Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Did the Buddha really say "son of a bitch"?

"All we have to do is live and enjoy life" he said.

Perhaps you are even nodding in agreement.  So easy is that bottom-line, right?

The irony is this: only the other day, another person referred to him as "a mean son of a bitch, who always wanted to do things only his way and nobody liked him."

So now, with this added information, do you agree with the notion that "all we have to do is live and enjoy life" even if that came from a "mean son of a bitch"?

Life is complicated.  It never is easy.  If it were easy, well, we won't have any problems at all.  This earth will be a paradise.  It is not a paradise because enjoying life ain't easy.

Apparently one guy's enjoyment means he is a mean SOB to another.

That got me thinking: I have no idea what people say about me.  Do students think I am a mean SOB?  How do I know what my neighbors really think about me?  Could I come across as a nice guy to one but as a mean guy to another even when my behavior is the same in the interactions with both?  In that case, is the "mean SOB" dependent on the beholder?  Does it then mean that I have no control over what others might think about me?  Should I not care then about what others think?  But then isn't that how that guy perhaps earned the distinction of being a mean SOB?

Sometimes I wonder how life will be if everybody spoke only their true feelings all the time with everybody.  Even a "how are you?" will become a difficult one to deal with.  Imagine then the plight of advertisers, lawyers, and politicians, whose daily life is about not saying the truth!

Perhaps that's why the Buddha cautioned against speaking itself.  He suggested that we ask ourselves whether what we want to say is true, necessary, and kind.

Most of what we say is far from true, necessary, and kind to others.  Rarely ever do we hit that trifecta.  Imagine checking ourselves all the time before we opened our big fat mouths!

But then we can't not speak in the real world.  So, we then end up speaking.  Every once in a while what we say might be true.  It might be true that some of my esteemed colleagues are idiots, but did I have to write that in the post yesterday?  And perhaps more frequently than we desire, we speak without being kind to the other person and to humans--we behave like that "mean son of a bitch."

We cannot be like the Buddha and retreat from this material world either.  Which means, we are stuck with mean SOBs all around us, and with us being mean SOBs to others?

Crap, life ain't easy!


Anne in Salem said...

True, necessary and kind is an unattainable yardstick. A compliment is true and kind but not necessary. Should I then not tell you I enjoy your writing? Criticism can be true and necessary but rarely is kind. Should I not correct my child or comment on a report with poor grammar? Perhaps I am being too literal, but all debate and the dialogue on this blog would disappear if we were held to those standards.

I haven't a clue whether the Buddha was a mean SOB. I doubt he worried what others thought of him. If we treat others with respect or at least civility in our interactions, there is little chance of the perception of being an SOB. Perhaps being a mean SOB is part of some people's charm or is considered a badge of honor implying someone has reached sufficient superiority that he need not concern himself with the opinions of others.

Everyone speaking their true feelings? Frightening! Only in the privacy of my car or with a dear friend.

Sriram Khé said...

Showering appreciation on my writing is NECESSARY, because the high quality is TRUE, and the blog is one of a KIND.
Oh, I see that the Buddha referred to a different meaning of the same word "kind" ;)

True, necessary, and kind is an impossible standard for us mortals. But, chances are high that most of us would agree that that is a wonderful standard; yet another instance in which we recognize the ideal but apparently will intentionally not work towards it--unlike the Buddha who walked the talk.

Ramesh said...

Your writing is wonderful
Your writing is wonderful
Your writing is wonderful
Your writing is wonderful

Sriram Khé said...

Looks like after all these years, I have indeed trained you well to say the right things ;)

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