A few questions on morality

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

A few questions on morality

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:38 pm

1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?
1.2 Is intentional injury a breach of the precept?
2. I go to buy a souvlaki. I take it and return home. I open the package and see they had given me two souvlakia instead of one. If eat both and don't go to pay for the second one too, have I broken the second precept? On the one hand, it is not "taking what is not given" because they have given me both souvlakia. On the other hand, they did not intend to give me two souvlakia but did so by mistake, therefore it is not the case that I have taken what was given.
4.1 Someone asks me something. I lie to him. He didn't hear what I had said. Is the precept broken?
4.2 I insult someone in a language he doesn't understand. Have I broken the precept of harsh speech?
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby PeterB » Mon Nov 02, 2009 2:45 pm

1.1 Yes
1.2 Yes
3. It is taking what is not freely given probably. Although if the owner served you, not an employee, and included a second one as a gift it wouldnt be.
4.1 Yes the precept is broken, your intention was to deceive.
4.2 Yes, again its the intention which is crucial.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:08 pm

Stefan wrote:1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?
1.2 Is intentional injury a breach of the precept?
2. I go to buy a souvlaki. I take it and return home. I open the package and see they had given me two souvlakia instead of one. If eat both and don't go to pay for the second one too, have I broken the second precept? On the one hand, it is not "taking what is not given" because they have given me both souvlakia. On the other hand, they did not intend to give me two souvlakia but did so by mistake, therefore it is not the case that I have taken what was given.
4.1 Someone asks me something. I lie to him. He didn't hear what I had said. Is the precept broken?
4.2 I insult someone in a language he doesn't understand. Have I broken the precept of harsh speech?


Situation #2 strikes me as being a bit complex -- because an opened souvlaki is not something that can be "returned". If you take it back to the shop, they will just throw it out (unless they are really unscrupulous and sell to someone else!). It's not good to waste food.

You could, I suppose, contact them and explain what happened.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Annapurna » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:10 pm

Stefan wrote:1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?
1.2 Is intentional injury a breach of the precept?
2. I go to buy a souvlaki. I take it and return home. I open the package and see they had given me two souvlakia instead of one. If eat both and don't go to pay for the second one too, have I broken the second precept? On the one hand, it is not "taking what is not given" because they have given me both souvlakia. On the other hand, they did not intend to give me two souvlakia but did so by mistake, therefore it is not the case that I have taken what was given.
4.1 Someone asks me something. I lie to him. He didn't hear what I had said. Is the precept broken?
4.2 I insult someone in a language he doesn't understand. Have I broken the precept of harsh speech?


What Peter said. And Lazy too.

Question to the Souvlaki:

Is this a speculative question for dhamma training purposes?

If no, and it did happen to you, you could always go back,and inform them. You might find they will not charge you extra, for one, because you didn't order it, and it was their mistake.

Or it was simply a gift.
Last edited by Annapurna on Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Annapurna » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:14 pm

I would try to clear it up with the person personally.
S-he could get in trouble.

But I wouldn't do a thing. It was given, it can't be returned, only thrown away. By them.
Last edited by Annapurna on Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:15 pm

Annabel wrote:
Stefan wrote:1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?
1.2 Is intentional injury a breach of the precept?
2. I go to buy a souvlaki. I take it and return home. I open the package and see they had given me two souvlakia instead of one. If eat both and don't go to pay for the second one too, have I broken the second precept? On the one hand, it is not "taking what is not given" because they have given me both souvlakia. On the other hand, they did not intend to give me two souvlakia but did so by mistake, therefore it is not the case that I have taken what was given.
4.1 Someone asks me something. I lie to him. He didn't hear what I had said. Is the precept broken?
4.2 I insult someone in a language he doesn't understand. Have I broken the precept of harsh speech?


What Peter said. And Lazy too.

Question to the Suvlakia:

Is this a speculative question for dhamma training purposes?

If no, and it did happen to you, you could always go back,and inform them. You might find they will not charge you extra, for one, because you didn't order it, and it was their mistake.

Or it was simply a gift.


OK. All of the cases were made up except the souvlaki one. It actually happened a month or so ago. I went back and said they had given me an extra souvlaki, but the owner said it was a gift (probably because I am a regular customer ;) ).
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Annapurna » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:19 pm

Ah! How cool of him. I have witnessed and enjoyed similar generosity from Greeks often.
Did you enjoy it?
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:22 pm

Annabel wrote:Ah! How cool of him. I have witnessed and enjoyed similar generosity from Greeks often.
Did you enjoy it?

Yup!
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Nov 02, 2009 5:53 pm

The Buddhist Monastic Discipline is a good place to check regarding these kind of questions. Look at the factors for fulfilling the offence, and the non-offence clauses. E.g. regarding deliberate lying:
Result is not a factor under this rule. Thus whether anyone understands the lie or is deceived by it is irrelevant to the offense.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:23 pm

Thank you very much Bhante. :anjali:
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:45 pm

Stefan wrote:1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?
1.2 Is intentional injury a breach of the precept?
2. I go to buy a souvlaki. I take it and return home. I open the package and see they had given me two souvlakia instead of one. If eat both and don't go to pay for the second one too, have I broken the second precept? On the one hand, it is not "taking what is not given" because they have given me both souvlakia. On the other hand, they did not intend to give me two souvlakia but did so by mistake, therefore it is not the case that I have taken what was given.
4.1 Someone asks me something. I lie to him. He didn't hear what I had said. Is the precept broken?
4.2 I insult someone in a language he doesn't understand. Have I broken the precept of harsh speech?

1. Yes. Maybe.
1.2 Not sure, but probably. Intentional violence is regarded as wrong.
2. Yes.
3. THERE IS NO 3! :juggling:
4.1 Technically yes, but it might be skillful.
4.2 Yes.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Annapurna » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:53 pm

1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?


I'd like to illuminate this with an example.
Surely most have heard of Charles Manson. "Charlie".

He was a Hippiecult -leader, who totally brainwashed his followers.

When he ordered them to kill others, they did.

Without his order, they wouldn't have killed those people, thus argued the prosecution,and he was sentenced to death, of first degree murder,just like those who committed the crimes with their own hands.

They penalty was later changed into jail ,and they all still do time, to this day, 40 years later.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby Stephen K » Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:54 pm

Individual wrote:
Stefan wrote:1.1 Is getting someone to kill someone else a breach of the first precept? Is it as heavy a karma as to kill by one's own hand?
1.2 Is intentional injury a breach of the precept?
2. I go to buy a souvlaki. I take it and return home. I open the package and see they had given me two souvlakia instead of one. If eat both and don't go to pay for the second one too, have I broken the second precept? On the one hand, it is not "taking what is not given" because they have given me both souvlakia. On the other hand, they did not intend to give me two souvlakia but did so by mistake, therefore it is not the case that I have taken what was given.
4.1 Someone asks me something. I lie to him. He didn't hear what I had said. Is the precept broken?
4.2 I insult someone in a language he doesn't understand. Have I broken the precept of harsh speech?

1. Yes. Maybe.
1.2 Not sure, but probably. Intentional violence is regarded as wrong.
2. Yes.
3. THERE IS NO 3! :juggling:
4.1 Technically yes, but it might be skillful.
4.2 Yes.


Thanks. The numbers refer to the order of the precepts, "1" - first precept, "2" second precept, etc...
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby catmoon » Mon Nov 02, 2009 10:47 pm

The great souvlaki debate:


The correct answer is: you eat the souvlaki and don't sweat it. Is no biggie. Relax already.
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Re: A few questions on morality

Postby notself » Tue Nov 03, 2009 1:21 am

If the souvlaki was included by accident then it was not freely given. Therefore, it is a violation of the precept. You must go back to the store and pay for the extra one. (Trust me you will feel terrific when you do so.)
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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