The logic of Vinaya rules

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The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:22 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
Are you saying I need to read Tsongkhapa and Patrul to understand the Theravadan Vinaya


I don't understand how you can think I said such a thing. Less than five posts ago I typed this:
One has to go beyond studying just a list of the vows to really understand the Vinaya, especially in the context of Mahayana Buddhism.


If you want to discuss these things I am happy to, to the best of my ability. But if you want to discuss please do me the courtesy of reading my responses, as I read yours.

OK, I will read more carefully, but, in all seriousness, I really can't see how anything can explain the different Vinaya rules concerning the killing of animals and humans, other than that killing animals was considered to be almost a triviality in comparison to killing humans. If I am mistaken, could you please explain why? I believe the Mahayana uses the Vinaya as well, so I'm not sure what placing things in the Mahayana context will do. If this is off topic, then let's start a new thread, because this is actually interesting I think.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby futerko » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:29 pm

- from the vegetarian thread,
JKhedrup wrote: A great deal depends on the state of mind of the person doing the killing for example.


I think this is exactly right, and would be an indicator of whether rule following was being used skilfully or not.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby smcj » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:36 pm

...I really can't see how anything can explain the different Vinaya rules concerning the killing of animals and humans, other than that killing animals was considered to be almost a triviality in comparison to killing humans. If I am mistaken, could you please explain why?

I have an opinion on this, but it is m opinion only.

There are other scales of karmic seriousness besides the differentiation of killing animals and humans. Killing an arhat, or harming a bodhisattva or buddha, is considered more harmful than killing an ordinary human. Why? Because of the scale of awareness. You can then see the distinction between the killing of a human and an animal in the same way, as a distinction of scale of awareness.

Elaborating even further, you could say that, in a certain sense, Dharma is a religion where mind/awareness is sacred. But that's a bridge too far from my premise to be a safe statement.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:52 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I believe the Mahayana uses the Vinaya as well, so I'm not sure what placing things in the Mahayana context will do. If this is off topic, then let's start a new thread, because this is actually interesting I think.


Mahāyāna ethics, unlike most if not all Śrāvakayāna, permits harmful acts if it is in the interests of compassion and altruism. This is especially highlighted in the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra where what would normally constitute a severe breach of precepts actually becomes commendable in certain circumstances. For instance:

    “If the bodhisattva sees a thief about to kill many beings out of a craving for wealth, or about to harm a venerable śrāvaka, pratyekabuddha or bodhisattva, or about to create much karma [for which he will be reborn in] Avīci Hell, seeing such things he thinks, 'If I sever that evil being's life I will fall into hell [naraka]. If it not be severed, then the karma [for which he will be reborn in] Avīci Hell will see him undergo much suffering. I should kill him and fall into hell rather than ever allow him to undergo the suffering of Avīci Hell.' Like this the bodhisattva makes an aspiration and thinks, 'I will have a virtuous or neutral mind towards the being.' Knowing in the future what is to come he thus generates deep shame and with a compassionate mind severs the life [of the thief]. It is due to these causes and conditions that there is no violation of the bodhisattva precepts, and much merit is produced.”


Generally speaking, most Śrāvakayāna models just say, "Don't kill." However, Mahāyāna theory allows for all manner of harmful and/or questionable actions if the motivation is essentially benevolent.

Again, according to the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra:

    “If a bodhisattva resides as a householder and there appears a woman who is clearly unbound to anyone, habituated to sexual indulgence, attracted to the bodhisattva and seeking sexual activities, the bodhisattva having seen this thinks, 'Do not make her mind upset, producing much misfortune. If she pursues her desire, she will obtain freedom. As expedient means [upaya] I will take her in and have her plant the roots for virtue, also having her abandon unwholesome karma. I will engage in impure activities [abrahma-carya] with a compassionate mind.' Even practising such defiled activities like this, there is nothing that is violated [precepts], and much merit will be produced. The renunciate bodhisattva [a monk] in order to protect the noble śrāvaka proscriptions must not destroy [their precepts]. They should not engage in any impure activities.”
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:33 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
JKhedrup wrote:
Are you saying I need to read Tsongkhapa and Patrul to understand the Theravadan Vinaya


I don't understand how you can think I said such a thing. Less than five posts ago I typed this:
One has to go beyond studying just a list of the vows to really understand the Vinaya, especially in the context of Mahayana Buddhism.


If you want to discuss these things I am happy to, to the best of my ability. But if you want to discuss please do me the courtesy of reading my responses, as I read yours.

OK, I will read more carefully, but, in all seriousness, I really can't see how anything can explain the different Vinaya rules concerning the killing of animals and humans, other than that killing animals was considered to be almost a triviality in comparison to killing humans. If I am mistaken, could you please explain why? I believe the Mahayana uses the Vinaya as well, so I'm not sure what placing things in the Mahayana context will do. If this is off topic, then let's start a new thread, because this is actually interesting I think.


If you think that the karmic result of rebirth in a hell realm or rebirth as a preta is a triviality, it is your call. Here is a link to relevant pages in The Words of My Perfect Teacher: pg 112 & 113: http://books.google.com/books?id=40i38mGQ6aAC&pg=PA112&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:34 pm

Ven. IJ, are the different Vinaya rules relating to killing animals and humans found in the various Chinese Vinayas?
What is your take on this, either from a Śrāvakayāna POV or more generally?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:37 pm

Adamantine wrote:If you think that the karmic result of rebirth in a hell realm or rebirth as a preta is a triviality, it is your call. Here is a link to relevant pages in The Words of My Perfect Teacher: pg 112 & 113: http://books.google.com/books?id=40i38mGQ6aAC&pg=PA112&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

You're the one who started talking about "every single branch of Buddhism", not me. Are you saying that every single branch of Buddhism says you will be reborn in a hell realm or as a preta for killing a chicken?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby dude » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:40 pm

Indrajala wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:I believe the Mahayana uses the Vinaya as well, so I'm not sure what placing things in the Mahayana context will do. If this is off topic, then let's start a new thread, because this is actually interesting I think.


Mahāyāna ethics, unlike most if not all Śrāvakayāna, permits harmful acts if it is in the interests of compassion and altruism. This is especially highlighted in the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra where what would normally constitute a severe breach of precepts actually becomes commendable in certain circumstances. For instance:

    “If the bodhisattva sees a thief about to kill many beings out of a craving for wealth, or about to harm a venerable śrāvaka, pratyekabuddha or bodhisattva, or about to create much karma [for which he will be reborn in] Avīci Hell, seeing such things he thinks, 'If I sever that evil being's life I will fall into hell [naraka]. If it not be severed, then the karma [for which he will be reborn in] Avīci Hell will see him undergo much suffering. I should kill him and fall into hell rather than ever allow him to undergo the suffering of Avīci Hell.' Like this the bodhisattva makes an aspiration and thinks, 'I will have a virtuous or neutral mind towards the being.' Knowing in the future what is to come he thus generates deep shame and with a compassionate mind severs the life [of the thief]. It is due to these causes and conditions that there is no violation of the bodhisattva precepts, and much merit is produced.”


Generally speaking, most Śrāvakayāna models just say, "Don't kill." However, Mahāyāna theory allows for all manner of harmful and/or questionable actions if the motivation is essentially benevolent.

Again, according to the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra:

    “If a bodhisattva resides as a householder and there appears a woman who is clearly unbound to anyone, habituated to sexual indulgence, attracted to the bodhisattva and seeking sexual activities, the bodhisattva having seen this thinks, 'Do not make her mind upset, producing much misfortune. If she pursues her desire, she will obtain freedom. As expedient means [upaya] I will take her in and have her plant the roots for virtue, also having her abandon unwholesome karma. I will engage in impure activities [abrahma-carya] with a compassionate mind.' Even practising such defiled activities like this, there is nothing that is violated [precepts], and much merit will be produced. The renunciate bodhisattva [a monk] in order to protect the noble śrāvaka proscriptions must not destroy [their precepts]. They should not engage in any impure activities.”


Thank you very much indeed for pointing this out. I had heard the principle before but couldn't remember the sutra reference, or even if I had ever seen it.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:48 pm

Indrajala wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:I believe the Mahayana uses the Vinaya as well, so I'm not sure what placing things in the Mahayana context will do. If this is off topic, then let's start a new thread, because this is actually interesting I think.


Mahāyāna ethics, unlike most if not all Śrāvakayāna, permits harmful acts if it is in the interests of compassion and altruism. This is especially highlighted in the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra where what would normally constitute a severe breach of precepts actually becomes commendable in certain circumstances. For instance:

    “If the bodhisattva sees a thief about to kill many beings out of a craving for wealth, or about to harm a venerable śrāvaka, pratyekabuddha or bodhisattva, or about to create much karma [for which he will be reborn in] Avīci Hell, seeing such things he thinks, 'If I sever that evil being's life I will fall into hell [naraka]. If it not be severed, then the karma [for which he will be reborn in] Avīci Hell will see him undergo much suffering. I should kill him and fall into hell rather than ever allow him to undergo the suffering of Avīci Hell.' Like this the bodhisattva makes an aspiration and thinks, 'I will have a virtuous or neutral mind towards the being.' Knowing in the future what is to come he thus generates deep shame and with a compassionate mind severs the life [of the thief]. It is due to these causes and conditions that there is no violation of the bodhisattva precepts, and much merit is produced.”


Generally speaking, most Śrāvakayāna models just say, "Don't kill." However, Mahāyāna theory allows for all manner of harmful and/or questionable actions if the motivation is essentially benevolent.

Again, according to the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra:

    “If a bodhisattva resides as a householder and there appears a woman who is clearly unbound to anyone, habituated to sexual indulgence, attracted to the bodhisattva and seeking sexual activities, the bodhisattva having seen this thinks, 'Do not make her mind upset, producing much misfortune. If she pursues her desire, she will obtain freedom. As expedient means [upaya] I will take her in and have her plant the roots for virtue, also having her abandon unwholesome karma. I will engage in impure activities [abrahma-carya] with a compassionate mind.' Even practising such defiled activities like this, there is nothing that is violated [precepts], and much merit will be produced. The renunciate bodhisattva [a monk] in order to protect the noble śrāvaka proscriptions must not destroy [their precepts]. They should not engage in any impure activities.”


That is correct Indrajala, but in those instances the full four (or five) factors that are needed for the full negative karma are not present. This thread was split from this one, where the earlier dialogue remains: http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=213&start=2900
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:51 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Adamantine wrote:If you think that the karmic result of rebirth in a hell realm or rebirth as a preta is a triviality, it is your call. Here is a link to relevant pages in The Words of My Perfect Teacher: pg 112 & 113: http://books.google.com/books?id=40i38mGQ6aAC&pg=PA112&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

You're the one who started talking about "every single branch of Buddhism", not me. Are you saying that every single branch of Buddhism says you will be reborn in a hell realm or as a preta for killing a chicken?


I said that in every branch of Buddhism, "it is one of the worst actions" one can commit. The ten non-virtues are common to all branches, and killing is at the top of the list. It is quite simple. How karmic result is interpreted in Theravada I am not an expert, perhaps David or someone else like Retrofuturist can respond. However, this is a Mahayana forum.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:59 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Ven. IJ, are the different Vinaya rules relating to killing animals and humans found in the various Chinese Vinayas?
What is your take on this, either from a Śrāvakayāna POV or more generally?


As far as I know, the pārājika offense related to killing only relates to homicide. In the Vinaya commentary literature, killing animals is generally a minor transgression which can be repented, whereas homicide is, according to Vinaya theory, unrepentable.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:06 pm

Indrajala wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:Ven. IJ, are the different Vinaya rules relating to killing animals and humans found in the various Chinese Vinayas?
What is your take on this, either from a Śrāvakayāna POV or more generally?


As far as I know, the pārājika offense related to killing only relates to homicide. In the Vinaya commentary literature, killing animals is generally a minor transgression which can be repented, whereas homicide is, according to Vinaya theory, unrepentable.


Yes, but again that is related to vinaya vows, not karmic consequence of actions.

For instance, even though according to vinaya murder is not repentable, you have the famous saint who killed many many people but was still able to achieve realization and join the monastic order, Angulimala: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel312.html So even some of the gravest of karmic actions can be transcended even for a hinayana practitioner. This does not mean they are not some of the most negative actions possible to commit however.

Just because killing an animal can be repented/confessed in the Vinaya does not mean it is not a very heavy karmic action, one of the heaviest.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 30, 2013 8:10 pm

Adamantine wrote:For instance, even though according to vinaya murder is not repentable, you have the famous saint who killed many many people but was still able to achieve realization and join the monastic order, Angulimala: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel312.html So even some of the gravest of karmic actions can be transcended even for a hinayana practitioner. This does not mean they are not some of the most negative actions possible to commit however.

Just because killing an animal can be repented/confessed in the Vinaya does not mean it is not a very heavy karmic action, one of the heaviest.


The quality of an action and its result will be determined by the state of mind in which it is carried out.

So, in my opinion, there is a big difference between shooting a deer to feed your family through the winter and shooting a deer so you can mount its head on your wall.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Adamantine » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:41 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Adamantine wrote:For instance, even though according to vinaya murder is not repentable, you have the famous saint who killed many many people but was still able to achieve realization and join the monastic order, Angulimala: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel312.html So even some of the gravest of karmic actions can be transcended even for a hinayana practitioner. This does not mean they are not some of the most negative actions possible to commit however.

Just because killing an animal can be repented/confessed in the Vinaya does not mean it is not a very heavy karmic action, one of the heaviest.


The quality of an action and its result will be determined by the state of mind in which it is carried out.

So, in my opinion, there is a big difference between shooting a deer to feed your family through the winter and shooting a deer so you can mount its head on your wall.


Well, if it is merely for the desire to eat and relish the taste of meat, then the state of mind is not much different than the desire to have an object on the wall to decorate the room and something to boast about: the predominant affliction is desire in both cases which leads to rebirth as a preta.
If, however, there was truly no other food sources available, and the only option was to kill a deer in order to save your family from starvation, (very unlikely in the modern world), and one felt great trepidation about committing the action but only performed it out of the compassionate wish to save the lives of the whole family, and one felt remorse for the taking of the life afterwards wishing it had not been an absolute necessity-- that is another matter. But this is a very big IF, a hypothetical that most of us will never be faced with. In case you missed it, this conversation began after a member here was talking about killing 50 chickens every September remorselessly because she did not want to participate in the factory farming industry.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:45 am

I think that you're both right. Generally speaking, killing animals is seen karmically as a very negative action that can lead to rebirth in a hell realm, as it says in the Close Mindfulness Sutra and elsewhere, and hunting is viewed in a particularly negative light in the sutras. However, one can imagine unusual mitigating circumstances. If one were to kill an animal without bearing the animal any hostility, solely out of compassion, to feed one's family, because one had no other option, then surely it would be karmically different from killing out of craving or greed and a lack of compassion for other creatures. And as Adamantine points out, regret diminishes the karmic impact of an action. I don't suppose that compassionate killing is a common occurrence, however.

There are sutras, such as the Candra-pradīpa Sūtra and the Upāya-kauśalya Sūtra, among others, that teach that when the motive is compassion, there is no fault for a bodhisattva in breaking a precept. As Ven. Indrajala mentioned, the Yogācārabhūmi Śāstra also teaches this. Śāntideva takes this view in his Compendium of Training. (In the Gelug lineage it is specified that one must have actualized bodhicitta and must be holding the Bodhisattva Vow to manage this, however.) There seem to be nearly always exceptions to the rule in Mahāyāna, although some sutras, such as the second century Bodhisattva-Piṭāka Sūtra, take a stricter view, permitting no exceptions to the precepts.

Having said this, I think it still makes sense to speak about certain deeds, such as killing beings, as being karmically highly negative and to be discouraged, generally speaking, and others, such as giving, being karmically highly positive and to be encouraged, generally speaking. It is helpful to offer general guidelines, though we could with some justification say, "It all depends." I think we would all agree that Buddhism teaches that giving is good and an important Buddhist practice, however, once again, this is a simplification. There are exceptions. The Akṣayamati Sūtra points out that giving is non-virtuous if one is giving something harmful, if one gives with hostility or contempt, if one gives less than one promised, etc. It is still a good policy to encourage giving.

EDIT: I'm a bit sleepy at the moment, so I hope this is coherent.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:28 am

Adamantine wrote:Well, if it is merely for the desire to eat and relish the taste of meat, then the state of mind is not much different than the desire to have an object on the wall to decorate the room and something to boast about: the predominant affliction is desire in both cases which leads to rebirth as a preta.


Killing a deer to feed your family through the winter is negative karma, but not that severe when compared to shooting animals for sport.

Likewise, there is a difference between killing cockroaches outdoors because you detest them, and remorsefully killing them inside your house to prevent disease.

Do such acts always lead to preta rebirth? If the forces of such acts culminates in that direction, then yes, but it is not so definite.


If, however, there was truly no other food sources available, and the only option was to kill a deer in order to save your family from starvation, (very unlikely in the modern world), and one felt great trepidation about committing the action but only performed it out of the compassionate wish to save the lives of the whole family, and one felt remorse for the taking of the life afterwards wishing it had not been an absolute necessity-- that is another matter.



Not everyone in the world has the luxury of waiting until there is nothing left to eat before they go find food. You refer to the modern world, but the modern world (maybe you mean industrial civilization?) doesn't exist everywhere, and it won't exist forever.

There are always varying levels of severity when it comes to karma. Saṃsāra is what it is, and unfortunately you have to create negative karma just to survive.



But this is a very big IF, a hypothetical that most of us will never be faced with. In case you missed it, this conversation began after a member here was talking about killing 50 chickens every September remorselessly because she did not want to participate in the factory farming industry.


I would simply recommend becoming vegetarian.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Indrajala » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:36 am

sukhamanveti wrote:I think that you're both right. Generally speaking, killing animals is seen karmically as a very negative action that can lead to rebirth in a hell realm, as it says in the Close Mindfulness Sutra and elsewhere, and hunting is viewed in a particularly negative light in the sutras.


Sūtras always speak in extremes to convey a point.

When it comes to virtue it says the same thing, such as speaking of vast rewards to those who do a small good deed. If you took every such scripture in its literal sense, then you could just as well believe that a dhāraṇī could eliminate all your negative karma thus solving the issue of karma. Plenty of scriptures state that a specific dhāraṇī will in fact remedy the karma for even the five heinous acts (like killing your parents). So, if you believe that, you could just as well kill your chickens and recite said dhāraṇī without having to worry about the repercussions.

That would be unwise of course.

This is not to say the scriptures are incorrect, but just that they need to be understood figuratively. Yes, killing animals can lead to unfortunate rebirths, the most extreme of which (and Buddhist scripture usually speaks in extremes) is rebirth in the hell realms, though this is just one possible outcome of many. They don't mention the other outcomes because extremes convey the point in the most striking manner.

Likewise, perhaps the Heart Sūtra mantra can in fact eliminate all suffering like it says it will, but that is the ideal. Your individual mileage with it will vary.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby plwk » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:05 am

Are you saying I need to read Tsongkhapa and Patrul to understand the Theravadan Vinaya
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:17 pm

I believe this thread was split from the great vegetarian debate in order to discuss why the Vinaya treats the intentional killing of humans so differently from the intentional killing of animals. As far as I can tell, the only explanation is that whoever wrote or compliled the Vinaya didn't thinking killing animals was a "big deal". What do the learned members of DW think?
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
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Re: The logic of Vinaya rules

Postby Paul » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:11 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I believe this thread was split from the great vegetarian debate in order to discuss why the Vinaya treats the intentional killing of humans so differently from the intentional killing of animals. As far as I can tell, the only explanation is that whoever wrote or compliled the Vinaya didn't thinking killing animals was a "big deal". What do the learned members of DW think?

As far as I am aware, the logic is that the closer a being is to being enlightened, the heavier the karma created by harming them. This is why harming a human causes more negative karma than harming an animal - and also why harming a Buddha or killing an arahant are two of the actions that send you directly to hell.
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