Debt to ones parents

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:21 pm

santa100 wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:08 pm
The fact that one has a healthy enough mind and body to be able to think how "messed up" his parents are, is enough proof that at the very least his mother was caring enough for a full 9-month duration to properly nurtured the baby inside and his father was caring enough to provide a safe condition for its existence. Had they been "messed up" all along, your brain and mind would've been too messed up to be able to even think about anything. It's no coincidence that the Buddha gave such a special place to our parents, right up there along with the noble arahants and the Buddha Himself, such that a crime done to our parents would be as equally grave as being done to the Buddha or His noble arahant disciples! (ref: The Five Heinous Crimes. ). If you're able to show metta to even your most dangerous enemy, how much more should you show it to your own parents, no matter how "messed up" they were.
AN 3.31 wrote:“Bhikkhus, those families dwell with Brahmā where at home the mother and father are revered by their children. (2) Those families dwell with the first teachers where at home the mother and father are revered by their children. (3) Those families dwell with the gift-worthy where at home the mother and father are revered by their children."
:goodpost:

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JeffR
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by JeffR » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:28 am

binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:39 pm
I want to see someone actually work out the details of how a person from a dysfunctional background can develop such a view.
In addition to what's been said; Karuna & Panna- Compassion and understanding.

If one's parents were abusive and otherwise harming their own children, imagine the suffering and hell that they are going through. Having animosity towards one parents will only pull you into your own difficulties and more suffering. To be able to know that any abusive and harmful acts were a result of a fraction of the parents' own suffering; to wish them well so that they will do no more harm (to themselves or others) will release the abused child from the grip of pain of that suffering.
Therein what are 'six (types of) disrespect'? One dwells without respect, without deference for the Teacher; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Teaching; one dwells without respect, without deference for the Order; one dwells without respect, without deference for the precepts; one dwells without respect, without deference for heedfulness; one dwells without respect, without deference for hospitality. These are six (types of) disrespect.
:Vibh 945

binocular
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:21 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:03 pm
binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:58 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:54 pm
Well, you either have faith that people can overcome their life-circumstances and purify themselves, or you are trapped in determinism.
That's a depressing dichotomy you suggest there.
"Well, you either have faith that people can overcome their life-circumstances and purify themselves, or you don't. If you don't, tough luck, buddy."
It would indeed be depressing if I had expressed it as you do. In fact, it is liberating and optimistic. There is no "tough luck, buddy" involved. As I am denying determinism, I am denying that faith cannot be developed. The choice is always open.
And still you're refusing to give an actual example of how a person from a dysfunctional environment can develop the faith that they can overcome their life-circumstances and purify themselves.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:59 pm

JeffR wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:28 am
If one's parents were abusive and otherwise harming their own children, imagine the suffering and hell that they are going through.

Were they really going through suffering and hell, though?

For example, I was treated quite badly by my Catholic classmates and some relatives. I don't think for a second that they were "going through suffering and hell". While I don't think they particularly enjoyed treating me the way they did, I am sure that they behaved the way they did out of their conviction that they, as Catholics, are right and superior to me, a non-Catholic, and not because they would suffer or would be "going through hell."
Having animosity towards one parents will only pull you into your own difficulties and more suffering. To be able to know that any abusive and harmful acts were a result of a fraction of the parents' own suffering; to wish them well so that they will do no more harm (to themselves or others) will release the abused child from the grip of pain of that suffering.
Who said anything about animosity toward one's parents?
It's a fallacious limitation of options to suppose that one has only two options: either hate one's parents, or love them.
To be able to know that any abusive and harmful acts were a result of a fraction of the parents' own suffering;
This is really patronizing.

Take, for example, a Christian father who "doesn't spare the rod" in order "not to spoil the child." Such a father doesn't beat his child because he would be suffering or going through hell; he simply does what he thinks is right, even if this lands the child in the ER with multiple fractures.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by dharmacorps » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:18 pm

I believe taken as a whole the Suttas advise that the main responsibility to the parents is to get them familiar with or "settled in" the dhamma. If one can't do that and they act in immoral ways, I don't think there is anything in there which says you must support a parent no matter what they do. I would think that the advice of the Buddha in that case would be the same as his usual advice for dealing with immoral people or unwise people in general-- don't associate with them.

Although many people have had good parents (like myself), and many more with so-so parents or mixed parents, the parents who act in a way that is so bad you cannot deal with them even with "patient endurance" are probably fewer than we think. But they are out there. My wife for instance, her parents were alcoholics, neglectful, abusive, and immoral. They have both since died, but she does hold the positive qualities they did have in mind somehow. I am impressed she is able to do that. If they were alive, I really don't know if she would be able to deal with them.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:48 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:21 pm

And still you're refusing to give an actual example of how a person from a dysfunctional environment can develop the faith that they can overcome their life-circumstances and purify themselves.
And quite rightly refusing. I didn't say that anyone could do it; I said in response to the OP that this was a more skillful response. Whether they can exercise that skill or not is irrelevant. Feeling no ill will towards someone cutting you apart with a double-handled saw is skillful, but I can't give you specifics about how that is done.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:14 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:48 pm
And quite rightly refusing. I didn't say that anyone could do it; I said in response to the OP that this was a more skillful response. Whether they can exercise that skill or not is irrelevant.
How can it be irrelevant?
Feeling no ill will towards someone cutting you apart with a double-handled saw is skillful, but I can't give you specifics about how that is done.
Why not?
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:25 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:14 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:48 pm
And quite rightly refusing. I didn't say that anyone could do it; I said in response to the OP that this was a more skillful response. Whether they can exercise that skill or not is irrelevant.
How can it be irrelevant?
By not being what I was talking about. I was referring to a skill, and not referring to how or whether that skill is exercised.
Feeling no ill will towards someone cutting you apart with a double-handled saw is skillful, but I can't give you specifics about how that is done.
Why not?
Because it's a skill I haven't mastered. I could talk in very general terms about the things likely to bring it about, but you already know what they are.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:34 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:25 pm
Because it's a skill I haven't mastered.
Then how can you talk about it as if it were true and possible??
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:45 am

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 5:34 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:25 pm
Because it's a skill I haven't mastered.
Then how can you talk about it as if it were true and possible??
I can talk about it as if it were true, because it is analytically true. If not reacting with hatred is a skill, then one who does not react with hatred has that skill.

I can talk about it being possible, because I see other people doing it. I haven't mastered the skills of water-skiing or playing the violin. But I see other people doing them, so I know they are possible.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:07 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:45 am
I can talk about it being possible, because I see other people doing it. I haven't mastered the skills of water-skiing or playing the violin. But I see other people doing them, so I know they are possible.
It's not clear how the comparison is adequate. Not reacting with hatred is not something that could adequately be observed by external observers, the way water-skiing etc. can be observed by external observers. A person can react with hatred, but externally show no signs that would be sufficient to conclude they are reacting with hatred. Humans are very good at concealing their actual emotions and intentions, while presenting a palatable exterior.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:15 am

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:07 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:45 am
I can talk about it being possible, because I see other people doing it. I haven't mastered the skills of water-skiing or playing the violin. But I see other people doing them, so I know they are possible.
It's not clear how the comparison is adequate. Not reacting with hatred is not something that could adequately be observed by external observers, the way water-skiing etc. can be observed by external observers. A person can react with hatred, but externally show no signs that would be sufficient to conclude they are reacting with hatred. Humans are very good at concealing their actual emotions and intentions, while presenting a palatable exterior.
The same applies to anything that we are conscious of; this is merely an application of the philosophical "problem of other minds". If one believed that it were impossible to completely free the mind from hatred, one would not be a Buddhist. So it follows that every Buddhist believes that it is possible.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:22 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:15 am
If one believed that it were impossible to completely free the mind from hatred, one would not be a Buddhist. So it follows that every Buddhist believes that it is possible.
This is simply not true, unless you're working with an extremely limited idea of who/what is a "Buddhist" and why people become Buddhists.

To begin with, many, if not most Buddhists, are cradle Buddhists who made no choice in their religious orientation, but less or more went along with what their parents and society taught them.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:32 am

binocular wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:22 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:15 am
If one believed that it were impossible to completely free the mind from hatred, one would not be a Buddhist. So it follows that every Buddhist believes that it is possible.
This is simply not true, unless you're working with an extremely limited idea of who/what is a "Buddhist" and why people become Buddhists.

To begin with, many, if not most Buddhists, are cradle Buddhists who made no choice in their religious orientation, but less or more went along with what their parents and society taught them.
I'm not really interested in discussions about semantics, thanks. They serve no purpose other than the temporary gratification of those who take part.

Clearly, if I want to use the term, I have to have some definition as to what constitutes "a Buddhist", or "a particular type of Buddhist", and that's mine. If you understand it, then you can understand why I think the way I do about freeing the mind from hatred.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:45 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:32 am
I'm not really interested in discussions about semantics, thanks. They serve no purpose other than the temporary gratification of those who take part.
Says he, discussing semantics ...
:popcorn:
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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