2 novice Buddhist questions

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2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Cloudy » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:55 pm

Hello,

Sorry I am quite new to Buddhism and want to descover and understand 2 things,

1. Can you retake the 5 Precepts as many times as you need / want?

and

2. What does intention mean with the 5 Precepts - can you only break them if you intend for something to happen i.e. hurt someone / steal / sexual misconduct to occur etc.?

Thank you

L
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby LastLegend » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:08 pm

Cloudy wrote:Hello,

Sorry I am quite new to Buddhism and want to descover and understand 2 things,

1. Can you retake the 5 Precepts as many times as you need / want?

and

2. What does intention mean with the 5 Precepts - can you only break them if you intend for something to happen i.e. hurt someone / steal / sexual misconduct to occur etc.?

Thank you

L


Yes, you may retake the precepts. But there is no point if we keep breaking it over and over again that it becomes abusive.

Intention, yes basically you are right that breaking a precept requires intention.

In terms of cause and effect, whether an action is intentional or not, the effects will still apply. By practicing Buddha's teaching, it gears us towards a different direction; therefore, somehow that negates the effects.
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:59 am

They are not something to bargain with. You try your best to keep them, and, being human, you can fail, often repeatedly. But on no account ought this to become a kind of bargain, a way of levelling the scores, or keeping a balance in the karmic account. If that is your intention, I would not consider taking them. You only ever take them because you honestly want to observe them.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Huifeng » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:21 am

@LastLegend:

Intention (cetana) is action (karma).

The idea that there are karmic consequences for unintentional acts is held by Jainism, but not taught by the Buddha.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Namgyal » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:13 pm

Dear Cloudy, you can retake the five precepts as many times as wish, but when you take the precepts you are doing so with the idea of keeping them forever, so you should try as hard as possible to keep them. As a complete beginner, you should be trying to extend the span of time between successive failures :smile:
Karma comes in three flavours; good, bad and neutral, and it has three delivery systems; body, speech and mind.
If you kill an insect accidentally, it is neutral in terms of karma because you lacked the intention to kill. If a person with Tourettes swears at another person, they lack the intention to harm with words, and so this is also neutral. In everything 'it is the thought that counts', so a person who continually thinks of murdering someone is creating bad karma, even if they never go through with it. (Yes, Buddhism has Thought-Crime :smile: )
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Matt J » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:40 pm

Ven Huifeng,

Maybe you can distinguish between cause and effect and karma. Most of us would agree that we will suffer the effects of even unintentional acts--- if I accidentally run my car off the road, I will still have a broken car an possibly and injured body.

Huifeng wrote:@LastLegend:

Intention (cetana) is action (karma).

The idea that there are karmic consequences for unintentional acts is held by Jainism, but not taught by the Buddha.

~~ Huifeng
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby seeker242 » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:56 pm

Matt J wrote:Ven Huifeng,

Maybe you can distinguish between cause and effect and karma. Most of us would agree that we will suffer the effects of even unintentional acts--- if I accidentally run my car off the road, I will still have a broken car an possibly and injured body.

Huifeng wrote:@LastLegend:

Intention (cetana) is action (karma).

The idea that there are karmic consequences for unintentional acts is held by Jainism, but not taught by the Buddha.

~~ Huifeng


Or if a person is driving drunk or something like that? If a drunk driver accidentally kills someone, of course they most likely did not intend for that to happen. But, it happened because they were just being stupid trying to drive a car while drunk. AKA: Involuntary manslaughter (non intentional) vs murder (intentional). Not necessarily limited to just drunk driving though. If you are keeping the precepts, you would not be getting drunk to begin with! But If someone gets killed because you were just being stupid, I would think there would still be some effect from that. Not as bad a murder obviously, but not nothing either. Seems that way to me anyway.
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:57 pm

Huifeng wrote:@LastLegend:

Intention (cetana) is action (karma).

The idea that there are karmic consequences for unintentional acts is held by Jainism, but not taught by the Buddha.

~~ Huifeng


I beg to differ...if you hear noise in the bush, throw a knife in there end up killing a man, you have created a cause. UnIntentional action will bear unintentional effects. I don't get how you can get away with that given that we are not enlightened and still in Samsara, operated by ignorance from links of causes and effects.

You can say the person is not careful or mindful for throwing the knife in the bush, and that is borderline intentional. But the intention of killing the man is not there. I think same with suffering: some might not know that they are suffering, does not mean that there is no suffering.
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Namgyal » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:29 pm

LastLegend wrote:...if you hear noise in the bush, throw a knife in there end up killing a man, you have created a cause. UnIntentional action will bear unintentional effects..

How do you practice combat knife throwing unintentionally? :smile:
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:38 pm

Namgyal wrote:
LastLegend wrote:...if you hear noise in the bush, throw a knife in there end up killing a man, you have created a cause. UnIntentional action will bear unintentional effects..

How do you practice combat knife throwing unintentionally? :smile:


I see. Throw a rock end up killing a man then. If you are still not satisfied with the point I made, I can give you a different example.
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby BuddhaSoup » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:56 pm

Integral to this understanding of karma vs. the idea of cause and effect is very much related to intention. If you swing a baseball bat and intend to hit a ball, but accidentally hit the umpire standing behind you, the act of striking the umpire is the same (injury to the umpire) but the intention is quite different than striking the umpire because he/she made a bad call. My example may not be a good one, but it is spring, and the Cubs are in training.....

My novice understanding of the key difference is the way that Buddha taught karma as being related to rebirth. An accumulation of negative intention, negative acts motivated by negative intention lead to an unfortunate rebirth. So, there is cause and effect in this life with negative acts and negative karma, but the expansive view includes karma's relation to rebirth. Unintended negative consequences do occur from innocent acts, but they are not karmic in the sense that they have a negative consequence in life and rebirth.
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby Namgyal » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:00 pm

'...unintended harm to others should not be counted against one, and it is not wise to agonise over such matters, such as a king who ceremonially fires arrows in the air, and losing track of one, worries it might have landed in a lake and killed a fish.' Kurudhammajataka.
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Re: 2 novice Buddhist questions

Postby LastLegend » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:00 pm

I understand you Buddhasoup. But I am saying all causes or actions will have effects. Now the single action of killing a man by accident might not lead you to immediate rebirth where you will experience the effect for that action. But the effect will come once conditions are met if you don't practice Buddha's teaching or good deeds to negate that effect. It can look like someone accidentally hits you with an ax while chopping wood and you die. (Is there really accident? No, causes and effects). Now Karma (repetitive actions) is what leads us to the next rebirth. Karma is heavy because it's based on intentional ignorance.

I guess we are agreeing?

It is also incorrect to say that Buddha's response to suffering of sentient beings has no effects. Buddha is without intention, remember. If there is cause, there is effect.

Cause and effect..apple seed will bear apple fruit, orange seed will bear orange fruit. Unintentional action will bear unintentional effect (s), intentional action will bear intentional effects.
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