Holding each other accountable in daily life

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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TLCD96
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Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by TLCD96 »

Hello everyone, lately in my practice I've been noticing a theme of the need to hold each other accountable, be it in the world of politics, business, family, and friendships. It seems that when we tell others not to do something, or to do something, often there is a pushback:

"you can't tell me what to do,"

"I have a right to do x",

"mind your own business"

"Well, what about you? You do x..."

People don't like being told what to do, myself included, but when things are going in a bad direction, somebody needs to give a push in a different direction. Thus we have sticky note reminders, discussions, admonishments, etc. Having asked some monks about this, I am told to have upekkha (don't get caught up in other people's behavior; focus on your own well-being), metta (make sure one is acting on good intentions), and wisdom (pick your battles wisely; don't be a karmic garbage collector [e.g. don't pick up burdens that aren't yours or aren't necessary]).

I'm wondering what experience others have had with this? What do you do to hold others accountable in daily life? What have you found useful in maintaining good relations in an imperfect world?

Asking this partly because, in my own household, it seems quite apparent that we are all afraid to give each other feedback, or we don't know how to do so skillfully. So there is often conflict, defensiveness, misunderstanding, etc.
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Inedible
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by Inedible »

It isn't a good way to get along with people. It is like the bit about the Zen hog dog stand. After he orders, and this is the part everyone knows, where he says make me one with everything. He pays with a twenty. Where's my change, he asks. Change must come from within.
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DooDoot
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by DooDoot »

TLCD96 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:59 am I'm wondering what experience others have had with this? What do you do to hold others accountable in daily life? What have you found useful in maintaining good relations in an imperfect world?
When you work for an employer as an employee, both you & the employer must be accountable.
TLCD96 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:59 amAsking this partly because, in my own household, it seems quite apparent that we are all afraid to give each other feedback, or we don't know how to do so skillfully. So there is often conflict, defensiveness, misunderstanding, etc.
The suttas say, in the household life, householders should truthfully give each other feedback and train to do so skillfully, gently, with patience. A householder relationship that is chaotic cannot last long (per AN 4.53 & AN 4.55).
A faithful household seeker has
attained these four: truthfulness (saccaṃ),
virtue (dhammo), courage (dhiti), generosity (cāgo) too,
and so grieves not when passing hence.

Now if you wish, ask others too,
numerous monks and brahmins—if
truth (saccā), generosity (cāgā), taming self (damā),
patience (khantyā) too —what’s better than these?

https://suttacentral.net/snp1.10/en/mills#sc15
C. Governing life with four qualities: he practices according to the four qualities for leading the household life, known as the gharavasadhamma:

Sacca: truthfulness; he adheres to truth, integrity, honesty, sincerity; he is as good as his word; he ensures that his actions are trustworthy and reliable.

Dama: training; he disciplines and restrains himself; he adjusts himself to conditions and corrects and improves himself so as to be constantly progressing.

Khanti: endurance; he applies himself to doing his work with diligence and effort; he is tenacious and endures without wavering; he is firm in his aim and does not become discouraged.

Caga: sacrifice; he is thoughtful and generous; he helps others and performs good works; he relinquishes greed and pride and is able to work with others without being narrow-minded, selfish, or insisting on having things his own way.

https://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Part2_2.htm#11
C. The couple sharing in goodness: the four principles for leading the household life (gharavasa-dhamma) can be used by a couple in the following ways:

Sacca: truthfulness; being truthful and faithful to each other in thoughts, speech and deeds.

Dama: training; exercising restraint, training themselves to correct faults, resolve differences, adapt to each other and improve themselves.

Khanti: patience; being firm, stable and patient; not reacting impulsively to each other's affronts; enduring difficulties and hardships and overcoming obstacles together.

Caga: sacrifice; being thoughtful, able to give up personal comfort for the sake of one's partner by, for example, foregoing sleep in order to nurse him or her in sickness; also being kind and generous, not uncharitable, to the relatives and friends of one's partner.

https://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/Part2_3.htm#13
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by Sam Vara »

TLCD96 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:59 am
I'm wondering what experience others have had with this? What do you do to hold others accountable in daily life? What have you found useful in maintaining good relations in an imperfect world?
I have found it useful to remember that we are all appetitive beings seeking our own welfare, and that we will inevitably clash with others who don't see things the way that we do. Formal organisations such as the workplace, government organisations, and politics are arranged in an attempt to minimise these clashes by making procedures agreed upon and predictable. We might, before engaging with them, give thanks that organisations and bureaucracies have been codified and formalised for our convenience; they are a way of processing lots of different human inputs as efficiently as possible, and although they are imperfect, they are the result of a lot of people getting into difficulties that we are now saved from. With this in mind, it's good to hold others accountable, to require them to do what they have undertaken to do, because that's what the organisational structure is there for. But to be gentle. And it's good, when working in such organisations, to "go the extra mile"; to find out what people want, and to not use the excuse of accountability to fob people off with excuses, or to use the bureaucracy to thwart them and have an easier life.

When dealing with friends and family, we often lack those formal structures and that means it is advantageous to have positive attitudes towards people. In such circumstances, I would not stress the idea of accountability. People annoy us because of their underlying tendencies and defilements, and - equally - we misinterpret them and annoy them due to our own underlying tendencies. I find it works best if I just remind people if there are expectations to do things, but ultimately to let it go. If there is "pushback", and people assert their rights to do things regardless of my suggestions or demands, I try to remember that their behaviour is conditioned by that sort of quasi-political rhetoric, and I try to forgive them and not pay it too much attention. Let go.
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

Unless its restraining a child, or a childlike person, note the arising of the phenomenon 'need to hold accountable' : this is not mine, not I and not my self, note the passing away of the phenomenon. It is also an opportunity to meditate: 'may I be happy, peaceful and liberated, may all beings everywhere be happy, peaceful and liberated'
mettadhatu
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by mettadhatu »

afraid to give feedback...
Look into the fear that arises about giving feedback
Look into the aversion of whatever is bothering you
experiment with giving feedback
experiment with listening and not giving feedback
practice equanimity
but don't stop there
practice engagement too
SarathW
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by SarathW »

This is a tough question.
I generally give feedback only to people who are very close to me like a family.
The worst is when people say others are accountable while they are not accountable or they try to correct you while they are wrong in your opinion.
I think the best is to lead by example. You can't fix the whole world, even Buddha could not do it.
People are in different stages of development. You can't change them from zero to 100 in one go.
Sometimes I let people learn from their own mistakes if I think they are not in danger.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”
dharmacorps
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by dharmacorps »

Unless the person holding you accountable is a wise person, they may not be helping. A lot of the ways in which we try to "help" others really isn't that helpful. That is why the Buddha encouraged us to foster wisdom within, and hold ourselves accountable. You can also find a teacher. But expecting others to make you get in line, you are expecting others to do your job for you.
freedom
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by freedom »

TLCD96 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:59 am Hello everyone, lately in my practice I've been noticing a theme of the need to hold each other accountable, be it in the world of politics, business, family, and friendships. It seems that when we tell others not to do something, or to do something, often there is a pushback:

"you can't tell me what to do,"

"I have a right to do x",

"mind your own business"

"Well, what about you? You do x..."

People don't like being told what to do, myself included, but when things are going in a bad direction, somebody needs to give a push in a different direction. Thus we have sticky note reminders, discussions, admonishments, etc. Having asked some monks about this, I am told to have upekkha (don't get caught up in other people's behavior; focus on your own well-being), metta (make sure one is acting on good intentions), and wisdom (pick your battles wisely; don't be a karmic garbage collector [e.g. don't pick up burdens that aren't yours or aren't necessary]).

I'm wondering what experience others have had with this? What do you do to hold others accountable in daily life? What have you found useful in maintaining good relations in an imperfect world?

Asking this partly because, in my own household, it seems quite apparent that we are all afraid to give each other feedback, or we don't know how to do so skillfully. So there is often conflict, defensiveness, misunderstanding, etc.
It is better to hold ourselves accountable for our actions. We are in trouble because of our own actions, but we normally blame others.

When we want a cat to be a fish, we will be upset why the cat cannot live in water like a fish? When we let the cat to be a cat, the fish to be a fish then we have no trouble when the cat cannot live in water or the fish does not "meow".

You are what you are, and they are what they are. If you want them to be like you, think like you, act like you, talk like you, should do what you want them to do, should not do or talk what you do not like... then you really want a cat to be a fish. That's why you are upset or in trouble when a cat is a cat.

See things the way they are. They are what they are. That's how they are, then you will have no trouble. If a cat acts like a fish then it is something wrong! If a tiger killed a deer then it is normal. What do we expect a tiger do? Eat vegan foods? Write essays?

Do what we can do, but do not expect others to be what we want. If we cannot deal with them then it is better to skillfully distance ourselves from them. Distance ourselves from them to avoid creating further troubles, not because we hate them.

When they are good to you, you should be good to them. When they are bad to you, you should also be good to them.
Hold ourselves accountable so we can see our own mistakes and correct them. Listen to other's criticism. They are helping us to see our own hidden mistakes that we cannot see. The more we can correct ourselves, the better we are.
One should not be negligent of discernment, should guard the truth, be devoted to relinquishment, and train only for calm - MN 140.
bhante dhamma
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by bhante dhamma »

If a tamable person doesn't submit either to a mild training or to a harsh training or to a mild & harsh training, then I kill him, Kesi." AN 4.111
-----
there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of good-will or with inner hate...We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. M21
-----
What do you think, Rahula: What is a mirror for?"

"For reflection, sir."

"In the same way, Rahula, bodily actions, verbal actions, & mental actions are to be done with repeated reflection. M61
------
Before admonishing another bhikkhu, a bhikkhu should investigate five conditions in himself and establish five other conditions in himself. He should investigate thus: “Am I one who practises purity in bodily action?;… purity in speech?; is the heart of good-will established in me towards my fellows?; am I one who has heard the Teachings, practised them, and penetrated them with insight?; is the Discipline known and thoroughly understood by me?” And he should establish these five conditions in himself: he should speak at the right time, speak of facts, and speak gently, and he should speak only profitable words, and with a kindly heart. [A,V,78]
----
The Five Qualities for a New Bhikkhu to Establish Restraint in accordance with the Pàtimokkha; restraint of the senses; restraint as regards talking; love of solitude; cultivation of right views. [A,III,138]
----
The Five Ways of Restraint Restraint by the Monastic Code of Discipline, by mindfulness, by knowledge, by patience, by energy and effort. [Vism. 7]
---
That individual is endearing; worthy of respect; cultured and worthy of emulation; a good counsellor; a patient listener; capable of discussing profound subjects; and is one who never exhorts groundlessly, not leading or spurring one on to a useless end. [A,IV,31]
---
Interestingly enough monastoc communities have an asking for forgiveness ceremony, recently I got the lay community here to do it, with the logic that well as has been stated often times within families there will inevitably be tension, disagreements, hurt feelings etc, problem is not everyone is diṭṭhi'samaññata unless everyone isis following Buddhadhamma, oh and the 7 aparahaniya dhammas
SteRo
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by SteRo »

TLCD96 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:59 am I'm wondering what experience others have had with this? What do you do to hold others accountable in daily life? What have you found useful in maintaining good relations in an imperfect world?

Asking this partly because, in my own household, it seems quite apparent that we are all afraid to give each other feedback, or we don't know how to do so skillfully. So there is often conflict, defensiveness, misunderstanding, etc.
It all depends on the world one finds oneself to be living in. "household" and "family" are a world. If one finds oneself to be living in such a world then one has to be ready to learn to deal with this. There is no escape. Gotama gave teachings for such "householders". I might be wrong but I think that love and compassion play an important role in his teachings for householders. I can't connect love and compassions with "Holding each other accountable".
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
sunnat
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Post by sunnat »

Meditate, meditate and meditate some more. Patience.


Read the dhammapada. There is a lot in there about looking after ones own faults rather than those of others.


As one matures on the path one starts to make an impact on others that happens without an intention to do so. So, meditate. Walk the path. That's the greatest good with the best lasting impact.
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BlackBird
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Re: Holding each other accountable in daily life

Post by BlackBird »

TLCD96 wrote: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:59 am Hello everyone, lately in my practice I've been noticing a theme of the need to hold each other accountable, be it in the world of politics, business, family, and friendships. It seems that when we tell others not to do something, or to do something, often there is a pushback:

"you can't tell me what to do,"

"I have a right to do x",

"mind your own business"

"Well, what about you? You do x..."

People don't like being told what to do myself included,
Quite right. People don't like feeling like their agency is being restricted by an external force, even if (and in some cases especially if) that person is a loved one.
but when things are going in a bad direction, somebody needs to give a push in a different direction. Thus we have sticky note reminders, discussions, admonishments, etc.
I think the key is to do so skillfully, with concern rather than frustration, with humour and friendliness rather than irritability.
Having asked some monks about this, I am told to have upekkha (don't get caught up in other people's behavior; focus on your own well-being), metta (make sure one is acting on good intentions), and wisdom (pick your battles wisely; don't be a karmic garbage collector [e.g. don't pick up burdens that aren't yours or aren't necessary]).
Having upekkha to me doesn't seem like never acting on correcting behaviour within your home life that you find problematic. To me that just seems like ignoring something. It strikes me as somewhat of a contradiction in terms that by ignoring behaviour which is problematic to the household you could in some way be focusing on your own wellbeing. Making sure you act on good intentions and picking your battles wisely sounds like good worldly wisdom however.
I'm wondering what experience others have had with this? What do you do to hold others accountable in daily life? What have you found useful in maintaining good relations in an imperfect world?
I make it into a bit of a joke, and then once they've had a laugh at their own behaviour (assuming they're not dour an humourless) I switch gears and be earnest and say look seriously, when you do X it makes me feel Y. Maybe you could help me understand why you do X.

Often when you explain why their actions are causing discomfort to others, in a rational calm way, after being set at ease by a bit of humour you'll find people will be willing to make adjustments to their behaviour. That's not always going to be the case, there's no silver bullet - But it works a good amount of the time. The next part there is really important in how it's phrased, you go saying "why do you do X" in an accusatory tone it won't work at all. But earnestly expressing that 'I don't understand this, maybe you could HELP me understand why you do this'. This puts people in the driver's seat of trying to get you to understand their perspective. Often if people struggle to rationalize their behaviour at this point you're not far away from getting the person to be willing to make the adjustment --> Do you think we could try doing it this way instead?

There are a lot of moving parts to these things, and canned lines are just that, canned lines - They're illustrative of a principle rather than something you should trot out everytime someone does something you don't like. But read between those lines and you might find it easier addressing these things before they slow boil into something worse than they need to be.

Asking this partly because, in my own household, it seems quite apparent that we are all afraid to give each other feedback, or we don't know how to do so skillfully. So there is often conflict, defensiveness, misunderstanding, etc.
Counter intuitively, people who are averse to conflict often tend to find themselves embroiled in more 'serious' conflicts. That's because people of this inclination don't want to address things when it bothers them, but ruminate on it, and when that repeated behaviour is observed again and again it slowly eats away at them until they feel they have to act, and by this stage there's no divorcing the action from the emotion. It's far better to address problems in their infancy rather than letting it marinade. The wisdom is in recognising when it's valid to be annoyed by something, and when you're just being intolerant to unpleasantness. You can't change everything everyone does, so you need to make a determination as to what's important and what you can live with and perhaps change your own attitude in regards to. As one of your monks has told you and quite right it is - You have to pick your battles.

But perhaps there is a larger issue that needs to be addressed as a household, and that your group aversion to giving feedback (I assume this only extends to the negative, and you're all quite willing to give positive feedback?). Maybe you need to sit down as a unit and agree on the overarching problem?

Let me know what you think
Jack
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta

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