Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Tom tom, modified 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 9:41 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 9:41 PM

Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 3 Join Date: 12/13/22 Recent Posts
I'm really struggling with the idea of love/compassion/kindness/caring/helping-others/etc.

It depresses me to be selfish, and brings me joy to be kind. But those feelings are simply sensate experiences, and neither would be an actual preference if I become enlightened.

Is that not the case for everyone who is enlightened? Why do they "choose" to be loving, what motivates them to be so kind and giving to the world? Is there a simple ontological reason they can point to, or do they "choose" to be loving purely out of selfish reasons, because they know it brings them joy? Or is it more... it just happens, and they just notice it... and it's natural?

Currently it feels like an evolutionary thing - biological, materialistic, deterministic, etc. The more I buy into a deterministic worldview, the more depressed I get that there is no "I" that actually loves my fiance, there is only this love arising naturally because of evolution/determinism. And that love seemingly arises only insomuch as it leads to a good experience for me, selfishly.

I'm utterly lost on this, ontologically, scientifically, intellectually. To be honest I want to forget everything I've read over the last month and go back to the "universal consciousness" ideas that I was happily idealizing recently, in the vein of Adyashanti, Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavad Gita, and so on. It would just be so nice, so easy, if we were all somehow "one" with each other - if that's the case, love is a no brainer! I would be loving myself! But I just don't know if I can really buy that anymore.

It feels almost like, the deeper I go into this theravada style emptiness/determinism stuff, it feels like maybe I'll find out there actually is no nice, happy, warm, magical, idealized reason to be loving to each other. And yet, every single monk, buddhist, yogi, and enlightened person says that having compassion is good! And a lot of them seem to be desperately trying to help others, Daniel Ingram included! They're all spreading the dharma!

I can understand self-love, we all want to have a good experience in every single moment and that intention to have a good experience, to have pleasure, to avoid pain, that IS love, literally. That makes sense. I am a force of love, in that sense, towards my "self".

But why have that same love towards others!

Grateful for any responses, thank you!
Hector L, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 12:21 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/13/22 11:55 PM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 139 Join Date: 5/9/20 Recent Posts
Compassion and cooperation seem to fall out of iterated games
for a simple explanation

https://ncase.me/trust/

I'm assuming from your use of ontology and determinism that you are more convinced by rational means.

In any case the self vs no self debate has been going on forever between Vedic and Buddhist camps it seems to me like your choice if you prefer 1 or 0. It's like arbitrary choice between identity of multiplication vs identity of addition. Both are identities of their respective groups IMHO.

I like Michael Taft's interpretation of the topic but I can't find the video. At the end of Shinzen's doc on noting gone he also lists Gone as synonyms for both True Self (Ātma in Hinduism) • No self (Anatta in Buddhism)

https://www.shinzen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/art_PowerofGone.pdf
Martin, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 1:58 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 1:58 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 856 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
It is common to feel a sort of deadness or sadness or flatness when emptiness becomes apparent. Lots of teachers talk about it. Luckily, you don't need universal consciousness to get out from the deadness and move to compassion.

You say, "I can understand self-love, we all want to have a good experience in every single moment and that intention to have a good experience, to have pleasure, to avoid pain, that IS love, literally. That makes sense. I am a force of love, in that sense, towards my "self"."

You are right. You, as an animal, you were built to care for yourself, to see yourself as something to be protected, and nurtured, and made happy. 

You say, "The more I buy into a deterministic worldview, the more depressed I get that there is no "I" that actually loves my fiance, there is only this love arising naturally because of evolution/determinism."

So, if there is no "I," what is going on when you feel compassion for yourself? If there is no I, you cannot be loving yourself. You may think that you are loving yourself, but if there is no "yourself" then you must just be loving.

Now, consider that it's natural, for example, to be kind to your leg, and look after it when it is hurt. It's part of you, and you extend that natural compassion toward it. Imagine that someone said that they loved themselves, but they only loved their torso. They didn't love their legs. When they stubbed their toe, they would say, "What do I care? That's the toe's problem, not mine." You would probably think that person was crazy. 

So what would happen if "I" were to disappear, and there was no more boundary between you and the next person (or, for that matter, the next thing) than there is between your torso and your legs. To say, "What do I care about how that person feels?" makes no more sense than to say "What do I care about my toe." 

The bottom line is we are built to be compassionate, just as you pointed out. The idea that there is a separate self to which that natural love can be limited is only one of the possible ways of seeing the world. 
Tao Te Kat, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 2:23 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 2:23 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 8 Join Date: 5/24/22 Recent Posts
It's natural.

It just will happen, no choice.
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SushiK, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 2:47 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 2:47 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 161 Join Date: 6/11/20 Recent Posts
Nice and clear reasoning, I enjoyed that :-)
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 5:16 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 5:16 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

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Dream Walker, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 6:10 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 6:10 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 1738 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Tom tom
I'm really struggling with the idea of love/compassion/kindness/caring/helping-others/etc.

It depresses me to be selfish, and brings me joy to be kind. But those feelings are simply sensate experiences, and neither would be an actual preference if I become enlightened.
Of your many struggles, does this really rate? 
If you were enlightened, you might not worry about bullshit, or what preference was going to be what until it happens.

Is that not the case for everyone who is enlightened? Why do they "choose" to be loving, what motivates them to be so kind and giving to the world? Is there a simple ontological reason they can point to, or do they "choose" to be loving purely out of selfish reasons, because they know it brings them joy? Or is it more... it just happens, and they just notice it... and it's natural?
Yes yep uh huh and sure.
Possibly there is multiple people with different experiences, but want to not be an asshole. I used to get off on being an A-hole but as you can clearly see I got over it.    :o)     
When nonduality kicks in as an awakening the seperation of other vs "you" breaks down in a way. Everything and everyone is alive such as you are, perhaps more so. So maybe that makes sense why you don't hurt yourself/other capariously, unless thats your trip.


Currently it feels like an evolutionary thing - biological, materialistic, deterministic, etc. The more I buy into a deterministic worldview, the more depressed I get that there is no "I" that actually loves my fiance, there is only this love arising naturally because of evolution/determinism. And that love seemingly arises only insomuch as it leads to a good experience for me, selfishly.
And how is that a problem if you got love regardless? I got all this "philisophical faKE LOVE, WoE IS Me" The meaningless horror of my creation of fake love or whatever lets me degrade my experience.....
Have fun with that.

I'm utterly lost on this, ontologically, scientifically, intellectually. To be honest I want to forget everything I've read over the last month and go back to the "universal consciousness" ideas that I was happily idealizing recently, in the vein of Adyashanti, Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavad Gita, and so on. It would just be so nice, so easy, if we were all somehow "one" with each other - if that's the case, love is a no brainer! I would be loving myself! But I just don't know if I can really buy that anymore.
uhhhh, you might have a different problem that what you think....

It feels almost like, the deeper I go into this theravada style emptiness/determinism stuff, it feels like maybe I'll find out there actually is no nice, happy, warm, magical, idealized reason to be loving to each other. And yet, every single monk, buddhist, yogi, and enlightened person says that having compassion is good! And a lot of them seem to be desperately trying to help others, Daniel Ingram included! They're all spreading the dharma!
Stop freaking out. Just take a chill pill and maybe do some meditation, I hear its good for ya.

I can understand self-love, we all want to have a good experience in every single moment and that intention to have a good experience, to have pleasure, to avoid pain, that IS love, literally. That makes sense. I am a force of love, in that sense, towards my "self".
towards "self" or "other" (finger quotes) WhAtEvers. Keep creating love, I certainly do.....out of nothing at all....amazeballs...perhaps there is a skill set there that evolves to a word like compassion.

But why have that same love towards others!
Because it gets my rocks off to be so F'n powerful and amazing. Look Nietzsche, I'm not even using my hands! wheeee

Grateful for any responses, thank you!
Your welcome, (please be tolerant of my humor, I blame the A&P)
Good Luck
​​​​​​​D
Tom tom, modified 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 9:12 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/14/22 9:11 PM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 3 Join Date: 12/13/22 Recent Posts
Tao Te Kat It's natural. It just will happen, no choice.

​​​​​​​I love this answer unironically haha, made me laugh and feel very free. Thanks! Appreciate it.
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Jim Smith, modified 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 2:36 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 1:34 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 1739 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
Don't confuse the deep effects of Buddhist practice with a superficial intellectual understanding of Buddhist philosophy.

When you meditate, how long can you concentrate before a distraction arises? Do you see your thougths, emotions, and impulses forming in your mind or do they just appear into consciousness? Why do you trust your mind if you can't control it and you aren't producing it? Is it really you or yours?

If you want relief from your problem, consider a different question: What is the origin of dukkha and what causes dukkha to fade? When you study that, your other question will just not be relevant, it won't exist in you mind, you won't wonder about it, you won't be troubled by it. Relax and watch your mind in meditation and during daily life, notice when dukkha arises, keep watching and notice when dukkha fades. Notice the sensations in your body that accompany emotions. Watch thoughts emotions, impulses, sensory experiences, and your sense of self fluxuate from one moment to the next. You will see that dukkha (mental anguish) is something we do to ourselves. It is a habit we can give up (without suppressing it).

Tom tom
I'm really struggling with the idea of love/compassion/kindness/caring/helping-others/etc.

It depresses me to be selfish, and brings me joy to be kind. But those feelings are simply sensate experiences, and neither would be an actual preference if I become enlightened.

Is that not the case for everyone who is enlightened? Why do they "choose" to be loving, what motivates them to be so kind and giving to the world?
Can you give some examples of people who are enlightened who have demonstrated they became kind, loving, giving, etc. after becoming enlightened.
Because I think you have expressed a common misunderstanding.
The truth is that enlightenment doesn't necessarily make you a nice person.
There are a lot of scandals involving supposedly enlightened people who were abusive toward others.
https://tricycle.org/tag/sex-scandal/
https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21393142

Is there a simple ontological reason they can point to, or do they "choose" to be loving purely out of selfish reasons, because they know it brings them joy? Or is it more... it just happens, and they just notice it... and it's natural?

Currently it feels like an evolutionary thing - biological, materialistic, deterministic, etc. The more I buy into a deterministic worldview, the more depressed I get that there is no "I" that actually loves my fiance, there is only this love arising naturally because of evolution/determinism. And that love seemingly arises only insomuch as it leads to a good experience for me, selfishly.
I suggest you look inward and see if it isn't really the other way around: when you are depressed, your thoughts become focused on determinism.
That's what I find for myself anyway. When I am in a bad mood, my thoughts are negative, when my mood improves those thoughts just don't enter my mind - they are not relevant, important, significant. What I felt was a big bad problem just goes away.


I'm utterly lost on this, ontologically, scientifically, intellectually. To be honest I want to forget everything I've read over the last month and go back to the "universal consciousness" ideas that I was happily idealizing recently, in the vein of Adyashanti, Ramana Maharshi, Bhagavad Gita, and so on. It would just be so nice, so easy, if we were all somehow "one" with each other - if that's the case, love is a no brainer! I would be loving myself! But I just don't know if I can really buy that anymore.

It feels almost like, the deeper I go into this theravada style emptiness/determinism stuff, it feels like maybe I'll find out there actually is no nice, happy, warm, magical, idealized reason to be loving to each other. And yet, every single monk, buddhist, yogi, and enlightened person says that having compassion is good! And a lot of them seem to be desperately trying to help others, Daniel Ingram included! They're all spreading the dharma!


Don't confuse the deep effects of practice with a superficial intellectual understanding of the philosophy. 

One way of looking at Buddhist practice is that it changes you so that you use your intuitive mind more and your rational mind less.

Emotions are not logical. We use logic more to defend beliefs that we hold for emotional reasons rather than to adopt our beliefs. That's why I think we get confused about whether our thoughts are determining our emotions or our emotions are determining our thoughts.

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2018/04/your-logical-mind-is-illusion.html


I can understand self-love, we all want to have a good experience in every single moment and that intention to have a good experience, to have pleasure, to avoid pain, that IS love, literally. That makes sense. I am a force of love, in that sense, towards my "self".

But why have that same love towards others!

Maybe you should try metta meditation?
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/10/metta-meditation.html

When you practice Buddhism you become less selfish because as you suffer less you become less focused on yourself, and as you become less focused on yourself you suffer less. When you are less selfish you are not as defensive you don't experience self vs other as strongly you don't feel as much separation between self and not-self. You feel the same things for others that you feel for yourself. (I haven't said this is part of enlightenment so I haven't contradicted what I wrote above about enlightenment not necessarily making you a nice person.)

I think this will help too because I find it is very effective at dissipating dukkha:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2020/08/preparing-for-meditation-with.html

Grateful for any responses, thank you!
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เอียน พิชฟอร์ด, modified 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 4:43 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 4:43 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 40 Join Date: 2/10/20 Recent Posts
There are no other people - just streams of dependently arising processes interacting. Nurture one, nurture all.
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Chris M, modified 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 8:24 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 8:24 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 5246 Join Date: 1/26/13 Recent Posts
There are no other people - just streams of dependently arising processes interacting. Nurture one, nurture all.

Other people are sentient, conscious, living beings. Dependently arising does not mean "non-existent." The reality of existence is more subtle and nuanced than that. It's too easy for people to jump from a realization of the three characteristics to "nothing exists at all." That would be the wrong interpretation. Interdependence - yes. Non-existence - no.
shargrol, modified 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 9:16 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 9:16 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

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George S, modified 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 11:10 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/15/22 11:10 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 2722 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
Hi Tom,

I'm wondering how much of this driven by your feelings towards your fiance.

I'm probably projecting, but when I was 29 I got engaged to someone who really wanted to get married. At the time I thought it was true love, but in retrospect I was acting out of a sense of obligation and trying to convince myself that it was the right thing to do. I ended up calling off the engagement, which was ugly, but it was the right thing to do and shortly after I met my wife (we've been together for almost 20 years now and have 2 children). I don't think choice comes into that kind of love much at all, it's just a deep feeling that develops over time when you realize you've met your match and want to spend the rest of your life with them.

I'm sorry if I'm off base here, it was just seeing the mention of your fiance in the context of helping others and compassion that reminded me of this ...

Best wishes,
George
Tom tom, modified 1 Year ago at 12/20/22 11:33 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/20/22 11:33 PM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 3 Join Date: 12/13/22 Recent Posts
George: I'm wondering how much of this driven by your feelings towards your fiance.
Hey George no worries, but no, I'm not struggling in that area - I've been in a long-term relationship with someone who I wasn't 100% sure on, been there done that sadly, that was a hard break up. I'm 100% happy with my current fiance! It's going extremely well.

Definitely was more of an existential/ontological/philosophical sort of issue. I think I have more of an understanding now, maybe I can take a stab at this for myself and others who have the same question appear in their heads like me:

I think asking "why help others?" is sort of like asking, "why does gravity exist?". I think it's just the nature of things. It also appears that the nature of the unconditioned/source/Self/etc. (in my limited experience at least) is to be loving. Which makes a lot of sense, if you think of love as the natural force that pushes us all towards "good" experiences like joy, happiness, virtue. And I think that's what love is, literally. 

I feel pretty satisfied with this [non] answer.

This video also helped: https://youtu.be/GjOvoq-8xl0?t=754

"Why are you all watching this video? Because you are looking for happiness. That [looking] is love. Every blink of our eyes is looking for happiness. Every movement of our body [to get comfy] is looking for happiness. Every thought, every emotion. Everything we do is in the pursuit of happiness. So we all have love and compassion, 24/7, without even trying."

Similar to how ego and false-self is the nature of a human, love is the nature of the unconditioned.

So my official answer to the original question: Why help others?

​​​​​​​Because I love others. Why love others? Because I love others. Why does gravity exist? Because gravity exists. This is pretty much where I am with this, and I must say I feel very satisfied with this.
George S, modified 1 Year ago at 12/21/22 9:37 AM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/21/22 9:37 AM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 2722 Join Date: 2/26/19 Recent Posts
That sounds right. I usually feel pretty good about myself when I help others. I don't do it as much as I could and sometimes I feel a bit resentful  if I'm neglecting my own needs, but yeah on balance I feel like it's a pretty fundamental part of being human. I remember the Dalai Lama saying something somewhere about being "intelligently selfish"!
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Pawel K, modified 1 Year ago at 12/27/22 2:28 PM
Created 1 Year ago at 12/27/22 2:28 PM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 1171 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
The question is Why would you even care for such thing as "compassion" in the first place?
Robert Lydon, modified 10 Months ago at 7/29/23 3:24 PM
Created 10 Months ago at 7/29/23 3:24 PM

RE: Why help others? [SERIOUS]

Posts: 77 Join Date: 6/19/23 Recent Posts
Could there be no self and no others? Compassion can form when you see forms caught in the illusion. It is kind of like helping a consciousness eddy. You could pull a Taoist' Wu Wei or you could help the many facets of conciousness with a helping hand. Born into the dukka trap, conditioning and dependent origination, should one help thee? Sure.

Now should "you"? No one is making you. It might be harder to overcome the illusion of self though. Choices, do you have them?

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