"Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

"Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby starter » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:33 am

Dear friends,

On this Uposatha day, I make up my mind to complete this disturbing "project" that has been postponed for a while: how to face unjust and cruel treatments.

No matter how cruelly been treated, whenever disturbances arise due to such treatments, we should immediately recite the Buddha's teaching:

"Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel" (MN8), so that effacement can be done.

Dhammapada 1. Pairs:

“He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.”
Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

“He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor
such thoughts still their hatred.

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world.
By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased.
This is a law eternal."

MN 21:

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he among you who let his heart get angered even at that would not be doing my bidding. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving kindness and good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with a mind imbued with loving kindness and good will, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving kindness and good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.' That's how you should train yourselves.

"Monks, if you attend constantly to this admonition on the simile of the saw, do you see any aspects of speech, slight or gross, that you could not endure?" [Practicing metta is the best way to stop abuses]

Then ask ourselves: "why did such a thing happen to YOU, not to someone else?"
-- "This is my karma. I must have treated others this way before and it’s now my turn to pay the debt. Don't fight back which will create new karma".

Also ask ourselves: "why are they treating you THIS way? Why can't you live in harmony with them?"
-- "It's partially due to your own fault -- you didn't do what you should have done but did what you shouldn't have done: you irritated them by ..., you aggravated them by ..., YOU actually made things worse."

And investigate internally "to the very heart of things:'What is the source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair? How do they arise?"
--It's not the cruel, unjust words or actions of the worldlings that are causing us dukkha, but rather our identification with and grasping of the feeling, perception (which are actually only delusions), volition, consciousness and sense objects is causing us aversion/resentment and hence turmoils. The way to end such dukkha is not to seek externally and try those worldly means, but search internally to remove our identification/attachment to the aggregates. The way to end such trouble is not to look at others' faults and blame others ("you want to purify your own mind and cultivate yourself, right?"), but to find and remove our own defilements and abandon our own aversions/resentment of the cruel people and unjust treatment, which after all are actually all empty and not really important ("it's not you, it's not yours, it doesn't belong to you, it doesn't really matter") .

Now tell ourselves:

"All these are just for you to grow, to remove your attachments and defilements, and to make progress in the path. Shouldn't you thank these worldlings for providing you with the opportunity to cultivate and improve? You should really use the opportunity well to practice Yoniso Manasikara and Right Thinking (what an opportunity for this!), investigate the dependent arising and passing away of feelings, perceptions, and especially your intentions/thoughts – are they really wholesome and beneficial, have you really possessed the 2nd factor of the path -- Right intention/thinking?"

"Now try to love these trouble makers. Don’t waste your energy and time to find their faults and blame these worldlings, or intentionally/sub-consciously revenge. If you want these people to be kinder to you, you have to be extra forgiving and kind to them first. Or even better, try to send metta to them unconditionally without expectation of any return. Forgiveness and metta are the best gift you can give to them, and to yourself".

May all of us lots of peace and progress in our practice, while facing whatever cruel and unjust treatments.

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Last edited by starter on Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:08 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby nameless » Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:52 pm

Then ask ourselves: "why did such a thing happen to YOU, not to someone else?"
-- "This is my karma. I must have treated others this way before and it’s now my turn to pay the debt. Don't fight back which will create new karma".

Also ask ourselves: "why are they treating you THIS way?"
-- "It's largely due to your own fault -- you didn't do what you should have done but did what you shouldn't have done: you irritated them by ..., you aggregated them by ..., YOU are actually responsible for it."


I think this goes entirely to the opposite extreme which is not very healthy. Some people tend to blame themselves too much for problems that are not their fault, and this way of thinking that you present, which may be useful for people who are more hostile by nature, makes things worse for people who are more self-blaming by nature.

As is being discussed in another thread, not all circumstances are the result of karma. Sometimes things just happen due to conditions. While it is sensible not to 'fight' back, it is practical and sensible to try and make things better instead of passively 'paying' a debt that may not even exist.

"It's largely due to your own fault" is not a skilful way of thinking. I think lots of victims of bullying and abuse need to abandon exactly that sort of thinking.
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Sarva » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:47 pm

nameless wrote:cut for space...

"It's largely due to your own fault" is not a skilful way of thinking. I think lots of victims of bullying and abuse need to abandon exactly that sort of thinking.

I agree with you Nameless. We are told that remorse is not skillful also [1]. So the point is to be forwarding thinking, controlling our reactions and intention to act now, in the present and hence avoiding more karma for ourselves in the future. That for me has a different sensation to it than the concept of taking what ever others choose to throw at us. We don't necessarily need to be beaten, it still enables a sense of choice, which is essential to Buddhism imo.

Nonetheless I enjoyed Starter's post. :)

Metta.

[1]. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“Both formerly & now, it is only stress that I describe, and the cessation of stress.” — SN 22:86
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby John C. Kimbrough » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:13 pm

I like your posting/ideas very much Mr. Starter.......I think that once I know someone has the habit of acting to me or others with bad intentions, I just refrain from interacting or being around such a person....That is a simple answer and point of view about something that I and we all know is more complex.....Some people are always unhappy and beset by the defliements, hindrances and an overall ignorant approach to life and others....I wish to interact with people who are not cruel...If they are confused, it does not disturb me...If they are cruel/bad - intentioned, I just have to let them go or leave them be...Having lived in two Therevadan Buddhist countries for most of the last 24 years (Thailand and Cambodia), I have these views based on my life and times there.....
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby starter » Sun May 13, 2012 2:23 pm

Hi Friends,

Just would like to share with you the Buddha's teaching related to this topic:

"For in this world, hatred is never allayed by further acts of hatred. It is allayed by non-hatred. This is the fixed and ageless law. Those others do not realize that we should restrain ourselves, but those wise ones who realize this, at once end all their enimity."

I only remember this teaching is from a sutta about the big quarrel in the monastic community. Some friend might be able to provide the source.

Metta to all,

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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Cittasanto » Sun May 13, 2012 2:28 pm

starter wrote:Hi Friends,

Just would like to share with you the Buddha's teaching related to this topic:

"For in this world, hatred is never allayed by further acts of hatred. It is allayed by non-hatred. This is the fixed and ageless law. Those others do not realize that we should restrain ourselves, but those wise ones who realize this, at once end all their enimity."

I only remember this teaching is from a sutta about the big quarrel in the monastic community. Some friend might be able to provide the source.

Metta to all,

Starter

It is the Dhammapada the chapter with pairs, I am not sure if this is also found elsewhere!

but whos translation are you using?
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 13, 2012 3:01 pm

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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby alan » Sun May 13, 2012 5:29 pm

Was just re-reading MN8. Not sure of the meaning of "effacement". Several definitions are given in the notes, but none of them worked for me. Does anyone have a better understanding of the original word?
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun May 13, 2012 7:43 pm

alan wrote:Was just re-reading MN8. Not sure of the meaning of "effacement". Several definitions are given in the notes, but none of them worked for me. Does anyone have a better understanding of the original word?

Sallekha (effacement) is one those words that is difficult to translate:
The PTS Dictionary gives:
Sallekha (p. 699) [fr. saŋ+likh] austere penance, the higher life

The Sallekha Sutta is about the removal (effacement) of defilements. When we meet violence, its only natural to respond with anger or aversion. This is because the root of anger (dosa) is still present. To avoid reacting we have to cultivate forbearance, patience, tolerance, compassion, equanimity, and other wholesome qualities. This will stop reinforcing the root cause of anger, so that it can gradually be erased or effaced.
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Cittasanto » Sun May 13, 2012 8:26 pm

Hi Alan
If I remember rightly effacement is usually used in the manner of "to put oneself down", self effacing.
however after double checking it means "to withdraw into the background" so the ability to supplant something else in its place is there and show within the sutta.
A synonym of efface is cancel, call off...
and its antonyms are allow, establish
these are for me the most relevant definitions to understand this sutta.

if we think of it in gardening terms and not to use the term entierly correctly, we efface the weeds, and supplant with flowers.
within the sutta it is describing the process of right effort, describing how we do this with each of the unwholesome states which can arise.

Hope this helps.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby alan » Mon May 14, 2012 4:28 pm

Thank you Cittasanto, for your clarification. I'm still not perfectly clear on they word but am working on it. For instance, you can "withdraw" in the face of noise and confusion. Or refuse to involve your self in the nonsense by refraining form reacting--maintaining a calm mind no matter what goes on around you.
Bhikku Pesala: I see that Sutta not just about cruelty, or the removal of defilements--a subject that has been expounded on at length elsewhere. It seems to be more about the attitude you take when confronted with the problems of the world. Maybe that's why there is a long and repetitive list of all the benefits of "effacement" in so many different situations. The PTS definition strikes me as harsh and unwise. Austere penance? No thanks.
I don't understand this Sutta, but think there is something here for me. Any one else want to give it a try?
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon May 14, 2012 7:28 pm

Austerity doesn't do it for me either. While I was at Chithurst we would walk around the Stūpa in the snow at midnight in the winter during the all-night sittings.

Still, austerity works for some people. The Buddha allowed 13 optional ascetic practices (dhutanga) for bhikkhus, over and above the already quite austere practices of the obligatory Pātimokkha rules, for those who were intent on striving extra hard.

Austerity (tapo) is one of the 38 Mangala Dhammas that are for lay people too. Sleeping very little and practising meditation for the entire day without a break, while not speaking or reading, while observing the eight precepts is also regarded as quite austere by many. However, that level of effort is required to gain deep concentration and insight. The word ātapi (ardent) used in the Satipatthāna Sutta comes from the same root. It means striving to burn up defilements by using vigorous effort.

The Sallekha practice also requires this same kind of strenuous effort to strive against defilements whenever they arise.
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby pegembara » Tue May 15, 2012 3:56 am

"Others are cruel" because they do not know or see.
"We shall not be cruel" because we know and see.

"Bhikkhus, I declare [that there is] the extinction of āsavas in one who knows and sees, and not in one who does not know and see."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bpit.html
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby starter » Tue May 15, 2012 10:51 pm

""Others are cruel" because they do not know or see" -- very good reason to forgive them;
""We shall not be cruel" because we know and see" -- wish we could always remember what we know and see. The Buddha's teaching, the admirable friends' reminding, the recollection of internal & external emptiness can help us not to forget that.

Many thanks and metta,

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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby Cittasanto » Wed May 16, 2012 5:48 am

pegembara wrote:"Others are cruel" because they do not know or see.
"We shall not be cruel" because we know and see.

"Bhikkhus, I declare [that there is] the extinction of āsavas in one who knows and sees, and not in one who does not know and see."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .bpit.html

the sutta doesnt exactly say that, you have cut and pasted parts together here!


Āsavas that should be removed through forbearance wrote:24. "Bhikkhus! What are the āsavas that are to be removed through forbearance?

"Bhikkhus! In this Teaching, the bhikkhu, reflecting properly, can endure cold, heat, hunger, thirst, gadflies, mosquitoes, wind, heat of the sun, snakes, scorpions and lice. He can endure ill-spoken and unwholesome words. He has the nature of being able to endure severe, cruel, excruciatingly sharp, disagreeable, unpleasant, deadly and painful sensations which arise in the body.

"Bhikkhus! Āsavas and other destructive and burning defilements may arise in the bhikkhu who cannot endure such painful sensations. Those āsavas and other destructive and burning defilements do not arise in the bhikkhu who endures such painful sensations with proper reflection. Bhikkhus! These are called the āsavas that are to be removed through forbearance.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby starter » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:30 pm

The Buddha was once accused of murdering a woman assisted by His disciples. Non-Buddhists severely attacked the Buddha and His Disciples to such an extent that Ven. Ānanda appealed to the Buddha to leave for another village.

-- "How, Ānanda, if those villagers also abuse us?"
-- "Well then, Lord, we will proceed to another village."
-- "Then Ānanda, the whole of India will have no place for us. Be patient. These abuses will automatically cease."

Compared to the abuse that the Buddha had suffered, what we had are really nothing. Let's practice according to the Buddha's teaching:

"Be patient. These abuses will automatically cease."

Metta to all!
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 22, 2012 5:03 am

Hello starter,

What sutta is this?

with metta
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:24 am

I can find it here: http://buddhism.org/Sutras/BuddhaTeachings/page_43.html
But with no reference.

It looks like it is commentary on Udana 4.8 Sundari and the Dhammapada.
See entry 3 here: http://www.aimwell.org/DPPN/sundarii.htm

:anjali:
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:38 am

Thanks Mike for tracking a reference down. I didn't think it was a Sutta, but wanted to make certain.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: "Others are cruel, we shall not be cruel"

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 22, 2012 8:44 am

Hi Chris,

The murder, and the Buddha telling the Bhikkhus that it will pass is part of the Udana sutta, but the conversation with Ananada seems to be in the commentary.

Strangely, that sutta is missing from Access to Insight.

:anjali:
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