difficult situation

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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:39 pm

SDC wrote:
dhamma_spoon wrote:Why is the "same person" quite acceptable one time, but unacceptable later on?


Quick answer -

Because there is no self in the body of that person to accept or not accept. I'll be back in about an hour to elaborate or comment on your retort.


Sorry, SDC. Your quick answer is not acceptable. Please read my whole post first.

Thanks.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:53 pm

For the sake of general conversation, reference and just plain speech - use of the word "self" is okey dokey. Even the Tathagata himself used self "atta" when refering to himself or others. It's a referent.

As to unwholesome - I dunno that it's so very unskillful to use that word - it's certainly used in translation -- not everyone is/can be/ a Pali scholar.

Some people - ok - some collections of aggregates - which aren't really "people" or "beings" (because zoiks I might get flamed) can - dependent upon the confluence of conditions and tendencies running through the aggregates - and indeed supporting or conditioning those very same aggregates (hey - what about using vortex - that more acceptable than 'person" "self" "being" etc. ?) exhibit unwholesome, unskillful, or - just plain nasty, bad, unkind etc etc behaviour.

Remember Bill Clinton, "It depends upon what the meaning of "is" is? :roll:

More samsara-ing - more fabrications.

From the slopes of Mt. Meru,

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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:08 pm

Vepacitta wrote:For the sake of general conversation, reference and just plain speech - use of the word "self" is okey dokey. Even the Tathagata himself used self "atta" when refering to himself or others. It's a referent.

As to unwholesome - I dunno that it's so very unskillful to use that word - it's certainly used in translation -- not everyone is/can be/ a Pali scholar.

Some people - ok - some collections of aggregates - which aren't really "people" or "beings" (because zoiks I might get flamed) can - dependent upon the confluence of conditions and tendencies running through the aggregates - and indeed supporting or conditioning those very same aggregates (hey - what about using vortex - that more acceptable than 'person" "self" "being" etc. ?) exhibit unwholesome, unskillful, or - just plain nasty, bad, unkind etc etc behaviour.

Remember Bill Clinton, "It depends upon what the meaning of "is" is? :roll:

More samsara-ing - more fabrications.

From the slopes of Mt. Meru,

V.


Hi, friend Vepacitta (Attn. PeterB), -

It is a debating trick, V. They use 'self' both ways -- as acceptable conventional language some time, or as non-acceptable violation of the 'anatta' principle another time-- whichever way and whenever they consider beneficial for them. Some people who study the Abhidhamma are very fond of taking a refuge in the 'anatta' principle that they interpret to mean 'no self', 'no person', 'no being'. That clinging to 'no self' sometimes effectively confuses the discussion so much that they can get away using it as a "smoke screen".

Yeah, Clinton is very good at emitting smoke screens too.

:stirthepot: Dhamma_spoon
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhammafriend » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:19 pm

Hi everyone

Thanks a lot for the advice and suggestions! Going to have to keep it real, staying true to what I understand to be the teachings of the Buddha, upholding the precepts and staying true to myself.

Once again thank you all.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:20 pm

Hi, friend Vepacitta (Attn. PeterB), -

It is a debating trick, V. They use 'self' both ways -- as acceptable conventional language some time, or as non-acceptable violation of the 'anatta' principle another time-- whichever way and whenever they consider beneficial for them. Some people who study the Abhidhamma are very fond of taking a refuge in the 'anatta' principle that they interpret to mean 'no self', 'no person', 'no being'. That clinging to 'no self' sometimes effectively confuses the discussion so much that they can get away using it as a "smoke screen".
Dhamma_spoon

Hey Dhamma_Spoon.

I know! :thumbsup:

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Re: difficult situation

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:22 pm

dhammafriend wrote:Hi everyone

Thanks a lot for the advice and suggestions! Going to have to keep it real, staying true to what I understand to be the teachings of the Buddha, upholding the precepts and staying true to myself.

Once again thank you all.
Metta
Dhammafriend



Just go with your gut Dhammafriend!

YFNA,

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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:23 pm

dhamma_spoon wrote:
SDC wrote:
dhamma_spoon wrote:Why is the "same person" quite acceptable one time, but unacceptable later on?


Quick answer -

Because there is no self in the body of that person to accept or not accept. I'll be back in about an hour to elaborate or comment on your retort.


Sorry, SDC. Your quick answer is not acceptable. Please read my whole post first.

Thanks.


I read it all, this is what I chose to comment on. What isn't acceptable?

In varying degrees most people have characteristics that would be considered unwholesome according to the dhamma. If they have one unwholesome characteristic are they an unwholesome person, and vise versa? Once again as I said earlier, people have a wide variety of characteristics and tendencies, not all which are going to be just good or just bad. To develop compassion and wisdom for others we need not judge them as a whole, because as I just said there is no "whole" because there is no "self". I will clarify further but please specify what it is you do not get about what I am saying.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:33 pm

Also because people change. They can grow to display much more wholesome qualities or become degraded and display more unwholesome qualities. So each encounter we must be patient and see the situation for how it is and accept that our current impression of someone may change with this very encounter.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:49 pm

SDC wrote:
dhamma_spoon wrote:
SDC wrote:
Quick answer -

Because there is no self in the body of that person to accept or not accept. I'll be back in about an hour to elaborate or comment on your retort.


Sorry, SDC. Your quick answer is not acceptable. Please read my whole post first.

Thanks.


I read it all, this is what I chose to comment on. What isn't acceptable?


Hi, SDC (Attn. Vepacitta) -

Not acceptable because "there is no self in the body of that person to accept or not accept" is not the discussion issue. Why is it not an issue, you may ask? Because every Buddhist knows what 'anatta' means, and since we already discussed 'no self' and 'not self' so many times till we are blue in the face, therefore it is no longer an issue to discuss.

Let's instead discuss wholesome/unwholesome in the conventional language, without switching back-and-forth to the ultimate reality of the Abhidhamma for now. I'll continue in the next post. Thanks.

Dhamma_spoon. :stirthepot:
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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:59 pm

dhamma_spoon wrote:
Hi, SDC (Attn. Vepacitta) -

Not acceptable because "there is no self in the body of that person to accept or not accept" is not the discussion issue. Why is it not an issue, you may ask? Because every Buddhist knows what 'anatta' means, and since we already discussed 'no self' and 'not self' so many times till we are blue in the face, therefore it is no longer an issue to discuss.

Let's instead discuss wholesome/unwholesome in the conventional language, without switching back-and-forth to the ultimate reality of the Abhidhamma for now. I'll continue in the next post. Thanks.

Dhamma_spoon. :stirthepot:


I don't read the Abhidhamma.

It seems you are assuming, but I won't let it ruin the discussion.

I try not to judge people and close the book on them when display unwholesome qualities. I also don't assume they are great people because they have displayed some wholesome qualities. Of course I remember past experiences, but I try not to let that affect what is happening now.

But in the end what is most important is how I deal with the situation whether it be a wholesome or unwholesome experience. That is what matters to me. To label a person one or the other makes it really difficult to be compassionate and understanding.

Since I have continued to be cordial, I would appreciate the same from you. There is no reason for this to be heated. Let's continue to discuss and hopefully we will both get something out of this.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:09 pm

SDC wrote:In varying degrees most people have characteristics that would be considered unwholesome according to the dhamma. If they have one unwholesome characteristic are they an unwholesome person, and vise versa? Once again as I said earlier, people have a wide variety of characteristics and tendencies, not all which are going to be just good or just bad. To develop compassion and wisdom for others we need not judge them as a whole, because as I just said there is no "whole" because there is no "self".
Also because people change. They can grow to display much more wholesome qualities or become degraded and display more unwholesome qualities. So each encounter we must be patient and see the situation for how it is and accept that our current impression of someone may change with this very encounter.


Hi, SDC (Vepacitta, PeterB), -

Please don't let semantics become a hindrance to a good discussion between us. Let's agree to stay with the conventional language throughout this discussion. [No smoke screen, please.]
I agree that, in conventional terms, we say he is unwholesome simply because his behavior (characteristic) is not meritorious. Also, I agree that we should not let a person's unwholesome behavior (in the past or present) obstruct our good-will and compassion towards him. This is the same as being able to see dhamma the way it really is with letting go such that aversion will not have a chance to enter the mind.

Regards,

Tep :stirthepot:
----
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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:11 pm

I would like to get to the point where this is a back and forth, one post each. So I am going to wait to till you respond to my last post before I post a gain just to make this easier.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:27 pm

SDC wrote:I would like to get to the point where this is a back and forth, one post each. So I am going to wait to till you respond to my last post before I post a gain just to make this easier.


Dhamma spoon: Good idea, SDC. I am going to reply to the last post you wrote below.

--------------------

SDC wrote:I don't read the Abhidhamma. It seems you are assuming, but I won't let it ruin the discussion.

I try not to judge people and close the book on them when display unwholesome qualities. I also don't assume they are great people because they have displayed some wholesome qualities. Of course I remember past experiences, but I try not to let that affect what is happening now.

But in the end what is most important is how I deal with the situation whether it be a wholesome or unwholesome experience. That is what matters to me. To label a person one or the other makes it really difficult to be compassionate and understanding.

Since I have continued to be cordial, I would appreciate the same from you. There is no reason for this to be heated. Let's continue to discuss and hopefully we will both get something out of this.


Dhamma spoon: I only made a general statement about the abhidhamma in general. No offence was intended.
Labeling is automatic; it is a part of perception -- so it can be either bad or good. For example, 'niccasanna' is bad and 'aniccasanna' is good.
Labeling for the purpose of recollection later is useful (iti rupa.m); one doesn't have to be negative because of a label.

Why do you ask me to be cordial and not heated? Do you think I am not cordial enough, and am getting hot? :lol:

Cordially and coolly,

Tep
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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:39 pm

dhamma_spoon wrote:Let's agree to stay with the conventional language throughout this discussion. [No smoke screen, please.]


I am willing to honor this, but I am speaking in the way I think. I apologize if you think I am doing it as a smoke screen. It isn't I assure you. I don't do that here or in my non-internet life. I am NOT in the business of trying to win arguments with certain tactics. I will admit when I am wrong or when I agree with others.

dhamma_spoon wrote:I agree that, in conventional terms, we say he is unwholesome simply because his behavior (characteristic) is not meritorious. Also, I agree that we should not let a person's unwholesome behavior (in the past or present) obstruct our good-will and compassion towards him. This is the same as being able to see dhamma the way it really is with letting go such that aversion will not have a chance to enter the mind.


Agreed.


dhamma_spoon wrote:I only made a general statement about the abhidhamma in general. No offence was intended.
Labeling is automatic; it is a part of perception -- so it can be either bad or good. For example, 'niccasanna' is bad and 'aniccasanna' is good.
Labeling for the purpose of recollection later is useful (iti rupa.m); one doesn't have to be negative because of a label.

Why do you ask me to be cordial and not heated? Do you think I am not cordial enough, and am getting hot? :lol:

Cordially and coolly,

Tep
-----


People get funny on the internet. I'm not sure what you think of me and my intentions in this discussion. I want you to know I have no desire to let discussion turn into what many discussion on the internet turn into. That is not fun for me and in the end no one learns anything. It is cool as of now and I want it to stay that way.

And of course labeling is part of the mental process. I was not saying otherwise. But it is those labels that can get us in trouble, especially when it comes to other people. I personally find it a hindrance to compassion and knowledge to put a label of wholesome or unwholesome on a person. I still do it! It makes me suffer, because then I encounter the person and realize that I was dwelling on a particular aspect and negated everything else.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:28 pm

SDC wrote:
dhamma_spoon wrote:Let's agree to stay with the conventional language throughout this discussion. [No smoke screen, please.]


I am willing to honor this, but I am speaking in the way I think.


Hi, SDC -

I think this well-written reply of yours is cool. So, let's continue our friendly conversation here.

SDC: "I apologize if you think I am doing it as a smoke screen. It isn't I assure you. I don't do that here or in my non-internet life. I am NOT in the business of trying to win arguments with certain tactics. I will admit when I am wrong or when I agree with others."

Dhamma_Spoon: I believe you completely. So, in your case there is nothing to apologize at all. Also, I promise to be frank and open the same way you are. Thank you very much.

SDC: "People get funny on the internet. I'm not sure what you think of me and my intentions in this discussion. I want you to know I have no desire to let discussion turn into what many discussion on the internet turn into. That is not fun for me and in the end no one learns anything. It is cool as of now and I want it to stay that way."

Dhamma_Spoon: I am glad to know all the good things you kindly said. You hit something, a truth, that is very important.
I have found it to be true again and again that a good behavior is straight and it is maintained only by continuing to be straight (honest, wholesome, restraining, discerning, forgiving, letting go, etc.). Once the effort wanes, non-meritorious actions will quickly take over. So, yes, let's always keep it cool.

SDC: "And of course labeling is part of the mental process. I was not saying otherwise. But it is those labels that can get us in trouble, especially when it comes to other people. I personally find it a hindrance to compassion and knowledge to put a label of wholesome or unwholesome on a person. I still do it! It makes me suffer, because then I encounter the person and realize that I was dwelling on a particular aspect and negated everything else."

Dhamma_Spoon: I see that danger too -- the danger of biasedness. Yes, an unwholesome sanna (perception, label) CAN make the mind tend to "dwell" in a wrong (unwholesome) domain. Would you suggest that a) we develop positive sanna, or 2) we completely abandon sanna?

:stirthepot:
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:41 pm

PeterB wrote:A monk or a gangster does not have kusala or akusala dhamma. Conditions arise. Those conditions can be describe as kusala or akusala...those conditions are not a person characterised by kusala and akusala.
My job, my responsibility, as I see it is me. Not them.
A monks positive qualities or otherwise are not for me to appreciate or dwell in aversion to.
My responsibility begins and ends with MY anger, MY aversion, MY negative responses.


Hi, PeterB (Attn. SDC) -

Please allow me to right the wrong right here.
SDC was excellent in his Dhamma discussion with me and we agreed to keep our discussion cool and straight (with a right effort).

I apologized for making you feel bad earlier. I hope you may forgive me and forget all that.
Why don't we keep our cool in all discussion from now?

Thanks.

Dhamma_spoon :meditate:
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Re: difficult situation

Postby Vepacitta » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:16 pm

"What was Fonzie?"

"C ... cool?"

"That's right - Fonzie was cool. So that's what we're all gonna be right now. We're gonna be cool."

-Pulp Fiction

8-)

Speaking of erm - unwholesome v wholesome - I understand (really!) that people can change. Whether they actually do or not - well - it's rare in my opinion. But then I'm just a doubting asura ...
Actually, and we see it every day - even the SOBs of this world can sometimes show kindness - I have seen it during my walk on this planet. But then - I suppose it's an underlying tendency - they can devolve back into that mean (or angry, or whiny - pick a trait you don't like an insert here ______ :) ) And do you want to hang with a person like that?

O yes, understanding that they are acting the way they do (and that you to act the way you do) is due to delusions about self and how we colour our perceptions with 'self' - imbue them with self) can help one to deal with that person in a compassionate matter - with metta - and by metta I don't mean St. Francis or the Ven. Ananda (remarkably free of ego problems IMO). It means maybe one refrains from snapping at the person - one takes a breath and doesn't imbue their actions with self (Christ! I'm sick of her s...! What 'you' is there to bother - why are 'you' clinging to that noise (her yap yap yapping) for instance).

Or if someone is chronically nasty - ok - you can - through skillfull wisdom - learn not to take their nastiness personally - and get caught up in an aversion ill-will raging asura cycle - but still - you might just choose to - compassionately - not hang out with them - keep a bit of distance.

You can be nice (metta and all that) but not be stupid.

Just my two cents,

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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:27 pm

dhamma_spoon wrote:I see that danger too -- the danger of biasedness. Yes, an unwholesome sanna (perception, label) CAN make the mind tend to "dwell" in a wrong (unwholesome) domain. Would you suggest that a) we develop positive sanna, or 2) we completely abandon sanna?


So funny that you say this. I was reviewing Venerable Punnaji's model for the paticca samuppada and reading some suttas in the SM and I was thinking a similar thought the other day as far as sanna is concerned. But that is another discussion.

I know that fundamentally we do agree here but I am going to use different terminology. I seek to appreciate the Buddha, the teachings and those that follow. That appreciation leads me to practice and to start looking at the world a different way, which leads me to behave (sila) in a different way. That is what I focus on. My behavior is slowly coming under control. With that I start to focus on more internal aspects. I try to not dwell on any negative states that arise in me for whatever reason (work, family, everyday hassles, etc.). Of course they do arise and some take longer then others to take my mind away from, but I stick to it. As time goes on and I continue to practice in this way it becomes easier and easier. I fight my old unwholesome tendencies and they become weaker and weaker and are replace with more whole tendencies that I am trying to strengthen. Here in lies the point of this paragraph - I am starting to get rid of the behavior and thoughts that cause myself and others pain. So overall my goal is to be a good person with a calm mind. There is no thought of abandoning my ability to perceive and label, but to gradually move towards seeing things as they are so those labels don't hold any water. Agree? Disagree?

I know we have gone a bit off topic, so to bring it back a bit...

I hope dhammafriend can go to any of these various Buddhist centers where he/she lives. But just pay attention and don't look to commit yourself fully to anyone's thoughts or practices until you have seen that what they are saying is what you are comfortable with in regard to what you are looking for in Buddhism. Of course you want to be able to go right in and have that trust but it may not be possible. It could take a good amount of time before you can have any trust. Just pay attention, move in slowly and see what you find. I hope you find some very advanced teachers and practitioners and you pick up some great information.

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Re: difficult situation

Postby SDC » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:34 pm

Vepacitta wrote:Or if someone is chronically nasty - ok - you can - through skillfull wisdom - learn not to take their nastiness personally - and get caught up in an aversion ill-will raging asura cycle - but still - you might just choose to - compassionately - not hang out with them - keep a bit of distance.

You can be nice (metta and all that) but not be stupid.

Just my two cents,

V.


Well said. That of course will come with experience. But then there are those that we see everyday that we do not choose to be around (I am referring primarily to random strangers and co-workers, family too in some cases). That is where the real patience lies. But the topic is about the people that dhammafriend is encountering in the Buddhist centers so yes you are right, you are choosing to be there and you can choose to leave.
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Re: difficult situation

Postby dhamma_spoon » Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:49 pm

Vepacitta wrote:"What was Fonzie?"

"C ... cool?"

"That's right - Fonzie was cool. So that's what we're all gonna be right now. We're gonna be cool."

-Pulp Fiction

8-)

Speaking of term - unwholesome v wholesome - I understand (really!) that people can change. Whether they actually do or not - well - it's rare in my opinion. But then I'm just a doubting asura ...
... ...

You can be nice (metta and all that) but not be stupid.

Just my two cents,

V.


Dear Asura Vepacitta - :heart:

You are truly the first Asura I have encountered.
You are friendly but doubting Asutra (according to what you describe yourself) -- and I acknowledge that.

Oh, one more thing, you are without any question very wise and practical, and I appreciate all the advice you have given :

-- don't befriend an SOB or someone who is chronically nasty: keep a bit of distance from a person like that.
-- a bad guy only acts as if he is nice only for a while until his underlying tendency catches up with him : so don't waste my time hanging out with him (or her!).
-- be calm, be kind, be nice (with metta and letting-go attitude) but don't be stupid.

Yes, sure, a wise man avoids fools. But it will take me several more years to become less of a fool myself. :tongue:

Sincerely,

Tep
----
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