Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby fivebells » Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:45 pm

I think I heard in a recent Dhamma talk (been listening to a lot of them lately) that the Buddha said it is a kindness to the world to refrain from having children. Anyone got a citation for that?
fivebells
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:52 am

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Mindstar » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:43 pm

Psssst dont say it out too loud or they will start to print little Buddhas on condom packages :toilet:

Was looking to find an article and found this:

According to Mechai Viravaidya, a politician and activist in Thailand, "the Buddhist scriptures say that many births cause suffering, so Buddhism is not against family planning. And we even ended up with monks sprinkling holy water on pills and condoms for the sanctity of the family before shipments went out into the villages." He urges Buddhists to “not be embarrassed by a condom. It's just from a rubber tree, like a tennis ball. If you're embarrassed by a condom, you must be more embarrassed by the tennis ball. There's more rubber in it. You could use it as a balloon, as a tourniquet for snake bites and deep cuts and use the ring of the condom as a hair band. What a wonderful product."


Image
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
User avatar
Mindstar
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:44 am

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Coyote » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:59 pm

No, I don't think the Buddha said anything like that. In fact I have heard a teaching from Ajahn Pasanno that raising a child is one of the kindest things you can do, short of becoming an Arahant.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:00 pm

Coyote wrote:No, I don't think the Buddha said anything like that. In fact I have heard a teaching from Ajahn Pasanno that raising a child is one of the kindest things you can do, short of becoming an Arahant.


It makes sense, since two of the five henious crimes are killing our mother and killing our father. So they must have done something incredibly kind and karmicaly powerful.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
User avatar
Modus.Ponens
 
Posts: 2045
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:38 am
Location: Funchal, Portugal

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Aloka » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:36 pm

This sutta is quite interesting :

SN 4.8 Nandana Sutta: Delight

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Mara the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

Those with children
delight
because of their children.
Those with cattle
delight
because of their cows.
A person's delight
comes from acquisitions,
since a person with no acquisitions
doesn't delight.

[The Buddha:]
Those with children
grieve
because of their children.
Those with cattle
grieve
because of their cows.
A person's grief
comes from acquisitions,
since a person with no acquisitions
doesn't grieve.

Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me" — vanished right there.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn04/sn04.008.than.html

.
User avatar
Aloka
 
Posts: 3720
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby khlawng » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:00 am

Coyote wrote:No, I don't think the Buddha said anything like that. In fact I have heard a teaching from Ajahn Pasanno that raising a child is one of the kindest things you can do, short of becoming an Arahant.


In asia, there is a sickness I term filial piety trap.

Daughters of poor rural parents are often obligated to get into the sex trade in big cities to supplement living expenses back home. Most times, both parents and male siblings (who remains jobless for ages) turn a blind eye to where the money comes from.

Both the wife and I also decided to stay childless and our decision is shaped by how my father is so dependant on us to continously provide him with a comfortable life style with very little gratitude in return. In many ways, we are also victims of the filial piety trap.

Many of my peers will gush and talk about how their kids are the best thing that every happen to them but in the same breath, will tell you how stressful it is to bring them up and how badly they are coping with juggling work and family life.

Having witness all these first hand, i am not sure what sort of kindness can ever come of having children.

Adopting a child and providing him/her with a better life, now that is a whole different story altogether.
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Coyote » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:18 am

khlawng wrote:Having witness all these first hand, i am not sure what sort of kindness can ever come of having children.

Adopting a child and providing him/her with a better life, now that is a whole different story altogether.


The situation above is not what either I or the venerable (presumably) meant. In that case, maybe remaining childless is a kindness. But when you are able to care for a child, educate them, even show them Dhamma, then you are doing a great service to a being who may other wise encounter terrible situations such as the one you mentioned. This is why it is very difficult to repay the debt to our parents.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:22 am

khlawng wrote:Having witness all these first hand, i am not sure what sort of kindness can ever come of having children.



That is the difference between witnessing first hand, and experiencing first hand. As a parent, I am very sure what sort of kindness can come of having children.
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby khlawng » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:36 am

Sam Vara wrote:That is the difference between witnessing first hand, and experiencing first hand. As a parent, I am very sure what sort of kindness can come of having children.


being childless, i am often told by friends and relatives, on many occassions, that because i have no children of my own, i do not understand what having a child means so i should refrain from commenting on topics like parenting and child behavior. I disagree.

but coming back to your statement above, can you elaborate what sort of kindness can come of having children?
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby khlawng » Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:49 am

Coyote wrote:But when you are able to care for a child, educate them, even show them Dhamma, then you are doing a great service to a being who may other wise encounter terrible situations such as the one you mentioned.


How does one determine who qualifies then? by education level? wealth? or how cultivated one is?

Coyote wrote:... it is very difficult to repay the debt to our parents.


no doubt about that. but why place another being in a position to be so in debted to you in the first place?
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Coyote » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:09 am

khlawng wrote:
How does one determine who qualifies then? by education level? wealth? or how cultivated one is?

no doubt about that. but why place another being in a position to be so in debted to you in the first place?


I don't think it is about being good enough to be a parent, but about providing a safe environment for a child to grow - which by its very nature is a kindness. I don't know enough about childraising to comment on the rest.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 542
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby khlawng » Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:23 am

Coyote wrote:... a safe environment


what constitute a safe environment? you mean permanently safe? is there ever such a thing even..
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:00 pm

khlawng wrote: being childless, i am often told by friends and relatives, on many occassions, that because i have no children of my own, i do not understand what having a child means so i should refrain from commenting on topics like parenting and child behavior. I disagree.

but coming back to your statement above, can you elaborate what sort of kindness can come of having children?


I completely agree that you should not refrain from commenting on such topics. Everyone has something to contribute, and all genuine contributions should be valued.

I would say that there are two main types of kindness which can come of having children. The kindness which parents can feel and express for their children, and the kindness which the children can return to their parents. Most of my time with my children is spent being kind; and when I am unable to be kind, then I often reflect on how I should have been. Being a parent has rubbed my face in kindness, and before I became a parent I did not know that it would be like this.
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby reflection » Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:07 pm

I don't know about the citation, but in my case it may very well be true. :jumping:
User avatar
reflection
 
Posts: 1115
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:27 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby khlawng » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:42 pm

Sam Vara wrote:I would say that there are two main types of kindness which can come of having children. The kindness which parents can feel and express for their children, and the kindness which the children can return to their parents. Most of my time with my children is spent being kind; and when I am unable to be kind, then I often reflect on how I should have been. Being a parent has rubbed my face in kindness, and before I became a parent I did not know that it would be like this.


granted this maybe true in your case. but one could also have cultivated this feeling of kindness through metta no? that would be boundless and not confined to specific conditions.
User avatar
khlawng
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2010 2:28 pm

Re: Did the Buddha say remaining childless is a kindness?

Postby Sam Vara » Wed Jun 26, 2013 1:53 pm

khlawng wrote:
Sam Vara wrote:I would say that there are two main types of kindness which can come of having children. The kindness which parents can feel and express for their children, and the kindness which the children can return to their parents. Most of my time with my children is spent being kind; and when I am unable to be kind, then I often reflect on how I should have been. Being a parent has rubbed my face in kindness, and before I became a parent I did not know that it would be like this.


granted this maybe true in your case. but one could also have cultivated this feeling of kindness through metta no? that would be boundless and not confined to specific conditions.


Possibly - I don't know. Maybe I needed children to experience that, and maybe others do. Kindness does of course have a tendency to grow, so kindness towards specific people can benefit lots of others and may even be turned to boundless feeling.
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 1044
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

cron