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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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by Bundokji »

BlackBird wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:24 am 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.
Trust me, what i shared did not rub me the wrong way. However, having a tough stance on things is not necessarily the sure sign of mental development everyone is looking for. I also find little use of speculating on the causes of death. Causality is useful to the extent that it is perceived to delay the inevitable death of this conditioned body. Speculating about the causes of death is useless more often than not, except for legal or other civic purposes.

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.
My cousin was not difficult to me, but probably to his family, I was merely describing a biased view of the deceased which causes unnecessary suffering. For example, the mother of my cousin went to his grave and planted thyme because he enjoyed eating thyme when he was alive! When having a romanticized image about the deceased becomes the norm, people will begin to circulate such stories as if its conveying something significant (instead of seeing it as unnecessary suffering). The Buddhist way, which is the compassionate way, is to help people get back to their senses by highlighting what is often overlooked.

For example, reflecting on the impurities of the body is a genuine Buddhist practice to counter sexual desire (which is the flip side of death according to some theories). Buddhist teachers, such as Ajahn Chah, advised his disciple when encountering an attractive women to imagine them defecating. The aim is not downgrading women, but to highlight aspects of the nature of the body that we work hard on hiding (by keeping it clean or by defecating in private).

I should admit that the equanimity gained by views is not lasting, but it is a genuine Buddhist practice nonetheless.
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.
I am wondering why the examples i provided are seen as faults? And while death can be seen as you described it, a denial of the opportunity to grow and advance, overestimating this ability can be a cause of much stress to individuals. When this ability to advance is overly emphasized, a mere description of actions that do not meet the ideal are often interpreted as "finding faults".
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.
This state of imperfection is maintained through having too much faith in solutions. These solutions are good enough to maintain this state of imperfection, but not to reach a state of perfection.
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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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by binocular »

Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:05 amThis 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.
You were praising death to her, and basically told her that her son is better off dead. Sure, she was calmer after that, the calm that comes from feeling relief: you convinced her that he was better off dead. No doubt she was wondering before about these things, but you swayed her.

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.
Only the immature and the uncivilized see the motto "Say nothing bad about the dead" as "driven by attachments and aversions, a romanticized image that is usually wept over".
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

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Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 amThis state of imperfection is maintained through having too much faith in solutions. These solutions are good enough to maintain this state of imperfection, but not to reach a state of perfection.
While you may be a black sheep, that doesn't make those around you sheep.
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Bundokji
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by Bundokji »

binocular wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:12 am You were praising death to her, and basically told her that her son is better off dead. Sure, she was calmer after that, the calm that comes from feeling relief: you convinced her that he was better off dead. No doubt she was wondering before about these things, but you swayed her.
Where did i say that he is better off dead? If one observes worldly affairs honestly and truthfully, you would see that both death (nihilism) and rebirth (eternalism) are an imperfect solutions to an imperfect state of affairs. This is why, both are being used as a driving force for practice. The excesses of one in a certain context begets using the opposite as a moderating element. This is the logic behind going against the grain.

But you seem to have different understanding of the Buddha's teachings, which is fine. At least, i try to avoid putting words in other people's mouth. I suggest you re-read my input,and see what you had to overlook (or negate) in order to come up with your conclusions about my input.
Only the immature and the uncivilized see the motto "Say nothing bad about the dead" as "driven by attachments and aversions, a romanticized image that is usually wept over".
Which is what has been my main point, and which you cannot help but to misinterpret through your own excesses. I acknowledged both sides of a certain social practice: the positive and the negative. You choose to attack one by overlooking the other, which is your choice.
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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Bundokji
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by Bundokji »

binocular wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:13 am While you may be a black sheep, that doesn't make those around you sheep.
Ad hominem does not add much substance to the discussion.
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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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by binocular »

Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:33 amWhere did i say that he is better off dead?
Are you socially inept or something?

You said, "I ended my conversation with her by asking how would he spent his time had he stayed longer?"

Anyone who is socially competent understands that saying such a thing as in the case of your cousin is a polite way of saying that "he's better off dead".

Which is what has been my main point, and which you cannot help but to misinterpret through your own excesses. I acknowledged both sides of a certain social practice: the positive and the negative. You choose to attack one by overlooking the other, which is your choice.
You're just stingy.
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by binocular »

Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:35 am
binocular wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:13 am While you may be a black sheep, that doesn't make those around you sheep.
Ad hominem does not add much substance to the discussion.
It's an ad hominem. It's not a fallacious one.
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Bundokji
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Re: death of forum member dylanj

Post by Bundokji »

binocular wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:38 am Are you socially inept or something?

You said, "I ended my conversation with her by asking how would he spent his time had he stayed longer?"

Anyone who is socially competent understands that saying such a thing as in the case of your cousin is a polite way of saying that "he's better off dead".
Better off dead is an assumption with no evidence. Not necessarily better off alive is acknowledging uncertainty rooted in the duality of existence and non existence.

I have no issues with you having an opinion/interpretations about my input, but at least, take ownership of it.
You're just stingy.
Irrelevant.
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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Bundokji
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

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binocular wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 11:39 am It's an ad hominem. It's not a fallacious one.
It is fallacious as it does not add substance to the discussion.
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 salayatananirodha »

Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:46 am 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.
wow, yes i have had a snag with several people talking about death. i'm usually at work and most people are some kind of christian or just heavily influenced by christian values. i'm just trying to be kind and sympathetic because a debate about destinations is something i assume is not welcome usually. 'they are in a better place, 'they are not suffering now', unless its a buddhist with right views i have doubt about that, with exceptions, and then also the conditioned existence in heaven means its just as faulty as a human birth or one in the lower realms. this has been uncomfortable, and a couple or more times i've spoken wrongly out of sympathy and afraid to say the wrong thing. i'd rather not get into religious debates at work, i dont have the solidity of view nor the good spirit to do that i think
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


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https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

Post by BlackBird »

Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 am
BlackBird wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 5:24 am 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.
Trust me, what i shared did not rub me the wrong way. However, having a tough stance on things is not necessarily the sure sign of mental development everyone is looking for. I also find little use of speculating on the causes of death. Causality is useful to the extent that it is perceived to delay the inevitable death of this conditioned body. Speculating about the causes of death is useless more often than not, except for legal or other civic purposes.
Who said it was? I didn't say having tough stances leads to mental development. I said you shouldn't discount the ability of people that have black and white thinking to mature over time, to have such rough edges rounded off, to grow. The air your post gave off was somewhat fatalistic, I don't know if that was your intention but that is certainly the way it came across, and this is what I was addressing.

Regarding cause of death and speculation, we seem to be talking at cross purposes. It should have been clear this was not addressed at you, but was merely illustrative of the point that I was making, which is that people can can change, and perhaps although your instance with your aunty was beneficial to ameliorate some of her grief, it is a blunt instrument.


Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 am
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.
My cousin was not difficult to me, but probably to his family, I was merely describing a biased view of the deceased which causes unnecessary suffering. For example, the mother of my cousin went to his grave and planted thyme because he enjoyed eating thyme when he was alive! When having a romanticized image about the deceased becomes the norm, people will begin to circulate such stories as if its conveying something significant (instead of seeing it as unnecessary suffering). The Buddhist way, which is the compassionate way, is to help people get back to their senses by highlighting what is often overlooked.
Grieving is a process for us putthujanas. I can't fathom why a grieving mother should be dissuaded from planting thyme at the grave of her son, unless such thyme planting becomes pathological...

Naturally, you are right to say that grief is a loss of clarity. But here is where I have disagreement. Not everyone has the aptitude for seeing the true nature of their existence and if you pull the rug out from someone at the wrong time it's a roll of the dice as to what happens. We build complex mental structures to shield ourselves from the terror of our mortality, I think most people should be supported to process their grief in a way that comforts them in order to get them back on track, I feel like a much safer introduction to Dhammic principles is once the acute grief has been dealt with. What that takes will be different in each case, for your Aunty maybe your words were the right thing, but it's horses for courses.
Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 am For example, reflecting on the impurities of the body is a genuine Buddhist practice to counter sexual desire (which is the flip side of death according to some theories).
Which theories? Sexual desire is just the extreme end of sensuality, the foundation of it necessitates a strong reification of 'I am, therefore this is mine', rather than the true nature of things which is that these khandhas exist first (they have a phenomenological primacy), and 'I am' is dependent upon them. That's the really pernicious thing about it, it perpetuates wrong view. Death and life (including sexual desire) do not exist in some dualistic sense of being opposites or even two sides of the same coin. Life - with its greed, hatred and delusion is bound up with death at all times, until such a person abandons the wrong view of things.
Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 am Buddhist teachers, such as Ajahn Chah, advised his disciple when encountering an attractive women to imagine them defecating. The aim is not downgrading women, but to highlight aspects of the nature of the body that we work hard on hiding (by keeping it clean or by defecating in private).

I should admit that the equanimity gained by views is not lasting, but it is a genuine Buddhist practice nonetheless.
Equanimity gained from asubha practice for sexual desire is far from a perfect correlation with the activity you describe earlier. I can see where you've got the principle from and I'm not saying it's without merit but again it's a very blunt instrument for dealing with a far more complex process, and just like asubha practice if not done correctly it can backfire. So I would caution you in this regard.
Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 am
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.
I am wondering why the examples i provided are seen as faults? And while death can be seen as you described it, a denial of the opportunity to grow and advance, overestimating this ability can be a cause of much stress to individuals. When this ability to advance is overly emphasized, a mere description of actions that do not meet the ideal are often interpreted as "finding faults".
Because you described them and framed them as such. What I am saying, if it's not abundantly clear is that death without having made it to sotapatti is for a Buddhist, always a tragedy - Since human birth is very rare unto itself, and rarer still is the chance to actually make it while the 'door' is still open. One can admit the tragedy and feel sad for the individual without idealizing them. It just strikes me that you have a brush and only one colour to paint with when it comes to this situation, and I am trying to point out to you that there's a whole palette available.
Bundokji wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:39 am
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.
This state of imperfection is maintained through having too much faith in solutions. These solutions are good enough to maintain this state of imperfection, but not to reach a state of perfection.
Perhaps you could expand upon this.

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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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Bundokji
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Re: Social norms and the recently deceased

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BlackBird wrote: Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:55 pm Who said it was? I didn't say having tough stances leads to mental development. I said you shouldn't discount the ability of people that have black and white thinking to mature over time, to have such rough edges rounded off, to grow. The air your post gave off was somewhat fatalistic, I don't know if that was your intention but that is certainly the way it came across, and this is what I was addressing.

Regarding cause of death and speculation, we seem to be talking at cross purposes. It should have been clear this was not addressed at you, but was merely illustrative of the point that I was making, which is that people can can change, and perhaps although your instance with your aunty was beneficial to ameliorate some of her grief, it is a blunt instrument.
People can indeed change, to the better or to the worse. More often than not, only one aspect is highlighted. The hopefulness of emphasizing one aspect of change (the positive) is probably what keeps most people going, but whether its an accurate description of reality is a different matter altogether. If all that it takes to have positive change is an act of will, then people are responsible for their state of affairs. Again, such assumption is common, hence the delight and the stress in change, but whether its an accurate description of reality, is again, a different matter altogether.

Grieving is a process for us putthujanas. I can't fathom why a grieving mother should be dissuaded from planting thyme at the grave of her son, unless such thyme planting becomes pathological...

Naturally, you are right to say that grief is a loss of clarity. But here is where I have disagreement. Not everyone has the aptitude for seeing the true nature of their existence and if you pull the rug out from someone at the wrong time it's a roll of the dice as to what happens. We build complex mental structures to shield ourselves from the terror of our mortality, I think most people should be supported to process their grief in a way that comforts them in order to get them back on track, I feel like a much safer introduction to Dhammic principles is once the acute grief has been dealt with. What that takes will be different in each case, for your Aunty maybe your words were the right thing, but it's horses for courses.
The Buddha had sympathy to mothers who grieved without justifying irrational behavior. In ThigA 10.1, the Buddha helped a grieving mother to get back to her senses by helping her to see the obvious. In Salla sutta, the Buddha acknowledged the suffering associated with death, but was uncompromising in stating that to grieve is in vain. I agree that not everyone is able to see the nature of their existence, but should we help people justify harmful ways? And to be honest, by and large, people finally manage to find ways to move on. They differ on how skillfully they are able to deal with their situation.
Which theories? Sexual desire is just the extreme end of sensuality, the foundation of it necessitates a strong reification of 'I am, therefore this is mine', rather than the true nature of things which is that these khandhas exist first (they have a phenomenological primacy), and 'I am' is dependent upon them. That's the really pernicious thing about it, it perpetuates wrong view. Death and life (including sexual desire) do not exist in some dualistic sense of being opposites or even two sides of the same coin. Life - with its greed, hatred and delusion is bound up with death at all times, until such a person abandons the wrong view of things.
The self in a social being has no inherent meaning except through an endless interplay between nihilism and eternalism. The identification is more obvious at the level of the body than at the level of the species as a whole. Usually, the business of breeding is justified by the vulnerabilities of old age, sickness and death. Self continuity can transcend the mortal body through offspring, that holds the same genes and the same family name.

Equanimity gained from asubha practice for sexual desire is far from a perfect correlation with the activity you describe earlier. I can see where you've got the principle from and I'm not saying it's without merit but again it's a very blunt instrument for dealing with a far more complex process, and just like asubha practice if not done correctly it can backfire. So I would caution you in this regard.
The end of suffering has no meaning without suffering. The excesses of the practice have no inherent truth to them except in relation to the excesses of the world. Going against the grain necessitates a grain to begin with.
Because you described them and framed them as such. What I am saying, if it's not abundantly clear is that death without having made it to sotapatti is for a Buddhist, always a tragedy - Since human birth is very rare unto itself, and rarer still is the chance to actually make it while the 'door' is still open. One can admit the tragedy and feel sad for the individual without idealizing them. It just strikes me that you have a brush and only one colour to paint with when it comes to this situation, and I am trying to point out to you that there's a whole palette available.
Imperfection in a conditioned phenomena does not make conditioned phenomena faulty, except when perfection is still expected to be found in it. The lack of certainty in conditioned phenomena do not make death always a tragedy, but at times, death of someone hated comes about as good news. So, there are always conflicting reasons, hence the only certainty that can be found is based on conditional statements.
Perhaps you could expand upon this.
Had there been an ultimate solution, humanity would have found it by now. Had all solutions been worthless, we would have perished by now. So, there are solutions, good enough to maintain a state of imperfection, but not good enough to reach a state of perfection and to solve the problem of existence.
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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