Meditation and Morals

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

Postby fragrant herbs » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:38 pm

I would like people's opinions on this without riling anyone up. I have noticed in certain Buddhist sects or even in the guru traditions that those who meditate and experience blissful states claim that they feel a lot of love for mankind, but then when I have learned that students and teachers alike have not become more moral. In fact, in some religions it seems like morals go out the window, or should I say, "The house falls down, and there is no window?" I would like to know if the Theravadans believe that you have to work at morals, that meditation does not change you, does not make you a better person. It is my feeling that the compassion that is experienced in meditation does not last. Thank you.

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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby namaste » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:44 pm

I think metta meditation and the cultivation of compassion for many is a lifelong discipline. Someone posted on another thread that bliss is not to be equated with Enlightenment. Bliss is just bliss, a potential pitfall for attachment, like the siddhis that can come with steady meditation practice. Compassion and morality take discipline, dedicated mindfulness, and opening the heart. If the bliss state were the be-all, end-all, the Buddha wouldn't have devoted so much time and energy to teaching virtue.

fragrant herbs
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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby fragrant herbs » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:47 pm

you have a great point that i didn't think of. if buddha believed that meditation made a person moral, he would not have taught the precepts.

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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby acinteyyo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:00 pm

The noble 8-fold path in short can be summed up in sīla (morality or virtue), samādhi (concentration), pañña (wisdom). Sīla supports samādhi, samādhi supports pañña, pañña in turn supports sīla. "Meditation" is the practice to develop the mind (citta-bhāvanā) by practicing, developing our skills in virtue, concentration and wisdom. It must be practiced together. In order to be able to train the mind properly, there needs to be at least some kind of moral behaviour, this is where the precepts come into play...

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Last edited by acinteyyo on Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:

namaste
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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby namaste » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

The purpose of meditation is to gain insight (and therefore, wisdom), and to aid in cultivating compassion. It's just one aspect of the whole methodology the Buddha taught, just one component. It's not a magic bullet.

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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby namaste » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:06 pm

acinteyyo wrote:In order to be able to train the mind properly, there needs to be at least some kind of moral behaviour
Yes, and to clarify my previous posts, compassion is also learned via behavior, not only through meditation. One learns by doing, as well as by training the mind through meditation. Compassion is a form of moral behavior.

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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby Ben » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:20 pm

acinteyyo wrote:The noble 8-fold path in short can be summed up in sīla (morality or virtue), samādhi (concentration), pañña (wisdom). Sīla supports samādhi, samādhi supports pañña, pañña in turn supports sīla. "Meditation" is the practice to develop the mind (citta-bhāvanā) by practicing, developing our skills in virtue, concentration and wisdom. It must be practiced together. In order to be able to train the mind properly, there needs to be at least some kind of moral behaviour, this is where the precepts come into play...

beste wishes, acinteyyo


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Re: Meditation and Morals

Postby ground » Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:25 am

fragrant herbs wrote:... those who meditate and experience blissful states claim that they feel a lot of love for mankind, but then when I have learned that students and teachers alike have not become more moral. ... It is my feeling that the compassion that is experienced in meditation does not last.

What is called "love" or "compassion" is muddled with pleasurable feeling. If this is worldly pleasurable feeling then there is involvement with craving and clinging (attachment). Nothing conducive can result from that.
If it is non-worldly pleasurable feeling then meditative abiding in "love" or "compassion" is just a tool, a means to make mind more pliable through letting go of the thoughts "I" and "mine" but it is not an end in itself. This non-worldly meditative abiding is related to ethics in that a mind that is more pliable and less obsessed with "I" and "mine" is more inclined to be disciplined and more inclined to insight.

"There is the case where a monk might say, 'Although good will has been developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken by me as my awareness-release, still ill will keeps overpowering my mind.' He should be told, 'Don't say that. You shouldn't speak in that way. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One, for it's not right to misrepresent the Blessed One, and the Blessed One wouldn't say that. It's impossible, there is no way that — when good will has been developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken as an awareness-release — ill will would still keep overpowering the mind. That possibility doesn't exist, for this is the escape from ill will: good will as an awareness-release.'

"Furthermore, there is the case where a monk might say, 'Although compassion has been developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken by me as my awareness-release, still viciousness keeps overpowering my mind.' He should be told, 'Don't say that. You shouldn't speak in that way. Don't misrepresent the Blessed One, for it's not right to misrepresent the Blessed One, and the Blessed One wouldn't say that. It's impossible, there is no way that — when compassion has been developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken as an awareness-release — viciousness would still keep overpowering the mind. That possibility doesn't exist, for this is the escape from viciousness: compassion as an awareness-release.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



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