A fine line between humility and submission

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A fine line between humility and submission

Postby odysseus » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:45 am

Working on humility is a Damocles-sword. A fine balancing act before you fall into submission instead. Pride goes before a fall. The pride of being born in a rich country, coming from honourable family and enjoying the respect of others. It´s not Tonglen, but it helps to think "Others are perfect, but we are not". Or I think "I´m best and so are everybody else". Because in reality, nobody are better, equal nor worse.

Humility is safe and not a weakness, but submission hurts. :crying:
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:42 am

I agree with you. I have sometimes thought, every type of virtue has its shadow side. Humility is definitely a virtue in my book, but submission is another thing, because it implies a power relationship, in the sense of recognizing an implicit heirarchy.

Perhaps in a similar way, the shadow side of compassion is sentimentality and emotional attachment.

Anyway, I don't know if you can 'work on' humility. It is, like many such qualities, something that needs to arise spontaneously, and generally does, if you realize 'how little we know'. :smile:
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby odysseus » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:58 am

jeeprs wrote:Humility is definitely a virtue in my book, but submission is another thing, because it implies a power relationship, in the sense of recognizing an implicit heirarchy.


Exactly.
jeeprs wrote:Perhaps in a similar way, the shadow side of compassion is sentimentality and emotional attachment.


I get you, bro, but then it´s not compassion..? Applied correctly, it has no shadow side...

jeeprs wrote:Anyway, I don't know if you can 'work on' humility.


Hm, Dharma is everyday work -- very well!

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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby JamyangTashi » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:32 pm

odysseus wrote:Working on humility is a Damocles-sword. A fine balancing act before you fall into submission instead.


Perhaps submission could meaningfully be viewed as a near enemy to humility, similar to the way that pity is the near enemy of compassion.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Gwenn Dana » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:45 pm

Hmm. In my opinion that depends.
This is close to that "Ex Tibetan Buddhist" thread.

IMHO, if humility means lowering yourself in respect to a person (or thing that can be owned), it is submission. When we're talking practice, two even beings meet. In fact, there are only even beings. None better or worse than the other.

If we take for example the "hack", that Jesus made, it's basically born into a time of Roman slavery. The way out pointed towards never making some thing or person the object of your humility or submission (since that creates duality, it seems to me that's the non-dual aspect in his teachings), but only submit to a virtual concept that helps you along. Then you can say "Sorry, I cannot serve you, I already have a master." Then that method leads to liberation. Unfortunately Emperor Constantine hacked back and overtook even that, since they made the mistake with Petrus being the chief honcho, thus ruining the game in the very first generation.

That's exactly the same I would make a premise for Buddhism (or Yoga) for any sort. Never submit to any person (Lama, Teacher, or whatever). As long as concepts are being spoken, or practice is being offered, that's fine. They are vehicles, just like sages of math, computer science, sports, singing or any other discipline. They are "masters" in that they do not only teach, but also are expert level performers of their art. But there are also enough "teachers" out there who do not want to master the art, but only teach. Nevertheless, spirituality as a whole is there to empower you over yourself (not others, and not others over yourself!). It can never do that job when it comes with a side effect of having to submit to anything else than something outside the world of things. The practitioner needs to be able to stay self responsible at any time, and practice will help him or her to get along even better. As many old texts point, they warn of even submitting to particular, nameable deities, since you can easily create a hierarchy out of them (rulers incorporating them by decree to submit the masses). When looking at the many Buddhas appearing that are worshipped, I cannot but see just the same trap.

Being humble on the other hand would mean being able to trust a master, when he's pointing you to a point where your next hurdle has to be taken, that employing the practice will empower you, not him. That comes with the responsibility that the master may never ever ever do that, and instead, when he sees the apprentice becomes attached (to the practice or the master), points a way in the opposite direction.

I don't say that Buddhism as a general rule is flawed. There are many subtle hints and meditation practices that really can help. Also some who I find distracting from the path, and sending people off to realize that a certain practice is nonsense after 30 years is a pretty sadist approach. Buddhism is at least interwoven with a lot of ritual (Tibetan Buddhist practices one finds on the net sometimes feel like Bön revisited). You really have to look and can get lost. Whereas in Hinayana I find one important step in: Get beyond ritual. As I understand Buddha's basic message, then it points me towards being simple, getting rid of all that labyrinth stuff. Simpler than what's preached in the vedas. Simpler than endless repetition of ritual.

In modern terms you could say: Stay detached enough from things and emotions so that you can just do without keeping yourself from options, and a little toolbox to help with getting there, and oh, btw, the search is over. Just *do* this and never let doubt come back. Now I'm not proclaiming that is your eternal Buddhism truth. Everybody is entitled to their path. There are probably 10 times as many paths as practitioners. Such practice empowers the practitioner over himself. You can then add "do it for the sake of all beings on the planet", because when you feel empowered over others, your toolbox will collapse, since you're starting to do the same where you wanted to escape from in the beginning, which doesn't make it any better, but maybe worse. But well, submitting to living people will just as well ruin your toolbox, since the toolbox points towards liberation. Submission to people is not liberation, it is dependency. Don't need to read Dostojevski to understand that. That would be deconstructing the age of Aufklärung. For me, Buddha's message adds to Aufklärung, it does not demolish it. Just as Lao Tse wanted to overcome Confucianist Morality. In fact, I think Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tse and a couple of others at that time were the Aufklärers of their time. But as every new emergence goes through a lifecycle, it needs to be refreshed and resparked in never ending fashion, since it will lose its freshness in even the next generation, for what we have very old examples.

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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Gwenn Dana » Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:55 pm

Ah. Addendum: When it comes to humility as "acceptance of one's defects" that is a definition I can completely live with. Under the assumption there is nobody without defects save maybe an illusionary, unreachable ideal, and defectfulness is not plotted on some scale of hierarchy, but rather the unswered question: "Rats, is it a defect or not?" :)
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:21 am

Humility can be a form of pride.

"It is good that I am so humble."
"I am proud of myself for becoming humble."

If your practice succeeds then ideally there is less self-concern in this respect. You don't compare yourself to others in terms superior, inferior or equal. Basically, the more you understand the emptiness of self, the less retroflexed your thoughts become. That means less emotional investment in and fascination with oneself. The absence of positive or negative judgments about one's self-identity is perhaps real humility. In the absence of reified notions of self and other, you are unlikely to intentionally harm others, too, which also eliminates the need for feeling ashamed about oneself.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:25 am

Reminds me of an old joke - apologies if I have told it before.

A well-loved rabbi was on his deathbed and all of his old students and associates were paying their last respects. They all filed respectfully into his room and paid their obeisances. They murmured praises of his scholarship, learning, kindness, patience and commitment, and so on.

After some time they all left. His wife noticed that he seemed flat. 'Why so glum?' she said. 'They all said such nice things about you.'

'My humility', he said. 'Nobody mentioned my humility'.

:D
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby odysseus » Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:35 pm

Indrajala wrote:Humility can be a form of pride.

"It is good that I am so humble."
"I am proud of myself for becoming humble."

If your practice succeeds then ideally there is less self-concern in this respect. You don't compare yourself to others in terms superior, inferior or equal. Basically, the more you understand the emptiness of self, the less retroflexed your thoughts become. That means less emotional investment in and fascination with oneself. The absence of positive or negative judgments about one's self-identity is perhaps real humility. In the absence of reified notions of self and other, you are unlikely to intentionally harm others, too, which also eliminates the need for feeling ashamed about oneself.


Dear Ven.

Humility is a form of patience also, it´s wiser than perseverance. No-self means to calmly accept that I have no worldly power to be proud of to begin with, because the power can´t be felt by people who don´t know me, since such phenomena are already empty. :buddha2:
Buddha is family.
Buddha is the best peacemaker.
Buddha is the best priest.
Buddha is the best doctor.
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My lord is best.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:12 am

I've always thought that humility is directly related to how much one is willing to be genuine, which of course opens up what it means to be genuine.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Punya » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:20 am

Gwenn Dana wrote:Hmm. In my opinion that depends.
This is close to that "Ex Tibetan Buddhist" thread.

IMHO, if humility means lowering yourself in respect to a person (or thing that can be owned), it is submission. When we're talking practice, two even beings meet. In fact, there are only even beings. None better or worse than the other.

If we take for example the "hack", that Jesus made, it's basically born into a time of Roman slavery. The way out pointed towards never making some thing or person the object of your humility or submission (since that creates duality, it seems to me that's the non-dual aspect in his teachings), but only submit to a virtual concept that helps you along. Then you can say "Sorry, I cannot serve you, I already have a master." Then that method leads to liberation. Unfortunately Emperor Constantine hacked back and overtook even that, since they made the mistake with Petrus being the chief honcho, thus ruining the game in the very first generation.

That's exactly the same I would make a premise for Buddhism (or Yoga) for any sort. Never submit to any person (Lama, Teacher, or whatever). As long as concepts are being spoken, or practice is being offered, that's fine. They are vehicles, just like sages of math, computer science, sports, singing or any other discipline. They are "masters" in that they do not only teach, but also are expert level performers of their art. But there are also enough "teachers" out there who do not want to master the art, but only teach. Nevertheless, spirituality as a whole is there to empower you over yourself (not others, and not others over yourself!). It can never do that job when it comes with a side effect of having to submit to anything else than something outside the world of things. The practitioner needs to be able to stay self responsible at any time, and practice will help him or her to get along even better. As many old texts point, they warn of even submitting to particular, nameable deities, since you can easily create a hierarchy out of them (rulers incorporating them by decree to submit the masses). When looking at the many Buddhas appearing that are worshipped, I cannot but see just the same trap.

Being humble on the other hand would mean being able to trust a master, when he's pointing you to a point where your next hurdle has to be taken, that employing the practice will empower you, not him. That comes with the responsibility that the master may never ever ever do that, and instead, when he sees the apprentice becomes attached (to the practice or the master), points a way in the opposite direction.

I don't say that Buddhism as a general rule is flawed. There are many subtle hints and meditation practices that really can help. Also some who I find distracting from the path, and sending people off to realize that a certain practice is nonsense after 30 years is a pretty sadist approach. Buddhism is at least interwoven with a lot of ritual (Tibetan Buddhist practices one finds on the net sometimes feel like Bön revisited). You really have to look and can get lost. Whereas in Hinayana I find one important step in: Get beyond ritual. As I understand Buddha's basic message, then it points me towards being simple, getting rid of all that labyrinth stuff. Simpler than what's preached in the vedas. Simpler than endless repetition of ritual.

In modern terms you could say: Stay detached enough from things and emotions so that you can just do without keeping yourself from options, and a little toolbox to help with getting there, and oh, btw, the search is over. Just *do* this and never let doubt come back. Now I'm not proclaiming that is your eternal Buddhism truth. Everybody is entitled to their path. There are probably 10 times as many paths as practitioners. Such practice empowers the practitioner over himself. You can then add "do it for the sake of all beings on the planet", because when you feel empowered over others, your toolbox will collapse, since you're starting to do the same where you wanted to escape from in the beginning, which doesn't make it any better, but maybe worse. But well, submitting to living people will just as well ruin your toolbox, since the toolbox points towards liberation. Submission to people is not liberation, it is dependency. Don't need to read Dostojevski to understand that. That would be deconstructing the age of Aufklärung. For me, Buddha's message adds to Aufklärung, it does not demolish it. Just as Lao Tse wanted to overcome Confucianist Morality. In fact, I think Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tse and a couple of others at that time were the Aufklärers of their time. But as every new emergence goes through a lifecycle, it needs to be refreshed and resparked in never ending fashion, since it will lose its freshness in even the next generation, for what we have very old examples.

Best wishes
Gwenn


Yes, to many who encounter Tibetan buddhism, particularly Vajrayana, it appears cultish and full of empty rituals. Everything is not as it appears.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Gwenn Dana » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:36 am

Punya wrote:Yes, to many who encounter Tibetan buddhism, particularly Vajrayana, it appears cultish and full of empty rituals. Everything is not as it appears.


True. Even if I had not mentioned it, I doubt that would stop defilements from occuring. Although the Not-spoken-to-Path does sound like a funny idea. Sometimes I wonder why letting the consciousness from the five senses flow seems to come natural, but thought consciousness seems to pose one big problem that needs to be conquered, suppressed, tailored, or whatever.

It would occur to me that the illusion of self that one projects in others is an even bigger obstacle than one´s own self arising. Yes, the dependency is duly noted. To return to the post: What can one submit to when there is no projection of self? And who would care whether what can be observed then is called humility? Maybe the line is more subtle than fine.

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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Punya » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:17 pm

odysseus wrote:Working on humility is a Damocles-sword. A fine balancing act before you fall into submission instead. Pride goes before a fall. The pride of being born in a rich country, coming from honourable family and enjoying the respect of others. It´s not Tonglen, but it helps to think "Others are perfect, but we are not". Or I think "I´m best and so are everybody else". Because in reality, nobody are better, equal nor worse.

Humility is safe and not a weakness, but submission hurts. :crying:


I find the saying "everyone is doing the best they can" helpful. It reminds me that none of us are perfect and challenges my judgemental mind.

I'm not sure how you see humility as relating to submission odysseus. An attitude of humility doesn't to me imply accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby greentara » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:19 am

If you deliberately use surrender and humility to try to simulate epiphany.....well one may be screwing the mind in using techniques of dissociation through meditation and various methods - to attain release from the limitations of identity. The problem is that all epiphanies are spontaneous and cannot be contrived: like water slipping through the hand, they cannot be grasped, because they are eternally elusive. Sadhanas attempt to create - or recreate - what cannot be bought, sold, taught, manufactured or manipulated.
Ever elusive!
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Punya » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:54 am

If you are referring to the result path, the interesting thing is that it does seem to work. But it's clearly not for everyone. 84, 000 and all that.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby odysseus » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:34 am

Punya wrote:
I find the saying "everyone is doing the best they can" helpful. It reminds me that none of us are perfect and challenges my judgemental mind.

I'm not sure how you see humility as relating to submission odysseus.


I mean instead of being humble, you suddenly lose all energy/force - that´s what I meant by submission.
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Buddha is the best peacemaker.
Buddha is the best priest.
Buddha is the best doctor.
Buddha is best on Earth.
My lord is best.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Punya » Mon Apr 21, 2014 12:37 pm

So maybe what you mean is submissiveness: ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive.

I don't see humble as that. I like the Urban Dictionary's definition: A person may have accomplished a lot or be a lot but doesn't feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it.

It reminds me of the Lojong verse about giving the victory to others. It's not that you're giving up or giving in necessarily. It could be you just don't feel the need to play that game.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby odysseus » Mon Apr 21, 2014 6:07 pm

Punya wrote:So maybe what you mean is submissiveness: ready to conform to the authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive.

I don't see humble as that. I like the Urban Dictionary's definition: A person may have accomplished a lot or be a lot but doesn't feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it.

It reminds me of the Lojong verse about giving the victory to others. It's not that you're giving up or giving in necessarily. It could be you just don't feel the need to play that game.


Noo, that´s mistaken Punya! It´s not to make others pleased, but to act with equanimity without getting "totally lost". That´s why it´s like balancing your heart´s power...
Buddha is family.
Buddha is the best peacemaker.
Buddha is the best priest.
Buddha is the best doctor.
Buddha is best on Earth.
My lord is best.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby Punya » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:08 pm

I think it's just language. Equanimity is what I was thinking of in not needing to play the game.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
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Re: A fine line between humility and submission

Postby dimeo » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:23 pm

In interesting topic! It so often seems humility and submission are often not valued as virtues.
And to the opposite these virtues are frequently viewed with fear and disdain.
I hear a sad grieving friend say, "I don't want to be weak". I fear that I may be perceived (and even targeted) as a pushover. I fear my own passivity.

In society, being a strong leader :guns: is valued and the popular belief is that you need to take control and 'push your way' to the top until you are recognized as king of the castle.
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