Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:34 pm

Nangwa wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
You understand how the rule came about, no? It came about because some fool did something stupid as an ordained bhiksu.

N

I would love to hear the story behind this. Is there a reference to a specific drunken bhiksu somewhere?
We usually hear the stories about the great disciples etc. it would be fun to learn more about the foolish ones as well.



The story runs something like this: there was a monk who was quite handsome and a housewife enamored of him. She trapped him in her house and gave him three choices: kill a chicken, sleep with her, or drink some alcohol.

He thought that perhaps the booze was the best choice-- drank it, lost his shit, slept with the woman, and butchered the chicken too. In some versions, he murdered the woman's husband.

You see, a rule for fools.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Josef » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:48 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Nangwa wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
You understand how the rule came about, no? It came about because some fool did something stupid as an ordained bhiksu.

N

I would love to hear the story behind this. Is there a reference to a specific drunken bhiksu somewhere?
We usually hear the stories about the great disciples etc. it would be fun to learn more about the foolish ones as well.



The story runs something like this: there was a monk who was quite handsome and a housewife enamored of him. She trapped him in her house and gave him three choices: kill a chicken, sleep with her, or drink some alcohol.

He thought that perhaps the booze was the best choice-- drank it, lost his sh!t, slept with the woman, and butchered the chicken too. In some versions, he murdered the woman's husband.

You see, a rule for fools.

Excellent.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:59 pm

Namdrol-
although I take your point, the moral of that story isn't primarily that "rules are for fools".....on the contrary, it is usually cited as an example of how our own understanding of the "rules" and their relative "weight" may be our own foolishness in action. It is an example of the "Wisdom" of rules, morality, ethical discipline. Normally, we would be quick to claim that killing the chicken was the worst offense. In this case, our drunken monk broke 3 vows, note merely one....by drinking alcohol he ended up taking life. If he had followed all 3 rules, he would have walked away or fought his way out--how foolish, then, would our monk have been to "follow the foolish rules?"

Then again, all rules are ultimately for the foolish, and only the Buddha is the completely unfoolish one. But vows are only for those who have taken them, eh? Individuals must make their own choices.

In my own personal interpretation, I would have slept with the woman. but hey, that's just my foolishness. :smile:
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:50 pm

conebeckham wrote:
But vows are only for those who have taken them, eh?



There was no rule against consuming intoxicants -- this is the episode that caused the Buddha to issue such an edict.

He issued the edict because he observed some of his disciples behaving like fools when they drank.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby conebeckham » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:57 pm

Oh, I didn't know that story was supposed to pre-date the rule, and was supposed to be the "reason." Interesting.

I do know that Buddha's "rules" always came from some specific occurance, though. So, chicken killing and sleeping with women were rules prior to the ban on intoxicants, eh?
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:02 pm

conebeckham wrote:Oh, I didn't know that story was supposed to pre-date the rule, and was supposed to be the "reason." Interesting.

I do know that Buddha's "rules" always came from some specific occurance, though. So, chicken killing and sleeping with women were rules prior to the ban on intoxicants, eh?



Yes, killing animals is a rule requiring expiation, and sexual intercourse is a parajika. So the monk took the only course he could. But it ended badly for him -- since he obviously could not hold his booze.

N
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:04 am

conebeckham wrote:Oh, I didn't know that story was supposed to pre-date the rule, and was supposed to be the "reason." Interesting.

I do know that Buddha's "rules" always came from some specific occurance, though. So, chicken killing and sleeping with women were rules prior to the ban on intoxicants, eh?


Consumption of alcohol in itself is not akusala karma, while chicken killing and sleeping with women are. The latter two are particularly conditioned by anger and lust. For the disciple wanting to achieve the appropriate states of meditation (dhyāna) leading to being an anāgāmin or non-returner avoidance of sexual activity is necessary. The problem with alcohol is that it often eradicates the faculty of reasoning in some individuals which leads to killing and sexual activity.

If you read through the Vinaya you will find a lot of outright strange cases. There were a lot of weirdos who joined up and the Buddha had to issue prohibitions accordingly.

In the Dharmaguptaka Vinaya there were prohibitions laid down against bestiality because one monk decided he could circumvent the prohibition against sex by becoming affectionate with a female monkey. He fed the monkey his leftovers, grabbed it and raped it. In time he developed a relationship with the female monkey where he would give it food in exchange for sexual favours. When others monks discovered this they were unsure whether it violated the prohibition against sexual activities or not, so they asked the Buddha who laid down the law. The prohibition against sexual activities is not just limited to human-human contact.

I can somehow imagine Ananda being horrified when hearing about this.

If it wasn't for all those weirdos and trouble makers in the early sangha, we'd have far less prohibitions.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby conebeckham » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:16 am

If it wasn't for all those weirdos and trouble makers in the early sangha, we'd have far less prohibitions.


Though I'm not sure that's a good thing, considering the weirdos and trouble makers in the current sangha. :shrug:
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby ZenLem » Tue Apr 26, 2011 6:37 am

hmm, maybe though, it isn't enough to completely forgo the intoxicants, because I don't believe we can ever be fully "pure." I don't recommend actively searching for ways to ingest poison, but on the other hand, I firmly believe it is a mistake to think you'll ever be done working through addictions.

Things get very muddy for me here, I feel using things at the right time, for the right purpose is more important than say, "drink vs don't drink" arguments, though not every addiction has leeway for gray area, so it's up to the individual to decide what to.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:45 am

Namdrol wrote:If you like having a rule that tells you not to drink, then follow it. Just understand why and for whom the rule was composed.
I have heard another version of the story that was Tibetan in origin (goat instead of a chicken) that seemed, as this story, to outline how severe partaking of intoxicants can be. The moral of this story, to me, seems to be that heedlesness caused by consuming intoxicants can lead to the breaking of more severe precepts. To me it seems that the story is trying to underline exactly how damaging intoxicants really are.

As for the rules, I had already reduced my drinking to zero for some time BEFORE taking the precept. It seemed logical to me to take the precept "formally" (coz, it seems, there is no formal ceremony for taking the precept since it is assumed when you take refuge that you will follow the precepts) since I was observing it anyway. I have to admit that it helps my practice immensely for a number of reasons, one of which that I have more time to practice since I am not out at bars with my mates so often. Bars are actually really boring when you do not drink. And, believe me, Greeks spend hours in bars EVERY night, especially during summer.

Here in Greece it is also quite common to drink alcohol with ones midday meal. This is a recipe for disaster since the only thing you want to do after a midday meal, with a couple of shots of ouzo, in the midday heat, is siesta. So I kindly refuse the alcohol, pig out on the food and then go home to practice.

Sorry for boring y'all with the details!
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:01 pm

conebeckham wrote:
If it wasn't for all those weirdos and trouble makers in the early sangha, we'd have far less prohibitions.


Though I'm not sure that's a good thing, considering the weirdos and trouble makers in the current sangha. :shrug:


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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:26 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
As for the rules, I had already reduced my drinking to zero for some time BEFORE taking the precept. It seemed logical to me to take the precept "formally" (coz, it seems,
:namaste:



Taking hinayana refuge has three commitments and five vows that are automatically taken. Then one has a choice to follow no vows, and just commitments, two vows, three vows or all vows.

Taking bodhisattva vows converts those vows into the Mahayana vows.

Taking tantric vows converts those in the tantric vows.

Where the lower contradicts the higher, one follows the higher vow.

There there is the principle of refuge according to Dzogchen. In this case, there are no vows in particular, but the person judges for himself what is necessary for his path, what helps it and what hinders it. I.e. taking the essence of refuge as committing to a given path (in this case Dzogchen) and doing what is necessary for achieving the goals of that path and avoiding what is harmful to it. That is something each person must discover for themselves. If it is involves giving up wine and rich food because it is fattening and leads to ill-health, than that is what you do. If it involves drinking a glass of wine and eating rich food because one has a tendency towards vata disturbances, than that is what one does. If it involves taking psych meds to maintain a stable mind, than that is what one does. And of course, because harming others leads to states of bad rebirth, etc., than one avoids actions with true negative consequences. But none of this is based on a vow. It is based on recognition of one's state and the wish to help others recognize their own state.

Now, of course, this does not mean that one does not have vows. Of course one has vows. But vows are not the main point. It is not good to go to one extreme and proclaim "vows are all bullshit" and pretend one is an atiyoga practitioner. It is also not good to take a rigid approach to vows and turn them into a kind of pretty golden cage inside of which you lock yourself.

Not only that, not all buddhas teach vinaya and have a sangha. For example, Sikhin. Sikhin's pratimoksha was simply:

Avoid evil,
do good,
observe your mind
this is the teaching of the buddhas.

So we have to understand the Vinaya, vows and so on, these are something relative. They are not absolutely essential, at least, not in my opinion.

N
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Jikan » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:46 pm

ZenLem wrote:hmm, maybe though, it isn't enough to completely forgo the intoxicants, because I don't believe we can ever be fully "pure." I don't recommend actively searching for ways to ingest poison, but on the other hand, I firmly believe it is a mistake to think you'll ever be done working through addictions.

Things get very muddy for me here, I feel using things at the right time, for the right purpose is more important than say, "drink vs don't drink" arguments, though not every addiction has leeway for gray area, so it's up to the individual to decide what to.


The point is not to lose awareness, not to become intoxicated. In my opinion, a glass of wine with dinner is not a capital offense.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:13 pm

I tried many times to get in the habit of drinking a little red wine during meals. It's excellent for one's health. The problem is that when I drink the good stuff, I get lazy as hell and don't feel like working. Portugal has an excellent whine, by the way. Usually I end up drinking a glass or two when I have dinner with my parents. And I really like it, accompanying food. But at my place, and since my wife doesn't drink (because of the flavor), I end up drinking zilch. And this is not the best thing for my health. I remember doctors saying when my grandfather died, (stroke due to arteriosclerosis) that if he drank a little his life could have been longer. Spirits only produce the dilation of blood vessels, but red wine has twice the effect and is filled with anti oxidants. If one doesn't have the precept, a glass of red wine a meal is a favor one does to his health. This is why I would like to gain such habit, but I'm not seeing it happening. Not that I don't like it, but I don't like the numbness I feel mixed with having to work or whatever. Nice at a dinner at the weekends, but not everyday...
Of course there are people who drink too much. It's a real problem, mostly when they decide to drive afterwards.
I think people should take a vow if they fear not being able to hold the drink. So they take a vow: I'll never drink, and stick to it. But if people can perfectly moderate their intake, why the need of a vow? Is it something symbolic? I mean, they can always take the vow, but is there such need? Why would one impose such a thing to oneself? There may come a time at a wedding or something and one will have to refuse a harmless cup of champagne, risking offending others, because of a vow that could be unnecessary right from the start. I think we should only take vows if we feel there's the absolute need. Otherwise we just act wisely, no vows needed.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Malcolm » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:49 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:I tried many times to get in the habit of drinking a little red wine during meals. It's excellent for one's health. The problem is that when I drink the good stuff, I get lazy as hell and don't feel like working. Portugal has an excellent whine, by the way. Usually I end up drinking a glass or two when I have dinner with my parents. And I really like it, accompanying food. But at my place, and since my wife doesn't drink (because of the flavor), I end up drinking zilch. And this is not the best thing for my health. I remember doctors saying when my grandfather died, (stroke due to arteriosclerosis) that if he drank a little his life could have been longer. Spirits only produce the dilation of blood vessels, but red wine has twice the effect and is filled with anti oxidants. If one doesn't have the precept, a glass of red wine a meal is a favor one does to his health. This is why I would like to gain such habit, but I'm not seeing it happening. Not that I don't like it, but I don't like the numbness I feel mixed with having to work or whatever. Nice at a dinner at the weekends, but not everyday...
Of course there are people who drink too much. It's a real problem, mostly when they decide to drive afterwards.
I think people should take a vow if they fear not being able to hold the drink. So they take a vow: I'll never drink, and stick to it. But if people can perfectly moderate their intake, why the need of a vow? Is it something symbolic? I mean, they can always take the vow, but is there such need? Why would one impose such a thing to oneself? There may come a time at a wedding or something and one will have to refuse a harmless cup of champagne, risking offending others, because of a vow that could be unnecessary right from the start. I think we should only take vows if we feel there's the absolute need. Otherwise we just act wisely, no vows needed.



There is a bias in the Buddhist tradition that the merit of an act is reinforced if connected with a vow.

But vows are just something we decide to follow or not. There is no magical force in a vow. It is an intention, that is all.

N
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:26 pm

Thank you, Loppon-la.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby LastLegend » Thu Apr 28, 2011 4:34 am

There is no need for drinking if you truly want to pursue Dharma teachings. Why? It is just another attachment.

But then again, we have to ask ourselves why we want to practice Dharma teachings. If we want to be free from cycle of death and rebirth, then practice with diligence. For any other goals, moderation is needed. Since we practice Dharma teachings, we should know from experience that any deep attachment does bring suffering. It would be a problem for us to practice Dharma teachings while allowing ourselves to be attached...this is suffering, and if not careful it will lead us to become evil.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:16 am

No beef there. But I think attachments dissolve by themselves the further we walk the Path. We simply abandon what is harmful quite naturally. If we still feel like a lot of things and we don't get them by forcing ourselves, unless we took vows, something is wrong with our understanding. I used to like a lot of stuff that now makes no sense whatsoever. I lost nothing by not having those things I used to like and had a bonus: gained more freedom. But freedom is not being in tension wanting to do or have something and forcing oneself not to. That's just another prison. Freedom is not even feeling the need and this comes through insight. Now, trying to drink some red wine to have a better health doesn't seem attachment... it's like eating less fat or salt or something like that.
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Re: Articles to read, Living out loud, vs a Rigid Spirituality.

Postby LastLegend » Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:58 pm

^I understand. You are aware of what you are doing.

You understand the teachings properly and practice with proper methods. That's why bad habits are dissolving naturally.

What I said is a reminder for all. For example fame is one of the deadliest attachments to those who put up a false image of being enlightened and lead people to rebirth in the realms of hell, hungry ghost, and animal. There are many attachments that we fall prey to easily if we don't constantly keep an eye on them. What I said is for people who really want to exit the cycle of death and rebirth. For those who don't, I am sure they will benefit from practicing Dharma teachings as well...attachments I am speaking of here are very broad but in general it narrows down to thinking and acting/doing that benefits the body. Selfish so to speak.

There are countless reasons as to why people cannot achieve enlightenment, and I am just speaking about these reasons.
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