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Still Waters

Can we teach kindness?

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Would you give your seat to someone unable to stand or protect a stranger from attack? We may say we would, but we don't always. Is this human nature, or can we be taught to be kind?

http://www.bbc.co.uk...gazine-24363845

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I have witnessed the bystander affect first hand. It affected me for a long time.

I have also noticed that people trained in leadership also act.

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I'd gladly give my seat to someone who needed it more . But i think an act of kindness can be done in self interest at the same time? Doing something considered kind and compassionate makes us feel good .. in two ways? Sort of self esteem booster?

I'd like to think i would protect a stranger from "attack" ... but i'm not sure if fight or FLIGHT! might win out in that case.

But, ya, i think we can teach and learn kindness.

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depends on the attack.

if guns are involved ill most likely get cops or something, just a fight hand to hand? yeah i...well ive got a long list of stuff where I've caught an elbow to the face trying to help.

I dont feel like its out of a kindness, i just find fighting to be an annoyance to be around

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Posted (edited)

i think you need to define your terms more clearly.

kindness... the root concept being " of a kind" , to be of a class of one type or 'kind' .

....or....

empathy of a class or type ... with out age, sex , status , or typical kind likness .

....or....

empathy of human kindness ... to say a person who feels a oneness with all who are of human kind .

....or....

empathy with out restriction or qualification .

one with the flowers , preditors , farm animals ... and the people who hate your children and want every common thing about you dead or distroyed .

universal empathy , feelings of self lothing because irrational people of another culture beleive their god tells them to fire bomb your citys with atomic wepons ...

kindness is a very intresting concept... but it needs to be defined with care to have meaning.

because i know what the word actualy means , and i have my own definition ...

i can answer " Can kindness be learned ?".

unqualified ...no...

true natural kindness must be unlearned , but natural kindness is very easily distorted and perverted into so meny

social functions that before any person is much older than 2 or 3 years old... very little of their natural kindness may even be seen for what it was .

Edited by onereaderone

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depends on the attack.

if guns are involved ill most likely get cops or something, just a fight hand to hand? yeah i...well ive got a long list of stuff where I've caught an elbow to the face trying to help.

I dont feel like its out of a kindness, i just find fighting to be an annoyance to be around

when seconds count... cops are only minutes away .

i will not fight another persons battle... but i will stand up when ... if it were me ... i would want others to stand up.

...or....

stand together or hang seprately .

i will argue any one into silence , but i will stand up with any one who is being silenced .

freedom of speach means that .

it means that i will stand up for a person who i think is completely wrong ,

and should shut up because they are to uninformed to speak, and that any one can tell they have not a clue what they are saying ... this person i will make sure can speak ...

i want the neo-nazi to speak... so that we can quietly giggle about how silly they are... i want the raceist to speak , so that we know who this person is... i want the socialist to explain the foundation of the concepts ... to show that they are not a collection of bumper stickers ...

will i help people who i strongly disagree with... yes.

i will protect them BECAUSE i disagree with them .

giving a old person a chair on a bus is purely a selfish act ... that is easy to do , and not a point of honor .

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It's funny about what you call "kindness". Yes, I would and have done the things you've asked about. But I always remember my training in SAR and the number one rule: Don't become a victim. If you get hurt trying to help someone else, then rescuers now have two people to rescue. So in helping people stranded on the freeway, for example, take your own safety into account first. What's hard is knowing the line between your safety and the wish to help someone.

One of the things you have to do is make up your mind what to do long before the need for your help ever happens. If you see someone changing a tire on the highway, you have to decide instantly whether you want to help or not. Because if you take just a minute to decide, you're a mile past that person. It's extremely easy to just be part of the crowd and wait and see if someone else will do something first. But you don't have to be a leader to take action. Believe me, all you have to do is step forward, tell someone else (don't ask) to call the police or get a doctor, and you will have other people offering to help. Everyone's just afraid of being the first one to the front, is all. But you just have to not be afraid of standing out.

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I think kindness as a behavior can be taught. Sincerity?....not so much.

Nibs

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Would you give your seat to someone unable to stand or protect a stranger from attack? We may say we would, but we don't always. Is this human nature, or can we be taught to be kind?

http://www.bbc.co.uk...gazine-24363845

Can algebra be replaced with kindness as subject in highschool instead... if kindness is more than just a self-interest than can be taught, the rate of mass murders of human beings, as well as animals and all living things on this planet will fairly decrease, well at least in the most idealistic opinion :nw:

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when seconds count... cops are only minutes away .

Yeah thats still not my problem, they shouldve gotten gunslingers p***ed at them nearer a hospital.

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thats an interesting question, I believe you can teach someone kindness at an early age but whether theyll continue to be kind into adult hood is another question

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kindness can't be taught.... it must come from deep within the heart and soul....

that is where it's true essence lies....

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“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated Philosophy. Our own brain Our own Heart is our temple; The philosophy is kindness”. Dalai Lama

If we can get people to open their hearts and feel the innate compassion we all have within us, kindness will follow automatically. A great way for this to come about is through meditation. It has no nationality issues, no political issues, doesn’t cost a penny to do, doesn’t need any batteries and you can take it where ever you go.

“If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation” Dalai Lama

“I am not a Buddhist or religious, wise words / wisdom can go beyond any religion.” sutemi

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In fact, much as I dislike disagreeing with the Dalai Lama (and I wonder about that quote), I think simple philosophies are the source of a lot of the trouble and that it take a fairly sophisticated, indeed, "complicated" philosophy to understand things like compassion and sentience and mindfulness.

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Which quote frank?

http://responsiveuniverse.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/if-every-8-year-old-in-the-world-is-taught-meditation-we-will-eliminate-violence-from-the-world-within-one-generation-dalai-lama/

http://www.biographyonline.net/nobelprize/dalai-lama-14th.html

There is nothing complicated at all about compassion, it something one feels. As soon as we try to use logic it definitely becomes complicated. If compassion comes from mind/kind thoughts its foundation is shaky, like a new year resolution, but when it comes from the heart through meditation it is solid, because it is a natural outcome. Gautama Buddha tried all kinds of different ways to gain the answer he was searching for, in the end after exhausting all the avenues available in India and there were many, with Great books like the Upanishads and the Vedas he would have been familiar with, not until he sat down and meditated and meditated and meditated did he get his answer.

Mindfulness is also not complicated at all, it means focusing your mind on what you’re doing right now in this present moment and so achieve a stillness of mind, by not thinking, it is so simple. As long as people try to use logic or reason they lose the awareness of the present moment, just be, here and now. Be careful Frank you may not know everything about meditation and so you may be not really achieving your full potential. The Gautama Buddha took years to reach his awakening perhaps we should as Solon said, “not judge the end of the race before it is finished”.

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Well my doubts about the quote were about context and accuracy, as it seemed out of character. Still, great men can be quoted saying almost anything you want to find.

I think compassion is a difficult thing to understand and even more complicated to apply. It goes beyond love in that it involves keeping your wits about you and knowing what is going on in full depth, but still not making judgments of the person and understanding the desires and impulses that lead to the need for compassion.

Mindfulness is extremely difficult to apply. It means of course being aware of your mind, as a process, not a thing. However it also applies to simple things such as being aware when you are in someone's way even though you don't have eyes in the back of your head to being aware of how what you say changes both yourself and those who hear you, to being aware of the karmic elements of what you do, again on yourself and others.

The idea that mindfulness only applies during meditation is one I would strongly try to disavow you of. Meditation doesn't mean emptying your mind anyway. Meditation, such as breathing meditation. is a first step to mindfulness.

I am not interested in Enlightenment, at least in this life. I am interested in what Buddhist tradition provides.

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I think compassion is a difficult thing to understand and even more complicated to apply. It goes beyond love in that it involves keeping your wits about you and knowing what is going on in full depth, but still not making judgments of the person and understanding the desires and impulses that lead to the need for compassion.

Yes, compassion goes hand in hand with wisdom. If a hypothetical elephant is about to fall out of a tree, it would be unwise to stand underneath and try to catch it. Then there is the issue of "knowing what is going on in full depth" as Frank puts it. That sounds impossible to achieve, no one can know all the potential ramifications of a specific act. That shouldn't be used as an excuse though to refrain from acts of compassion.

Then there is the closely related idea of "moral luck". The British soldier who allegedly spared Adolf Hitler's life in WWI could not possibly know the outcome of his act of compassion.

Back to the OP, "Can we teach kindness?" Absolutely! Empathy/compassion are lacking in human infants until around the age of two (I believe). They have to be taught that they are not the center of the universe. Unfortunately, many children lack this instruction through delinquent or missing parents. Many go on to become sociopaths.

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if you could should you if you can?

its for the individual to choose there path for good or ill. Also the values of meekness and virtue seem to be the values that keep us down, the rich have none of them. They take and are not kind in return.

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Would you give your seat to someone unable to stand or protect a stranger from attack? We may say we would, but we don't always. Is this human nature, or can we be taught to be kind?

http://www.bbc.co.uk...gazine-24363845

Yes. The best way to teach anything is by example. Of course, learning what one is taught is a completely different subject.

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Well my doubts about the quote were about context and accuracy, as it seemed out of character. Still, great men can be quoted saying almost anything you want to find.

I think compassion is a difficult thing to understand and even more complicated to apply. It goes beyond love in that it involves keeping your wits about you and knowing what is going on in full depth, but still not making judgments of the person and understanding the desires and impulses that lead to the need for compassion.

Mindfulness is extremely difficult to apply. It means of course being aware of your mind, as a process, not a thing. However it also applies to simple things such as being aware when you are in someone's way even though you don't have eyes in the back of your head to being aware of how what you say changes both yourself and those who hear you, to being aware of the karmic elements of what you do, again on yourself and others.

The idea that mindfulness only applies during meditation is one I would strongly try to disavow you of. Meditation doesn't mean emptying your mind anyway. Meditation, such as breathing meditation. is a first step to mindfulness.

I am not interested in Enlightenment, at least in this life. I am interested in what Buddhist tradition provides.

Where is your respect for this great teacher? These quotes are NOT out of character? And neither are wrong in anyway. Or do you mean what he said doesn’t fit with your theory? How old do you think Tenzin Gyatso was when he started his training? He was 6yrs old and enthroned at the age of 15! He knows exactly what he says or are you trying to suggest he doesn’t fulfil your little mindfullness list? If what Tenzin says doesn’t fit with your theory, one of you is wrong, which one is right? You will find that it is you who is wrong. I went through 2 yrs of instruction with 3 different Mahatmas way back in the 70s before any techniques of meditation were given, because the real power in meditation comes from the heart not the head, it becomes a longing, a thirst. I have been practicing meditation for 40 odd years, everything they taught me and what I experience is perfectly in line with these quotes, which is why I respect him. There is no manipulation of what he said they are simple straight forward statements. Like this - The Darmmapada 25

‘Master yourself. How gladly you follow the words of the awakened.

How quietly, how surely You approach the happy country,

The heart of stillness. However young, The seeker who sets out upon the way

Shines bright over the world. Like the moon, Come out from behind the clouds!

Shine. Mistaking the false for the true, And the true for the false, You overlook the HEART’

The compassion you offer is state of mind as I said in my previous post, like a new year resolution, real Compassion comes from the Heart and is the most wonderful feeling, NO intellectual understanding is required. If you intellectualise it, it becomes as you have recognised ‘complicated’.

You also posted, ”Meditation doesn't mean emptying your mind anyway” I don’t think I mentioned ‘emptying your mind’ those are your words but anyway Tao te Ching 3,

‘The ‘Master leads by emptying people's minds and filling their cores.’

How about this quote , TTC 10 – ‘Can you coax your mind from its wandering and keep to the original oneness? Can you step back from you own mind and thus understand all things? Or how about, TTC 16 ‘Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace’

Or TTC 20 ‘Stop thinking, and end your problems’

Perhaps this one sums it up TTC 70 ‘My teachings are EASY to understand and easy to put into practice. Yet your intellect will never grasp them, and if you try to practice them, you'll fail.

My teachings are older than the world. How can you grasp their meaning?

If you want to know me, look inside your HEART’.

OR, The Buddhist Sutras were available only in Chinese and Tetsugen wanted to publish them in Japan. After 10yrs he had enough donations to complete his project, but at this time there were floods and famine, so he spent the money on relieving suffering. By the time he had collected enough money again, an epidemic engulfed the country and he again spent the money. After 20 yrs , on his third attempt he finally published the Sutras in Japanese. The Japanese say he published three sets of sutras and that the first two invisible ones were greater than the last! From ‘Zen Wisdom’ Publishers Thorson/Harper Collins

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Sutemi: I think it is possible you depend too much on authority. I would much rather you show me my errors than that you just quote other people.

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Sutemi: I think it is possible you depend too much on authority. I would much rather you show me my errors than that you just quote other people.

This thread is about kindness and my original post was about kindness. I would not have posted you, you posted that the quotes I posted where flawed/corrupted, I have replied to your posts only because of that. As to me depending on Authority, I have throughout my life tried to learn from everything, I have learned from engineers, plumbers, electricians and teachers of all kinds, because of this I am good at Automotive engineering (my old trade), plumbing , electrics, etc. the latest thing I have learned is a bit of plastering I did not get a book to learn I asked a plasterer for tips, I had employed to do the job, because it is his profession and he is good at it, not because I depend on authority but because I want to learn to do whatever it is properly. I have the intelligence to understand that I don’t know everything and so I try to learn from people who know the things I don’t. As to pointing out your faults that’s not why I joined UM. I live in the UK the media and general TV is full of materialistic rubbish, so I find other things to do like reading interesting threads on UM, l also love history always have and because of my many years of spiritual searching since the death of my mother when I was 4yrs old, I have read about all the great masters throughout time, they inspire me. They have all helped me as have other living teachers who have shown me how to look within myself and how to tap into the inner peace we all have within us. I have no wish to judge you, I only want address my own faults. I only reply to your posts. I wish you well

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