Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby imccall » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:18 am

I have recently discovered that many Buddhist principles fit me better than principles of other religions--specifically Christianity--and am doing some investigating on the philosophy as a whole. My biggest concern is whether my everyday life and my plans for my life will compete with the 8 fold path. My plan is to practice law in order to help people and to raise a family. But now I feel like that is desire and therefore wrong. So is it possible to have a career and enjoy things and money and experiences and relationships and still be "on the path?" And is helping people with law and policy still a noble purpose even if I would be required to argue and have perceptions that others are wrong or evil? Thanks in advance!
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 09, 2012 1:00 am

Greetings and welcome to Dhamma Wheel!
many of us are walking on the path and living the life of householders.
A few of my family members were involved in the legal profession here in Australia. One of my co-practitioners works for Legal Aid in Australia representing people who cannot afford their own lawyer.
I don't think there is anything wrong with being a Buddhist and a lawyer - so long as your intention is to help others (whether it be your clients or supporting your family). Everyone, regardless of what he or she may have done, deserve a defence. And everyone has a right to defend their interests. There is nothing inherently immoral with that. unfortunately in the west, lawyers suffer from a perception of being a bit shady within the community.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby Dan74 » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:15 am

Another thing to bear in mind is that embracing Buddhist practice does not mean that you have to swallow the whole lot of teachings hook, line and sinker at the outset.

Many of us start by finding something that resonates, something that seems worthwhile and build from there. It is an exploration rather than a club membership.
_/|\_
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:29 am

"Sariputta, when you know of a householder clothed in white, that he is restrained in terms of the five training rules and that he obtains at will, without difficulty, without hardship, four pleasant mental abidings in the here & now, then if he wants he may state about himself: 'Hell is ended; animal wombs are ended; the state of the hungry shades is ended; states of deprivation, destitution, the bad bourns are ended! I am a stream-winner, steadfast, never again destined for states of woe, headed for self-awakening!'

"Now, in terms of which five training rules is he restrained?...

Gihi Sutta: The Householder

"Four conditions, Vyagghapajja, conduce to a householder's weal and happiness in this very life. Which four?...
Dighajanu (Vyagghapajja) Sutta: Conditions of Welfare
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby Magoo » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:00 am

imccall wrote:I have recently discovered that many Buddhist principles fit me better than principles of other religions--specifically Christianity--and am doing some investigating on the philosophy as a whole. My biggest concern is whether my everyday life and my plans for my life will compete with the 8 fold path. My plan is to practice law in order to help people and to raise a family. But now I feel like that is desire and therefore wrong. So is it possible to have a career and enjoy things and money and experiences and relationships and still be "on the path?" And is helping people with law and policy still a noble purpose even if I would be required to argue and have perceptions that others are wrong or evil? Thanks in advance!


HI Imccall,

I can understand your questioning and I think we all were guilty of either misunderstanding or taking too literally some of the teachings when we were first exposed to them. From what I have worked out, it is not actually the desire which is the big problem, it is the attachment to desire. In this, what I interpret as attachment to desire is the need to have something, attain something or make something different that we already have, in order to be happy or content or satisfied. This shouldnt be necessary. We should be able to be happy, content and satisfied in nearly every situation, no matter what the outside circumstances are.

So as a worldy lay person, we do have to live life, we can enjoy things and we can have relationships. I am carful though not to get greedy and not to rely on these things for my happiness. Enjoy them for what they are, and that is all.

As you and others have said "right livelihood" like all other aspects of the path are for the individual to determine what is wholesome and unwholesome. We all in our essence not what is and what isnt.

Enjoy.

With MeggaMetta
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby thaijeppe » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:27 am

My plan is to practice law in order to help people and to raise a family. But now I feel like that is desire and therefore wrong


Remember in English we have only the word desire and therefore it is rather problematic.
In Pali we have Tanha, unwholesome desire-craving. And we have Chanda, wholesome desire.
To live a meaningfull life we need "desire" just be sure it is the wholesome version Chanda.
Then later on when we advance on the path we can also let go of Chanda, because we have to let go of
everything in the end.

So don't worry, you can easily combine your wholsesome desire for your life and follow The Noble Eightfold Path.

:anjali: Jeppe
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you
let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely,
you will know complete peace and freedom.
Ajahn Chah
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby Buckwheat » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:29 am

Looking for an excuse to drop out of law school? ;)

imccall wrote:...My biggest concern is whether my everyday life and my plans for my life will compete with the 8 fold path...


I don't think we can ever really avoid being pulled in several directions at once as long as we are living in samsara.

imccall wrote:And is helping people with law and policy still a noble purpose even if I would be required to argue and have perceptions that others are wrong or evil? Thanks in advance!


You don't have to see your opponent as evil. You only have to make the strongest possible case for your client. If you are confident that you can practice law without killing, stealing, committing sexual misconduct, getting intoxicated, or LYING (that one can be hard for lawyers), then follow your heart.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Buddhism vs Everyday Life..

Postby imccall » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:02 am

Thank you all very much for your helpful answers. My investigation of Buddhism keeps revealing a community of helpful, caring, non-judgemental, and intelligent people. It is also amazing that since I discovered the Four Noble Truths, I have released so much stress, because I have release a lot of worry of things over which I have no control. They seem trivial now and that opens up my mind to focus on greater things in life, and that is just amazing. Peace!
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