I attended the online meeting “Insight Meditation with August and Kaye” yesterday which is led by my Dharma buddy August Jensen–fellow student of Thay Kozen, marriage counselor, and friend. August was talking about compassion and the middle way, and at the end of his talk he asked for our thoughts. The first thought that popped into my head is that it’s important to pay attention to being compassionate to one’s self as well.* No sooner had I thought that then another idea popped into my head that I might consider looking for a more profound and deeper reply. But in my Dharma studies, I try to stick with whatever pops into my head first– sort of the “before-thinking mind,” as Seon sa-nim would say. August’s reply caught my attention. He quoted Shantideva, “All the suffering in the world comes from seeking pleasure for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from seeking pleasure for others.” I am very curious what he meant to communicate by that. The first thing that popped into my head was the possible implicit fallacy one might conclude from this quote. I couldn’t name the fallacy, but it goes as follows: If A then B. B therefore A. With a little help from Google I found from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent
In other words, seeking pleasure does not necessarily lead to suffering. I find it interesting that this fallacy is also called, “confusion of necessity and sufficiency.”
In the words of a monk I know, “Hops baby, it’s all about the hops. ” This followed a Facebook comment I made about a Goose Island IPA that we are both are fond of. Monk? India Pale Ales? Such violation of the precepts!!! Suffering!!!…. Or not… Maybe he’s not particularly attached to beer, but just enjoys a cool, refreshing beer with a meal. Who knows…?
*Chogyam Trumpa Rinpoche said something like, “Develop friendliness towards one’s self so strong that it radiates out to all other people.”