Breaking the 7th precept

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

Breaking the 7th precept

Postby bga » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:03 pm

Hello! I'm a senior in high school and although I graduate next month one of the classes I'm taking to graduate is choir. I enjoy choir but since I'm starting to observe the eight precepts on Uposatha it is a bit of a problem. I won't sing on Uposatha but I can't really get around the listening to music part. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid breaking this precept/is it alright if a precept is broken if it can't be avoided? :thanks:
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:22 pm

If you hear music unintentionaly, say while wlking down the street, that's not breaking the precept.

Regarding the uposata: do you believe in astrology? To quote Sheldon Cooper, astrology tells us that "the sun’s apparent position relative to arbitrarily defined constellations at the time of your birth somehow affects your personality." If astrology is not of your concern, there is no significance to do the uposata strictly by the lunar calendar. Just do it with the usual frequency of uposata, with the same space in between observance days, just that in those days you don't have choir practice.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:25 pm

I don't see a problem at all. The precepts refer to entertainment, but from what I hear you are not working with music for the purpose of your own entertainment and to pass away time. It sounds like you are doing something constructive that benefits the happiness of other people and your own development, so good job! Problem solved, or do I misunderstand? I figure it shouldn't become a superstitious custom, it's about understanding its purpose and reflecting on your own behaviour with honesty. Similarly, a monk isn't allowed to touch someone from the opposite sex, but should this person happen to faint, the monk would probably catch her and feel confident that his intentions are alright.

If you reach the point you have so much fun with the music you want to have a drink and dance on the table, that's where you may want to watch out :toast:
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby bga » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:13 pm

Similarly, a monk isn't allowed to touch someone from the opposite sex, but should this person happen to faint, the monk would probably catch her and feel confident that his intentions are alright.


Thank you Dennenappelmoes for this wonderful anecdote and for your thoughts. I don't sing in choir as much for my own entertainment as for that of others. Also, thanks to Modus.Ponens. The astrological significance does not matter so much to me, though I would like to be accurate in my practice. Do you know the significance of why the full moon and the new moon are Uposatha days?

:namaste:
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carpenters bend a log of wood
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:50 pm

Dennenappelmoes wrote:I don't see a problem at all. The precepts refer to entertainment, but from what I hear you are not working with music for the purpose of your own entertainment and to pass away time. It sounds like you are doing something constructive that benefits the happiness of other people and your own development, so good job! Problem solved, or do I misunderstand? I figure it shouldn't become a superstitious custom, it's about understanding its purpose and reflecting on your own behaviour with honesty. Similarly, a monk isn't allowed to touch someone from the opposite sex, but should this person happen to faint, the monk would probably catch her and feel confident that his intentions are alright.

If you reach the point you have so much fun with the music you want to have a drink and dance on the table, that's where you may want to watch out :toast:


I wouldn't go as far as that. The justification you gave could be given, for example, to justify someone lying in order to be "polite".

I don't know the significance of uposatha being determined by the lunar calendar. Our moderator Khalil Bodhi probably knows, as he usualy observes uposatha (afaik). Maybe if you post your qurestion in the following thread, he will see it: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2358

Be well. :)
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby marc108 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:40 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:there is no significance to do the uposata strictly by the lunar calendar.


I agree with this totally. In reality the day doesnt matter & I think if you need to observe a day earlier than just do that. What matters is the observance itself, not the stage of the moon.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby Modus.Ponens » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:52 pm

marc108 wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:there is no significance to do the uposata strictly by the lunar calendar.


I agree with this totally. In reality the day doesnt matter & I think if you need to observe a day earlier than just do that. What matters is the observance itself, not the stage of the moon.


Exactly. It even has advantages if you move it to the weekend in order to meditate all day. However, if one is an adept of the uposatha I think it's important to mantain a fixed day of the week as being standard, or else there could arise procrastination.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby Dennenappelmoes » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:58 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:
Dennenappelmoes wrote:I don't see a problem at all. The precepts refer to entertainment, but from what I hear you are not working with music for the purpose of your own entertainment and to pass away time. It sounds like you are doing something constructive that benefits the happiness of other people and your own development, so good job! Problem solved, or do I misunderstand? I figure it shouldn't become a superstitious custom, it's about understanding its purpose and reflecting on your own behaviour with honesty. Similarly, a monk isn't allowed to touch someone from the opposite sex, but should this person happen to faint, the monk would probably catch her and feel confident that his intentions are alright.

If you reach the point you have so much fun with the music you want to have a drink and dance on the table, that's where you may want to watch out :toast:


I wouldn't go as far as that. The justification you gave could be given, for example, to justify someone lying in order to be "polite".


You are correct, and that is exactly what I would advocate :) 'lying' in order to be polite is what I consider to be skilfull and true (harmonious) speech. I am aware that this view is not universally shared, but it is the view of for example Ajahn Brahm. I can put forth a decent argumentation for this, but I won't go all off topic right here. The way I see it, all interpretations of "right speech" have their pros and cons. The same may be true for this precept. I guess it's a matter of seeing through the intentions, which is always a work in progress until we have the ultimate wisdom.

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Re: Breaking the 7th precept

Postby daverupa » Fri May 03, 2013 8:25 pm

In the Buddha's time, some ascetics used the new and full moon as opportunities to present their teachings. The Uposatha Day was instituted by the Buddha at the request of King Bimbisara, and the Buddha instructed the monks to give teachings to the laypeople on this day, and told the monks to recite the Patimokkha every second Uposatha day.


source
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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