Name calling 101

name calling

How many of us give a second thought to words we use to describe people?
I suppose it makes us feel superior when we call someone names, like an idiot or a moron.
Not only would I question our thinking in that scenario, but I question how these words effect others who hear us use them.
Have you ever referred to someone as a “retard”? Perhaps you thought that was a cute or funny way to describe the person. But have you considered how hurtful that term can be to many people? How would you feel if a Family member suffered from mental retardation, Down syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, or Prader-Willi syndrome? I’ll bet you would find it extremely hurtful and insensitive.

So why do we feel the need to name call, and put people down? Are we in fact superior beings in some way?
I am asking myself this very question, as I often slip and refer to some driver who cuts me off as an idiot. And there are other situations where I will slip and use other derogatory terms for a person, and I am coming to grips with the fact that this is not Right Speech. In fact, it is really not Right anything. It’s judgmental, unskillful, selfish, unloving, non-compassionate and certainly is not any example of equanimity.
I see the cause of this as deeply rooted in the Three Poisons; greed, anger and ignorance.
I want people to do things my way, I get mad and upset when they don’t, and I am too ignorant to see that we are all just human beings and equally special.

I have been doing better and better with this, and often withholding my name calling. But I see the greater accomplishment to be one of Right View and genuine mindfulness. To simply not say the words, is not to have cleansed the mind of these poisons. That just means I bit my lip, but the thoughts still arose in my mind.
True equanimity (upekkha) arises when the hurtful and judgmental words no longer arise in my mind. And this is part of my practice, to be aware and mindful of these thoughts. Both on the cushion and off, I practice to see more clearly the reality of this World. To be an example of peace and acceptance, without expectation or judgement.
This is the Noble Eightfold Path, and the path that I try to follow with a strong yet patient determination.

May you be well, happy and peaceful.

7 comments for “Name calling 101

  1. jgshobie18
    Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    I think “thank you”. More mindfulness needs to be in my life, especially with politics getting more active over the next year. Thinking the thoughts, that’s really tough, but I know I feel better if I don’t go there. That’s still difficult to stay away from, my arrogance, ego likes to come out and play.

    • TimGraves
      Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Politics, and religion, lol. That is one sure fire way to create a situation in which mindfulness can be thrown out the window, and the ego takes over. I think the best practice of mindfulness when it comes to politics is to not even enter the debate. I have a billion arguments that if the other side would just listen to, they would change their mind right….truth is I have never changed anyone’s mind. They change their own minds (or not) based on their many experiences. An beating them over the head with my percieved shortcomings that they have does nothing but cause their ego to step in.

      This is ny the way why I love the Unitarian Church. Not all of us agree on the path, but we do agree in certain values and truths as related to mankind.

      As a Buddhist probationer, I think we just have to remain neutral in these ‘”disagreements”. This doesn’t mean be silent, you can state your opinion, but the opinion should be based on truths and internal observation of our thoughts and motivations, if our political leanings are more self serving than of service to every living being, the perhaps we should reflect more.

      Being mindful, also means respecting people’s opinions, or at least their right to have them, and being able to honestly say that while you may disagree, you are certainly sympathetic, because until you become Buddha, in my opinion, I have enough of my own ideas and thoughts to fix, before I can even begin changing anyone elses mind.

      And of course this is all my opinion…….



      • WHPDave
        Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 8:20 am

        @TimGraves Thank you so much for your thoughts Tim!

        • TimGraves
          Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 8:28 am

          @WHPDave @TimGraves thank you for your brain excercises every morning!

  2. TimGraves
    Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 8:11 am

    “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

    Post this quote in the God thread too, but like I said, politics and religion….

  3. AndrewMarchment
    Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Fantastic Post. There is some great wisdom here. :D

    • WHPDave
      Saturday, November 5, 2011 at 7:42 am

      @AndrewMarchment You’re very kind Andrew, thank you so much.

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