About the fifth Śīla

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby Individual » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:38 am

Jechbi wrote:I've taken another look, and I suspect you and Individual are viewing this following quotation as a threat of lower rebirth:
Ven. Bodhi wrote:Our stream of consciousness does not terminate with death but continues on in other forms, and the form it takes is determined by our habits, propensities, and actions in this present life. The possibilities of rebirth are boundless, yet the road to the lower realms is wide and smooth, the road upward steep and narrow. If we were ordered to walk along a narrow ledge overlooking a sharp precipice, we certainly would not want to put ourselves at risk by first enjoying a few drinks. We would be too keenly aware that nothing less than our life is at stake. If we only had eyes to see, we would realize that this is a perfect metaphor for the human condition ...

What exactly is wrong with that statement? Actually it seems to support your view that moderation is okay, because if you just taste a small portion of wine or whiskey for the purpose of some kind of mindfulness exercise, then it's probably not going to be enough to make you tumble off the narrow ledge of a sharp precipice.

I don't view any "threat" of hell, except in the sense that fire is threatening because it is dangerous.

I believe this on not the basis of Ven. Bodhi's quote, but because of the Buddha's words:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"The drinking of fermented & distilled liquors — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from drinking fermented & distilled liquors is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to mental derangement."
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby Jechbi » Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:44 pm

Thanks, Individual. Dan also directed my attention to that, and here's how I responded a few posts ago:
Jechbi wrote:Frankly, I think that passage is best quoted in its full context, found here.
"Monks, the taking of life — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from the taking of life is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.

"Stealing — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from stealing is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to the loss of one's wealth.

"Illicit sexual behavior — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from illicit sexual behavior is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to rivalry & revenge.

"Telling falsehoods — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from telling falsehoods is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to being falsely accused.

"Divisive tale-bearing — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from divisive tale-bearing is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to the breaking of one's friendships.

"Harsh speech — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from harsh speech is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to unappealing sounds.

"Frivolous chattering — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from frivolous chattering is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to words that aren't worth taking to heart.

"The drinking of fermented & distilled liquors — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from drinking fermented & distilled liquors is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to mental derangement."

I think one has to bear in mind that this passage is presented in the context of helping the listener to understand the dangers to oneself of indulging in, developing and pursuing any of these activities. Since all of us have engaged in some of this at some time, and since very few of us (if any) have arrived at a place where we will never again engage in any of these activities, the reality is that we're still bound to samsara. That's how I read it, any way.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby adosa » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:04 am

Something bothers me about the view that you are not a Buddhist if you break a precept. First of all, it seems rather provincial to me. Secondly wouldn't be best not to carry that label around? Isn't that a view of Self in and of itself?

Of course intoxicants are to be avoided. Clarity is the key to seeing the reality of the world. The issue comes when one finds the teachings of the Buddha at a time when they have already developed an attachment to said intoxicants. How can we expect perfect sila on this issue and yet, anyone who watches their own mind and habits realize that just dropping attachments isn't that easy. It takes time. Any sense desire is dangerous. So we kick out anyone who approaches the Dhamma with an attachment to intoxicants but let everyone else in who has yet to reach sustained purity and detachment? Where's the compassion in this view?

Ajahn Chah has a more balanced perspective. I'm paraphrasing but he says something like "If you are attached to these things just use them less of them, and less often, than you did before. In time you will let them go."

This thread reminds me of the Elephant and the Blind Men. I see all interpretation here so who really knows. That's up to the individual to hash out.

adosa
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183
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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:12 am

to be a buddhist one only need take refuge
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby Jechbi » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:14 am

adosa wrote:Something bothers me about the view that you are not a Buddhist if you break a precept.

Who said that?

jcsuperstar wrote:to be a buddhist one only need take refuge

:thumbsup:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 6:25 am

Jechbi wrote:
adosa wrote:Something bothers me about the view that you are not a Buddhist if you break a precept.

Who said that?


I would be extremely surprised to find anyone who could keep the five precepts perfectly. Number 4, in particular, will probably catch almost everyone at some point (frequently for some of us... :thinking: ).

However, in my view there is a big difference between not keeping precepts perfectly and dreaming up arguments to justify not trying...

Mike
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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby Sanghamitta » Wed Nov 04, 2009 8:24 am

The actual wording of the precepts in most translations say " I undertake the rule of training to........" Its a process. not a one-off vow. However as Mike indicates its a process that implies a serious commitment.
Last edited by Sanghamitta on Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: About the fifth Śīla

Postby Dan74 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 9:43 am

And a wise rule of training it is for all of us still in training!

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