Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

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bcol01
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Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by bcol01 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:42 am

I know that at times, Nichiren was quite forceful in his words. When it comes to "Right Speech", what is the right way to view this?

I realize that the truth often hurts. Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

avatamsaka3
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by avatamsaka3 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:20 am

I know nothing about Nichiren. But I can say that there is some evidence in the Pali suttas that the Buddha didn't reject the idea of useful harsh speech:
In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. (Abhaya Sutta)
Now I think the answer has to do with the difference in attainment between us and the Buddhas. The Buddhas have an ability to see cause and effect to such an extent that they can use apparently harsh speech compassionately. We, on the other hand, can't even agree on what the truth is, and can't agree on when to use whatever it is to (in our minds) help someone.

So my approach is just to say that unless you really understand a person and their situation, it's best to be either neutral or pleasant; otherwise, we risk causing harm, and potentially polluting our social environment. Generally, I don't think we're wise enough to do "harsh wisdom", and it always surprises me how many spiritual people are eager to support harshness in the name of "it's best for somebody". (Even when it clearly wasn't.)

I've always found the words of the Dhammapada helpful: it's better to conquer the self once than a thousand enemies on the battlefield...
I realize that the truth often hurts.
The truth of the Buddhas is the most liberating of all dharmas in the cosmos! No hurting involved!

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seeker242
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:14 pm

bcol01 wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 12:42 am

I realize that the truth often hurts. Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?
I would say most certainly no. But in those times where it may hurt, it must be helpful to say. If it is not actually helpful to say, then it is not said regardless if it is true or not. Compassion means doing what is most helpful, whatever that may be, because that's your intention. Reminds me of the story of Dhammapada Verse 282, where the Buddha kept addressing one of his monks as "useless", thereby helping the monk. :smile:
https://www.tipitaka.net/tipitaka/dhp/v ... ?verse=282
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

tkp67
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by tkp67 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 3:05 pm

In accordance to the teachings of Nichiren when it comes to matters of dharma correction is the most compassionate action we can take, revealing ignorance the most powerful tool.

Look at it this way. A person has a tooth in pain that needs repair. It can only get worse if left and will hurt regardless of repair or decline. The most compassionate action is the one that leads to liberation from suffering and in this case it is repair and preservation of truth.

Nichiren was clear about this but was also clear that we should do so according to the capacity of the person. Our own capacities and understanding comes into play as well.

While this is particular to dharma and not to "every day living" if we are just ordinary mortals and nirvana and samsara two aspects of one reality then soon it may become apparent that every one of our actions could be seen as either congruent with or against dharma.

This doesn't mean we need to evoke sharp correction in all the things we do. In my mind it means we should evoke compassion in all the things we do to lead by example. Ultimately this means being truthful and compassionate in accordance to the person's capacity. If someone is distressed and incapable of understanding truth but is is in need of it the most compassionate thing we can do is help fulfill their needs.

Think of the story of the lion and the mouse. The lion did not know it needed the mouse until after it was in pain and the mouse helped to relieve that pain. Compassion is always key and I do not believe the teachings of Nichiren where meant to without full engagement of compassion at all times. One of the hardest aspects of this particular Buddhism is relaying the compassion that was most certainly a part of Nichiren's and Shakyamuni's existences.

This is the most compassionate practice because it denies attainment for the sake of propagating the world honored one's perfect and complete enlightenment. Anything less is simply that and the repercussions are real, we experience them every day.

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Nemo
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by Nemo » Fri Dec 27, 2019 6:21 pm

The Buddha gave sermons that literally gave his students heart attacks.

avatamsaka3
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by avatamsaka3 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 8:52 pm

Certainly the clearest part of Buddhism is that we can always use its Truth to help ourselves. Helping others gets a bit more complicated... and how can we do that with wisdom if we haven't cultivated much? I know I haven't.

narhwal90
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by narhwal90 » Fri Dec 27, 2019 9:01 pm

The things I point out to others are often more about me than they are about them. So I try to stay quiet unless asked, and sometimes even then. Maybe even this post is a perfect example... lol

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KathyLauren
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by KathyLauren » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:07 pm

A good guideline for Right Speech is: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If the answer to any of those is no, then it should not be said.

The catch is the last one, "Is it kind?" Sometimes, the kind thing to say hurts. It takes wisdom to know when it is kinder to say something that hurts than not to say it.

Om mani padme hum
Kathy

avatamsaka3
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:04 am

The catch is the last one, "Is it kind?" Sometimes, the kind thing to say hurts.
For example?

illarraza
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by illarraza » Sat Dec 28, 2019 10:34 am

dolphin_color wrote:
Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:04 am
The catch is the last one, "Is it kind?" Sometimes, the kind thing to say hurts.
For example?
Please chant Namu Myoho renge kyo, study the Lotus Sutra, and writings of Nichiren and you will understand. It hurts when a physician reveals to a patient that they have terminal cancer but it is appropriate for the patient to get his affairs in order. There are a very few exceptions.

Mark

avatamsaka3
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 7:41 pm

In my experience, most of the time we're not able to act as physicians, the affairs of others are not our own, and trying to act that way is not going to produce any positive effect. An oncologist has decades of preparation and experience under their belt to be able to deliver a diagnosis... Very few of us have enough preparation and wisdom to "fix" people, if that's even possible.

tkp67
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by tkp67 » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:12 pm

This isn't about oncology this is about the human condition and experience, something we already have ownership of and participate in. Nichiren was clear regarding ordinary persons and the buddhahood.
In the next part, Nichiren Daishonin explains that the practice of true Buddhism is not as difficult as that of Shakyamuni's Buddhism, because Nam-myoho-renge-kyo contains all the benefits which Shakyamuni Buddha accumulated through his aeons of bodhisattva austerities. Therefore, by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, we ordinary people in the Latter Day of the Law can, in this lifetime, attain the same enlightened virtues and benefits as Shakyamuni Buddha himself. This is the central theme of this Gosho, in which the Daishonin expounds the essence of his teaching: by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, an ordinary person can become a Buddha.
Letter to Nichimyo Shonin

---> http://nichiren.info/gosho/bk_LetterNichimyoShonin.htm

avatamsaka3
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by avatamsaka3 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 12:25 am

OK... and I'm saying we shouldn't stick our noses in other people's business.

tkp67
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Re: Does compassion mean never upsetting someone with the truth?

Post by tkp67 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:54 am

That seems to assume that life has no interactions where this becomes a necessary choice.

Having worked in the service a service industry gives me a different perspective.

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