Suffering of others

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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No_Mind
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Suffering of others

Post by No_Mind » Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:07 am

What was Buddha's teaching about suffering of others?

Let us say when Buddha was teaching in Mahajanapada X a war broke out between Mahajanapada Y and Mahajanapada Z (had to have really happened .. at some point during his four decades of teaching)

Would he have asked his students to stop meditating and get all agitated? No. That was not his teaching. His teaching was to do metta for them but walk your own path, achieve your own liberation from birth and death .. is it not?

There will always be suffering in this world. There will be drought, famine, flood, pestilence, gender inequality, racial divide, war, civil war, rape and other similar atrocities and injustices.

We as average humans can do a little bit (if a refugee wants food and water to provide it, if there is famine donate as much as one can, if we run a business pay every employee fair amount irrespective of gender)

Beyond that should we be agitated? Does not a Theravadan Buddhist stop at doing metta instead of getting all worked up about suffering of others?

Am I wrong in this understanding?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

chownah
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by chownah » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:11 pm

Compassion.
chownah

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No_Mind
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by No_Mind » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:20 pm

chownah wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:11 pm
Compassion.
chownah
Of course compassion. All our compassion.

But should we get worked up? Weep ourselves to sleep?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

Ruud
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by Ruud » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:28 pm

It is best to aim for the benefit of oneself and others, if one can.
MN61 wrote:Whenever you want to do a bodily [verbal, mental] action, you should reflect on it: 'This bodily action I want to do — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful bodily action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful bodily action with painful consequences, painful results, then any bodily action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful bodily action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any bodily action of that sort is fit for you to do.
If we can substantially help (by whatever reasonable means) doing metta is not the only thing we should do. That’s practicing indifference, not compassion/metta. Things we truly can’t change, that’s where we practice equanimity (so no agitation or weeping).
Dry up what pertains to the past,
do not take up anything to come later.
If you will not grasp in the middle,
you will live at peace.
—Snp.5.11,v.1099 (tr. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi)

Whatever is will be was. —Ven. Ñānamoli, A Thinkers Notebook, §221

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No_Mind
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by No_Mind » Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:33 pm

Ruud wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 12:28 pm
Things we truly can’t change, that’s where we practice equanimity (so no agitation or weeping).
Right .. we agree completely

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mikenz66
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:00 pm

As I said on the other topic:
mikenz66 wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:33 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 10:55 am
All that an average individual can do is help to some extent (a refugee needs shelter and food for few days .. to help with that) .. beyond that one can do nothing. If you want to become inflamed with emotions .. that is your prerogative. A Theravadan Buddhist will not choose to be involved in this world's suffering. He will retreat to the forest.
Well, I consider myself a Theravadin Buddhist, and I don't agree wth this statement. It reads to me as an example of what in Mayahana circles is called "emptiness sickness" (apologies for mentioning "the enemy", but I have tremendous of respect for the Mayahana Buddhists that I know personally), and in more general terms "spiritual bypassing". Furthermore, in purely practical terms, if all Theravadin Buddhists had retreated to the forest in the past there would be none left by now... :tongue:
I would add that "retreating to the forest" does not work (i.e. lead to awakening) unless the retreatant is very well prepared. This is spelled out in a number of suttas. Retreating to the forest to avoid the development needed on the Path (right speech, action, livelihood, in particular) is simply not going to be successful.

:heart:
Mike

SarathW
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by SarathW » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:37 pm

What was Buddha's teaching about suffering of others?
Buddha's main advise is to eliminate the suffering of oneself.
The mean to achieve this is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
Noble Eightfold Path is practiced in many levels as it applies from a layperson up to an Arahant.
Depend on your status in the society you have the responsibility to concern about the suffering of others.
In this case, the responsibility of a monk is different to a responsibility of a combat soldier.
The way I understand even a combat soldier can practice the Noble Eightfold Path.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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cappuccino
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by cappuccino » Sat Apr 14, 2018 9:50 pm

it's impossible to purify the mind of others

therefore Buddhism is about purifying your own mind

alfa
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by alfa » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:35 am

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:07 am
What was Buddha's teaching about suffering of others?

Let us say when Buddha was teaching in Mahajanapada X a war broke out between Mahajanapada Y and Mahajanapada Z (had to have really happened .. at some point during his four decades of teaching)

Would he have asked his students to stop meditating and get all agitated? No. That was not his teaching. His teaching was to do metta for them but walk your own path, achieve your own liberation from birth and death .. is it not?

There will always be suffering in this world. There will be drought, famine, flood, pestilence, gender inequality, racial divide, war, civil war, rape and other similar atrocities and injustices.

We as average humans can do a little bit (if a refugee wants food and water to provide it, if there is famine donate as much as one can, if we run a business pay every employee fair amount irrespective of gender)

Beyond that should we be agitated? Does not a Theravadan Buddhist stop at doing metta instead of getting all worked up about suffering of others?

Am I wrong in this understanding?

:namaste:
On the Buddhist path, there is no 'other'.

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Dhammarakkhito
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:13 am

what do you mean alfa
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Dinsdale
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by Dinsdale » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:49 am

"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!"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .amar.html
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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seeker242
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by seeker242 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:54 am

No_Mind wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 11:07 am
Would he have asked his students to stop meditating and get all agitated? No.
No, but he did ask them to follow his example of alleviating the suffering of others by teaching them, like he himself taught.

alfa
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Re: Suffering of others

Post by alfa » Tue Apr 17, 2018 3:33 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:13 am
what do you mean alfa
The self is a convention. Because we have a body, we say 'I', 'you' etc. to distinguish between various objects. Space is space. There is no division.

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