Children and parents

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
steve19800
Posts: 230
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:20 am

Children and parents

Post by steve19800 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:01 pm

Hello all,

In Buddhist teaching, it's said that if children do unwholesome deeds to their parents, the children are sowing great bad kamma. Children are encouraged not to do unwholesome deeds to their parents.

What if the parents who do the unwholesome deeds to their children, will they reap bad kamma? I have never heard a term "parents are sowing unwholesome kamma when they do bad deeds to their children" in Buddhist teaching.

AFAIK, in Buddhism, when parents do something bad to their children, the children are encouraged to tolerate their parents. Therefore, from Buddhism point of view, does it mean parents can do whatever they want to their children without reaping the consequences?

Any thoughts guys?

santa100
Posts: 3001
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 10:55 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by santa100 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:48 pm

steve19800 wrote:AFAIK, in Buddhism, when parents do something bad to their children, the children are encouraged to tolerate their parents. Therefore, from Buddhism point of view, does it mean parents can do whatever they want to their children without reaping the consequences?
"tolerate" is probably not the right word to be used cuz it implies inaction in the case of one's parents' wrong-doing. Obviously one should show patience and understanding, but definitely should apply skillful means in establishing them in conviction, virtues, generosity, and discernment.
AN 2.31 wrote: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."

thepea
Posts: 869
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:06 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by thepea » Wed Apr 18, 2018 4:56 pm

steve19800 wrote:
What if the parents who do the unwholesome deeds to their children, will they reap bad kamma?
Yes.

dharmacorps
Posts: 501
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by dharmacorps » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:29 pm

Regardless of how unethical the parents may be, it seems that the Buddha encouraged forbearance, and every reasonable attempt to expose them to the dhamma before they die. As a whole, the Buddha seemed not to have engaged with the topic of "bad" parents so much, but rather discuss one's duties/indebtedness to one's parents, and put the focus for us as individuals to keep the 5 precepts and not worry so much about other people who don't keep them, whether they are our parents or someone else. Sometimes I wish he said more on the subject of how to handle immoral relatives, but I'm sure there was a reason for him not delving into it.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4099
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Children and parents

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:49 pm

steve19800 wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 3:01 pm
Hello all,

In Buddhist teaching, it's said that if children do unwholesome deeds to their parents, the children are sowing great bad kamma. Children are encouraged not to do unwholesome deeds to their parents.

What if the parents who do the unwholesome deeds to their children, will they reap bad kamma? I have never heard a term "parents are sowing unwholesome kamma when they do bad deeds to their children" in Buddhist teaching.

AFAIK, in Buddhism, when parents do something bad to their children, the children are encouraged to tolerate their parents. Therefore, from Buddhism point of view, does it mean parents can do whatever they want to their children without reaping the consequences?

Any thoughts guys?
Certainly there are kammic consequences for the way one treats one's children. They would not be exempted. (Maybe one consequence is that they will neglect or ill-treat you when you get too old to care for yourself!) The consequences would be in accordance with the intention behind the action, which is what determines the outcome for all dealings with sentient beings.

There are several passages in the suttas which praise the householder's concern for their children. In the Sigalovada Sutta, for example, there is this, but it is seen as the consequence of filial duty:
"In five ways, young householder, the parents thus ministered to as the East by their children, show their compassion:


(i) they restrain them from evil,
(ii) they encourage them to do good,
(iii) they train them for a profession,
(iv) they arrange a suitable marriage,
(v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them.
And there is this
To support mother and father, to cherish wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupation — this is the greatest blessing.
From the Mangala Sutta https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipita ... .nara.html

But you do raise an interesting point as to why duties to one's parents are more important or more often cited. My guess is that it reflects cultural differences, and the need to reinforce ties to clan and family; whereas love for one's children might have been taken for granted as natural or inevitable.

User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 1482
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: Children and parents

Post by cappuccino » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:01 pm

"Beings are the owners of their kamma, the heirs of their kamma; they are molded, formed and upheld by their kamma, and they inherit the results of their own good and bad deeds."

Often enough this reflection has been proposed as a means to help us adjust to the vicissitudes in our personal fortunes: to accept gain and loss, success and failure, pleasure and pain, with a mind that remains unperturbed.

-Bhikkhu Bodhi

justindesilva
Posts: 764
Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:38 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by justindesilva » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:07 pm

Singalovada sutta notes 5 duties by children towards parents as well as 5 duties by parents towards children
duties from parents are:
1 keep children away from evil
2 teach them to do good
3give them education
4 arrange their marriages in due course
5 give them their inheritances

binocular
Posts: 5479
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by binocular » Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:45 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:49 pm
But you do raise an interesting point as to why duties to one's parents are more important or more often cited. My guess is that it reflects cultural differences, and the need to reinforce ties to clan and family; whereas love for one's children might have been taken for granted as natural or inevitable.
Or maybe children (and as such, (most) people in general) are seen as expendable, replaceable.

In psychology, there are standard stories to test moral reasoning. One of them has a scenario like this: "You're in a boat with several other people: your mother, your child, your sibling, some strangers etc. The boat starts to sink and you can only save one person. Whom do you save?"

There is a cultural difference in how people answer this. Westerners usually choose to save their child. But Easterners prefer to save their mother. The Eastern reasoning is that all the other people in one's life are replaceable or nearly so: one can give birth to another child or adopt one, one can become good friends with someone who replaces the sibling, one can find a new spouse who replaces the former spouse, and so on. It's only the parent who cannot be replaced.

(I couldn't find a convenient online source for this; we were taught that in psychology lectures.)

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4099
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Children and parents

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:38 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 6:45 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 5:49 pm
But you do raise an interesting point as to why duties to one's parents are more important or more often cited. My guess is that it reflects cultural differences, and the need to reinforce ties to clan and family; whereas love for one's children might have been taken for granted as natural or inevitable.
Or maybe children (and as such, (most) people in general) are seen as expendable, replaceable.
It's possible, of course, but there are many accounts in the suttas of parents loving their children and grieving deeply over their loss. I prefer to think that the Buddha recognised parental love, and valued individuals.

binocular
Posts: 5479
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by binocular » Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:52 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:38 pm
It's possible, of course, but there are many accounts in the suttas of parents loving their children and grieving deeply over their loss.
One can grieve the loss of one's child for a number of reasons.
"Parental love" seems to be a concept that has culturally specific meanings.
I prefer to think that the Buddha recognised parental love,
I'm sure he did, but I'm not sure what exactly he meant by it.
and valued individuals.
People being expendable or replaceable doesn't mean they're not valuable. A buddha himself is an expendable, replaceable phenomenon, given that one appears every now and then.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4099
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Children and parents

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:34 pm

binocular wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:52 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Apr 18, 2018 7:38 pm
It's possible, of course, but there are many accounts in the suttas of parents loving their children and grieving deeply over their loss.
One can grieve the loss of one's child for a number of reasons.
"Parental love" seems to be a concept that has culturally specific meanings.
Possibly, but giving rise to the concept is a feeling which I think is universal.

chownah
Posts: 7419
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: Children and parents

Post by chownah » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:19 am

There is a cultural component to parental love but then again there is a hormonal component of maternal love.
chownah

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: khemindas, Yahoo [Bot] and 77 guests