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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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Arguing and competing
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From today's Tricycle daily email:

Master Dogen, the thirteenth-century founder of Soto Zen in Japan, was asked by a student, “What should you do if you find yourself in an argument? Should you try to win the argument or should you concede, even though you feel you’re right?” Dogen advised neither path. Become disinterested, he told the student, and the argument will lose its energy. The same advice can be applied to feelings of competitiveness in practice: Let go of your attachment to appearances of one who wins or has “got it right.”

-Dairyu Michael Wenger, "Competing with the Incomparable," Tricycle, Winter 2004


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This is good. This concept, what to do in an argument, is something I think about sometimes. There are times when I'll keep an argument going but it depends on several things: whether the other party understands the nature of the argument (i.e., we're still going to be friends afterwards, even if we disagree - healthy debate is fine as long as everyone understands the boundaries) and how comfortable I am with the other party, to name a couple.

I struggle more with the question when I'm spending time with someone I don't know very well, or someone who is very opinionated and likes to correct other people or show off what they know (or think they know). Do I challenge them when they say something I know is wrong? Usually not. Mostly because I want to avoid getting into a confrontational situation for no reason other than 'being right.' So when I'm around some of my friends and acquaintances I often find myself just shutting up while they talk, and waiting for the subject to move onto something else.

Now I've gone and left a comment that might be longer than your original post...*sigh*

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