What Would a Buddist Do?

Hello my Zebras and Spoonies! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I am going to be doing something a little bit different. I read the blog post: What would a Buddhist do? I found it interesting and this is my response to that post.

“Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good,
Control the mind.
This is the teaching of Buddha.”

This post had a lot of really good things to say and led to me thinking about quite a few things. I feel the strong urge to add some toughts to those already in this post. Please, read the post linked above. I will be assuming that you have read it and my comments are in dialouge with it. I will also be using the same headings to make it easier to follow what part of the post I am addressing. So, here goes my rambling and randomness.

Raising our standards ~ sense of shame

Shame is a powerful and important thing. I think we have gotten to where we associate it negatively. Yeah, it sucks to feel ashamed. But that doesn’t mean that shame in and of it self is a bad thing. Shame is when we feel a sense of disappointment in ourselves. When we come to understand that we have not acheived the standards we set for ourselves or those set for us by people that are important to us. Having a sense of shame encourages us to do the right thing. Ideally, people would do the right thing simply because it is the right thing. But sometimes it can be unclear what the right thing is. Knowing that it would cause us shame is one way to determine that it is not the right thing. It’s a compass.

That being said, there is such a thing as having too much shame. People who experience depression often have a sense of shame over things that are simply not shameful. When shame becomes augmented too far, it can become a crippling burden to bare. There needs to be a balance between being mindful of the standards and being comfortable enough with yourself to know when you need to move outside those standards. And we need to ensure that the standards we set for ourselves and for others are realistic. Expecting too much from yourself or others will lead to an inevitable failure which will cause shame and could lead to the fear of trying.

So, what’s the solution? How does a person find the balance with shame? I don’t have a magic answer for this question. Leave your comments and let me know how you try to balance the shame game. Do you think that shame is a good thing?

Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander

It is so easy to fall into the world of gossip and social bullshit. I have fallen into that trap myself more times then I can count. I wonder why it is so much easier to see the faults of others rather then seeing the good things that people have accomplished. It would be just as easy and much more fullfilling to stand at the water cooler and talk about the goodness in the people you see around you. Why not talk about how you think someone is really funny? Or about how they are willing to stand up for what they believe in (leave out the part that they are tactless). Why not mention the fact that someone came in early or is working an extra shift? Things would be so much better if this was what we focused our conversations on. Think how people would change if they knew that social attention was driven by kindness and hard work rather then being an asshole. Why reward the assholes and pricks with attention? Are they worth it?

Do you think that you could spend a day without expressing any negative thoughts about others? Try it. And be really attentive, because it can be really easy to say something off the cuff or that’s just a little judgemental without thinking about it. I tried this and found it was really hard. Give it a try and tell me how it goes!

Do you think that social interactions would change if people focused their conversations and attention on the good things that people were doing?

I know that I have plenty of failings. And I know that on a logical level I am on no moral high point to judge the actions of others. But I do. Even though I have done some really stupid, selfish and hurtful things over the span of my life. I judge others. I think that this is an important part of human nature. Without judging others, we would not be able to determine who is safe for us to spend our time with. We have to put value judgements on the actions of others to keep ourselves safe. But, most of the judgements are hypercritical bullshit. Those judgements are natural, but they should be set aside. Trust and abide by your judgement when you come to the conclusion that someone is creepy or untrustworthy. Even warn your loved ones that they should avoid that person. But don’t talk trash because someone took your pen or didn’t iron their shirt or showed up late for work. These are minor failings and are probably no better or worse then our own. Well, unless you’re that creepy stalker bastard…

“These double standards are interesting and utterly in keeping with our tendency to externalize all faults, many of them in fact just projections of our own faults.”

I very much believe that what we see in others can be a reflection of what we think of ourselves. What do you think? Do you think that everyone projects themselves onto others?

“Since you cannot tame the minds of others until you have tamed your own, begin by taming your own mind.”

And I have yet to meet anyone who has managed to tame their own mind…

Rationalizations, justifications …

“When we are under the influence of delusions we rarely think we are wrong at the time — we can justify and rationalize almost any behavior.”

Alright, let’s talk a bit about what a delusion is and then I will talk about why I agree with this statement (even if not in the way he may have intended).

“a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.”

ALL of us have delusions. Yes, you too. The trick to the matter is that if we knew our beliefs were wrong, they wouldn’t be delsuions. Thus, no one thinks they have delusions. Following? There are always things that we believe that are founded on assumptions or bad data that lead to us having steadfast beliefs that are completely false. This are often established in childhood. People generally do not question what they “know” to be true. If you learned something in childhood and “know” it to be true, you are unlikely to consider the matter again. You will also be unlikely to consider a view point that contradicts that view point. That’s what our egocentracism and ethnocentracism is based upon. So, we often make judgements of others based on these delusions and those judgements are unfair.

The other side to this is that there are delsuions that we tell ourselves. These are things that we have told ourselves for so long that we again do not really consider them. Are you fat? Ugly? Smart? Dumb? Sure, you can give an intellectual response that says something about the eye of the beholder and things being comparative. But the truth is that you have an opinion of yourself. That is a fixed belief. Fixed means that what others say or do isn’t going to change your thoughts on the matter. When we use these self opinions to justify our actions, we are then courting delusions. Not always. Some times, we have great insight into who we are and what we are capable of. But there are times that our self perception is skewed, yet we act on it the same. We cannot tell when our perspective is skewed.

So, what does that have to do with goodness and shame? Well, it comes down to this: be open minded and compassionate. We need to remind ourselves that our beliefs and perceptions are often different then reality.

What goes around, comes around

I don’t believe that my actions put some kind of currency into a bank of the universe. But, I do believe that people watch us all the time and they are aware of the things that we do. If others see that we are kind, considerate and trying to see the good in others, they will be more likely to come to our aid when we need. Goodness creates a chain of goodness. A random act of kindness really can cause a ripple that can make great change. If we get stuck in the mire of disregarding others we will contribute to the chain of darkness and we will have to live in that darkness that we created.

Next time, consideration for others.

You create the world you live in. Consider each action you take as a brick in your house. What kind of place do you want to live in?

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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