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Emotionally attached to fairness and justice

KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest?Europe Veteran

In my continuing adventure to try to understand myself, I had an interesting moment yesterday. I was reading a story about a woman who was translating audio snippets from Dutch to English for an Australian company. She found out these came from a Dutch phone network and wondered how they ended up in Australia, and it turns out to probably involve foreign intelligence services tapping some of the Dutch phone networks. Now I don't think that's very fair or just, it's a gross violation of privacy, and I got quite angry about it.

When I calmed down this morning, I thought it through some and I came to an impasse. On one level I think it's a good thing to recognise these injustices, because it's not right. But from a Buddhist perspective, the fact that I got emotionally involved signals perhaps an unhealthy attachment... after all, this wasn't something that affected me personally. It's also something big, something I would be unlikely to be able to do anything about.

So why Anger, one of the Poisons, as a response to a general case of wrongdoing? And how to deal with it? I discussed it with my dad, and he said this was something I already had when I was five, that I could get absolutely furious about someone cheating. He suggested it might be an issue left over from a past life, who knows.

Funnily enough I don't have the same response when I watch for example, Opsporing Verzocht on television, which is a programme about unsolved crimes and getting the public to submit tips. I can watch a bank robbery and see the robbers getting away without getting terribly emotionally involved at all...

So have you ever come across finding yourself attached to an abstract principle like this? What did you do?

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Misogyny, chauvinism, prejudice and bias towards women, to all levels and forms: Overt, covert, blatant, subtle, knowing, or 'ignorant'.
    Dont - please, just don't - ever - get me started.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Do you see it as a problem? From a Buddhist point of view I mean. I can totally understand that you see and would want to correct these things, but do you think your emotional reaction (I'm assuming there is one) signals some kind of deep attachment?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2016

    Yes, definitely. But it's based on a deep-seated and long-time conditioned rebellion against the millennial history of injustices played out against women, for absolutely no other reason than they are women. And frankly that smarts.
    But the aspect of it that I have to fight, conquer and ultimately completely overcome, is how it makes me feel about the masculine gender in general. I love some guys. I have guy friends. heck, all my husbands and boyfriends, have been men.
    But 'men' in general?
    Never has the term mankind been so self-contradictory as it is today.
    Why?
    Because in years, centuries and times gone by, we knew no better. We were all fooled into thinking such things were normal and acceptable.
    Now, we all know better. We are so much more enlightened (lower-case 'e'). Yest in so many societies, on so many levels, this hatred, resentment, ridiculing and quiet, almost imperceptible suppression of women still persists, yet persists and is almost encouraged.
    And the ignorance and refusal to accept, or the denial, and disbelief from so many, that such prejudice is rife, evident and quotidian, is something that makes me fume even more.

    (I did tell you not to get me started...)

    Edit to add:
    What the hell and in blue blazes is this all about, then?

    That's the kind of overt crap I'm talking about....

    I mean, why don't they legislate that all men over a certain age, be compelled to wear condoms, or submit to a vasectomy? Wouldn't that be an incredible infringement of their human rights to function fully as males?

    Keromedhammachick
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @federica said, "...Now, we all know better. We are so much more enlightened (lower-case 'e'). Yest in so many societies, on so many levels, this hatred, resentment, ridiculing and quiet, almost imperceptible suppression of women still persists, yet persists and is almost encouraged."

    Do 'we'? ;)

    'Almost'? heheh.

    Pretty sure you'd agree that it's (at times) imperceptibly interwoven (or woven?) into the tapestry of modern life and has been like forever. About the only best weapon for something so entrenched is picking one's battles. We have (and need) all the time in the world to cure it.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited October 2016

    Honey, if in 3000 years nobody's managed to cure it, we need to up the ante. Imperceptibly woven, interwoven or not, it needs bringing to the fore, exposing and dismantling.

    http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/05/changing-male-gaze/?utm_content=buffer9faa8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    The story you were reading may have something to do with this.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes

    Although I don't see the Netherlands mentioned.

    The gist of it is that these countries out source spying on their own citizens to each other so that it doesn't contrevene any of their own privacy laws. Very clever.

    Kerome
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @federica said:
    Honey, if in 3000 years nobody's managed to cure it, we need to up the ante. Imperceptibly woven, interwoven or not, it needs bringing to the fore, exposing and dismantling.

    http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/05/changing-male-gaze/?utm_content=buffer9faa8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    In case you couldn't tell - I agree with the whole 9 yards. It's complicated, due to the societal 'demands' of what's popular and what's not at any given moment in history or should I say herstory. I can more often than not, laugh at the situation and find the humor because I think it would take literally the death of most of us to bring any potential change.

    Maybe this belongs in another thread.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Interesting link @Bunks thanks :)

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @Shoshin said:
    Interesting link @Bunks thanks :)

    No worries. Your fellow country men wrote a song about it.......

    "They hear everything you said,
    the days of privacy are dead,
    you've been led to believe in this fantasy,
    in a country where freedoms been sold.

    Five eyes, looking down........"

    Shihad - Fvey

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    So have you ever come across finding yourself attached to an abstract principle like this? What did you do?

    Stressing oneself out over something one can't do anything about is unhealthy "attachment"...

    If one can do something to help alleviate the problem great, but if one can't, then just wish for all involved to be happy and free from suffering...

    If you think about it, 24/7/365 there's gross injustice happening to women men children and other sentient beings all around the world...

    If one wants to worry 24/7/365 ... one will never run out of things to worry about....

    Bunkslobsterkarasti
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Thanks @shoshin, that makes some sense. After all, look at what the Buddha did: he didn't go chasing after injustices, instead he taught. Perhaps we should focus on our own growth, rather than the state of the world, after all the spiritual search means leaving the world behind. Or so say the Indians about taking sannyas.

    In a way I guess I am still quite involved with the world. I read a lot of news, I keep up with current affairs, and I care about some things... I feel attached to the future of Europe, I care about privacy, about equal opportunities, about good use of technology. It's something to consider.

  • yagryagr Veteran

    @federica said:
    But the aspect of it that I have to fight, conquer and ultimately completely overcome, >is how it makes me feel about the masculine gender in general. I love some guys.

    And at least one of us loves you...

    Bunksfederica
  • :)

    Anger (I haz it!), just like emotional sentimentality (very common in the 'spiritual' community) or being judgemental (I haz it!) are all qualities we can engage, rather than indulge and ignore.

    For example for anger, wrathful practices are used in Tantra and specifically engaged Buddhism tries to improve the situation of injustice.
    http://www.dharmanet.org/lcengaged.htm

    ... and now back to the indulgence ... or engagement ... o:)

    This message was not approved or improved by El Supremo Donald Tripe :3

  • Words from a wise person.

    The first thing you need to do is get in touch with negative feelings that you're not even aware of. Lots of people have negative feelings they're not aware of. Lots of people are depressed and they're not aware they are depressed. It's only when they make contact with joy that they understand how depressed they were.

    The second step (this is a four-step program) is to understand that the feeling is in you, not in reality. That's such a self-evident thing, but do you think people know it? Negative feelings are in you, not in reality. So stop trying to change reality. That's crazy!

    The third step: Never identify with that feeling. It has nothing to do with the "I." Don't define your essential self in terms of that feeling. Don't say, "I am depressed." If you want to say, "It is depressed," that's all right. If you want to say depression is there, that's fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, that's fine. But not: I am gloomy. You're defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That's your illusion; that's your mistake. No event justifies a negative feeling. There is no situation in the world that justifies a negative feeling. That's what all our mystics have been crying themselves hoarse to tell us. But nobody listens.

    The fourth step: How do you change things? How do you change yourselves? There are many things you must understand here, or rather, just one thing that can be expressed in many ways. Imagine a patient who goes to a doctor and tells him what he is suffering from. The doctor says, "Very well, I've understood your symptoms. Do you know what I will do? I will prescribe a medicine for your neighbor!" The patient replies, "Thank you very much, Doctor, that makes me feel much better." Isn't that absurd? But that's what we all do. The person who is asleep always thinks he'll feel better if somebody else changes. You're suffering because you are asleep, but you're thinking, "How wonderful life would be if somebody else would change; how wonderful life would be if my neighbor changed, my wife changed, my boss changed."

    http://demellospirituality.com/awareness/the-four-steps-to-wisdom.html

    lobsterperson
  • Well said @pegembara ...

    ... or quoted ;)

    You mean 'The Donald' will not change the world? Or the only duck worth saving is our own mind? I knew it!

    Must be time to sit with what I have. A mined mind ... :3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Thanks @shoshin, that makes some sense. After all, look at what the Buddha did: he didn't go chasing after injustices, instead he taught. Perhaps we should focus on our own growth, rather than the state of the world, after all the spiritual search means leaving the world behind. Or so say the Indians about taking sannyas.

    @Kerome
    I guess one could say, the key to world peace is to find inner peace... without inner peace there can be no world peace....Peace comes from within....not without...

    In a way I guess I am still quite involved with the world. I read a lot of news, I keep up with current affairs, and I care about some things... I feel attached to the future of Europe, I care about privacy, about equal opportunities, about good use of technology. It's something to consider.

    Tibetan Buddhism tends to sum it up this way :

    Samsara = Mind turned outwards lost in its projection

    Nirvana = Mind turned inwards recognising its true nature

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Shoshin said:
    I guess one could say, the key to world peace is to find inner peace... without inner peace there can be no world peace....Peace comes from within....not without...

    It calls to mind Ramana Maharshi's saying, "the greatest service you can do the world is your own self realisation". But as usual, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

    It influenced my dreams last night... I feel as if I am crossing the threshold of a revolution, I am reframing how I spend my time, what I consider important in my thoughts, where I put my life priorities, what values I hold to as key in my very core. These things are all affected, once you shift internally and decide to withdraw from putting so much emphasis on the abstract parts of the "outer world" we experience through the media.

    lobster
  • @lobster said:
    Well said @pegembara ...

    ... or quoted ;)

    You mean 'The Donald' will not change the world? Or the only duck worth saving is our own mind? I knew it!

    Must be time to sit with what I have. A mined mind ... :3

    Mind precedes all knowables,
    mind's their chief, mind-made are they.
    If with a corrupted mind
    one should either speak or act
    dukkha follows caused by that,
    as does the wheel the ox's hoof.

    Mind precedes all knowables,
    mind's their chief, mind-made are they.
    If with a clear, and confident mind
    one should speak and act
    as one's shadow ne'er departing.

    federicalobsterShoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    (D'you think anyone should let him in on it?)

    lobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    focusing on our own mind and lives is about all we can do. If we are lucky we might be able to expand positive influence to kids, family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. But our influence beyond doesn't carry much weight for most of us. Any time I ponder the big problems in the world, that is the place I always arrive. What can I do? I can work with myself. I can work with my family. I can send kids out into the world who are better equipped. And then they can influence their children. And from me, my 3 kids might better teach their 6 kids. And from there, their 12 kids. And so on.

    Other than that, I can write letters to the politicians who make our laws, and I can do good research into who to vote for who will work at making the world a better place on a level they can reach but I cannot.

    And then I can practice Tonglen. Not because I believe my doing so will make things better for a person who has just suffered an injustice. But because I know it carries through my day and helps me to be more compassionate and more empathetic when I encounter others in my daily life. And when I can extend compassion to them, just maybe, they will pay it forward. And so go the ripples of life. Or I can get angry and riled up and post angry, frustrated things on FB. And my friends can get riled up and post angry, frustrated comments. And yet we go no where and accomplish nothing. But we build our anger and frustration which also carries forth in our daily lives.

    lobsterShoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Kerome said:

    It calls to mind Ramana Maharshi's saying, "the greatest service you can do the world is your own self realisation". But as usual, there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

    It influenced my dreams last night... I feel as if I am crossing the threshold of a revolution, I am reframing how I spend my time, what I consider important in my thoughts, where I put my life priorities, what values I hold to as key in my very core. These things are all affected, once you shift internally and decide to withdraw from putting so much emphasis on the abstract parts of the "outer world" we experience through the media.

    Outstanding.
    Nobody walks the path for us. Our first duty is to our realisation.
    Who would have guessed? Everyone? O.o

    Reframing is a good way of putting it. Attuned and resonating with the three stooges Three Jewels ...

    Good Buddha Power/Nature is manifesting in your subconscious/dreams. This is often a turning point. Buddhism in an internal revolution, a dharma jihad.

    Stay grounded. Very important when undergoing transition.

    Cushion power. Don't leave your mind without it ...

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Kerome said:
    Thanks @shoshin, that makes some sense. After all, look at what the Buddha did: he didn't go chasing after injustices, instead he taught. Perhaps we should focus on our own growth, rather than the state of the world, after all the spiritual search means leaving the world behind. Or so say the Indians about taking sannyas.

    In a way I guess I am still quite involved with the world. I read a lot of news, I keep up with current affairs, and I care about some things... I feel attached to the future of Europe, I care about privacy, about equal opportunities, about good use of technology. It's something to consider.

    I'm sure Buddha cared because he taught the dharma and chose not to leave the world behind. He was in the world without being tainted, stained or obscured by the world. Like the lotus in the mud.

    He didn't have to go looking very long for anyone to help and indeed, he cared about helping. Otherwise he would never have gotten up from under the tree.

    I mean, he taught the dharma from the day he woke up around 30 years of age and taught in one way or another until the day he passed on around 80 years of age.

    If it could be argued even in the slightest that he was attached to the dharma, I don't see how it could be called an unhealthy attachment.

    lobster
  • Well said @David

    As incarnations of human form, we manifest, whatever our emptying. In that expression we increasingly find the True Nature does have a positive role ...

  • DeformedDeformed Veteran
    edited October 2016

    I'm definitely attached, which in turn causes anger. At this stage, the things that trigger it are really the kinds of injustices that are routinely accepted and even promoted by much of society. I increasingly feel the pull of defending those who are casualties of reactions to misperceptions and misconceptions.

    Of course, it isn't reasonable to realize these injustices and then expect everyone else to, but that's definitely where the anger comes from. It does seem beneficial to try understanding these points of view. Not agreeing, but understanding.

    Not only have I found Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings useful in this area, but I'm also aware of the fact that he lived in war-ravaged Vietnam, refusing to take "sides," rather tending to the suffering of both "sides."

    lobsterdhammachick
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @Kerome said:
    So have you ever come across finding yourself attached to an abstract principle like this? What did you do?

    Attachments are an ongoing accumulation of latching on to thoughts and feelings. Hate, anger, and attachments are all effects or reactions to thoughts and feelings (the aggregates).

    With right discernment we can develop the right way to deal with these defiled reactions or whatever we choose to call it. We develop right discernment by seeing it for what it is, seeing things as they are. By seeing things for what it is or what they are, means knowing whether or not handle them or just let them pass on their own.

    It is something I am working on continously.

    Metta

    lobsterDeformed
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