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Are good deeds valueless if bragged about?

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#1    ouija ouija

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:55 AM

I was thinking about a Buddhist quotation today, unfortunately I can't remember it exactly, but it was something along the lines of: if you do a good deed but then you go around telling everyone that you did, it negates/diminishes in some measure, the value of the deed. What do you think about that? Surely this behaviour indicates that you are thinking not of benefitting others, but of yourself ...... your standing in the eyes of others?

That led me on to thinking about the current trend of climbing a mountain(usually in a foreign country!), or parachute-jumping etc to raise money for charity. It seems as if people can no longer simply raise money by explaining the value of the charity to others, but there has to be something in it for them too ...... they have to have (expensive)fun doing it. An acquaintance was telling me he was thinking of doing a parachute-jump to raise money for the local hospital. I was shocked at how much of the 'sponsor' money would be spent on the jump itself(hire of the plane etc); in effect, the sponsors would be paying for him to do something he had 'always wanted to do' ...... but hadn't actually bothered to save up for! The hospital would get nothing useful out of it.

I just wondered what others thought about this.

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#2    freetoroam


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:27 AM

if you do a good deed but then you go around telling everyone that you did, it negates/diminishes in some measure,


I have always believed this. its not really a just a good deed if you want to recognision to boost your ego. A true good deed should not be bragged about, but there are some who have actually done something good and sort of shocked themselves...so maybe thats not quite bragging, but if they do another good deed and tell others again, well, now they are bragging.

As for the charity bit....do not get me started on some of those thieving bast.............

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#3    libstaK


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:32 AM

No rule steadfastly applies in every instance.  Buddha would be the first to also say that a Master knows when to bend and even break the Universal Laws of cause and effect.

If you do it as a plain "braggart" amongst friends to preen and show you are a generous soul, then it does no good.

Many however, do it to encourage and enlist others to also do good - by setting a public example not only to be charitable but to show that to life a full life does not mean you have to be selfish.

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#4    Jinxdom


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:32 AM

Nothing can go one way. If people give repeatedly and get nothing in return that they want, sooner or later they are left with nothing.

If you see no value in telling a story. Well I'm sorry.  It all depends on how you tell it though.

If the guy went and got a sponsor for the plane then posted what he was doing it for and give it time to actually make money, then I wouldn't see nothing wrong with it. The hospital is getting money for nothing and the guy is getting something he wants. That's a good deal.

#5    White Unicorn

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:53 AM

The deed would still have value but only to the receiver. The giver did not give since it was a selfish deed for the pride of bragging or some other ego gain by being a giver.

The hand that gives receives, you did not empty your hand in order to receive the real spiritual gift from the giving.

#6    ciriuslea


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:06 AM

Everyone wants to tell you all the good things they've done, its so boring its like showing someone an injury, quick as a flash everyone's showing you theirs...
I prefer to hear the nasty stuff..... real life..I want to hear everything bad you've ever done.

#7    Me_Jane


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 06:10 AM

bragging about good deeds is bad.

#8    himalyanmystic


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 11:38 AM

if compassion arises ,pity !,empathy! it actually arises and we do something under the influence of this emotion............then its a cool thing why does anything else matter............
if bragging is a habit so be it........... overtime it will surface in the conciousness that its kind of stupid to brag.........and we overcome it.


#9    sarah_444



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Posted 23 December 2012 - 03:40 PM

The people who brag about good deeds they did to gain acceptance, praise or admiration of other people (or worse, to make other people feel inferior to them) lose out on the real value of the deed, imo.  

If the intent of telling others is to set an example or be an inspiration however, I don't think that applies. There is usually more a bit more modesty involved I think though.  I was looking at a website a few days ago where people were sharing good things they had recently done (big and small) and felt really inspired by all of them; so much so that I've already "copied" a few of their ideas.

Ultimately though, it should be a personal thing, and deep down you know what your true intentions really are.

#10    ouija ouija

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:46 PM

I read yesterday of an anonymous donor who had phoned up Walmart and said he/she would pay for all the 'hold backs'(?). That's the right way to do it. imo

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#11    Purplos


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 04:47 PM


I prefer to hear the nasty stuff..... real life..I want to hear everything bad you've ever done.

Why aren't good deeds considered "real life?"  How very sad.

There's a big difference between bragging about good deeds and just sharing that you've done them. Sharing that you've done them can inspire others to do the same, though inviting them along is probably a better method.

Scamming people who think they're helping a hospital and really funding a super expensive stunt is, in my opinion, akin to fraud, unless it is clearly told to every donator that $50,000 will go to the stunt and $500 will go to the hospital... or whatever... Then if they choose to give money still, they're just idiots.

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#12    Hasina


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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:15 PM

As long as you're not lying about doing a good deed. If you actually did something, go on and brag a little, make the rest of us feel like rubes.

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#13    ReaperS_ParadoX


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Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:17 PM

If a truely good deed is done what does it mattter if the person brags about it, It doesnt take the deed that was done and reverse the value of it. The good deed still been done.



#14    White Crane Feather

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 06:58 PM

I don't think it matters a whole lot. Surely people doing this to gain bragging rights are really just purchasing something for themselves, so it's not really a good deed in that regard even if the end result is good. It is really just a transaction. We see this all the time in corporations. The corporation will donate money or send it's workers to do something charitable, and then they will pay for an advertisement  to show what they are doing.

In some native American cultures it was expected that you boast about your acomplishnents and the morality and stories behind them.

The ones that really get me are the ones that boast about their humility. "I am a humble person" is about the least humble thing one could express.  These are the ones that attack others for not being humble, but really are exahalting their own "humbleness"

I personally think there is nothing wrong with expressing your deeds, as long as you are doing the deeds because they speak to you, and not just to be able to speak about them.

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#15    Orcseeker



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Posted 24 December 2012 - 11:58 PM

I believe if you are truly doing a good deed, you would do so selflessly. I saw some post on Facebook, with over "60,000 likes", made by some guy claiming to have bought some stuff for a homeless man. All I saw is that he was jut trying to get the image of being a "nice guy". With the hidden agenda of having people see him in a better light.

Now, I'm not saying that you can't do things like this. Maybe if it was done in order to teach people what they should be grateful for or any moral of the story sort of stuff but not simply proclaiming to the world how great of a person you are. When, in reality, all you did is for yourself.

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