Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

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

Postby songhill » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:09 pm

kirtu wrote:
Rakshasa wrote:Is moral discipline and keeping precepts the central teachings of the Buddha?


Buddha Shakyamuni's fundamental teaching is karma. So if a person performs virtuous actions then they will experience positive outcomes and if a person performs non-virtuous actions then they will experience negative outcomes. In order to guide beings to a better life and at least a higher rebirth Buddhism teaches moral discipline and keeping precepts in order to improve a being's karma.

Kirt


The cessation of karma is more fundamental.

"Thus, bhikkhus, I have taught old kamma (karma), I have taught new kamma, I have taught the cessation of kamma, I have taught the way leading to the cessation of kamma ( kammanirodhagâminî patipadâ)" (S.iv.133/SN 35:146).
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby kirtu » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:17 pm

songhill wrote:
kirtu wrote:
Rakshasa wrote:Is moral discipline and keeping precepts the central teachings of the Buddha?


Buddha Shakyamuni's fundamental teaching is karma. So if a person performs virtuous actions then they will experience positive outcomes and if a person performs non-virtuous actions then they will experience negative outcomes. In order to guide beings to a better life and at least a higher rebirth Buddhism teaches moral discipline and keeping precepts in order to improve a being's karma.

Kirt


The cessation of karma is more fundamental.

"Thus, bhikkhus, I have taught old kamma (karma), I have taught new kamma, I have taught the cessation of kamma, I have taught the way leading to the cessation of kamma ( kammanirodhagâminî patipadâ)" (S.iv.133/SN 35:146).


For there to be a cessation of karma there must first be the teaching of karma.

We can posit more than one thing as the fundamental teaching of the Buddha from different perspectives but underlying all of them is the teaching of karma just as the Sravakayana fundamentally supports the higher yanas.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

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

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:44 pm

songhill wrote:As one can see morality, purity of moral habit, etc. are means, not ends.
Well, you just plugged that straw man full of arrows now didn't you? Good shootin'! :thumbsup:
: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 anjali » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:50 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.

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.

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?

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 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).


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.


Many people tend to quote this from the Dhammapada, verse 183: "Do no evil, cultivate merit, purify one's mind; this is the teaching of the Buddhas."
  • The object of the game is to go on playing it. --John Von Neumann
  • All activities are like the games children play. If started, they can never be finished. They are only completed once you let them be, like castles made of sand. --Khenpo Nyoshul Rinpoche
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:14 pm

Rakshasa wrote:Konchog1

Furthermore, Nagarjuna considered love and compassion superior to wisdom. I can provide quotes and citations if you like.


I agree with you say about Nagarjuna, and his work which I have accessed till now. But will my agreement and acceptance of his words on love and compassion lead to enlightenment? If there are two people in this world and both of them maintain Sila and do Anapanasati every day - but one reads the Sutras and the other not. WIll their final attainments be different? Is the intellectual understanding of theory so significant and important in our path towards enlightenment?
Oh no. The teachings and thus the attainments are the same. Just different packaging.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby deepbluehum » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:10 pm

Emptiness and cause and effect are interdependent. Lord Jigten Sumgon stated in Gongchig, "The closer to realization, the tighter the vows become." Guru Rinpoche stated, "Even though your view is high as the sky, your attention to your actions should be fine as flour." Lord Jigten Sumgon also stated in Gongchig, "When realization really does happen, it arises as cause and effect." Gampopa in Jewel Ornament explained that "Buddha arises in interdependent connection." Lord Jigten Sumgon restates this in Gongchig.

What this means is that moral discipline is part and parcel of the whole path. My lineage gurus have been hammering this one into me due to my doubts about this part of the lesson. Without moral discipline there is no enlightenment. Why? Because should someone who has a realization of emptiness act unethically it immediately harms many sentient beings. Similarly, when a Dzogchenpa achieves Rainbow Body 3000 beings also go to buddhahood along side. This illusory display matrix is totally bound up together.

Trust me, it's not just saying so that makes it so. When the realizations start happening, if your moral discipline is not tight, you will have visions of past lives where you made this mistake and the horrors will be laid out in front of your eyes. You will see relatives, loved one's and friends mirror negative actions of body, speech and mind within minutes or days and you can only look on in horror. But if your moral discipline is tight, you will see visions of buddha realms where you will go in future. You will see innumerable sentient beings in peace and happiness in the fruit of good conduct lasting for generations.

Of all the teachings of the Buddha, cause and effect is the most precious, of the most immediate benefit. The teachings of wisdom and cause and effect go together, like two hands, two feet, two eyes, two sides of the body, two wings.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:19 pm

songhill wrote:The cessation of karma is more fundamental.

?

But then how would we love people?

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

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:51 pm

Where thought is purified of stains,
that is the innate,

where what's improper
won't enter in -

just as in the oceans midst,
bubbles are only water,

dissolving into
just that.

Saraha in Tantric Treasures: Three Collections of Mystical Verses from Buddhist India
"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 tomamundsen » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:45 pm

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.
:namaste:

This is the most succinct explanation I've read in the thread. :thumbsup:
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:19 pm

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.


Mental discipline (śīla) is absolutely essential to practice. There are sets of ethics (precepts) that have been derived from the mental discipline practices prescribed by the Buddha. Primarily, those ethics are not "mores" in the technical sense, as they are to be used as standards for "measuring" one's own practice rather than the practice of others, so are not "social" in nature. Human nature being what it is, however, sometimes results in these ethical standards being used to pass judgement on others (moralizing).

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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 Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:58 am

viniketa wrote:Primarily, those ethics are not "mores" in the technical sense, as they are to be used as standards for "measuring" one's own practice rather than the practice of others, so are not "social" in nature.
Society is nothing more than the interaction of individual beings, anything that influences the behaviour of an individual transforms their social relationship too. It's inevitable, unless of course the individual is in a solitary retreat situation, but even then it will change their relation to the other sentient beings (visible or not) that happen to occupy the same space.
"No man is an island, entire of itself"
John Donne in Devotions upon emergent occasions and seuerall steps in my sicknes(sic)
"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 ground » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:39 am

Rakshasa wrote:Is moral discipline and keeping precepts the central teachings of the Buddha?

No. There is nothing to be disciplined or kept. This is the central teaching.
However since ordinarily what feels to be and feels as if being "I" and feels as if having "mine" tends to affirm this felt "I" and "mine" (aka desires, thirsts, urges, needs), and all so called actions arising from that thus disciplining itself therein (cultivation) and keeping this ordinary mode as if a precept, discipline and keeping precepts has been taught as antidots to this ordinary mode.
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?

No. see above.

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.

If there is no understanding then practice discipline and keeping precepts and loving kindness.

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).

That's enough.

:sage:
Last edited by ground on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:42 am

ground wrote:No. There is nothing to be disciplined or kept. This is the central teaching.
Source please.
"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 ground » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:50 am

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


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

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:13 am

This Sutta merely describes that nothing else exists except that which arises within the range of experience. How is that any proof of your claim that there is nothing to discipline and nothing to be kept? Does not morality fall within the range of experience? And then you go on to say (extraordinarily clumsily) the exact opposite. ie that there is something to discipline and something to uphold. :shrug:
: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 ground » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:47 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:This Sutta merely describes ....

The sutta does not describe anything. Why? Because meanings aka consciousnesses arise upon eye contacting meaningless forms aka words.

gregkavarnos wrote:How is that any proof of your claim ...

No claim has ever been made. There has just been the typing of alphabetic characters on the basis of knowing. If a claim would have been made then it would be just another instance of consciousness grasping and affirming itself as being more than just conscious idea but consciousnesses just arise without there being anything affirmed beyond just the expression by means of words qua expression. No meaning does inhere in words. :sage:
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:58 pm

It's amazing how little one can so in so many words.
: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 lowlydog » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:15 pm

The only function of morality is to aid in the developement of right concentration, with right concentration wisdom arises. Wisdom is of greatest importance.
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Re: Moral discipline is the central practical teaching..?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:33 pm

So what you are saying is: no morality, no wisdom?
"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 Namgyal » Wed Dec 19, 2012 4:04 pm

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.
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