AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

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DooDoot
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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by DooDoot » Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:11 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:22 am
The whole structure/process seems to begin with shame -- and it apparently has to be the right kind of shame. But how can one have the right kind of shame?
The right shame is sensitive to harm & harmlessness. As soon as it discerns any harm or suffering arising from an action, it gives up that type of action.
binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:22 am
If the right kind of shame is Dhammic, and associating with noble friends (from whom one learns about what is the right kind of shame and what isn't) is a prerequisite for such shame...
The sutta does not say this. The sutta says shame comes 1st. When there is right shame, evil friendship is shunned & noble friendship is eventually found. Right shame should not be indoctrinated but should occur naturally.
binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:22 am
but at the same time, the right kind of shame is already a prerequisite for noble friendship -- then this looks like a Catch 22 situation: one has to have the right kind of shame to get the right kind of shame.
There is no Catch 22 for the independent spiritual being, who seeks the Dhamma after developing right shame. In the suttas, there is a play on words about the meaning of 'Brahmin' to mean 'one who turns away' from evil. The original Brahmins had no religious teaching but naturally turned away from the evil in society & left society to live in secluded places.
binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:22 am
This Catch 22 could be resolved in a similar way as Ven. Thanissaro suggests here:
There's a passage in the Canon where the Buddha says that a person who doesn't have a basic level of happiness and inner goodness simply cannot do goodness. Sounds like a Catch-22, but that's not the point. The point is we all have a certain amount of goodness in our minds, and so we should tap into that first.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ions2.html
Thanissaro appears to have contradicted the Buddha here. Thanissaro's idea of "we all have a certain about of goodness" sounds Mahayana.

I just finished reading this article of what appears to be deliberate lies to some, written by two ex-NATO military leaders, who give the impression of wanting to bring war, death & trauma to thousands of lives in a peaceful country: http://thehill.com/opinion/national-sec ... n-sanction This two people here give an impression of having no dhammic shame (hiri; conscience).
binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:22 am
So, similarly, perhaps everyone already feels some shame to begin with, and even though it's not necessarily a consistently skillful shame, it may be good enough for a start (but that also seems to imply that progress on the Path isn't a straight line, one sure step after another, but more like two steps forward, one step back, or like walking around in circles, but where the centers of the circles can be ordered into a line of progression -- tough to accept this as progress).
I don't agree here. Most people I know do not have basic 'hiri' (individual conscience), which is why they do not embrace sila (moralty) but embrace liberalism, political correctness & the worldly ways of the world.
binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:22 am
But how can one know which shame is which?
When I was a teenager, I followed the ways of the world, acting in certain ways. But as soon as I saw the deep harm of that kind of behaviour, I gave it up. Yet most people thought I was crazy to give up that kind of behaviour. This is example of natural 'hiri'. I know so many people doing the same old actions bringing the same old suffering to their lives & to the lives of others; over & over & over again. These people do not have basic hiri. Often minds without basic hiri adopt doctrines of victimhood or rationalize harming is just human nature. Too much craving, need or even trauma can obstruct shame.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by binocular » Sun Nov 12, 2017 11:39 am

Thank you all for your replies!
Venerable, thank you for the translation!

I have to go now, but will be back later or later tomorrow.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:19 pm

binocular wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:21 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:11 pm
I think that they are suggested by the structure of the sutta. A list is just a list; I've not yet felt the need for a method when dealing with lists, but you know of some they would be interesting reading.
MN 20, for example, clearly states how one should proceed: first put into action the first instruction on the list, but then, if that doesn't work, go with the second one, and so on.
On the other hand, AN 5.161 lists the brahmaviharas, but it says nothing about the order in which they are to be applied.
To say nothing of the complexity of applying the eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path.
There is also the possibility that lists of injunctions or recommendations claim that a new situation will arise once one has performed the first; and then one performs the second relating to that new situation.

In the case of the Brahma-viharas, monastics have taught them in varying orders and also as stand-alone, so I'm not sure that the order is all that important. Personally, I would have to wait a long time before I became consummate in one of them so that I could move on to the others!

There are a couple of suttas in which it is taught that developing one factor leads to the ability to develop the next, but again we might spend a lot of time on Right View before making any other progress. And the graduated teaching (anupubbi-katha) seems to run counter to this.

You're right - it's an interesting topic in its own right.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by befriend » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:47 pm

the Rahula sutta exhorts us to feel remorse even after an unskillful mental action, this is how I've been training recently and it is simple and effective in increasing well being.
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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:40 am

befriend wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:47 pm
the Rahula sutta exhorts us to feel remorse even after an unskillful mental action, this is how I've been training recently and it is simple and effective in increasing well being.
The Buddha never commends feeling remorseful, for remorse (kukkucca is a hindrance and always unskilful. The passage you allude to advises not remorse, but rather reflection on the nature of a mental action one has performed.
And when you, Rāhula, have done a deed with the mind you should reflect on this self-same deed of mind thus: ‘Was this deed that I did with the mind a deed of my mind that conduced to the harm of self and to the harm of others and to the harm of both? Was this an unskilled deed of mind, its yield anguish, its result anguish? If you, Rāhula, while reflecting thus, should find: ‘This deed that I did with the mind was a deed of my mind that conduced to the harm of self and to the harm of others and to the harm of both; this deed of mind was unskilled, its yield anguish, its result anguish’, such a deed of your mind, Rāhula, should be confessed, disclosed, declared to the Teacher or to intelligent Brahma-farers so that, confessed, disclosed and declared, it would induce restraint in the future. But if you, Rāhula, while reflecting thus, should find: ‘This deed that I did with the mind was a deed of my mind that conduced neither to the harm of self nor to the harm of others nor to the harm of both; it was a skilled deed of mind, its yield happy, its result happy’, because of it you, Rāhula, may abide in zest and rapture training yourself day and night in states that are skilled.

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn61

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by perkele » Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:45 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 7:40 am
The Buddha never commends feeling remorseful, for remorse (kukkucca is a hindrance and always unskilful. The passage you allude to advises not remorse, but rather reflection on the nature of a mental action one has performed.
Was this an unskilled deed of mind, its yield anguish, its result anguish? If you, Rāhula, while reflecting thus, should find: ‘This deed that I did with the mind was a deed of my mind that conduced to the harm of self and to the harm of others and to the harm of both; this deed of mind was unskilled, its yield anguish, its result anguish’, such a deed of your mind, Rāhula, should be confessed, disclosed, declared to the Teacher or to intelligent Brahma-farers so that, confessed, disclosed and declared, it would induce restraint in the future.

https://suttacentral.net/en/mn61
Bhante, whose translation is this? [Edit: The translation is by I.B. Horner.] (Offtopic remark to the universe: I think this bad design on SuttaCentral, that the information about authorship for translations is so hidden that I don't even know where to look for it. [Edit: One can find it by clicking on the "hamburger menu" on the top left from the translation, and then on "Metadata" (which I still think is not easy to find)])

In all the other translations that I read there is this one notable difference in advice regarding mental unskillful deeds that deviates from the otherwise repititive enumeration pattern:
MN61, Thanissaro trans. wrote:Was it an unskillful mental action, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful mental action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should feel distressed, ashamed, & disgusted with it. Feeling distressed, ashamed, & disgusted with it, you should exercise restraint in the future.
MN 61, Upplavanna trans. wrote:When reflecting if you know, this mental action caused me, others, trouble. It is demerit and unpleasant. Then you should be disgusted and loathe such mental actions.
MN 61, Nyanaponika trans. wrote:“If, Rāhula, when reflecting you realize; ‘Now this action that I have done by mind is conducive to my own harm, to the harm of others, and to that of both, hence unskilful is this mental action entailing suffering and productive of pain,’—such mental actions of yours, Rāhula, should be loathed, abhorred and despised. [13] Thus loathing, abhorring and despising, you should acquire restraint in the future.

Footnote
13. Being a mental offence, Rāhula is not exhorted (as in the case of bodily, and verbal, action) to confess it to anyone.
(Same with German translation by Kay Zumwinkel [Metthiko Bhikkhu] - which, I believe, is strongly oriented on Bhikkhu Bodhi's English translation.)

The noteworthy difference is, as remarked in the footnote to Ven. Nyanaponika's translation, that regarding unskillful mental actions (thought crimes), the Buddha does not recommend confession or disclosure, but instead to feel abhorred and disgusted (and ashamed?) by it.

I think the translation on SuttaCentral is wrong. Maybe the translator (Ven. Sujato, I guess [No, I.B. Horner]) simply continued the repetitive pattern from before according to the same formula as for bodily and verbal actions, without checking the Pali for possible differences after that. I will inform them about it.



I think this is a very thin line to tread, between feeling ashamed, abhorred and disgusted, and feeling remorseful. Feeling ashamed, abhorred and disgusted by an evil thought that one had seems almost like a description of feeling remorseful about it. What is the exact difference here between these two?

What else could it mean to feel ashamed, abhorred and disgusted by a deed (in body, speech or mind) that one committed, than to feel remorse?

I had some questions about this topic here before, some years ago. If I remember correctly, Ven. Dhammanando mentioned some abhidhammic stuff about remorse being an example of "an unwholesome citta that can give rise to wholesomeness" or something like that. In light of such possibilities, could it not make sense that the Buddha recommended feeling remorseful in response to certain situations (actions one performed, by body, speech or mind)? (I'll have to look for that older thread.)
Last edited by perkele on Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by befriend » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:24 pm

i just looked at b Bodhi and Bhikkhu nanamoli's translation in the majjhima nikaya and it doesn't say one should feel remorse. But in the removal of distracting thoughts sutta a method for mental purification is to see ones unwholesome mental action as a carcass of a snake dog or human were hung around ones neck where one would be horrified, humiliated and disgusted. Humiliation in the context of evil mind states seems to suggest remorse? Food for thought.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:35 pm

perkele wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:45 pm
I think this is a very thin line to tread, between feeling ashamed, abhorred and disgusted, and feeling remorseful. Feeling ashamed, abhorred and disgusted by an evil thought that one had seems almost like a description of feeling remorseful about it. What is the exact difference here between these two?

What else could it mean to feel ashamed, abhorred and disgusted by a deed (in body, speech or mind) that one committed, than to feel remorse?
A sociopath or a narcissist can probably feel ashamed, abhorred, and disgusted by a deed (in body, speech or mind) that they committed, but feel no remorse. Such a person's shame, horror, and disgust are probably motivated by and linked to other factors than in normal (" ") people.
Something similar could also be the case with people who frequently use intoxicants: they occasionally feel ashamed, abhorred, and disgusted by something they did, but feel no drive or have no moivation to change their ways, they feel no remorse.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:43 pm

perkele wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:45 pm
In light of such possibilities, could it not make sense that the Buddha recommended feeling remorseful in response to certain situations (actions one performed, by body, speech or mind)? (I'll have to look for that older thread.)
Please do find that older thread; it sounds interesting!

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:12 pm

Venerable, thank you for your reply.
Dhammanando wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:50 am
Shame (hiri) is what restrains one from unwholesome acts by way of self-regard.
What do you mean "by way of self-regard"? A selfish regard for one's own wellbeing?

I'm asking because I'm coming from a culture where being moral not rarely corresponds with sacrificing one's own wellbeing (in fact, a frequent idea seems to be that if one doesn't sacrifice one's wellbeing, then one probably isn't being moral at all -- morality and happiness/wellbeing seem mutually exclusive for the most part).

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by perkele » Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:43 pm

perkele wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:45 pm
Bhante, whose translation is this?
Ayya Vimala on the SuttaCentral forum clarified that the translation quoted earlier was by I.B. Horner.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by perkele » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:03 pm

binocular wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:43 pm
perkele wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:45 pm
In light of such possibilities, could it not make sense that the Buddha recommended feeling remorseful in response to certain situations (actions one performed, by body, speech or mind)? (I'll have to look for that older thread.)
Please do find that older thread; it sounds interesting!
I'm sorry to disappoint you. I think now that thread may only have existed in my own mind. I thought I had asked questions about it here myself, and discussed it to some extent. But maybe I was just reading the discussions of others and had my own thoughts and conclusions back and forth about it.

But at least here there are some confused thoughts from a confused time (and some clarification) about the topic. (That was the first time I noticed this difference and corrected the same mistaken repetition in translation of MN 61 in this essay by Ven. Johann [fka. Hanzze].) But that's probably not very enlightening. (I was remorseful at that time still about evil thoughts I had long time ago, which were, however, very powerful, and in their cumulative effect, have caused bad things, and was in the process of sorting myself out about this, and thus, obviously quite confused and somehow "mentally inhibited". I still think that remorse was helpful, although it was an oppressive, painful torturous burden for many years).

But the topic of remorse being an unwholesome state that can potentially prompt wholesome states was at least touched upon a couple of times by Ven. Dhammanando:

viewtopic.php?t=23759#p342343

Here on the topic of remorse and regret as fruits of kamma, maybe also vaguely related: (Bhante states that they are not fruits of kamma.)
viewtopic.php?t=30003
viewtopic.php?t=18955#p265557

While searching, I found something else maybe of interest regarding the topic of this thread, though:
SN 42.8 wrote:"A disciple has faith in that teacher and reflects: 'The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures the taking of life, and says, "Abstain from taking life." There are living beings that I have killed, to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good. But if I become remorseful for that reason, that evil deed of mine will not be undone.' So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then the taking of life, and in the future refrains from taking life. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.

"[He reflects:] 'The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures stealing... indulging in illicit sex... the telling of lies, and says, "Abstain from the telling of lies." There are lies that I have told, to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good. But if I become remorseful for that reason, that evil deed of mine will not be undone.' So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then the telling of lies, and in the future refrains from telling lies. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:42 pm

perkele wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:03 pm
I'm sorry to disappoint you.
Thank you for the links!

Reading your discussion about remorse, I was already earlier reminded of MN 131:
You shouldn't chase after the past
or place expectations on the future.
What is past
is left behind.
The future
is as yet unreached.
Whatever quality is present
you clearly see right there,
right there.
Not taken in,
unshaken,
that's how you develop the heart.
Ardently doing
what should be done today,
for — who knows? — tomorrow
death.
There is no bargaining
with Mortality & his mighty horde.

Whoever lives thus ardently,
relentlessly
both day & night,
has truly had an auspicious day:
so says the Peaceful Sage.
I find that this also covers issues of remorse, for remorse is a kind of chasing after the past and a kind of placing expectations on the future. When one feels remorse, one is mentally living in a parallel world, vicariously experiencing delight in that parallel past or future.
But the topic of remorse being an unwholesome state that can potentially prompt wholesome states was at least touched upon a couple of times by Ven. Dhammanando:
viewtopic.php?t=23759#p342343
As far as I can tell, remorse does have an element of considering that things could or should be otherwise, and such a consideration can be skillful.

For someone who doesn't have a systematic approach to morality, remorse is probably closest to a system of morality.
Here on the topic of remorse and regret as fruits of kamma, maybe also vaguely related: (Bhante states that they are not fruits of kamma.)
viewtopic.php?t=30003
viewtopic.php?t=18955#p265557
That's interesting! I haven't thought this way before.
While searching, I found something else maybe of interest regarding the topic of this thread, though:
SN 42.8 wrote:"A disciple has faith in that teacher and reflects: 'The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures the taking of life, and says, "Abstain from taking life." There are living beings that I have killed, to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good. But if I become remorseful for that reason, that evil deed of mine will not be undone.' So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then the taking of life, and in the future refrains from taking life. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.

"[He reflects:] 'The Blessed One in a variety of ways criticizes & censures stealing... indulging in illicit sex... the telling of lies, and says, "Abstain from the telling of lies." There are lies that I have told, to a greater or lesser extent. That was not right. That was not good. But if I become remorseful for that reason, that evil deed of mine will not be undone.' So, reflecting thus, he abandons right then the telling of lies, and in the future refrains from telling lies. This is how there comes to be the abandoning of that evil deed. This is how there comes to be the transcending of that evil deed.
In other words, this looks like Right Resolve, samma sankappo.
Last edited by binocular on Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by binocular » Mon Nov 13, 2017 5:56 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:11 am
Right shame should not be indoctrinated but should occur naturally.
This sounds like an elitist and hopeless predicament!
Elitist in that you suggest that right shame is something one either has or doesn't have; and hopeless because one without it cannot attain it deliberately.

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Re: AN 10.76: What do shame, remorse, and negligence refer to?

Post by Nicolas » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:57 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:41 am
AN 10.76 lists triads of things which need to be dispelled in order to ultimately dispel birth, decay, and death. The basic triad seems to be lack of shame, lack of remorse, and negligence; and dispelling these three, one can then dispel other things, up to and including birth, decay, and death.

In this sutta, what do lack of shame, lack of remorse, and negligence refer to?
Is this meant in a general sense, as in whatever a person currently considers to be shame, remorse, and negligence; or is it meant in some specific sense?

I'm asking because shame, remorse, and negligence can be felt in various contexts, skillful and unskillful ones.
For example, one can be neglectful in how one sweeps the floor; but a drug dealer can also be neglectful in how he prepares the drugs meant for selling on the street.
One can feel remorse about harshly speaking to one's parents; but one can also feel remorse about not buying a lottery ticket.
One can feel shame when telling a deliberate lie; but one can also feel shame when one doesn't have the newest iPhone when one's friends have it.
Regarding shame [hiri] and remorse [ottappa]:
Dhana Sutta (AN 7.6) wrote: “And what is the treasure of a sense of shame [hiri]? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones feels shame at (the thought of engaging in) bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. He feels shame at falling into evil, unskillful actions. This is called the treasure of a sense of shame.
“And what is the treasure of a sense of compunction [ottappa]? There is the case where a monk, a disciple of the noble ones feels compunction at (the suffering that would result from) bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct. He feels compunction at falling into evil, unskillful actions. This is called the treasure of a sense of compunction.

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