Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Miguel
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Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Miguel » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:00 am

Hello, friends. I've had this question for some time, and as I haven't been able to come up with a solution by myself, I'd like to know what do you think about it:

When we express, by practicing mettā meditation, our wish for all beings to be happy, do we really mean all beings? What about extreme sadists, who only find pleasure in other's pains? How not to desire their unhappiness, if their happiness comes from wrong doing? And what about people and beings that, if not particularly evil, have conflicting views on happiness? Do we mean all except for them, or what happens is that we don't think that such kind of pleasures can bring true happiness, and thus we desire them true, unbound happiness?

In that case, is it not more appropiate, perhaps, to call "happiness" the emotional result of a fulfilled desire and instead use the word "peace" to express what we desire to all of them, the absence of desire?

Garrib
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Garrib » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:35 am

Actually, I think the sadist you are referring to, and whoever else - they don't really do those things because they make them happy, as much as give them temporary dopamine bursts, or a feeling of control. If they were happy to begin with, they would not do bad things to other people. So wishing them real happiness makes good sense. Wishing them unhappiness is bad for you (ill will), and is unecessary, because they already are unhappy.

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by J.Lee.Nelson » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:03 am

... what happens is that we don't think that such kind of pleasures can bring true happiness, and thus we desire them true, unbound happiness?
That's the way I see it. For the sadist, my metta thought might be, "May you learn the beauty of compassion and the happiness of non-harmfulness." One of my friends on Facebook wrote how much she hates the current president of the US. He's not my favorite president ever, but this was my reply:
I've always liked the saying, "To hate is to let someone live rent-free in your heart." In Buddhism we have a nice meditation called "metta bvahana" (loving-kindness meditation) where we imagine various individuals and types of people and wish them well in a few statements like, "May you be happy. May you be free from fear. May you achieve your dreams." It helps to transmute hatred into loving-kindness because instead of just saying, "You're a vile, horrible, dumpster-fire of a cretin And I HATE YOU with all my heart." You can say something like, "May you realize the error of your ways and do your best to repair the damage. May you find wisdom and use it for the peoples' best interest. May you realize the value of modesty and right speech. And if you can't do any of the above, may you quickly find your way to eternal peace." "President Trumpsterfire" is a situation which has arisen due to causes and conditions. One of those causes was hate, so if you're putting your mental energy into hate, you're only feeding the conditions that let this man rise in the first place. If you're going to fight a situation with emotions, at least use emotions that benefit your inner welfare and wisdom.
Part of the beauty of metta for me is realizing that I can find every person in myself, past and present. I have often fallen in love with people who had good qualities that I wished to develop in myself and I often feel aversion to those who remind me of some bad quality that I have or had. Until one develops the supermundane power to affect the outcome of situations telepathically, metta is primarily an exercise for the self. By learning to love even those who upset, frighten, or harm you, you learn to give yourself unconditional love and you learn how to better control your responses when you meet those people. By wishing the best for those whom you admire, you wish the best for the development of those same good qualities in yourself.

I am not an expert; that's just how I see it.

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Garrib » Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:08 am

:goodpost:

2600htz
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by 2600htz » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:13 pm

Hello:

Its pretty simple, it doesn´t matter their personal view on happiness, while practicing metta you bring up a happy feeling and you radiate that feeling to all beings. But you should start wishing happiness to people you like, then neutral persons, and later when you have the proper skill you move towards all beings or the ones that cause aversion in you.

Regards.

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Miguel
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Miguel » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:36 pm

Ah!
J.Lee.Nelson wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 3:03 am
Part of the beauty of metta for me is realizing that I can find every person in myself, past and present.
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto"

Excellent posting. I certainly don't hate anybody, because I find that no one who does harm chooses to do it freely, but obviously it's very hard to also try to love those who harm us. That is the reason why a person that forgives all is so sublime. How beautiful is Buddhism!

Looking for more on this subject, I found a substantious Dhamma talk by Ven. Thanissaro. I'll leave the link to it here, in case you have not readed it yet: https://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Wri ... stice.html

Many thanks to all for your replies.

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by befriend » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:00 pm

I try to see all beings without a self and as just entities which can feel. If they have the ability to feel I want those feelings they encounter to be good. I want there feelings to be conducive to awakening. all there really is is the experience of feelings no one experiencing them.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Desiring the unhappiness of some beings.

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:57 pm

Try practising compassion (karuṇā) instead of loving-kindness (metta).

Evil-doers are already very unhappy, and much more in need of compassion that those who usually do good deeds.
Kesamutti Sutta wrote:“Thus, Kālāmas, that noble disciple with a mind thus free from enmity and ill-will, undefiled and purified, gains four assurances (assāsā). ‘If there is another world, if there is a result and fruit of good and evil deeds, on the break-up of the body after death I will arise in a fortunate realm, in heaven.’ This is the first assurance that he or she gains. ‘If there is no other world, no result and fruit of good and evil deeds, in this very life I keep myself happy with a mind free from enmity (averaṃ) and ill-will (abyāpajjhaṃ), not oppressed by difficulties (anīghaṃ). This is the second assurance that he or she gains. ‘If evil befalls one who does evil, no evil will befall me because I have no thoughts of doing evil.’ This is the third assurance that he or she gains. ‘If evil does not befall one who does evil, I am purified in both ways, and keep myself happy.’ This is the fourth assurance that he or she gains.
The evil-doer has none of these assurances. If caught doing evil deeds, the evil-doer is likely to be beaten, flogged, imprisoned, or executed. If not caught, the evil-doer is surely heading for the lower realms after death.

What one should wish is that they meet with and understand the true Dhamma, stop doing evil deeds, learn to do good deeds, and purify their minds. If they do that difficult thing, as Aṅgulimāla did, they will deservedly find happiness. If they don't, they will never find happiness, so we should wish for them to find happiness by following the Dhamma.

Don't practise idiot compassion, though. Evil-doers deserve to be punished by the law for their crimes, and they will inherit the fruit of their evil deeds, even if they turn their lives around, as Aṅgulimāla did.
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by befriend » Thu Dec 21, 2017 7:57 pm

I believe in rehabilitation through religion in prisons. Venerable what do you mean by punishment?
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Miguel
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Re: Desiring the unhappiness of some beings.

Post by Miguel » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:12 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:57 pm
Don't practise idiot compassion, though. Evil-doers deserve to be punished by the law for their crimes, and they will inherit the fruit of their evil deeds, even if they turn their lives around, as Aṅgulimāla did.
Yes, Venerable, this was the thought that came upon me and made me question if it's not ill-will to desire the happiness of an evil doer, or to desire his unhappiness. I thought: "Well, but surely this whole thing can't be amoral like that! Can't a lawyer or a judge be proper Buddhists, then?". But it has all become clear now. Thank you!

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by binocular » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:46 pm

Miguel wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:00 am
When we express, by practicing mettā meditation, our wish for all beings to be happy, do we really mean all beings? What about extreme sadists, who only find pleasure in other's pains? How not to desire their unhappiness, if their happiness comes from wrong doing? And what about people and beings that, if not particularly evil, have conflicting views on happiness? Do we mean all except for them, or what happens is that we don't think that such kind of pleasures can bring true happiness, and thus we desire them true, unbound happiness?
The key is in assuming one knows what true happiness is, for all living beings, regardless whether they currently think of that as happiness or not. In other words, when wishing other people happiness, one has to mentally override their particular ideas of happiness and impose one's own.

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by binocular » Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:49 pm

Garrib wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:35 am
Actually, I think the sadist you are referring to, and whoever else - they don't really do those things because they make them happy, as much as give them temporary dopamine bursts, or a feeling of control.

If they were happy to begin with, they would not do bad things to other people.
How do you know the above two statements are true? Are you making statements of faith, or statements of fact?

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Garrib » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:42 pm

binocular wrote:
Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:49 pm
Garrib wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:35 am
Actually, I think the sadist you are referring to, and whoever else - they don't really do those things because they make them happy, as much as give them temporary dopamine bursts, or a feeling of control.

If they were happy to begin with, they would not do bad things to other people.
How do you know the above two statements are true? Are you making statements of faith, or statements of fact?
Sorry, I don't really know how best to answer your questions. All I can say in my defense is that I used the words "I think...", which means that I am expressing my opinion/personal thoughts on the subject. Perhaps you take a different view?

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Miguel
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Miguel » Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:25 pm

It seems to me that this is now a matter of words more than facts. Happiness is, as we see, the feeling that arises when our desires are satisfied. This is so, no matter what are the desires in particular of a person. Knowing that some of those desires could be evil, and that their satisfaction would provide to the evil people happiness, was the reason why I asked how could we desire the hapiness of all beings, including them, without being amoral or inmoral. No one will say that to a sadist is not pleasurous to kill and torture, and that it does not bring him happiness.

But between happiness and unhapiness, joy and sorrow, there can be a third state: peace. The absence of great desires, of most desires, and even of almost any desire at all. Peace is always moral, because its attainment does not need for us to violate any other's rights. The willing of most people, to be satisfied, demands from them to act upon others to seek what it wants. But who attains peace, which is a progressively greater absence of willing, leaves others alone, because he does not need anything from them, and thus will never hurt anyone. To anihilationists, for example, death would be the supreme peace.

But if we see more closely, we find that peace and happiness are felt in the same way, with just a difference in magnitude and duration. Happiness is very intense, but shorter. Peace is more subtle, but can last a lifetime, because its foundaments rest on the individual alone.

As happiness depends on the accordance of our desires with the world, it is clearly a transient state. And, even when all in the world that gave us happiness one day remains the same, it may be that we simply wake up one day unsatisfied; wanting different things and not knowing why. Thus, it is called by some (not by me) "false happiness". Peace in its most pure state, as I said before, being a state of absence of desire, cannot be disturbed, because it rests only in our character as individuals and in our knowledge of the world, and we will don't lose those things as long as we remain in this lifetime's form. Thus it is called by some (again, not by me) "true happiness".

From the replies of our friends until now, I realized that what they meant by happiness was what I understood as peace. When happiness to all beings is then desired, they simply mean "peace to all beings", and in that there is no contradiction with morality. Meaning this, Garrib said:
If they were happy to begin with, they would not do bad things to other people.
Which is simply saying:
If they were in peace to begin with, they would not do bad things to other people.

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by binocular » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:45 pm

Miguel wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 12:25 pm
Happiness is, as we see, the feeling that arises when our desires are satisfied.
I think you'll have a hard time finding canonical support for the idea that "Happiness is /.../ the feeling that arises when our desires are satisfied."

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Miguel
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Miguel » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:17 pm

But, are there passages in the Canon against that notion of happiness?

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by seeker242 » Mon Dec 25, 2017 2:50 pm

Miguel wrote:
Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:00 am
Hello, friends. I've had this question for some time, and as I haven't been able to come up with a solution by myself, I'd like to know what do you think about it:

When we express, by practicing mettā meditation, our wish for all beings to be happy, do we really mean all beings?
All beings unconditionally yes. If they were to find true happiness, they would stop doing evil actions. Metta doesn't wish them mistaken ideas of what happiness is, it wishes them the happiness that the Buddha teaches about. Real and true happiness, not a deluded version of happiness that isn't actually happiness. A sadist may think they are finding happiness in harming others, but they aren't. All they are finding is their mistaken idea of what happiness is, which is actually just more suffering, not happiness.

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Miguel
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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by Miguel » Mon Dec 25, 2017 6:02 pm

Yes, Seeker242, that is what mettā seems to traditionally imply. Binocular and I are now somehow discussing a different, perhaps also valid interpretation.

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Re: Desiring the unhapiness of some beings.

Post by manas » Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:06 pm

It is our moral duty to ensure people who have raped children, for example, are properly punished, and serve a term in jail commensurate to how much pain and distress they inflicted on their victim(s); but, that doesn't mean we have to hate them. With really evil people like this, I just try to not hate, rather than feel goodwill. To feel a sort of neutrality. The sense of being harmless, in that I won't harm them. But I'm not going to pretend I care about these people. I think the victims deserve our active care and compassion more.

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