Author Topic: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines  (Read 4992 times)

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2011, 07:47:54 pm »
Landis,

Also useful is the Panha Sutta, where the Buddha elucidates the 4 ways to answer questions:
1.  Categorical Yes or No answer
2.  Qualified by an analysis of the subject
3.  Answering with a counter question - you see the Buddha use this a lot to lead the listener into the answer or to reveal flaws in arguments
4.  Remaining silent - you can use this for people who who hold tightly to their own wrong view and refuse to be open to other possibilities

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2011, 08:50:39 pm »
Landis,

There is yet another Sutta that I know of which is very useful for conflict resolution - the Brahmajala Sutta.  Here, a teacher and student were talking about the Buddha - the teacher was disparaging the Buddha whilst the student praising him.  When the Buddha found out, he gave some excellent recommendations that are extremely useful in everyday disagreements:

If someone criticizes the Buddha, the Dharma or the Sangha:
1.  Do not get angry or upset or resentful in your heart.  Why?  Because if you do, then you just create an obstacle for yourself.  How so?  Because these sorts of emotions cloud the mind so that you no longer see as clearly - and so you won't be able to recognize what's right or wrong as easily.
2.  Once your mind is clear, then you point out what's wrong and you back it up with evidence, e.g., This is incorrect for these reasons - a, b, c... etc.

If someone praises the Buddha, the Dharma or the Sangha:
1.  Do not get too excited or elated.  Why?  Because this too creates an obstacle for yourself and these too can cloud your mind and judgment.
2.  Once your mind is clear, then you acknowledge fact as fact and you back it up with evidence, e.g., This is correct, this is right because of these reasons - x, y, z... etc.

Now translate this to if someone criticizes or praises you, or if they criticize or praise your views - you can apply the same sort of thinking to these situations:
1.  Don't let emotions cloud your mind - clear your mind of being influenced by praise or blame.
2.  Point out what's wrong and acknowledge what is right and back both up with evidence.

Incidentally, this is also how you reduce attachment to views (in reference to the other thread).  In conflict resolution terms, what the Buddha is doing here is separating the people from the problem, separating the emotions from the problem - and looking at the problem with bare attention and wisdom.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 09:23:14 pm by Optimus Prime »

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2011, 03:02:31 am »
The Buddha's Attitude towards Praising and Criticizing People

In Anguttara II 97, the Buddha asks the wanderer Potaliya, which of these 4 types people do you think is most admirable?

Someone who:
1.  Criticizes but does NOT Praise:  Criticizes that which deserves criticism (saying what is factual and true) BUT does NOT praise that which deserves to be praised.
2.  Praises but does NOT Criticize:  Praises that which is praiseworthy (saying what is factual and true BUT does NOT criticize that which needs to be criticized.
3.  NEITHER praises nor criticizes:  Neither criticizes that which deserves criticism, nor praises that which is praiseworthy
4.  BOTH praises and criticizes at the right time: Praise that which is praiseworthy and criticizes that which deserves criticism, saying that which is factual and true and at the right time.

So which person is the most admirable?

The Buddha said 4. was the most admirable.  Why?  Because the timing was most admirable.

Offline Hanzze

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2011, 03:13:54 am »
What is the right time? *smile*

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2011, 03:30:21 am »
You've got to use your own judgement and wisdom to see if you can gauge the right time and place for praising and criticizing people.  You can't just read a book that has a map of the perfect times to praise and criticize people and then when a situation comes up, look up the timetable in the book and say, "Oh yes, this is the right time to praise this person" or "Oh, it's 7:00 am, it's the wrong time to criticize the person at this time".  Sometimes, you've got to experiment and test different approaches to see what sorts of results you get.  And sometimes, if you use the same approach for one person as you do for another person - you'll get different outcomes - one may be receptive to it but the other may be resistant to it.

For example, if you're working, and a staff member makes a mistake - you don't go scolding that staff member in front of other clients.  Why?  Because the goal is the help the staff member get better.  If you scold him in front of clients, then it would make him lose face and embarrassed - and he may resent your criticism and be even further resistant to improvement.

If on the other hand, you talk about the incident in private - tell them what they did incorrectly and why it was incorrect.  Then you go through the proper procedure and protocol and explain how it is done and the reasoning behind that.  Then you affirm their self worth to provide encouragement for them to do better. 

In this way:
1.  They save face
2.  They understand the why they do things and why it was incorrectly done in the first place
3.  They understand how to do better.  So here, you are educating them.
4.  You are providing them with encouragement and an opportunity to improve.
In summary, you are separating the people from the problem, you are criticizing the behaviour (not the person) and you are encouraging the person to be better.  And this is all done at a time when the person is more likely to be receptive to your words, e.g., not when they are tired or emotionally drained because if you criticize them at those times, you will compound their resistance.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2011, 03:54:47 am by Optimus Prime »

Offline landis

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #35 on: November 15, 2011, 03:50:20 am »
 :cheer: :heart: 
Like a rock,
like a planet,
like a f**king atom bomb,
I'll remain unperturbed by the joy and the
madness
that I encounter everywhere I turn
I've seen it all before
in books and magazines
like a twitch before dying
like a pornographic sea
there's a flower behind the window
there's an ugly laughing man
like a hummingbird in silence
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
oh yeah, oh yeah, like the blood on my door
wash me clean and I will run
until I reach the shore
I've known it all along
like the bone under my skin
like actors in a photograph
like paper in the wind
there's a hammer by the window
there's a knife on the floor
like turbines in darkness
like the blood on my door
it's the generator
-Bad Religion, Generator

Offline Hanzze

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2011, 04:21:14 am »
You've got to use your own judgement and wisdom to see if you can gauge the right time and place for praising and criticizing people.  You can't just read a book that has a map of the perfect times to praise and criticize people and then when a situation comes up, look up the timetable in the book and say, "Oh yes, this is the right time to praise this person" or "Oh, it's 7:00 am, it's the wrong time to criticize the person at this time".  Sometimes, you've got to experiment and test different approaches to see what sorts of results you get.  And sometimes, if you use the same approach for one person as you do for another person - you'll get different outcomes - one may be receptive to it but the other may be resistant to it.

For example, if you're working, and a staff member makes a mistake - you don't go scolding that staff member in front of other clients.  Why?  Because the goal is the help the staff member get better.  If you scold him in front of clients, then it would make him lose face and embarrassed - and he may resent your criticism and be even further resistant to improvement.

If on the other hand, you talk about the incident in private - tell them what they did incorrectly and why it was incorrect.  Then you go through the proper procedure and protocol and explain how it is done and the reasoning behind that.  Then you affirm their self worth to provide encouragement for them to do better. 

In this way:
1.  They save face
2.  They understand the why they do things and why it was incorrectly done in the first place
3.  They understand how to do better.  So here, you are educating them.
4.  You are providing them with encouragement and an opportunity to improve.
In summary, you are separating the people from the problem, you are criticizing the behaviour (not the person) and you are encouraging the person to be better.  And this is all done at a time when the person is more likely to be receptive to your words, e.g., not when they are tired or emotionally drained because if you criticize them at those times, you will compound their resistance.

I thought more of what the Buddha gave as advice. When we take your sample and compare it to the kind the Buddha used to talk, he always looked to have the whole disciples present, as there was nothing to lose but for everybody something to win even out of a situation of a different person.

Regarding your sample as a employer, from my experiences it makes no real sense to talk face to face. The only thing what increases is more dishonesty and mobbing. To get them all together and speak talk turkey and objective solves many problems as mostly the roots are very deeply associated in the whole team. To speak with one by one is nothing but a try to keeping up unreal harmonies. For sure there are situations when a talk face to face is important, but that is most a very personal issue and has nothing direct to do with the company and its requirements and aims.

If somebody can not bare it to be part of it and to stand also firm in windy times its just a potential danger for the whole enterprise. There is nothing wrong with group pressure if the intention of the whole enterprise has much value. Single problems between them would be clarified by them self's. There is also not always the need to talk about a specific person if there is a problem and you teach the whole group, but its needed that this person is present.

More important is to have their real attention and that you do not simply teach in reaction of a present situations. 

For example her in Cambodia in small traditional villages, traditionally if somebody had done a heavy mad deed, they would not punish him like we know it, personal, beside the society... No, they would public declare the faults of him/her and that is something that gives the needed binding to the group as an awareness of responsibility of the whole commune and the dependency on it.

*smile*

Offline Optimus Prime

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2011, 02:26:25 am »
This is the Buddha's advice in practice:

Usually when people encounter something disagreeable to them they don't open up to it. Such as when people are criticized: "Don't bother me! Why blame me?" This is someone who's closed himself off. Right there is the place to practice. When people criticize us we should listen. Are they speaking the truth? We should be open and consider what they say. Maybe there is a point to what they say, perhaps there is something blame-worthy within us. They may be right and yet we immediately take offense. If people point out our faults we should strive to be rid of them and improve ourselves. This is how intelligent people will practice.
- Ajahn Chah
Source:  http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma2/living.html

Offline Hanzze

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2011, 02:57:20 am »
Thanks for sharing that. *smile*

There is an Vietnamese/Cambodian saying if people do wrong, or doing harm to calm down: "If he would know what he is doing, he would not do it." With this sentence in mind, one could not get angry about a person or people and worry.
Maybe it gives also rise to more effort in change it by right-timely teaching that they might understand. How ever, it has also its danger, the danger of dispraise or arrogance. So its more useful for people who suffer on the believe that they are threaded unfairly.

Its a very useful outlet. *smile*

Offline Hanzze

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2011, 03:10:22 am »
Quote
In Praise of Speech

    67-8 Well worded and significant, true and sweet,
    deep or plain or both together, condensed or copious.
    Hearing such words of yours, would not even an opponent
    be convinced that you were all-knowing?

    69 Generally your speech was wholly sweet
    but when necessary it would be otherwise.
    But either way, every word was well spoken
    because it always achieved its purpose.

    70 Soft or hard or possessing both qualities,
    all your words when distilled had but one taste.[20]

    71 Ah! How pure, perfect and excellent your actions are,
    that you employed these jewel-like words in such a way.

    72 From your mouth pleasing to the eye, drop words
    pleasing to the ear, like nectar from the moon.[21]

    73 Your sayings are like a spring shower settling the dust of
    passions, like a garuda killing the serpent of hatred.[22]

    74 They are like the sun again and again
    dispelling the darkness of ignorance,
    like Sakra's scepter splitting the mountain of pride.[23]

    75 Your speech is excellent in three ways:
    based on fact it is truthful,
    because its motive is pure it causes no confusion,
    and being relevant it is easily understood.

    76 When first heard your words excite the mind
    but when their meaning is pondered over
    they wash away all ignorance and passion.

    77 They go to the hearts of all.
    While comforting the grieving they alarm the heedless
    and rouse those preoccupied with pleasures.

    78 Truly your words are for all: they delight the wise,
    strengthen those of middling intelligence
    and illuminate the minds of the dull.

    79 Your sayings coax men from false views
    and draw them towards Nirvana.
    They remove faults and rain down virtues.

    80 Your knowledge embraces all things,
    your mindfulness is ever present
    and thus what you say will always come to pass.

    81 Because you never speak at the wrong time
    or in the wrong place or towards the wrong person,
    your words, like energy rightly applied, are never wasted.


Offline Hanzze

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Re: How to approach disagreements - the Buddha's guidelines
« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2011, 07:35:02 pm »
Respecting each other, there is a nice story the Buddha once told to remind his disciples to respect each other and what would be the gain from it.

From the Mangala Sutta Uannana explained by Ven. K. Gunaratana Thera.

Quote
To Be Possessed Of Pleasant Words And Speech Is Most Blissful.

Every person likes you to speak nicely and pleasantly to him. No one likes to be addressed in a harsh manner. Even a child detests the stern remark that is passed; it hurts his feelings and immediately he gains the impression that the general outlook is not at all friendly. Animals too behave in like manner. A dog or a cat will instinctively find out from the tone of your speech, whether it is pleasing or otherwise.

It is a good policy to speak pleasantly. No amount of harsh word would win you respect and adoration; instead you meet with rebuke and scorn. Why not, therefore, let us be more watchful on the care and choice of the words we use, words, that ring sweetness to warm the hearts of those whom we daily contact. Let us be alert to refrain from being rude and saucy in our speech; it does no one any good. On the other hand when we speak in so refined an expression of goodwill it goes straight home to the receiver like blam so soothing and peaceful and lo! what unspeakable joy and happiness it imparts to us. Let us exert in the conduct of ourselves daily, to be kind, courteous and helpful.

Illustration:

Once there was a king who was known as Gandhara by the name of the country he ruled. At that time the Bodhisatva was born as a calf. The owner gave away the calf to a brahmin. The brahmin had an intense liking for the calf and regarded it almost as a member of his family. He gave it the name of Nandivisala. When the calf grew up to be a big bull, it still cherished in its heart the love and kindness of the brahmin. Because it was grateful to the brahmin Nandivisala felt a desire to repay the brahmin for what he had done. It approached the Brahmin and said, “I want you to take wager with your rich neighbour who owns a big herd of strong bulls.
It shall be the match of my strength where I can display my strength by pulling at one time one hundred carts loaded to its fullest capacity. he brahmin, though surprised, gladly accepted what he considered a miracle for his bull to perform such an immense feat of strength. He then went to his rich neighbour and beaming with confidence and joy, offered to wager any price that his bull would pull in one strength, one hundred fully loaded carts. The neighbour thought that it was a huge joke, as he reckoned that it was beyond the strength of any single bull however strong it might be to encounter the great load. However he readily accepted the challenge.

The hundred carts loaded to the fullest extent, were secured one to another in a long line in readiness for the brahmin’s bull to take up its position for the test of its phenomenal strength. The brahmin having washed and cleaned his bull and having adorned it by hanging a beautiful garland of flowers around its neck, yoked it to the foremost cart. When everything was ready for the demonstration, the brahmin said to the bull, “Now, you untrained bull of mine, put all your effort and pull.” To the surprise of everyone, more so to the brahmin, the bull made no movement at all to show its willingness to pull the long line of one hundred carts. The brahmin lost his wager and quietly led his bull away.

For sometime, the bull went grazing in the field and when it returned home after its feed, found the brahmin lying quietly on the couch brooding over his loss. The bull came near to its master and said, “During all these years that I have been living with you, is there any occasion when I have been a nuisance in your house, say like breaking any article that came my way or urinating anywhere in the place? Why then call me an untrained bull? – Such unwarranted and unpleasant remark has no place in my own good behaviour right through all these years to you.”
However the bull did not wish to appear so resentful as to cause unnecessary distress to its master, and in this light, he asked his master to make a second wager with an increased stake amounting to two hundred gold pieces and at the same time reminding him of the incident in case he became abusive again. The wager was keenly taken up and when the final arrangements were completed, the brahmin politely said to his bull, “Now, son, will you make a good start?” To the amazement of all the spectators, the bull made one gigantic tug and the hundred loaded carts began to move. The display of the stupendous feat of a single bull earned the admiration of the spectators who gave freely their articles of gold and other gifts to enrich the coffers of the brahmin together with the settlement of the two hundred gold pieces wager from his rich neighbour.
The Lord Buddha made it an occasion as reference to this particular incident in one of his previous rebirth, that rudeness of speech had made a disadvantage to the man concerned.


*smile*

 


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