Debt to ones parents

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kverty
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Debt to ones parents

Post by kverty » Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:07 am

From AN 2.32:
"I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."
Why is this such an important sutta that many takes literally? It says right here "Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.". Is it true for all parents? I've heard terrible stories about parents with such bad kamma that this sutta should be true for the really bad ones.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:45 am

kverty wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:07 am
It says right here "Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.". Is it true for all parents?
Yes, I think it is true for all parents. Do you have difficulty believing it because there are people who, conventionally, we would call "bad parents", who neglect or even abuse their children? If so, then we can take the Buddha's phrase to mean that parents are simply those who provide the means for our physical existence here on earth. Regardless of what our parents think of us or thought of us, we were carried in our mother's womb, we fed from her body, we partake of both parents' DNA, and without them we would not even be capable of having these thoughts.

And beyond this, most parents gave us love and care at some level, no matter what we think of them. I believe Ajahn Thanissaro once said that even if our mother ill-treated us or gave us away at birth, at least she didn't abort us.

form
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by form » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:32 am

If one kill or do bad things to their parents, the penalty is much higher compare to doing that to a friend or a stranger.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by DooDoot » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:12 am

kverty wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:07 am
Is it true for all parents? I've heard terrible stories about parents with such bad kamma that this sutta should be true for the really bad ones.
Iti 74 says sometimes parents are not good; that their children are superior to them:
Now what, bhikkhus, is the superior kind of son? In this instance a son has a mother and father who have not gone for refuge to the Buddha, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha; who do not abstain from taking life, from taking what has not been given, from wrong conduct in sensual desires, from false speech, and from intoxicating drink leading to negligence;who are unvirtuous and of bad conduct. But the son is one who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha; who abstains from taking life, from taking what has not been given, from wrong conduct in sensual desires, from false speech, and from intoxicating drink leading to negligence; who is virtuous and of good conduct. This, bhikkhus, is the superior kind of son. https://suttacentral.net/en/iti74

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kverty
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by kverty » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:07 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:45 am
kverty wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:07 am
It says right here "Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.". Is it true for all parents?
Yes, I think it is true for all parents. Do you have difficulty believing it because there are people who, conventionally, we would call "bad parents", who neglect or even abuse their children? If so, then we can take the Buddha's phrase to mean that parents are simply those who provide the means for our physical existence here on earth. Regardless of what our parents think of us or thought of us, we were carried in our mother's womb, we fed from her body, we partake of both parents' DNA, and without them we would not even be capable of having these thoughts.

And beyond this, most parents gave us love and care at some level, no matter what we think of them. I believe Ajahn Thanissaro once said that even if our mother ill-treated us or gave us away at birth, at least she didn't abort us.
Ok, there are some parents who cares so much about their drug addiction that they would neglect their babies and forget to feed them, and some take sick pleasure in molesting and abusing their children through their whole childhood so that they grow up traumatized and mentally scarred for life, do they also deserve respect from their children? Some people have really messed up kamma and their suffering is passed on their children who will grow up and maybe pass on their sufferings on their children. I just think its messed up to expect some sort of debt being owed to really bad people who hurt their children, that is messed up. And I don't believe that exactly all mothers have motherly love, some are just not fit to be mothers, someone maybe got raped and want their baby dead.

But bad people still need compassion and love otherwise the negative spiral will never end.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:26 pm

kverty wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:07 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:45 am
kverty wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 7:07 am
It says right here "Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world.". Is it true for all parents?
Yes, I think it is true for all parents. Do you have difficulty believing it because there are people who, conventionally, we would call "bad parents", who neglect or even abuse their children? If so, then we can take the Buddha's phrase to mean that parents are simply those who provide the means for our physical existence here on earth. Regardless of what our parents think of us or thought of us, we were carried in our mother's womb, we fed from her body, we partake of both parents' DNA, and without them we would not even be capable of having these thoughts.

And beyond this, most parents gave us love and care at some level, no matter what we think of them. I believe Ajahn Thanissaro once said that even if our mother ill-treated us or gave us away at birth, at least she didn't abort us.
Ok, there are some parents who cares so much about their drug addiction that they would neglect their babies and forget to feed them, and some take sick pleasure in molesting and abusing their children through their whole childhood so that they grow up traumatized and mentally scarred for life, do they also deserve respect from their children? Some people have really messed up kamma and their suffering is passed on their children who will grow up and maybe pass on their sufferings on their children. I just think its messed up to expect some sort of debt being owed to really bad people who hurt their children, that is messed up. And I don't believe that exactly all mothers have motherly love, some are just not fit to be mothers, someone maybe got raped and want their baby dead.

But bad people still need compassion and love otherwise the negative spiral will never end.
Drug addicts and those who neglect and abuse their children are, as far as their childcare goes, certainly not deserving of respect. But the quote doesn't say this. It says that mothers and fathers "do much for their children", and then gives some examples. You might think that what they do (provides a being with the means of existence in this world) merits that respect, or you might think that it does not. But that's another question.

If you think that it's "messed up" to attribute a debt to children who are hurt by their children, then consider two children from identically abusive and neglecting backgrounds. One child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know". The other child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know, but at least I can be grateful that their bodies gave me life, and that they didn't kill me". I would think that, other things being equal, the second person has the more skillful view. They have, at the very least, protected two people in their world from unconditional hatred.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by lyndon taylor » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:59 pm

I have a financial debt to my parents, does that count!!! I am very grateful to them!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community, sincerely former monk John

http://trickleupeconomictheory.blogspot.com/

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:10 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:26 pm
If you think that it's "messed up" to attribute a debt to children who are hurt by their children, then consider two children from identically abusive and neglecting backgrounds. One child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know".

The other child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know, but at least I can be grateful that their bodies gave me life, and that they didn't kill me". I would think that, other things being equal, the second person has the more skillful view. They have, at the very least, protected two people in their world from unconditional hatred.
How does a person from such a family develop the latter kind of view?

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by perkele » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:19 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:10 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:26 pm
If you think that it's "messed up" to attribute a debt to children who are hurt by their children, then consider two children from identically abusive and neglecting backgrounds. One child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know".

The other child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know, but at least I can be grateful that their bodies gave me life, and that they didn't kill me". I would think that, other things being equal, the second person has the more skillful view. They have, at the very least, protected two people in their world from unconditional hatred.
How does a person from such a family develop the latter kind of view?
Maybe they are fortunate enough to develop more wholesome human relationships elsewhere, so that hatred does not consume them.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:34 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:10 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:26 pm
If you think that it's "messed up" to attribute a debt to children who are hurt by their children, then consider two children from identically abusive and neglecting backgrounds. One child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know".

The other child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know, but at least I can be grateful that their bodies gave me life, and that they didn't kill me". I would think that, other things being equal, the second person has the more skillful view. They have, at the very least, protected two people in their world from unconditional hatred.
How does a person from such a family develop the latter kind of view?
It would depend on the circumstances. I would imagine that hearing the Dhamma would be a useful precondition. But to say that our responses to circumstances are as determined as those circumstances themselves is a denial of free will and is, I believe, contrary to what the Buddha taught.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:39 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:34 pm
It would depend on the circumstances. I would imagine that hearing the Dhamma would be a useful precondition. But to say that our responses to circumstances are as determined as those circumstances themselves is a denial of free will and is, I believe, contrary to what the Buddha taught.
You said:
binocular wrote:
Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:10 pm
The other child grows up to think "My parents were horrible people by all standards of morality that I know, but at least I can be grateful that their bodies gave me life, and that they didn't kill me".
I want to see someone actually work out the details of how a person from a dysfunctional background can develop such a view.

There are people reading this who are from such backgrounds, and who do have some desire to overcome their hard childhoods, but who don't know how to do that. And few things are as depressing and as demoralizing as someone, who is apparently quite well off in life, pontificating on how such a grateful, optimistic outlook on life can be developed, but who never presents any details as to how to do it.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:54 pm

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.
Well, you either have faith that people can overcome their life-circumstances and purify themselves, or you are trapped in determinism. If you want examples of the former, you might start with Angulimala.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by binocular » 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."

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Sam Vara
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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by Sam Vara » 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.

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Re: Debt to ones parents

Post by santa100 » 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."

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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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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

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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.

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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.

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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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