Living among fools

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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oncereturner
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Living among fools

Post by oncereturner »

The Scripture writes:

"Whoever does not see fools will always be happy.
Whoever associates with fools suffers a long time.
Being with fools, as with an enemy, is always painful."

So I'm working at a customer service, I talk to countless fools every day. I'm indeed a servant of these fools. In my private life I'm also surrounded by fools, in my neighborhood. These people are violent, loud and dangerous.

I have not chosen this life, this is my fate.
I think I'm not alone with this problem.

How can one progress on the Path, not seeing a wise man, but seeing thousands of fools?
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Living among fools

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

In the Maṅgala Sutta too, it says:
Not to associate with fools, but to associate with the wise
And to honour those worthy of honour, this is the most auspicious sign.
In this world, even for monks, but especially as a lay person, it is hard to avoid fools completely. If born into the wrong neighbourhood it is doubly difficult. As the next verse says:
Living in a suitable locality, and good deeds done in the past,
To set oneself in the right course, this is the most auspicious sign.
A maṅgala (auspicious sign or blessing) is the pleasant result of wholesome deeds done in the past. The converse is also true.

To progress on the path one should not do what the foolish are doing (Asevanā ca bālānaṃ). Here, the word asevanā usually translated as "associate" means, literally, do not follow them; do not do what they are doing. That is, if others are foul-mouthed and aggressive, be polite, patient, and kind.

Kamma and it's result (vipāka) can be seen as one's fate, but the important thing about the law of kamma is that present kamma also moulds one's destiny. We are the owners of our (previous and present) kamma, and inherit the results of our own kamma (kammadayādo). However, we also have kamma as our refuge (kammapaṭisaraṇa). Taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha can only be fully effective if we put the teachings into practice.
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Chi
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Re: Living among fools

Post by Chi »

Practicing compassion helps. If we understand all judgments to be simply perceptions coloring reality, we can soften around them instead of taking them to be real and permanent. We all have aspects of the fool within ourselves so it's beneficial to be kind and compassionate to seemingly outside objects we consider foolish.

Not a bad idea to seek out teacher and/or look for other work. There is great insight and discussion happening here on this forum.

Any one allowing us to practice patience and develop a soft open heart can be seen as a great spiritual teacher. So be grateful for everyone teaching you lessons. When we always get what we want and be surrounded by the people we like, it's hard to be motivated to practice. Let the unpleasant times be what lights the fire in our minds to turn toward the dhamma.

See the good in everyone! We are all on the same boat, striving to be happy. No one is better than another. There is no one in the first place :anjali:

All these words spoken from a fool!
Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind.
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BasementBuddhist
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Re: Living among fools

Post by BasementBuddhist »

Once you recognize people as foolish you owe them a great debt. They are teaching you every day of your life, consistently, and without expectation or requirement. We are all in this together.


Edit: Also, do you consider yourself a once-returner?

Edit 2: I think the quality of people around you is irrelevant. They WILL both make learning more difficult and make it easier. Of course life is easier with a Sangha of monks around you, but there are some things that only fools can teach you.
paul
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Re: Living among fools

Post by paul »

The Buddha made a clear distinction between the puthujjana and those on the path and they are subject to two different truths, the conventional and the ultimate, and all practitioners have to navigate a middle way regarding this duality. Recognising the simultaneous existence of the two truths enables the practitioner to avoid the pitfall of aversion while always bearing in mind the limitations of conventional reality.
binocular
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Re: Living among fools

Post by binocular »

oncereturner wrote:How can one progress on the Path, not seeing a wise man, but seeing thousands of fools?
Surely a once-returner would already know the answer to that question ...
:tongue:
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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oncereturner
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Re: Living among fools

Post by oncereturner »

Thank You very much for answering. Local Mantra Church couldn't answer, my question was "too difficult ". I think they have not reached full awakening.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
2600htz
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Re: Living among fools

Post by 2600htz »

Hello:

Just practice and try to do good whenever there is an opening.
An opportunity to a job in a distant area?, take it. A change to help someone?, take it.
Even when surrounded by a bad environment u can make giant progress, its just harder.
If u follow the precepts naturally your environment will change.

Regards.
R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: Living among fools

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw »

One who keeps company with fools
Will grieve for a long, long time.
Living with fools is painful,
As is living with foes.
Progress can be painful, it does not matter if you are among fools.
How can one progress on the Path, not seeing a wise man, but seeing thousands of fools?
you should train yourself thus: In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed. In reference to the cognized, only the cognized. That is how you should train yourself. When for you there will be only the seen in reference to the seen, only the heard in reference to the heard, only the sensed in reference to the sensed, only the cognized in reference to the cognized, then, Bāhiya, there is no you in connection with that. When there is no you in connection with that, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor yonder nor between the two. This, just this, is the end of stress.
Practicalities will depend on your circumstances but my point is that pain, anger, frustration and misery are valid meditation objects. Surely everybody has an opportunity to practice if ones faculties are intact and senses are functioning.

When walking one should know "i am walking", when speaking one should be aware "i am speaking", when feeling a pleasant feeling one should also bring forth recollective awareness and know "i am feeling, a pleasant feeling has arisen" or just "feeling, feeling", same with painful & neither painful nor pleasant feelings, wanting and not wanting, liking and disliking, intending and doing, sensations (touching, itching, bending/extending etc), mindstates (anger, confusion etc), when thinking one should know i am thinking or was thinking, when coming to a conclusion "concluding" or "knowing", when doubting "doubting" when overwhelmed "overwhelmed". Any time, in any place, in any posture one should recollect one's experiences as it seems fit. Find time for formal practice or work towards going on a retreat to a proper Monastery, dont just go to any random Dhamma teacher.
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oncereturner
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Re: Living among fools

Post by oncereturner »

In the morning, a customer wrote me "go to hell, I don't want to see you". It proofs he was a fool. This hurts me, but I feel no anger.

But Scripture says "the pot will be full of water, even water pours slowly drop by drop".

These problems endanger my enlightenment, if I will be full of water.
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
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BasementBuddhist
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Re: Living among fools

Post by BasementBuddhist »

oncereturner wrote:In the morning, a customer wrote me "go to hell, I don't want to see you". It proofs he was a fool. This hurts me, but I feel no anger.

But Scripture says "the pot will be full of water, even water pours slowly drop by drop".

These problems endanger my enlightenment, if I will be full of water.
It depends on what you've got pouring into your pot drop by drop. If you get bitter and angry over such things, and let them drip into the pot, then yes, it will endanger things. If instead compassion arises and you let that drip into your pot drop by drop, your enlightenment is helped. Right?
R1111 = rightviewftw
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Re: Living among fools

Post by R1111 = rightviewftw »

People occasionally tell me to go to hell as well, it does not hurt me at all, i find it unfortunate that i have put myself in a situation where this might happen but it is not my fault and the person saying it will have to deal with the consequent results of his actions. I also feel immense compassion for the person saying it and i have no doubt that they are just being angry and do not really mean it. Other than that i find it hard to imagine that there is a person cruel enough to actually wish someone to go to hell if they were to fully comprehend what it entails and how devastating it is.

I have to somehow make the money i think i need to make and that is that. Lay state sucks in this regard and i dont think it is possible to mitigate these things more effectively than ordaining.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Living among fools

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala »

oncereturner wrote:Scripture says "the pot will be full of water, even water pours slowly drop by drop".

These problems endanger my enlightenment, if I will be full of water.
There are two related verses in the Dhammapada:

Do Not Disregard Evil
“Do not disregard evil, saying, ‘It will not come to me;’
by the falling of drops even a water-jar is filled;
likewise the fool, gathering little by little, fills himself with evil.”121
Do Not Disregard Merit
“Do not disregard merit, saying, ‘It will not come to me;’
by the falling of drops even a water-jar is filled;
likewise the wise man, gathering little by little, fills himself with good.”122
So, every time you bite your tongue to refrain from returning hatred with hatred when hurt by hateful words, or guard your mind with compassion so that anger does not even arise, then you are gathering merit drop by drop, not evil.

The painful mental feelings are impermanent, conditioned, and not-self, i.e. they are not under your control. They are just past evil kamma of harsh speech bearing fruit in the present. If you can convert them to compassionate thoughts and kind speech, it is like growing mangoes from dung, or making useful household items from the trash discarded by others.
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oncereturner
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Re: Living among fools

Post by oncereturner »

BasementBuddhist wrote: Edit: Also, do you consider yourself a once-returner?
Yes, because, the three fetters which the once-returner is free are:
1. Sakkāya-diṭṭhi (Pali) - Belief in self
2. Sīlabbata-parāmāsa (Pali) - Attachment to rites and rituals
3. Vicikicchā (Pali) - Skeptical doubt
The once-returner (Sakadagami) also significantly weakened the chains of:
4. Kāma-rāga (Pali) - Sensuous craving
5. Byāpāda (Pali) - Ill-will

I'm close to cut the roots of Kāma-rāga too. So I can reach the next level, non-returner.
Please correct me, if I'm wrong. Is there other requirements?
"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

— SN 45.8
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cjmacie
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Re: Living among fools

Post by cjmacie »

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
oncereturner wrote:... painful mental feelings are impermanent, conditioned, and not-self, i.e. they are not under your control...
Nicely put.

Dealing with them can involve intention / kamma?
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