Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

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Jechbi
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Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Jechbi » Tue Jul 28, 2009 6:53 pm

Is it generally appropriate to try to awaken in others through the practice of criticizing their behavior publicly? Personally, I think the answer is no. But I suspect many of us have tried to do this from time to time. Thoughts?

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Ben
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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Ben » Tue Jul 28, 2009 7:40 pm

Hi jechbi

I'm not sure how you'll be able to inspie hiri-ottappa in another by public criticism. You may instead be the vehicle of unwholesome mindstates like resentment and anger. Pouring gasoline on the fire, so to speak. My understanding is that hiri-ottappa arises from engaging in one's practice.
Having said that, if the behaviour of another member has been a concern to you, then perhaps the best course of action would be to express your concerns to the mod/admin team who will look into it.
Kind regards

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

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Jechbi
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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Jechbi » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:09 pm

Thanks, Ben. That's not why I created this thread. No specific concerns, nothing particularly troubling me. I appreciate your asking, though.

From a general discussion standpoint, however, I've observed that sometimes it seems like we try to change others behavior through the process of criticism (I know I've done this sometimes), be it in the workplace, or in the family, or on a discussion board like this. And often our criticism may be accurate. And sometimes it might even help to awaken a more productive self-awareness in another. But like you, I agree that most of time time we're just pouring gas on the fire.

Still, we find ourselves criticising others. So I thought I'd toss it out there for discussion.

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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:17 pm

Sometimes it's appropriate, sometimes it isn't. Did you expect any other answer? ;)
I suggest reading MN 58 for more on the topic of saying disagreeable things for the benefit of others.
- Peter


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Jechbi » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:24 pm


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby kc2dpt » Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:52 pm

- Peter


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Pannapetar » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:18 pm

If I understand the Pali terms correctly, they mean (moral) shame and fear. Insofar, the phrase "inspiring fear and shame" is an oxymoron, because that would be the very opposite of inspiration, namely "de-inspiration", instilling, or deterring. Fire and brimstone spring to mind, Avici hell and such. In several Asian countries, including Thailand, there are amusement parks where visitors can find "edification" by walking through life reconstructions of the various narayas (hell realms). I suppose these parks are created with exactly the intention the thread starter had in mind. To be honest, I doubt this sort of thing is effective. In fact, I would go further and say that instilling shame and fear -even if done with good intention- is very likely to be counterproductive and damaging. It sounds more like brainwashing than education. As an instructional method it's a poor choice, except perhaps for reaching the lowest levels of human intuition.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:22 pm


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Jechbi » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:30 pm


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:58 pm

- Peter


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 3:18 am


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:29 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 7:07 am

I am sorry Ben, but can we speak English rather than Pali? - Remorse is certainly different from shame.

Cheers, Thomas

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cooran
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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:52 am

Hello all,

This may be of interest:

Hiri Ottappa - Ajahn Jayasaro
http://www.knowbuddhism.info/2009/01/hi ... asaro.html

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:00 am

Hiri and otappa are certainly very interesting mind states. Shame is a useful thing - not to be engaged in forever and ever but for it to arise when we are about to do something wrong- it will divert us towards something wholesome. Fear is also a useful thing in very much the same way- not from eternal hell but rather from negative consequences in this life, from negative mind states. These two friends can spare us a lot of suffering. It is said the non-returners (those who have completed 75% of the path to enlightenment) must have hiri and otappa.

I think in the west we tend to approach it in the way we approach guilt and commandments, in Christianity- hence the strong words- the baggage still carried. There is no such thing in the dhamma and would be seen as counter productive and prolonged shame and fear would be akusla/unskillful. Shame and fear has gone out of fashion in the west, but perhaps only in the last 50-60 decades- so lets not think it was always the case.

I think the more intellectual can hopefully see the positives of being moral and engage in that (even though being intellectual doesnt gaurantee that as we can see from history). But I think for the less intellectual it can be a good motivator to be good. It would be interesting to see what would happen in the 'intellectual west' if all the laws were lifted for a month and anyone could do anything that they liked without fear of a criminal record. Sometimes we convince ourselves that looking at the positive side of being moral is the best way forward, when there are things like laws and obligations within which we have to act. We need to understand the contribution of the latter as well.

with metta
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha

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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:15 am

There is nothing wrong with remorse and the dread of wrong-doing which is probably better termed qualms or scrupels in English. But this is a far cry from shame and fear. It goes to show how important precise translations are. I have assumed the meanings that were used in the original article cited by the thread starter, i.e. the ones that Bikkhu Bodhi used, which were shame and fear. Remorse and scrupels are indicators for what we call conscience. Obviously, highly developed ethics imply a highly developed conscience.

The question is then: how do you inspire remorse and scrupulousness? I guess this would only be possible by showing how actions are related to consequences and what exactly the effects of (unskilful) action are. In other words, it is only possible by coming to an understanding, primarily by direct seeing, of the suffering that certain actions cause. For example, in case of murder this would mean that the perpetrator (murderer) needs to understand the immense grief and the immense loss of opportunity on a direct human level. Punishment does not produce remorse and scrupulousness, neither does blame or accusation. Such means are unskilful and should be avoided.

It is not so much that fear and shame have "gone out of fashion", but that society finally catches up with insights gained from research in psychology. A small paradigm shift perhaps, though I doubt that it has reached the majority yet.

Cheers, Thomas

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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:35 am


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:04 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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Jechbi
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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Jechbi » Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:53 pm


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Re: Inspiring hiri-ottappa in others

Postby Pannapetar » Thu Jul 30, 2009 1:49 pm



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