People are ...?

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Dhamma Chameleon
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Re: People are ...?

Post by Dhamma Chameleon »

Kim OHara wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:07 pm People are too varied for any assumptions to be particularly reliable, but our assumptions guide our own behaviour - quite strongly in some situations.
And if our assumptions are negative, they will firstly make us unhappy and secondly be expressed in our own negative behaviour - suspicious, fearful, anxious, mean, etc - which will usually generate negative responses from the other person.

That's a lose-lose-lose scenario, isn't it?

So I'm going to go one step further than dharmacorps and say that the skilful default assumption is that people are basically good.
I like your approach. Along similar lines, I try to assume that everyone is doing their best. When I feel someone's behaviour falls short of some standard, I reframe it into 'how am I not seeing that this is their best effort?' This has greatly reduced my own suffering and the suffering I caused as a result of my judgment.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by Laurens »

In my experience people are mostly alright.

Not fully good, not fully bad, a bit of both, often deluded.
"If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

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dharmacorps
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Re: People are ...?

Post by dharmacorps »

Kim OHara wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:07 pm
So I'm going to go one step further than dharmacorps and say that the skilful default assumption is that people are basically good.

How about this refinement: choosing to see the good in people is skillful without making a ultimate conclusion about what category (good, bad, in between) they fall in overall. If we assume that people are basically good, we'll suffer every time that we see an example of this not being the case.
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Kim OHara
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Re: People are ...?

Post by Kim OHara »

dharmacorps wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:04 pm
Kim OHara wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 11:07 pm
So I'm going to go one step further than dharmacorps and say that the skilful default assumption is that people are basically good.

How about this refinement: choosing to see the good in people is skillful without making a ultimate conclusion about what category (good, bad, in between) they fall in overall.
But "choosing to see the good in people" is observation ("This guy is nice to dogs even if he kicks cats") not a default assumption.
If we assume that people are basically good, we'll suffer every time that we see an example of this not being the case.
Why would you suffer?
Because you discovered you were wrong? That's attachment to views, which is a known cause of suffering.
Because you therefore trusted someone with your $20 and they didn't return it? Yes, that could happen - but it's only one bit of suffering and following my plan gets you lots of little happy feelings every day. That's not such a bad trade-off, so long as it doesn't happen too often.

Thanks for trying to improve it, but I'm going to stick with my original default.

:namaste:
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Re: People are ...?

Post by binocular »

DNS wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 8:44 pm
dharmacorps wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 6:19 pm Too varied to make any general statement about, so this type of approach is unskillful.
:thumbsup:

Why have any underlying assumptions? Just wait and see and you can decide based on their character, actions.
So if the other person thinks the way you do, you get the scenario where you say and do nothing and wait for the other person to do something first, so that you will then based on this decide how to apporach them; and the other person does the same towards you. This is stalemate, paralysis. It's not possible to interact with others this way.

With a "no assumption" outlook, one places the whole burden of responsibility for the quality of the interaction on the other person. Thus making clear that one isn't willing to interact on equal terms.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by binocular »

dharmacorps wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 8:04 pmIf we assume that people are basically good, we'll suffer every time that we see an example of this not being the case.
It's called an "assumption" for a reason. Ie., there's a difference between believing or taking for granted that people are basically good, and assuming that people are basically good.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by binocular »

Sam Vara wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:18 amKhandhā?
That's rather general. How do you put this into practice when interacting with others?
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Re: People are ...?

Post by DNS »

binocular wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:54 am So if the other person thinks the way you do, you get the scenario where you say and do nothing and wait for the other person to do something first, so that you will then based on this decide how to apporach them; and the other person does the same towards you. This is stalemate, paralysis. It's not possible to interact with others this way.
It sounds like a Monty Python skit could be inserted here. :tongue:
With a "no assumption" outlook, one places the whole burden of responsibility for the quality of the interaction on the other person. Thus making clear that one isn't willing to interact on equal terms.
On the contrary, I think both could operate on equal terms, unless one starts to dominate once the conversation or interaction begins. By assuming no underlying assumptions, one could assume and hope for the best, that the other is basically good; unless one discovers otherwise after the interaction commences.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by SteRo »

Srilankaputra wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:31 am ... A mirror.
The conceit 'I am' is mirrored, yes.
Exhaling अ and inhaling धीः amounts to བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ It's definitely not science but science may provide guidelines nevertheless.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by Dhammanando »

binocular wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:15 am In Buddhism, what are the default assumptions about people as such?
Just to be contrary...

It seems most prudent to me to assume that every new person you meet is evil (and perhaps incorrigibly so) unless or until they prove themselves otherwise. In so doing:

1. One will never suffer from disappointed expectations.

2. One will occasionally be in for a pleasant surprise when the assumption turns out to be mistaken.

3. Since it's stated in numerous suttas that the great majority of humans are headed for rebirth in the lower realms (which obviously doesn't come about as a reward for being virtuous) one's assumption will more often than not be in line with the Dhamma.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
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Re: People are ...?

Post by SarathW »

Dhammanando wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 6:07 am
binocular wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:15 am In Buddhism, what are the default assumptions about people as such?
Just to be contrary...

It seems most prudent to me to assume that every new person you meet is evil (and perhaps incorrigibly so) unless or until they prove themselves otherwise. In so doing:

1. One will never suffer from disappointed expectations.

2. One will occasionally be in for a pleasant surprise when the assumption turns out to be mistaken.

3. Since it's stated in numerous suttas that the great majority of humans are headed for rebirth in the lower realms (which obviously doesn't come about as a reward for being virtuous) one's assumption will more often than not be in line with the Dhamma.
WOW!!
You are a very brave Bhante. I did not want to say it due to my Anthropophobia.
You make me feel better now.
:D
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Sam Vara
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Re: People are ...?

Post by Sam Vara »

binocular wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:15 am
Sam Vara wrote: Sat Jun 06, 2020 10:18 amKhandhā?
That's rather general. How do you put this into practice when interacting with others?
By trying not to cling to views about what people are; they will lead to suffering. Those "default assumptions" and "general outlook" about life and people are sankhara, fuel for further becoming. Whatever you think people are is conditioning.

On an intellectual level the question is interesting in that it throws light on the Dhamma - there have been some interesting responses to this. But I don't think we "put into practice" a set of views about people; rather, they put us into practice.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by dharmacorps »

Kim OHara wrote: Sun Jun 07, 2020 10:33 pm
Because you discovered you were wrong? That's attachment to views, which is a known cause of suffering.
Exactly. Attachment to an idea about how people "are" is suffering..
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Re: People are ...?

Post by binocular »

DNS wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:17 am
binocular wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 2:54 am With a "no assumption" outlook, one places the whole burden of responsibility for the quality of the interaction on the other person. Thus making clear that one isn't willing to interact on equal terms.
On the contrary, I think both could operate on equal terms, unless one starts to dominate once the conversation or interaction begins. By assuming no underlying assumptions, one could assume and hope for the best, that the other is basically good; unless one discovers otherwise after the interaction commences.
The conversation/interaction doesn't and cannot begin until one makes some assumptions.
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Re: People are ...?

Post by binocular »

Sam Vara wrote: Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:08 amOn an intellectual level the question is interesting in that it throws light on the Dhamma - there have been some interesting responses to this. But I don't think we "put into practice" a set of views about people; rather, they put us into practice.
You mean that a view precedes (the perception) of a person?
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