What if everyone were Buddhist?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Wed Nov 25, 2009 1:59 pm

I guess prostitution would still happen as it is not ruled out by the five precepts....also gambling....

People would still drink milk and eat eggs I guess...so there would be alot of old chickens and cows to take care of since we couldn't eat them until they died of natural causes....India has alot of old cows wandering around so this is probably what it would be like world wide....cows everywhere!!!! Here in Thailand the afterbirth from cows and water buffalo is commonly cooked in a stew and eaten and this envolves no killing so I guess this could continue.

Would there be a government?. If so then it would have to be funded by donation since I guess the gov't could only take what was freely given. I think that would at least keep the gov't down to a more reasonable size although do you think that sewers and roads and all that other infrastructure stuff could be funded by donation?

People could still be greedy couldn't they?

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby enkidu » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:23 pm

chownah wrote:I guess prostitution would still happen as it is not ruled out by the five precepts....


What's the third precept?

chownah wrote:People could still be greedy couldn't they?


If everyone were actually practicing rather than merely Buddhist in name only, and since selfishness is to be abandoned and selflessness is to be cultivated, no.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Nov 25, 2009 2:41 pm

chownah wrote:I guess prostitution would still happen as it is not ruled out by the five precepts....
If everyone were actually practicing rather than merely Buddhist in name only, and since selfishness is to be abandoned and selflessness is to be cultivated, no.


Even when people are sincerely trying, though, these things don't happen overnight. Who here would claim to have abandoned all selfishness?
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby enkidu » Wed Nov 25, 2009 3:02 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Even when people are sincerely trying, though, these things don't happen overnight. Who here would claim to have abandoned all selfishness?


Oh, I thoroughly behave in shameful ways, sure. But I thought this whole question, and the Path as well, is about ideal.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:24 pm

enkidu wrote:
chownah wrote:I guess prostitution would still happen as it is not ruled out by the five precepts....


What's the third precept?

chownah wrote:People could still be greedy couldn't they?


If everyone were actually practicing rather than merely Buddhist in name only, and since selfishness is to be abandoned and selflessness is to be cultivated, no.

Enkidu,
I give up....what *is* the third precept? If its the one about sex then it does not as far as I know rule out prostitution...if you can show me a Canonical reference to support it ruling out prostitution I would really appreciate seeing it.

It is my understanding that this thread is discussing what if all people on earth followed the five precepts without fail....and I am not aware that there is a precept that rules out greed....if there is one then can you show me some Canonical reference that rules out greed? Unless I am shown some evidence I will continue to accept that people can indeed be greeedy while following the five precepts without fail.

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:29 pm

enkidu wrote:.........
But I thought this whole question, and the Path as well, is about ideal.

I guess we have really different views on the Path then......my view is that it is about everything in my experience and is to be a daily/hourly/minutely endeavor and not to be considered some "ideal" concept.....although I do admit that I might be misunderstanding what you mean by "ideal".
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 27, 2009 1:36 pm

Well I guess all the alcohol producing industries would have to change their product and start making medicine. Once they did this and the word got out you might be surprised at how many people there are in the world who have illness which can only be treated by alcohol based medicines.........hahahhahahahaha...ha.

Would all theatrical productions (except for educational ones) no longer exist as they might be considered to constitute wrong speech?....all songs with lyrics (except for educational ones) be ruled out as frivolous speech? If so then there might be a surge in college enrollment in ethnomusicology which would then allow lyrics once more since they would be part of a college degree and therefore *educational*....(add a similar argurement here for the theatrical stuff)......hahhahahaha

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby poto » Fri Nov 27, 2009 3:55 pm

chownah wrote:do you think that sewers and roads and all that other infrastructure stuff could be funded by donation?


There are many privately funded roads already. Most of them are toll roads though, so we might have to pay if we wished to use them.

As for sewers, people who live outside the cities usually have septic systems which they must purchase and maintain themselves. This isn't really a feasible solution for large numbers of people in densely populated areas though. Usually large scale infrastructure projects are cheaper and more efficient than small scale or individual ones when the cost is split evenly amongst the people. Maybe there would be a way to opt out of government taxes, whereby one would be excluded from using public services and infrastructure? Not sure how well that would work in reality, but it's just a thought.

As for prostitution. I seem to remember a very lengthy thread on E-Sangha where this was discussed. From what I remember the suttas seem to make a point that only prostitution under a pimp (where the woman is being controlled by another man) is prohibited. An independent prostitute working of his or her own free will doesn't seem to be specifically prohibited. So, yes prostitution would likely not be prohibited in a Buddhist world if the exact letter of the suttas were followed, but organized prostitution or pimping certainly would be.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby enkidu » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:22 pm

chownah wrote:Enkidu,
I give up....what *is* the third precept? If its the one about sex then it does not as far as I know rule out prostitution...if you can show me a Canonical reference to support it ruling out prostitution I would really appreciate seeing it.


If prostitution does not qualify as "sexual misconduct" to you, then I can see how you might say that the third precept does not rule out prostitution.

chownah wrote:It is my understanding that this thread is discussing what if all people on earth followed the five precepts without fail....and I am not aware that there is a precept that rules out greed....if there is one then can you show me some Canonical reference that rules out greed? Unless I am shown some evidence I will continue to accept that people can indeed be greeedy while following the five precepts without fail.


My mistake. I did not confine "What if everyone were Buddhist?" to "What if everyone followed the five precepts without fail."

chownah wrote:I guess we have really different views on the Path then......my view is that it is about everything in my experience and is to be a daily/hourly/minutely endeavor and not to be considered some "ideal" concept.....although I do admit that I might be misunderstanding what you mean by "ideal".


The Path is not a daily/hourly/minutely endeavor to attain an ideal? That's the sense I used the word. Again, I'm sorry for having caused only confusion and I should have remained quiet.
Last edited by enkidu on Sat Nov 28, 2009 12:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:32 pm

"A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."

— AN 5.177


prostitution is business in human beings essentially, it is the buying not of a service someone can do but a body to do things with.

Dhammapada 309
Four things befall the heedless man
who lies down with the wife of another:
a wealth of demerit;
a lack of good sleep;
third, censure;
fourth, hell.

although this passage is more about adultery, but what is there to stop a prostitute being a wife.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:49 pm

enkidu wrote:If prostitution does not qualify as "sexual misconduct" to you, then I can see how you might say that the third precept does not rule out prostitution.

.........
.........
.........

The Path is not a daily/hourly/minutely endeavor to attain an ideal? That's the sense I used the word. Again, I'm sorry for having caused only confusion and I should have remained quiet.

In imagining a world where everyone follows the 5 precepts without fail I resist the temptation to read my own meaning onto the five precepts and then project that meaning onto the entire world populace.....instead I have tried to stick with a completely Canonical definition or meaning for the 5 precepts...so in this sense it is not so important if I think that prostitution is sexual misconduct or not.

Thank you for clarifying your meaning when you used the term "ideal". I don't think that there was confusion around this...just a misunderstanding....thanks for your reply.

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 30, 2009 2:55 pm

Manapa wrote: but what is there to stop a prostitute being a wife.

For the purposes of this topic it is the 5 precepts that would stop a wife from being a prostitute since here we are discussing what if everyone followed the 5 precepts without fail.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:00 pm

I saw a travel show on TV and it showed some people bleeding a cow and drinking the blood....this would be allowed I guess since no killing involved.

Tobacco companies could still sell their noxioius products but they would have to come clean and tell the truth about the knowledge they have of the dangers of their products.

Public nudity would be ok too....public sex acts?....ok too I guess.

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby notself » Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:31 pm

Manapa
"A lay follower should not engage in five types of business. Which five? Business in weapons, business in human beings, business in meat, business in intoxicants, and business in poison."

— AN 5.177


prostitution is business in human beings essentially, it is the buying not of a service someone can do but a body to do things with.[/quote]

In one of the books I have read about ancient India, concubines were a type of prostitue in that they were paid for their services and would provide sex to the male guests of the king. If a woman has control over who she has sex with and keeps all of the earnings from the transaction, I don't think it would meet the definition of misconduct as long as her customers were not married or pledged to another and were of independent means. Just some thoughts
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:45 pm

I guess if everyone followed the 5 precepts without fail then if my bald friend came over and said, "don't I look great in my new hair piece?".....I would answer...."no, you look like you have a dead cat on your head!!"..........I guess.
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:21 pm

Hi Chownah,

Perhaps you could take a lead from the Buddha:
"Enough, Punna, let that be. Do not ask me that."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

And see if he asks you three times...

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby meindzai » Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:31 pm

chownah wrote:I guess if everyone followed the 5 precepts without fail then if my bald friend came over and said, "don't I look great in my new hair piece?".....I would answer...."no, you look like you have a dead cat on your head!!"..........I guess.
chownah


I don't mean this as an insult, but your line of inquiry here reminds me a bit of how children try to outsmart their parents by "obeying" rules without necessarily observing the spirit of them. Zen master Daido Roshi talked about this in his book on the precepts (same 5 plus 5 more) where he once told his son to "shut your mouth and eat your dinner." His son complied immediately by shoving food up against his closed mouth.

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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby chownah » Wed Jan 13, 2010 2:17 pm

Do rules have spirits?...if so then do they also have souls?
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby cooran » Wed Jan 13, 2010 7:25 pm

..... being an agent provocateur, chownah? :tongue:
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Re: What if everyone were Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:22 pm

meindzai wrote:
chownah wrote:I guess if everyone followed the 5 precepts without fail then if my bald friend came over and said, "don't I look great in my new hair piece?".....I would answer...."no, you look like you have a dead cat on your head!!"..........I guess.
chownah

I don't mean this as an insult, but your line of inquiry here reminds me a bit of how children try to outsmart their parents by "obeying" rules without necessarily observing the spirit of them. Zen master Daido Roshi talked about this in his book on the precepts (same 5 plus 5 more) where he once told his son to "shut your mouth and eat your dinner." His son complied immediately by shoving food up against his closed mouth.


A classic example used about the "spirit" of the teaching on telling the truth are those WWII heroes who hid Jews in their homes so that they would avoid the Nazi death camps. When the Nazis knocked on the door and asked "are there any Jews in here?" their appropriate answer was "no." It was technically a lie, but to save lives, for a wholesome purpose.

In regard to your friend's hair piece, there is no need to offend him. :tongue:
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