What everyone participating in forums should understand

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
User avatar
Stiphan
Posts: 1525
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Contact:

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Stiphan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:08 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:39 pm
Greetings Stiphan,
Stiphan wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:27 pm
But since this is a discussion forum where each of us have our own opinions and views and we - even though we are Buddhists - still have our defilements and are only making our own different-paced progress towards love and compassion - it is only normal that things are as they are, even though my idealism craves for greater mutual understanding and respect.
I appreciate this topic, and I particularly appreciate the honesty quoted here.

Whilst I'm sure we all agree that "harmony" is a good quality, it is worthwhile for us to reflect with honesty about the extent to which a craving for harmony, may just be a mirror image reflection of personal fear or aversion towards conflict, contention, unsettledness and non-conformity.
Rather than put it that way (i.e. negative), I would say I would like to see more kindness and compassion in the words of forum users, rather than being afraid of conflict, etc. I'm not afraid, but many people may be taken aback by insensitive speech on a forum like this. This is because I care about people's feelings, however benign one would think the problem is. Of course, this is something most of us are used to in our daily lives, so a Buddhist forum might be a welcome "escape" from all that contention going on at home or at work. That's what I'm hoping for. I probably sound as if the situation is dire - it's not, I think it's good enough - and I'm just an idealist maybe, but as I said I posted the OP as a reminder and a saying to think about and take to heart - whilst recognizing we can argue with mutual understand and respect.

Regarding 'speakers' and 'listeners', of course speakers should be mindful of what and how they write whilst listeners should be mindful that this is a writing medium and things could easily be misinterpreted, not take things personally, see the others' point of view and respect it, and if there be harsh speech on the speakers' part then try and let it go or "in one ear, out the other".

It would be nice if, here, we could build a peaceful community of fellow practitioners and friends (kalyāṇamittas), but we must recognize that first we must be at peace with ourselves before we are at peace with others, and by this you can already see how difficult it is to create a peaceful community. Inner harmony is difficult to achieve, so the inner arguments we have with ourselves must subside before we stop disputing with others. I forgot which sutta it was but Ajahn Brahm said that the Buddha said this: "I do not argue with the world - it is the world which argues with me."

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 19970
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:12 pm

Greetings Stiphan,
Stiphan wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:08 pm
...but we must recognize that first we must be at peace with ourselves before we are at peace with others, and by this you can already see how difficult it is to create a peaceful community. Inner harmony is difficult to achieve, so the inner arguments we have with ourselves must subside before we stop disputing with others.
Bingo. Moreso than being negative, what I was alluding to was the tendency for people to "lash out" at the speaker, because they have failed to achieve their own inner peace. That act of "lashing out" against that which one finds troubling, invariably does more to harm social cohesion than the original words themselves. Look at public riots for a good example of this. (On a related note, this is why professional grievance mongers who routinely blame others for their troubles are such a scourge on society).

In fact, at this very forum, there have been (and are) those who are so portentous and grudgeful, that I do not engage with them in anything other than an official capacity, because I know that no matter what the nature of the speech they hear, their prejudice, projection and bitterness will give rise to complaint and uproar. I guess that's to be expected, as it's a similar psychological dynamic to what was being referred to in...

Stiphan wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:08 pm
I forgot which sutta it was but Ajahn Brahm said that the Buddha said this: "I do not argue with the world - it is the world which argues with me."
SN 22.94

Good sutta, thanks for bringing it into the discussion.
The Buddha wrote:When it is being thus explained … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?
If people are going to assume and insist the worst of you, I think disengagement is an appropriate response, as through their faithlessness such people have demonstrated themselves to be not worth speaking to.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Stiphan
Posts: 1525
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Contact:

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Stiphan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:11 pm

Thanks for the sutta reference, Retro!

Well, you referred to these people as 'listeners' but they are actually 'responders', and their speech is - in your view - more to blame than the original speakers. I'd say both are caught in a cycle of dosa, aversion. The people you refer to are just 'fighting back' due to what they see as harm directed against them. It's good to know that some people take offence easily (I don't), but the lashing out could be as - or even more - unskilful than what was originally said, which may have even been innocent. So I understand your concerns.

Interpersonal relationships are hard to master. As I said, first one must master the intrapersonal relationship with one's own self before one can have harmonious relationships with others. That's why I've found personal solitary retreats at home to be of immense benefit and I wish I could them again, and I also recommend them to others. It's not isolation, but they help you learn more about yourself and be at peace with yourself, then when you come out into the world you are more able to deal with it. When you develop self-love, you are more able to love others. When you are a friend with yourself, it's so easy to make friends with others. But the former is not achieved easily when you are preoccupied with the world.

I also agree that some people are not to be spoken to. It's actually in the sutta you linked to:

"When it is being thus explained … … and elucidated by the Tathagata, if anyone does not know and see, how can I do anything with that foolish worldling, blind and sightless, who does not know and does not see?"

User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
Posts: 19970
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Contact:

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by retrofuturist » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:15 pm

Greetings Stiphan,

Agreed.

I think it is important to have a charitable attitude towards oneself and others.

Not necessarily charitable in the "relating to the assistance of those in need" sense (though of course that is a good thing too!), but moreso in the "apt to judge others leniently or favourably" sense.

Or; assume the best of others, not the worst. (As you know, this attitude is rooted in the suttas too)

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

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

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

User avatar
Stiphan
Posts: 1525
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Contact:

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Stiphan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:36 pm

chownah wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:46 am
I guess a forum could have harmony like that....but....is it the only way that a forum could have harmony?.....maybe there is another way....


chownah
This is awesome. :clap: :twothumbsup:

User avatar
Stiphan
Posts: 1525
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:53 pm
Contact:

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Stiphan » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:37 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:15 pm
Greetings Stiphan,

Agreed.

I think it is important to have a charitable attitude towards oneself and others.

Not necessarily charitable in the "relating to the assistance of those in need" sense (though of course that is a good thing too!), but moreso in the "apt to judge others leniently or favourably" sense.

Or; assume the best of others, not the worst. (As you know, this attitude is rooted in the suttas too)

Metta,
Paul. :)
I agree.

User avatar
Kim OHara
Posts: 4968
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Kim OHara » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:54 am

m0rl0ck wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:31 am
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).

~Mark Twain
:thumbsup:
It happens to me every few years :tongue: and yes, it's always cause for some :meditate:

:namaste:
Kim

Saengnapha
Posts: 1350
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Saengnapha » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:26 am

retrofuturist wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 9:05 pm
Greetings Stiphan,

... except that the precursor of the whole Noble Eightfold Path is Right View, not Harmony View.

8-)

Now, obviously I'm being a little cheeky there, but when non-comforming views are suppressed, any harmony that arrives from that pressure to conform, is truly superficial, restrictive and unstable. (Unless someone goes to the effort of establishing a community as a cult... the manipulation and authoritarianism used in such communities is designed to offset that instability)

There's something to be said for the ability to tolerate diverse viewpoints, because if we can't cope with other people's views, then a fragile peace can only be obtained, when isolated from the world. (One of the Western Thai Forest monks used to recount stories of the ilk, from his early days... from memory I think it may have been Ajahn Sumedho).

Metta,
Paul. :)
Bhante Punnaji translates Sammā Ditthi & Sammā Sankappa as Harmonious Perspective and Harmonious Orientation. He's pretty insistant on Sammā being harmonious. He seems to be leading the charge along with other Sri Lankan monks against those who have translated much of the scriptures insufficiently and wrongly due to a non-familiarity with Pali. He says this goes back a long ways and includes Buddhaghosa with those who have made serious mistakes in their translations which lead to mistaken views.

binocular
Posts: 5453
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:18 pm

Stiphan wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 4:46 pm
All I'm saying is that I think that some forum debates tend to get heated and some posters' aim is to criticize others without caring about other peoples' feelings. We should have more loving-kindness in our words as that is more important than proving the other person wrong. The Buddha said:

"If a word has five marks it is well-spoken, not ill-spoken, not blameworthy or condemned by the wise. It is spoken at the right time, it is spoken in truth, it is spoken gently, it is spoken about the goal and it is spoken with love." - Vācā Sutta; AN 5.198

Sure, you can correct someone when they're actually wrong, and you can also criticize someone for unwholesome behaviour, but do so gently and with thoughts of loving-kindness. Some of the speech is plain cold and disrespectful and such speech can hurt. So which is more important?

There's something else though, and that is that it is a writing medium and you can't properly figure out intonation and the like, so even though the writer means well and doesn't mean any disrespect, it is put in a tone that may actually appear coldhearted when it is actually not. In such a case it's good to just be more careful in how one expresses one's words in writing. It's good to be kind and friendly, much better than to win an argument. That's how I interpret Ajahn Brahm's words. :smile:
Reading the posts here, I'm often reminded of a scene in "Last Samurai", where Katsumoto asks Algren, "People in your country do not like conversation?"

I think most people, including many posters here, simply do not like conversation, and hence so many problems.

People sure like to talk, but not to discuss.

There are important things, insights to be gained that can only be gained through verbal interactions with others. For this, often a rigorous approach to discussing a topic is necessary. Unfortunately, such a rigorous approach is by many perceived as inappropriate or rude even.

I don't think that your emphasis on loving-kindness or friendsliness is nearly as important as you make it out to be. I think that what is far more important is having a sense of the importance of discussing a (Dhammic) topic. Because with that sense of the importance of discussing a (Dhammic) topic, everything else is settled as well.

In the end, it doesn't matter how lovingly kind or friendly or respecting of others' feelings someone is, if they always stay on the polite surface of things.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 3994
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:29 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:18 pm
I think that what is far more important is having a sense of the importance of discussing a (Dhammic) topic. Because with that sense of the importance of discussing a (Dhammic) topic, everything else is settled as well.

In the end, it doesn't matter how lovingly kind or friendly or respecting of others' feelings someone is, if they always stay on the polite surface of things.
Agreed. One would hope that when discussing dhammic topics, the sense of openness, stability and discernment would be self-imposed due to the importance one gives to the topic. And in-depth discussions around topics - particularly topics where a sense of self-righteousness can arise - are unlikely to happen in environments where people are ready with a hair-trigger to cry foul, or that another person is engaging in wrong speech, adhammic conduct, etc.

User avatar
L.N.
Posts: 504
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:01 pm

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by L.N. » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:36 pm

I would amend the OP to say that harmony is much more important than trying to persuade someone you are right.

Otherwise, harmony and being right are more or less equivalently important. Harmonious toward self and others. Right in one's volitional actions toward self and others.

We should be able to have even heated discussions with one another yet retain an underlying friendliness and mutual respect. But there's no point in struggling to persuade someone that they are wrong and you are right. All we can do is put forth our views and comments, and also listen in a spirit of generosity and friendliness.
Sire patitthitā Buddhā
Dhammo ca tava locane
Sangho patitthitō tuiham
uresabba gunākaro


愿众佛坐在我的头顶, 佛法在我的眼中, 僧伽,功德的根源, 端坐在我的肩上。

binocular
Posts: 5453
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by binocular » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:08 pm

I think people should read and watch more Sherlock Holmes books and tv series, to get a better feel for what discussion can be like. The reason why Holmes is such an effective detective is his method of investigation, a crucial factor of which are his (often heated and quite unfriendly) discussions with Watson. It's the intense dynamics between those two minds that produces such good results.

Too few people seem to be aware that discussion can work like that in real life too, not just in fiction.

chownah
Posts: 7375
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by chownah » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:22 am

binocular wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:08 pm
The reason why Holmes is such an effective detective is his method of investigation,
No. The reason is because he is a fiction.....and as such his effectiveness is only imaginary.
chownah

User avatar
Dhammanando
Posts: 4028
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by Dhammanando » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:19 am

chownah wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:22 am
.....and as such his effectiveness is only imaginary.
But not that of the person Conan Doyle modelled him on.
Joseph Bell, JP, DL, FRCSE (2 December 1837 – 4 October 1911) was a Scottish surgeon and lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh in the 19th century. He is best known as an inspiration for the literary character Sherlock Holmes.

Bell was the son of Dr. Benjamin Bell (1810-1883) and his wife Cecilia Barbara Craigie (1813-1882), and he was a great-grandson of the famous Benjamin Bell, considered to be the first Scottish scientific surgeon. In his instruction, Joseph Bell emphasized the importance of close observation in making a diagnosis. To illustrate this, he would often pick a stranger, and by observing him, deduce his occupation and recent activities. These skills caused him to be considered a pioneer in forensic science (forensic pathology in particular) at a time when science was not yet widely used in criminal investigations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bell

chownah
Posts: 7375
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: What everyone participating in forums should understand

Post by chownah » Tue Dec 12, 2017 8:05 am

Did joseph bell have "often heated and quite unfriendly discussions with his assistants and was this one of the things which supported his effectiveness?....and was it the "intense dynamics between those two minds" that produced such good results.
".......that is the quality being pointed to as being one of the root causes of holmes's effectiveness.
chownah

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 57 guests