Monday, July 23, 2007

Buddhism and Human Rights

Four Noble Truths

1. Suffering exists
2. Suffering arises from attachment to desires
3. Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
4. Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold Path Noble Eightfold Path

On the third perspective, getting sorrowful is a result/caused of love, namely, the root of sadness comes from desire, no see, no wish, no miss, no need, no love, no lose, and no sad. Meditation only can reach Nirvana (desire ceases). But Human natures always develop their lives by thinking and desire never end.
1. Being asked what kind of attachment shall I have if I decide to teach bad/illiterate person to become a good person in a society (I want them good) and I try to generate my personal growth by doing anything especially endeavor to be a moral one sense of humor (my desire is to make my self best) in order to reach Nirvana?
2. And is that called a duty (right thing to do) for myself and to the others?


Vutha Ponnarith, M/W Morning Class: 9:30-11:30


Stan Starygin said...

Hi Rith,

To your first question, in my opinion, it depends upon what you are teaching this person. In my understanding of the Four Noble Truths, they were designed to show a way to the ultimate calm and relief, i.e. enlightenment. They most definitely apply as a whole, if you are teaching your student the Dharma, i.e. the path to enlightenment. If you are teaching your student anything other than the Dharma, these rules may or may not necessarily apply. If, for example, you choose to teach someone literacy, you will be teaching the alphabet and reading fluency. The Dharma is more of a study of the human psyche, and thus, may or may not be directly applicable to other studies.
Ka might have more insights on this

To your second question and per our discussion in class, duty and the right thing to do are two different things. Duty has to be imposed upon someone by someone else or something else. "The right thing to do" on the other hand, and as we discussed it in class, is, for the most part, the shared mentality in communities about right and wrong, which may or may not be compliant with the law.

Blog.Ponnarith said...

Thanks for revealed me, duty “right thing to do” shared mentality in communities about right and wrong? now I got something: so the fundamental consideration of Buddhism concept for life, there must have a desire to safeguard, make itself comfortable and be happy even though this world is very full of suffering, it is still also full of the overcoming of it even we must do wrong something. Right? Anyway, if they themselves has no interest in their future, that is a sign of the end of desire. Therefore, that mean they’re at “Nirvana” or “their lives have no meaning”, live for what then? Thanks!

Prof. Andy said...

Hello Rith,

You've raised some excellent questions here which I'm happy to explain.

Mainly, I need to explain more what 'desire' means in Buddhism since it has many layers of meaning.

Firstly, desire is not the same as 'love' - at least, not 'love' correctly understood. Imperfect love is based on lust, selfishness, sometimes a wish to control or fill an emotional need. Healthy love (Jesus called it 'agape') is unselfish and unconditional, and not based on physical appearance. In the Buddha's teachings there are two levels of love; the first is 'metta' or loving-kindness, and the second is 'karuna' or compassion. Both are at the heart of all Buddhist teaching and practice.

You are using and developing metta and karuna when you try to bring understanding and wisdom, and even when you give food and money to a 'bad' person, so long as your motivation is purely to help them or the society, and not for any personal gain.

Therefore this attitude is not desire or attachment. There is an easy way to test this - I know from a great deal of personal experience. Many times in your sincere attempts to help poor or 'bad' people you will find that some people will disappoint you, take advantage, lie and otherwise behave badly. What is your reaction? If you get angry or sad, is it because you were attached to the project or the results? If so, deep down your reasons were based on Self. If, on the other hand, you can tell yourself that you did your best but never mind, and try again without feeling negative, then your motivation was pure, not based on desire at all. It is indeed a good thing to do - good for you and others. I discuss whether or not it is a Buddhist 'duty' in another post.

Blog.Ponnarith said...

Thanks you now I understood something.

Blog.Ponnarith said...

“Many times in your sincere attempts to help poor or 'bad' people you will find that some people will disappoint you, take advantage, lie and otherwise behave badly. What is your reaction? If you get angry or sad, is it because you were attached to the project or the results?”
Surely, I’ve attachment/desire to the project/result is I want them “good” or they angry me somehow, I will get sad.
- Therefore, I help them without “Meta” & “Karuna” ?
- The true donor never want/expect something back? Even hearing the one we help gets good or bad result in her/his life? Like parents sending out children to study abroad, what is their purpose, Meta? Karuna? Desire ? Duty?……………

Thanks you so much for reveal me.