Appearing sanctimonious

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Appearing sanctimonious

Postby Digity » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:34 pm

Do you ever worry about appearing sanctimonious by following the path? For example, not willing to drink, etc. I worry that people will think I'm trying to be holier-than-thou. I think in our modern society this type of conduct is not really welcomed. People don't want to be around someone who is too moral. Thoughts?
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:50 pm

If your intention in not drinking or abstaining from other unwholesome activities is to appear better than others, then it is not a good thing to do. But if your intention is to live a heedful life, then you can't let the criticism of the foolish get to you. Just examine your intentions; if you're acting out of wisdom and self-restraint, then don't worry what others think. Just try and show them the positive nature of your actions through compassionate, wholesome living.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby Ben » Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:16 pm

In my experience - I don't have a problem with being accepted because I don't drink.
You won't appear sanctimonious because you don't drink - you'll only be sanctimonious if it appears you are moralizing about drinking.
If people want to know why you don't drink - you can tell them you don't like how it affects you.
Those who know you well will know you are a Buddhist.
Your wholesome actions will speak for you.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby manas » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:13 am

Hi Digity,

I am careful not to draw attention to myself in those situations. If I am offered an alcoholic drink, I just quietly and politely say "no, thanks", then change the subject. It also helps if you are already holding another kind of drink in your hand, and just keep sipping it from time to time. And make sure it remains topped up, so that no one is tempted to pour anything nefarious into it. IMO, there is nothing sanctimonious about the method described above.

What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true, it is not appropriate to the situation, because it will most likely not change anyone's mind for the better - it would just make people regard one as a sanctimonious wet blanket.

So it's all in how you handle the situation. imo.

:anjali:
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby Digity » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:53 am

manas wrote:Hi Digity,

I am careful not to draw attention to myself in those situations. If I am offered an alcoholic drink, I just quietly and politely say "no, thanks", then change the subject. It also helps if you are already holding another kind of drink in your hand, and just keep sipping it from time to time. And make sure it remains topped up, so that no one is tempted to pour anything nefarious into it. IMO, there is nothing sanctimonious about the method described above.

What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true, it is not appropriate to the situation, because it will most likely not change anyone's mind for the better - it would just make people regard one as a sanctimonious wet blanket.

So it's all in how you handle the situation. imo.

:anjali:

I see what you're saying. Thanks!
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby Mal » Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:55 pm

manas wrote:What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true...


And it might not... an advanced being might be testing himself... Chogyam Trungpa?
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:32 am

Mal wrote:
manas wrote:What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true...


And it might not... an advanced being might be testing himself... Chogyam Trungpa?

Then again, I think it's more likely that you will be struck by lightning than that you will ever be in the same room as an advanced being who is testing himself in this way.
:popcorn:
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby SamKR » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:07 pm

Digity wrote:Do you ever worry about appearing sanctimonious by following the path? For example, not willing to drink, etc. I worry that people will think I'm trying to be holier-than-thou. I think in our modern society this type of conduct is not really welcomed. People don't want to be around someone who is too moral. Thoughts?

Sometimes I do worry, but then I think that if intention is wholesome it's useless to worry about appearing sanctimonious or apply some effort not to appear sanctimonious.
I think it's not bad to tell the whole truth: for example, "I don't drink because I follow the precepts, or it's against the teaching I follow", although it is not necessary, and it is also ok just to say, "I don't like it.".

Another example is: sometimes when doing meditation someone calls and I don't pick the phone up. Later when I'm asked why I didn't pick up the phone I could say I was busy but if someone really insists to know what actually I was doing I could tell the whole truth: "I was doing meditation."

If I appear sanctimonious while telling the truth, so be it.

Even while posting in Dhamma Wheel, I worry that I could appear sanctimonious, but later realize that it doesn't matter.
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Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:24 am

Old Sufi story:

A man goes to the local Mullah with a problem. He says, "My neighbor is always borrowing stuff from me. If it isn't my tools, it's food; if it isn't food it's money. Then half the time he doesn't pay me back. It's driving me crazy. How can I make him stop?"

Mullah: "That's easy enough. Tell your neighbor you've fallen on hard times and can't afford to loan him things anymore. That will put an end to it."

"But sir," the man said. "My neighbor will tell everyone. Word will spread that I've lost my standing in the community, my social position will suffer. My reputation will decline; people will gossip about me and look down on me."

"Ahh," says the Mullah. "Now you want to change the mindset of the world. This is another problem altogether."

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