Buddhists are losers?

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Buddhists are losers?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:18 pm

I saw this on another thread.

For all practical intents and purposes, being a Buddhist means that one will quite likely be a loser in worldly terms. Not necessarily a doormat, but quite likely a loser.
There is a real, visible, measurable worldly price that one has to be willing to pay for practicing Buddhism.

Perhaps we can examine this idea on this thread.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby Mkoll » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:21 pm

Dear robertk,

To even begin this kind of debate, one needs to strictly define the term "loser". It has different meanings for different people.

:anjali:
When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn't, that isn't.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.
-SN 12.61

Ex nihilo nihil fit.

Peace,
James
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby robertk » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:22 pm

The texts do include poor followers, sometimes ugly, shortlived and various flotsam of the society of the time.
But from my reading the followers who are rich, successful and powerful; even Kings and Queens , are more numerous.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:51 pm

The traditional use of the term "loser" is for someone not successful at anything, not ambitious. This doesn't fit with Buddhism, imo.

There is the wholesome desire of chanda, also the Buddha's resolve:

"Though my skin, my nerves and my bones shall waste away and my life blood go dry, I will not leave this seat until I have attained the highest wisdom, called supreme enlightenment, that leads to everlasting happiness." (Majjhima Nikaya 70)

The wholesome desire for enlightenment: Bhahmana Sutta
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby manas » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:24 pm

Of course Buddhists are losers. First, we lose clinging to self-views, then clinging to sceptical doubt, then clinging to rules & rituals...eventually, we even lose craving; and then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are all lost.

Playing on words aside, I think it is a purely subjective term. Some ignorant folks would regards monks as 'losers' whereas, we see their lifestyle as most admirable and worthwhile. And we might regard ourselves as being reasonably well-off and successful, but a extremely wealthy person might regard us as 'losers' because we don't live in a mansion in an exclusive gated community, drive the best and latest car, own a holiday home in the South of France...(or whatever else it is the elites in society get up to).

:anjali:
Primum non nocere: "first, do no harm."
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby Goofaholix » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:22 pm

In Asia this wouldn't necessarily be true, someone would likely be a Buddhist because ones parents were.

Converts to any religion I think are likely to have gone through a stage of disillusionment or having failed or felt a "loser", this is needed to motivate someone to look for a solution to their problems. So in the west in terms of western ideals of success a convert to Buddhism will likely have been at some stage what might be considered a loser.
"Whenever we feel that we are definitely right, so much so that we refuse to open up to anything or anybody else, right there we are wrong. It becomes wrong view. When suffering arises, where does it arise from? The cause is wrong view, the fruit of that being suffering. If it was right view it wouldn't cause suffering." - Ajahn Chah
"Remember you dont meditate to get anything, but to get rid of things. We do it, not with desire, but with letting go. If you want anything, you wont find it." - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby Sam Vara » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:15 pm

Renouncers.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby Anagarika » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:33 am

I found this article, below. I note that of the qualities of being a loser, the Dhamma is antithetical / an antidote to each of them. How, then, could one as a committed practitioner on the Path, ever be a loser?

" Qualities of a loser (from 10 Traits of Losers: Are you One? Written on 8/07/2008 by Alex Shalman, creator of the Practical Personal Development blog.) http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/08/10 ... u-one.html

Inhibited integrity

Unnecessary gossip and slander

Chronic pessimism

Pass an injured man

No ambitions

Mean and hateful .

Don't believe in or respect yourself

Quit before you sweat

Closed mindedness

Take no responsibility

If you tread through life being self-centered, egotistical, and not give a damn about anyone else you're a loser. Being a loser isn't about how you view yourself, or what wonderful things you can do for yourself, rather it's your unwillingness to contribute back to your fellow man. "
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:53 am

This winner vs loser is really an american thing. I don't recal hearing a similar concept in any other country. Life is not a game that you win or lose. Even more ridiculous is the notion that some people in life are winners (meaning they have the nature of winning in their blood) or losers (meaning that they have the nature of losing in their DNA).

But if you go by that standard, since it's intimately connected with the so called american dream, yes, buddhists are losers. Our motivation in life is not to accumulate money, collect women _ as if they were baseball cards _ or climb the ladder of power. In that sense of the word, I am a proud loser.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby SarathW » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:06 am

I think Buddhist are the seekers of the highest happiness.
A child will give up with playing toy cars when he become an adult. He will drive a real car. Only a child will say that an adult is a looser.

Buddha did not deny the happiness of the material enjoyment but said that we can achieve higher happiness.

See four kind of happiness by Aya Khema:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zAQU8MEHnM
:)
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:46 am

Buddhism does not teach about winners and losers, it teaches about what is wise and what is ignorant.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby robertk » Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:50 am

Goofaholix wrote:In Asia this wouldn't necessarily be true, someone would likely be a Buddhist because ones parents were.

Converts to any religion I think are likely to have gone through a stage of disillusionment or having failed or felt a "loser", this is needed to motivate someone to look for a solution to their problems. So in the west in terms of western ideals of success a convert to Buddhism will likely have been at some stage what might be considered a loser.

The OP comment I quoted talked about worldly success.
The Buddhists I know are in many cases more successful(from the worldly view) than most of my non- Buddhist friends. I know a chief justice, an ambassador , two generals and a vice admiral, (plus lawyers, professors, and other riffraff). I do have one non Buddhist friend who is wealthy businessman. Naturally some of my Buddhist friends are not (yet) established in careers, and it doesn't really matter in the long run whether one is rich or poor, beautiful or ugly: but it struck me as odd that Buddhists would be perceived as "worldly losers".
It should be obvious that if wisdom is developing then it understands about all aspects of life: so it must be that careers become easier to manage. Calm and confidence, the side effects of even a little understanding , attract women/men etc. It is just the way things work.

Not to mention kamma: like the flower seller who gave flowers to the Buddha and that very day became a Queen. Sure becoming a Queen is rather trivial compared to starting to appreciate Dhamma, but no one can stop these worldly effects occurring can they?
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby binocular » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:46 am

robertk wrote:The Buddhists I know are in many cases more successful(from the worldly view) than most of my non- Buddhist friends. I know a chief justice, an ambassador , two generals and a vice admiral, (plus lawyers, professors, and other riffraff).

How serious are they about Buddhism?
Have they been born into Buddhist families, or have they first come in contact with Buddhism as adults?

Are they this kind of Buddhists - http://sourcesofinsight.com/buddha-quotes/ ?



robertk wrote: but it struck me as odd that Buddhists would be perceived as "worldly losers".

Of course. Not being aggressive, not being willing to lie and gossip, not manipulating others, refusing to engage in murky business schemes (and many if not most lines of work nowadays include less or more ethically questionable practices), not having much interest in worldly matters - that's a recipe for being a loser in worldly terms.

Look up pretty much any business book on power and success, and it talks about how to induce oneself and others to greater passion, aversion and delusion. Of course, they don't call things that way, they talk about "happiness," "fulfillment," "success" and the like.

Just try succeeding in the world without having much worldly ambition!
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby binocular » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:48 am

When someone asks me what's my favorite book, and I say the Pali Canon - what kind of response do you think I get, huh?
There are even many people who consider themselves Buddhists, and they roll their eyes or otherwise make it clear that they disapprove of my choice.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:04 pm

binocular wrote:When someone asks me what's my favorite book, and I say the Pali Canon - what kind of response do you think I get, huh?
There are even many people who consider themselves Buddhists, and they roll their eyes or otherwise make it clear that they disapprove of my choice.


:jumping:

That's very funny. :smile:

I assume they roll their eyes because they imediatly associate that with catholics who take the bible as the unquestionable word of god. And the knee jerk reaction is to condemn that.

I had a bit of the same reaction, actualy. Maybe that's why I found it funny. But it's not reasonable for a buddhist to roll eyes when another buddhist says that the word of the Buddha constitutes the most important thing ever recorded. It's actualy the most common sense answer you can give to that question.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby binocular » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:16 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:I assume they roll their eyes because they imediatly associate that with catholics who take the bible as the unquestionable word of god. And the knee jerk reaction is to condemn that.

For example, one of them, claiming to be a Buddhist, but a vehement opponent of the Pali Canon (although he admits to never having read it), argues that he is living in the present moment, which is why he has neither use nor need for old texts.
By worldy terms, the man's a winner, of course.

I had a bit of the same reaction, actualy. Maybe that's why I found it funny. But it's not reasonable for a buddhist to roll eyes when another buddhist says that the word of the Buddha constitutes the most important thing ever recorded. It's actualy the most common sense answer you can give to that question.

The practical lesson I've learned is that for the most part, it is better to keep my interest in Buddhism secret. Although it's difficult to live a double life like that.
When asked at a job interview "What are your interests?" replying "I'm interested in making an end to suffering" is _not_ a good answer.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:28 am

binocular wrote:The practical lesson I've learned is that for the most part, it is better to keep my interest in Buddhism secret. Although it's difficult to live a double life like that.
When asked at a job interview "What are your interests?" replying "I'm interested in making an end to suffering" is _not_ a good answer.

Indeed, most of my friends(even Buddhist)advice me not to take the teaching too seriously, they try to sound like a very confident atheist but the weird thing is every time they went to the temple they acted like pagans.

I think the prejudice of the community towards avid Buddhist is the fear of disconnecting with friends, family members, employees due to their changing attitude towards worldly interest. In this regard, it is not surprising when people will say anything to discourage you.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby binocular » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:19 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:I think the prejudice of the community towards avid Buddhist is the fear of disconnecting with friends, family members, employees due to their changing attitude towards worldly interest.

Hm. So you think that those worldly people are just worried about avid Buddhists?

I'm trying to understand how come some worldly people tend to have that aversion to Buddhism and the people serious about it. So far, though, I've been able to discover only that some of these worldly people have very skewed ideas about Buddhism (so skewed that it would take considerable effort on their part to change that, it's far too much for me to try to clarify things in one conversation).
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:22 pm

binocular wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:I think the prejudice of the community towards avid Buddhist is the fear of disconnecting with friends, family members, employees due to their changing attitude towards worldly interest.

Hm. So you think that those worldly people are just worried about avid Buddhists?

That’s what my experience tells me. Unless it involves politics or fanatics from other faith, i don’t see much complexity in such stereotype.

binocular wrote:I'm trying to understand how come some worldly people tend to have that aversion to Buddhism and the people serious about it. So far, though, I've been able to discover only that some of these worldly people have very skewed ideas about Buddhism (so skewed that it would take considerable effort on their part to change that, it's far too much for me to try to clarify things in one conversation).

As aversion has to do with attachment and expectation, what else can it be other than trying to dismiss the teaching that is criticizing their pride and joy?
It happens to other faith as well.
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Re: Buddhists are losers?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:12 pm

robertk wrote:The OP comment I quoted talked about worldly success.
The Buddhists I know are in many cases more successful(from the worldly view) than most of my non- Buddhist friends. I know a chief justice, an ambassador , two generals and a vice admiral, (plus lawyers, professors, and other riffraff). I do have one non Buddhist friend who is wealthy businessman. Naturally some of my Buddhist friends are not (yet) established in careers, and it doesn't really matter in the long run whether one is rich or poor, beautiful or ugly: but it struck me as odd that Buddhists would be perceived as "worldly losers".
It should be obvious that if wisdom is developing then it understands about all aspects of life: so it must be that careers become easier to manage. Calm and confidence, the side effects of even a little understanding , attract women/men etc. It is just the way things work.


If you are referring to Western-born convert Buddhists, there have been at least a few articles written about the yuppiefication of Western Buddhism with many retreats and programs costing several hundred dollars, sometimes even more. There has been some effort, especially among Theravada centers at least to offer the teachings on sliding scale or completely on dana basis of what the participants can afford.
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