Standards - Impossibly High?

Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

Standards - Impossibly High?

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Is there such a thing as impossibly high standards?
Surely, if we're trying to attain enlightenment, and further, then there is no limit, and we should set ourself standards as high as we can imagine.

I always loved the story about how Buddha Siddharta, in a previous life, came across a starving tigress, and because she was starving, he offered his body to him, so she ate him and lived, and he died.

Now whether you believe in these stories, or see them as a mythology designed to offer us inspiration and a guideline of what we should be aiming for, what would you do?

If you suddenly had that situation, in this very life, what would you do?

I've always hoped that I would happily die for another, but also that I would never hold anyone else to my standards.
But I'm kind of in the situation in that story now, and my boyfriend is pointing out to me that there's a thing about not having to do things if they'll seriously impact ones own health.
And then I remembered that story.

Now... if I knew for certain the 'tigress' in my situation would be harmed by my actions as well (high possibility), or not live to see the result (also high possibility), then I would feel so much easier making the decision to not give up my body.
But I don't know.
And the decision has to be made tonight.
And I won't know any kind of useful information like whether the 'tigress' would be ok, or live, for weeks, months maybe.

I know this probably sounds really weird and confusing, since I'm sticking to a story and using it as an example without giving any further clues whatsoever, but I really don't want to post the full details on a public forum.

more in comment....
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Standards - Impossibly High?

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
It comes down to:

Don't let the tigress eat me: Feel guilty for the rest of my life; having caused the death of the tigress.
Let the tigress eat me: possibly kill the tigress by doing so anyway. Possibly die myself. Cause terrible suffering to the tigress even if we both survive.

And yet, she'd have the chance of survival.
Is that chance enough? Even if it means I might die? I also have a responsibility to my boyfriend and my family to not let them lose me just like that. Buddha didn't have that in the story.


Djon Ma

Nicola
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Standards - Impossibly High?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Hi Nicola,

Since we don't know the situation, it's tough to give any helpful perspectives. I would like to mention, though, that feeling guilty for not letting the tigress eat you is an emotional boundary issue. Now, it is a very real human thing that we all do from time to time, but it is indicative of a type of suffering: hurting because of something which is uncontrollable to you, because you feel helpless.

There's a principle called "sunk costs," which may or may not be relevant here. It essentially indicates that time spent cannot be taken back-- it's a way of pointing out that, although difficult, sometimes we just have to let go of something.

Lastly, not letting the tigress eat you does not mean that you "caused the death of the tigress." The death of the tigress is from a million different conditions leading up to that moment, and choosing to keep your life doesn't negate the other myriad conditions that lead up to the tigress' condition.

Best of luck to you and your difficult situation, whatever it may be.

Trent
Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Standards - Impossibly High?

Posts: 0 Join Date: 8/22/09 Recent Posts
Oh, and if you're the tigress, don't try to make someone elses' decision for them. Be open and talk about it. In either case, there may be creative opportunities which would give both sides of the party hope.

All of my responses sound like horoscopes or something!
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Standards - Impossibly High?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: garyrh

Hi Nicola,
To post this, shows this situation to be very real to you and quite a predicament. So there is a chance this reply will seem a little light and off the mark. Also it would seem the decision has been made so my reply is only in reflection ( some burden off me) and for those that might give such a situation some thought.

In staying with the story what ever the decision one would make it would seem to me it is near on impossible to value one life over another and this includes ones own life. So there is a sense in which a right or wrong decision is based in the intention. I am suggesting this to be the case when the outcome a descision cannot known. If in the giving ones life there should any hint of fear or merit this would be of no more value than allowing another to die that you might live for one life is not more valuable than another.

Again; what ever the decision, consideration of these matters has a way of bringing us to our roots and perhaps there is more in this than the result of our descisions. For this I thank you in being so bold to make this post.

I wish you the very best in the descision you made.
Gary
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Wet Paint, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Standards - Impossibly High?

Posts: 22924 Join Date: 8/6/09 Recent Posts
Author: msj123

You need to have compassion and love for oneself as well. Is your life less valuable than the tigress? I would say no. Many people are willing to sacrifice themselves because they don't value themselves. I don't think this is right.

I think deep down, in the core of it all, you know the right answer. I would follow my intuition.

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