To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

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To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby starter » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:41 am

Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been wondering about the real meaning of the "good"/"wholesome" which we should cultivate according to the teaching of the Buddhas:

The Teaching of The Buddhas

Not to do evil,
To cultivate good [the Chinese translation: to do all the good],
To purify one’s mind –
This is the Teaching of the Buddhas
-- Dhammapada 183

After studying the Buddha's teaching, especially the Noble eight-fold path, I came to the understanding that the "good"/"wholesome" the Buddhas would like us to cultivate is non-evil/non-unwholesome (non-sensuality/non-greed, non-ill will/non-aversion, non-cruelty, non- wrong speech/action/livelihood...) instead of doing all the good like a world saver. If my understanding is correct, then I worry about the Chinese translation/interpretation/practice of "To do all the good" instead of "To cultivate non-evil/non-unwholesome".

I'd like to know your opinion about it. Metta to all,

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:45 am

starter wrote:Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been wondering about the real meaning of the "good"/"wholesome" which we should cultivate according to the teaching of the Buddhas:

The Teaching of The Buddhas

Not to do evil,
To cultivate good [the Chinese translation: to do all the good],
To purify one’s mind –
This is the Teaching of the Buddhas
-- Dhammapada 183

After studying the Buddha's teaching, especially the Noble eight-fold path, I came to the understanding that the "good"/"wholesome" the Buddhas would like us to cultivate is non-evil/non-unwholesome (non-sensuality/non-greed, non-ill will/non-aversion, non-cruelty, non- wrong speech/action/livelihood...) instead of doing all the good like a world saver. If my understanding is correct, then I worry about the Chinese translation/interpretation/practice of "To do all the good" instead of "To cultivate non-evil/non-unwholesome".

I'd like to know your opinion about it. Metta to all,

Starter


I think good here means the opposite of the ten non-virtous deeds i.e. not killing, sexual misconduct, and stealing; speaking truthfully, gently, purposefully, and without calumny; and to avoid thoughts of malice, greed and ignorance.

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Will » Mon Mar 28, 2011 2:15 am

Other renderings of the 2nd line say "to always do good." That is what the Chinese is suggesting.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby LastLegend » Mon Mar 28, 2011 3:26 am

Good as wholesome is quite accurate. Remember the illusion/problem of self and others, and compassion as a response to that as all is one in terms of Buddha Nature which is inseparable. So self is evil.
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NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby ground » Mon Mar 28, 2011 5:36 am

"good" = "wholesome" = "conducive"

"non-evil" is one of the many effects thereof and has direct ethical meaning.

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Dexing » Mon Mar 28, 2011 6:53 am

There is of course the proactive side to the precepts of abstaining from various harmful actions— especially as Mahāyāna practitioners who's aim it is to benefit and gladden all sentient beings, and not just reach solitary liberation.

So not just abstaining from unwholesomeness, but cultivating good is our precept; to protect, to give, to speak truthfully, to maintain healthy relationships, to cultivate awareness.

Of course, the "six pāramitās" of generosity, discipline, patience, zeal, meditation, and discernment are also part of a Bodhisattva's proactive precepts.

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby ground » Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:06 am

Dexing wrote:... especially as Mahāyāna practitioners who's aim it is to benefit and gladden all sentient beings, and not just reach solitary liberation.

Whatever "just" reaching "solitary" liberation may mean, the Mahayana practitioners aim of course is to attain liberation from obscurations (i.e. "non-abiding nirvana") to attain the capacity to benefit sentient beings.

Dexing wrote:So not just abstaining from unwholesomeness, ...

which is renunciation.

Dexing wrote:but cultivating good ...

thus practicing right effort.

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Dexing » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:02 am

TMingyur wrote:
Dexing wrote:... especially as Mahāyāna practitioners who's aim it is to benefit and gladden all sentient beings, and not just reach solitary liberation.

Whatever "just" reaching "solitary" liberation may mean, the Mahayana practitioners aim of course is to attain liberation from obscurations (i.e. "non-abiding nirvana") to attain the capacity to benefit sentient beings.


Just reaching solitary liberation means not attaining non-abiding Nirvāṇa or aspiring toward Anuttarā samyak-saṃbodhi; i.e. contentment with the Nirvāṇa attained through the Śravaka and Pratyekabuddha paths, which not being non-abiding is unable to provide the capacity to continually reenter Saṃsāra to benefit numberless beings.

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby ground » Mon Mar 28, 2011 11:26 am

Dexing wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Dexing wrote:... especially as Mahāyāna practitioners who's aim it is to benefit and gladden all sentient beings, and not just reach solitary liberation.

Whatever "just" reaching "solitary" liberation may mean, the Mahayana practitioners aim of course is to attain liberation from obscurations (i.e. "non-abiding nirvana") to attain the capacity to benefit sentient beings.


Just reaching solitary liberation means not attaining non-abiding Nirvāṇa or aspiring toward Anuttarā samyak-saṃbodhi; i.e. contentment with the Nirvāṇa attained through the Śravaka and Pratyekabuddha paths, which not being non-abiding is unable to provide the capacity to continually reenter Saṃsāra to benefit numberless beings.

:namaste:


I don't know what "Just reaching solitary liberation" means since you introduced this term. What I said was this:
the Mahayana practitioners aim of course is to attain liberation from obscurations (i.e. "non-abiding nirvana") to attain the capacity to benefit sentient beings.


In what sense this liberation a Mahayana practitioners aims at is "solitary" or "non-solitary" and in what sense the term "just" applies is obscure to me. What however is not obscure to me is that the Mahayana striving for liberation from obscurations has bodhicitta as "driving force".


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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Dexing » Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:06 pm

Solitary means alone. Just means only.

Just reaching solitary liberation therefore means only attaining liberation alone, for oneself, as would those of the Śravaka and Pratyekabuddha paths; i.e. not reentering Saṃsāra to benefit numberless beings, as would those of the Bodhisattva path.

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Re: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:15 pm

:offtopic:
Don't confuse the OP with technical gibberish!
: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: To cultivate good: non-evil, non-unwholesome?

Postby Dexing » Mon Mar 28, 2011 7:24 pm

:good:

I was starting to think the same. Thought it was obvious... but TMingyur may not be a native English speaker.

Anyway my point is simply that Bodhisattva vows require that the precepts take action, not simply abstain from unwholesomeness.

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