Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby lowlydog » Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:55 pm

Raksha wrote:
lowlydog wrote:The only function of morality is to aid in the development of right concentration

Logical but still completely wrong. You are incorrectly applying ultimate reality to conventional reality. For ordinary sentient beings ethical behaviour is obligatory. The Dharma is ultimately about the heart, which is refined by morality and kindness, and poisoned by immorality.
:namaste:


The heart, you mean that thing beating in my chest. You mean to say that the teachings of the buddha are ultimately about this organ in my chest.

To think to refine this organ I have been using healthy diet and exercise, thanks raksha now I can eat whatever I want. :pig: :cheers: I think I'll also trade my bicycle in for a HUM-V. :woohoo: ;)
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby catmoon » Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:21 pm

I'd go farther. Morality isn't the leg of a tripod. Its the floor the tripod sits on. Without at least a modicum of morality, meditation won't work. With no morality, without functioning meditation - what hope is there of advancement?

Is it central? Yes and no. If someone's conduct is so awful it prevents effective meditation, yes then it is central.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby lowlydog » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:33 pm

catmoon wrote:I'd go farther. Morality isn't the leg of a tripod. Its the floor the tripod sits on. Without at least a modicum of morality, meditation won't work. With no morality, without functioning meditation - what hope is there of advancement?

Is it central? Yes and no. If someone's conduct is so awful it prevents effective meditation, yes then it is central.


sila samadhi and panna the three legs of a tripod to clarify.

without sila no samadhi without samadhi no liberative panna, the three must work in unison.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby porpoise » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm

Rakshasa wrote:Is moral discipline and keeping precepts the central teachings of the Buddha? I have read quite of a few Pali Suttas and Mahayana Sutras so far. And my general impression is that a great emphasis is laid on the keeping of moral precepts and the negative consequences of breaking the precepts. Sometimes these are explained in terms of the three poisons, the unwholesome wholesome actions etc.


I think ethical behaviour can be regarded as both the foundation and result of practice. Either way it's an important aspect of Buddhist practice.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby catmoon » Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:57 pm

From "How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life" by Dalai Lama

Shakyamuni Buddha was born into a life of pleasure as a prince in an Indian royal family. At age twenty-nine, upon seeing the suffering of the world, he gave up his royal position, cut his own hair, left his family, and took on the morality of a monastic, adopting a system of ethical behavior.

For the next six years he engaged in ascetic meditation for the sake of achieving concentrated meditation.

Then, under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, he practiced special techniques for developing wisdom, and achieved enlightenment. He went on to teach for forty-five years, and at age eighty-one, he died.
In the Buddha's life story we see the three stages of practice: morality comes first, then concentrated meditation, and then wisdom. And we see that the path takes time.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby songhill » Sun Dec 23, 2012 4:47 pm

lowlydog wrote:
catmoon wrote:I'd go farther. Morality isn't the leg of a tripod. Its the floor the tripod sits on. Without at least a modicum of morality, meditation won't work. With no morality, without functioning meditation - what hope is there of advancement?

Is it central? Yes and no. If someone's conduct is so awful it prevents effective meditation, yes then it is central.


sila samadhi and panna the three legs of a tripod to clarify.

without sila no samadhi without samadhi no liberative panna, the three must work in unison.


This is the Theravada breakdown of the ariya eightfold path into three stages: panna (wisdom), sila (discipline), and samadhi (concentration). However, in the Nikayas right view leads the way. Right view is cankerless (anâsrava), supermundane, etc. (M.iii.72). Right view means, in essence, to see nibbana (M i 510f: cp AA ii 195ff: sotâpattimaggakkhana nibbânadassanam).

As to this, monks, right view comes first. And how, monks, does right view come first? From right view proceeds right aspiration, from right aspiration proceeds right speech, from right speech proceeds right action, from right action proceeds right livelihood, from right livelihood proceeds right effort, from right effort proceeds right mindfulness, from right mindfulness proceeds right concentration, from right concentration proceeds right gnosis, from right gnosis proceeds right liberation” (M. iii. 75–76).


From a Theravada perspective it is better to say that without panna, there is no sila which follows, there can be no samadhi. Panna, therefore, would first demand right view such than nothing else would follow without it.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby catmoon » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:11 pm

That POV rates some respect for sure.


But panna means wisdom. I would not classify not killing or stealing or bonking the neighbour's wife as wisdom, its pretty commonsense really. So I would think that right aspiration, speech and action refer to simple morality, and the wisdom comes later in the list with right gnosis, a meditation-derived benefit.

Hm?
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:42 pm

The only function of morality is to aid in the development of right concentration


I disagree. Morality is also an essential cause of a human rebirth. It keeps us from falling into the lower realms after death by helping us avoid accumulating negative karma, and prevents harm to other sentient beings.

Sometimes we speak of Buddhism in terms of conduct and view. The conduct of non-harmfulness (an important type of moral discipline/ethics) and the view of dependent arising.
A foolish man proclaims his qualifications,
A wise man keeps them secret within.
A straw floats on the surface of water,
But a precious gem placed upon it sinks to the depths
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:43 pm

catmoon wrote:That POV rates some respect for sure.
But panna means wisdom. I would not classify not killing or stealing or bonking the neighbour's wife as wisdom, its pretty commonsense really. So I would think that right aspiration, speech and action refer to simple morality, and the wisdom comes later in the list with right gnosis, a meditation-derived benefit.


If one insists on a linear, stepwise understanding, the development is typically described as: 1) śīla (mental discipline: right speech, action, livelihood); which provides the basis for 2) citta (mindset: right effort, mindfulness, concentration); and, together, these two provide the basis for 3) prajñā (wisdom: right view, right intention). Although some teachings turn that on its head and begin from prajñā.

In practice, the three prongs support each other equally.

My earlier point still stands. Śīla is best translated as 'mental discipline' rather than "morality".

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby viniketa » Sun Dec 23, 2012 5:57 pm

JKhedrup wrote:Sometimes we speak of Buddhism in terms of conduct and view.


Yes, where conduct = śīla and view = prajñā. Citta, then, is seen to maintain the first two. See here.

Back to catmoon's point, anything that is "commonsesnse" is "morality", i.e., it is derived from the mores of the larger society (not killing or stealing or bonking the neighbour's wife ).

:namaste:
If they can sever like and dislike, along with greed, anger, and delusion, regardless of their difference in nature, they will all accomplish the Buddha Path.. ~ Sutra of Complete Enlightenment
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby kirtu » Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:54 pm

viniketa wrote:Back to catmoon's point, anything that is "commonsesnse" is "morality", i.e., it is derived from the mores of the larger society (not killing or stealing or bonking the neighbour's wife ).


So acquiring as much sexual experience as is available is morality? Because that is seen as a commonsense assumption everywhere I have lived. And proactively "defending oneself" (i.e. attacking) perceived enemies is morality? So to cite two extereme cases, the Yugoslavian Civil War was just or the racial violence of the 1960's in the US?

Asserting that anything that is commonsense is morality is fraught with peril.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby lowlydog » Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:57 pm

Just a general reply to explain how I have experienced the path to date.

We all must have a moment when we realize that our actions are causing us to suffer and this needs to change. We find the Dharma/Dhamma each in our own unique way.

Our bodies are our temples and we need the mind to visit the temple, the mind is not used to going to temple it fights this and goes on a walk about.

A disipline is needed to calm the mind down so that it will go to temple, the precepts are a disipline for the mind to follow, in the beginning we must supress our urges but this calms the mind enough for concentration to develope. A calm concentrated mind enters the temple and there wisdom arises.

With this wisdom the mind sees the value of becoming calm and concentrated and takes on a stricter moral code, with the increased morality comes increased concentration with the increased concentration comes additional wisdom. Bit by bit the layers of ego dissolve, with each veil of ego removed we see clearer and feel lighter.

A very natural process.

I would say moral dicipline is the first practical step but not the central.

As far as rebirth the only for sure way to avoid becoming demoted is to experience nibanna. This will shatter the shell of ego that could lead to the lower realms.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby catmoon » Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:14 am

It might be worth looking at the semantics of the word central" here. Here some things it might mean.

1. Like the central trunk of a tree, if the center is removed all the branches fall.
2. Central means indispensable, a cause that must be present to obtain an effect.
3. Central means the most important thing, the thing we should spend most of our time on.
4. Or it might mean the place everyone has to start from, whatever direction they head in.
5. It might a central theme, and idea that keeps recurring over and over in all aspects of the path.

Anyone want to add to the list? Point is, the answer to the OP's question depends very much on which of these definitions you are using.

We also have some disagreement over what panna is as well. Is it the initial idea "This path might be a good one" or does it come much later as a result of deep meditation and insight?
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby wisdom » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:42 am

In my experience I didn't understand the meaning of anything until I adopted moral discipline, and had never had a day of true spiritual experience in this life until I adopted moral discipline. But that was just my personal experience. And I should add that my "moral discipline" is not even anywhere near to that of a monks.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby lowlydog » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:00 pm

I don't think it really matters how we label morality as it pertains to the teachings just so long as it's included.

catmoon wrote:We also have some disagreement over what panna is as well. Is it the initial idea "This path might be a good one" or does it come much later as a result of deep meditation and insight?


There are two paths, the 8-fold path and the noble 8-fold path, at the moment one experiences insight from examination of the mind body phenomenon they begin walking the noble 8-fold path.
Some people come in contact with these teachings and simply study them, following the 8-fold path, this is good a seed is planted for future births. Some have a seed planted from a previous birth and they begin to practice at the experiencial level, these individuals are walking the noble 8-fold path. These individuals are still not completely safe as the seed has only grown into a young sapling and the cattle may come along and eat it up, it's very important to protect and care for the sapling. When an individual has experienced walking the path to nibanna(just for a glimpse) only then is this individual safe from rebirth in the lower realms of existence. This individual is also not the same individual that began the path a death has occurred a break in consciousness, the experiencial wisdom gained from the break in consciousness shatters the shell of ego that could lead one to the lower realms of existence in future births. The sapling has grown into a young tree and no longer needs constant care and supervision it has become independent and has begun to bear fruit.

This process is repeated, each time the experience of nibanna deepens and the wisdom accumulated shatters deeper layers of impurities the mind is gradually purified until one has completely purified the mind.

This entire process can happen in this very lifetime as we are constantly experiencing rebirth on a moment to moment basis.

*maybe a panna thread should be opened as this may be off topic.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:39 pm

18. Not-knowing ignorance is heavier than other faults.

Especially not-knowing through ignorance is explained as a great fault,
Because the root of all faults is ignorance itself.
Deluded in relation to cause and effect, to what is to abandoned and its antidotes,
One behaves without care.
Not knowing virtue and negativity one spontaneously engages in all kleshas without concern.
Therefore one purchases the three lower realms.
The land is filled with fools like these.

Jigten Sumgon Gongchig Commentary by Rigdzin Chokyi Dragpa The Lamp Dispelling the Darkness
Thus the importance of practicing moral discipline as outlined by the Awakened!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Dec 29, 2012 6:29 pm

And a couple more from the same text:
21. In the Mantra [vehicle] the discipline is absolutley necessary.
It is said: "In the Mantra [vehicle] the discipline is absolutley necessary."
Coarse klesha of the mind stream are abandoned by the vinaya rules;
More subtle ones are abandoned by the bodhisattva vow;
The most subtle ones are abandoned by the Mantra.
In the Kalachakra Tantra it is said:
"This is like the example of cleansing stains:
A big one is cleansed with little effort, a middle one with middle [effort]
And a small one with great effort.

Also Atisa explained:
"The Mantra is not accomplished with a broken discipline."
However Mantrins of our days all neglect the Pratimoksha [vows]
And proclaim that this is the path of the Mantra:
Always enjoying alcohol and pleasure with women, day and night,
They make this the core of the path.
Oh, how dangerous is the later result of that!
p95
13. The essential point of Mahamudra and discipline is the same; that is the special characteristic.
It is said: "The Mahamudra and discipline are the same;
That is the supreme special characteristic of 'Jig rten mgonpo.

Discipline is the basis of all qualities;
Like the earth is the basis for animate beings and inanimate things
Discipline is the basis for all qualities. [quote from Nagarjunas Suhrllekha]

By the term "all" in this quote Mahamudra etc. is included.
As the essential point [of both] is to abandon negativity and to accomplish virtue,
They are identical.
...
The Aryasamadhiraja[sutra] reads:

By meditating on this emptiness, the king of all samadhis,
This emptiness rests on the head of a pure discipline.
It is not understood by fools and not known by the ones that strive
[Only] by resting in the equanimity of emptiness, the nature of all phenomena.
...
"Taming ones mind completely is the teaching of the Buddha."
Saying for example:
"One should not engage in mental non-virtue,"
[One's mind is explained as the principal factor.
Hence [Mahamudra and discipline] are the same.
Morever, they are equal, they are interrelated
And [their] function and innate disposition is identical.
Therefore Mahamudra and discipline are really identical.
p108-109
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby chokyi lodro » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:11 pm

:heart:

Wonderful quotes.

I was going to say they remind me of the Lamrim Chenmo, but of course it too is a commentary on Atiśa's Bodhipathapradīpa.
~ Chökyi Lodrö
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