shaunc wrote:Suppose a person (me) read something on a Buddhist Internet forum (not this one). It upset them & made them feel a bit angry & upset with the other poster, but chose not to respond because of 2 reasons. 1 that they'd only be adding fuel to the fire & 2. They weren't really sure whether they could debate this person in a civilised & helpful way without being rude & insulting to them. Do you feel this person would receive bad karma for the negative thoughts or good karma for showing some self restraint.
Your thoughts please.
Others have given you some good feedback on this question. I'd like to offer a slightly different perspective, focusing not so much on the karma issue. Regarding feeling upset and angry
. Having those feelings just means that something is really important to you. That's ok. Sometimes they can be a spur to positive action, if we can understand why we are having those feelings and can work constructively with them. If you respond under the influence of anger, it's true you might say something you'll later regret or could add fuel to the fire. If you can let the emotions run their course without acting on them, you can still respond to what you read. After all, maybe what you have to say would be worthwhile. Of course that is something you will have to decide.Actually responding
. If you think you have something that would be useful to contribute, and can do so without being driven by negative feelings, here are a couple of suggestions.
First, go ahead and type up a response, but wait 24hrs before sending it. That gives you a chance to reevaluate what you've written after giving some time to reflect on what you've written. If we choose, we can pause as long as we want before responding. It's so tempting to hit the submit button after writing up a response in the heat of the moment. Personally, I've found this to be a good practice for anything that has a strong emotional reaction on my part. That's the great thing about email and forums. It's not real-time interaction.
Second, respond only to the substance of what you read. Stay focused on the content. If the other person was/is rude/abusive in their responses, it's actually pretty easy to just ignore them in our responses. However, if what bothers you is
the person's online behavior, that's a very tricky issue to address. You have to decide 1) whether the person would be receptive at all to any mention of their negative behavior, and 2) whether you can respond in a skillful way that would benefit the person you are responding to. Neither of which are easy calls to make.
Just because you are upset and are uncertain of your ability to be civil now
, don't let that preclude the possibility of eventually responding. Best wishes on what ever direction you choose to take.