Mahayana Problem

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Mahayana Problem

Postby MalaBeads » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:48 pm

Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good. Even Hitler did what he did because he thought it was a good thing to do.

Even if, from your vantage point, you see what someone else is doing is negative, that person doesn't see it that way. The doer always thinks that what they doing is a good thing.

I think we are built that way.

Perhaps, others can offer a perspective to see this differently.
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Ayu » Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:14 pm

It is always a very good question, if i am really right or i only seem to be right.
A good point to differentiate this is ethics.
This is defined in the palicanon, in the Lamrim-scriptures and in all the various scriptures of the different traditions.

And if i want to help people, it must happen without i-feeling. This is impotant. A meditative state of mind full of compassion and equanimity has to be built up by regular practice and by the intense wish to do so...

Then i will be able to recognize what the old lady really wants and i don't force her to cross the street, if she doesn't want to...
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby mandala » Thu Apr 25, 2013 7:42 pm

MalaBeads wrote:Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good.



No, I don't think so. While people can justify their harmful actions in very creative ways, the bottom line is we have all said and done things with the motivation to harm someone or hurt their feelings. We've all done things that we know are motivated by greed or jealousy or pride.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by this being a 'Mahayana problem'? Do you mean you know a Mahayana practitioner who seems to have behaved negatively and claimed they had good motivation? Or that inherently we all think we're always doing the right thing?

It's true that for example, sometimes we feel like we're trying to help someone and, as it turns out, we're not really helping them at all - possibly even causing them harm.
There's 2 important things in play there - 1. it's good (for us) to have a motivation to help others .... 2. the problem is we usually don't have the wisdom to know what's really going to benefit someone else.
That's why practice is so vital - we don't only need the compassion to want to help but we need wisdom (skillful means) to know HOW.

And sometimes, things can look negative (eg 'tough love') but be motivated by compassion and be of benefit.

You'll probably never know someone else's motivation, but what really counts is your own.
Personally I know times when I've had good motivation to be of benefit to someone suffering & hurting others and it's gone totally pear-shaped and ugly - while i'd hoped it had turned out better, I guess I just didn't have the skills and also they didn't want things to change. Still, I'm glad I tried.

As far as our own motivation is concerned, i think it's critical to look deeply into it - you're right, we can fool ourselves that we're doing the right thing, but we have to ask... good for WHO? Are we motivated by our own need for people to do what we want, or what makes us comfortable or fits into our own view or doing 'good' things because it makes us look good/important/holy schmoly/impressive?

Thanks for bringing up an interesting topic!
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Seishin » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:29 pm

Although we can't say for certain, we don't know what the real motivations of Hitlers actions. The idea that he thought was doing good is, to me at least, an odd one. Mainly because I know that what he did is wrong, however I also think his motivations weren't for the good of people, but rather he had a lot of anger and delusions towards other ethnics, mainly the Jews. So his actions were built on anger and hate which he hid under the idea that he was helping his "people". it was people like Himler (not Hitler) who ran with that idea and expanded on it.

So I think, if your intentions are not based on ego then I don't think they'll be a problem. Of course most of us have not subdued their egos which is why people like HH Dalai Lama (Mahayana monk) recommends that we first heal ourselves before trying to heal others.

Also, I don't think it's a Mahayana problem, as this same can be said for Theravada or any religion/non-religion in the world.

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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:49 pm

Yes, I don't think it is a mahayana problem per se.
The point is that what all beings share in common is that they believe their actions will bring about lasting benefit.
Even Hitler, as you say, thought he would solve Germany's problems, and that he would be remembered as a great hero.
He though being remembered as an exterminator would be a good thing.
In short, all beings want to have perfect cessation of (their own) suffering,
and they think various actions of body, speech and mind will lead to that.
Another way to say this is that they take refuge in various things
but those things do not offer perfect liberation from suffering
because they do not cut at the root of the cause of suffering.
They only provide temporary solutions, patchwork solutions,
because these solutions are based on ever-changing conditions,
so they cannot be permanent solutions.

What the Buddha realized was that regardless of what religions or philosophies people followed,
regardless of how much wealth they had, or what kind of special diets they followed or whatever,
or how many nations they conquered,
suffering still caught up with them, even very subtle suffering, dissatisfaction, etc.
And the reason why is because none of these things change the activity of the mind itself,
meaning that the root of suffering is in the mind.
Outside of the mind, no suffering exists.

The solution which is at the center of mahayana is compassion towards others
and this is a very good method of working with one's own mind
because it redirects the motivations of one's actions of body, speech and mind outward
thus reducing the clinging to happiness for "me me me" all the time.
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Ramon1920 » Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:13 pm

Worldly people think anger is good, that it protects them somehow. Worldly people think a lot of stuff is good that the Buddha did not.
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Ayu » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:02 pm

Just reicently i found a saying in German. It fits good to this topic:

"Jeder möchte die Welt verbessern,
und jeder könnte es auch,
wenn er nur bei sich
selber anfangen wollte."
(Karl Heinrich Waggerl)

Means:

"Everybody likes to improve the world,
And everybody could,
If he would just start
With improving himself."

:namaste:
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby In the bone yard » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:32 pm

MalaBeads wrote:Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good. Even Hitler did what he did because he thought it was a good thing to do.

Even if, from your vantage point, you see what someone else is doing is negative, that person doesn't see it that way. The doer always thinks that what they doing is a good thing.

I think we are built that way.

Perhaps, others can offer a perspective to see this differently.


This is a very good observation! :thumbsup:
A demonstration of the law of karma and beings in the 3 worlds (3 Realms):

Using Hitler as an example (desire realm) he could only see so high which isn't very high.
So of course he thought his good was very good because it was high for him.
But someone born in a higher realm (form realm) knows Hitler's deeds are low by his own standard.

3 Realms or Worlds:
(many levels within, depending on the school)

1. Desire
2. Form
3. Formeless (no human beings born in this world)

This is why merit is so important.
I think everyone tries to do the best they can (because everyone wants to be happy), but it may not appear so from our level of realm so we act out our defilements.
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:56 pm

:smile:
Yes, most people live in a world of illusions or delusions.
Their choices are guided by their illusions or delusions.
Yet they believe these decisions are made freely and are a product of their independent actions and perfectly justified by their "free will" and their "Self".
They are deluded into thinking their life decisions are made by them as an independent unity, a "person" with free will.
They are deluded into his illusionary belief by the Ego Mind (which may also be called such names as "Self", "Free Will". or "Self Identity").
As a "sentient Human Being" and "independent" of all others (outsiders) they live in the mistaken perception of their independence from other "outsiders".
As I said the cause of his delusion is their Ego mind and the illusion of "apartness" from others it generates.
Their Ego Mind, living alone in it's perceived solitary world, teaches them this illusion of their separation and uniqueness as an individual from their first sense perception as a child.
Now people can learn by meditation or just by a process of understanding that their true nature is NOT a wholly separate individual but is, in fact, a part of an interrelated and interdependent collective.
Seeing this fact can break that illusion or separation generated by the delusionary perception of their Ego Mind of separation.
Free of that delusion created by their Ego Mind as a separate identity they can then go on to further develop their understanding of their true nature
With that understanding they can free themselves from the assumed illusions and delusions that previously guided their life.
That delusion is not a "Mahayana Problem", it is a delusion created by the misperception of separation generated by their deluded Ego Mind.
:smile:
P.S. Freeing yourself from the control of your deluded Ego Mind's misperceptions can also be called "Passing through the first Gate of Understanding".
:smile:
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby ground » Wed May 01, 2013 4:06 am

MalaBeads wrote:Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good. Even Hitler did what he did because he thought it was a good thing to do.

Even if, from your vantage point, you see what someone else is doing is negative, that person doesn't see it that way. The doer always thinks that what they doing is a good thing.

I think we are built that way.

Perhaps, others can offer a perspective to see this differently.


This may be of help:

The Wholesome and the Unwholesome

3. "When, friends, a noble disciple understands the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, in that way he is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma, and has arrived at this true Dhamma.

4. "And what, friends, is the unwholesome, what is the root of the unwholesome, what is the wholesome, what is the root of the wholesome? Killing living beings is unwholesome; taking what is not given is unwholesome; misconduct in sensual pleasures is unwholesome; false speech is unwholesome; malicious speech is unwholesome; harsh speech is unwholesome; gossip is unwholesome; covetousness is unwholesome; ill will is unwholesome; wrong view is unwholesome. This is called the unwholesome.

5. "And what is the root of the unwholesome? Greed is a root of the unwholesome; hate is a root of the unwholesome; delusion is a root of the unwholesome. This is called the root of the unwholesome.

6. "And what is the wholesome? Abstention from killing living beings is wholesome; abstention from taking what is not given is wholesome; abstention from misconduct in sensual pleasures is wholesome; abstention from false speech is wholesome; abstention from malicious speech is wholesome; abstention from harsh speech is wholesome; abstention from gossip is wholesome; non-covetousness is wholesome; non-ill will is wholesome; right view is wholesome. This is called the wholesome.

7. "And what is the root of the wholesome? Non-greed is a root of the wholesome; non-hate is a root of the wholesome; non-delusion is a root of the wholesome. This is called the root of the wholesome.

8. "When a noble disciple has thus understood the unwholesome, the root of the unwholesome, the wholesome, and the root of the wholesome, he entirely abandons the underlying tendency to lust, he abolishes the underlying tendency to aversion, he extirpates the underlying tendency to the view and conceit 'I am,' and by abandoning ignorance and arousing true knowledge he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view, whose view is straight, who has perfect confidence in the Dhamma and has arrived at this true Dhamma."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .ntbb.html


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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby LastLegend » Wed May 01, 2013 6:14 am

MalaBeads wrote:Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good. Even Hitler did what he did because he thought it was a good thing to do.

Even if, from your vantage point, you see what someone else is doing is negative, that person doesn't see it that way. The doer always thinks that what they doing is a good thing.

I think we are built that way.

Perhaps, others can offer a perspective to see this differently.


A human problem.
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Re: Mahayana Problem

Postby Wayfarer » Wed May 01, 2013 8:24 am

MalaBeads wrote:Here's the problem i have with the Mahayana: everyone always thinks their motivation is good. Even Hitler did what he did because he thought it was a good thing to do.

Even if, from your vantage point, you see what someone else is doing is negative, that person doesn't see it that way. The doer always thinks that what they doing is a good thing.

I think we are built that way.

Perhaps, others can offer a perspective to see this differently.


I think this is one of the hindrances, namely, sceptical doubt. There is a healthy scepticism, which is investigating, not taking things for granted, asking questions. But the scepticism you're expressing here is really just niggling doubt: is this teaching really any good? Will it benefit me and others if I follow it? What if it isn't? What if I'm following the wrong path?

My advice is simply: put those thoughts aside. They won't help you.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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