Are compliments bad?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Bote
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Are compliments bad?

Post by Bote » Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:29 pm

Will compliments towards non-buddhists cause misery? E.g.: "Your new haircut looks good."
Also what about random acts of kindness? Are these bad? E.g.: You help someone with their groceries, or make dinner for your neighbour.

randall
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by randall » Sun Jan 11, 2015 5:04 pm

a compliment can be a wonderful thing, you may give a compliment and make somebody's day and they in return could make the people around them be in a good mood, and the best thing is they're free! As far as practicing Dhamma I believe you would need to have knowledge of kamma in mind while you perform such a generous act, or try to at least.

The Commentaries and the Abhidhamma classify kamma into "inferior kamma" and "superior kamma". Superior kamma would be when the act was pure (and with kamma in mind) prior to the deed, during the deed, and after the deed, whereas inferior kamma would be something that may of had good intentions but after greed encroached in, or you had not kept kamma in mind, something like that.

a good read about the above can be found here, on pages. 68-80.

:hug:

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Aloka
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by Aloka » Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:41 pm

Miesco wrote:Will compliments towards non-buddhists cause misery? E.g.: "Your new haircut looks good."
Hi Meisco,

I don't think there's anything wrong with spontaneously complimenting others, if your compliments are genuine.
Meisco wrote:Also what about random acts of kindness? Are these bad? E.g.: You help someone with their groceries, or make dinner for your neighbour.
I can't see how genuine acts of kindness in helping others in some way could be bad. I think little acts of kindness can also be considered to be generosity, when someone is willing to give some of their time and efforts to others in one way or another.

Kind regards,

Aloka

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Sam Vara
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:17 pm

No, they aren't, and that's an absolutely wonderful question, Miesco.

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Mkoll
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by Mkoll » Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:44 pm

Sam Vara wrote:No, they aren't, and that's an absolutely wonderful question, Miesco.
:clap:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Bote
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by Bote » Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:28 am

Okay, there is still something I do not get. If I complement someone saying they have a nice haircut, then they will feel good. They will have the emotion of feeling good -- they will have pleasure. Isn't this bad? For everyone action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so wouldn't this cause them to feel equal misery later? Wouldn't this cause someone to feel that looking nice will bring happiness and that they should look as good as possible to get more compliments and pleasure? Isn't that what everyone already does and ends up causing misery when one gets into their 40/50s? Wouldn't it be better to encourage someone to not seek pleasure from their appearance and what others think of them?

chownah
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by chownah » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:26 am

Miesco wrote:Okay, there is still something I do not get. If I complement someone saying they have a nice haircut, then they will feel good. They will have the emotion of feeling good -- they will have pleasure. Isn't this bad? For everyone action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so wouldn't this cause them to feel equal misery later? Wouldn't this cause someone to feel that looking nice will bring happiness and that they should look as good as possible to get more compliments and pleasure? Isn't that what everyone already does and ends up causing misery when one gets into their 40/50s? Wouldn't it be better to encourage someone to not seek pleasure from their appearance and what others think of them?
Miesco,
I think what you have shown is that compliments will not lead to the end of suffering. They can, for some people, lead to more suffering. At best they are a brief escape from suffering. They do not lead to equanimity. All of this does not mean that compliments are good or bad...they are just another experience.....I guess.....don't know for sure.....
chownah

culaavuso
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by culaavuso » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:27 am

Miesco wrote:Okay, there is still something I do not get. If I complement someone saying they have a nice haircut, then they will feel good. They will have the emotion of feeling good -- they will have pleasure. Isn't this bad?
Why would this be bad? Why not be happy for them? Being happy for them seems to be part of the practice of sympathetic joy.
Miesco wrote:For everyone action there is an equal and opposite reaction, so wouldn't this cause them to feel equal misery later?
Not necessarily.
Miesco wrote:Wouldn't this cause someone to feel that looking nice will bring happiness and that they should look as good as possible to get more compliments and pleasure?
Not necessarily.
Miesco wrote: Isn't that what everyone already does and ends up causing misery when one gets into their 40/50s?
People that end up in misery seem to do so in a variety of ways.
Miesco wrote:Wouldn't it be better to encourage someone to not seek pleasure from their appearance and what others think of them?
A compliment and an encouragement not to seek pleasure from appearance are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Nor is the latter always possible.

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Mkoll
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by Mkoll » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:45 am

AN 8.6 wrote:"Monks, these eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions.

"For an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person there arise gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. For a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones there also arise gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. So what difference, what distinction, what distinguishing factor is there between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person?"

"For us, lord, the teachings have the Blessed One as their root, their guide, & their arbitrator. It would be good if the Blessed One himself would explicate the meaning of this statement. Having heard it from the Blessed One, the monks will remember it."

"In that case, monks, listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Gain arises for an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person. He does not reflect, 'Gain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He does not discern it as it actually is.

"Loss arises... Status arises... Disgrace arises... Censure arises... Praise arises... Pleasure arises...

"Pain arises. He does not reflect, 'Pain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He does not discern it as it actually is.

"His mind remains consumed with the gain. His mind remains consumed with the loss... with the status... the disgrace... the censure... the praise... the pleasure. His mind remains consumed with the pain.

"He welcomes the arisen gain and rebels against the arisen loss. He welcomes the arisen status and rebels against the arisen disgrace. He welcomes the arisen praise and rebels against the arisen censure. He welcomes the arisen pleasure and rebels against the arisen pain. As he is thus engaged in welcoming & rebelling, he is not released from birth, aging, or death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, or despairs. He is not released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"Now, gain arises for a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones. He reflects, 'Gain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He discerns it as it actually is.

"Loss arises... Status arises... Disgrace arises... Censure arises... Praise arises... Pleasure arises...

"Pain arises. He reflects, 'Pain has arisen for me. It is inconstant, stressful, & subject to change.' He discerns it as it actually is.

"His mind does not remain consumed with the gain. His mind does not remain consumed with the loss... with the status... the disgrace... the censure... the praise... the pleasure. His mind does not remain consumed with the pain.

"He does not welcome the arisen gain, or rebel against the arisen loss. He does not welcome the arisen status, or rebel against the arisen disgrace. He does not welcome the arisen praise, or rebel against the arisen censure. He does not welcome the arisen pleasure, or rebel against the arisen pain. As he thus abandons welcoming & rebelling, he is released from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs. He is released, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"This is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person."
Gain/loss, status/disgrace, censure/praise, pleasure/pain: these conditions among human beings are inconstant, impermanent, subject to change. Knowing this, the wise person, mindful, ponders these changing conditions. Desirable things don't charm the mind, undesirable ones bring no resistance. His welcoming & rebelling are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state, he discerns rightly, has gone, beyond becoming, to the Further Shore.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

SarathW
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Re: Are compliments bad?

Post by SarathW » Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:54 am

Hi Miesco
Do not confuse what is relevant to lay people with monks.
If you are going this far you are come under different level of category. (not lay person)
:shrug:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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