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Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:34 pm
by Digity
Do you ever worry about appearing sanctimonious by following the path? For example, not willing to drink, etc. I worry that people will think I'm trying to be holier-than-thou. I think in our modern society this type of conduct is not really welcomed. People don't want to be around someone who is too moral. Thoughts?

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:50 pm
by LonesomeYogurt
If your intention in not drinking or abstaining from other unwholesome activities is to appear better than others, then it is not a good thing to do. But if your intention is to live a heedful life, then you can't let the criticism of the foolish get to you. Just examine your intentions; if you're acting out of wisdom and self-restraint, then don't worry what others think. Just try and show them the positive nature of your actions through compassionate, wholesome living.

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:16 pm
by Ben
In my experience - I don't have a problem with being accepted because I don't drink.
You won't appear sanctimonious because you don't drink - you'll only be sanctimonious if it appears you are moralizing about drinking.
If people want to know why you don't drink - you can tell them you don't like how it affects you.
Those who know you well will know you are a Buddhist.
Your wholesome actions will speak for you.
kind regards,

Ben

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:13 am
by manas
Hi Digity,

I am careful not to draw attention to myself in those situations. If I am offered an alcoholic drink, I just quietly and politely say "no, thanks", then change the subject. It also helps if you are already holding another kind of drink in your hand, and just keep sipping it from time to time. And make sure it remains topped up, so that no one is tempted to pour anything nefarious into it. IMO, there is nothing sanctimonious about the method described above.

What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true, it is not appropriate to the situation, because it will most likely not change anyone's mind for the better - it would just make people regard one as a sanctimonious wet blanket.

So it's all in how you handle the situation. imo.

:anjali:

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:53 am
by Digity
manas wrote:Hi Digity,

I am careful not to draw attention to myself in those situations. If I am offered an alcoholic drink, I just quietly and politely say "no, thanks", then change the subject. It also helps if you are already holding another kind of drink in your hand, and just keep sipping it from time to time. And make sure it remains topped up, so that no one is tempted to pour anything nefarious into it. IMO, there is nothing sanctimonious about the method described above.

What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true, it is not appropriate to the situation, because it will most likely not change anyone's mind for the better - it would just make people regard one as a sanctimonious wet blanket.

So it's all in how you handle the situation. imo.

:anjali:
I see what you're saying. Thanks!

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 1:55 pm
by Mal
manas wrote: What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true...
And it might not... an advanced being might be testing himself... Chogyam Trungpa?

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:32 am
by Kim OHara
Mal wrote:
manas wrote: What would be sanctimonious would be to loudly say, "No thanks! I am a Buddhist, and we don't indulge in intoxicants, because this creates very bad kamma. Everyone here who is doing so is doing the wrong thing!" And while that statement might be true...
And it might not... an advanced being might be testing himself... Chogyam Trungpa?
Then again, I think it's more likely that you will be struck by lightning than that you will ever be in the same room as an advanced being who is testing himself in this way.
:popcorn:
Kim

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:07 pm
by SamKR
Digity wrote:Do you ever worry about appearing sanctimonious by following the path? For example, not willing to drink, etc. I worry that people will think I'm trying to be holier-than-thou. I think in our modern society this type of conduct is not really welcomed. People don't want to be around someone who is too moral. Thoughts?
Sometimes I do worry, but then I think that if intention is wholesome it's useless to worry about appearing sanctimonious or apply some effort not to appear sanctimonious.
I think it's not bad to tell the whole truth: for example, "I don't drink because I follow the precepts, or it's against the teaching I follow", although it is not necessary, and it is also ok just to say, "I don't like it.".

Another example is: sometimes when doing meditation someone calls and I don't pick the phone up. Later when I'm asked why I didn't pick up the phone I could say I was busy but if someone really insists to know what actually I was doing I could tell the whole truth: "I was doing meditation."

If I appear sanctimonious while telling the truth, so be it.

Even while posting in Dhamma Wheel, I worry that I could appear sanctimonious, but later realize that it doesn't matter.

Re: Appearing sanctimonious

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:24 am
by BubbaBuddhist
Old Sufi story:

A man goes to the local Mullah with a problem. He says, "My neighbor is always borrowing stuff from me. If it isn't my tools, it's food; if it isn't food it's money. Then half the time he doesn't pay me back. It's driving me crazy. How can I make him stop?"

Mullah: "That's easy enough. Tell your neighbor you've fallen on hard times and can't afford to loan him things anymore. That will put an end to it."

"But sir," the man said. "My neighbor will tell everyone. Word will spread that I've lost my standing in the community, my social position will suffer. My reputation will decline; people will gossip about me and look down on me."

"Ahh," says the Mullah. "Now you want to change the mindset of the world. This is another problem altogether."

BB