Milindapanha and knowledge of wrongdoing

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Wizard in the Forest
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Milindapanha and knowledge of wrongdoing

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:47 pm

In the Milindapanha there is a section that says when a Bhikkhu doesn't know he's committing an act of wrongdoing (such as killing) he is not guilty of committing an offense, but there was also a section I remember when it was said that a person who doesn't know or think he is committing wrongdoing is acquiring more demerit than someone who is aware he is committing demerit, so how do these two come together and harmonize?

For reference:
“This was said by the Blessed One, ‘Whoever ignorantly deprives a living being of life accumulates great demerit.’ Yet in the training rule for monks concerning killing living beings he says, ‘There is no offence if he does not know.’ How can both of these statements be true?” “There are offences where there is no escape for one who does not know and there are offences where there is an escape. It was in regard to this second kind of offence that the Blessed One said there is no offence if he does not know."

http://www.scribd.com/doc/17465319/Abri ... er_page_95

"Which is the greater demerit, conscious or uncon- scious wrongdoing?” “Unconscious wrong-doing, O King “Then we should doubly punish those who do wrong unconsciously.” “What do you think, O king, would a man be more seriously burned if he seized a red-hot iron ball not knowing it was hot than he would be if he knew.” “He would be burned more severely if he didn’t know it was hot.” “Just so, O king, it is the same with the man who does wrong unconsciously."


http://www.scribd.com/doc/17465319/Abri ... er_page_70

A special thanks to Venerable Pesala to whom we owe for the translation.
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Re: Milindapanha and knowledge of wrongdoing

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Feb 21, 2011 5:27 pm

There is knowledge of object, e.g. whether there is a living being about to be crushed under one's foot, and knowledge that intentional killing is wrong, e.g. a fisherman's son has little awareness of wrong-doing when killing fish. He has been taught that it is a good or necessary thing to do. If his view is wrong, then he will keep on doing it without any remorse. A Buddhist who knows killing is wrong might kill if he/she was starving, or under some other duress, but would feel remorse, and try to avoid doing it again.
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Wizard in the Forest
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Re: Milindapanha and knowledge of wrongdoing

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:03 pm

Thank you Venerable, it's much clearer now. :anjali:
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Re: Milindapanha and knowledge of wrongdoing

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:10 am

I wonder, if then, the implications are, that we need to 1) know how to differentiate a wrong/right act 2) be mindful of our actions through action, speech and thought.

Knowing the ten right/wrong actions can be helpful, I suppose, in this.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... holesome10

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