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Buddhism and Conflict Resolution?

edited August 2010 in Buddhism Basics
Hi everyone,

I'm agnostic and I've been studying Buddhism for a few months now. By no means have I gone in to much detail, but I've become interested with the teachings and philosophy of Buddhism. There is one topic though, that I cannot understand and that is conflict resolution. I was wondering if someone could shed some light on the topic.

Still being at school, I have had a friend come and talk to me about problems they are having with their friends. For example, trouble with gossip, etc. To complicate matters, the people that are doing this are what she believes to be her friends, as such, she does not want to disregard them completely. Personally, if it was me I would not let their insults get to me, and probably just forget about them, but she does not want to do this, so it got me thinking about conflict resolution. As yet, I have not been able to offer and particularly good advice, so I would like to know the Buddhist perspective. How can one truly resolve conflict while having the buddhist mindset?

Comments

  • mugzymugzy Veteran
    edited August 2010
    I don't know that there's any particular difference between a Buddhist approach to conflict resolution versus a non-Buddhist one. Everything is relative to the situation, so there's no one answer that fits every scenario. Every situation would be different. In any case, I would imagine that most people would try to come to a peaceful outcome of any given problem.

    In the example you have described, you have given two different solutions, one based on your opinion and the other of your friend. Both are different ways of viewing one particular circumstance based on your experience. Buddhism is the same; practitioners vary widely in their ideas and personalities.
  • edited August 2010
    Hm, I understand what you're saying. I guess then it comes down to how do you deal with people that have different views and opinions to you, when those views and opinions mean so much. Do you just have to stop worrying about what they think, realising that attachment to these views causes suffering?

    Sorry if I sound very naive, still trying to grasp this whole concept.
  • edited August 2010
    There is probably a difference in that the practicing Buddhist is aware of their response. At least most of the time. Now this response varies as widely as there are different Buddhists, but Buddhism teaches mindedness, and mindfulness. In other words they often Know what they are saying. As opposed to just reacting from the ego's defenses or acceptance needs and complicating the matter. Usually a Buddhist can respond and then just walk away from the situation without carrying residue. Without the practice of Mindfulness one carries the melodrama in their mind, constantly thinking of different scenarios to respond with. Maybe how to get even, or win the fight or conflict. Meditation and mindfulness give a Buddhist spontaneous behavior that is usually guilt free.
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited August 2010
    rheotron wrote: »
    Hm, I understand what you're saying. I guess then it comes down to how do you deal with people that have different views and opinions to you, when those views and opinions mean so much. Do you just have to stop worrying about what they think, realising that attachment to these views causes suffering?

    Yes. Your wrongful identification with your deep rooted views and opinions(which are conditioned by experiences, education, culture etc.) causes stress and discomfort.

    Was there suffering before you had your opinions/views?

    The idea is simple but the actual practice is not easy. This is where the mental discipline and training comes in.
  • 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 August 2010
    "Do not keep searching for the Truth - just let go of your opinions"

    Seng Ts'an.
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited August 2010
    When a Sosan speaks, he speaks totally on a different plane. He is not interested in speaking; he is not interested in influencing anybody; he is not trying to convince you about some theory or philosophy or ism. No, when he speaks his silence blooms. When he speaks he is saying that which he has come to know and would like to share with you. It is not to convince you, remember—it is just to share with you. And if you can understand a single word of his, you will feel a tremendous silence being released within you.
    Just hearing here…We will be talking about Sosan and his words. If you listen attentively, suddenly you will feel a release of silence within you. These words are atomic, they are full of energy. Whenever a person who has attained says something, the word is a seed and for millions of years the word will remain a seed and will seek a heart.
    If you are ready, ready to become the soil, then these words, these tremendously powerful words of Sosan—they are still alive, they are seeds—they will enter in your heart if you allow, and you will be totally different through them.
    Don't listen to them from the mind, because their meaning is not of the mind; the mind is absolutely impotent to understand them. They don't come from the mind, they cannot be understood by the mind. They come from a no-mind. They can be understood only by a state of no-mind.
    So while listening here don't try to interpret. Don't listen to the words but to the gaps between the lines, not to what he says but to what he means—the significance. Let that significance hover around you like a fragrance. Silently it will enter you; you will become pregnant. But don't interpret. Don't say, "He means this or that," because that interpretation will be yours.

    Sosan's Hsin Hsin Ming…
    It is such a beautiful book, each word is golden. I cannot conceive of a single word that could be deleted. It is exactly that which is needed, required, to say the truth. Sosan must have been a tremendously logical man, at least while he was writing his Hsin Hsin Ming.
    I have spoken about it and I have never loved speaking more. The greatest moments of my speaking were when I was speaking on Sosan. Speaking and silence together…speaking yet not speaking, because Sosan can be explained only through no-speaking. He was not a man of words, he was a man of silence. He spoke just the minimum.
    I am using language because I want to convey something to you. But when you are not there, then simply I am not in language. When I have to speak I use language; when you are not there I am without language, then inside no words are moving. When I communicate I become a part of society. When I am not communicating I become a part of Tao, part of the universe, part of nature, or God—whatsoever name you want to give it, you can give.
    With God, silence is communication; with man, language is communication. If you want to communicate with God, be silent; if you want to communicate with man, talk, don't be silent.

    Osho



    The Great Way is not difficult
    for those who have no preferences.
    When love and hate are both absent
    everything becomes clear and undisguised.
    Make the smallest distinction, however,
    and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart.
    If you wish to see the truth
    then hold no opinions for or against anything.

    To set up what you like against what you dislike
    is the disease of the mind.
    When the deep meaning of things is not understood
    the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.
  • edited August 2010
    Thanks for all the helpful responses everyone, it's really shed some light on the situation.

    I have another related question though. How do you deal with someone's decisions/beliefs when you disagree with those beliefs those beliefs impact on you? I'm not sure if that's very clear, I can't think of another way to express it.
  • edited August 2010
    I cannot speak for everyone, but other people's beliefs have no impact on me. at this point, not even those of close loved ones. I was raised to accept people as they are, human, and I know and see people make bad choices everyday (for example drugs, self mutilation, even something like ditching class) however, We cannot help those who choose not to help themselves, all we can do is see the truth, maybe pray for them, and try to stay away from what is negative to our being. I recall reading something indicating that In all studies of religion, no matter how different each is, they all began with beacuse of one thing: FEAR, the unknown is scary and so people use religion as comfort, a way to the light so to speak. My Buddhist beliefs for the most part, focus on what is now. Straying from stress, conflict, finding the peace within one's own struggles. I cannot allow one's beliefs to impact me negatively. I have to help when i am asked, but have no intentions on changing ones own views. That would only cause further conflict.

    I love people, all people, so i am immediately encouraged to point out wrong doing, but I have to remember that I am not them, the beauty of being human is being able to make your own choice, good or bad. And since I have not direct access to mind control, I can only focus on doing good for myself, and for those who accept my doing good for them,
  • edited August 2010
    Wow, I just realized that I use too many commas in places where they aren't needed, and forgot to add a . to the end of that sentence. :\ Meh.
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited August 2010
    rheotron wrote: »
    Thanks for all the helpful responses everyone, it's really shed some light on the situation.

    I have another related question though. How do you deal with someone's decisions/beliefs when you disagree with those beliefs those beliefs impact on you? I'm not sure if that's very clear, I can't think of another way to express it.

    rheotron,

    Perhaps you could give a specific example of another's belief that impacts you?

    Usually, the Buddhist way is to dissolve whatever internal mechanisms are being 'impacted'. It could be said that in the absence of any self-clinging, another person's beliefs would not 'impact' us, rather we would have a compassionate understanding of the belief. What exactly is being impacted, anyway?

    With warmth,

    Matt
  • aMattaMatt Veteran
    edited August 2010
    Wow, I just realized that I use too many commas in places where they aren't needed, and forgot to add a . to the end of that sentence. :\ Meh.

    After you post, there is an edit button... feel free to pop in there and change it, rather than post an apologetic :)
  • edited August 2010
    there's no point in editing, i do it everywhere anyway. HAHA. Thats my problem, not the commas, but that I apologize for everything. I'm working on it though.
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