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I come from a very well off family but I have issues with my parents even though I’m very grateful for everything I have,I’m having a problem with self acceptance beacuse of them which took me a very long time to get over. My family in general made fun of my skin colour and the way I look (which even though sounds silly hurt me a lot) and they always give importance to class and society and are very pretentious which forces me to behave in a certain way which is not me and my personality.Even though I feel like I have everything I feel claustrophobic and caged.Will I attract bad karma for feeling like this for being ungrateful to the people who gave life to me?

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Buddhism teaches the gift of Dhamma (moral & spiritual truth) is the best of gifts. Buddhism also praises when a person establishes their immoral parents in the Dhamma (AN 2.31-32). Buddhism teaches parents can have children who are morally superior to the parents (Iti 74). Buddhism teaches neither father nor mother can do oneself a greater good than one's own well-directed mind (Dhp 43).

While your parents have done many good things for you, their criticisms of you are unrelated to Dhamma; therefore their criticism is both unnecessary & immoral. If the Gotama (who become The Buddha) did everything his parents expected of him, there would have not been a "Buddha" or "Buddhism".

In Buddhism, our self-esteem is based in our following of the Buddhist path, such as our generosity, our loving-kindness & our good harmless deeds towards ourself & others.

In summary, you should be grateful towards the "good things" your parents have provided & done for you; but you are not to be grateful towards any bad things. Instead, you should have concern for the welfare of your parents when they do bad things and you should ensure you aspire you do not repeat any unwholesome deeds of your parents.

Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in wisdom: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father.

AN 2.31-32


Neither mother, father, nor any other relative can do one greater good than one's own well-directed mind.

Dhammapada 43


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Will I attract bad karma for feeling like this for being ungrateful to the people who gave life to me?

Initially everything is balanced in this world, and we (living beings) have unbalanced it based on the thoughts / actions we do. And as soon as the nature got a chance to balance it it comes back to us and we call this Karma.

Don't be ungrateful to your parents for something you did by your self. That's the nature of the world. Next question is, in present moment you are worrying about being in that mind set will attract bad Karma? Yes it can cause to attract bad karma. Think it is like listening to the radio station, when you are tune to a particular frequency you can hear the broadcast for that frequency. So always try to avoid bad thoughts in your mind, not because it just attract bad karma, but because you are generating new bad karma which will effect you later.

So what you should do? When you are hurt by anyone, only thing you should focus on your mind is wish them all good. In buddhism there's a meditation method call, Maithree Bhavanava. There what we do is we think / wish all the living beings good. Sample phrase is added below. You can add any person in this. Do this (close your eyes and think) as a practice everyday for 20-30 mins, no matter whether you are in a bus or a train or in the bed. When you do this for around 20-30 days, you will see the results. Make sure always you are full with good thoughts.

May I be well, may I be happy, may I be free from enmity, may I be free from ill-will. May I attain Enlightenment.

May He/She be well, may He/She be happy, may He/She be free from enmity, may He/She be free from ill-will. May I attain Enlightenment.

Being ungrateful to anyone, none of us get any thing good but the bad. So always think good for all the man kind, no matter how hard they push back on us.

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  • I marked this post down because the following words are unproven & therefore false: "What you are facing now is due to something that you have done previously." Kind regards – Dhammadhatu Jun 7 '19 at 7:14
  • @Dhammadhatu, If you want it you can ask the evidence right, or you can edit it Without down voting. This is against coc and not helping as a community. – Isuru Jun 7 '19 at 7:18
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. – Dhammadhatu Jun 7 '19 at 7:28
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    Maithree Bhavanava is what I'd spell as metta bhavana (transcriptions of the Pali words) -- see also Is Chant of Metta from Tipitaka? for a longer version. – ChrisW Jun 7 '19 at 10:49
  • karuna-full, Sadhu. Keep in mind when similar approached, and no need to go after, if not correct. It's ones kamma when hungry ghosts approach disturbing as well. – user11235 Jun 7 '19 at 10:53
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A little personal background: my mom is Filipino, and my dad is Sinhalese (he professes to be Buddhist but is verbally, physically, and psychologically abusive). My mom is not a Buddhist but her life insights have enriched my Dhamma practice.

I see toxic people as bottles of poison or pesticide: you know they’re harmful if in contact with but you don’t have any hatred or animosity. Because that’s just what they are: bottles of poison, nothing to hate there. You just avoid any contact with it. Same approach with toxic parents: I don’t interact with them. Occasionally I get angry when I recall dad did but I counter that by:

  1. Calming myself and acknowledging that the thought of hatred arose. I know aversion (dosa/dvesha) has arisen and that I shouldn’t act on it. A mind engulfed in raga, dosa/dvesha, and moha is like a murky glass of water stirred with dust: you can only see the water clearly when the dust has settled.

  2. Acknowledging the thought is impermanent. I don’t reject the thought as it arises because it adds to the stress. I merely observe it BUT don’t act on it. The thought arose, sustains, and will eventually die.

  3. Radiate metta (friendliness, not necessarily compassion) to the person because they:

(a) have unresolved issues and are victims of previous abuse and weren’t aware of that when they did those same things to me;

(b) there is no person as such to ‘hate’ because the so-called person is a constantly-changing entity composed of constantly-changing matter (rupa) and non-matter (vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana). There is nothing to like or dislike in something that is constantly changing. The hatred doesn’t go overnight but if you practice, it will erode over time.

So if at first I was hateful of the toxic parent, now I acknowledge they’re toxic but with less aversion. Its not good to harbor thoughts of hatred because they harm you, in the short and long run. I can acknowledge that a person is abusive but at the same time have metta for them because they’re harming themselves. And it also does not mean I have to embrace them again, unless they’ve genuinely changed; and if they haven’t changed, they’ll just hurt/harm you again and you become an enabler for their bad actions. “Loving the tiger from a distance”

Forgiving toxic people does not mean rekindling a relationship with them: it’s about you healing from the past and rewiring how you perceive them and what they did. Knowing they’re toxic doesn’t mean you’re hating them: you’re just acknowledging they’re toxic and that they aren’t helpful to you. Bottles of poision

Dosa/dvesa (aversion) doesn’t go away overnight and takes diligent practice. Its not easy to practice these but its not impossible (if Buddhas and Arahats uprooted their aversion, why not I too). As much as possible, I don’t intellectualize my practice because it hinders the practice. Over time I understand the deeper meanings of some Pali terms because of my practice, so I know I’ll be fine as long as I keep steadfast on this Dhamma path. The point of Dhamma practice is to avoid and uproot raga, dosa/dvesha, moha. The Buddha laid out the path/practice but everyone treads it according to their own capacity.

Hope this helps, fellow wayfarers

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