Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby shel » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:02 pm

That was a good one, dzogchungpa.
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby uan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:59 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Yudron wrote:Sara, this post structure that you like--skipping a line after every sentence--makes it hard to read your posts. It has a fingernails-on-a-blackboard effect for me. I can't get beyond it to try to understand what you are trying to communicate.

Yudron, maybe you are overly conditioned by your exposure to Christianized formatting?


That's very humorous, but at the same time very insightful and serves to illustrate some of the issues in this thread in perhaps a less sensitive way.

Take away the Christianized quip, and we are left with how we are conditioned to reading words in a specific way - and man if we stumble at words on a page, how much easier, or harder, with more substantive issues. I've had some difficulty myself with Sara's formatting, and have been grateful that others have asked her to change. But at the same time, why should she? She may want to if it allows others to more easily understand her point of view. But from a Buddhist perspective, which I try to maintain at least on DW :D , why should I make my own conditioned way of reading an issue for someone else? Talk about ego. Not only do I have conditioned thoughts, but I expect others to pay homage to them by changing themselves to suit me?

Sara is not her formatting. She can express herself however she finds it works for her. I can choose to ignore her if it's too difficult to read, or if I find value in her words, I can work to overcome myself. I disagree with Sara on things, but I find her of value, I find her points of view of value. So I work with her formatting.

We talk about "groups" and how they take criticism from outsiders, etc. Well, more fundamentally, no one likes to get criticized. My wife criticizes me. My boss criticizes me. My brother does. My son does. If I had a dog, he'd probably criticize me too. Each do it out of love and wanting the best for me. It's not always easy being open to the criticism and part of my practice is working with that. It's important to remember that what is being criticized is not me.

At the same time, and over time, it does become clear when the criticism isn't valid. Or that the criticism being leveled is more revealing of the person criticizing than insightful for myself. There are times when you see the criticism done skillfully and at times not. An example, my wife criticized a shirt a friend of hers was wearing. Her motivation was for him to look good, and the shirt didn't do that job. She said "that shirt makes you look fat." Her friend was hurt by the comment. Her initial defense, before admitting she was wrong to have said it that way, was that "it's true, it made him look fat". There are lots of truths and we can get to it in different ways. The truth is also that rather than her friend thinking about wearing something different, he just felt hurt. My wife's motivation may have been well intentioned, wanting him to look good, but that's not the effect it had. Her phrasing had more to do with herself and what it meant to be "honest" than helping her friend.

In this way we often do a double whammy on the person we are criticizing -- if they are hurt because we presented the criticism in an unskillful way, we then blame them for not being able to take criticism. Sometimes it is the ego of the person criticizing that needs to be fed, not the ego of the person being criticized being defensive.

One doesn't need to be a Buddha to give criticism to someone. But in giving criticism, one should also reach out to the other person to demonstrate that what they are saying is meant with compassion and the best intentions and to try and see and understand from the other's viewpoint.

One theme of this thread was summed up nicely as "people should be more tolerant of criticism". This is true. But equally as important, perhaps more so, another theme should be "if people aren't tolerant of the criticism I give, what can I change in MYSELF so that they are tolerant?"

So to Sara, for however you choose

to format your posts,

in Gassho


uan
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby shel » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:51 pm

uan wrote:One theme of this thread was summed up nicely as "people should be more tolerant of criticism". This is true. But equally as important, perhaps more so, another theme should be "if people aren't tolerant of the criticism I give, what can I change in MYSELF so that they are tolerant?"

That's a good and valid point, Uan, but it's beside the point, as I understand it. The topic seems to be about group dynamics and the consequences of not allowing 'outside' opinions or criticisms. There are consequences. Ideally individuals will behave as you advise, however this discussion seems to be primarily about the structure of this forum. Not sure I'm right about that though.
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Parasamgate » Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:58 pm

Sara H wrote:...

Jikan,
The Buddha was Ananda's Master.

He was his agreed-upon, and consented-to, trusted spiritual Teacher. Ananda was his loving and trusting student and desciple.

In the context of the above, in the Shurangama Sutra, Ananda was asking Him for advice. He was opening himself up to criticism from his trusted spiritual advisor, and Someone who had intimate and detailed knowledge of his spiritual practice.

In the context of the thread you were reffering to, when it comes to Sasaki, Baker, Eko, Treeleaf Sangha, and others mentioned;

You, are none of those things.
You are not their Teacher. Nor do you have intimate and detailed knowledge of their spiritual practice, which qualifies you for giving them advice. Nor, are they your students, nor, are they asking you for advice. Nor, do they trust you enough to give it to them.

...

You have made, observations that if I may say so are rather obvious, stating that "there has been some hurt or harm made."

That doesn't give you some supreme or qualified wisdom from which to base your criticisms from.

Nor are you intimately familiar with the people in question, so as to be able to say something, or phrase it in a way in which it might help them with their practice.

All you are doing is spouting off the obvious, of which they, and people arround them are already well aware, which isn't helping the people in question in any way.

Nor are you, and others nessecarily saying it in order to be helpful to the people in question.

...

That isn't wisdom.

It's actually, breaking a Zen Precept.

...

In Gassho,

Sara H.


Hi Sara,

To my mind your post reads as a criticism of Jikan. Maybe this is just faulty appearance due to my obscurations. I could definitely be mistaken and if I am mistaken please forgive me.

However, if this is so and this is a criticism/critique of Jikan, then doesn't the self-same analysis fall upon yourself? Or perhaps you are a teacher of Jikan and have entered into a qualified teacher/disciple relationship?

The way I read your post is as a critique of other's giving critiques when they are not the qualified spiritual teacher of the person(s) in question. Is my reading incorrect and if so how so? If it is correct and you are not Jikan's qualified spiritual teacher, then does your critique apply to you? If so, how?
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:20 pm

I think it's true that people should be able to criticize constructively, and I agree that these issues relate to our forum, here, and how people from different traditions of Buddhism (and even those not identified with any tradition of Buddhism) should be able to have fruitful and constructive discussion. Theoretically, this should extend past this forum, into "meat-space," but realistically there's limited opportunities out there for this to occur.

In a larger sense, I think Jikan's point is about the ways in which people de-legitimize criticism.

We can see the various ways this occurs, here in this thread, and also in the original "Christianized Conditioning" thread.

To briefly outline several of these: first, there's the "Insider/Outsider" argument--"You don't understand our position, and can't until you're an insider, so your opinion is not valid."

Second, there's the original "Christianized Conditioning" issue, i.e., "Your views on this issue, even if you are somewhat of an 'insider,' are conditioned by your cultural (or even past religious) experience and conditioning, therefore you cannot judge the actions or issues in a true light."

Third, there's the "Appeal to Authority." This takes several forms: first, the "Code of Ethics,"i.e., "You're not practicing Right Speech, and/or You are engaged in behavior motivated by Anger., from which the CODE says you should refrain." Second, the one I'll call "You're-Not-the-Boss-of-Me" position--i.e., "You are not a master, therefore your opinions or critiques are invalid."

These last two subspecies of "de-legitimization" come close to an often-seen, and mostly ineffective, Internet Forum Defense, called the Ad Hom, where it is not even the content of the critique, or the substance, but the personality of the critic which is called into question. This relates to the saying "The best defense is a strong offense." It's an attack, in other words. This particular method usually backfires, though, or, at the very least, takes otherwise-potentially-constructive discussions into the realm of entertainment, or Warfare, depending on your stake in the issues.

Finally, and I think it deserves mention, there is the double-edged sword of "Ironic Riposte." A dangerous weapon, this one-sometimes effective, but often veering close to the Ad Hom.

I believe we've encountered all of these here, and in the original thread this springs from. Perhaps wer'e learning something here. Perhaps not.
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby futerko » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:24 pm

uan wrote:Sara is not her formatting.
Neither is she other than her formatting. :tongue:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby uan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:34 pm

shel wrote:
uan wrote:One theme of this thread was summed up nicely as "people should be more tolerant of criticism". This is true. But equally as important, perhaps more so, another theme should be "if people aren't tolerant of the criticism I give, what can I change in MYSELF so that they are tolerant?"

That's a good and valid point, Uan, but it's beside the point, as I understand it. The topic seems to be about group dynamics and the consequences of not allowing 'outside' opinions or criticisms. There are consequences. Ideally individuals will behave as you advise, however this discussion seems to be primarily about the structure of this forum. Not sure I'm right about that though.


Hi Shel, I believe you are correct, though in the unfolding of this thread over time, it seems to ebb and flow beyond just group dynamics. We actually have layers of overlapping groups going on. There is the specific sangha in question, then there are postings here by members (I think) of that sangha who are also DharmaWheel members, and then there is a DW group or groups here outside of that (representing Zen traditions or Vajrayana, etc.) that wants to discuss it, so then we are both insiders and outsiders at the same time.

Not to mention that there seems to be a specific history involved here beyond just the topic that I'm not privy too.

I'm reminded of Chapter 5 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php

HABIT 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

If you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. Do any of the following sound familiar?

"Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way." "I had that same thing happen to me." "Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation."

Because you so often listen autobiographically, you tend to respond in one of four ways:
Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree.
Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference.
Advising: You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
Interpreting: You analyze others' motives and behaviors based on your own experiences.

You might be saying, "Hey, now wait a minute. I'm just trying to relate to the person by drawing on my own experiences. Is that so bad?" In some situations, autobiographical responses may be appropriate, such as when another person specifically asks for help from your point of view or when there is already a very high level of trust in the relationship.


I think it's true groups tend to close ranks at time, but I don't think it's a given that they do that, nor that they are being knee jerk in their reaction if they do it response to a specific person. More important, even if they do close ranks, that doesn't mean they can't then open back up. Communication is ongoing, so if one comes across a defensive reaction, rather than go "look a defensive reaction, they are so close minded", another choice would be to try and respond in a way that first relaxes those defenses. If one doesn't do that, then one should question oneself. It's like when you come across a dog, and you raise your hand to play with it and the dog becomes defensive. What do you do? Usually put your hand down, perhaps lower yourself to the dogs level, and reach out in a passive way with your hand. That way the dog feels more secure and can come to you, sniff you, and feel more comfortable.

Or you can call him a dumb dog :)
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby futerko » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:39 pm

conebeckham wrote:To briefly outline several of these: first, there's the "Insider/Outsider" argument--"You don't understand our position, and can't until you're an insider, so your opinion is not valid."
This touches on a lot of issues. I recently tried to explain to some non-Buddhists (or at least dubious ones) that they were criticising a Buddhist on the basis of a humanist concept of self, so I was criticising them on the basis that they did not understand the concept of non-self, and needless to say I was then subjected to a series of ad-hom attacks.
I’m not sure as I would go as far as to say that it means that “your opinion is not valid”, but rather the need to use critical theory in this matter, in other words to evaluate using the espoused values of the person or system rather than simply saying that “our values are different to (better than) their values“.
Of course this provides a difficult obstacle because often the group themselves do not have a consistent set of well defined values against which they can be criticised, and as in this case, it does lead to the idea that one would have to have a pretty comprehensive understanding of their philosophy in order to be able to do this.

edit: The point was that their criticism might have been vaild had it had been couched in terms that made sense, but as it was simply an "external" judgement it was impossible to tell whether it was valid or not.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby shel » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:18 am

uan wrote:
shel wrote:
uan wrote:One theme of this thread was summed up nicely as "people should be more tolerant of criticism". This is true. But equally as important, perhaps more so, another theme should be "if people aren't tolerant of the criticism I give, what can I change in MYSELF so that they are tolerant?"

That's a good and valid point, Uan, but it's beside the point, as I understand it. The topic seems to be about group dynamics and the consequences of not allowing 'outside' opinions or criticisms. There are consequences. Ideally individuals will behave as you advise, however this discussion seems to be primarily about the structure of this forum. Not sure I'm right about that though.


Hi Shel, I believe you are correct, though in the unfolding of this thread over time, it seems to ebb and flow beyond just group dynamics. We actually have layers of overlapping groups going on. There is the specific sangha in question, then there are postings here by members (I think) of that sangha who are also DharmaWheel members, and then there is a DW group or groups here outside of that (representing Zen traditions or Vajrayana, etc.) that wants to discuss it, so then we are both insiders and outsiders at the same time.

Not to mention that there seems to be a specific history involved here beyond just the topic that I'm not privy too.

I'm reminded of Chapter 5 of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits-habit5.php

HABIT 5: SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD

If you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. Do any of the following sound familiar?

"Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way." "I had that same thing happen to me." "Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation."

Because you so often listen autobiographically, you tend to respond in one of four ways:
Evaluating: You judge and then either agree or disagree.
Probing: You ask questions from your own frame of reference.
Advising: You give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
Interpreting: You analyze others' motives and behaviors based on your own experiences.

You might be saying, "Hey, now wait a minute. I'm just trying to relate to the person by drawing on my own experiences. Is that so bad?" In some situations, autobiographical responses may be appropriate, such as when another person specifically asks for help from your point of view or when there is already a very high level of trust in the relationship.


I think it's true groups tend to close ranks at time, but I don't think it's a given that they do that, nor that they are being knee jerk in their reaction if they do it response to a specific person. More important, even if they do close ranks, that doesn't mean they can't then open back up. Communication is ongoing, so if one comes across a defensive reaction, rather than go "look a defensive reaction, they are so close minded", another choice would be to try and respond in a way that first relaxes those defenses. If one doesn't do that, then one should question oneself. It's like when you come across a dog, and you raise your hand to play with it and the dog becomes defensive. What do you do? Usually put your hand down, perhaps lower yourself to the dogs level, and reach out in a passive way with your hand. That way the dog feels more secure and can come to you, sniff you, and feel more comfortable.

Or you can call him a dumb dog :)


I don't think anyone would argue with what you're saying here, but again I'm not sure we are on the same wavelength about the gravity of a topic like this. As I see it, there's basically a cost/benefit ratio in the forum structure between encouraging or enforcing courtesy and allowing freer dialogue (that may at times include degrees of abrasive criticism). Namdrol, a valuable contributor, leaving the forum is a good example of the costs for having too tolerant a forum. Groupthink and it's resulting problems are the cost of too rigid and 'polite' a forum.
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby uan » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:26 am

shel wrote:I don't think anyone would argue with what you're saying here, but again I'm not sure we are on the same wavelength about the gravity of a topic like this. As I see it, there's basically a cost/benefit ratio in the forum structure between encouraging or enforcing courtesy and allowing freer dialogue (that may at times include degrees of abrasive criticism). Namdrol, a valuable contributor, leaving the forum is a good example of the costs for having too tolerant a forum. Groupthink and it's resulting problems are the cost of too rigid and 'polite' a forum.


I think I'm starting to understand, I'm just a bit slow :)

I'd agree Malcolm leaving is a loss for the forum.
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Sara H » Mon Mar 18, 2013 5:42 am

conebeckham wrote:...


Friend those "codes" were created by Shakyamuni Buddha, who spent years of his life teaching about Right Speech.

Buddhism does not say that it's ok to say every impulsive thought that pops into your head about something. We practice restraint, and self examination and reflection to see if it really is good to say a thing.

If you want to say whatever and justify it as "freedom of speech", that's your choice, but that's not what the Buddha taught.
He taught restraint, and compassion with our speech, and right use, and wisdom.

Buddhism is not just a philosophy we believe in while we sit at a wall.

It's something we do.

if you can't take that compassion for others off the cushion and put it into speech and thought in everyday actions, including online, then what good is it?

Enlightenment is not something you feel it's something you do.

If you can't have compassion for these people when you speak of them, then what good is your speech?


In Gassho
Sara
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby dearreader » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:06 am

Sara H wrote:
conebeckham wrote:...

If you want to say whatever and justify it as "freedom of speech", that's your choice, but that's not what the Buddha taught.
He taught restraint, and compassion with our speech, and right use, and wisdom.
if you can't take that compassion for others off the cushion and put it into speech and thought in everyday actions, including online, then what good is it?
If you can't have compassion for these people when you speak of them, then what good is your speech?


I ask you once again, please define compassion.
I ask you if you believe in or reject the concept of "tough love"
"Inscribed with the brush of Mt. Sumeru and the ink of the seas,
Heaven-and-earth itself is the sutra book.
All phenomena are encompassed in even a single point therein,
And the six sense objects are all included within its covers."
-Kukai, translated in Kukai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi and Dreitlein
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby muni » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:36 am

Sara H wrote:
If you can't have compassion for these people when you speak of them, then what good is your speech?




:soapbox:

Therefore I think we should listen to/trust genuine guidance, Awaken Nature, which is always Compassion and no judgement. All the teachings of the Awaken one/Buddha are tools out that same wisdom source to awaken the variety of beings.
Therefore wisdom/nature cannot be split in wrong and right and better and worse other than there is me only (suffering) what don't understand.

:namaste:
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby conebeckham » Mon Mar 18, 2013 4:42 pm

Sara H wrote:
conebeckham wrote:...


Friend those "codes" were created by Shakyamuni Buddha, who spent years of his life teaching about Right Speech.

Buddhism does not say that it's ok to say every impulsive thought that pops into your head about something. We practice restraint, and self examination and reflection to see if it really is good to say a thing.

If you want to say whatever and justify it as "freedom of speech", that's your choice, but that's not what the Buddha taught.
He taught restraint, and compassion with our speech, and right use, and wisdom.

Buddhism is not just a philosophy we believe in while we sit at a wall.

It's something we do.

if you can't take that compassion for others off the cushion and put it into speech and thought in everyday actions, including online, then what good is it?

Enlightenment is not something you feel it's something you do.

If you can't have compassion for these people when you speak of them, then what good is your speech?


In Gassho
Sara


I have no disagreement with any of this.
But it does not address the real point, which is "criticism"--can "criticism" be "Right Speech." I, for one, believe strongly that it can.
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby Sara H » Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:20 am

If you're saying it from the point of view of compassion, and you're empathizing with the person, and trying to help them personally do better, and if they've asked you for your help, then yes.

But if you're pointing fingers behind their back, or jumping on the bandwagon then no. Placing blame is not considered Right Speech.

There's a big difference between placing blame, -and constructive criticism, and helpful critique intended to build the person up into a better person.

-In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby muni » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:00 pm

A good stamp on dreaming ass by wisdom's compassion.

In my many lives, I opened my cocoon only for those who were stinking like me.

Open heart open mind. :heart:
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Re: Who gets to comment on what? Why should I listen?

Postby muni » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:56 pm

Sara H wrote:If you're saying it from the point of view of compassion, and you're empathizing with the person, and trying to help them personally do better, and if they've asked you for your help, then yes.

But if you're pointing fingers behind their back, or jumping on the bandwagon then no. Placing blame is not considered Right Speech.

There's a big difference between placing blame, -and constructive criticism, and helpful critique intended to build the person up into a better person.


Compassion can be through our own mindfulness - openess.

:namaste:
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