Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Good and Bad

kaegriffykaegriffy England New

Hello friends!

I often encounter very confused faces when i say i do not believe in the terms of good and bad (objectively). I think its inconsistent and the labels cause more suffering and division than they do help. The greatest acts of evil and unwholesome actions have come from the resistance to someone else's perception of good and bad. One man thinks a certain way of living and conditioning is good and the other thinks it is bad, a few words are exchanged and then violence breaks out. And although we may argue that its the reactive nature of ones ego that causes the violence and anger, the labels of good and bad have been conditioned into us for all of history so that now we live our lives accordingly to these beliefs. And its different all over the world, being gay is bad in some places, breast feeding in public is considered good in others. No matter what action is performed, someone, everyone (almost) has an opinion on whether what they see is good or bad, or neutral if they're inclined to think in that way. So now we have given such importance to these two words, they provide food for our Ego, giving it something to cling on to, i feel as the words do more harm than help.

I see the convenience of the word to summarize a collection of other whole-fully beneficial words like; beneficial itself, help, positive, the association with emotions like happiness, Joy and Love. But we can just use these words without using the label of good and bad. Its completely subjective and when people use it for the whole or even any other party outside of themselves, they're opening a door that could lead to contradiction and a frozen opinion.

What are you views on Good and Bad? How do you definitively say what is so? I'm genuinely open to having my mind changed on the subject as i am with anything, if you can show me how the labels help us more than hurt us or even point out anywhere where i have contradicted my self, i'd love to know.

Peace and blessings, brothers and sisters.

personShoshin

Comments

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited March 13

    What are you views on Good and Bad? How do you definitively say what is so?

    Good is good according to karma, bad is bad according to karma. Karma is itself objective so good and bad, according to karma, is entirely objective. =) If it makes good karma, it's a definitely good action. If it makes bad karma, it's a definitely bad action, regardless of what people think about it.

    Kundo
  • kaegriffykaegriffy England New

    @seeker242 said:

    What are you views on Good and Bad? How do you definitively say what is so?

    Good is good according to karma, bad is bad according to karma. Karma is itself objective so good and bad, according to karma, is entirely objective. =) If it makes good karma, it's a definitely good action. If it makes bad karma, it's a definitely bad action, regardless of what people think about it.

    Karma is cause and effect, in a sense of what you put out you will receive the same consequence. But what and who decides what is good and bad? Karma is not an entity or being, its a law. There is no real truthful point in saying bad is bad karma and good is good karma. All information is neutral, it is our perception of this information where we label it good and bad. All that comes to us from a mean of cause and effect or Karma is just neutral. You may kill a person, but because of your guilt from killing you think that if you kill yourself, that the world would be better it is good to do so. But others will say no matter what killing is bad. Its all about perception which is unpredictable and not objective.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Evil is bad and not kind or skilfull.
    Good is kind, skilfull and everyone is better for it.

    My Little Pony is bad however, possibly evil ... O.o

    Kundo
  • ZeroZero Veteran

    @kaegriffy said:
    I think its inconsistent and the labels cause more suffering and division than they do help.
    ...the labels of good and bad have been conditioned into us for all of history so that now we live our lives accordingly to these beliefs.
    So now we have given such importance to these two words, they provide food for our Ego, giving it something to cling on to, i feel as the words do more harm than help.
    I see the convenience of the word to summarize a collection of other whole-fully beneficial words

    I think we're conditioned to the labels to some extent; in the sense that we identify a common expression for a state of affairs that others also subscribe to - the common denominator of the participants to the reality with each reality being totally and completely real for the particular participant.
    That said, I think it's a trait of our cognition and a common theme in the expression of life that there is attraction / repulsion to stimuli.
    The means of conveyance of concise communication is in a sense part of the fabric of our reality and one may propose part of our success in terms of unprecedented population expansion; so in that sense, the benefit (help) seems to outweigh the cost (suffering and division) - perhaps an evolutionary path of least resistance.
    I suppose another way of expressing that is as a convenience in certain regards though not the type of convenience that is easily (if at all) discarded.

    But we can just use these words without using the label of good and bad.

    The implication would still be that they are either desirable or not if they are utilised in that context.
    I suppose that it depends on what you're thinking, acting and seeking to communicate at that particular time.

    What are you views on Good and Bad? How do you definitively say what is so?

    I think good and bad are subjective qualifications - both manifest simultaneously for a set of conditions depending on the participants' relative positions.

    The only definitive I've experienced is this thing that is happening now.

    kaegriffyKundo
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    edited March 13

    I don't really like the words good and bad either, for much the same reasons you give. I'll use them occasionally as a shorthand but I prefer the words better and worse. Then the question is, compared to what?

    I think it is true to say that conscious beings have an innate preference towards pleasure, however one defines that, and away from pain. So I don't think what is good or bad is completely arbitrary. But I'd also say pleasure and pain are subjective experiences and depend on that being's base level and biological conditioning.

    I can't link it here now, but I would recommend Sam Harris's TED talk on science and morality for some good thoughts around this area.

    kaegriffy
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in an ultimate sense are not truly useful, like the word ‘evil’. These words have acquired a kind of loaded meaning which causes some people to identify and buy in rather than thinking for themselves. It can often be better to use other words.

    And the translations of the sutta’s often do, using skilful, beneficial, and such. It’s a clear indication of knowing how to communicate nuance, rather than trying to use a culturally-loaded verbal sledgehammer.

    But in a subjective sense, it’s still possible to use ‘good’ and ‘bad’, as in, I know alcohol isn’t good for me. I try to be aware of these kinds of language uses when formulating my responses, but I have to say, the nuanced expression sometimes escapes me...

    personkaegriffy
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited March 13

    @kaegriffy said:
    Karma is cause and effect, in a sense of what you put out you will receive the same consequence.

    Yes, that is what makes it good or bad.

    But what and who decides what is good and bad? Karma is not an entity or being, its a law.

    The consequences themselves determine that. If the action has bad consequences, that alone, makes it a "bad action". Of course, it takes some discernment and wisdom to know what actions have what consequences.

    There is no real truthful point in saying bad is bad karma and good is good karma. All information is neutral, it is our perception of this information where we label it good and bad. All that comes to us from a mean of cause and effect or Karma is just neutral.

    I doubt the beings burning in hell for killing, consider that experience "just neutral". =) Karma in Buddhism is not neutral because some karma leads to more suffering and other karma leads away from suffering. If it leads to suffering, it's bad. If it leads away from suffering, it's good. In Buddhism, that is precisely how good and bad are defined. Not according to some belief, or person or god, etc, but only according to the consequences. Only according to the consequences is what makes it objective.

    You may kill a person, but because of your guilt from killing you think that if you kill yourself, that the world would be better it is good to do so. But others will say no matter what killing is bad. Its all about perception which is unpredictable and not objective.

    It's not all about perception as different perceptions still does not change the consequences.

    Kundolobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Row, row, row your boat ... ?‍♂️

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What are you views on Good and Bad? How do you definitively say what is so? I'm genuinely open to having my mind changed on the subject as i am with anything, if you can show me how the labels help us more than hurt us or even point out anywhere where i have contradicted my self, i'd love to know.

    Karma ( from what I gather ) works in mysterious ways....the outcome of one's actions
    can be beneficial for some and hinder others...

    Ultimately there's no such thing as good or bad -wholesome unwholesome... skillful unskillful ...

    It's all relative...Relatively speaking :)

Sign In or Register to comment.