Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby suriyopama » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:00 am

According to Buddhism, Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

I am confused about this statement made by a Western-Thai monk on Facebook, where he affirms that people with old ideas have to die out:

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Last edited by suriyopama on Mon Jul 22, 2013 1:55 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:31 am

Why not ask him how this aligns with the Teachings of the Buddha?
I don't think we need to discuss idle chat from a Facebook page - just ask him directly.

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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:45 am

People are certainly attached to their views — some more so than others. There's a saying, “A leopard never changes its spots.” However, Buddhism teaches that our views can be changed radically through deep insight.

I think he's saying that the older generation needs to die out for society to change, not that people cannot change their views in their own life time. I don't think it's true though — bigoted views are often inherited by children from their parents, so unless they come under more benign influences, those views tend not to die out.

In a higher sense, we all have to "die" to remove our clinging to self-view. Without seeing things as they really are no one can relinquish their views — specifically, one imagines things to be permanent, though they are not, to be the source of happiness, though they are not, and as belonging to a self, though they do not.
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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby cooran » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:42 am

Thank you Bhante.

With metta and respect,
Chris
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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:06 am

Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

My current favourite reply to this is to point to one of Australia's most senior retired politicians, a gentleman by the name of Malcolm Fraser.
As a younger man he was a take-no-prisoners Liberal (i.e. Conservative/Republican in UK/US terms)Prime Minister and was utterly loathed by lefties like me and everyone I knew. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Fraser and especially http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Fraser#Retirement
Thirty years ago I couldn't imagine that I would ever say anything nice about him.
Decades have passed. Aussie politics has drifted to the Right, Fraser has moved much faster in the opposite direction. He is now a liberal in its real sense and has gone so far as to say on prime-time TV that voting for the Greens was a pretty good idea - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-06/fraser-throws-support-behind-greens-hanson-young/4803722
:jawdrop:
People do change - sometimes quite late in life and often for the better.
:smile:

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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby Ben » Thu Jul 18, 2013 7:09 am

Kim OHara wrote:
Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

My current favourite reply to this is to point to one of Australia's most senior retired politicians, a gentleman by the name of Malcolm Fraser.
As a younger man he was a take-no-prisoners Liberal (i.e. Conservative/Republican in UK/US terms)Prime Minister and was utterly loathed by lefties like me and everyone I knew. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Fraser and especially http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Fraser#Retirement
Thirty years ago I couldn't imagine that I would ever say anything nice about him.
Decades have passed. Aussie politics has drifted to the Right, Fraser has moved much faster in the opposite direction. He is now a liberal in its real sense and has gone so far as to say on prime-time TV that voting for the Greens was a pretty good idea - http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-06/fraser-throws-support-behind-greens-hanson-young/4803722
:jawdrop:
People do change - sometimes quite late in life and often for the better.
:smile:

Kim


Yes, I couldn't stand the man when he was prime minister but I have nothing but admiration and respect for him.
The interview he did with Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and a young muslim woman was excellent.
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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby suriyopama » Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:29 am

Thank you for the answers.

Now I am recalling Ajahn Brahm saying something like there is not a criminal, there is a person that did commit a crime. There are no thieves, there is a person that did robe. There is no schizophrenic, there is a person that has been affected by schizophrenia, and so on… And invited to never call or to think about anyone by those names, only see the good qualities of a human being.

Everything changes, and it can change for good :)
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Re: Do people have to die in order to change their ideas?

Postby ricebowl » Sun Jul 21, 2013 2:12 pm

My paternal grandfather passed away this afternoon at GMT+8 around 1pm, 21 July 2013, he was 80-something and battling a variety of digestive ailments over the years that were complicated with Parkinson's Disease. By and large I knew him as a freethinker with Christian inclinations, just a month or so ago my eldest cousin a staunch christian over the years converted him into a Christian before he was admitted into hospital this week. Whether did my grandfather change his mind or belief or not I have barely the slightest clue, as far as I am concerned it's just the retinue that require some form of indication as to the proper rites and funeral to arrange for him. So when he is converted into the path of God, basically his remains will stay at anywhere other than a monastery. It's that simple as far as I understand. As for that mind or belief that got converted before they pass on, basically I think at the point of passing the quality of the mind does help a lot. COme to a certain point like now, being a buddhist myself I stopped short of praying for his rebirth in some auspicious realm, the point is that for all I cared maybe he preferred being with Jesus in the eternal heaven embracing God. As far as a Buddhist is concerned, the Christian God probably is one of the heavenly deva realms of existence, ain't too bad a deal in the first place. When a departed one is reborn in the Christian heaven in the event that one gets sick and tired of the harps there's a good chance that it's a convenient ride to Tusita Heaven where a change of teachings to a Buddhish one may make it less boring.

Buddhist teachings are interesting in that they are meant for application during daily lives, for the living primarily. Yes it rocks as well when Buddhist teachings are imparted at the last couple of minutes of a person's passing, the humour is that as far as the theravada teachings go all they suggest is that there's suffering in life. Life sucks, and that's because we are born, and that we are gonna die, when we change this basic assumption well you just see things in a different perspective that's all.

The idea is still the same. How the world wants to change it, it's really up to the individual in his / her training. Sometimes it's necessary or imperative that ideas change, when it has to change it has to change. When I have to pee, I have to pee. When we resist change, or peeing, well then either we get stuck in a wetter pair of pants than what we started with, or it'll dry eventually too assuming again that you can put up with the dukkha.. The stench probably stinks I guess.

:quote: There is dukkha in life. There is anatta. There is anicca. There are causes. There are effects. There is a path, that is already well travelled and documented. There are the vinaya precepts that guide one towards sila, there are the training that guide one towards samadhi, and after a while wisdom prajna arises (and whether it's useful or not whatever arises will eventually fall again)

I don't really know what ideas I have got. Sometimes I wonder what ideas everybody else including the Buddha has got I won't really understand either. Heck. Life goes on. Enjoy suffering then. Have a great weekend. Enjoy the new week. Stay chirpy.


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