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His benefit or mine?

CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of itUnited States Veteran

I was wondering about the boddhisattva ideals of helping others. I dont have that motivation for some reason.

I was reading the suttas about this and wanted to know do you base your good deed on whether the otber wants to recieve it or not or do you do the good deed for him based on your own ethics even if the other says no?

I know people have this "I dont care what people think" view but if you care about others what they think may shape how to help them on their terms not your own. Or?

Snakeskin

Comments

  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran

    @karasti said:
    It's not about forcing good deeds on people, IMO. Or trying to force someone to receive what you've determined they need. But rather learning how to read people on a heart level and knowing how and when to communicate what they need to hear. Not what they want to hear. And not what they need to hear at the wrong time. But when everything comes together and you can operate from Buddha Nature more than your logical mind, then you are able to offer what they need, and leave the rest to them. You can't save someone else. They have to save themselves. Sometimes we can offer some assistance, but we have to be able to let go of how it's received and what they do with it. But it's different than offering our "advice" and telling someone to suck it up if they don't like it. Kind of hard to explain. It's a lot of letting go of social conventions and rules. But yes, also still knowing what people need. More the "platinum" rule than the "golden" rule. Help people based on what they need. Not what you think they should need based on what you need.

    Thank you.

    I was just thinking of when someone who lives in our complex has negative karma. She told me one time she didnt want people to smile around her nor ask her how she is. She has a lot going on and because of age isolated.

    If I askec how she is, I know its not my karma thats sending me a negative response. Since greetings dont hurt people in general would you not smile around her as a favor or would you stay with your morals despite her views?

    Snakeskin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited December 2017

    @karasti answer is spot on.

    Such a person you mention @Carlita, may need laughing at, scowling at and reminded of all your problems ... theirs are of no interest to you ;) ... it depends ... o:)

    You can not always offer a solution above your capacity. For example picnics in hell realms, being unkind to kind people and reflecting extreme forms of wrathful behaviour sometimes to your own detriment ... now may not be the time for such engagement ...

  • Some good words have already been said.
    So, in passing, please remember the benefits of bodhissatva actions, deeds, words, go both ways.
    As for the nuts and bolts of your situation, I do not presume to know enough to direct or dictate a course of action.
    It would be good if you are able to discuss your situation with someone familiar with you and your circumstance.

    Best yo you
    Peace to all

    SnakeskinCarlitalobsterDhammaDragon
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Carlita I think of this person to ask people not to smile around her is quite selfish. Smiles are good for people, they help you feel better about things.

    I do understand, helping people is quite difficult because sometimes what they think they need is not what they actually need. For example would you help a suicidal person obtain poison?

    If you use empathy to understand their position, and then use your own wisdom to understand what they truly need and how you can give it to them, then you are doing quite well.

    Snakeskinpersonlobster
  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited December 2017

    @Carlita said:

    @karasti said:
    It's not about forcing good deeds on people, IMO. Or trying to force someone to receive what you've determined they need. But rather learning how to read people on a heart level and knowing how and when to communicate what they need to hear. Not what they want to hear. And not what they need to hear at the wrong time. But when everything comes together and you can operate from Buddha Nature more than your logical mind, then you are able to offer what they need, and leave the rest to them. You can't save someone else. They have to save themselves. Sometimes we can offer some assistance, but we have to be able to let go of how it's received and what they do with it. But it's different than offering our "advice" and telling someone to suck it up if they don't like it. Kind of hard to explain. It's a lot of letting go of social conventions and rules. But yes, also still knowing what people need. More the "platinum" rule than the "golden" rule. Help people based on what they need. Not what you think they should need based on what you need.

    Thank you.

    I was just thinking of when someone who lives in our complex has negative karma. She told me one time she didnt want people to smile around her nor ask her how she is. She has a lot going on and because of age isolated.

    If I askec how she is, I know its not my karma thats sending me a negative response. Since greetings dont hurt people in general would you not smile around her as a favor or would you stay with your morals despite her views?

    Without seeing her say it, it sounds like kind of a cry for help. Almost like she doesn't want "thoughts and prayers" but a bit of compassion in action. Smiling and asking how someone is doing just isn't the same as doing something nice or beneficial.

    When it seems like nobody cares, it's easy to tell ourselves that it's better that way. I wonder how she would feel if she knew you actually do care.

    In light of non-separation, there is either no altruistic act or all good deeds are altruistic. A bit of help will go towards helping both or all parties involved.

    I just threw that last bit in because of your threads title.

    KeromeSnakeskinlobsterDhammaDragon
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Carlita said:
    I was reading the suttas about this and wanted to know do you base your good deed on whether the otber wants to recieve it or not or do you do the good deed for him based on your own ethics even if the other says no?

    I would say it's based on compassion of the other's suffering. And if it will alleviate their suffering, then it is done. If it won't, then it's not done.

    Snakeskin
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran

    @Lionduck said:
    Some good words have already been said.
    So, in passing, please remember the benefits of bodhissatva actions, deeds, words, go both ways.
    As for the nuts and bolts of your situation, I do not presume to know enough to direct or dictate a course of action.
    It would be good if you are able to discuss your situation with someone familiar with you and your circumstance.

    Best yo you
    Peace to all

    Hm. I guess the thought of "not having inherit desire to help someone" kinda bothers me. I know it comes natural when one is in a situation that calls for it. As for in general, it's a huge stepping stone when following The Dharma, really. Different situations arise that do not relate to each other and I wonder how I could desire to help others without attaching it to some sort of benefit from others whether they are in life threatening situations or just chatting.

    I compared it like this. If I hurt someone else, I don't think twice that it is wrong. So no matter if the person thinks it's right (like the suicide example another mentioned), I wouldn't do it because it's against my morals.

    Likewise,

    if someone said don't smile and say thank you to them (although not suicide, but still opposite of helping the person), I'd still do so because it is part of my morals regardless of what the other person says.

    Then it's a balance of thinking if one is conforming their morals to others or like someone else said doing it when both hearts connect.

    I love to think.

    Snakeskin
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    @Carlita I think of this person to ask people not to smile around her is quite selfish. Smiles are good for people, they help you feel better about things.

    I do understand, helping people is quite difficult because sometimes what they think they need is not what they actually need. For example would you help a suicidal person obtain poison?

    If you use empathy to understand their position, and then use your own wisdom to understand what they truly need and how you can give it to them, then you are doing quite well.

    I like the suicide example. I guess in a very very very small comparison, not smiling is akin to a "bad deeds" as so giving the poison just not as intense. So, basically, just as I wouldn't give the poison, I wouldn't stop smiling just because I'm told to.

    Weird comparison, I know.

    Snakeskin
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    @Carlita said:
    I was reading the suttas about this and wanted to know do you base your good deed on whether the otber wants to recieve it or not or do you do the good deed for him based on your own ethics even if the other says no?

    I would say it's based on compassion of the other's suffering. And if it will alleviate their suffering, then it is done. If it won't, then it's not done.

    Is it crossing the boundary to think it would alleviate their suffering when they know it would not?

    Snakeskin
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran

    @David said:

    @Carlita said:

    @karasti said:
    It's not about forcing good deeds on people, IMO. Or trying to force someone to receive what you've determined they need. But rather learning how to read people on a heart level and knowing how and when to communicate what they need to hear. Not what they want to hear. And not what they need to hear at the wrong time. But when everything comes together and you can operate from Buddha Nature more than your logical mind, then you are able to offer what they need, and leave the rest to them. You can't save someone else. They have to save themselves. Sometimes we can offer some assistance, but we have to be able to let go of how it's received and what they do with it. But it's different than offering our "advice" and telling someone to suck it up if they don't like it. Kind of hard to explain. It's a lot of letting go of social conventions and rules. But yes, also still knowing what people need. More the "platinum" rule than the "golden" rule. Help people based on what they need. Not what you think they should need based on what you need.

    Thank you.

    I was just thinking of when someone who lives in our complex has negative karma. She told me one time she didnt want people to smile around her nor ask her how she is. She has a lot going on and because of age isolated.

    If I askec how she is, I know its not my karma thats sending me a negative response. Since greetings dont hurt people in general would you not smile around her as a favor or would you stay with your morals despite her views?

    Without seeing her say it, it sounds like kind of a cry for help. Almost like she doesn't want "thoughts and prayers" but a bit of compassion in action. Smiling and asking how someone is doing just isn't the same as doing something nice or beneficial.

    When it seems like nobody cares, it's easy to tell ourselves that it's better that way. I wonder how she would feel if she knew you actually do care.

    In light of non-separation, there is either no altruistic act or all good deeds are A bit of help will go towards helping both or all parties involved.

    I just threw that last bit in because of your threads title.

    Yeah. I heard her say don't smile to another and later we had a good chat. She was telling me what she was going through and why she didn't want people to smile in front of her. I understand both sides. When I do see her in the halls, I'll nod or a small smile so I won't seem cold at the same time as acknowledging what she wanted. I don't know if that's conforming my ethics to hers but in general unless I'm talking to someone, I forget to smile. I'm a cheer-hearted person around people but alone, not so much. Working on that.

    Snakeskin
  • SnakeskinSnakeskin Texas, USA Veteran
    edited December 2017

    @Carlita said:

    I was wondering about the boddhisattva ideals of helping others. I dont have that motivation for some reason.

    I was reading the suttas about this and wanted to know do you base your good deed on whether the otber wants to recieve it or not or do you do the good deed for him based on your own ethics even if the other says no?

    I know people have this "I dont care what people think" view but if you care about others what they think may shape how to help them on their terms not your own. Or?

    I can't speak to the Bodhisattva Ideal of the Mahayana, but respecting the wishes of an adult, when doing so isn’t unethical, aligns with equanimity. It also makes room for the possibility that you don’t in fact know what’s best for them. In the sense of unintended consequences, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

    So, I incline toward “if you care about others what they think may shape how to help them on their terms not your own.” However, I don’t think in terms of help but generosity, open-handedness with my attention, time, energy and stuff. That benefits me. It may also benefit another when they need any of those. If they don’t need them, don’t want them or I withdraw them because they misuse them, I still benefit. The offer to set aside my own BS to attend to anothers is itself a meritorious act of generosity. Navigating the consequences of that offer requires no more wisdom than basic morality rooted in respect for myself and others. That way, I may avoid imposing my ideals on them and might be actually helpful instead of burdensome.

    lobsterDhammaDragon
  • 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

    @Carlita , I think you may be over-thinking this. FRankly, we do our best to be kind whenever possible. It is always possible (That's according to HHDL, not me, but I can't disagree with him....)

    What she wants around herself, is her problem to carry, not yours. We do our best to adhere to the Buddhist principle of Ahimsa, and of following the 8FP.
    What others do, is their responsibility to carry.
    If she doesn't want people smiling around her, or asking her how she is, fair enough; not everyone she seeks this from, is Buddhist, or thinks as you do. Therefore her problem is 'bigger' than you.
    It's not yours to resolve. Only what you do, and how you react, is your situation to consider.
    If you comply with her wishes, that's up to you, your choice.
    If you decide to NOT comply, that is also your choice.

    lobsterSocairSnakeskinDhammaDragon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @Carlita I would need to be in her presence to know what I felt would be best to do in that instance. Sometimes what we think is ideal or morally right causes people anxiety and other issues, especially if they have mental health problems. So while, generally, we insist smiling is good for everyone, if it causes someone suffering that I don't think it's right for us to put our morals on them in that way. It's a frustrating thing when values conflict when we're trying to interact with people. I think it would be possible, just as you described above, to be warm with her without overtly going against what she requested. Not the same situation, but I personally find it incredibly maddening when I specifically tell someone what I need, and they go out of their way to do the opposite because they believe they are right and I am wrong. My reasons might not make sense to everyone, but they are mine just the same and when I go out of my way to say "Hey. Please don't do that." then I expect the person will take it to heart. But that's generally in dealing with family and friends, not people I don't know well.

    CarlitaSnakeskinDhammaDragon
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited December 2017

    @Carlita

    Compassion's a complex thing (especially when it comes to the three kinds of compassion spoken of in Buddhism ) and I guess a truly compassionate act is a selfless act...Not wanting nor expecting something in return ie, self gratification ...

    It would seem that you're doing the 'right' thing (at this moment in time) by honouring your 'complex' friend's request when interacting with them (and I do mean complex in every sense of the term :) )

    CarlitalobsterSnakeskinDhammaDragon
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran
    edited January 1

    @Shoshin said:
    @Carlita

    Compassion's a complex thing (especially when it comes to the three kinds of compassion spoken of in Buddhism ) and I guess a truly compassionate act is a selfless act...Not wanting nor expecting something in return ie, self gratification ...

    It would seem that you're doing the 'right' thing (at this moment in time) by honouring your 'complex' friend's request when interacting with them (and I do mean complex in every sense of the term :) )

    Pretty much. It is complex. I never heard anyone tell me that. One lady jokes with me telling me why dont I smile. So, when Im aware that I do, I feel prety good. Anyway, trying to find that balance. I look outside my window and thing what do they exactly mean by helping everyone as a vow. The lineage I follow is giving me a good idea so far. That an journalin'

    Thank you for the insight and link video. I like her talks.

    Shoshin
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    One way to think of it is that the Buddhist path goes on forever. But at some point your suffering ends and you are just trying to develop wisdom and qualities to help others to relieve suffering. Even to the point of things like clairvoyance though I have no evidence to prove that exists.

    ShoshinCarlitaSnakeskinDhammaDragon
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited January 1

    @Carlita said:
    Is it crossing the boundary to think it would alleviate their suffering when they know it would not?

    Not necessarily. I would say it depends entirely on the situation. If they are just wrong about that, then no. My brother for example, he has psychosis and he knows that psychiatric medication can't help him. I know that he's wrong about that so I still try to persuade him to take it and that's not crossing any boundary.

    Carlita
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran
    edited January 1

    @seeker242 said:

    @Carlita said:
    Is it crossing the boundary to think it would alleviate their suffering when they know it would not?

    Not necessarily. I would say it depends entirely on the situation. If they are just wrong about that, then no. My brother for example, he has psychosis and he knows that psychiatric medication can't help him. I know that he's wrong about that so I still try to persuade him to take it and that's not crossing any boundary.

    True. It does depend on the situation. I have epilepsy and when I was young, I said I didnt need medication because I was seizure free for three days. The doctor found out I wasnt taking my meds by my blood levels and they forced me to take it even though I said no. Smiling, on the other hand, doesnt harm anyone.

    So Id assume after thinking about it that I can still smile and let their karma dictate how they recieve my gesture? Im looking at people's reactions as a reflection of their karma rather than my actions so I dont take offense. I leave it alone and let them handle it (if they know its harmful to others) rather than changing my gestures to reflect the type of karma I dont know they are dealing with.

    Kinda makes sense?

    Snakeskin
  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran
    edited January 2

    @DhammaDragon said:
    My two cents is, I am who I am and my behaviour is not conditioned by people's personal issues and projections.

    In my opinion, this woman is deeply hurt and has been disappointed by people before.
    Her reaction is a way to protect herself from further disappointment: she would rather have no contact with anyone from the start, rather than get eventually let down "as usual."

    I would not greet her, if she does not want to, but as to smile, I can smile anywhere if I see fit.

    As to Bodhisattva behaviour, if we are good-natured, let us continue to be good-natured.
    Let us do good to people in a way that is useful and meaningful to them, not just for the sake of feeling good about ourselves or to relieve our consciousness.

    And in my humble opinion, I don't feel I am in a position to judge if people's karma is bad nor darker than mine.
    None of us is perfect and we all have an area in our lives where our karmic settlement leaves much to be desired.
    Holier-than-thou attitude is a surefire way to set us back in some hard-earned karmic points and get us mileage for another samsaric round.

    Yes. Both of us had a good talk about it. Its a way of rejecting everyone she feels is much more happy than she. Its literally laughing in her face (the smile) where the other party had no intention of doing so. I have no big issue about smiles. I rarely do it unless the aura is not threatning. But there are people in our complex have more euthusiastic personality thats hard to humblize. She was responding to that.

  • FoibleFullFoibleFull Canada Veteran

    Karasti's comment is excellent.

    I would add a few points:
    The teacher (an old Tibetan Geshe and monk) asked the class what was the best way to help others. Many suggestions were given ... donating time or money in some way.
    The teacher then told us that the BEST way to help others was to dedicate our life to attaining enlightenment, and THEN continuing to be reborn so that we could help others attain enlightenment.
    THIS is the Boddhisattva vow. To attain enlightenment for the sake of other beings.
    If we truly want to help others, we gain the skills TO help them in ways that make a difference.

    Both Mahayana and Theravadan schools talk about compassion/loving-kindness.
    To work on that, first we must learn to forgive and have compassion for ourselves. We cannot love/accept anyone else more than we love/accept ourselves.
    And this includes having compassion for our own ignorance and flaws.
    Which relies on some degree of mindfulness so that we can observe our ignorance and flaws as they rise up within us.

    Outwardly, we seek to be mindful of how we treat others and of what their needs are. We look behind their rudeness to us, to see their own inner discomfort; and just as we have developed compassion for our own inner discomfort, we apply that same compassion for the other's discomfort. And we seek to respond in ways that soothe.
    And, obviously, noting when someone needs a hand, just as a good mother watches their children. My teacher moves forward to take someone's elbow as they walk down icy stairs at the temple, for instance.

    So loving-kindness/compassion is based on a real-time interaction and mindfulness with the world as we move through it. I think this video is a wonderful example of compassion in action:

    It is the final contestant you want to watch his response.

    lobster
  • 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

    Perception. Instant, selfless, though-free, impulsive compassion.

    And an appetite for whatever life dishes up.

  • CarlitaCarlita Beat the Devil out of it United States Veteran

    @FoibleFull said:
    Karasti's comment is excellent.

    I would add a few points:
    The teacher (an old Tibetan Geshe and monk) asked the class what was the best way to help others. Many suggestions were given ... donating time or money in some way.
    The teacher then told us that the BEST way to help others was to dedicate our life to attaining enlightenment, and THEN continuing to be reborn so that we could help others attain enlightenment.
    THIS is the Boddhisattva vow. To attain enlightenment for the sake of other beings.
    If we truly want to help others, we gain the skills TO help them in ways that make a difference.

    Both Mahayana and Theravadan schools talk about compassion/loving-kindness.
    To work on that, first we must learn to forgive and have compassion for ourselves. We cannot love/accept anyone else more than we love/accept ourselves.
    And this includes having compassion for our own ignorance and flaws.
    Which relies on some degree of mindfulness so that we can observe our ignorance and flaws as they rise up within us.

    Outwardly, we seek to be mindful of how we treat others and of what their needs are. We look behind their rudeness to us, to see their own inner discomfort; and just as we have developed compassion for our own inner discomfort, we apply that same compassion for the other's discomfort. And we seek to respond in ways that soothe.
    And, obviously, noting when someone needs a hand, just as a good mother watches their children. My teacher moves forward to take someone's elbow as they walk down icy stairs at the temple, for instance.

    So loving-kindness/compassion is based on a real-time interaction and mindfulness with the world as we move through it. I think this video is a wonderful example of compassion in action:

    It is the final contestant you want to watch his response.

    I have a tendency to think when I do all this, it helps the other person but finding ways to know it helps me kinda makes me think of ego. I was listening to a Dharma talk about when we do for others we automatically assume the other person would benefit. But the thing is they could benefit; we dont know. We dont know what type of karma they have and what they consider good or bad in relation to what I feel is good or bad. She was saying that our actions plant seeds on our karmic imprint so that later on whatever we experience is always a result of our actions and not anyone else's. It helps in this life but I dont have a concept of an afterlife and rebirth. Its mainly not only to help in this life but to clarify the mind through many rebirths so we can "die in peace."

    That part in relation to helping others I havent quite got to. The global scale of helping that the little deeds build up to. Motivation more so than anything else.

  • 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

    I think we need to also consider that getting rid of the ego isn't necessary. It's no bad thing to have an ego. How we manifest it, matters more.

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