I'd feed a starving child before a healthy arahant

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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SDC
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby SDC » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:00 am

Sekha wrote:
SDC wrote:You'll NEVER see a plump arahant. Ever. Unless of course it's due to a medical condition they have no control over.

And in virtue of what?


What David said.

If you disagree it is likely that we share different views of the characteristics of an arahant.

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:01 am

santa100 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Which seems to still rest on a transaction based morality, a business deal


Label it whatever way you like. I'd just call it a win-win..



So you get something as well as the other person?
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:08 am

santa100 wrote:
clw_uk wrote:Which seems to still rest on a transaction based morality, a business deal


Label it whatever way you like. I'd just call it a win-win..



You could have said you would give it to the hungry, because the arahant would be free from dukkha in relation to hunger


Yet you choose the option that (apparently) gives "you" maximum benefit in terms of "merit"


Once again a business deal, bound up with selfishness and dukkha because of the ego ;)
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:11 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Image

So you want a Buddhism without cultural accretions? Nothing wrong with that.




:rofl:
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby santa100 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:21 am

clw_uk wrote:You could have said you would give it to the hungry, because the arahant would be free from dukkha in relation to hunger


Yet you choose the option that (apparently) gives "you" maximum benefit in terms of "merit"


Once again a business deal, bound up with selfishness and dukkha because of the ego


Obviously your solution is not a win-win. Oh, and your 2nd sentence is false since it's not just me who get the benefit. By the way, how do I know if it's not out of your own egoistic and selfish view to keep labeling mine as selfish?

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:17 am

Obviously your solution is not a win-win. Oh, and your 2nd sentence is false since it's not just me who get the benefit. By the way, how do I know if it's not out of your own egoistic and selfish view to keep labeling mine as selfish?



Well in Buddhist terms, you would give out of compassion and not act in terms that enforce the ego, which your first post strongly implied.

Giving to the hungry child would be more ethical, in Buddhist terms, because the arahant could experience hunger and not be stressed by it. However giving to the arahant, because you get merit, who gives to the child smacks of an egotistical business deal.


And I dont know if i know or not know that you don't know if it is my egoistic intention or not :)
“The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences. When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised." Verses on the Faith Mind, Sengcan

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby dagon » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:22 am

Live in the present, be mindful , do what is wholesome, recognise that karma is the mechanism that makes you accountable for you intentions/action but don’t dwell on it (past or future)

OR

Cut the apple in half, have a two way bet and takeaway the reason for people to use questionable speech to each other. :juggling:

Metta
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby santa100 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:29 am

clw_uk wrote:Well in Buddhist terms, you would give out of compassion and not act in terms that enforce the ego, which your first post strongly implied.


And I dont know if i know or not know that you don't know if it is my egoistic intention or not


Well, i wouldn't call not making offering to an arahant is real compassion either. By the way, I achieve the same objective of saving the child just like you and further more made some extra other positive contributions.

That's fine that you don't know. That's why I'd be more reserved in passing judgement the next time around.. :smile:

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:32 am

clw_uk wrote:
To keep one’s precepts merely out of a prudential wish to avoid unpleasant vipākas no doubt bespeaks of an inferior level of motivation, but don't you think it's better than not being motivated towards sīla at all? And I doubt the unkilled bugs would find it in the least sad.


As always that depends on the circumstances.


In what circumstances is it better to act immorally than to act morally out of mere prudence?
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:48 am

In what circumstances is it better to act immorally than to act morally out of mere prudence?


Your question is loaded from the start. You also haven't defined, or proved, what "immorality" is. Yet no matter, I"ll give you "immorality" (assuming we agree on the definition of the word, which would seem the best starting place).


Yet if you was a time traveler and had the option of killing Hitler as a baby, or letting him live, what would you do?



Or if you hid some Jews, homosexuals and Jehovah's witnesses in your house/monastery, and the SS came knocking, would you lie or tell the truth?

In both cases to kill hitler, and to lie to save the "subhumans", is immoral in "Buddhist" terms, yet the context demands a differenent perspective that colours it.


Therefore assuming you wouldn't give up a gay man to the SS, you would lie due to the situation. Thus context defines, or at least influneces, morality (if it exists). :)
Last edited by clw_uk on Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Sep 15, 2013 3:55 am

manas wrote:If I have an apple in my hand, and before me I see a starving beggar child, and a plump arahant on alms round, I will give the apple to the starving beggar child, yes even if that means I miss out on a million 'merit points' and a thousand years of feasting in Heaven.


It seems likely the arahant would be rather pleased to see you giving the apple to the child, and therefore you would also be giving the arahant a brief moment of pleasure (mudita - altruistic joy).

The Buddha said to give where one feels inspired. Of course there are non-arahants who give with selfish motives, but just because their practice is imperfect does not require one to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:13 am

The Buddha said to give where one feels inspired. Of course there are non-arahants who give with selfish motives, but just because their practice is imperfect does not require one to throw out the baby with the bathwater.



Unless the bath water is position, oes?
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:29 am

clw_uk wrote:
The Buddha said to give where one feels inspired. Of course there are non-arahants who give with selfish motives, but just because their practice is imperfect does not require one to throw out the baby with the bathwater.



Unless the bath water is position, oes?


I don't understand your post. The bathwater is OK to get rid of, it represents the imperfect practice of selfish generosity. What should be protected is the baby, which represents the Buddha's teaching to be generous where one feels inspired, which I believe to mean where there is the greatest perceived need. In the case of the OP, this would mean feeding the starving child. Does that clarify?
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:35 am

I don't understand your post. The bathwater is OK to get rid of, it represents the imperfect practice of selfish generosity. What should be protected is the baby, which represents the Buddha's teaching to be generous where one feels inspired, which I believe to mean where there is the greatest perceived need. In the case of the OP, this would mean feeding the starving child. Does that clarify?


"Poisonus bath water" was a metaphor for context x :)
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:37 am

However I do like the rest of your post atm :)


:group:
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:52 am

which I believe to mean where there is the greatest perceived need


Although this can be subjective and fall into the trap of "me"
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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Buckwheat » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:35 am

clw_uk wrote:
In what circumstances is it better to act immorally than to act morally out of mere prudence?


Your question is loaded from the start. You also haven't defined, or proved, what "immorality" is. Yet no matter, I"ll give you "immorality" (assuming we agree on the definition of the word, which would seem the best starting place).


Yet if you was a time traveler and had the option of killing Hitler as a baby, or letting him live, what would you do?



Or if you hid some Jews, homosexuals and Jehovah's witnesses in your house/monastery, and the SS came knocking, would you lie or tell the truth?

In both cases to kill hitler, and to lie to save the "subhumans", is immoral in "Buddhist" terms, yet the context demands a differenent perspective that colours it.


Therefore assuming you wouldn't give up a gay man to the SS, you would lie due to the situation. Thus context defines, or at least influneces, morality (if it exists). :)

A time-traveler would have many more options than that of

a) kill Hitler

b) Let things go down exactly as they did.

There are other options, and we only have to look at the suttas that the Buddha dealt with moral dilemma's in creative and beautiful ways.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby robertk » Sun Sep 15, 2013 5:59 am

the texts merely point out that giving to an arahat may bear more positive fruit than say giving to a monk from a different religion. This is largely due to the citta that gives: the one who gives with great confidence and understanding of the real virtues of the arahat is more 'pure', of a higher level, than the one who gives to say a naked ascetic believing(wrongly) that he has special purity.

Bodhisattas always give to where it is needed and requested and don't make any calculation hoping to get more material rewards in the future.

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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Aloka » Sun Sep 15, 2013 7:20 am

After reading the thread so far, my opinion is to set aside any ideas about personal "merit" or whatever and just act spontaneously to help others as occasions arise.

Hopefully, If one just keeps practising, awareness increases and appropriate behavior happens naturally.


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Re: I'd feed a starving child before a plump arahant

Postby Sekha » Sun Sep 15, 2013 10:11 am

David N. Snyder wrote:
Sekha wrote:
SDC wrote:You'll NEVER see a plump arahant. Ever. Unless of course it's due to a medical condition they have no control over.

And in virtue of what?

A non-returner and higher has completely eliminated all sense cravings, so we would assume no longer has any food cravings, no longer overeats (if he/she did before).

Of course. I mean to question the use of the word "NEVER".

SDC wrote:
Sekha wrote:And in virtue of what?

What David said.

If you disagree it is likely that we share different views of the characteristics of an arahant.

What if the arahant is subject to a serious disease that makes him look that way?


clw_uk wrote:
sekha wrote:it is always better to help an arahant (if he truly is one and we're being really helpful) than helping anyone else, not for one's own sake but for the world.

But you need a humanity to be there, I.e. fed, in order to be "saved"

Is this making any contradiction with what I have said? It is not because one feeds an arahant that one won't feed the needy. It should be all the contrary.


clw_uk wrote:
More generally speaking, it is always better to help beings who have a higher sense of morality because they will in turn take advantage of the help we have provided them to help others

First of all you haven't defined morality

Secondly Buddhist ethics rests on the intention, not the outcome, of an action

So you reasoning is baseless because of my first point, and invalid in Buddhist terms because of my second point.

Well, 1) morality is a common translation for sila. I would have thought this was a no-brainer for someone who appears to be interested in the Buddha's teaching. FYI, sila can be defined in terms of the ten akusala kamma-patha, or for monks/nuns in terms of the 227 or 311 rules known to this day.

2) I agree intention is the most important factor, but it doesn't mean the outcome has no importance, and it is not difficult to find suttas where this is specified very clearly. So please be less aggressive and reflect a bit more before attacking people.


clw_uk wrote:
Once again, self-merit is gathered through "helping" the world as a whole, so it does make sense to choose one's gift's recipient carefully. That said, we should always try to be responsive to those who are in need and ask for help, no matter who they are.


A nice footnote to a post that seems to glorify a transaction based morality

I do X because it gives me maximum return. :shrug:

This is nothing but your own idiosyncrasy, my friend. Morality as a whole has little to do with "transactions," if not "transactions" of metta. I repeat the logic you do not seem to be willing to understand: I do X because it is to the best advantage of the world as a whole, or just because it would be too uncharitable to not be responsive to a needy person when one can.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

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As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom, shines resplendent in wisdom. -/ Dhp 58-59


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