Social norms and the recently deceased

Balancing family life and the Dhamma, in pursuit of a happy lay life.
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Bundokji
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Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by Bundokji »

[ split from the shrine room topic for dylanj ]



Focusing on the goodness of the deceased and overlooking their shortcomings is a good social practice. Death is often a reminder that most of our quarrels are of little significance. The Buddha taught:
There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
However, i am a breaker of tradition. I prefer not to replace the complexity of what it means to be a human being with an ideal, even if this ideal is eventually a product of what it means to be human.

Two of dylanj's posts on this forum that i remember vividly:

1- His fierce opposition and criticism of exchanging birthday greetings between forum members. According to him, birth (and those who celebrate it) are ignorants.
2- At a certain point, i added Arabic poetry to my signature. In a reply to a post i made, he asked me at the end if i was using "Takiah", which is an Arabic word meaning if i am hiding my true nature being a Muslim in a Buddhist forum.

More generally, most of his posts came across as orthodox and non-compromising type of practitioner.

Few months ago, i lost a cousin who would look very bad on paper, but who also was fully human nonetheless. He was a gambler and drunkard and very disagreeable at times. He was a good friend of mine, i never attempted to change him and he was not open to any sort of advice anyway. He suffered from OCD but never got treated. When he passed away, the family was in a state of shock especially that he was relatively young (40 years old). Accepting him for what he was, with all his strangeness, i was a bit sad to see him go, but at the same time, knowing how he lived, i knew that going early has benefits to him and to his family. I honored him by washing his body as the majority who were weeping experience aversion from having to deal with a dead body. When i visited his family few months later, his mother took my aside and asked me if her son had depression. Instead of satisfying her curiosity, i reminded her of the imperfections of her son, emphasizing that i accepted him the way he was. I ended my conversation with her by asking how would he spent his time had he stayed longer? She paused a bit and then thanked me for calming her.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
binocular
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Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by binocular »

Bundokji wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:05 pm Few months ago, i lost a cousin who would look very bad on paper, but who also was fully human nonetheless. He was a gambler and drunkard and very disagreeable at times. He was a good friend of mine, i never attempted to change him and he was not open to any sort of advice anyway. He suffered from OCD but never got treated. When he passed away, the family was in a state of shock especially that he was relatively young (40 years old). Accepting him for what he was, with all his strangeness, i was a bit sad to see him go, but at the same time, knowing how he lived, i knew that going early has benefits to him and to his family. I honored him by washing his body as the majority who were weeping experience aversion from having to deal with a dead body. When i visited his family few months later, his mother took my aside and asked me if her son had depression. Instead of satisfying her curiosity, i reminded her of the imperfections of her son, emphasizing that i accepted him the way he was. I ended my conversation with her by asking how would he spent his time had he stayed longer? She paused a bit and then thanked me for calming her.
Saying or in any way implying or hinting things to the effect of "Such and such is better off dead" is a breach of the first precept.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
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Sam Vara
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by Sam Vara »

binocular wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:50 pm
Bundokji wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:05 pm Few months ago, i lost a cousin who would look very bad on paper, but who also was fully human nonetheless. He was a gambler and drunkard and very disagreeable at times. He was a good friend of mine, i never attempted to change him and he was not open to any sort of advice anyway. He suffered from OCD but never got treated. When he passed away, the family was in a state of shock especially that he was relatively young (40 years old). Accepting him for what he was, with all his strangeness, i was a bit sad to see him go, but at the same time, knowing how he lived, i knew that going early has benefits to him and to his family. I honored him by washing his body as the majority who were weeping experience aversion from having to deal with a dead body. When i visited his family few months later, his mother took my aside and asked me if her son had depression. Instead of satisfying her curiosity, i reminded her of the imperfections of her son, emphasizing that i accepted him the way he was. I ended my conversation with her by asking how would he spent his time had he stayed longer? She paused a bit and then thanked me for calming her.
Saying or in any way implying or hinting things to the effect of "Such and such is better off dead" is a breach of the first precept.
I thought it was killing (pānātipatā). Some suttas proscribe causing or approving of killing, but that doesn't seem to apply here. The person was already dead. Do you have a source for this view?
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by Bundokji »

binocular wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:50 pm Saying or in any way implying or hinting things to the effect of "Such and such is better off dead" is a breach of the first precept.
The quality of actions are determined by the mindstate. An action driven by attachments and delusions do not lead to good destinations.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by cappuccino »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:20 pm An action driven by attachments and delusions do not lead to good destinations.
salvation may be the result of sin


:shrug:
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by cappuccino »

cappuccino wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 12:03 am salvation may be the result of sin
because you choose a different path
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by befriend »

Bundokji wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:20 pm
binocular wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:50 pm Saying or in any way implying or hinting things to the effect of "Such and such is better off dead" is a breach of the first precept.
The quality of actions are determined by the mindstate. An action driven by attachments and delusions do not lead to good destinations.
How would you like it if his parents saw this post?
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by DooDoot »

Sam Vara wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:22 pm Do you have a source for this view?
appears to be referring to Parajika in Vinaya.
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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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by salayatananirodha »

i just wanted to say i think it's ok to not have a 100% favorable view of someone just because they died. and it could be a reminder not to look at things with rose-colored glasses but instead aim for a clear and sober view. as someone who talked with him A LOT i know he wasn't perfect, but his heart was aimed at liberation, that's all that counts for me. he and i also had many arguments, which are a source of regret for me, but this is an opportunity to reflect and make changes for me to be more successful at buddhism. some of his views changed over the years too and i dont think in the last couple of years he would discourage anyone from such a friendly gesture as happy birthday. i think he may have even liked every single birthday post on his timeline in june. i think i even got jealous because he reacted better to someone else's birthday post :lol:
his views also softened on orthodoxy but he was unapologetically fundamentalist. i think you can do that without excluding other members of the buddhist community. as someone who was there to watch him grow over a few years i think the world of him but he obviously had faults. if it weren't for that there would be no purification and no dhamma.
to the other point, people experience relief sometimes when people die, and for various reasons it's understandable maybe even ok, but as buddhists we should disincline our minds to wishing anyone death or pain or any unhappy mental states. :heart: at the end of the day, we're fundamentally the same concerning the three marks of existence
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html
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Post by sunnat »

It's easy to forget that (often) that which one sees as a characteristic in others (bad and good) one is able to recognise because that characteristic is within one. It's making a judgement that highlights the remaining efforts to make, much more so than saying anything about the other.
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by BlackBird »

Bundokji wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 5:05 pm [ split from the shrine room topic for dylanj ]



Focusing on the goodness of the deceased and overlooking their shortcomings is a good social practice. Death is often a reminder that most of our quarrels are of little significance. The Buddha taught:
There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.
However, i am a breaker of tradition. I prefer not to replace the complexity of what it means to be a human being with an ideal, even if this ideal is eventually a product of what it means to be human.

Two of dylanj's posts on this forum that i remember vividly:

1- His fierce opposition and criticism of exchanging birthday greetings between forum members. According to him, birth (and those who celebrate it) are ignorants.
2- At a certain point, i added Arabic poetry to my signature. In a reply to a post i made, he asked me at the end if i was using "Takiah", which is an Arabic word meaning if i am hiding my true nature being a Muslim in a Buddhist forum.

More generally, most of his posts came across as orthodox and non-compromising type of practitioner.

Few months ago, i lost a cousin who would look very bad on paper, but who also was fully human nonetheless. He was a gambler and drunkard and very disagreeable at times. He was a good friend of mine, i never attempted to change him and he was not open to any sort of advice anyway. He suffered from OCD but never got treated. When he passed away, the family was in a state of shock especially that he was relatively young (40 years old). Accepting him for what he was, with all his strangeness, i was a bit sad to see him go, but at the same time, knowing how he lived, i knew that going early has benefits to him and to his family. I honored him by washing his body as the majority who were weeping experience aversion from having to deal with a dead body. When i visited his family few months later, his mother took my aside and asked me if her son had depression. Instead of satisfying her curiosity, i reminded her of the imperfections of her son, emphasizing that i accepted him the way he was. I ended my conversation with her by asking how would he spent his time had he stayed longer? She paused a bit and then thanked me for calming her.
I didn't know Dylan, I don't post here often, but reading the shine thread made me cognizant of a complexity for which I can certainly empathise. There was some suggestion that Dylan was abusing drugs or something. And here Bundkoji, you cite him saying some stuff that rubbed you and others the wrong way. As both a former drug addict, and somebody who has posted no shortage of things here in years long past that have rubbed people the wrong way, I don't think you should discount the ability for people to mature and change, especially someone such as Dylan who was still on the short side of full frontal lobe development.

Bundkoji you raise an interesting point regarding our social norm of "don't speak ill of the dead" I am inclined to agree that there is a place of viewing people who have passed within the context and complexity of their actions. I know when I die, I don't want people to whitewash my past, but perhaps that is due in part to the fact that I wear much of it as a badge of pride, that I have been able to overcome and turn my life back towards something wholesome and positive. And I just wonder, whether your example of your cousin at 40, still being a big gambler and being difficult to you and his family, may not be good comparison for a young Buddhist who had certain black and white thinking, and some personal issues.

Dylan, for whatever fault you find with him, has been denied that opportunity to grow and advance. We all say silly shit from time to time, even sotapannas are not immune from hurting people with words. Anyone can fall into drug problems, and this is no less true of those who stare long enough into the abyss of terror that lies at the heart of this tangle we call existence.

So perhaps we can admit Dylan, like almost all of us, was not perfect. He was complex, as many of us are. Maybe that's ok, to be complex to not be wholly good, but to have erred. Maybe that should not colour too much how you view him.

Be well
Jack
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'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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Sam Vara
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by Sam Vara »

DooDoot wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:25 am
Sam Vara wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:22 pm Do you have a source for this view?
appears to be referring to Parajika in Vinaya.
Agreed, but I'm not sure if even that would apply; and certainly not to Bundokji.
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by Bundokji »

befriend wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 2:23 am
Bundokji wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 10:20 pm
binocular wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:50 pm Saying or in any way implying or hinting things to the effect of "Such and such is better off dead" is a breach of the first precept.
The quality of actions are determined by the mindstate. An action driven by attachments and delusions do not lead to good destinations.
How would you like it if his parents saw this post?
This post was not in reference to dylanj, but to the issue of the precept that binocular raised. She was quoting me sharing what i experienced with my cousin, and what i told his mother was already after his passing away.

I began my input by emphasizing that mentioning the good qualities of any deceased person is a good practice, but i see a lot of the suffering caused by the departure of a loved one is driven by attachments and aversions, a romanticized image that is usually wept over.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by Bundokji »

salayatananirodha wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 4:45 am i just wanted to say i think it's ok to not have a 100% favorable view of someone just because they died. and it could be a reminder not to look at things with rose-colored glasses but instead aim for a clear and sober view. as someone who talked with him A LOT i know he wasn't perfect, but his heart was aimed at liberation, that's all that counts for me. he and i also had many arguments, which are a source of regret for me, but this is an opportunity to reflect and make changes for me to be more successful at buddhism. some of his views changed over the years too and i dont think in the last couple of years he would discourage anyone from such a friendly gesture as happy birthday. i think he may have even liked every single birthday post on his timeline in june. i think i even got jealous because he reacted better to someone else's birthday post :lol:
his views also softened on orthodoxy but he was unapologetically fundamentalist. i think you can do that without excluding other members of the buddhist community. as someone who was there to watch him grow over a few years i think the world of him but he obviously had faults. if it weren't for that there would be no purification and no dhamma.
to the other point, people experience relief sometimes when people die, and for various reasons it's understandable maybe even ok, but as buddhists we should disincline our minds to wishing anyone death or pain or any unhappy mental states. :heart: at the end of the day, we're fundamentally the same concerning the three marks of existence
None of us is perfect, but i think we tend to expect a bit too much from each other, and from ourselves. In numerous debates and discussions about how to deal with the darker sides in us, we often encounter a camp that emphasizes self-control, and another camp emphasizing integration. I think both are helpful and necessary depending where are we on the path.

Our trial and failure in meeting the ideals of the practice should softened our hearts in my opinion. Seeing enough of our own strangeness and contradictions helps us to live better with ourselves and with others.

I do not think experiencing relief when someone passes away is a wholesome mindstate especially when driven by aversion. However, our very existence is not fully justified, nor is our death. We invent different ways to console ourselves. For example, in my culture, people console each other by reminding that the struggle has ended. When Seneca consoled a mother weeping over her deceased son he told her: what need is there to weep over parts of life, the whole of it calls for tears.

The only thing i do not buy is: our constant denial that death is an equal part of our nature, so is our suppression of it which is often manifested in the ways we deal with dead bodies. We often begin by washing the body probably reflecting our sense of guilt and fear from the unknown, and then we hide them either by burying or burning. Under this strange state of affairs, every new death comes as a surprise.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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Re:

Post by Bundokji »

sunnat wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:03 am It's easy to forget that (often) that which one sees as a characteristic in others (bad and good) one is able to recognise because that characteristic is within one. It's making a judgement that highlights the remaining efforts to make, much more so than saying anything about the other.
There is a good alternative to the "good vs bad" mindset" which is "strange". "Strange" is not judgemental but rather descriptive. It goes against the grain of normalizing things through habits.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.
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