Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

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

Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:08 pm

In his lecture on the Ambalaṭṭhikārāhulovāda Sutta (MN 61) to be found at

http://bodhimonastery.org/a-systematic- ... ikaya.html

and starting around the 10:30 minute mark and ending around the 19:00 minute mark, Ven. Bodhi discusses the actual complexity of most moral choices, and the reality that sīla is not always cut and dry.

My hope in this topic is to extend the discussion from where this lecture left off.

In your experience, do the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas) always give you clear-cut guidance, or do you often struggle with ambiguity in ethical decisions using sīla as a guide?

Goodwill
Daniel
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:11 pm

Greetings,

danieLion wrote:In your experience, do the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas) always give you clear-cut guidance, or do you often struggle with ambiguity in ethical decisions using sīla as a guide?

If in doubt, examine the intention.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:14 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

danieLion wrote:In your experience, do the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas) always give you clear-cut guidance, or do you often struggle with ambiguity in ethical decisions using sīla as a guide?

If in doubt, examine the intention.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Did you listen?
Goodwill
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:19 pm

Greetings Daniel,

danieLion wrote:Did you listen?

To Bhikkhu Bodhi's equivocation on sīla? No, my statement was based on the Buddha's teachings, and parallels what Bhikkhu Pesala said here - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11635#p175935

I answered your question... your question was about personal experience. I told you what I do. Thus, I don't need to listen to Bhikkhu Bodhi talking slowly in order to learn and apply the Buddha's teaching on sīla.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby Virgo » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:42 pm

Edit I will post later.

Kevin
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:44 pm

Hi Daniel,

I'll listen to it later but perhaps you could say what some of the issues are that were raised?

:anjali:
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:03 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Daniel,

danieLion wrote:Did you listen?

To Bhikkhu Bodhi's equivocation on sīla? No, my statement was based on the Buddha's teachings, and parallels what Bhikkhu Pesala said here - viewtopic.php?f=13&t=11635#p175935

I answered your question... your question was about personal experience. I told you what I do. Thus, I don't need to listen to Bhikkhu Bodhi talking slowly in order to learn and apply the Buddha's teaching on sīla.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Fair enough. Could you please expand on how examining intention gives you conviction to act with ethical certainty?
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:06 am

Greetings Daniel,

danieLion wrote:Fair enough. Could you please expand on how examining intention gives you conviction to act with ethical certainty?

Cetana is kamma, and the vipaka will be commensurate with that.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:24 am

Virgo wrote:Edit I will post later.

Kevin

Looking forward to it.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:26 am

mikenz66 wrote:Hi Daniel,

I'll listen to it later but perhaps you could say what some of the issues are that were raised?

:anjali:
Mike

Sure. The example Ven. Bodhi used was the Germans who lied to the Nazis about the Jews they were hiding.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Feb 28, 2012 1:52 am

danieLion wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Hi Daniel,

I'll listen to it later but perhaps you could say what some of the issues are that were raised?

:anjali:
Mike

Sure. The example Ven. Bodhi used was the Germans who lied to the Nazis about the Jews they were hiding.
Goodwill
Daniel
One should not lie to Nazis?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:00 am

I am fully agree with Bhikku Bodhi.

It is true there is no clear cut in sila. If there is a clear cut, it is against the highest Buddhist teaching of Anatta.

For practitioner like us, sila is important, because we still subject to sense of self. As long as there is this sense of self, we are subject to good and bad karma.

Buddha is free from karma because he doesn't have the notion of self at all. In this case, whatever he does, he is not subjected to karma.

Karma just mean action. If we give Buddhist teaching, there is a good karma, because we still have the sense of self. Doing the same thing, this action doesn't give rise good karma to Buddha.

When there is no self, there is no karma. Just because there is no actor, we cannot have the action.

We can slay the sky, but the sky will not get hurt.

Even when the Buddha kill someone, he will not be subjected to bad karma.

The difference is for us that action looks like killing. But from Buddha eyes, that action is not killing. Just like the mountain eruption is considered natural disaster from human eyes, but from the eyes of nature, it is not a disaster.

Only someone who is absoluty free from the notion of self, he is beyond the touch of karma. For him there is no longer boundary and clear cut in sila.

However, it is warned that as long as we still have the notion of self, sila is the only guide to keep us in track.

Sila is not the rule that put us in the jail. Sila is the guide that bring us beyond the sila.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:10 am

DarwidHalim wrote:I am fully agree with Bhikku Bodhi.

It is true there is no clear cut in sila. If there is a clear cut, it is against the highest Buddhist teaching of Anatta.

For practitioner like us, sila is important, because we still subject to sense of self. As long as there is this sense of self, we are subject to good and bad karma.

Buddha is free from karma because he doesn't have the notion of self at all. In this case, whatever he does, he is not subjected to karma.

Karma just mean action. If we give Buddhist teaching, there is a good karma, because we still have the sense of self. Doing the same thing, this action doesn't give rise good karma to Buddha.

When there is no self, there is no karma. Just because there is no actor, we cannot have the action.

We can slay the sky, but the sky will not get hurt.

Even when the Buddha kill someone, he will not be subjected to bad karma.

The difference is for us that action looks like killing. But from Buddha eyes, that action is not killing. Just like the mountain eruption is considered natural disaster from human eyes, but from the eyes of nature, it is not a disaster.

Only someone who is absoluty free from the notion of self, he is beyond the touch of karma. For him there is no longer boundary and clear cut in sila.

However, it is warned that as long as we still have the notion of self, sila is the only guide to keep us in track.

Sila is not the rule that put us in the jail. Sila is the guide that bring us beyond the sila.


I agree with Bhikkhu Bodhi - I think as usual intention and the state of mind is paramount. There are cases where one has to break sila in order to fulfill a greater sila. In any case Bhikkhu Bodhi's analysis is both common sense and in line with the Dhamma as I see it.

I don't agree with Darwid above and refer him to the well-known Zen koan of Hyakujo and the Fox. A liberated person is not above or beyond the law of kamma.
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:11 am

Well, that link didn't lead to the discussion in question. However, I have taken Bhante's class and this discussion has come up - about how Sila isn't always cut and dried. Believe me, Bhante wouldn't have an issue about lying to Nazi's about hiding Jews. He has also spoken and I wish I knew the link at BAUS.ORG because all of our classes are taped - this was quite awhile ago - when Bhante said some of these things would be difficult for him to follow - despite the teachings. He'd have a hard time doing nothing while someone was getting the snot kicked out of them - by way of example. However, Bhante will also note that one can defend oneself or others without hurting someone else.

There is a lot of back forth in our class about using one's own horse sense - yeh - most of those comments are from me, of course (insert Asura icon).

You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists - Bhante is a very kindly person - but not mealy mouthed by any means.

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:16 am

Vepacitta wrote:You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists - Bhante is a very kindly person - but not mealy mouthed by any means.

V.

Hi V,
This is tantalizing. Is it available?
Goodwill
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:18 am

Greetings,

Vepacitta wrote:You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists

I see his Facebook feed, that is more than enough for me.

Snp 3.11 wrote:"Let his mind be free from attachment, let him not think much about wordly affairs, let him be without defilement, independent, and devoted to a religious life.

Is sīla the same or different for layfolk and bhikkhus?

Might the "parameters" of sīla (as presented in the Suttas and Vinaya) yield different recommendations?

Might the recommendations be different based on the precepts you've taken - 5, 8, 10, 227 etc.

These seem to be important distinctions to call out in light of this conversation, lest we inadvertently jump between the two lifestyles without notice, or without calling out and acknowledging the distinction in the first place.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby danieLion » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:25 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Vepacitta wrote:You should have heard him speak about eco-buddhism and capitalists

I see his Facebook feed, that is more than enough for me.

Snp 3.11 wrote:"Let his mind be free from attachment, let him not think much about wordly affairs, let him be without defilement, independent, and devoted to a religious life.

Is sīla the same or different for layfolk and bhikkhus?

Metta,
Retro. :)

Didn't know he was on Facebook.

IMO, sīla is different in "letter" for layfolk v. bhikkhus, but not in "spirit."
Goodwil
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby Vepacitta » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:27 am

Daniel - I"m not so hot at linking here - but if you go to BAUS.org, then Chuang Yen Monastery - follow the link to Bikkhu Bodhi - his classes are definately there and you mahy find his 2010 Eco Buddhism talk there - I helped to promote it and set up the hall, but I can't remember if it was recorded or taped - but his stuff usually is.

Retro - Bhante's Facebook page isn't managed by Bhante - I'm not sure who does it as a matter of fact. I guess you don't care for Ven Bodhi and that's ok - but if someone else wants links to his stuff - I will give it - although I stink at linking- but I will help them search. His teachings are not only informative and eye-opening - he has an open-ness that one doesn't find very often in religious teachers - you can disssent and bring up 'unpopular' questions in his class - and it's 'ok' - you can actually discuss it - and not get shut down. This is a rarity in a religious teacher - there are no sacred cows in his class.

From the fierce spirits on Mt. Meru,

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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby DarwidHalim » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:35 am

Dan74:
I don't agree with Darwid above and refer him to the well-known Zen koan of Hyakujo and the Fox. A liberated person is not above or beyond the law of kamma.


:rofl:

We feel very bad, when we do bad thing.
And
We feel extremely happy, when we do good thing.

Only ignorant people will feel happy, when they do good thing.

Why?
They should in fact cry day and night.

Because it is due to that culprit of good action, you are inside samsara.
That good action is the cause for that person to be human or demi god or god.

So, dont be happy when we do good action. Although that action doesn't throw you to the hell, that action throw to as human, demi god, and god.

Good action is as bad as bad action. Both of them are the culprit of the wheel of samsara.

Although good action is as bad as bad action, good action is still better than bad action. Because through good action, it gives us the chance to go BEYOND good and bad action.

Good action gives us a condusive environment, to practice beyond it.

It is extremely difficult for demi god and god to be a buddha. It is because the good action has given them condusive environement beyond limit. Because it is too good, that good action bind them inside this samsara even stronger.

Bad action throw us to the hell, or animal realm, due to the suffering, it gives us a perfect wish to get out from this samsara.

From this perspective, bad action is better than good action.

In human realm, we more or less have balance, good and bad. The bad result give us warning to get out from this samsara. The good result gives us warning to practice.

If we do not know this, good action is just the poison.

We must train until we are free from action, free from karma.

None of Buddha subject to karma. Because karma is action of samsara.

Please see this link:
Going beyond kamma - the ultimate aim of the path
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha057.htm#k10

Going beyond kamma - the ultimate aim of the path
The ultimate aim of the path of the Buddha is not simply to achieve good results by performing good kamma. This is a mundane aim. The true aim of the path is to go entirely beyond the chain of kamma and results.

As long as we go on performing kamma and accumulating kamma, we remain subject to birth and death, and we will meet with suffering in its diverse forms. Whether one is living in a fortunate world or an unfortunate world is secondary. All states of existence are impermanent, without substance and unsatisfactory.

Kamma is generated due to clinging, clinging to good or bad actions. Clinging rests upon ignorance. By developing mindfulness and insight, by learning to see things as they really are, we can put an end to clinging and break free from kamma. Then we discover the freedom beyond kamma, the freedom of liberation.

The arahant, the liberated one, does not generate any more kamma. He continues to act and perform volitional actions, but without clinging. Hence his actions no longer constitute kamma. They don't leave any imprints upon the mind. They don't have the potency of ripening in the future to bring about rebirth. The activities of the arahants are called "Kriyas", not kammas. They are simple actions. They leave no trace on the mental continuum, just like the flight of birds across the sky.


Dont be happy with the good action we are doing. They are just as poison as the bad karma we are doing.

Go beyond good and bad karma.
Go beyond karma.
I am not here nor there.
I am not right nor wrong.
I do not exist neither non-exist.
I am not I nor non-I.
I am not in samsara nor nirvana.
To All Buddhas, I bow down for the teaching of emptiness. Thank You!
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Re: Bhikkhu Bodhi Equivocating on Sīla?

Postby Ferox » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:37 am

using the nazi/jew example.. I zoom back to the top when retrofuturist said this

If in doubt, examine the intention.



when faced with the example of saving lives or lieing... intentional lieing may be " unskillful" to a certain degree, but if performing the action brings about benefits for many beings, then I'd gladly break the precepts for this. We might also be good to bring up the five factors of speech -


Five keys to right speech

"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

— AN 5.198

lieing to the nazis to save jews I would say fits four of the five factors of well spoken speech.. I'd say that's not a bad trade for doing the right thing.


now this -

The danger in lying

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie."
The person who lies, who transgress in this one thing, transcending concern for the world beyond: there's no evil he might not do.


and of course this -


The criteria for deciding what is worth saying

[1] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

— MN 58


who knows what the Buddha would of done/said in this situation. If he thought that there is much suffering in life and humans kill each other all the time so this is nothing new and no reason to break precepts, I could almost understand that perspective.
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-
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