Fairness

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: Fairness

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Dec 06, 2012 10:26 am

danieLion wrote:You've interpreted me correctly and so accurately I don't know if it advances the discussion because it might indicate we've reached an agree to disagree impasse; plus, I kind of feel :broke: but that could just be tempoary.

Well, I don't want to push you or anything, but you could try to convince me that (1) is true ...
:thinking:

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Re: Fairness

Postby imagemarie » Thu Dec 06, 2012 11:26 am

Hi

I'd like to learn more too :thinking: .

Is this an argument for "disengaged" Buddhism? Or disengagement generally?
Lest we become attached to outcomes.. for therein lies the conceit?

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Re: Fairness

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:41 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
danieLion wrote:You've interpreted me correctly and so accurately I don't know if it advances the discussion because it might indicate we've reached an agree to disagree impasse; plus, I kind of feel :broke: but that could just be tempoary.

Well, I don't want to push you or anything, but you could try to convince me that (1) is true ...
:thinking:

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KIm

Yes. I'll have more later. But I think you've overlooked the strength of what I've said all ready. I cited several examples from the suttas which you not only quickly dismissed but provided no counters to. So, in the interest of fairness (the pragmatic kind), I think you should cite some sutta references that demonstrate that the Buddha believed in what we moderns call "fairness."

Fair enough?
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Re: Fairness

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 07, 2012 6:44 am

imagemarie wrote:Is this an argument for "disengaged" Buddhism? Or disengagement generally?

No. Fairness is prgamatically important, but as an idea is rooted in defilement.
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Re: Fairness

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:35 am

danieLion wrote:Yes. I'll have more later. But I think you've overlooked the strength of what I've said all ready. I cited several examples from the suttas which you not only quickly dismissed but provided no counters to. So, in the interest of fairness (the pragmatic kind), I think you should cite some sutta references that demonstrate that the Buddha believed in what we moderns call "fairness."

Fair enough?

Fair enough? In a word, no. :tongue:
More seriously, still no - because every single one of the references you provided was about comparing oneself with others, and in (almost?) every case the conceit this could lead to was cited as the problem. I understand all that and I still say, as I said before, that a teaching against conceit is not a teaching against fairness or equality.
If I give Adam a dollar, it would be fair for me to give Ben a dollar too. Where's the conceit?
If I charge Adam a dollar for a Coke, it would be unfair to charge Ben ten dollars for the same thing. Where's the conceit?
If I think I should pay for my theatre ticket, I think it's fair if my neighbour pays for his theatre ticket. Where's the conceit?
And so on.
Conceit can be (must be? usually is?) founded upon comparisons but I can't see how it can be founded on equality or fairness.

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Re: Fairness

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:20 am

Hi Kim, I agree with you that rejecting the idea of "superior," "equal," and "inferior" has more to do with discouraging one's comparison with others, than to reject fairness... but one of the examples above seems to be in conflict. It seems like that to think other person should also pay for his ticket (just like you did) would have to be based on conceit? There seems to be a comparison going on here.

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Re: Fairness

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Dec 08, 2012 4:02 pm

Here are some refferences and thoughts on the matter of fairness within the Buddhas training.
The Buddha often called people fools (particularly in the vinaya directly) not because of them as a person but based on what they do or have done. This is important to remember regarding fairness, because this principle is spelled out in detail if not explicitly within the vinaya directly, and can be inferred via the suttas which deals with more general principles in this area (of fools).

An origin story in the Mahavaga1.4 translated by T.W. RHYS DAVIDS AND HERMANN OLDENBERG wrote:1. Now at that time the Blessed One walked up and down in the open air unshod. Noticing that, 'The Master walks unshod,' the Elders (the Thera Bhikkhus) also went unshod when they were walking up and down 3. But though the Master and the Thera Bhikkhus went unshod, the Khabbaggiya Bhikkhus walked up and down with coverings on their feet.

The temperate Bhikkhus were annoyed, murmured, and became angry, saying, 'How can these Khabbaggiya Bhikkhus walk shod, when the Master and the Thera Bhikkhus walk unshod?'

2. Then those Bhikkhus told this thing to the Blessed One.

'Is it true, what they say, O Bhikkhus, that the Khabbaggiya Bhikkhus walk shod, though the Master and the Elders walk unshod?'

'It is true, Lord.'

The Blessed Buddha rebuked them, saying,

'How, O Bhikkhus, can these foolish persons walk shod, though (&c., as in §§ 1, 2)..

This is a general example of the Buddha finding something out and clarifying what happened, there are numerous examples of this happening. in essence each rule no matter what it was was never declared to be a breach of the principles unless the Monk had been cross examined and had a chance to give his side of the story. there could of been a misrepresentation of some sort somewhere along the lines, and everyone had the same chance to defend themselves and no-ones word was taken just because of their standing.

When rules were laid down the mendicants were expected to keep them no matter who they were, yet there were reasons the rule maybe innapropriate to keep or the perpetrator was not suitable for the "punishment". The first person whom caused a rule to be set up was automatically immune from the punishment the rule carried as they had no clear cut rule to go by, and the principles although potentially clear could nevertheless be in conflict with other principles due to a form of dissonance. Ven. Sudinna is a good example of this. Through compassion for his mother he was persuaded to engage in sex with his former wife to produce offspring for his parents even though it is clear that he had a knowing of how this was inappropriate from his guilt from engaging in the act (see the Introduction to the BMC1).

essentially, and cutting a long story short, the Buddha didn't EXPECT someone to keep something not laid down in plain sight, and everyone was equal in the vinaya with attainment or anything else didn't give someone more power in a vinaya situation than another (prosecution v' defence).

The Buddha can be said to of walked his talk, and not doing so or attempting to do so (i.e. living the mendicant life when one has taken it up) for any reason - other than situational specific allowances accounted for in the non-offense clauses - brings about critisism from the Buddha (even if they are Arahants).
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Re: Fairness

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Dec 08, 2012 10:17 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Hi Kim, I agree with you that rejecting the idea of "superior," "equal," and "inferior" has more to do with discouraging one's comparison with others, than to reject fairness... but one of the examples above seems to be in conflict. It seems like that to think other person should also pay for his ticket (just like you did) would have to be based on conceit? There seems to be a comparison going on here.

:anjali:

HI, Beeblebrox,
Yes, there's a comparison, but no, there's no conceit ('I am better than them') about it - just 'this rule which applies to me should also apply to others', exactly as in the Vinaya examples Cittasanto so helpfully provided. :tongue:

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Re: Fairness

Postby beeblebrox » Sat Dec 08, 2012 11:14 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
beeblebrox wrote:Hi Kim, I agree with you that rejecting the idea of "superior," "equal," and "inferior" has more to do with discouraging one's comparison with others, than to reject fairness... but one of the examples above seems to be in conflict. It seems like that to think other person should also pay for his ticket (just like you did) would have to be based on conceit? There seems to be a comparison going on here.

:anjali:

HI, Beeblebrox,
Yes, there's a comparison, but no, there's no conceit ('I am better than them') about it - just 'this rule which applies to me should also apply to others', exactly as in the Vinaya examples Cittasanto so helpfully provided. :tongue:

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I paid, so I think he should pay too...

I see loads of conceit... don't forget that "equality" is also one of the ways in which the conceit manifests. I think it's better to have nothing but mudita if the other person got his ticket for free.

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Re: Fairness

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:44 am

beeblebrox wrote:I paid, so I think he should pay too...

I see loads of conceit... don't forget that "equality" is also one of the ways in which the conceit manifests. I think it's better to have nothing but mudita if the other person got his ticket for free.

:anjali:

Okay, I can see how that self-centred thinking could be going on, but it wasn't at all the way I was thinking about it.
Does the same thing apply to "I got fined for speeding" in your mind? Because to me they are exactly equivalent situations: what's fair for one is fair for all, whether that is to my advantage or not, and even whether I am involved in the comparison or not.

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Re: Fairness

Postby DAWN » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:28 am

'Fairness' is one of conditions to hatred be arise.

Often is the fairnessless that allow as to act wrongly toward some one, with deluded mind, with hatred and pain. Fairness is rooted on ego.
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Re: Fairness

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:43 am

Hi, everyone,
I am perfectly willing to admit that I may be missing something and there may indeed be more ego and conceit in fairness than I think there is. But I can't see it. Can you explain it to me, in baby steps?

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Re: Fairness

Postby DAWN » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:11 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, everyone,
I am perfectly willing to admit that I may be missing something and there may indeed be more ego and conceit in fairness than I think there is. But I can't see it. Can you explain it to me, in baby steps?

:coffee:
Kim


Hello Kim,

Impermanence is unfair.

Unfairness fealing is rooted in attachement to what is impermanent.
Attachement is apropriation : "me, mine, what i am".

More generaly, pain and ego comes together.
When there is pain - there is ego, when there is ego - there is pain.
And pain must be healed.

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Re: Fairness

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Dec 09, 2012 11:07 am

DAWN wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, everyone,
I am perfectly willing to admit that I may be missing something and there may indeed be more ego and conceit in fairness than I think there is. But I can't see it. Can you explain it to me, in baby steps?

:coffee:
Kim


Hello Kim,

Impermanence is unfair.

Unfairness fealing is rooted in attachement to what is impermanent.
Attachement is apropriation : "me, mine, what i am".

More generaly, pain and ego comes together.
When there is pain - there is ego, when there is ego - there is pain.
And pain must be healed.

:anjali:

Thanks, Dawn,
I understand that, I think.
But the pain is coming from the attachment, not fairness. If I trip over a chair in the darkness, does the pain come from the darkness or from the chair or from my action?
And you don't mention conceit at all.
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Re: Fairness

Postby DAWN » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:04 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Thanks, Dawn,
I understand that, I think.
But the pain is coming from the attachment, not fairness. If I trip over a chair in the darkness, does the pain come from the darkness or from the chair or from my action?
And you don't mention conceit at all.
:namaste:
Kim


Interesting similie :smile:
I think that pain (stress) comes before the trip itself. And this pain before the trip is conditioned by darkness (you dont see) and chair (chair is out of control).

I think that unfairness fealing is other description of pain, these conceptions are very near in their perception, both painfull, but unfairness seems to be more subtile. Fairness and pain are both born from attachement.

In my perception there is this chain: Conceit > Attachement 'to fenomena' > 'fenomena is' anicca > unfairness/pain.

I think that unfairness is painfull and seems to be 'unfair', because the one can not percive the whoole chain of conditions and concequesnce, so for him it's apear like unfait fenomena, painfull fenomena without causes.
My boxing cautch always said : The most painfull and destructive strike is the one which you dont see.

But unfairness fealing is subjective feeling, there is identity toward which unfair action is done. So this 'object of unfair action' is identity.
Thats why i think that fairness is rooted on me, mine, what i am.

So for the one who dont want suffer from unfairness it can be usefull to keep sense doors guarded: seen as seen, form as form ...etc... And what is done is done, if it's done there is conditions to, and if there is conditions it's not unfair but logical.
So unfairness is illusion of limited perceptions of kamma mouvement.

IMO, of corse. :thinking:

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Re: Fairness

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:14 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:...every single one of the references you provided was about comparing oneself with others, and in (almost?) every case the conceit this could lead to was cited as the problem.
My reading of those quotes is that comparing is conceit, not a cause of it. It's conceit in the same way superiority of inferiority are conceit. They're delusional and/or hateful and/or greedy.

In your OP you use the terms "guiding principle" and "rule" implying you hold "fairness" to be a categorically imperative or necessary standard. But your language in this post is contingent. Each of your questions starts with "if."

Cittasanto's post reveals that the Buddha did not treat fairness as a "guiding principle" or "rule" in any categorically imperative or necessary way.

Kim O'Hara wrote:A teaching against conceit is not a teaching against fairness or equality. If I give Adam a dollar, it would be fair for me to give Ben a dollar too. Where's the conceit?
Too vague to be pragmatic.
Kim O'Hara wrote:If I charge Adam a dollar for a Coke, it would be unfair to charge Ben ten dollars for the same thing. Where's the conceit?
That's a little less overgeneralized. But following Hume, we might ask, "Is Ben a seditious bigot?"

Hume's theory of justice...says that the moral status of an action depends entirely on the goodness or badness of the motive that lies behind it, so that, e.g., it is only because certain helpful actions were intended to be helpful (were motivated by the natural virtue of benevolence) that we morally approve of them or judge them to be right and good. However, it is difficult to apply this virtue-ethical assumption to the artificial virtues, because the good motive operative in their instance is the conscientious desire to do one's duty or what is right or obligatory. According to Hume, if I return what I owe to the seditious bigot, my only just motive is the desire to do what is right and obligatory, but, in that case, the morally good motive that is supposed (according to Hume's virtue ethics) to explain the rightness or goodness of returning what I owe to the seditious bigot already makes essential reference to the rightness or goodness or obligatoriness of doing so. As Hume himself tells us, this seems to be arguing (explaining) in a circle, and Hume makes the same point (perhaps even more forcefully) about fidelity to promises.
Stanford Encyclopedia Of Philosophy "Justice as a Virtue"

Kim O'Hara wrote:If I think I should pay for my theatre ticket, I think it's fair if my neighbour pays for his theatre ticket. Where's the conceit?

Even a little more concrete. Maybe Nietzsche can help us with this one.
Origin of Justice.—Justice (reasonableness) has its origin among approximate equals in power, as Thucydides (in the dreadful conferences of the Athenian and Melian envoys) has rightly conceived. Thus, where there exists no demonstrable supremacy and a struggle leads but to mutual, useless damage, the reflection arises that an understanding would best be arrived at and some compromise entered into. The reciprocal nature is hence the first nature of justice. Each party makes the other content inasmuch as each receives what it prizes more highly than the other. Each surrenders to the other what the other wants and receives in return its own desire. Justice is therefore reprisal and exchange upon the basis of an approximate equality of power. Thus revenge pertains originally to the domain of justice as it is a sort of reciprocity. Equally so, gratitude.—Justice reverts naturally to the standpoint of self preservation, therefore to the egoism of this consideration: "why should I injure myself to no purpose and perhaps never attain my end?"—So much for the origin of justice. Only because men, through mental habits, have forgotten the original motive of so called just and rational acts, and also because for thousands of years children have been brought to admire and imitate such acts, have they gradually assumed the appearance of being unegotistical. Upon this appearance is founded the high estimate of them, which, moreover, like all estimates, is continually developing, for whatever is highly esteemed is striven for, imitated, made the object of self sacrifice, while the merit of the pain and emulation thus expended is, by each individual, ascribed to the thing esteemed.—How slightly moral would the world appear without forgetfulness! A poet could say that God had posted forgetfulness as a sentinel at the portal of the temple of human merit!
Human, All Too Human 92*


Kim O'Hara wrote:Conceit can be (must be? usually is?) founded upon comparisons but I can't see how it can be founded on equality or fairness.
Again. Not "founded on." It is conceit. It's conceit in the same way superiority of inferiority are conceit. They're delusional and/or hateful and/or greedy, as DAWN put very concisely and accurately.

*Alternative Translation
THE ORIGIN OF JUSTICE.—Justice (equity) has its origin amongst powers which are fairly equal, as Thucydides (in the terrible dialogue between the Athenian and Melian ambassadors) rightly comprehended : that is to say, where there is no clearly recognisable supremacy, and where a conflict would be useless and would injure both sides, there arises the thought of coming to an understanding and settling the opposing claims ; the character of exchange is the primary character of justice. Each party satisfies the other, as each obtains what he values more than the other. Each one receives that which he desires, as his own henceforth, and whatever is desired is received in return. Justice, therefore, is recompense and exchange based on the hypothesis of a fairly equal degree of power,—thus, originally, revenge belongs to the province of justice, it is an exchange. Also gratitude.—Justice naturally is based on the point of view of a judicious self-preservation, on the egoism, therefore, of that reflection, " Why should I injure myself uselessly and perhaps not attain my aim after all?" So much about the origin of justice. Because man, according to his intellectual custom, has forgotten the original purpose of so-called just and reasonable actions, and particularly because for hundreds of years children have been taught to admire and imitate such actions, the idea has gradually arisen that such an action is un-egoistic ; upon this idea, however, is based the high estimation in which it is held : which, moreover, like all valuations, is constantly growing, for something that is valued highly is striven after, imitated, multiplied, and increases, because the value of the output of toil and enthusiasm of each individual is added to the value of the thing itself. How little moral would the world look without this forgetfulness! A poet might say that God had placed forgetfulness as door-keeper in the temple of human dignity.
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Re: Fairness

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:13 pm

danieLion wrote:Cittasanto's post reveals that the Buddha did not treat fairness as a "guiding principle" or "rule" in any categorically imperative or necessary way.

Hi DanieLion, Kim.
Just to expand what was previously said using this as a backdrop to investigate further....
Personally I believe the texts do show, and do not show, both to be true. it is certainly not a direct "rule" but a "guiding principle" can be inferred or not depending upon ones perspective.
Look at how Sariputta reacted to the Novice who pointed out how he was unkempt one particular day, or when Devaddata was misquoted.
AN9.26 wrote:003.06. At one time venerable Sàriputta and venerable Candikaputta were abiding in the squirrels' sanctuary in the bamboo grove in Rajagaha. Then venerable Candikaputta addressed the bhikkhus: ßFriends, Devadatta preached thus to the bhikkhus-When friends, there is an accumulation in the bhikkhu's mind, it is suitable the hikkhu should declare- `I know that birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, what should be done is done, there is nothing more to wish.'"

When this was said venerable Sàriputta said thus to venerable Candikaputta: Friend, Candikaputta, Devadatta did not preach the bhikkhus-When friends, there is an accumulation in the bhikkhu's mind, it is suitable the hikkhu should declare- `I know that birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, what should be done is done, there is nothing more to wish.' Friend, Candikaputta, Devadatta preached the bhikkhus: When the bhikkhu's mind is wisely and thoroughly scrutinized thus, these words are suitable for him.- `I know that birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, what should be done is done, there is nothing more to wish.'

both of these can show either a veneration for the truth (and discipline, in the formers case,) or fairness.
Equipose is in one way a state of being unbiased.

looking at the Patimokkha and particularly how issues and breaches are dealt with when they warrant investigation, the truthfulness is not something which is decided against like in a court, i.e. the truth of what is said by the accused and accuser are not things which are judged against; it is left up to the persons integrety & they are the owners of their Kamma the ultimate arbiter of fairness in a sense of reaping the results of your own actions. which I would add makes deciding the truthfulness of someone in an accused role pointless in the grand scheme of things as it is in there best interest to be honest and the "jury's" (for lack of better word) best interest not to create a possible schism of sorts through bad feelings and possibly being unfair to the accused without a voluntary confession.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Fairness

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:12 am

Reverend Thanissaro wrote:If you think about people at work who’ve been unfair to you, and you’re all worked up about that, well, try to remind yourself this is the human condition. The Buddha gives lots of ways of counteracting ill-will. The Buddha said this is normal in the human realm; if you want to live in a place where everyone is fair you’re in the wrong place. And you’re not the only one that’s been the victim of unfair treatment. So you decide not to get worked up about it. Not that you become a doormat for other beings, but for the time being, at least, let those thoughts ]go..

-Right Resolve, Right Concentration: September 1, 2012 (6:14 to 7:04/-6:30 to -5:48).
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