3 BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGICAL TEACHINGS FOR A HARMONIOUS FAMILY IN A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY

Thứ năm - 09/05/2019 06:15
by H. M. Mahinda Herath
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGICAL TEACHINGS FOR A HARMONIOUS FAMILY IN A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
 

by H. M. Mahinda Herath




In the Buddhas teachings, the doctrinal points to monastic as well as household life. Hence, Buddhist teachings are directed towards building a mentally and physically strong family life to sustain the family unit. In this study, the data has been collected from the Sutta Piaka and the relevant books and articles related to this field. The method followed for this paper will be to draw a narrative by interpreting the primary source and then to relate it with the secondary sources. The purpose of this paper is to examine the philosophical and ethical teaching on harmonious family life as depicted in Early Buddhism.

In practice Buddhism accommodates and guides the family in multiple and diverse ways by directing them to cultivate and develop the conduct of familial life, and providing a set of moral guidelines to help them make the right moral decision and to refrain from moral transgressions. It also promotes rituals and practices supportive of fertility, procreation, and the productivity and success of the family, helps build strong relationships between husband and wife, parents and children and between living families. Husbands and wives are to cultivate respect, honor, and faithfulness towards one another and parents are also responsible for the Buddhist ethics and practices in their children. Divorce is uncommon for Buddhists and it is not prohibited. Buddhist teachings are directed tpwards peace, harmony, and a life lived mutuality with one another to avoid woeful circumstances. The canon contain many discourses on sustainable family life: for example, Silasutta
 


of the Dīghanikāya, Nakulapitusutta and Dīghajāusutta of the Aguttaranikāya, Magalasutta, Parābhavasuttaand Mettasutta of the Khuddakanikāya, the Dhammapada etc. The doctrinal points founded in these discourses guide to the moral and harmonious life of the family members by cultivating good qualities in their minds, such as, loving kindness, compassion, goodwill, tolerance, trustworthiness. These discourses direct to eradicate bad qualities which destroy the harmonious life of the family members, such as, greed, aversion, delusion, anger, hatred. In fact, the mental concomitant of dhamma-authority are moral shame (hiri) and moral dread (ottappa) where these two are lacking, there is no civilization. Hence, the Buddha aptly introduces them as guardians of the world” (lokapāladhammā).

INTRODUCTION

Buddhist teachings direct the people to spend their lives without suffering, pain, and any negative thoughts and feelings. It means that Buddhist teachings guide to human beings to spend lives with happiness in this life and beyond this life. In this paper, Buddhist psychological teachings for a harmonious family in a sustainable society is going to be discussed.

Materials and Method:


The data for this study has been collected from the Sutta Piaka and Abhidhamma Piaka and the relevant books and articles related to this field. The method followed for this paper will be to draw a narrative by interpreting the primary source and then to relate it with the secondary sources.

Result:


The Buddhist teachings on a harmonious family in a sustainable society leads to solve the problems related to the mental and physical behavior of the human beings in this society.

DISCUSSION:

The function of mind of the human beings are discussed in the Buddhas teachings with regard to the cultivation of psychological foundation among the family members.   Therefore, In practice
 


Buddhism accommodates and guides the family  in  multiple and diverse ways by directing them to cultivate and develop the conduct of familial life, and providing a set of moral guidelines to help them make the right moral decision and to refrain from moral transgressions.
It also promotes rituals and practices supportive of fertility, procreation, and the productivity and success of the family, helps build strong relationships between husband and wife, parents and children and between living families. Husbands and wives are to cultivate respect, honor, and faithfulness towards one another and parents are also responsible for the Buddhist ethics and practices in their children. The Buddha has discussed responsible of the each person of the society and pointed out that those responsible causes to the build up strong relationship among them. The teachings in- cluded in Silovāda Sutta are very important to make an inquiry on Buddhist teachings relevant to obligations.1 Ten obligations needed for harmony of the family members are shown in Silovāda Sutta.
And how, young man, does the noble disciple protect the six directions? These six directions should be known: mother and father as the east, teachers as the south, spouse and family as the west, friends and colleagues as the north, workers and servants as the lower direction, and ascetics and Brahmans as the upper direction.

In five ways should a mother and father as the eastern direction be respected by a child: ‘I will support them who supported me; I will do my duty to them; I will maintain the family lineage and tradition; I will be worthy of my inheritance; and I will make donations on behalf of dead ancestors.

And, the mother and father so respected reciprocate with compassion in five ways: by restraining you from wrongdoing, guiding you towards good actions, training you in a profession, supporting the choice of a suitable spouse, and in due time, handing over the inheritance.

 
  1. Dãghanikāya III. Sigālovāda Suttaü. London: Pali Text Society. 1911. p 180.
 


In this way, the eastern direction is protected and made peaceful and secure.

Divorce is uncommon for Buddhists and it is not prohibited. Buddhist teachings are directed towards peace, harmony, and a life lived mutuality with one another to avoid woeful circumstances. The canon contain many discourses on sustainable family life: for example, Siṅlasutta of the Dīghanikāya, Nakulapitusutta and Dīghajāṇusutta of the Aguttaranikāya, Magalasutta, Parābhavasuttaand Mettasutta of the Khuddakanikāya, the Dhammapada etc. The doctrinal points founded in these discourses guide to the moral and harmonious life of the family members by cultivating good qualities in their minds, such as, loving kindness, compassion, goodwill, tolerance, trustworthiness. These discourses direct to eradicate bad qualities which destroy the harmonious life of the family members, such as, greed, aversion, delusion, anger, hatred. In fact, the mental concomitant of dhamma-authority are moral shame (hiri) and moral dread (ottappa) where these two are lacking, there is no civilization. Hence, the Buddha aptly introduces them as guardians of the world” (lokapāladhammā).

In this paper, I am going to discuss the one Buddhist teaching in detail with regard to the harmonious family in a sustainable society.

Attachment is common to all human beings and non human beings. Buddhist Teachings lead all beings to a life of peace without conflicts. Although people think that it is possible to live without anger, hatred, and non-violence, they cannot prevent those defilement from arising. But evil and clinging are not overcome by such defilement. There are many psychological tendencies which cause conflict such as
    • Attachment to material and non material things,
    • Wanting things that give happiness,
    • Rejecting things that cause unhappiness,
    • Protecting what one has,
 
    • Seeing others enjoying benefits one wishes to have but does not have on account of limited resources,
 
 
  • Holding on tenaciously to ones views.

In this situation the teachings of the Buddha are very useful to understand the environment around one and to spend ones life peacefully. Not only are those teachings useful but there are teachings that are related to attachment and that are most relevant to living a peaceful life without conflict.

It is mentioned in the suttas that victory was by means of the Dhamma which is the real victory. Hate is not overcome by hate; by Love (Metta) alone is hate appeased and the highest goal of the Buddhist ethical path, is mental peace.

There are two kinds of non human beings that Buddhist myths and legends about Gods present. Gods that are supportive of the Doctrine and those who do not support it. The asuràs symbolise evil. In the past there was a fight between the gods and the Titans (asuràs). Then Vepacitti, the chief of the Titans, addressed the Titans:
`Sirs, in this battle between the gods and Titans, if the Titans win and the gods are defeated, seize Sakka the king of gods by his neck and binding him with the fivefold bond bring him to my presence, to the city of the Titans.Sakka the king of gods too addressed the gods: `Sirs, in this battle between the gods and Titans if the gods win and the Titans are defeated, seize Vepacitti the king of Titans by his neck and binding him with the fivefold bond bring him to my presence, to the Sudhamma assembly. The gods won that battle and the Titans were defeated. Then the gods of the thirty three heavenly abode, binding the neck of Vepacitti, the king of the Titans with the fivefold bond, took him to the presence of Sakka the king of gods, in the Sudhamma assembly. Vepacitti the king of the Titans from the time he was brought to the Sudhamma assembly, his neck bound with the fivefold bond, until he left the hall, was scolding and reviling them. Then Màtali the charioteer said this stanza to Sakka the king of gods: `Is it out of fear that Sakka was silent, or did you endure the weak ones abusive words? Why did you listen to those humiliating words spoken to your face by Vepacitti?Sakka replied, The foolish make others angry by not restraining their anger. Therefore enduring with patience, the wise protect themselves from the foolish. When you know the other is angry and you restrain yourself mindfully, then you protect yourself from the foolish.
 


The suttas reveals the characteristics of anger and two occasions for tolerance.
  1. The weak one endures sufferings all the time.
 
  1. If a powerful one practices forbearance for the sake of the weaker, then that is the highest tolerance.

People think weakness is strength, when a fool tries to show off his so called strength. But the strong one, protected by the Teachings, does not change his path. He knows that it is evil to make someone react in anger. The person who does not arouse anger in the one who made him angry, wins the battle. He conducts himself for the welfare of both, his own and the others. If someone conducts himself mindfully, knowing the other is angry, he heals the wounds of both his own and the others. People who are not wise in understanding the teaching will say they are foolish.

Tolerance is greater than fighting with others. It is spiritually and physically more beneficial to overcome the harmful effects of anger, defilements, and stress. Normally the weak puts up with anything all the time because it is difficult for them to get involved in fighting. To practice tolerance is greater than fighting. But it is far nobler to control oneself and practice forbearance for the sake of the weaker. That is the highest restraint. The wise man always controls himself and endures for the sake of the weaker. So his mind and body are very strong. Therefore enduring with patience, the wise keep away from the foolish. The following are a few qualities that are highlighted in the Buddhist teachings.

The wise man does not get into a conflict with the weaker. He behaves mindfully in front of the foolish one who is angry. Whatever the weaker thinks of him, he tolerates because of his principles. In the wise man there is power and strength of the Dhamma, It makes him strong. No one can say that forbearance is not powerful. It is a very most powerful spiritual quality. The wise man behaves for the welfare of both himself and the other. Therefore his unwholesome roots diminish and wholesome thought processes develop. It helps him to attain Nibna. So he becomes well and happy and a most pleasing personality. Considering in most powerful spiritual quality, there are a few bad qualities that appear in the teachings of
 


the Buddha regarding weaker person as follows.
  • The foolish man makes others angry, not controlling his anger.
 
  • The fool thinks the other is patient because he is frightened of him.
  • He scolds using harsh words when he meets his enemies.
 
  • The foolish one rises into the air as if to overcome the wise one and people say such weakness is strength, when a fool tries to show off his strength in this way but the wise do not say so.

The Buddhist Suttas make the point that we have conflict with others due to anger. This is harmful to oneself. Therefore a quality of a Noble One is not to get angry with those who are angry, not to have hatred towards them or harm them. These are the qualities that help to build a peaceful ethical society.

These qualities are more helpful to build for a harmonious family in a sustainable society. In the same way it is very important fact for a harmonious family in a sustainable society that everyone should act in unity and with common sense. It is obvious from the following points that everyone should look at others with pleasure, compassion and kindness.
  1. Unite
  2. Enjoy together
  3. No arguments
  4. Act together just like milk and water
5.  Be pleased with each other2










2. V iv. PTS: London. p 351.






REFERENCE

Aguttara-nikāya IV. (ed) Prof. E. Hardy. London: Pali Text So- ciety. 1948.

Dhammapada,1994. (ed.) .O.von Hinuber. K.R. Norman. Lon- don: Pali Text Society.
Dãgha Nikāya III. 1911. London: Pali Text Society.

Majjhima Nikāya I. 1888. (ed.) V. Trenckner. London: Pali Text Society.

Majjhima Nikāya II. 1951. (ed.) Robert Chalmers. London: Pali Text Society.

Suttanipāta. 1965. (ed.) Dines Andersen & Helmer Smith. Lon- don: Pali Text Society.

Sayutta-nikāya V.  (ed) M Leon Feer. London: Pali Text Soci- ety. 1960.
The Connected discourse of        the Bud-
dhism. Sayutta-nikāya. (Tr.) Bhikkhu Bodhi.
Boston: Wisdom Publication. 2000.

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