Bases for Skillful Action?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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contemplans
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Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:29 pm

Most teachers teach that good karma (kusalakamma) is a basis to cultivating the path, while bad karma (akusalakamma) leads one away from enlightenment. Now the Buddha taught that some things were universally good, like the five precepts for all his disciples. Not only are they universally good for deepening one's practice of his teachings, but they are good by nature, which is shown by them leading to better births in the future. So they are a law of the cosmos. But if there is a law of the cosmos, then should there not be a law giver? And if they are universal, should not that law giver be all good? For otherwise, no law can truly me universal without a universal good from which it emanates. And while in meditation one lays aside questions deemed wrong views and inquiry, as is done in theistic meditation as well sometimes (via negativa), in everyday life is the ethical system of Buddhism only founded upon custom or some other relative framework? For if the ethical system is not absolute, then how can one make statements that killing beings is always bad, or stealing is always bad? What becomes of the vinaya of the dhamma-vinaya?

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Ben
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:35 pm

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

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acinteyyo
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:49 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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contemplans
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:14 pm


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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:06 am

Welcome contemplans,

The Lord Buddha was a radical phenomenologist not a metaphysician. It appears you are trying to straight-jacket the Dhamma with theological understandings of the universe. I wish you all the best but please don't be offended if not many here take the bait. Mettaya.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:
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santa100
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby santa100 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:56 am


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ground
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby ground » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:07 am


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acinteyyo
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:28 am

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Dan74
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Dan74 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 11:52 am

Some people manage to reconcile Buddhism and Theism for themselves. Others opt for one or the other. But I don't think there is an objective answer. If you find Christianity truly spiritually nourishing, there is no reason to abandon it. And there is no reason to worry about the Buddha's position on this. My personal suspicion is that if he saw that another faith was beneficial to a person he would have encouraged that person to give it 100%, but I may be wrong.

Many Buddhists believe that Theism is flawed and the Buddha's teaching is truer and more profound. This may be so, but how many of us fully avail ourselves of the depth and richness of our spiritual tradition? There are certainly Christians who are much more enlightened than many Buddhists, so perhaps more depends on the practitioner than the faith. Perhaps a Christian who has truly exhausted what his tradition has to offer would be reborn as a Buddhist? I don't know - just speculation.

In any case, all the best with your practice, whatever it may be!
_/|\_

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contemplans
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:59 am

I am just trying to see if anyone sees an absolute basis for any Buddhist teaching, including the Four Noble Truths, and if so, then where do they think such an absolute comes from. This is worthy of inquiry, since later Buddhists often took up theistic teachings and beliefs, and in our time many take up atheistic teachings and beliefs. How can any ethical system be worthy of practice that is not absolute on its key teachings? I am truly wondering how some reconcile this with the wider Buddhist teaching. Or maybe some just haven't asked themselves what is the basis for the ethical teachings.

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Brizzy » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:15 am

Ignorance is an intentional act.

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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Kenshou » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:16 am

The thing Buddhist ethics revolves around is, whether actions are beneficial and lead to the reduction of suffering and stress, or do not. It is a pragmatic distinction drawn up for a specific purpose, and not for establishing a theory of objective moral absolutes.

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Dan74
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:23 am

_/|\_

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ground
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby ground » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:28 am


danieLion
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby danieLion » Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:57 am

Where exactly is the Buddha recorded as clearly, distinctly, and without equivocation stating that anything is "universally good"? "Universal goodness" is for Kantian, categorical imperative dogmatists, not drop-out, "F**k you, society!", rebels like the Buddha.
DanieLion :heart:

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acinteyyo
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby acinteyyo » Mon Dec 19, 2011 1:34 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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contemplans
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby contemplans » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:23 pm


chownah
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby chownah » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:48 pm

There are absolutely no absolutes in the Buddha's teachings.
In the Buddha's teachings everything you think of as beign absolute (absolutely everything you think of as being absolute) are to be taken as being absolutely relative. For example The All and The World are defined as being made entirely up of fabrications and of course fabrications arise due to conditions so they are absolutely not absolute in that they are relatively relative to the conditions that they arose from.
Is this absolutely clear or is it relatively confusing?
chownah
P.S. Every time a word is used its meaning is dependent on its context and since context is constantly changing every time you use a word it means something slightly different. I think your use of the words "absolute" and "relatiave" shows a lack of appreciation for the nuances of meaning imparted by context...in other words....there is no absolute meaning for any word and all words have only relative meaning which arises from context.....I guessssssss....
chownah

santa100
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby santa100 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:15 pm

And right within our conversations on this topic, you can see that the "absolute" only has a dependent existence as long as the "relative" exists. It's impossible to have an "absolute" that inherently exists by itself. Contemplans, you mentioned "You need the absolute", and that might be true...as long as there still exists the "in-absolute". Same thing for the rest: something that is truest, best, noblest, most being only exists relative to that which is false-est, worst, ignoble-est, least being, etc..If you look at things from this perspective, it might help answering your main question: "What was the Buddha going for then than the absolute?". No, the Buddha wasn't going for the "absolute", He was going for Nibbana, the "un-binding", that which is free from all duality: good/bad, noble/ignoble, true/false, and also...absolute/relative..

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beeblebrox
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Re: Bases for Skillful Action?

Postby beeblebrox » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:28 pm



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