About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

If you're new to the forum or new to Buddhism, this is the best place for your questions. Responses require moderator approval before they are visible.
Post Reply
beebee1314
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:18 am

About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by beebee1314 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:34 am

Hello fellow Buddhists, I have a big question in regards to bad parents. Before that, let me describe them.

I was born to these parents, I would say, by reluctance. My parents wanted to abort me, but finally give birth to me, because my grandmother and aunts said they will take care of me as a baby. Finally given birth to me, I was thrown to my aunt and grandmother even before reaching 1 month old.

I grew up staying with my aunt and paternal grandmother. Though it wasn't ideal and my aunt and grandmother also complained a lot about my parents, my aunt still put food on the table and gave me proper education. My parents, however, have not done anything for my upbringing and welfare, except paying RM150 a month, 30 yrs ago, until the age of 18, when they stopped paying anymore for my welfare. In short, my aunt covered for my upbringing, and naturally, she has a lot of her complains, but she still did it anyway.

Back to my parents, they have never paid anything more than the RM150 a month. Most of the things I needed such as school stuffs, clothes and so on, was paid by my aunt. My mom naturally didn't bother much about me. My dad on the other hand, was worse. I had a god parents (like most Chinese do), who gave me red packets for my birthdays and so on. My dad will open and take a portion of it before passing little to me. When I was younger, I asked my dad for help to fetch me from college (fees paid by my aunt). My dad was furious and scolded me being useless for not being able to take public transportation back. Mind u, he was retired that time and spent most of his time chit chatting and wasting his money. I asked him if he doesn't like me so much, why give birth to me, which he replies "then you should go die".

Now the question is, how should I treat them. They are old now. My mom is a bit better to me now, since I'm working and able to give her money (my aunt who complain about my parents when I was younger, told me to give them allowance each month, since they are still my parents). However my dad, is still endless with his cursing.

All Buddhists here, advice me. I hate that man to the max. Calling him dad is just because of formality. How should I treat him?

In short, parents who wanted to abort me, to never care about me even when I was sick, stopping all welfare at 18, and a father who told me to die.

tkp67
Posts: 1143
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 5:42 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by tkp67 » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:25 pm

Fundamentally negative emotions are meant to be eliminated as they are a source of suffering. If there was no negative emotion it change the outlook? Emotions born of family are powerful so of course it is not so easily accomplished.

My filial relationships where a source of suffering for me and filial piety is an important facet of my tradition. Eliminating my suffering in this regard was critical for me to advance and in the process I came to understanding that the impediments of their karma did not have to be my own but rather I could use their karma as a cause to right my own.

Cultivating compassion was critical in this transformation and I often challenged my rising emotions with a reminder to be compassionate when I didn't have the capacity to keep my mind quiet all together. I honor them with a clear heart now when I practice and this is fulfilling to me.

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:32 am

1. Filial devotion is optional in many Buddhist traditions. Confucius did not teach Buddhadharma.

2. Hate is corrosive. There are many ways to reduce it, they range from CBT to Metta Bhavana practice. Our parents are entitled to no more and no less consideration from us than other sentient beings.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

User avatar
Ayu
Global Moderator
Posts: 7711
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:25 am
Location: Europe

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by Ayu » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:24 am

beebee1314 wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:34 am
Hello fellow Buddhists, I have a big question in regards to bad parents. Before that, let me describe them.

I was born to these parents, I would say, by reluctance. My parents wanted to abort me, but finally give birth to me, because my grandmother and aunts said they will take care of me as a baby. Finally given birth to me, I was thrown to my aunt and grandmother even before reaching 1 month old.

I grew up staying with my aunt and paternal grandmother. Though it wasn't ideal and my aunt and grandmother also complained a lot about my parents, my aunt still put food on the table and gave me proper education. My parents, however, have not done anything for my upbringing and welfare, except paying RM150 a month, 30 yrs ago, until the age of 18, when they stopped paying anymore for my welfare. In short, my aunt covered for my upbringing, and naturally, she has a lot of her complains, but she still did it anyway.

Back to my parents, they have never paid anything more than the RM150 a month. Most of the things I needed such as school stuffs, clothes and so on, was paid by my aunt. My mom naturally didn't bother much about me. My dad on the other hand, was worse. I had a god parents (like most Chinese do), who gave me red packets for my birthdays and so on. My dad will open and take a portion of it before passing little to me. When I was younger, I asked my dad for help to fetch me from college (fees paid by my aunt). My dad was furious and scolded me being useless for not being able to take public transportation back. Mind u, he was retired that time and spent most of his time chit chatting and wasting his money. I asked him if he doesn't like me so much, why give birth to me, which he replies "then you should go die".

Now the question is, how should I treat them. They are old now. My mom is a bit better to me now, since I'm working and able to give her money (my aunt who complain about my parents when I was younger, told me to give them allowance each month, since they are still my parents). However my dad, is still endless with his cursing.

All Buddhists here, advice me. I hate that man to the max. Calling him dad is just because of formality. How should I treat him?

In short, parents who wanted to abort me, to never care about me even when I was sick, stopping all welfare at 18, and a father who told me to die.
In my view those emotions are a good topic to work with. One can learn tremendously about oneself. But it can be a longterm project. Emotions are not easily to erase. Supression of emotions is senseless. As long as they are generated there is no sense in supressing. The buddhist way taught by my teacher's lineage is working with antidotes in thoughts. Change the thoughts in a possible authentic and genuine way.

My teacher says: "If you cannot help people, at least do not hurt them." Often this is a very important guideline. If I get too angry about certain people, it is better to avoid those situations and not meet them. Then there is space to work on the problem: analyse the own approach and thoughts, try changes of perspective on realistic basis. Try to slip into their shoes. Neglect judgment and guilt. Watch the scenario from afar without identifying with only your own perspective. You can understand it's a work.

The goal is to pardon and treat them kindly. This is extremly beneficial for the own karma. With hatred we hurt ourselves. But it is a difficult process to reach there. You can't pretend it. Everyone is able to sense supressed hate. That's why pretending and suppressing emotions is completely senseless.

But the good news is: emotions follow thoughts. Negative emotions start with negative thoughts. Therefore it is a good tool to simply observe thoughts without judgement and without suppression. Like this you can become aware about what is going on. Do scientific research on your own mind. And don't be too judgemental against yourself as well. You and your parents and everybody , we are all imperfect human beings.

Edit: But this is a western psychological approach. I don't know how good it works for asian people. _()_
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:54 am

:good: Excellent.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

humble.student
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:35 pm

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by humble.student » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:54 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:32 am
1. Filial devotion is optional in many Buddhist traditions. Confucius did not teach Buddhadharma.
Confucius gets a hard time around here, and undeservedly so. See the Sigalovada Sutta for instance:
"In five ways, young householder, a child should minister to his parents as the East:

(i) Having supported me I shall support them,
(ii) I shall do their duties,
(iii) I shall keep the family tradition,
(iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance,
(v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed
relatives.[9]
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nara.html

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. » Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:58 pm

I am not giving him a hard time. I am just pointing out that he didn’t teach Buddhadharma. Because he didn’t.
SOME of his ideas might be compatible with Buddhadharma. But I am not convinced that filial piety is among them.
After all if the young Gautama had observed filial piety there would have been no Shakyamuni Buddha.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

humble.student
Posts: 217
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 1:35 pm

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by humble.student » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:31 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 3:58 pm
SOME of his ideas might be compatible with Buddhadharma. But I am not convinced that filial piety is among them.
Perhaps you missed the quotation from a sutra?

Simon E.
Posts: 7434
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by Simon E. » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:23 pm

I saw the quotation from a Sutta.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

madhusudan
Posts: 211
Joined: Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:54 pm

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by madhusudan » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:22 am

This is such a difficult situation and I am so sorry to hear about what you had to endure growing up. Your parents denied you a loving home, but fortunately your extended family showed some responsibility and care.

These things occur due to previous karma, so one way to look at it is that you incurred debts in the past. Surely your parents are in the wrong, but cause and effect is inexorable.

Also, without annoyance we cannot develop patience. Without hatred we cannot develop love. So maybe this is a blessed opportunity to develop forgiveness. A tall order, I understand, but maybe you're a hero up for the challenge.

Sorry if this seems to be asking more of you, who have already survived such a tragic family life. Bringing seemingly negative circumstances onto the path is a way to use them as fuel for your own benefit and that of others.

User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 3476
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:34 pm

They are your parents, so you are adding that fact into the situation.
But if you think about it, that fact really doesn't make any difference.
If you had the best parents, but a different person was cruel and mean to you,
then that cruel person would be the object of your question, "how should I treat them?"
Since your parents treated you like a stranger, you can look at this problem the same way
as you would any stranger who is mean to you.
From the Buddhist view, with compassion, because you know their cruelty is also nothing more than
an expression of their own suffering arising from ignorance.

But, maybe the question is, how do you treat yourself?
Isn't your pain because you did not have the kind of parents you wish you had?
We don't require strangers to be kind to us, but we all expect our parents to love us and be kind to us.
So, the pain comes from the shock when they are not kind and loving parents.
You have a lot of pain from this. I'm really sorry to hear about it. You have a lot of healing to do. It is very understandable.
It often manifests as self-hatred.

I think the Buddhist solution is usually to have compassion for them,
maybe even forgive them for being too stupid to see what a wonderful child they have.
How should you feel toward two people who foolishly throw away their greatest treasure? Maybe to pity them.
They could have had so much joy, but because of their ignorance, they threw away that opportunity.

If you can feel compassion for them, this will make your heart big enough not only to overcome all the cruelty they showed you,
but it will also heal your own pain.
'It might even change their hearts, or maybe not. It won't change the past. But it will change the present and the future.
That is because compassion and forgiveness are indestructible armor.
Nothing can hurt your spirit when you generate compassion for others.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

beebee1314
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:18 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by beebee1314 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:39 am

humble.student wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:54 pm
Simon E. wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:32 am
1. Filial devotion is optional in many Buddhist traditions. Confucius did not teach Buddhadharma.
Confucius gets a hard time around here, and undeservedly so. See the Sigalovada Sutta for instance:
"In five ways, young householder, a child should minister to his parents as the East:

(i) Having supported me I shall support them,
(ii) I shall do their duties,
(iii) I shall keep the family tradition,
(iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance,
(v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed
relatives.[9]
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .nara.html
They never supported me. They probably did, but very little. I'll be fair. Given a percentage, they probably gave 5%. That's why I'm giving back 5%. Ya i will continue keep the family tradition, not for them, but because I have heard from my extended family that my grandfather was a great man. I'm just sad that my dad turns out like a piece of junk.

For inheritance wise, my dad spent all his pension money in less than 6 mths, and is depending on his 4 children including me, for support. How he spent the hundreds of thousands, is beyond me.

Probably because i never had any parental love, I've always like children, and feels painful when I see parents dumping their children to orphanage. I do have a dream last time to open up an orphanage. Haha hope I'm able to do it.

beebee1314
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:18 am

Re: About bad parents, how should we treat them in Buddhism

Post by beebee1314 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:51 am

madhusudan wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:22 am
This is such a difficult situation and I am so sorry to hear about what you had to endure growing up. Your parents denied you a loving home, but fortunately your extended family showed some responsibility and care.

These things occur due to previous karma, so one way to look at it is that you incurred debts in the past. Surely your parents are in the wrong, but cause and effect is inexorable.

Also, without annoyance we cannot develop patience. Without hatred we cannot develop love. So maybe this is a blessed opportunity to develop forgiveness. A tall order, I understand, but maybe you're a hero up for the challenge.

Sorry if this seems to be asking more of you, who have already survived such a tragic family life. Bringing seemingly negative circumstances onto the path is a way to use them as fuel for your own benefit and that of others.
I've actually forgiven my mom to a certain degree. I used to hate my mom a lot as well, coz my aunt used to scold me and threaten to send me home to my useless parents when I was naughty. Well now that I'm working and earning my own money, I have my life and she stopped it. And I saw that her life is stressful because she always hates people. That's why to a certain degree, I've forgiven my aunt and mom for this.

But my dad, I still can't forgive him. And my parents, though they earned quite good money, they spent them all on the gambling table. And that is why they can only afford pitiful sums for us. But it's true like my sis says. It's because of them doing nothing, that made us this resilient and we grew up stronger. You know, we had some relatives that treated us badly too. Our eldest uncle wife used to treat us like beggars coz my parents were poor, but we aren't actually poor, just parents gamble all the money. In a bad environment, we actually became successful. For this, I'm fair, like everyone says here, in the midst of shit hole, we grew up stronger.

I believe like everyone advices here, I'll just treat my dad like a stranger, same like how I treat other strangers.

Post Reply

Return to “Discovering Mahayana Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests