3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Buddhist ethical conduct including the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).
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Chris777
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3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by Chris777 »

I don't know if it is appropriate for to discuss about my own precepts and offences with lay people because the Buddha forbids a bhikkhu from talking about another bhikkhu's offences to lay people, however, i am only discussing about my own offences so i hope it is allowable according to the monastic code, If it is not then please kindly inform me.

1st situation: About mirrors
The Buddha didn't allow bhikkhus to look at their faces in mirrors. The place i am staying at, however, has a lot of mirrors and glass doors so i often accidentally look at them. For example just now i was adjusting my robes outside of the eating area when my mind instinctively turned towards a glass door, when i catched a glimpse of my torso (i did not see too much of my face), i immediately recognized what was happening and turned my eyes away. Is this an offence or not an offence?

2nd Situation: About army's regimental review
I was told to attend a town meeting about fire safety and when i got there i attended the meeting with my eyes closed since the meeting begins with a dancing performance. Once the dancing and singing was over, i kept on closing my eyes until drowsiness started to appear-only then did i open my eyes. After that i glanced around and accidentally saw a cop watching a soldier handling a rifle on his phone- i turned my eyes away quickly from the sight. Is this an offence concerning the rule not to see an army practice? Or any other offence in the monastic code for that matter?

3rd situation: about the precept concerning entertainment (the rule of abstinence from dancing, music, visiting shows)
In a moment of unmindfulness, i murmured (quietly) to myself a line from a movie i once watched as a child- It wasn't a song, i simply repeated quietly a dialogue line i once heard back in the past. However, my mind still delighted in this. Is this considered an offence in the monastic code?

Thank you for reading this far.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Deleted due to me being wrong! :smile: :anjali:
Last edited by JamesTheGiant on Tue Oct 04, 2022 7:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
Chris777
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by Chris777 »

Thank you Jamesthegiant, i actually did have a copy of the BMC by thanissaro bhikkhu and did read a couple of parts in it . But i must ask, dukkata dont need to be confessed? Is this true? this whole time i thought that dukkata (wrongdoing) must be confessed and i thought only the 75 sekhiya training rules dont need to be confessed.
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

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Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 6:08 am Thank you Jamesthegiant, i actually did have a copy of the BMC by thanissaro bhikkhu and did read a couple of parts in it . But i must ask, dukkata dont need to be confessed? Is this true? this whole time i thought that dukkata (wrongdoing) must be confessed and i thought only the 75 sekhiya training rules dont need to be confessed.
Oops, you are right, I am thinking of the training rules. I deleted my wrong answer above.
So yeah I guess confession. Just do it at the regular time to another bhikkhu and you'll be fine. Is this your first year in robes? These things can be pretty confusing and seem intimidating at first.
Study is good.

Do you hope to be a bhikkhu for a long time, or a short time like many Thai men do? :anjali:
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JamesTheGiant
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by JamesTheGiant »

Just one more thing, don't be afraid to ask more senior bhikkhus at your monastery about these things. In my experience they're usually very happy to explain, and reassure, and make it clear.
You can be open and honest with them about vinaya.
jinic
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by jinic »

Hello Ayasma, welcome to the forum. I can offer my take on this.
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:22 am 1st situation: About mirrors
The Buddha didn't allow bhikkhus to look at their faces in mirrors. The place i am staying at, however, has a lot of mirrors and glass doors so i often accidentally look at them. For example just now i was adjusting my robes outside of the eating area when my mind instinctively turned towards a glass door, when i catched a glimpse of my torso (i did not see too much of my face), i immediately recognized what was happening and turned my eyes away. Is this an offence or not an offence?
As i see it, since you did not consent to these mirrors being there and was not intentionally looking, there is no offense.

On the other hand, many mirrors make the dwelling place less suitable but it's a trifle, imho.
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:22 am 2nd Situation: About army's regimental review
I was told to attend a town meeting about fire safety and when i got there i attended the meeting with my eyes closed since the meeting begins with a dancing performance. Once the dancing and singing was over, i kept on closing my eyes until drowsiness started to appear-only then did i open my eyes. After that i glanced around and accidentally saw a cop watching a soldier handling a rifle on his phone- i turned my eyes away quickly from the sight. Is this an offence concerning the rule not to see an army practice? Or any other offence in the monastic code for that matter?
As i see it, since you did not consent to seeing the video and was not intentionally looking, there is no offense.

Drawing from these examples
pācittiya 48
"yo pana bhikkhu uyyuttaṃ senaṃ dassanāya gaccheyya aññatra tathārūpappaccayā, pācittiyaṃ."

Not to watch an army departing for combat. If a bhikkhu moves to go and watch voluntarily an army exhibiting the "4 warring characteristics", if he is not forced to, if he goes to watch such an army leaving the town or village to go to combat – or returning from combat –, he commits a pācittiya.

In the past, when armed troops returned to town from combat, they presented, under the form of "4 warring characteristics":

elephants, each of them carrying four persons mounting it and eight persons walking to its side, making up twelve persons per elephant;
horses, each of them carrying one person mounting it and two persons walking to its side, making up three persons per horse;
tanks, each of them carrying a driver, a soldier and two men to survey the roads, making up four persons per vehicle;
groups of archers on foot, in numbers of four.
If these four warring characteristics are present when the bhikkhu come close to watch, he commits the pācittiya 48. Otherwise, he commits a dukkaṭa for each of the warring characteristics being observed.

If a bhikkhu sees an armed troop that arrives near the place where he is, or when travelling he comes across – by chance – an armed troop, he does not commit a fault.https://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya ... m#ch----50
“Now at that time, many women, pressing up to a certain bhikkhu, led him about arm-in-arm. He felt conscience-stricken…. ‘Did you consent, bhikkhu?’ (the Buddha) asked.

‘No, venerable sir, I did not.’

‘Then there was no offense, bhikkhu, as you did not consent.’”
https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0011.html
Similarly, you saw whatnot by chance and without consenting to it. I don't see fault in that.
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:22 am3rd situation: about the precept concerning entertainment (the rule of abstinence from dancing, music, visiting shows)
In a moment of unmindfulness, i murmured (quietly) to myself a line from a movie i once watched as a child- It wasn't a song, i simply repeated quietly a dialogue line i once heard back in the past. However, my mind still delighted in this. Is this considered an offence in the monastic code?
As i see it, when with lapsed mindfulness one starts singing or murmuring, this is a 'being carried away by the currents [of lustful intent]' .

I don't know wherether there is any rule being broken. However in my training this is a transgression and when having become mindful one restrains oneself, seeing the drawbacks & resolving on being more mindful in the future, with that one is rehabilitated.
I post here to discuss the texts. The views expressed are not necessarily right and i am not going to correct what i've expressed everytime i find mistakes.
Chris777
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by Chris777 »

JamesTheGiant wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 7:30 am
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 6:08 am Thank you Jamesthegiant, i actually did have a copy of the BMC by thanissaro bhikkhu and did read a couple of parts in it . But i must ask, dukkata dont need to be confessed? Is this true? this whole time i thought that dukkata (wrongdoing) must be confessed and i thought only the 75 sekhiya training rules dont need to be confessed.
Oops, you are right, I am thinking of the training rules. I deleted my wrong answer above.
So yeah I guess confession. Just do it at the regular time to another bhikkhu and you'll be fine. Is this your first year in robes? These things can be pretty confusing and seem intimidating at first.
Study is good.

Do you hope to be a bhikkhu for a long time, or a short time like many Thai men do? :anjali:
Thank you for your concern Jamesthegiant, this is in fact my first year in robe, i do hope to be a bhikkhu for a long long time. There isn't many bhikkhu at the place i am staying and truth be told perhaps i need to find another bhikkhu online who are kind enough to allow me to confess my minor offenses to him no matter how numerous they maybe
Chris777
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Joined: Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:12 pm

Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by Chris777 »

jinic wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 7:51 am Hello Ayasma, welcome to the forum. I can offer my take on this.
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:22 am 1st situation: About mirrors
The Buddha didn't allow bhikkhus to look at their faces in mirrors. The place i am staying at, however, has a lot of mirrors and glass doors so i often accidentally look at them. For example just now i was adjusting my robes outside of the eating area when my mind instinctively turned towards a glass door, when i catched a glimpse of my torso (i did not see too much of my face), i immediately recognized what was happening and turned my eyes away. Is this an offence or not an offence?
As i see it, since you did not consent to these mirrors being there and was not intentionally looking, there is no offense.

On the other hand, many mirrors make the dwelling place less suitable but it's a trifle, imho.
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:22 am 2nd Situation: About army's regimental review
I was told to attend a town meeting about fire safety and when i got there i attended the meeting with my eyes closed since the meeting begins with a dancing performance. Once the dancing and singing was over, i kept on closing my eyes until drowsiness started to appear-only then did i open my eyes. After that i glanced around and accidentally saw a cop watching a soldier handling a rifle on his phone- i turned my eyes away quickly from the sight. Is this an offence concerning the rule not to see an army practice? Or any other offence in the monastic code for that matter?
As i see it, since you did not consent to seeing the video and was not intentionally looking, there is no offense.

Drawing from these examples
pācittiya 48
"yo pana bhikkhu uyyuttaṃ senaṃ dassanāya gaccheyya aññatra tathārūpappaccayā, pācittiyaṃ."

Not to watch an army departing for combat. If a bhikkhu moves to go and watch voluntarily an army exhibiting the "4 warring characteristics", if he is not forced to, if he goes to watch such an army leaving the town or village to go to combat – or returning from combat –, he commits a pācittiya.

In the past, when armed troops returned to town from combat, they presented, under the form of "4 warring characteristics":

elephants, each of them carrying four persons mounting it and eight persons walking to its side, making up twelve persons per elephant;
horses, each of them carrying one person mounting it and two persons walking to its side, making up three persons per horse;
tanks, each of them carrying a driver, a soldier and two men to survey the roads, making up four persons per vehicle;
groups of archers on foot, in numbers of four.
If these four warring characteristics are present when the bhikkhu come close to watch, he commits the pācittiya 48. Otherwise, he commits a dukkaṭa for each of the warring characteristics being observed.

If a bhikkhu sees an armed troop that arrives near the place where he is, or when travelling he comes across – by chance – an armed troop, he does not commit a fault.https://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya ... m#ch----50
“Now at that time, many women, pressing up to a certain bhikkhu, led him about arm-in-arm. He felt conscience-stricken…. ‘Did you consent, bhikkhu?’ (the Buddha) asked.

‘No, venerable sir, I did not.’

‘Then there was no offense, bhikkhu, as you did not consent.’”
https://www.dhammatalks.org/vinaya/bmc/Section0011.html
Similarly, you saw whatnot by chance and without consenting to it. I don't see fault in that.
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 5:22 am3rd situation: about the precept concerning entertainment (the rule of abstinence from dancing, music, visiting shows)
In a moment of unmindfulness, i murmured (quietly) to myself a line from a movie i once watched as a child- It wasn't a song, i simply repeated quietly a dialogue line i once heard back in the past. However, my mind still delighted in this. Is this considered an offence in the monastic code?
As i see it, when with lapsed mindfulness one starts singing or murmuring, this is a 'being carried away by the currents [of lustful intent]' .

I don't know wherether there is any rule being broken. However in my training this is a transgression and when having become mindful one restrains oneself, seeing the drawbacks & resolving on being more mindful in the future, with that one is rehabilitated.
Thank you for your detailed analysis bhante jinic. My mind is calmer now after reading it and perhaps my meditation session tonight would become much better as well.
BKh
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by BKh »

Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 9:42 am There isn't many bhikkhu at the place i am staying and truth be told perhaps i need to find another bhikkhu online who are kind enough to allow me to confess my minor offenses to him no matter how numerous they maybe
In general, it is very difficult to keep a different Vinaya standard from those you are living with. Over the long term it is very easy for resentment to build on both sides. If you are already feeling like you cannot confess offenses to them and are searching for an outside monk, that does not bode well.

Honestly, it sounds like you are being a bit over-scrupulous. Seeing a reflection of your torso in a door is not a Vinaya offense. I really encourage you to find monks to train with so you don't have to seek guidance on the internet. It's going to be hard to find joy in the monk life without monks you trust.
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Chris777
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by Chris777 »

BKh wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 11:03 am
Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 9:42 am There isn't many bhikkhu at the place i am staying and truth be told perhaps i need to find another bhikkhu online who are kind enough to allow me to confess my minor offenses to him no matter how numerous they maybe
In general, it is very difficult to keep a different Vinaya standard from those you are living with. Over the long term it is very easy for resentment to build on both sides. If you are already feeling like you cannot confess offenses to them and are searching for an outside monk, that does not bode well.

Honestly, it sounds like you are being a bit over-scrupulous. Seeing a reflection of your torso in a door is not a Vinaya offense. I really encourage you to find monks to train with so you don't have to seek guidance on the internet. It's going to be hard to find joy in the monk life without monks you trust.
Thank you for your honest advice, BKh.

Yes, i understand as well the benefit of having monks one can trust. Unfortunately for me, Theravada isn't the main form of buddhism practiced in my country so it is very difficult for me. Even more difficult to find a monastery where people actually practice meditation in my city. And even more difficult to find a place where Jhana is taught and practiced like here.

So even though the place where i'm staying at may not be the perfect end-all-be-all but it is a monastery in my city where people are actually practicing Jhana diligently. So it's up to me to work out the problems i afraid. Besides, the abbot of the monastery is kind to me, he even gave me his treasured vinaya detailed rule book the other day since he knows how much i worry about my Sila.

Thank you for your honest concern BKh, i wish you well
BKh
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by BKh »

Chris777 wrote: Tue Oct 04, 2022 1:21 pm So even though the place where i'm staying at may not be the perfect end-all-be-all but it is a monastery in my city where people are actually practicing Jhana diligently. So it's up to me to work out the problems i afraid. Besides, the abbot of the monastery is kind to me, he even gave me his treasured vinaya detailed rule book the other day since he knows how much i worry about my Sila.
Ah, well then it sounds like you can make it work. Having a kind senior monk is (in samsara) very rare and extremely valuable. So protect his kindness at all cost.

If you are interested in advice, I'd recommend to focus on studying the canonical Vinaya in regards to the parajika and sanghadesesas. You can find the translation on SuttaCentral. A book like Ajahn Thanissaro's BMC is very, very difficult to use for self study because it interweaves canon, two Pali commentaries, Thai commentaries, and his own opinion. It's a useful book, just tricky to not get yourself tied up in knots. Then after you feel more confident in the first two types of rules, you can study the canonical text of the rest of them.

Also keep in mind that except for the parajikas and sanghadesesas, it's good as much as possible to keep to the same standard as the monks you are living with, and if you try to follow them more closely to do it privately as much as possible. And especially don't involve the lay people in helping you to keep rules in a different way from the other monks.

And when you do need to talk to the other monks about rules you may have broken, try to do it in a way that does not cause them to loose face.

Best wishes for your monk life! Congratulations!

And you may not know that Ajahn Thanissaro has "office hours" where you can call and ask him questions. The times are listed on his monastery website. Naturally he doesn't have much time to chat, but he is happy to talk to you.
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Chris777
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Re: 3 situations: Offence or not an offence?

Post by Chris777 »

Ah, well then it sounds like you can make it work. Having a kind senior monk is (in samsara) very rare and extremely valuable. So protect his kindness at all cost.
I will make effort to protect his kindness.
If you are interested in advice, I'd recommend to focus on studying the canonical Vinaya in regards to the parajika and sanghadesesas. You can find the translation on SuttaCentral. A book like Ajahn Thanissaro's BMC is very, very difficult to use for self study because it interweaves canon, two Pali commentaries, Thai commentaries, and his own opinion. It's a useful book, just tricky to not get yourself tied up in knots. Then after you feel more confident in the first two types of rules, you can study the canonical text of the rest of them.

Also keep in mind that except for the parajikas and sanghadesesas, it's good as much as possible to keep to the same standard as the monks you are living with, and if you try to follow them more closely to do it privately as much as possible. And especially don't involve the lay people in helping you to keep rules in a different way from the other monks.

Thank you for your practical advice.
And when you do need to talk to the other monks about rules you may have broken, try to do it in a way that does not cause them to loose face.
I will be even more careful in the future.
Best wishes for your monk life! Congratulations!

And you may not know that Ajahn Thanissaro has "office hours" where you can call and ask him questions. The times are listed on his monastery website. Naturally he doesn't have much time to chat, but he is happy to talk to you.

My gratitude to you, BKh.
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