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VonNoble

Upset about the statue

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17 minutes ago, VonNoble said:

Thanks to all for the input.

 

After connecting with a monk in Houston.... the conversation ended with an observation.   People choose their reactions.    They can choose happy.   They can choose not happy.   All people have a choice.

 

So I am going to think on that for awhile.

von

 

that sounds very stoic...or stoicism sounds very Buddhist :) 

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3 hours ago, VonNoble said:

People choose their reactions.    They can choose happy.   They can choose not happy.   All people have a choice.

Does that mean that we have no responsibility to take the likely reactions of others into account while making our plans? Does it mean, for example, that if I call my wife ugly, her getting upset is purely her choice, and not something that I could have prevented? If I were to wave a Nazi flag, aren't the inevitable negative reactions at least partially my fault? 

If I push someone and they fall over, "You could have chosen to have better balance" seems like a feeble justification. Doesn't it? 

And, personally speaking, the whole "choosing to be happy" rubs me the wrong way. It belittles the pain of others. According to the story, the Buddha did not understand suffering until he experienced it himself. I suspect that if you haven't experienced someone else's suffering, you cannot understand it. What I can do does not indicate what you can do. Where I am strong may be where you are weak. Faulting the weak for being weak just seems cruel.

I felt bad because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet. He made fun of me for not having shoes as nice as his, and now I feel even worse.

Edited by mererdog

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1 hour ago, mererdog said:

Does that mean that we have no responsibility to take the likely reactions of others into account while making our plans? Does it mean, for example, that if I call my wife ugly, her getting upset is purely her choice, and not something that I could have prevented? If I were to wave a Nazi flag, aren't the inevitable negative reactions at least partially my fault? 

If I push someone and they fall over, "You could have chosen to have better balance" seems like a feeble justification. Doesn't it? 

And, personally speaking, the whole "choosing to be happy" rubs me the wrong way. It belittles the pain of others. According to the story, the Buddha did not understand suffering until he experienced it himself. I suspect that if you haven't experienced someone else's suffering, you cannot understand it. What I can do does not indicate what you can do. Where I am strong may be where you are weak. Faulting the weak for being weak just seems cruel.

I felt bad because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet. He made fun of me for not having shoes as nice as his, and now I feel even worse.

All of life is a choice, one right after another. If we are not responsible for our choices, who is? I remember a time in my generation when we said, "The devil made me do it." There are others who would say we have no choices, that we merely respond to the laws of physics. If memory still serves me, Buddha is attributed to have said that we are the only ones responsible for our actions and that would have to include our responses to the actions of others.

Edited by Brother Kaman
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4 hours ago, cuchulain said:

that sounds very stoic...or stoicism sounds very Buddhist :) 

 

:)...I had to go look up what spicing is all about.    Which had me thinking I might want to take a philosophy class because I never have taken one.    So I thank you for that nudge as well.   Certainly the summary I read notes a close proximity of thought in this instance.

 

von

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33 minutes ago, VonNoble said:

 

:)...I had to go look up what spicing is all about.    

 

von

 

I fidn’t Catch that auto-correct fixed my original boo boo by making an even less understandable one...my apologies....please change spicing to stoicism and the previous posting shound make more sense.:)

von

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3 hours ago, mererdog said:

Does that mean that we have no responsibility to take the likely reactions of others into account while making our plans? Does it mean, for example, that if I call my wife ugly, her getting upset is purely her choice, and not something that I could have prevented? If I were to wave a Nazi flag, aren't the inevitable negative reactions at least partially my fault? 

If I push someone and they fall over, "You could have chosen to have better balance" seems like a feeble justification. Doesn't it? 

And, personally speaking, the whole "choosing to be happy" rubs me the wrong way. It belittles the pain of others. According to the story, the Buddha did not understand suffering until he experienced it himself. I suspect that if you haven't experienced someone else's suffering, you cannot understand it. What I can do does not indicate what you can do. Where I am strong may be where you are weak. Faulting the weak for being weak just seems cruel.

I felt bad because I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet. He made fun of me for not having shoes as nice as his, and now I feel even worse.

I will not martyr myself for others happiness, especially when they seem so unwilling to do that for my happiness.

Edited by cuchulain

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

I will not martyr myself for others happiness, especially when they seem so unwilling to do that for my happiness.

I hear that. But having a civil society requires that we all make a hundred small sacrifices each day. Whether that means refraining from putting a hat on a statue, or refraining from complaining about someone putting a hat on a statue, or even refraining from complaining about someone complaining about a hat on a statue.

The happiness of others effects our happiness. Having been in both situations, I can say with confidence that having a friend for a neighbor is better than having an enemy for a neighbor. No contest. Of course, it is only worth so much, and I would leave it to you to decide what you are willing to sacrifice for it.

Edited by mererdog

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3 hours ago, Brother Kaman said:

All of life is a choice, one right after another. If we are not responsible for our choices, who is?

I would say that we are responsible for our choices, and that part of that means we are responsible for how our choices effect the choices of others. If I testify in court that I saw you murder someone, I can't claim to have no responsibility when the jury convicts. Buyers should beware, but that doesn't justify unethical sales practices.

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8 hours ago, mererdog said:

Does that mean that we have no responsibility to take the likely reactions of others into account while making our plans?

 We have no responsibility to act (or not act) with likely reactions as the largest contributing factor.   There are two distinct scenarios.  One is we PLAN for the reaction.  The other is we got a reaction we did not plan for....which - is not the same thing as the first scenario.  You indicated that you accepted that the INTENT/plan did not include the reaction received.  

 

If you didn't anticipate that reaction ....it wasn't part of the planning - no matter how much forethought you exercise.  So this  - we apparently agree was not an issue in this scenario. 

 

von 

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8 hours ago, mererdog said:

 Does it mean, for example, that if I call my wife ugly, her getting upset is purely her choice, and not something that I could have prevented?

 

I would think deliberately insulting someone you could anticipate they might get upset with you.  Unintentionally giving offense is again - a very different matter.  

 

8 hours ago, mererdog said:

 If I were to wave a Nazi flag, aren't the inevitable negative reactions at least partially my fault? 

 

AGAIN....waving a Nazi flag intentionally is not at all in the ballpark of unintentionally giving offense.  I do not see any of these examples as tied to the original. 

 

von

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8 hours ago, mererdog said:

If I push someone and they fall over, "You could have chosen to have better balance" seems like a feeble justification. Doesn't it? 

 

One doesn't choose better physical balance.   As I get older wobbling is a real problem.  Pushing me over is not difficult and not relevant to an emotional response.  There are parallels but this isn't one of them.

 

von

8 hours ago, mererdog said:

And, personally speaking, the whole "choosing to be happy" rubs me the wrong way. It belittles the pain of others.

That is your opinion.   Others think differently.  That too is a matter of choice.   

 

8 hours ago, mererdog said:

According to the story, the Buddha did not understand suffering until he experienced it himself. I suspect that if you haven't experienced someone else's suffering, you cannot understand it.

First, you need not experience things first hand to muster compassion.    The Buddha did experience suffering and he noted that NO PERSON alive goes without it.  If we are going to use the Buddha as a reference point than, by his determination of the First Noble Truth - all humans suffer.     Therefore - according to your above posting - all understand it to some degree.  

 

More to the point I think you are making - it is what we do after we realize suffering occurs that is the issue. 

 

von

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Even though I do not think these points relevant since they keep reoccurring. 

 

I DO NOT know this woman.  As far as I know - she is not a direct neighbor of mine.   She passed down my street and made her comment for whatever reason.  I don't recognize her but I admit I am not the most observant. 

 

I do not know how to contact her unless I just see her by happenstance as I did this time.  Maybe I can hang out by the garbage cans next pick up day and see if I am on her flight path.  She is not an immediate neighbor I know within six houses across or aside of me.  

 

Not that knowing or or not knowing her is an issue other than future communications are dependent on me spotting her as I have zero idea her exact location.  Obviously it is this area ...but maybe not on my specific street.  I'll let you know if I have a chance to visit with her. 

von

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14 hours ago, mererdog said:

Moving forward, however, you know that the action causes upset, so you have to decide whether the action is worth the upset.

 

 

Actually I know one person had a reaction....an unspecified reaction. 

YOU ARE ASSUMING it was the hat.

 

It could have merely been the fact I displayed a Buddhist statue.   Many people are ignorant re: other religions and who in the world knows what she knows or doesn't know about it. 

 

To put all of this decision making on an unspecified offense (the statue - or the hat on the statue) - not resolved as yet that I can see. 

 

von 

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14 hours ago, mererdog said:

So, the question is whether or not that matters to you. Do you mind upsetting some people? Is it worth it for the sake of a joke? 

Do people's feelings only matter if those feelings are based on proper religious doctrine? 

Do people's feelings cease to matter if they are members of a minority religion?

If a Halloween decoration makes almost everyone smile, but makes one witch feel persecuted, is it worth it?

 

There is no way to accomplish much in life without running the risk of upsetting people.   While I might well, like most people, try and minimize the stress caused to others - there are moments where people will get stressed in spite of reason or all measure to avoid it. 

 

You keep referring to this as "a joke" .....the humor is true enough - so it was humorous - but not with the intent of getting a laugh at someone's expense.  It is a statue.  Not a person.    That statue would, presumably ONLY be offensive  if  1) a person revered that particular image    2) that devotee took offense at a Santa hat.   None of that is a given.   

 

It could also merely be the fact that I dared to display  a Buddhist statue at all (which had heretofore been inside my home.) 

 

The "religious doctrine" portion was a reply to your assertion that I knowing would disrespect a holy icon of Buddhism.  That is very subjective as with any other ritual in any other religion.   Some Catholics find rosaries to be holy and some wear them as jewelry. Some people treat any Bible with deference and others less so.  So when you asserted that I intentionally offended Buddhists - I was merely responding - even Buddhists would not agree on that point. 

 

If one witch came to my house and knocked on the door and told me I had an offensive yard decoration - I might remove it.   (That did not happen in this case)....

 

von

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In the end, what do we have?  One passing woman -- who may or may not be Christian -- who took offense at a statue -- or a hat -- or a statue wearing a hat.  Or did she take offense when you said "Merry Christmas?".  Maybe she simply took offense at you and none of this had anything to do with anything.  She finds you offensive?  Maybe she doesn't like the color of your house?  Or your hat?  Or your shoes?  Or your after shave?  Or your garden?  

 

I think it's time to do the Buddhist thing and release it.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Jonathan H. B. Lobl said:

In the end, what do we have?  One passing woman -- who may or may not be Christian -- who took offense at a statue -- or a hat -- or a statue wearing a hat.  Or did she take offense when you said "Merry Christmas?".  Maybe she simply took offense at you and none of this had anything to do with anything.  She finds you offensive?  Maybe she doesn't like the color of your house?  Or your hat?  Or your shoes?  Or your after shave?  Or your garden?  

 

I think it's time to do the Buddhist thing and release it.

 

 

Thanks for the chuckle yet again. 

 

I think releasing it - is a very sound idea. ^_^   von

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20 hours ago, VonNoble said:

If you didn't anticipate that reaction ....it wasn't part of the planning - no matter how much forethought you exercise.  So this  - we apparently agree was not an issue in this scenario. 

Looking backward, you had no way to anticipate the reaction you got. Moving forward, you have reason to expect it. As such, if the offense occurs again, it is intentional. 

Edited by mererdog

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20 hours ago, VonNoble said:

The "religious doctrine" portion was a reply to your assertion that I knowing would disrespect a holy icon of Buddhism.  

I never made that assertion. I said that you did it, not that you meant to do it. I would wager that most disrespect is unintentional, being caused by differences in what we find important. I don't care about statues, so I don't treat them with respect. To someone who considers statues important, my disrespect is likely to cause offense, because my actions tell them that what they consider important does not matter. I don't consider my disrespect to be wrong, nor do I consider their reaction to it to be wrong. I believe these inevitable disagreements are just proof that we are simply doing the best we can as imperfect beings in an imperfect world.

Edited by mererdog

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10 minutes ago, mererdog said:

I never made that assertion. I said that you did it, not that you meant to do it. I would wager that most disrespect is unintentional, being caused by differences in what we find important. I don't care about statues, so I don't treat them with respect. To someone who considers statues important, my disrespect is likely to cause offense, because my actions tell them that what they consider important does not matter. I don't consider my disrespect to be wrong, nor do I consider their reaction to it to be wrong. I believe these inevitable disagreements are just proof that we are simply doing the best we can as imperfect beings in an imperfect world.

Understood.

 

I agree.

 

thx

 

von

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Greetings to you all my sisters and brothers,

 

Personally, I think the Santa Hat on Buddha is pretty funny.  But hey, I can be a bit odd somedays.  

 

I do think this points to the fact that we all have different ideas of what is funny and appropriate.  Some years ago, I worked at the corporate headquarters at a VERY large brewery here in Milwaukee.  One Christmas season, it was decided to decorate the tree in the main lobby of the corporate offices with tap handles emblazoned with the logos of our various beers rather than traditional ornaments.  I thought it looked pretty cool, but a few of the VP's of the company took offense (they had not been on on the meeting of the Facilities staff when we discussed the decorations of the year)., and that tree came down and was redecorated with traditional ornaments two days later.  Their rationale was that the non  -traditional ornaments would offend Christians who worked there.  I still think it was silly, but what can one do.  We live in a world were people offend easy.

 

In Solidarity,

Reverend Calli 

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