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).