Is idiot compassion a thing?

User avatar
tobes
Posts: 1488
Joined: Fri Dec 24, 2010 5:02 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by tobes » Fri Mar 29, 2019 6:18 am

I think in this instance genuine compassion is less about giving something material and more about a. genuinely engaging with the state of suffering the being is in and b. taking personal responsibility for their liberation or at least to help dispel that state of suffering.

It could be good for instance, to give something to establish a connection and then (much more importantly) try to connect that being with your core practices when you sit or perform some kind of ritual later that evening.

Idiot compassion would be pseudo kindness or care; it could again be giving or not giving, but in either case without really being invested in their liberation and without really engaging with their suffering. True compassion is: Not only have I actually vowed to take responsibility for this being's welfare, but I have internalised that vow sufficiently that I really do feel that responsibility and make some kind of effort to enact it.

Obviously not easy to master, which is why we cherish those who have mastered it.

User avatar
Queequeg
Global Moderator
Posts: 9207
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:24 pm

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by Queequeg » Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:26 pm

DharmaN00b wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:40 am
I've often thought about times when someone was shouting abuse in my face that it was something that was said to them many times in the past. Knowing or thinking this at belief level means I don't elevate myself or develop the tendency to take things personally and patronize others.
Thanks for that.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

DharmaN00b
Posts: 259
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:12 pm

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by DharmaN00b » Sun Mar 31, 2019 3:17 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 2:26 pm
DharmaN00b wrote:
Fri Mar 29, 2019 4:40 am
I've often thought about times when someone was shouting abuse in my face that it was something that was said to them many times in the past. Knowing or thinking this at belief level means I don't elevate myself or develop the tendency to take things personally and patronize others.
Thanks for that.
:heart: :cheers: Like wise

User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:08 pm

Shantideva - Bodhicaryavatara, III Adopting the Spirit of Awakening wrote:14. Let [beings] have me perform deeds that are conducive to their happiness.
Whoever resorts to me, may it never be in vain.

15. For those who have resorted to me and have an angry or unkind thought, may even that always be the cause for their accomplishing every goal.

16. May those who falsely accuse me, who harm me, and who ridicule me all partake of Awakening.
source
Eight Verses of Thought Transformation wrote:1. Determined to obtain the greatest possible benefit from all sentient beings, who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel, I shall hold them most dear at all times.

2. When in the company of others, I shall always consider myself the lowest of all, and from the depths of my heart hold others dear and supreme.

3. Vigilant, the moment a delusion appears in my mind, endangering myself and others, I shall confront and avert it without delay.

4. Whenever I see beings who are wicked in nature and overwhelmed by violent negative actions and suffering, I shall hold such rare ones dear, as if I had found a precious treasure.

5. When, out of envy, others mistreat me with abuse, insults, or the like, I shall accept defeat and offer the victory to others.

6. When someone whom I have benefited and in whom I have great hopes gives me terrible harm, I shall regard that person as my holy guru.

7. In short, both directly and indirectly, do I offer every happiness and benefit to all my mothers. I shall secretly take upon myself all their harmful actions and suffering.

8. Undefiled by the stains of the superstitions of the eight worldly concerns, may I, by perceiving all phenomena as illusory, be released from the bondage of attachment.
(links added by me)

source
The Wheel of Sharp Weapons wrote:23. When others find fault with whatever we are doing
And people seem eager to blame only us,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
‘Till now we have been shameless, not cared about others,
We have thought that our deeds did not matter at all;
Hereafter let’s stop our offensive behavior.

24. When our servants and friends are annoyed by our habits
And after a while cannot stay in our homes,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done
‘Till now we have imposed our bad habits on others;
Hereafter let’s change and show only kind ways.

25. When all who are close turn against us as enemies,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
‘Till now we have held grudges inside us with anger
With thoughts of sly methods to cause others pain;
Hereafter let’s try to have less affectation,
Not pretend to be kind while we harbour base aims.
source
Lojong Slogans wrote: Slogan 13. Be grateful to everyone.
...
Slogan 24. Change your attitude, but remain natural.
...
Slogan 28. Abandon any hope of fruition.
source
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

rigsreco
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 8:39 pm

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by rigsreco » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:12 pm

Giving alms to beggars is like second nature to Tibetans, something we saw our parents do when we were growing up. That is conditioned in us. I don't think it is my place to question their intentions, whether what they are practicing is unconditioned generosity or not. Labeling compassion as idiot compassion is a label. Observe the state of my mind, be mindful and attentive, and what I am rambling on here are my discursive thoughts.

SilenceMonkey
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by SilenceMonkey » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:26 pm

Giving is also a practice to help soften and let go of our self-cherishing.

Our ideas about what is right for another person is a form of self-cherishing... cherishing our own views.

Sometimes giving can be very hard for me... the teaching from The Diamond Sutra helps me a lot. Giving with no conception in the mind of self, other or the giving itself.

But from the relative compassion side, giving is a practice to grow the feeling of love within our own hearts, isn’t it?

Maybe this is the main point for Buddhist practice... Even if the giving is objectively helping someone else, if it isn’t reducing our own self-grasping and cultivating love and compassion, then there will be little or no merit. And it won’t be a Mahayana practice. Then again, even if you just wish to help someone, that is an authentic expression of the Mahayana. It’s all in the heart... motivation
Last edited by SilenceMonkey on Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tkp67
Posts: 829
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 5:42 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by tkp67 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:34 pm

Here is the thing about the practice of compassion or any attribute of Buddha (equanimity, non-self, purity)

No matter what the scenario displaying attributes of Buddha helps reveal Buddha regardless of intent or outcome.

Evoking the attributes of Buddha manifest the Buddha nature we should cherish these opportunities as the golden road since we pave our path through intention none the less. Why not make every brick as golden as possible.

pemachophel
Posts: 1548
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:19 pm
Location: Lafayette, CO

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by pemachophel » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:45 pm

:good:
Pema Chophel པདྨ་ཆོས་འཕེལ

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 10299
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:58 pm

"Idiot compassion" is actually not compassion at all, and usually involves acts which appear externally compassionate, but which are actually rooted in the eight worldy dharmas. That's my take.

The external situation can't tell you whether something is idiot compassion, just as making assessments like "they'll just use it on drugs" can't really help make such a decision definitively.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Tue Sep 10, 2019 8:06 pm

:good:

SilenceMonkey
Posts: 85
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by SilenceMonkey » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:12 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:58 pm
"Idiot compassion" is actually not compassion at all, and usually involves acts which appear externally compassionate, but which are actually rooted in the eight worldy dharmas. That's my take.
I think I’ve heard people say “idiot compassion” when talking about people trying to be good that they create a kind of artificial saintly ego. Often accompanied by forced smiling and contrived politeness. Would such things be considered idiot compassion?

User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Wed Sep 11, 2019 3:17 pm

Berzin on the Eight Worldly Concerns.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

User avatar
practitioner
Posts: 193
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 5:48 pm

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by practitioner » Thu Sep 12, 2019 12:16 pm

Tai Situ Rinpoche once told a group of students of an elderly Lama not to give the elderly Lama candies and sweets anymore. Even though this Lama liked those things very much, it would damage his health and shorten his life and therefore was “idiot compassion”, his words.
One should do nothing other than benefit sentient beings either directly or indirectly - Shantideva

Simon E.
Posts: 7076
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Sep 12, 2019 1:00 pm

A story from Ajahn Chah. Once there was a kind monkey who was determined to help everyone he met. One day he awoke with a fresh determination to be helpful. In fact he was going to be a Bodhisattva. He set off with a smile on his face and compassion in his heart.
The first creature he encountered he glimpsed as he crossed a bridge. It was a beautiful fish. Overwhelmed with compassion he scooped up the fish and lodged it in the branches of a tree. He then went on his way content to have saved another being from drowning.
We must be careful when giving advice. We are not teachers. We cannot know the subtleties of the lives of those we only know online. We should be particularly careful not to impose our own projected needs when being “compassionate” to others.
Manufacturing warm feelings is not enough.
“The difference between us and Tara is that she knows she doesn’t exist”.

User avatar
Virgo
Former staff member
Posts: 3571
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:47 am
Location: Uni-verse

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by Virgo » Thu Sep 26, 2019 1:17 am

catmoon wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:09 am
This is a topic of ongoing debate be me and a friend. The specific case keeps coming up of a beggar asking for ten dollars. The beggar is a known, active drug user and is known to have begged money for other purposes, such as food or overnight shelter, then spent it on drugs.

My friend says it's not my place to call the shot or exercise judgement, and thus the only compassionate course is to hand over the money. What do you think? The arguments are not going anywhere, I think I need some new approach.
When I was living in Massachusetts a lady came up to me one time while I was parking in Northampton and said she and her husband were out of gas and travelling across states to a relatives house and asked if I could spare some money for gas. I gave her 10 dollars.

Three months later I was parking in Hadley - about 10 miles away from the original location - and guess who walked up to me and started to tell me the same story about being out of gas... yep, you guessed it. I made a decision not to give her any more money.

Virgo

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 10299
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:17 am

Gonna mention some stuff just due to a repeated theme I'm seeing in the thread, and return to the OP a bit.

As an FYI for people who don't understand the nexus between homelessness and drug addiction:

People who were never addicts can easily become addicted simply by being homeless by virtue of being around people using all the time, and by the fact that they have to stay awake, sleep, and move around on a completely bizarre schedule, combined with the natural and sharp degradation of mental health that often comes with being homeless. This alone brings some chronically homeless people to meth use (as one example) who would otherwise have been unlikely to ever go there. Some people end up doing schemes like the above in such situations.

There is also this thing people may have heard of called the Opioid crisis. We now have all kinds of people on the streets who are addicted to opioids (which there is some evidence change people's brains to -permanently or semi permanently be addicted) due to some bigwig cranking the dial on the availability of exceptionally addictive prescriptions drugs, i'm sure you've heard about the lawsuits etc. Well the thing is, heroin is much cheaper than opioid medications, and it is everywhere. Simply the threat of withdrawals from these drugs keeps many people using who aren't even homeless - who have homes or detox centers etc. to go to. You can imagine trying to get off these drugs on the street, being around them all the time, and with no resources. Again, another reason you see some schemers.

The point being, if you assume that someone who is panhandling for drugs or might be lying to bum a bit of money is simply making a straightforward moral decision to go use, and is in full use of their faculties, you simply don't understand how addiction works, how it works in people's brains, how it functions socially, etc. The front brains of addicts are partially shut down, they are living from their lizard brain and their prefrontal cortex is stunted until they get clean and take some time to heal. They are not in control of their decision making in the same way you or I are.

Not saying this to tell people what to do one way or another, but honestly, "idiot compassion" here is in some cases better than simply being an idiot - i.e. uninformed on what someone's situation is. Not giving someone like this money doesn't mean you've made some kind of positive moral decision, it is more complex than that 99.9% of the time. Giving someone like this is an ethical/moral grey area, to say the least.

I personally will almost always given them a bit of money because I know how they live and I know that the money often might prevent them from doing something worse for it. People do way worse things than panhandling and making up BS stories for drugs, and sometimes a person doing this might actually be trying to take the "nice route" to sustaining their addiction, frankly - one that does not involve outright stealing etc.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

User avatar
明安 Myoan
Former staff member
Posts: 2416
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:33 am

Distinguishing admirable friendships from harmful ones is one way I saw some of my own idiot compassion in action.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

kausalya
Posts: 220
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:52 pm

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by kausalya » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:38 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:17 am
People do way worse things than panhandling and making up BS stories for drugs, and sometimes a person doing this might actually be trying to take the "nice route" to sustaining their addiction, frankly - one that does not involve outright stealing etc.
Your reasoning is identical to my Lama's, I think. It's hard to know what we're doing, but generosity is one way to save someone else from getting robbed or killed, and could expand our ability to help the individual in the future. Ultimately it's a judgment call in every case.

I also think that "giving until it hurts" is a worthwhile instruction for some.
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

tkp67
Posts: 829
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 5:42 am

Re: Is idiot compassion a thing?

Post by tkp67 » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:45 pm

Personally I find people who have a hard time expressing compassion free of expectation for others have a hard time expressing it for themselves as well.

Post Reply

Return to “Gelug”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests