Rowf, Rowf!

I once saw a dog who couldn't eat all the rice I had given it, so he lay down and kept watch over the rice right there. He was so full he couldn't eat any more, but he still lay keeping watch right there. He would drift off and get drowsy, and then suddenly glance over at the food that was left. If any other dog came to eat, no matter how big or how small, he'd growl at it. If chickens came to eat the rice, he'd bark: Rowf! Rowf! Rowf! His stomach was ready to burst, but he couldn't let anyone else eat. He was stingy and selfish.

People can be the same way. If they don't know the Dhamma, if they have no sense of their duties to their superiors and inferiors, if their minds are overcome by the defilements of greed, anger, and delusion, then even when they have lots of wealth they're stingy and selfish. They don't know how to share it. They have a hard time even giving donations to poor children or old people who have nothing to eat. I've thought about this and it's struck me how much they're like common animals. They don't have the virtues of human beings at all. The Buddha called them manussa-tiracchano: human-common-animals. That's the way they are because they lack good will, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity.

What can cause one to feel offended when asked 'how are you', 'having any problem'?

Maybe no more usuall to ask such, greedy after tasks, and feel "ohh, he says I am not perfect".

What do you do to get not caught is such approaches? Better don't ask and robboty toward productivity, anonymos?

Greeting: Paying Respect or Veneration (also regard, obeisance, high esteem, honour, admiration) (pi apacāyana, apa + cāy root pūja = abound, scarify; verb apaciti; gārava) , is the fourth of the traditional listed ten skilful/meritorious deeds (pi puññakiriya-vatthus), a practice which would be maintained beginning in childhood within families and societies in Buddhist environments. Within the three major kinds meritorious deeds (dāna, sīla, bhāvana) it counts to the virtue group as an aspect of sila.

(Thought it would be not understood to ask a question '"how are you", how to correct answer?')

(Not for trade, exchange, but for release asked, given)


Imagine you are driving a car on a road. Suppose you are going too fast, not stopping on red light, cutting in front of other drivers, and throwing trash out of your window. A police officer stops you to give you a ticket. He explains how you are violating the driving rules. This is going on for a year, every day he stops you and every day you keep breaking the rules.

The police officer could take away your driver license, but because he feels pity for a man who seems to be mentally disturbed to the point of not able to follow the basic driving rules, he keeps giving you warnings and allowing you to drive.

Today he stopped you again, and after hearing his explanations, you say:

Officer McKearney seems upset today? Maybe he is sick? HOW ARE YOU FEELING TODAY, DEAR OFFICER? HAVING ANY PROBLEM?

What do you think, is it expected that the officer will say "I'm fine, thank you - and how are you?" - or perhaps it can be expected that the officer will interpret your response as mocking?

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  • How is Nyom Andrei doing today? Everything well? Did he eat already? Health fine? – Samana Johann Jun 12 '19 at 23:07
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    Yes, very good. Hope you're well, too. – Andrei Volkov Jun 12 '19 at 23:14
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    Sadhu (expression of approve, encouraging, once one does practicing, does merits, here Abhivadana sila, the first way to counteract vanna-macchariy, for outsider Dana, insider duty, Sila) – Samana Johann Jun 12 '19 at 23:17

I think the question can be asked in an obviously offensive way, e.g.:

  • "What the **** is your problem?"
  • "What the **** is the matter with you?"

That's unusual, though. There are also questions which can seem rude:

  • "Are you feeling unwell today?"
  • "Are you feeling angry today?"
  • "Are you being a bully today?"

They're unusual too (though one needn't find "cause to feel offended" even if something will seem to be intended as an insult).

A common greeting in English is, "How are you?" Sometimes I have found even that difficult to answer:

  • You may well accept, monks, the assumption of a self-theory[ from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief, and despair. (But) do you see, monks, any such assumption of a self-theory?" — "No, Lord." — "Well, monks, I, too, do not see any such assumption of a self-theory from the acceptance of which there would not arise sorrow and lamentation, pain, grief and despair.

    MN 22

  • And I find it difficult to know how to answer "truthfully".

Asking is a convention though, and so far as I know almost any answer is concentionally acceptable -- e.g., "I'm good!", "Great!", "I'm well.", "Not so bad.", "Thanks for asking!", and, "Yeah -- how are you?" might all be normal.

Even if it's difficult to answer you needn't (shouldn't) feel offended -- that conventional question probably wasn't ill-intentioned, nor even "conceited" (i.e. trying to imply that, "I'm better than you").

In real life an answer like, "I'm thirsty", might be useful (informative) sometimes, but online that's not so useful. And I'm aware that when you're dealing with small children you might be teaching them to name and to become aware of their emotions -- "are you feeling angry?" -- that's very rare between adults though (except maybe in an "intimate" relationship).

In France it's conventional (polite) to say "Bonjour" to everyone, which is how to be polite (it acknowledges the person you're talking to, as a person) -- that (without asking a question) is sufficient. And to ask "Comment ça va ?" or "Comment vas-tu ?" only to people who you might be more intimate with -- i.e. friends. There's a formal "Comment allez-vous ?" to which the correct (formal) answer is apparently, "Je vais bien, et vous ?"

The conventions for "talking" online are generally more informal, for whatever reasons -- or more "formal" in the sense that we do without being able to see other and take verbal cues like facial expressions, so you can't easily tell if anyone's joking or angry or puzzled or etc.

And you can't see people come and go (they might always or might never seem to be "here"), so "Hello" and "Goodbye" (as well as "How are you?") aren't conventional.

Someone might say "Welcome to the site" when a user posts for the first time, not after that.

SE explicitly discourages it ...

Do not use signature, taglines, or greetings.

Every post you make is already “signed” with your standard user card, which links directly back to your user page. If you use an additional signature or tagline, it will be removed to reduce noise in the questions and answers.

... so that's what's "conventional" on this site.

It's a type of dialog or topic which on SE might typically be discouraged in comments too -- comments ought to be about the question or about the answer, not about the person.

It wouldn't be off-topic in Chat, on SE, but users on this site tend not to use the chat room[s] very much, for whatever reason.

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  • How aer you today, Nyom Chris? Did he eat already? Healthy? – Samana Johann Jun 12 '19 at 23:05
  • That will put me in mind of this line of questioning -- How am I? An idiomatic way in English to answer a question, between friends, can be, "Don't ask! :-)" The dictionary definition doesn't convey though that's a friendly, intimate reply -- which can be understood as a "shared joke". It's a "ha-ha only serious" answer. – ChrisW Jun 13 '19 at 5:23
  • It seems to me rude, conceited, possibly hurtful, to claim to be well (e.g. "I'm fine") when other people might be or are really suffering -- but the same would be true of claiming to be unwell -- so maybe it's easier for me if you don't ask me that. I looked for the word "healthy", by the way, to try to understand the question, and found Dhp 204 and the word ārogya -- I like the "freedom from disease" part of definition (implying vimutti). – ChrisW Jun 13 '19 at 5:30
  • Actually it's a serious question to come to mind (4 references), and a occation (having giving leave) to express lacks another could take on in assistance. Simple, aside of tradition of integrity. Monks would be asked such first, with joy and care. Greedy, self-centered don't like it. Possible has already died out in moddern world. – Samana Johann Jun 13 '19 at 6:16
  • How are you today, Nyom Chris? Did he eat already? Healthy? – Samana Johann Jun 15 '19 at 3:37

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