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group study Blaming and Seeing Faults in Others Is Harmful

Group study openly invites people to learn and exchange thoughts together based on premises that are always explicitly pointed out, however loose they might be. Any fixed discussion outcomes aren't called for, but the intent is in personal growth and understanding. It's good to keep mindful and respectful of both what is and what isn't relevant for discussion though.

Roots of Virtue

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Blaming and Seeing Faults in Others Is Harmful​

Anyone interested in self-transformation and real spiritual progress should understand that blaming others and seeing faults are harmful for one's own character and health. These divisional projections entirely, yet perhaps subtly or deceptively, transgress the basic principles of avoiding harm (such as harsh speech), doing good (such as spending your time and energy on more altruistic affairs), and cultivating the mind (such as exercising the ever important patience).

Gautama Buddha himself taught the following about complaining and patience (emphasis mine):

Paṭhamabalasutta​

“Mendicants, there are these eight powers. What eight? Crying is the power of babies. Anger is the power of females. Weapons are the power of bandits. Authority is the power of rulers. Complaining is the power of fools. Reason is the power of the astute. Reflection is the power of the learned. Patience is the power of ascetics and brahmins. These are the eight powers.”​


We might also remember the Biblical story about how the devil in the form of serpent tempted Eve, the archetypal mother of mankind, to act against a direct injunction of God and to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. The temptation itself was a veiled accusation against God, alluding that God didn't want the best for mankind. The etymology of the word devil is in the Greek word diabolos which simply means 'accuser'. Therefore, isn't one of the central devices of the Abrahamic faiths that the good and faithful person shouldn't emulate what the evil one does and thus refrain from accusations and divisions that split people and their relationship with God?

Even though blaming may hurt the other person(s) more than the one who sees fault in others, it actually is the accuser who will reap the worst retribution in the long term. It might come as a surprise to some, but habitually blaming others can in fact damage your health: this is caused by the aggravating impact of persistent harsh speech on one's energy-body. There is a brilliant book by Liu Yousheng, Let the Radiant Yang Shine Forth: Lectures on Virtue, that gives many illustrating clinical cases in modern day how people had become sick because of blaming, but then recovered after they fully repented their lack of conduct and turned their mind towards virtue instead. Please see this post for more information:


Seeing faults in teachings is another matter that deserves attention. We have all the right and responsibility for ourselves to ask good questions from teachers and scrutinize whether teachings are entirely wise and good for well-being. However, we should exercise discernment and recognize that explicit blaming and seeing faults essentially is about creating difficult to mend rifts between people. We should exercise keen awareness and readily depart from what is harmful without making a big number about it if the situation doesn't warrant public discussion.

Any thoughts on the topic of blaming and seeing faults in others? Feel free to post your observations, experiences, and even teachings from wise teachers.



On Not Seeing Faults​

“Someone with a truly virtuous mind does not look at worldly faults. Seeing faults in others is your own fault, and therefore it is you who are mistaken.”
– From the Altar Sutra by the Sixth Patriarch Huineng

I always tell you not to look at the faults of others, don’t I? According to the view of Secret Mantra, when you see a fault in others you should understand that you see this fault due to your own afflictions. Afflictions see afflictions. Looking at the affliction itself, you recognize, “The fault I see in this person is just an affliction. Where is this affliction? I can find it in my own mind.” So you look at your own afflictions and not at those of others.

Lord Jigten Sumgon said, “Not looking at the faults of beings’ body, speech, and mind, but seeing the good qualities in them, is the perfect liberation of the bodhisattvas.”

When I see the good qualities in all the disciples my mind is pure. This pure mind can cause their mind to become pure. When I see others in an impure way, it is due to my own impure mind. It is like being obscured by darkness, like a dark cloud making a white cloud look dark.

Sakya Pandita said, “A noble being, like a jewel, never changes. By looking at the goodness in others they increase their own well water. An inferior being, like a sieve, is holding the bad, but losing what is good.” A noble being embraces goodness, they see the good qualities in others. An inferior being who sees the faults in others is like a sieve that collects just debris while the pure water is lost. Seeing the faults in others is a sign of one’s own wicked nature.

Therefore, do not look at the faults of others but look at their good qualities!

Source: Drikung Dharma Surya Center website, article "On Not Seeing Faults" by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche

 
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