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Knowing that people in our social circle are not versed in the Dhamma, they seek gratification through the sense spheres (sensuality).

For example, most people like to be praised and engage in idly talk. But we know that these things strengthens the kilesas (especially when the topic is about political or social issues).

The Buddha said that the Dhamma is the greateast gift. But common social occasions are unfit to talk about the Dhamma (or even anything really meaningful which will lead to a long term benefit).

If I don't engage in idly talk with someone, He/she will probably think I'm being cold. But if I do, I will be contributing for the increase of their attachments and unwholesome mental states.

So, I wonder if there is a proper way to exercise goodwill and merit towards someone in such situations. Or am I thinking too much and should only intend to keep a heart of goodwill rather than make a active effort to preserve or increase their wellbeing?

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Danilo,

If one understands goodwill or meritious deeds as something to nurish on, to "experiance", to gain pleasure out of it, at first place, one has failed the deeds so that they bring benefit. Practicing means to watch over causes (e.g. ones actions, state of mind) and not grasping ofter effects at fist place: "Because I like to have this, I do that..."

How ever, what ever you can contibute is aside of outwardly things for others benefit, if able to fill a lack, virtue (abstain to harm) and thoughts of goodwill. What ever they might be able and willing to take or give, that's their case. No one can help others so also others if they feel fine and have thoughts of metta torward you, might not be able to really help you out of missery. Ever thought that all around you have actually thoughts of metta torward to you?

Why would you or do you like to put nurishment into a unbenifical relation (e.g. lower than you?), if not simply for your own desire or expected rewards from it (in the sphere of sensuallity and identification), hmm?

Are you really that willing to associated with admirable people? Or do you actually seek simply after relations and like to nurish on Dhamma together? Well, there are plenty of such "feeding away the Gems social groups" and they are really hardly bound to each other :-)

So like always, the arrow can be found in the own heart and it's of cause not easy to come accross one who might point out and directly touch the suppurative focus. That's why they usually put a lot of effort into defend against those who are above them.

Do you fight them as well or do you seek after those who seem to have not a little metta for you?

Metta, if really right practiced gives realease, releases from feelings of being in dept, and does not bind or nurish for unskillfulness.

At least, hold on of what has real value:

  1. "Bhikkhus, I do not know anything else that arouses non arisen merit [1] and fades arisen demerit[2] as good companionship. Good companions arouse non arisen merit and fades arisen demerit. This is the first.

  2. "Bhikkhus, I do not know anything else that arouses non arisen demerit and fades arisen merit as evil companionship. Evil companions arouse non-arisen demerit and fades arisen merit. This is the second.

  3. "Bhikkhus, the misery from the decrease of relations is nothing in comparison to the decrease of wisdom. Bhikkhus, of decreases the decrease in wisdom is miserable. This is the sixth.

  4. "Bhikkhus, the increase of relations is nothing in comparison to increase of wisdom. Therefore you should train, we will increase in wisdom. This is the seventh.

  5. "Bhikkhus, the misery from the decrease of wealth is nothing in comparison to the decrease of wisdom. Bhikkhus, of decreases the decrease in wisdom is miserable. This is the eighth.

  6. "Bhikkhus, the increase of wealth is nothing in comparison to increase of wisdom. Therefore you should train, we will increase in wisdom. This is the ninth.

  7. "Bhikkhus, the misery from the decrease of fame is nothing in comparison to the decrease of wisdom. Bhikkhus, of decreases the decrease in wisdom is miserable. This is the tenth."

Kalyāṇamittādivaggo: Good companionship and others

If wishing to grow, you have to seek for ways to step out of your usual relations and bound that you are able to find more sublim. If you just nurish around with likeminded wasters of merits, just go out for some hunts from the more sublime to go them back to nurish it of, like not proper social communities are usual working, then, what is it's benefit?

The more sublime are no more avaliable, sind having not put nurishment into a relation, your current community, relation with it, it's just a matter of time, that it will break apart and nothing has been gained aside a big belly or a hydrocephalus from filling up with unwise thought.

You asked:

Or am I thinking too much and should only intend to keep a heart of goodwill rather than make a active effort to preserve or increase their wellbeing?

What do you think?

If you find a group delighted to visit the monks (e.g. those not sitting on such tables), if you find relation and ways to nurish it, if you invest into the more sublime rather to nurish on the inferior, that would be of benefit for you and properply the best you could do for those you "leave behind", with a heart of goodwill, compassion, joy and equanimity, approaching the some times, "Come, lets visit the monks and do something for our longtime benefit."

If comming, good. If not: even more release or?

"Jivaka, when a lay follower himself is consummate in conviction and encourages others in the consummation of conviction; when he himself is consummate in virtue and encourages others in the consummation of virtue; when he himself is consummate in generosity and encourages others in the consummation of generosity; when he himself desires to see the monks and encourages others to see the monks; when he himself wants to hear the true Dhamma and encourages others to hear the true Dhamma; when he himself habitually remembers the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to remember the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to explore the meaning of the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself, knowing both the Dhamma & its meaning, practices the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma and encourages others to practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma: then to that extent he is a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit and for the benefit of others." On Being a Lay Follower

Fullfil the duties you have as a recipient, fullfil you duties toward the releations of your desires. And if the fulfillment of the duties goes agains of what is good, praisworthy and requires harm, quite to further nurish the relation In that way you arrive at good relations if avaliable to you or to minimum do not nurish unhealty bound for times later, when circumstances might be better. At least don't forget that you could be the only one able to escape the circle of death and suffering amoung your tripes and what would be the benefit for all if you don't take on a seldom change for you and all others? Beings are food and nurish on food. So there is nothing that is wiser as to use useful food to seek after freedom of desire for food. If that is reached one may return but it's seldom that you might be that welcome if you can be no more regarded as giver of food they desire.

Thats is why you would never find wise or people having chanced their ancestor-ship sitting together on a table with common people and even the proper occasions for eating together with ones kind, are less and not for the sake to increase boundage.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade.]

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