Ryan wrote:Is "Positive thinking" Good or Bad?
..."How, friends, should resentment be removed toward the person whose bodily behavior and verbal behavior are impure but who from time to time gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind? Suppose there is a little water in a puddle. Then a person might arrive, afflicted and oppressed by the heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. He would think: 'This little bit of water is in the puddle. If I try to drink it with my cupped hands or a vessel, I will stir it up, disturb it, and make it undrinkable. Let me get down on all fours, suck it up like a cow, and depart.' He then gets down on all fours, sucks the water up like a cow, and departs. So too, when a person's bodily behavior and verbal behavior are impure but from time to time he gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind, on that occasion one should not attend to the impurity of his bodily and verbal behavior, but should in stead attend to the opening of the mind, the placidity of mind, he gains from time to time. In this way resentment to ward that person should be removed...
copied from bhikkhu bodhi's translation of anguttara nikaya pg. 775
Ryan, your view is correct. buddha taught us to apply "positive thinking" as an antidote to resentment. But not in all situations, otherwise it becomes an unbalanced way of seeing the world.
i personally heard from your friend's teacher how he deals with the issue at hand, "i only look at the good side of people, otherwise it is very difficult to deal with the bad people." of course in reality he sometimes do not follow this.
in his retreats, above sutta was quoted several times to support the idea of "positive thinking and non-fault-finding".
as the sutta explains positive thinking should be applied when you have "resentment" towards another
, as a way of removing that resentment. so if you are unhappy with a person due to a bad quality then you look at a good quality. however, this is one method out of several. it does not say anything about not seeing the bad or only look at the good when you do not have resentment, if you do so then it becomes artificial, because as SarathW said, buddhism is a realism.
as you can see from the satipatthana sutta
(section C. MInd), one should see passion as passion, aversion as aversion, and ignorance as ignorance remaining independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world.
sorry about the friend, but as the buddha said many times student must take what teachers say with a grain of salt and compare with the buddha's words, and of course, common sense. may be, as you said she was obsessed with this specific teacher.
Power can make things disappear, so does me
Then the Blessed One said to Ven. Ananda, "Now, if it occurs to any of you — 'The teaching has lost its authority; we are without a Teacher' — do not view it in that way. Whatever Dhamma & Vinaya I have pointed out & formulated for you, that will be your Teacher when I am gone.
-Dīgha Nikāya 16, Mahāparinibbāna Sutta
gO tO wORK, gET mARRIED, hAVE sOME kIDS;
wATCH yOUR tV, fOLLOW fASHION, aCT nORMAL;
pAY yOUR tAXES, pAY yOUR bILLS, oBEY tHE lAW;
aND rEPEAT aFTER mE: "i aM fREE."