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Mindfully dealing with offensive/hurtful people?

Hello all.

I consider myself fairly new to Buddhism but am trying to follow the eightfold path. Constantly learning and dealing with new and old emotions and what it means for me to practice what the Buddha taught.

I am a huge animal lover, although admittedly I am not a vegetarian. I have tried and
ended up getting quite sick when I was in my teens. I am currently in my late 20s and have attempted again to adopt a mainly veg diet. So far so good. I am taking supplements and find it is easier now that I suppose my body has somewhat matured and perhaps evened itself out so to speak.

But this is not about me being a vegetarian.

My question to my fellow Buddhists is, how do you deal with people who make you angry and upset? With people who, for example, have no issues with abusing animals and make horrible comments about the welfare of animals. I have recently had a conversation
with someone who basically laughed me out when I indicated that our legislation should change surrounding the welfare of farmed animals and how they should be treated with respect and not made to live a life of pain and suffering in factory farms. I realize not
everyone can be a vegetarian and there are better and kinder ways to farm livestock. It has been done. I shared my opinion.

So, I have a difficult time dealing with people who have little compassion for other living things. I usually try to respond by providing information or alternative views on the issue but anger is not far behind. Especially when some people respond with cruel and unkind words or laugh at the thought of treating animals with respect. It doesn't offend me individually but makes my heart ache for the animals that meet the hands of people like this who have no second thoughts about abusing, maiming, kicking, etc...

How do you deal with people like that?

How do you deal with your own feelings of anger
and dislike (to say the least).

How would you deal with an animal abuser? Not just verbally but more importantly, physically? For example, if you were in a situation where someone was hurting another living being?

I'd love to hear some thoughts.

Comments

  • I know a fellow beer brewing fellow from my beer forum. He is on my facebook friends list. He often posts terrible things about Obama and I seriously think he has killed cats and eaten them.

    I just ignore him because he doesn't know any better.
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    I deal with my anger at people / things by catching it as soon as I am able after it arises and reminding myself that no-one owns it and it has just arisen due to past and present conditioning. This usually knocks it on the head or decreases it so that it will pass relatively quickly.

    I then thank whoever / whatever it was that brought the anger on for the lesson.

    I then move on.

    There's no point being angry with other people. We are all suffering but just have different ways of dealing with it. Some people laugh, some cry, same lash out......

    Best of luck!
    Kundo
  • So then do you respond with a sense of pity rather than anger? I guess it's much easier to respond to words with no action than it is to an act of violence, for example. I think any of us would react and try to stop the person. For me... I just get really angry and have a hard time finding anything positive or worthwhile about people like that. I guess that's where I'm curious how the rest if you would react or look at it.

    Someone posted this for me to look at:
    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.162.than.html

    It speaks volumes on how we should be looking at our feelings of hatred for others. But it's much easier written than performed. How do you look at the bright side of an animal killer or a child abuser for example. How do you respond in a "Buddhist way?"
  • I think I just am aware that I cannot change them. So it's like change the things you can and accept the things you can't. I understand what you mean about the anger response, just that feeling is rare with me. Usually I don't have anger and it's more like a sigh where I let go of the need to 'fix it'. Samsara is screwed up and sometimes we cannot fix it. Still sometimes I get angry. When I am angry I guess I just try to get my mind off of it. Sometimes I'll share a word to give the person some feedback of what they are doing that is wrong.
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    It is very difficult I agree @lotusbuds.

    The technique I described above works for me but may not work for you. You need to find a technique that works for you.

    Not sure who said it (the buddha perhaps) but I like the following quote:

    "Hatred never ceases though hatred. Hatred only ceases through love. This is the eternal law"

    I have heard of mother's who have forgiven the killers of their children! Not sure if you have kids but if that can happen then anything can happen.
  • You can see how other people are bounded in samsara because of the karmic seeds they emphasize in their lives. I mean in a way i feel terrible for such beings. They may be outwardly okay but having such mentality is hellish. Pity doesn't even do it.

    Honestly there isn't anything we can really do for these people. I mean we could do the gross actions like talking to them, offering opinions, physically preventing them, etc. but the issue is of their mind state and karmic momentum.

    There is nothing we can do. And that hurts us a lot. For all parties involved. This is why buddhism cannot be a dogooder religion.

    But we don't give up on these beings. We think of them and we practice for them. We practice for those who they harm. We practice so that though us they can see majesty. A scent of it. Even if they dont consciously pick up on buddha nature their buddhic aspects will. Sooner or later their seeds will flower because of our
    Practice and karmic connection with them.

    So this isn't a conventional, obvious answer. But in my opinion we can help these unfortunate hellish beings and even those effected by these beings. We do this by actually practicing the dharma for the two accumulations which is the benefit for self and other. We dedicate all practice for all beings. We hold the buddhas broken heart and we contemplate such beings and how they will infinitely be stuck in samsara unless we attain buddhahood.

    Now when it comes to how to act, react, etc. it all comes down to the path one follows. Some paths require obvious action. Some require refrain and passivity. In either case whatever answer given is a trap because it takes the responsiblity from you to make your own decisions.

    Buddhism is not for the weak or sheepish. One has to be a roaring lion, a wounded deer, a madman, and an aimless wind.

    All beings are afflicted with emotional and intellectual defilements. Wielded by such negativity how can you not cry for them? One must also see how being good can be a guise for pride. Cut open the heart and feel pity! Then act how you need to and not because anyone told you so.
    lobsterriverflow
  • There will always be people who view the world differently than you or I do. We cannot control others but we can control how we react to their influence.

    As we do with our own pain, we can learn how to simply observe and not react. It takes practice but so do many other things in life.
    riverflow
  • How do you deal with your own feelings of anger
    and dislike (to say the least).
    You mean there are people who 'vex the spirit'?
    Can this be true? Might I be one of them, with my murdered chicken in the fridge? Will you report me to the dharma police? :eek2:

    There is nothing you can do. 'The poor are always with us' as a wise ass once said.

    What you can do and should right from the start is meditate. In time you will be enriched by less worrying about others fridge contents as you become chilled . . .

    Come to think of it . . . How dare you be a beginner. Wasting our precious time . . . [. . . rants and raves off into the distance . . .] :rarr:

    . . . OK one chicken sandwich later and I am feeling serene :buck:

    Be gentle with the faults of others until as imperfect as . . . well everyone is just so. :wave:
    sndymornericcris10sen
  • It helps to remember that those who live in ignorance are doing far more harm to themselves than to you or anyone else. You improve the world by working on your own practice and responding with compassion rather than anger.
    riverflowEvenThirdJainarayan
  • pyramidsongpyramidsong Veteran
    edited October 2013
    I'm a vegan, and totally understand where you're coming from. Honestly, it may seem defeatist, but when it comes to stupid/offensive comments about animal rights, I mostly disengage and walk away these days. There are some people you'll never reach and it's an exercise in frustration to try. People who are genuinely interested, have at it, but people who troll you about it? Waste of time. It's also good to remember that often the people who ridicule you or react angrily or dismissively do so because they feel guilty and you've made them uncomfortable. I hardly ever mention my veganism at family dinners, for example, but the conversation often ends up being about meat. I think it's a defensive thing.

    Also, know your facts. Read all you can about factory farming and animal cruelty statistics and baffle morons with the truth. Stay away from quoting PETA- people think they're idiots and are less likely to listen. I don't support their methods either, FTR.

    As for people you know to be animal abusers, involve the law/rescue groups/animal liberation groups. Throw everything you have at them.

    Just a question (and I promise I ask this without moral judgment) if you're going vegetarian for animal rights purposes, isn't it more logical to try for vegan? The dairy and egg industries involve just as much cruelty as the meat ones, sadly.
    riverflowmatthewmartin
  • Thank you for all your insights.

    I am currently working towards vegetarianism. That is hard enough and I have had some health issues with it in the past. As for egg and dairy, I am very choosy and careful where I buy my products from. I've tried a vegan diet for 2 months and it was just too challenging for me. There are fabulous local farmers who provide what I look for and God do I love milk. Lol. But I absolutely see your point about how terrible that industry is as well. Unfortunately it is a lot worse in some countries than others.

    Thank you again everyone. You've given me quite a bit to.....well....meditate on :)
  • I was fortunate in my transition to vegetarianism.

    When our children were small, my wife retired from nursing to stay home. She decided to become a nutritional consultant in an attempt to help people stay healthy and reduce the need to treat them when they are sick.

    Her study of nutrition and the food industry scared us away from eating flesh but it also provided her with the information we needed to get the proper nutrition from other sources.

    Some of my friends commented that they could never stop eating meat and when I asked them why the reply was usually "because it tastes so good". Even though I politely pointed out that taste was a temporary and very small part of the process, most of them continued with their comments about "rabbit food".

    A couple of months ago one of my bandmates, after watching me easily hoist a powered speaker cabinet up over my head to place it on a stand, asked me how old I was. He knows I am vegetarian and practice Yoga. I told him that I'm nearly 60 and left it at that - feeling that I had the opportunity to lead by example. I have not heard the rabbit food comment since.
    riverflowJainarayan
  • I'm a HUGE animal lover as well, but I don't think that just because I love animals, I should become a vegetarian. And I completely agree, that the farms that hold animals to be killed for food, should be treated with respect and love, and not be held in those terrible farms.

    If someone has been harming animals and just doesn't care for the life of any animal, then maybe it's time to get in touch with Law Enforcement, and Animal Humane Law Enforcement, or someone who can lawfully stop this person from committing such inhumane acts. With some people, you just can't change their mind, no matter how much you try.

    @lobster You're right that we should be gentle to everyone's fault. But if someone goes around torturing animals and won't ever change their actions/mindset, then how would one go about being 'gentle' to those who aren't necessarily defenseless, but can't do much to defend themselves. Those people need to be thrown in prison and left there to get counseling and help with what they're doing to animals. There's a reason people take their problems out on animals. They can't go to the police about their abuse, typically don't fight back (not all the times), and they're normally smaller than us.
    JeffreyJainarayan
  • howhow Veteran
    I've been a vegetarian for 40 years, and although I do it because it seems to create less suffering than the alternatives, I have not found vegetarians to be any more empathetic to sentient life than meat eaters. Vegetarians just seem to be more selective about which sentient life they apply their sympathies to.
    Some folks are particularly sensitive to issues surrounding children or refugees or the disadvantaged or the sick or political prisoners or the elderly or human trafficking or
    animals or/or/or.
    I do personally relate emotionally to the abuse of animals and share your concerns for their well being as well as finding those abusers to be the epitome of cowardice
    ....But
    find that my path in dealing with it includes seeing how I am no better than them with my own particular selective failings in empathy. This does not stop me from stepping in to defend an injustice that I see but I do try to not perpetrate their particular lack of empathy with my own personal version of self righteousness.

    poptartBunksInvincible_summerMaryAnne
  • @lobster You're right that we should be gentle to everyone's fault.
    @how has given you a good answer.
    We all have selective kindness. For example I tend to value humans above worms but I remember a conversation with vegan friends who did not.
    I believe one should be merciless when killing demons and gods and accept that building a hospital involves killing the worms habitat.
    Being gentle can be very cruel. This might be because of the first Noble Truth . . . :wave:
    EvenThird
  • poptart said:

    It helps to remember that those who live in ignorance are doing far more harm to themselves than to you or anyone else. You improve the world by working on your own practice and responding with compassion rather than anger.

    As humans we are so short-sighted and in-the-moment we don't see that. Consider your quote stolen for a signature and a cubicle board saying. ;)
    poptart
  • charirama said:


    A couple of months ago one of my bandmates, after watching me easily hoist a powered speaker cabinet up over my head to place it on a stand, asked me how old I was. He knows I am vegetarian and practice Yoga. I told him that I'm nearly 60 and left it at that - feeling that I had the opportunity to lead by example. I have not heard the rabbit food comment since.

    :thumbsup:

    Bill Pearl in his heyday... vegetarian. ;) I'm not veg. yet, but going to try again.

    image
  • lotusbuds said:

    Hello all.

    I
    My question to my fellow Buddhists is, how do you deal with people who make you angry and upset? With people who, for example, have no issues with abusing animals and make horrible comments about the welfare of animals. I have recently had a conversation
    with someone who basically laughed me out when I indicated that our legislation should change surrounding the welfare of farmed animals and how they should be treated with respect and not made to live a life of pain and suffering in factory farms. I realize not
    everyone can be a vegetarian and there are better and kinder ways to farm livestock. It has been done. I shared my opinion.

    So, I have a difficult time dealing with people who have little compassion for other living things. I usually try to respond by providing information or alternative views on the issue but anger is not far behind. Especially when some people respond with cruel and unkind words or laugh at the thought of treating animals with respect. It doesn't offend me individually but makes my heart ache for the animals that meet the hands of people like this who have no second thoughts about abusing, maiming, kicking, etc...

    How do you deal with people like that?

    How do you deal with your own feelings of anger
    and dislike (to say the least).

    How would you deal with an animal abuser? Not just verbally but more importantly, physically? For example, if you were in a situation where someone was hurting another living being?

    I'd love to hear some thoughts.

    It would be great if you can educate and change such people but since most of us can't, we can just be detached from them. Count our blessings that we are not of the same category.
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