Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

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Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby Alobha » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:40 pm

Hello everyone,

It is important to keep in mind to whom the Buddha spoke when he was talking. When it comes to the monks training rules for example, then the laypersons don't need todo all that. So the laypersons are note prohibited from engaging in more sensual things than the bhikkus.

As far as i can see i'm not the only layperson who draws a great deal of inspiration from the Sangha and the bhikku's way of thinking, talking and acting. Many laypersons can see the fruit and the advantages a stricter set of rules can have. It is to expect that eager laypersons want to change their life in a way, that it fits better with the dhamma. Just like monks and nuns do.

Now it seems to me that there are to sets of moral code for laypersons. One explicitely given by the Buddha (5 precepts) and one type of sets not explicitely given by the Buddha; Laypersons try to adapt their life to dhamma and just try to engage in the common layperson life as little as possible. No TV, celibate life, no music,.. you get it.

I came across two ways of how other laypersons react to situations, where people struggle with this enhanced effort:
1. Saying something like "The Buddha didn't tell householders that they need to do that.", encouraging people to live more like a layperson and less like a bhikku.
2. Addressing the problem the layperson that resulted from their increased effort, encouraging the layperson to go on with what they do.

Puzzling. If celibacy is wholesome and skillful for a bhikku, isn't it wholesome and skillful for a layperson, too? If no TV, no music, etc. is wholesome for a bhikku, isn't it wholesome and skillful for a layperson, too? If renunciation is wholesome and skillful for a bhikku, isn't renunciation wholesome and skillful for a layperson, too?
As i mentioned in the introductory sentence: When it comes to the monks training rules, laypersons don't need to do that, but what if they want to do (some) of that as a layperson? Is that worth of encouragement, is it skillful for the layperson to adapt to more rules than the ones that the Buddha explicitely set for them?

Answers are greatly appreciated!
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby daverupa » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:25 pm

Take eight precepts on uposatha days, or even every day.

Also note the kammapatha.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:34 pm

Alobha wrote:is it skillful for the layperson to adapt to more rules than the ones that the Buddha explicitely set for them?


Yes, certainly. Think of the lay 5 precepts as a long path and the life of a monastic as a short path. And then for lay people who can do the 8 precepts, it also becomes a short path. According to the Suttas, there were over 500 lay people who became anagamis (non-returners). An anagami has completely eradicated all ill-will and sense desire and therefore, must be practicing at least the 8 precepts without any intentional breaking of them.
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby santa100 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:50 pm

Instead of whether the layperson wants to do it, ask whether s/he's able to do it. Celibacy, no TV, no music,...are at a higher difficulty level and will require more effort and committment. Just like math for the school system. One starts with basic arithmetic and algebra, and then move on to trigonometry, geometry, pre-calculus, and subsequently college level calculus, differential equations, etc.. If a child is able to handle college level math, there's no law that forbid him/her not to take those courses..
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby Fede » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:06 pm

pardon the seemingly trivial point, but where did the buddha ever say 'no tv'...?

Such a trite and seemingly puerile question actually serves to bring me to the next point: If the Buddha laid down recommendations for wives, husbands and children, not to mention households - which he most assuredly did - would this not denote that he was perfectly aware that laypeople would not adhere so strictly to monastic precepts - and that this was perfectly ok?
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby nameless » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:10 am

This is just my impression of the situation:

What is skillful for Bhikkhus is also skillful for laypeople. However the Bhikkhus are not only practicing what is skillful, they are also adhering to the rules of a discipline they have committed to be part of by the process of ordaining. Laypeople don't have that commitment, so their doing or not doing certain things is only a matter of skillful vs unskillful and having to bear the consequences of their unskillfulness.

So it's not a matter of whether it's 'ok' or not, though it is easy to think in that way as we are conditioned to see rules as being enforced by someone and being rewarded/punished by some authority. If as a layperson one wants to do something that is unskillful it is not as if there is a Buddha in the sky looking at you and deciding if you are doing right or wrong, rather if you do something unskillful it would naturally result in unskillful consequences.
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby 2600htz » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:05 pm

Hello:

Well think of it as a marathon.
Some people can burn out, some people can go along and progress.
It depends on your level and of course a GRADUAL TRAINING.

With metta.
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby Ytrog » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:36 pm

I also think that for lay people the keeping of some monastic rules would be impractical. I can imagine that, for example, abandoning all forms of entertainment while living in a community that does not makes you very isolated which might make it harder to do than just ordaining and living as a monk/nun. :sage:

Think about what would have happened if the parents of a monk were celibate laypeople ;)
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby twelph » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:10 pm

Although it's a Mahayana set of precepts, I do believe that Thich Nhat Hanh's 14 Mindfulness Trainings are a wonderful formulation of the Eightfold Path. Definitely a step above the 5 and 8 precepts mentioned above.
http://www.mindfulnessbell.org/14trainings.php
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby daverupa » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:13 pm

twelph wrote:Definitely a step above the 5 and 8 precepts


Fascinating.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:06 pm

Thich Nhat Hanh is worthy of deep respect. :bow:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:16 pm

Buckwheat wrote:Thich Nhat Hanh is worthy of deep respect. :bow:


I would have never become a "Buddhist" let alone a "Theravada Buddhist" if it was not for Nhat Hahns writings.

:bow:

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby befriend » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:30 pm

it could be a problem for a lay person to practice celibacy if he has a wife who doesnt want to practice celibacy. but if you both want to practice celibacy, that would be awesome, and obviously would be incredibly wholesome.
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby Fede » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:59 pm

bodom wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Thich Nhat Hanh is worthy of deep respect. :bow:


I would have never become a "Buddhist" let alone a "Theravada Buddhist" if it was not for Nhat Hahns writings.

:bow:

:anjali:

Given that he is Mahayana/Zen, could you explain how that would be?

many thanks! :smile:

:namaste:
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby manas » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:04 pm

However many of the extra precepts we take upon ourselves voluntarily, we might wish to consider Buddha's advice to Sona:

"Now what do you think, Sona. Before, when you were a house-dweller, were you skilled at playing the vina?"

"Yes, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too taut, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"No, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were too loose, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"No, lord."

"And what do you think: when the strings of your vina were neither too taut nor too loose, but tuned[1] to be right on pitch, was your vina in tune & playable?"

"Yes, lord."

"In the same way, Sona, over-aroused persistence leads to restlessness, overly slack persistence leads to laziness. Thus you should determine the right pitch for your persistence, attune[2]the pitch of the [five] faculties [to that], and there pick up your theme."

Notes

1. Lit. "established."
2. "Penetrate," "ferret out.

From the Sona Sutta: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


As householders, the five precepts must be made firm and unbreakable, beyond that we need to find a balance between being too slack, and pushing ourselves so hard that we feel like giving up (in this sutta, Ven. Sona was contemplating giving up the monastic life, and returning to the lay life, due to having walked meditation to the point of bleeding soles of the feet).
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby bodom » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:06 pm

Fede wrote:
bodom wrote:
Buckwheat wrote:Thich Nhat Hanh is worthy of deep respect. :bow:


I would have never become a "Buddhist" let alone a "Theravada Buddhist" if it was not for Nhat Hahns writings.

:bow:

:anjali:

Given that he is Mahayana/Zen, could you explain how that would be?

many thanks! :smile:

:namaste:


He has written commentaries too many suttas such as the Satipatthana Sutta, Anapanasati Sutta and Bhaddekaratta Sutta.

Most all his books contain Pali sutta translations and references. That was my introduction to the Theravada tradition and its literature. I took it from there.

:namaste:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Two sets of moral code for laypeople?

Postby Buckwheat » Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:10 pm

befriend wrote:it could be a problem for a lay person to practice celibacy if he has a wife who doesnt want to practice celibacy. but if you both want to practice celibacy, that would be awesome, and obviously would be incredibly wholesome.

In Gandhi's autobiography, he said that after his vow of brahmacarya, his wife and him became ever closer and closer. Might have also had to do with getting older and more mature, but he definitely gave some credit to brahmacarya.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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