Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

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Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Nosta » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:02 pm

How can you live completly under the Noble Eigthfold Path (and that includes the precepts: not lying, not killing...) in a western way of life?
Other way to put the question: if you want to survive on Saha world, if you want to have some decent life (with a job to get money so you can eat, have an house to sleep, etc, etc), sometimes you must to get over the precepts...have you ever tought on that?

One could use many examples but they would be too specific for each one lives. But if you think well, sometimes one must use hard words with people, or lying, or even use brutal force [for example, if a terrorist would commit suicide with a bomb, killing 100 people, wouldnt you shoot at him if you had the opportunity to save 100 lifes??], so how can you conciliat that ina western society?

You can start the discussion by speaking of your own experience.
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby kirtu » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:35 pm

Nosta wrote:How can you live completly under the Noble Eigthfold Path (and that includes the precepts: not lying, not killing...) in a western way of life?
Other way to put the question: if you want to survive on Saha world, if you want to have some decent life (with a job to get money so you can eat, have an house to sleep, etc, etc), sometimes you must to get over the precepts...have you ever tought on that?

One could use many examples but they would be too specific for each one lives. But if you think well, sometimes one must use hard words with people, or lying, or even use brutal force [for example, if a terrorist would commit suicide with a bomb, killing 100 people, wouldnt you shoot at him if you had the opportunity to save 100 lifes??], so how can you conciliat that ina western society?

You can start the discussion by speaking of your own experience.


I have never had to lie as an adult or steal as far back as I can remember, I don't remember ever lying since I was 18 (I also went to a military school where one did not lie). I have been misunderstood a few times and do not have terribly good communicative skills but just telling the truth in as straightforward a manner as possible has usually worked out. However not being manipulative does leave one open and somewhat defenseless if people gang up against you (as happened a bit over a year ago).

No one has ever forced drugs on me and people have rarely tried to force alcohol on me.

I have directly killed twice as an adult: two little animals on a military survival course (and I wasn't starving at the time). I prayed at the time that they would be reborn in a circumstance where I could care for them for the rest of their lives and I think this prayer was fulfilled with my two cats. After that incident I never harmed larger animals but unfortunately somewhat reflexively killed some insects until about 16 years ago. I was in the military on active duty and luckily there was no war.

Sexual issues have been and continue to be a problem but that is due to the oppression of Gay people combined with how Gay people also perceive themselves.

Hard words are not harsh words. I'm very direct with people and actually American's are sometimes taken aback because I have violated social niceties. But that is not the same as harsh words (although I have used them sometimes too).

In the Mahayana we CAN violate the precepts if it will reduce suffering (so if a person is going to kill 1 or more people and we have no other way then we should kill the killer before they act but better would be to stop them without killing or just stop their actions). We cannot get carried away with this - this is an extraordinary situation that nowadays people don't face much even with rampant terrorism.

Likewise we should never lie unless it saves peoples' lives (like in Nazi Europe we should lie if necessary to save lives). Similarly I would not hesitate to steal food if necessary to save people's lives (as long as the people I was stealing from had enough food).

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby kirtu » Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:59 pm

Nosta wrote:How can you live completly under the Noble Eigthfold Path (and that includes the precepts: not lying, not killing...) in a western way of life?


The real issues with the Precepts is that on an outer level we stop harming others. This includes (at least in the Tibetan tradition) just taking 1 precept for a limited time. Of course we should take all five and keep them purely but some people have trouble with that.

Then we tackle a kind of inner approach to the precepts. If we indulge daily in anger but keep it to ourselves then this is still a violation of the 1st precept. So we have to work on the inner expression of the precepts and purify our mental and emotional life in that way. This benefits others and ourselves as well.

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Tue Feb 08, 2011 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Nosta » Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:49 am

It was a pleasure to read your answers, very insightful. Thanks!
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby ground » Tue Feb 08, 2011 4:14 am

Nosta wrote:How can you live completly under the Noble Eigthfold Path (and that includes the precepts: not lying, not killing...) in a western way of life?

How? Practice mindfulness.

Nosta wrote:Other way to put the question: if you want to survive on Saha world, if you want to have some decent life (with a job to get money so you can eat, have an house to sleep, etc, etc), sometimes you must to get over the precepts...have you ever tought on that?

I do not agree that one necessarily "must get over the precepts". Why?

Nosta wrote:One could use many examples but they would be too specific for each one lives. But if you think well, sometimes one must use hard words with people, or lying, or even use brutal force [for example, if a terrorist would commit suicide with a bomb, killing 100 people, wouldnt you shoot at him if you had the opportunity to save 100 lifes??], so how can you conciliat that ina western society?

Speculations are no wholesome basis for the path. But as to lying or using hard words, yes I committed those misdeeds but not due to necessity but due to ignorance.

Kind regards
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Hanzze » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:51 am

Dear friends,

There is no practice of the eightfold Path without compassion. Precepts are compassion. What many today might understand in keeping precepts, or practice compassion is far away form where the middle might be.

There are many possibilities to live a "Buddhist" life, there are less possibilities to live a live according the Dharma.

Thats why so many disappear, as the aim is not to survive and live a life of compromises. If you seek for a country or a place where the eightfold Path is lived and excepted in those days, you will not find it. So just be patient with your self and there is no "need" or "must" in any aspect of you life.
There are many conquerers, decorated with the knowledge of the Buddha Dharma. They had modified it so that their fear and hope is well hidden. They might try to bend the teachings as there desires are wishes to.

There might be teaching, to overcome desire in a modern way to be able to start to walk the eightfold Path. Some might see it as a comfortable shortcut, but who is fist and who behind?
What ever you are able to practice now will keep you from cleaning the dirt in the future and there will be a lot. So it is good to make it step by step and honest to your self. Well it needs a lot of courage, but what except hope and fear is the hindrance to make a noble step?
Just that! :-)
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Nosta » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:44 pm

Thanks for your answer. In a different way, it gives strenght and goes straight to the point.
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:49 pm

Nosta wrote:How can you live completly under the Noble Eigthfold Path (and that includes the precepts: not lying, not killing...) in a western way of life?
Other way to put the question: if you want to survive on Saha world, if you want to have some decent life (with a job to get money so you can eat, have an house to sleep, etc, etc), sometimes you must to get over the precepts...have you ever tought on that?


Why is it anymore easier to live the Eightfold Noble Path in India or China? People here have the same problems and expectations as elsewhere in the world. How do you deal with pests? How can you run an honest business? How does one restrain oneself from sexual misconduct? The scenery is different elsewhere in the world, but human problems are largely universal.


One could use many examples but they would be too specific for each one lives. But if you think well, sometimes one must use hard words with people, or lying, or even use brutal force [for example, if a terrorist would commit suicide with a bomb, killing 100 people, wouldnt you shoot at him if you had the opportunity to save 100 lifes??], so how can you conciliat that ina western society?


India, a predominately Hindu country, has to deal with terrorism with lethal force despite much of Hiduism teaching ahimsa or non-violence/non-harm. Lying is likewise unacceptable, but you find many touts and swindlers all over the place.

You can start the discussion by speaking of your own experience.


Honestly I think living in China or Japan and being a Buddhist would be more difficult than any western country. In China and Japan, for example, business is conducted with alcohol, meat and quite often prostitution. On the other hand in western cultures vegetarianism is generally accepted and even in the business community acceptable. Not drinking and refraining from visiting brothels will likewise not be an issue. In Japan and China however don't expect to do a lot of business if you refuse to drink alcohol, eat meat and hire prostitutes.

In short, following the Eightfold Noble Path in Canada was easier for me than in Japan.
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby LastLegend » Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:36 am

Nosta wrote:How can you live completly under the Noble Eigthfold Path (and that includes the precepts: not lying, not
killing...) in a western way of life?
Other way to put the question: if you want to survive on Saha world, if you want to have some decent life (with a job to get money so you can eat, have an house to sleep, etc, etc), sometimes you must to get over the precepts...have you ever tought on that?

One could use many examples but they would be too specific for each one lives. But if you think well, sometimes one must use hard words with people, or lying, or even use brutal force [for example, if a terrorist would commit suicide with a bomb, killing 100 people, wouldnt you shoot at him if you had the opportunity to save 100 lifes??], so how can you conciliat that ina western society?

You can start the discussion by speaking of your own experience.


Practicing detachment does not mean you have to physically detach from activities and work. On a mental level, it means to practice letting go of selfish thoughts and acts and this including letting go of attachment to material things and world matters . In other words, don't let material things control you. Don't be become obssesed with it. But see money just a means to get food to cultivate your Mind. Working for food is practicing Dharma.
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby purplelotus » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:28 am

While we must always strive to keep our vows and precepts to the best of our ability the most important thing is our motivation. We can get so tied up in agonising whether we acted correctly in each situation that we miss the point. If you are really trying with the best motivation then that is wonderful, particularly in this society where everything is against people trying to practise the Dharma. We are not going to be able to do everything perfectly that is why its called practise. So I don't think we should beat ourselves up but actually rejoice in our effects. Just trying to do our genuine best in this world is quite amazing.

Best wishes

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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Pero » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:15 am

Huseng wrote: How does one restrain oneself from sexual misconduct?

:rolling:

In China and Japan, for example, business is conducted with alcohol, meat and quite often prostitution. On the other hand in western cultures vegetarianism is generally accepted and even in the business community acceptable. Not drinking and refraining from visiting brothels will likewise not be an issue. In Japan and China however don't expect to do a lot of business if you refuse to drink alcohol, eat meat and hire prostitutes.

That's awesome!
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Re: Buddhist Life & Western Society: possible to conciliate?

Postby Madeliaette » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:13 pm

As for me, I do not live a 'typical' Westerner's life. I never did fit that mold for some reason... :thinking: so my own experience is probably not very helpful. :shrug:
Also, I am not perfect enough to live without a few :oops: moments yet!

I think the major problem I have had is the 'right livelihood' bit. My experience here might be worth mentioning. I found that in order to stay home and home-school my son through grades 4-12 whilst being pressured into FT work, I had to find an at home 'career' - but never really wanted to work FT... I chose writing, as a friend suggested it and thinking about it I always had written - just never for the public til then.Unfortunately, writing was a problem too - in that earning enough from writing meant I had to take on writing jobs that did not fit with 'right livelihood'. That is why, when the opportunity presented itself, I opted to leave Australia and return to England and take care of my elderly father. I thought that it presented the ideal opportunity to act out my intentions to earn a living the right way. I have never driven a car, so don't need as much money as most people to keep one going and the 'carers allowance' seemed enough to live from in exchange for my doing something worthwhile - also, I would feel bad if I left Dad to struggle on through his last years and then 'snatched up' the inheritance I am due of a house! My troubles began when Dad went into hospital last year though - as since he came back out again, it has been a very long workday - EVERYDAY. This has meant that i have little twenty minute pockets of free time, but no long stretches in which to meditate properly or read deeply or take classes in one sitting. Naturally, my practice has had to change dramatically, and I have to keep focusing on the factnthat i am doing something RIGHT, even if i dont get any time to practice properly.... that was avery hard lesson to learn and i still have a problem until i remind my mind :rules:

So - TRYING to overcome one factor of the 8fold path that was somewhat lacking and to perfect that piece is still not working out entirely - as getting it right has let the rest flop out of shape. So, even not living a conventional Western life does not really solve the problem anyway - I think it is hard in any place and at any time - with different problems to deal with, rather than just in the Western world....
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