True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
User avatar
faraway
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:17 pm

True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby faraway » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:18 am

Hi,

I'm a little confused about "Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami" part in Five Precepts.

From Access To Insight:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sila/pancasila.html

4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.


I thought Musavada literally means lying. Why is it changed to incorrect speech?

If you click the incorrect speech's link, it will open to Right Speech (samma vaca) page. If you read on, the definition of Right Speech is: Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter. So Musavada-veramani (abstaining from lying) is part of samma vaca (right speech), but literally musavada-veramani is not same as samma vaca, right?

So, based on the pali words meaning, if someone want to observe Five Precepts, does he/she should refrain from lying only or all incorrect speech?

I hope someone can clarify.

:anjali:

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2737
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:13 am

Is Ajahn Thanissaro's translation incorrect speech? In my opinion it is a bad translation of musāvāda, which means telling lies, not merely saying something that is incorrect. Speaking falsehood, believe it to be true, but not intending to deceive is not telling lies. It may be incorrect and false, but its not musāvāda.

The five precepts are a pragmatic standard for lay people to follow. At the very least, they should abstain from telling deliberate lies, when asked about the truth of some matter. However, undertaking and observing the five precepts is just the basics, it is not yet enough to develop the Noble Eightfold Path in full.

From the description of Right Speech as a path factor, it is clear that gossip, back-biting, or slander, abusive speech, and idle chatter such as telling jokes and shaggy-dog stories are wrong speech. These three are also included in the ten kinds of immoral deeds (dasākuslakammapaṭhā), kammas leading to rebirths in the four lower realms. so a devout Buddhist should certainly abstain from these too. It is expressly proscribed when undertaking the eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2012
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:48 am

Bhante,

Thank you for your post. Do you have the Pāli text of the ājīvatthamaka sīla? I would like to begin using it instead of the panca sīla everyday.

Best,

KB
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:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
Posts: 2737
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:27 pm

The development and use of the Eight Precepts for lay practitioners, Upāsakas and Upāsikās in Theravāda Buddhism in the West
Jacquetta Gomes
Buddhist Group of Kendal (Theravāda), UK
  1. Pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  2. Adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  3. Kāmesu micchācārā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  4. Musāvādā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  5. Pisuṇā vācā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  6. Pharusā vācā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  7. Samphappalāpā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  8. Micchājivā veramaṇī sikkāpadaṃ samādiyāmi
  1. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from killing living beings
  2. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from taking what is not given
  3. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from sexual misconduct
  4. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from false speech
  5. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from backbiting
  6. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from using harsh or abusive
    speech
  7. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from useless or meaningless
    conversation
  8. I undertake the rule of training to refrain from wrong means of liveli-
    hood
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

User avatar
Khalil Bodhi
Posts: 2012
Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 6:32 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:18 pm

Sadhu, sadu anumodami Bhante! Thank you!
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:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
My Practice Blog:
http://khalilbodhi.wordpress.com

User avatar
faraway
Posts: 67
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:17 pm

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby faraway » Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:39 am

Thank you Bhante for your explanation and sharing :anjali:

About another Eight Precepts (ājīvatthamaka sīla), this is a new thing for me. Is this precepts really said and expounded by Buddha himself?

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6169
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:26 am

faraway wrote:Thank you Bhante for your explanation and sharing :anjali:

About another Eight Precepts (ājīvatthamaka sīla), this is a new thing for me. Is this precepts really said and expounded by Buddha himself?

I had read a document in-which one of the kendal group puts forth support for this form of the precepts! I do not have the title on hand but maybe their website has a pdf of it (see link in bhantes above post).

from memory it is supported more directly within the path of purification (have a look at the on-line version found on access to insight in the virtue section) but I do not believe it was directly expounded by the buddha although certainly would not of been objected to as a method and in some ways was a suggestion as the three trainings of the eightfold noble path has sila which is (as far as I am aware) is fully present within this form of the eightfold path!

I have also read some suggest that there is another form of the ten precepts, more commonly known as the ten courses of wholesome action.

neither of there are a direct kind of precept for lay people but they are in keeping with the buddhas path of Dhammavinaya!

something I am certainly not great at following.
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
Ytrog
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: The Netherlands, near Arnhem
Contact:

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Ytrog » Sun Dec 25, 2011 7:47 pm

Manapa wrote:something I am certainly not great at following.

what makes you say that? :anjali:

I must say that right speech is a very difficult thing. I often have the tendency to chat when people are around. :embarassed:
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.

User avatar
Cittasanto
Posts: 6169
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin
Contact:

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:02 pm

Ytrog wrote:
Manapa wrote:something I am certainly not great at following.

what makes you say that? :anjali:

I must say that right speech is a very difficult thing. I often have the tendency to chat when people are around. :embarassed:


The fourth precept :)
it is true My Sila has not been close to standard, and I see no point making a post on a thread where sila is at discussion without being honest, for me at the moment this is far more a mental concept than a living aspect of life!
“Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.
(The mendicants asked) What are the two [types of persons]?
(The Lord Buddha responded) The malicious, or the inwardly angry, and the one with (blind) faith or the one who holds things incorrectly.
Mendicants, these two [types of persons] defame the Tathāgata.”
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.
"Others will misconstrue reality based on personal perspectives, firmly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our personal perspectives, nor firmly holding them, but easily discarded."

User avatar
Ytrog
Posts: 693
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:50 pm
Location: The Netherlands, near Arnhem
Contact:

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Ytrog » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:33 am

Manapa wrote:
Ytrog wrote:
Manapa wrote:something I am certainly not great at following.

what makes you say that? :anjali:

I must say that right speech is a very difficult thing. I often have the tendency to chat when people are around. :embarassed:


The fourth precept :)
it is true My Sila has not been close to standard, and I see no point making a post on a thread where sila is at discussion without being honest, for me at the moment this is far more a mental concept than a living aspect of life!

At least you are working on it. That's a lot more than most people in the world can say. :hug:
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.

UncleMonkey
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:31 pm

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby UncleMonkey » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:43 pm

I have wondered about this, too. Some of my teachers have explicitly said musavada includes all sorts of non-constructive speech, and others have simply said it means lying. The Pali Text Society's online dictionary at http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/search3advanced?dbname=pali&query=musa&matchtype=start&display=utf8 translates mus as "to betray, beguile, bewilder, dazzle," so one might interpret musavada as whatever speech leads to a wrong understanding. That could well include gossip, boasting, tale-bearing and a lot of other forms of speech that are not precisely lies, but leave the listener less able to deal constructively with events.

dagon
Posts: 375
Joined: Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:45 am

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby dagon » Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:12 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
The five precepts are a pragmatic standard for lay people to follow. At the very least, they should abstain from telling deliberate lies, when asked about the truth of some matter. However, undertaking and observing the five precepts is just the basics, it is not yet enough to develop the Noble Eightfold Path in full.[/url]


As with many others, I find the 4th precept the hardest to deal with in both the social and work environment. The problem that I have is that trying to meet that standard as a goal is not enough to keep me out of problems. When engaging in “social chat” the conversation and my mind is out of control. When I gossip I often find myself repeating things that I don’t know if they are true or things that may bring suffering to others. Therefor I think that gossip (lazy conversation) is a gateway to many unskilful things for me.

As Bhante said “observing the five precepts is just the basics, it is not yet enough” and so what I have tried to do is to reach above that standard, knowing that when I fall short (as I do often) I am still likely to keep the basic precept. By trying to apply metta, karuna, mudita and upekkha to the precepts I am enjoying the changes.

To give an example of what difference this makes; I try and find something positive to say about anyone who is being trashed in their absence. This has not only shortened the conversation but has resulted in others being less likely to try and engage me in negative conversations. Having to put less time and effort in fighting off the negatives has given me more time and opportunities to engage in interactions that are beneficial to my practice. So I really don’t care what is the correct definition – the wider definition results in less suffering for me and others so I will stick with that definition.

Thanks Bhante
Metta
paul

DGDC
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:53 pm

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby DGDC » Tue Dec 15, 2015 11:49 pm

Five Precepts for householder's is a Theravada construction.

The Lord's word on Musavada is:

Musāvādaṃ pahāya musāvādā paṭivirato hoti saccavādī saccasandho theto paccayiko avisaṃvādako lokassa.

This is for direct disciples of the Lord. What is means is that one's speech should be confined to 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth'.

In simpler terms, one should not lie, cause another one to lie, or approve of lying. Impossible for anyone who is living in society. That is why the Lord did not promulgate any training rules for the laity.

Cormac Brown
Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:10 am

Re: True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

Postby Cormac Brown » Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:32 pm

DGDC wrote:Five Precepts for householder's is a Theravada construction.

The Lord's word on Musavada is:

Musāvādaṃ pahāya musāvādā paṭivirato hoti saccavādī saccasandho theto paccayiko avisaṃvādako lokassa.

This is for direct disciples of the Lord. What is means is that one's speech should be confined to 'the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth'.

In simpler terms, one should not lie, cause another one to lie, or approve of lying. Impossible for anyone who is living in society. That is why the Lord did not promulgate any training rules for the laity.


DGDC - this is a Theravada board. The Buddha in the Pali Canon did promulgate training rules for the laity - the Five Precepts of not killing/stealing/having illicit sex/lying/taking intoxicants, and the Eight which add not eating after midday, refraining from beautification and entertainment, and refraining from high or luxurious beds and seats.

Your view that it is impossible in society to refrain from lying, is an evil viewpoint that you need to give up if you care one bit about yourself. It is tantamount to saying one does not have freedom of choice in one's actions. With that sort of attitude, you could justify doing just about anything. No external influence can make you lie, no matter what. If you lie, it's your choice, and it's you who will receive the bad consequences. As Right View states, there are the fruits of skilful and unskilful actions. Refraining from lying, no matter what, is skilful. Lying, no matter what, is unskilful. I advise that you shape up and stop making excuses. I've been watching some nature documentaries recently, and the animal womb doesn't look like fun.


Return to “Sīla”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine