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buddhism & shame


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Old 3rd May 2017, 7:01 PM   #1
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buddhism & shame

My therapist said that shame is a positive motivating force in Eastern philosophies. I want to learn more about this because for me shame shuts me down. She wasn't able to name any books or sources off the top of head although said a couple of names I couldn't quite catch. She's going to get me a list for our next session but I'd like to get a jump start.


So, LS, can anybody point me toward books, websites or other sources where I cam learn more about this? Google hasn't been particularly helpful.
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Old 3rd May 2017, 8:07 PM   #2
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Hey :)

This article may illustrate the mechanics of shame in eastern culture.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...hame-and-honor

I'm unaware of any shame rituals or meditations within Buddhism.

I briefly scanned this document but could find nothing specific to shame but it gives a reasonable overview of the diverse philosophy's.

https://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/cl.../4-eastern.htm

There is a book

Moral Psychology of Confucian Shame
Shame of Shamelessness
By Bongrae Seok

the blurb reads "Early Confucian philosophers (notably Confucius and Mencius) emphasized moral significance of shame in self-cultivation and learning. In their discussion, shame is not just a painful sense of moral failure or transgression but also a moral disposition and a form of moral excellence (i.e., virtue) that is essential to Confucian self-cultivation.

In Moral Psychology of Confucian Shame, Bongrae Seok argues that shame is a genuine moral emotion and moral disposition.
Engaging with recent studies of social psychology, cultural psychology, biology, and anthropology, Seok explains that shame is a uniquely evolved form of moral emotion that is comparable to, but not identical with, guilt. The author goes on to develop an interpretation of Confucian shame that reveals the embodied, interactive, and transformative nature of the Confucian moral self."

And another book

In Defense of Shame: The Faces of an Emotion
by Julien Deonna, Raffaele Rodogno, and Fabrice Teroni

Abstract
Is shame social? Is it superficial? Is it a morally problematic emotion? Researchers in disciplines as different as psychology, philosophy, and anthropology have thought so. But what is the nature of shame and why are claims regarding its social nature and moral standing interesting and important? Do they tell us anything worthwhile about the value of shame and its potential legal and political applications? In this book, the authors propose an original philosophical account of shame aimed at answering these questions.
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Old 3rd May 2017, 8:28 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d0nnivain View Post
My therapist said that shame is a positive motivating force in Eastern philosophies. I want to learn more about this because for me shame shuts me down. She wasn't able to name any books or sources off the top of head although said a couple of names I couldn't quite catch. She's going to get me a list for our next session but I'd like to get a jump start.


So, LS, can anybody point me toward books, websites or other sources where I cam learn more about this? Google hasn't been particularly helpful.
I found these sites for you I hope they're helpful. I view shame as a positive. When it speaks to me I learn something about myself that I need to change. Instead of being stuck in a feeling, feel it, ask why you're feeling it. It's a feeling like any other, only you control the power you give it.

Any book by Pema Chodron is life changing. My favorite one by her is, When Things Fall Apart.

Here is her book on shame -
https://www.amazon.com/Fearless-Hear.../dp/1590307399

12 life tips from the Amazing Pema Chödrön! |

Wildmind Buddhist Meditation ? Dealing with guilt and shame (Day 19)

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...e-and-buddhism
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Old 3rd May 2017, 8:34 PM   #4
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Hey :)

Other books could be

Temporality and Shame: Perspectives from Psychoanalysis and Philosophy (Philosophy and Psychoanalysis)31 Oct 2017
by Ladson Hinton and Hessel Willemsen

Shame: The Exposed Self
by Michael Lewis

On Shame (Thinking in Action)
by Michael Morgan

Shame and Philosophy: An Investigation in the Philosophy of Emotions and Ethics
by P. Hutchinson

Shame: Theory, Therapy, Theology
by Pattison


I've read none of this, just did a search to see what came up
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Old 3rd May 2017, 10:59 PM   #5
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Thank you all for giving me somewhere to start
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Old 4th May 2017, 4:08 AM   #6
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I think its good to identify areas in our life where we perhaps feel shame - but only so we can identify them as a problem and work on a process to move our emotions around these to a healthier place. In this case - sure shame can be positive. Eg: I feel ashamed of my appearance - I identify this is because I have not been looking after myself and make changes to improve my diet and exercise. I think this is really the context the east use it - as a kind of behavioral control mechanism. The society has created shame around certain behaviors they have agreed they don't want citizens to participate in - this motivates citizens to avoid them or move away from them.

I don't however think its healthy to focus directly on the emotion of shame or to work from that space for any length of time. I agree with you that shame does normally trigger a shutdown/hide emotional response just as you noted. For this reason staying in the "shame space" doesn't normally produce great outcomes because it doesn't produce positive action. The idea is you want to avoid the shame - so you work to overcome\avoid the situations that cause it.

In modern psychology and emotional mapping the shame emotion is normally traditionally associated with hiding. When dealing with shame the best course of action is to try and move a person from feeling shame to being willing to take positive action which will be a higher emotion. So just as an example of a thought process associated with our feelings regarding our appearance:

Shame - I'm ashamed of my appearance - I don't want to go outside and meet people. I'm not going to the gym because I'm too embarrassed. (hide\inaction)

Anger - I'm really angry I let myself go - I'm going to kick my ass and go to the gym then I will go on a diet (anger\punishment - but still action)

Pride\Courage - I'm really happy with the way I look - I'm super motivated to go to the gym and keep this going. Plus I can show off my muscles and maybe chat to some girls there. Then when I'm done I'm going to treat my self to a massage. (Positive action - Reward)

Once we identified an area we feel shame what we need to learn to do is to consciously move our self to a more positive space. Lots of tools for this but a simple way to do this is to set yourself goals around the area you feel shame and reward yourself with milestones and progress on the path to over come it. This creates positive wave of emotions that feeds back into you creating a flow of positive action
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Old 12th May 2017, 1:51 PM   #7
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I just read this really great article about shame and thought it may interest you. I think I'm going to get the book he mentions.

It's a men's site but I enjoy reading it. Helps me understand where h is coming from sometimes.

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-...is-shame-lbkr/
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Old 12th May 2017, 2:33 PM   #8
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I particularly liked this one (will have to get to some of the others later).
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Old 12th May 2017, 2:41 PM   #9
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In my studies of Buddhism, I've never come across shame...I've read a lot of Pema Chodron's books (which have been mentioned here), among many others, and taken classes and have found Buddhism to focus not the shame associated with being less than you'd like, or acting in ways that are less than you'd like, but on positive action.

As humans, not the Buddha, we seek to become enlightened but it is a journey of many lifetimes. We are expected to make mistakes and go down the wrong path sometimes while seeking enlightenment. There is no shame in that. Not LEARNING the lessons we are here to learn...making the same mistakes over and over...THAT may cause one to feel shame. Or maybe more so frustration at our lack of clarity or ability to learn/let go/detatch.

Dwelling in shame is not productive and furthermore, we are all perfectly imperfect. The name of the game is to choose better. Do better. Not walk around feeling bad about yourself.

Shame is such a negative place to start from. I like a more positive approach to personal growth.
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Old 12th May 2017, 2:48 PM   #10
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I just read this really great article about shame and thought it may interest you. I think I'm going to get the book he mentions.

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-...is-shame-lbkr/
Really really great books mentioned in that article. David Hawkins is one of my favorite authors in the area of spirituality, consciousness and self help. The two books mentioned are actually my 2 personal favs from his collection ... and on the very short list of books I have read multiple times

He has a bit of an interesting style - the intros to his books are always a bit boastful and self congratulatory (youll see what I mean if you read one - he actually jokes about it himself) and parts in the book "Power vs Force" where he talks about muscle testing, kinesiology, may not be relevant or important to you - but the discussions on the consciousness ladder is amazing. The way he writes his books you will literally feel your self rising up that ladder to higher levels as you read the book. And then "Letting go - A pathway to surrender" came to me at an important time in my life - can't recommend these books highly enough

I think both would be very relevant to the OP - you'll hopefully find after reading them that suddenly you have transcended - even if momentarily - the emotion of shame and are able to look at your situation from a new higher perspective.
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Old 12th May 2017, 7:22 PM   #11
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Hey :)

I'm enjoying this thread, it provides much food for thought.

I'm exploring shame as a motivational force that is positive.

An example would be I can move through depressed phases. However I maintain good personal hygiene, something that can easily go by the board when one can't be bothered.

I would find it shameful to stink of BO generally. I work closely with many people and people with BO are readily identified, on the quiet, in whispered comments.

As a result I am always clean and my clothes are clean and fresh on.

I isolate myself out of work and my abode is a pigsty. This has come about for diverse reasons, I am going through a period of growth/self realisation and have been following a course of talking therapy since 2010.

One of the initial things to come out of it was my preoccupation (?) with what other people thought [of me] and how I perceived I was being judged. Where could I not give a stuff what other people thought if not in my own abode?

What transpired was I dissuaded visitors and the place became a tip. I'm moving full circle [I've got used to the concepts and ideas] and am becoming ready to enjoy visitors once again.

This will result in my abode being brought back up to scratch, I couldn't let people see it the way it is, I'd die of shame.

So I'm seeing shame can be a positive motivational force, in the right context. If it gets me of my a$$ and doing the right thing, I want to do it, I'm not beating myself up about it - moderation.

Did that make sense/illustrate it?
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Old 13th May 2017, 12:58 AM   #12
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I just read this really great article about shame and thought it may interest you. I think I'm going to get the book he mentions.

It's a men's site but I enjoy reading it. Helps me understand where h is coming from sometimes.

https://goodmenproject.com/featured-...is-shame-lbkr/

dOnnivain, I hope you see this post!
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