If one has expectations of others, how is this perceived in Buddhism?

For example, if one expects others to show respect, not hurt others, help others, make effort to understand others, etc, how is this perceived?

If these expectations are not met or remain unfulfilled, does one simply class these are ignorance, lack of maturity, etc?


This may sound surprising to you... but as I understand, in Buddhism the expectations like you described would be seen as your attachments and your ignorance.

Indeed, if you were infinitely wise, you would see this person as they are, and would not be mistaken by the appearance. The fact that your original opinion turned out to be wrong means you are not infinitely wise! :)

Two, once the expectations have been unfulfilled and you become disenchanted, to continue to be upset and to regret that things are not the way you thought they were, is a case of attachment. Meaning, you had one experience of the world, and now situation has changed - hence another experience, but you continue to hold to the past picture.

So in this way, these expectations are your ignorance and your attachment.

  • Um. But what about monastic rules: those are "expectations", aren't they? And so are parental rules.
    – ChrisW
    Dec 13 '15 at 2:34
  • 1
    The monastic rules are in place to create a conducive environment for practice; there's no expectation that anyone should follow them, and ergo be a monk. Some may have the expectation that monastics should follow them, but that expectation and the rules themselves are two different things.
    – Ryan
    Dec 13 '15 at 2:38
  • As far as I understand at least
    – Ryan
    Dec 13 '15 at 2:46
  • @ChrisW those are more like conditions right? "You are expected to follow the rules or else". I don't think that's what OP meant, but let's wait and see.
    – Andrei Volkov
    Dec 13 '15 at 2:51
  • @Andrei Volkov - Thanks. I'll attempt to define expectations which may be governed by implict and explicit rules, structures, mental models. For example, if there exists an explicit rule, there is an both an implicit and explicit expectation/condition that this is followed. In scenarios where these rules don't generally exist e.g. helping others, understanding others, these appear to fall short i.e. there is a disconnect between the outcome and the intended expected outcome often causing rise to effects unless the person is wise to understand the cause, condition and effect.
    – Motivated
    Dec 13 '15 at 6:34

If one needs reality to be something else, that partiality will lead one to suffering however it is possible for one to act appropriately without needing reality to change.

The more one practices what cultivates wisdom, the more one will make the appropriate decisions without partiality to the decisions one makes.

  • Are you able to cite real world examples?
    – Motivated
    Dec 15 '15 at 7:11

Simply put it expectations are a source of stress and misery as in many instances your expectations are never met. Expectations arise from ignorance real state of the world or not seeing this as they are (lack of yathā bhūta ñāna dassana).

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