Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat May 05, 2012 8:02 pm

Phandana Jātaka (No. 475)

A lion acquired the habit of going to lie under a phandana tree, but one day a branch fell on his shoulder and hurt him. The lion thereupon conceived an enmity against the tree, and when a carpenter came in search of wood for a cartwheel, suggested to him that he should cut down that very tree as the wood would be excellent for his purpose. The deity of the tree, discovering this, appeared before the carpenter and told him that if he placed four inches of the hide of a lion on the rim of his wheel its value would be greatly enhanced.

The carpenter, adopting both suggestions, killed the lion and cut down the tree (J.iv.207ff).

This was one of the stories related by the Buddha in the course of the quarrel between the Sākiyans and the Koliyans.

Source (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names)
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Re: Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby manas » Sat May 05, 2012 8:19 pm

Thank you for sharing that tale, Bhante. :anjali: Even though quarrels do not often take our life, they do often take our peace of mind - worth contemplating.

Then the Blessed One, picking up a tiny bit of dust with the tip of his fingernail, said to the monk, "There isn't even this much form...feeling...
perception...fabrications...consciousness that is constant, lasting, eternal, not subject to change, that will stay just as it is as long as eternity."

(SN 22.97)

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Re: Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby polarbear101 » Sat May 05, 2012 8:55 pm

Too true, in the best case scenario quarreling is frustrating and frustration is dukkha
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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Re: Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby yawares » Sun May 06, 2012 11:57 am

Dear Bhikkhu Pesala,

I love the story....so true that quarrels destroy everyone...no peace of mind!


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Re: Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby alan » Sun May 06, 2012 4:42 pm

Pointless quarrels, sure. Legitimate debates can be useful.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon May 07, 2012 6:13 pm

alan wrote:Pointless quarrels, sure. Legitimate debates can be useful.

Good point. There are certainly some pointless quarrels over trivial things that are not worth debating, but more serious matters can be important. An example could be a village chief who wants to order the sacrificial killing of 1,000 goats to appease the gods so that the harvest will be good. Another person might come and debate with the chief and encourage him to dig irrigation channels so to ensure the harvest will be good. Ignoring such a debate or giving in to the chief would result in the needless killing of a 1,000 goats.

An example from the time of Buddha:

Once there was a Brahmin who was planning a large sacrifice which consisted of 3,500 animals
of cattle and goats. The Buddha explains to him that a bloodless sacrifice is much better, such as
giving gifts of generosity and practicing the precepts. He explains about a king who practices
sacrifices of generosity for his people and how "in this sacrifice, Brahmin, no bulls were slain,
no goats, or sheep, no cocks and pigs, nor were various living beings subject to slaughter
Digha Nikaya 5.18

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Re: Quarrels Destroy Both Parties

Postby Buckwheat » Tue May 08, 2012 8:12 am

I see two important qualities that differentiate vigorous debate from quarreling. First quality is that the example by David had very real, life and death consequences (slaughter of goats and weaker crops). So this factor would be standing up for something truly important. Second quality is the method of the debate. The U.S. black civil rights movement led by MLK was very dependent on achieving it's goals through non-violence in order to keep an honorable reputation to gain the trust of enough white folks to give the movement validity. If they had turned violent, it would not matter what they stood for.

Once a person turns to disgraceful tactics (as in the OP's lion-tree quarel), they have lost their battle, not matter what they were arguing for or against. Unfortunately, those are the tactics that get rewarded in a democratic system unless the voters are very well educated and disciplined.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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