Causes for gratitude

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Bundokji
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Causes for gratitude

Post by Bundokji » Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:02 am

One of the benefits of practice can be turning our sense of entitlement into a sense of gratitude. The emphasis on suffering in Buddhism might give the impression that there is nothing much to be grateful about, so the aim of this thread is to provide examples on how the very understanding of suffering can give rise into positive feelings such as gratitude.

As the initiator of this thread, i would begin by giving the first example: our ability to make mistakes and redeem ourselves.

More often than not, life give us many chances to learn from our own mistakes. If life is so punishing, we would have perished long ago.

What examples other members of the forum can and are willing to share?

Thank you :anjali:
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

santa100
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by santa100 » Tue Jul 30, 2019 1:57 pm

Bundokji wrote:The emphasis on suffering in Buddhism might give the impression that there is nothing much to be grateful about, so the aim of this thread is to provide examples on how the very understanding of suffering can give rise into positive feelings such as gratitude.
From the 4NT: the existence of dukkha, its origin, its cessation, and the path. Well, we are humans, and we're able to learn, contemplate, and practice the Dhamma. If that's not some great cause for gratitude, I don't know what is.

chownah
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by chownah » Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:32 pm

I'm not sure if this thread is about things to be grateful about or if it is about what causes gratitude to arise since clearly some people are not grateful and other people in the same/similar circumstances are grateful so what is the cause of why some are and some aren't......or is it both?
chownah

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Bundokji
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by Bundokji » Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:13 am

chownah wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 2:32 pm
I'm not sure if this thread is about things to be grateful about or if it is about what causes gratitude to arise since clearly some people are not grateful and other people in the same/similar circumstances are grateful so what is the cause of why some are and some aren't......or is it both?
chownah
Hello chownah,

I think you are raising an interesting point. Even among non Buddhists, some people experience more gratitude than others. But do you think there is a connection between right view and gratitude?

For example, many people experience good health for extended periods of their lives, but maybe only a few are aware of this fact and have appreciation for it. Most become aware when they experience sickness, but a state of health is taken for granted and goes unnoticed.

Some accuse Buddhism of being pessimistic. If an outsider reads the discussions on this forum for example, there is a lot of focus on suffering. Some would even argue that the only reason not to commit suicide is to avoid being reborn in a hell realm.

You have been practicing for many years. Do you think life is that bad? or are there things to be grateful about even for non Buddhists? is there anything worth living for apart from practicing the Dhamma?
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

binocular
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by binocular » Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:45 am

Bundokji wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:02 am
One of the benefits of practice can be turning our sense of entitlement into a sense of gratitude. The emphasis on suffering in Buddhism might give the impression that there is nothing much to be grateful about, so the aim of this thread is to provide examples on how the very understanding of suffering can give rise into positive feelings such as gratitude.
A quick way to make oneself feel good is to look at the misery of others -- and feel glad and grateful that one isn't experiencing that misery oneself. -- But that seems kind of perverse, like a parallel to Schadenfreude.

- - -
/T/he three things most likely to make gratitude heartfelt:

1. You've actually benefitted from another person's actions.
2. You trust the motives behind those actions.
3. You sense that the other person had to go out of his or her way to provide that benefit.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... itude.html
I think this explains how come some people feel grateful and some don't, and also why one cannot make oneself feel grateful.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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cappuccino
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by cappuccino » Wed Jul 31, 2019 1:53 pm

binocular wrote: look at the misery of others and feel glad and grateful that one isn't experiencing that misery oneself. But that seems kind of perverse
it's not perverse, it's just gratitude

chownah
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by chownah » Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:57 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 5:13 am

Hello chownah,
....
.....
You have been practicing for many years. Do you think life is that bad? or are there things to be grateful about even for non Buddhists? is there anything worth living for apart from practicing the Dhamma?
Pretty much most of my adult life I have been saying that life holds the opportunity for incredible richness of experience and to think otherwise just means that one has not been able to access that richness.

Also, for me the word "gratitude" tends to imply that there is some external entity who I acknowledge as being somewhat central in bringing about something that I am grateful for.....and....using the word "thankful" does not generally have that same connotation and is more like "I am thankful for xxx because I understand how much it contributes towards yyy (some beneficial state or condition).....in short, if no person is directly involved then I am thankful and if some person is directly involved then I am grateful. Of course being only human I am quite often neither thankful nor grateful as often as perhaps I should be by some people's standards.

I think that since it is by ones own efforts that the goal is reached it might be that alot of gratefulness or thankfulness is perhaps misdirected or even a distraction.

I think that being grateful is mostly helpful for those who think that their self is their salvation since gratefulness moves the focus off of the self and to somewhere else.

chownah

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Bundokji
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by Bundokji » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:12 am

binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:45 am
A quick way to make oneself feel good is to look at the misery of others -- and feel glad and grateful that one isn't experiencing that misery oneself. -- But that seems kind of perverse, like a parallel to Schadenfreude.
I am not sure the above is a cause for feeling good, but more of a cause for not taking what we have for granted. A lot of what we know about ourselves and our future is through others due to the relative nature of worldly knowledge. When we are young and healthy for example, we don't experience sickness and old age first hand, but we know that we will probably experience it one day in the future and this can be a cause to put our relative advantage to good use.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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Bundokji
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by Bundokji » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:32 am

chownah wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 2:57 pm
Pretty much most of my adult life I have been saying that life holds the opportunity for incredible richness of experience and to think otherwise just means that one has not been able to access that richness.

Also, for me the word "gratitude" tends to imply that there is some external entity who I acknowledge as being somewhat central in bringing about something that I am grateful for.....and....using the word "thankful" does not generally have that same connotation and is more like "I am thankful for xxx because I understand how much it contributes towards yyy (some beneficial state or condition).....in short, if no person is directly involved then I am thankful and if some person is directly involved then I am grateful. Of course being only human I am quite often neither thankful nor grateful as often as perhaps I should be by some people's standards.

I think that since it is by ones own efforts that the goal is reached it might be that alot of gratefulness or thankfulness is perhaps misdirected or even a distraction.

I think that being grateful is mostly helpful for those who think that their self is their salvation since gratefulness moves the focus off of the self and to somewhere else.

chownah
Your input makes sense, but what caused me to pause and think though is your emphasis on ones own effort and on the absence of external beings.

In my mind, i make a distinction between what is right view from a Buddhist perspective, and the concept of ultimate reality.

Would you say that the belief that the goal is reached through ones own efforts is ultimately true? and if it is, then why it does not apply to everyone?

If you follow my line of reasoning, you might find room for the idea of "luck" which the Buddha himself used in the Apannaka Sutta (lucky through).

The belief in "luck" or an element of "randomness" or "chaos" should not be the main driver of ones action nor the existence of supernatural external being, but that does not mean its not there. Even if believe that all i can do is to act skillfully and that the outcome is not in my hand is inline with the Buddha's teachings as i understand them and has an implicit acknowledgement that things are not as predictable as many people believe them to be.

Would you consider stumbling upon the right view of "by ones own efforts the goal is reached" was achieved purely by your own efforts?

To sum up, without acknowledging randomness, i fail to see how gratitude is possible.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

binocular
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by binocular » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:11 am

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:12 am
binocular wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:45 am
A quick way to make oneself feel good is to look at the misery of others -- and feel glad and grateful that one isn't experiencing that misery oneself. --
I am not sure the above is a cause for feeling good,
It's an example from a book by the Dalai Lama ... (I apologize, I don't have the book anymore to quote the exact page.)
but more of a cause for not taking what we have for granted.
It's not clear that it is a sufficient cause, though.
In fact, it seems just the opposite: Reflecting on the misery of others and noting how one is better off than them can lead to enhancing one's sense of entitlement. "I've had it so good for so long, surely things will continue to go well for me for the rest of my life" -- that's how many people usually think.

In psychology, the concepts of the self-serving bias and the fundamental attribution error address this.

I think something tremendous has to happen to a person for them to start thinking things like, "I've had it so good for so long, it's probably just a matter of time before things will go bad, and I need to prepare for that."
A lot of what we know about ourselves and our future is through others due to the relative nature of worldly knowledge.
But these things are corrected for by various cognitive biases in favor of the person's self-esteem.

It doesn't come naturally to think like this:
/.../
When you see someone who has fallen on hard times, overwhelmed with hard times, you should conclude: 'We, too, have experienced just this sort of thing in the course of that long, long time.'
/.../
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
When we are young and healthy for example, we don't experience sickness and old age first hand, but we know that we will probably experience it one day in the future and this can be a cause to put our relative advantage to good use.
Like they say -- youth is wasted on the young.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by binocular » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:23 am

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:32 am
Would you say that the belief that the goal is reached through ones own efforts is ultimately true? and if it is, then why it does not apply to everyone?
How does it not apply to everyone? Can you give examples?
If you follow my line of reasoning, you might find room for the idea of "luck" which the Buddha himself used in the Apannaka Sutta (lucky through).
Perhaps the concept of the safe bet in that sutta is primarily a matter of preaching strategy, an argument presented in favor of doing the practice, for that specific audience.
The belief in "luck" or an element of "randomness" or "chaos" should not be the main driver of ones action nor the existence of supernatural external being, but that does not mean its not there. Even if believe that all i can do is to act skillfully and that the outcome is not in my hand is inline with the Buddha's teachings as i understand them and has an implicit acknowledgement that things are not as predictable as many people believe them to be.
But there are past actions, actions from past lives also, the results of which may become apparent only later, or in ways that aren't obvious right now. Kamma operates in very intricate ways. What looks like luck now might actually be the result of a lot of deliberate actions finally coming together to fruition.
Would you consider stumbling upon the right view of "by ones own efforts the goal is reached" was achieved purely by your own efforts?
To sum up, without acknowledging randomness, i fail to see how gratitude is possible.
Also, there is the influence of other people. They might not be able to do certain things for you, but they can help you to do particular actions that you might not be able to do yourself at the time. So next to kamma and its fruits, that's another argument against randomness.
i fail to see how gratitude is possible
It seems to me, rather, that gratitude is impossible without appreciation.
If one doesn't appreciate something, no amount of acknowledging randomness is going to make one feel grateful for it.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by Sabbe_Dhamma_Anatta » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:32 am

Bundokji wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 9:02 am
...
examples on how the very understanding of suffering can give rise into positive feelings such as gratitude.
...

Ultimate understanding of suffering means Ultimation liberation, culmination of 4 aryia truths.

With liberation, gratitute comes naturally. And, examples are ample, in this regard.



.
🅢🅐🅑🅑🅔 🅓🅗🅐🅜🅜🅐 🅐🅝🅐🅣🅣🅐
  • "the one thing all the mistaken views have in common is the assump­tion that the self exists" ~ DN1
  • "It is an entirely and perfectly foolish idea" ~ MN22
  • The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
  • No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. ~ SN22.59

chownah
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by chownah » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:27 am

I decided to get a definition for gratitude because I started to think that perhaps my idea of its meaning was incorrect....so....from the wikipedia entry for "gratitude":
Gratitude, thankfulness, or gratefulness, from the Latin word gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’,[1] is a feeling of appreciation felt by and/or similar positive response shown by the recipient of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity, towards the giver of such gifts.
...so....this definition definitely requires a recipient and a giver of kindness, gifts, help, favors, or other types of generosity.

It seems like here there is an idea that no giver need be involved.....that gratitude arises when there is no one in sight who could act as the giver. For me there is a big difference as to whether a giver is necessary or not. Do we want to stipulate one way or the other as to the requirement for a giver?
chownah

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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by binocular » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:03 am

chownah wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:27 am
It seems like here there is an idea that no giver need be involved.....that gratitude arises when there is no one in sight who could act as the giver. For me there is a big difference as to whether a giver is necessary or not. Do we want to stipulate one way or the other as to the requirement for a giver?
One can only be grateful, thankful to someone, to a person, at that. (Or is it possible to be grateful to an animal?)
Everything else is just liking, appreciation (of the attaching sort).

Gratitude is very fashionable these days, there are even scientific studies on the positive effects of gratitude. I've had the opportunity to ask one such psychologist who researches gratitude about this issue of being able to feel grateful, thankful only to a person. He was very terse, said that I should just say that I'm grateful, thankful for whatever I feel grateful, thankful for, and that that was it, this alone should have a positive effect, studies show.

Suppose you like sunny weather. But to whom are you grateful for it? The Sun God, Amon Ra? The moment one uses the concept of gratitude, the concept of the giver is involved, because gratitude is a concept that inherently involves a giver and a recipient. It's the concept of liking that doesn't require a giver of the liked thing, just the person doing/experiencing the liking.

It seems to me that much of what is called gratitude these days in pop-psychology is actually about liking. Liking is an ego-boosting exercise, so it's no wonder that it has some positive effects. Gratitude, on the other hand, requires some kind of relationship between two people, and implies indebtedness, and an urge to pay off the debt -- which are not simple or comfortable feelings.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Bundokji
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Re: Causes for gratitude

Post by Bundokji » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:05 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:11 am
It's not clear that it is a sufficient cause, though.
In fact, it seems just the opposite: Reflecting on the misery of others and noting how one is better off than them can lead to enhancing one's sense of entitlement. "I've had it so good for so long, surely things will continue to go well for me for the rest of my life" -- that's how many people usually think.

In psychology, the concepts of the self-serving bias and the fundamental attribution error address this.

I think something tremendous has to happen to a person for them to start thinking things like, "I've had it so good for so long, it's probably just a matter of time before things will go bad, and I need to prepare for that."
Maybe we are using the word "cause" here differently. A cause does not have to be sufficient. To put it differently: do you think there is a positive correlation between Buddhist right view and being grateful? If so, why?

Preparing ourselves for the worse is usually taken care of by the vast majority of people and i don't see it necessarily correlated to gratitude. Most people save money for retirement, have health and property insurance, have kids to help them when they get old ...etc

Maybe making a distinction between psychological well-being and material security can be relevant. The former seem to be more correlated with gratitude than the later.
Bundokji wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:32 am
Would you say that the belief that the goal is reached through ones own efforts is ultimately true? and if it is, then why it does not apply to everyone?
How does it not apply to everyone? Can you give examples?
My mother does not believe in it nor the vast majority of people that i know! Similar to any other belief, it is a mere possibility, and whenever we talk about possibilities, we acknowledge an element of uncertainty or randomness. Disputing that would get us engaged in a language game.
Perhaps the concept of the safe bet in that sutta is primarily a matter of preaching strategy, an argument presented in favor of doing the practice, for that specific audience.
Maybe, but the point in my mind is: things can be interpreted skillfully using the notion of luck evident by its use by the Buddha himself.
But there are past actions, actions from past lives also, the results of which may become apparent only later, or in ways that aren't obvious right now. Kamma operates in very intricate ways. What looks like luck now might actually be the result of a lot of deliberate actions finally coming together to fruition.
And the exact opposite can be true. What looks like deliberate actions now might be pure randomness in ways that are not obvious to us but due to the self fulfilling nature of our knowledge. This would be akin to asking: which comes first, the hen or the egg.
Also, there is the influence of other people. They might not be able to do certain things for you, but they can help you to do particular actions that you might not be able to do yourself at the time. So next to kamma and its fruits, that's another argument against randomness.
That does not appear to be an argument against randomness, but a different way of presenting the meaning of "ones own efforts". Again, i am avoiding turning this into a language game.
It seems to me, rather, that gratitude is impossible without appreciation.
If one doesn't appreciate something, no amount of acknowledging randomness is going to make one feel grateful for it.
I don't see gratitude and appreciation as two different things, at least in the context of this thread.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

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