face, and sometimes detecting problems that other people might not even notice. Then they try working out solutions. These are the kind of people who do well.
From: Freedom Undefined by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


It appears Ven. Thanissaro agrees that the practice does indeed help with worldly tasks. The venerable continues:

The same principle applies in the customs of the noble ones. You delight in letting go, you delight in developing. Working on the qualities of your mind really captures your imagination. That way, the difficulties of living in a community with other people who are also practicing aren't big issues. You've got the rules; you've got the structure; you've got the support to do the practice.
User avatar
David N. Snyder
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8152
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby binocular » Wed Apr 02, 2014 6:42 am

David N. Snyder wrote:It appears Ven. Thanissaro agrees that the practice does indeed help with worldly tasks.

Only with _some_ worldly tasks.

Selling illegal drugs on the street is a worldly task. No, I really don't think Buddhism can help a drug dealer with that.
binocular
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: does the "practice" help you in worldly tasks?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:17 am

purple planet wrote:when you practice the "path" does one become better at preforming whatever tasks he wants to preform ?


Performing tasks mindfully is generally more efficient. ;)
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2844
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am
Location: Spam, wonderful spam

Previous

Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Gena1480 and 6 guests