According to most texts, schools, and teachers, it is the root of attainments. So if by "central", you mean "basis" then yes.Rakshasa wrote:Is moral discipline and keeping precepts the central teachings of the Buddha?
All of their teachings are based on Buddha's teachings. Anatman and so forth. For example, Nagarjuna repeatedly praises the Buddha is his texts, and considered himself to be clarifying and explaining the Buddha's teachings. Not inventing anything new.Rakshasa wrote:Most of the things that we consider more "profound" explanation about the mind, body, consciousness etc actually comes from commentators like the composers of Abhidhamma with the detailed theories of the mind and dhammas or the 8 consciousnesses of Yogachara Sastra etc. And it is likely that these explanations come from their own experiences and not directly from the Buddha.
No, see above.Rakshasa wrote:1. So the most essential teaching of the (historical) Buddha was morality as was the case with Jesus and Muhammad who had their own ideas about moral codes and discipline?
In theory yes. In practice no. The Sutras are the basis, the commentaries and treatises are to explain their intent.Rakshasa wrote:2. Are the Sutras/Suttas enough for a Buddhist (lay or monk) to practice Buddhism? Frankly, the Sutras are usually not understandable for most and I think they aren't meant to be intellectually understood either.
"The words of the Conqueror, the precious collections of Sutra and Tantra, are the supreme instructions. [students may need the commentaries and personal instructions to understand the intent of the classic texts] Therefore, for something to be a pure personal instruction, it must bestow certain knowledge of the classic texts. [...] Know also that you accumulate the karmic obstrution of abandoning the teaching when you see those classic texts as objects of contempt and say, "Those are merely for promoting one's superficial knowledge and eliminating others' misconceptions; they do not teach the deep meaning".""
-Lam Rim Chen Mo eng v01 pg 50-51 tib 16-17
Yet most Pali Sutras teach Anatman, the crown jewel of the Buddha's teachings. That's more important. You can learn meditation from people. Learning Anatman from other people doesn't always work so well.Rakshasa wrote:The only Buddhist scriptures attributed to Buddha that I found precise and clear for a meditation practitioner - like a meditation manual - are the Anapanasati Sutta and the Satipathhana Sutta, both of which deal with two forms of meditation (Shamatha and Mindfulness).
The precepts for not divine law. They are guidelines to help your practice. They're good for you. Once the reason behind them is found and the benefit understood, they become easier to follow.Rakshasa wrote:I know that maintaining precepts by itself is a herculean task for most people in this age, so it is a pretty tough practice by itself. But there should have been some Mahayana Sutra laying down the methods of practical meditation also.
It was not until years later that I think I am starting to "get" Diamond Sutra, Lankavatara, Heart Sutra a bit better. I remember getting really stuck on those, for those I have had to read outside commentaries or explanations, especially on emptiness.
Certainly moral discipline and precepts are very important. If we view them within the context of karma, then they will create a "better future" for us. Regardless of Theravada or Mahayana scope, there's a certain necessity, even merit there, but one could argue it's not enough. After all, I could live as "wholesome" a life as possible, filling my karmic pockets with only good deeds, but I would only be reborn in some kind of amazing angelic realm as a result. I would never actually be free from craving after something. So here enters meditation:
Furthermore, Nagarjuna considered love and compassion superior to wisdom. I can provide quotes and citations if you like.
Not necessarily. It depends on the intention behind the actions. It may actually be a cause and condition for you to be born in a Dharma family, in a peaceful country, with all your faculties intact, with easy access to teachers, etc...chokyi lodro wrote:After all, I could live as "wholesome" a life as possible, filling my karmic pockets with only good deeds, but I would only be reborn in some kind of amazing angelic realm as a result.
Without a doubt!Rakshasa wrote:So you are basically saying is that if I,
(a) Maintain precepts
(b) Practice Anapanasati
(c) Read Sutra
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.
Rakshasa wrote:Is moral discipline and keeping precepts the central teachings of the Buddha?
gregkavarnos wrote:How can it not be central (or maybe essential) if it is the first link in the chain? It would be like saying that standing is not essential for/central to running.
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