Author Topic: Is hope all we have got?  (Read 11497 times)

KhedrubGyatso

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Is hope all we have got?
« on: March 03, 2012, 07:54:32 AM »
I read a quote recently which goes like this.

Suffering produces character.
Character produces hope.
Hope never disappoints.

I don't believe it is from Buddhist sources but thought it has a lot of elements of  Buddhist thoughts.

Can anyone try to explain this quote in the context of Buddhist philosophy ? I am particularly interested in your inputs on the last line with regard to false hopes which from my experience seem to contradict the statement , as they do lead to disappointment. Perhaps some qualifications are needed for all the 3 lines here.

hope rainbow

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2012, 08:36:53 AM »
Suffering produces character.
Character produces hope.
Hope never disappoints.

Hope never disappoints sounds contradictory...
Though... I'll try to comment on this quote:

SUFFERING PRODUCES CHARACTER
Indeed, realizing sufffering and overcoming sufferings makes one stronger.
"What does not kill you makes you stronger"
A life of difficulties, of problems, of challenges, builds up one's character, one's experience, it "shapes" someone's character.
If everything goes easy and easy and easy, no charcater would come out of that other than a character that expects everything to be easy and may simply collapses when a difficulty arises.

CHARACTER PRODUCES HOPE
Character means more results from one's actions, it builds up resilience, it experiences improvement, betterment. When we see that things can change, that obstacles can be turned into opportunities, that dark situations can become good situations, that we can improve, then we have hope, even in difficult sitautions, we know there is hope, we have the experience already that things can improve. So there is HOPE.

HOPE NEVER DISAPPOINT
Well, Hopes is a potential, a potential that we know, from experience or inference, is feasable.
It is not an expectation than when not met makes us depressed or angry. Hope is a potential that we know is feasable. So it is not hope that disappoint, it may be the person we put hopes into that disappoint. It is not the potential that is disappointing, it is the person not reaching the potential that may be disappointing.

vajratruth

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2012, 10:59:03 AM »
I read a quote recently which goes like this.

Suffering produces character.
Character produces hope.
Hope never disappoints.

I don't believe it is from Buddhist sources but thought it has a lot of elements of  Buddhist thoughts.

Can anyone try to explain this quote in the context of Buddhist philosophy ? I am particularly interested in your inputs on the last line with regard to false hopes which from my experience seem to contradict the statement , as they do lead to disappointment. Perhaps some qualifications are needed for all the 3 lines here.

In my opinion it is not that Buddhist in philosophy.

Suffering brings about 2 things i.e. (i) the understanding of pain. If you know that feeling of pain, that you should know how other people feel and once you do, it becomes easier to develop compassion for them; (ii) suffering develops tolerance and strength and the seed of tolerance grows into acceptance . If we have this awareness of what Suffering teaches us, we develop a Character of Compassion and Tolerance.

I am not sure whether Character develops Hope. A character of compassion and tolerance develops persistence. I think the "Hope" comes from Knowledge which the Dharma teaches. That everything is not permanent, and suffering is impermanent.

Actions that are inspired by that Knowledge never disappoints. We cannot practice true Dharma and be disappointed. To encounter that situation would mean that the Buddha was wrong and the Buddha cannot be wrong.

Why Hope and be uncertain when you have the Dharma? To me to practice, only to hope that our practice might yield a good result, is not to understand the practice at all. It is the Dharma, not Hope,  that never disappoints.

biggyboy

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2012, 04:01:09 PM »
Suffering produces character.
Character produces hope.
Hope never disappoints.

Simply this quote is tweaked and delivered to different level of mind's perception.  How one reads it will depend on one's perception.

In Buddhist point of view, one experience the suffering when things never measure up to one's  expectations or standards.  Unhappiness will kicks in and how one takes it will depend on how the person takes it, negatively or positively.  Either way it will develop one's character over time.

Having character produces hope?....Well, I would says that if a person takes it positively by understanding the experience of suffering, then hope would become the basis for the person to move on in life with tolerance and patience.

Hope never disappoints?....On this note it would depends on the level of one's knowledge.  Without knowledge how would hope never disappoints?  When one does not want to understand the nature of one self and reality of things then disappointments are imminent.  Unless with knowledge and application then hope would not disappoint. 

Midakpa

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2012, 04:37:51 PM »
Most of the replies have provided quite accurate comments from the Buddhist point of view, about suffering and how it can build character. Having strength of character gives rise to hope. Generally, hope is what keeps us going, whether one is Buddhist or not.

But KhedrubGyatso wants to talk about false hopes in the context of Buddhist philosophy. Well, it is difficult to discuss this unless there is a definition of "hope" and "false hope" from the Buddhist point of view. Otherwise one tends to mix it up with the ordinary perception or understanding of the terms. I think what KG means by "false hopes" is having unrealistic goals. Right?

Personally, I feel that at an advanced level of practice, there is no concept like hope anymore. "Hopelessness" is probably more accurate, to describe the state of mind that can cut through unrealistic goals. To understand "hopelessness", read Chogyam Trungpa's "Crazy Wisdom".

Ensapa

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2012, 05:11:39 PM »
Hope is what fuels our wish to live, our wish to try. It is what makes gamblers addicted to gambling and that is what keeps people going for love and the like. It is what fuels life and makes it worth living for. However hope is also the glue that binds us to samsara as we keep hoping for happiness and we hope to find it in the deceptive forests of samsara…we know it is not real but yet we still go for the mirage…

Character doesn't produce hope…character either makes you stronger or more bitter. It makes a person either more open or more closed up. It's basically our personality shaped in accordance with our environment and conditioning, our coping mechanism towards things in life. How can that bring hope?

Suffering creates character because it is more or less a defense mechanism against suffering and the conditions. It is more of how we condition ourselves to respond to suffering that is more important rather than allow suffering to condition us…we condition suffering. And from there we get some kind of control over suffering and in our lives. Suffering is basically an unpleasant feeling or emotion that is persistent which disturbs the mind.

the quote may work for some people but again, it depends on how we see things…from a more non biased perspective or from our own point of view..


dondrup

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2012, 06:03:44 PM »
From a Dharma practitioner’s point of view and in the context of The Four Noble Truths, this quote is valid.  After experiencing suffering, we developed a character that realises the cause of suffering.  There is hope that we can stop suffering by practising the Dharma.   Hence Hope never disappoints only if we apply the True Path. 

Hope or false hope or wrong view will disappoint if we do not follow the True Path.  For example, if we do not realise that every phenomena in life is impermanent, we develop the false hope that all our possession will remain with us forever.  But in reality we cannot take our possession with us when we die.  Thus false hope disappoints!

unkept

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2012, 06:25:45 PM »
Suffering produces character.
Character produces hope.
Hope never disappoints.  I think

Hope never disappoints sounds contradictory...
Though... I'll try to comment on this quote:

SUFFERING PRODUCES CHARACTER
Indeed, realizing sufffering and overcoming sufferings makes one stronger.
"What does not kill you makes you stronger"
A life of difficulties, of problems, of challenges, builds up one's character, one's experience, it "shapes" someone's character.
If everything goes easy and easy and easy, no charcater would come out of that other than a character that expects everything to be easy and may simply collapses when a difficulty arises.

CHARACTER PRODUCES HOPE
Character means more results from one's actions, it builds up resilience, it experiences improvement, betterment. When we see that things can change, that obstacles can be turned into opportunities, that dark situations can become good situations, that we can improve, then we have hope, even in difficult sitautions, we know there is hope, we have the experience already that things can improve. So there is HOPE.

HOPE NEVER DISAPPOINT
Well, Hopes is a potential, a potential that we know, from experience or inference, is feasable.
It is not an expectation than when not met makes us depressed or angry. Hope is a potential that we know is feasable. So it is not hope that disappoint, it may be the person we put hopes into that disappoint. It is not the potential that is disappointing, it is the person not reaching the potential that may be disappointing.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 02:09:28 AM »
Dear Unkept,
 I notice you have simply copied and pasted others comments in your post. Did you forget to post  your own response/comments here ? All comments are valuable so that we all can reflect on and learn from each others viewpoints TQ.

KhedrubGyatso

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 02:42:40 AM »
Well, it is difficult to discuss this unless there is a definition of "hope" and "false hope" from the Buddhist point of view. Otherwise one tends to mix it up with the ordinary perception or understanding of the terms. I think what KG means by "false hopes" is having unrealistic goals. Right? ( From Midakpa )

In Buddhism, everything must have basis, even truths. The closer one's view  is to the ultimate truth the more ' correct' that view would be. For example, if we harbour hope that we will become rich just by staring at goats, that would be false hope and we will be disappointed. If we hope we will have a good rebirth by holding our refuge vows understanding the law of karma , we will not be disappointed , as we will be creating the causes for it to happen.

At the mundane level, if we can accept the temporiness of things, and satisfied with temporary results perhaps  the assertion ' Hope never disappoints ' is more acceptable. HR 's comments, I believe refers to the situation of hoping without expecting results. I am not sure if it becomes more like  wishful thinking which is a form of  denial .
I like Vajratruth's comments that only Dharma never disappoints as its basis is the 4 Noble Truths.  If we live according to its instructions it will lead to happiness and real hope in being freed from all suffering.

To sum up:
We must always have hope to improve our situation because that is the cause to set things in motion to yield results. However, just mere hoping is not enough . We need to create the right causes according to Dharma to have the intended results.
Therefore, we might qualify the line  : Hope never disappoints if based on Dharma or Reality.

sonamdhargey

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Re: Is hope all we have got?
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2012, 03:57:58 PM »
I'm not sure if it is Buddhist, however If there is hope there is a chance that we can take action. Without hope will you take the extra step to pursue? No hope means fail. But with hope there is a chance. So obviously you will hope. But merely hope does not generate results. But hope can be a driving factor to bring about the results. Action is very important here. With hope no action equals no results. My take here is is better to have hope than none. At least it is a driving factor to take action.