Five Precepts

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

Five Precepts

Postby altar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:36 pm

Hi all,
Seeing as how this is a buddhist forum, and we are for the most part lay people, I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread on the Five Precepts. This can range from their importance, their benefits, the difficulties, and of course personal experience, or whatever else people want. I would prefer if people refrain from debating about the specific meaning of the precepts, although have a go if it seems necessary.
I understand personal experience, especially if someone has transgressed, is not the most pleasant thing to discuss, but hey, there's no demands you do so!
Also there are threads devoted to things like problems when a roomate or someone wants you to kill bugs, so I don't wish to detract from those.

So here they are:
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
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Re: Five Precepts

Postby altar » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:56 pm

I think it's proper for me to go first, no?
The main benefit is the sense of ease.
This allows unwholesome kamma to be let go of as well, I think. Therefore it allows one to go deeper into one's mind, or into the different areas of one's mind, as binding influences are loosened up. Or, what I meant to say was rather that it allows your mind to deepen, all sorts of things can come up, not just the ones you prefer. Maybe a suitable analogy is this (at least it's a fun one): Say there is a parent that is prone to keeping tight watch over his kids, and he does not let them wander, and he also doesn't let them try things for themselves even when under watch--it must be pre-approved for the child to do it ("Did I say you could play on the swings? Ask me first next time."). If he is happier himself, or more at ease, he will be more prone to let the kids do for themselves, at least, not have such a grip on them, which is not to say sit at home reading the newspaper while his kids are doing he doesn't know what, but the tension is relaxed.
I would be interested to hear the effects of this over many years, not just a few as I have practiced.
I think for many it is lying that is the hardest. Serious lies aside, I used to lie in a kind of game-like manner, however it was so much it was insidious. The process to reverse this led to an overly bullish refusal of lies, checking syntax etc. to see if what I said was false.
Perhaps alcohol is tricky for some... I believe it's quite popular, at least in college it was and at parties, and popular "casual" glasses of wine etc.
Sexual misconduct: Err, okay this is one where there has been debate about if it includes masturbation for laeity. What with our internets and city anonymity there is more than enough opportunity for this. Also some people have fetishes.
Killing: Don't kill!
Stealing: Don't steal! [I have thought of this and a separate question related to stealing, which my mom asked me, occurred to me, so I'm going to pose it in a separate thread.]
Feel free to talk about this in terms of intention vs. action, but preferably in terms of importance, cause-effect, relevance, not "what counts as a transgression."
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Re: Five Precepts

Postby cooran » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:41 am

Hello altar, all,

I find the most difficult Precept to keep, is the one on speech. I manage to keep the part about Not lying, but need to be very vigilantg not to fall into all the other forms of speech the Buddha saw as unwholesome:

The Fourth Precept is to speak always the truth. When you lie you are creating a state of delusion in someone else's consciousness which is a terrible thing to do. We should value the truth as precious and refrain from lying at all times. There is karma attached to every word we utter; the speech praised by the Buddha is that which is true, beneficial and attached to meaning. Besides lying, also divisive speech, hurtful speech and foolish babbling are condemned by the Buddha.
http://www.arrowriver.ca/theravad.html

I found this resource to be invaluable on the topic of Right Speech:
Right Speech From His Own Lips - Buddha-Dhamma Buddhadasa Archives
http://www.suanmokkh.org/archive/rtspch1.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: Five Precepts

Postby Clueless Git » Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:50 am

cooran wrote: When you lie you are creating a state of delusion in someone else's consciousness which is a terrible thing to do.

Indeed it is.

More terrible still is that in order to lie when you speak a lie you must believe it yourself.

Kinda like before we can create a state of delusion in the minds of others we must first create a state of delusion in our own?


Summat on those lines that I found amusing btw ...

I am currently watching an auction for a camping trailer and camping gear on eBay. The description reads "used only once last year (2009?). The accompanying photo of the camping gear, in use, carries the camera date stamp in bright orange letters of "August 2007".

Thing that I found amusing is this ...

The plonker who made that gaffe was so immersed in the "truth" of their own lie that it didnt even occur to them to check for such a clear and obvious give-away.

Laugh? I nearly placed a bid!
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Re: Five Precepts

Postby appicchato » Thu Apr 15, 2010 9:10 am

Speculation mate...not good...those goods could have been in storage for a couple of years...likely?...not really, although drawing conclusions without any definitive information at all is, well, speculation...would you like some stranger calling you a liar without knowing anything, anything at all, except the date on a photo?...not likely, eh Git?...

Don't mind me... :coffee:
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Re: Five Precepts

Postby Clueless Git » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:22 am

'Lo Appicchato, oh great guiding light in my life .. :bow:

I like to think that if some one extrapolated that I was telling 'porky-pies' 'cos what I said in words was clearly belied by evidence that I would not take it unkindly.

In fairness, as a salesman, I never take any offence that just about everyone I meet starts of from the assumption that I am a liar untill I have proven to them that they can trust me to tell the truth.

I think this is a natural result of living in a culture where telling the truth is pretty much the last resort.

Thank you for the gentle reminder to think more charitably about others though :namaste:
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Re: Five Precepts

Postby Clueless Git » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:33 am

altar wrote: 5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

My favouritest story on that one btw ...

A monk is in need of food and shelter for the night and the only person willing to take him in is the villages woman of 'dubious' repute. She tells the monk that he can have food and shelter on one of three conditions; That either he sleeps with her or provides the service of slaughtering her goat or that he entertains her by drinking with her that night.

The monk reasons that merely having a drink with the woman is the least of the wrongs.

In the morning he awakes, with a headache, to find himself in bed with the woman and on her floor lies a freshly slaughtered goat.
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