True meaning of Musavada in Five Precepts?

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

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:
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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.
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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
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-Dhp. 183

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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
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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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.
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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.
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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
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