Which Precept is most difficult for you?

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

Which Precept is most difficult for you?

1. To abstain from killing living beings
4
5%
2. To abstain from taking what is not given, i.e., stealing
1
1%
3. To abstain from sexual misconduct
7
9%
4. To abstain from false speech, i.e., lies, divisive speech, harsh speech, idle chatter
55
72%
5. To abstain from intoxicants and harmful drugs
9
12%
 
Total votes : 76

Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby octathlon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:29 am

My first poll attempt!
Which one is hardest for you to keep?
:popcorn:
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby theravada_guy » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:14 am

Definitely the fourth precept. Lying isn't really the issue, it's more a matter of swearing and getting irritated with some people, hence the tone in my voice isn't the lightest. Maybe my issue is more a matter of Right Speech, but I figured this would mean the fourth precept is the most difficult for me. The others aren't really an issue. I mean, I'm sure I accidentally kill insects, but it's never intentional. I've noticed that sometimes I'm about to step on an insect unawares, and I look down, and purposefully move my foot or stop it or something so that I don't kill the innocent insect. I maybe look at eye candy too much, however. Irregardless, I can somewhat control that if I become more aware of what I'm looking at.
With metta,

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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:08 am

I think it's commonly agreed that right speech is the hardest. Also read this in Acesstoinsight.
http://www.schmuckzauberei.blogspot.com/
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Reductor » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:26 am

Annapurna wrote:I think it's commonly agreed that right speech is the hardest. Also read this in Acesstoinsight.


Read what?
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:59 am

That speech is the hardest to keep.

Please don't ask me where.

I assume where right speech is being discussed.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/search_r ... earch#1058
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby GrahamR » Mon Aug 09, 2010 11:44 am

octathlon wrote:My first poll attempt!
Which one is hardest for you to keep?
:popcorn:


Abstaining from killing - no I'm not a serial killer! :guns:

I'm sure we can debate what a living being is, but every time I take out the car in summer I crush insects, I've killed cats twice, small birds several times. OK it's not my intention, but I prefer to avoid it.

I know in Thailand at one time people doing 8 precepts would abstain from ploughing or agricultural practices which kill worms or other creatures.

On defining living creatures, I recall a story of a blind monk being castigated for killing ants during his walking meditation practice as he couldn't see them. It was decided it wasn't wrong as it was not his intention the kill them. It suggests ants and other insects are defined as living and should have their lives respected.
With metta :bow:
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby pilgrim » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:22 pm

GrahamR wrote:
octathlon wrote:My first poll attempt!
Which one is hardest for you to keep?
:popcorn:


Abstaining from killing - no I'm not a serial killer! :guns:

I'm sure we can debate what a living being is, but every time I take out the car in summer I crush insects, I've killed cats twice, small birds several times. OK it's not my intention, but I prefer to avoid it.

I know in Thailand at one time people doing 8 precepts would abstain from ploughing or agricultural practices which kill worms or other creatures.

On defining living creatures, I recall a story of a blind monk being castigated for killing ants during his walking meditation practice as he couldn't see them. It was decided it wasn't wrong as it was not his intention the kill them. It suggests ants and other insects are defined as living and should have their lives respected.

Hi Graham,
The story suggests that one is guilty of breaking the precept on killing when one intentionally kills insects or other animals. The blind monk stepped on insects unknowingly and so he was not guilty. Similarly if you ran over insects or cats without intention of doing so, you have not broken the precept.
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby lovemygreys » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:34 pm

I'd have to say the first precept. To begin with, I'm a meat eater. Though we buy most (80%) of our meat from local sources where the animals have good quality of life before they end up in our freezer, that doesn't change the fact I'm responsible for their death. I struggle with this, but don't see it changing any time soon. I don't eat grains, so that already limits my diet. We also feed our dogs meat and bones to supplement their (grain free/meat based) kibble.

I will say that Buddhism is helping me overcome my nearly paralyzing arachnaphobia. I used to keep a can of Raid close at hand and any spider (or other scary looking bug) that ended up in the house or *near* the house was killed. Last night there was a wolf spider by our back door that I was able to let be as I was bringing our dogs in from the yard. This morning he was gone.

Based on the other replies, I think I need to read more on the fourth precept.
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby octathlon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:40 pm

I figured speech would win and I thought about dividing it into the different kinds of wrong speech.

Abstaining from harsh speech or idle chatter is mine. I'm good at avoiding lying and "pretty good" at avoiding divisive speech, but that one happens when I'm not paying attention. But I don't really work on avoiding idle chatter. I don't do it much, but I don't actively avoid it.

Killing is my second most difficult. I still kill brown recluse spiders. They are very poisonous and the bites from them can have horrible consequences. I am averse to just putting them outside where they can reproduce and make hundreds more to come right back in the house. Other spiders I can leave alone. Then there's the meat eating ...
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby GrahamR » Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:56 pm

pilgrim wrote:Hi Graham,
The story suggests that one is guilty of breaking the precept on killing when one intentionally kills insects or other animals. The blind monk stepped on insects unknowingly and so he was not guilty. Similarly if you ran over insects or cats without intention of doing so, you have not broken the precept.


I agree it's not my intention, but I would still prefer to avoid the situation :thanks:
With metta :bow:
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:16 pm

GrahamR wrote:
octathlon wrote:My first poll attempt!
Which one is hardest for you to keep?
:popcorn:


Abstaining from killing - no I'm not a serial killer! :guns:

I'm sure we can debate what a living being is, but every time I take out the car in summer I crush insects, I've killed cats twice, small birds several times. OK it's not my intention, but I prefer to avoid it.

I know in Thailand at one time people doing 8 precepts would abstain from ploughing or agricultural practices which kill worms or other creatures.

On defining living creatures, I recall a story of a blind monk being castigated for killing ants during his walking meditation practice as he couldn't see them. It was decided it wasn't wrong as it was not his intention the kill them. It suggests ants and other insects are defined as living and should have their lives respected.


It's intention that matters.

You had no intention to kill cats and insects with your car, so saying you broke the first precept is misunderstanding it.
Same counts for blind monks in the dark. Do you have a reference to this story?

We're not Jains. We're Buddhists.
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Annapurna » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:35 pm

octathlon wrote:I figured speech would win and I thought about dividing it into the different kinds of wrong speech.

Abstaining from harsh speech or idle chatter is mine. I'm good at avoiding lying and "pretty good" at avoiding divisive speech, but that one happens when I'm not paying attention. But I don't really work on avoiding idle chatter. I don't do it much, but I don't actively avoid it.

Killing is my second most difficult. I still kill brown recluse spiders. They are very poisonous and the bites from them can have horrible consequences. I am averse to just putting them outside where they can reproduce and make hundreds more to come right back in the house. Other spiders I can leave alone. Then there's the meat eating ...




"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


Metta,

Anna
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Tex » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:11 pm

Definitely the fourth for me. I don't really have a problem with false speech, but I sometimes speak more harshly than I should. Working on it.
"The serene and peaceful mind is the true epitome of human achievement."-- Ajahn Chah, Living Dhamma

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby mettafuture » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:33 pm

To abstain from killing. :twisted:

Not people, though. Insects!

I've murdered A LOT of mosquitoes this year. Little blood sucking monsters.
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Modus.Ponens » Mon Aug 09, 2010 5:16 pm

Lying is my main problem. I lie about as frequently as most people, which is too much.
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: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby Reductor » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:07 pm

I used to think harsh speech was my worst, but have gotten it under control. Now I'd say that idle chatter is where I fail most often.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby lovemygreys » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:40 pm

pardon this really basic question: what is considered idle chatter? Is that talking about the weather or what you had for lunch? (ie, stuff that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things)
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby bodom » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:50 pm

lovemygreys wrote:pardon this really basic question: what is considered idle chatter? Is that talking about the weather or what you had for lunch? (ie, stuff that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things)


It is any talk not concerned primarily with the Dhamma, but as Bhikkhu Bodhi writes...

Lay persons will have more need for affectionate small talk with friends and family, polite conversation with acquaintances, and talk in connection with their line of work. But even then they should be mindful not to let the conversation stray into pastures where the restless mind, always eager for something sweet or spicy to feed on, might find the chance to indulge its defiling propensities.


http://www.vipassana.com/resources/8fp4.php

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby lovemygreys » Mon Aug 09, 2010 6:56 pm

ooooooooooook, then. I need to change my vote. Idle chatter. It's going to be tough to even just be aware of it, much less cut back. Thanks bodom, I definitely have a bit to read and think about with regards to right speech.
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Re: Which Precept is most difficult for you?

Postby octathlon » Mon Aug 09, 2010 10:44 pm

Reflect on your speech, before, during, and after speaking

[The Buddha speaks to his son, Rahula:] "Whenever you want to perform a verbal act, you should reflect on it: 'This verbal act I want to perform — would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful verbal act, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful verbal act with painful consequences, painful results, then any verbal act of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction... it would be a skillful verbal action with happy consequences, happy results, then any verbal act of that sort is fit for you to do.

"While you are performing a verbal act, you should reflect on it: 'This verbal act I am doing — is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful verbal act, with painful consequences, painful results?' If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both... you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not... you may continue with it.

"Having performed a verbal act, you should reflect on it... If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful verbal act with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to a knowledgeable companion in the holy life. Having confessed it... you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction... it was a skillful verbal action with happy consequences, happy results, then you should stay mentally refreshed and joyful, training day and night in skillful mental qualities."

— MN 61
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