Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Dan74
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Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by Dan74 »

Ethical humanism is simply put the position that every life is equally valuable, regardless of individual personality, skills, achievements, etc. It doesn't sound so radical, but it is radically different from our every day experience. We routinely evaluate people, rank them, respect some, dismiss others, etc.

As a teacher, I try to treat all my students with the same respect, rejoice in their achievements, no matter how small and encourage them on their journey, regardless of how slow or fast they're able to proceed. This seems to me to be the right attitude for a teacher, as it leads to students feeling valued and empowered. It's obviously a work in progress for me.

As practitioners, we are encouraged to seek good kalyana-mittas, which involves discrimination and it's clear that whenever we are to learn something or achieve something, we need to use our discernment and discriminating capacity to get the best results. My students themselves, if they want to improve, need to be discerning whom they ask for help.

But in the absolute sense, when it goes beyond achieving a result, a relative goal, is this discrimination still appropriate? And if not, is it not a worthwhile practice to cultivate a boundless love and respect for all life, regardless of its individual merits, as discerned by our imperfect vision? The Buddha encouraged that much in the Mettabhavana.

In a more practical sense, when I know and acknowledge my failings, it is much easier to forgive them in others. When I know and acknowledge my suffering, it is much easier to feel compassion for others. When I know and acknowledge my limitations, but see beyond them, it is much easier to respect others.

Does any of this make sense or resonate with what you do? Do you disagree?
_/|\_
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Dan74 wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:55 am Ethical humanism is simply put the position that every life is equally valuable, regardless of individual personality, skills, achievements, etc.
I'm always going to value my family above the life of the antisocial gangster criminal, who I saw intimidating people in my local supermarket the other day. Like a demon, making people afraid for his own pleasure.

Ethical humanism may be true on an objective level, but it is utterly and hilariously false in lived experience.
Don't give it any more attention.
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by Johann »

Dan74 wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:55 am Ethical humanism is simply put the position that every life is equally valuable, regardless of individual personality, skills, achievements, etc. It doesn't sound so radical, but it is radically different from our every day experience. We routinely evaluate people, rank them, respect some, dismiss others, etc.

As a teacher, I try to treat all my students with the same respect, rejoice in their achievements, no matter how small and encourage them on their journey, regardless of how slow or fast they're able to proceed. This seems to me to be the right attitude for a teacher, as it leads to students feeling valued and empowered. It's obviously a work in progress for me.

As practitioners, we are encouraged to seek good kalyana-mittas, which involves discrimination and it's clear that whenever we are to learn something or achieve something, we need to use our discernment and discriminating capacity to get the best results. My students themselves, if they want to improve, need to be discerning whom they ask for help.

But in the absolute sense, when it goes beyond achieving a result, a relative goal, is this discrimination still appropriate? And if not, is it not a worthwhile practice to cultivate a boundless love and respect for all life, regardless of its individual merits, as discerned by our imperfect vision? The Buddha encouraged that much in the Mettabhavana.

In a more practical sense, when I know and acknowledge my failings, it is much easier to forgive them in others. When I know and acknowledge my suffering, it is much easier to feel compassion for others. When I know and acknowledge my limitations, but see beyond them, it is much easier to respect others.

Does any of this make sense or resonate with what you do? Do you disagree?
Act-ually, good householder, ideas of humanism like he gave, will just lead to equanimity that in most cases does not go beyond sensuality, eg. consume and bears a lot of dangers, even for long time.

Not two beings are equal, do equal, and the path requires much discernment and right judgment of where to put in, what to approve... it requires to acknowledge foremost, higher, better and lower, deep.

Humanism is all about consume in most harmless way but forgets that consume is actually cause of harm.
...is it not a worthwhile practice to cultivate a boundless love and respect for all life, regardless of its individual merits, as discerned by our imperfect vision? The Buddha encouraged that much in the Mettabhavana.
Good to know that love and respecting all equal is a actually a bound, but there should be no bound for goodwill toward all, for one desire to leave and does it in a harmless way with it's success.

It's also good and required to recognise wrong doing as wrong, right as right, useless as useless, and benifical as beneficial, and straighten ones way. To live with ones failures in this reagard, don't make much efforts in correcting, doesn't lead further.

Of course there is no requirement to improve demands by others which are of no factor in regard of release. Those can be taken on, such improvements, voluntary, if time and space allows such and no step from good path is required.

So no need to present a favor for everybody, which does not mean that running around naked isn't rightly blamrworthy as well as to feed on trash or don't clean ones body.
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by SteRo »

Dan74 wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:55 am Ethical humanism is simply put the position that every life is equally valuable, regardless of individual personality, skills, achievements, etc. It doesn't sound so radical, but it is radically different from our every day experience. We routinely evaluate people, rank them, respect some, dismiss others, etc.

As a teacher, I try to treat all my students with the same respect, rejoice in their achievements, no matter how small and encourage them on their journey, regardless of how slow or fast they're able to proceed. This seems to me to be the right attitude for a teacher, as it leads to students feeling valued and empowered. It's obviously a work in progress for me.

As practitioners, we are encouraged to seek good kalyana-mittas, which involves discrimination and it's clear that whenever we are to learn something or achieve something, we need to use our discernment and discriminating capacity to get the best results. My students themselves, if they want to improve, need to be discerning whom they ask for help.

But in the absolute sense, when it goes beyond achieving a result, a relative goal, is this discrimination still appropriate? And if not, is it not a worthwhile practice to cultivate a boundless love and respect for all life, regardless of its individual merits, as discerned by our imperfect vision? The Buddha encouraged that much in the Mettabhavana.

In a more practical sense, when I know and acknowledge my failings, it is much easier to forgive them in others. When I know and acknowledge my suffering, it is much easier to feel compassion for others. When I know and acknowledge my limitations, but see beyond them, it is much easier to respect others.

Does any of this make sense or resonate with what you do? Do you disagree?
Every life is valuable, yes. If someone establishes a bad example through her/his life that's valuable. If someone establishes a good example through her/his life that's valuable. If an someone gives ignorant advices that's valuable. If an someone gives wise advices that's valuable.
JamesTheGiant wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 8:26 am I'm always going to value my family above the life of the antisocial gangster criminal, who I saw intimidating people in my local supermarket the other day. Like a demon, making people afraid for his own pleasure.

Ethical humanism may be true on an objective level, but it is utterly and hilariously false in lived experience.
Don't give it any more attention.
If you look at it all these lives are equally valuable. It's a pity that after so many years you still fall prey to momentary emotions of like and dislike caused by thought. But whether it is a pity for you or for your buddhism I cannot judge.
Maybe we can put it that way: Even if you dislike an appearing person the life still isn't less valuable in comparison to other appearing persons you like.
Cleared. αδόξαστος.
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Metta Sutta says we should do as Ethical Humanism suggests, and treat all with boundless kindness.

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born—
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:

Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

But the Buddha also said we should not be around fools or evil people. We should avoid them, not listen to them. The Dhammapada says "there is no fellowship with the fool." among other suttas about avoiding some people.
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by Bundokji »

I think humanism is rooted in herd instinct, considering that humans are a race when compared to other animals. It depends on the individual how to use it, but it is rooted in human centerity which it claims to transcend. From modern historical perspective, it is often presented as an opposite of traditional religions where the idea of god made the human relationship with the universe and other beings dysfunctional egocentric hence ethical humanism claims to enable humans to transcend that. It is noteworthy that changing narrative did not change human behavior by much, and the age of humanism coincided with an increase in human destructive powers while the subjects remained in their childhood morally speaking.
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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Dan74
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by Dan74 »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 8:26 am
Dan74 wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:55 am Ethical humanism is simply put the position that every life is equally valuable, regardless of individual personality, skills, achievements, etc.
I'm always going to value my family above the life of the antisocial gangster criminal, who I saw intimidating people in my local supermarket the other day. Like a demon, making people afraid for his own pleasure.

Ethical humanism may be true on an objective level, but it is utterly and hilariously false in lived experience.
Don't give it any more attention.
I can certainly relate to your story, James.

Valuing our family and our lives above that of a criminal is what we all do. And yet, what do we make of the man who turned to the serial killer and through not acting out of fear but compassion and kindness, turned him around? I mean the Buddha with Angulimala, of course. We may love the story, but faced with anything similar, we tend to recoil in aversion. Of course, we can't pretend to be Buddhas, that's not the point. Our culture and society push us to discriminate way too much, often when it's unskilful. I hear talk about "the dumb students", colleagues focusing on the students with higher grades and neglect the others, etc. "How much is he worth?" The constant social ranking in terms of ownership, status, etc... It seems to me most of this is in the service of "me" and "mine".

So, if we succeed in generating less aversion and opening our hearts a little more to those who we would've previously judged to be unworthy, would that not be something worthwhile?
_/|\_
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by retrofuturist »

Greetings,

Is a Buddha equally as valuable as a Mara?

:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view?" (SN 5.10)

"Overcome the liar by truth." (Dhp 223)
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

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JamesTheGiant wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 6:12 pm Metta Sutta says we should do as Ethical Humanism suggests, and treat all with boundless kindness.

...

But the Buddha also said we should not be around fools or evil people. We should avoid them, not listen to them. The Dhammapada says "there is no fellowship with the fool." among other suttas about avoiding some people.
  • :goodpost:






retrofuturist wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:21 am Greetings,

Is a Buddha equally as valuable as a Mara?

:buddha1:

Metta,
Paul. :)
  • :goodpost:

    NO, for me.





:heart:
.


🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐

Self ...
  • "an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" :D ~ MN22
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by asahi »

Do you believe any sensible person upon meeting with Devadatta face to face whom causes schisms amongst sangha in buddhism , still can venerate him with utmost admiration !
Peace is more precious than triumph
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Re: Ethical Humanism and the Dhamma

Post by SteRo »

retrofuturist wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 7:21 am Is a Buddha equally as valuable as a Mara?
The topic is about lives, not about figures ceated by beliefs.
Cleared. αδόξαστος.
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