Clueless Git wrote:Would just add though ... Compassion towards those different to us is much aided by understanding. Unfortunately the process of gaining understanding of others can often take on the appearance of conflict, particularly in the early stages.
M'other observation on embracing differences is that, according to Bikkhu Nanamolis 'Life of the Buddha', the buddha was a bit of a 'hard man' on the matter of booting those with 'differences' out of his Sangha.
Yes, I've heard and read the same about the Buddha of our time. For example I've heard that he mocked people who held different beliefs. That said, I am not a Buddha. So for as long as I'm in this unawakened and ignorant state, I must rely on common sense, values and principles sprinkled with kindness and properly placed compassion to see me through life and the situations that arise. So if I mock or ridicule someone would that be wholesome speech? To me, it wouldn't be wholesome speech for an ordinary human such as myself to use.
I have no doubt that I'm a product of many factors as were the people of the Buddha's time and place. I'm a Generation X-er who grew up in the very liberal Southern California with parents who embraced diversity. The Buddha's time and place was different in many ways. But there are probably a lot of similarities, too.
A lot of times in these kinds of conversations people begin to present wild scenarios that most people don't encounter. These hypotheticals usually include murder and mayhem. So that's where I start using common sense. For example if you're a Buddhist and therefore don't want to be faced with a situation to use a firearm or be violent, but you live in a dangerous neighborhood, exercise your options. For example a person could find a way to move to a less violent place and not keep a firearm. I'm not saying that would be an easy or simple task, but certainly to which I'd want to aspire. I say this because the self-defense question often comes up! Or the hypothetical situation of seeing someone being harmed and wanting to protect him/her.
When values or principles conflict with each other (ie. I don't like being rude but I don't like telling falsehoods either) I try to employ my common sense. Being truthful is very good as long as you're aware of other people and their feelings. Even better, practicing empathy can really help us to be sensitive while maintaining honesty and integrity. So the scale that you mention is actually very useful! It's part of the common sense factor, for me at least.
So I'm just throwing out some ideas and perspectives. Apologies for the length of this post, I'm usually much briefer in posting. But like I said, this is an interesting topic which encourages discussion!
I don't mean to be obtuse but I still don't feel that there is conflict between values and principles very often. But perhaps other people experience it very differently than I. For me, like I mentioned, values, principles, and common sense are a very good combination especially when peppered with kindness and compassion. And the Buddha's Dharma